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1. Win In Bed with a Rogue by Samantha Grace

I have a special treat this morning! To celebrate the release of Samantha Grace’s In Bed with a Rogue, Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway! You can win 6 (SIX!) of Samantha Grace’s novels!

In Bed with a Rogue By Samantha Grace

Soucebooks Casablanca

Historical Romance

September 2, 2014

ISBN: 9781402286612

$6.99/£4.99

Mass-Market Paperback

He’s the Talk of the Town

The whole town is tittering about Baron Sebastian Thorne having been jilted at the altar. Every move he makes ends up in the gossip columns. Tired of being the butt of everyone’s jokes, Sebastian vows to restore his family’s reputation no matter what it takes.

She’s the Toast of the Ton

Feted by the crème of society, the beautiful widow Lady Prestwick is a vision of all that is proper. But Helena is no angel, and when Sebastian uncovers her dark secret, he’s quick to press his advantage. In order to keep her hard-won good name, Helen will have to make a deal with the devil. But she’s got some tricks up her sleeves to keep this notorious rogue on his toes…

SAMANTHA GRACE

Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publishers Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.      

Website: http://www.samanthagraceauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samantha-Grace/264436686918343

Twitter: @SamGraceAuthor https://twitter.com/SamGraceAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4946067.Samantha_Grace

Buy: Amazon | B&N | BAM! | IndieBound | !ndigo | iTunes

Enter for a chance to win a 6 book bundle by Samantha Grace!

The six Samantha Grace books include:

· Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel

· Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half

· Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie

· Lady Vivian Defies a Duke

· One Rogue Too Many

· In Bed with a Rogue

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Win In Bed with a Rogue by Samantha Grace appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Interview with Dixie Lee Brown, Author of Whatever it Takes and Giveaway

Please give special guest Dixie Lee Brown a warm welcome to the virtual offices!

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

[Dixie Lee Brown] Independent; persistent; reliable; animal lover

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Dixie Lee Brown] WHATEVER IT TAKES is the fourth book in the Trust No One series. Nate Sanders is a detective for the Portland (Oregon) Police Bureau. His deceased uncle has left some serious trouble behind and now it’s found Nate.

Who should save his bacon but the beautiful and mysterious Alex Morgan, the woman he hasn’t stopped thinking about since she wrecked his classic car in book #3? Alex’s past haunts her day and night. She has a smart mouth, a chip on her shoulder, a dagger on her belt, and knows how to use them all.

Nate sees through her bluster and signs on to help her rescue a kidnapped boy, but his own trouble just might get her killed—or is it the other way around?

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Dixie Lee Brown] Nate and Alex both appeared in the third book in the series, IF YOU ONLY KNEW. Their character descriptions and backstory were already set, as well as the setting for the beginning of the story at Nate’s house. Combine that with two minor unanswered questions that suddenly become very important and a “crazy” heroine, and I had my concept.

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

[Dixie Lee Brown] I love the relationships in this book. Alex and Nate are right for each other. Most of Joe’s team from the first three books put in appearances, plus Alex’s best friend from book #1. I love having the whole team show up. Also, being a romantic suspense, there’s a lot of action in this book. Action is just plain fun to write!

[Manga Maniac Café] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Dixie Lee Brown] It’s the same problem I have with every book. I’ll write two chapters leading up to a specific event and then handle the event and its aftermath in a paragraph! Lol! My editor calls me on it every time!

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Dixie Lee Brown] Being the hopeless romantic I am, it would be “I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts

[Manga Maniac Café] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Dixie Lee Brown] My Kindle – of course.

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

[Dixie Lee Brown] Laptop, notepaper, and a jump drive

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

[Dixie Lee Brown] Assuming something would also make me magically capable of doing her job, I’d want to trade places with my wonderful Avon editor, Chelsey Emmelhainz, cuz she’s terrific!

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

[Dixie Lee Brown] The Golden Key Chronicles by AJ Nuest

Asking For Trouble by Jannine Gallant

The Dysfunctional Test by Kelly Moran

Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Dixie Lee Brown] You probably hear this all the time, but if I have spare time—I read!

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

[Dixie Lee Brown] I’d love it if readers would check out my webpage: http://www.dixiebrown.com/

Or like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dixie-Lee-Brown/311618418919108

Or follow me on Twitter: @DixieLeeBrown

Whatever it Takes

Trust No One # 4

By: Dixie Lee Brown

Releasing August 12th, 2014

Avon: Impulse

Blurb

Assassin Alex Morgan will do anything to save an innocent life – especially if it means rescuing a child from a hell like the one she endured.
But going undercover as husband and wife, with none other than the disarmingly sexy Detective Nate Sanders, may be a little more togetherness than she can handle. She’s used to working alone, and no man is going to change that – not even a man who makes her heart pound and her defenses crumble with just a touch
Nate has dodged more than a few bullets over the years, but fighting his attraction for Alex may be the bullet that does him in. Still, Nate’s determined to help her find the missing kid. There’s no doubt in his mind that they’re walking straight into danger, but Nate’s willing to face anything if it means protecting Alex. She might have been on her own once, but Nate has one more mission: to stay by her side – forever. 

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/whatever-it-takes-trust-no-one-4-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21150710-whatever-it-takes

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Whatever-Takes-Trust-One-Novel-ebook/dp/B00GG08JAG/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406816764&sr=1-3&keywords=whatever+it+takes

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whatever-it-takes-brown-dixie-lee/1119738830?ean=9780062328304

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/whatever-it-takes-24

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/mx/book/whatever-it-takes/id738454204?l=en&mt=11

Author Info

DIXIE LEE BROWN lives and writes in Central Oregon, inspired by what she believes is the most gorgeous scenery anywhere. She resides with two dogs and a cat, who make sure she never takes herself too seriously. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, movies, and trips to the beach.

Author Links

Website: http://www.dixiebrown.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dixie-Lee-Brown/311618418919108

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DixieLeeBrown

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6583364.Dixie_Lee_Brown

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print copy of another installment in Dixie Lee Brown’s Trust No One series, IF YOU ONLY KNEW—where you get to meet Alex and Nate for the first time!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Dixie Lee Brown, Author of Whatever it Takes and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. Graphic Novel Review: Skip*Beat! Volumes 22 and 23

I’ve been in a manga kind of a mood recently.  I’ve been reading some new series that caught my attention, as well as trying to catch up on some of my favorites that I’ve fallen behind on.  Skip*Beat! is one of those.  Kyoko is a fun protagonist; she’s a good girl who had her heart stomped on by the guy she loved, and now she’s out for revenge.  Sho is an up and coming celebrity, and in order to get back at him, Kyoko is determined to become more popular than he is.  When she’s in a rage, she’s possessed by her anger, which causes dramatic, and usually, hilarious results.

Now that we are quite a ways into the series, the tables have turned on Sho.  Now he has a crush on Kyoko, but he won’t come out and tell her directly (as is the shoujo way!), nor will she give him the time of day.  Kyoko just wants her revenge, revenge, revenge!  She’s even gotten over her earlier animosity for Ren, one of  Sho’s rivals.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?  Only Ren has developed feelings for the stubborn Kyoko and her never say die spirit, but she’s so oblivious she doesn’t even notice.  Just like with Sho, all of her focus is on becoming a success in show biz.

In volume 22, Kyoko is having a hard time stepping into her latest role.  She’s confused about what the director wants, and she’s holding up shooting with her inability to immerse herself into her new character.  With some help from Ren, her acting mojo is recharged and viola!  She’s become Natsu, a high school bully, much to the dismay of Chiori, one of her cast mates.  Chiori is resentful of Kyoko’s success, and she wants desperately for her to fail.  Chiori’s career is stuttering, and the intense competition she feels for Kyoko isn’t helping her.

I thought that volume 22 dragged a bit, but volume 23 cranked up the drama and the action that I love this series for.  Kyoko and Chiori’s feud becomes explosive.  Chiori schemes against Kyoko, almost causing her great bodily harm. In return, Kyoko pushes Chiori to deliver the very best performance she’s capable of.  Their competition is intense, and I felt really bad for the actress who got caught up in the middle of it.

Volume 23 closes out with the beginning of a fun Valentine’s Day story, which I’m looking forward continuing in the next installment of the series.

Is there such a thing as being too good? With Ren’s help, Kyoko finally gets into her new character. But when she shows up on set and wows the crew with her new spin on the old bully role, it sends some of her costars over the edge! Kyoko’s used to dealing with her own demons, but can she stand up to someone else’s?!

Chiori’s rage threatens the whole production when she lashes out and hurts Kyoko. Kyoko is used to overcoming obstacles, and she uses her injury as an excuse to push Chiori into exploring her acting. But Chiori has a traumatic past. Will focusing on the dark side of her character bring it all rushing back?!

The post Graphic Novel Review: Skip*Beat! Volumes 22 and 23 appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. Guest Post: Lara Morgan, Author of Betrayal

Please welcome Lara Morgan, author of Betrayal, to the virtual offices this morning!  I asked Lara to share a list of her essential items to have a really productive day.  I really wish I could try #3 here!

 

Top 5 items for a productive day…. by Lara Morgan

1. Tea. Lots of it.

2. Time

3. Tim tams

4. Twitter free

5. Toddler absent

As you can see the above list is quite wishful. Tea yes I always have but time?! Perhaps I should have added Tardis so I could regain some and as a stay home mum Twitter is often what keeps me sane – as in there are other adults out there! So generally at the moment productivity is not high. And there are NEVER enough tim tams.

About the book:

From fantasy writer Lara Morgan comes the second in her engrossing, enchanting, exciting Twins of Saranthium trilogy, perfect for curbing Game of Thrones withdrawals.

Shaan and Tallis have escaped from the fallen god, Azoth, but his dark shadow stretches over the enslaved people of the Wild Lands and the terrifying army of human-serpent warriors. War is coming, but the Council of Nine turn from the twins and their tales of Azoth’s menace, focusing instead on a war on the Free Lands.

Meanwhile, the Four Lost Gods have awoken, ready to reclaim the Birthstone currently in Azoth’s possession. But rather than the saviours Shaan and Tallis needed, the Four begin to exert terrible control over the people of Saranthium. With Tallis struggling to control the growing power within, and Shaan attempting to resist the pull of Azoth, the twins are under assault from all sides. Victory may still be possible, but only through a devastating act of betrayal.

The post Guest Post: Lara Morgan, Author of Betrayal appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Novella Review: The Wager by Lily Maxton

 

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I was in the mood for a short, quick read, so I turned, once again, to the Entangled library to fulfill this need.  The Wager had me at “Novella.”  Yes, sometimes even I am easy to please.

Anne loves to make wagers with her sisters, and when she’s caught “borrowing” a scandalous novel from her host while attending a social function, she’s only somewhat taken aback.  When Michael, Earl of Thornhill, catches Anne red-handed stealing a naughty book, his interest is piqued.  After exchanging a series of letters, the first an apology from Anne that lacks conviction or finesse, their paths cross again, leading to a wager between Michael and Anne.  They’ll have a late night swim race, and if Michael wins, he’ll be reward with a kiss.  If she wins, he must answer a naughty question he dodged during their correspondence.

One wager leads to another, until the final stakes are both their hearts.  Who will win?

I really enjoyed the letters, which showed a believable progression of their affection for each other.  The main conflict in The Wager is Anne’s self-doubt.  A year earlier, Michael thought himself in love with Anne’s older sister, Elizabeth, but she rejected his suit because she was in love with someone else.  Anne now feels that she’s only second best, and refuses to take their flirtations seriously.  At times this made her come across as shallow and spoiled.  She can’t accept that feelings can change, and that Michael’s infatuation with Elizabeth was fleeting.  Her stubbornness almost costs her her happiness, because she’s so focused on the fact that Michael was attracted to her sister first.

This is a quick read with a fun, if somewhat over-indulged heroine, and a very sexy earl. The romance was a bit rushed, but I blame that on the length of the story.  I’m curious to read about Anne’s sisters now.

Grade:  B / B-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

 

London, 1818

Anne Middleton never plays by the rules. She is willful when she should be obedient and unabashed when she should be decorous. Worse still, she can never resist a good wager… or a very naughty book. And Confessions of a Courtesan is about as sensational and risque as a book can be.

Michael Grey – Earl of Thornhill – had once courted Anne’s sweet and modest sister. But whilst Anne is certainly no lady of decorum, her bold impulsiveness slips through his armor, and propriety is forgotten. Now he too is immersed in the book of forbidden delights, where each page is an invitation to sin and a guide to pleasures unknown…

Roused by heady desire, Michael tempts Anne in a way she cannot resist – a wager. Thus begins a game of chance, where coins have been replaced by a currency that is far more illicit. And the stakes of seduction are dangerous indeed…

The post Novella Review: The Wager by Lily Maxton appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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6. Guest Post and Giveaway: Robin Bielman, Author of Keeping Mr Right Now

Please give a warm welcome to Robin Bielman!  She’s visiting this morning to celebrate the release of her latest book.

Hello MMC readers! I’m so happy to be here today to celebrate my newest release, KEEPING MR. RIGHT NOW. Thank you so much for having me, Julie!

 

Thanks to Julie’s awesome suggestion, I’ve got a fun list for you guys…

The Top 5 Things You Will Never Find in my hero, Zane’s Bathroom

  1. Hair product

Zane is a run his fingers through his hair kind of guy when he gets out of the shower and that’s it. (This works very well for him if I do say so myself.) ? Oh, I should also add you won’t find a blow dryer either. Zane never ever blow dries his blond hair.

  1. Body lotion

The only thing Zane puts on his skin is sunscreen. Being a pro surfer it’s a must, and he’s gotten into the habit of putting it on from head-to-toe daily.

  1. Shower gels

Guy code says nothing but a bar of soap for Zane. Irish Spring is his brand of choice.

  1. Fancy towels

Zane likes towels that get the job done. No fancy design or embellishment. And more often than not, it’s beach towels hanging in his bathroom.

  1. A Loofah

Yeah, Zane doesn’t do that. If anything is going to hang out in his shower, it’s going to be Sophie. And okay, if she wants to loofah, he’ll happily help her out – just so they can get dirty. ;)

Keeping Mr. Right Now

A temporary agreement neither could keep…

Brainy, organized Sophie Birch is no beach bunny. In fact, she’s totally out of her element among the sun-bronzed crowd at a film festival in beautiful White Strand Cove. When a surf lesson introduces her to Zane Hollander, suddenly she’s up close and personal with the world’s sexiest surf star. But what can a great-looking, experienced athlete possibly see in a klutzy out-of-towner who’s never set foot in the ocean?

Zane Hollander’s playboy reputation has never been a problem…until recently. Now his management team wants him on his best behavior to entice a meaningful new sponsor. Sophie Birch is the perfect girl to help reform his image. She’s genuine and respected—and their relationship is purely fictional. But the more Sophie blooms under the beachy sun, the more Zane knows he’ll just break her heart. Because nothing’s more important to Zane than following the tide.

Purchase links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1qXA97l

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1ppbQjA

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1lesr5M

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1rRhfmU

Excerpt:

“Hey. Sorry about losing you.”

“You didn’t lose me. I left.”

That she did. “Can I come in?”

She hesitated a moment. “Uh, sure.” She stepped aside and he entered the large room with an ocean view. The sliding French door was open, and the gravitational pull of the beach led him to the patio.

“Nice view,” he said over his shoulder.

“It really is. This is the nicest place I’ve ever stayed at. Not that I’ve stayed in very many places.” She came up beside him, and her cinnamon sugar scent teased him.

He wanted to taste her. Eat her up. “Is this your first time seeing the ocean, too?”

“Yes,” she whispered like she was embarrassed about it. “And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that before our lesson the other day.”

“No apology necessary. I’m pretty impressed you did what you did.”

“Really?” Delight wiped out her shame, coaxing big-ass smiles out of them both.

“You’re a lot tougher than you look.” He turned his head toward the ocean, afraid that if he looked only at her, he’d do something stupid. Bikini-clad women dotted the beach, but not one sparked his interest like the woman next to him. Especially now that pink colored her cheeks. He wanted to take her full bottom lip between his teeth, kiss her, slip his tongue inside her mouth, and once he’d had his fill, lick his way down her body until—

“What about you?” She curled up on one of the cushioned patio chairs.

“What about me?” He took the other seat, stretching his legs out and situating himself for an easy view of the beach through the iron slats of the patio railing.

“How would people describe you?”

Her question drew his undivided attention. “Depends on who you ask.” He smirked. “Women and men have very different opinions of me.” The sun glittered off her auburn hair, casting a radiant halo. “All good, mind you.”

She rolled her eyes. “Do you ever get tired of it?”

“It?”

“The fame. Being recognized everywhere you go. Having to always wear a certain image.”

His heart beat a little faster. The image he shared with the world was far from the guy his family and close friends knew. He got the feeling from Sophie’s warm, interested eyes that she really wanted to know what made him tick. In his world, women only wanted to know how to get in his board shorts, so it took him a minute to process her curiosity.

And damn if it didn’t bother him that she apparently didn’t want in his pants.

Author Bio:

USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman lives in Southern California with her high school sweetheart husband, two sons, and one crazy-cute dog who loves to chew on everyone’s socks. When not attached to her laptop, she can almost always be found with her nose in a book. She also likes to run, hike, eat cupcakes, and dip her toes in the ocean. Writing is a dream come true, and she still pinches herself to be sure it’s real.

She loves to connect with readers. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter on her website at http://robinbielman.com.

Places to find Robin Bielman:

Site: http://robinbielman.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/RobinBielmanWriter

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobinBielman

Goodreads: hhttp://goodreads.com/robinbielman

Giveaway Info:

Beach Lover’s Gift Bag – with a Beach Rules journal, DVD of the surf movie, Chasing Mavericks, lip balm, a beach ball, signed copy of Kissing the Maid of Honor, tiny Life’s a Beach book and an I’ve Been Zaned t-shirt.

$20 Gift Card (Winner’s choice)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Robin Bielman, Author of Keeping Mr Right Now appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7. Review: Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I love this series so much that I preordered Sisters’ Fate as soon as I noticed it listed on Amazon.  Book 2, Star Cursed, ended on such a great cliffhanger, and I could hardly wait to see what happened next. The wait was agonizing.  There are times when I enjoy a series, but then I lose interest in the period between releases.  The Sisters’ Fate release date was close enough to when I finished Star Cursed that I didn’t forget about it.  Good thing, too, since I have the attention span of a small bug.

The narrative picks up right were it left off.  Maura has erased Cate right out of Finn’s memories, and now she’s nothing but a stranger to him.  What?  Wow!  What an awful thing for her to do!  I hated Maura!  She has one priority, and that’s herself!  She will do anything to earn praise from Inez, the new leader of the Sisterhood, even betray her sister.  And then not be one bit apologetic for her horrible actions.  No wonder Cate simmered with rage every time she had to interact with her sister.  I really wanted to see Cate kick her butt, but I know that wouldn’t have done anything to change Maura’s attitude. 

Cate is worried about how the Brotherhood will react now that Inez has reduced their leaders to mindless vegetables.  Will they start a second Terror, killing any woman or girl suspected of being a witch, without a second thought?  Inez’s agenda frightens Cate, so she attempts to establish ties with the Resistance.  She knows that she has to stop Inez and her followers somehow, but she realizes that she can’t do it alone.  Making an uneasy truce with Merriweather, who runs an illegal newspaper that reports on the actions of the Brotherhood without censorship, things finally start falling into place.  Then her temper gets the best of her, threatening everything she’s worked so hard to accomplish.

To up the stakes, Cate is not only fighting against those that would destroy all witches, there is also a fever raging through New London, and nobody seems to be doing anything about it.  Since it originated among the poorest citizens of the city, there’s not a whole lot of concern at first.  So what if a bunch of river rats die of the fever?  When the disease jumps to the wealthier occupants of the city, it’s the perfect opportunity to blame the witches for cursing the populace with the illness.  Once again, the witches become a convenient scapegoat to control the population through fear and intimidation.  The Brotherhood did awful things to anyone who got in their way, and then they orchestrated convincing cover stories for every heinous act the committed. They made powerful, frightening villains.

I thought Sisters’ Fate was a fitting end for the series.  All of the loose ends are tied up, and the conclusion is very satisfying.  I was even able to forgive Maura, at least a little bit.  The romance was well done, and while it ended with a Happy For Now, you know that everything will work out for Cate in the end. 

I highly recommend The Cahill Witch Chronicles.  There’s a sweet romance, action, and interesting world building.  It comes to a satisfying end with Sisters’ Fate, so if you like YA paranormal romance, give this series a try.

Grade:  B+ / A-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A fever ravages New London, but with the Brotherhood sending suspected witches straight to the gallows, the Sisters are powerless against the disease. They can’t help without revealing their powers—as Cate learns when a potent display of magic turns her into the most wanted witch in all of New England.

To make matters worse, Cate has been erased from the memory of her beloved Finn. While she’s torn between protecting him from further attacks and encouraging him to fall for her all over again, she’s certain she can never forgive Maura’s betrayal. And now that Tess’s visions have taken a deadly turn, the prophecy that one Cahill sister will murder another looms ever closer to its fulfillment.

The post Review: Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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8. Spotlight and Giveaway: Try Me on for Size and Love Like the Movies

This morning, I have a spotlight for Pocket Star-E Nights’ digital releases.  If you like the excerpts, enter to win a digital copy of each release!

 

TRY ME ON FOR SIZE by STEPHANIE HAEFNER

SUMMARY:

A sexy, laugh-out-loud love story about a woman trying to save her failing lingerie business with a new product—“personal massagers” made to the specs of the spokesman of her choice! But when she falls for the first model she meets, how can she prove she’s his perfect fit?
With their business in trouble, Mia and Bryn must pull out all the stops to save their shop. Things get sticky when Mia, owner of Classy ‘n’ Sassy Lingerie, has to go on five blind “dates” to find the right model for the big marketing plan that will save the store. But they aren’t your ordinary blind dates. Mia has to test out the “goods” to find the perfect spokespenis—the model for Classy ‘n’ Sassy’s newest line of lifelike dildos.
Not realizing Mia is on a mission, Oliver Christensen approaches her in a bar and Mia mistakes him for model #1. Oliver decides to play along. But just how far is he willing to take this charade in order to get closer to Mia? And what happens if Mia’s Blind Date #1 turns out to be The One?

EXCERPT:

“We need a new product,” Bryn said, finally adding to the conversation. “Something different.”

“Different how? Like shapers or something? Those are all the rage.”

“No. I mean really different.” Bryn stood. “We built this business by catering to two kinds of women and their significant others. The ones who like simple and classic bras and panties, and the ones who want something sexier, edgier. We have something to spark the interest of every lover, no matter what his or her tastes are, from beige cotton to red lace. But what about the women who don’t have a man? Or don’t want one?”

“Uh, you kinda lost me,” Mia said.

“Look, I no longer have a husband. And at this point in my life, I honestly have no desire to replace him. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss a certain part of his anatomy every so often, if you know what I mean. Without giving all the dirty details, I have, on occasion, partaken in some . . . selfpleasuring. And so far it hasn’t been all that orgasmic. It’s hard as hell ordering things online. The products are never how they’re described. And it’s not like people love going to their local porn shop. So why don’t we give our customers the opportunity to shop for these beloved intimate accessories in a friendly, comfortable environment?”’

“You want to sell vibrators?” Penny asked.

“Well, yes. And other things. But I only want to carry products we know are good.”

“You volunteering to test them out before stocking them?” Mia asked.

“Why not? Our customers have always come to us for quality products and solid advice. That’s what sets us apart! And for this new venture, I want our customers to trust us in helping them satisfy this . . . need.”

Penny jumped in with her thoughts. “We can throw a launch party for the line. Keeping it classy, of course, and show women it’s okay to own these types of things.”

The wheels in Mia’s head began spinning, too. They needed something big if they were going to survive. A line of tried-and-true toys wasn’t enough. They had to offer their customers something exclusive.

“We need something special. Something women can’t get everywhere else.”

“Like what?”

Mia remembered an ad she’d seen in the back of a lingerie catalog. A do-it-yourself dildo mold. Any woman could make a rubber replica of her man’s junk to use when he was away.

“How about selling those custom dildo-making kits? Couples can take them home and make it together.”

“That’s good. I think you’re on the right track.” Bryn’s brow furrowed as she walked to the window. “But how many women out there are like me and don’t have a model at home to mold?”

“So, maybe we can find guys to mold. Like have a catalogue of penises or something?”

Bryn spun around, smile wide, eyes all glittery like the new bra-and-panty sets that came in the week before. “No. Just one penis. One guy to be our signature penis. A spokespenis!”

“Oh, I like it!” Penny said. “He can make appearances at the store. Women can buy his replica and get his autograph.”

“Yes. Exactly! A hot guy women can meet and have a face to take home with the toy. They can chat with him, flirt, take pictures.”

“I don’t know,” Mia said, needing to add her thoughts to the conversation. “Is this really what we want for the store? I don’t want to change the reputation we’ve built. We shouldn’t cheapen it, ya know?”

Bryn shook her head. “No. I think women will love it. And if you ask me, it’s time for a change. We need something big if we’re gonna survive. Yeah, it’s a risk, but anything we do now is a risk, including sticking to the same formula we’ve used for eight years.”

She had a point. “Okay. It’s worth a shot. But if we’re gonna do this, we do it right. And by that I mean interviewing legitimate models. I don’t want some random guy who’ll get off on having his penis cloned.”

“No. We’ll have a strict screening process, including references, drug testing . . . STD testing.”

“Yep. All that.” Mia made some notes on her pad. Whoa. Back up. “STD testing? Why would we need that?”

“Well, like I said. We need to test the toys before we sell them. And I’m not going to mold random penises that aren’t any good.”

“How are we gonna test that?”

Mia knew that glint in Bryn’s eyes. And she was not going to like the answer.

“By using it before it’s molded.”

No. No, she couldn’t mean that.

“Someone needs to have sex with the models to make sure their member is adequate.”

“Why? Can’t we tell that just by looking at it?”

“No. Different girths and lengths have different feels. You can’t know how it will feel by just looking, or even touching them with your hand. Only a real live vagina can get the data we need to do this right. We need someone who can do this objectively and make an informed decision. And

since Penny is married and Grant can’t do it, that only leaves . . .”

Bryn eyed Mia, the mischievous grin back.

“Oh, no. What about you, Miss Sassy? You’re the one who said the penises need to be tested.”

“I can test the already-made toys. I can’t test the models.”

“Sure you can.”

The smile faded from Bryn’s face. “You know I’m not ready.”

“Well, I am not having sex with random strangers.”

“They wouldn’t be random. They’d be thoroughly screened. I can call legitimate modeling agencies and tell them what we’re looking for. We’ll send them for full health screenings. We’ll select guys for the final round and then you’ll have sex with them. But not real sex. Just test it out and see how it feels from different angles. Make sure it’s thick enough, long enough. Not bent or anything funky.”

“Are we seriously having this conversation?”

Penny sat there, giggling. “I think it’s brilliant.”

“No. I’m not doing it. End of discussion. There has to be another way.”

But it wasn’t the end of the discussion. And there wasn’t another way that would get them the exact data they needed.

This venture couldn’t fail. It had to be done without error.

Link continuing the excerpt to XOXOAfterDark:

http://xoxoafterdark.com/2014/08/05/pocket-star-e-nights-size-stephanie-haefner/?mcd=z_140818_XOXO_PSN_TMOFS

————-

 

LOVE LIKE THE MOVIES by VICTORIA VAN TIEM

SUMMARY:

In this irresistible romantic romp, movie fanatic Kensington Shaw is thrown into love—Hollywood-style—when her gorgeous ex presents a series of big screen challenges to win back her heart.
What girl wouldn’t want to experience the Pretty Woman shopping scene? It’s number two on the list. Or, try the lift from Dirty Dancing? It’s number five. One list, ten romantic movie moments, and a handful of shenanigans later, Kenzi has to wonder…should she marry the man her family loves, or risk everything for a love like the movies?

EXCERPT:

With a fresh cup of coffee, I’m back at my desk just as Clive’s door opens. Bradley and Shane both emerge. With my back ramrod straight, I open a new document and tap away at the keys like I’m deep in a major idea storm and can’t keep up with the flow.

They’re walking over here. Without looking up, I type the same sentence again, and then ad lib. Idea storm and can’t keep up with the flow. Tons of ideas. Lots of ideas—

Shane’s standing right in front of my desk. “Good morning, Kensington.” His floppy dark hair is pushed back off his face and a hint of growth now covers his jaw. His lips are curved slightly and my gaze falls to them.

“Hi, hon,” Bradley says, striding up beside him before I can respond. He looks polished and handsome in the light-blue shirt I bought for his last birthday.

I peer over my laptop screen and smile brightly at him, ignoring Shane. “Morning, what’s on the agenda today?” I keep typing random sentences, because I’m much too busy to stop. I type, much too busy to stop.

“I thought we could brainstorm during an outing. Maybe hash out the list,” Shane says to the side of my head because I’m still smiling at Bradley. My fiancé. Who’s still upset with me.

I pause and do my best to look apologetic. “Oh, it’s Wednesday. Bradley and I have a standing lunch date.” There. I looked at him.

Bradley rocks back on his heels. “Oh, yeah, sorry, can’t. Tonya and I are meeting with the Indianapolis Symphony about a new print initiative.” His eyes narrow. “Is that a new dress?”

I can feel my face warm. “What? No, you’ve seen this before.” He actually has. I furrow my brows in a you-don’t-know-what-you’re-talking-about look.

“Sorry ’bout lunch, but I may be able to score symphony tickets from today’s meeting.”

“Great,” I say and smile even brighter at Bradley. It’s megawatt and directed only at him. I love the symphony. It’s an excuse to get dressed up and the theater’s absolutely beautiful. It also doesn’t hurt that he said that in front of Shane. See? We’re happy. In fact, I’m beaming.

Bradley taps my desk and smiles. “I do like that dress. You look gorgeous.” He nods to Shane. No smile. “Bennett.” He turns and walks toward his office.

Yay, Bradley. I’m so wearing something silky for him this weekend. I look back at my computer screen and keep ignoring Shane in case Bradley—yup, he just looked back. I smile. Having Shane here is bothering him. I just need to not aggravate the situation and stay focused on what’s at stake: job, bonus, wedding, and family . . . in other words, everything.

Shane’s still standing here.

“So, what time are you free?” He moves to my side of the desk and peers down at the screen.

What is he doing? I try to bring up the Microsoft Office calendar again, but I already closed out. I can’t just close the laptop. It’ll appear like I’m hiding something.

My chat window pops up. It’s Ellie. Can Shane see the screen? I can’t tell. The back of my neck warms as I glance at the message.

ELLIE-BELL: Has your ex Mr. Britain seen you in that dress yet? Did his jaw drop?

I turn quickly, to distract him. “How ’bout noon? I’m sure that’ll work.” My voice is shaky, trying to play it off.

“Actually, I have a late lunch over at the mall. Can you meet me there around four? Front entrance?”

“Sure. Oh, um, would you mind if we met in front of Fossie’s? I have to grab a baby gift off the registry for my sister-in-law, so I could meet you after . . . ?”

“It’s Fossie’s at four then.” Shane turns to leave but then looks back, his gaze skimming the length of my dress. “For the record, I, ah, prefer your overalls. But I can see why Bradley likes that dress.” A sly smile twists on his lips.

Without another word he turns on his heels, leaving me to slowly bleed out from embarrassment. I drop my head in my hands. Ugh . . . this dress. So much for confident, together, and ready for business.

Approaching the registry kiosk, I type in Ren’s name and wait for the printout. I haven’t even thought of registering yet. With my luck, when it’s time for a wedding shower, Mom will want to have Ren’s big baby shower. My stomach wrenches and sours.

I’m watching the machine slowly spit out Ren’s list: mahogany crib and dresser set, glider chair for the nursery, all-terrain jogging stroller . . . there’s nothing under four hundred dollars. What is she thinking?

When I look up, I spot Shane in the main aisle walking in my direction. Wait, he’s early. I dodge a woman who’s pushing a stroller with one hand and holding on to a toddler with the other. The little girl has adorable blond curls and rounded cheeks. She waves at me with a chubby hand and I can’t help smiling.

My expression drops as I near Shane. “Hi, you’re early. You said four, right?” I point back toward the direction I came. “I, um, haven’t even started yet.”

Shane looks at his watch. “Oh, so I am. Not a problem.” He motions toward the department and begins walking. “When’s your sister-in-law due?”

“Oh, um, not until spring.” I match his stride. So he’s coming with me? “I guess my engagement dinner is now an engagement slash early baby shower with the family, so we’re giving our gifts now.” My words spill out with an unintentionally wounded tone.

Shane looks puzzled. “Wait, I thought you said your mom had everything planned? Why would they change it all of a sudden?”

My cheeks warm. I forgot I told him. “Um, I must’ve gotten it wrong. The phone disconnected, and I guess, well . . .” I look away and say under my breath, “Ya know, I assumed.”

“Some things never change.” Shane huffs and shakes his head, then looks around. “I’ll, ah, be right back.”

There’s a warm glow in my chest from his words. Shane’s spent time with my family and gets how it is for me. He always took my side.

At this point, I think my family should just forget about the engagement dinner. We can make the get-together about Ren. The whole thing feels like an obligation, anyway. Like I’m an inconvenience imposing on Ren’s special day. Not quite good enough to merit my own.

My attention falls on a display table with little baby booties. They’re knitted to imitate miniature fashion boots. As I run my fingers over the texture, a goofy grin fixes on my face. They’re so stinkin’ cute. When I glance up, I find Shane watching me from across the display.

“They’re just so tiny.” My nose wrinkles. “Can you imagine the little feet, and the itty-bitty toes that would fit in these?”

“I can imagine a lot of things.”

My whole body stiffens. An unexpected tsunami of displaced emotion detonates without warning, washing over me in an instant. I look away. Anywhere. The booties. My hands. His.

Wait. “Why do you have scanner guns?”

Link continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:

http://xoxoafterdark.com/2014/08/05/pocket-star-e-nights-love-movies-victoria-van-tiem/?mcd=z_140818_XOXO_PSN_LLTM

US residents only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Try Me on for Size and Love Like the Movies appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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9. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves – The Flood 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’m still trying to catch up from the Buckeye Morgan show.  The show is a Friday – Sunday show, with a packed schedule, and it didn’t end until about 4pm on Sunday.  Lots of early mornings and late evenings, with little time to leave the fairgrounds.  After loading up the cars on Sunday, we still had an over 4 hours drive home!  I didn’t get much reading accomplished, and because I was so tired by the end of the show, I didn’t get much squeezed in over the week either.  It took a while to recover from this fun show!

Elle and Pixie both had phenomenal shows.  Elle was very steady under saddle, and she was beautiful in harness.  She finished the show the Classic Pleasure Driving Champion, and I was so glad I could watch her class, knowing that Sarah is a more than capable driver.  It was enjoyable being able to watch her during the show, and I want to give a shout out to Sarah for her skillful handling of my horse.  Thanks, Sarah!

Pixie had her best show yet.  We ended up getting a Reserve in the English Pleasure Amateur division, and she was a very willing mount, always eager to please.  I’m looking forward to next year, and I’m planning on taking both of them to Morgan Grand Nationals. 

Monday was a weird, weird weather day.  We had a strong storm dump over 4 inches of rain an hour on Metro Detroit, and it caused HAVOC!  Most freeways flooded and were closed for days after, and thousands of people had basement flooding.  My brother had 3 inches of sewer water back up in his, which meant that everything down there was a loss.  It didn’t rain as much where I are, so we thankfully didn’t have any flooding, other than in the street, but many of my friends did.  I’m thankful that all of them are safe, and upset that so many of them had to throw so much away.  Municipalities arranged for extra garbage pick up, and the mountains of trash in front many houses was staggering.

How was your week?

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:

These are books I received during the last two weeks

Sisters’ Fate (Love this series so much I pre-ordered this, and was so happy to see it on my Kindle Thursday morning)

Compulsion

The Beautiful Ashes

Wickedly Dangerous

Kiss Me, Captain

Nightingale

Free Agent

Heroes are My Weakness

Rebel Nation

Summer Moon

Dead, Undead, and Somewhere in Between

Not Quite a Wife

Dark Blossom

 

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

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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10. Giveaway: We Were Liars by E Lockhart

This morning I have a giveaway for you to enter.  I have an ARC of We Were Liars by E Lockhart up for grabs.  This is a compelling read that draws you in and refuses to let go.  I am still trying to decide whether or not I actually liked it, but I know that I could not put it down.

About the book:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

US addresses only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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11. Graphic Novel Review: Food Wars! Vol 1 & 2 by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

I like food so I thought I’d give Food Wars! a try.  I thought the first volume was okay, but it didn’t blow me away.  Soma’s family owns a diner, and Soma’s number one goal in life is to be a better cook than his dad.  I love this storyline; it kept me reading The Prince of Tennis for a long time (and I need to catch up on that one!).  I’m not sure why I find this trope so appealing, but it is one of my favorites.  The protagonist working to hone his skills, hoping to one day surpass the person who taught him almost everything he knows, yeah, I really like that.

Food Wars! Volume 1 ends the competition between father and son very quickly.  Soma’s dad decides he’s going to sharpen his cooking skills, and he leaves Soma with hardly a word.  Off he goes, we discover, jet-setting around the globe, creating fabulous dishes at 5-star establishments.  Soma, in the meantime, has been enrolled in a prestigious culinary school.  The only hitch? He has to pass a cooking test, or he flunks out of school before it even starts.  His judge is fellow student Erina Nakiri, and she’s one tough critic.  From a blue-blooded family of in the gourmet food biz, she has already created a name for herself in the foodie world.  Noted for her incredibly discerning sense of taste, she has no patience for anything less than the best.  Unfortunately for Soma, that includes him.  When Erina discovers his background is from a humble family diner, she has nothing but contempt for him and his cooking.

 

I think the thing I enjoyed best about Food Wars! is Soma’s personality.  He’s brash and outspoken, but he doesn’t mean to come across as a douche, though he often does.  He just wants everyone to appreciate all kinds of food, especially meals prepared with less expensive ingredients.  He’s also very confident in his own abilities, having worked in the family restaurant since he was a small boy.  He makes himself a target the first day of school by sounding like an obnoxious jerk, making a speech in front of the incoming class that is cringe worthy in its arrogance.  Since everybody has a bone to pick with him now, he suddenly has dozens of classmates rooting for, and even actively participating in efforts to see him fail.  Most of the students come from wealthy families, with esteemed backgrounds in gourmet food industries, and they don’t want his kind there.

Volume 2 introduces a parcel of eccentric personalities for Soma to interact with, as well as his first cooking battle.  If he loses, he’s agreed to pack his bags and leave school for good.  His opponent is a genius with beef, and since her family has made a fortune selling grade A cuts of the stuff, he probably shouldn’t have challenged her to a cook-off using meat as the main ingredient.  That’s what I like about Soma; he feels so strongly about an issue that he jumps to accept any challenge, without having the faintest idea or plan of how he’s actually going to win. It’s always Ready! Fire! Aim! with him, with very entertaining results.

So far, I am enjoying this series. The drama of the food wars is fun, and the descriptions of the food makes me drool. I hate cooking, but even I’m tempted to try some of the recipes included because they sound so darned tasty. I have my usual gripes while reading a comic aimed primarily at boys, and I’m not sure how these 14 year old girls can have boobs the size of their heads, but then I remember that I am not the target market. It’s still fun anyway.

About the book:

Soma Yukihira’s old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town.  Aiming to one day surpass his father’s culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school!  Can Soma really cut it in a school that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!

Leaving home for the first time in his young life, Soma moves into the  Polaris Dormitory—a place run by an old crone and filled with crazy and eccentric students! Barely settled in, Soma quickly finds himself in one of Tohzuki’s legendary cooking duels—a shokugeki! Who will his very first opponent be?

Review copies provided by publisher

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12. Review: Keeping Secrets by Maggie Dana

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I always have the urge to read a horsey book right before a horse show.  I kept seeing the Timber Ridge Riders series on Amazon, and wanted to check it out, so when I had the chance to do just that, I jumped at it.  I don’t ride hunt seat, so I always find depictions of hunter shows interesting.  The horse care details were spot on, and nothing made me cringe due to inaccuracies.  I’ll tell you what did make me cringe: the behavior of Kate’s rival, Angela.  What a spoiled, selfish girl!  If I was her coach, she would have been booted from my barn.  Her casual treatment of the animals and her teammates had me boiling mad!

Keeping Secrets is a middle grade book, but it will appeal to horse enthusiasts of all ages.  I felt so awful for protagonist Kate.  She has spent the last six months blaming herself for the death of  a horse at her old barn.  A convenient scape goat, she was kicked out, banished for allowing the horse to escape from his stall, get into the feed room, and colic.  What a crappy thing to do to a 14 year old girl.  The old trainer earned zero respect from me, and poor Kate, heartbroken over the loss of her favorite horse, decided that horses would no longer play a part in her life.  Kate’s disinterested father didn’t help her with her grief.  The guy, a professor, was never home, and he probably didn’t even know about the horrible experience Kate was struggling to deal with.  Instead, he traipsed around the planet research butterflies. 

With her father on a trip, she’s moved in with her aunt.  Kate wants a job, so when she hears about a babysitting job, she applies for it.  Her charge is actually her own age, and Holly has been confined to a wheelchair after an auto accident.  Kate’s job is to be her companion for the summer, so her mom can continue coaching riders at the barn behind their small house.  Barn?  Yes, barn!  So even though Kate wants nothing to do with horses, she is stuck having to deal with them every day.  Holly’s dream is to get back in the saddle again, and she drags Kate to the barn every day.  To hide her new discomfort around the animals, Kate lies and tells Holly that she’s terrified of them, and, oh, yeah, she’s allergic, too.  When her secret is outted, she has to earn back Holly’s trust, as well as help save Holly’s mom’s job.

This is a very fast paced read, and I couldn’t put it down.  Once Kate gets back in the saddle, things accelerate even more.  She has to help win a team competition, but guess what?  Angela is out to get her, because Kate rides better than she does, so Kate has to learn quickly to avoid Angela’s attempts to sabotage her.  I loved all of the conflict Angela started.  She’s the perfect girl you love to hate, but because her mother demands constant perfection from her, you feel a smidge, just a smidge!, of pity for her.  She’s afraid that Kate will show her up in front of her mother, and all her mother cares about is that Angela is the best.  Her mother also has a lot of control over whether or not Holly’s mother will keep her job, it turns out, so there’s even greater friction between the girls.  Add in the fact that Angela is a bully and likes to pick on what she considers weaker girls, and you really have the perfect villain.

I enjoyed Keeping Secrets, and I’m looking forward to more adventures with Kate and Holly.  I’m sure that Angela will continue to make trouble for the girls, making for more entertaining reading.

Grade:  B/B+  (I love the cover – that gets an A)

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A valuable horse is dead, and it’s all her fault, which is why 14-year-old Kate McGregor has banished horses and riding from her life … forever!

But her new summer job as a companion to Holly Chapman, a former riding star who’s now confined to a wheelchair, takes her back to the barn—the last place Kate wants to be. 

Can Kate keep her terrible secret from Holly, who is fast becoming her best friend? And, more important, can she keep her secret from Angela Dean, a teenage bully who lives for only two things: winning ribbons and causing trouble? 

Kate manages to keep her secret hidden until an accident forces it into the open … and it’s just the moment Angela has been waiting for.

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13. Spotlight and Giveaway: First to Burn by Anna Richland

 
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$10.00 Starbucks eGift Card



 

A Soldier with Secrets.

Immortal Viking Wulf Wardsen once battled alongside Beowulf, and now serves in Afghanistan. He’s trusted the mortal men on his elite special operations team to protect his secret, until an explosion lands Wulf in a place more dangerous to him than a battlefield: a medevac helicopter.

A Doctor with Questions.

Army captain Theresa Chiesa follows the rules and expects the same from others, even special forces hotshots like Sergeant Wardsen. She’s determined to discover the secret behind his supernaturally fast healing, and she won’t allow his sexy smile to distract her.

An Enemy with Nothing to Lose.

Even as Theresa’s investigation threatens to expose him, Wulf dreams of love and a normal life with her. But the lost Viking relic needed to reverse his immortality is being hunted by another—an ancient enemy who won’t hesitate to hurt Theresa to strike back at Wulf.




 
 
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Anna Richland lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle. Like the heroine of FIRST TO BURN, she joined the army to pay tuition, a decision that led to an adventurous career on four continents (if standing on the bridge in Panama that divides North and South America counts as two).

She donates a portion of her book proceeds to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for families of wounded soldiers in the US and Great Britain, and Doctors Without Borders, which delivers emergency medical care in more than sixty crisis zones world-wide.


To find out about her October novella, HIS ROAD HOME, and the next Immortal Vikings romance, THE SECOND LIE, visit her website at annarichland.com and sign up for her newsletter.


 
WEBSITE   |   FACEBOOK   |   GOODREADS
 
 
 

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14. Review: Falling for the Pirate by Amber Lin

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

After reading House of the Four Winds, I was in a pirate kind of a mood.  Good thing I had Falling for the Pirate locked and loaded on my Kindle.  I admit that I wasn’t charmed with the beginning, but after Juliana lost her memory, I was a convert.  I’m not sure why I felt that way, because she’s not annoying or a bad person.  Maybe her blind devotion to her missing father, and the risks she was willing to take to clear his name, didn’t work for me?  Or maybe I liked the person she became better when her circumstances better mirrored Nate’s previous meager life?  I’m totally baffled by my first response to her.  Maybe I just needed to get to know her better?

After Nate catches her sneaking around in his new building, a chase ensues, and Juliana is injured and almost drowns, but Nate saves her.  When she regains consciousness a few days later, she has no recollection of her past.  She can’t even remember her name.  Nate finds this all together too convenient;  first, she was sneaking around his property, snooping through the file room.  Second, he discovers that Juliana is the daughter of his greatest enemy.  Her father murdered his parents and destroyed his young life, all for his own greed.  Nate suspects that her father put her up to her midnight burglary.  I have to admit that all of these background details made me a little nervous.  How would Nate ever be able to trust Juliana and put his awful past behind him?  Could he?  How would she react when she regained her memory and learned of the horrible things her father did, and of Nate’s tireless quest for revenge?

Nate’s not really a pirate.  Though he was imprisoned during his youth, he’s an honest, caring man.  But because his hatred for the man who destroyed his family has driven him for the last ten years, he doesn’t allow himself to feel emotions. He lives for his revenge.  He dreams of it, and it’s the only thing that kept him alive during the most trying times in his life.  He’s gruff and abrupt with Juliana, though she slowly thaws his icy interior. Despite his desire to be perceived of as a harsh man, Nate simply isn’t.  His experiences have made a better man of him, and though he doesn’t realize it, he is incapable of being cruel.  Instead, he has a deep-seated need to protect the weak and the helpless from bullies.  I really liked Nate!

While Juliana may have lost her memory, she’s savvy enough to realize that she currently has nothing.  Regardless of her circumstances prior to falling under Nate’s protection, now she hasn’t two pence to rub together.  Everything she has is because of his good will, and she feels an obligation to pay him back.   While this gave him far too much power over her, he doesn’t take advantage of it.  Honestly,  all he wants is for her to exit his life so he can get on with his plans for revenge against her father, but since she has nowhere else to go, he’s kind of stuck with her.  And, yup, before he’s what’s hit him, he’s fallen head over heels for her.

Because this is an amnesia story, I had to leave certain things by the wayside – like a sense of reality.  Juliana’s forgotten memories are just a bit too convenient, but it didn’t bother me too much because I liked Nate so much.  This is a quick and entertaining read that will fill a void in your afternoon or evening.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

London, 1820

After the deaths of his parents and a dark, troubled childhood, Captain Nate Bowen vowed he would have his revenge. But he never expected to have the tool of his revenge dropped so neatly into his lap. Juliana Hargate is not only the daughter of his enemy, but is destitute, very much alone – and exquisitely desirable.

And now that Nate has saved her life, she’s at his complete mercy…

Captive. All Juliana wanted was to clear her father’s name. Instead, she’s been struck with amnesia – unable to recall even her name – and imprisoned by a tall, imposing, and entirely unscrupulous pirate. A pirate whose eyes seem to look past her skirts and many petticoats, and whose touch sends delicious ripples of desire through her. With every passing day, she finds herself tempted to give him the very thing he’s determined to take

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15. Interview with Juanita Kees, Author of Under Cover of Dark

 

 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Juanita! Thanks for stopping by to chat this morning.

[Juanita Kees] Thank you for having me over at Manga Maniac Café, Julie.

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

[Juanita Kees] Wine-loving, romantic, shoe-crazy bookworm

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Under Cover of Dark?

[Juanita Kees] You met him in Fly Away Peta. He starts a murder investigation in Under the Hood. When will Detective Mark Johnson have his chance at happiness and what’s next for the bad guys?

Under Cover of Dark is a romantic suspense follows Under the Hood, about a Western Australian drug gang, the teenagers they recruit, and the cop who wants to bring them down.

When Mark Johnson delves deeper into his investigation into the murder of Tiny Watts and the involvement of a teenage gang with sleazy lawyer, Gino Bennetti, and his drug world ties, the last thing he expects is to be interviewing Gino’s widow, a woman in a world of trouble.

When her husband is shot and killed, it is both a relief and a disaster. Lily has her son to protect and secrets that run deeper than the scars she bears. Mark Johnson is the last person she wants uncovering those secrets, especially the truth about her son, Luke’s involvement in Tiny Watts’ murder.

As the investigation continues and Lily’s wounds begin to heal, she finds the detective easy to trust and the friendship between them blossoms into more. But the secret Lily holds places everyone in very real danger. When it is finally revealed, Lily will lose everything: her son, the man she’s grown to love, her freedom, and her life.

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

[Juanita Kees] Mark loved the Perth hills at night. The stars shone brighter without the glow of the city lights. The bush was alive with sound, a chorus of creatures of the night. The frog calls merged with the chirping of the crickets, somewhere close a possum shimmied up a tree into its nest. The hypnotic calls of the nightlife blended with the laughter around the table. For a moment, Mark could forget about murder and petty theft, and enjoy the peace.

His thoughts turned to Lily. While she’d relaxed somewhat in the glow of wine, warmth and friendship, he knew by the way her hands gripped the thin wooden arms of the chair her troubles weren’t far from her mind. He had to admire her strength. All that had happened in the last couple of months alone would have most women hunched over in a hysterical heap. But not Lily. Lily was holding it together quite admirably. How long could she keep it up before it broke her?

She must have sensed him watching her. The laughter froze on her lips as her eyes met his. For a long moment, she held his gaze across the table, searching until she seemed to find what she was looking for. Mark felt the impact of her acceptance and his heart skipped a beat. Suddenly the cop was at war with the man. While his instinct rejoiced at the hint of a break in the case, his body reacted to the intensity of the woman. Good God! Gino Bennetti had not deserved this brave, intelligent, beautiful spirit.

Lily leaned across the table towards him. Still entranced, it took him a moment to process her words.

‘We need to talk, Detective.’

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

[Juanita Kees] I loved bringing the bad guys to justice because it’s not always that easy in real life. The characters from Under the Hood (TJ, Scott and Marty) were so much fun to write and I had a ball bringing them back in Under Cover of Dark. And of course, the gorgeous Detective Mark (if I may say so myself?) has been with me for such a long time and I thought he deserved to find a love of his own but I wasn’t going to make it easy for him. ?

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

[Juanita Kees] My Sony Xperia notebook! I’m hooked on it. It’s my own personal assistant. I can make notes for new stories, edit with office suite and still make calls and text. (Oh, and play the odd game of Mah Jong!)

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

[Juanita Kees] My herbal tea and teacup, my whiteboard for ideas, and my writing angel — a gift from my friend Jodie at my first RWA Conference.

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

[Juanita Kees] Definitely chocolate! Jamaican Rum and Raisin, gotta have it!

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

[Juanita Kees] Deborra-Lee Furness … I’d give my right arm to have dinner with Hugh Jackman ?

[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?

[Juanita Kees] It sounds a little cliché, but it’s true …the power of Peace — I’d use it to bring peace to the world so everyone could live together in harmony, the wars would stop and hatred would be eradicated.

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

[Juanita Kees] Wow, where do I start?? I love telling the world about books I enjoy.

Yes, Chef! – Lisa Joy

The Nanny Proposition – Rachel Bailey

Almost Invincible – Suzanne Burdon

Bet on It – Cheryl Adnams

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

[Juanita Kees] I love hearing from readers, so pop in and say hi ?

Author Site: http://juanitakees.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Juanita-Kees-Author-Page/119574648138202

Twitter: @juanitakees

Authorgraph: https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/Kees2Create

On Goodreads: Goodreads

Blog: The Other Side

New Australian romantic suspense follows Under the Hood, about a Western Australian drug gang, the teenagers they recruit, and the cop who wants to bring them down.

When Mark Johnson delves deeper into his investigation into the murder of Tiny Watts, and the involvement of a teenage gang with sleazy lawyer Gino Bennetti and his drug world ties, the last thing he expects is to be interviewing Gino’s widow, a woman in a world of trouble.

When her husband is shot and killed, it is both a relief and a disaster. Lily has her son to protect and secrets that run deeper than the scars she bears. Mark Johnson is the last person she wants uncovering those secrets, especially the truth about her son Luke’s involvement in Tiny Watts’s murder.

As the investigation continues and Lily’s wounds begin to heal, she finds the detective easy to trust and the friendship between them blossoms into more. But the secret Lily holds places everyone in very real danger. When it is finally revealed, Lily will lose everything: her son, the man she’s grown to love, her freedom and her life.

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16. Shelter Me Review at Romance at Random!

 

I have a new review posted over at Romance@Random!  If you have time, check out my thoughts on Shelter Me by Catherine Mann.

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17. Guest Post and Giveaway: The Danger In Tempting An Earl by Sophie Barnes

Today Sophie Barnes dropped by the virtual offices to answer a question, and she brought along a special gift you can enter to win.  Check it out!

Reasons why the friends to lovers trope is so popular by Sophie Barnes

Some of the best ingredients in a romance novel are: a gradual buildup of sexual tension, coupled with doubt and uncertainty – that “does he/she feel the same way about me?” and “do I dare risk telling them how I feel?” When it comes to longtime friends where one begins developing romantic feelings toward the other, they risk not only embarrassment and heartache by declaring themselves, but the entire friendship. In other words, the stakes are higher, so the question then becomes, what’s more important? Preserving the friendship or risking it all for a chance at true love? And is the potential for failure acceptable when there is but a slight possibility for success?

In The Danger In Tempting An Earl, Lucien Marvaine has put a great deal of thought into the decision he is about to make. He’s known Katherine since she was born and has loved her since she was sixteen years old. He knows she views him as a brother figure and that he lost his opportunity to marry her once before. Now, after suffering a difficult loss, he’s decided to make her his, even at the risk of being rejected. The choice wasn’t an easy one to make, but in the end there’s only one life, and he is prepared to put his own heart on the line in the name of true love. In other words, it’s Katherine or no one at all.

Meanwhile, Katherine’s eyes are gradually opened toward Lucien. She’s older now than she was four years earlier when she last saw him, and she finds herself alarmingly aware of his masculinity. Although she struggles to resist the growing attraction between them, she’s eventually faced with similar fears as Lucien: “Do I dare to give in to desire at the risk of losing his friendship?” And because she’s emotionally scarred from her previous marriage, her lack of self-confidence serves to increase her resistance. In the end, I think that watching two people whose ties have been close for so long, change their regard for each other and take a leap of faith based on mutual trust when there’s every chance in the world that they’ll lose what they hold most dear in the process, is what makes the friends to lovers trope an entertaining and rewarding read.

The Danger In Tempting An Earl

At The Kingsborough Ball

By: Sophie Barnes

Releasing July 29th, 2014

Avon Romance

 

Blurb

Lucien Marvaine never thought he was good enough for Katherine. As the younger son of an earl, he didn’t have a title or prospects. Then fate steps in and gives him a second chance, and this new Earl of Roxbury is determined to make the beautiful Kate his own . . . one touch . . . one kiss at a time.

Katherine never thought of herself as a temptress, certainly not with Lucien. Why, she’s known him almost all her life! Yet as she waltzes in Lucien’s arms at the Kingsborough Ball, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Has he always been this hard and masculine? And where did those dimples come from? Kate is not looking for a husband . . . but how can she not surrender to Lucien’s charms when love is at stake?

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/06/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_18.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18753716-the-danger-in-tempting-an-earl

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Danger-Tempting-Earl-Kingsborough-Ball-ebook/dp/B00GFZY0OG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1388848559

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-danger-in-tempting-an-earl-sophie-barnes/1117322921?ean=9780062245113&itm=1&usri=the+danger+in+tempting+an+earl

Author Info

Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she’s been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.

When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.

Author Links

http://www.sophiebarnes.com/

https://twitter.com/BarnesSophie

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSophieBarnes

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Book Trailer

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18. Guest Post and Giveaway: Brooklyn Ann, Author of One Bite Per Night

Please welcome Brooklyn Ann to the virtual offices this morning!  She has a fun Top 5 list to share, as well as a copy of One Bite Per Night up for grabs!

Top 5 complaints about Vincent, from his house staff (not that they would ever speak ill of their employer….)

First off, I gotta say that your site is one of my favorites to visit. You always ask the most fun questions!  (Thank you!)

1.) He sets dreadfully odd hours.

It’s dreadfully inconvenient having to wait until nightfall to be able to clean his lordship’s chambers.

2.)  It can be tedious working for someone who is rumored to be a madman.

One can’t go to the village for errands without being harangued by the locals about the “Mad Deveril” or “The Devil Earl.” Does he turn into a sea monster at night? Does he terrorize the chambermaids? Does he dance with the devil at the full moon? 

3.) He insists on constantly going on nighttime walks, no matter the weather.

Do you have any notion as to the hassle of pressing and drying His Lordship’s greatcoats twice a night? It is a wonder he hasn’t caught his death from cold!

4.) He rarely dines at home and when he does he eats like a bird.

No matter what cook prepares, it is never good enough. The earl constantly insists upon dining at the village inns like a common tradesman.

5.) Without any guests or parties, things can be quite dull.

Not that we aren’t grateful for our light duties, but we would enjoy looking after callers or organizing some sort of entertainment to break the monotony of being cooped up in a dreary castle for eternity.

 

One Bite Per Night

By Brooklyn Ann

Soucebooks Casablanca

Paranormal Historical Romance

August 5, 2014

ISBN: 9781492604914

$6.99/£4.99

Mass-Market Paperback

He wanted her off his hands…

Vincent Tremayne, the reclusive “Devil Earl,” has been manipulated into taking rambunctious Lydia Price as his ward. As Lord Vampire of Cornwall, Vincent has better things to do than bring out an unruly debutante.

Now he’ll do anything to hold on forever

American-born Lydia Price doesn’t care for the stuffy strictures of the ton, and is unimpressed with her foppish suitors. She dreams of studying with the talented but scandalous British portrait painter, Sir Thomas Lawrence. But just when it seems her dreams will come true, Lydia is plunged into Vincent’s dark world and finds herself caught between the life she’s known and a future she never could have imagined.

A lover of witty Regencies and dark paranormal romance, Brooklyn Ann combines the two in her new vampire series. The former mechanic turned author lives with her family in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. She can be found online at http://brooklynann.blogspot.com

Website: http://brooklynann.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brooklyn.ann.7

Twitter: @Brooklyn__Ann https://twitter.com/Brooklyn__Ann

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6506571.Brooklyn_Ann

Buy: Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Indigo

US addresses only please

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19. Interview with Anna Kashina, Author of The Guild of Assassins and Giveaway

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

[Anna Kashina] A self-questioning over-committed dreamer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Anna Kashina] “The Guild of Assassins” is an adventure fantasy featuring the elite Majat warriors, best described in present day terms as ninjas in a medieval European setting. This is book 2 in the Majat Code series, but I hope it can be read as a stand alone. In addition to fast-paced action, this book also has strong elements of romance.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Anna Kashina] In a way, when I wrote this book, it all came to me on its own. The overall concept that always fascinated me was the idea of extreme power confined by very strict outside circumstances. In the case of the Majat warriors, their deadly fighting skill comes at a price of absolute obedience to the code of their guild. And then, you throw real people into this situation, with passions, desires, and a strong sense of honor, and watch it all go awry.

In my story, the two central characters are Kara and Mai, both of them top-ranked Majat warriors. Kara has acted on her honor and disobeyed her guild, earning a death warrant. Mai had been sent after her, but at the critical moment he chose to spare her life. Now Mai has to pay for what he has done, and Kara is determined to interfere and draw the heat away from him. Of course, all this is bound to trigger some feelings on both sides. I just loved playing it out.

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

[Anna Kashina] I have to shamefully confess that in this book I enjoyed writing the romance, and the ensuing tension between the characters. There is a love triangle between the three main characters, which infuses all their interactions with so much feeling that the air tended to crackle in the room as I wrote. I could not wait to get to writing every day, and finished the first draft in less than a month. To me, the whole book was driven by these feelings. I only hope I managed to convey some of them to the readers.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Anna Kashina] The fact that some of the relationships were bound to end up badly, as is inevitable for a love triangle. Kara must choose between two men who are very different from each other. I felt very bad for the one who ended up alone.

I went with the characters when I wrote the book, so until very late in the story I kept wondering if things will resolve differently, but in the end I felt everything happened the only way it could possibly have gone. This, in itself, was gratifying.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Anna Kashina] I am not good at theme songs. I have to say, however, that even though I don’t normally write to music, a lot of this novel was written to the soundtrack of “Totem” by Cirque du Soleil. A lot of that music combines middle eastern build with ethnic rhythms, and is made for very fast action. It was perfect for the mood of the story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Anna Kashina] My purse? OK, that envelops a whole bunch of things. In these days, probably my cell phone would be one, closely followed by my Kindle.

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

[Anna Kashina] A pen, a note pad, and a flash drive. These were first the first three out of many, my desk tends to get messy.

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

[Anna Kashina] My all-time favorite fantasy author is Terry Pratchett, so I would love to be in his head for one day and get a glimpse of where all this beautiful writing comes from.

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

[Anna Kashina] One of my favorite recent books is N. K. Jemisin’s “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms”. More recently I enjoyed the “Hearts and Thrones” trilogy by Amy Raby and “The Assassin’s Curse” duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Anna Kashina] Reading, when I am not too tired. When I am tired I like watching adventure movies or playing computer games. Sadly, not much time for those.

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

[Anna Kashina] I have a blog at http://www.annakashina.com

I am also on Facebook and Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-Kashina/215289654593

https://twitter.com/annakashina

Please stop by. I love to hear from readers at all times on any topics!

 

The Guild of Assassins

Majat Code #2

By: Anna Kashina

Releasing Aug 5th, 2014

Blurb

Kara, an elite warrior from the Majat Guild, has escaped execution and achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild!
But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai.
Is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a ploy sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/06/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_7.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19325184-the-guild-of-assassins

Buy Links

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Guild-Assassins-Book-Majat-Code-ebook/dp/B00I75ET7A/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402088430&sr=1-3

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-guild-of-assassins-anna-kashina/1117541969?ean=9780857665270

Random House: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/239563/the-guild-of-assassins-by-anna-kashina

The prequel, The Majat Testing, is FREE!

Author Info

Anna Kashina grew up in Russia and moved to the United States in 1994 after receiving her Ph.D. in cell biology from the Russian Academy of Sciences. She works as a biomedical researcher and combines career in science with her passion for writing. Anna’s interests in ballroom dancing, world mythologies and folklore feed her high-level interest in martial arts of the Majat warriors. She is a recent medalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year and Independent Publishers Book Award contests.

Author Links

http://annakashinablog.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/annakashina

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-Kashina/215289654593

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20. Guest Post and Giveaway: Mary Wine, Author of The Highlander’s Bride Trouble

Please welcome special guest Mary Wine to the virtual offices this morning!

Top 5 items a Highlander won’t leave home without? by Mary Wine

Hummm….Me?

LOL!

Well let’s see.

His kilt –Now some of us might like it if a few Highlanders left home without their kilts but I wouldn’t want those handsome hunks to catch cold. The kilt goes back for a long time, in fact, further than written records but there are some Roman accounts of a garment that is similar to the kilt being worn by the ‘savages’ that the Roman’s couldn’t control. Fabric was very expensive back then and this length of fabric was used as bedding, a cloak and for daily wear. One of the reasons it wasn’t cut and sewn.

His sword- Not just for protection. The sword, both long and short was what was used to survive. Hunting, cooking and probably lots of things I can’t think of because I’ve never had to survive in the Highlands.

Boots—I wouldn’t want to leave home without my shoes. Rocks, thorns, spiders….did I say spiders? Shiver. In times when there were few roads and no sort of sanitation…boots become a necessity.

His horse- In eras past, horses set you apart. They enabled you to travel and escape.

Confidence – Men in these era faced uncertainty on a level that I never have. Disease. Power hungry enemies and nature. They had to have back bones of steel or they never would have survived.

The Highlander’s Bride Trouble is the fourth book in my Sutherlands. I’ve been eager to write it since Sear and Nareen collided in the last book…How to Handle a Highlander. I hope you all enjoy it. Cheers.

  Excerpt:

He reached out and stroked her cheek. “’Tis a sad thing to see how hard yer feelings are. But there is naught more to fear, she’ll nae have the opportunity to inflict such ills again.”

Nareen jerked away from the contact. She even took a swipe at his hand, but he moved faster, withdrawing in time to avoid being struck. Someone chuckled from where his men clustered near the fires, but Saer was watching her from narrowed eyes.

“I am nae afraid of anything,” she assured him.

“Is that so?” Saer inquired in a silky-smooth tone.

Nareen nodded. Satisfaction began to fill her, but it was cut short as he reached out and stroked her face again. She jumped, completely unable to control her reaction.

“Ye are making sport of me in front of yer men, like a savage.”

His eyes glittered, but it wasn’t with the outrage Nareen had intended to provoke. Instead, there was an unmistakable pleased looked in those dark orbs.

“I am a savage, Nareen.” He stepped forward, placing himself within touching range again. “I do nae let words stand alone. If ye truly have no interest in me, there is no reason to avoid me touch. Stand steady and prove ye are nae moved. I have no taste for a frigid woman.”

She laughed at him but stepped back again. “Then it seems we have a common ground, for I crave no man’s touch.”

His lips thinned. “Now that is something ye shall have to prove as well.”

“I will nae. Me word should be enough on the matter, if ye truly are me brother’s friend.” She didn’t care to hide behind her brother’s name, but the circumstances offered her few alternatives.

“As ye noted, I am a savage, and I always demand proof before I believe.”

This time, she was ready when he reached for her cheek. She stepped aside, avoiding him. She was just beginning to smile with her victory when he closed his hand around her wrist. He really was huge. His fingers closed easily around her smaller wrist, clasping it in an iron grip. She braced herself for pain, but there was none, only a secure hold that defied her attempt to break it.

“Release me.” Her voice had risen, and she shut her mouth before revealing any more of her unsettled state.

“Prove ye are unmoved, lass, and I shall be content to accept yer dismissal.” His tone had deepened, becoming something hypnotic.

“I am irritated.” And remaining still was proving too difficult. She twisted her hand, trying to break his hold again.

“Aye, ye are that.” He lifted her hand to his face and pressed a kiss on the delicate skin of her inner wrist. She shuddered, the touch intensely intimate. She’d never realized her skin might be so sensitive. The simple touch of his lips unleashed a bolt of sensation that shook her all the way down to her toes. His eyes filled with satisfaction.

“But ye are also affected.”

He released her, and she stumbled back a pace because she’d been resisting his hold so greatly. Laughter erupted from his men. Saer stiffened, and he crossed his arms over his chest.

“What?” she said. “Are ye trying to impress me by controlling yerself now that ye see yer men are enjoying the sport ye are making of me?”

“Aye, I am,” he answered darkly. “I am nae the one who chose this setting for our meeting, Nareen. Ye should nae have refused to see me again at court. That left me no choice but to chase ye.”

The Highlander’s Bride Trouble

By Mary Wine

Sourcebooks Casablanca

Historical Romance

August 5, 2014

ISBN: 9781402264863

$6.99/£4.99

Mass-Market Paperback

Her clan is in chaos…

Raised by her father and brother, Nareen Grant is strong, confident, well-educated—and skilled with a bow and dagger. It’s a tumultuous time for Scotland, and events conspire against her. Betrayed by her family, she makes her way alone, until she lands in the lap of Saer MacLeod. But she wants no help from a savage man of the Isles.

And rivalries are deadlier than ever.

Raised on the rugged Scottish Isles, Saer MacLeod is considered fierce even by Highlander standards. He’s enchanted by the independent and headstrong Nareen. But when an old feud endangers her life, Saer’s fascination with her escalates into a ferocious desire to protect her… and claim her for himself.

Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of erotic fantasy, romantic suspense, and historical romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives with her husband and two sons in Yorba Linda, California.

Website: http://www.marywine.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Wine/133965836120?ref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/207379.Mary_Wine

Order Print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | B-A-M | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

Order Ebook: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

US addresses only, please

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21. Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Cold Burn of Magic is sooooo on my wish list, so I’m happy to share the cover reveal this morning.  The book sounds so good!  What do you think of cover?  Is this on your reading list?
 
 
Cold Burn of Magic

Black Blade #1

Jennifer Estep

Releasing April 28th, 2015
 
KTeen, imprint of Kensington Publishing




THERE BE MONSTERS HERE…


It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call—get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her…


Pre-Order
 
 
 
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New York Times bestselling author Jen­nifer Estep is constantly prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. Jennifer is the author the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington and the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. She is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series. 

Jen­nifer is a mem­ber of Romance Writ­ers of Amer­ica, Sci­ence Fic­tion and Fan­tasy Writ­ers of America, and other writ­ing groups. Jennifer’s books have been fea­tured in Cos­mopoli­tan, Enter­tain­ment Weekly, South­ern Liv­ing, and a vari­ety of other publications. 


To learn more about her, visit www.jenniferestep.com . You can also sign up for Jennifer’s fan page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Goodreads.



The post Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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22. Cover Reveal: The Elementalists by C Sharp

 

I have a couple cover reveals this morning.  First up:  I read about The Elementalists last week, and the plot sounds intriguing.  Besides, anything with dragons gets a second look from me.  What do you think of the cover?

The Elementalists

C. Sharp

It is the hottest year on record for the fifth year in a row, and famine riots spread across much of Africa. Along the Gulf Coast, the hurricane season is one of the worst in memory. The latest in a string of 9.0 strength earthquakes has claimed two-hundred thousand lives in central China. Far below the earth’s crust, imprisoned in ancient slumber, the elemental powers of the land grow restless…

All seems normal in small town Virginia, where fifteen year old Chloe McClellan dreads the start of her sophomore year. Whip-smart, athletic and genuine, she’s also a bit of an angry loner who is totally unaware of her charms. Despite her plans to stay under the radar, Chloe becomes a target for the fiery queen of the It-girls in fifth period gym. She then draws instant notoriety when she’s struck by lightning after her first disastrous day of school. As if that weren’t bad enough, she soon comes to believe, that either she’s going insane, or her accident has unleashed a powerful and terrifying creature from the mythological world—triggering the final countdown to the world’s sixth great extinction level event.

Chloe finds some solace as she inexplicably wins the affections of an unlikely trio of male classmates: the earthy and gregarious captain of the football team, the flighty stoner with a secret, and an enigmatic transfer student who longs for the sea. All the while she struggles with the growing realization that “Dragons” exist, and she may be the only one who can stop them.

The Elementalists, book one of the Tipping Point Prophecy, follows Chloe and her group of friends, and enemies, as they struggle to save humanity by harnessing the power of the elements.

Author bio:

This is C. Sharp’s debut novel. He studied English Literature and Anthropology at Brown University and Mayan Archaeology at the Harvard Field School in Honduras. He works in film and commercial production. Chris now lives in Concord, MA with his wife and daughter.

Goodreads link:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22838892-the-elementalists

Sales widget:

https://ganxy.com/i/95879/c-sharp/the-elementalists-the-tipping-point-prophecy-book-one

eISBN:

9781626813113

Price:

$4.99

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23. Guest Post and Giveaway: Lia Riley, Author of Upside Down

This morning, Lia Riley dropped the virtual offices for a chat.  See what she has to say, and then enter the giveaway!

Top 5 ways Australia is like California, and the Top 5 differences

Similarities

1. Eucalyptus trees grow throughout my coastal California town.

2. Laid back people.

3. Killer coffee shops that take their espresso pretty dang seriously.

4. Stunning beaches.

5. Strong surf culture. 

Differences

1. California weather is quite consistent whereas if you don’t like the weather in Australia (at least in the Melbourne area), wait five minutes. 

2. The snakes are scarier in Australia and don’t have any helpful warning rattles. 

3. No one says “fair dinkum” in California. 

4. We drive on the opposite side of the road in California. I used to say “right side” but then my Australian husband argued the left-hand side is actually the “right” side. So now I use “opposite” for family harmony.

5. Deer graze in the fields across my street instead of kangaroos.

UPSIDE DOWN by Lia Riley (August 5, 2014; Forever E-Book; $3.99)

If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to Australia. Everything is going to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . of if they were meant to live a world apart.

Buy Links:

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

BAM!

Google Play

Amazon

About the author: 

After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, LIA RILEY scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Tumblr

Goodreads

Excerpt:

“A few meters more, you’re almost there.”

It’s like we’re at the end of some old-school adventure tale, one where the heroes are stoic even as the blizzard rages, avalanches fall, and death hovers like a benevolent ghost.

Well, Bran is the hero.

I’m like one of the minor sidekicks who goes down during some important turning point. My death might even inspire the hero on his journey or teach him a valuable lesson. But at this point in the flick, the minor sidekick should be well and truly dead. Not white-knuckling a column of dolerite rock, thighs gripping the stone like it’s the world’s best lover.

“That’s it, Talia,” Bran’s voice is encouraging. “You’re holding tight, that’s great. Now, I’m going to need you to release your left hand and reach up a few inches to grab the next hold.”

I grit my teeth. The way he talks, you’d think I’m scaling Everest. Or at least Kilimanjaro. Instead—

“’Scuse, us, we’ll be by in a tic. That’s the way, Andy, right around the lady.”

I’m the lady. Andy is a kid who doesn’t look a day over seven who scrambles past me in a flurry of Spider-Man shoes and gap-toothed smiles. His parents bring up the rear, smiling up at their wild monkey child with obvious pride.

And they aren’t the first group to pass me.

Five Swedish women, a couple, and a guy who looked to be in his mid-seventies have also shot past me during the course of the last quarter hour.

The top is so close I can taste it. Bran is being nothing but encouraging, but below me is a twenty-foot drop. Not enough to kill me, unless I fall with some sort of suicidal intent, but enough to make me feel incredibly uneasy about the boulder field.

Bran eases toward me. “Talia, take my hand.”

“Can’t let go.”

“Talia.”

“No.” This is it; this is the reason. Bran isn’t going to admit it here, while I’m bordering on a panic attack on a trail being conquered by elementary school children and senior citizens, but there’s no doubt this is A REASON to lose interest in me. I’m giving him a big capital-lettered reason, but I can’t stop. I physically can’t let go.

“Talia. Take a deep breath.”

“Breath taken.”

“Another.”

“Okay.”

“Give me your hand, no bullshit. I want your fingers in mine. You’ll be safe. I’m going to keep you safe. I need you to trust me.”

Somehow I do it. I give him my fingers. He assists me up. We’re doing this together. My head clears the boulder and I can see the steel marker that identifies the summit ahead. Holy shit, he’s right. I’m going to reach the top.

A few more steps, easy now, and we’re there. The kid in the Spider-Man shoes munches a Vegemite sandwich. I want to scoop him up in a smooshy squeeze. Except his parents would likely object, so I switch gears to give Bran a long and passionate kiss.

“I knew you’d get here,” he says.

“I didn’t.”

He turns me to see the view, his hands tight around my waist. “Your place is here, Captain, in the sun,” he whispers in my ear. “Don’t ever forget that.”

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24. Excerpt and Giveaway: The Minimum Wage Millionaire by Bill Edgar

I don’t cover a lot of non-fiction, but The Minimum Wage Millionaire looks interesting, so I thought I’d share an excerpt and offer a digital giveaway (Kindle format) of the book.  I work in finance, and I am occasionally dismayed by the attitude some my co-workers have about money.  There are also quite a few kids around the barn, and they have no concept of money.  I think one of the most important lessons you can learn is how to handle money, but in these financially difficult times, parents are struggling to stretch their hard earned dollars, too, so it’s difficult to set positive examples on how to save.  Check out the excerpt, and if you know a young adult who would benefit from reading the book, please enter the giveaway.

 

The Minimum Wage Millionaire: How a Part Time After School Job Can Change Your Financial Life, by Bill Edgar, was published April 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Minimum-Wage-Millionaire-Financial-ebook/dp/B00JOZST82

Synopsis:

The Minimum Wage Millionaire is a must read for teenagers and parents of teenagers who want to learn about how money works. The book presents a practical approach to accumulating wealth for teenagers who are just starting to earn income with a part time job. Using simple analogies to unravel complex financial concepts allows the young mind to grasp why it is important to invest early and how to start with their first paycheck. Following a simple plan for only six years, they will have a small nest egg that will grow into about one million tax free dollars by the age of 65.

About the Author:

Bill Edgar is the author of The Minimum Wage Millionaire: How a Part Time After School Job Can Change Your Financial Life. He is passionate about helping youth understand how to become wealthy. He lives in Elburn, Illinois, with his three nearly teenage daughters (who will all be required to read his book). Connect with Bill on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/696268.Bill_Edgar) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/AuthorBillEdgar).

Excerpt:

Chapter One
Why Write a Book on Money for Teenagers?

When it comes to building wealth, the most powerful force you have on your side is time. As the days and years pass, the opportunity to build wealth by leveraging time slowly dwindles. The idea for this book came from the realization that often times kids start working their first job at sixteen, likely just a minimum wage, or near-minimum wage, job, but they haven’t been taught how to accumulate wealth. I wasn’t.

In high school, I had some basic accounting, and I learned how to balance a checkbook. We did some stock market games to learn a little about investing, but no class I took ever laid out a plan for success in a capitalist society. No class I took talked about the “Rule of 72,” or compounding return on investment over time, or tax advantaged investment accounts.

But all of those things I just mentioned are critical to understand in a free market capitalist society. They are critical to understand from the moment that you earn your first dollar. It doesn’t matter how wealthy or poor your parents are, it doesn’t matter what background you have, all teenagers in the United States, after reading this book, can set themselves on a path to build a staggering amount of tax-free cash. With just a little bit of knowledge about how money works, and the discipline to follow through, you can be in control of your financial destiny.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I have not taken advantage of the time I’ve had to accumulate wealth. Worse than that, I realize that as the years have passed and other financial obligations of adulthood have grown, setting aside extra money becomes more and more elusive. I have to acknowledge some hard facts about my own bad money habits—bad habits that stopped me from building wealth. I have to reflect on wasted opportunities and bad decisions. Finally, I have to draw some tough conclusions about the consequences of not saving and investing.

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you. After reading this book, you will have both knowledge and youth on your side. You will have an action plan on how to start accumulating wealth now. And the possibilities before you will be endless. But let’s talk about where bad money habits start.

Why?

Because I’ve sucked at money. I mean, if blowing a paycheck were a sport, I’d be Muhammad Ali—the greatest of all time. As a kid, I didn’t know any better, but it starts a pattern.

When I got my first job as a paperboy at 12 years old, I immediately took the money from my first paycheck down to the Ben Franklin, a few blocks from my house, and bought a bottle of Coke and tons of baseball cards. On the way home, I stopped at Mickey’s for a Chicago-style hot dog with all the fixings and some fries. By the end of the week, all the money I’d made was gone. Back then, it wasn’t much, but today—if I’d just invested part of that somehow—I’d have enough to buy a small island in the Bahamas. I was too young to know it, but that was my first big missed opportunity.

If that’s not painful enough to look back on, I’m sad to say it didn’t stop there. When I started my first real job in high school (bagging groceries), after work, the arcade ate quarter after quarter. And then there were movies (I thought everyone went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark 20 times!), gas for the car, games for Atari, and the occasional burger, french fries, and Coke. It all added up.

Paycheck after paycheck was burning a hole in my pocket. I wasn’t saving or investing anything, but at least I had to stop when there was no money left. Credit cards would later solve that problem. After college, I moved to California, bought a new car, new furniture, new wardrobe, and lots of new grown-up toys. I started getting my hair cut at a trendy salon with a French name, moved into an apartment in the “hip” part of town with a pool table and a pop-a-shot.

You know what’s truly sad? It took me a LONG time to learn from my mistakes. As I got older, people warned me to start saving. I can remember my dad getting near retirement age and shaking his finger in my face at the dinner table on Thanksgiving, saying “You’d better invest your money for retirement, or you’re gonna end up working until you die!” but I ignored him. The years rushed by, and then, with my net worth still bobbing near zero, my wife and I got pregnant with our first baby.

As I sat in the hospital in Chicago—never again. I must change. I must be a good example. I can’t let them suffer the same mistakes I made. I started saving like crazy in my company retirement plan. And that lasted for a few years, but the economy changed, and I was not prepared. I was unemployed for a while—longer than I ever imagined. The mortgage, the bills, it consumed far more than the unemployment check.

I began working a part-time job for minimum wage at the local big box store, but unlike my teenage years, the meager paychecks didn’t help much with all the bills. As the Great Recession continued, I eventually cashed out the retirement money, penalties and all, so I could keep paying the mortgage. It still wasn’t enough. In the end, I lost it all, the house, the savings, and Best Buy even stopped by to get their TV back. I was sick to my stomach.

Listen. I honestly wasted all my opportunities to build wealth and have the choices, the options, to retire rich, so that I don’t have to work until I die, so that I can spend my time with my family. Now, knowing how easy it is to get there if you start early and seeing the principles in this book work for so many people, I’m ashamed of my past actions. But you don’t have to have my same regrets.

So how does a guy who lost everything know so much about creating wealth? That’s a valid question, and I’m glad you asked. Learn from your mistakes. As you grow up, you’ll likely hear that over and over from your parents, teachers, and coaches. It’s what I’ve had to do myself. Learn from my mistakes. So the rest of this book is about what I’ve learned.

In life, there are no do-overs. I can’t go back and make things better for me. But for every teenager out there, hope springs eternal. If this book can make an impact on just one kid (besides my three beautiful daughters), I’ve accomplished more than I could possibly imagine. I’ve created this book is to help you understand what an amazing opportunity you have right now. Time is on your side, and every day that goes by, you lose a little bit of your opportunity. Don’t make that mistake. Don’t make my mistake. In the following chapters, I will lay out for you exactly what you need to do to build wealth.

I warn you, it won’t come quickly, and it won’t be easy all the time. In fact, there will be moments in your life when you question whether or not what I’ve told you is true. You’ll want to go back to your old ways and you’ll have pressure from friends to spend, spend, spend!

When in doubt, just remember, the tools you’re using are the same principles that thousands of people have used time after time to become the wealthiest people in the world. You’re in good company.

My great hope is that you’ll realize just how incredible an impact a little bit of savings and planning will have on your life. If you can just avoid my mistakes and save smart, you can really, truly become a minimum-wage millionaire.

US addresses only, please  (Thanks to the author for hosting the giveaway!)

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25. Guest Post and Giveaway: Marie Harte, Author of How to Handle a Heartbreaker

Please welcome Marie Harte to the virtual offices this morning!  Marie is here to share a list of items you would never find in Brody’s glove box.  After, enter for a chance to win How to Handle a Heartbreaker!

Top 5 Items You Will Never Find in Brody’s Glove Box by Marie Harte

1. A book. Sadly, Brody is not a huge reader. Here’s hoping Abby’s influence will change that.

2. A GPS. A real man doesn’t take directions from a stupid computer—he uses a map. (Note: Brody tossed his GPS when he couldn’t get the sexy female voice. The robotic man voice drove him nuts.)

3. A pen, because Brody likes to keep one in his back pocket or behind his ear. He’s always losing them to clients too, which bugs the crap out of him.

4. A picture of his biological family—Satan’s spawn. He does, however, keep a McCauley family picture attached to his visor.

5. A comb. With amazing hair like silk-spun gold, Brody knows his best look is the finger-comb. That or letting the wind blow his beautiful tresses to rights. Besides, once women get a good look at his eyes, they rarely need to look further—or so he likes to tell his brothers, again and again…and again.

***

About the author:

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit http://marieharte.com and fall in love.

HE CAN’T GET HER OUT OF HIS HEAD

It’s lust at first sight when Brody Singer first lays eyes on Abby Dunn. The dark-haired beauty looks a lot like a woman he once knew, who died years ago. At first, Brody fears his attraction is a holdover from that secret crush, but Abby’s definitely different. She’s a lot shyer, a lot sexier, and despite her attempts to dissuade his interest, absolutely mesmerizing.

SHE CAN’T GET HIM OUT OF HER BOOKS

Abby isn’t having it. She’s still trying to put her last disastrous relationship behind her and overcome the flaws her ex wouldn’t let her forget. But somehow Brody isn’t getting the hint. It doesn’t help that when writing her steamy novels, she keeps casting Brody as the hero.

Brody is more than happy to serve as her muse and eager to help make sure her “research” is authentic. But when their research turns into something real…will she choose her own happily ever after?

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/UzyWJp

BAM: http://bit.ly/1rXW7dh

B&N: http://bit.ly/1kkQQvx

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1k5AjLt

Indigo: http://bit.ly/1nYjodt

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1rXVjVE

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1uDypX3

US addresses only, please

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