Anniversary Spotlight & Contest: Joan Johnston


Profile PictureJoan Johnston is the top ten New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of 55 novels and novellas with more than 15 million copies of her books in print.  She has been a director of theatre, drama critic, newspaper editor, college professor, and attorney on her way to becoming a full-time writer.  You can find out more about Joan at her website, or on Facebook at



A Stranger’s Game

From New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston, the thrilling seventh Bitter Creek novel featuring passion and intrigue mixed with an explosive, spine-tingling tale of murder, wrongful imprisonment, and a woman who counts no cost too high to see a killer brought to justice.

FBI Special Agent Breed Grayhawk has the hottest sex in his life with a stranger who calls herself Grace Smith, only to discover early the next morning that she’s a convicted double murderer who broke her parole a year ago and disappeared. Now she’s his prime suspect in an assassination plot against the US president.

Grace Caldwell—a.k.a. Grace Smith—is determined to find the killer who framed her for the murder of her father and stepmother—and make him pay. She burgles the home of her #1 suspect and nets a surprising haul: a hot-pink, silk-covered diary—the record of a sex-addicted wife’s adventures—which suggests that Grace’s top suspect is a serial killer. But her theft has been caught on tape, and the man she’s been chasing becomes the hunter…with Grace as his prey.



Breed stared into the mirror over the bar, which was crowned with a curving set of Longhorn steer horns that had to be ten feet from point to point. He’d purposely sat down next to the female at the end of the bar who looked shapely from behind. He felt his heart jump when she lifted her stunning blue eyes and met his gaze in the mirror.

The attraction was immediate. And powerful. He recognized it without giving in to it.

Breed didn’t do relationships. Didn’t believe in romantic love. Didn’t believe in anything that ended happily ever after. It wasn’t part of his experience. When he wanted a woman, like now, he found one willing to satisfy his needs. In exchange he offered mutual satisfaction – or money. Nothing more.

He perused the woman beside him at his leisure, recognizing that she was pretty, rather than beautiful. Her eyes were too far apart and her nose was a little crooked, but her mouth looked very kissable, the lips full and pink without lipstick. Her complexion was unbelievably light and creamy, and he wondered if the rest of her was as smooth and touchable. She had straight black hair that fell halfway down her back. He was amused to find her staring boldly back at him in the mirror.

She was drinking tequila shots. One upside-down shot glass sat in front of her, and she was nursing a second glass that was half full. He felt a strong tug in his groin when she smiled at him in the mirror, revealing nearly perfect white teeth. She lifted her shot glass in a toast and tossed the rest of it down without making the sort of face females usually made when they drank straight liquor.

She turned the glass upside down and set it carefully on the bar without a sound. In a husky voice that felt like a warm hand caressing his flesh, she said, “Another one, Jimmy Joe.”

Breed’s body hardened like a rock. So much for subtle interest in the female sitting to his right. He was already imagining himself deep inside her when he felt her hand on his thigh. He jerked at the touch, but managed to hang on to his beer without spilling it as he turned to her, easing his leg free.

“I’m Grace,” she said. “What’s your name?”

Breed usually liked to do the chasing, but somehow he didn’t mind getting caught by this particular she-wolf. “Breed Grayhawk,” he replied.

Her eyes narrowed, and he watched as she noted the copper hue of his skin, the high cheekbones and blade of nose, the narrow lips and chiseled chin. He felt himself flush when she nodded, acknowledging without a spoken word what his name likely meant.


He was disconcerted when her inspection didn’t stop with his face but drifted to the breadth of his shoulders, his lean waist, and – he couldn’t believe she was actually doing it – the hard ridge in his jeans, before skimming down the length of his legs.

He didn’t much like being sized up like a prize bull. So he gave her back what he’d just gotten, starting with her striking, wide-spaced blue eyes, a nose that should have been aquiline, but now had a bump that proved it had been broken once upon a time, and a mouth with lips so full they made a man wonder how they would feel in a lot of different places. The mouth was scarred, too, with a small white mark on the upper right edge.

Abusive husband? he wondered. Abusive father, maybe? Car accident, more likely. She had a self-possession that he couldn’t make fit with a cringing victim.

She smiled, a bare curve of her lips he would have missed, except it was reflected as a twinkle in her blue eyes. Then she lifted a finely arched brow – another barely-there scar slicing through the right edge of it – to ask if he was done yet.

He wasn’t.

Breed let his eyes follow the length of her neck to milky white shoulders and a pair of breasts that were amazing, if they weren’t fake, outlined in a low-cut lace-trimmed white sleeveless top. A narrow, cowboy-belted waist flared into the kind of hips that made a woman good at childbearing, and slender, jean-clad legs. He imagined them naked, wrapped around him, and felt his mouth go dry.
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17 thoughts on “Anniversary Spotlight & Contest: Joan Johnston

  1. Kate Sparks says:

    I really like all westerns, no matter what the time period. The historicals are interesting if they are more accurate to their time period… and the modern day are also a lot of fun. Men in chaps, horses, blue sky, mountains, plains… I just like a good story line, realistic characters and the happy ending!! That does make me easy to please with any Joan Johnston book!

  2. Irene Jackson says:

    I much prefer comtemporary western romance. Apart from hot highlanders I don’t really read much historical at all !

  3. Irma Jurejevčič says:

    I do like contemporary maybe a little bit more than historical. But I love both very much as long as there are cowboys.

  4. Julie Whiteley says:

    Contemporary romance has always been hit or miss for me, except in the western sub-genre. I will normally pick historical over contemporary given a choice, but with western romances I don’t really have preference.

  5. Jen B. says:

    I generally like contemporary westerns. I like them more than other time periods because I don’t like the dirty gritty of historical westerns. That being said, I do read historical westerns if I find an author I like.

  6. JoAnne says:

    I like books set in the Old West as the lands were being settled as well as current day romances set on ranches with cowboys.

    • JoAnne says:

      I really like the Colonial America era and when America was slowly getting to the 50 states we are today. One of my favorite parts of history.
      I like modern day westerns because I can live vicariously through others since I don’t ride horses but think it would be fun!

  7. Personally i prefer contemporary western over historical – especially western romance with a cowboy! That isn’t to say i don’t read historical set westerns – i do. Being a Brit (born and bred) i think i’m in love with the idea of cowboys, rather than the toil and hard labour the job actually is – and even more in a historical western. Plus it’s hard to imagine life in the old west sometimes – mountains and plains and views that go on for miles are hard enough to imagine and get your head around sometimes when you’re living in the middle of the UK!

  8. Kristy Petree says:

    Contemporary because it’s easiest to relate to and follow, but I’m open to other time periods. Thanks.

  9. Diane Sallans says:

    I like both Historical & contemporary westerns – I just want a good story with a romance.

  10. Leanna says:

    Contemporary is what I prefer to read in any book I read. I like imagining a book happening right now.

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