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1. TURNING PAGES: I'LL MEET YOU THERE, by HEATHER DEMITRIOS

out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each otherdoesn’t make any sense. - RumiThere's a... Read the rest of this post

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2. Review and Giveaway: Her Highland Fling by Jennifer McQuiston

 

This morning I have a review of Jennifer McQuiston’s novella, Her Highland Fling, as well as an excerpt and an awesome giveaway.  Enjoy!

My Thoughts:

I am always game to read a novella.  Their compact length makes them perfect to squeeze into an overloaded reading schedule, and for authors I haven’t read previously, it gives me a good idea whether or not I want to make the time commitment for a longer book.  When I saw Her Highland Fling, I was intrigued.  I’ve picked up a couple of Jennifer McQuiston’s other works, but I haven’t gotten around to actually loading them on my Kindle yet, so I was more than happy to download this and start reading.

William McKenzie is stressing about the financial health of his village, so he organizes the Highland Games, hoping to lure Londoners and their wallets to his humble hometown.  He even foots the bill to refurb a room at the local inn, all to impress the reporter he’s arranged to visit Moraig.  The joke’s on WIlliam, though.  Instead of the reporter he’s expecting – one of the male persuasion – a beautiful woman descends from the coach and immediately turns his life on end.

Poor William!  He’s so devoted to improving the fortunes of the villagers that his usual sense of humor has fled.  Worse, he can’t seem to form a coherent sentence when Penelope is around.  He comes off like the village idiot, and that was my only sticking point with the story.  Pen has a stutter, and was bullied mercifully because of it.  I was disappointed when she constantly referred to William in less than flattering terms.  Yes, they got off on the wrong foot, and yes, she misjudged him terribly, but for someone who was made fun of and didn’t care for it, I expected a little more tolerance from her. It made me not like her at first, probably because I felt that I knew William so well, and how can you not like a guy willing to don his plaids in the middle of the afternoon on a hot summer day, all to secure the future of his beloved home?

The tone of the story is light, and it clicks quickly along.  I loved William, and slowly warmed up to Penelope.  Once she sets her sights on William, he has no chance against her onslaught.  Determined to finally have a fling and get some first hand knowledge of the opposite sex, Penelope quickly determines that the Highlander is perfect for her research, even if he isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.  William is just so tongue tied around this fiercely independent woman that he can’t get out an intelligent thought, which makes him perfect for Pen’s plans to love him and leave him behind.  

Her Highland Fling is a fun story, and I enjoyed my visit to Moraig.  It’s a very fast read with plenty of humor and one very determined spinster ready for her walk on the wild side.  Did I mention the water fairies?   

 

 

Her Highland Fling
Second Sons #2.5

By: Jennifer McQuiston

Releasing January 27th, 2015

Avon Impulse

Blurb

Let the Games Begin…

William MacKenzie has always been protective of his Scottish village. When Moraig’s economy falters, he has the perfect solution to lure wealthy Londoners to this tiny hamlet: resurrect the ancient Highland Games! But for this to work, William knows he needs a reporter to showcase the town in just the right light.

A female journalist might be a tolerated oddity in Brighton, but newly minted reporter Penelope Tolbertson is discovering that finding respect in London is a far more difficult prospect. After receiving an invitation to cover Moraig’s Highland Games, Penelope is determined to prove to her London editors just how valuable she can be.

Penelope instantly captures William’s heart, but she is none too impressed with the gruff, broody Highlander. However as she begins to understand his plans, Penelope discovers she may want more from him than just a story. She’s only got a few days…but maybe a few days is all they need.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/12/her-highland-fling-novella-by-jennifer.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22836685-her-highland-fling

Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Her-Highland-Fling-Jennifer-McQuiston-ebook/dp/B00M719Z1K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418837254&sr=8-1&keywords=Her+Highland+Fling+by+Jennifer+McQuiston

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-highland-fling-jennifer-mcquiston/1120159653?ean=9780062387226

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/her-highland-fling/id904016482?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/her-highland-fling/AzKXHXcFjUu4ftwXCWhiNw?MixID=AzKXHXcFjUu4ftwXCWhiNw&PageNumber=1

Author Info

A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal. Jennifer can be reached via her website at www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.jenmcquiston.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenmcqwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6163186.Jennifer_McQuiston

Excerpt

Fling (n.): “Vigorous dance” (associated with the Scottish Highlands), from 1806.

Period of indulgence on the eve of responsibilities,” first attested 1827.

From the Online Etymology Dictionary

Chapter One

Moraig, Scotland, 1843{/H1}

All the world hated a hypocrite, and William MacKenzie was no exception.

But today that trouser-clad hypocrite was his brother, James, which made it a little hard for William to hate him like he ought.

As James sauntered to a stop beneath the awning of Moraig’s posting house, his laughing gaze dropped to William’s bare knees and then climbed northward again. “If you’re trying to make a memorable impression,” he sniggered, “all that’s missing is a good breeze.”

“You are late.” William crossed his arms and tried to look menacing. “And I thought we agreed last night we would share this indignity.”

“No, you agreed.” James shoved his hands in the pockets of his trousers and offered up a shite-eating grin. “I listened and wisely withheld a formal opinion.”

William bit back a growl of frustration. For Christ’s sake, he knew well enough he looked like a fool, standing in the thick heat of early August, draped in the MacKenzie plaid. And there was no doubt he would be teasing James unmercifully if the reverse were true.

But today they were both supposed to look like fools.

And James had a far better set of legs.

As though summoned by his brother’s fateful words, a ghost of a breeze stirred the wool that clung to William’s sweat-moistened skin. He clapped a hand down over his sporran, ensuring the most important parts remained hidden. “You live in Moraig, just as I do,” he pointed out to his errant brother. “You owe it to the town to help me make a proper impression for the reporter from the London Times.”

“Oh, aye, and I will. I had thought to say something properly memorable, such as ‘Welcome to Moraig.’ ” James raised a dark, mocking brow. “And we shouldn’t need to put on airs. The town has its own charm.”

“Well, the tourists haven’t exactly been flocking here,” William retorted, gesturing to the town’s nearly empty streets. Hidden in the farthest reaches of Scotland—far enough, even, that the Atlantic coast lapped at its heels—the little town of Moraig might indeed be charming, but attempts to attract London tourists had fallen somewhat short. If William had anything to say about it, that was going to change, starting today.

The only problem was he should have said it a half hour ago.

He took off his Balmoral cap and pulled his hand through hair already damp with sweat. While he was willing to tolerate looking like a fool in order to prove Moraig was the perfect holiday destination for Londoners seeking an authentic Highland experience, he still objected to having to look like one alone. “We’ve an opportunity to get a proper story printed in the Times, highlighting all Moraig has to offer.” He settled the cap back on his head. “If you have an issue with the plaid, you could have at least bestirred yourself to put on a small kilt.”

James burst out laughing. “And draw attention away from your bonny knees?”

As if in agreement, a series of catcalls rang out from a group of men who had crowded onto the sidewalk outside the Blue Gander, Moraig’s inn and public house.

One of them held up his pint. “Lovely legs, MacKenzie!”

“Now show us your arse!”

William scowled in their direction. On another day, he might have joined them in raising a pint, but not today. Moraig’s future was at stake. The town’s economy was hardly prospering, and its weathered residents couldn’t depend on fishing and gossip to sustain them forever. They needed a new direction, and as the Earl of Kilmartie’s heir, he felt obligated to sort out a solution. He’d spent months organizing the upcoming Highland Games. It was a calculated risk that, if properly orchestrated, would ensure the betterment of every life in town. When David Cameron, the town’s magistrate, had offered to invite a reporter up from London, it had seemed a brilliant opportunity to reach those very tourists they were aiming to attract.

But with the sweat now pooling in places best left unmentioned and the minutes ticking slowly by, that brilliance was beginning to tarnish.

William peered down the road that led into town, imagining he could see a cloud of dust implying the arrival of the afternoon coach. The very late afternoon coach. But all he saw was the delicate shimmer of heat, reflecting the nature of the devilishly hot day.

“Bugger it all,” he muttered. “How late can a coach be? There’s only one route from Inverness.” He plucked at the damp collar of his shirt, wondering where the coachman could be. “Mr. Jeffers knew the importance of being on time today. We need to make a ripping first impression with this reporter.”

James’s gaze dropped once more to William’s bare legs. “Oh, I don’t think there’s any doubt of it.” He leaned against the posting house wall and crossed his arms. “If I might beg the question . . . Why turn it into such a circus? Why these games, instead of, say, a well-placed rumor of a beastie living in Loch Moraig? You’ve got the entire town in an uproar preparing for it.”

William snorted. “Sunday dinners are enough to put this town in an uproar. And you know as well as I that the games are for their own good.”

Though, God forbid his nolly-cocked, newly married brother lift a hand in the planning.

Or be bothered to put on a kilt, as it were.

William could allow that James was perhaps a bit distracted by his pretty wife and new baby—and understandably so. But given that his brother was raising his bairns here, shouldn’t he want to ensure Moraig’s future success more than anyone?

James looked up suddenly, shading his eyes with a hand. “Well, best get those knees polished to a shine. There’s your coach now. Half hour late, as per usual.”

With a near groan of relief, William stood at attention on the posting house steps as the mail coach roared up in a choking cloud of dust and hot wind. Scrawny chickens and stray dogs scuttled to dubious safety before the coach’s barreling path, and he eyed the animals with a moment’s concern, wondering if perhaps he ought to have tried to corral them into some hidden corner, safely out of sight.

But it was too late now.

A half hour off schedule. Perhaps it wasn’t the tragedy he’d feared. They could skip the initial stroll down Main Street he’d planned and head straight to the inn. He could point out some of the pertinent sights later, when he showed the man the competition field that had been prepared on the east side of town.

“And dinna tell the reporter I’m the heir,” William warned as an afterthought. “We want him to think of Moraig as a charming and rustic retreat from London.” If the town was to have a future, it needed to be seen as a welcome escape from titles and peers and such, and he did not want this turning into a circus where he stood at the center of the ring.

As the coach groaned to a stop, James clapped William on the shoulder with mock sympathy. “Don’t worry. With those bare legs, I suspect your reporter will have enough to write about without nosing about the details of your inheritance.”

The coachman secured the reins and jumped down from his perch. A smile of amusement broke across Mr. Jeffers’s broad features. “Wore the plaid today, did we?”

Bloody hell. Not Jeffers, too.

“You’re late.” William scowled. “Were there any problems fetching the chap from Inverness?” He was anxious to greet the reporter, get the man properly situated in the Blue Gander, and then go home to change into something less . . . Scottish. And, God, knew he could also use a pint or three, though preferably ones not raised at his expense.

Mr. Jeffers pushed the brim of his hat up an inch and scratched his head. “Well, see, here’s the thing. I dinna exactly fetch a chap, as it were.”

This time, William couldn’t suppress the growl that erupted from his throat. “Mr. Jeffers, don’t tell me you left him there!” It would be a nightmare if he had. The entire thing had been carefully orchestrated, down to a reservation for the best room the Blue Gander had to offer. The goal had been to install the reporter safely in Moraig and show him a taste of the town’s charms before the games commenced on Saturday.

“Well, I . . . that is . . .” Mr. Jeffers’s gaze swung between the brothers, and he finally shrugged. “Well, I suppose you’ll see well enough for yourself.”

He turned the handle and then swung the coach door open.

A gloved hand clasped Mr. Jeffers’s palm, and then a high, elegant boot flashed into sight.

“What in the blazes—” William choked on his surprise as a blond head tipped into view. A body soon followed, stepping down in a froth of blue skirts. She dropped Jeffers’s hand and looked around with bright interest.

“Your chap’s a lass,” explained a bemused Mr. Jeffers.

“A lass?” echoed William stupidly.

And not only a lass . . . a very pretty lass.

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print copy of WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND + $25 eGift Card to choice Book Seller)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Review and Giveaway: Her Highland Fling by Jennifer McQuiston appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. Avon & Powell’s Curate Romantic Reading List

Powell’s Books has teamed up with Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, to create a book recommendation platform curated by romance authors.

The program is called \"Mutual Attractions,\" and includes four romance novel selections which will be promoted in Powell’s Books stores as well as on social media for two month periods. Each collection will be chosen by a bestselling romance author.

The first collection was put together by author Julia Quinn and goes live today. Her choices include: Something New by Tessa DareRecommended Read from Julie Anne LongNew Discovery by Loretta Chase; and Desert Island Keeper by Eva Ibbotson.

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4. Spotlight and Giveaway: Sweet Surprise by Candis Terry

Today I have a spotlight and giveaway for Sweet Surprise.  I have also cleverly hidden a secret letter in my post for Candis Terry’s Word Hunt.  I bet you will never find my letter! (Just kidding!)
Join the Hunt
(See Details Below)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Playing naughty or nice . . .

Fiona Wilder knows all about falling in lust. Love? That’s another story. Determined not to repeat past mistakes, the single mom and cupcake shop owner is focused on walking the straight and narrow. But trouble has a way of finding her. And this time it comes in the form of a smoking hot firefighter who knows all the delicious ways to ignite her bad-girl fuse. Can lead to heartbreak . . .

Firefighter Mike Halsey learned long ago that playing with fire just gets you burned. He’s put his demons behind him, and if there’s one line he won’t cross, it’s getting involved with his best friend’s ex. But when fate throws him in the path of the beautiful, strong, and off-limits Fiona, will he be able to fight their attraction? Or will he willingly go down in flames? Or a sweet surprise!


BUY NOW
Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo | BAM


 
*SCAVENGER HUNT*

Each host will have a different letter placed within their post during the SWEET SURPRISE Release Blast!

Readers, you will have to visit EACH tour stop to find the letters, and then enter the “Secret Word” into the Rafflecopter for more chances to win!  

You can enter ONE WORD per day, five words to find!
<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = "O" /> 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
 
Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.
Find Candis Here

 
SOMETHING SWEETER by Candis Terry is the
Harlequin Junkie Book Club Read for January!

Mark your calendars for Jan 29th!
(6pm PST/9pm EST)
 

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Sweet Surprise by Candis Terry appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Review and Spotlight: Bridges Burned by Chris Cannon

 

My Thoughts:

I loved Going Down in Flames, so I was eager to revisit Bryn and her friends in Bridges Burned.  I was a bit disappointed with it.  There was too much boy angst, and the non-ending diminished my enjoyment.  The action picked up in the second half, but it was all setup for the next book in the series.   The book doesn’t end so much as it tapers off to nothing.  I found this very frustrating.

Bryn is settling in at her new school, and as long as she has Zavien, she’s sure she can put up with the mockery and cold shoulders she’s receiving from some of the other students.  As a crossbred dragon, she’s looked on as something forbidden and aberrant, and with the controlling Directorate calling the shots for all of the dragons, her future doesn’t look too bright.  Even though her grandfather is a powerful Blue dragon, there are many in the dragon society who object to her existence.  Her parents, both promised to others, ran away from their restrictive culture and blended in as humans.  When Bryn turned 16, her heritage came banging on her door, and she was forced to attend the dragons’ academy to learn to control her powers.

One of the things I loved about the last book was Bryn’s forceful personality.  She’s pissed that her peers treat her like dirt, she’s fed up with people trying to kill her, and she can’t stand the rigid social structure that she’s been forced into.  Dragons can only marry dragons of the same clan, and even then, only with the Directorate’s approval.  It galls her that her future rests in their hands, and she’s infuriated that she can’t be with Zavien, the Black dragon she loves.  She didn’t take crap from anyone, and since she’s so powerful, she could defend herself from even the most obnoxious of her detractors.

Cut to Book 2, and I kept wondering what happened to that Bryn.  Now she is consumed with Zavien, letting him dictate their relationship.  Did I mention that he’s been promised to another, and that he’s engaged?  Because for the formalities involved in dragon marriage contracts, he can’t just void his engagement.  All through the first half of the book, I thought he was taking advantage of Bryn, twisting the truth about the future of their relationship and lying to her outright.  He really pissed me off.  I don’t like cheaters, and worse, I don’t like cheating heroes.  I didn’t find Zavien or his behavior heroic, and I wanted to slap Bryn and tell her to get over herself.  He wasn’t worth the grief he was putting her through.  She was like a shell of herself, and it infuriated me.  So deep was my aggravation that I almost set the book aside.

I kept doggedly at it, however, and things improved in the second half, after Bryn is forced to move in with her grandparents.  I think Zavien’s absence from the storyline at this point made it more palatable for me.  Jaxon, who I thought was a spoiled bully in the first book, quickly gained my favor.  He and Bryn are thrown together again and again as an enemy faction attempts to tear the dragon society apart at the seams.  This unknown enemy attacks the school on several occasions as they work to divide the dragon clans and cast suspicion on the Directorate, and these upticks in action kept me reading, especially the attack on Dragon’s Bluff.

After all of that intense, pulse-pounding action, the book just stops.  That was so frustrating!  There’s no question that I’ll continue with Book 3, but I’m hoping that Bryn focuses more on herself and less on Zavien, because, really, who wants a lying, cheating boyfriend, regardless of how good looking he is?  So, while Bridges Burned was a bit of a mixed bag for me, I am invested in the story and would like to see what happens next.

Bridges Burned <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = "O" />
By Chris Cannon
January 27, 2015
 
 
Don’t just fight the system…burn it.
Since discovering she is a shape-shifting, fire-breathing dragon on her sixteenth birthday (surprise!), Bryn McKenna’s world has been thrown into chaos. Being a “crossbreed”—part Red dragon and part Blue—means Bryn will never fit in. Not with dragon society. Not with the archaic and controlling Directorate. And definitely not when she has striped hair and a not-so-popular affection for rule-breaking…
But sneaking around with her secret boyfriend, Zavien, gets a whole lot harder when he’s betrothed to someone else. Someone who isn’t a mixed breed and totally forbidden. And for an added complication, it turns out Bryn’s former archnemesis Jaxon Westgate isn’t quite the evil asshat she thought. Now she’s caught between her desire to fit in and a need to set things on fire. Literally.
Because if Bryn can’t adapt to the status quo…well, then maybe it’s time for her to change it.
 
BUY IT ON AMAZON, ITUNES, BARNES AND NOBLE, & KOBO: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/bridges-burned/
 
~*~ABOUT CHRIS CANNON~*~
 
 
Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures. Going Down In Flames is the first book in Chris Cannon’s shape-shifting dragon series.

Excerpt:

On the drive back to school, Bryn reflected on how her life had recently gone to hell. It had all started when flames shot out of her mouth on her sixteenth birthday, proving she wasn’t completely human. Since then she’d been shipped off to a secret school for dragons—the Institute for Excellence—where she was learning how to control her shape-shifting dragon powers. She’d faced discrimination, death threats, and poisoning. She’d been blown up and involved in a battle to the death with a radical Revisionist member—and she’d been there for only a few months.

Though not everything about her new life was bad. She had a sexy boyfriend, Black dragon Zavien Blackthorn, and two good friends, Clint and Ivy. Being a crossbred dragon meant she had both the Red and Blue dragons’ breath weapons, fire and ice, and even though she was the only crossbreed, she could still outfly even the fastest Blue. Of course, that’s why some of the other Clans hated her. She’d upset the natural order of things in this color-coded world, where the Directorate dictated what Red, Black, Green, Orange, and Blue dragon Clan members could do as a profession and whom they could marry. It was absurd. Yet most dragons didn’t question it.

Part of Zavien’s appeal lay in the fact that he headed up the student Revisionist group that petitioned the Directorate to change outdated laws. Bryn glanced at Directorate lawyer Merrick Overton, who was driving the Cadillac SUV hybrid she was riding in. Her classmate and former nemesis Jaxon Westgate rode shotgun. She and Jaxon no longer hated each other. Scratch that: he no longer hated her based on his father’s vendetta against her mother, but that didn’t mean they were friends. Funny how saving someone’s life could turn you from enemies to…what? Not friends. Frenemies, maybe? Who knew? It’s not like she wanted to hang out with him, but there was a weird level of trust between them now that she didn’t know what to do with.

The post Review and Spotlight: Bridges Burned by Chris Cannon appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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6. Guest Post and Giveaway: Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon

 

This morning I have an Top 5 from Jessica Lemmon, who is celebrating the release of her latest, Bringing Home the Bad Boy.

Top 5 things you’ll never find in Evan’s bedroom by Jessica Lemmon -

Thank you for having me! I had to think hard about this one, but I believe I came up with five fun answers for you. Here we go…

5: A gun. He’s a lover not a fighter. Okay, unless someone is giving Charlotte a hard time. Then he’s a fighter, but he’s all about the fists.

4: A television. Evan prefers a different kind of entertainment when he’s in bed.

3: Clothes on the floor. Evan is neat…unless Charlotte is there. Then, the clothes go wherever they fall.

2: Painted walls. Evan prefers a blank canvas.

1: A woman other than Charlotte. Evan is fiercely loyal, and he only has eyes for her.

What about you? What is the one thing you won’t ever find in your bedroom? My answer is Henry Cavill. More’s the pity…

About BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY:

Creativity is his drug, painting is his escape, but she’ll be the addiction that brings him to his knees.

Evan Downey buried a part of his soul when put the love of his life in the ground. He knows he needs to get his shit together for the sake of their son, but escaping into his art is the only way he can begin to cope with Rae’s death. When the chance to move back to Evergreen Cove, one of the few places that has ever felt right to him, he knows it’s a chance he has to take. For his sake, and his sons. Charlotte Harris would give anything to have her best friend back. But if she can’t have Rae, then she vows she’ll at least be there to support the family Rae left behind. So when she learns that Evan is looking to move home, she does everything she can to help him and Lyon re-build their lives at the Cove. But when sparks start to fly between Charlotte and Evan it’s the first glimpse of something bright and beautiful either of them has seen in far too long. And they start to wonder if fate has offered them a second chance at happiness– if only their brave enough to take the risk and let love back into their lives. 


About Jessica Lemmon:

Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she’d only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since “eating potato chips” isn’t a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she’d started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn’t stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn’t be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)

Jessica’s SM:

@lemmony

http://jessicalemmon.com

https://www.goodreads.com/jlemmony

http://facebook.com/jessicalemmon

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/14RWHC3

BAM – http://bit.ly/1svdJQG

B&N – http://bit.ly/1AMECzW

IndieBound – http://bit.ly/14X3zO5

GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/1svdVzo

iTunes – http://bit.ly/1u2q3cp

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1CfMGZL

Excerpt:

“Know why I moved here?” he asked, keeping his voice low.

She wrenched her eyes from his and focused on a spot over his shoulder.

“Because you didn’t want to live in Columbus anymore.” That’s what he’d told her. That he wanted a change. That he and Lyon had outgrown the house. And, she imagined it’d be hard to live in the house where Rae had passed.

“But why here?”

“Um…”

His fingers grazed her jaw and turned her head, his palm moving to her neck where he cupped her nape and forced her eyes to his.

Reluctantly, she met them.

“Rae’s more alive when you’re around, Ace.”

Her heart, oh her heart. Kicking against her chest in a confusing, hectic rhythm.

“You bring her to life for Lyon—more than anyone else. I need him to remember her because he can’t remember her alive.” His hold stayed, his palm warming her neck, his gaze unwavering.

She tried to separate the two feelings she was having—one that she was now talking about Rae with Evan and two, that he was touching her while talking about Rae.

Before she could, his lips closed over hers.

Her thoughts short-circuited.

This wasn’t anything like a soft peck hello. This was his lips moving over hers, slanting over hers, warm and firm and then his mouth opened and—

Oh my gosh!

His wet, warm tongue slid along the seam of her lips and she stopped being passive and started kissing him back. When she would have touched her tongue to his, he relocated it, running along her bottom lip instead and tugging with his teeth.

If she’d been standing, her knees would have given out and dropped her right on her butt.

And then there was the palm on her neck, now spearing up through her hair and clutching onto a handful of it. He held her captive, his hand fisting her hair as he angled his mouth again. In response to the soft whimper escaping her throat, he swept his tongue into her mouth. He tangled his tongue with hers once, twice, and released her.

When he pulled his mouth away, a long, satisfied sigh escaped her lips. Because that was a kiss. A kiss to rival all other kisses.

She opened her eyes to realize A) she’d closed her eyes and B) she’d at some point wrapped both hands around his forearms where she was holding tight and C) Evan looked as please as she felt.

“God damn, Ace. Your mouth.” His eyes flicked to her lips. Lips still tingling from the rough scrape from the stubble surrounding his.

She concurred with that sentiment. Not that she said anything. She’d gone dumb; completely mute.

He backed away, but held onto her chin and tweaked it lightly with the rough pad of one thumb. “That’s the way this is gonna go from now on.”

Her breathing went shallow, her thoughts went muzzy and her head blurred as her heart palpated to the point of panic attack.

“Sorry, Rae.”

She didn’t mean to say it, and it had only been a whisper, but by the look twisting Evan’s face—the angry look twisting his face—he’d heard. And he hadn’t liked what he’d heard.

“Sorry,” she said to him this time. “I should go.”

Unbelievably, he leaned closer. She pulled her chin back until she realized she likely had a double chin, then settled her head on her neck in a more reasonable position.

Gosh. He was making her crazy.

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7. Spotlight and Giveaway: Filthy Rich by Dawn Ryder

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Filthy Rich by Dawn Ryder.  Enjoy!

Filthy Rich By Dawn Ryder

Sourcebooks Casablanca

Erotic Romance

February 3, 2015

ISBN: 9781402287152

“Tantalizing” – RT Book Reviews on Out of Bounds

SHE’S FIGHTING FOR CONTROL…

Celeste Connor swore that she’d never be a victim again. After the hell of her abusive ex, the last thing she needs is to be under another man’s thumb. But when she catches the eye of fiercely dominant Nartan Lupan at her best friend’s wedding, Celeste finds herself drawn into a glittering world of wealth and power that has her body aching and her mind reeling.

HE’S FIGHTING TO MAKE HER HIS…

Nartan is a filthy rich businessman who works hard, plays harder, and doesn’t take no for an answer—and he wants Celeste with a hunger he’s never before felt. He’ll do whatever it takes to have her. But Nartan didn’t expect that he’d want still more…

Buy links: Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound

Dawn Ryder is the erotic romance pen name of a bestselling author of historical romances. She has been publishing her stories for over 8 years to a growing and appreciative audience. She is commercially published in mass market and trade paper, and digi-first published with trade paper releases. She is hugely committed to her career as an author, as well as to other authors and to her readership. She resides in Southern California.

Connect with Dawn Ryder: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Excerpt from FILTHY RICH by Dawn Ryder

A howl woke her.

Celeste sat up and looked around the room.

The sun had finally gone down sometime after ten. Now the stars were brilliant, and a yellow moon was casting an amazing level of light in the nighttime hours.

There was a whimper and then another long howl.

Alaskan wolves.

She could sleep when she got back to Southern California.

She got up and hurried into her jeans. Only the range light was on in the kitchen, but with so much moonlight coming through the windows, it was easy to get to the mudroom and lace up her boots.

She opened the outer door slowly, sliding through to keep from moving it too much. A howl sounded, so much louder now that she was outside. She pressed the door shut and knelt down.

The starlight illuminated the wolves. At least six of them were pawing the ground as they moved along the road that connected the house with the test facility offices. Those offices weren’t even in sight.

But the wolves were.

And so was Nartan.

He was crouched down twenty feet away. Her breath caught as she took in the way he blended with the moment. The wolves made yipping sounds as they came closer, smelling the road and the air as they went.

Nartan lifted his hand and beckoned her toward him. Her steps seemed too noisy, the crunching sounds grating on her ears. A wolf looked toward her and she froze.

Nartan beckoned again, turning to look at her.

The animal was still fifty feet away, but it was looking toward her. She bit her lower lip, afraid of spooking the animal.

Nartan closed in on her, moving right up next to her.

“He can smell you. You’re upwind. Come down here with me. He won’t worry about you then.”

“Oh…”

Nartan clasped her hand and pulled her down to where he’d been. He lifted his head, judging the wind. The wolf let out a yip and joined the rest as they scratched at the dirt and one another. Two of them would circle another, lowering their heads and yipping. The wolf in the center was the one who lifted its head and let out a long howl.

“The alpha…” Nartan whispered.

He had his arm draped around her, his scent filling her senses.

Why did he smell so good?

Not that it really mattered. He was still as pond water but his skin was warm. His attention was on the wolves, but she felt like it was on her as well. He shifted just a bit, and inhaled next to her hair.

Fresh from bed, it was a soft cloud. She reached up, self–conscious about how messy it was. He caught her hand and stopped her as the alpha looked at them. The animal’s eyes were pools of moonlight. Its mouth was open, giving her a glimpse of its long canine teeth. It made a low sound before pushing its front paws out and stretching its neck up and tilting its head until its nose pointed at the moon. A long, mournful cry filled the night.

It felt like she was suspended in time. They might have been anywhere, in any year.

“Lower your head.”

He tucked his chin and cupped her nape.

“To show submission…”

Celeste stiffened. Nartan chuckled in a bare whisper next to her ear. “To the alpha.”

She bent, the wolf watching her before losing interest and moving along with the pack.

Nartan massaged her neck, his fingers working the stiffness from the muscles as she straightened. “Well done.”

It felt like there was innuendo in his comment. But maybe she was just being too sensitive.

To–be–dealt–with list.

She drew in a deep breath and forced herself to relax. The wolves were moving away now, heading toward a forested area. The alpha looked back at them before it disappeared into the timber.

“That was amazing,” she whispered.

Nartan’s hand was under her hair, the touch so intimate that she was loath to pull away. He threaded his fingers through her hair, pulling his hand free as he finger–combed the strands. He watched her as he did it, his eyes reflecting the moonlight just as the alpha’s had.

He was in his element.

Call it cheesy or lame but she couldn’t shake it.

So she rose, backing away from him as he stood. His shirt was open all the way down his front, his jeans sagging low on his waist because he didn’t have a belt on. And his feet were bare.

“Aren’t you cold?”

He slowly smiled and extended his hand. “Judge for yourself.”

She started to reach for him and froze. Indecision held her in its grip as the wind blew her hair around. One of his dark eyebrows rose as she hesitated.

Chicken…

She reached out and touched him. Allowed her fingertips to rest on his forearm for a moment that felt like a mini eternity. It ended when he twisted his arm around and captured her wrist. He stepped up to her, pulling her toward him. She could have broken the hold, if she was able to think.

Which she wasn’t.

Her brain seemed to have shut down. Somehow, she was caught in a storm of sensations, completely unwilling to think about anything. She simply wanted to experience the moment.

Well, it was quite a moment.

Rich with scents and sensations that were intoxicating. His breath teased her ear and then her cheek. A shudder shook her, sending a tiny gasp through her lips. Nartan took advantage of her parted lips, pressing his down on top of them and tasting them slowly.

God, how long had it been since she’d been kissed?

Pleasure flowed through her, gaining strength like a flame catching a wick. Sure, she knew that a candle was for lighting, but until it was lit, the memory of how bright it could shine was dim.

She stepped back. Startled by how much she liked his kiss.

She wanted more.

A hell of a lot more.

But she turned and headed back into the house before she could do anything impulsive.

Moon madness. That was all.

Only she wasn’t really sure if she would ever be sane again.

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8. Spotlight and Giveaway: In for the Kill by Shannon McKenna

I have an excerpt and giveaway for In For the Kill by Shannon McKenna this morning – enjoy!

In For The Kill
McClouds & Friends # 11

By: Shannon McKenna

Releasing January 27th, 2015

Kensington

Blurb

The risks ex-cop Sam Petrie has taken have turned his life into a train wreck. So he has nothing to lose by doubling down as the elusive Svetlana Ardova’s unwanted bodyguard on a potentially deadly trip to Italy.

Ever since the McClouds rescued Sveti from certain death, her crusade against modern slavery has blazoned a bulls-eye on her chest, but when one of the threats against her almost hits the mark, Sam’s protective instincts go into overdrive. Every lethal obstacle and trap they encounter ups the stakes—and the undeniable heat between them.

Now they’re spiraling in on a deadly and explosive secret—one that could either redeem them or destroy them . . . and the closer they get, the shorter the fuse . . .

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/12/in-for-kill-mcclouds-friends-11-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18758537-in-for-the-kill?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/41703-mcclouds-friends

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kill-McCloud-Brothers-Shannon-McKenna/dp/0758273517/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418066842&sr=8-1&keywords=9780758273512

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-for-the-kill-shannon-mckenna/1119437341?ean=9780758273512

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/in-for-the-kill/id903405535?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/in-for-the-kill-11

Author Info

Shannon McKenna is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous romantic thrillers and several novellas. After a bizarre assortment of jobs, from singing cocktail waitress to medical secretary to strolling madrigal singer, she decided that writing hot romantic suspense suits her best. She lives with her husband and family in a small seaside town in southern Italy.

Write to Shannon at her website www.shannonmckenna.com

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://shannonmckenna.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorShannonMckenna?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShannonMcKenna4

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/99042.Shannon_McKenna

Excerpt

Prologue

Rome, Italy

Josef picked at his nails with his knife, stupefied with boredom. Despite all his contacts, his skills with explosives, interrogation, and small arms, he was still forced to babysit the vor’s worthless son.

Sasha Cherchenko was engrossed in his tablet, sunken face eerily lit by the screen’s glare. Mute, pathetic, junkie waste of skin. Heir to an empire worth billions. His very existence offended Josef, who had fought for every bite of food and breath of air he took, for his entire fucking life.

The silence grated. Josef got up to stretch, and circled Sasha from behind. He was watching a lecture on the tablet. A pretty young woman was talking. Josef abruptly recognized her and froze, startled.

That was Svetlana Ardova, daughter of that hellbitch Sonia, who had fucked Josef over. He had not seen pictures of the girl in years. Abducted at twelve, doomed for death by organ harvesting.

The camera zoomed close. Big, tilted hazel eyes, lush mouth, glossy hair. A sweet treat. The media had glommed on to that avidly after her spectacular rescue years ago. She was prettier now. He licked his lips.

Svetlana indicated a screen, where a photo was projected. Sonia’s striking face stared out. Words, scribbled on the picture, in Cyrillic. Josef lunged for Sasha’s tablet, yanking the headphones off him, ignoring Sasha’s startled yelp of protest. He hit the volume, maxed it.

“. . . book will be dedicated to my parents’ memory,” Svetlana’s voice blared. Josef dragged the cursor, let the last few seconds of video run again. He froze the frame when Sonia’s image appeared.

The scribble read, The Sword of Cain. The rest was trimmed away but for a couple of numbers. His ears roared. After six years, a place to begin the search again. Someone to squeeze, until she popped.

Sasha croaked, in his hoarse, halting voice, trying to tug the tablet back.

Josef struck him, sending him sprawling across the coffee table. He ignored the young man’s scratchy whimpering as he dialed his boss.

“Yes,” drawled Pavel Cherchenko’s gravelly voice.

“We have a lead.” Josef’s voice shook with excitement. He waited a beat to calm it. “The Sword of Cain, written on one of Sonia’s photos. Svetlana displayed a slide, in a lecture online. I can fly to Portland today.”

The vor grunted. “And my sons? Who watches them?”

Sasha whimpered. Josef smacked the back of his head. “They have Andrei and Aleksei to guard them.”

A long, teeth-grinding pause ensued. “Go to Portland,” the vor said.

The video was playing again. “. . . only one heart is healed, only one life saved, it will have been worth it. Thank you.”

The room erupted in applause. Svetlana stood in the spotlight, challenging him with her eyes. Such a delicate thing. Ripe to be conquered, ravaged. Punished, for all of Sonia’s sins.

Oh, yes. Let the pretty little daughter pay and pay.

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9. Review: Montana Darling by Debra Salonen

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Montana is a popular setting for romances lately.  While I would love to visit in summer, a winter in the state, with the snow and the cold and the wind, holds no appeal for me.  Therefore, I choose to complete my travels to the 41st state through books.  Sorry, large, northern state, but Michigan winters are far too long for my liking; I hate to think what a Montana winter would be like!

I typically pick up a romance set in Montana for cowboys.  While Ryker wasn’t a cowboy, he was still an engaging hero.  He’s a prize winning photographer who has lost his way since the death of his fiancée and his unborn child.  Needing some solitude, he’s pitched a tent on the 10 acres that his father left to Ryker and his brother.  The piece of land is the brightest spot of his childhood, the place where he and his father and his brother spent their summers camping, fishing, and hanging out.  After his father’s fatal heart attack when he was a senior in high school, a rift between Ryker and his mother drove him away from home, and he’s been globetrotting since.  Until the accident that robbed his fiancée, he had been blissfully happy.  Now, a year later, he’s still mourning and not ready to deal with people yet.

Imagine his surprise when Mia turns up outside his tent, accusing him of squatting on her land.  She and her ex-husband purchased the property, and after moving back home from Cheyenne, she wants to pour the foundation for  her new house as soon as possible, but Ryker is holding up the show.  Mia is also grieving; her husband cheated on her, she had a battle with cancer that left her scarred and broken, and she just wants to start over with her two kids.  Ryker’s claim that the land belongs to him has put a wrench in her plans, and she’s not going to go down without a fight.

I really liked this story.  Both Ryker and Mia are hurting and they need each other to heal and become whole again.  After undergoing invasive surgeries and chemo, Mia is understandably struggling with her sense of self.  The thought of being intimate with  anyone is a no-go, and she can’t believe that Ryker would really be attracted to an older woman.  Ryker, on the other hand, is easy going, but he never wants to be hurt again, so he’s vowed to never put himself in that position again.  So, no falling in love.  Of course, both Ryker and Mia break every one of their rules and rediscover the power and strength of love.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style, and am thrilled that she has a large back list.  I liked the supporting cast of her Big Sky Mavericks series, and would like to get to know the characters better.  All in all, Montana Darling is a sweet romance with two likable protagonists.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Mia Zabrinski’s lost enough– her marriage. Her job. Her body image. Mia is ready to rebuild her life in her hometown of Marietta,Montana, and she’s damned if she’ll let some stranger camp on her land and claim squatter’s rights.

Ryker Bensen doesn’t have much– and that suits him fine. Less than a year ago, he had everything: a beautiful girlfriend, a baby on the way, a career that earned him fame and a very comfortable living…until he didn’t. When beautiful Mia shows up and orders him off what she says is her land, Ryker realizes she might be the spark he needed to jumpstart his interest in living again.

The Big Sky Mavericks series
Book 1: Montana Cowgirl
Book 2: Montana Cowboy
Book 3: Montana Darling

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10. Interview and Giveaway: Karen Ranney, Author of In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams

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

[Karen Ranney] She never gave up.

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

[Karen Ranney] In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams is the story of a woman who had always loved a man, but allowed her pride to get in the way. Once she returned home, older, wiser, and a little damaged, she realized that her past was a huge barrier to happiness. Lennox must never know what she’d done.

 

Lennox, on the other hand, had never stopped loving Glynis. The only problem now was to figure out who the woman who’d returned to Scotland really was: the girl he’d loved or a creature with secrets.

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

[Karen Ranney] My books always start with the characters. I read something fascinating about Mississippi paddle wheelers being built in Scotland. That led to the story of an enterprising ship builder and Lennox popped into my mind fully formed. Immediately after he was born, Glynis scampered up, dressed in a soiled pinafore and scowling at me. She was only seven at the time and had already claimed Lennox as her own.

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

[Karen Ranney] The sense of connection I felt. I knew what the next book would be, and the third. It’s as if they were jigsaw pieces all laid out in front of me. I love when that happens.

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

[Karen Ranney] Being correct about shipbuilding and iron hulled ships. Jeepers, I had to read lots of books. Just like any research, you have to learn enough to know what to write, but not too much that it bores the reader. I dislike info dumps and try not to do it.

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

[Karen Ranney] My Way

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

[Karen Ranney] My sunglasses

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

[Karen Ranney] My coffee cup, my dog’s kibble egg, and my DayRunner.

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

[Karen Ranney] This is going to sound odd, but no one. It’s taken years for me to feel comfy in my own skin. I don’t want to screw that up by being anyone else for a day.

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

[Karen Ranney] Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews

Black Water: a Jane Yellowrock Collection by Faith Hunter

How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend by the New Skete Monks

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

[Karen Ranney] I’m reading or exercising or being Flash the Wonder Pooch’s companion in crime. I don’t feel right saying owner, because I’m sure he feels like he owns me.

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

[Karen Ranney] The Warm Fuzzies Newsletter: http://karenranney.com/subscribe-warm-fuzzies-newsletter/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterKarenRanney
Website: http://karenranney.com
Email: karen@karenranney.com

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams
The MacIain Trilogy #1

By: Karen Ranney

Releasing January 27th, 2015

Avon Romance

Blurb

New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney’s first novel in a brand-new series spins the intriguing story of a beautiful widow and a devilishly handsome shipbuilder…

Seven years have passed since Glynis MacIain made the foolish mistake of declaring her love to Lennox Cameron, only to have him stare at her dumbfounded. Heartbroken, she accepted the proposal of a diplomat and moved to America, where she played the role of a dutiful wife among Washington’s elite. Now a widow, Glynis is back in Scotland. Though Lennox can still unravel her with just one glance, Glynis is no longer the naïve girl Lennox knew and vows to resist him.

With the American Civil War raging, shipbuilder Lennox Cameron must complete a sleek new blockade runner for the Confederate Navy. He cannot afford any distractions, especially the one woman he’s always loved. Glynis’s cool demeanor tempts him to prove to her what a terrible mistake she made seven years ago.

As the war casts its long shadow across the ocean, will a secret from Glynis’s past destroy any chance for a future between the two star-crossed lovers?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/11/in-your-widest-scottish-dreams-by-karen.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22046610-in-your-wildest-scottish-dreams?from_search=true

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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K53D3HE?tag=karerann-20

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-your-wildest-scottish-dreams-karen-ranney/1119565608?ean=9780062337474

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/in-your-wildest-scottish-dreams/id874639413?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/in-your-wild-scottish-dreams/yVJcJ_1O4EuKbDR8vd7wZQ

Author Info

Karen Ranney began writing when she was five. Her first published work was The Maple Leaf, read over the school intercom when she was in the first grade. In addition to wanting to be a violinist (her parents had a special violin crafted for her when she was seven), she wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and, most of all, a writer. Though the violin was discarded early, she still admits to a fascination with the law, and she volunteers as a teacher whenever needed. Writing, however, has remained the overwhelming love of her life.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: https://www.facebook.com/WriterKarenRanney

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Karen_Ranney

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/68758.Karen_Ranney

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Excerpt

“You’ve come home,” Lennox said.

Glynis wanted to pull away but stood still. Precipitous gestures could be misunderstood. Better to allow him to hold her hand than cause a scene, especially when whispers swirled around them.

“It’s the MacIain girl, home after all these years.”

“Wasn’t there some scandal about her?” 

“Is this the first time she’s been seen in public?”  

Were people recalling those times she followed after Lennox as a child? At five years old she marked him as hers. As a young woman she was prepared to tell him she adored him.  

Foolish Glynis.  

He must not affect her. She wouldn’t allow it. She was no longer nineteen and desperately in love.  

“Why didn’t you come home sooner?” he asked now, still holding her hand. 

Instead of answering, she only smiled. The diplomatic ranks did not value honesty and so she became adroit at sidestepping it. 

He still smelled of wood and the ocean. Whenever anyone said the word “ship” or she tasted a brine filled breeze, he would appear in her memory with a twinkle in his eye.  

The hint of beard showing on this important occasion wasn’t due to any sloth on his part. He had to shave more than once a day to eliminate a shadow appearing on his cheeks and chin. 

“I think God wants me to have facial hair,” he said to her. “But God and I are going to disagree.” 

He was a foot taller than she was, dressed in black evening wear accentuating his shoulders and height. All his life he’d worked hard and it showed in the breadth of his chest and muscled legs. Something about him, though, hinted at power and always had. In a crowded room people sought him out the way they looked to leaders and confident men.   

Lennox Cameron resembled a prince and a devastating Highlander and he’d been the hero of most of her childish dreams. 

No longer, however. Too much had happened in the intervening years. 

The post Interview and Giveaway: Karen Ranney, Author of In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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11. Spotlight and Giveaway: Blood Assassin by Alexandra Ivy

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Alexandra Ivy’s latest release Blood Assassin. Enjoy!

Blood Assassin
The Sentinels # 2

By: Alexandra Ivy

Releasing December 30th, 2014

Zebra

Blurb

They are the outcasts of humanity. Blessed with power. Cursed by fate. Driven by passion. The Sentinels have returned…

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

At six-foot-three and two-hundred-fifty pounds, Fane is a natural born guardian. A flawless mix of muscled perfection and steely precision, he has devoted years of his life to protecting a beautiful necromancer. But after she found love in the arms of another, Fane has been a warrior adrift. He swears allegiance only to the Sentinels. And no woman will ever rule his heart again…

INTO THE FIRE

Not only a powerful psychic, Serra is that rare telepath who can connect to minds through objects. When the daughter of a high-blood businessman is kidnapped, Serra agrees to help. But when she stumbles onto a conspiracy involving secrets sects and ancient relics, her life is in mortal danger—and Fane is her only hope. Is the warrior willing to risk his body, his soul, and his heart, for Serra? Or will one last betrayal destroy them both?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/11/blood-assassin-sentinels-2-by-alexandra.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21535284-blood-assassin?from_search=true

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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Assassin-The-Sentinels-Alexandra/dp/1420125168/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414443779&sr=8-1&keywords=9781420125160

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-assassin-alexandra-ivy/1119058449?ean=9781420125160

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/blood-assassin/id891760368?mt=11

Kobo: http://prod-www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Blood-Assassin/book-bQWm_kzPGE-JOWxQ6-FTVQ/page1.html

Author Info

ALEXANDRA IVY graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at www.alexandraivy.com.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.alexandraivy.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexandraIvy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/40881.Alexandra_Ivy

 

Excerpt:

Serra felt like she’d been shoved back into the fog of confusion that had compelled her to drive from Valhalla to St. Louis. Only this time she wasn’t completely oblivious to her surroundings.

She knew that she was in an upscale hotel a few blocks from Bas’s office building. And that she was riding in a glass elevator up to the top floor. She even had a vague impression of the breaking dawn painting a beautiful pink glow over the nearby river. A sight that she might have appreciated any other morning.

But the only thing that seemed truly real was the feel of Fane’s hand that was planted at her lower back, the heat of his touch a welcome assurance that she wasn’t alone.

The elevator came to a halt and, following Fane to one of the two suites that composed the top floor, she waited for him to use the card key to push the door open.

With an effort she tried to shake off the strange sense of lethargy, glancing around the large sitting room with low, comfy furniture in browns and tans that were arranged to take advantage of the glass wall that offered a stunning view of St. Louis.

Against one wall was a fireplace with a large-screen TV suspended over the mantel and on the other was a wet bar complete with a wine rack. There were doorways leading to two bedrooms and another that offered a glimpse of a bathroom as large as her entire apartment at Valhalla. Serra forced a stiff smile to her lips. “I suppose there could be worse places to spend the last hours of my life—”

Her words were cut off as Fane placed his hand over her mouth, leaning down so he could speak directly into her ear.

“Shh.”

Serra frowned, effectively snapped out of her weird fog as the Sentinel scoured the room, pulling out two hidden transmitters that he crushed beneath his feet before lifting his hand toward the chandelier in the center of the room. There was an electric prickle in the air as he used his powers to disrupt any hidden cameras.

He sent her a searching gaze, as if trying to determine if she was going to do something stupid if he left her alone. Then, giving a nod at her fierce scowl, he jogged into the attached bedrooms to perform a similar sweep. The bathroom was last, and much to Serra’s disgust he found two transmitters and a camera hidden in the overhead light.

She would have accused Bas of being a perv if she wasn’t certain he was more interested in keeping track of his guests than seeing them naked.

Destroying the last of the expensive equipment, Fane returned to the sitting room, and headed directly toward her.

“Happy now?” she asked.

“No, I’m damn well not happy,” he growled, astonishingly wrapping his arms around her waist and yanking her against his chest.

“Fane.” Serra tilted back her head. She couldn’t have been more surprised if he’d sprouted wings and begun flapping around the room. “What the hell?”

He lowered his head, burying his face in her tangle of dark hair. “I need to hold you,” he muttered.

Oh.

Serra briefly allowed herself to savor the strength of his arms as they held her as if he was never, ever going to let her go.

God. It was . . . perfect.

Just as perfect as she’d always fantasized it would be.

His exotic, male scent that teased at her nose. The searing heat of his hands as they pressed against her lower back. The solid thud of his heart beneath her ear.

He was all man. And he made her very glad she was all woman.

The desperate urge to melt against him surged through her. To depend on him to support her, if only for a few minutes.

She released a small sigh. Her hands were already sliding up his chest when she remembered why she felt so damned vulnerable.

Bas, the assassin. Deadly toxin. Kidnapped a little girl.

“No,” she breathed. With a sharp shove, she was out of Fane’s arms, her chin tilted to a defiant angle.

Fane frowned. “What’s wrong?”

“I won’t be your damned damsel in distress.”

His eyes narrowed, as if caught off guard by her defiant words. “Is that what you think?”

“It’s not what I think, it’s what I know,” she corrected, wrapping her arms around her waist as her body trembled with an urgent desire to return to his embrace. “You were perfectly content to walk away when I was a capable, independent woman who could be a true partner.”

Something that might have been regret tightened his stark, mesmerizingly beautiful features.

“You could’ve been my partner, but we both know I could never give you what you need.”

“And what’s that?”

“Time . . . attention.” His dark, piercing gaze lowered to her lips before returning to meet her glare. “A life we could build together.”

She snorted. Fane had been using that wearisome excuse to keep her at a distance for years.

“You’re no longer bound to Callie.”

“No, but I am bound to my job,” he stubbornly countered. “It always comes first.”

Serra understood what he was saying.

Many hunter Sentinels had long-term relationships. Some even married. But guardian Sentinels found it much more difficult. They were mystically bound to the highblood they were protecting with an intimacy that might not be sexual, but was just as intense.

Few partners could bear to see their lovers that closely connected to someone else.

Still, no relationship was perfect. And if she was willing to accept the inevitable strain of being with a guardian, what right did he have to try to convince her that she needed more?

She gave an aggravated shake of her head. What did it matter? That was all in the past.

Fane had made his choice.

Even if her current . . . hmm, her current what? Situation?

Difficulties?

Near-death experience?

Whatever.

The fact she was in danger was stirring his need to play knight in shining armor.

“Your problem is that you have a hero complex.”

His jaw tightened, but he met her gaze squarely. “It’s my nature to protect.”

“Well, I don’t want to be your latest victim that needs to be rescued.”

“Serra—”

“Okay, I’m not stupid,” she interrupted his protest. “I know I need your help. But that’s all I want from you.”

His hand lifted, but he dropped it as Serra instinctively stiffened in rejection. “Serra, my decision to leave Valhalla was because I thought it would be better for both of us.”

She pointed a finger directly into her face. “You know what? You don’t get to decide what’s good for me.”

“Fine.” Moving with a speed that she didn’t have a hope in hell of avoiding, Fane lightly grasped her wrist, his thumb skimming over the pulse thundering beneath its skin. “Tell me how Bas managed to poison you.”

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12. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Rebel of Copper Creek by R C Ryan

I have an excerpt and giveaway for The Rebel of Copper Creek by R C Ryan this morning.  Enjoy!

About THE REBEL OF COPPER CREEK:

A love worth fighting for . . .

The last thing widow Juliet Grayson needs is a man in her life. Between caring for her two young sons and maintaining her husband’s ranch, her hands are more than full. Then she meets Griff Warren. With his quiet strength and his easy way with her boys, she’s tempted to trust him. But if there’s anything she’s learned, it’s that love only leads to heartbreak. Former Marine Griff Warren never thought he’d settle down. Rebellious and proud, he’s always been on his own . . . until the father he never knew he had died, leaving him with land that is his legacy and brothers to share the load. He doesn’t need more than that. But Juliet touches something deep inside him-and he wants nothing more than to protect her and her sons. Now if only he can convince her to take a second chance at true love.

About R.C. Ryan:

New York Times bestselling author R.C. Ryan has written more than ninety novels, both contemporary and historical.  Quite an accomplishment for someone who, after her fifth child started school, gave herself the gift of an hour a day to follow her dream to become a writer. In a career spanning more than twenty years, Ms. Ryan has given dozens of radio, television, and print interviews across the country and Canada, and has been quoted in such diverse publications as the Wall Street Journal and Cosmopolitan.  She has also appeared on CNN News, and Good Morning America. R.C. Ryan is a pseudonym of New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ryan Langan. 


R.C. Ryan’s SM:

@RuthRyanLangan

http://www.ryanlangan.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/R-C-Ryan-and-Ruth-Ryan-Langan/120740961280094

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1BjrsMs

BAM – http://bit.ly/1z6fB4E

B&N – http://bit.ly/1AM4Oux

IndieBound – http://bit.ly/1u26yAF

GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/1C2Tfia

iTunes – http://bit.ly/1xXdgaD

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1AbBj2u

She opened a second door to reveal a bathroom fit for a queen, with a tub and shower big enough for an army, a lovely oval sink and mirror, and all of it done in shades of white marble.

She turned to him with a look of alarm. “Oh, Griff. I don’t belong here.”

He merely smiled. “Neither do I. But I won’t tell if you don’t.” His smile grew. “I say we just kick back and enjoy all this until they discover we’re frauds.”

She tried to laugh, but it came out in a sigh.

Before she could say more he touched a finger to her lips. Just a touch, but they both looked stunned at his boldness.

He lowered his hand and took a step back. “I’d better say goodnight and get out of here.”

“Wait.” She caught his hand and held it tightly. “Just stay a minute more. I’m feeling overwhelmed.”

His smile was quick and charming. “I’m feeling overwhelmed myself. But it’s not the room, it’s the woman in it.”

“Don’t joke, Griff.”

His smile disappeared. “It’s no joke. And if I don’t leave you right now, I just might not make it out of here.”

He got as far as the door before turning to look at her. That was his downfall. In quick strides he crossed the room and grabbed her in a fierce embrace.

“I almost made it.” The words were whispered against her temple as he began brushing hot, wet kisses down the side of her face until she turned her head slightly and his lips found hers. “I know you told me you don’t like this.” His voice was a rough growl of desperation.

“That’s what I said. But right this minute I can’t tell you that, Griff.” She clung to him. “I need you hold me, just for a minute.”

“If I stay for a minute, it could turn into hours. I may not be able to leave at all. In fact, it’s already too late. I know what touching you does to me.”

And then he took the kiss deep, nearly devouring her.

Her body was crushed against him, her heartbeat wildly matching his. The feel of her ragged breath, her pounding pulse, added more fuel to the fire that raged through him.

“Wait, Griff. I need a minute…”

Her words barely penetrated the fog that seemed to have taken over his control.

Instead of doing as she asked, he backed her across the room until they were stopped by the press of the wall against her back. They barely noticed the bump of their bodies as they continued the kiss until they were nearly crawling inside each other’s skin.

He was so hot he could barely catch a breath. Lifting his head, he breathed deeply before lowering his face to hers. “I could stay the night. I could…”

She lifted a hand to his mouth. “Wait. Stop. I need to think.”

“I can’t think. My brain…” He sucked in air, hoping to clear his mind.

“We can’t do this.” She put a hand to his chest.

“I know. I know.” He caught her hand in his. “I’ll go.”

As he started to turn away she lifted herself on tip toe to brush his mouth with hers. “I don’t want you to, but I know I need to send you away.”

He half-turned back to her. “I don’t have to…”

“Yes. No.” She breathed deeply. “Yes. Go.”

His hands closed around her shoulders. “Was that no? Or go?”

She looked up at the same moment he looked down. They bumped noses, then both burst into laughter.

They laughed so hard they clung together, shaking and laughing.

He pressed his forehead to hers and managed another shaky breath. “Okay. At least I know we’re both crazy.” He held her a little away and stared deeply into her eyes before giving a groan. “I’m going now. Just…” He backed away. “…don’t touch me or I won’t make it.”

She stayed where she was, watching as he backed across the room. Straightening his shoulders he turned and opened the door. He stepped out and pulled it firmly shut behind him.

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13. One Month of Elle Kennedy: Interview and Giveaway!

This morning, Elle Kennedy stopped by to share her deadline survival list.  Be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Top 5 items in my deadline survival list by Elle Kennedy

I’m pretty sure I’m in deadline hell about 70% of time, which is what happens when you 1) write books in multiple genres and 2) are an over achiever. Because, you know, why not write a book a month? ? Still, since I’m deep in the writing cave more often than not, I’ve come to rely on a few key things to get me through the stress and chaos of deadlines. So here goes, the top 5 items on my deadline survival list, in no particular order…

 

  1. Chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. Seriously, when I’m on a deadline, all I do is stuff chocolate in my mouth. I went through a Kit-Kat phase last year, but now I’m on Oh Henrys and Toblerones (the latter because everyone seems to get me Toblerones for the holidays).

  1. The “turn off wi-fi” button on my laptop. Staying off the Internet is a must-do for me when I’m on a deadline. Believe it or not, this is easier than it sounds. Everyone knows I’m already a crappy social media-er, so staying off Twitter and FB is no problem for me. But not checking my email every five seconds? Brutal. Still, when I’m writing, I find that cutting out distractions is the best way to meet my daily word quotas.

  1. My calendar. Every time I find myself slowing down or procrastinating, I open up my calendar, which shows all the other deadlines I have coming up. Then I freak out for a moment, because, oh crap, I have a lot of deadlines coming up! After that, I take a breath and remind myself that if I don’t get through this deadline, it’s going to mess up my schedule for the rest of the year, at which point I get my butt into gear and chug forward. I try to focus on one deadline at a time, but sometimes I need to look at the big picture and remember, hey, you don’t have time to slack off, so just keep moving.

  1. Lifelines. When I’m stuck on a scene or reach that OMG-this-book-sucks-so-hard phase in my writing process, I need my writing friends, stat. This is when I turn on the Internet and IM a friend, who will usually talk me off the ledge and remind me that I’m doing what I love to do, and that the book does not suck. I honestly don’t think I could survive without the support and encouragement of a few awesome people, who often drop whatever they’re doing to help me out.

  1. Doggie daycare. Yup, I’m one of those people. But dudes, I have a very crazy, very energetic Black lab who likes to jump on me when I’m writing. He’s a total attention-whore, and if I’m not paying attention to him every second of every day, he freaks out and makes me pay attention to him. Which means trying to knock my laptop out of my lap, standing there barking at me until I play with him, or causing trouble around the house just to let me know he’s there. So yup, I love my dog to death, but those couple of days of peace and quiet while he’s at daycare equal a lot of productive writing days.

 

One Night of Sin

Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

When it comes to sex, good girl Skyler Thompson always plays it safe, choosing stable and sedate over wild and thrilling. She doesn’t do one-night-stands, but one look at sinfully sexy Gage Holt and she’s willing to reconsider. He makes her want to be bad for once in her life, and she’s prepared to take what she wants.

Danger follows former MMA fighter Gage Holt like a shadow. Despite his successes as part owner of Sin, an exclusive nightclub in Boston, Gage can’t risk getting involved with a woman, especially one as sweet as Skyler. Still, he can’t resist a taste—and it’s so damn good he has to see her again.

As addicted as he is to her, Gage knows there’s no future for him and Skyler—not with his past lurking in the dark corners of an MMA cage. But Skyler’s tougher than she looks, and she’s ready to fight for her man.

Goodreads Book Link: http://bit.ly/OneNightSinGR

Amazon Buy Link: http://bit.ly/OneNightSinAM

Barnes & Noble Buy Link: http://bit.ly/OneNightSinBN

Entangled Page: http://bit.ly/OneNightSinEP

One Night of Scandal

The wrong man never felt so right…

Ex-fighter Reed Miller has been secretly lusting over his best friend’s girl for months, but he refuses to jeopardize a friendship over a woman—especially one who doesn’t like him all that much. Now that Darcy’s on the market again, it’s even more imperative to stick to his strict hands-off policy. But the sizzling attraction between them is too powerful to ignore, and once he’s had a taste of her…all bets are off.

Darcy Grant is tired of walking the straight and narrow path. She’s on the hunt for passion, and there’s no denying Reed is just the man to give it to her. Although she has no interest in dating a bad boy, and certainly not her ex’s best friend, it’s impossible not to melt beneath Reed’s skillful touch. Now it’s just a matter of setting a few ground rules—and hoping her rule-breaking, sweet-talking bad boy agrees to follow them. But if she lets Reed into her bed, does she stand a chance of keeping him out of her heart?

Goodreads Book Link: http://bit.ly/OneNightScandalGR

Amazon Buy Link: http://bit.ly/OneNightScandalAM

Barnes & Noble Buy Link: http://bit.ly/OneNightScandalBN

Entangled Page: http://bit.ly/OneNightScandalEP

One Night of Trouble

No More Mr. Nice Guy…

The moment AJ Walsh sees the sexy, tattooed pixie walk up to his bar, it’s lust at first sight. He’s always been labeled the “nice” guy?opening doors, buying flowers, and never, ever having one-night stands. But with this wicked little angel with red lips and unfathomably dark eyes? Oh, yeah. Tonight, “nice” has nothing to do with it…

Brett Conlon is trying to convince her family that she’s put away her reckless wild girl side for good. Nothing?and no one?could be better for her reputation than golden boy AJ Walsh. So they make a deal: if he plays The Good Boyfriend for her family, he can be a very, very bad boy with her. Now their one naughty night is about to turn into a whole lot of trouble…

Goodreads Book Link: http://bit.ly/OneNightTroubleGR

Amazon Buy Link: http://bit.ly/OneNightTroubleAM

Barnes & Noble Buy Link: http://bit.ly/OneNightTroubleBN

Entangled Page: http://bit.ly/OneNightTroubleEP

Author:
Elle Kennedy

Author Website:

www.ellekennedy.com

Author Twitter:

https://twitter.com/ElleKennedy

Author Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElleKennedy

Author Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1935000.Elle_Kennedy

Newsletter:

http://eepurl.com/OR9cr

Bio:

A USA Today bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a BA in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

Elle loves to hear from her readers. Visit her website www.ellekennedy.com or sign up for her newsletter to receive updates about upcoming books and exclusive excerpts. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter (@ElleKennedy).

 

 

Excerpt: One Night of  Scandal

“Darcy, wait. Seriously. Come on, wait up.”

She kept up the brisk pace, ignoring Reed’s increasingly annoyed shouts from behind her. Her heels snapped on the pavement in an angry click-clack as she barreled down the sidewalk. She’d taken five more steps when a heavy hand clapped on her shoulder.

“Must you always be so damn difficult?” His aggravated rumble heated the back of her neck.

Darcy twirled around to face him. “Dude, just go away.”

His lips twitched. “Can I at least apologize first, dude?”

“No.”

He grasped her arm before she could walk away. “What do you mean, no?”

“Should I say it in a different language so you can understand? Fine. Non. Nein. Niet. Nej. Nai. Um—”

“Nai?”

“That’s Japanese,” she said haughtily. “Duh.”

“Do I even want to ask why you can say the word no in so many languages?”

She blew a strand of hair out of her eyes. “I’m a teacher, Reed. I know things.”

His deep chuckle sent an unexpected—and extremely unwelcome—shiver scurrying through her. Before tonight, she’d never felt anything even close to warmth or awareness toward this man, but somehow her system had shortcircuited, and now she couldn’t stop staring at his mouth. His firm and surprisingly sensual mouth. And all that dark stubble sweeping across his strong jaw… She wanted to run her fingertips over it and feel those bristles scratching her skin.

No, you don’t.

Right. Of course she didn’t.

God, what on earth did the Krib’s bartenders put in their drinks? Those shooters were obviously messing with her head.

Excerpt: One Night of Sin

He rummaged in his pocket for his e-cigarette, lifted his head—and froze.

His blue-eyed angel sat eight feet away. Slender body up on the wooden crate next to the staff door, chestnut-brown hair falling over one shoulder, dress riding up her thighs to reveal long, silky legs.

He sucked in a breath. Lord, she was even more appealing up close. Not beautiful in the Hollywood sense, but intriguingly attractive in a very real way. The enormous blue eyes were her best feature, and her mouth was just pouty enough to conjure up the image of plump lips wrapped around his dick.

Gage cleared his throat. “You shouldn’t be out here.”

She jumped at the sound of his voice, head swiveling and gaze flying to his. She instantly hopped off the crate, smoothing out the front of her dress as a frown creased her lips. “Why not?”

“A pretty girl all alone in an alley at midnight—I don’t think it needs much more explanation than that.” He inhaled a quick drag of the e-cigarette. The mint-flavored vapor was no substitute for a real smoke, and he wasn’t sure why he even bothered with it.

“I just needed some air.” Her voice was huskier than he’d imagined it would be. Sexier. “I’ll go back inside soon.”

Wait—she’d only come outside for air? And her date had been asking about prostitutes in her absence? Wow. Real stand-up guy.

“It’s so crowded in there,” she added.

“Nightclubs usually are,” he said dryly.

“Yeah, I guess they are. I’m not much of a clubber, but Mick wouldn’t take no for an answer. He said I haven’t lived until I’ve gone to Sin.” A sigh slipped out. “It’s our first date…”

Gage waited for her to continue. When she didn’t, he filled in the rest. “And you’re not at all into him.”

“Why do you say that?”

His gaze slid back to hers, slow and purposeful. “Because if you were, you wouldn’t have been eye-fucking me all night.”

Her breath hitched, cheeks growing the most appealing shade of pink.

He had to laugh. “Am I wrong?”

The denial he’d expected didn’t come. “No, you’re not wrong.”

Excerpt: One Night of Trouble

AJ pulled a cell phone from his back pocket and glanced at the screen. “It’s eleven fifty-eight. Looks like you’re about to turn into a pumpkin. Did you drive here?”

She shook her head. “I’m calling a taxi.”

“Or…” His eyes gleamed recklessly.

Brett’s throat went dry. “Or?”

“Or I could drive you home.”

Uh-oh.

Big uh-oh.

The awareness that had sizzled between them earlier returned in full force, leaving pinpricks of heat along her bare arms. The air was cool and she’d left her coat inside, but she wasn’t cold. Not by a long shot.

She knew exactly what would happen if she let AJ drive her home. She might have willpower when it came to alcohol, but around this man? With his sandy-blond hair and chiseled features and sparkling green eyes? And that incredible body? And throw in the fact that she hadn’t had sex in six months?

Willpower? Fat chance.

“What do you say, Brett? Do you want a ride?” No missing the way his voice went husky at the word ride.

Oh boy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy.

This was not the AJ Walsh she remembered. Back then he’d come off as a gentleman.

Right now there was nothing gentlemanly about him. His expression was downright smoldering, broad body radiating pure sex appeal. If he took her home, she knew it wouldn’t end with her walking up to her apartment alone.

But she still had to make sure she wasn’t misinterpreting that look on his face.

“What are you really asking me?” she said bluntly.

“I’m asking if I can take you home and screw your brains out.”

Her thighs clenched so hard she almost keeled over.

Okay, well, that certainly left nothing to interpretation.

“Judging by your response, I think you like the sound of that.” There was something smugly male in his voice.

Hers was embarrassingly squeaky and as weak as her attempted ignorance. “What response?”

He flashed a knowing smile. “What, you think I can’t tell when a woman is attracted to me?”

Nope, this was not the AJ she remembered. The golden boy was gone, replaced by a primal creature teeming with raw sexual energy. The electricity in the air was liable to burn her alive.

“Y-you…” She swallowed hard. “You don’t seem like the kind of man who does stuff like this. Sleeping with someone you’ve just met…”

“Why do women always take it upon themselves to decide what kind of man I am?”

“Am I wrong?” she challenged.

After a beat, he gave a sheepish grin. “Fine. I haven’t had a lot of one-night stands. But…” His eyes burned. “I have a feeling not going home with you tonight would be the biggest mistake of my life.”

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14. Review: Deep Betrayal by Anne Greenwood Brown

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I had to wait a long time for the library to get a copy of Deep Betrayal, so there has been a huge time gap since I read Lies Beneath.  When I first started reading this, the plot details were a little fuzzy, but things cleared up relatively quickly.  I really enjoy this series, and I was delighted when Deep Betrayal did NOT end on a cliffhanger!  Win for the reader!  I hate cliffhangers, with only love triangles scoring higher on my list of pet peeves.  There’s no hint of that here, either, with Lily and Calder deeply involved with each other for the entire book.  That’s not to say they didn’t have their disagreements, but another guy was never dangled into the reader’s face in an effort to force some tension into the plot.  Double yay!

Deep Betrayal picks up thirty days after the events in Lies Beneath.  Lily has been exiled to live with Jules’ family, and she’s seething because she hasn’t heard from Calder.  She alternately worries about him, then rages about him.  When he finally turns up, he’s  vague about where he’d been, but Lily forgives him.  I wouldn’t have let him off so easily, but since Lily forces him to go back to the lake house, I guess he got what he deserved.  He’s worried that Maris and Pavati will flip out if they discover that she’s still alive.  He also objects when Lily insists that they tell her father the truth about his heritage.  That probably wasn’t the smartest decision, but I think that even Lily could not have expected the revelation to cost her family so much grief.

In addition to her family crumbling in on itself, someone, or something, is attacking people on the water.  When bodies start turning up, Lily is convinced it’s Calder’s sisters feeding.  Calder protests; he knows they would never be so careless with their prey.  Then Lily has the horrible suspicion that her father is causing all of mayhem in the lake, and she’s determined to put a stop to it.

Lily and Calder follow many false leads before unmasking the killer, and even though the mystery isn’t all that difficult to figure out, I loved this book.  I enjoyed Lily’s narrative, and her courage.  She’s not the kind of girl to stand back and let her man take all the risks – oh no!  Lily wanted to save her family and friends, so she was willing to put herself at risk to stop the killer.  In the process, she discovers more about who she is, and what she is.  She even forges an uneasy  alliance with Calder’s sisters.  I really like them; they are treacherous and can’t be trusted.  They are also incredibly dangerous, so Lily has to stay on her toes to avoid their wrath.

When I stop and think about Lily’s relationship with Calder, I cringe.  He’s, what, 40?  She’s 17?  That’s creepy.  I kept telling myself, “He’s not human.  He’s not human.  He’s not human,” but it’s still kind of creepy.  Stop thinking about it!

Overall, this is an exciting book, with plenty of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages.  Great characters, great ending – I can’t wait to read the final book in the series.  Hope the library has it!

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Fans of Amanda Hocking’s novel, Wake, will dive into this paranormal romance featuring mermaids–the killer kind–and won’t come up for air!

It’s been thirty days, two hours, and seventeen minutes since Calder left Lily standing on the shores of Lake Superior. Not that she’s counting. And when Calder does return, it’s not quite the reunion Lily hoped for. Especially after she lets her father in on a huge secret: he, like Calder, is a merman. Obsessed with his new identity, Lily’s dad monopolizes Calder’s time as the two of them spend every day in the water, leaving Lily behind.

Then dead bodies start washing ashore. Calder blames his mermaid sisters, but Lily fears her father has embraced the merman’s natural need to kill. As the body count grows, everyone is pointing fingers. Lily doesn’t know what to believe—only that whoever’s responsible is sure to strike again. . . .

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15. Novella Review: One Mad Night by Julia London

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I decided to read One Mad Night because I thought the description sounded cute.  Two advertising executives trapped in together during a blizzard?  Could they put their animosity aside during their forced togetherness?  Or would they make each other miserable?

One Mad Night is a cute read, but I had a problem with Ian’s lie of omission.  Both he and Chelsea are competing for a large national account, and Chelsea’s supervisor, one of the managing partners (and complete scumbag), has all but promised the account to her.  If she gets it, she’ll finally have that corner office she’s been slaving for, as well as be a new partner.  She’s been working long hours for six long years for this recognition from her employers.  She’s watched as one idea after another was credited to someone else, and she’s not going to let hot-shot Ian steal her thunder.  What Chelsea doesn’t know is that her employers have already decided to give Ian the account, as well as the partner slot, without even having the decency to hear either of their pitches.  Yeah, that sucks, big time!

Ian has been attracted to Chelsea since he jumped ship from his previous advertising firm and accepted the carrot that his new bosses dangled in front of him.  With the promise of a huge paycheck and an eventual partnership, it only made sense to take the new job.  He and Chelsea are at odds from day one, in part because of her competitive nature.  As they compete for accounts, they both grate on each other’s nerves.  Chelsea definitely started the game of one-upmanship; she felt threatened when Ian started winning accounts that she felt should have been hers. 

When the blizzard blows into town, shutting down the subway system and causes massive power outages, Chelsea and Ian are trapped in the office together.  As the evening wears on, Chelsea begins to see that Ian isn’t the pompous ass she thought he was, and Ian realizes that Chelsea isn’t as uptight as he thought.  They actually have fun raiding the boss’s fridge for frozen dinners and breaking into the firm’s bar.  One thing leads to another, and with the help of her overpriced shoes, Ian and Chelsea act on their attraction.

If Ian hadn’t known that he was getting the account, or had told Chelsea about it upfront when she suspected that he knew more than he was letting on, I would have enjoyed this story better.  Instead, I felt that he took advantage of her and that they weren’t  on a level playing field.  It seemed that every male in Chelsea’s life took advantage of her, from Ian to her employers, and it made me mad.

I did enjoy how the ending worked out, and liked the mostly light tone of the novella. 

Grade:  B-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A delightful new contemporary romance novella from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia London.

One winter’s night a blizzard sweeps across the country, demonstrating that fate can change the course of lives in an instant…and fate has got a sense of humor.

Chelsea Crawford and Ian Rafferty are high profile ad execs in cutthroat competition for a client. When a major winter storm puts New York City on lockdown, the two rivals have to make it through the night together-oh, the many ways in which opposites attract…

The post Novella Review: One Mad Night by Julia London appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16. Guest Post and Giveaway: Katie Rose, Author of Too Hot to Handle

Katie Rose dropped by the virtual offices to share a guest post. Don’t forget to enter the awesome giveaway below!

TOP FIVE THINGS YOU WON’T FIND IN JAKE’S LOCKER by Katie Rose

So Jake Baldwin, the talented shortstop for the New Jersey Sonics, is a bit of a ladies man as well as a local heartthrob. He has a group of fans that follow him everywhere, bikini clad women known as Baldwin’s Beauties. He also has a gorgeous girlfriend, Nikki Case, who owns her own PR firm and knows how to deal with Jake.

And Jake is a guy’s guy. He loves beer, practical jokes, and winning. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, but in spite of his lighthearted approach to life, he is the real deal. He takes care of his girlfriend, his mother, and is mentoring a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks.

So Jake does not have the following things in his locker:

  1. Girly Magazines. He used to have a primo collection of Playboy, Hustler, etc. But now that he has Nikki, he has more than enough sex, and his own poster girl.

  2. PEDS. Jake has no need for performance enhancing substances of any kind. Enough said.

  3. Rosary beads, rabbit’s foot, or a four leaf clover. Some of the players in the National League are superstitious and have religious artifacts, charms, a special glove, or a trophy from a girlfriend to bring them good fortune. Jake has none of this stuff. He doesn’t believe in luck; he believes in work. He does, however, have his own odd collection in his locker: shaving cream, champagne, peanuts, and condoms. These things are for pranks. And if there is one thing Jake is really good at, besides sex, it’s practical jokes.

  4. His old jersey. Jake lost number 11 in a bet over Nikki. He has never looked back, and considers himself the winner, not the loser.

  5. Flowery cologne. The Sonics used this to prank a player in book 3, IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT. But it wasn’t in his locker. It was in Chases’.

As the leadoff hitter, Jake really is the heart of the team. He gets the momentum going, inspires the players around him, and knows how to take a joke as well as deliver one. He knows that laughter is a way of dealing with stress, making disappointment seem lighter, and helping the players put a loss in perspective. But he is also a man they can count on. He exemplifies everything good about the Sonics: the team spirit, the sense of joy, dedication and hard work.

And as far as his locker goes, he loses it completely in book 3. And since it is Jake we are talking about, he doesn’t look back. After all, he now has Nikki.

Too Hot to Handle
The Boys of Summer # 2

By: Katie Rose

Releasing January 27th, 2015

Loveswept

Blurb

Katie Rose’s Boys of Summer series returns for a delicious double-header—with the story of total opposites who are drawn to each other like moths to a flame.

Nikki Case is no fan of baseball. Her ex gambled away a fortune on the sport, and now her PR firm has tasked her with cleaning up the league’s most notorious bad boys. The New Jersey Sonics are known for wild womanizing and booze-fueled brawls, so Nikki expects the worst. Her first stop in the battle to win hearts and minds is star hitter Jake Baldwin—a legendary ladies man so smokin’ he threatens to melt her tough-girl armor.

Although his teammates prank her without mercy, Jake admires the way Nikki gives as good as she gets. She may be the queen of frost, but there’s kindling beneath those sultry curves—and he’s just the man to ignite it. But when a PR nightmare lands the Sonics in headlines across the country, Nikki is ready to walk. Only then does Jake realize how important she is to the Sonics’ success—and that winning the love of a good woman is no game.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/11/too-hot-to-handlethe-boys-of-summer-2.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22551564-too-hot-to-handle

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/126154-the-boys-of-summer

NOTE**If you use the Pre-Set up links, you don’t have to also use the link URL’s as well, they are Pre-Linked**

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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Too-Hot-Handle-Summer-Novel-ebook/dp/B00KUQGRBU/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418316743&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=too+hot+to+handle+y+katie+rose

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/too-hot-to-handle-katie-rose/1120641382?ean=9780553390483

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/too-hot-to-handle/id887129411?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/too-hot-to-handle-the-boys-of-summer-series

Author Info

Award-winning historical author Katie Rose makes her contemporary debut with the Boys of Summer novels, Bring on the Heat and Too Hot to Handle, which combine Katie’s true loves: baseball and romance! When not watching baseball, Katie is at her lake house in New Jersey, hard at work on her next book.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter |Goodreads

Website: http://www.colleenquinn.net/katierose.php

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCQuinn

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/399542.Katie_Rose

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Katie Rose, Author of Too Hot to Handle appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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17. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway from one of my favorite authors, Julia Quinn.  Enjoy!

Pleinsworth House

London

Spring 1825

To quote that book his sister had read two dozen times, it was a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Sir Richard Kenworthy was not in possession of a fortune, but he was single. As for the wife …

Well, that was complicated.

“Want” wasn’t the right word. Who wanted a wife? Men in love, he supposed, but he wasn’t in love, had never been in love, and he didn’t anticipate falling in such anytime soon.

Not that he was fundamentally opposed to the idea. He just didn’t have time for it.

The wife, on the other hand …

He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, glancing down at the program in his hand.

You are Cordially Welcomed to
the 19
th Annual Smythe-Smith Musicale

featuring a well-trained quartet of violin, violin, cello, and pianoforte

He had a bad feeling about this.

“Thank you, again, for accompanying me,” Winston Bevelstoke said to him.

Richard regarded his good friend with a skeptical expression. “I find it unsettling,” he remarked, “how often you’ve thanked me.”

“I’m known for my impeccable manners,” Winston said with a shrug. He’d always been a shrugger. In fact, most of Richard’s memories of him involved some sort of what-can-I-say shoulder motion.

“It doesn’t really matter if I forget to take my Latin exam. I’m a second son.” Shrug.

“The rowboat was already capsized by the time I arrived on the bank.” Shrug.

“As with all things in life, the best option is to blame my sister.” Shrug. (Also, evil grin.)

Richard had once been as unserious as Winston. In fact, he would very much like to be that unserious again.

But, as mentioned, he hadn’t time for that. He had two weeks. Three, he supposed. Four was the absolute limit.

“Do you know any of them?” he asked Winston.

“Any of who?”

Richard held up the program. “The musicians.”

Winston cleared his throat, his eyes sliding guiltily away. “I hesitate to call them musicians …”

Richard looked toward the performance area that had been set up in the Pleinsworth ballroom. “Do you know them?” he repeated. “Have you been introduced?” It was all well and good for Winston to make his customary cryptic comments, but Richard was here for a reason.

“The Smythe-Smith girls?” Winston shrugged. “Most of them. Let me see, who’s playing this year?” He looked down at his program. “Lady Sarah Prentice at the pianoforte—that’s odd, she’s married.”

Damn.

“It’s usually just the single ladies,” Winston explained. “They trot them out every year to perform. Once they’re married, they get to retire.”

Richard was aware of this. In fact, it was the primary reason he had agreed to attend. Not that anyone would have found this surprising. When an unmarried gentleman of twenty-seven reappeared in London after a three-year absence … One did not need to be a matchmaking mama to know what that meant.

He just hadn’t expected to be so rushed.Frowning, he let his eyes fall on the pianoforte. It looked well-made. Expensive. Definitely nicer than the one he had back at Maycliffe Park.

“Who else?” Winston murmured, reading the elegantly printed names in the program. “Miss Daisy Smythe-Smith on violin. Oh, yes, I’ve met her. She’s dreadful.”

Double damn. “What’s wrong with her?” Richard asked.

“No sense of humor. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing, it’s not as if everyone else is a barrel of laughs. It’s just that she’s so … obvious about it.”

“How is one obvious about a lack of humor?”

“I have no idea,” Winston admitted. “But she is. Very pretty, though. All blond bouncy curls and such.” He made a blond bouncy motion near his ear, which led Richard to wonder how it was possible that Winston’s hand movements were so clearly not brunette.

“Lady Harriet Pleinsworth, also on violin,” Winston continued. “I don’t believe we have been introduced. She must be Lady Sarah’s younger sister. Barely out of the schoolroom, if my memory serves. Can’t be much more than sixteen.”

Triple damn. Perhaps Richard should just leave now.

“And on the cello …” Winston slid his finger along the heavy stock of the program until he found the correct spot. “Miss Iris Smythe-Smith.”

“What’s wrong with her?” Richard asked. Because it seemed unlikely that there wouldn’t be something.

Winston shrugged. “Nothing. That I know of.”

Which meant that she probably yodeled in her spare time. When she wasn’t practicing taxidermy.

On crocodiles.

Richard used to be a lucky fellow. Really.

“She’s very pale,” Winston said.

Richard looked over at him. “Is that a flaw?”

“Of course not. It’s just …” Winston paused, his brow coming together in a little furrow of concentration. “Well, to be honest, that’s pretty much all I recall of her.”

Richard nodded slowly, his eyes settling on the cello, resting against its stand. It also looked expensive, although it wasn’t as if he knew anything about the manufacture of cellos.

“Why such curiosity?” Winston asked. “I know you’re keen to marry, but surely you can do better than a Smythe-Smith.”

Two weeks ago that might have been true.

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy
Smythe-Smith Quartet # 4

By: Julia Quinn

Releasing January 27th, 2015

Avon Romance

Blurb

Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second-or third-look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she’s the one.

Iris Smythe-Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. And when his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something…even as her heart tells her to say yes.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/12/the-secrets-of-sir-richard-kenworthy.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22046656-the-secrets-of-sir-richard-kenworthy?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/51153-smythe-smith-quartet

Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | Kobo | iTunes

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Sir-Richard-Kenworthy/dp/0062072943/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418170614&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Secrets+of+Sir+Richard+Kenworthy

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-secrets-of-sir-richard-kenworthy-julia-quinn/1119440260?ean=9780062072948

iTunes: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-secrets-of-sir-richard-kenworthy

Kobo: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/secrets-sir-richard-kenworthy/id894883740?mt=11

Author Info

JULIA QUINN started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since. The New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only fifteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Website: http://juliaquinn.com/

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/63898.Julia_Quinn

Rafflecopter Giveaway (A Print Bundle of the Smythe-Smith Quartet, including A NIGHT LIKE THIS, JUST LIKE HEAVEN and THE SUM OF ALL KISSES)

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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18. Monday Mishmash 1/19/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Another Campus Crush  So last week I mentioned that fans asked for another Campus Crush story for Mike since he didn't get his HEA. I thought I was going to write a novel for him, but this series insists that it's made up of novellas, and that's what his story has turned into. More details to come.
  2. Friday Feature  I have some Friday Feature spots available this month and next (and beyond, actually) so if you have a new release or upcoming release and would like to be featured email me khashway(at)hotmail(dot)com.
  3. Spotlight and Giveaway  The very sweet and awesome Megan McDade is hosting me on her blog this month and in addition to interviews and guest posts, there's a giveaway (winner's choice of a paperback of Touch of Death or The Monster Within). Check it out here.
  4. Winter Ball  My daughter attended her first school dance last Friday. It was three hours of me sitting on a hard cafeteria stool, but seeing her dance and run around with her friends made it worth it. She's only in second grade, so seeing how outgoing she is really makes me happy. That girl is not afraid to be who she is. :) I'm a proud mom.
  5. Winter Blues  Anyone else have the winter blues? Some of my 2014-year-of-ickiness has carried over and I'm hoping to be finished with it by the end of the month so I can get back to life as usual. And I could really use some sunshine and warmer weather if anyone can make that happen. ;)
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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19. Novella Review: Riskier Business by Tessa Bailey

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

If Riskier Business hadn’t popped up on my recommendations page on Amazon, I would have missed out on Tessa Bailey’s latest novella.  I’ve read almost everything she’s written, so I was eager to see what Ruby and Troy have been up to since His Risk to Take.  That one click button is so convenient, and in just a few seconds, I was reading away.

Ruby and Troy are blissfully happy, burning up the sheets and supporting each other’s careers.  Troy is a cop and Ruby has launched her own business making custom pool cues.  They couldn’t be happier, until Ruby’s criminal father approaches Troy.  He has a proposition for Ruby, and he wants to see her.  Troy is conflicted; does he tell Ruby that her errant father is in town or does he chase the scumbag out of town?  He’s afraid that Ruby will be dragged back into a life a crime, and he is terrified of losing her.

He fesses up, and then Ruby has a dilemma.  Does she agree to meet the man who used her and then abandoned her?  She can’t turn her back on her father, though, so she reluctantly meets with him, afraid of the chaos he’ll inevitably brings to her life.  He tells her that if she’ll play one more pool match for him, against her mother’s brother, he’ll leave her alone forever.  And he’ll also get information they both want – the location of her mother, who walked out on both of them when she was a baby.

I find Bailey’s writing irresistible.  It’s lightning paced, sprinkled with suspense, and blazing with sexy times.  The dialog is snappy and fun, and the heroes have such naughty mouths.  Her books never fail to entertain.  Riskier Business sets up her new Crossing the Line series, and Ruby’s friend Bowen will have a starring role in Risking it All.  I can hardly wait to read it! 

Grade:  B

Review copy purchase from Amazon

From Amazon:

One more game. And this time, there are no rules…

After a life of pool hustling and living on the wrong side of the law, Ruby Elliott is living on the straight and narrow with sexy-as-all-hell NYPD detective, Troy Bennett. Now the only trouble Ruby has with the law is the naughty kind, pinned against the wall by Troy’s strict and spectacularly hard body. Obeying his every command. Both of them losing themselves in a lust that borders on obsession…

But then her father returns with an offer she can’t refuse: one last hustle in exchange for information. Information she’d die to have. As the pieces and the players of the game reveal themselves, Troy feels the fine edges of his control slipping—control he can’t channel without hurting Ruby. The stakes are high, and the risk higher. Because losing this final game could cost more than Ruby’s heart…it might cost her life.

The post Novella Review: Riskier Business by Tessa Bailey appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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20. Interview and Giveaway: An Affair Downstairs by Sherri Browning

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

[Sherri Browning] Curious, Creative, Witty, Determined, Indulgent.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about An Affair Downstairs?

[Sherri Browning] In Edwardian England, times are changing. Women have a little more freedom to make their own choices, and Lady Alice Emerson doesn’t want to bow to convention and get married. She develops an attraction to her sister’s estate agent and decides that she should have an affair. But despite his dark past, Logan Winthrop is a man of honor and Alice has a difficult time convincing him to go along with her plan.

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

[Sherri Browning] My favorite scene isn’t actually between Alice and Logan. It’s when Alice turns to her Aunt Agatha for advice after creating a bit of a scandal with Logan, and Agatha’s own romantic history comes up. Aunt Agatha is one of my favorite scene-stealing characters, and one of her former suitors might surprise a few readers.

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

[Sherri Browning] What I enjoyed most might have been expanding on the relationship between sisters Sophia and Alice, and examining what sisters mean to us, how they can build us up, and how we manage to live with them sometimes.

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

[Sherri Browning] My credit cards. I love a little impulsive shopping, especially at bookstores.

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

[Sherri Browning] My zebra striped coffee mug, a framed picture of me with best friends Kathleen Givens and Julia London, and Poppie, a doll I’ve had since childhood. She’s the Pillsbury Doughboy’s girlfriend and was a character in commercials with him back in the 70s.

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

[Sherri Browning] When I write, I don’t snack. When I edit, I snack like a fiend. I love gummy bears and jelly beans, or carrots with hummus if I’m being healthy.

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

[Sherri Browning] I think I would be JK Rowling, just to know what it’s like to be that bestselling and adored. I would do interviews to recommend Sherri Browning’s books to all of her readers, and then call up Emma Watson and try to fix her up with my son. They would make such a cute couple.

[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?

[Sherri Browning] Time travel. I would go back in time and try to save the life of a friend. If I succeeded or not, I could spend more time with that friend for the week. I really miss her.

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

[Sherri Browning] I love Julia London’s Cabot Sisters series. I’ve been enjoying Liane Moriarty’s books, too. I’m reading The Last Anniversary now.

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

[Sherri Browning] Readers are always welcome to comment at my website, www.sherribrowningerwin.com, or email me at sherri@sherribrowningerwin.com. Also, I’m on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/SherriBrowningErwin and Twitter @sherrierwin.

Title: An Affair Downstairs

Author: Sherri Browning

Series: Thornbrook Park

ISBN: 978-1-4022-8682-7

Pubdate: 1/6/2015

The attraction of the forbidden cannot be suppressed…

Lady Alice Emerson is entirely unsatisfied with the endless stream of boring suitors her family finds appropriate. She wants something more. Something daring. Something real. Each tiresome new suitor only serves to further inflame Lady Alice’s combustible attraction to Thornbrook Park’s rugged, manly estate manager, Logan Winthrop. Despite Logan’s stubborn attempts to avoid her, Lady Alice is irresistible, and so is the forbidden desire exploding between them…

If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, don’t miss the fascinating Edwardian world of Thornbrook Park.

Sherri Browning writes historical and contemporary romance fiction, sometimes with a paranormal twist. She is the author of critically acclaimed classic mash-ups Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri has lived in western Massachusetts and Greater Detroit Michigan, but is now settled with her family in Simsbury, Connecticut. Find her online at www.sherribrowningerwin.com.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1t8sd3F

Apple: http://bit.ly/1yuHHT8

BAM: http://bit.ly/1uEa5Bz

B&N: http://bit.ly/1HreAq1

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1x5Uyc8

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1uEbg42

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview and Giveaway: An Affair Downstairs by Sherri Browning appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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21. Guest Post and Giveaway: Miranda Neville, Author of The Duke of Dark Desires

Miranda Neville dropped by the virtual offices to share a special guest post.  Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of her book, too!

Top 5 complaints from Julian’s household staff)

Before Julian Fortescue unexpectedly inherited the title of Duke of Denford, he had a single manservant who doesn’t appear in any of my books but whose name is Cumberbatch. (And if you wonder why I just picked that name you are right.) Once he came into both title and money he had to hire a lot more staff for Fortescue House in London and they aren’t all happy.

Monsieur Albert, the French chef

Oo la la dites donc, Monsieur le duc does not appreciate the genius of Albert. The keetchen she is filthy like a peeg sty and the other servants are idiots.

Note: Monsieur Albert quickly departs after a brief appearance in The Duke of Dark Desires. The kitchen becomes more hygienic.

Fortescue Blackett, secretary

As the younger son of a younger son of a duke’s daughter, I needed a job and the new duke needed a secretary. His Grace makes me a little nervous. For a start he’s about a foot taller than me and I never know if means what he says. He shows no interest in making speeches in the House of Lords but that’s probably just as well: he might expect me to write them. He also shows an inappropriate level of interest in the governess but it wouldn’t be proper for me to comment.

Jemmy, stable lad

‘is Grace give me sixpence for holding ‘is ‘orse one time. You’ll get no complaints out o’ me.

Francis Hillthorpe, keeper of the Denford muniments

The new duke says the family portraits are all the work of third rate artists. It’s true that the second duke overspent on gold leaf for the state rooms and couldn’t afford Van Dyck’s fees. Nevertheless he looks perfectly distinguished and I barely notice that one arm is longer than the other. As for Her Grace, anyone could miscount the number of chins possessed by a noble lady. I’m sure the new duke will eventually come to appreciate the illustrious history of his line and restore the 2nd Duke and Duchess to positions of prominence.

Nurse Bride

Master Julian was always the sweetest …. snore.

The Duke of Dark Desires
The Wild Quartet # 4

By: Miranda Neville

Releasing December 30th, 2014

Avon

Blurb

Wanted: Governess able to keep all hours…

Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified-to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation … without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.

Desired: Duke skilled in the seductive art of conversation…

Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn’t seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke’s relatives is responsible for the death of her family-and take her revenge. She certainly can’t afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her.

But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she’s faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she’s sworn to kill?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/10/the-duke-of-dark-desires-wild-quartet-4.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21857130-the-duke-of-dark-desires?from_search=true

Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Duke-Dark-Desires-Miranda-Neville/dp/0062243349/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412955277&sr=8-1&keywords=9780062243348

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-duke-of-dark-desires-miranda-neville/1119128258?ean=9780062243348&itm=1&usri=9780062243348

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/book/the-duke-of-dark-desires/id857945298?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-duke-of-dark-desires

Author Info

MIRANDA NEVILLE grew up in England before moving to New York City to work in Sotheby’s rare books department. After many years as a journalist and editor, she decided writing fiction was more fun. She lives in Vermont. She loves hearing from readers and may be reached through her website.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.mirandaneville.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MirandaNevilleAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/miranda_neville
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2740425.Miranda_Neville

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Three Print Copies of THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES)

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22. Review: Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

If a blogger friend hadn’t recommended Worth the Fall, I would have skipped it.  The pregnant heroine and all of those little kids… yeah, not my cup of tea.  Despite my reservations, the characters managed to charm me within the first few pages.  I breezed through this book and had a hard time putting it down, so if you decide to give it a try, plan your time accordingly Smile

Matt, a sexy SEAL, is on leave, and he’s bored out of his mind. The only reason he’s on this stupid beach vacation is because his cousin lassoed him into it.  His female companion is irritating the hell out of him, and he’d rather be working on his fixer-upper house, not wasting time with an air-headed beauty.  During a jog along the beach, he’s pelted in the back by a water logged football, and his life changes forever.

Jack, the young boy who threw the football at him, desperately wants someone to play catch with.  When Matt learns the boy’s father is dead, he feels sorry for him.  He comes from a large family, and he can’t imagine not having his parents there for him.  When he sees Jack’s gorgeous and very pregnant mother, he’s fascinated.  She’s like a mother duck with a flock of ducklings; Abby has four young children and another on the way.  She’s sweet and funny and he wants to get to know her better.

Abby has had a tough life.  Orphaned when she was a young girl, she’s only known heartache as she was abandoned time and again by the adults in her life.  She met her husband, thought she was in love, and married young.  It didn’t take long before she realized that Josh didn’t love her, and she didn’t love him.  He was hardly ever home, and she was left to raise their kids by herself.  When he died six months ago, nothing really changed.  She was still alone, still taking care of herself and her children.

Then along came Matt.  I have to say, Matt is the perfect guy.  As Abby referred to him, he’s a hero, always ready to dart out to save someone.  He’s a man of his word, he’s honorable, and he’s honest.  He also feels empty and he knows that something is missing from his life, but he doesn’t know what it is.  Then he meets Abby and her flock of ducklings and it’s crystal clear to him – he wants a family and he wants it to be them.

Abby is suffering with serious trust issues.  Never having had a stable home and then having an emotionally distant husband, she has erected walls around her heart that at first seem insurmountable.  How is Matt going to get her to trust him and make her believe that he wants nothing more than to be with her?  He’s a handsome young guy with so many more options than a woman who is six months pregnant!  Before starting Worth the Fall, I was skeptical.  How could the author convince me that dashing Matt would make the perfect match for Abby?  I was convinced about a third of the way through the book, and I wanted to shake Abby and make her get over herself.  Then I wanted to pat her on the head and tell her everything would be okay if she would just give Matt a chance. 

Worth the Fall is a feel good romance with a hard won HEA.  I thought it dragged a little near the end, but I did enjoy meeting Matt’s large family, as well as the wedding finale.  Both Matt and Abby helped each other work through their issues and learned to step outside their comfort zone.  The kids didn’t even annoy me!  I liked this so much I have the next book in the series, Worth the Risk, cued up on my Kindle.

Grade:  B / B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Prepare to be swept away by a talented debut author with a passionate, powerful story to tell.
They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.
They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.
But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.

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23. Spotlight and Giveaway: I Do! by Rachel Gibson

I have a teaser from Rachel Gibson’s I Do! this morning, as well as an awesome giveaway for you to enter.  Check it out!

Teaser:

Rebecca Ramsey unplugged the iPod, then leaned beneath the raised hood. She cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled, “Hello!”

A hollow thud like someone thumped a watermelon came from beneath the car mingled with the sound of tools hitting concrete.

Becca wrinkled her nose and whispered, “Ouch.” She straightened to the sound of a painful moan and a few “goddamn its.” Then two greasy hands reached from beneath and grabbed the shiny bumper. Under the smudges of grease, the head of a Chinese dragon breathed fire across the back of his hand. Squeaky little wheels rolled the rest of him from under the car. Long legs and a spiky belt led to a dirt-smudged white T-shirt over a flat belly. Next came hard forearms and balls of muscular shoulders. The rest of the dragon tattoo wrapped up his arm, and the tail disappeared under the T-shirt sleeve. His square chin and jaw were covered in dark stubble, and a frown pulled at the corners of his mouth. Then eyes the color of a clear Texas sky slid into view and stared up at her. Angry blue eyes beneath dark slashes of brows and surrounded by dark lashes. An even angrier red mark on his forehead seemed to turn redder by the second.

Despite the furious scowl and horrible welt, hideous spiky belt and tacky tattoo, he was so ridiculously hot, Becca felt her insides melt. He rubbed a greasy hand across the welt on his forehead. “Can I do something for you?”

“Yes.” She’d met guys like him before. Guys who looked good in anything from tight T-shirts and jeans to a Sunday suit and tie. Guys who looked at a girl and took her breath away. She’d always been a sucker for guys like him. Hot guys with cool names like Tucker or Slade or Toby Ray. Or, in this case, Nathan Parrish.

I Do!

Lovett, Texas Novella

By: Rachel Gibson

Releasing January 20th, 2015

Avon Romance

Blurb

In New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson’s newest novella, Vince Haven and Sadie Hollowell are headed to the altar, and all their friends are headed to Lovett, Texas, to join them for the party of the year.

But Becca Ramsey doesn’t have time for all that. Fresh out of beauty school, Becca’s all business … and the last thing she needs is bad boy Nate Parrish anywhere in her life.

In the past, Nate was trouble. He’s been trying to repair his reputation—heck, he’s even got just one girlfriend. The problem is, she isn’t Becca. Now Nate’s in a whole lot of hot water. He needs to get Becca from “I won’t” to “I do” … but how can he do that when she won’t even say “I might”?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/12/i-do-by-rachel-gibson.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22206704-i-do?from_search=true

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/I-Do-Rachel-Gibson-ebook/dp/B00K5352V4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418169378&sr=8-1&keywords=i+do+by+rachel+gibson

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-do-rachel-gibson/1119443762?ean=9780062247513

iTunes: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/i-do-13

Kobo: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/i-do!/id874381257?mt=11

Author Info

Rachel Gibson lives in Idaho with her husband, three kids, two cats and a dog of mysterious origin. She began her fiction career at age 16, when she ran her car into the side of a hill, retrieved the bumper, and drove to a parking lot, where she strategically scattered the car’s broken glass all about. She told her parents she’d been the victim of a hit and run and they believed her. She’s been making up stories ever since, although she gets paid better for them nowadays.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Website: http://www.rachelgibson.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RachelGibson

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/33952.Rachel_Gibson

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print Book Bundle including: DAISY’S BACK IN TOWN, RESCUE ME, RUN TO ME and WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU)

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24. Guest Post and Giveaway: Rebecca York, Author of Private Affair

Rebecca York dropped by this morning to share a guest post.  There’s also a giveaway for you to enter, so be sure to fill out the widget below!

5 Reasons That Private Investigators Make Great Heroes by Rebecca York

As unlikely as it sounds, the heroes of my Rockfort Security romantic suspense series—Jack Brandt, Shane Gallagher and Max Lyon—met in a Miami holding cell, after they were swept up in a drug raid at a nightclub. There they banded together to keep order among a bunch of drunks and druggies. And after they made bail, they went out for beers. During the night, they’d recognized each other’s strengths and decided to form the Rockfort Security Agency. Jack is a former Navy Seal. Shane was an Army MP. And Max Lyon is a former Baltimore City Police Detective. They each brought their special skills to the detective agency located in Rockville, Maryland, outside Washington, DC. (Hence the Rockfort name.)

When they first formed the agency, these tough alpha males were all at loose ends and looking for an anchor. They found it in Rockfort, where they could pool their resources and talents.

Looking at the Rockfort men, it’s easy to see why these private investigators make great romance heroes.

1. These are the guys you want to have at your back when you get into a tough situation. They have the skills and the courage to take on any threat.

2. They’re all complicated men, wounded by life, which initially makes them wary of relationships. It takes a strong woman to connect with them, but once she gets past that protective wall, she finds out the effort was majorly worth it.

3. Each of these men is an excellent lover, sensitive to his partner’s needs.

4. Each of them has a strong streak of personal loyalty. If you’re their friend—or their woman—you know you can count on them.

5. And they each have a good sense of humor—which they use liberally when they’re in a tight spot.

You can read about the last of the Rockfort man’s romance in PRIVATE AFFAIR, available now.

Book Information

Title: Private Affair

Author: Rebecca York

Release Date: January 6, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Summary

Model Olivia Winters comes home to escape her job in New York City, and finds herself compelled to investigate the suspicious suicide of a former high school classmate. She enlists the help of private investigator Max Lyon, an ex-detective from a troubled family. Posing as husband and wife, the pair uncovers a grisly trail of murder, and the danger propels them into each other’s arms.
With a murderer on the loose, Max and Olivia realize they’re in too deep, too late. They’re getting close to the truth—and to each other’s secrets.

Buy Links

Amazon – http://amzn.to/125XJbM

Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/1wEZf1I

iBooks – http://bit.ly/1tZxiuA

Author Biography

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rebecca York’s writing has been compared to that of Dick Francis, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Maggie Shayne. Her award-winning books have been translated into twenty-two languages and optioned for film. A recipient of the RWA Centennial Award, she lives in Maryland near Washington, DC, which is often the setting of her romantic suspense novels.

Social Networking Links:

Website: http://rebeccayork.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8110.Rebecca_York

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebecca-York/122426234846

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RebeccaYork43

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25. Spotlight and Giveaway: Wolves’ Bane by Angela Addams

 

Angela Addams dropped by the virtual offices this afternoon to answer a question about Caleb, the sexy shifter from her latest release,  Wolves’ Bane.  I love this fun series and was delighted to have Angela visit.

Hi, Angela!  Can you please describe Caleb in five words or less?

Angela: Sure!  Caleb is Sensual, Stubborn, Demanding, Committed, Loyal, HOT :-)  

And there you have it!  Caleb too sexy to describe in a mere five words!  Be sure to enter the giveaway below, and if you haven’t started The Order of the Wolves, check it out!  These are perfect reads for snowy weekends!

Angela’s Bio

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

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

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

Website: www.angelaaddams.com

Twitter: @angelaaddams

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

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

Samhain: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5299/wolves-bane

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Bane-Order-Wolf-Book-ebook/dp/B00NOM4J9O

Kobo:  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/wolves-bane

BN: http://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/wolves-bane-addams-angela/1120375389?ean=9781619222557

Her destiny is etched in his skin…and carved in her heart.

Order of the Wolf, Book 3

Morgan Stills is a woman without a future. At least, that’s what the carnival psychic tells her. Love is foretold as well, but too bad. She’s already been marked for death.

She no sooner flees the psychic’s tent when she’s confronted by the biggest wolf she’s ever seen. A wolf that talks to her—right before she’s enveloped in a black cloak and dragged away.

Caleb was born for one purpose: follow the burning of his tattoo to find and protect his destined mate, the Huntress. When he rescues her from Lazarus, the king of beasts, what thanks does he get? A swift kick in his tender parts that leaves him writhing in a ball of pain.

Morgan quickly realizes her destiny lies with the Order of the Wolf. The only catch—she must choose between two sworn enemies who vie for her body, heart, and soul. Marked as a Huntress, thrust into an ancient feud between werewolf and Hunter, she must pick up a sword or die. And somehow learn to live without the man she is destined to kill.

Warning: Be prepared for fiery hot, melt-your-panties men, all muscle and sinew, searching for their one true mate. Committed, hot, and horny. What could be better?

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