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Review blog with emphasis on graphic novels and YA & MG fiction.
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1. Review: Her Rodeo Man by Cathy McDavid

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I really enjoy Cathy McDavid’s novels, so I’m a little puzzled why I haven’t read more of them.  I like that her characters are every day people.  There’s not a billionaire in sight, just ordinary folk working hard to get through each day and provide for their families.  They could be my neighbors.  They could be me.  McDavid has a way of taking average problems and building them up into something that’s easy to relate to, and like Donna Alward, simple daily tasks become compelling efforts to better oneself and make the most of each protagonist’s strengths. 

Ryder Beckett is returning home to help his family run The Big Easy, an equestrian facility.  He hasn’t been back in years, and he’s still unable to forgive his mother for lying about his youngest sister’s parentage and breaking up their family.  He can’t understand why she kicked his father out of the house, why she divorced him, and why she hasn’t been paying him the agreed on profits from the The Big Easy.  He’s reluctant to return, but after being fired from his high-paying marketing position, he doesn’t have much choice.  He’ll help out at the family business until he has another option and can return to the career his poor choices have derailed.

Tatum Mayweather is struggling to raise her three young children on her own.  A former teacher, she was pink-slipped and watched in horror as everything she worked so hard for was taken away from her.  She lost a job she loved, her house, and even, for a brief period of time, her kids.  The Beckett’s offered her a job that allowed her to rent another place and reclaim her children from her meddling mother-in-law.  Through all of her misfortunes, her ex-husband was too busy competing on the rodeo circuit to lend a hand or even send some money her way.  Tatum learned the hard way that the only person she could count on was herself, and that there’s no one else out there who will be there for her or her kids.

When Ryder comes back to The Big Easy, he notices the pretty Tatum leading her visibly lame pony into the barn.  Not quite ready to face his family, he helps her with the pony.  Then he realizes that she’s his sister’s best friend, and that he’s known her since childhood.  He’s immediately attracted to her, and Tatum has had a hopeless crush on Ryder since she was a girl.  Can she get involved with him, after learning that he’s just biding his time until he gets another big city job?  Or should she just ignore the feelings she has for the handsome cowboy?

Ryder and Tatum are working to promote the equestrian center and the rodeo events they host, as well as their bucking stock, which is Ryder’s father’s pride and joy.  I enjoyed following along as they worked through their tasks, especially getting ready for the rodeo.  You’d think that as much as I like horses that I would have attended a few rodeos myself, but nope, I haven’t been, so it’s fun to read about them.

Money is a huge issue for Tatum, something I can certainly relate to.  Feeding the kids, keeping a roof over their heads, unexpected medical bills – all of these weigh heavily on her mind.  Ryder lost a plum job, and the offers he’s receiving now are disappointing.  It’s a huge step back for him, and he’s frustrated that one mistake cost him so much.  He feels underutilized at home, though, and he just can’t forgive his mom for turning her back on his dad.  Both Ryder and Tatum have to learn to forgive and let go of the past, starting with themselves.  Life didn’t work out how they had planned, and they are both slow coming up with a new one.  Tatum is worried about losing her kids again, so she doesn’t want to do anything to antagonize her MIL, and number one on the list would be dating Ryder, so she resists.  So hard.  But she can’t say no to him.

If you enjoy sweet romances with a more real life slant, I recommend that you give Her Rodeo Man a try.  Despite the lack of glamorous locations or palatial mansions, it’s a solid, satisfying read with believable conflicts.

Grade:  B

Review copy borrowed from my local library

From Amazon:

RETURNING…HOME? 

Twenty-five years ago, the Beckett family was irrevocably divided by lies told and secrets kept. But Ryder Beckett comes back to The Easy Money to reconcile with his past and help run the rodeo arena until he can find a new job. He’s quick to fall into old ways—taking care of the horses, trying a few of his old rodeo tricks…and falling for Tatum Mayweather. 

Ryder’s childhood friend has become a beautiful woman. But how can he get involved with a single mother of three when he’s only at the ranch temporarily? Tatum deserves a stay-in-one-place kind of guy, and that has never been Ryder. Is the pull of family enough to keep him in Reckless, Arizona? Is this where Ryder truly belongs?

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2. Interview and Giveaway: Sugar on Top by Marina Adair

Please give a warm welcome to Marina Adair this morning!  She stopped by the virtual offices to answer a few quick questions, and she brought a giveaway for you to enter!

What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

A book.

Name three things on your desk right now.

Since I write in bed, it is my cat Suki, my other cat Awesome Bob, and a bag of powdered sugar mini-doughnuts.

What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

The previously mentioned powdered sugar mini-doughnuts. Yum!

If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

A zoo keeper. I would want full access to go and visit all of the animals.

You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

Zoolingualism. I would spend the entire week trying to figure out why my cat Suki likes to sleep in my dirty clothes and what Awesome Bob is thinking when he eats the fern, even though he knows the fern makes him sick. I imagine the conversation would go a lot like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsXUoOIhkfQ

SUGAR ON TOP by Marina Adair (April 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia Book #2)

She’s sassy and sweet

The last thing Glory Mann wants is to become chairman of the Miss Peach Pageant in Sugar, Georgia. Spending months hearing nothing but the clinking of pearls and judgment? No thank you! But when Glory is forced to take the rap for a scandal she didn’t commit, the judge sentences her to head the committee. Even worse, her co-chairman is rugged, ripped . . . and barely knows she’s alive.
He’s ready and willing
Single dad Cal McGraw can’t take any more drama in his life. After a difficult divorce, his little girl became a boy-crazy teenager and his hands are full. The last thing he needs is to spend his down time with the town bad girl. Glory is pure trouble-tempting and tantalizing trouble. But he can’t deny the strong chemistry between them-or how her touch turns him inside out. Now as squabbles threaten to blow up the contest and the town of Sugar itself, Cal must risk everything on the sexy wild card to get a second chance at love . . .

Buy Links:

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

GooglePlay

Kobo

BAM

About the author:

Marina Adair is a lifelong fan of romance novels. Along with the Sugar series, she is also the author of the St. Helena Vineyard series and the upcoming Shelter Cove series. She currently lives in a hundred-year-old log cabin, nestled in the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with her husband and daughter. As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on Twitter at @MarinaEAdair or visit her atwww.MarinaAdair.com.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Excerpt:
Glory walked to the door and peeked out the peephole, doing some panting of her own when she recognized Cal’s sexy blue eyes peeking back.

She knew the minute he realized she was on the other side of the door because he smiled and took a step back, as though waiting for her to just open up her door and welcome him inside.

“I know that you know it’s me, Boots, so open up.”

Oh, she knew it was him all right. Her nipples told her that the second he’d knocked. Plus she could smell the testosterone through the door, and his soap, which from the looks of it he’d showered, too. Although, she thought bitterly, he’d put on a fresh pair of jeans and an untucked gray button-up, not a pair of shorts with dancing pigs on them and a tank that said RESIDENT BED HOG across the chest.

“Or I can go get my tools from the truck—your call.”

And since the thought of Cal with tools made her hot, she opened the door—wide enough to see his face.

“What do you want?” she asked, more than aware that she hadn’t put her bra back on after her shower.

“Our date wasn’t over.”

Time to be firm. “I had a fun time, I’d love to do it again, but like I already told you, panties are a strict date five topic.”

“You said date four if they’re special.”

She had said that, damn it.

He pushed the door open a tad and his eyes dropped to her pajamas. He grinned. “And, Boots, those shorts don’t leave much room for imagination.” He pushed the door open wider and leaned in. “Or panties.”

He was right. She was commando under there. Not that she’d confirm his suspicions or even had time to. Before she knew what was happening, Cal took her hand in his and led her down the stairs toward his truck—and the already opened passenger door.

She stopped at the bottom step. “I’m not wearing shoes and I’m in my pajamas.”

“Which answers the question of what you sleep in. Although, I have to admit, I took you for more of an in-the-buff girl.” She felt her cheeks heat but played it cool. “Ah, good to know.”

Okay, maybe not so cool.

Cal slipped his jacket over her shoulders, then turned around to offer her his back. “Pajama issue solved. Now climb on.”

Knowing that he wasn’t going to let her be until she did as he asked, at least that was the lie she told herself, she wrapped her arms around his neck and legs around his middle—which only managed to smash her front deliciously against his broad, muscular back.

He walked her over to his truck, sat her on the seat, and shut her door, not saying a word until he was in the driver’s seat with his door shut.

He didn’t start the engine, didn’t explain what he was doing, just turned to her and smiled. “I had a great time tonight, which after my day seemed impossible. But you made it fun, made it easy to talk about Payton, and just . . . easy. With you, tonight, it all seemed so easy, so thank you.”

And wasn’t that the most romantic thing anyone had ever said to her. “I had a great time, too.”

“Good.” His smile was back and he got out of the truck, walked around, and opened her door.

Glory rolled her eyes, but inside she was melting. “What are you doing?”

“Walking my date to her doorstep.” He looked at her bare feet and waggled a brow. “Or carrying.”

“That’s okay, I can walk.” But one hand was already around her back, the other firmly planted on her butt, and he was scooping her out of the truck, not putting her down until he was up the stairs and at her door.

Hands shoved in his pockets, he leaned against the rail. She opened her mouth to speak when he said, “Hang on.” He reached out and closed her front door. “There. Now, you were saying.”

“Just, thank you,” she whispered and neither of them moved, neither of them spoke. It was as though time hung, and in that one moment nothing else mattered. Only the two of them and this insane connection.

His eyes dropped and he cleared his throat. That’s when she realized he was waiting for his jacket.

“Oh, right. Sorry.” She started to take it off when he gripped the collar and tugged her to him.

“I don’t care about the jacket, I’ll get it next time.”

Her knees wobbled at the idea that he wanted a next time.

Oh my God, Charlotte was right, she had it bad. Glory was a certified McGraw addict; she had every last symptom, even down to wanting their next time to be now.

Cal must have been suffering from the same affliction, because he tilted his head and delivered a gentle kiss that seemed to last for hours. Languid and soft and with deliberate control, the man kissed her as if there was nowhere else he’d rather be. This wasn’t a race or a sprint to the bed; to him, kissing was his way of connecting, sharing.

By the time they came up for air, Glory’s bones had turned to mush and her entire world had shifted because Cal wasn’t just special, he was perfect.

Then he did the one thing that could have made her fall, had her opening herself up to all the what-ifs and going all in. Cal gave her one last kiss on the cheek and made his way down the stairs, giving her what she wanted, time to prove he was serious, that she was worth waiting for, worth fighting for.

Only every step he took caused her chest to coil tighter and tighter until it hurt to breathe.

One date. A hundred. It didn’t matter. This was Cal. He was one of the good ones. He’d come all this way, in the middle of the night, to escort her to the door, and there she was, watching him walk away, wondering if she’d get another chance.

The least she could do was invite him inside and offer him a cold beverage.

He was rounding the truck when her feet finally got the message from her brain, and she took off down the steps, not stopping until she was standing in front of him. “Don’t go.”

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3. Interview and Giveaway: Wild Heat by Lucy Monroe

[Manga Maniac Café] Good morning, Lucy!  What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Lucy Monroe] My debit card.  I get very nervous if I can’t pay for things (like transportation home if I need it).

[Manga Maniac Café] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Lucy Monroe] My water bottle. My phone. A credit card offer I need to shred.

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Lucy Monroe] My husband makes mini chocolate chip-pecan cookies for me when I’m super tight deadlines.

[Manga Maniac Café] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Lucy Monroe] The Queen of England.  I’m very curious and I want to see the rooms you can’t when on tour of Buckingham Palace.  But just for a day, mind.  I love my life and don’t want to live in anyone’s skin but my own. ?

About WILD HEAT:

Sometimes old flames are the hottest of all . . .

In the quaint little town of Cailkirn, Alaska, it’s impossible to keep a secret, especially one as juicy as the unexpected return of Kitty Grant. Tack MacKinnon remembers her wild red curls and even wilder spirit-and still feels the sting from when she shattered his heart in college. But there’s a pain in Kitty’s gorgeous eyes that guts him to the core and Tack is determined to do whatever it takes to see the woman he still loves smile again-even if it means taking on her demons as his own. After fleeing an abusive ex-husband, Kitty decides that the best way to heal her broken heart is to come back home. But she gets a whole new shock when she sees how undeniably sexy Tack has become. More handsome, more muscular, more charming-more everything-he’s impossible to resist. Before she knows it, they’re reigniting sparks that could set the whole state of Alaska on fire. Yet trust doesn’t come easy to Kitty anymore, and as things heat up between her and Tack, she can’t help but wonder if one of them is going to get burned . . . 

About Lucy Monroe:

A USA Today Bestseller, most of Lucy Monroe’s titles have spent multiple weeks on national bestsellers lists, including Neilson Bookscan (in both North America and the UK), Amazon & B&N.com. She is ranked as a top selling contemporary romance author on Amazon. 

Lucy’s SM:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22369.Lucy_Monroe?from_search=true

https://www.facebook.com/LucyMonroe.Romance?fref=ts

https://www.pinterest.com/lucymonroebooks/

http://lucymonroe.com/

@lucymonroe

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1GszZ3I

BAM –  http://bit.ly/1GsCvXH

B&N –  http://bit.ly/1HyVsIy

IndieBound – http://bit.ly/1EAPF4L

GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/1Dt10Oq

iTunes – http://apple.co/1OQf3CZ

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1z2yeYH

Excerpt:

An almost frenzied need to bring her back to the present washed over him. His instincts were telling him the best way to accomplish that, but his brain insisted it was a bad, bad idea.

Fighting the urge to act on his instincts, Tack cleaned up the detritus of lunch. It only took a couple of minutes to put everything back in his pack. But in that short time, Kitty didn’t just maintain her distant silence, but she drew further away from him.

And she couldn’t afford to do that.

He couldn’t say how he knew that, he just did.

Tack’s certainty growing that she’d checked out mentally in a way that was dangerous for her emotions, he put his pack aside and scooted closer to Kitty. She didn’t seem to notice.

“Wildcat?” he prompted, his voice as gentle as he could make it. “You okay in there?”

“Of course.” The words were right, but the vacant tone was anything but.

He slid his hand under her hair, cupping her neck, giving physical contact to draw her back to him and now. She didn’t react to the touch at all and that scared him.

“Damn it, Caitlin Elizabeth Grant, look at me.”

Her brows furrowed. “Don’t.”

“What?” he asked in a tone as gentle as he’d spoken sternly before. Come on, wildcat, tell me not to yell at you.

Her silence changed, as if she was searching for words. “Call me Caitlin.” She frowned. “I don’t like it.”

“I thought you wanted me to.” She’d said so, hadn’t she?

“No.”

“Why not? Why don’t you like it?”

She shrugged.

And that was it. He was done playing nice, his own misgivings not nearly as powerful as his need to stop whatever was going on inside Kitty’s mind.

With careful, but inexorable pressure, he turned her head so she faced him. Her pupils were dilated like they’d been yesterday, her complexion waxy, but her lips were pink and parted invitingly.

Her breathing changed just a little bit and he took that as a victory.

“I’m going to kiss you, wildcat. Are you up for it?”

CHAPTER NINE

Tack’s gut was telling him this is what he needed to do, but damned if he would kiss her without her permission.

She’d had enough choices taken away, that was becoming clearer the more he found out about her life before returning to Cailkirn.

“What?” Suddenly she was looking at him and seeing him. “You’re going to kiss me? Why would you do that?”

He almost laughed. He did groan. His body was burning for her. “Because I want to.”

“Why?”

“You really need to ask?”

“No?”

“You don’t sound real sure there, sweetheart.”

She bit her bottom lip and then released it. “I don’t think I’m very good at it.”

“Good thing I am then, huh?”

“Maybe?”

“I tell you what, let’s give it a try and you can let me know if you agree, okay?”

“Yes.”

More relieved at her acquiescence than he should be, he tipped his head forward and slid his lips across hers in the simplest and most chaste of touches.

A small sigh shuddered out of her, the breath washing over his lips.

He kissed her again, this time molding their mouths and moving his lips against hers for long delicious moments. Her small hands came up to clutch the front of his long sleeved t-shirt, her fingers twisting in the fabric as she tried to pull him closer.

He went willingly, allowing their upper bodies to touch.

It wasn’t skin on skin contact, but that didn’t seem to matter to the electric shocks short-circuiting his nerve endings.

He flicked his tongue out to taste her. The flavor of grapes and ripe strawberries exploded on his tongue along with a sweetness that was all Kitty Grant.

Certain it would become an addiction way too easily, he still wanted more of that taste. He delved into her mouth and she welcomed him, sliding her tongue along his, and pressing their lips closer together.

His reasons for initiating the kiss melted, along with everything else around them and he reveled in the touch and feel of this woman he’d craved for too many years of his life.

He maneuvered them so she was lying on her back on the tarp and he was partially over her without once breaking his lips from hers. To do so would have been a travesty of epic proportions.

Her fingers kneaded him through his shirt like a cat. Such an innocent touch, but it felt good. So good, that between that and the kiss, his erection was pressing hard enough against his fly he’d be surprised if it didn’t leave an imprint in his flesh.

He wanted skin though. Craved her skin under his fingertips and damned if common sense was going to stop him from getting exactly that.

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4. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Devilish Mr Danvers by Vivienne Lorret

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for The Devilish Mr. Danvers by Vivienne Lorret!  Enter below for your chance to win.

The Devilish Mr. Danvers
The Rakes of Fallow Hall # 2

By: Vivienne Lorret

Releasing April 21, 2015

Avon Impulse

Blurb

For the first time in her life, Hedley Sinclair holds the keys to her own future. She’s inherited the crumbling Greyson Park, but the disrepair does nothing to dissuade her. No one will ever lock her up again or attempt to take away what’s hers. No one except Rafe Danvers—the charming, fiendish man from Fallow Hall. He’s determined to claim Greyson Park, but if Hedley isn’t careful, he’ll claim her heart as well.

Rafe has every intention of ridding Greyson Park of the conniving Sinclairs, once and for all. The last thing he expects is to find the beguiling Hedley Sinclair—the younger sister of his former fiancée—standing in his way. With drastic measures called for, he plans to marry her off in order to regain control of the estate. The only trouble is, he can’t seem to stop seducing her. Even worse, he can’t help falling in love with her.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/02/the-devilish-mr-danvers-rakes-of-fallow.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22608165-the-devilish-mr-danvers?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/131479-the-rakes-of-fallow-hall

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Author Info
USA Today bestselling author VIVIENNE LORRET loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order … but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is proud to be an Avon Impulse author of works including: “Tempting Mr. Weatherstone”, The Wallflower Wedding Series, and the Rakes of Fallow Hall series.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter |Goodreads

 

Excerpt:

A quarter hour had passed before he stepped into the parlor of Greyson Park once more. Hedley was not in the room, though he saw the tinderbox waiting near the hearth. Carrying his greatcoat bundle of wood to the box in the corner, he proceeded to fill it, over fill it, and then stacked the driest pieces on the iron grate. Boris ambled over and dropped the slender sticks he held between his teeth. They were slightly soggy, but his intentions were honorable. Both of them had ungentlemanly behavior to atone for, warranted or not. Rafe heard her footsteps on the stairs in the hall before he heard her gasp. “I thought I told you to leave.” Not bothering to turn around, he searched the tinderbox for flint but only found a small sliver. Instantly, he recalled the cut on her finger. A rush of guilt and something else churned in his gut. “Aye, you did.” He stood and moved toward the woodbox where he’d left his greatcoat. Fishing into one of the pockets, he withdrew a slender bundle wrapped in oilskin. “But what kind of man would I be to leave you to freeze to death?” “You’re more demon than man,” she said, carrying her own bundle. Leaves and twigs poked out from the side of that torn shawl of hers. She’d removed the wet shawl from her shoulders. The threadbare pink muslin pulled taut over her breasts. Even through the gauzy fichu, he could see the creamy swells spilling over the top. Clearly, the dress hadn’t been made for a woman with her form. He was a man who appreciated a lush figure on a woman. Or at least, on any woman who wasn’t a Sinclair.

Rafflecopter Giveaway (a Digital bundle including: Winning Miss Wakefield, Daring Miss Danvers, and Finding Miss MacFarland)

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5. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves – It’s Horse Show Season!

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

This weekend marked the first horse show of the season.  Typical of a Michigan spring, the weather did not cooperate.  Lows in the 30s, highs in the mid 50s.  It was soooooo cold in the morning!  I opted to dress at the hotel instead of in the changing room at the fairgrounds because the thought of shedding layers in the freezing barn aisle just did not agree with me. 

With all of the construction and accidents, I was so glad that I did decide to treat myself to a little personal time at the Fairfield Inn. It’s only about an hour drive, but the construction traffic added to that significantly, and I didn’t want to have to get up and be on the road by 6:30am to be ready for the 9:00 start time.

So far, my girls are doing a great job.  I let Elsa show Elle in a junior exhibitor driving class, and then I drove her yesterday in the Open class, and she scored a blue ribbon each time.  The championship is later this morning, so hopefully she will continue to shine. 

Pixie was second in both her classes; one of the trainers rode her Friday night, but my girl stalled up and would not go forward before the second canter.  When I rode her, she reversed and cantered instead of reverse and trot, in the same spot!  I don’t know if I overcued her or the overhead door, which is green, freaked her out for some weird, small horsey brain reason, so I will do whatever I can to NOT be ANYWHERE near that door when we have to transition from one gait to another during the championship.  Otherwise, she was really, really good.  She stayed on the rail, a huge problem for us last year, she didn’t keep bobbing her head, and she actually flat walked for me, so all in all, a good show so far.

Check out my current contests!  See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library.  Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

Lots of romances because I am under a lot of stress right now.

Tycoon’s Delicious Debt

Bull Rider’s Son

Thunderstruck

To Tempt a Cowgirl

 

His Defiant Princess

Pregnant by the Cowboy CEO

The Cowboy SEAL’s Triplets

Her Knight in the Outback (Library)

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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6. GIVEAWAY: A Pocket Star EBook Kentucky Derb-E Treat! The Aspen Valley Series by Colette Auclair

GIVEAWAY

A Pocket Star EBook

Kentucky Derb-E Treat!

The Aspen Valley Series:

To gear up for the Derby, and to celebrate the start of the horse show season, I have a giveaway for Colette Auclair’s Aspen Valley series, thanks to Pocket Books!   I loved Thrown, so I’m excited to share this giveaway with you!

The Kentucky Derby is just one week away and we are giving away promo codes for the EBooks Thrown, Jumped, and Branded in Colette Auclair’s award-winning Aspen Valley series!

THROWN (December 2013; $5.99) is the first book in The Aspen Valley Series.  Professional horse trainer Amanda Vogel dreams of riding jumpers in the Olympics, but after seeing her best friend die in a riding accident, she’s so traumatized she can’t compete. Broke and desperate, she takes a summer job in Aspen teaching some big-shot widowed movie star’s spoiled daughters to ride—and braces herself for three miserable months. But the movie star is funny, down-to-earth, and gorgeous—and his spoiled daughters are just desperate for a mother figure. By Labor Day, she has to choose between capturing a gold medal…and the man who has captured her heart.

 

JUMPED (August 2014; $5.99), the second book in The Aspen Valley Series, is Colette Auclair’s steamy sequel to her “page-turning debut” (Library Journal), Thrown. A young woman in the equestrian fashion business finds herself head over heels for her ex-husband.  Thoroughly enjoying herself at her best friend Amanda’s wedding, Beth is shocked when she is seated next to her ex-husband, Finn, at the reception. Determined to not let this fluster her, Beth strikes up a conversation only to learn Finn isn’t the same man she walked away from. 

Relieved the reception is over, Beth is looking forward to a relaxing weekend against the beautiful backdrop of sunny Aspen at Amanda and Grady’s estate.  Little does she know Finn will be partaking in the weekend activities.  But just as Beth decides to keep as much distance between her and Finn as possible, Finn has a terrible accident and Beth is stuck being his bedside nurse.  Over the course of the weekend, Beth and Finn discover that the wounds of their failed marriage are not all that’s left. There are sparks…and hope. But just as they decide to give it another try, Finn confesses a huge secret that could destroy everything he’s fought to get back—Beth, their relationship, and another chance at love.  Will Beth turn away, or will she take a leap of faith and say “I do” once (again) and for all? 

BRANDED (December 2014; $5.99), the third book in The Aspen Valley Series, will take readers on a wild and dreamy ride through the beautiful valleys and mountains of Colorado.  Professional, polite, and pearl-wearing, dressage rider and resort consultant Cordy Sims is the last person anyone would expect to initiate a weekend of debauchery. And yet, that’s exactly what she does after meeting a handsome stranger at an Aspen resort. Agreeing that they’ll leave personal details at the door, they indulge in a memorable weekend of carnal recreation. On Sunday night, Cordy doesn’t want to leave this charming, seductive man, but she must play by her own rules.
On Monday, Cordy sits in a meeting at the ad agency that’s hired her as a freelancer, and her professional and personal worlds collide. Turns out agency owner Jack Cormier looks just as good in the boardroom as he did in the bedroom. Forced to work together, Cordy and Jack can’t ignore the chemistry that crackles between them, or the deeper feelings that have developed. But secrets and scars from their pasts may prove too formidable, even for a love that’s as powerful as it is unexpected. 

Praise for The Aspen Valley Series:

“The story portrays two convincingly flawed but likeable characters who find each other’s aults both provocative and exciting, as they try to decide whether a second chance at marriage is worth the risk.”

Publishers Weekly on Jumped

“Harris, the Brunswicks’ chef, is a clairvoyant Cupid, full of honest evaluations of people and their love lives. He adds a spark to the story as Auclair continues to build her cast of series characters and develop their varied personalities.”

—Library Journal on Jumped

In JUMPED, the author returns to the Aspen area with many of the same characters that were in her well–received debut novel, THROWN…Major and minor characters are interesting and likable, and the friendships add to the primary romance. There will be at least one more book in the series. Look for BRANDED to release in December. If you like horses, a tangled relationship, and a series that flows from one book to the next, check out these titles.”

—Romance Reviews Today on Jumped

“If you’re looking for a highly entertaining, fast-paced, horsey beach read, Jumped should fill the bill.”

—Horse Nation on Jumped

“There is enough tension among all the forces at play to keep the pages turning. Debut novelist Auclair is a 2012 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, winner of the 2011 Winter Rose Contest, and a finalist in the 2011 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest.  Recommended for most romance fans.”

—Library Journal on Thrown

“Romantic fiction with an equestrian theme gets a fun new twist in this novel which follows trainer Amanda Vogel… the star is single, handsome, and has the hots for Amanda. But both characters are carrying hefty loads of their own baggage, and as they navigate through various dramas and horse-related mishaps, the layers (both physical and psychological) start to come off. Thrown weaves horses into the story with a practiced tone, and the accuracy of equine knowledge and horse people adds to the plot. For a fun, entertaining read, be sure to pick up this debut novel by Colette Auclair.”

Horse & Style on Thrown

“Totally accurate, as far as HorseGirls go…Colette Auclair nails the horse stuff…whether it’s describing Amanda’s selection of appropriate mounts for Grady’s beginner daughters, or setting up a human cross-country course for the girls to play Olympics over, or accurately detailing an episode of colic (including the joy when the horse finally poops), or explaining the feeling of connecting with a once-in-a-lifetime horse…my favorite part about the book, aside from the discussions of how horse training prepares just about anyone for human training…is the humor…Aside from getting the horse stuff right, the characters are also well-developed…The story is quite a page-turner, so be prepared to be completely unable to stop–like a runaway horse except actually fun.  And the book does have one pretty detailed sex scene and multiple explicit make out sessions, so it’s not for kids. Bottom line: if you like romantic comedies, you’ll definitely enjoy Thrown.”

Horse Nation on Thrown

Colette Auclair has been a copywriter for more than twenty years.  She’s ridden and shown horses since she was ten and owns a lovely twenty-year-old Thoroughbred mare.  Thrown, her first novel, was a 2012 Golden Heart finalist in the single-title contemporary romance category.  It also won the 2011 Winter Rose Contest (Yellow Rose Romance Writers) and finaled in the 2011 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest (NE Ohio Romance Writers Assoc.)  Jumped is second and Branded is third in the Aspen Valley series.  Please visit coletteauclair.com.

One Winner will win all three ebooks!

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7. Interview: Meet Rachelle Dekker, Author of The Choosing

[Manga Maniac Café] Good morning, Rachelle!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Rachelle Dekker] Curious, goofy, free-spirited, and fearful (I hide the last one well, but I’m working on it).

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about The Choosing?

[Rachelle Dekker] The Choosing is a story about identity. Carrington Hale is a girl that lives in a society where worth is based on your ability to be picked as a bride. We find Carrington at the beginning of the story having failed to be picked and the turmoil that follows. Is a person’s worth based on the titles and roles society places on them, or can they discover their true worth, given to them by their Father. That is the journey Carrington will go on.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you share your favorite scene?

[Rachelle Dekker] There is a scene between Aaron and Carrington that comes towards the end of the novel that I love. They talk about being a bird, being able to fly. It’s a dream sequence that’s half nightmare, half hopeful and I identify because I’m a dreamer myself. I think dreams give us incredible insight and can show us things about ourselves we may have forgotten. It was a fun scene to write.

[Manga Maniac Café] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Rachelle Dekker] The lessons learned. I write to discover, to explore an idea that I think is intriguing or terrifying, or both. I have told my husband several times, if nothing ever came from writing this novel other than the physical words on paper it would still have been worth it because of the personal journey it took me on.

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Rachelle Dekker] My cell phone, it’s sad but how will I play Trivia Crack, or FarmVille without it?

[Manga Maniac Café] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Rachelle Dekker] Harry Potter pen, pickle duct tape, and the outline for my next project

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Rachelle Dekker] Apples and peanut butter, or Cheez-It’s.

[Manga Maniac Café] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Rachelle Dekker] Anna Kendrick: she’s beautiful, can sing, quirky, funny, and she got to be in Pitch Perfect, Into The Woods, and ParaNorman

[Manga Maniac Café] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Rachelle Dekker] I feel like the ability to fly would be pretty awesome, but I wonder if after a couple of days I would get board. I’m also not a huge fan of heights, so maybe Telepathy would be better. Then I could go into random coffee shops and freak everybody out by moving things with my mind. Clearly I’m really mature.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Rachelle Dekker] Looking for Alaska – John Green, Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo, And The Mountains Echo – Khaled Hosseini, and Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs… I would recommend them all!

[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Rachelle Dekker] My Website: www.rachelledeker.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rachelledekker

FaceBook: www.facebook.com/rachelledekkerauthor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/rachelle_dekker

Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.

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8. Review: Mine Tonight by Lisa Marie Perry

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Mine Tonight is the second book in The Blue Dynasty series that’s I’ve read.  This didn’t revolve around football, but instead delved into the background details behind  Alessandro Franco’s illegal gambling ring, as well as his despicable actions against his son, star NFL player Santino Franco.  When all is said and done, Mine Tonight is about two wounded souls who were both betrayed by the very people that should have protected them: their parents.

Bindi Paxton is the daughter of a high profile politician, and according to her parents, she’s done nothing but screw up her life.  They barely communicate, she hasn’t seen them in years, and she’s just trying to get over her troubled past.  Recently dumped by Alessandro, her fiancé, she’s also lost her chance at being a reality star.  With no real prospects for the future, she heads to the Seychelles Islands to lick her wounds.  Alessandro had paid for a luxury vacation for the two of them before he broke it off with her, and since he never canceled any of the reservations, Bindi is more than happy to spend two weeks frolicking on the sun-kissed beach by herself.

Only she’s not alone for long.  Santino shows up, convinced that Bindi knows more about his father’s whereabouts than she’s letting on.  He’s hell-bent on finding him, so he shows up, unannounced, at Bindi’s rented villa.  Gate-crashing her Valentine’s Day party, he gets more than he bargained for when they are both overcome by an overwhelming attraction neither can deny.  Bindi and Santino have had a contentious relationship in the past, and neither trusts the other one iota.  But man, oh, man! the sexual tension between them drives them both crazy.

Santino is at a crossroad in his life, too.  His father paid another player take him out of a game, and the dirty hit cost him his career.  He’s not ready to let go yet,  and he drives himself to get back on his feet and back in condition.  His spine is like a house of cards house, though, and another hit could paralyze him.  As it is, the injury has left him with erectile dysfunction, so he has another performance issue to thank his father for.  His girlfriend dumped him, and he’s still trying to get over her defection, so pretty much everyone he thought had his back left him high and dry.

I liked the desperation between Santino and Bindi.  They are both just drifting along until they meet again at the party. They are trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives, now that their plans have blown up in their faces.  There’s no one they can trust, and the biting loneliness that overcomes them seems impossible to escape. Then, on a stormy night, on a beautiful island, they find each other and can forget, even if only for a little while, the bitterness and weight of all of the betrayals they’ve endured.

While I didn’t always like the hard-edged Bindi, I was able to eventually understand her and sympathize with her.  Santino is a great character – he’s suffered the loss of everything important to him, but he doesn’t give up without a fight, and instead of feeling sorry for himself, he pushes himself harder to overcome the obstacles in his path.  I wasn’t overly enamored with Alessandro, and I thought the guy got off way too easy for carelessly disrupting so many lives.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by author

From Amazon:


The night that changed everything…

After being dumped by her fiancé and losing her shot at TV stardom, Bindi Paxton just wants to get out of town. But there’s no escaping the past—not even on the beautiful Seychelles Islands. And when her attraction to former Las Vegas Slayers heir Santino Franco culminates in a night of sizzling passion, she has to fight her feelings for a man who could hurt her deeper than any other has before. 

Santino came to the islands to find the man responsible for the injury that ended his pro-football career. Ending up in bed with Bindi is a mistake they both regret. Except he now needs her help to find his fugitive father. And—heaven help him—he’s starting to fall for the stunning Sin City reporter. He can’t change their history…but he’d give anything for one more night, and maybe forever, in her arms.

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9. Interview and Giveaway: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers dropped by the virtual offices for a chat, and she brought along a copy of her latest, All the Rage, for you to win!

What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

It’s rare I leave home without my iPod Shuffle, when I think about it. I like having the option of listening to music close by.

If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

Do fictional characters count? I’m going to pick a fictional character. I think it would neat to be Chell, from the Portal video games, testing with GLaDOS all day. Provided it didn’t kill me.

You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

Telekinesis would be pretty great. I’d use it to scare my friends—I’d make them all believe their houses were haunted.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything-friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time-and they certainly won’t now-but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.
With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada, where she divides most of her time between a camera, a piano and a word processing program. She is also the author of What Goes Around, This is Not a Test, Fall for Anything, Some Girls Are, Cracked Up to Be, and Please Remain Calm. 

BOOK LINKS

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/125002191X

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-the-rage-courtney-summers/1119182775?ean=9781250021915

Books-A-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/All-Rage/Courtney-Summers/9781250021915?id=6229825482952

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250021915

Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/all-the-rage/9781250021915-item.html

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/all-the-rage/id921442373

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Courtney_Summers_All_the_Rage?id=UyudBAAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/all-the-rage-12

AUTHOR LINKS

Website: http://courtneysummers.ca/

Tumblr: http://summerscourtney.tumblr.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CourtneySummersAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtney_s

Instagram: https://instagram.com/summerscourtney/

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10. Manga Review: The Sheik and the Bought Bride by Mallery and Hashimoto

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I checked out The Sheik and the Bought Bride because the original novel was written by Susan Mallery, without realizing that it was illustrated by Takako Hashimoto, the same artist who worked on A Mediterranean Marriage, my review from last Friday.  I love her artwork!  Her illustrations are delicate and airy, and the exotic village in El Deharia was brought vividly to life, both through background details and Victoria’s wardrobe.  Her clothing was beautifully rendered and I loved seeing all of her costume changes.

The plot is a bit ridiculous, but because the art was so pleasing, I just “bought” into it.  Victoria’s father is an unrepentant gambler, and after losing to Prince Kateb, he offers up his daughter Victoria to cover his debt.  In addition to getting caught cheating, he earns Kateb’s distain by purchasing his freedom with his daughter.  Victoria, enraged by both her father’s gambling addiction and Kateb’s implication that she’s part of a scheme to make a play for his money, agrees to accept her father’s debt as her own, but only if she never has to see her father again.

Kateb promptly relocates to a village in the middle of the desert.  His younger brother is next in line for the throne, because their father believes his temperament and business skills are better suited for leading their small kingdom.  Kateb also tells Victoria that he was forced to kill a man when he was a boy, and the ugly scar that mars his handsome visage is both a reminder of his actions and the rebellion against his father that instigated the incident.  The tribesmen don’t need to constantly see his face, because they will only be reminded of the time some of them rose up against the king.

This is fun read.  Victoria is anything but demure, and her boldness both infuriate and intrigue Kateb.  He’s dead set against falling for her, but there is something about her vivacious personality that he just can’t ignore.  When she asks him to help an abandoned young boy, and helps the local craftspeople organize and sell their wares on the internet, she becomes popular with the villagers.  Even his old caregiver champions Victoria and appreciates the new life she’s instilled in the previously staid palace.

Besides the lovely art, there is action, a swordfight, and the romance to kept the reader engaged.   And, wow, I would love to own some of Victoria’s purses and shoes!

Grade:  B / B+

Review copy borrowed from my local library

From Amazon:

Victoria was handpicked to be an assistant by the crown prince of the desert kingdom of El Deharia. So then why would the Imperial Guard suddenly break into her room and drag her away wearing nothing but a negligee? Her good-for-nothing father has been in trouble for gambling before, but to think he would have tried to cheat at cards against Prince Kateb… The prince’s personality is as fierce as his scarred face. He earned the scars amid a failed kidnapping, during which they say he killed a man. Rejecting palace life, he has been known to disappear to a desert village for months at a time. Victoria despises her father, but can’t abandon the promise she made to her dying mother. She pleads with the prince to set him free, and the prince agreed…on one condition. She would become his lover, and join his desert harem!

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11. Review: A Wife in Wyoming by Lynnette Kent

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Wow! Some times you strike gold when randomly checking books out of the library.  I didn’t even read the blurb for A Wife in Wyoming.  I just saw the cover, which I find very appealing, and clicked Borrow.  Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.  I’ve been reading Harlequin American Romances forever, and I’ve never noticed Lynnette Kent before, but I enjoyed this so much that I immediately glommed onto her expansive backlist.  Thank goodness for Scribd!

Caroline Donnelly wants to start a program for troubled teens at Circle M Ranch.  Home to the Marshall brothers, Ford Marshall is visiting the ranch for the summer to help with the day to day operations after his oldest brother is injured in a fall from a horse.  What he doesn’t need is a bunch of delinquents running around his property.  He’s outvoted, though, and Caroline moves into the outbuildings with her charges, surly kids who don’t want to work and who have more attitude than is good for them.  Caroline, a social worker, refuses to give up on them, and she insists that with the help of Ford and his brothers, they can provide positive role models for them and set them back on the right track. 

Things don’t go smoothly, and Ford is more certain than ever that they are making a huge mistake.  A high-power attorney from San Francisco, he’s worried about the liability of having the kids underfoot.  What if one of them gets hurt and the parents sue them?  They could lose the family home.  With all of these worries clouding his mind, he’s also attracted to Caroline.  She’s the daughter of a wealthy rancher, and she has always been off limits for Ford.  In high school, she was pretty and popular, at the center of attention.  She rode for the rodeo team, was a gifted barrel racer, as well as a straight A student.  Fifteen years later, he still thinks she’s out of reach, despite his own personal and financial success.

I just loved this story.  The kids added tension to the plot, and they kept Ford and Caroline hopping to ensure they stayed out of trouble.  The teens are on the ranch to learn ranching skills, but none of them knows the first thing about it.  They can’t ride, they  resent their chores, and they constantly grumble about what they’re expected to do.  I enjoyed their introduction to horsemanship, as well as all the page time the horses were allotted.  Yup, once again my personal bias is showing.  Throw a few horses in there, and I am one happy camper.

Caroline and Ford have a lot of issues to work through.  Growing up poor, he pursued his high paying job to help out his brothers.  He sends money home, and he doesn’t feel that he can just give up his position in San Francisco.  Caroline is emotionally invested in her job and her charges, so relocating isn’t an option for her, either.  Their romance seems hopeless, because neither will budge on this.  Even with Ford’s brothers letting him know that they want him home and that they don’t need his money, he still feels obligated to return to a job he doesn’t have a real passion for.

A Wife in Wyoming pushed all the right buttons for me.  It has horses, the rodeo, families in turmoil, and a feel great ending.  I am certain that Ford and Caroline are going to enjoy their HEA, and I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the Marshalls find theirs.

Grade:  B+ / A-

Review copy borrowed from my local library

From Amazon:

RANCH RESCUE 

Ford Marshall returns to Wyoming temporarily to help his brothers run the Circle M. He’s looking forward to some hard work, but also peace and quiet—until Caroline Donnelly hijacks his ranch for her program to help troubled teens. 

Now he’s got unruly kids to deal with, a thousand chores and a growing attraction to Caroline that he isn’t sure he wants to deny. But Ford has nothing to offer a hometown girl. He has to return to his job in the city at some point soon—his brothers depend on that outside income to keep the ranch afloat. So why can’t Ford get the idea of a Wyoming wife, and coming home for good, off his mind?

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12. Spotlight and Giveaway: Heart’s Desire by TJ Kline

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for TJ Kline’s Heart’s Desire.  Check it out!

Heart’s Desire
Healing Harts # 1

By: T.J. Kline

Releasing April 28th, 2015

Avon Impulse

Blurb

TJ KLINE’s brand new Healing Hart’s series kicks off with HEART’S DESIRE

If you could have anything, do anything… what would it be?

Jessie Hart has a soft spot for healing the broken, especially horses and children, but her business is failing and bankruptcy is looming. The one man who can save Heart Fire Ranch is the last man she wants to take advice from – financial expert Nathan Kerrington – the same man who broke her heart eight years ago.

Nathan Kerrington has it all, except the one thing he’d wanted most – Jessie. Now that he’s finally freed himself from his corrupt family, he wants to make amends. When he’s called in to save Jessie’s ranch, he sees his chance to win her back – if only he can prove to her that she can trust him with her heart…

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/03/hearts-desire-healing-harts-1-by-tj.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23285837-heart-s-desire?from_search=true
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/146550-healing-harts

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo

Author Info

T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and rodeo queen competitions since the age of 14, She has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has had several articles about rodeo published in the past in small periodicals as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

Excerpt:

Nathan pushed open the door to his cabin and carried Jessie into the kitchen, turning backward to slide her rear onto the tile counter. He turned around and moved between her thighs, grasping her buttocks and pulling her against him, leaning down until his lips were only inches from hers. Her eyes flutter closed, her dark lashes laying against her cheeks, waiting for his kiss.

“I need a drink. You want something?” He dropped a quick kiss on her full lips and went to the refrigerator. Grasping the neck of two beer bottles, he held one out for her.

Slightly confused, she blinked her eyes a few times. “What?”

“A drink.” He popped the top from his with an opener and took a long swallow of the beer as if demonstrating. “Yes? No?”

She looked almost irate before she quickly masked it, narrowing her eyes before smiling at him. He could see she was trying to get a read on his sudden change of mood. “Sure.”

Jessie hopped down from the counter and took the second bottle from his hand. Sliding her hand over his, she slipped the opener from his fingers before popping the cap and flipping it onto the counter. She tipped her head back and took a long draw from the bottle as he watched. Hunger curled through him, tightening his need into a throbbing ache centered under the ridiculous belt buckle he’d purchased.

With nearly a third of the bottle gone, she tipped it upright and licked the amber liquid from her lips. “Oops, look at that. I spilled.” She brushed a hand over the front of her shirt and he almost groaned out loud. Sure enough, there was a small wet spot just over her right breast.

His mouth went dry when he realized what she was doing. Damn woman is playing with fire.

She set the bottle on the counter and, before he could stop her, she yanked her shirt over her head, tossing it at his face. He caught it with one hand and was hit with the sweet scent that was uniquely hers—hay and horses mixed with sunshine and vanilla. Nathan followed her into the sitting area where she sat on the arm of the couch, waiting for him with a half-smile curving her lips. He refused to let her see how she was affecting him, not until she lowered the barrier she’d erected around herself.

He made his way to the other end of the couch and flopped onto the soft leather sofa, his eyes never leaving hers. Nathan wasn’t sure how long he could hide this overwhelming desire. His jeans were already painfully uncomfortable, and his fingers itched to touch her.

“You in a hurry?” He saw her smile falter again. It happened every time he didn’t react the way she expected him to. He was finding that the trick to getting Jessie to let down her guard was to keep her guessing. “You promised me in the shower we could take it slow, remember? We never did.”

“This isn’t slow, Wall Street. This is a crawl.”

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13. Interview and Giveaway: Fringe Benefits by Sandy James!

Sandy James dropped by to answer a few questions, and she brought along a copy of her latest, Fringe Benefits, for you to win! 

What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

My iPhone! I seriously think I’ll have to go through some kind of rehab to break myself of the habit of constantly checking things on my phone! Email. Facebook. Twitter. It’s really getting to be a problem. But don’t try to take it away from me, or you’ll be pulling back a blood stump instead of a hand. (Teasing!)

Name three things on your desk right now.

A glass of raspberry tea. A picture of my grandson and granddog. Blistex.

What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

Peel-N-Pull Twizzlers. Love to tie them into knots!

If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

That is one tough question! So many people come to mind, but when I’m forced to choose just one, I’d have to go with Taylor Swift. She gets to travel everywhere, and it seems as though almost everyone adores her. She spends her time entertaining people and making them happy. What a great job!

You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

I’d want to be able to heal people. My husband is fighting colon cancer, and I’d give just about anything to be able to make him well again!

FRINGE BENEFITS by Sandy James (April 21, 2015; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #4)

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Danielle Bradshaw deserves a happily ever after, and the Ladies Who Lunch are determined to deliver Mr. Right.
HOT FOR TEACHER
As the new head of the English department, Dani doesn’t have much time for anything but lesson planning and literature. Romance–or even sex? Forget about it. But then the principal introduces her to last-minute hire Nate Ryan. Finding time to mentor a new teacher won’t be easy, especially when his incredible body and equally disarming charisma are enough to make her heart skip a beat . . .
Nate may be fresh out of school, but he’s confident in his teaching skills–and in his feelings for Dani. But while she’s everything he’s ever wanted, he knows his place on her staff–and his age–may be problematic for his sexy boss. How can he convince her to ignore the gossip mill currently in full swing in the teacher’s lounge and surrender to what’s meant to be?

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About the author:

Sandy James lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis with her husband. She’s a high school social studies teacher who especially loves psychology and United States history. Since she and her husband own a small stable of harness racehorses, they often spend time together at the two Indiana racetracks.


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Excerpt:

They stood facing each other, and she thought she should turn and walk away. There were things she needed to do, and staring at Nate Ryan too awfully long was playing with fire.

Dani wanted him. She was honest enough with herself to admit it. The way he’d made her feel when he’d kissed her haunted her each time she saw him, and it was getting harder and harder to keep from reaching for him.

Nate eased closer, and she mimicked his action until they were nearly toe to toe. He leaned in, his eyes searching hers.

He was going to kiss her, but he was giving her a chance to back away.

She wasn’t going to. It was so easy to let him take the lead. Then she didn’t have to feel bad about throwing herself at the man. No, he was the one in control; she was merely the target of his attention.

His face hovered over hers, making her catch and hold her breath. With a smile on her lips, she closed her eyes and waited for his kiss.

When his lips brushed her cheek, Dani opened her eyes, surprised and confused. He hadn’t given her a real kiss since he moved in. Just chaste pecks on the cheek, and he was starting to frustrate the hell out of her.

Nate gave her a lopsided grin as he took a step back. “Not this time, Dani.”

Embarrassment made heat bathe her face, and she found herself too flustered to say anything to his rather terse statement.

“You were waiting for me to kiss you. That’s not how it’s gonna be.”

She found her voice. “What do you mean?”

After releasing a hefty sigh, he folded his arms over his chest. “I’ve made it pretty clear I’d like to get to know you better.”

“Which is why I was going to let you kiss me again.”

“I’m not going to lead this little dance anymore, not when I’m the only one with his feelings involved.” He shook his head and headed to the basement door. “The next time we share a real kiss, you’re going to have to be the one giving it.”

The man had her too confused to do more than sputter.

“From the moment I met you, I’ve wanted to get to know you better,” he said. “And not as a colleague. Not as a friend. As a man captivated by a woman who’s not only beautiful but also funny and intelligent.” When she tried to speak, Nate held up a hand. “But she’s got it in her mind that he’s too young for her and that she’s his ‘boss.’ ” He punctuated the last word with air quotes. “Silly notions, but until she gets past those and wants the same things he wants, the only kiss she’s gonna get is on the cheek.”

“But—”

“I’m here when you’re ready, Dani. But only when you’re really ready.”

The door closed softly behind him.

THE BOTTOM LINE by Sandy James (May 6, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #1)

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. Surviving a failed marriage and an illness that almost takes her life, high school teacher Mallory Hamilton needs the Ladies Who Lunch more than ever . . .
After a year of upheaval, Mallory has had her fill of change-with one exception. Her house is a disaster, and she wants it fixed. Hiring a contractor to finish the projects her ex-husband started will help her banish the past so she can return to the life she had before everything went awry. But her contractor is sexy, sweet, and single, which threatens the peaceful, solitary life Mallory has planned for herself.
Ben Carpenter has had a hard time raising his daughter without his ex-wife’s help. His new client’s projects will give him the extra income he needs, not to mention afternoons alone with a gorgeous woman. Though their attraction is  undeniable, Ben sees the fear and pain hiding in Mallory’s beautiful eyes. But how can he help her if she won’t let him in? Ben can fix just about anything-but can he fix Mallory’s broken heart?


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SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED by Sandy James (July 1, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #2)

When life gets tough and love is hard to find, four friends take their troubles to lunch. High school teacher Juliana Kelley tells the Ladies Who Lunch that her life needs an overhaul . . . and gets a whole lot more than she wished for.
Juliana has spent thirteen years in the same teaching job. She’s ready to dive into a new career with both feet . . . when a run-in with the hottest man she’s ever seen knocks her head over heels. But with her failed marriage to a fellow teacher fresh on her mind, Jules can’t afford to lose herself in a relationship-no matter how perfect it may seem.
Connor Wilson has hit rock bottom when he loses his career as a top-notch Realtor because of a large gambling debt. Now, in a small town he finds a fresh start-and a gorgeous redhead who sparks new life into him. Together they start a successful real estate company, but when pleasure sneaks into the business, they’ll have to decide what they can let go . . . and what they can’t live without.


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SEALING THE DEAL by Sandy James (November 4, 2014; Forever Yours E-Book; The Ladies Who Lunch Book #3)

After losing her sister, Bethany Rogers needs a shoulder to lean on more than ever-though she never expects that shoulder to belong to her new boss . . .
Bethany has been in love with Robert Ashford since they were teachers at the same high school. After Robert leaves to start his own construction company, Beth puts her feelings aside to focus on her goals. When she finally lands a gig as a part-time designer, she is shocked to find her new boss is none other than Robert . . . and he’s hotter than ever. But Bethany’s happiness is short-lived when she receives word that her sister has been killed in combat.
With the success of building homes for one happy family after another, Robert is finally ready to settle down. When Beth is left to care for her nine-month-old niece, Robert can’t help but step in. And before long, the trio are inseparable. Yet convincing the cautious, bereaved Beth of letting him in proves difficult-but Robert will give everything he’s got for the chance at his own happily ever after.

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14. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–April 19th Edition

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

The weather has finally improved, and we have enjoyed temps in the 70s!  The grass is turning green, the flowers are coming back to life, and the trees are slowly starting to bud.  We’ve been warned of another Polar Vortex though, which is expected to hit just in time for the first horse show of the season – next week!  Oh, well, I’ll have to pack a box of hand warmers for the trip.

 

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library.  Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

Prince of Fools – I have waited and waited for this to go on sale, and it finally did!  1.99 at Amazon!

The Great Bazaar & Brayan’s Gold – I really need to catch up on the Demon Cycle books, because I LOVE the concept of the series

Stay the Distance  – Horses, YO!

Powerless – Superheroes!

Aquarion Evol Volume 01 – Cute cover!

Cosplay Basics

Dragon’s Lair

Last Year’s Mistake

Shackled

 

After Hours

To Win Her Favor

The Wrath and the Dawn

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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15. Manga Review: A Mediterranean Marriage by Graham and Hashimoto

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Harlequin manga is my crack!  I purchased A Mediterranean Marriage when it was on sale for .99, and I decided to read it last night because, after a stressful week, I had the attention span of a small bug.  This was perfect for  my mood.  It’s fast paced, the art is lovely, and the exotic locale was painstakingly rendered for my reading enjoyment.  The biggest disappointment for me was Rauf, the incredibly jerky hero, who has a grudge against Lilly and treats her terribly, all because she turned him down three years ago and his delicate ego still hasn’t recovered.

Lilly’s family owns a travel agency that Rauf has invested in.  Three years after being rejected by Lilly, he’s still smarting from the perceived slight.  When her company fails to pay contractual dividends for two years, he thinks he’ll finally get his revenge.  Lilly comes to his office in Istanbul to explain, as well as to sell some property in Turkey,  and Rauf is prepared to make his displeasure with her family and their lack of payments well known.  Lilly, however, has documents and bank statements showing that the dividends were, indeed paid, but the money wasn’t going into Rauf’s coffers.  Instead, it was going to a company impersonating his, and Lilly’s family has been scammed for the last two years.

Rauf agrees to give Lilly’s family more time to come up with the money they owe him if she’ll accompany him in Turkey for a week.  During that time, she’s to help go over all of the documentation she’s brought so Rauf’s legal team can go after the scam company.  Because Lilly’s company is almost bankrupt, she has no other options, so she reluctantly agrees to go along with his request.  All the while she has to hide the fact that she’s in love with Rauf.

Rauf, having been burned by beautiful women in the past, instantly suspects Lilly of lying to him.  He doesn’t believe anything she’s told him, and he believes that she’s trying to cheat him out of the money her company owes him.  What’s really sticking in his craw, though, is the constant memory of her rejection.  How dare she?!  How could she possibly be indifferent to his charms?  I thought he was a complete butthead, and if that’s how he treated women, no wonder they only hooked up with him for his money.  He remains unrepentantly petulant until the last two pages.  If the pacing and the illustrations hadn’t been so skillful, I wouldn’t have enjoyed A Mediterranean Marriage as much, because it was so hard to like Rauf.  Lilly is a star, though, forgiving and honest, and Rauf, darn the man, was lucky she forgave him.

Grade:  B / B-

Review copy purchased from Amazon

From Amazon:

Lilly flies to Istanbul to appeal to Rauf Kasabian in person, an investor in her family’s travel company. He is suing the company for allegedly failing to pay its dividends, but she is unaware of any fraud. Rauf, who has gorgeous hazel eyes, coldly abandons her right after taking her virginity because he sees her as a wicked, calculating woman. Unbeknownst to Lilly, he plans to manipulate her for his own desires, thinking she is a fraud and a crook…!

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16. Cover Reveal: One More Shot by Victoria Denault

I have a Top 5 list and a cover reveal this morning for Victoria Denault’s NA hockey romance, One More Shot.  This is the first book in Victoria’s Hometown Players series.

Top 5 Fun Facts about Victoria Denault

1. I’ve run the bulls in Pamplona, Spain – twice.

2. The title One More Shot was inspired by a song by a band named Kane.

3. The characters are from the fictitious town of Silver Bay, Maine. It’s roughly based on Old Orchard Beach, Maine, but I swapped the ocean for a lake.

4. The relationship between the Caplan sisters (Jessie, Rose, Callie) is inspired by the relationship I had with my best friends growing up.

5. I LOVE hockey and was lucky enough to be at a Stanley Cup winning game. Total bucket list item.

ONE MORE SHOT by Victoria Denault (June 2, 2015; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99; Hometown Players Book #1)

They say you only get one shot at making your dreams come true. Jordan is determined to take two.
Drafted by the NHL at eighteen, Jordan Garrison was headed for fame, and there was only one person he wanted to share it with-Jessie Caplan. He was crazy in love with her, and had finally told her so. They shared an amazing night . . . and then everything fell apart.
Jessie tries not to think about the night she gave herself to Jordan-or how he broke her heart. She tries not to think about it, but she does. Especially now, when she’s staring into his sky-blue eyes for the first time in six years. After so much time and torment, she can’t tell if she loves him or hates him. But Jordan has learned enough to know a connection like theirs is rare. He was lucky to find Jessie once. No way will he lose her again.

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About the author:

Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

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17. Review: In the Brazilian’s Debt by Susan Stephens

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

So I couldn’t resist the polo.  Where there is polo, there are polo ponies, or so my thought processes would like to think.  And yes, there were horses in Susan Stephens’ In the Brazilian’s Debt, but alas, not enough to keep me happy.  The biggest disappointment, however, was Chico, because he treated Lizzie so terribly after having sex with her.  He went from being Mr Hottie Sex God to Biggest Jerk on the Planet in 0 to 60, and I was like, “What?”

To say that Lizzie comes from a messed up family is the understatement of the year.  When she was 15, Chico and his mentor, Eduardo, visited her family’s stud farm in Scotland, and Lizzie and Chico formed a fast friendship.  Or so she thought.  She confided in him how awfully her parents treated her, and the terrible things that went on in her house, and she begged to go back to Brazil with him and Eduardo.  Chico promised to help her, but he suddenly left without a word to her.  Heartbroken, she watched as her parents brought ruin to the family legacy with their greed and depravity.  Only Lizzie’s grandmother’s intervention saved them from losing the land and farm that had been in the family for generations.

Years later, Lizzie’s the last hope for saving the family farm.  She’s won a scholarship to Chico’s polo training program.  In the intervening years, Chico has become a polo legend, and he’s worked hard to establish a multi-million dollar empire.  Chico came from the slums, and only Eduardo saved him from a life of poverty.  Now he gives back, by mentoring poor youths, and by teaching his equine skills to a select few.  He’s surprised to see Lizzie among the latest group of students; she left him high and dry after her mother accused him of raping her.  He’s still angry that she didn’t take his side, or that she ignored the letters that he wrote to her afterwards. 

There’s a lot of hurt feelings and misunderstandings for Chico and Lizzie to work through, but they both feel the same attraction for each other.  Though Lizzie tries to avoid Chico, it’s nearly impossible.  Still, she resists her feelings for him because finishing the training program means so much to her, and as the instructor, Chico is off-limits.  Until a sultry night, when she throws her inhibitions away. And then he treats her like a Class A Jerk, and my affections for him withered and died like my neglected house planets.

He did manage to get back into my good graces, at least a little bit, after a family tragedy forces Lizzie back home to Scotland. He’s very supportive, and sends her parents packing when they appear on the scene like so many vultures.  They are so awful they’re actually entertaining.  They both deserved an extended vacation at the local penitentiary.

I didn’t like Chico when he was in Brazil.  Chico in Scotland was more tolerable.  Given their history, he knew how poorly Lizzie had been treated by her parents, and that her grandmother was the only family member she could trust.  His casual treatment of her during the party was just…there are no words. He knew what her parents were like, and that at 15, she had no control over their actions (not like she had any control over them as an adult!). She deserved better, and I thought she forgave him far to easily.

Grade:  C

Review copy borrowed from my local library

From Amazon:

Paying for the past…

Lady Elizabeth Fane has two choices: lose her family’s Scottish stud farm or swallow her pride and beg Chico Fernandez for help. She’s never forgiven the arrogant Brazilian polo star for abandoning her years before, so instead she will collect on the debt he owes her. 

Yet in the sultry Brazilian heat passions flare, revealing feelings Lizzie thought she had long conquered. That is until Chico finally reveals the truth behind his desertion and Lizzie realizes that he not only has power over her body but it’s she who is in the Brazilian’s debt!

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18. Review: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Under a Painted Sky was such a fun read!  The time period is unusual – 1849 America.  The adventurous protagonists, Samantha, a young woman of Chinese descent, and Annamae, a runaway slave, disguise themselves as boys and head west from Missouri, hitting the Oregon Trail and pretending to be prospectors.  I love anything to do with the Oregon Trail, and this book is exciting, suspenseful, and completely engaging.  All I know is that I would never have had the courage to do the things both Samantha and Annamae are forced to do to save themselves after an accident forces them to run for their lives.

Samantha is having a terrible day.  First, she loses everything in a terrible fire that claims the life of her father, then she’s tricked and almost forced to work in a brothel.  Annamae saves her, and they both head west, looking for Sammy’s father’s friend, who headed to California on an unknown errand for Sammy’s father.  The girls run into a group of cowboys, and the boys agree to let them travel with them for a while.  The girls must hide their true identities, learn to survive in the wilderness, and protect themselves from unwanted attention.  Sammy knows that the law is looking for her, and she’s terrified to show her face to fellow travelers on the Oregon Trail.  Andy’s going to be in just as much trouble after running away, but she’s determined to find her older brother, who is somewhere out west.

I loved this book so much.  The details of life on the trail are fascinating and compelling.  Any little mistake can spell disaster or death, and Sammy is like a fish out of water.  At least she can ride, a huge help now that they are traveling with Cay, West, and Peety and their horses.  Andy is given the least well behaved mare, and she can’t ride a lick.  Talk about learning on the fly!  I’ve been riding for years, and I don’t think I could ride all day long, for months on end.  Wouldn’t it be fun to try, though? The  lack of running water or flush toilets gives me pause, though. I like my conveniences too much to reenact a journey on the Oregon Trail.

The fast pace of Samantha and Annamae’s adventures will keep readers on the edge of their seat.  Deep down, though, Under the Painted Sky is really the tale of friendship and grit; both girls face seemingly insurmountable challenges, but they refuse to give up their dreams or each other.  Highly Recommended 

Grade:  B+ / A-

Review copy borrowed from my local library

From Amazon:

A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

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19. Guest Post and Giveaway: What a Lady Requires by Ashlyn Macnamara

Please give a warm welcome to Ashlyn Macnamara!  She’s here to celebrate the release of What a Lady Requires.  Be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Top Five Ways a Couple Might Get Off on the Wrong Foot by Ashlyn Macnamara

 

  1. Show up at the first meeting a bit tipsy—Yes, you might have a good reason for drinking, and yes, you might not even be aware that the summons you’ve received is an introduction to your future spouse, but a little too much brandy may just result in you being overly obvious in your appreciation for your intended’s form.

  2. Carry on a secret correspondence with another man—Again, you have reasons. Don’t you always? But once your husband finds out, you may have a little explaining to do. Especially when it turns out he has issues with fidelity.

  3. Send flowers—Under normal circumstances, a lady would find this charming. But when you have a history of spending more than you earn, and your intended is there to help you get back on your financial feet, you might want to avoid extravagances.

  4. Exhibit problems understanding basic math—When your intended is a whiz at the books, when she can do them in her head, perhaps it’s not the best time to admit all those columns of numbers make no sense to you. But that’s possibly better than making it worse and playing the idiot on purpose, especially when you derive a certain pleasure out of winding your wife up.

  5. Have annoying relatives—Just when things are starting to go, shall we say, swimmingly, the relatives decide to pay a surprise call. Could they possibly have worse timing?

In my March 31 release, What a Lady Requires, Emma and Rowan manage all this and more. How do they overcome these obstacles? Being locked in a cold wine cellar might teach them a thing or two.

 

What a Lady Requires
The Eton Boys Trilogy # 3

By: Ashlyn Macnamara

Releasing March 31st, 2015

Loveswept

Blurb

Perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries, Ashlyn Macnamara’s blazing hot novel tells the story of mismatched newlyweds who discover a simmering connection.

Unlike every other proper young lady, Miss Emma Jennings views marrying well as little more than a means to an end. Such a merger would provide her industrious father with social credibility, and Emma with a chunk of her vast inheritance. Emma’s practical views are shattered, however, when her father ties her to the fabulously handsome ne’er-do-well Rowan Battencliffe, a man she loathes on sight—from the smile that promises all manner of wickedness to the way he ogles her with those striking blue eyes.

Deep in debt, especially to his wine merchant, Rowan figures the sooner he gets his finances in order, the sooner he can go back to doing what he does best: burning through ridiculous sums of cash. Which is why Rowan agrees to marry the merchant’s daughter, a prim and proper woman with delightful curves and an ample dowry. But Emma seems to think it’s her business to reform him! Their marriage is a tinderbox—and it’s just too tempting to resist playing with fire.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/02/what-lady-requires-eton-boys-trilogy-3.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23167197-what-a-lady-requires?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/128184-the-eton-boys-trilogy

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Author Info

Ashlyn lives in the wilds of suburbia outside Montreal with her husband and two teenaged daughters. When not writing, she looks for other excuses to neglect the housework, among them knitting, reading and wasting time on the internet in the guise of doing research.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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20. Guest Post and Giveaway: Angela Addams, Author of The Order of the Wolf Series

Angela Addams is celebrating the release of Spell Weaver, the latest in the Order of the Wolf series. I’ve read the first two books and enjoyed them quite a bit.  Now’s your chance to learn about the series, as well as enter for a chance to win a copy of Wolves’ Bane.

Welcome to The Order of the Wolf series: where a battle rages and you must choose which side you’re on. Like the fated Huntresses, each book demands that you pick a side, werewolf or Hunter and determine the fate of man and beast. Lines are blurred and depending on what book you’re in, you just never know who a Huntress will choose.

5 things you should know about The Order of the Wolf series by Angela Addams

5. Pass the knife.

The heroines in my series are all Huntresses, the only living being on Earth who can mortally wound a werewolf. An injury from a Huntress, even a scratch, sends a deadly poison into the bloodstream of a beast. Unless they are dispatched quickly by a well-placed stab to the muscle encased heart or decapitation, a wound from a Huntress leads to a long drawn out and agonizing death. The hero of Spell Weaver, Dyami, is suffering in exactly this way when we meet up with him again at the start of his story.

4. That guy has a nice wolf tattoo.

You know who has the special wolf tattoos? Hunters. Hunters, the men chosen to fight along side the Huntresses, have only that purpose in mind when they search for their destined mate. Their goal is to bond with the Huntress, thereby igniting the woman’s dormant powers and make her the ultimate warrior against the beasts. The only problem is that for every Huntress there are two possible mates, a Hunter and a werewolf, and she must choose which one to give her heart to. Unbeknownst to Spell Weaver’s heroine, Summer, her boyfriend of a few months is a Hunter in disguise and he’s not too happy to find a werewolf in her tattoo shop.

3. What a pretty dog.

The boys in Riot aren’t the typical werewolves in appearance. They’re too young and without proper mentoring, they have no idea that they have the ability to transform into something other than a large wolf. Unlike the beasts encountered in Wolves’ Bane, Dyami and the rest of the band haven’t been tainted by the surge of power that comes with transforming into the monstrous shape of the beast. Although they are all powerful entities in their own right, what they don’t know about their legacy handicaps them in a huge way. Wait and see what happens in Mayhem due out in August. ;-)

2. It’s all fun and games until some gets her powers.

Each Huntress has innate magical powers which are shared by her Hunter. The powers can be ignited by her werewolf’s bite or by bonding with her Hunter. A Huntress’s powers can vary in intensity, sometimes even coming out from childhood on. So far in the series, we have a spell caster (Darcy), a healer (Aubrey) and a magic etcher (Morgan). It shouldn’t be hard to figure out what Summer’s magical abilities will be…hint, hint (Spell Weaver).

1. Eat me.

A Huntress claimed by a Hunter is instantly bonded to the Order of the Wolf and through that bond gains valuable knowledge about the inner workings of the Order. She is not only gifted by amplified strength but each time she and her Hunter touch, she gains more information about the legacy of her ancestors the Amazons, as well as all insight into her Hunter’s training with weapons, battle techniques and the time he’s spent honing their special powers. She becomes the perfect werewolf-killing machine and is definitely on the wrong side as far as the wolves are concerned. Losing a Huntress to the Order instantly transforms her into the enemy and a foe to the beasts must be neutralized.

I’ve shared a little excerpt with you so you can see both sides of the battle.

Copyright © 2015 Angela Addams

All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Another wash of dizziness rolled through him and he stumbled back, letting out a hiss of pain as his newly inked flesh rubbed against the wall. His wolf growled, snapping his attention to focus. “Danger. There is danger.” Dy needed to get out of there. He wasn’t sure what the hell was up, but he felt a kind of rage building, like he was going to lose his shit at any moment. His wolf so agitated that he was lunging at the surface of control.

Time to go.

He pulled out a wad of cash and peeled off ten bills. Too much for sure, but he wanted to give Summer something that would make her smile. He dropped the money on the table, and snatched up his shirt. He was pulling it on as he exited the room and almost barreled over Summer in his haste.

“Hey, where are you going? I need to bandage you up.” Her hands were on his chest, and his instinctively came around her waist so he didn’t knock her over.

She felt so good up against him like that. Too good. His wolf growled again.

“Yeah, I gotta go.” He pushed himself back, the loss of her warmth like a gap opening in his heart. “I left some money for ya on the table. Thanks for doing this for me.”

Summer frowned. “You okay? You don’t look so hot right now. Maybe you should sit down.”

He shook his head and pushed past her, images of her kissing her boyfriend flashing in his mind. His brain was fuzzy, his wolf demanding attention.

Not now. Not now.

She trailed behind him as he thundered down the hall. Panic seized his gut, his wolf punching through.

“Dy, don’t go.”

He barely heard her as he entered the front reception area of the shop. Her guy was still there, seated on one of the couches. He glanced up from the magazine he was reading, an eyebrow cocked, smile turning into a frown as he glanced from Dy to his own arm where the tattooed image of a wolf seemed to be almost pulsing, his skin undulating.?As their eyes locked, Dy’s wolf roared.?“Hunter.” Dy’s fangs pushed through his gums. His claws burst at his fingertips. His wolf fighting for control over his body, the poison keeping his transformation from taking hold.

“What the fuck are you doing here, beast?” The man stood, reaching behind him and retrieving a blade—one he immediately threw.

Bio

Every day is Halloween for author Angela Addams. Enthralled by the paranormal at an early age, Angela spends most of her time thinking up new story ideas that involve supernatural creatures in everyday situations. She believes that the written word is an amazing tool for crafting the most erotic of scenarios.

She is an avid tattoo collector, a total book hoarder and loves anything covered in chocolate…except for bugs.

She lives in Ontario, Canada in an old, creaky house, with her husband and children.

Website: www.angelaaddams.com

Twitter: @angelaaddams

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/angelaaddams/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author.Angela.Addams

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4801196.Angela_Addams

Samhain

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5390/spell-weaver

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Spell-Weaver-Order-Wolf-Angela-Addams-ebook/dp/B00PDJV2C8

Kobo

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/spell-weaver

BN

http://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/spell-weaver-angela-addams/1120724215?ean=9781619224476

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/spell-weaver/id939148403?mt=11

Coloring outside the lines can sting like hell…

The Order of the Wolf, Book 4

Shot by a Huntress, his wolf trapped within him, Dyami Storm is battling a poison that is eating him alive. His only hope is finding his mate, but without his wolf to guide him, he doesn’t know where to look.

The second the sexy bad boy stumbles into her tattoo shop, smelling of booze and oozing attitude, Summer Sinclair knows he’s trouble. She should turn him away, but a strange magnetic pull compels her to help him out with a little ink.

When Summer’s boyfriend walks through the door, Dyami senses he’s in the presence of a Hunter, and the Hunter recognizes him as a wolf. With hackles raised, a weapon coming at him, Dyami’s only choice snaps into place. Bite Summer, marking her as his—and unleashing her powers as a Spell Weaver.

On the run from Hunters and losing his fight against the poison, Dyami is in a race against time to convince Summer her power could change the course of the war…and that his fate is in her hands.

Warning: Sexually explicit. Tattooed, rock star drummer with a tender heart seeking his one true mate. Tough little tattoo artist with a special talent for spells. Lots of hot and heavy, wet and sweaty.

Spell Weaver Tour Info

Tour Schedule:

April 7th: Paranormal Haven

Thoughts of a Scot

April 8th: Manga Maniac Cafe

April 9th: Rabid Reads

April 10th: Carol Kittie Reviews

Musings and Ramblings

Aprl 12th: Musings of An Independent Artist

April 13th: I Smell Sheep

April 14th: Bea’s Book Nook

Giveaway Info:

Angie is giving away a signed copy of Wolves’ Bane, limited edition Order of the Wolf keychain and a signed Cursed bookmark! Giveaway is only open to Canadian and U.S. addresses.

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21. Review and Giveaway: Four Nights with the Duke by Eloisa James

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Four Nights with the Duke.  The setup is fantastic; 15 year-old Emilia is at a recital, and after retreating to the library, she’s forced to hide from a group of boys who noisily approach the room.  Among them is Evander Septimus Brody, the handsome lad she’s fallen in love with.  Vander’s mother and Mia’s father are in the midst of a scandalous, not  so secret affair, and one of their parents has given Vander The Love Song of E. Septimus Brody, the poem Mia wrote to immortalize her feelings for Vander.  Mia is embarrassed and infuriated over the boys’ callous jokes about her poem, and she angrily storms from her hiding place, gives them a set-down, and declares that she would never marry any of them, even if they were the last boys in England.

Oh, how times change.  Thirteen years later, Mia is desperate.  Both her father and her brother have been killed in an unfortunate accident, and if she doesn’t marry soon, her beloved nephew will become the ward of his villainous uncle.  Mia was jilted at the altar not a month before, and with no other options, she blackmails Vander into marrying her.  She has in her possession a treasonous letter written by his father.  If anyone else learns of it, he will lose his title, lands, and beloved stables.  So now it’s Mia’s turn to flaunt a letter in Vander’s face, and he has no choice but to comply with her schemes. 

However, he burns her letter outlining the conditions of their marriage before reading it, and comes up with conditions of his own.  Vander thinks that Mia is still in love with him, and so he scornfully declares that he’ll not  bed her unless she begs for it, and then, he’ll only pleasure her four nights a year.  Since Mia was planning on an annulment, she fiercely insists that she will never beg him to bed her.  So, yeah, both of them are so wrong it’s laughable.

I enjoyed Four Nights with a Duke so much because I liked all of the characters.  Mia has body image issues that challenge her self-worth, and at first, Vander takes advantage of this to wound her emotionally.  I was starting to think that he couldn’t redeem himself for this behavior, but Mia doesn’t always play fair, either.  For her nephew Charlie’s sake, she chained herself to a man who can’t forgive her for being her father’s daughter.  Vander struggles with the shame caused by his mother’s affair.  His father spent his adult life in and out of an asylum, and he blamed his mother and Mia’s father for all of the family’s troubles.  It isn’t until he learns the other side of the story that he can finally begin to heal from this childhood hurt.

This is a fast read with cleaver dialog, two wounded people trying to heal, and lots of smexy times.  I was entertained from the first page to the last, and found Mia and Vander’s courtship both amusing and touching.

 

 

Four Nights with the Duke
Desperate Duchesses # 8

By: Eloisa James

Releasing March 31st, 2015

Avon

Blurb

As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him-so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia’s audacious proposal, but there’s one thing he won’t give his inconvenient wife: himself.

Instead, he offers Mia a devil’s bargain… he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.

Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart-and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can’t afford to lose.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/12/four-nights-with-duke-desperate.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21331590-four-nights-with-the-duke?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/43059-desperate-duchesses


Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Author Info

A New York Times bestselling author, Eloisa James is a professor of English literature who lives with her family in New York, but who can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. (Her husband is an honest to goodness Italian knight!) Eloisa’s website offers short stories, extra chapters, and even a guide to shopping in Florence. Visit her at www.eloisajames.com.

Author Links Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

Excerpt

Prologue

Spring, 1787

~ A Music Recital ~

The Duke of Villiers’s townhouse

At fifteen, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington already had a pretty good idea of what hell was like. Mia’s governess had taught her all about Dante’s nine infernal circles.

Mia’s first circle had required her to make her debut at fifteen, under the aegis of a hired chaperone, because her mother was dead. Her second circle had added a far worse indignity: her charming, widowed father was conducting a flagrant affaire with a married duchess that everyone in the fashionable world knew about.

She had entered the third circle over the last year or so, when against all reason, she had fallen desperately in love with the same duchess’ son, Vander. He was the most sensitive, intelligent boy in the world (or so Mia thought). And he was beautiful too, with a face that resembled the stone angels that guarded baby’s graves.

The remaining circles of hell? All six?

They were revealing themselves in rapid succession. Mia had begged her father to attend the Villiers musicale on the chance that the object of her adoration, Evander Septimus Brody, future Duke of Pindar, would be present. It seemed probable since the Duke of Villiers’s eldest son, Tobias, was best mates with Vander.

As it turned out, the house was indeed overrun with boys on holiday from Eton and among the horde was Vander, who roundly ignored her. Mia didn’t mind that: she was happy worshipping him from afar. He was too godlike for someone like her.

Besides, it wasn’t as if he danced attendance on any other girl. He and the other Etonians spent their time swigging brandy although it was not yet noon, cursing loudly, and generally pretending to be far older than their fifteen years. Mia finally retreated to the library, a tranquil room with book-lined walls.

She was searching the shelves for anything resembling her favorite novel, Eliza Heywood’s Love in Excess, when she heard, to her horror, the sound of boys approaching. Even worse, she quickly recognized the voices as those of Vander and his friend Tobias, who seemed to be calling himself Thorn these days.

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print Bundle of the entire backlist of the Desperate Duchesses series, books 1 – 7, Including, Book 1: Desperate Duchesses; Book 2: An Affair Before Christmas; Book 3: Duchess By Night; Book 4: When the Duke Returns; Book 5: This Duchess of Mine; Book 6: A Duke of Her Own; Book 7: Three Weeks With Lady X)

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22. Mini Review: Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I read Rot & Ruin last year and loved it.  It was one of my top 10 reads for the year.  I loved how Benny and Tom’s relationship changed as they faced one life-threatening adventure after another, and how Benny grew from an angry, petulant teen in to a courageous young man.  When he learned the truth about First Night, when the zombie plague wiped out most of human population, he finally saw his brother in a new light and forgave him for abandoning his mother.  It’s one best bonding moments in young adult fiction, but really, the whole book is about Benny learning how to come to terms with his feelings for his brother.

Dust & Decay didn’t work as well for me.  It’s still a page turner, with loads of pulse-pounding action, but the deeper emotions from Rot & Ruin are lacking until the very end.  After seeing the plane at the end of the previous book, Nix and Tom want to go and find it.  Where there is a functioning plane, there must be an enclave of survivors with more technology than they have.  Lilah doesn’t like being in town, and Benny’s just along for the ride.  The closer it comes time for them to leave, the less certain he is that he really wants to go.  Nix, however, has nothing left in town since her mother died, and she wants to see what’s out beyond the fence.  She’s tired of being afraid and she’s tired of living with a bunch of people who are terrified at the thought of expanding out into the Ruin.

Things go wrong almost from the moment they step into the Ruin.  They are attacked by wild animals, keep stumbling upon zombies, and run into creepy individuals that make even Tom uneasy.  The predicaments they find themselves in are exciting, and I constantly wondered how they were going to get out of them unscathed.  It really was hard to put the book down.

The disconnect for me is with the villains.  They are one-dimensional, and that made them boring.  They are all bad, for no reason.  They don’t have an interesting backstory to explain their brutal ways, and because they are defined only by their evil deeds, with no real reason why they are committing these atrocities, there was nothing compelling about them.  I love a bad guy that has some depth, that I can feel even a twinge of compassion for, because something happened to turn them into monsters.  The only thing that happened to these guys is the same thing that happened to everyone else, but most of the surviving humans don’t run around killing children and anyone else weaker than them. 

There is a terrible, horrible thing that happens near the end that also spoiled some of my enjoyment, but after reading George RR Martin, the demise of favorite characters doesn’t pack quite the same punch as it used to.  Until that moment, there wasn’t much emotional connection to the story for me, and that’s why Dust & Decay fell a bit flat for me.  That being said, it’s still an adrenaline rush, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Flesh & Bone.

Grade:  B-

Review copy read at Scribd

From Amazon:

Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them.

Sounds easy. Sounds wonderful. Except that everything that can go wrong does. Before they can even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town. But as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of Gameland –where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive?

In the great Rot & Ruin everything wants to kill you. Everything…and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will make it out alive.

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23. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–April 12th Edition

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

I had a pleasantly boring week.  I spent most of my leisure time riding or reading, so you aren’t going to hear any complaints about that!  The weather is still a little iffy, but yesterday was beautiful, so here’s hoping there are many more pleasant, sunny days ahead.

What are you doing today?

Check out my current contests!  See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library.  Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

There were a bunch of Harlequin comics available for the Kindle for .99, so I stocked up!

Expecting the Boss’s Baby

Maddie’s Love-child

Wife to a Stranger

The Mediterranean Marriage

Make-Believe Bride

Expecting His Love-Child

Walk on Earth a Stranger

Ash & Bramble

After the Storm

The Shadow Revolution

Fire & Chasm

Pursued by the Rich Rancher

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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24. Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Written in the Stars is an emotionally compelling story, and man, did it make me angry!  To think that there are still cultures that value the lives and dreams of girls so little that they would sell them into marriage when they are still basically children makes me so frustrated for the future of all of us.  The protagonist Naila is a hard-working honor student with one goal in life – going to med school and becoming a doctor.  When she lies to her parents and sneaks off to prom, she’s punished in the most demeaning way.  She’s taken to Pakistan, lied to by her parents, and married off against her will.  Good-bye, intelligent, science-minded young woman. You are going to be a cloistered housewife for the rest of your life, and all of those endless possibilities that were once open to you?  Gone.  All of those people your medical skills could have saved?  Nope, your parents thought being barefoot and pregnant at seventeen was a more worthy pursuit for your keen mind.  Sigh.

Naila’s always been an obedient child, but when she enters her senior year in high school, she and Saif, also of Pakistani descent, can no longer deny their feelings for each other.  Saif’s sister, however, brought shame on their family by marrying an American, and Naila’s parents and their friends won’t have anything to do with the family anymore.  They gossip mercilessly about them, and no longer invite them for parties or gatherings.  Saif’s parents, they whisper to each other, did a terrible job raising them, and both Saif and his sister are disgraceful.  Naila must keep her feelings for Saif a secret.  She knows her parents would never understand or approve of her feelings for him, so their relationship is confined within the school walls.  Naila is just waiting to graduate, so that she can get out of her parents house, move into the dorm on campus, and have a little bit of freedom with she studies to be a doctor.

Her world shatters when she’s caught with Saif at senior prom.  Her parents promptly book the next plane to Pakistan, not even allowing her to attend her graduation.  Once at her uncle’s home, she starts to think that things will be okay.  Her parents are happy being back home with their families, and Naila is enjoying getting to know her cousins and her aunts and uncles.  She’s annoyed with all of the gatherings her mother keeps dragging her to, expecting her to dress up and answer bewildering questions about herself. After a month, it  all gets very tiring, and she just wants to get back to Florida so she can attend orientation.

Then she learns, to her horror, that her parents are searching for a husband for her.  She’s basically trapped, and has no one to turn to.  Her parents have taken her visa, her passport, and her spending money.  She’s in a rural village, and has no way to get to the airport.  Her parents are suddenly strangers to her, and she despairs at ever going back home to Florida.

Written in the Stars is hard to put down.  Naila’s narrative is so engaging that you don’t want to leave her world, as hopeless as it is at times.  She’s an intelligent young woman, though, and she doesn’t give up hope of getting the future she dreams of.  Just when she thinks she’s out of options, a new door opens, if only she has the courage to step through it. 

The details of life in rural Pakistan are colorful and vivid. The reader explores Naila’s  fascinating new world with her, and her daily activities come to life.  Most compelling, I think, is how powerless and how inconsequential she was to her family.  Her parents really thought they were doing what was best for her, but I had a very hard time understanding them, especially her father, who had to give up his own dreams of becoming a doctor to run the family dry cleaning business.  Family honor is of utmost importance, but being an American, the concept of doing everything your parents tell you, even into adulthood, is incomprehensible to me.   Though Written in the Stars ends on an upbeat note, it’s sobering to think of all of the girls in situations where there is no happily ever after.

Grade:  B+/A-

Review copy borrowed from my local library

From Amazon:

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

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25. Interview and Giveaway: Vonnie Davis, Author of A Highlander’s Passion

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Good morning, Vonnie!   Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Vonnie Davis]  Affectionate, Humorous, Curious and Zany.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about A Highlander’s Passion?

[Vonnie Davis]  This is a book of secrets, witchcraft, bear-shifters, family and forgiveness. Kenzie and Bryce have been best friends since early childhood. Then, in their teenage years, a new girl moves into their area and Bryce falls in love with her. They marry at a very early age and she dies in childbirth. Although Bryce enters a very dark period of mourning, he dotes on his baby girl Colleen. When he starts dating again, he looks toward Kenzie, but as their relationship grows closer, he feels he’s being unfaithful to his deceased wife. This sets us up for my favorite scene, the opening of the book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Vonnie Davis]  Kenzie Denune pedaled the bicycle harder, her thighs burning from the exertion. Thanks to a car that refused to start, she was going to be late fer her job interview at Iverson Loch Manor. Grunting and pounding from the shrubs ahead, near the road’s edge, snagged her attention. Naked shoulders glistened in the afternoon sun. Back muscles bulged and undulated with every thrust. “Bloody hell. Come fer me. Come.”

In all of Mathe Bay in the Scottish Highlands, only one deep masculine voice had the power to raise the hair on her arms like this. A man with braided russet-colored hair that brushed broad shoulders inked with a bear’s claw marks, woven into an intricate tribal design—Bryce Matheson. Damn him to hell. Who’s he shagging out in the open in broad daylight? Has he no shame?

Not that she cared one Scottish whit, fer she dinna. Not after he’d cast her aside over a year ago to wallow in the memories of the wife he’d lost years earlier from complications in childbirth. Oh, the man could romance a woman fer some physical release, he just couldna move forward and commit.

Kenzie snapped her eyes from the randy spectacle and forced them straight ahead. She struggled to keep control of her bike’s handlebars on the pitted rocky lane. With every meter gained on the decline, the old bike bounced along faster and her arse was airborne more often than on the narrow seat. Her jaws jarred together and she bit her tongue fer the second time.

“I canna keep pounding at ye like this all bloody day. Me back is about to give out.”

Bryce moaned and groaned again as if he were in the throes of ecstasy. The bear-shifting bastard. She eased up on the brakes to whiz past his love nest of bushes and brambles.

“I’ll not give up until I get ye wild cherry. Let me push both me thumbs and most of me fingers in here and…” My God, what’s he doing to her?

Kenzie couldn’t resist one fleeting glance over her shoulder. Her front wheel plunged into a pothole and the bike pitched to the side before the back wheel skidded across loose gravel. Despite her frantic efforts to keep control, she lost her leverage. Her hip smacked the dirt, and air whooshed from her lungs on a groan. Stones scraped her legs and arms as she toppled across the grit. The force of the impact, combined with the slant of the narrow road, caused her to roll toward Bryce and his current conquest. No! No, God, no! The last thing she wanted was to interrupt Bryce’s deflowering of some virginal maiden. With his excess dose of arrogance, he’d claim she’d done it on purpose.

The broken branch of a tree tore the short sleeve of her white blouse. Something sharp caught her favorite purple gauzy skirt and ripped it just as she collided with a solid warm body. Oomph!

They rolled downhill fer a couple of revolutions, a flurry of arms and legs. Bryce landed on top and yanked out his earbuds, his chocolate eyes wide in shock. “Kenzie? What the bloody hell?” He pushed up on his forearms, his hands beside her shoulders.

She swiped her hair out of her eyes and presented him with a scowl. “I fell off me bike.” As if she needed to give him any kind of explanation. To keep from saying anything else equally as stupid, she bit her lower lip.

He glanced over his shoulder and then aimed dark eyes on her. “Yer bike? Where’s yer car?”

“It wouldna start. I have a job interview with the American this afternoon.” She closed her eyes in resignation. “I’ll be late. She willna hire me now.” Damn, she wanted to cry. She bit her lower lip again and blinked to force back the tears. The job as Effie Munro’s personal assistant came with a suite of rooms as part of the package. Kenzie wanted, needed to move out of the apartment she’d shared with her late-husband, Duncan. Was a fresh start too much to expect?

Bryce leaned in and pressed a gentle kiss to her cheek, as if he had the right. “Effie has it in her head to hire ye. She willna care ye are late. Why do ye think I’m out here working to clear the road?”

“Working?” Since when was shagging some poor girl by the roadside considered working? She glanced around. Just where was his momentary love interest?

“Aye. The old Wild Cherry tree was zapped by lightning in that big storm yesterday and fell across the road.”

The storm yesterday, heralding the month of June, had been a temper tantrum of the forces of nature, raging fer hours. Had he been talking to a Wild Cherry and not some girl about her cherry?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Vonnie Davis]  As a grandmother, I would have to say it was little Colleen. Somehow, she turned out to be a delightful blend of my two granddaughters.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Vonnie Davis]  My laptop. I write everywhere.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Vonnie Davis]  Coffee cup, Synonym Finder book and box of tissues for when I get to laughing or crying over what I’m writing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Vonnie Davis]  My husband makes me cappuccinos and grates cinnamon over the stiffly frothed milk. And cookies…always cookies.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Vonnie Davis]  Effie the pink-haired grandma in this series of books. She’s comical, gutsy, and full of spirit. Plus, she’s skinny.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Vonnie Davis]  The power of healing. I’m a soft-hearted person and can’t stand seeing people suffering from cancer, asthma, kidney disease and so on.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Vonnie Davis]  Oh wow, so many to list. Once a year I skim over Shakespeare’s plays to brush up on his comedic timing. AJ Nuest has a fantasy series, The Golden Key Legacy, and writes using her extensive vocabulary that creates great visuals. Sarah Grimm’s Midnight Heat because she can write deep, tissue grabbing emotion. Anything by Laura Kaye because she’s so versatile in her writing and she keeps me glued to the page.

A Highlander’s Passion
Highlander’s Beloved # 2

By: Vonnie Davis

Releasing April 7th, 2015

Loveswept

Blurb

Two of the wildest hearts in Scotland fight for their destiny in this searing-hot romance, sure to be devoured by fans of Jennifer Ashley’s Shifters Unbound series and Shelly Laurenston’s Pride Stories.

As a bear-shifter in a pack roaming the Scottish countryside, Bryce Matheson embodies brute force and untamed abandon. As a widower, he’s running scared. When Bryce attempted to open his scarred heart to another, she grew tired of waiting for him to state his intentions, and the unearthly beauty spurned him for someone who wasn’t worthy. But now that fate has conspired to set Kenzie Denune free once again, Bryce vows to finally win her love.

Kenzie is a witch who summons her powers to protect those too weak to care for themselves. After surviving an abusive husband, she swears off men—even men like Bryce, whose iron muscles make her knees weak, and who’s piercing eyes fill her with longing. Her life’s purpose is to help others. However, dark forces have different plans for her gifts. To save herself, Kenzie must team up with the shifter who has always stirred her soul—and trust in a passion powerful enough to set her blood aflame.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/01/a-highlanders-passion-highlanders.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22890393-a-highlander-s-passion?from_search=true
Goodreads Series Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/series/134541-highlander-s-beloved

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo

 

Author Info

Vonnie Davis, who studied English at Penn State, likens herself to a croissant: crusty, wrinkled, flaky—and best served with strong coffee. After a career as a technical writer, she’s spending her retirement playing fairy godmother to her characters, giving them their happily-ever-afters. Six fantastic, talented kids call her “Grandma” and brighten her world in so many ways. She lives in Southern Virginia with her husband, author Calvin Davis.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 eGift Card to Choice Book Seller, Loveswept Mug and Nail Polish)

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