Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Review & Interview - - Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd


Wrong Alibi
by Christina Dodd
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: December 29, 2020
Reviewed by PJ


Eighteen-year-old Evelyn Jones lands a job in small-town Alaska, working for a man in his isolated mountain home. But her bright hopes for the future are shattered when Donald White disappears, leaving her to face charges of theft, embezzlement—and a brutal double murder. Her protestations of innocence count for nothing. Convicted, she faces life in prison…until fate sends her on the run.

Evie's escape leaves her scarred and in hiding, isolated from her family, working under an alias at a wilderness camp. Bent on justice, intent on recovering her life, she searches for the killer who slaughters without remorse.

At last, the day comes. Donald White has returned. Evie emerges from hiding; the fugitive becomes the hunter. But in her mind, she hears the whisper of other forces at work. Now Evelyn must untangle the threads of evidence before she’s once again found with blood on her hands: the blood of her own family…

PJ's Thoughts:

I know I've said this before but it bears repeating. Do not begin reading a Christina Dodd suspense novel in the evening unless you plan to forfeit a night's sleep. Wrong Alibi is another excellent example of why this advice holds true. Intense, compelling, more than a little scary, and completely addictive, it's a wild ride that kept me flipping pages from start to finish. A full-immersion experience. I could not put it down. Even when I finally turned the last page, these characters refused to leave my head. 

In this newest novel from Dodd, she takes readers into the untamed wilderness of Alaska with an edge-of-your-seat thriller that had my heart in my throat for much of the journey. The characters are so well developed it's often difficult to remember that what you're reading is fiction; their situations so realistic I frequently found my heart racing with fear, anxiety, or shock. The journey Evie travels - from a gullible teen ripe for framing to a strong, savvy woman determined to bring a killer to justice and restore her reputation - is fraught with danger, unimaginable challenges, and more twists and turns than a mountain road. Each time I thought I knew where the story was heading, Dodd tossed in an impeccably-timed twist that left me gasping, right up until the final reveal...which I did not see coming! 

If you enjoy suspense thrillers with a tightly-woven plot, fully-formed characters, unexpected twists, evil villains who will have you checking your windows and locking your doors, unexpected flashes of dry wit, and a hopelessly naive protagonist who, through maturity, determination, and dedication, molds herself into a heroine who not only wreaks vengeance on a killer but saves herself in the process, Wrong Alibi is a book you'll want to read. It has my highest recommendation. 


Q&A with Christina Dodd

Welcome, Christina!

Thank you, PJ. We've known each other a long time, and it's always great to visit The Romance Dish.

It's always great to have you visit. Congratulations on the release of Wrong Alibi. I loved it, even if it did scare the spit out of me. What should readers expect from this novel?

To be close to her family, a young woman just out of juvenile detention takes a job that seems too good to be true…and finds herself charged with a gruesome double murder. Her escape leaves her scarred and in hiding, working under an alias at an Alaskan wilderness camp. Bent on justice, intent on recovering her life, she searches for the killer who slaughters without remorse. Can she find him before she's caught again…with the blood of her own family on her hands?

I enjoyed the Alaska setting in this book. You really brought it to life for me. Have you visited? If not, what kind of research did you do?

When I was a kid in California, our neighbors and dear family friends moved to Alaska. Nothing, not even the great Anchorage earthquake could shake their love for the state. (I know, a pun. :groan: ) They sent Alaskan gifts; I inherited my mother's cups by Robert Mayokok, an Intuit artist who proudly depicted his culture,

and my whole writing life, I've had an Inuit doll on my desk watching me work. I haven't visited Alaska, but I was destined to write WRONG ALIBI.

Alaska is so big, so diverse, so harsh in its climate and its long dark winters, it is the perfect place for murder. The challenges have created funny, strong, helpful Alaskans. For the manuscript, I needed a few Alaska jokes and asked online for help. Which gave me:

Do you know what a bear thinks when it comes across a camper in a sleeping bag?
Mmm, a taco.

What does a bear think when it comes across a camper with pepper spray in a sleeping bag?
Mmm, a spicy taco.

This book has more twists and turns than an Alaska mountain road (which I love). Do you plan them ahead of time or are you sometimes surprised by unexpected plot twists that pop up during the writing process?

Discovering the story as you write it seems so bold! So artistic! So adventurous!

Yeah, I don't do that. I write a synopsis and stick pretty closely to it. If I didn't, I'd be frozen, panicked I was writing myself into a corner and in the end would have to throw the whole project away. The surprises come from the characters, how they react, who they are and how they develop as they face the challenges they encounter. Some of the characters I love — the heroine of WRONG ALIBI, Evie, is one of the most interesting characters I've ever written. Some of the characters I loathe — the killer of WRONG ALIBI is a psychopath, interested only in himself, indifferent to another's pain, and incapable of guilt. I created him, and he scared me. He's all too real.

What’s next? 

I'm writing a suspense set in a village on Big Sur California, where a local legend says on foggy nights the town is said to disappear and when it returns, it brings lost souls back from the dead.

Okay, that will be one I'll definitely be reading in the daylight!

Let’s play a quick round of complete this sentence.

My favorite Christmas tradition is…

Dragging the Christmas tree up the hill.

The book I’m most eager to read is…

Jayne Ann Krentz's upcoming romantic suspense ALL THE COLORS OF NIGHT.

The holiday movie I watch every year is…

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the original TV show because …

The song!

"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel. You're as cuddly as a cactus, you're as charming as an eel... ...Mr. Gri-inch! You're a bad banana w a...greasy black peel."

::Sniffle:: They just don't write lyrics that touch the heart like that anymore.

And the message!

"Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand."


Thanks for visiting with us today, Christina. Would you like to add anything else or ask our readers a question?

2020 has been, almost universally, a difficult year. (“A difficult year, Christina?” you shriek. “You have a talent for understatement!”) The New Year is close and as we stand "heart to heart and hand to hand" never have we been so hopeful that 2021 is shiny with joy, love and happiness. If you'd like to receive book updates, a free short story, and a lot of humor in your inbox, please join my mailing list. I'd be delighted to have you as a newsletter friend!

Today I'm giving away the audiobook CD of SECRETS OF BELLA TERRA to one lucky winner. Due to mailing restrictions, the contest is restricted to U.S. residents.

Readers, have you read any of Christina Dodd's books? Do you have a favorite?

What was your favorite holiday movie that you watched this year? 

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, December 31 will receive an audiobook CD of Secrets of Bella Terra, the first book in Dodd's Scarlet Deception trilogy (one of my favorite Dodd romantic suspense series). 

*Must be 18
*U.S. addresses only 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Review - - BOONE

by Emily March
Publisher: St. Martin's
Release Date: December 29, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

With his smooth talk, rugged good looks, and deep pockets, native Texan Boone McBride appears to be a man who has it all. Few people know about the heartbreak behind his decision to leave home, family, and career for the isolation of a small town in the Colorado Rockies. Luckily, time and life in Eternity Springs has worked its healing magic upon his wounded soul, so when he meets obviously troubled Hannah Dupree, Boone sees a chance to pay his good fortune forward. The last thing he anticipates is tumbling into love.

Tragedy has taken everything Hannah loves, and her will to keep going is failing. So when Boone strides into her life determined to save her, it’s easier to go along with him than to resist. Soon she is drawn into the fabric of life in Eternity Springs, and as her spirit begins to heal, her strength returns, and she’s able to go toe-to-toe with this hardheaded, big-hearted Texan. But just when love blooms and happiness is within their grasp, shadows from the past threaten. Hannah and Boone must stand strong and united in order to defeat old ghosts―if they are to create a brand-new life together.

PJ's Thoughts:

Oh, my heart. I've been reading Emily March's books for a long time. Her Eternity Springs stories touch a special chord within my soul, taking me on journeys that restore my faith in love, forgiveness, redemption, and hope. But, even among my many Eternity Springs favorites, this story is special. 

Hannah and Boone are firmly implanted in my heart, not to be forgotten anytime soon. The trials life has placed in their paths have been devastating and even though they are at different points in their healing when they meet they both still have miles to go. March guides them with care and sensitivity, along with well-placed humor and burgeoning joy, from a barren landscape to one overflowing with new growth and possibilities. I loved them together. 

Celeste, once again, is her instrument of guidance, imparting wisdom and gently nudging both Boone and Hannah in a direction that will ultimately bring them the love, and peace, they deserve. I especially enjoyed how she uses color to help illustrate Hannah's navigation of the various stages of her healing. 

March brought these characters to life for me. I cried with them, laughed with them, mourned and rejoiced with them. This is a story filled with deep, all-encompassing emotion. I felt the gravity of it, the grief and hopelessness at the beginning of the journey, yet wasn't smothered by it. There are pockets of hope and laughter strategically sprinkled throughout, reminding them - and me - that even in the midst of overwhelming grief, there is still the possibility of joy in the distance. 

I loved the romantic journey between these two characters who are clearly meant to be together. I adored Boone with his caring heart, unabashedly flirtatious ways, and surprising vulnerability. Hannah won my admiration and heart with her courage in the face of unbelievable grief. Each time her heart opened a little bit more I wanted to stand up and cheer...then give her a big hug. The icing on the cinnamon roll is how she turns the tables on Boone in the end and takes control of their future. One of my favorite scenes and indicative of how far she has come from their first encounter. These two are each the light that helps guide the other out of the darkness, fully embracing the sweet memories of those they loved and lost, and celebrating the uplifting love and joy of their future together.

Don't be frightened off by the fact that this is the 18th book in the Eternity Springs series. Boone's and Hannah's story can definitely be enjoyed on its own.  

Note: There are serious and possibly triggering topics in this book, including suicide, failed adoption, and death of children. None of these events occur on the page but both main characters are dealing with the grief and emotions caused by them. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

Review - - Foreplayer


by Kate Meader
Rookie Rebels - Book 4
Publisher: Kate Meader LLC
Release Date: December 29, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

After a very public breakup and a viral post that declares him the villain, power forward Cal Foreman is taking a timeout from women and relationships to focus on hockey. When Chicago Rebels captain and old friend, Vadim Petrov, “volunteers” him to help train Vadim’s sister Mia, Cal figures he can do a favor for a pal and get ready for the season with his new team. But the imperious Russian would slice a skate blade through Cal’s internal organs if he knew what lessons Mia really wants.

Yeah, not that kind of stickhandling.

Hockey phenom and Olympics hopeful Mia Wallace needs help seducing the man of her dreams. That man is most definitely not Cal Foreman: notorious playboy, thorn in her side, and her brother's bestie. But surely a guy with his reputed skill set has a few tips on how she can nail her target—which makes him the perfect foreplayer.

Cal knows Mia sees him as merely the warm-up act in her grand plan to win another man, but as they spend more time together, he wonders if that’s enough.

If they could be more.

And if he could convince her he’s worthy of the starting line-up . . . in her heart?

PJ's Thoughts:

I loved this book so much! After the gut-wrenching intensity of the last book in the series (Man Down), I was ready for a lighter tone and Foreplayer more than fills that need. That's not to say there isn't a satisfying depth of emotion or the complexities that make Meader's characters feel so real. There's all of that, as well as life-altering, emotional journeys for both Mia and Cal. The hidden baggage each of them carries is pretty significant but there is also a wonderfully delicious friendship that develops between them with snappy banter, witty humor, tenderness, and chemistry that begins with a flicker and grows until it flames out of control. 

I loved how much fun they had together, how they challenged one another, how they had each other's backs, how they each eventually learned to see themselves through the other's eyes. I was totally invested in each of them as individuals and head over heels for them as a couple. My heart ached for them when the wounds of the past held them back from voicing their feelings, held them back from fighting for what they deserved. Of course, that made the end of their journey all the more sweet and satisfying and I could not have loved it more.

Kate Meader continues to impress me with her impeccable storytelling, laugh-out-loud humor, sizzling chemistry, and rock-solid romance. Her characters are beautifully crafted, with realistic flaws that make them both frustrating (at times) and endearing (at others). I adore the camaraderie and familial vibe among the members of the Rebels franchise. Having been part of a hockey team's inner circle I can say with certainty that Meader nails that aspect of these stories. I have loved every story in this series and am already looking forward to the next Rebels couple to benefit from her guiding hand. 

As one who has read every book in this series, it's always fun to catch up with earlier couples as well as watch the ever-evolving friendships among the team. However, Meader has written each of these books in a way that they can be fully enjoyed on their own. However, if you're anything like me, once you meet these characters you'll most likely be burning to read all of their books. They're just that good. 

Today's Special - - Kat Martin

Kat Martin's The Ultimate Betrayal, the third book in her Maximum Security series, was released in hardback in July 2020. It's a fast-paced, action-packed, twisty, romantic suspense story with sizzling chemistry that kept me glued to the pages and earned a 5-Star review (click here to read my full review). In celebration of the book's paperback release on December 29th, Kat joins us today to share some insights about how she set the stage for The Ultimate Betrayal.

Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin.  More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries.  Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film.  Kat’s latest novel, THE ULTIMATE  BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, will be released in paperback December 29th.

The Ultimate Betrayal
by Kat Martin
Maximum Security - Book 3
Publisher: HQN  
Release Date: December 29, 2020 (paperback)

To prove her father’s innocence, she’ll have to turn a killer’s sights on herself

When her father is accused of espionage and treason, journalist Jessie Kegan has no doubt the man she looked up to her entire life is innocent. Worse yet, before Colonel Kegan can stand trial, he’s found dead of a heart attack…but Jessie knows it was murder. Forcing aside her grief, she’s determined to use her investigative resources to clear her father’s name. But going after the truth means Jessie soon finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who wants that truth to stay buried with her father.

Protecting Jessie Kegan is a job bodyguard Brandon Garrett can’t refuse. Jessie isn’t just a client at Maximum Security—she’s the sister of his best friend, Danny, who was killed in Afghanistan. With dangerous enemies gunning for Jessie from every angle, keeping her safe will mean keeping her close, and Bran finds their mutual attraction growing, though being Danny’s sister puts Jessie out of bounds.

With their backs against the wall, Jessie and Bran will have to risk everything to expose her father’s killer—before his legacy dies with his daughter.



By Kat Martin

Blog: Setting the Stage


I love to read novels set in interesting places.  Currently I’m reading an historical romance that takes place in Nazi-occupied Paris during WWII.  I’ve always loved Paris, which makes the book even more fun to read.  Being able recognize the settings where the action takes place, as well as the names of restaurants and streets I have visited.

 As a writer, going to the place your book is set, or choosing a place you have actually been, is the best way to make your book seem real.

In THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, the novel takes place in Colorado, a state I love to visit.  After I’d concluded my second Maximum Security novel, THE DECEPTION, which was set in Texas, I was looking for someplace different for book number three.  Colorado, with its wide variety of landscapes and extreme climate conditions seemed perfect.

Having been to Denver a number of times, street names were familiar, parks and airports, locations of smaller towns and rural mountain communities. 

Since this was a Maximum Security novel, a romantic thriller, I began by researching crime in the state.  I had digging and digging and finally stumbled onto an article about the U.S. Army chemical weapons depot near Colorado Springs.  As Brandon Garrett, the hero of my story, was a former army officer, I loved the idea of Bran interacting with his military past.

The idea of stealing chemical weapons from a storage depot gave me all sorts of plot ideas.  In THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, when investigative journalist Jessie Kegan’s father, a colonel in the army, is accused of treason, she’s determined to clear his name.  Afraid for her life, Jessie turns to former Special Ops soldier, Brandon Garrett.  But time is running out and the game being played is deadly.  Working together, Bran and Jessie risk everything to solve the riddle and stop the threat--before it’s too late.

Because of the military setting, this was one of the hardest books I’ve ever written.  I think it turned out to be one of my best.  I particularly love the interaction between Bran and Jessie and I hope readers will, too.

I hope you’ll watch for THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL and that you enjoy Bran and Jessie’s story.  Till next time, all best wishes and happy reading, Kat

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Monthly Contest:

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Winners - - Merry Christmas Giveaway


The randomly chosen winners of a 

package of books are:

Diane D - Florida


Annette N


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas


This guy has been my faithful holiday companion since I liberated him from a cold and lonely store shelf 35 years ago. It wouldn't be Christmas without him. Because of the pandemic, Herman (the elf) and I will not be traveling - or entertaining - this year but never fear. We have a deliciously delightful Christmas Day planned: a snuggly blanket, my favorite foods, FaceTime calls with family and friends, and eight glorious episodes of BRIDGERTON on Netflix! Not my traditional Christmas celebration but, hey, it's 2020 and I've learned to be very flexible. ;-) 

What are your plans this Christmas? Will you be traveling? Entertaining? Snugged up tight at home? 

Wherever you are, whatever holiday you celebrate, I wish you safety, good health, and days filled with love, hope, kindness, and joy. 

Merry Christmas!

Two randomly chosen people who comment before 11:00 PM, December 26 will each receive a package of books from my stash. 

*Must be 18

*U.S. addresses only

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Winner - - A Cup of Cheer


The randomly chosen winner of a Kindle copy of

A Cup of Cheer by Deb Marlowe is:

Karen H


Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Monday, December 21, 2020

Review & Giveaway - - A Cup of Cheer

A Cup of Cheer
by Deb Marlowe
Publisher: Deb Marlowe
Release Date: December 10, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

Wine, women, song, adventure, even scandal. Lord Chester pursued them all—and used the chase to outrun the pain in his past. But when his carousing endangers a young boy, he wonders if he must reevaluate the choices he's made.

The pain of Miss Julia Deering’s past keeps turning up in her present. She’s settled and content, now, though, as a lady’s companion, until the dowager countess’s notorious grandson arrives.

They are charged with bringing Christmas alive for the boy, the dowager and a quiet house, but they’ll uncover some truths about themselves along the way. Will the magic of the season convince them to believe in themselves—and each other?

PJ's Thoughts:

A Cup of Cheer is a quick, charming story that was exactly what I needed this weekend. With likeable characters, a thoughtful story, witty banter, emotional depth, and a happy ending that was all I wanted...and checked all of my happy holiday reading boxes.  

Lord Chester is a man who has lost his way. At a crossroads in his life, he finds himself at his grandmother's home in the days approaching Christmas, facing a number of decisions that will impact not only his life but the lives of those around him. But before he can move forward, Chester must face his past, something that up to this point he has refused to do. He's a scoundrel and a flirt but, at his core, he's a good man who wants to be better. His journey is heart-tugging and uplifting and had me hopefully cheering him on.  

Julia, a most unconventional heroine, in both appearance and attitude, is an absolute delight. Filled with positivity and love, she brings joy to everyone at Chester's grandmother's home but life has taught her hard lessons and trust does not come easily. I want to be friends with her. She deserves someone who will cherish her and put her first. I was in her corner the whole way. 

Charlie is a young boy who just wants a family to love. He's a heart-stealer and a scene-stealer. I adored him. And Grandmama is a wily old lady who quietly and carefully works behind the scenes to guide everyone in the direction of what she hopes will be a Christmas happily ever after. 

If you're looking for a fun, charming, heart-tugging Christmas novella that will have you laughing, sighing, and possibly shedding a few tears (happy ones, I promise), add Deb Marlowe's A Cup of Cheer to your holiday reading list. It's a keeper. 


Tell me about a holiday novella you've read this year that has filled your heart with joy. Or, tell me about one you'd like to read.

One randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM, December 22 will receive a Kindle copy of A Cup of Cheer. 

*Must be 18
*Amazon U.S. only

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Winners - - Lori Matthews


The randomly chosen winners of a set of 

Justified Misfortune and Justified Burden 

by Lori Matthews are:

Pamela Devereux




Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Winner - - The Best Cowboy Christmas Ever


The randomly chosen winner of a Kindle Copy of

The Best Cowboy Christmas Ever by June Faver is:

Laurie G


Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Winner - - Blue Sky Cowboy Christmas


The randomly chosen winner of a Kindle copy of

Blue Sky Cowboy Christmas by Joanne Kennedy is

Linda Herold


Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, December 18, 2020

Review - - All the Colors of Night

All the Colors of Night
by Jayne Ann Krentz
Fogg Lake Trilogy - Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

North Chastain possesses a paranormal talent that gives him the ability to track down the most dangerous psychic criminals. When his father suddenly falls into a coma-like state, North is convinced it was caused by a deadly artifact that traces back to the days of a secret government program known only as the Bluestone Project. North knows his only hope of saving his father is to find the artifact. He is good when it comes to tracking down killers, but to locate the relic he’s going to need help from a psychic who knows the shadowy world of obsessive collectors, deceptive dealers and ruthless raiders.…

With her reputation in ruins after a false accusation, antiques expert Sierra Raines is looking for a fresh start. She turns to the murky backwaters of the paranormal artifacts trade, finding and transporting valuable objects with a psychic provenance. When North Chastain approaches her for help, Sierra takes him on as a client, though not without reservations. North represents the mysterious Foundation, the secretive organization established to police the underworld populated by psychic criminals and those, like Sierra, who make a living in the shadows of that world.
North and Sierra soon find themselves at the scene of the Incident, which occurred decades ago in Fogg Lake. The town and its residents were forever changed by the disaster in the nearby Bluestone Project labs. The pair unearths shocking truths about what happened that fateful night, but they are playing with fire—someone in town knows what they’ve discovered and will do anything to make sure the secrets stay buried.

PJ's Thoughts:

I had set aside a week to read this second book in Krentz's Fogg Lake trilogy, thinking I'd read a chapter here and a chapter there in between my many holiday tasks. It was a good plan...until I opened the book. I finished it in one day. Cover to cover. The whole book. That's how good it is. 

Sierra and North have earned a place among my all-time favorite Krentz couples. Individually, they're likeable, admirable, and have my utmost respect but, as a team, they're unstoppable. I loved them! Their chemistry was intense and organic but developed slowly as their primary focus was on their mission. I enjoyed the respect that developed as they worked together and the fact that sometimes Sierra took the lead while, at others, it was North. They created a true partnership and I was with them, cheering them on, the entire way.

Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was Krentz's ability to create a paranormal community and make it seem everyday normal. These characters, with their psi talents and energy manipulation, became real to me as did the challenges they faced. Krentz's detailed, vivid descriptions not only brought the characters to life but the forests, caves, hidden labs, and night colors as well. By the time I finished the book, she had convinced me that a trip to the Pacific Northwest should, of course, include a little side trip to Fogg Lake...only in the daylight, of course, when the green fog subsides. But later, under a clear midnight sky, how I would love to have the ability to see all the colors of night.

The story itself is tightly woven, fast paced, and expertly filled with enough well-placed twists to keep me eagerly turning pages to discover what surprises awaited around the next turn of the page. And there were surprises in abundance along with one final twist that, I have to admit, I did not see coming. 

All the Colors of Night is book two in the Fogg Lake Trilogy but stands well on its own. However, once you get to know these characters and the secrets of Fogg Lake begin to reveal themselves, there's a good chance that you will be scrambling to get a copy of book one: The Vanishing. Like I did. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Spotlight & Giveaway - - Lori Matthews

Since her debut book, Break and Enter released in February of this year,  Lori Matthews has been busy writing, with each successive book cementing her place on my auto-buy list of romantic suspense authors. Her books are fast-paced, passionate, and overflowing with action and adventure. And her complex, well-developed characters have me firmly in their corners. After the successful launch of the three full-length novels in her Callahan Security series, Matthews didn't miss a beat, turning her writing focus to novellas set within Amazon's Brotherhood Protectors World. The first, Justified Misfortune, takes readers to a small town in Montana for a second-chance romance that's filled with all the danger, passion, and unexpected twists that have sent all of Matthews' books straight to my keeper shelf. Read my full review of Justified Misfortune here

Justified Misfortune: Brotherhood Protectors World
by Lori Matthews
Publisher: Twisted Page Press
Release Date: October 13, 2020

Hudson Riggs has returned to his family’s ranch after years spent traveling the world. The former Navy SEAL accepted a position as a Personal Security Specialist, a job that didn’t leave much free time. He never expected his visit to his hometown to turn into another job. His former High School flame has been arrested for murder but Hudson’s gut instinct is she didn’t do it. All he has to do now is prove it.

For Sunny Travers, being back in Canyon Springs is bittersweet. She desperately misses her life in California but her grandmother needs her. Sunny’s world flips upside down when she’s arrested for killing the local hero. Now the citizens of Canyon Springs have turned against her and she’s forced to accept help from the man who broke her heart all those years ago.

Hudson knows Sunny hasn’t forgiven him. Hell, he hasn’t forgiven himself for how he left things but all his emotions take a back seat when someone tries to kill Sunny. Can Hudson protect Sunny long enough to apologize to her and right old wrongs or will the killer get to her first?

Justified Burden: Brotherhood Protectors World
by Lori Matthews
Publisher: Twisted Page Press
Release Date: December 1, 2020

Former Navy SEAL, and Personal Security Specialist Rhys Bennett is in Canyon Springs to mend after being shot on his last assignment. His wound has healed and it’s almost time for him to go back to work, but he’s worried. The sixth sense that’s kept him alive so far is MIA.

For Scarlett Jones, being in Canyon Springs is her chance at a fresh start after a devastating tragedy. She’s desperate for her design business to be successful. But when things keep going wrong on her latest remodel, panic sets in. Is someone sabotaging the worksite on purpose or is it all in her head?

Realizing the distracting Scarlett is in trouble, Rhys puts aside his self-doubt and volunteers to protect her. Watching over the beautiful redhead won’t be too difficult. Or so he thinks until a body is discovered and the mystery surrounding Scarlett turns potentially deadly. Will Rhys be up to the task of keeping Scarlett safe or will the killer get away with murder twice?

Justified Burden, the second of Matthews' Brotherhood Protectors World novellas, grabbed me on page one and held me riveted to the story until the end. Rhys and Scarlett are intriguing, relatable characters who engaged both my interest and my affection. Their emotional back stories and sizzling chemistry kept me invested in them and their journey, not to mention the ever-present danger and a well-woven mystery that had me guessing right up until the reveal. Plus...puppy! 💓

If you enjoy a quick, fast-paced story with a good balance of suspense and romance, I highly recommend both Justified Burden and Justified Misfortune. They're perfect for holiday season reading when we don't always have time for a full-length book.

Though both of these novellas stand on their own, because the hero and heroine from Justified Misfortune have significant roles in Justified Burden you may prefer to read them in order.  


I love the small-town Montana setting of these novellas. What's your favorite contemporary romance setting? Country? City? Something else?

Two randomly chosen people who post a comment before 11:00 PM, December 18 will each receive a print set of Justified Misfortune and Justified Burden.

*Must be 18
*Open internationally

Learn more about Lori's books and subscribe to her newsletter at her website

Connect with Lori on social media at Facebook and Instagram.