Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Duty Bound by Noelle Adams and Samantha Chase

Excerpts from Duty Bound

Excerpt 1:
On my way out of the building with Maria, the friend who’d given me a ride, I glanced down at my phone, on the off-chance that Levi had tried to call back.
I’m not sure what he would have said if he called. After all, I couldn’t imagine him meekly saying he was sorry for his bad behavior.
I couldn’t imagine him being meek—in any circumstance, ever.
“Oh my God, that guy is hot,” Maria murmured excitedly, grabbing my arm as we walked down the four steps from the front entrance of the rec center.
This wasn’t unusual behavior for Maria. She found guys hot all the time and was never loath to share her feelings with me.
I glanced over with only half-hearted interest and immediately stiffened when my eyes landed on a tall, well-built man with dark hair and worn jeans, who was listening to something on his phone and leaning against a car in the parking lot.
My car. The one I thought was still in the shop.
Levi. Naturally.
“Oh my God,” Maria said, her hand still gripping my arm. “He’s smiling at you. Do you know him?”
“Yes, I know him,” I gritted out through my teeth. He was indeed smiling, but it wasn’t a friendly, welcoming smile.
It was a superior smile of amusement, as if he was laughing at me.
I’d seen that look on his face before. I’d seen it for years and years, when we’d been growing up and he was hanging out with Gavin. My brother used to get annoyed when I pestered them, but Levi had always just laughed.
Nothing had changed. I might be an adult, a professional, and completely his equal, but he was still laughing at me.
I took a shaky breath and tried to control the wave of anger.
“Is that your car?” Maria asked.
“Yeah. He must have gotten it from the shop.”
“Ooh! Why didn’t you tell me there was a guy in your life?” Maria looked like she might jump up and down with excitement over news of potential romance for me.
“He’s not in—“
“No, don’t try to hide it. I can tell by the way he’s looking at you that he’s crazy about you. Plus, he got your car for you! You go on over, but you better call me first thing tomorrow and tell me all about him.”
I groaned and tried to object again, but she skittered off before I could. Rolling my eyes, I made my way over to Levi, who was still half-smiling with that superior amusement that I hated.
“Did you just tell me to take my overbearing, obnoxious meddling and shove it up my arrogant ass?” he asked, lowering the phone from his ear.
For no reason—for absolutely no good reason—I felt the urge to snicker, partly at his expression and partly at the way he’d repeated my words back to me in that dry tone. Snickering would hardly be an appropriate response, though, so I gave him what I hoped was a cool look of disinterest. “You should check your messages more frequently. I left that over two hours ago.”
His smile broadened into a grin, making him so attractive that I lost my breath. Seriously. I literally lost my breath, gazing up at him and his warm expression and his gorgeous dark eyes.

Excerpt 2:
I glanced around the parking lot for his truck and didn’t see it. “So you drove my car over here? How did you expect to get home?”
“I figured you could drop me off. I’m on the way.”
I smothered a groan and nodded toward the passenger seat. “Get in.”
He handed me the keys, and we got in the car. I had to admit it was nice to have my car back, although I would have preferred to enjoy it without Levi’s presence.
I managed to ask him, fairly politely, where he lived and then backed out of the parking place without saying anything rude.
We rode in silence for a few minutes. I don’t know what he was thinking, but I was trying very hard not to scream at him.
“How did you even know where I was?” I finally asked, starting up when a light turned green.
“I called your folks and they told me. So you do kickboxing?”
“Yes, I do kickboxing.”
“How long have you done that?”
“Over a year now.”
“Are you any good?”
I could hear the smile in his voice, and it made me mad. “I’m pretty good, for my level. What exactly are you laughing at?”
“I’m not laughing.” His eyes were wide with ostensible innocence when I turned to glare at him.
“You’re secretly laughing at me. You’ve always done that, and I’ve always hated it.”
“What’s wrong with you making me laugh?”
“Because you’re laughing at me, as if I’m a pet or a child. I’m neither of those things, and I really don’t appreciate you acting like I am.”
He sighed and said in a different voice. “I know you’re not a pet or a child.”
I turned my head again to check his expression, since he’d sounded so different. “So why do you feel compelled to control me?”
“I don’t want to control you. I just want you to be safe.”
“Keeping me safe is not your responsibility. I can take care of myself.” We’d reached his apartment building, and I pulled the car into a convenient parking space.
“With your kickboxing?”
“I meant by being an adult who can handle herself, but I might be better at kickboxing than you think.”
He was grinning again as he opened the passenger side door. “So show me.”
“Show you what?”
“Kickboxing. Show me what you’ve got.”
“I’m not a circus performer for your entertainment.”
“I’m not looking to be entertained. If you want me not to worry about you, then show me you can protect yourself. Show me what you’ve got.”
“I’m not going to do kickboxing moves in the middle of a parking lot.”
“Why not? No one is around.”
With a groan, I got out of the car, feeling yet again the need to prove myself to this man who insisted I shouldn’t be taken seriously.
He walked around the car so he was standing a couple of feet away from me. “So someone comes at you. What do you do?”
I moved automatically into my stance as he made a move toward me. I fired off a quick jab, aiming upward, right toward his face.  I pulled the punch before it hit, but I would have gotten a really good blow in if I hadn’t.
He looked surprised and pleased. “Good,” he said, sounding sincere for once. “What else?”
He made another move toward me, and I aimed a hook. He blocked it easily but I followed it quickly with an undercut, which might have done some damage. “Nice,” he murmured, the expression in his eyes changing. Instead of laughter there was something else.
It wasn’t respect. But it was warm. Very warm. It was hot.
It made my cheeks flush, so I covered it by another jab, which he blocked without really trying.
The easy way he blocked it riled me up, so I twisted to throw out a sidekick.
It obviously took him by surprise, and he grabbed at my leg with what was probably an automatic reflex. It threw me off balance, though. He released my leg immediately, but I still ended up in a heap on the ground.

Excerpt 3:
I knew it was coming, but I still cringed inwardly as I waited. “And you, Levi? Seriously? You’re the most normal out of all of us. Your family welcomed you back with no expectations. If you told your old man that you didn’t want to work with him, I bet he’d help you find another job. You needed something to do and so he gave you a job. And this thing with Harper? Maybe she needs your help, maybe she doesn’t. Either way, if it makes you feel better, then keep an eye on her. If you need help, you know that we’ll be there for you in a minute. And not just because of Gavin.”
“Yeah, because she’s hot,” Sebastian said with a laugh, obviously trying to lighten the mood.
Before long, we were all laughing, and the tension of just moments before was gone. Thank God.
“Maybe you won’t have to worry about it,” Cole said casually as he sat back and smirked. “Maybe her boyfriend will protect her.”
Boyfriend? “What the hell are you talking about?”
Cole nodded his head in the direction of the front of the bar and, sure enough, there was Harper with some guy who had his arm around her. “Looks like she may not need your…protection,” Cole added with a smirk.
My immediate thought was to jump across the table and throttle him, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from Harper. Who the hell was this guy? Why hadn’t Harper mentioned him? I was on my feet before I even realized it.
“Oh, shit,” Declan said with a chuckle. “This isn’t going to be good.”
“Sure it is,” Seb said, unable to hide his own amusement. “Levi’s going to go over there and make an idiot out of himself. And we all get to witness it.”
“And use it at a later date for our own entertainment,” Cole put in. The three of them twisted in their seats and watched as I walked across the room.
I knew the instant Harper spotted me because she stood a little taller, and her face got a little pinched up like she had sucked on a lemon or something. Not the kind of reaction a guy looks for when an attractive woman sees him, but it’s still kind of cute. “Hey, Harper,” I said casually. “Fancy seeing you here tonight.”
“Hmm,” she replied, doing her best to ignore that I was standing right in front of her.
It was a good thing I’m not easily deterred. “Hey,” I said, louder than normal, extending my hand to her date. “Levi. And you are?”
“My date,” Harper snapped. “We’re here for dinner and some drinks. Don’t you have people waiting for you?” She looked beyond me and waved to the guys.
I could see that said date was feeling a little confused by our exchange, but my hand was still firmly waiting for an acknowledgment. I stared the guy down until I could almost see him sweat. I used my best look of intimidation and even arched one brow at him. Finally, he caved.
“Tom,” he said. “Tom Walters.” He shook my hand, and I put a little too much of myself into it and watched him wince. Harper saw it too and shot an angry glare at me.
“So,” I said as I tucked my hands in my pockets to keep them from removing Tom’s arm from Harper’s waist. “How long have you kids been dating?”
“Uh—” Tom began, but Harper cut him off.
“None of your business, Levi,” she hissed. “Seriously, your friends look like they’re waiting for you.” She motioned toward the guys, and when I turned, they were all grinning like a bunch of loons and waving at us.

Excerpt 4:
“How about we meet on my turf next month?” Declan suggested. “Make a weekend of it.”
Everyone was on board, but my mind kept asking, “What if Harper needs me?” I couldn’t possibly share that thought with the guys without getting seriously ribbed, so I just agreed and figured I’d deal with it when the time came. “How about a game of darts?”
“Sounds good.” The crowd wasn’t too big for a Friday night, so we didn’t have to wait for a board. It was a mindless game, and it was exactly what I needed. Aim and shoot. Aim and shoot. No one needed to know that I was picturing Tom’s face in the bull’s eye. I was doing pretty well, and my aim was spot on. I was in the zone and loving it.
Until Harper got up from her table to head for the ladies room, which was right next to the dart boards. Since it wasn’t my turn, it wasn’t hard to take a couple of steps away so that I was kind of blocking her from getting by.
She stopped right in front of me and sighed with irritation. “What now?”
I shrugged and took a slow drink of my beer. “So, how’s the date going?”
Her head fell back as she let out a frustrated growl. I was sure she meant to sound menacing, but all I could think was that I’d like to gently bite the exposed column of her throat. “Can I please get by?” she finally asked.
“I guess it’s not going all that well, then.”
The look she gave me was near comical. “What makes you say that?”
“You didn’t answer me. If the date was going well, I’m sure you’d be all chatty about it. The fact that you’re silent tells me it’s not. I’m not surprised, really.”
“And why is that?” She crossed her arms under her breasts, and now I had that image in my head—exactly what I’d like to be doing to them.
“Well, it seems to me like Tom’s kind of a dud.”
“A dud?”
I nodded. “A dud. Absolutely. What do you see in that guy?”
“You know what, Levi? It’s none of your business what I see in him or in anyone for that matter. Isn’t it enough that you’ve interfered with every other aspect of my life? Can’t you just stay out of this? Leave my personal life alone?”
Her eyes were huge and bordering on pleading, and I almost felt bad. Almost. “Sorry, princess. I didn’t mean to get you all riled up. I was just simply making an observation.”
“Well, stop making observations. Stop observing. Just…stop!”
I was waiting for her to stamp her foot to make her point, but she didn’t. I turned toward the guys and saw that they were all watching this exchange too. I was so screwed. I’d be a hundred before I ever lived this down. Harper looked in the same direction and smiled. “Hey, guys!”
“Hey, Harper.” They each took turns saying it, and by the time I turned back to her, I realized that she’d made her way around me and had disappeared into the restroom.

Excerpt 5:
As soon as I put weight on my ankle, my leg buckled, and Levi had to catch me around the waist.
I should have objected to the arrangement, but I couldn’t help but like the feel of his strong arm around me, the way I had to lean against his big, hard body.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
“Twisted my ankle. It’s probably not too bad.”
“Can you walk?”
“I think so.” I put weight on the ankle again, and it hurt like hell, but I didn’t flinch this time.
All my life, I never liked for other people to see when I was hurt.
He sighed loudly and reached out to support me once more. “Why do you have to be so damn stubborn?”
“And why do you have to be so damn arrogant?” I bit out, immediately riling up at his exasperated tone. I tried to pull away from it, but it wasn’t a smart maneuver, since I put too much weight on my twisted ankle. The shot of pain ran through me, stealing my breath.
Down I almost went again.
Levi caught me before I did, and I manfully resisted the desire to jerk away from his arm.
“Can I at least help you get home?” The words were polite and conciliatory, but his tone was not. “Do you think you could put aside your dislike of me at least long enough for me to do that?”
So my first instinct was to snap his head off, but he did have a very small point. It was going to be very hard for me to hobble to my car and then drive home in my current condition. I could probably have done it, but it would take a lot longer and be rather painful.
“Fine,” I muttered. “Thanks.”
“Try not to sound so grateful.” Despite his sarcasm, he was actually being quite helpful, in that he’d already managed to get me moving toward my car. He was supporting quite a bit of my weight, and I was hopping one-legged to make myself feel like I was doing some of the walking myself.
He brought me around to the passenger side of my car and helped me in. As he was leaning over, I felt another sudden surge of attraction.
His face was so close, and his body was right there in front of me. His hands were strong and gentle at the same time as he arranged me in the seat.
I didn’t need quite so much help in getting situated in the seat, but I didn’t really want him to pull away either.
Clearly, my mind was hopelessly disarranged by the fall and near disaster.
He didn’t pull away when I expected, and I started to feel flustered again by his closeness and my response to it. So I said, “I think I’ll be okay just sitting here.”
His eyes lifted to my face, and the dark brown of his looked like melting chocolate. “You think?”
There was irony in his tone, but he still wasn’t pulling away. “Yeah. I’m sure I could drive home if you’d—“
“I’m not going to leave you to drive home with a sprained ankle.”
“I don’t think it’s really sprained.” When he started to move down to examine my ankle, I added, “You don’t have to mess with that here. Just get me home.”
His eyes moved back up to my face.
“Sorry,” I mumbled. “I appreciate your help.”
I’d appreciate it more if he’d back off a little so I didn’t feel so much like grabbing and kissing him.
He reached up toward my face, and my breath hitched, since it seemed like he was going to cup my cheek. Instead, he stroked a hand down my hair, which had messily slipped out of the clip I’d twisted it up with.
I stared at him like an idiot.
“You had dirt in your hair,” he explained, his eyes still warm and sweet like before, but also with a flicker of humor.

Excerpt 6:
Five minutes later, he finally returned, having found a wrap.
“Just put it there,” I said, gesturing to the coffee table. “I’ll wrap it when I take off the ice. It’s really not that bad.”
“It’s already starting to swell.”
I sighed. “It will be fine. Thanks for your help.”
I hoped he would understand my tone as a sign for him to leave, but he didn’t. He sat down in a chair and gave me a significant look.
“I don’t feel like having another argument, Levi,” I said, my voice slightly wobbly. I was suddenly so tired and frustrated and stretched that I felt like I could just burst into tears.
“Okay.” He sighed and leaned back in his chair, just watching me.
“Are you just going to stare then?”
“I’m going to wait until we take the ice off so I can wrap your ankle.”
I could tell he meant it. He wasn’t going to budge. And I was just too exhausted to argue.
I closed my eyes and tried to relax, tried to pretend Levi wasn’t in the room with me.
He was blessedly quiet, and while I couldn’t exactly forget he was around, at least he wasn’t forcing his way into my attention. We didn’t speak for the next ten minutes, and when I opened my eyes as he got up at last, I didn’t feel the irresistible urge to strangle him.
He carefully wrapped my ankle, and I had to admit that, for such a macho guy, he really knew how to take care of someone. He seemed to know what would hurt and what wouldn’t hurt, and he even helped adjust the cushions so I was lying more comfortably.
When he was done, he was kneeling beside the couch, and I’d turned my head so our gazes were locked.
“Thanks,” I said. I thought it should have been said in my normal voice, but I sounded rather raspy and breathless instead.
“You’re welcome.” He didn’t move. He just knelt where he was, his eyes never leaving my face.
“I appreciate your help.” That comment was supposed to add to the conversation, but it didn’t. At all.
Levi didn’t seem to notice. “I’m happy to help.”
“I think I’ll be okay now.”
“Will you?”
So, now would be the time for him to leave, but he still didn’t leave. His eyes had been deep and somehow uncertain, but as I watched they warmed to a soft blaze of heat.
My lips parted in surprise at the expression and at how it evoked a matching feeling inside me. Attraction and emotion and desire washed over me as I stared up at him, and I actually lifted my head slightly, some unstoppable force drawing me toward Levi.

“You are so beautiful,” he breathed, reaching out to take my face in one of his hands.

Duty Bound
The Protectors, #1
Noelle Adams and Samantha Chase

Book Description:
I used to think I could be a hero, but one deadly night destroyed that delusion. So I’ve come home defeated. My military career, my best friend, my purpose—all of it is lost.
What I find is her.
She’s my best friend’s sister, and she’s everything I shouldn’t want. She’s on a hopeless quest for answers about her brother’s death, but those are secrets that can never come to light. She’s always been a fighter, and she desperately wants the truth.
I desperately want her.
Someone is trying to kill her now, and she won’t let me keep her safe. I have to do it anyway, even if she doesn’t trust me, even if she hates me for it. A man protects what’s precious to him, whether or not he can ever claim her for his own. So she becomes my purpose.
I’ll become a hero for her.

Buy links:

Book Trailer:

Author Information:

Noelle Adams
Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she teaches English, reads any book she can get her hands on, and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.

She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances. For more information, please check out her website:

Samantha Chase
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan's Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40's to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

When she's not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, blogging, playing way too many games of Scrabble on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.  For more information visit her website at


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