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Results 26 - 50 of 2,371
26. UNDERWATER by Marisa Reichardt // A Book With A Character You Can Root For!!

Review by Rachel  UNDERWATER by Marisa Reichardt Hardcover: 288 pages Publisher: Macmillan (January 12, 2016) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that

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27. Release Blast and Giveaway: Till Death Us Do Part by Cristina Slough

 
Enter to Win a
$10.00 Amazon eGift Card
 
 
TILL DEATH US DO PART
Cristina Slough
Releasing Dec 29th, 2015
Limitless Publishing
 
 
The fateful day Mimi Marcus has dreaded begins with a phone call…
 
The wife of a U.S. Marine, Mimi spent countless nights worried that her husband Joel would fall in the line of duty. He had fought valiantly and served his country with honor. That’s exactly what they tell her when they deliver the news—Joel was taken by the enemy in Afghanistan. Her husband is dead.
 
In desperate need of closure, Mimi travels to the one place Joel still has ties—The Marcus Ranch in Texas, inherited by his handsome younger brother Austin.
 
New beginnings are only an illusion…
 
The closer Mimi grows to the Marcus family, the more she considers it home. But when suspicions of Joel’s past surface, Austin refuses to disclose family secrets—even to his brother’s widow. It’s only by accident she uncovers evidence of Joel’s tainted past. Devastated by his lies and betrayal, she slowly opens up to Austin, and together they unfold layers of pain and grief.
 
Mimi is sure she’ll never love again, but is Austin the man to prove her wrong? Then the unthinkable happens…
 
Just as Mimi finds new hope in a future with Austin, Joel returns home from war. Enraged, traumatized, and teetering on the edge of insanity, Joel confesses to a history of deception, revealing yet another secret—this one too terrible to forgive.
 
In an awful twist of fate, Joel proves marriage vows are made to be honored.

No matter what.

Excerpt

He watched her, his eyes sad. They appeared to gleam in the flash of simultaneous lightning; he appeared to reach out to her, his body bloody and wet.

Mimi remembered a dream that she had, a few months before, the night before she had been informed that Joel had been killed. Only, this wasn’t a dream. She was awake and he was standing in front of her.

She felt the blood drain from her face.

“What is it?” Austin asked.

“It’s Joel. He’s…he’s outside.” Her voice trembled.

Austin leapt out of bed. He saw his brother standing out in the pouring rain. He felt a wave of anger, followed by fear. Joel looked like a ghost, lost, broken, but the way his body stood rigid told him he needed to worry.

“I’ll go talk to him,” he said, pulling on his jeans that were draped over a chair sitting in the corner of the room.

“No, don’t. He looks crazy,” Mimi said, her voice high-pitched.

She’d never ever been fearful of her husband; he had never given her reason to, never any doubt, but in the darkness of this stormy night, something inside was telling her she had cause to panic.

“Just stay here, alright.”

“Austin, please don’t go out there,” she pleaded “Let me go…I’ll talk to him; it’s me he’s come for.”

Austin swallowed hard. “Actually Mimi, I think it’s me he’s come for.”


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Novelist, movie addict, and animal lover, Cristina Slough is the author of Till Death Us Do Part, her debut novel.

Cristina has always been a bookworm, rarely seen without a pen and paper in her hand, she loves delving into a literacy fictional world of her own.

At the age of 11, her junior school teacher told her mother that she would be wasting her life if she didn’t become an author. Throughout her teenage years and beyond, her parents spurred her on to keep writing. She later began a career in commercial real estate, working in London’s West End, a corporate bubble where she was unable to fuel her passion to write.

It was on her Californian honeymoon in 2012 that the bug to write was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. After visiting Yosemite National Park she was inspired by the natural beauty of the land that surrounded her. Holding a special place in her heart, Yosemite would later be written into her debut novel.

She finally gave up the ‘big smoke’ when her son, Lucas, was born in October 2013.

When Lucas was a newborn, Cristina was told to sleep when the baby sleeps. She never could. There was a calling inside her to write. After getting to grips with her new role as a mother, she began working a psychological thriller, but she couldn’t fully connect to the characters she created. She ditched the manuscript and started Till Death Us Do Part (Limitless Publishing, 2015).

Cristina is married to Adam, who runs a successful business; together they share their Bedfordshire home with their son, crazy white German Shepherd and three spoiled cats. They can be found trekking through woodlands, or around the many shops Cristina loves to explore. As a family, they love to travel frequently, the United States being a firm favorite.

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28. Review: Slightly Sinful

Slightly Sinful (Bedwyn Saga, # 5) by Mary BaloghBedwyn (6 Book Series). Dell. 2004. Library copy.

Slightly SinfulThe Plot: Lord Alleyne Bedwyn was left for dead after the Battle of Waterloo, injured. His head injury has taken his memories.

Rachel York trusted the wrong people, and now she's broke -- but not alone. She's with the only four people in the world she truly trusts, so she is temporarily staying with them.

When Rachel finds Alleyne on the battlefield, he's been stripped of everything of value, even his clothes. She has no clue who he is, but she knows he lives so can be saved. She takes him back to where she is staying -- a brothel.

Broke, injured, no resources -- but themselves and each other.

The Good: I've been binge reading Mary Balogh books, so fast I barely have time to write down the name of the book I've read. No time for reviews!

Balogh has done some wonderful writing around the Peninsular Wars and the Battle of Waterloo, and the impact of those battles on the men and women who fought, and who stayed home. (Or what I sometimes think to myself as "the true story of what happened next to Wickham and Denny.") I particularly liked Web of Love for it's depiction of the lives of the women who "follow the drum" and the roles they have in the aftermath of battles.

Slightly Sinful sounds like it should be serious -- battles! war! destitution! But it wasn't. Yes, all that is there, but it's also so funny and a pure joy to read. While Alleyne is recovering physically, he falls for Rachel but he doesn't even know if he's married. Also, he thinks that because she lives in a house of prostitution she must be one herself. She loves and respects the women who have befriended her, so she doesn't want to insult them by denying that sisterhood. (And there are other books by Balogh where current or past prostitutes, courtesans, and paid mistresses are the main characters and supporting character.)

Here, Gerry, Bridget, Flossy and Phyl are working and saving to retire. Their current lives are presented matter of factly, and there present situation is treated with respect. Rachel has an inheritance she cannot collect for another three years, when she is 25; or when she marries.

Do you see where this is going?

The caper of deciding to fake Rachel's marriage to Alleyne was terrific. It was funny, yet at the same time it wasn't mean or silly. It was a madcap adventure and while this is the fifth / seventh book in the Bedwyn saga it definitely stands alone, maybe more so than the other books, because Alleyne's lack of memories of his family mean they have minimal presence.

The only disappointment I have is that there's only one book left in this series! And that I have to wait for my library copy to become available!

The good news is that Balogh is only new to me; she's been writing for ages so I have a long list of backtitles to keep working my way through. And one more thing: a big thank you to my local public library for having an ebook collection and including a large number of romance books in that collection. It's made my binge reading so easy!

And yes -- a Favorite Book Read in 2015.







 Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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29. Preview: Archie’s Many Loves Get Twisted in BETTY & VERONICA COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #239

BettyAndVeronicaComicsDoubleDigest_239-0  Love is in the air at Riverdale, and Archie, Betty, and Veronica are breathing deeply!  Valerie from the Josie & the Pussycats band has caught Archie’s eye this Valentine’s Day, but Betty and Veronica have something to say about that.  Check out the Comics Beat’s exclusive preview of Betty & Veronica Comics Double Digest #239! […]

0 Comments on Preview: Archie’s Many Loves Get Twisted in BETTY & VERONICA COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #239 as of 12/21/2015 10:57:00 AM
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30. Spotlight and Giveaway: HOT @ND NERDY Anthology by Shannyn Schroeder

 
Enter to Win an Ebook Copy of
His Work of Art, His New Jam, or His Dream Role or
Print Copy of the New Hot And Nerdy Anthology

 
HOT @ND NERDY Anthology
HER BEST SHOT, HER PERFECT GAME, HER WINNING FORMULA
Shannyn Schroeder
Releasing in Print December 15th
Exclusively at Books-a-Million
 



Her Best Shot
With college graduation looming, three childhood friends vow to make spring break their last blast of pure fun. But at least one of them didn’t count on such incredible heat…

Layla Sharpe is definitely more math ninja than bikini babe, and her future has been calculated with razor precision. Convinced to let loose over spring break, Layla is finally ready to party—until her car breaks down halfway to her destination, leaving her stranded in Georgia with a mouthwateringly hot pool shark. She knows more than enough about angles to learn the game, but this week she wants him to appreciate her curves…



Phin Marks has never met a girl like Layla. She’s more Star Wars geek than seductress, and when he offers her a place to stay while her car is in the shop, he’s counting on the attraction between them to set the nights ablaze, no strings attached. But every moment he spends with Layla makes it harder to let her go. Can he persuade her to gamble in the most dangerous way possible…on forever?


Her Perfect Game
Spring break is supposed to be a week of fun in the sun for three childhood friends about to graduate from college. But one of them is ready to get her game on somewhere else…

Charlie Castle is an expert archer and a fierce warrior—in her favorite video game, anyway. But college life was a program she couldn’t quite master. To land a cybertech job without a degree, she’s entering a “hackfest” over spring break—where she also hopes to meet the sweet gamer who’s been flirting with her online. Instead, she runs into the hot guy who walked away years ago, and can’t fight the desire that comes rushing back.

Jonah Best has never gotten over Charlie, whose kisses were always as deliciously creative as her coding. But now that they’re face to face again, he doesn’t know how to admit that her online admirer is really him—or how to convince her that he’s offering her a job for her incredible skills, not her sex appeal. Can Jonah cut through their communication glitches and persuade Charlie that the next level up for them should be forever?


Her Winning Formula
Spring break was supposed to be a last blast of fun for three friends before the reality of adulthood set in. But for the trio’s science whiz, it’s an education in instant attraction…

Chemistry major Felicity Stone can tell you everything about the way chemicals interact, but when it comes to social interaction, she needs schooling. Abandoned by her friends, Felicity is faced with spending spring break alone—unless she accepts a gorgeous stranger’s invitation to pose as his girlfriend at a family wedding. Not one to turn down a research opportunity, Felicity never expected it to produce such breathtaking results…

Teacher and baseball coach Lucas Tanner is fascinated by Felicity’s potent mix of spirit and scientist, not to mention her delicious curves. When Felicity asks him to return the favor by teaching her how to pick up guys, he can’t refuse—but he’s not at all happy with the idea of her using a formula for flirting on anyone but him. Can he convince her that together they have the perfect chemistry?

Her Perfect Game Excerpt

They sat side by side as friends during the lecture. They laughed at the same jokes and listened to the criticisms of current games. Jonah listened to know what players wanted so he could improve their gaming experience. He didn’t know why Charlie wanted in on this panel. Was this where she wanted to take her career?

As they wrapped up questions from the floor, Charlie nudged him. “I’m going to head out to grab some food before the next session. See you later?”

Although he wanted to hear the remaining answers, he found himself asking, “Can I join you?”

“Sure.”

When they were back in the main hall, he reached for her hand to fight against the crowd. She didn’t shy away from his touch, so even when the throng of people passed, he continued to hold on, running his thumb along her knuckles.

“Are you flirting with me?”

He stopped and yanked her over near the wall. Doing so made her body collide with his. “Of course I’m flirting with you. I want to kiss you again.”

She tilted her head up. “What’s stopping you, Best?

He lowered himself a little. “Why do you call me that?”

Her eyebrows furrowed. “It’s your name?”

“My name is Jonah, but the only time you ever called me Jonah was in the bedroom.”

She snorted. “It’s a little presumptuous for you to think I should call you Best in the bedroom.”

As much as he wanted a real answer, he couldn’t stop the laugh. He loved her snarky humor, and although he’d heard it while playing Resskaar, nothing beat it in person.

When his laugh slowed, she leaned in and flicked her tongue on his earlobe. “I call you Best because you taught me a lot. Out here, with the games and the computers and the code, you are the best.” Her breath whispered across his skin, making his pulse quicken. “But in the bedroom, it was just you and me. Everything else stripped away.”

Damn, that was a good reason. Her pale blue eyes shone with honesty.

“How hungry are you?” His voice was strangled and it was her turn to laugh.

“Are you offering something better?”

“When’s the next session you want to see?”

“A little over an hour.”

“Let’s go to my room.”

Her smile broadened. “Mine’s closer.”

He yanked her again, plowing through the crowds and lines, shooting straight for the elevator. When the elevator doors closed, they were crammed in with about eight other people. Charlie pressed against his body.

He looked down to the V on her chest. “How far down does the paint go?”

She ground her hips against his. “You’ll have to explore if you want to know.”

Several pairs of eyes looked their way, as if other riders had hoped Jonah would peel away her clothes. Instead, he ran a finger across her waist where her vest met her pants. A simple strip of flesh, smooth against the pad of his finger. “I’m thinking not this far.”

She bumped her hips again, and the bell dinged for her floor. They quietly excused themselves to get through the people and out the door. Their walk to her room was slower than the walk to the elevator had been mostly because Charlie walked backward in front of him, kissing his neck and tripping both of them as they made their way down the hall.

Charlie slid her key card in the slot and they tumbled through the door. The curtains were drawn, and only a sliver of light eked through at the edges. Charlie pulled him deeper into the room. She backed away, and he heard the popping sound of snaps being unfastened.

“Wait,” he said and slid his hand along the wall searching for a light switch. With a quick flick, the bedside lamp glowed, and he saw that Charlie had her vest open.


 

 
Exclusive in Print: BAM


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Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

 

cx

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31. Under a Painted Sky - an audiobook review


Under a Painted Sky, a debut YA novel set in 1849,, was recommended to me by an adult library customer who said his mother enjoyed it.  I was happy to receive an opportunity to review this unique historical fiction, adventure, romance novel for AudioFile Magazine.  A link to my review is below, as well as the official book trailer. The review contains an audio excerpt.  Enjoy.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee.  Read by Emily Woo Zeller.
Tantor Audio, 2015.  10.25 hrs.


A link to my review for AudioFile Magazinehttp://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/102637/

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32. Review: Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Delacorte Press, 2015. Reviewed from ARC.

book_cover.jpgThe Plot: Maddy, 18, is a girl who hasn't left home in years. She has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, which is a fancy way of saying she is allergic to everything. Her house has to be kept a sterile, few people are allowed in, and all she knows of the world is what she read or what she watches.

One of the things she watches is the house next door and the new family, including a boy, Olly, her age. A friendship develops, and maybe something more, as Maddy has to decide what her future will be and whether she will always be afraid of the world.

The Good: Maddy's father and brother died while she was still an infant, before her illness was diagnosed. For years, it's only been her mother, a doctor, and a nurse who also her friend and confidant.

Olly. Olly is a fresh breath and their relationship is slow and sweet (though Olly would probably hate that!). It begins with handwritten signs and progresses to texts and emails until Maddy begs her nurse to please, please, please let Olly visit her. He'll follow all the rules, they both promise.

One thing leads to another, and Maddy is tempted to do the unthinkable. To kiss Olly. To leave her home. To venture into a world that may kill her.

This is a terrific story of a girl get wrapped up and safe; it's a story of a mother and daughter who are close and loving, whose past tragedies have made them dependent on each other and close. It's a story of a girl who has to take a chance with life and love. It's about whether what is safe is the best; about when it's OK to take a chance. And it's also a book with a diverse main character (half African American, half Japanese American) in a type of book that is usually all white main characters with, at best, diverse side kicks/best friends.

SPOILERS.

It's also about how tragedy can shape a person, both mother and daughter. And how far a mother will go to protect someone she loves, to protect her child. All I'll say is that, Maddy's life is not what she thinks. That secret, that spoiler, meant that some people really did not like the book (see the Disability in Kidlit review). That spoiler didn't change how I viewed the book, it simply shifted it for me -- that the book was not about one thing, but was actually about another.

And that other thing, it's disturbing. It shifts how Maddy sees and interacts with the world. And it also makes one think about what causes hurt and what causes harm.









Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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33. Spotlight and Giveaway: How to Seduce a Scot by Christy English

This morning I have a spotlight, fun quiz, and giveaway to celebrate the release of How to Seduce a Scot by Christy English.

How to Seduce a Scot by Christy English

First in her new Broadswords and Ballrooms series

ISBN: 9781492612872

Release date: December 1, 2015

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Summary

He’s the terror of the ton…

The plan is simple:

1. Descend from the Highlands to face the aggravation of a London Season;

2. Foist his wild sister off on some gullible English lord;

3. Retreat before the ladies of the scandalized ton can get any ideas.

Determined to see his hellion of a sister wed, Highlander Alexander Waters is willing to face anything—even the English. He just didn’t expect his own rough manners to cause such a riot…or for a blooming English rose to catch his eye.

Gently bred Catherine Middlebrook must find a respectable man to marry or her family will be ruined. She won’t allow herself to be distracted by Highland barbarians…no matter how her body may thrill whenever Alex is near.

Catherine wasn’t part of the plan, but as their battle of wills escalates, Alex comes to realize this “proper” English girl is as wild as the Highlands themselves…and nothing will stop him from having her.

Buy Links

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

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1MKz10e

Apple: http://apple.co/1WMKirV

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

Books a Million: http://bit.ly/1PCobPd

Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/1O3HVcG

Author Bio

Ever since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in North Carolina.

Social Networking Links

Website: http://www.christyenglish.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/christyenglish

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2994919.Christy_English

What Kind of Historical Romance Heroine Are You?

Exclusive Snippet

Alexander Waters was breathing hard, harder than she was, and his gloved hands were shaking. He reached for her again, as if against his own will, but Catherine took two more steps back.

“This is not over,” he said.

“It is, Mr. Waters, I assure you. One more thing to add to the list of all we must forget.”

“I am not much for list making. I only know that I will kiss you again.”

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34. Spotlight and Giveaway: Fooling Around with Cinderella by Stacy Juba

 
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FOOLING AROUND WITH CINDERELLA
Storybook Valley #1
Stacy Juba
Released November 9th, 2015
Self Published
 
 

What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella’s toes?

When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom.


First in the Storybook Valley series, a blend of sweet romance, chick lit, and fairy tale fun.

Excerpt

Dylan scrutinized Jaine, arms folded across his royal blue shirt with the Storybook Valley logo stamped over the left in white block letters. “Do you wear contacts?”

“I have plenty of media contacts. Wait. Did you say wear contacts? You mean instead of these?” Jaine fingered the earpiece of her gold-rimmed glasses.

“Right. Contact lenses.”

She gave a nervous chuckle. “I scheduled a consultation in college, but was too squeamish to insert the lens. I was more comfortable in glasses.”

Was she really justifying her vision enhancement choices to her prospective new boss? Maybe he intended to discuss medical benefits. Or did he think she looked nerdy? What was the saying? Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses? Not that she wanted him to make a pass even if he was hot.

“How blind are you without glasses?” Dylan persisted.

“You wouldn’t want to drive with me.”

“How about if you’re walking around a building? Are you in danger of hurting yourself?”

This interview had taken the Mad Hatter Freeway from Fairy Tale Land into Wonderland where nothing made a damn bit of sense. Did this guy have a glasses fetish, like those weirdoes with shoe fetishes?

“I should be okay. I take them off for special occasions.” In fact, Jaine’s older sister Bree, who was getting married in August, remarked just last week, “You are losing the glasses for my wedding pictures, right?”

What the hell. She’d be a good sport and hope Dylan would be so grateful to pick the brain of a real, flesh and blood, bespectacled person that he would appoint her marketing director. Jaine removed her glasses and the fine details of her surroundings fuzzed. She nodded toward the framed print hanging on a side wall, the picture a wash of symbols and colors. “I can tell that’s a park map, but the words and images smear together.”

And that was myopia in a nutshell. Jaine adjusted her glasses back into place so she could see his reaction. Dylan examined her with such intensity that a blush stained her cheeks. She patted her blonde French braid, in case stray strands were straggling out.

“Here’s the situation,” Dylan said. “I took over the general manager position a few months ago. I’m evaluating possible changes and researching how other theme parks run. My grandfather and father have worked with a marketing firm for years to create our brochures, billboards, print, and radio ads.”

Jaine’s shoulders caved, imperceptible to him, but it felt as if her whole body was sinking.

No fairy tale job ending for her.


 

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Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her new Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List.

When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers), or writing about them, Stacy helps authors to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service. She is currently writing the next book in the Storybook Valley Series, Prancing Around with Sleeping Beauty.
 
 
 

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35. Spotlight and Giveaway: In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler

This December, Paige Tyler releases the third in her action-packed SWAT series, IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES. To celebrate the release of IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES, Paige Tyler stopped by to tell us about one of her favorite fun loving heroes in pop culture and to share an excerpt showcasing her own hero’s fun loving side!

Paige Tyler: Everyone loves reading about alpha males, right? But of course, you can’t have a single dimensional character that’s just hardcore alpha all the time. It comes off as flat or just plain irritating. Most of the time you want to let your alpha have a lighter side, just to keep things interesting. One of my favorite fun loving heroes from popular culture is Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard!

This one will take you back a few years (can I just say I’m still annoyed they took this show off the air?) with Joe Flanigan playing Air Force pilot and all around I-don’t-follow-the-rule hero on the Scify television series—and another favorite—Stargate Atlantis. Like a lot of alphas, John has a checkered past and broke some rules doing the right thing, so it got him put on somebody’s bad side. Of course, when things go wrong and everyone needs help, John is the guy they turn to. He’s quick to risk his life for a friend—or even someone he barely knows—cracking completely inappropriate jokes the whole time and making women everywhere swoon.

Title: In the Company of Wolves

Series: SWAT, #3

Author: Paige Tyler

Pubdate: December 1st, 2015

ISBN: 9781492608530

He opened his mouth to order her to drop the MP5 she had aimed at him, but nothing would come out. It was like she’d robbed him of the ability to speak. Shooting her wasn’t an option, though. And the idea of arresting her didn’t make him feel any better.

There’s a new gang of criminals in town who are organized and ruthless in the extreme. When Eric Becker, along with the rest of the Dallas SWAT team, ends up in the middle of a shootout, he immediately senses werewolves-a lot of them. Turns out, the new bad guys are a pack of wolf shifters.

In a spray of gunfire, Becker comes face-to-face with the most gorgeous woman he’s ever seen. Becker does the logical thing. He hides her and leaves the scene with the rest of his team.

Jayna Winston has no idea why that SWAT guy helped her, but she’s glad he did. Ever since she and her pack mates got mixed up with those Eastern European mobsters, everything had pretty much fallen apart.

So what’s a street-savvy thief like Jayna going to do with a hot alpha-male wolf who’s a police officer?

SWAT (Special Wolf Alpha Team) Series

Hungry Like the Wolf

Wolf Trouble

In the Company of Wolves

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1N9s7aS

Apple: http://apple.co/1jDW2eF

BAM: http://bit.ly/1Wgsjd3

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1L25iPs

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

 

An Excerpt

One of the Albanians shouted something from the front of the store in his own language, following it up with an order to the omegas to stop wasting time and get the damn safe open. Becker ground his teeth. He should have simply kidnapped Jayna and her entire pack. Then he could have just walked into the loft and shot every one of these idiots—twice.

“Watch them,” he told Jayna, motioning to the security guard and two women. Turning, he left the break room and jogged down the hallway toward the back of the building.

“Get them back on the safe!” the Albanian driver shouted at him from the front room.

Oh yeah, sure. Stop two morons from raping a woman and get them back on task. What the hell was he—a daycare worker for omega werewolves?

Shit. If this was how criminals behaved, it was no wonder he and his SWAT teammates took so many of them down. They were too stupid to live. Then again, maybe this was how Gage felt some days. The SWAT pack could occasionally be a little stupid too. Becker’s current predicament was a shining example of that.

The omega standing guard in the hallway outside the manager’s office glared at him. “We got this. Go back and babysit the old folks.”

What a complete ass, Becker thought as he walked up and punched the guy in the face. The werewolf flew backward and bounced off the wall, bleeding like crazy from a broken nose as he fell to the floor in a dazed heap. He was still moving around though, reminding Becker that it was as hard to knock out an omega as it was to knock out an alpha. He’d have to remember that.

Becker strode into the office to find the store manager on the floor beside her desk, the other omega—the one who liked to play with his platinum medallion—leaning over her menacingly. He’d torn her blouse and was telling her all the horrible things he planned to do to her if she didn’t open the safe. The idiot was so intent on threatening her that he didn’t realize Becker was there until he yanked the guy to his feet and spun him around, then smashed the back of his head into the nearest hard object he could find—the safe panel. Becker pounded his head into the safe a few times before letting him fall to the floor. The asshole was definitely out cold.

Becker turned and looked at the shop manager. She cringed away from him, terror in her eyes as she tried to hold the tatters of her blouse together. He really wished he could pull up his ski mask. Seeing him like this definitely wasn’t helping.

Do you have an alarm button in this room?” he asked in his softest, least intimidating voice.

The woman stared at him for a moment like he was insane, then motioned under the desk with a shaking hand.

“Would you mind pushing it for me?” he asked.

Now she looked really confused. But she slowly reached under the desk and poked around until a loud alarm started ringing.

“Thanks.” Becker bent down to take the platinum medallion out of the omega’s vest and slip it into his pocket. “By the way, that diamond merchant you bought from in New York sold you out to a really bad guy. You probably don’t want to buy from him anymore.” Turning, he jogged out of the room and down the hallway to the front of the store. “Time to leave. Moron hit the alarm.”

Jayna was heading his way in a flash, the two Albanians right behind her.

“What about the safe?” the driver asked.

Becker shook his head. “It’s a no-go. Our guy smashed the keypad.”

The Albanians muttered something in their native language and shook their heads, as if they’d seen this coming. They stepped over the omega who was still rolling around in a daze on the floor in the hallway and raced out the back door. In the distance, sirens echoed in the air. About damn time. Becker motioned Jayna out.

“What about him?” she asked, jerking her head at the werewolf still trying to get to his knees.

Becker nudged the omega with his boot, pushing him back down. The guy looked like he really didn’t want to bother getting up this time.

“What about him?” Becker said, holding the door open for her.

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36. TURNING PAGES: INHERIT THE STARS by TESSA ELWOOD

I don't often like to review a book waaaaay before it comes out, so this is less of a review, and more of a squee with a few salient details you could find on the back of the novel. I posted this review for the first time in August, because I Could.... Read the rest of this post

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37. Spotlight and Giveaway: Forever His Texas Bride by Linda Broday

Linda Broday’s latest is coming out this December! The final title in the Bachelor of Battle Creek trilogy, Forever His Texas Bride is sure to sweep readers off of their feet. To celebrate her new release, we’ve asked Linda to answer a “Quick Draw” either/or question and to share an excerpt with us!

Early bird or night owl? I’d have to say early bird. I like getting my day started so I’ll have more time for all I’ve planned. Besides, I can’t sleep after the sun comes up.

Title: Forever His Texas Bride

Author: Linda Broday

Series: Bachelors of Battle Creek, #3

Pubdate: December 1st, 2015

ISBN: 9781492602873

There’s this thing between us that refuses to die. I’d like nothing better than to be able to…” His words faded. He’d give anything to change people’s views about his race…to be able to make her his wife.

But the world wasn’t that simple. Not for people like them.

All his life, Brett Liberty has straddled two worlds: white and Iroquois. The only place he’s truly at peace is with his wild mustangs. But after he’s arrested for the color of his skin, he discovers Rayna Harper in the cell next to him. Rough and tumble Rayna has known little kindness, but Brett sees the depth of her heart hidden beneath layers of hurt and fear, and he refuses to leave without her.

Fierce and loyal, kind and strong, Rayna is everything Brett has ever wanted. But the world doesn’t look kindly on a love like theirs, and he would rather let her go than bring her pain. Yet when the demons of his past threaten her future, Brett realizes he will do anything to keep Rayna safe…and make her his.

At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up! A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She now resides in the panhandle of Texas on the Llano Estacado.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1j6eJXo

Apple: http://apple.co/1H7jTOz

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Chapters: http://bit.ly/1SB4JS9

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An Excerpt:

Rayna sat up, pushed back her cloud of russet hair, and got up from the bunk in Brett’s jail cell. It was then he saw that she wore a heavy pair of men’s brogans. What on earth! The shoes looked as though they might’ve come off a very poor dead man.

Her dirty dress had been mended so many times it looked like a patchwork quilt with none of the squares matching. But she seemed so spirited, so brave.

If society had ever allowed him to take a wife, he’d want someone like her. He hated to think he’d have spent all his life never knowing what it could be like to be happy like his brothers now were. While he waited to die, maybe they could pretend.

Maybe he could know what it was like to be loved.

Until they led him through those doors to a hangman, maybe he could have the bride prejudice had denied him. The bold notion made ripples dance under his skin.

Brett raised to a sitting position, ignoring the pain shooting through his back. “This may sound crazy, but I’m going to ask anyway. Rayna, do you think you could pretend to be my wife? Just until they take me away? No one will ever know but us, so they can’t hurt you.”

Turning, she dropped down beside him. Surprised tears bubbled in her eyes. “No one ever asked me to marry them before.”

“Is that a no?”

“I’d be honored to be your pretend wife,” she whispered, brushing his face with her fingers. “What do we do now?”

“Do you mind if I kiss you?”

“I’d like that…husband.”

Under her bright gaze, he lowered his head. But before their lips touched, the sound of a key grating in the lock made him jerk back. “Quick, go to your cell before they catch you with me.”

Rayna scurried into hers and quietly eased the door shut.

Just then a deputy sauntered in, taking care to keep his distance from Brett’s cell. “You alive, breed?”

Brett glared. “Disappointed?”

The deputy—a squat man who reminded Brett of a possum with little weasel eyes, grunted, shifting his gaze to Rayna. “Give any thought to my offer, woman?”

No one had to spell out what the deputy meant. Brett sought to tamp down his rising anger. He watched Rayna tilt her head at a defiant angle.

“The answer is the same as all the other times.”

The weasel shrugged and went back out. The minute the door locked shut, Rayna slowly walked into Brett’s cell and sat down beside him again. “I wish I could see the sky and smell the fresh air.”

“How long have you been in here?”

“Over a month, I think. With each sunrise I’ve been making a mark on the wall. The one today makes thirty-one. But no matter how much I want out, I’m not doing what that deputy wants,” she whispered. “I’ll never be a fine lady, but even I have my dignity. No one will ever take that.”

Though still hesitant, Brett took her small, dainty hand. Her skin shone white against his. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d touched someone who wasn’t family, but his pretend wife was different somehow. “Always stand on your principles. In the end, we still have to live with ourselves, look at our face in the mirror.”

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38. Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. Penguin. 2015. Reviewed from audiobook borrowed from library. Narrated by Ariana Delawari.


The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée AhdiehThe Plot: A retelling of A Thousand and One Nights. Shahrzad is a young woman whose best friend, Shiva, was the latest bride, and victim, of Khalid, Caliph of Khorasan.

Khalid marries a young woman -- and the next day she is killed. And he moves on to marry another. And another dies.

Shahrzad's best friend was one of those brides. Her murder devastated the family. Shahrzad is determined to find out what happened to her friend, and why. So she does the unthinkable: she volunteers as bride.

And begins a desperate plan to survive, telling a story each night, to be continued only if she is allowed to live.

The Good: OK, so you know the general basics of A Thousand and One Nights, both the story of the storyteller and also the stories she tell.

I loved The Wrath and the Dawn, and was also very frustrated with it.

I've been reading a lot of regency romances and many of them are about marriages of convenience. And on one delightful, romantic level, that is what The Wrath and the Dawn is about, a young couple who don't know each other who find themselves falling in love with each other. This part of the story gave me all the feelings. Shahrzad has a childhood sweetheart, Tariq. Khalid has had many, many, wives -- and it turns out that he has also had a pretty terrible childhood with an emotionally abusive father. (More on that later). Yet despite her heart belonging to another, and his emotional walls, they find themselves falling in love with each other.

Before I go further, one of the things I really liked about this romance is that at the start Shahrzad is in love with someone else, a boy she's loved since was a young girl. And he loves her. This is a complex look at emotions, at growing up, at changing, at loving more than one person. It isn't a "love triangle," it's about how love isn't simple.

The Wrath and the Dawn is set in the far past, but it's not exactly clear when. It also is a fantasy, but it's not obvious, not at first. As the book goes on, it seems like some people have some magic; that magic exists; that curses may be real; but even by the end of the book, it's not strong magic, if that makes sense. It's magical potential, still being explored.

It wasn't until I was almost done with The Wrath and the Dawn that I realized it's not a standalone book. There's a sequel coming, next May.

And now to my frustrations -- and it has to do with all those dead wives. So we now entering spoiler town. Stop, now, if you are sensitive about spoilers and prefer to discover a book by yourself.

Those dead wives, all young girls, bothered me a lot. They are the reason Shahrzad has thrown herself into danger, without much of any plan. We see how Shiva's death devastated family and friends; we here of riots because of the endless deaths. But here is the thing: deaths. No, murders. Deliberate killings. The "reason" given is a curse placed about Khalid.

BUT. BUT. As I read, I felt very little sympathy for the dead from Khalid and those around him; I felt as if the soldiers surrounding Khalid who knew about the curse felt that the payment of murdered girls was somehow acceptable. Basically, "kill the girls are something terrible will happen" and the response was "oh, OK, but our biggest worry is how will Khalid bear the burden of those dead girls?"

No, the biggest worry should be those girls, individually and collectively.

About half way through my rage about those girls was such that I wished to know more about them as individuals and thought, oh, if only Khalid and the others saw them as people, as real, then, well. That would change things. And then I found out that Khalid did see them, know them, that way, and yet the killings went on and I didn't feel any better, my disgust wasn't lessened, to know that Khalid mourned them individually and felt really, really, really, really bad about it.

Then, after that, I fantasized about the revenge I wished upon those who supported the killings, who helped the deaths take place. Except then I found out that the curse itself was the revenge for a death, and I saw how revenge killing isn't an answer.

And I liked this about The Wrath and the Dawn, that what I wanted to happen was shown to not be an answer.

But.

What is the answer? These girls are dead, and by the end of this book while I saw forgiveness in Shahrzad, while I saw that revenge and feeling really bad weren't answers, I wasn't given any answers. I loved this book so much it's a Favorite Book Read in 2015, and I'll eagerly read the sequel. But I'll be doing so wanting to know not just what happens next for the characters and the plot, but wondering whether it's possible in world created here for these young women to have any type of justice. I fear this world is so patriarchal that the reality of that world is that of no justice. I fear that class matters so much that the importance of the male ruler over non-royal women means that there can be no justice for them.

I wonder if forgiveness means there can be no justice.





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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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39. Spotlight and Giveaway: Dirty Little Lies by Cassie Cross

 
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$50.00 Amazon eGift Card

 
DIRTY LITTLE LIES
Dirty Little Series#2
Cassie Cross
Releasing Dec 1st, 2015
Self Published

 
Ben Williams is a billionaire CEO at the top of his game. He’s a handsome, eligible bachelor who could have any woman…except the one he wants. Marisa Blake is the love of his life, the one who got away. Ben is willing to do whatever it takes to win her back.
 
Marisa is a young entrepreneur whose family is falling apart. Her parents are involved in a well-publicized scandal, and both her and her sister’s names are being dragged through the mud. Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, Ben shows up at her doorstep. He was her college boyfriend, and a serial cheater.
 
Great sex is the only thing they ever had in common, and Marisa is determined to keep things physical. Still, she finds herself falling for him. Again.
 
When a former classmate blackmails Marisa with information that will destroy what’s left of her family, Marisa is forced to make a decision: sacrifice Ben to protect her sister, or forsake her family to follow her heart?
 
It’s not long before Marisa gets caught up in some dirty little lies…

Excerpt

Ben Williams is the mistake I will always regret, but will never stop making.

He and I have a long and storied history. We were the kind of tumultuous romance that makes for one hell of a cautionary tale. Together, we had a cyclical thing, and the cycle always begins something like this:

When I’m emotionally vulnerable, Ben shows up looking like sex on a stick, acting like I always hoped that he would. Caring, like he actually gives a shit about what’s going on in my life. Loving, like he wants the two of us to be happy this time around.

I’m at a low point right now, so of course he knocks on my door out of the blue. This is the way things work between us. Or, it’s the way things worked between us. I haven’t seen Ben in nearly five years.

When I see him standing on the front porch of my brownstone, the surprise is overtaken by a quick wave of familiar desire. He’s dressed casually, like he came over here on a whim. Low-slung jeans, a dark shirt, his hair tousled and messy, like he’s been running his fingers through it all day. God, he looks good, and that is absolutely terrible news for me and my willpower.

Ever since Ben and I met, I’ve been attracted to him on a cellular level. I’m fine as long as we’re apart, but the second we’re in the same vicinity, every fiber of my being is drawn to him. Even now—even though we haven’t spoken since I broke up with him for the last, devastating time—I feel the pull.

It’s that pull that makes me open the door, even though I know I shouldn’t.

I can’t resist him. I’ve tried – it’s impossible.

“Marisa,” he breathes on an inhale, looking at me like he’s surprised I’m standing right in front of him. Like I might not be real, like maybe he dreamed me up. “How are you?” His blue eyes are dark, and he speaks so softly, like he’s worried he’s going to scare me away. I haven’t been a part of a gentle, kind conversation in a long time. It’s that gentleness in his voice that makes me want to cry, and I’ve done such a good job of avoiding that lately. I’m certainly not going to allow myself to do it around him.

I’ve managed to keep it together for the most part since my family fell apart in the most scandalous, public way possible. We’re tabloid fodder; papers with our names and faces on them are everywhere. The destruction and downfall of the Blake dynasty is impossible to miss in this city. Some people are delighting in it, and I don’t blame them.

Turns out that my mother and father—the illustrious Gloria and James—aren’t the people that my sister and I thought they were. They’re exactly who the Feds thought they were, though, given the incredibly damning case they’ve built up against Mom and Dad, details of which are all over the evening news these days.

That’s why Ben is here, I’m sure of it. This is what he does: he shows up when I’m feeling low, and somehow manages to leave me feeling even lower. Still, he’s one of a very few friends—past or present—who has contacted me since this scandal broke, so I’m reluctant to send him away.

Plus, that whole can’t-resist-him thing is still in play here.

So, Ben wants to know how I’m doing? “Not well,” I tell him.

He holds out a bottle of my favorite wine and says, “I was going to wait until the Murphy benefit to talk to you, but I read something this morning that made me think that I shouldn’t wait.”

I let out a short little sigh of relief, glad that he decided not to rehash whatever terrible thing he read about my family this morning that made him think that he needed to check in on me. The very last thing I want to hear about tonight is my parents. At this point, I feel like I could do without hearing about them ever again.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Ben asks.

I shake my head. I don’t want to talk about it, especially not with him. Besides, talking? That’s not what Ben and I do. We fuck, and then I try to turn that into some kind of a relationship. I give it my all, but he inevitably cheats on me, and breaks my heart. Then he begs me for forgiveness, and asks for another chance. Like a fool, I always give him one.

Always gave him one.

I’ve learned my lesson, and now I’m smart enough to know that I can only rely on Ben for mind-blowing orgasms. He’s amazing in bed. Out of it? Not so much. Whenever I expect or hope for anything more from him, I get my heart broken, and I can’t handle any more heartbreak right now. His body was the only thing that he ever freely gave to me, and sex with him had been almost…transcendent. Ben always used sex to make me feel better, so there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what he’s here for tonight. There’s no use in trying for anything more when that only ever ends badly for me.

So, I decide to take the few hours of bliss that Ben is offering to me, and leave it at that.

I invite him inside, push myself up onto my tiptoes, and kiss him.

 


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Cassie Cross is a Maryland native and a romantic at heart, who lives outside of Baltimore with her two dogs and a closet full of shoes. Cassie’s fondness for swoon-worthy men and strong women are the inspiration for most of her stories, and when she’s not busy writing a book, you’ll probably find her eating takeout and indulging in her love of 80?s sitcoms.
 

Don’t Miss the first in the Dirty Little Series…
DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS

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40. Guest Post and Giveaway: I’ll Be There by Samantha Chase

Hey, Everyone! It’s Samantha Chase and I am super excited to be here today with all of you at the Manga Maniac Café and talking about the newest book in the Montgomery Brothers series, “I’ll Be There”. This is book six in the series and we are looking at the crankiest member of the family – Zach Montgomery. He has a good reason to be that way, but he’s making life crazy for everyone around him. You see…well, I’ll let him tell you about it.

Hey, ladies! Zach Montgomery here. I don’t know about you, but I am a total adrenaline junkie. Or…at least I used to be. I’m not jumping out of planes any time in the near future but man oh man did I have some great trips doing that sort of thing and more! I have some amazing memories from each and every one of my trips but I’ll give you some highlights – you know, just in case you’re looking for your own adrenaline rush!

1. Great Barrier Reef dive – I’m normally more of a land – or sky – adventurer, but when I’m in Australia, the water calls! There is so much to see beside the reef itself – scorpion fish, parrot fish, fusiliers, sea snakes, crabs, shrimp, starfish and octopus…just amazing!

2. Whitewater Rafting in Zambia – No two white water rafting trips are the same and I’ll try it wherever I travel to. A great day excursion while visiting Victoria Falls is an amazing way to view the scenery and also have a thrilling adventure.

3. CN Tower EdgeWalk – I have to admit, I wasn’t so sure about this one but I’m glad I did it. The world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk lets you stroll the top edge of the Lookout Level pod, more than 1,150 feet above the streets, held by nothing but a safety harness. Just don’t look down!

4. Bungee Jump Stockhorn: Bernese Oberland Mountains Plunge – There is never too many bungee jumping options! And bungee jumping in the Alps is an incredible experience. Dive more than 400 feet from a gondola in the Swiss Alps on one of the world’s most amazing bungee jumps. Plummet towards a lake during the free fall with the Bernese Oberland Mountains as your backdrop before you’re lowered into a waiting boat.

5. Zapcat powerboating – When I heard inflatable, I didn’t think they’d be exciting. Boy was I wrong! These inflatable catamaran hulls decked out with powerful racing engines are built purely for speed, and therefore thrills. The Gs can be brutal, and the jumps will make you wonder whether you’re sailing or flying, but there are few things on water that beat these bad boys for bragging rights!

Book #6 in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Samantha Chase’s popular Montgomery series

This Montgomery Has a Head for Business
Working for Zach Montgomery is challenging on many levels-coming from a wealthy and powerful family, he lives by his own rules and doesn’t answer to anyone. But Gabriella Martine has no intention of backing down. She’s used to handling stubborn men, and it doesn’t hurt that Zach is smart, charismatic…and gorgeous.
And a Heart for Adventure
Zach’s perfect world is turned upside down when a climbing accident leaves him broken, angry, and maddeningly dependent. In his slow quest for recovery, Gabriella is always there to help…but as Zach comes to see his beautiful assistant in a new light, he is forced to re-evaluate what it really means to be a man worthy of Gabriella’s love.

Montgomery Brothers Series:
Wait for Me (Book 1)
Trust in Me (Book 2)
Stay with Me (Book 3)
Return to You (Book 4)
Meant for You (Book 5)
I’ll Be There (Book 6)

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41. Spotlight: A Midnight Clear by Hope Ramsay

 

About A Midnight Clear

Dr. Tom Crawford isn’t feeling the spirit of the season when he arrives in Last Chance. Far from friends and family, he’s the odd man out in this town of gossiping, tight-knit Southerners-until he meets a sweetly sexy single mom who makes him feel welcome. Suddenly the handsome doctor is thinking he’s finally found a place to call home.


Local florist Teri Summers has her hands full of mistletoe in preparation for the holiday, yet finding someone to kiss is her last priority. But when the gorgeous new doctor makes a connection with her special needs son, Aiden, Teri finds herself wondering if she’s finally found happiness in this season of joy. For Teri and Tom, Last Chance may be their best chance at love.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Sky4k2

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iTunes: http://apple.co/1LzUA2O

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


About Hope Ramsay

Hope Ramsay grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar. 

http://www.hoperamsay.com/

https://twitter.com/HopeRamsay

https://www.facebook.com/hope.ramsay

EXCERPT

“She turned to look over her shoulder. “Doctor Crawford, are you asking me out on a date?”

He couldn’t tell if she was shocked or surprised, so he gave her a nonchalant shrug. Maybe he could fool her into thinking he wouldn’t be disappointed if she declined. “I am. I was wondering if you would introduce me to the barbecue in this town. I’ve heard it’s excellent.”

“It is excellent. Much better than anything you’ve got in Boston.” She turned all the way around to face him. “But I’m afraid I’m busy tonight.”

“Oh, all right. Some other time then.” He backpedaled, and his prosthesis almost tripped him up. He stifled the urge to massage his knee. He was just proud enough not to want Teri to know about his missing leg.

He’d lost it as a result of bone cancer at the age of seven. His “peg leg” as Jimmy liked to call it, had been with him for a long, long time, and he was mostly steady on his feet. In truth, his scars from that time were far less visible.

He took another step back, steadier on his one foot. Luckily, Teri hadn’t noticed his awkwardness. Good.

“I’m putting up my own Christmas tree tonight,” Teri said in a rush, as if she was trying to explain her rejection. “Well, anyway, I’m going to try. But you know Aiden might not like it, so I was just going to, you know, put up something small and maybe put some angels on it or something. So I . . .” Her voice trailed off. Her face got redder.

“I see,” he said.

“Uh, well, Aiden and I are going to be on our own this Christmas, you know. And I need to put up a tree. I haven’t done that in a long, long time. I’m not sure how Aiden will react.”

“Want some help?”

She stood silent for the longest moment, either trying to compose herself or weighing the pros and cons. “You’d do that?” she finally asked.

He opted to play this scene straight. No need to give her a speech about his past. The less said about that the better. “I’m pretty good at putting up Christmas trees. Although”—he looked around at the mess—“I might not be up to your professional standards.”

Her mouth quirked as if she were trying to keep it from trembling. “My professional standards mean ”

Her mouth quirked as if she were trying to keep it from trembling
“My professional standards mean nothing. Aiden has definite likes and dislikes, and this year I thought I’d try to tailor Christmas to his standards, instead of forcing him to celebrate the holiday by everyone else’s.” She bit her lower lip.

“Sounds like a good plan to me.” Man, she had one kissable mouth. Too bad he hadn’t caught her under the mistletoe that she was clearly planning to hang before the day was out.

“Yeah,” she said with a little nod, “it does sound like a good plan, doesn’t it? I have no idea where this is going to lead though.”

Neither do I. “I’m adventurous.”

“I think that’s true. You came all the way from Boston to the middle of nowhere to do battle with Lillian Bray and the rest of the busybodies in this town. That takes courage.”

He was surprised. Ma had told him that joining the NHSC had been an act of supreme stupidity. “So, what time?” he asked.

“Uh, well, I guess about six.”

“Six it is, then.” He turned and made the quickest of getaways before she realized that he’d just sort of invited himself over.”

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42. Spotlight and Giveaway: One Rogue at a Time by Jade Lee

The second in Jade Lee’s saucy Rakes and Rogues series, One Rogue at a Time, comes out this December! To celebrate, Jade played a quick round of ‘Would You Rather?’ with us and sent an excerpt from the book to share.

Would you rather never be able to speak again or only be able to speak in pig Latin? Never speak again. I’ve never managed pig Latin even though I’m counted quite clever at times. Plus, I mostly write and text these days anyway. It would be easy to adapt to an electronics-enhanced life that speaks for me. (Or is that cheating?)

In this excerpt our heroine (nicknamed Bluebell) is angling for our hero to take her to London where she can meet her father for the first time. She’s bargained for speaking lessons, and now she’s bartering for a ride to London. But she isn’t prepared for the price he demands.

“You want me to take you to Oxfordshire and then on to London,” Bram accused. “You want me to dress up this fine carriage and let you appear before your relations like a fine lady. You’ve been planning that from the moment you met me.”

“Ooo, an’ me a simple maid from ’Ull. Wot makes ye think I could muster all that?” She exaggerated her accent such that his back molars ground together in disgust.

“Admit it. That’s what you want.”

She lifted her chin. “And what if I do? You’re free t’ say no.”

“No.”

“There. Fine. Ye’ve said it. But I can pay—”

He grabbed her chin, pulling it—and her—toward him. Part of him thrilled at finally touching her pristine skin. Part of him watched how her eyes widened and the pupils darkened, her mouth slipping open on a gasp. Was she afraid of him? Yes. Obviously. And he tried to care. He tried to tell himself that he didn’t want to punish her for crimes she hadn’t committed. But she was a schemer just like the others, and so he damned her all the same.

“I will take you to London,” he said, his voice low, his breath hot.

She didn’t answer, and he didn’t care.

“But there’s only one payment I’ll take.”

“No,” she whispered. “I’m a lady.”

“Say it all you like, Miss Bluebell, but I know the truth.”

She swallowed, trying to pull herself back, but she was still sitting on the barrel, so she had nowhere to run. She stilled and her eyes narrowed.

“Wot truth? That I want to go to London? That I want proof o’ my father? Or that you’re nothing but a man with ruttin—”

He kissed her. He wasn’t slow, and he wasn’t remotely gentle. And the fact that she was completely untutored in the way of kissing infuriated him even more. She was a lie. She deserved all the pain he could give her. She was…

She was an innocent, and he had to soften. He had to become gentle with her, and so he did. He didn’t want to, contradictory beast that he was. He liked his anger. Stoked it to a hot flame, but not against her.

So he softened. He gentled.

Where before he had simply wrenched her mouth to his, he now petted her chin. And though he had forced his tongue into her, he eased his penetration. He teased her and then pulled back.

“You are a lie,” he said to her panting chest.

“You are a brute,” she answered, anger vibrating out of her.

“Yes, and worse. I’m a bastard.”

“You’re not even ashamed.”

Oh, he was. He was riddled with shame, but he wouldn’t let her see it. She had to know the truth about him before she tried to play her games. “I’ll take you wherever you want to go, Miss Bluebell. But I’ll be taking you as I do it.”

He felt the impact of his words on her body. She shuddered, but she also licked her lips. Part of her wanted him, brute though he was.

“I am a lady.”

“Ladies spread their legs for me all the time.”

“Not me.”

“Then I’ll not take you anywhere.”

He felt her accept the truth of his words. Her body bowed, and her shoulders drooped. But when she spoke, her voice was strong with conviction.

“I don’t need you to take me. I’ve coin eno’. The mail coach goes to Oxfordshire and London.”

“You’ll be prey to every bloke who sees you.”

She finally jerked her chin away from the stroke of his fingers. “’At’s been true since I first started filling out a dress.” And then before he could anticipate her move, before it even registered that he was in danger, she lifted her knee.

How she’d maneuvered it so perfectly, he didn’t know. But one moment he was hard as a rock, still thinking of ways he could make her willing. The next there was a blinding flash of white-hot pain, and he was crumpled onto the ground.

He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t think. He just knew pain. And one word:

Bravo.

Title: One Rogue at a Time

Author: Jade Lee

Series: Rakes and Rogues, #2

Pubdate: December 1st, 2015

ISBN: 9781492605027

USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee continues her saucy, vibrant Rakes and Rogues Regency romance series with a high-society outsider who may have met his match…

A brown-eyed bastard with nothing to lose

As the illegitimate son of a duke, Bramwell Wesley Hallowsby grew up tough, on the fringes of society, learning to hide his hurt and cynicism with charm and Town polish. He’s carved out a place for himself as a mercenary, serving as bodyguard and general strong arm for the peerage. Bram has nothing to lose… and he’s exactly what Maybelle “Bluebell” Ballenger needs.

Meets his match in a blue-eyed beauty with everything to hide

Maybelle needs a mentor to teach her to speak and act like a lady, so she can claim the place in society she was denied. As they team up to take on the ton, Bram knows she’s hiding something even from him. Despite the deception he sees behind those sparkling blue eyes, Bram wants to believe that Maybelle’s love is no lie. But it seems fate has served him up his just desserts in the likes of this determined damsel.

USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee has been crafting love stories since she first picked up a set of paper dolls. Ballgowns and rakish lords caught her attention early (thank you Georgette Heyer), and her fascination with the Regency began. An author of more than 40 romance novels and winner of dozens of reader awards, she brings laughter into the sexy nights of England’s elite. Quirky characters and sexy banter are her hallmarks. Find out more at her website www.JadeLeeAuthor.com, or check out her wild contemporary half at www.KathyLyons.com.

Buy Links:

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

Apple: http://apple.co/1W51eGq

BAM: http://bit.ly/1SBnt3Q

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

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1Qt8yLv

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

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43. TURNING PAGES: NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST, by ERIC LINDSTROM

This book is a gem and a gift, and in order to avoid spoilers I'll say up front: Parker is blind. The dots on the cover are Braille. And now you know ...except, it's not a big secret. Really, Parker would be the first to say, "So? And get over... Read the rest of this post

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44. Spotlight and Giveaway: My Lady Gloriana by Sylvia Halliday

 
 
Enter to Win a
Print Copy of MY LADY GLORIANA
 

MY LADY GLORIANA
Sylvia Halliday 
Releasing Nov 24th, 2015
Diversion
 
 
In this twist on the Pygmalion story, a duke makes a wager that he can bed the uncouth Lady Gloriana. But the bet takes on a life of its own…
 
The year is 1725. Lady Gloriana Baniard is a beautiful fish out of water. Brought up on the mean streets of London, she is a brash, blunt, obscene force of nature. But thanks to a brief marriage to a disgraced aristocrat, she is forced to live with his noble family and endure the humiliating process of learning to be a lady. Rebelling, she runs away to Yorkshire, where she intends to be a blacksmith, a skill at which she excels. She knows she’ll need a manservant to front for her. When John Thorne appears, she hires him, stirred as much by his irresistible attraction as by his strength.
 
John Haviland, Duke of Thorneleigh, is an arrogant, indolent gambler and womanizer. Having seen Gloriana just once, he yearns to make her his own. When he learns she has run away from her family, he makes a wild bet with his wastrel companions?he will find the lady and bed her. Disguised as a humble servant, he becomes her assistant, learning the blacksmith trade. The clash of wills between these two proud people creates more sparks than a blacksmith’s anvil, as Gloriana learns to be a lady, Thorne learns humility?and desire deepens to love.

Excerpt

(John Haviland, duke of Thorneleigh, has gone for a midnight walk in the country.)

The night was more glorious than he would have imagined. The sweet scents of new grass and spring flowers filled the air with their delicate perfume, soothing his troubled soul. Impulsively, he rolled up his sleeves, then laughed and pulled off his shirt completely. He half-expected to hear the voice of his long-ago nursemaid, chiding him for common behavior that didn’t suit the heir to an ancient dukedom. Gentlemen didn’t go around half-clothed.

“Rest in peace, Nurse,” he murmured, recalling her with tenderness. He’d stripped naked many a time since those days—and for far less innocent reasons. It was a mild night. Maybe he’d further scandalize Nurse’s memory by going for a swim.

He felt young, adventurous, free—yet strangely sad and melancholy. What had happened to the carefree lad he once had been? What had turned him into this idle dissolute? Surely there was a moment he had missed—a turning point that might have taken him in a different, more satisfying direction.

No. Tonight, with the earth wrapped in silvery moonlight, was for magic. He felt as though something extraordinary was about to happen. Something that would change his life, lead him to a path more splendid and glittering than the moon-dappled one he now followed.

He pulled off his shoes and stockings and stripped off his breeches. The sensual night air caressed his nakedness like a harlot’s hand; he felt a quivering and stirring in his groin. He suddenly ached for a woman. But not a clumsy slattern, like the innkeeper’s wife. Nor even a perfumed beauty who strolled St. James’s Park by day and slept on satin sheets by night. He wanted a goddess, as magical and lovely as this moon-kissed midnight.

He heard the soft whinny of a horse, the gentle thud of hoofs upon packed earth. The sounds seemed to be coming from the far end of the clearing. He shrank back against the tree trunk, concealing his naked body, and waited. The woman galloped onto the sand, magnificent upon her horse—a vision of perfection that took his breath away.

His longed-for goddess.

 


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Award-winning author Sylvia Halliday’s first historical novel, written as Ena Halliday, was chosen by Pocket Books to launch their Tapestry line. She subsequently wrote for Popular Library/Warner and Harlequin Historicals under the pen name of Louisa Rawlings, the name of her maternal great-grandmother. She has written for Kensington/Zebra under the pseudonym of Sylvia Halliday. She has published 14 historical romances. Her FOREVER WILD earned 5 stars from RT Book Reviews and Affaire de Coeur, and was a RITA finalist for the Romance Writers of America. Her latest offerings, published by Diversion Books, are MARIELLE (The French Maiden Series, #1), LYSETTE (The French Maiden Series, #2), DELPHINE (The French Maiden Series, #3), DREAMS SO FLEETING, GOLD AS THE MORNING SUN, THE RING, and SUMMER DARKNESS, WINTER LIGHT. FOREVER WILD, STOLEN SPRING, and PROMISE OF SUMMER, written by her as Louisa Rawlings, are available from Samhain Publishing.


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45. Review: A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove)

A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove) by Tessa Dare. Avon. 2011. And sequels. Library copies.



The Plot: 1813, England. Victor Bramwell is a lieutenant colonel in the army, and he's been wounded, and all he cares about is getting back into the army. So he'll do anything to prove that he is fit to return.

The Plot: 1813, England. Victor Bramwell is a lieutenant colonel in the army, and he's been wounded, and all he cares about is getting back into the army. So he'll do anything to prove that he is fit to return to service.

Susanna Finch lives in Spindle Cove, along with her father. Spindle Cove has earned itself the nickname Spinster Cove, because it's so well known as a bit of a dumping ground for ladies who don't fit into society. It's full of spinsters, ha ha ha.

And Susanna wants to keep Spindle Cove that way. She doesn't want people to know the truth about Spindle Cove: it's not a last resort. It's the best resort; a place where women who don't fit into society, or have been excluded, find a home and acceptance.

Bram's mission to start a local militia is going to be tough -- even more difficult because, well, Spindle Cove is full of women. Not military service ready men. Will Susanna be able to get rid of Bram and his soldiers in time to save Spindle Cove?

The Good: Spindle Cove! The shy and the introverted, but also the outspoken. The brainy. They are welcome and embraced and accepted at Spindle Cove -- at least, for now. A Night to Surrender is the first in a series, each about a different woman of Spindle Cove. Each there for a different reason. And, because of these reasons, it means the heroines of the series are each pretty unique, and independent. And it means that the heroes are those who value the unique. Spindle Cove is about women learning to be themselves, to be confident, and finding men who prize that. It's a feminist series, set in a time that isn't very feminist. The combinations are also interesting, because what matters are who the people are not what they are. Examples: a beautiful young woman and the local blacksmith. A Duke and a serving girl from a pub.

Spindle Cove is also very funny. I confess, I didn't see it as much in A Night to Surrender, but the second, A Week to Be Wicked, had me laughing out loud. And after that, I saw a lot to laugh about.

Also: hot and spicy!

While Spindle Cove is about a safe place, it doesn't hide that the world itself can be harsh. There is a reason, after all, why a refuge like Spinster Cove is needed. The backstory in A Lady by Midnight shows what happens to a young woman without resources or family, who has no options, but who still has to live and to provide for her child.

I have really enjoyed this series; so far there are four books and two novellas, with another novella this December and a new book next year. One nice thing about my recent romance reading is finding series like these, in which there are plenty of books in the series so I can power read one right after another.




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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

0 Comments on Review: A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove) as of 11/24/2015 4:18:00 AM
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46. Spotlight and Giveaway: In Search of Scandal by Susanne Lord

This December, debut author Susanne Lord releases the first in her London Explorers series, In Search of Scandal! To celebrate, Susanne is here to share one of the facts she uncovered while researching for this adventurous new series:

Explorer Fast Fact: In 1850, the fastest clipper ships to deliver explorers from England to Asia could travel at a rate of up to 20 knots (approximately 23 mph), while steamships could manage only around 12 knots/13 mph.

Title: In Search of Scandal

Author: Susanne Lord

Series: London Explorers, #1

Pubdate: December 1st, 2015

ISBN: 9781492623502

A DARING EXPLORER

All of London is abuzz with the tale of Will Repton. The lone survivor of a massacre in Tibet has returned to England a hero, but the traumatized explorer has no time for glory. Another dangerous expedition awaits. Nothing will deter him from his quest, and no one will unearth his secret—until Will meets Charlotte Baker.

IS NO MATCH FOR AN ADVENTUROUS HEART

Vivacious Charlotte Baker also has a mission—to find a man whose bold spirit matches her own. When she meets Will Repton, she immediately recognizes him as her soul mate, and she’s naively willing to turn her back on the rules of propriety to ensnare him. Will is torn between his fascination with Charlotte and his vow to finish his quest. He knows what it is to risk life and limb—but what if his most perilous adventure doesn’t lie across an ocean, but within his own lost heart?

Susanne Lord is a writer of Victorian-era romance and author of the London Explorer series published by Sourcebooks. Originally from Okinawa, off-base and on, she now makes her home in Chicago where she is an active member of Chicago North RWA. When not writing, attending theater or reading, she enjoys hiking the English countryside and visiting historic homes and gardens.

Buy Links:

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

Apple: http://apple.co/1LkuiBr

BAM: http://bit.ly/1j6rkdk

B&N: http://bit.ly/1S2tjvd

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

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

***

 

An Excerpt:

Charlotte caught her breath and unclenched the grip she had taken upon his hand. “You cannot pretend to like me, Mr. Repton. I just wonder—I have always wondered what I have done to offend you.”

His arm tightened and his lips were right back to hovering over her ear. “Wait…”

More silence. Honestly! She would not stand here and let him trample her heart.

She ripped herself from his arms. “It is fine. I hardly require every man to like me, Mr. Repton. Be assured I am aware of your feelings and you will not have to suffer my attentions anymore.”

She whirled to leave but a steel hand gripped her arm.

God! Blast it! Now what have I done?” he growled, his blue eyes wintry in the moonlight. “I thought we were getting on. I wouldn’t mind being your friend, as long as you understand that’s where it ends.”

Wouldn’t mind? I have more friends than I can count, I hardly need—”

He yanked her hard against him. “Then what do you want?”

“I…I will not argue—”

His hands gripped her waist. “What do you want, Charlotte?” He growled. “What do you want me to do?

Her words died in the face of his rising frustration. What did she want? What had she ever wanted but him? She wanted him still. From the first sight, the first instant. Every day, every hour, she wanted him. In a deep, tender, precious place she could not touch with reason. And all he did was sneer and push her way.

“Why didn’t you ignore me as you normally do?” she asked hollowly. “Why did you talk to me at all tonight?”

He said nothing. He didn’t move. Something furious and wild thundered through her breast. “You don’t belong here!” Her fist clenched, wanting to slap that frozen look off his face. “Say something!” She launched against him, gripping him about his hard neck. “Say anything!”

But his stubborn lips were sealed, and before she could stop herself, she mashed her mouth against them.

Instantly, she regretted it. Their chins knocked, their teeth scraped, and a grunt of surprise sounded from his throat.

Oh God, what was she doing? She didn’t know how to give a kiss and he certainly didn’t want hers. His hands dropped off her and she sobbed sharply against his mouth. Mortified, she crumpled against his neck.

Oh God, oh God, how will I face him?

A hard hand seized her neck and forced her head up. Blue eyes blazed into hers. “Damn it all!”

Warm lips clamped to hers expertly. Shocked, she sank to her heels but his arm tightened and locked her against the hard wall of his body.

His deep groan shook her.

But it was a sound of surrender.

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47. Guest Post and Giveaway: Dukes Are Forever by Anna Harrington

Anna Harrington dropped by to answer a few questions and share an excerpt of her release Dukes Are Forever.  Be sure to enter the giveaway, too!

1. ­ What would readers be surprised to find out about you?

I have a pilot’s license. I took flying lessons at Chicago Midway and eventually earned both my private license and instrument rating in Chicago Center and my complex/high-performance sign-off at Gary Regional Airport. (And I deeply apologize to Southwest Airlines and to the tower controllers for any problems I might have caused.)

2. Tell us about your writing process. Do you start with an idea or a character? Do you know what’s going to happen from the beginning or do you figure it out as you write?

I usually start with a problem and work out from there, creating the characters, places, and conflicts that radiate from that central problem. For DUKES ARE FOREVER, the problem was simple: what if a new duke was forced to take a ward who wasn’t a child but a full-grown woman? Then, the ideas just ripple out from that like circles in a pond. The first thing I do is sketch out the external and internal conflicts, then I write out the basic plot and backgrounds for the two main characters, which is usually about 2 – 3 pages long. I then start filling in details. When I’m finished, I’ll have what I consider the “outline draft”—about 20 single-spaced pages. Then, I start writing. And 95K words later, I’m finished and dive into a big bowl of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!

3. Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

Dr. John Stratton, my college writing instructor, who told us repeatedly, “Writing isn’t about you. You’re just the author. What matters is the reader. If you’re not giving the reader what he or she wants, then you’re not writing.”

4. Is there one thing you have to have when writing?

COFFEE!!! And during the season, I keep a vase of cut flowers from my garden on the table where I write. It’s in my sunroom, so I have wonderful views of the yard, the wooded hill behind the house, and the creek.

5. How did you choose the names of your characters?

For DUKES ARE FOREVER, I picked Katherine because I’ve always loved that name. It’s feminine and classic but also strong, and the nicknames for it are perfect for reflecting different parts of her personality: the nickname Kate sounds so fiery and no-nonsense, but when the servants call her Katie, there’s affection and love in it. As for Edward…well, when I pictured him in my mind, he just LOOKED like an Edward. Aunt Augusta because she could ONLY be an Augusta. Edward’s brother Stephen was named after King Stephen.

6. How has music played a role in your life and in your writing?

I love all kinds of jazz and symphonic music, and I always have music playing in the background while I’m writing. What I listen when I write, however, depends on the type of writing task I’m working on that day…music to set the mood.

7. When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

I was in third grade, and we were supposed to write a paragraph about an everyday. I don’t know why, but I wrote about a hammer owned by President Jimmy Carter and the story of that hammer’s life…from the hammer’s first-person POV! My teacher read it to the entire class and gave it a place of honor on the board for the upcoming parent-teacher conferences. At that point, I was hooked. I had a talent for writing, and the praise was addictive. I started writing then, filling spiral Mead notebooks by the dozen, and in my early teens I had my first publications, contest wins, and two one-act plays staged by a local drama club. I was hooked. I haven’t stopped writing since, although the genres have certainly changed over the years.

8. Do you have any favorite book boyfriends of your own?

Well, of course Mr. Knightly from Emma! But other favorites include Sullivan Waring from Suzanne Enoch’s After the Kiss and Sebastian Carlisle from the book I’m currently writing (and brother of Josie Carlisle in HOW I MARRIED A MARQUESS). And although he’s a based-on-a-book-TV boyfriend, I’m desperately in love with Ross Poldark from Masterpiece’s Poldark series.

9. What are five books on your night stand/bookshelf?

Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester, The Groucho Letters by Groucho Marx, Cottage Living, Catch-22, and a book by whatever Regency romance writer I’m currently reading.

10. What’s your favorite quote or scene from your book?

My favorite bit occurs when Kate tries to explain to Edward why he’s the type of man not used to being told No, only to dig herself deeper into embarrassment. The attraction between them sizzles, so do the back-and-forth barbs and Edward’s cool as he rakishly lets out just enough rope for to hang herself. (But I also like the running joke about the boy’s breeches she wears.)

11. If your couple’s relationship had a theme song, what would it be?

“Good Things” by the Bodeans

12. Tell us about the cover process. Is this what you had in mind?

I love that she’s holding a rose in her hand! I have a rose bush in my garden that exact same shade. It’s a David Austin rose called Grace, and it’s the pride of my garden.

13. If your book was being made into a movie, who would you include in your dream cast?

For Kate, I’d pick Amy Adams—she has the red hair and the feistiness but can still portray a feminine vulnerability that Kate has. For Edward, Aidan Turner. For Aunt Augusta I always picture the stepmother from Walt Disney’s Cinderella—Augusta isn’t evil, of course, but she had that same regal, imperial bearing as the stepmother…but I’d settle for Dame Judi Dench. J

14. Where do you find inspiration for you writing? Do you use real people/places as a foundation?

Creating atmosphere is important, so I try to I use real places where I’ve been for the settings. Because my novels are set in Regency England, and I lived in London during college, I’m fortunate to have first-hand experience with the atmosphere of the city, the look of the countryside, and the wonderful people who live there. I’ll often find a house or building which strikes me, and then the story might take off from there. I don’t use real people as models for the characters, but the characters seen to evolve organically from the places.

15. Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy outside of writing?

During the past two years, since I’ve moved into my new house, I’ve taken up gardening, and I love working outside in the beds, especially with the roses. I’ve planted all kinds of trees, azaleas, hydrangeas, roses, and even blueberries and strawberries. I also love to travel and visit every museum and tourist trap I can, and I like dreaming that someday I might also take a photography class or two so I can take better pictures. I also love to hike and go trekking by all kinds of means—I’ve been pony trekking in Wales and elephant trekking in Thailand, and I’ve love to go camel trekking in Morocco. I love history and archeology, and I love visiting ancient ruins and new cultures all over the world.

16. Would the 10 year-old version of yourself kick your butt or praise you for what you’ve accomplished in life?

The 10 year-old version of me would say, “Well, this life is exactly what we planned, teaching and writing and experiencing adventures all over the world…minus the pony.”

 


About DUKES ARE FOREVER

ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE
Battlefields and barrooms hold much more interest for Edward Westover, Duke of Strathmore, than a little girl’s fondness for dolls and lace. When he takes possession of his enemy’s estate, everything that villain held dear-including his daughter-belongs to Edward. Hire a governess, arrange a dowry, give a few reassurances, and be off on his way-that’s Edward’s plan. But he’s in for the shock of his life. For his new ward is a beautiful, impetuous, and utterly irresistible woman . . .
. . . AND WAR
Kate Benton is stunned. Who is this arrogant, infuriating man who’s invited himself into her home and taken over her life? Her vow: to do everything in her power to convince him to leave her-and Brambly House-alone. Yet as chilly days melt into sultry nights, Kate sees glimpses of kindness underneath Edward’s cool façade . . . and a passionate nature that takes her breath away. There’s so much she doesn’t know about this man. But does she dare trust this devilish duke with her heart?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SATdWP
B&N: http://bit.ly/1l3udg0
iBooks: http://apple.co/1LHiLRu
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1OPglBp
BAM!: http://bit.ly/1QKyNMT

About Anna Harrington

Anna is an English professor in Chattanooga Tennessee and a lover of all things chocolate and coffee. She’s a member of RWA and when she’s not hard at work writing her next book or planning her next series, she’s watching BBC and piloting her own aircrafts. 

http://www.annaharringtonbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/annaharrington.regencywriter

https://twitter.com/AHarrington2875

Excerpt:

“If she isn’t downstairs in five minutes,” Edward warned Mrs. Elston through gritted teeth, “I will go up to her room and drag her down myself!”

The old governess bristled. “As I told you, Miss Kate is feeling unwell—”

A sharp curse exploded from him, telling her exactly what he thought of Miss Kate’s sudden illness.

Your Grace,” her brows shot up, offended, “with all due respect—”

He rolled his eyes, knowing that whatever she was about to say would lack all respect.

“—you have swept into our home without warning, upset both my little Katie and the entire household, and are now making demands as if you own the place.”

“I do own it,” he drawled.

“Brambly House is entailed,” she informed him pointedly. “It is owned solely by Miss Kate to be relinquished only to the gentleman she marries.” Her emphasis clearly implied that despite his title, she found him to be no gentleman. “If she wishes to forgo your company, you should have the decency to give her peace!”

She stood squarely in front of him and blocked the stairs like a bulldog guarding its dinner. While ordinarily he would have found that loyalty admirable, tonight he was ready to throttle her for it.

“Mrs. Elston,” he growled, tired from a long day of traveling and now hungry since dinner was an hour late, “if Miss Benton doesn’t come downstairs, I swear I’ll—”

“You will do what, your Grace?” a soft voice challenged from the landing.

He glanced up, and when he saw her, the rest of the threat vanished from his lips. Sweet Lucifer, she was a vision. Although a decade out of fashion, the ice-blue silk gown she wore was cut just carefully enough to tantalize without being improper, with its fitted bodice accentuating her slender waist and its neckline revealing a hint of firm breasts beneath. As she descended toward him, her upswept red hair shining like fire, the dress shimmered enticingly over her curves with each move.

She stopped two steps from the bottom, her eyes level with his and just the hint of a self-assured smile at her lips. The sweet scent of honeysuckle wafted down to him like a cloud, and his gut clenched with unbidden arousal.

The disheveled woman who greeted him earlier had transformed into a beautiful woman, like a caterpillar into a butterfly. She left him speechless.

“You’ll do what?” she pressed.

His lips twisted impishly at his now-empty threat. “Throw you over my knee and spank you.”

“Your Grace!” Mrs. Elston swung her gaze at him, appalled that he would even suggest such a thing.

Kate raised her head defiantly, her green eyes blazing. “I’d like to see you try.”

Good God. His cock twitched at the temptation.

“Miss Kate!” Mrs. Elston blurted out, aghast at her charge’s scandalous behavior.

Ignoring the old governess and fighting back an amused chuckle, Edward held out his hand. “Truce?”

She hesitated.

“Until dessert at least?”

She placed her gloved hand into his and allowed him to help her down the last two steps and toward the dining room as she conceded, “Until dessert, your Grace.”

“Edward, please,” he corrected.

“Then you must call me Kate,” she insisted, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “All my guardians do.”

“You have a lot of guardians, do you?” he asked dryly.

“Oh, yes.” She gave a flippant wave of her hand, the mocking gesture indicating how ludicrous she found their situation and her desire to be free of it. “Lately, it seems there’s a new one dropping by every day.”

He paused in mid-step, then slid her an irritated sideways glance as she continued walking, slipping her hand away from his arm to proceed him into the room. As his gaze roamed down her backside, the curves beneath the gown and the soft sashay of her hips once again reminded him that this was no child in need of a guardian. This was a woman.

Worse, he thought grimly as the man now responsible for guarding her reputation, she was beautiful. The moment she debuted, every man would set his sights on her. And it wouldn’t be with the intention of marrying her.

Heaven help him, he was in serious trouble.

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48. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Winter Laird by Nancy Scanlon

 
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Print Copy of THE WINTER LAIRD

 
THE WINTER LAIRD
Mists of Fate #1
Nancy Scanlon
Releasing November 17th, 2015
Diversion

 
THE PRESENT

Successful matchmaker Brianagh O’Rourke believes in happily-ever-afters…just not her own. She’s convinced passion only exists in her dreams. When she reluctantly accepts a marriage proposal, Bri decides she needs a vacation?but she didn’t expect it to be in 13th century Ireland.
 
THE PAST

Laird Nioclas MacWilliam just wants peace for his clan. The time for him to marry has come, and after waiting years for his ally to present their daughter, he’s agreed to marry another. But on the eve of his nuptials, a daring rescue brings his missing betrothed right into his arms.
 
And she does not want to be there.
 
THE FUTURE

Brianagh has to return to the future. Nioclas has to marry. He offers a solution for the both of them: She marries him and stays for three months, and they work together to convince his clan they are a love match. In return, he vows to safely return her home. But as the days turn to weeks, they both begin to see what a happily-ever-after could be. And when the time comes, does Brianagh return to the life she’s built, or does she remain in the past for a chance at true love?
 

Excerpt

“The women are spying on us from under the benches,” Aidan said as he bounced on the balls of his feet, waiting for Nioclas to finish his drink. Admiring his sword, he added, “Been there for about ten minutes or so. I give them another twenty before they get cold and head back into the castle.”

Nioclas sighed. “I’m unsurprised. Does Erin still think no one knows about her forays into the lists?”

Aidan shrugged and quickly crossed swords with his brother. “Of course. I’m certainly not going to tell her. She’ll skewer me on the end of her sewing needle whilst I sleep.”

“Are you that afraid of a wee lass?” Nioclas mocked, jumping back and just avoiding the tip of Aidan’s blade. “I don’t think Donovan has much trouble with her.”

“Oh, I’m sure Donovan has complete control over his wife,” Aidan replied, and they both grinned as they hacked away at each other. “I don’t think he’s ever been privy to the full extent of Erin’s talents, though.”

Nioclas ducked and rolled out of Aidan’s path, springing back up and crossing blades once more. “I—oof—doubt he would’ve agreed to marry her, had he known.”

“Marriage. I don’t envy you, brother. Shackled for life. I hope she is worth it.” Aidan ducked, narrowly avoiding the at of Nioclas’s blade, then spun to avoid it again. “Saints, Nick, I was only—oof— is there something you care to talk about?” he asked sardonically as Nioclas’s attack intensified.

“No,” Nioclas replied curtly, swinging his arm relentlessly.

“Hmm. I believe there’s a tale there.” Aidan plunged his sword toward his brother, who leapt backward.

“None I care to tell you,” Nioclas replied, wiping the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand.

“Well, you’re putting on quite a show for her.” They circled each other. “Mayhap this will be a love match yet—” Aidan’s sword went flying. He watched, open-mouthed, as it soared through the air. Someone called out, and men scattered as the blade went hilt-over-tip, landing about twenty feet from where they stood.

He looked at his brother in alarm. Nioclas had never bested him by forcing his sword from his hand. That was something they’d agreed long ago was unnecessary between them. War was never far, and neither wanted the other without his sword if it broke.

“Love is for fools,” Nioclas growled before stalking off.

It was a rare thing for Nioclas to lose his temper, especially in the lists. Bemused, Aidan watched him go, then threw a wink over to the source of his brother’s obvious discomfort.

Smirking at the feminine gasps, Aidan collected his sword and sauntered off.

 

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Born and raised near Boston, Massachusetts, Nancy Scanlon wrote her first romance novel at age 16, when she realized that fictional boyfriends were much easier to figure out than real ones. In the time since, she managed to earn a degree in English, obtain a graduate certificate in creative writing from the University of Cambridge, and marry the man of her dreams (but she still holds tight to her fictional boyfriends).
Currently, she resides in Puerto Rico with her husband, two children, and two dogs. When not writing, Nancy spends her time reading, reviewing and blogging about romance novels, watching too much HGTV, and taking care of her family.



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49. Review: Kissing Ted Callahan

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding. Poppy. 2015. Reviewed from ARC.

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys)The Plot: Riley and Reid walk in on our their band mates Lucy and Nathan -- to their surprise, Lucy and Nathan are together. Together-together.

Riley is stunned, especially because Lucy is her best friend and Lucy never said a word. Riley and Reid both resolve to pursue love (and kissing and maybe even sex), and to share each detail, and to help each other out.

The top of Riley's list is her crush, Ted Callahan; Reid's is Jane.

How successful is their plan? Well, there will be kissing. Of Ted Callahan, and other guys.

The Good: This is primarily Riley's story, but because Riley and Reid share notes and progress reports and suggestions in a Passenger Manifest journal, and part of that is written by Reid, it's both their stories.

Kissing Ted Callahan is about Riley shaking herself into action. Oh, she's hardly passive. Her goal is rock star, so her time has been taken up with the band. And her best friend is Lucy, and she's friends with Reid and Nathan, but she's been satisfied, kind of, with that.

Riley isn't satisfied anymore. And confiding in Reid, instead of her usual Lucy, helps push her to do things like offer Ted Callahan a ride home. Or kiss Garrick. Or call the number of the cute boy she met at the CD store. Riley goes from zero love interests to three. Kissing Ted Callahan is about Riley (and Reid) navigating teen age dating, figuring out the difference between like and love and lust and love, wondering just what is right to tell someone if there isn't any real commitment yet.

Reid's story in some ways mirrors Riley's The first girl he pursues turns out to already have a boyfriend, and Riley doesn't really make the connection to her own situation. The next girl is -- well, it's a bit funny, because Reid makes a list of potential girls. Ones who talk to him, ones he likes, who has potential? Unlike Riley, he's not acting on a crush. It's more that he wants someone, and there is something very sweet and likable in how he keeps himself open to any possibility rather than requiring a crush first. It's also very honorable that he pursues a girl he likes being with, ignoring that his friends don't really like her.

At one point, rather late in the story, their Passenger Manifest goes missing and Riley and Reid have to deal with the consequences. For Riley, that ends up being the consequences of not having conversations and not talking. Kissing and sex may create a connection but it doesn't replace talking. Yes, there is a sex scene,  butwhile Riley may be kissing three boys there is only one that she really likes. No, I won't say who.

What's nice about the emphasis on communication is that it is clear from the beginning that Riley's failure at spoken honesty, and desire to not confront, isn't something that just happens with boys. Remember Lucy? Part of what drives the whole book is Riley's continuing inability to talk with her best friend, Lucy. Part of Riley's growth is realizing she has to have the tough conversations, whether it's about the status of a friendship or of a relationship.

I also like how this explores attraction and relationships (both friendship and more), and that Riley (and Tom and Garrick and Milo) is not just about who she is dating or kissing but is about creating real friendships and how those friendships are made. Lucy, Riley, and Reid have known each other since kindergarten and those types of friendships sometimes means someone has a hard time making new friends -- they don't have the skills. Riley is developing those skills, though admittedly mainly because she is seeking a boy. And mainly because she assumes that Lucy's changed relationship with Nathan means that Lucy's friendship with Riley is different.

Finally! It's also about a band, and I loved how being part of the band is used for the story, from being what ties Riley and her friends together, to her passions and interests, and also the time it takes outside of school. Their dedication is clear.

One final thing: this may be a spoiler, so stop reading if any type of spoiler bothers you. This is not the type of book where Riley looks at her good friend Reid and sees him in a different light while he has an unrequited crush. This is about two people who are friends, whose friendship grows stronger but whose friendship remains a friendship.




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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

0 Comments on Review: Kissing Ted Callahan as of 11/25/2015 5:03:00 AM
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50. Q&A and Giveaway: Dragon Storm by Katie MacAlister

Katie MacAlister dropped by the virtual offices to answer a few questions! Be sure to enter the giveaway, too!

Do you have any favorite book boyfriends of your own?

Oh, mercy, just line my books up and start reading off the hero names. I’ve said before that I write books for myself first, and that’s absolutely true. I love all of my heroes, and it’s only because publishers won’t let me write all the heroines as me that I bother with writing those dishy men females who are worthy of them.

Outside of my books, I was one of those girls who grew up with the hots for Sherlock Holmes. As an adult, I’ve been quite fond of several of Georgette Heyer heroes, particularly those who give in to their senses of humor (Sir Tristram from Talisman Ring, and Freddy Standen from Cotillion).

What are five books on your night stand/bookshelf?

This is going to be a very disappointing answer, I fear. Right now on my nightstand are Sol y Viento (a Spanish textbook), Art: A Brief History by Marilyn Stokstad (an art history textbook), History of Italian Renaissance Art by Frederick Hartt and David Wilkins, Introduction to Forensic Science by Richard Saferson, and Step Aside, Popsm a Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton.

What’s your favorite quote or scene from your book?

I think the scene where Gary meets Jim is one of my faves. Especially since Gary is showing off, and Jim is instantly jealous of Gary’s toys.

If your couple’s relationship had a theme song, what would it be?

Roar by Katy Perry. The need to rise above people who want to put you down is pertinent to both hero and heroine. Plus I can see them both singing it loudly.

Tell us about the cover process. Is this what you had in mind?

I’m lucky in that my publishers have excellent art departments who take a few bits of scattered ideas that I pry out of my brain, and turn them into gorgeous covers, usually involving lick-worthy men. And this cover is no different. It’s not a bad thing to find yourself stroking a book cover, is it?

Where do you find inspiration for you writing? Do you use real people/places as a foundation?

I’ve always told myself stories, so writing is really just an extension of that. My inspiration is my muse, who I picture as a bon-bon eating diva who reclines of fainting couches a lot, waving a languid hand whenever she wants something, and basically ruling me with threats of going away on vacation if I attempt to work her too hard.  I seldom use real people in my books, since the people in my head are much more flawed and thus suitable for me to torment, but I do use as many real locations as I possibly can. I rely heavily on past trips to Europe as the source of many locations, and those I haven’t visited I usually research by finding people who live there, and haunting online webcams, and photo galleries.

Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy outside of writing?

When my arthritic hands let me, I like to spin wool into yarn, knit, and sew a variety of things that never quite turn out as I’ve envisioned. I’m a gamer girl, as well, so I’m online in games like World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, Star Wars The Old Republic, Hearthstone, Lord of the Rings Online, and way too many other games.

I’ve also decided to go back to school, and am enjoying online classes at Fort Hays State University so I can add a history degree to my list of credentials.

Would the 10 year-old version of yourself kick your butt or praise you for what you’ve accomplished in life?

Oh, she’d be thrilled that I’ve survived the last few years, since they included everything from the death of my husband to moving to a new house. And I think she’d be quite happy with the body of work I’ve produced in the last ten years, although I know she’d tell me I should stop insisting on having time off between books, and instead write non-stop.

 

About Dragon Storm

TURN ON THE CHARM
According to some (including himself), Constantine is one of the greatest heroes of dragonkin who ever lived. Too bad he’s now lonelier than ever and his biggest adventure involves a blow-up sheep-until he has an opportunity to save his kind once again. All Constantine has to do is break into a demon’s dungeon, steal an ancient artifact, and reverse a deadly curse. The plan certainly does not involve rescuing a woman . . .
TURN UP THE HEAT
Bee isn’t sure whether to be infuriated or relieved when Constantine pops up in her prison. The broody, brawny shifter lights her fire in a way no one ever has before, yet how far can she really trust him? Their chemistry may be off the charts, but when push comes to shove, Constantine will have to make a crucial choice: to save the dragons or the woman he’s grown to love with fierce intensity.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hQ84jD
B&N: http://bit.ly/1OFgvN4
iBooks: http://apple.co/1jQSK7v
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/1MAdTdq
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1QNqSft
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About Katie MacAlister

For as long as she can remember Katie MacAlister has loved reading, and grew up with her nose buried in a book. It wasn’t until many years later that she thought about writing her own books, but once she had a taste of the fun to be had building worlds, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes, she was hooked.
With more than fifty books under her belt, Katie’s novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and are regulars on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. A self-proclaimed gamer girl, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her dogs, and frequently can be found hanging around online.

http://katiemacalister.com

https://twitter.com/katiemacalister

https://www.facebook.com/katie.mac.minions

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