by Uvi Poznansky (Author), Tamara Ferguson (Author), Jacquie Biggar (Author), D.G. Torrens (Author), Angelica Kate (Author), Traci Hall (Author), Jennifer St. Giles (Author), Regina Puckett (Author), Suzanne Jenkins (Author), S.R. Mallery (Author), Susan Jean Ricci (Author), PJ Fiala (Author)
At no other point is passion put to the test as in dire times of war. From the American Civil War to WWII, from Vietnam to the War in Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf, the stories in this boxed set summon the strength of true lovers. Written by bestselling, award-winning, and USA Today authors, the novels and novellas in this collection tell of overcoming loss, injuries, and separation, to celebrate the victory of love.
If you like Military Romance, Wounded Warrior Romance, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, or Romantic Suspense, this anthology invites you to triumph over the worst of conditions and find the courage to bring forth the best in us.
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BOOK BITES - 12 award winning, best-selling authors give you some tidbits from their LOVE IN TIMES OF WAR boxed set!
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Book Bites: Love in Times of War
Excerpts from The Rebel’s Redemption by Jacquie Biggar:
“Miss Campbell, guess what? Jake’s here. He was outside when we went to get Susan. How cool is that?”
“That’s pretty cool all right. How’d he get here? And where’s Chris?” She’d grabbed up a napkin to wipe the ice cream from her lips, when a voice out of the past lifted the hairs on the nape of her neck and sent a shiver down her spine.
“He’s here. With me.”
The smooth tones rolled over her, and sucked all the air out of the room. Annie stiffened, then crumpled the napkin and slowly turned in her seat—yep, it was Jared all right. And Chris.
He looked good. The random thought floated through her mind even as she tried to digest the fact he was finally back. Eight years too late, but he was here. She wanted to grab Chris and run. Run before what was obvious to her became obvious to everyone else. Shit.
“Hello, Annie, it’s been a long time.” Why was he looking at her as if she’d betrayed him? She wasn’t the one to cut and run without a single word in all this time. Goddamn him.
“Jared. Yes, it has been. A very long time. There were no phones where you were? Your mother probably would’ve appreciated knowing whether you were dead or alive.” Not to mention herself. She’d promised herself she wasn’t going down this road, the blame road. It was time to leave.
She turned her back on him, looked into Jack’s concerned eyes, and forced herself to smile as if her heart wasn’t shattering into a million tiny pieces. “I better get back. Tina needs to take her break. Call me later?”
He gave her waist a warm squeeze, and placed a gentle kiss on her cheek before sliding free. “I’m not sure what’s going on, but for what it’s worth, I’ve got your back.”
Near tears, she stood from the table, and without looking at either man again, grabbed both children’s hands and hustled them out the door.
Annie’s heart tried to leap out of her chest, one hand muffling her scream, while the other clutched the now half-empty box. Why hadn’t she made sure she locked the door behind the delivery guy this morning? Of all the asinine, irresponsible things to do.
“I…I’m sorry, we’re closed right now. Can you ma…maybe come back later?”
The stranger—she was pretty sure she’d never seen him before—stayed to the shadows, denying her a clear view of his features. He wore an old-fashioned bowler hat tipped forward over his eyes, and a black greatcoat, one hand tucked into the pocket. She was probably about to star in her own horror flick. Killed with her own merchandise. She could see the headlines already. Annie kept a nervous gaze on that pocket, her imagination going into overdrive.
When the silence threatened to explode in her head, he bent and picked up one of the carving knives she’d graciously sent his way. His thumb skimmed up and down the blade. She didn’t think she’d ever been so scared in her life.
“Please, I have no money. What do you want?”
That got a reaction. His hand stilled on the blade and piercing eyes looked up and pinned her in place. “Tell Martin I here. There is nowhere he can hide.” He threw the knife. Annie gasped and recoiled as the blade flew through the air and embedded itself obscenely in the heart of her sewing mannequin. “Tell him he must pay.” Without another word, he disappeared out the door, a dark wraith.
Annie sank to the floor in a boneless heap. Now that it was over her teeth chattered, and shivers racked her frame. Who was he? What did he want? She wanted to believe it was all a misunderstanding and he’d come to the wrong door, but in her heart she knew better.
This was about Jared.
Jared's world narrowed down to the little black barrel of the gun pointed at his chest. Funny, in all the years of being in the SEAL teams he'd never been in this situation. Not to say he hadn't dodged his share of bullets. It's just they'd always erupted like a hailstorm, out of nowhere. This was somewhere. The back alley of his mother's freaking café in freaking America to be exact. What the hell?
If he wasn't so pissed off at himself for getting into this situation, he might have laughed. Eight years overseas off and on, and he was going to get shot in his own backyard. How's that for ironic?
"Look man, why don't we talk about this?" Jared forced his gaze to focus on Sergei's steely gaze instead of the muzzle of the semi-automatic.
"The time for talk is past," the Russian said. "You ignored my advice and instead made a fool out of me with that stupid trick you performed."
"Advice? You call beating the livin' shit out of me, advice?" Jared ground his teeth together, and fought to keep a level tone. "You can't blame a guy for wanting to retaliate." A crash by the garbage caused both men to crouch into a fight stance. A tabby cat raced away. Jared straightened, his heart knocking against his ribcage, as desperate to escape this mess as the animal. He needed to defuse the situation before someone came upon them; please God not his mom.
"Okay, you're right. I shouldn't have set off alarms or caused those slots to pay out. But seriously dude, you can't go around acting all KGB, we're in the good old USA now." Jared kept a careful eye on the guy's trigger finger and cursed his loose tongue. What part of defuse couldn't he figure out?
Sergei tipped his felt hat back on his bald head like an old time gunslinger. His hand holding the gun never wavered. "You have big mouth."
Yeah, I've heard that a time or ten.
"Why don't we handle this like two adults? I'll call your boss, tell him I screwed up and it'll never happen again…" There was no doubt on that, if he ever went near a casino again he'd kick his own ass. "And then you can go back to ruling your little kingdom far, far, away."
The sound of the hammer cocking reverberated with frightening clarity in the small alley. There wasn't even anywhere for him to take cover. The garbage can was at least ten feet away. Jared's jaw cramped from the tension. His skin crawled as if overrun with fire ants. Where was his team when he needed them?
He'd just decided the only alternative was to rush the son-of-a-bitch when the alley erupted with the screams and laughter of children. Two kids rounded the corner at full speed on pedal bikes, racing each other to an imaginary finish line.
Sergei seized the opportunity, stepped between the bicycles and scooped the kids off their seats. The bikes, wheels still turning, fell to the ground in front of him creating a barrier. The kids—God, it was Chris and little Jessica—shrieked until Sergei shook them, then they froze, eyes wide and frightened, hanging under his arms like rag dolls.
"Let them go, you motherfu…" Jared's voice came out low and lethal. Every muscle in his body prepared itself for the moment of attack. His breathing slowed until he could count each heartbeat as the blood coursed through his veins. Waiting. Watching.
Barnikov laughed. Laughed. The prick.
"Now it my turn to play game." Jared made a slight move and Sergei's smile flat-lined. He dropped Jessica to the ground in front of him but kept his forearm wrapped around her neck. The gun nestled the side of her head pointed straight at Chris dangling from his other arm. "Move and I shoot." He shuffled the trio back towards the mouth of the alley. "We'll talk again, my friend."
And then he disappeared around the corner, leaving nothing but the slowly turning tire on a bike, and Jared's heart as it shattered.
JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they're gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls.
She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.
Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can't function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. :)
Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site:
Or email her via her web site. Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!
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