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1. Guest Post and Giveaway: Wendy S Marcus, Author of Loving You is Easy

Please welcome Wendy S Marcus to the virtual offices this morning!

First off a great big thank you to Manga Maniac Café for hosting today’s blog post promoting my Loveswept Contemporary Romance, Loving You Is Easy. In the story, the hero, Shane, is a soldier in the U.S. Army who returns home wounded. I’ve been asked to discuss five things Shane would never have in his rucksack. So here goes:

1) Porn – Since getting four full color, sexy pictures from his pen pal, Brooke, Shane has no desire to look at any woman but her. Those long, slender legs. That firm, perfectly rounded ass. Hot damn, gets him worked up every single time.

2) Pre-packaged/commercially produced baked goods – Shane’s mother loves to bake, and he grew up with a constant supply of delicious, fresh-baked cakes, pies and cookies. To this day she still makes sure he never goes without her tasty treats, even while he’s overseas. (Good thing he likes to work out or he’d be big as a house!)

3) A book – Shane’s more of an action guy than a reader. He prefers doing to reading about other people doing – especially where sex is concerned.

4) Lotion – Guys are tough and their skin should be tough. Now Shane believes lotion has its uses. Like foreplay, to get his hands on the soft, delicate skin of a woman’s back and shoulders. Or in a pinch, for a massage of a more personal nature, like when a man is away at war for months at a time. But he’d never let lotion take up valuable space in his ruck.

5) A camera – At the beginning of Loving You Is Easy Shane is in his fourth tour of combat duty in Afghanistan. The horrible images of all he has seen during years at war are forever burned into his memory – no matter how hard he’s tried to get rid of them. He does not need pictures to remember.

And now a question for you, if you had to go away for a long journey and all you could pack is one rucksack, what are the top five things you would definitely, without a doubt, take with you? Remember, they have to fit in your ruck!

Loving You is Easy
By: Wendy S. Marcus

Releasing December 9th, 2014

Loveswept

She’s a survivor of the front lines of politics. He’s a wounded soldier returning home from the battlefield. Can they place their trust in the power of love?

Nobody plays the role of perfect politician’s daughter better than quiet, respectable math teacher Brooke Ellstein. But she won’t be caught swimming with the sharks again, not after the son of a wealthy donor sinks his teeth into her and gets away with it. Still, political connections have their perks, such as heading up the governor’s “Support Our Troops” pen-pal initiative—and getting first dibs on the smoking-hot sergeant whose picture shakes her right down to her goody-two-shoes.

When corresponding with sweet, classy Brooke, Shane Develen instinctively hides his commando tattoos and blue-collar roots—and he can tell that she’s hiding something, too. But Shane knows he’s gained her trust when Brooke gives him a blisteringly sexy photo. Then he’s injured in an ambush and a fellow soldier posts the snapshot online. Overnight, Brooke’s reputation turns to ashes. Even though he’s totally wrong for her, Shane shows up on Brooke’s doorstep, determined to set things right—and discovers that right or wrong has nothing on the chemistry they share.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/loving-you-is-easy-by-wendy-s-marcus_27.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22747255-loving-you-is-easy?from_search=true

Buy Links : Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Loving-You-Easy-Wendy-Marcus-ebook/dp/B00LYXSNZG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411408102&sr=1-1&keywords=Loving+You+Is+Easy+by+Wendy+S.+Marcus

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loving-you-is-easy-wendy-s-marcus/1120019667?ean=9780553391237

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/lv/book/loving-you-is-easy/id901077884?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/loving-you-is-easy

Author Info

Wendy S. Marcus is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. A nurse by trade, Wendy holds a Master of Science in Health Care Administration, a degree that does her absolutely no good as she now spends her days, nights, and weekends mucking around in her characters’ lives creating conflict, emotion, and, of course, a happily ever after. Wendy lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her dog Buddy, and blogging/e-mailing/tweeting/facebooking with her online friends.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://wendysmarcus.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wendy-S-Marcus-Author-Page/184507031577429
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WendySMarcus
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4823224.Wendy_S_Marcus

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 eGift Card to Choice Book Seller and Loveswept Mug & Tote)

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Wendy S Marcus, Author of Loving You is Easy appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Spotlight and Giveaway: Double Trouble by Lori Wilde

This morning I have an excerpt and give away for Lori Wilde’s Double Trouble.  Enjoy!

About DOUBLE TROUBLE

Two Lori Wilde romances together for the first time in print!

CHARMED AND DANGEROUS

When her thrill-seeking twin sister goes missing, Maddie Cooper must come to her rescue-which means teaming up with irritating, arrogant, and altogether way too sexy FBI agent David Marshall. David isn’t one to get easily distracted but his new self-proclaimed partner has him completely sidetracked with her delectable curves and knockout smile. His first priority: follow the leads in the case. Then he can go about the all-too-enjoyable task of following his heart . . .

MISSION: IRRESISTIBLE

PR specialist Cassie Cooper loves the adrenaline rush of a well-planned party. And a masquerade ball at the museum is her best yet. But when a legendary amulet is stolen practically from under her nose, she needs the help of her nemesis, archaeologist Harrison Standish. No-nonsense Harrison has all the intensity of Indiana Jones. Though just when he needs his full attention on their mission, he’s having the damnedest time keeping his mind-and his hands-off Cassie . . .

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1rTIWNv
B&N: http://bit.ly/1FPwwsw
BAM!: http://bit.ly/12vZf7J

About Lori Wilde

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lori Wilde has written sixty novels. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and a certificate in forensics. She volunteers as a sexual assault first responder for Freedom House, a shelter for battered women. Lori is a past RITA finalist and has been nominated four times for theRomantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. She’s won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, the Lories, the More Than Maggie, the Golden Quill, the Laurel Wreath, and the Best Books of 2006 Book Award. Her books have been translated into twenty-five languages and featured inCosmopolitan, Redbook, Complete Woman, All You,TIME, and Quick and Simple magazines. She lives in Texas with her husband, Bill. 

AUTH. WEBSITE:

http://www.loriwilde.com/

AUTH. TWITTER ID:

@LoriWilde

AUTH. FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/LoriWildeBooks?fref=ts

From Charmed and Dangerous

The air in the room seemed miserably hot even though he’d twisted up the controls on the air conditioner when he’d walked in. Or maybe it was the heat of his blood rushing through his veins.

“Nobody likes being intimidated.”

“Don’t be so sure of that. Ever heard of a submissive?”

“I’m not a submissive,” she denied. “Far from it.”

“You sure? You entered a man’s room while he was getting undressed.”

“That doesn’t make me submissive. If anything, I’d say I was dominant.”

“You dominating me?” The notion was so foreign, so utterly ridiculous that David burst out laughing.

His derision incensed her. She stabbed an index finger in his direction. “Maybe you’re the one who’s longing to be submissive.”

“Oh yeah?” Swiftly he covered the remaining distance between them.

She backpedaled until she ran smack dab into the wall. David grabbed both her wrists, pinned her hands above her head and swiftly shoved one knee between her legs, completely hemming her in with no way out.

“This look like submissive to you, darlin’?” he growled.

They were both breathing hard, their lips almost touching.

“For your information I’m a third degree black belt in karate,” she said.

“Bring it on. I’m fifth degree.”

“You don’t threaten me.” She gulped, belying her own bravado.

He saw the column of her throat muscles pump hard and he knew he’d succeeded in intimidating her, but still she held her ground. She might be scared, but she was too damned proud to run away.

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Double Trouble by Lori Wilde appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. Guest Post and Giveaway: Katie Lane, Author of The Last Cowboy in Texas

Please welcome Katie Lane to the virtual offices this morning!

5 reasons why cowboys make such great heroes by Katie Lane

1. Their strong sense of family and community.  To me, a true hero loves their family and community.  My hero Beckett Cates might have a few insecurities where his brothers are concerned, but when they need him, he’s always there.

2. The manners their mamas drill into them from birth.  Whether it’s opening a door, pulling out a chair, or politely sharing a banana Moon Pie, there’s nothing that screams “HERO!” like a man with manners.

3. Their work ethic.  Heroes don’t sit on their bee-hinds.  If a job needs to be done, they don’t wait for someone else to do it.  All of my heroes work hard so they can play hard. 

4. Their tender side.  I like alpha heroes, but I also like an alpha hero who has a tender heart.  As an ex-marine, Beckett is tough, but his heart is as gooey as a marshmallow.

5. The way they fill out a pair of wranglers.  There is just something about a fine butt in pair of faded jeans that will make any woman’s heart race a little faster.

Thanks for having me, Manga Maniac Café!  It’s always a pleasure!

About The Last Cowboy in Texas, book 7 in Katie Lane’s Deep in the Heart of Texas series

Country music princess Starlet Brubaker has a sweet tooth for moon pies and cowboys: both are yummy-and you can never have just one. Now Beckett Cates may not be a cowboy, but he certainly has the heart, soul-and body-to whet her appetite. He’s a sexy ex-Marine with a touch hotter than the scorching Texas sun and arms strong enough to catch her when she lands into trouble.
Playing bodyguard to America’s sweetheart isn’t easy for Beckett. But falling for her sure is. Unfortunately, Starlet has a reputation for keeping a guy or two wrapped around her finger and Beckett refuses to be anybody’s backup. So now it’s up to Starlet to prove that she’s put her cowboy-crazy days behind her. Otherwise, she’ll be singing solo instead of living in harmony with the man who’s loved her even before her fame and fortune.

Amazon

B&N

iTunes

Kobo

Goodreads

About Katie Lane

Katie Lane is the USA Today bestselling author of the Deep in the Heart of Texas and Hunk for the Holiday series.  Katie lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and when she isn’t writing, enjoys reading, going to the gym, golfing, traveling, or just snuggling next to her high school sweetheart and cairn terrier Roo.

Learn more about Katie Lane at:
www.katielanebooks.com
Facebook.com/katielaneauthor
Twitter, @ktlane3

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Katie Lane, Author of The Last Cowboy in Texas appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. Meet Derrick Collins from Julie Brannagh’s Holding Holly and Giveaway

 

Please give a warm welcome to Derrick Collins this morning!

I’m Derrick Collins. I have been playing football since my daddy put my brother and me into Pee-Wee. I currently play for the Seattle Sharks. When I’m not playing football, I spend time with my Holly.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Derrick Collins] Driven, passionate, fun-loving, happy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in your life?

[Derrick Collins] I get out of bed as late as possible before I have to be at practice. The other six months a year I get up as late as possible. Holly is awake (and happy about it) when the sun is up.

The rest of my day goes like this. I do some lifting, take care of whatever it is that needs to be done, and then I go home and spend some time with the women in my life – my wife, my mama and my grandma. My little bro is home from Afghanistan for good, so we play video games or do some work around Mama and Grandma’s place when he has some free time.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Holly?

[Derrick Collins] She’s caring, compassionate, and loving. She thinks about other people before she thinks of herself.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s her most appealing quality?

[Derrick Collins] She knows everything about me and loves me anyway. And that makes me the luckiest guy in the world.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What just drives you nuts about her?

[Derrick Collins] Did I mention she’s up when the sun is? I can’t be too mad, though. My beautiful wife is teaching me to love mornings.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Derrick Collins] I would have met Holly sooner.

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

[Derrick Collins] My phone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less

[Derrick Collins] Health, happiness, wealth, and Holly.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Holding Holly
Love and Football # 4.5

By: Julie Brannagh

Releasing December 2nd, 2014

Avon

Holly Reynolds has a secret. Make that two. The first involves upholding her grandmother’s hobby answering Dear Santa letters from dozens of local school children. The second…well, he just came strolling in the door.

For the last two years, Holly has not been able to stop thinking about gorgeous Seattle Shark Derrick Collins. His on-field exploits induce nightmares in quarterbacks across the NFL, but she knows he has a heart of gold.

Derrick has never met a woman he wants to bring home to meet his family, mostly because he keeps picking the wrong ones-until he runs into sweet, shy Holly Reynolds. Different than anyone he’s ever known, Derrick realizes she might just be everything he needs.

When he discovers her holiday letter writing, he is determined to play Santa too. And as the pair team up to bring joy to one little boy very much in need, they discover the most precious Christmas gift of all: love.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/10/holding-holly-love-and-football-45-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21805398-holding-holly?from_search=true

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Holding-Holly-Love-Football-Novella-ebook/dp/B00JDKBU0M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414528607&sr=8-1&keywords=Holding+holly

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/holding-holly-julie-brannagh/1119887866?ean=9780062363862

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/book/holding-holly/id852752781?mt=11

Author Info

Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.

When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.juliebrannagh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulieBrannagh
Twitter: https://twitter.com/julieinduvall
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7127296.Julie_Brannagh

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Digital Set of LOVE & FOOTBALL Series Bks 1-4)

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The post Meet Derrick Collins from Julie Brannagh’s Holding Holly and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Spotlight and Giveaway: Kaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley

Please enjoy this excerpt and giveaway for Kristen Ashley’s Kaleidoscope!

KALEIDOSCOPE by Kristen Ashley (December 16, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $7.00)

When old friends become new lovers…anything can happen.

Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at “hello.” His relationship with Emme’s best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that’s ever happened to her?

 

It isn’t easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she’s a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme’s always been the one; she excites Deck’s body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme’s past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she’ll let him . . .

Buy Links:

Amazon

B&N

IndieBound

iBooks


About the author:

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.  And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.


Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Excerpt:

I looked out my office window, down to the yard, my eyes to the bustling activity, and I did this tapping my phone on my desk.

I should be working but I wasn’t thinking about work.

I was thinking about Jacob.

More precisely, I was thinking about calling Jacob, had an overwhelming urge to do so.

I was also trying not to do so because I had a boyfriend, even though he was a boyfriend I wasn’t all that sure about. He was sweet, he was into me, but he was just… off.

Then again, I didn’t have a lot of experience so what did I know?

Additionally, after my dinner with Jacob last night, within an hour, I’d called him after ten at night and now it was only eleven thirty the next day.

I didn’t want him to think I was psycho, and calling him would imply psycho behavior. Further, when I called him last night, I’d asked him to dinner, which was dinner two nights in a row with a woman he hadn’t seen in nine years, a woman with a boyfriend, and that was semi-psycho.

Okay, maybe it was totally psycho.

I didn’t want Jacob to think I was psycho.

Ever.

But I wanted to hear his voice. I wanted to connect with him on the phone. I’d missed him and I liked having him back. I liked it a great deal.

I also missed him a great deal.

And I needed to ask him something. Further, he was the only one I could ask.

I looked from the yard to my phone. My mind telling my thumb not to do it, my thumb not listening, I found Jacob’s contact and hit go.

I put it to my ear.

“I’m a psycho,” I whispered and luckily finished whispering two seconds before Jacob’s voice sounded.

“You okay?” he answered.

He kept asking that mostly, I figured, because I kept calling when I didn’t need to so he probably thought something was wrong.

Or that I was a psycho.

“I need to know if you don’t eat anything,” I lied.

Actually, it wasn’t a lie. Although I remembered a lot about Jacob (most everything, in all honesty), I couldn’t recall if there was something specific he didn’t like to eat.

I could recall how beautiful he was, how tall he was, how strong he was. I could recall how smart he was and how funny he was. I could recall how cool he was with me. I could also recall how much I missed him. But I couldn’t recall if he didn’t like chicken.

But that wasn’t the only thing I needed to know. I needed to know something else too.

Much like last night, when he didn’t make me feel like a psycho, in fact, the opposite and sounded like he was happy to hear from me and would be willing to talk all night, he again sounded like me psychotically calling him yet again in a precursor to stalker way was no big deal.

“I don’t eat it, I’ll pick it off.”

“You can’t pick it off if I cook with it in it or if the mainstay of dinner on the whole is what you don’t eat,” I informed him.

“You makin’ Indian food?” he asked.

“No. Don’t you like Indian food?” I asked back.

“Love it,” he answered.

“Then why’d you ask if I was making Indian food?”

“ ’Cause I hoped you were.”

I burst out laughing.

No, Jacob definitely didn’t make me feel like I was being a psycho.

When I quit laughing, I told him, “Sorry, honey, I don’t know how to make Indian food.”

“Shame,” he muttered, a smile in his deep, attractive voice, and if I was on an infrared scanner, specific parts of me would have shown up hotter.

You have a boyfriend, Emme! I told myself.

For a while, I answered myself.

Jacob is also your ex–best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Emme! I reminded myself.

So? I asked myself.

I shoved those thought aside, thoughts that, if anyone knew I was talking to myself in my head might prove I was indeed a psycho, and pointed out to Jacob, “You haven’t actually answered the question.”

“I’ll eat what you cook, Emme. Cook what you like.”

He was such a nice guy.

He always was.

Nice. Tall (very tall). Handsome (unbelievably handsome). Smart (so damned smart). Funny. Interesting. Gentlemanly. And a repeat of nice because it was worth a repeat since he was just that nice.

I liked all that about him. I liked that he wore his dark hair way too long. I liked that sometimes a thick hank of it fell over his forehead and into his eye. I liked that he was who he was and didn’t wear designer jeans or put gel in his hair. I liked that, even considering he was extortionately intelligent, in fact, a genius, he never made anyone feel less than him because they weren’t as smart. I liked that he never acted superior or arrogant and with all that was him, looks, body, brains, he was one person who could. And I liked that he liked to do what he liked to do, he did what he liked to do and wouldn’t get pushed into doing something he didn’t want.

Like Elsbeth tried to do.

He’d lost her to that and he’d accepted it. I knew it killed. He’d loved her to distraction. But he refused to be the man she wanted him to be and instead was the man he was.

She should have seen she had it all even if he didn’t make bucketloads of money and thus couldn’t give her the life she was used to getting from her daddy. Country clubs, tennis lessons, vacations in villas in Italy and beaches in Thailand, fabulous homes kept by maids and fabulous meals cooked by cooks.

She didn’t see all she had.

Stupid.

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Kaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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6. Review: The Vault by Emily McKay

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This series is proof that even if the first volume doesn’t work for you, maybe the rest will.  I couldn’t get through The Farm – I’m not sure why.  I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the mood, or the pacing left me feeling impatient, or if it was just the wrong day of the week to start reading it.  I set it aside and moved on, forgetting about it,  until I was given the opportunity to review The Lair.  Now there was a book I couldn’t put down! 

I really enjoyed creepy darkness of Emily McKay’s nightmarish world.  A virus has ravaged America, turning its victims into mindless, violent monsters with a never-ending craving for blood.  To stave off the annihilation of humans, young Americans have been quarantined onto Farms, their blood collected and fed to the starving Ticks.  After forming an uneasy alliance with a vampire, Lily and Carter, two teens,  are determined to save the world.  Their little rebellion faces one challenge after another, and Lily lies in a coma at the end of The Lair, victim to the virus.

The Vault picks up right where The Lair left off.  Carter is desperate to obtain the cure for virus, which Sebastian claimed is hidden in his territory.  Carter and Mel, Lily’s twin sister,  can’t enter the lab where they think the cure is secured because of the security measures the vampire left in place to guard his domain.  They need Sebastian, or at least parts of Sebastian, to get inside.  The problem?  Mel left Sebastian staked to the ground after the battle with Roberto.  While she goes back to see if he’s still alive or salvageable, Carter heads to Sabrina’s territory.  The cruel vampire is rumored to have some vials of the cure, and a desperate Carter will do anything to get his hands on them if it means saving Lily’s life.

The Vault kept me on the edge of my seat as Mel and Carter attempt to save Lily from turning into a monster.  Told from all three characters’ POV, they all struggle to survive in their new deadly world.  Lily wakes from her coma, and she knows that it won’t be long before she turns into a Tick.  She can already feel her humanity and her reasoning skills slipping away.  Together with Marcus, Ely’s brother, she heads for a Farm, where she thinks she’ll find safety and medical assistance.  I enjoyed her POV the most, and was a bit disappointed when her voice went silent for part of the book.  I would have loved a first hand account of her experiences, instead of relying on Carter to narrate that part of the story.

There’s a lot of action in The Vault, which made it a rollercoaster read.  My biggest nit-picks? Sabrina was such a one-dimensional character I had a hard time taking her seriously, and Carter got a little (okay, a LOT whiny) near the end.  I just didn’t have the patience to deal with his sudden hang-ups about his relationship with Lily.  They both survived the end of the world, for goodness sake!  Just cherish the love that somehow flourished amid so much death!  Lily did, and even Mel got a HEA, so Carter’s reluctance to take things at face value grated on me.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

There is no rest for the damned in this thrilling follow-up to Emily McKay’s The Lair and The Farm, in a series New York Times bestselling author Chloe Neill calls, “Equal parts Resident Evil and Hunger Games.”

In a world where vampires rule and teenaged humans are quarantined as a food source, there is only one choice—resist or die. But fighting the vampires comes at a terrible cost to twin sisters Mel and Lily and their best friend Carter . . .

With Lily exposed to the vampire virus and lying in a coma, it’s up to Mel and Carter to search for the cure. Time is not on their side. With every passing heartbeat, Mel is becoming more and more purely vampire.

Desperate, Carter and Mel decide to split up. Carter will recruit human rebels from the Farm in San Angelo to infiltrate the guarded kingdom of the vampire Sabrina and steal the cure. Mel will go back to her mentor, her friend, her betrayer, Sebastian, who is the only one who can access an underground vault that may house the secret to the cure.

That is, if he’s still alive after she staked him to the ground. Now her worst enemy may be their best hope for curing Lily—and saving the human race.

The post Review: The Vault by Emily McKay appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7. Guest Post and Giveaway: Laura Marie Altom, Author of Possess

Laura Marie Altom dropped by the virtual offices to share a top 5 list, and she also has a giveaway for you to enter!

Top 5 things I’ve Learned from Ella and Liam!/Laura Marie Altom

 

  1. Money can’t buy everything, but it sure does make life fun!! LOL!!

  2. I need to appreciate my parents, because some people—like Liam and Ella—have super crappy ones, and mine have been pretty great.

  3. When it comes to relationships, it’s always better to talk about issues as they crop up, rather than let them fester. Also, it’s a REALLY bad idea to run away when you have problems. That only makes them worse!!

  4. Don’t be afraid to dream. And when your first dreams come true—dream BIGGER!!!

  5. Never be afraid to tell someone you love them, because they might not always be there.

Possess
Shamed # 2

By: Laura Marie Altom

Releasing December 23rd, 2014

Loveswept

Blurb

Ella Patton and Liam Stone return in the breathtaking conclusion to the steamy, contentious love affair that began in Control.
Will you marry me? Those four little words should be a dream come true. But for Ella Patton, they’re the start of a waking nightmare. For despite the insatiable desire she feels for Liam Stone, marriage is out of the question—divorcing her abusive husband, Blaine, would be too dangerous to even contemplate. Besides, Ella couldn’t ask for anything more than the life she and Liam share: a scalding hot passion that’s totally outside the bounds of “I do.”
Liam has hit a brick wall. His fortune can’t buy Ella’s freedom from the oppressive monster the law recognizes as her husband. Blaine will take any opportunity to bring Ella back under his authority, no doubt exacting a terrible revenge as punishment for nearly slipping away. But Liam has a force greater than money and influence on his side: Ella’s love. She sparks his most unstoppable determination—and ignites pleasures that no man should be able to possess.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/possess-shamed-2-by-laura-marie-altom.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22747346-possess

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/134180-shamed

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Possess-Shamed-Laura-Marie-Altom-ebook/dp/B00LDQP13G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411409174&sr=1-1&keywords=Possess%3A+A+Shamed+Novel

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/possess-laura-marie-altom/1120133597?ean=9781101883402

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ee/book/possess/id896480810?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/possess-4

Author Info

Laura Marie Altom is the author of more than forty books in three different genres. Now that her kids are in college, Altom spends her days writing and chasing after a menagerie of pets: a mini long-haired dachshund named Cocoa, a Yorkie named Daisy, a mutt named Sweet Pea, and Domino—a black-and-white stealth cat she rarely sees. She’s happily married to her college sweetheart (go Hogs!), and when night falls, she steals a few romantic moments for herself with her own hunky cover stud.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.lauramariealtom.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraMarieAltom

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/131753.Laura_Marie_Altom

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 eGift Card to Choice Retailer and Loveswept Mug & Tote)

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8. Spotlight and Giveaway: Rough Around the Edges Meets Refined by Rachael Anderson

Rough Around the EdgesRough Around the Edges Meets Refined (Meet Your Match #2) by Rachael Anderson

For Noah Mackie, life is finally back on track. He has a great support system, a promised promotion is on its way, and he’s finally getting the hang of this single father thing. But when the job falls through and his neighbor’s matchmaking efforts become more aggressive, Noah is in for yet another unwanted detour. With his career and two spirited daughters to worry about, he doesn’t have time for dating—especially not someone like Cassie Ellis, his girls’ beautiful and sophisticated dance instructor, who is about as open and approachable as a brick wall.

Rough around the Edges Meets Refined is about two people who think they know exactly what they want but who have no idea what they really need. It’s about learning that people aren’t always what they seem and that sometimes life’s detours take you exactly where you need to go.

Purchase Your Copy from Amazon.com

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  RachaelAuthor Rachael Anderson USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

Through the curtains hanging across Noah’s front window, Cassie could see the glow of what appeared to be little white lights framing the window. She hesitated on the front porch, pulling her jacket tighter around the long, flowing top she’d chosen to wear with her favorite charcoal leggings, thinking that she should have worn sweats instead.

What would happen if she knocked on the door and allowed herself to dance with Noah? What if he tried to kiss her? Would she be strong enough to say not yet? Two months ago, she only knew this man as the father of two little girls in one of her dance classes. Now she was about to spend the evening dancing with him.

A breeze whipped at her cheeks, and Cassie glanced at her car parked in the driveway. She should leave right now and send him a text that she’d changed her mind. He might be disappointed, but he’d understand.

Or—her gaze returned to the glowing window—she could knock and dance with Noah like they’d danced before.

No big deal.

Her mom used to tell her: “Don’t run toward a relationship, but don’t run away from it either. If it’s right, it’ll just happen.”

It had sounded so easy, so smart. And Cassie had thought she was doing just that when she’d dated Landon. But looking back, she’d not only run toward marriage, she’d full on sprinted. She’d let the fog of twitterpation, fairy tales and romance cloud her judgment. Cassie hadn’t really known Landon and he hadn’t known her. It was like they’d fallen in love on a reality dating show, where nothing had been real. She’d been romanced, schmoozed, and swept off her feet. But she’d never been loved.

Looking back, it was all so clear to her now.

A shadow crossed in front of the window—a tall shadow with strong shoulders, a confident gait, and a good heart. Yes, it had only been two months since Cassie had met Noah. But in that short amount of time, he knew her better than Landon ever had—faults, quirks, Irish dancing, and all.

Maybe taking a small step forward wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

Cassie lifted her hand and rapped on the door. A moment later, it opened, and the dark shadow became Noah. His face was freshly shaved, his hair was slightly damp, and he wore a fitted, button-down shirt that was as blue as his eyes. Her breath caught.

“Wow,” said Noah. “You look beautiful.”

“And you look . . . great.” Too great. Her physical reaction to him was so strong that she wanted to sprint forward and forget all about taking her time.

Not good.

Noah opened the door wider. “Would you like to come in?”

Behind him, the soft glow of the lights created a sort of aura around him, and three beefy candles flickered on his bar. With the furniture pushed to the side, the room oozed romance. He probably smelled amazing too—just one more thing to sink her deeper into that quicksand.

Noah held out his hand. “Don’t be nervous, Cass. It’s just me.”

That was the problem. Noah wasn’t just anyone. He had the power to undo her. “Promise we won’t move too fast.” Her eyes pled with his.

“I promise,” he answered, wiggling his fingers. “I loaded a lot of slow songs, so we’ll be moving very slowly.”

 

 

25_Amazon_Paypal$25 Blog Tour Giveaway Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 1/19/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by readinglight.com. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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9. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves – All Fired Up 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 love all of the great sales in December. I went nuts at Harlequin.com last week – they had a BOGO sale so I BOGO’ed my little heart out.  They also have a new reward program, and I was able to pick up TALON by Julie Kagawa for FREE, as well as Smoke River Bride, which I have had my eye for what seems like forever.

My favorite arrival, though, was my new Kindle Fire HDX 7”.  Amazon had an awesome sale, and I was able to pick up a 7″ HDX Display, Wi-Fi, Optional 4G LTE Wireless,  with 32GB for $149 bucks!  I LOVE this thing!  Borrowing ebooks from the library is a breeze!  There’s a Scribd app so I can access my subscription account on it, and I downloaded the Overdrive app so I can read my Harlequin digital books on it.  Between this and my Kindle Paperwhite, I have no desire to read a paper book again, and I NEVER thought I would say that.

How was your week? Are you ready for Christmas?

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:

I had to buy some new books to test out the HDX, right??

The Remaining: Fractured (1.99)

The Remaining: Refugees (1.99)

I’d Tell You That I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill YOu (Borrowed from library)

The Heretic Queen (1.99)

 

The Road to Hell is Paved with Zombies (FREE)

Her Highland Fling

One Wish

Positive

Talon

Christmas Cowboy Duet by Marie Ferrarella

The Wrong Cowboy by Lauri Robinson

Pregnant by the Texan by Sara Orwig

Texas Mom by Roz Denny Fox

Montana Vet by Ann Roth

Because of the Baby… by Cat Schield

The Rancher’s City Girl by Patricia Johns

The New Cowboy by Rebecca Winters

The SEAL’s Holiday Babies by Tina Leonard

Romancing the Rancher by Stacy Connelly

More Than Neighbors by Janice Kay Johnson

Rodeo Dreams by Sarah M. Anderson

Cowboy in the Making by Julie Benson

His Favorite Cowgirl by Leigh Duncan

Crossing Nevada by Jeannie Watt

Once a Champion by Jeannie Watt

The Ranch Solution by Julianna Morris

Smoke River Bride (Free with reward points!)

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

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

 Subscribe in a reader

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10. Review: Sheikh’s Desert Duty by Maisey Yates

 

Please note that this review was originally posted at Romance @ Random

May Contain Spoilers:

I enjoy Maisey Yates’ writing, and I have a secret fascination with sheikhs, so how could I possibly resist Sheikh’s Desert Duty?  While I did ultimately enjoy the book, there are two plot points that kept me from enthusiastically recommending it.  Instead, I say read it with the following reservations.

First, it’s a kidnap trope. Zayn catches Sophie eavesdropping on him when he’s threatening James Chatsfield with bodily harm. The cad has gotten his younger sister pregnant, and Zayn just wants to choke the pompous ass to death.  When he discovers Sophie lurking in the shadows of the alley after James has made a hasty retreat, he isn’t sure how much she’s overheard.  To protect his family’s reputation and to stop yet another scandal from tainting the family name, he makes a drastic decision.  He’s going to take Sophie to his desert kingdom of Surhaadi until the entire thing blows over.

Sophie is a journalist digging up dirt on the Chatsfield family. They are trying to ruin her friend’s life, and Sophie’s not going to just sit idly by as Spencer Chatsfield takes over Isabelle’s hotel chain.  She is out for any information that will stop the sale, including hiding in rainy alleys spying on James. She doesn’t expect to be abducted.  But after Zayn makes a call to her boss, she finds herself on his private plane, jetting across the world.  Zayn has promised her boss an exclusive on his upcoming wedding, and now Sophie has no choice but to accompany him to Surhaadi.  If she doesn’t deliver the story, she’ll lose her job.

I don’t care for abduction stories. The hero holds all of the power, and the heroine is basically under his control.  Zayn never took advantage of the situation, but I am still not convinced that any romantic feelings under these circumstances would be real. Sophie even makes a reference to Stockholm syndrome, which made the background for their relationship even more jarring to me.

The other thing I didn’t like was that Zayn was engaged to be married. While his fiancée never makes an appearance, and it is made abundantly clear that he has no feelings for Christine and that their union was purely political, it still bothered me.  It made me question his character and wonder if he would be faithful to Sophie.  And for a guy who was avoiding scandals, this screamed “SCANDAL!!”

So, that’s what bothered me about the story.  Now I can share what I enjoyed.  I liked Sophie.  She is smart, funny, and driven.  After watching her mother ruin her life after falling in love with a married man, Sophie swore that she would never let that happen to her.  Love was a toxic thing for her mother, preventing her from seeking happiness.  Instead, she fawned after the crumbs of attention that were thrown her way.  Sophie’s father was never a presence in her life, and she resented that.  Her mother ignored her, her father never acknowledged her, and so she was determined to prove her worth to everyone.  Putting herself through school, struggling for everything she had, she worked with one goal in mind.  She wanted to make something of herself, confront her father, and make him see how worthy she is.

Love never played a part in her plans, and after a disappointing mashing of lips when she was in college, she determined that men were just not worth her time of day.  Zayn is the first man to make her heart race, and she finally begins to understand why her mother kept longing for the love of her life.  Sophie knows that Zayn is to be married soon, but she can’t stop herself from falling for him.  This finally made her see things from her mother’s perspective, though Sophie tells herself that she’s not going to let her feelings for Zayn to get out of hand. Ha!

Because of the problems I had with the plot, I can’t wholehearted recommend Sheikh’s Desert Duty.  I did enjoy it, but I had to push the problematic elements far to the back of my mind.  Since reader tolerance varies, some people might not be concerned with these points.  Yates’ writing is lively and engaging, so I would suggest reading it for that reason alone.

Grade:  B-/C+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

 

A Chatsfield Scandal!

Journalist Sophie Parsons needs a scoop to stop the sale of her friend’s hotel chain. And she’s found it! But being abducted by a sheikh goes way beyond the call of duty… 

Sheikh Zayn Al-Ahmar has a wedding to arrange, a sister to protect and a country to rule. He’s not going to let one woman bring it all down with a headline! Kidnapping Sophie seemed like a good idea, but soon her delectable company puts everything he values at risk.  

Only one mistress can rule Zayn’s heart—will it be Sophie, or his duty?  

Welcome to The Chatsfield, New York!

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11. Spotlight and Giveaway: A Newport Christmas Wedding by Shelly Noble

Sticking with the Christmas vibes, this morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Shelley Noble’s A Newport Christmas Wedding.  Enjoy!

A Newport Christmas Wedding:  A Breakwater Bay Novella

By: Shelley Noble

Releasing December 2nd, 2014

William Morrow Impulse

New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble returns to Newport with this lovely Christmas tale featuring all the characters you fell in love with in BREAKWATER BAY.

It’s Christmas in Newport. The mansions are decorated and the streets are filled with excitement. Across the bay, preparations are in full swing for the wedding of Meri Hollis and Alden Corrigan. A year ago, Meri never imagined that she would marry her best friend, Alden, or become step mother to his two teenaged children, Nora and Lucas.

But as the wedding day draws near, tension and emotions run high and Meri’s happiness turns to uncertainty. Nora is suddenly acting sullen and withdrawn, Alden is preoccupied, and Meri wonders if marrying Alden will bring the family closer together or tear them apart.

It seems like this wedding might be doomed before it begins until a special Christmas surprise brings home the meaning of family and the joy of the holidays.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/10/a-newport-christmas-wedding-breakwater.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21546213-a-newport-christmas-wedding

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes |Publisher

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Newport-Christmas-Wedding-Novella-ebook/dp/B00J7Q6232/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414582948&sr=8-1&keywords=a+newport+christmas+wedding

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-newport-christmas-wedding-shelley-noble/1120204269?ean=9780062362940

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/pt/book/a-newport-christmas-wedding/id867228624?l=en&mt=11

Publisher: http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062362940/a-newport-christmas-wedding

Excerpt:

“For an old lady, you sure are naïve.”

“I’m not. I’m just not like you, genius.” And she was glad she wasn’t.

“So is that all? I’ve got to study for my finals.”

“What am I going to do?”

“Learn to cope. It’s pretty much a done deal. And if you’re lucky, they’ll get a divorce soon.”

“That’s terrible.”

“That’s fact. Almost forty percent of second marriages fail within the first five years.”

“Do you want them to fail?”

“I want to study for my test. I’ll be home in a few days. I’m getting a ride with a friend and his parents. Now I have to go.”

They hung up.

The kitchen? Why did her thirteen year old brother think about things like that when she hadn’t?

But what did he know? He was just a kid who looked up statistics. Maybe she should get a third opinion. Not Gran or Meri. They would say of course they wanted her, because they wouldn’t want to hurt her feelings. And she would feel like such a jerk because she was thinking about herself instead of the wedding and how happy her dad was these days.

She could ask Carlyn when they went into Newport for Meri’s surprise bridal shower.

Or she could ask the one person who would really know. She hesitated. Immediately got that familiar sick feeling. She keyed in the numbers and hoped no one would pick up.

Author Info

Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer. She most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.shelleynoble.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyFreydont
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/shelleynoble3
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5560617.Shelley_Noble

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12. Holiday Blitz and Giveaway: My True Love Gave to Me by Kennedy Ryan

I have a bonus Christmas scene from When You Were Mine by Kennedy Ryan and giveaway  for you to enter, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

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A Holiday Greeting From Kennedy Ryan….

BonusScene

Enjoy a bonus Christmas scene from Cam’s POV from book 1, When You Are Mine

 

Cam slipped into Ms. Kris’s hospital room. He’d meant to come on his lunch break, but things had gotten hectic at the office. Now it was after five o’clock, and he probably wouldn’t have much time before Walsh showed up. He stopped just inside, shocked at how small and drawn she looked against the sterile white hospital sheets. Pain wrapped around his heart like a stubborn vine, squeezing out what little peace he’d had.

He remembered what life had been like before he’d met this incredible woman. The memory of that life haunted him, sometimes dogging him into his sleep, nightmare and memory inextricably woven.

Cam noticed for the first time the simple Christmas decorations someone, probably Jo, had put up. A small tree on the bedside table. A few white lights suspended over Ms. Kris’s hospital bed. A large poinsettia in the corner. The festive touches couldn’t dispel the sense of inevitability hovering in the room like an unwanted visitor.

Cam sat down and pulled out his sketchpad. He hated to see her this way; her light dimmed and, based on the news Kerris had broken to him about hospice, soon to be extinguished. He settled himself at the foot of her bed, careful not to disturb her. He propped the sketchpad on his knees, filling the blank page with the picture his mind’s eye stored of her at her most glorious. Her dark hair spilling around her shoulders, and the lovely skin pulled with taut vitality over the regal bones of her face. Her wide mouth spread into an infectious grin. She stirred, stilling his charcoal pencil and drawing his attention.

“Hi, beautiful.” He tossed the pad to the floor and crawled up to her end of the bed, lying down on top of the covers in her outstretched arms.

He closed his eyes, burrowing his nose into her neck, searching for her smell. Beneath the stench of illness, antiseptic and approaching death, it was still there. He inhaled, content to be held right here as his mother had never held him. Kristeene taught him what a mother should be, and though she’d always called him her second son, he never believed it. Been afraid or unable to accept it. When you have a son like Walsh Bennett, why would you want a worthless piece of shit like him? He’d never envied Walsh’s money or the compounded power that came with the Walsh and Bennett names. He’d envied this, though. He’d secretly coveted this goddess who had given birth to Walsh.

Entitled bastard had everything, had this, handed to him as an accident of birth, and now he wanted his wife.

“Kerris came to see me today,” Kristeene whispered, making Cam wonder if he’d fumed so much he had spoken aloud, or if Kisteene’s maternal clairvoyance kicked in as it had so many times before.

“She told me.”

“She’s so special, Cam.” Ms. Kris ran her hand over the almost shoulder length dark hair he’d left hanging loosely around his neck today.

“Yep.” Cam leaned into the gentle stroke like he had since he was thirteen years old.

“Did she tell you I’m going home tomorrow?” Ms. Kris fixed her gaze on the emotion he knew must be soaking his eyes.

“Ms. Kris, I can’t-I don’t know what I’ll do if you…”

“There’s no ‘if’, baby.” A trembling, skeletal hand traced the arch of his brows. “It’s gonna happen. This is my last Christmas. I’m dying.”

And inside of him, something was dying, too. Something that, early on, had been whipped into a mass of self-contempt, shame and rage, huddled in a corner when he’d first met this woman. It had healed and come to life under her compassion, love and acceptance. Cam was afraid it would die with her.

“I have a peace about it,” Kristeene said.

I don’t!

The denial rattled like a bell in his brain and shook his heart, but he wasn’t going to lay his shit on her; the fact that he couldn’t deal with a death she already seemed resigned to.

“How can you have peace about death?” His voice sounded hushed and solemn in his own ears.

“I believe in an afterlife, Cam. In Heaven, and I believe that’s where I’ll be. And I know that I’m leaving this earth with a clear heart. I didn’t do everything I wanted, but I did a lot. I paid attention to the things that were most important.”

She allowed a small silence to bathe them in contemplation before adding, “And I’ve forgiven.”

Cam stiffened, turning his head to consider her with narrowed eyes. Even sick and near death, she was cagey. There was no way Jo hadn’t told her something about what happened with Kerris and Walsh. She would have been curious about why they were never together when they visited; why they avoided each other like hand, foot and mouth disease.

“Forgiveness isn’t always an option, Ms. Kris.” He broke the words up into bite-size pieces in his mouth.

“When it’s your time, not forgiving isn’t an option. You only ask yourself why. Why would I hang onto that?’”

“I know exactly what I’m holding onto and why.” Cam slipped off the bed, scooping up his sketchpad and thrusting it under his arm, his movements jerky.

“You’ll have to forgive Walsh, Cam.” Kristeene’s breath hitched with the effort it took to pull herself up on her elbows.

“You don’t know what he’s done.” Cam glared at his Chuck Taylors, the black and white blurring with the rage wetting his eyes.

“He kissed Kerris,” Kristeene said, her voice heavy with sympathy.

Cam returned her steady gaze.

“And you think I should forgive him?”

“I think you have to. He and Jo are all the family you’ve got.”

“No, I’ve got Kerris.” Cam knifed the air with one long, slim hand. “And no one, not even your perfect son, will take her away from me.”

“Did you marry her even suspecting a little bit that there were feelings between them?” Kristeene probed and poked around the thing Cam had barely admitted to himself.

Cam glanced at Kristeene, a battered angel, earthbound and more vulnerable, but more fierce, than he’d ever seen her.

“You think I have cancer,” she said. “You just keep holding onto unforgiveness. It’ll eat away at you from the inside. It’ll spread to everything good in your life and destroy it. Including your marriage.”

“He shouldn’t have kissed her.” The lean lines of his body petrified into stone with no outlet for his hostility. “He had no right.”

“No, he had no right. He was wrong, and I’m sure if they could take it back, they would. But they can’t, Cam. And you can let that one moment haunt and destroy your marriage and cost you the best friend you’ve ever had, or you can let it go and move on. Knowing they won’t hurt you like that again. Knowing it was a mistake.”

“I’m not ready for that.” His fingers clawed into twitchy balls at his side, aching to squeeze Walsh’s throat. “I keep seeing them together in my head, and I can’t stand to look at him.”

“You don’t hold her responsible at all?” Kristeene raised the skin where her eyebrows used to rest before radiation left it smooth and naked like a baby’s.

“I know Kerris and I know Walsh. I know who made the first move; who initiated this. He’s been in love—” he cut himself off, turning away to face the window.

“So you did know.”

“I’d have to be blind not to know he felt something for her. At first I assumed he just wanted to screw her like most guys, but then I realized it was more than that.”

“More like what you felt for her?” Kristeene pressed. “And you were afraid, if given time, she’d choose him?”

“Who wouldn’t choose him?” Cam pressed his forehead against the coolness of the window glass. “He could have anyone. She was for me. You know? And I had to lock that down.”

“Seems like an honest conversation would have saved us all a lot of trouble.” Kristeene slurred her words behind him. “But since that didn’t happen, we are where we are. We can’t stay here, Cam.”

“I don’t know where else to go.” Cam laid his clutched fist against the window pane. “I can’t give her up, but I can’t forget. And I can’t forgive Walsh, but I feel like somebody cut my right hand off.”

Met with silence, Cam turned to watch Kristeene, who had dropped off practically mid-sentence into a drug-induced slumber. Had he tired her out? What would he do when she wasn’t around to talk him off ledges?

Jump.

He leaned over her now-still form. He noticed goose bumps on her thin arms and tucked the sheets around her.

“I’ll see you tomorrow.” He kissed the silk scarf covering her slick scalp. “Mom.”

He’d only dared to imagine calling her that, even though she called him son. The sweet rush of feeling almost brought him to his knees by her bed in a weeping, snotty, begging, incoherent pool of grief. He tightened his mouth, staving it off for now, though he saw it coming like a tsunami, and him its helpless shore.

Cam left Kristeene’s room, running his hands over his face in a quick, impatient motion. He bushed away the last of his tears. He glanced at his watch, surprised to see he’d been with Kristeene for more than an hour. He pulled up short on his way to the elevator. Walsh was headed toward him, tall and lean in his gray suit, a preoccupied frown darkening his expression. Cam was prepared to walk right past him, refusing to entertain Kristeene’s admonition to forgive.

I ain’t forgiving shit.

Walsh had other ideas, stepping directly into Cam’s path.

“How was she?” Walsh bypassed the small talk.

“Resting.” Cam addressed his response to some point over Walsh’s shoulder. He tried to step around Walsh, only to find him blocking his way again.

“Step the hell back, Bennett.” Cam spiked the glare he gave Walsh.

“We have to talk about this,” Walsh said, obviously unafraid of Cam’s malevolent regard, unfazed by the barely checked threat clearly written in his fighter’s stance.

“What should we talk about, Walsh? The fact that you want to fuck my wife?” Cam’s voice was a low blow.

“It was a mistake.” Walsh made a quick sweep of their surroundings, looking at the few people waiting in the reception area. “We got emotional talking about Haiti. She was comforting me and it just went there. It won’t happen again.”

“You won’t get the chance again. What part of staying out of our life don’t you understand?”

“The part where you and I aren’t brothers anymore,” Walsh snapped back, fire in his eyes and words. “Dude, you’re not going to throw away years of friendship over one kiss.”

“One kiss. You think I was born yesterday.”

“What?” Cam saw caution creep into Walsh’s eyes.

Cam leaned forward, all aggressive, outraged male. Teeth bared.

“You love her.”

Walsh looked back at him, weariness in every line of his face; written in his eyes. And Cam could see that he was tired of the lies; tired of denying what was in his heart.

“Yeah, I love her,” Walsh said. “But we can figure this out. I’d never do anything about it.”

“Asshole.” Cam brushed past him and prowled toward the elevators. “You already did.”

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?READ THE SERIES?

3 Bennetts

Book 1 – When You Are Mine

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Book 2 – Loving You Always

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Pre-Order Book 3 – Be Mine Forever *can be read as a standalone but the richest reading experience comes with reading all three in the series*

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**READER REWARDS!** Kennedy wants to reward readers who spread the word! We are building a team of readers who will shout about BE MINE FOREVER. In exchange for your voice, we’ll give ARCs of the book, gift cards and other prizes. Sign up HERE if you’d like more information or to be involved!

AboutTheAuthor Kennedy Ryan writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She always give her characters their happily ever after, but loves to make them work for it! It’s a long road to love, so sit back and enjoy the ride.  In an alternative universe and under her government issue name, Tina Dula, she is a wife to the love of her life, mom to a special, beautiful son, and a friend to those living with autism through her foundation Myles-A-Part, serving Georgia families. Her writings on Autism have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, and she has been featured on the Montel Williams Show, NPR, Headline News and others. She is donating a portion of her proceeds to her own foundation and to her charitable partner, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA). Her interview series MOMMIES DO THE MOST AMAZING THINGS is featured each month in  Modern Mom.

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The post Holiday Blitz and Giveaway: My True Love Gave to Me by Kennedy Ryan appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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13. Guest Post and Giveaway: Jennifer Chance, Author of Want It

Please welcome Jennifer Chance back to the virtual offices this morning! She’s here to share some info about Zander, the hero of her latest release WANT IT. 

Zander’s top five nom-nom-nominations for comfort foods

Julie, hello—I hope you are ready for Christmas already! ? Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Many of us are still recovering from the culinary masterpiece that was Thanksgiving and gearing up for the awesome that is Christmas. So when faced with the question of best-ever comfort foods, how could we possibly decide?

Fortunately, Zander James, Army Ranger, is up to the task. Serving your country can really work up an appetite in a guy, so Zander definitely has some ideas on go-to comfort foods.

1. Mac N’ Cheese

Zander’s rockin’ it old school with this option, but don’t tell his mom: He actually prefers Kraft® Macaroni-N-Cheese to her standard Mac n’ Cheese casserole. There’s just something about the stay-bright yellow coloring, tiny curved pasta tubes, and amazing powdered cheese goodness that takes you all the way back to being eight years old. Zander prefers to eat his Mac-N-Cheese with a dollop of ketchup. . . even thought that’s clearly disgusting. You gotta go with barbecue sauce.

2. Picnic Food

Like most moms faced with a houseful of kids on a summer day, Zander’s mother knew how to throw one heck of a barbecue. Zander grew up loving all the very best picnic foods: hamburgers, hot dogs, cole slaw, baked beans, barbecue pork, and every chip and dip combination imaginable. But the best part of those get togethers? The lemonade—a high-sugar homemade drink that was even better than the kind you get at street fairs. Zander just needs one sip of that lemonade to take him all the way back home.

3. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Winters in Boston can get pretty cold, but there’s no chill that a bowl of hot tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich can’t chase away. Zander was never picky on his soup—if it looked like tomato and tasted like tomato, he was happy enough, and was never inclined to experiment. The grilled cheese sandwich, however, was a moveable feast. As a kid, you had to go with sliced American cheese on white bread. But now, as a discerning adult, Zander is up for any cheese and bread combination, from cheddar to provolone to swiss—on top of whole wheat, sourdough, or crusty French bread. He’s still waiting to find a combination he doesn’t like!

4. Texas Sheet Cake

Imagine an inch-tall chocolate cake, covered with a layer of sweet chocolate icing and sprinkled with nuts, and imagine it all baked in a cake pan the size of Texas… you pretty much have Texas sheet cake. The beauty of this cake is that it tastes even better the next day, and because it is so short, you can cut off just a square every time you pass through the kitchen. When Texas sheet cake was in the house, Zander and his friends found lots of reasons to pass through the kitchen in the James’s residence!

5. Well… it used to be Mexican.

Tacos, nachos, chips and salsa, huevos rancheros, refried or charro beans, enchiladas, burritos… there is so much win in Mexican food, that Zander never imagined that his taste for the fiesta would die. However, that was before he spent three nerve-wracking days in a Mexican border town with a very stubborn ex-girlfriend who was determined to save her parents from some very bad people who’ve done some very bad things. Combine all of that with a few too many tortilla chips, and anyone would start to think “no mas”. Zander can only hope Erin’s next life-or-death problem doesn’t take them to Italy. Mmmmm, Italian food. . .

And that’s Zander’s list! Of the above, I confess that MOST of these are my favorites as well, as an author, but one of them I could leave behind quite easily. Still, especially during the holidays, comfort foods seem to be the bane of my existence . . . no wonder so many New Year’s Resolutions center around losing weight!

Want It
Rule Breakers # 3

By: Jennifer Chance

Releasing December 9th, 2014

Loveswept

Blurb

In the latest tantalizing Rule Breakers novel from Jennifer Chance, an irresistible alpha male follows his ex into a deadly standoff—and reignites a heated affair.

For Erin Connelly, being a good girl isn’t such a bad thing. She’s working her dream job at a Boston art gallery and staying out of trouble, which is more than she can say for her deadbeat mom. Unfortunately, her mother’s latest misadventure lands her in the clutches of a Mexican drug lord. Now the only person who can save her is the one man Erin has no business asking for help: the sexy-as-sin army ranger who just so happens to be her former high school sweetheart.

Zander James is no gentleman—and no officer, either, thanks to Erin. Four years ago, she made a call that terminated his highest aspirations . . . and their relationship. He’s never forgiven her, but when he learns that Erin’s embarking on a half-baked rescue mission, he sure as hell can’t let her go alone. Now, with a treacherous enemy lying in wait, the electrifying tension between them may just be Zander’s undoing. Because while he may be able to keep Erin alive, he can’t promise to keep his hands off her.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/want-it-rule-breakers-3-by-jennifer.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22676320-want-it?from_search=true

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Want-Rule-Breakers-Jennifer-Chance-ebook/dp/B00KAFVO64/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411406218&sr=1-1&keywords=Want+It+%28Rule+Breakers%29

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/want-it-jennifer-chance/1119471244?ean=9780553392272

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/want-it/id914361097?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/want-it

Author Info

Jennifer Chance is the award-winning author of the new adult Rule Breakers series. A lover of books, romance, and happily-ever-afters, she lives and writes in Ohio.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.jenniferchance.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorJenniferChance
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jenn_Chance
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7303154.Jennifer_Chance

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14. Spotlight and Giveaway: A Christmas Melody by Roberta Capizzi

 
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Valerie and Ryan have been living the American dream in Boston for more than ten years. Best friends since adolescence, their feelings changed when Ryan nearly lost his life. Now they’re engaged and can’t wait to break the news to their families and get married.

Valerie has been dreaming of getting married on Christmas Eve since she was a child, and a Christmas wedding back home in Dublin seems like a very romantic way of celebrating the most important day of their lives.

Back on home soil Valerie and Ryan are surrounded by the love of their families and things start to change as homesickness creeps into their hearts. Can seven days erase a decade of hard work and life-long dreams? Or is it only a little nostalgia caused by the festive season?

Doubts fill their minds as they start questioning their choices, until an unexpected complication, only days before the wedding, makes Valerie and Ryan realize it’s time they decided where they really belong.

A sweet Christmas romance that will warm your heart this yuletide season and all year long, A Christmas Melody is a novella and a short sequel to The Melody In Our Hearts, but can also be read as a standalone.


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A Christmas Melody Playlist

 
 
 
 
An avid reader since her childhood years and being an only child, Roberta always enjoyed the company of her fictional friends from the children’s books she loved reading, while she dreamed of writing her own stories one day.

It was when she discovered novels by authors Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy in her teenage years that she realized it was time she put down in words the stories she had kept well hidden in her mind until then.

What started as a hobby, soon turned into a real passion and a way of life, until she could no longer keep the stories to herself, and decided to get over her fears and share them with the world.

Roberta lives in Italy, but her dream is to move out of her country and live either in a thatched cottage in the Irish countryside or in a country house with a swing on the back porch, somewhere in the United States, where she would love to spend her days writing novels as a full-time job, and maybe one day even get as far as writing a screenplay for a movie.

 




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15. Interview and Giveaway: Monica Murphy, Author of Owning Violet

This morning I have an interview with Monica Murphy, as well as a copy of Owning Violet to give away!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Monica Murphy] Wife, mom, workaholic, dedicated

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Owning Violet?

[Monica Murphy] Absolutely! OWNING VIOLET is the first in The Fowler Sisters series and is about the middle Fowler sister, Violet. She works for her family’s cosmetics company (Fleur) and when the book starts out, she believes her life is set and is going to follow a specific pattern. But it doesn’t. She gets thrown for a loop and then Ryder McKay enters her life…and really starts messing with her head. He works for Fleur as well and wants to use Violet to get ahead. But of course, he ends up falling madly in love with her…

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

[Monica Murphy] It’s fairly late in the book and I don’t want to reveal too much because of spoilers but there’s a moment where Violet rushes back to her place to meet up with Ryder and he’s waiting for her. And he’s jealous but doesn’t know how to deal with it. Here’s a glimpse:

The moment I enter the lobby of my building I see him.

Pacing near the bank of elevators, the expression on his face fierce. He doesn’t even notice me at first, what with the way he’s scowling and staring at the ground, and I watch him for one unguarded moment, loving the way he checks his cell. In the hopes he has a message from me, perhaps?

I clear my throat and he whirls around, his expression softening in an instant. But he remains coolly impassive, keeping his distance as I approach him and reach out, pressing the button for the penthouse floor.

“Hi,” I murmur, stepping back.

“Hello,” he greets in return, shoving his hands into the front pockets of his dark-rinse jeans. He looks amazing. The spring night has turned cool and he’s wearing a black Henley shirt that hugs his torso, his biceps straining against the sleeves. I always see him in suits—or naked—and I savor these moments when I get to admire him in such casual clothing.

He looks good no matter what he wears.

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

[Monica Murphy] I loved Violet’s journey. She really changed and grew in this book. So did Ryder. But I loved how strong Violet became. She surprised everyone, including me.

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

[Monica Murphy] My cell phone! Oh God, I am so dependent on that thing it’s pitiful.

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

[Monica Murphy] My iPhone (see? LOL), a now empty can of diet Coke and a pile of receipts I need to file.

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

[Monica Murphy] Lately it’s been Sour Patch Kids watermelon flavor. They’re so good! I blame my daughter for turning me on to them.

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

[Monica Murphy] Umm, that’s a tough question! I’m going to say Jennifer Lawrence because I like her attitude and she knows Liam Hemsworth so win/win. I’d go visit Liam and ask him to invite his brother Chris over. Heh heh.

[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?

[Monica Murphy] Teletransport! So I can go wherever I want whenever I want. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I’d be doing a lot of heavy traveling that week.

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

[Monica Murphy] I read a YA book entitled The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel and OMG so so good. Another book I read was Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick – loved! I went on a YA binge. 

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

[Monica Murphy] My website is: http://monicamurphyauthor.com

I’m on Twitter all the time: http://twitter.com/msmonicamurphy

And Facebook of course: http://facebook.com/MonicaMurphyAuthor

Pinterest too! Oh that place is a dangerous time suck: http://www.pinterest.com/msmonicamurphy/

Thank you for having me at your blog!

[Monica Murphy] Thank you for taking the time to answer my question!

New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy begins a sexy new contemporary romance series—perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Emma Chase—that introduces three sisters born to wealth, raised to succeed, ready to love, destined to make waves.

I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and survived. The one who devoted herself to her family’s business empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary—perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch . . . and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug, and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure, and I believe him. For once, I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.

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16. Spotlight and Giveaway: Running Hot by HelenKay Dimon

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Running Hot by Helenkay Dimon.  Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

Excerpt:

Ward Bennett jerked back into consciousness. One shift and he nearly wrenched his shoulder out of its socket. He didn’t need to see the plastic zip tie to know that’s what dug into his wrists and bound them behind his back.

Moving his ankle, he didn’t meet any resistance. The person who shackled him made a pretty big miscalculation. As if he needed his hands to escape. Any idiot could break a zip tie. But first he had to figure out how he got in this position and why.

That must have been one hell of a date. It was a fucking shame he couldn’t remember one minute of it.

Humidity made his skin slick and sweat gathered between his shoulder blades as he scanned the open area. He’d been in similar structures for a week now but didn’t recognize this particular one. He’d call it a bungalow or cabana of sorts. The locals referred to it as a bure. Wooden beams, a thatched straw ceiling soaring a good twenty feet above his head, open walls, and not a stick of furniture other than the chair he was tied to.

A warm breeze blew over him and darkness fell around him on all sides. He could make out the shadow of trees and smell the ocean in the distance. He strained to listen for the usual sounds of the resort – the mumble of conversation and ever-present local music piped through the speakers, maybe the sound of motorboats in the distance – but heard nothing.

People described this place as paradise. Right now, to him, Fiji pretty much sucked.

As soon as the thought registered, footsteps echoed around him. The gentle sway of hips came into view. His gaze traveled up the tanned, lean legs peeking out from under the navy cargo shorts. Then to the sliver of bare stomach visible at the bottom of slim tank top and to the impressive breasts filling out the top of it. He finally landed on that face.

Tasha Gregory, the damn-she’s-hot, smooth-talking bartender from the Waitui Resort. The same one with the husky voice that made him stupid. From the slight wave in her long blond hair to the big brown eyes, everything about her worked for him. Which was how they ended up at her place last night…but the rest between then and now was a blur.

Running Hot
Bad Boys Undercover # 0.5

By: HelenKay Dimon

Releasing December 16th, 2014

Avon Romance

Blurb

HelenKay Dimon kicks off her hot new romantic suspense series, Bad Boys Undercover, featuring the fierce men of Alliance—and the only women capable of taming their hearts.

Camped out at a resort bar in Fiji, CIA operative Ward Bennett may look like he’s on vacation but he’s really deep undercover, hunting a dictator on the run. Ward may be on the job, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for the sexy female bartender. That is, until she drugs him.

When Tasha Gregory discovers the hottie on the barstool isn’t who he pretends to be, her MI6 training kicks into gear, and she has no choice but to take him out. Problem is, Ward’s not an easy man to put down for long. More than once, his interference almost blows her surveillance operation—and her ability to keep her heart to herself.

As the situation heats up, these two must decide whether they can trust one another—and quick. Working together might just make everyone safer, but getting close enough for comfort … might just get them killed.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/11/running-hot-bad-boys-undercover-novella.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21546205-running-hot

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/127877-bad-boys-undercover

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Running-Hot-Boys-Undercover-Novella-ebook/dp/B00J7Q620K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416174146&sr=8-1&keywords=running+hot+by+helenkay+dimon&pebp=1416174149581

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/running-hot-helenkay-dimon/1119887861?ean=9780062357823

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/running-hot/id847613513?mt=11

Author Info

HelenKay Dimon is a former divorce attorney turned full-time romance author. Odd transition, right? She has sold over thirty novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers, including Kensington, Harlequin and Penguin, Samhain, Carina Press, and HarperCollins. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. But the best part of the job is never having to wear pantyhose.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://helenkaydimon.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/helenkaydimon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/70860.HelenKay_Dimon

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17. Review: Mai Tai’d Up by Alice Clayton

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This is the first novel by Alice Clayton that I’ve read.  I have been avoiding reading her, because I’m getting tired of New Adult in general, but when I saw in the blurb that protagonist Chloe runs a pit bull rescue, I couldn’t start reading this fast enough.  I was expecting a spicier romp, but Mai Tai’d Up turned out to be a sweet friends to lovers story, with a great sense of humor, a heroine who won’t settle for the easy way out, and a lot of dogs.  Oh, there’s also a couple of very hot smexy times near the end of the book.

Chloe Patterson decides on the morning of her wedding that her fiancé, Charles, isn’t the man for her.  He doesn’t make her heart go pitter-patter, he’s a stick in the mud, and he has a little willy.  Sure, he’s rich and powerful, but she doesn’t love him.  And he doesn’t love her.  So she packs up her car (after getting kicked out of her pissed off mother’s house), and heads up the coast to her father’s vacation home in Monterey.

At first, I didn’t much care for Chloe.  She’s a former beauty queen, she was raised in luxury and has never wanted for anything, and she seemed very young and immature for a 24 year old.  She let her mother run her life, and she didn’t really have any goals outside of being a housewife and raising a passel of kids.  I had a hard time relating to that.  It’s not until the wedding is looming right before her that she takes a close, hard look at what her life would be like if she married Charles, and she runs like a bat out of hell in the other direction.  It’s after they have a disagreement about her volunteer work that she realizes that a future with Charles would soon be tedious and unfulfilling.

After settling in her father’s place, she takes up an offer from a friend.  While working with therapy dogs during her pageant days, she met Lou and was smitten – with his pit bull.  Lou wants to open a branch of his rescue organization in northern California, and Chloe decides to accept the challenge.  Her new home has more than enough land to host the rescue, and before you can say “Adopt me!” she’s got a game plan, as well as a life plan, and she is excited to finally have a goal that is hers and hers alone.  It’s not something that her mother wants her to do, it’s something that she wants to do. For herself.  It’s exhilarating!

All rescue organizations need help, and Lou gives Chloe a lead on a good vet to help care for her charges.  Lucas is a 3rd generation veterinarian working at his family’s clinic, and he’s gorgeous.  Chloe can’t stop drooling over him.  The problem?  Lucas is still smarting after his bride-to-be left him at the altar.  How can she possibly come clean about her past behavior when she did almost exactly the same thing?  Besides, they are both on the rebound, and Lucas is leaving the country soon for a 12 week volunteer trip to provide veterinary services in Belize.  Instead, they agree to be buddies and just hang out together.  Lucas can show Chloe around town and help her with the pit bull rescue.

I enjoyed this book so much!  It’s light and fast-paced and it never dragged.  I liked seeing the relationship between Chloe and Lucas grow and blossom into something more than friendship.  They have a lot in common, and they both have a great sense of humor.  They are also supportive of each other’s goals, and they are there for the other.  When Chloe needs help picking up a rescue, Lucas is right there to give her a hand.  When he wants company on a paddle board outing, she’s game, as long as she doesn’t see any fins in the water.

The rescue plays a big part in the plot, and because I am such a huge proponent of pet adoption, I loved all of the details.  The rescue gone wrong had me sniffling.  The dogs gave Chloe the agency to change into a more caring and compassionate person.  They also gave her the determination to stand up to her controlling mother.  And what can I say about Lucas?  I love vet heroes. 

Mai Tai’d Up is the perfect vacation read.  It’s funny and sweet, it’s about a cause I care about, and it has a super adorable hero.  It kept me up reading late into the evening, and was very hard for me to put down.  Now I’m excited to read some of the author’s backlist.  Where should I start?

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Looking for the perfect mix of smart, sexy, and sassy? Mai Tai’d Up continues New York Times bestselling author Alice Clayton’s Cocktail series, which began with Wallbanger and continued with Rusty Nailed and Screwdrivered.

The gossip mill in the seaside community of Monterey is churning about Chloe Patterson, the newcomer who is starting a sanctuary for rescued pit bulls. It’s rumored that she’s a former beauty queen (true) who ditched her fiancé the morning of their wedding (also true). And that while she’s not looking for a new man, the good-looking local veterinarian has his eye on her. Absolutely, positively true.

When Lucas Campbell isn’t at the family veterinary clinic, he’s paddle boarding in Monterey Bay. Recently single, he’s definitely not in the market for a new relationship, but he still can’t resist taking a second, third, and fourth look at the recent arrival of Miss Golden State.

Neither Lucas nor Chloe has any interest in being tied down. Being tied up, however—now there’s a thought. But are a few Mai Tais, a moonlit night, and the music of Frank Sinatra enough to allow them both to forget their past? Let’s hope Ol’ Blue Eyes knows what he’s doing.

Mix one part tiki, one part kinky, and a splash of old black magic matchmaking, and it’s time to be . . . Mai Tai’d Up.

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18. Guest Post and Giveaway: Cynthia Sax, Author of Sinful Rewards

Please welcome Cynthia Sax to the virtual offices this morning!

Cynthia Sax Asks “What Is Love?”

Before I fell in love at first sight with the dear wonderful (now) hubby, I didn’t know what romantic love was. I didn’t truly believe in it and I certainly didn’t believe in love at first sight.

People would ask me if I’d ever been in love and I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know what love was. Was it friendship with a sprinkle of lust? Was it excitement? Was it comfort? Had I already fallen in love and didn’t know it?

Then I experienced the phenomena and I knew I’d never been in love. I realized what romantic love was, how it felt to trust another person completely, to put his welfare before my own (not that he’d ever allow this), to have another person in my life and think “I’m the luckiest woman in the world” for this.

In Sinful Rewards 6, Bee and Cyndi discuss what they believe love is.

***

“I don’t love anyone either.” Cyndi gazes at the ceiling also, the moisture on her cheeks glistening under the lights. “No one falls in love over a weekend.”

“That rarely happens even in the movies,” I agree, admittedly having no real-world experience with the emotion. “Love takes time to develop. It’s slow and steady and lasts forever.”

“That sounds boring.”

“Love isn’t boring, but it isn’t easy either. You’ll have to work at it every day, and you’ll want to do that because you’ll want him.” I paraphrase lines from movies I’ve watched. “He’ll complete you.”

***

The first bit of Bee’s description of love (…it isn’t easy…) comes from The Notebook. The last bit (He’ll complete you) is from Jerry Maguire. Watching characters fall in love in movies is Bee’s only experience with romantic love.

Until it happens to her.

Sinful Rewards is a love triangle. Bee is torn between a billionaire with a dark secret and a tattooed bad boy biker. They’re both good men, worthy romance heroes, honorable, sexy, lovable.

Bee thinks she’s in love with one man but she’s truly in love with the other. It is only when she compares her feelings for the two men that she realizes what romantic love is. She finally understands what the characters in the movies were experiencing.

Have you been in love? Was the experience anything like you expected? In your opinion, do movies and books portray love correctly?

Sinful Rewards # 6
A Billionaires & Bikers Novella # 6

By: Cynthia Sax

Releasing December 16th, 2014

Avon Red Impulse

Blurb

Bee Carter has spent a lifetime creating her good-girl persona. Three harsh words uttered in anger shred this carefully crafted façade, testing her relationships.

Nicolas, her handsome billionaire, is hiding a decades-old secret. Bee’s scandal will draw unwanted attention to his dark past, placing the real estate empire he’s built and the employees he manages in peril. Hawke, her tattooed bad-boy biker, protects the rich and famous. His high-profile clients won’t want their bodyguard to be linked to Chicago’s wild woman.

Both men desire her, craving her touch with a white-hot passion, but who will risk everything to stand by her side—her biker or her billionaire?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/11/sinful-rewards-billionaires-and-bikers.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21546203-sinful-rewards-6?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/136907-sinful-rewards

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sinful-Rewards-Billionaires-Bikers-Novella-ebook/dp/B00J7Q61WO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416173517&sr=8-1&keywords=sinful+rewards+6

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sinful-rewards-6-cynthia-sax/1119919840?ean=9780062354204

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sinful-rewards-6/id847609485?mt=11

Author Info

Cynthia Sax lives in a world filled with magic and romance. Although her heroes may not always say, “I love you,” they will do anything for the women they adore. They live passionately. They play hard. They love the same women forever. Cynthia has loved the same wonderful man forever. Her supportive hubby offers himself up to the joys and pains of research while they travel the world together, meeting fascinating people and finding inspiration in exotic places such as Istanbul, Bali, and Chicago.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://cynthiasax.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cynthia.sax
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CynthiaSax
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3292466.Cynthia_Sax

Sinful Rewards Series Buy Links

Sinful Rewards 1

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sinful-Rewards-1-Cynthia-Sax-ebook/dp/B00I7V89H0

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sinfulrewards1-1560586-237.html

Barnes And Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sinful-rewards-1-cynthia-sax/1119055390

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Cynthia_Sax_Sinful_Rewards_1?id=g08ZAwAAQBAJ

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sinful-rewards-1/id814148703?mt=11

Sinful Rewards 2

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sinful-Rewards-Billionaires-Bikers-Novella-ebook/dp/B00I7V89HA

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sinfulrewards2-1581413-149.html

Barnes And Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sinful-rewards-2-cynthia-sax/1119919836

Google: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9780062354129

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sinful-rewards-2/id814153762

Sinful Rewards 3

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sinful-Rewards-Billionaires-Bikers-Novella-ebook/dp/B00I7V89JS

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sinfulrewards3-1613793-149.html

Barnes And Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sinful-rewards-3-cynthia-sax/1119919837

Google: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9780062354143

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sinful-rewards-3/id814148707

Sinful Rewards 4

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sinful-Rewards-Billionaires-Bikers-Novella-ebook/dp/B00I7V89N4

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sinfulrewards4-1645053-149.html

Barnes And Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sinful-rewards-4-cynthia-sax/1119919839

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Cynthia_Sax_Sinful_Rewards_4?id=PvxzAwAAQBAJ

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sinful-rewards-4/id814148698

Sinful Rewards 5

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sinful-Rewards-5-Cynthia-Sax-ebook/dp/B00IMHU7FG

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sinful-rewards-5-cynthia-sax/1119919838?ean=9780062354167&isbn=9780062354167

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sinfulrewards5-1663924-237.html

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sinful-rewards-5/id828414457?mt=11

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25 Amazon eGift Card to Purchase a Sinful Holiday Gift of your choosing!)

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Cynthia Sax, Author of Sinful Rewards appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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19. Spotlight and Giveaway: Just for Christmas Night by Lisa Marie Perry

I enjoyed Midnight Games, the 2nd book in the Blue Dynasty series, so I’m happy to share an excerpt and giveaway for Just for Christmas Night by Lisa Marie Perry.

 
Enter to Win
$10.00 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
and
Signed Copy of JUST FOR CHRISTMAS NIGHT
 

 
A red-hot holiday

Pro football publicist Martha Blue has something to prove. To protect the image of the Las Vegas Slayers—and stay employed— she has to shed her party-girl reputation. Fast! So no more mistakes. No further scandals. And absolutely no falling for the one man who can give her everything she wants…and nothing of what she needs.
 
Danger and desire never mixed well for undefeated prizefighter Joaquin Ryder. A friend of the Blue family, he’s a man who knows his boundaries…boundaries he has secretly crossed only once before. Now that he’s back in Sin City to train for the biggest fight of his career, he can’t afford to let a sexy distraction like Martha put him against the ropes. Revisiting their sizzling past is something he isn’t willing to risk—until a steamy Yuletide encounter, where for just one night, they’ll surrender completely….


BUY NOW
 
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
 
Lisa Marie Perry encounters difficult fictional men and women on a daily basis. She writes contemporary romance fiction with plenty of sizzle, energy and depth. Flawed, problematic, damaged characters are welcome. Her tales feature exciting multicultural mash-ups, sexy guy-next-door heroes and powerful larger-than-life alphas who are brought to their knees by the love of complicated women.

According to Lisa Marie, an imagination’s a terrible thing to ignore. So is a good cappuccino. After years of college, customer service gigs and a career in caregiving, she at last gave in to buying an espresso machine and writing to her imagination’s desire. She lives in America’s heartland and she has every intention of making the Colorado mountains her new stomping grounds. She drives a truck, enjoys indie rock, collects Medieval literature, watches too many comedies, has a not-so-secret love for lace and adores rugged men with a little bit of nerd.






 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Excerpt:

Joaquin’s heart staggered, bearing the impact when he saw Martha waltz into the study a few steps ahead of her mother.

Some women had butts, others had asses. Martha had an ass, and it shone under the metallic gold-green fabric that fondled her slender body as she moved.

She was all bronze and shimmer and curves and long limbs, scarcely contained in a gown held together by strands of jewels.

A meaningful, appreciative glance passed between the attorneys, and Joaquin eyed them coldly.

Martha arrived at the desk, set down a shopping bag. “Merry Christmas, Pop.” She wiggled a sprig of something woven into her shiny, slicked hair.

Mistletoe. She’d tied mistletoe in her hair.

“Careful of my makeup,” she warned, offering her cheek for a kiss. To the rest of them, she said, “Excuse me, fellas, but my father insists that I knock, so—” She rapped on his desk obnoxiously.

“All right. All right.” Marshall’s smile appeared painful, but it was genuine. “Go, men. Enjoy the party.”

As the attorneys left, accepting drinks from the server waiting at his post, Joaquin approached Martha. She stood between her parents now, a treasure dangling out of his reach, a beauty out of his realm.

“Merry Christmas,” Joaquin said to her, presenting the oversize candy cane.

At the exact moment she ventured forward, suddenly near enough to taste.

Grab her face, lick into her mouth. Pull her close, drink her moans.

Rather than do it and have Tem threaten castration or Marshall call him out for a street fight, he laid the cane in her hand and murmured against her hair, “So you won’t steal mine the next time you’re in my ride.”

A snort of wry laughter or a smartass remark was expected. Not crystalline tears.

“I need to speak with my parents.” Taking the candy, she added in the silkiest whisper, “Tonight, if you want me, Joaquin, find me.”

It was the sexiest proposition he’d ever heard, or the most baffling. Either way, he left the office dazed, hard and confused.

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Just for Christmas Night by Lisa Marie Perry appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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20. Review: A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise by Maggie McGinnis

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I decided to read A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise  because both protagonists are veterinarians.  Hayley is a big city vet, tending to pampered show cats, while Daniel is a large animal vet in rural Montana.  Hayley really wanted to be an equine vet, but obligations to her uncle changed her focus to small animals instead.  One of the things I enjoyed about the book was Hayley’s enthusiasm for Daniel’s line of work.  He’s an overworked vet, the only animal caregiver for hundreds of miles.  Even though he has two young daughters, he finds solace in his busy workload.  Since the death of his wife, he’s been trying to cope with his grief and be a loving father, but there are times when he’s overwhelmed juggling his work and home schedules.

Hayley is a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of girl; she has no intentions of ever settling down, and her longest relationship lasted a record two months.  Visiting Montana for her friend’s wedding (Kyla from Accidental Cowgirl), Hayley realizes that she needs to stay far, far away from Daniel.  Daniel doesn’t do casual, and Hayley doesn’t trust enough in love to risk a commitment.  Daniel is also fighting with his mother-in-law over custody of the girls, and it’s obvious that she disapproves of both Daniel’s work and the sudden appearance of Hayley in his life.

I loved the humor, and immediately wanted to read the first book in the series (which is in my Terrifying Tower of TBR, so there are hopes that I will get to it yet!).  The setting was also a huge plus, as was Daniel’s work.  I am fascinated when the vets come out to the barn, and like to watch them work on the horses, as well as ask questions about the procedures they are performing.  There’s a feeling of that in the book, as Hayley pitches in to assist with the equine care.  She desperately comes to love Montana, treating larger animals, and Daniel and the girls, but she doesn’t see a way to leave her own practice in Boston to take a chance on a permanent relationships with Daniel.

After she returns home from her vacation, she and Daniel stay in contact, calling and Skyping.  This part of the story felt very real, too.  Their long-distance relationship blossoms into something much deeper than friendship, and I found that their period of separation strengthened their ties to each other.  They really listened to what the other said, and used the information gained to do thoughtful things.  Usually I’m bored when the protagonists are apart, but that was never a complaint here.

Though Christmas plays a part in the story, it isn’t until the end of the book.  I mention this because when I told my mom how much I enjoyed A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise, she said that she didn’t care for holiday themed books.  Most of the story takes place during Hayley’s summer vacation, so even if you don’t like Christmas reads, download the sample from Amazon and give this a try.  I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

In a captivating novel spiced with holiday magic—perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Susan Mallery, and Molly O’Keefe—a rugged Montana man mends a Northeast girl’s jaded heart.

Boston veterinarian Hayley Scampini tends the city’s pampered pets but dreams of the rural life of a country vet. She’s single and determined to stay that way, convinced that love isn’t permanent enough to trust. Then a vacation to the Whisper Creek dude ranch introduces her to Daniel McKee, a sexy single dad who runs the kind of veterinary practice she aspires to—and rattles her conviction to keep men at a distance.

Managing a thriving practice, coping with the loss of his wife, and fighting a custody battle with his in-laws over his twin daughters, Daniel couldn’t be more overwhelmed. Hayley is a godsend, accompanying him in the field and winning over his girls. It doesn’t take Daniel long to realize he’s falling for this woman, hard and fast. So before Hayley returns to Boston, he extracts a promise: that she will return to Whisper Creek for Christmas. It’s the perfect time and place to show Hayley that the promise of a beautiful life together is something she can believe in.

The post Review: A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise by Maggie McGinnis appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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21. Review and Giveaway: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean

This is the my first Sarah MacLean, and I have to admit that I was attracted by the cover first and foremost.  While I thought things got off to a slow start, I become wrapped up in the plot and had a hard time putting it down.  I really enjoyed the protagonists, and found that they complemented each other perfectly.  Both of them have secrets to protect, and they will  do anything to ensure that their skeletons remain locked in a closet, out of sight.   Duncan, while wealthy beyond his dreams and the owner of several influential newspapers, is being blackmailed by the one person who knows of his past.  Georgiana, ruined at 16 and now the single mother of a precocious 9 year old, burns with rage at the society that shunned her, and how dismisses her daughter Caroline as so much trash. 

I didn’t completely buy into the admission fee for Georgiana’s gaming club.  I couldn’t see how anyone would be compelled to turn over their deepest, darkest secrets in order to gain entrance to the gaming tables, but maybe the thought of imminent disclosure was titillating in and of itself.  The fact that Chase, Georgiana’s male alter ego, never hesitated to bring ruin to those she felt deserved it, made me question the common sense of all of these wealthy men.  It’s not like Chase was known to be a kind-hearted guy who loved kiddies, puppies, and his fellow man.  No, he was out to get those that slighted him, and he didn’t make it a secret that he would divulge the dirt on his customers at any time.  This did drive me to distraction at the beginning of the book, making it difficult to me to engage in the plot.

When one of Duncan’s papers, a gossip rag, prints a particularly damaging cartoon about Georgiana and her daughter, she’s driven to do the one thing she’s avoided since she was a young girl.  She fears that Caroline’s future will be bleak, and that her scandal will rub off on her, so she’s determined to marry man with a title to protect Caroline.  She believes that the title will insulate both of them from the past, and open the door of opportunity for Caroline.  But it’s Duncan who turns her head.  It’s Duncan who she feels a blinding attraction to and can’t get the thought of him out of her head.  Despite her feelings for him, she knows that they have no future together because he don’t have that all important title to save her daughter’s future.

For his part, Duncan has some incriminating secrets of his own.  Even though he’s drawn to Georgiana, he knows that a future with her is impossible.  He has lived in fear for years, terrified that his deepest, darkest, most damning secrets would be revealed, and that he would eventually hang for them.  He could never subject another person to that gnawing fear. But that doesn’t stop him for longing for something that he can never have, and he longs for Georgiana.  He believes that she needs to be rescued from the elusive, villainous Chase, and he is driven to distraction trying to learn what hold he has over her.  This did get slightly tiring, and I wished Georgiana would just fess up and get that elephant out of the room.  Chase’s hidden identity nearly destroys Duncan and Georgiana when he unwisely enlists assistance in flushing the shadowy scoundrel from his hiding place.

I liked that Georgiana was a strong, stubborn woman who refused to allow the opinions of others destroy her.  Instead, she found strength in her wrath against society, becoming an extremely powerful figure who could destroy the lives of others at a whim.  She also refused to give up the name  of Caroline’s father, causing her brother to gnash his teeth in frustration. It’s hard to defend the honor of the women under your protection when they don’t cooperate with you!  I never got the sense that Georgiana needed protection from anyone, and that’s what I liked best about her.  She is not a simpering miss, even when she’s attempting to gain the good opinion of the society that distains her.

I really enjoyed Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, and I’m looking forward to exploring the author’s backlist.  I would like to get to know the supporting characters better, especially Pippa, who also seems like a quirky, interesting lead.

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover
The Rules of Scoundrels # 4

By: Sarah MacLean

Releasing November 25th, 2014

Avon Romance

Blurb

By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking-in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered…until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear…including her heart.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/never-judge-lady-by-her-cover-rule-of.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17828895-never-judge-a-lady-by-her-cover?ac=1

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Never-Judge-Lady-Her-Cover-ebook/dp/B00IRC8ATQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/never-judge-a-lady-by-her-cover-sarah-maclean/1120522016?cm_mmc=affiliates-_-linkshare-_-mdxm68jzjz8-_-10%3a1&ean=9780062068514&isbn=9780062068514&r=1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/never-judge-a-lady-by-her-cover/id833843816?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/never-judge-a-lady-by-her-cover-1

Author Info

Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.
Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at www.macleanspace.com

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.sarahmaclean.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahmaclean
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahmaclean
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1598076.Sarah_MacLean


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22. Guest Post and Giveaway: Maggie McGinnis, Author of A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise

Please give Maggie McGinnis a warm welcome as she shares what she loves about Christmas!

My Top 5 Favorite Things about Christmas by Maggie McGinnis

Thanks so much for hosting me today! I’m so excited to celebrate the release of A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise with you!

I love Christmas. Love the lights, love the busy stores, love the magic of the town I live in actually shutting down for one whole day. However, when I was asked to think of my five favorite things about the holiday, I had a hard time. Just five? Really? How could I possibly narrow it down?

Sigh. It turns out I couldn’t. But here are five of my favorites:

  1. Family. I really like mine, so it’s hard that we’re not all together at the holidays. Wherever we are on Christmas, though, the phone rings throughout the day, the laptop’s on the shelf with the Skype window up, and we do our best to make it feel like we’re not so far apart.

  2. The elves. On or about December 1, my children start threatening each other with the elves. The phrase “The elves are watching” used to be surprisingly effective, but last year, something changed. In a fit of inspiration, they turned those darn elves on me. Suddenly, the elves wanted Mommy to make cookies. They wanted me to let kids stay up late. They had apparently whispered that if I got my girls new American Girl dolls, I would get lots of elf-points.
    The elves and I clearly need to come to an understanding this year.

  3. The fireplace. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a woodstove, a big stone fireplace that takes up your entire log cabin wall, or a tiny little fake fireplace in your downtown apartment. There’s something about fire and the holidays (and I don’t mean the kind that has been known to erupt from my kitchen upon attempting to make fudge). It’s quiet and romantic and oh, so warm. Perfect for snuggling and reading and hot cocoa, three of my all-time favorite holiday things.

  4. Presents. I know that’s not a very PC thing to have on my top-five list, but seriously, I have children. It’s FUN to see them come running out to the living room on Christmas morning and see a pile of sparkly boxes waiting for them. It’s FUN to try to figure out THE perfect gift to put in that last big box way behind the tree. And in all honesty, it’s FUN to open a stocking full of little mysteries picked out by McTool-Guy. He is an excellent Santa.

  5. The charity. Opening my mailbox in December often makes me feel overly helpless in the face of so much need. However, it provides a teachable dose of humility and generosity for the entire family, and for that I’m grateful. We let each kiddo choose a charity that speaks to her, and we donate what we can. One of my favorite holiday memories involves five crinkly dollar bills, a new red collar, and an eight-year old who skipped out of the Humane Society and said, “THAT’s what Christmas is.”

This season, we’ll be making lots of fires, throwing lots of snowballs, and warming our hands on big mugs of cocoa. We’ll be visiting family, sledding down ginormous hills, and making the most of school vacation. We’ll be feeling grateful for all we have, and immensely thankful for our health, our home, and our beautiful little family.

And we’ll be wishing the same for all of you.

How about you? What’s one of your favorite things about the holiday season?

PS: Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter below to win a fabulous gift card and Loveswept swag! And psst! I’m giving away sparkly prizes on my website (www.maggiemcginnis.com) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-McGinnis-Author/498505866880467), so go check ’em out!

A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise

By: Maggie McGinnis

Releasing November 18th, 2014

Loveswept

Blurb

In a captivating novel spiced with holiday magic—perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Susan Mallery, and Molly O’Keefe—a rugged Montana man mends a Northeast girl’s jaded heart.

Boston veterinarian Hayley Scampini tends the city’s pampered pets but dreams of the rural life of a country vet. She’s single and determined to stay that way, convinced that love isn’t permanent enough to trust. Then a vacation to the Whisper Creek dude ranch introduces her to Daniel McKee, a sexy single dad who runs the kind of veterinary practice she aspires to—and rattles her conviction to keep men at a distance.

Managing a thriving practice, coping with the loss of his wife, and fighting a custody battle with his in-laws over his twin daughters, Daniel couldn’t be more overwhelmed. Hayley is a godsend, accompanying him in the field and winning over his girls. It doesn’t take Daniel long to realize he’s falling for this woman, hard and fast. So before Hayley returns to Boston, he extracts a promise: that she will return to Whisper Creek for Christmas. It’s the perfect time and place to show Hayley that the promise of a beautiful life together is something she can believe in.

Praise for Maggie McGinnis

“Maggie McGinnis writes the kind of characters that keep you smiling long after you turn the page.”—USA Today bestselling author Katie Lane

“A writer with a talent for both humor and emotion.”—New York Times bestselling author Lori Handeland, aka Lori Austin

“McGinnis comes out of the chute with force, grabs your emotions, and gets a death hold on your attention to the last page, where you sigh and wish there was one more chapter.”—New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown

“Heartwarming and sweet, Maggie McGinnis is definitely an author to watch!”—USA Today bestselling author Tina Leonard

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/a-cowboys-christmas-promise-by-maggie.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22396054-a-cowboy-s-christmas-promise?from_search=true

Buy Links : Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Christmas-Promise-Maggie-McGinnis-ebook/dp/B00KK0PJIS/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1410218551&sr=1-1&keywords=a+cowboy%27s+christmas+promise

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cowboys-christmas-promise-maggie-mcginnis/1120019678?ean=9780553394566

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/a-cowboys-christmas-promise/id882280448?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/a-cowboy-s-christmas-promise

Author Info

Maggie McGinnis is the author of Accidental Cowgirl and Driving Without a License, which was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. A former high school English teacher, an accomplished musician, and a certified black belt, she lives in New England with her family.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.maggiemcginnis.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-McGinnis-Author/498505866880467

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Maggie_McGinnis

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7067035.Maggie_McGinnis

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 eGift Card to choice Book Seller and Loveswept Mug and Tote )

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Maggie McGinnis, Author of A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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23. Review and Giveaway: Hello Kitty HELLO 40

About the book:

In 1974, Hello Kitty stepped on the scene, and she’s had the world wrapped around her little red bow ever since. Here, some of her biggest fans—from comic artists to muralists to toy creators—pay tribute in story and art.

Foreword by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, creators of Babymouse

My thoughts:

I am a huge Hello Kitty fan.   I own notebooks, pens, pencils, a tea set, a rice bowl, a cookie tray, and many other items emblazoned with the iconic character.  I was crushed when I broke my Hello Kitty sugar bowl, but I eventually got over the shock (a few years later).  I was confused this summer when reports shocked the world that she was not a cat, but a British girl instead, because, really, how many girls have cat ears?  And those whiskers? The Sanrio PR machine quickly responded that while Hello Kitty isn’t a human girl, she isn’t entirely a cat, either.  Huh?  I quickly shoved all of that nonsense back in a corner of my brain, and I am content to clearly state that, to me, Hello Kitty is a CAT!  What do you think?

Anyway, getting back to Hello Kitty: Hello 40, A Celebration in 40 Stories (Plus One for Good Luck) – this is a fun book.  A compilation of short comics by international artists, it’s a fitting tribute for Kitty White’s 40th birthday.  Featuring a fascinating variety of artistic styles, each artist celebrates her special day, contributing short stories and thoughts on how Hello Kitty affected their art and pop culture in general. 

The production values are very high, with a study hardcover binding, heavy paper stock that will stand up to repeated reading, and bright, vivid colors.  If you are a Hello Kitty fan, or if you have one on your holiday gift giving list, you really can’t go wrong with this book.  It’s also available digitally, for those who prefer an electronic format.

Thanks to VIZ Media, I have a copy to give away.  US addresses only, please. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Review and Giveaway: Hello Kitty HELLO 40 appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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24. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves: It’s December–What?

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.

How can it be December already?!  Where did the year go?  Did you feel that the year went by unusually quickly?

Last week, Dean and I were in Florida to visit my parents.  We landed in Tampa, rented a car and made a hurriedly decided on detour to Disney World, where we stayed at a Fairfield Suites (we arrived at 2am Tuesday morning because our flight out was delayed).  We spent two rain soaked days wearing what are essentially trash bags, ran around all of the parks, and even toured the monorail and Boardwalk resorts to check out the holiday decorations.  (I posted a picture on Thanksgiving, in case you missed it)

We got back from Tampa on Tuesday. The weather in Tampa was beautiful, my parents’ condo is cozy, and I enjoyed spending time with them again.  Dean, unfortunately, got sick on Thanksgiving day, so we didn’t do many touristy things because he felt so lousy.  Naturally, he felt better on Tuesday, the day we were scheduled to fly back home.  I loved just sitting around with my parents, enjoying their lanai, Christmas tree, and their company.  I’m looking forward to visiting them again, hopefully in the summer. 

If you are interested, I can post about the Florida Aquarium.  We had a great time there, and it’s well worth a visit if you are in the area.

I am still getting back in the blogging grove, and apologize for the lack of reviews the past two weeks.  I should be back up and running next week.  I read some really good books, and I’m excited to share my thoughts about them with you.

What did you do last week? Are you gearing up for Christmas?

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:

This is two weeks of books – there is some great stuff here!

Tuck Everlasting  (I have never read this, and I’m excited to be part of the 40th anniversary blog tour!)

Dangerous Alliance

From the New World V6

Prophecy V1

Among the Dead and Dying (FREE)

The Comeback of Roy Walker

Wild Horses

Seeker

Love in a Snow Storm

Ticker

Shadow Study

Wish Upon a Horse (I need to catch up on this series!)

Brave Men Die

Clash of Eagles

Roulette

The Doctor’s Cowboy

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

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

 Subscribe in a reader

The post The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves: It’s December–What? appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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25. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Winner Takes It All by Jennifer Dawson

Today I have an excerpt and giveaway for Jennifer Dawson’s The Winner Takes It All – enjoy!

The Winner Takes It All: Something New # 2

By: Jennifer Dawson

Releasing December 2nd, 2014

Zebra / Kensington

For two stubborn people…

Corporate mogul Shane Donovan sees the ultra-cool, collected Cecilia Riley as an ice queen—even if he can’t deny that, on the surface, she’s a work of perfection his body can’t ignore. Forced to spend two weeks in the same house for his sister’s upcoming wedding, Shane senses that deep down Cecilia mirrors his need. And he’s determined to draw her into a sexy game that will melt away her reserve…

Losing is not an option…

Career-driven Cecilia Riley has just enough free time in her schedule to head out of town for her brother’s wedding. But her agenda is thrown for a loop by the presence of Shane. Though his over-confident attitude leaves a lot to be desired, his insanely hot body has kept Cecilia up nights. Unsure what game Shane is playing, Cecilia takes the bait, bent on resisting him at all costs.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/the-winner-takes-it-all-something-new-2.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20949511-the-winner-takes-it-all?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/112840-something-new

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Winner-Takes-All-Something-Novel/dp/1420134272/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411741695&sr=8-1&keywords=9781420134278

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-winner-takes-it-all-jennifer-dawson/1118871382?ean=9781420134278

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-winner-takes-it-all/id880312206?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-winner-takes-it-all-2

Books A Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Winner-Takes-All/Jennifer-Dawson/9781420134278?id=6117417208691

Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781420134278

Author Info

Jennifer Dawson grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from DePaul University with a degree in psychology. She met her husband at the public library while they were studying. To this day she still maintains she was NOT checking him out. Now, over twenty years later, they’re married and living in a suburb right outside of Chicago with two awesome kids and a crazy dog.

Despite going through a light FM, poem writing phase in high school, Jennifer never grew up wanting to be a writer (she had more practical aspirations of being an international super spy). Then one day, suffering from boredom and disgruntled with a book she’d been reading, she decided to put pen to paper. The rest, as they say, is history.

These days Jennifer can be found sitting behind her computer, writing her next novel, chasing after her kids, keeping an ever watchful eye on her ever growing to-do list, and NOT checking out her husband.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://jennifer-dawson.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Dawson/504365856291806
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenDawsonAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278601.Jennifer_Dawson

Excerpt

Shane rubbed his gritty eyes in the silent, dark kitchen, illuminated by the screen of his laptop as he sent off another e-mail. Twenty-five more to go.

He glanced at the digital clock on the stainless steel microwave. Five after eleven. He’d been working through his e-mails for the last couple of hours and the list of problems from his battle with the new head of city planning was growing exponentially. He really should be in the office, dealing with the city contract from hell, but he refused to disappoint his sister. It wasn’t her fault she had to get married at the worst time.

He opened an e-mail from his VP of Communications. After the first sentence his eyes blurred and his mind drifted to other things . . . namely Cecilia.

Where had she disappeared to?

She’d gone upstairs after their interlude this afternoon and he hadn’t seen her since. It seemed unlikely she’d avoided him—Cecilia Riley wasn’t the kind of woman who tucked tail and ran at the first sign of a little challenge. So why hadn’t she shown up at dinner?

When Mitch asked Charlotte about her daughter’s whereabouts, the other woman just got a troubled expression on her face and said she didn’t know. Mitch shrugged it off and the conversation moved on.

Shane had wanted to probe but held his tongue. He wasn’t ready to explain his interest to anyone. He’d waited, none too patiently, for one of them to go find her, but neither of them moved from the dinner table and Maddie hadn’t seemed inclined to track down the missing Riley. Didn’t they see something was going on with Cecilia? It was clear as day. But her family seemed unconcerned with her well-being.

It bothered him on some deep level he didn’t quite understand.

When she hadn’t shown up by eight thirty he’d lost patience and texted her, but unlike before, she hadn’t texted him back with one of her sassy remarks. While his phone cheeped, beeped, and rang at a steady clip all night, it had never once been her.

The sleek, gunmetal-gray Mercedes she drove still sat in the driveway and hadn’t moved.

As far as Shane could tell she’d locked herself into her room and hadn’t come out.

The question was: Why?

He pinched the bridge of his nose and squinted, wondering if he was going to need fucking reading glasses soon. He kept meaning to make an eye doctor appointment, or at least tell Penelope to make him one, but he conveniently kept forgetting until he stared at a screen for four hours straight.

It wasn’t that he cared about getting old; he didn’t. But his age reminded him everything else had aged too, and he didn’t know quite what to do with himself. It was like he was still going Mach 10 while the rest of the world had gone into slow motion.

Since his dad had died he’d been working his ass off. From the second he’d received the call about the car crash he’d been in crisis mode, fixing the mountains of problems left behind by two ill-prepared people, taking care of his siblings as his mother focused on Maddie’s recovery and struggled with her grief, paying off debt after debt. He’d barely breathed all those years. Barely thought. He’d just put his head down and bulldozed through every obstacle that came into his path.

Then one day he’d finally looked up and realized he’d done it. He’d saved them all. His mom would never have to work a day in her life. His brothers and sister were grown. And, somehow, after all his years of being a slacker, a fuckup, he’d built a company that employed thousands of people with a bottom line that still staggered him.

Everyone was finally safe. Finally secure. If he died tomorrow they’d be taken care of. He’d made sure what happened before would never happen again.

Only, he couldn’t seem to break out of panic mode. That feeling of being one step from disaster still plagued him.

He frowned, not liking the direction of his thoughts.

He had a company to run, a contract to straighten out, and e-mails to answer. This wasn’t the time to turn introspective. He refocused on the message from his VP, shot off his comments and opened the next e-mail.

Twenty-four to go.

The kitchen door swung open. He expected Mitch or Maddie, but instead it was Cecilia.

She screamed, her hand flying to her chest as she pulled a silky robe tightly around herself. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack?!”

He grinned. Instantly the vague unease troubling him disappeared. “Sugar, I was here first. You walked in on me, not the other way around.”

She tied the sash around her waist, cinching it far too tight than he thought necessary. “Don’t call me sugar, that’s despicable.”

He chuckled, wondering what she had on under those clothes. “Where have you been hiding all night?”

Her shoulders squared. “I haven’t been hiding, you arrogant ass. If you must know, I fell asleep.”

“And woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I see.” He stretched his legs and watched her with avid interest, wishing for much better light so he could see more of her.

“What are you doing?” she asked in a haughty tone, taking another couple of steps into the kitchen.

He waved at the computer. “Answering e-mails.”

“Oh,” she said, tugging the lapels of the robe closer together. “Don’t let me disturb you. I just came for some water.”

He gestured toward the cabinets. “Third door on the left.”

She moved across the floor with the practiced, studied grace of a rich girl.

Coming from a humble background, he’d never thought that was something he’d be attracted to, but she made it work. He’d bet dollars to doughnuts she’d taken years of ballet.

She reached for a glass, her back arching, her calves flexing as she stood on tiptoes to grab what she wanted. The moonlight streamed in from the window, casting her in its glow, and his breath caught. In the pale light her face was still soft from sleep, her hair rumpled, and she lost all that polish.

Goddamn, she was beautiful. His cock stirred. It was more than her face; there was something about her, something that reached inside of him and squeezed.

One day in her presence had rid him of all his delusions that he could keep her at arm’s length. She was a mystery that had gotten under his skin and now he had to figure her out.

He wanted her and intended to have her.

She moved to the fridge and filled her water from the automatic dispenser before lifting it to her lips and taking a long drink. The delicate cords of her neck worked and he remembered earlier this afternoon when her pulse had hammered under his thumb, belying her cool nature.

When she was done, she turned and looked at him, one hip cocked. “You’re staring.”

He’d thought a lot about his strategy with her, and in the end, he’d decided brutal honesty would be most effective. He shrugged. “You’re a gorgeous woman, of course I’m staring.”

Her brow furrowed, as though the statement perplexed her. “Even though you don’t like me?”

He flipped the lid of his laptop down. “Maybe I misspoke earlier. I don’t know you well enough to like or not like you. I think you work damn hard to keep yourself at a distance, and until now, it’s worked.”

She glanced at his computer, then took another sip of her water and placed the glass on the newly installed granite.

“Don’t you need to get to your e-mail?”

He gave her a slow, easy once-over. Gaze skimming down her body, over the swell of her breasts and curve of her hips covered in powder-blue silk. “What are you wearing under that robe?”

She laughed, shocking him. It was full and throaty, matching that porn-star mouth of hers. The sound vibrated straight to his balls, sending a jolt of powerful lust through him. “As if I’m going to tell you.”

He knew a challenge when he heard one. “You don’t have to tell me. I can come over there and find out.”

She tilted her head to one side, her expression speculative. “What exactly is your game here, Shane?”

He liked the sound of his name on her lips. Liked the way she didn’t skirt around the issue even better. “My plan is to take you to bed. It’s just a matter of when.”

She straightened for a fraction of a second before relaxing back against the counter. “Isn’t that a bit presumptuous?”

“Hell, it’s a lot presumptuous,” he said, meeting her eyes in the eerie moonlit glow. “But it doesn’t make it any less true.”

“You’re very crass,” she said, still looking completely unruffled.

It was an act, he was sure of it. He didn’t know exactly what lurked under that cool exterior, but he knew she wasn’t unaffected. If he touched her, she’d be hot. Ready.

As easy and casual as she, he smiled. “If I was being crass I’d say, ‘I’m going to fuck you’ and call it a day.”

She sucked in her breath, just a quick little intake. “The words don’t matter much, but the fact that you act like I don’t have a say, does.”

He stood.

She straightened.

He took a step around the table.

Her gaze darted to the kitchen door before shifting back to him.

He stopped, giving her a chance to run, not the least bit surprised when she didn’t.

They were alike that way, unable to resist a dare.

He advanced. “You have a say. You asked me my plan and I told you. What you do with the information is your choice.” When he reached her, he put his hands on either side of the counter, trapping her.

She looked up at him with those storm-blue eyes. “I don’t recall giving you permission.”

He laughed. “I’m more an ask-for-forgiveness-not-permission type of guy.”

She swallowed hard but said nothing.

He was close enough to feel the heat of her body, see the bead of her nipples, the fast rise and fall of her chest. “But I’ll respect a no.” His gaze dropped to her mouth. Those lush, fuckable lips. “Even if I know it’s a lie.”

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Two Print bundles of the Something New series, including: Take a Chance on Me and The Winner Takes It All)

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: The Winner Takes It All by Jennifer Dawson appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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