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Results 26 - 50 of 2,096
26. THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS by Ann Aguirre

Review by Bri The Queen of Bright and Shiny ThingsAnn AguirrePublished: 7th April, 2015Feiwel & FriendsGenre: Contemporary, RomanceAge: Young AdultFrom: Publisher ARC Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine…

0 Comments on THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT AND SHINY THINGS by Ann Aguirre as of 4/7/2015 2:36:00 AM
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27. Manga Review: Undone by His Touch by Shinano Omi and Annie West

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I saw this at the library and had to check it out.  Why? Because they don’t have many Harlequin Comics and they are like my crack.  They’ve also greatly improved from the first ones I read, where the words didn’t even stay inside the word balloons.  Why even have word balloons, if the text is going to drift lazily beyond their borders?  It used to drive me crazy, so I’m happy to report that that particular issue is now a non-issue.

Chloe is a housekeeper for the wealthy Carstairs family, and one day, while doing her thing, she’s startled by a handsome man swimming in the pool.  His face and leg are marred by terrible scars, and Chloe learns that he’s Declan, the eldest Carstairs son, and that he survived a horrible mountain climbing accident that took the life of his brother. 

Chloe also discovers that he’s blind, and that he’s irritated with people mollycoddling him.  He’s frustrated that he needs assistance, so Chloe does her best to help him without robbing him of his pride.  She’s confused when Declan demands to know who was visiting with his brother, Adrian, before he died.  Adrian, she insisted, kept to himself.  She doesn’t share that he also stalked her and intimidated her, making her feel threatened whenever he stayed at the mansion.

Declan is still reeling from Adrian’s death.  The last thing he said before he fell off the mountain was that he couldn’t go on with his broken heart.  He then showed Declan a photo on his cell phone, the photo of a beautiful woman who took advantage of his little brother and then spurned him.  Declan vows that he will find her and extract his revenge upon her.

Declan and Chloe begin to grow close, and after a night of unbridled passion, Declan regains his sight.  But wait!  Now that he can see Chloe, he recognizes her as the woman on Adrian’s phone.  Shocked, he flees from the mansion without a word to Chloe.  Chloe is understandably hurt when she doesn’t hear from him in months, and then is suddenly called to work at a party he is hosting.  Once there, he springs his attack, accusing her of using and abusing his brother, and blaming her for Adrian’s death.  These two have quite an obstacle to overcome!

First off, the art is lovely.  The characters are long and lean, and everyone has hair that seems to take on a life of its own.  Facial expressions are easy to decipher, and the action flows seamlessly from panel to panel. 

The story, however, felt too abbreviated.  The introduction is well done, with Chloe helping the stubborn Declan with the things he can no longer do without his sight, but the conclusion was rushed and unconvincing.  Since these Harlequin Comics are only about 150 pages, there is a lot of story to fit into a short amount of space.  Declan treated Chloe horribly and completely misjudged her, and I didn’t think he groveled enough for her forgiveness. 

This is a common complaint I have with the manga based on Harlequin novels, but that being said, I still managed to purchase a bunch of them on Amazon over the weekend because they were priced at .99.  Who could possibly resist that?  If you’re curious about these comics, there are several titles available on Scribd, and you can check your local library too.

From Amazon:

One day, Chloe, the housekeeper of the wealthy Carstairs family’s villa, meets a mysterious man by the mansion’s pool. He has a strong, sun-kissed body with a long scar running down his thigh and a deep scar carved into his cheek. Learning that Declan is the owner of the house, Chloe tries to hide that she was gawking at her boss by greeting him. It is then that she realizes that he is practically blind. It is the beginning of their dangerous relationship, and Declan is on a mission to find the woman who jilted his deceased little brother.

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28. Review: One True Heart by Jodi Thomas

 

Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win One True Heart here

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This is the first Harmony novel that I’ve read, and while I was a little worried about jumping on board so late in the series, I had absolutely no difficulty getting up to speed with the small Texas town.  For a small place, a lot goes on in Harmony!  There’s a mugging, sleuthing, a kidnapping, a rumored murder, and even a threat to national security!  One True Heart was pure popcorn, and I enjoyed my visit.  It was easy to get caught up in all of the activity, and the characters were a varied and likeable bunch.

The story starts from Millanie McAllen’s POV.  She’s a wounded warrior returning to the States.  Having been wounded in the line of duty, she’s now laid up with a cast on her leg and the fear that she’ll never walk without a limp.  She knows her service days are over, and now she’s listlessly approaching her future.  Once she had her career path carefully mapped out, but one heroic act drastically changed the course of her life.  Returning to Harmony, Texas, the rural town she lived in until she was nine, and the place where many of her relatives still reside, she’s just looking for a place to heal and the quiet to figure out what to do next.

She meets Drew Cunningham, and the two are inexplicably drawn to each other.  Drew is a victim of violence, too, and it’s rebooted his life as well.  After surviving a horrific episode five years ago in Chicago, he’s withdrawn into himself.  He is no longer comfortable in crowds, and the idea of putting himself out there fills him with anxiety.  Teaching part time a local college, he spends most of his time writing and wallowing in his own company.  He hasn’t been on a date in five years, but something about Millanie makes him want to come out of his shell.

Drew and Millanie are the main couple.  Their relationship is constantly challenged by Drew’s PTSD and Millanie’s suspicions of  him.  She has one more task to perform for the government before her service days are over.  She’s been asked to search Harmony for a suspected terrorist, and Drew fits every point on the profile list.  Add in his reluctance to discuss himself or his past and you have one very torn Millanie.  Her gut tells her that Drew is exactly what he appears to be; a kind, gentle professor, but his silence when she asks him even the most innocent of questions point to a man with something to hide. 

I had my doubts about the longevity of Millanie and Drew’s HEA, mainly because of their inability to communicate during most of the story.  My biggest disappointment was that he never did confide in her about his past and the reason he’s living in Harmony.  Millanie discovers the circumstances behind his silence by utilizing her Google-fu, and I just wish that they had discussed it with each other instead.

There are three other characters who round out the cast.  Johnny Wheeler is a salt of the earth farmer, that is until he’s accused of murdering his wife.  Then he’s thrown in jail, and it doesn’t seem that he’ll ever get out.  Circumstantial evidence implicating him in another crime makes him look guilty as sin, and he despairs at ever being released. 

While he’s in the slammer, there is one bright spot during his incarceration.  Fortune-teller Kare Cunningham knows he’s innocent (she saw it in his palm after all!), and she’s made it a one woman campaign to prove his innocence.  Kare comes across as a total ditz, but she’s really a genius.  I liked her the best, because she’s funny, compassionate, and quirky.  She doesn’t see Johnny as a romantic interest, much to his dismay, so he has a lot of work to do to convince her that they should be together.  Their courtship is very cute.

Beau Yates is a up and coming country star, back in Harmony after his father has a heart attack.  Beau’s father rejected him and was enraged with his music.  Beau is hoping for a reconciliation, but not really expecting one.  While he’s in town, he runs into Trouble, the girl who made his youth bearable.  They would race down the back roads of  Harmony in her convertible, wild and free from their worries.  The adult Trouble, or Lark, has matured into a somber banker.  While their past meant a lot to Beau, he’s starting to doubt that it meant anything to Lark, and now all he wants is to leave town and get back into his life, and far away from his disappointment.

Beau and Lark’s relationship didn’t work as well for me because we never get Lark’s POV.  If we had been able to peek inside her head, I might have understood some of her behavior better.  She’s like a yo-yo with her feelings for Beau, and I didn’t know why she wasn’t just melting all over this handsome, successful guy.  Then, after he practically manhandles her, he did earn himself some wariness from her, but I would have really liked to get her side of things.

One True Heart packs a lot in to one book.  There’s something for everyone here.  You have a mystery, some suspense, three couples to fall in love with, and a whole bunch of meddling townspeople.  I found the ending jarringly abrupt, but otherwise, I enjoyed my visit to Harmony, Texas.

If you are reading the series, which is your favorite book so far?

 

Release Date: April 7  You can pre-order a copy at www.jodithomas.com

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas takes us back to Harmony, Texas—a small town where love blooms and secrets of the past threaten to alter the future…

Millanie McAllen is always logical. But after returning to her childhood home, she learns that some things are beyond explanation—like her undeniable passion for Drew Cunningham…

After finding success as a singer on the road, Beau Yates returns to Harmony to make peace with his dying father—only to find the woman he’s been dreaming of for years. But the secrets they discover might be too much for him to bear…

When Johnny Wheeler is charged with his wife’s murder, he turns to the only person who believes he’s innocent. Fortune teller Kare Cunningham’s life has always danced around reality—but Johnny is able to ground her like no other…

As their paths cross in new, captivating directions, the townspeople of Harmony need to learn to love and let go in order to live together in their little slice of heaven.

About the Author:

Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 41 novels and 13 short story collections. A five-time RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

Author Links:

www.jodithomas.com

www.facebook.com/JodiThomasAuthor

www.twitter.com/jodithomas

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29. Giveaway: One True Heart by Jodi Thomas

This morning I have a note from Jodi Thomas, as well as a giveaway for her latest release, One True Heart.  This is Book 8 in the Harmony series, and I’ll have a review later this morning.

From Jodi Thomas:

Welcome to ONE TRUE HEART. Like waiting for fine chocolate, this book is one you will not want to miss.  For me the story is always about the people and I loved writing this story.  This one started at a real place I know well, the Amarillo airport where one night a man and a woman meet by accident.  She’s exhausted and on crutches.  He offers her a ride to Harmony.  She’s a trained soldier and sees this professor type in glasses as no threat.  Only, while she sleeps, he steals a kiss.

When he drops her off at Winter’s Inn, the bed and breakfast, the inn keeper thinks he’s staying the night.  For the first time in years, Drew is tempted to get involved.

When you step into ONE TRUE HEART you’ll step into Harmony where the lives of the people in the town blend together.  You’ll meet Millanie McAllen and Drew Cunningham.  Both hiding out from life for different reasons.  In their love story the gentle, loving man wins out.  As they face the truth about real love they also must both face their fears.

Drew, who is always organized and calm has, what he believes, is the craziest sister on the planet.  She dances in the moonlight and tells fortunes.  In her first session with Johnny Wheeler, he’s arrested for killing his ex-wife.  Kare knows Johnny didn’t do it.  She didn’t see murder in his lifeline.  Johnny thinks she’s nuts, but she’s determined to help him even if she has to draft her big brother to help.

Another story threads its way through the book.  Beau Yates comes back to town for a few days.  He’s a successful singer in Nashville, but deep down knows that all his love songs are about one girl.  He doesn’t even know her name, he simply calls her Trouble.  She used to pick him up after work.  She’d every dream he’s ever had about love.

I love it when new readers find me for the first time.  It’s like I’m brand new, and they just discovered a Jodi Thomas book.  Then after they read one, they check my website or Amazon and discover they have many more to read.  I get a real shot of sunshine when they write or call.  It is kind of like the feeling you get when an old friend from the past calls.  For a moment, you’re sixteen again and giggling.

So, whether you’re a first time reader of a Jodi Thomas book or you’ve been with me through them all, I want you to know that you are the reason I write.

With love,

Jodi Thomas

www.jodithomas.com

www.facebook.com/JodiThomasAuthor

www.twitter.com/jodithomas

US addresses only, please

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30. Spotlight and Giveaway: A Hope Remembered by Stacy Henrie

This morning I have a guest post from Stacy Henrie, as well as a giveaway for A Hope Remembered.  Fill out the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

Most interesting facts you learned while conducting research for A Hope Remembered by Stacy Henrie

1. Most WWI pilots didn’t survive longer than two weeks at the beginning of the war.

2. WWI planes didn’t have parachutes—there wasn’t room for them and they were thought to encourage a pilot to ditch the plane. 

3. The Lake District, or Cumbria, has its own language. For example, the mountains there are known as fells and streams are becks. 

4. While we most often think of the English upper class as living in or around London or in the surrounding countryside, there were plenty of wealthy families who made their home in the Lake District and had been there for several hundreds of years by 1920. Unlike other countries during the “Roaring Twenties,” Britain experienced tough post-WWI economic conditions. However, this actually ended up helping them later on to weather the effects of the Great Depression better than others.

 

About A HOPE REMEMBERED:

The final book in Stacy Henrie’s sweeping Of Love and War trilogy brings to life the drama of battle torn Europe with emotion, faith, and of course, romance. 

As the war ends, love begins . . .

Nora Lewis just wants an escape after losing her fiancé in the Great War. When she inherits property in England, she boldly packs up and leaves America for a fresh start. But if not for her dashing new neighbor, Colin Ashby, she’d be lost. Even as their friendship deepens, Nora knows a British aristocrat would never be free to love an American orphan, no matter how much the war has changed the world . . . After his brother’s death in the war and his own experiences as a pilot at the front, Colin returns home broken, only to discover his family’s estate is also in ruin. The pressure is now on him to save his home and the Ashbys’ place in society with a well-bred match to a wealthy heiress. Too bad he finds more of a kindred spirit in Nora, the beautiful American next door. She, too, has faced the rigors of war and survived. Now the ex-soldier will have one more battle to fight-this time for love.


About Stacy Henrie:

Stacy Henrie has always had an avid appetite for history, fiction and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations and worked in communications before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a stay-at-home mom to three, Stacy loves the chance to live out history through her fictional characters, while enjoying the modern conveniences of life in the 21st century. In addition to author, she is a reader, a road trip enthusiast and a novice interior decorator. Her first novel, Lady Outlaw, released from Harlequin Love Inspired Historical in 2012. 

Stacy’s SM:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5778153.Stacy_Henrie

http://facebook.com/Stacy-Henrie-author

https://www.pinterest.com/stacyhenrie/

www.stacyhenrie.com

@StacyHenrie

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1GQCqtm

BAM – http://bit.ly/1Cn3vVc

B&N – http://bit.ly/1xvDW4z

IndieBound – http://bit.ly/1Hy9JBC

GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/1CVLvnc

iTunes – http://apple.co/1y1C8Lf

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1BhSsc6

Excerpt:

With a glare at both of them, Jack smashed his cap on his head and stalked from the room. He proceeded to slam the door behind him, but it hit the doorframe and bounced open instead.

Nora pushed out a sigh. “You didn’t have to be rude. Jack’s been very helpful to me this past week.” Maybe a bit too much. But she didn’t voice that thought. Colin needed no further ammunition against Jack.

“I’m sure he has,” Colin muttered, his expression as dark as his eyes.

Nora pinned him with a piercing look.

“You’re right.” He finished buttoning his cuffs and slipped on his vest. “That was ungentlemanly of me.”

She ignored his reference to her joke at their first meeting as she put away the corn starch and closed the cupboard. It was easier to keep her heart firmly locked if she held onto her disapproval of Colin’s behavior. Plus it would also stop her from wondering what he’d been about to say before Jack’s arrival.

“How may I redeem myself?” he asked as he pulled on his jacket. The amusement tugging at his mouth contradicted his contrite tone.

Nora folded her arms, contemplating a suitable penance. “I think your punishment needs to be two-fold.”

“Very well.” He nodded. “What is your sentence?”

“First, you must join me for choir rehearsal at the church tomorrow morning.”

The mirth drained from his face. “Nora.” His voice held a note of warning. “That is entirely—”

“Second, you and Perseus can give me a tour around the lake. I’ve already been here a week and haven’t even seen all of it.”

Colin scowled. “A walk around the lake would be acceptable. But the choir rehearsal . . .”

“Please, Colin.” She hazarded a step toward him, hoping he’d relent. “I sang with them last Sunday and they need more male voices.”

She had another reason for wanting him there. Everyone had been kind at rehearsal and at church the following day, but Nora still felt uncomfortable with the continued references to her likeness to Eleanor. Apparently their similarities also included their singing voices. With Colin at the rehearsals, she wouldn’t feel as awkward. She was beginning to think he was the only person in Larksbeck who hadn’t known Eleanor.

Colin’s brow knit in obvious annoyance, while Nora held her breath. Would he accept her proposal? Finally resignation settled over his countenance. “I’ll go, but only once.” He held up a single finger. “Once,” he repeated. “I make no promises after that.”

Grateful, she breached the remaining space between them and put her hand on his sleeve. “I agree to those terms.” She couldn’t hide her smile as she added, “Be careful, though, we might make a regular choir member out of you yet.”

Instead of the light laugh she expected, Colin solemnly watched her. Though he didn’t touch her, she felt as powerless to release his sleeve as if he’d detained her hand. She couldn’t step away—his nearness drew her in like the promising warmth of a fire after being out in a storm.

“You know,” he murmured, his voice low, “you are rather charming when you jest like that.”

Nora’s pulse stuttered to a stop, then sped up again like a train gaining speed. She tried to remember why she’d been angry with him, tried to remember why she couldn’t allow anything more than friendship to blossom between them. But she couldn’t concentrate on any one thought, except for the growing desire to touch the hint of dark bristles covering his jaw.

Colin studied her lips as Jack had done last week, but this moment couldn’t be more different. A part of her, one growing more insistent by the second, actually wanted Colin to kiss her. How long had it been since she’d last felt the press of masculine lips against hers?

Not since before Tom left.

The memory crashed over her with all the effect of an ocean wave. She felt suddenly ill and cold. Releasing Colin’s sleeve, she stepped back, crossing her arms over her chest for warmth.

Forgive me, Tom.

She’d done nothing wrong, but even entertaining the idea of Colin kissing her felt like a betrayal. Her heart could never belong to anyone else. And yet, in this moment, the past felt more like a burden than a boon.

“I’ll . . . uh . . . just get my sweater, then we can go on that walk.” Nora went to pull the garment off its usual peg. Her hands shook slightly as she slipped the sweater on over her blouse. “Ready?”

A flicker of emotion gleamed in Colin’s dark eyes. Was it disappointment? Frustration? Would he forgive her abruptness or understand the source of her pain? As quickly as it had come, though, the sentiment faded and Colin shot her a carefree grin. “After you, fair lady.”

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31. Spotlight and Giveaway: Devil’s Moon by Amanda Scott

This morning I have Top 5 from Amanda Scott, as well as a giveaway her latest release, Devil’s Moon! 

Top 5 Items in your deadline survival kit by Amanda Scott:

1. a good outline

2. detailed character sketches

3. exhaustively researched historical backgrounds

4. detailed setting notes

5. major scenes drafted, outlined, and finished long before the deadline approaches.  

[Thing is, I’ve written and had more than 60 books published, so I don’t think in terms of deadline survival. That is not to say that I’ve never missed a deadline, although I’ve never missed one by much. Careful preparation and disciplined writing take most of the angst out of meeting deadlines.]

About DEVIL’S MOON:

A WARRIOR’S PROMISE

The last place Sir David “Devil” Ormiston expected his moonlight chase of a horse thief to end was in a lady’s bedchamber. He is shocked to find that the raider he has pursued is no man, but a defiant beauty in disguise-and the woman he’s vowed to protect at all costs. Face to face with a girl Dev thought he knew, the ever confident, marriage-resistant knight may learn that he is defenseless against the desirable woman she has become.

A LADY’S SECRET

Lady Robina Gledstanes will do anything to keep her family’s land out of the hands of her greedy kinsmen-except willingly submit to the handsome, cocksure Devil Ormiston. Dev’s help may be just as dangerous as the threats lurking outside her castle. But when enemies scheme to steal the castle’s treasure, Robina must risk losing something even more precious-her heart.


About Amanda Scott:

Amanda Scott is the author of over 62 romance novels and the recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award.  She lives in Folsom, California, outside of Sacramento.  She is a fourth-generation Californian. 


Amanda’s SM:

http://www.amandascottauthor.com

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003632657908

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/19MSGkI

BAM – http://bit.ly/1ENtCnX

B&N – http://bit.ly/1zGCZXm

IndieBound – http://bit.ly/1wJa8Kq

GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/1Df9nh1

iTunes – http://apple.co/19MSNNr

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1bqndWe

Excerpt:

Watching Dev, Robina was grateful for his restraint. They reached the graveyard soon afterward and dismounted to look at the grave. She sensed Rab’s presence strongly as they stood there, but he kept silent, too.

“What is it, Robby? Art sad again?”

Startled, she said, “Not sad, just pensive.”

“I think you have been pensive since I arrived, or longer,” he said. “Keeping secrets, or thinking about Rab?”

Uncertain how to reply, since the truth was unacceptable, she realized that silence was just as bad. Dev would surely suspect that she was keeping something from him.

She would have liked to tell him about the jar of coins, but Rab’s warning was sensible. And, in truth, whether Dev was currently master of Coklaw or not, the money belonged to Benjy, not to Dev.

The thought was disheartening, and she wished Rab would recall that he had trusted Dev. Confiding in him should be not only safe but sensible.

Rab, however, remained as silent as his grave.

“We should head back down,” she said with a sigh.

“Keeping secrets then,” Dev said grimly. “Don’t you trust me?”

“Oh, Dev, no, don’t think that,” she said, putting a hand to his arm, shocked that he had so nearly guessed her thoughts. “I know I’ve been a bit difficult, but—” Breaking off when he grinned, she said bluntly, “Do you think that was funny?”

He shook his head and bit his lower lip.

“Damnation, David Ormiston, do you dare to laugh at me now?”

“Nay, nay, I’m striving mightily not to laugh or to say what I’m thinking.”

“Just what were you thinking?”

“That when you refuse to tell me what you are thinking and then say that I’m mistaken to suspect a lack of trust, you make me want to kiss you one minute and put you over my knee the next. But, by heaven, if you swear at me again, I’ll—”

“I won’t swear,” she said hastily. “But neither will I tell you all I think. Some things are still private, sir, one’s thoughts especially so. But if you want to kiss me again,” she added, feeling suddenly and strangely shy but determined, “you may.”

“May I?” He raised his eyebrows. “I will admit that I enjoyed your kiss when we were here before. But others would say that I’d taken advantage of you.”

“They would be wrong,” Robina said. “I kissed you first. I wanted to know how it would feel, and now I want to know if it feels the same way whenever one kisses a man. I do trust you with my virtue, Dev.”

“Do you, Robby? You should not be so trusting. Sithee, I’m not certain I can trust myself. You’re a mighty tempting wench. But there are rules.”

“Bother the rules,” she said. “Do you not want to kiss me?”

“Aye, sure, I do,” he responded, pulling her roughly into his arms.

Uncertain now, but curious, she looked up and tried to gauge his mood. But he allowed her no time for that before his lips claimed hers, hot and demanding.

As he held her close, she heard him moan quietly in his throat.

***

Dev heard his moan, too, and realized that she had bewitched him. He wanted her in every way—other than marriage, of course, he reminded himself brutally. He suspected, though, that her invitation had just been an attempt to avoid answering his question about the secrets she was keeping from him.

The pliskie lass needed a lesson, and he needed release for his own emotions or whatever it was that enflamed his body, if only to show her the dangers of tormenting men … one man, at least.

Thrusting his tongue into her mouth and finding it hot inside and yet softly yielding, he pressed his lower body tightly against hers, letting her feel his desire.

She was too short, but a flat-topped boulder sat nearby. Without warning or sign, he lifted her to stand on it and did so without releasing her mouth.

For once in her life, she did not fight him but wrapped her arms around him and held him as tightly as he held her.

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32. Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Rachel’s Deception by Karen Ann Hopkins

This morning I have a cover reveal and giveaway for Rachel’s Deception by Karen Ann Hopkins.  I enjoyed the Temptation series, and I’m looking forward to reading the continuation.  Noah’s sister Rachel and Rose’s younger brother take center stage, and I can’t wait to find out what happens.  Check out the cover, revealed below, and then enter the giveaway!

 

Growing up Amish is difficult…but leaving it behind is even harder.

Noah was Amish…Rose wasn’t. Being together should have been impossible. But somehow they found a way to make it work. They are finally a family, but their happily-ever-after is still a long off. Will Rose and her friends be able to force real change?

Karen Ann Hopkins returns with a gripping new book in the YA Temptation series. The powerful family saga continues with Rachel’s Deception, as events spiral out of control in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview. And Rachel Miller has her own secrets to hide. Noah’s younger sister has been living a double life. That is, until Justin Cameron, Rose’s little brother, catches her in the act. Rachel is not the obedient Amish girl that her sister was, and her rebelliousness takes her to a very dangerous world. A world that only her true friends can help her escape from.

As Rachel questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment, Rose discovers what it really means to be shunned. And an evil shadow looms on the horizon, threatening not only Rose, but everyone she holds dear.

The Temptation Series:

Temptation (Book 1)   onGoodreads |Get a Copy  Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

Belonging (Book 2)  on Goodreads | Get a Copy Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

Forever  (Book 3)  on Goodreads | Get a Copy Amazon |B&N |Indiebound

The Temptation Series is now on Audible!


Here is some exciting news for all those audiobook lovers out there: The Temptation Series will be available April 21st and you can Pre-Oder your copy right now! Listen to a sample on audible.

 

A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.

Karen is generously offering up a $25 gift card (Amazon or B&N) as well as a copy of TEMPTATION (book 1) to one lucky winner! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form

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33. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor by Paula Quinn

This morning I have a guest post and giveaway for Paula Quinn’s latest, The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor.

Top 5 distractions while working on a deadline by Paula Quinn

Everything is a distraction when I’m working on a deadline. The worst are:

1. Shopping

2. Arrow (The T.V. show. Have you seen it? Have you seen Stephen Amell?)

3. My dogs. The seem to know when I’m on a deadline and want all my attention.

4. Journaling—I love to write!

5. Reading

About THE SCANDALOUS SECRET OF ABIGAIL MACGREGOR:

A LADY’S MISSION . . . 

Known for her beauty and boldness, Abigail MacGregor must preserve her clan’s dangerous secret: that her mother is the true heir to the English Crown. If the wrong people find out, it will mean war for her beloved Scotland. To keep peace, she embarks for London, unprepared for the treachery that awaits-especially from her wickedly handsome escort. He is the enemy, but his slow, sensuous kisses entice her beyond reason . . . 

A WARRIOR’S TEMPTATION

General Daniel Marlow, loyal knight and the kingdom’s most desirable hero, would rather be on the battlefield than transporting a spoiled Highland lass. But Abby MacGregor is unlike any woman he’s ever met, in a ballroom or in his bedroom. Captivated by her daring spirit and seduced by her lovely innocence, Daniel must choose between betraying his queen or giving up the woman who would steal his country-and his traitorous heart.


About Paula Quinn:

New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven.  She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.


Paula’s SM:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/253272.Paula_Quinn?from_search=true

http://facebook.com/pages/Fans-of-Paula-Quinn/336691429368

https://www.pinterest.com/quinnsromance/

http://www.paulaquinn.com/

@Paula_Quinn

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1IrFQEb

BAM – http://bit.ly/1FTJxCB

B&N – http://bit.ly/1u6Wkgl

IndieBound – http://bit.ly/1sFMkb3

GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/1CnmAXk

iTunes – http://apple.co/1AHmJGd

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1FBNoWy

Excerpt:

“Aye, ye did say that,” she murmured. “Well, since we’re both awake, we might as well spend the night together again.”

The innocence in her voice struck him in the guts. She wanted nothing more from him than someone to be with outside in the night.

He, on the other hand, was not innocent at all. Her choice of words sent a little spark of heat to his groin. The way she turned on the pads of her feet and ended up pressed against his side and tucked neatly under his shoulder tilted him on his axis a little.

“I’m cold,” she whispered, her teeth chattering.

He put up no fight when she lifted his arm around her shoulder, then covered them both with her plaid. The desire to protect her overwhelmed him and sent tremors through his muscles. He knew little of her. Was she an innocent daughter of a Jacobite chief, or part of some secret scheme Anne was devising.

Hell. Anne didn’t devise schemes.

“I wasn’t certain if you were ever going to speak to me again,” he said, when what he should have said was, You should go sleep somewhere, lady, and not on me.

“I was verra’ angry with ye. But I’ve forgiven ye.” He heard the smile in her voice and made a mental note of how well it pleased him that she was no longer angry. He would decide what to do about his unwanted concerns for her tomorrow. Right now, he only wanted to sit with her just like this, with her beneath his arm and pressed snuggly into his side. Warmth swept over him like fine wine until he felt drunk on it.

How was it that she fit so neatly into him, now and earlier when she slept in his lap, like she belonged there, close to him?

Close to his heart.

Hell, it scared him, and after fighting for over a decade, not much scared him anymore.

“D’ye have a wife, General Marlow?” Came her sweet voice against his chest.

“No, lady.”

“Are ye betrothed?”

“I am not.”

“Is there a lass somewhere who has yer heart?”

“No.”

“Well,” she laughed softly, “are all the ladies in England fools?”

“They’re the opposite,” he told her. “They’re wise to set their interests in another direction.”

She shook her head then tilted her face up to his. In the filtered light of the moon, he could make her out enough to fall victim to the alluring curves of her mouth, her soft, sweet breath against his chin. “Nae, they are fools not to try to win yer affections.”

He knew every reason there was to stop what he was thinking, what he was feeling, and what he was about to do. But reason was a puny opponent compared to desire.

Slipping one hand behind her nape and the other to her throat, he tilted her chin another half-inch then covered her mouth with his. The instant after he did it, he regretted it, but then she coiled her arms around his neck and drew him closer, and he couldn’t stop. He never wanted to. She didn’t resist him, in fact, she melted in his arms. She groaned softly when he drew his tongue across the seam of her mouth. She bit his lip and ignited his blood to liquid fire. He swept his tongue in and out of her, holding her close to him while they kissed, wanting nothing more from her than what she gave him now. Making love to her could be dangerous if Charlotte found out. He’d have to make sure she didn’t find out, at least until he had proof of other crimes and could arrest her. If she hurt Abigail before that he’d hang her himself.

He wondered, as he held her in his arms and kissed her long into the night, how he could be so content with one he was supposed to hate.

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34. Review: One Night with Her Bachelor by Kat Latham

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

After the smashing success of What a Bachelor Needs, I decided to give One Night with Her Bachelor a spin.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work as well for me, because I didn’t find the hero very appealing.  Yes, Gabriel is going through a rough patch, but, still, Dude, you have to bathe regularly.  He lives in his grandfather’s cabin in the middle of woods, a good hike from civilization, and the thought of living without electricity does absolutely nothing for me.  My idea of camping is checking into a Fairfield Inn, and that’s roughing it.  So a guy without a job, the internet, furniture, or a way to charge a Kindle – yeah, that’s not happening.

We meet Molly Dekker, a single mother working hard to provide a happy home for her exuberant son Josh.  On the weekend Josh is off on a camping trip, Molly decides she’s going to do something for herself.  She’s going to hike into the woods, find Gabriel’s cabin, and proposition the man she’s had the hots for since she was a girl.  Gabriel was her brother’s best friend, and when he was injured in the line of duty, he lost everything after the tragic accident. 

Gabriel is a former Air Force pararescueman, and when he’s sent to rescue the crew of a downed helicopter, he arrives too late to save Molly’s brother.  Worse, he’s terribly wounded, and his injures rob him of his job.  Unable to  remain in the service, he’s now at lose ends.  Suffering from PTSD, he retreats from his family and settles into the cabin in the woods, living like a hermit.  He only goes to town when he needs supplies, and when Molly shows up on his doorstep, he isn’t amused.  He’s not even sure what to think after she makes him an offer she thought he’d be delighted to accept.  All Gabriel wants is to be left alone.

While she’s trying to talk Gabriel into bed, she discovers her son has gone missing from his campsite.  Fearing the worst, she and Gabriel rush off in search of him.  When they find him, he’s been seriously injured, and Gabriel quickly takes matters into his own hands.  He rescues Josh, saving his life, but the boy is left paralyzed.

With Josh’s medical bills, Molly is now struggling to make ends meet.  She blames herself for Josh’s condition, and regrets ever going to Gabriel’s cabin.  She’s afraid to leave her son alone now, stifling his efforts at independence.  When her friend discovers how poorly she’s doing financially, she organizes a charity auction to help her raise money, despite Molly’s protests. 

As you have probably already guessed, Molly ends up with Gabriel as her bachelor.  While there were sparks between them and some of the dialog was very fun, I don’t have a whole lot of confidence in their HEA.  They struggled to communicate, and their conflict resolution skills left a lot to be desired.  They are both still so emotionally raw from the enormous potholes in their lives that it was hard for me to believe they were up to the complications that go hand in hand with a relationship.  Gabriel can’t even confide to Molly about his accident, because he still hasn’t come to terms with it himself.  When he finally does, Molly was justifiably irked at his lack of trust in her.

So, bottom line –  while I liked getting the scoop on the backstory for the series, aspects of One Night with Her Bachelor just did not work for me.  The hero wasn’t my cuppa, and the couple’s inability to communicate didn’t give me a sense that they’ll enjoy their HEA.

Grade:  C

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Bid on a date with this wounded warrior for an unforgettable night of adventure. Aim high—and bid higher!—because no one comes close to local hero Gabriel Morales.

Molly Dekker hates being the town charity case, but when her son Josh is seriously injured she has no choice. She lets her best friend organize a bachelor auction to help pay her massive bills and make Josh’s life more comfortable. She can’t bid on any of the men, but a surprise bidder gives her a gift she never expected: a date with the man who saved her son’s life—the only one she’s in danger of losing her heart to.

Former Air Force pararescueman Gabriel Morales made a career of flying to the rescue, until a tragic helicopter crash stole more than his livelihood. Being auctioned off like a slab of beef isn’t in his recovery plan. But one look, one touch and one night unlocking Molly’s pent-up passion make him realize how badly he needs to be rescued…and how badly he wants to rescue Molly right back.

Will Molly and Gabriel’s never-quit attitude have them rushing head-first into love? Or will Gabriel’s secret pain stall their relationship before it can get off the ground?

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35. Interview and Giveaway: Kim Amos, Author of A Kiss to Build a Dream On

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

{Kim Amos] Toast the ghost! He’s a stuffed ghost I found at Target one year on the Halloween clearance rack. He looked so lonely, so I took him home, and now I sleep with him even though I’m probably well past the age when I should be sleeping with stuffed anything but, hey, he’s super snuggly! When I travel, he always comes with me.

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

{Kim Amos] Post-Its (I’m forever making lists, hoo boy do I love a good list), Tana French’s novel THE SECRET PLACE (it’s amazing, everyone should read it, especially mystery lovers), and an antique pen that’s gilded and lovely, which my wonderful sister-in-law bought me.

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

{Kim Amos] CARBS OMG ALL THE CARBS NOW OM NOM NOM. Just kidding. Sort of. Not really. I’m a carb-o-holic, which I’m trying to change and be better about. It’s tough! So these days, I’ll probably snack on some air-popped popcorn (instead of, say, all the Doritos in a two-mile radius), or even an apple and peanut butter. Around this time of year, though, the Cadbury mini-eggs are definitely calling to me!

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

{Kim Amos] Amelia Earhart, I think. She was gutsy and brave in so many admirable ways during a time when not much was expected of women. I would love to hear her internal thoughts and learn how she shut out the haters. Her spirit of adventure awes me.

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

{Kim Amos] I would have the power to help every animal that needed a home, love, and care. I would be a voice for animals that had no voice. I’d help them in any way I could, and hopefully ensure they all had wonderful lives. *tries to hug all the animals*

About A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON

Twelve years ago, beautiful, blond, wealthy Willa Masterson left White Pine, tires squealing, for New York City, without looking back.  Since then, she’s enjoyed everything New York has to offer a girl with unlimited resources. But the recent discovery that her boyfriend has squandered her inheritance in a Ponzi scheme sends Willa back to White Pine, to the only asset she has left: her childhood home, which she plans to turn into a high-end B&B. 
Enter Burk Olmstead, the best contractor in town-and Willa’s high school boyfriend, whom she left high and dry when she moved away.  Hard-working, hard-bodied Burk, who has been taking care of Willa’s childhood home for years, also has plans for the beautiful old house-plans that conflict with Willa’s B&B.  When these two argue, sparks fly and reignite the fire that’s always been between them…but it may take the whole town of White Pine to get these two lovers back together for good. 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1xfmEZm
B&N: http://bit.ly/1ErH3HJ
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1AxKQ4M
BAM!: http://bit.ly/1F4vQC8
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1I04MCu

About Kim Amos

A Midwesterner whose roots run deep, Kim Amos is a writer living in Michigan with her husband and three furry animals. 

Website: http://www.kimamoswrites.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kimamoswrites

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

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36. Review: What a Bachelor Needs by Kelly Hunter

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I was kind of avoiding the Bachelor Auction books because, at first, they didn’t interest me.  I just read a book where the hero was auctioned off, so the premise wasn’t even catchy.  But then.  But THEN!  I saw that Kelly Hunter wrote What a Bachelor Needs and I was so on board I forgot my life vest.

I have read and enjoyed many of Kelly Hunter’s works.  I love her dialog and how the protagonists interact, and the secondary characters are always fun to meet, too.   All of that is true here. There is so much humor in WaBN that I actually laughed out a loud a few times, startling the puppers.  It’s okay, though, they have already realized that mom is kinda weird, but her love is genuine, so they didn’t scurry off to locate a hiding place.

Single mom Mardie is struggling to provide a safe, secure home for her young daughter Claire.  The victim of domestic abuse, she was in one horrific marriage and she’s not going to make that mistake again.  On the lowest night of her life, Jett Casey, the guy she’d been crushing on since high school, saves her after she’s taken a beating in an alley.  Mardie is mortified that Jett is her rescuer, and despite her objections, she allows him to call emergency services so she receive the medical attention is obviously needs. 

This meeting changed both of the their lives.  It made Mardie realize that she deserved better and that she was worth something.  It overwhelmed Jett with guilt because he didn’t think he did enough for Mardie.  He just let her go, back into whatever hellish situation he’s momentarily saved her from.  When he has a chance to do something about it a few years later, he takes the opportunity to assuage his guilt very seriously.

Mardie doesn’t have two nickels to rub together, and she’s too proud to ask for help from anyone.  When her friend buys Jett for her, she’s not happy.  But Jett, a competitive skier, is sidelined with an injury, so he’s offered to be the winner’s handyman.  Mardie’s house needs a lot of TLC, so she’s finally convinced that letting Jett fix a few things will make it a safer environment for Claire.  She also learns that occasionally asking for help isn’t a bad thing, a hard lesson for her to learn.

I loved Jett.  He is such a kind, giving guy, and he only wants to help Mardie.  He’s a ski god, enjoys having a good time, and has women throwing themselves at him.  But once he starts tinkering around Mardie’s house, he only has eyes for her.  She fights the attraction she feels for him, but their chemistry shines on every page.  Mardie’s reservations are completely believable, too.  Once the week is over, he’s just going to go off on his merry way, traveling the world and winning more titles.  Mardie doesn’t think she has anything to offer him, despite his protestations to the contrary.  She’s still fighting the demons from her past, and she doesn’t think she can ever trust again.

What a Bachelor Needs is a fast, fun read with snappy dialog and a kind, compassionate hero who is very heroic, and, hey, he does home improvements!  If that doesn’t make Jett Mr. Perfect, I don’t know what would.  If you have a couple hours to fill this weekend, I highly recommend getting cozy with this book.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Your date with ski champ Jett Casey is an either/or deal. He’ll take you off-piste for the ultimate Montana ski adventure or he’ll put his handyman skills at your disposal for a week. Which one would you choose?

Single mom Mardie Griffin has a run-down old house in need of fixing and a memory of Jett Casey as her savior in a time of great need. So when her friends acquire Jett’s services at a bachelor auction and send him to fix up her house, she sets aside her mistrust of men and lets him in.

Elite athlete Jett Casey has the world at his feet and no desire for stability. But there’s one woman he’s never forgotten and if he can help make her safe this time, maybe she’ll stop haunting him.

No strings, no sex, no commitment. Just fix things. Surely it can’t be that difficult…

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37. Guest Post and Giveaway: Sebastian’s Lady Spy by Sharon Cullen

 

  Please give a warm welcome to Sharon Cullen!  She’s here to chat about spies. 

Top Five Female Spies by Sharon Cullen

First of all I want to thank you for hosting me today. I’m so excited about the release of Sebastian’s Lady Spy. This was a fun book to write because these two characters were so suited for each other but too hard-headed to realize it until it was almost too late.

Usually when we hear about spies, we hear about male spies but there were plenty of female spies throughout the ages that had an impact on history.

Here are five of the more interesting ones:

  1. Belle Boyd was a female spy during the Civil War who ran a hotel and ferried information from union soldiers to confederate soldiers using her maid.

  2. Josephine Baker was a renowned beauty and musician who was cleared to play in France during WWII. She worked for the French resistance passing secret information in her sheet music.

  3. Nancy Wake (my personal favorite) worked for the French resistance during WWII. She cycled more than 500 miles to replace destroyed codes and she killed an SS sentry with her bare hands.

  4. Sarah Emma Edmonds was a master of disguise and actually served in the Union Army during the Civil Was as a man named Frank Thompson.

  5. Mata Hari is an interesting study and probably one of the best known of female spies. She was a courtesan and an exotic dancer from India as well as a spy in WWII. She was shot and killed by the French.

Sebastian’s Lady Spy
Secrets & Seduction # 5

By: Sharon Cullen

Releasing March 31st, 2015

Loveswept

Blurb

Seduction abounds in Sharon Cullen’s steamy historical romance! For the Crown’s top agents, love is a hazard best avoided—until an unforgettable affair exposes their undercover hearts.

Sebastian Addison has a powerful secret. To society he is the Earl of Claybrook, the patriarch who raised his siblings after the death of their parents. But to the king, Sebastian is Britain’s top spy—a position that has taken an emotional toll on him. Contessa Gabrielle Marciano has also been living a lie, her title a cover devised by the Office of Intelligence. The femme fatale was plucked from a life of crime and prostitution and trained to restrain her passionate nature. Until she meets the earl.

For three deeply sensual days and nights, Sebastian and Gabrielle drop their masks, indulging in pleasures that seem too good to be true. Then the lovers go their separate ways. Seven months later they reunite when inside sources report that an English aristocrat has been aiding France in a plot to topple the Crown. Their objective: to find the turncoat. Their greatest challenge: to keep their wild, wounded hearts from derailing a mission of life and death.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/01/sebastians-lady-spy-secrets-seduction-5.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23167091-sebastian-s-lady-spy?ac=1

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/137236-secrets-seduction

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

 

Author Info

Sharon Cullen is the author of the historical romances The Notorious Lady Anne, Loving the Earl, and Pleasing the Pirate, as well as many novels of romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books, you can visit her blog or her website. She is addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion: books.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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

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38. Fresh Romance on Kickstarter

Janelle Asselin is trying to raise $28,000 on Kickstarter to fund the first three issues of a new monthly digital romance comics magazine called Fresh Romance.

The publication aims to bring romance to the comics with modern characters. Each monthly issue will feature three full color comics stories. Each story will also be released in its own eBook collection. The creators will own their work and will be paid a royalty. The more money they raise, the more they will pay their writers.

Check it out:

For every $10,000 we go over our goal, every single creator currently signed on to publish a story with Rosy Press will get a 15% page rate bump (so, at $48,000 everyone would get a 30% page rate bump and at $58,000 everyone would get a 45% page rate bump, etc).

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39. Spotlight: The Closer You Come by Gena Showalter

 

Gena Showalter has a new book coming out, and she’s here to tell us about the heroine of The Closer You Come, Brook Lynn Dillon.

The heroine in this book is strong and independent.  And she’s also had to struggle her whole life with a disability.  Tell us more about how that came to be in the story?

GS: When I was a teenager, I had episodes where my ears rang so loudly all other sounds were distorted.  During those times, I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand.  I was in and out of the doctor’s office and tested for this and that—I’m fine now, by the way.  I’m completely healed, but I liked the idea of pairing a big, strong he-beast of a man with a vulnerable woman, sending his protective instincts into overdrive.  It’s what ~I~ wanted when I was going through my ordeal.

Gena Showalter

The Closer You Come (The Original Heartbreakers #1)

March 31, 2015

Just released from prison, Jase Hollister has a dark and twisted past.  And now, he has only one goal: stay out of trouble. Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, sounds like the perfect place for him and his two brothers-by-circumstance to settle down and live a nice, simple life. But model citizen isn’t exactly this rugged bachelor’s default setting—especially when it comes to a certain hot-blooded Southern beauty…

Brook Lynn Dillon has always been responsible. Not that it’s done her much good. The down-on-her-luck waitress is broke, single and fun-deprived. Until Jase comes along. He is dangerous, stunningly protective, breathtakingly sexy and as tempting as sin, and the passion sizzling between them is undeniable. But can it melt her resistance? After all, the right kind of trouble might be just what they both need.

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21844938-the-closer-you-come

Buy links:

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Closer-You-Come-Original-Heartbreakers-ebook/dp/B00OY9Z90O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423619433&sr=8-1&keywords=gena+showalter+the+closer+you+come

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-closer-you-come-gena-showalter/1120348729?ean=9780373779628

iTunes/iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-closer-you-come/id933738963?mt=11&uo=4

GooglePlay:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Gena_Showalter_The_Closer_You_Come?id=qrYYBQAAQBAJ

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-closer-you-come

About Author
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances, as well as young adult novels. Her series include White Rabbit Chronicles, Angels of the Dark, Otherworld Assassins, Lords of the Underworld, Alien Huntress and Intertwined.

Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated all over the world. The critics have called her books “sizzling page-turners” and “utterly spellbinding stories”, while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”.

Website: http://members.genashowalter.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/@genashowalter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/genashowalter

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40. Friday Feature: Looking For Love


My new adult contemporary romance, Looking For Love, is now available! While this is part of the Campus Crush series, you should know that it's a companion series and the books don't have to be read in order. Each features a different couple and stands completely on its own.


Mike Hannigan is looking for love in all the wrong places. Maybe that’s because having his heart torn to shreds by who he thought was the perfect girl left some emotional scarring. But that’s about to change. 



Summer Patterson isn’t like anyone Mike’s dated before, and he can’t help but be intrigued by her. Now if only he could keep his foot out of his mouth long enough to win her over. But when a secret involving Summer brings Mike’s past crashing back to the present, he’ll need some backup from his best friend and wingwoman, Mindy, to sort out the mess.



Will Mike find love before he leaves Timberland College for good?


*This is a New Adult title and is not suitable for younger readers.*

But that's not all. 

I also updated the Campus Crush paperback to include this novella. So if you want to have all the novellas in the series in one place, you can get that from the paperback here

The Campus Crush ebook was not updated and still remains FREE. However, that means Looking For Love is NOT part of the free ebook boxset.

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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41. Guest Post and Giveaway: Maeve Greyson, Author of My Highland Lover

Please give a warm welcome to Maeve Greyson!  She’s hijacking the virtual control panel to tell you about her latest release, My Highland Lover.

Hello there! I’m Maeve Greyson and I’m very pleased to be here. My new release, MY HIGHLAND LOVER, the first book in my Highland Hearts series, is Trulie Sinclair’s story. Trulie’s the eldest of four time-traveling sisters and her matchmaking Granny has grand plans for her future—in the past.

Trulie and Granny jump from Kentucky in the year 2014 to Scotland of 1247. Needless to say, the world of 1247 is drastically different—culturally, politically and any other adjective you’d like to slap with an “ly”. But really, you don’t have to look back that many years to realize just how much has changed in the world in a very short time.

Remember when mobile phones were the size of a brick and the only way they’d work was if you had them plugged into the cigarette lighter of your car? Now, not only are some cell phones the size of a playing card, cigarette lighters are no longer a standard feature on a car.

And look at the publishing industry. When I first started writing, to sell a story to a publisher, you had to type a letter, on paper, with a typewriter—and not white-out too many typo’s on the paper so the publisher wouldn’t think the finished letter was a childish, white-out art project instead of a professional correspondence.

Then, you’d mail it. You know—in an envelope, with a stamp? And then wait. And wait. Sitting by the mailbox like a vulture waiting for something to die.

When the glorious day came and that editor from that golden publisher sent you a letter expressing an interest, you printed your story out—neatly typed, double-spaced, one side only with one inch margins. Then you boxed up that ream of paper, lovingly tucked a thank-you-for-not-throwing-me-in-the-slush-pile letter on top and shipped the ten pound box of your story to the wonderful editor. And then you became the mailbox vulture again.

Now, you email when you’re shopping out a story. Or sometimes fill out website forms in hopes of connecting with a particular publisher. Of course, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the vulture part. But trust me; watching for emails is a heckuva lot more comfortable than sitting on a stump beside the mailbox.

My Highland Lover
Highland Hearts # 1

By: Maeve Greyson

Releasing March 24th, 2015

Loveswept

Blurb

Maeve Greyson unleashes a thrilling tale of magic and desire as a feisty Southern gal falls into the arms of a rough-hewn Highland chieftain.

As the proprietor of a homeopathic store in rural Kentucky, Trulie Sinclair knows that her neighbors think she’s strange—but they have no idea how strange she really is. Trulie was born in Scotland in the thirteenth century to a line of time-traveling Highlanders. When Trulie’s grandmother convinces her to return to their homeland, Trulie jumps back in time, right onto the powerful chest of Gray MacKenna. Just as his steely good looks send ripples through her body, their fierce attraction will send ripples through the ages.

After his parents murdered, Gray is consumed by thoughts of revenge. As the new chieftain of the MacKenna clan, he has reason to believe that there’s a traitor in his midst, and nothing—not even the bonny lass who suddenly drops from the sky—can distract him from his single-minded pursuit of the culprit. But when Gray learns that this sassy beauty possesses gifts beyond the sparkle in her eye, he allows his gaze, and his heart, to linger. While he hunts for the murderer, Gray finds in Trulie a precious companion—and a timeless love.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/01/my-highland-lover-highland-hearts-1-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23167115-my-highland-lover?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/137240-highland-hearts

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

 

Author Info

No one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them. That’s been Maeve Greyson’s mantra since she was a girl. When she’s not at the full time day job at the steel mill, Maeve’s writing romances about sexy Highlanders and the women who tame them. Tucked away in a five acre wood, Maeve listens to the wind singing through the trees and hears her characters telling their stories. Her work is proofed by her sharp-eyed dog, Jasper, and her greatest supporter is her long suffering husband of over thirty-five years who’s learned not to throw away any odd sticky notes filled with strange phrases.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 eGift Card to choice book seller, Loveswept Mug and Nail Polish)

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42. Spotlight and Giveaway: Married to a Perfect Stranger by Jane Ashford

Today we are pleased to sit down with John and Mary Bexley, the protagonists from Jane Ashford’s Married to a Perfect Stranger (March 2015). From February 23rd through March 20th the Bexleys will be answering questions about their relationship at each stop in their tour!

Who is your spouse’s most intimidating family member, of those you’ve met?

Mary: You’d think it would be his eldest brother, because he’s very opinionated. But actually it’s his mother.

John: Really? I choose Mary’s nephew Daniel. He appears to believe he is a wild animal.

Mary: It was just the one bone. And he’s not even two years old.

John: Precisely.

Title: Married to a Perfect Stranger

Author: Jane Ashford

Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015

ISBN: 9781492601906

Time and distance have changed them both…

Quiet and obliging, Mary Fleming and John Bexley marry to please their families and John immediately leaves on a two-year diplomatic mission. Now John is back, and everything they thought they knew about each other was wrong…

It’s disconcerting, irritating—and somehow all very exciting…

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. Her romances have been published all over the world. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Excerpt

John Bexley reined in his hired horse on a slight rise and gazed down at the red brick manor, somnolent under the August sun. Eager as he was to get to London, he’d felt he must detour west into Somerset to fetch Mary. Her family’s decision to put her under the care of a great-aunt while he was away just showed he was right to fear that such a shy, quiet girl couldn’t arrange a journey on her own. And now that he was here, the sight of this place soothed him; it looked the very essence of English country comfort and peace.

John’s knock was answered by an aged butler. He gave his name, stepped in, and inhaled the familiar scents of beeswax polish and potpourri. The place reminded him of his own home farther north. Golden light pooled on the wooden floor and gleamed on the stair rail. In the rooms on either side of the entry, the furnishings were classic and inviting. Mary had certainly had a beautiful and serene spot in which to wait for him. “Mary’s husband,” he added when it seemed as if the old man didn’t know what to do with him. “I believe I am expected.”

“Yes, si…”

A filthy, hysterical chicken shot through the rear door of the dining parlor on his left, skidded in a turn around the table, and raced past him, neck extended, screeching, flapping its mottled wings. A little boy slathered with mud came racing after it, careened off the doorjamb, and staggered across the entryway, leaving streaks and globs of dirt in his wake. The old butler stiffened in horror.

The bird hopped across a flowered sofa in the front parlor, stitching it with muddy tracks, circled the delicate carpet, and looped back toward John. The boy in pursuit slipped, fell, jumped up, and turned to follow. He flapped muddy hands at the fowl in an inept attempt to trap it.

What seemed like a herd of adults jostled into the dining parlor, then surged forward. “Arthur!” snapped a young woman, her voice crackling with authority.

“It isn’t my fault,” the boy shouted over the wild squawking. “I pulled her from the mire. Fox was after her. I never shot her or nothing.”

As the crazed chicken surged past him, John bent, reached, and snatched hold of its legs. When he straightened, he held the muddy bird upside down, at arm’s length, well away from his clothing. It flapped and protested; flakes of dirt dropped to the floor.

“Good!” said the managing female, striding from the dining room into the hall. “Take it from him, Alice, and put it outside at once.”

The middle-aged maid jumped to obey like a subaltern responding to a commanding general. The butler relaxed. The boy stood to attention. “It wasn’t me, I swear,” he repeated. “I rescued ’er. I killed three rats as well. Would have been four, but I…”

“Very well, Arthur,” the woman replied. “Go now and get cleaned up.”

The boy finally noticed the mud sliding from his clothes to the polished floor. His face shifted from defensive to horrified, and he slunk out. In the same moment, John realized that the woman with a voice like a sergeant major was his meek little sparrow of a wife.

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43. Spirit Circle Manga Review

Title: Spirit Circle Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Publisher: Shonen Gahosha (JP), Viz Media (US) Story/Artist: Satoshi Mizukami Serialized in: Young King Comics (33 out of 33 chapters reviewed) Fuuta Okeya lives a normal life and has gotten to his second year of middle school without incident, although he can see some spirits including the one following his new classmate, ... Read more

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44. Spotlight and Giveaway: Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster

This morning have a spotlight and giveaway for Bec McMaster’s Of Silk and Steam.  If I was a character in one of her London Steampunk books, I would be Honoria Todd.  Would I look as fetching in a top hat?

Title: Of Silk and Steam

Author: Bec McMaster

Series: London Steampunk

Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015

ISBN: 9781402291944

ENEMIES. ALLIES. LOVERS.

When her beloved father was assassinated, Lady Aramina swore revenge. The man responsible is well beyond her grasp, but his dangerously seductive heir, Leo Barrons, is fair game. When Mina obtains evidence proving that Leo is illegitimate, she has the means to destroy both the killer and his son, a man who troubles her heart and tempts her body.

A woman of mystery, Mina’s long driven Leo crazy with glimpses of a fiery passion that lurks beneath her icy veneer. He knows she’s hiding something, and he’s determined to unravel her layer by silken layer. He just doesn’t expect the beautiful liar to be the key to overthrowing the corrupt prince consort…or to saving his own carefully walled-off heart.

Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, RWA (Australia) and RWNZ, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds.

An Excerpt

Barrons looked at her. “Do you trust me?”

“No.” His father would have cut her down without thinking, but Barrons was an enigma. If he were a different man, she would have enjoyed his attentions, but a part of her couldn’t help wondering if his pursuit of her was just a way to get closer, to slip the knife in when she least expected it…

Could she trust that he meant her no harm?

His hand tightened around hers, dark heat sweeping through his irises. He focused on her so intently that she could almost feel it on her skin. “Then let us call a temporary truce for tonight. I shall help you escape. In return…”

“Yes?”

His voice roughened. “I want a kiss.”

A kiss. Tension slid sinuously along her limbs, each muscle clenching. Those motives she could certainly understand. It didn’t mean she had to like them.

Wariness spread through her as he lifted his hand and slowly, carefully brushed the back of his fingers against her lips. She didn’t flinch. Instead she tipped her chin up and glared him down. “Help me escape and I shall grant you such a liberty.” What harm could a single kiss do? “Until then”—she took a step back, her skirts swishing around her ankles—“I’ll thank you to keep your hands to yourself.”

His hand dropped but the ghostly sensation of that touch lingered, reminding her that it had been a long time since she’d been touched in any way intimately, and never like this. Never…soft. Full of gentleness, as if the very sensation of her skin beneath his was a pleasure in itself, not merely a step to greater satisfaction.

He was far more dangerous than she’d ever suspected, and she’d known, since the first moment she’d met him, that he was dangerous indeed. He was the only man who had ever managed to make her feel something.

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45. Marry, Kiss or Kill! Blog Tour with Susanna Ives, Author of Wicked, My Love and Giveaway

Today we are pleased to have Susanna Ives join us for a round of Marry, Kiss or Kill! For this stop, we asked her to choose between Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Lando Calrissian:

“I can’t kill handsome, smooth-talking Lando Calrissian. In kindergarten when the teacher asked for things that begin with the letter “l”, my daughter stood up and cried, “Lando Calrissian!” I’m marrying Lando.

That leaves me to decide the fates of Princess Leia and Han Solo.

Hmmm. So it goes down like this: I’m kissing Han Solo in a dark, crazy corner of the Mos Eisley Cantina, when Princess Leia enters and gets up in my face about how Han is hers. I tell her how much I admire her and that we could share Han, because he’s an adventuresome kind of guy who would go for that. But no, she has to pull her blaster on me. What I do next is merely in self-defense. But she pulled first.”

 

Title: Wicked, My Love

Author: Susanna Ives

Series: Wicked Little Secrets

Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015

ISBN: 9781402283604

A smooth-talking rogue and a dowdy financial genius

Handsome, silver-tongued politician Lord Randall doesn’t get along with his bank partner, the financially brilliant but hopelessly frumpish Isabella St. Vincent. Ever since she was his childhood nemesis, he’s tried—and failed—to get the better of her.

Make a perfectly wicked combination

When both Randall’s political career and their mutual bank interests are threatened by scandal, he has to admit he needs Isabella’s help. They set off on a madcap scheme to set matters right. With her wits and his charm, what could possibly go wrong? Only a volatile mutual attraction that’s catching them completely off guard…

Susanna Ives started writing when she left her job as a multimedia training developer to stay home with her family. Now she keeps busy driving her children to various classes, writing books, and maintaining websites. She often follows her husband on business trips around Europe and blogs about the misadventures of touring with children. She lives in Atlanta.

Buy Links:

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Chapters

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An Excerpt:

She stationed herself by the window and scowled as if to say to the people looking in her window for vacant seats, Don’t get in this carriage. It’s occupied by a dangerous, sleep-deprived, hysterical woman who wants to be left alone. Stay away. Stay away. When the conductor’s whistle blew and the train started to rumble underneath her feet, she released her held breath and rested her head against the back of the seat.

Wham! The carriage door flew open and a brown leather bag went flying past her, hitting the opposite wall. Randall leaped in just as the train lurched forward.“Good morning, love.”

“W-what are you doing?” she cried, the great plan that she’d spent the night weaving suddenly torn to shreds. “You’re supposed to be getting your black heart shackled to some beautiful nincompoop.”

“You didn’t really think I was going to let you go alone?”

“No, of course not,” she stammered, feeling stupid. Why was she so terrible at understanding subtle meanings? She took everyone at their literal word. She should have known better from that slippery snake of a man. After all, he was a politician, and a good one, in a profession not renowned for its honesty and forthrightness.

He sat himself down beside her, his woodsy scent clogging her nose and setting her nerves alight. She switched to the opposite seat. “And don’t sit next to me. I don’t want people to think we’re lovers.”

“We’re lovers?” He shot her a sly glance. “Did you get me foxed out of my poor wits, take advantage of me in my defenseless state, and then not have the courtesy to tell me? Did I enjoy it?”

She refused to dignify that bit of lunacy with a direct answer. “Your mother, Judith, everyone thinks that I l-love you. Oh, my throat hurts for uttering such moronic nonsense.”

He extended his legs, cupped his hands behind his head, and let a charming smile laze on his lips. His blue coat molded to his lean, flat belly and the contour of his sex bulged in his brown trousers. “Naturally they think that,” he said. “What’s not to love?”

She averted her eyes, determined not to look at his male part. However, the generous, manly swell in the fabric was now emblazoned on her brain. “I really don’t have the time to discuss all the things that I don’t love about you. The list is quite long, and I’m a bit upset. I didn’t get any sleep, and now you are here to complicate everything. I just…just want to read.” She unfurled her journal and bowed her head, hoping he would take that as a cue to be quiet.

She gently rocked in her seat, as if it were a comforting cradle, trying to keep her curious eyes from roving back to his lap as she read and reread the first paragraph in an article about interest rates in the banks of Holland. She had almost made it to the second paragraph when she felt his shoulder rub against hers.

“Just relax,” he said, settling next to her. “We’re not lovers. I detest you as much as you detest me.”

“I don’t detest you,” she corrected. “I just don’t like you some—well, most of the time.”

“I certainly despise you, no question about that. Now that we have our mutual dislike for each other clarified, I think we should play a little game.”

She looked at him askew. “The our bank fails, we lose all our money, and our names and reputations are ruined game? I hear that it’s great fun until they cart us off to the poorhouse.”

“No, it’s the let’s-invent-false-identities-so-as-not-to-cast-suspicion game.”

“Oh.” It made sense. She hated when Randall made sense.

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46. Orange Manga Review

Title: Orange Genre: Slice of Life, Romance Publisher: Futabasha (JP), Crunchyroll (US) Story/Artist: Ichigo Takano Serialized in: Manga Action A review copy was provided by Crunchyroll I tend to find straight up romances boring these days. Kuniko Ikuhara (lately of Yuri Kuma Arashi) says it very well here, that [straight] romances have been done so ... Read more

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47. Spotlight and Giveaway: Tycoon Takedown by Ruth Cardello

This morning I have an excerpt from Ruth Cardello’s Tycoon Takedown.  Check it out, and then enter for a chance to win a digital copy!

Exclusive Excerpt: Tycoon Takedown by Ruth Cardello

“I took the morning off, but I have a charity dinner I committed to before I knew you’d be here.” Charles told Melanie. “Attend it with me.”

“Like a date?”

He hugged her to his side. “Whatever you want to call it.”

Melanie stiffened against him. “I’d rather not. I didn’t bring anything suitable to wear to something like that.” She wasn’t sure she wanted to attend a public function with him.

In the dim light of the room, he looked down at her, his expression unreadable. “It’s a formal event, but I don’t care what you wear.”

He wouldn’t. His arrogance was part of what she found attractive about him. He didn’t give a damn what others thought of him. Still, she couldn’t help but test his limits. “Really? You’re okay if I go in jeans and my boots?”

He took her chin in his hand and turned her face so she’d have to meet his eyes. She couldn’t read them in the shadows.”Why are you angry?”

She tried to pull back from him, but he held her to his side. She didn’t want to admit it, but the idea of attending something with him intimidated her. She told herself she didn’t care what others through of her, but that wasn’t true. And this was his world. She didn’t need to be reminded that she didn’t belong in it. “I’m not one of your fancy New York girlfriends. I don’t wear makeup. My nails are chipped from hard work. What will your friends think of me?”

“These people aren’t my friends. I can’t promise you that no one will wonder why you chose jeans over a gown, but I can guarantee that none will have the nerve to say anything.”

“Because they’re too polite”

A hard expression darkened his face. “Because you’re mine.”

Excerpted with permission from Montlake Romance from Tycoon Takedown © 2015 by Ruth Cardello. All rights reserved.

***


Book Information

Title: Tycoon Takedown

Author: Ruth Cardello

Release Date: March 10, 2015

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Summary

Melanie Hanna has finally worked up the courage to travel to New York and tell an old flame that he’s the father of her young son. She’s done hiding and apologizing for her one impulsive night. When her best friend asks her brother to watch over Melanie, her emotional trip takes an unexpected and sizzling detour.

Charles Dery is at the top of his game, but all he can think about is bedding the woman he was asked to protect. When she’s almost killed, he takes what he’d been denying himself and discovers he’ll do anything to keep her—even break his own rules.

When it comes to love, two wrongs may just finally make a right.

Buy Link: http://amzn.to/1BZHco6

Biography

Ruth Cardello was born the youngest of eleven children in a small city in northern Rhode Island. She lived in Boston, Paris, Orlando, and New York before coming full circle and moving back to Rhode Island, where she lives with her husband and three children. Before turning her attention to writing, Ruth was an educator for twenty years, eleven of which she spent as a kindergarten teacher. She is the author of eight previous novels, including Bedding the Billionaire, which was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Tycoon Takedown follows Taken, Not Spurred as the second book in the Lone Star Burn series.

Social Networking Links

Website – http://ruthcardello.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ruthcardello

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ruthiecardello

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4820876.Ruth_Cardello

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48. Spotlight and Giveaway: Cowboy Heaven by Cheryl Brooks

Howdy! In honor of the launch of Cheryl Brooks’ new erotic western series here’s a little intro to a few of the sexy cowboys – and one cowgirl – that appear in the first book in the series, COWBOY HEAVEN.

Angela McClure

Born and raised on a Wyoming cattle ranch, Angela Kincaid McClure had to grow up fast following the death of her mother at a young age. An only child, she has been the lone woman on the Circle Bar K for most of her life, and her father has always discouraged fraternization with the cowboys employed on the ranch. Angela married her high school sweetheart, Cody McClure, and enjoyed a very happy marriage, raising two sons who have no interest in ranching. With her father aging rapidly, Angela and Cody took over the running of the ranch until Cody was killed in a fall from his horse. Recovering from his loss has taken some time, but after two years, Angela’s interest is once again focused on male companionship. Unfortunately, no one seems the slightest bit interested in taking on her forty-two-year-old self or the ranch. Her father believes she should marry the ranch foreman, Rufus Bentley, but though Angela had a crush on him in her youth and the sixty-year-old foreman is still attractive, his total lack of personality and stern attitude leaves her cold. She’s had her eye on Dusty Jackson, a handsome cowboy employed on the ranch, but she has never received the slightest hint that he might see her as a love interest. Love-starved and lonely, Angela finally finds solace when she picks up stranded rodeo cowboy Troy Whitmore and makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

Dusty Jackson

Born Dustin David Jackson on a ranch in eastern Wyoming, Dusty has never been anything but a cowboy. Something of a loner, after graduating high school, he drifted from ranch to ranch, eventually ending up on the Circle Bar K. He likes the people he works with but there are other reasons for staying on, and just as many reasons to leave. Blessed with good looks and a ready wit, he’s more than a match for the men he works alongside, but when he’s around Angela McClure, words fail him. He knows exactly what he wants, but he also knows that once he takes that first step, there will be no turning back.

Troy Whitmore

Troy Whitmore was born and raised on a ranch in western Oklahoma. He could ride almost before he could walk and was winning prizes at the junior rodeos by the age of six. Too handsome for his own good, women have always been plentiful, but with a tendency to hop from woman to woman and live just a teensy bit beyond his means, by the age of thirty, he needs a woman with enough money to sponsor his rodeo career. When his last “sponsor” dumps him on the side of the highway while en route to the rodeo in Jackson Hole, he’s picked up by Angela McClure, a forty-something widow with an eye for a handsome cowboy and an imagination that fills in where reality leaves off. He’s more than willing to add the perk of sex with the boss to his new job on Angela’s ranch, but soon discovers that the rodeo circuit isn’t the only place where he faces some stiff competition.

What is your favorite way to relax?

Angela: Going for a ride on Apache, my big, bad Paint gelding.

Dusty: I like to sit in front of the fire with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Troy: *smiling* After reading my bio, do you really need to ask that question?

Cowboy Heaven

By Cheryl Brooks

Sourcebooks Casablanca

Erotic Western Romance

March 3, 2015

ISBN: 9781492607458

Trade Paperback $13.99

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

When you find yourself in cowboy heaven…

When lonely widow Angela McClure hires a gorgeous hitchhiking cowboy with an affair in mind, she knows they’ll have to be discreet: her old-fashioned father and the stern ranch foreman adamantly discourage any interaction between her and the ranch hands.

Things can get hot as hell…

Despite their attempts at secrecy, the heat between them is undeniable. To divert suspicion, Angela forms a new plan: she’ll flirt with all of the ranch hands. Suddenly Angela has a whole stable full of sexy-as-sin cowboys to play with, but only one can win her heart.

Cheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse turned romance writer. Her Cat Star Chronicles series includes Slave, Warrior, Rogue, Outcast, Fugitive, Hero, Virgin, Stud, Wildcat, and the newest release, Rebel. She is a member of the RWA and IRWA and lives with her husband and sons near Bloomfield, Indiana.

Connect with Cheryl Brooks: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Praise for Cheryl Brooks:

“Really sexy. Sizzling kind of sexy. Honestly, only Cheryl Brooks can deliver a line like, ‘I can give you joy unlike any you have ever known’ and make you want to melt.”

Bitten by Books

“Ms. Brooks delivers plenty of sexual tension, suspense, and pleasure in simply being alive.”

Romance Junkies

“Incredibly sexy and wonderful to read all around.”

Night Owl Romance

“Fun…unique…and wicked sexy! Cheryl Brooks knows how to keep the heat on and the

reader turning pages!” —Sydney Croft

 

Excerpt from Cowboy Heaven by Cheryl Brooks – Chapter 1

There he was again. That same cowboy I’d seen on the drive into town, still walking, still carrying a big green duffel bag on one shoulder and a saddle slung over the other. He’d been traveling in the opposite direction and hadn’t bothered to look up as I’d passed him earlier. I’d barely glimpsed his face then, but I saw it quite clearly now. A glance over his shoulder revealed his bleak, exhausted expression. He might have been near the point of collapse, but he obviously wasn’t prepared to admit defeat.

Not yet, anyway.

I couldn’t believe no one had picked him up in the three hours since I’d last seen him. He hadn’t looked very fresh even then. I had no idea where he was headed, but in the middle of Wyoming, there wasn’t much within walking distance, no matter where you were going.

He turned toward me, sticking out a halfhearted thumb as I came closer, his face streaked with dirt and sweat and what might have been tears. A black Stetson shadowed his eyes, and his boots and jeans were dusty and worn. His sweat-soaked denim shirt clung to his chest, unbuttoned halfway to his waist, the sleeves ripped out. He probably wasn’t trying to look cool, even though he did. No, he was likely trying to get cool, in any way he possibly could. My truck was air-conditioned and comfortable, and there was plenty of room for him and his meager belongings. I could no more have left him there than I could have ignored a starving child.

As I pulled over to stop, his eyes closed and his lips moved as though uttering a prayer of thanks. His knees buckled slightly, and for a moment, I thought he truly would collapse. Instead, he took a deep breath and stood up straight. Lifting his chin, he aimed luminous blue eyes at me and flashed a dazzling smile. His silver belt buckle suggested this man was no ordinary ranch hand but a down-on-his-luck rodeo cowboy who, unless I missed my guess, was heading for Jackson Hole.

A real heartbreaker of a rodeo cowboy, too. Up close, he was even more handsome than he’d been from a distance. Long and lean with tanned, muscular arms, dimples creased his cheeks and black hair curled enticingly from the open edges of his shirt. Several days’ growth of dark beard surrounded full, sensuous lips, darkening a jaw that my fingertips ached to caress. More ebony curls peeked from beneath his hat, making me long to yank off that Stetson to discover what else it was hiding. Oh yes, there was enough gorgeous cowboy to sway a much stronger woman than I ever claimed to be. Tears stung my eyes as something in his expression reminded me of Cody.

My dear, sweet Cody… He’d been gone for two years now, but I hadn’t forgotten that look, and I doubted I ever would.

Determined to mask my roiling emotions, I searched for something amusing to say as I rolled down my window. “Lost your horse?”

My clever tongue was rewarded with another heart-stopping smile. Cody used to say funny things just to make me giggle—which wasn’t difficult since I tend to find humor in nearly any situation—but brushing up on my own repertoire of one-liners to keep this guy smiling seemed like an excellent idea.

His grin was sheepish as he tipped up the brim of his hat. “He sort of drove off without me.”

“Drove off?” I scoffed. “Somehow I doubt that. Seems like he would’ve needed help.”

My handsome cowboy gave me a grim nod. “Oh, he had help all right. My girlfriend dumped me on the highway and took off with the truck, the trailer, and the horse—all of which were actually hers, by the way. She was kind enough to leave me my saddle and my clothes, although a cell phone would’ve been nice.”

I shook my head. “Nice, yes. Helpful, no. They don’t work very well around here. Which kinda makes me mad—I mean, where would you need a phone more than if you were stranded out in the middle of nowhere?”

He glanced around at the vast expanse of sunbaked rangeland. “Is that the name of this place? Nowhere?”

“Sure is.” I couldn’t help giggling. “Want to get out of nowhere?”

“Yes, please,” he replied. “And as quickly as possible.”

“Throw your stuff in the back and hop in,” I said. “We’ll leave nowhere and go…somewhere.”

He did as I suggested, and suddenly the interior of my truck was filled with the pungent aroma of hot, sweaty, dusty—but cologned—cowboy. He’d most likely showered that morning, but it had been one helluva day. The forecast called for the upper nineties—quite a heat wave even for mid-August—and though the humidity was low, some temperatures are best avoided no matter how dry the air.

“You’re a lifesaver,” he said. “I thought that sun was gonna roast me alive.”

“As hot as it gets in these parts, I never go anywhere without water, enough food for a couple of meals, and an umbrella in case I’m ever forced to hike. Want a sandwich?”

“You bet.”

I tossed a nod over my shoulder. “The cooler’s on the backseat. Help yourself. There’s plenty of water.” Although, at that point, a cold beer probably would have been his first choice.

He pulled out two bottles of water and a sandwich, downing the first bottle in three swallows.

“Better now?”

“Much.”

“Let’s see now…” I said as he unwrapped the sandwich. “A cowboy dumped in the middle of nowhere with a saddle and no horse. There’s got to be a country song in that.”

“If you mean a song about a guy bein’ picked up by a girl in a flatbed Ford, I think the Eagles already did that one.”

“I love that song,” I said wistfully. “Guess I always wanted to be that girl.”

“Well, now you are.” He took a bite of the sandwich, chewing it quickly. “How does it feel?”

“Not much different.” This wasn’t entirely true. I wasn’t in the habit of picking up gorgeous cowboys—and this particular cowboy’s presence had me feeling strangely excited. Oh yes, I was very aware of him, and if my brain hadn’t noticed him, my erogenous zones were there to remind me. “For one thing, this isn’t a flatbed Ford, and I’m not what anyone would call a girl anymore.”

He paused in mid-bite. “Why? Have you had a sex-change operation?”

“Nope,” I replied with another giggle. “You can’t call a forty-two-year-old a girl. Well, maybe you could if you happened to be eighty-two yourself, but I’m pretty sure I outgrew the girl category a long time ago—about the time that song was popular.”

Despite the fact that I never once took my eyes off the road, I was aware of his prolonged scrutiny—an assessing gaze that left delightful tingles in its wake.

“Some things improve with age.” He turned toward the window. “You don’t seem like the type to dump a guy in the middle of nowhere.”

Having heard the catch in his voice, I did my best to keep my tone light. Bursting into tears in front of a perfect stranger probably wasn’t on his bucket list. “True—unless he was really obnoxious.”

This particular cowboy would have to have been homicidal or, at the very least, abusive for me to throw him out. He was the most adorable cowboy I’d ever laid eyes on, including the one I’d married.

“I wasn’t being obnoxious.” He fairly bristled with indignation, which seemed to have won out over heartbreak. “I was asleep. I thought she was stopping for gas when I felt the truck slow down. She asked me to take a look at the tires on the trailer, said she thought one had gone flat. While I was checking the tires, she dumped my saddle and duffel bag on the side of the road and drove off. I found this tucked into the saddle.” Reaching into his shirt pocket, he handed me a torn, sweat-soaked scrap of paper.

It’s not working out. Sorry.

“Ouch,” I said with a sympathetic wince. “That’s pretty hard.”

“Yeah.” With an absent nod, he stuffed the note back into his pocket. “I don’t even know what I did wrong. Don’t guess I ever will.”

He seemed nice enough, and he certainly wasn’t ugly. Maybe his girl had breakup issues. As irresistible as he was, I couldn’t imagine breaking his heart while gazing into those eyes of his, and I didn’t even know his name.

She’d probably gone about it the best way possible—a quick, clean break before losing her nerve completely. One glance, one smile, and she’d have forgotten why their relationship wasn’t working. I wasn’t looking forward to dropping him off at the crossroad to the ranch, myself. I had a sudden, overwhelming urge to take him home and wash him, feed him, and tuck him into bed—my bed, to be precise.

I had my doubts about that part. He couldn’t have been more than thirty, and young men generally didn’t seek solace from older women—not that kind of solace, anyway. Consoling him seemed impossible, so I changed the subject.

“Where were you headed?”

“The rodeo in Jackson Hole,” he replied. “I’m a rodeo cowboy.”

“No shit,” I drawled. “I’d never have guessed that. I don’t suppose your girl left you with any money, did she? I mean, I’m not going to charge you for the ride or the lunch, but I’m not going all the way to Jackson Hole, either.”

“I didn’t figure you were.” His downcast expression suggested his hope that he’d been wrong about that. “But at the time, I didn’t really care.”

“Neither did I. I wouldn’t have left you there no matter where you were going. It was…well, let’s just say it was something I couldn’t bring myself to do.”

“Pick up lots of strays, do you?” Turning sideways, he leaned back against the door, a move that not only drew my eye, but also gave me a full-frontal view that made my breath catch in my throat. Oh yes, I’d taken in lots of strays, but none that were anywhere near as attractive.

I shook my head. “Actually picking them up usually isn’t necessary. They all seem to know where I live.”

“If you don’t mind my asking, where do you live? I mean, are we close?”

Obviously, he hoped I lived somewhere near Jackson Hole. I hated to disappoint him. “It’s about another twenty miles—most of which are not on the main highway. I’ll let you out at the turnoff, if that’s okay with you.”

His face fell, but he nodded, apparently resigned to the fact that this ride wasn’t going to be more than a brief respite. “Not much choice, is there?” He gave a fatalistic shrug. “I don’t have enough money on me to pay you to take me to Jackson Hole. I really should pay you for what you’ve already done.”

I caught myself wishing that he did have enough money—or that he would ask me to run off with him and follow the rodeo circuit, never going home at all. I would have loved to throw caution to the wind and do just that, but I had too many responsibilities. Not only did I have a ranch to run, but I also had my father and my kids to look after.

No, scratch that. Chris and Will were both in college. I had a hard time remembering that except when confronted with the sight of their empty rooms as I passed by them every day. Out on the highway I could pretend they were both there at home waiting for me—and Cody, too.

No, regardless of how much money this man might offer to pay me, I couldn’t shirk my duties and simply up and disappear. Nor would I accept his money. He obviously needed to hold on to what little he had stashed in those jeans.

“I couldn’t possibly take money from you,” I protested. “I wouldn’t be much of a Good Samaritan if I did, would I?”

“I suppose not.”

He shrugged again and we drove on in silence. Remaining slouched against the door, he draped his left arm across the headrest and bent up one knee, stretching his legs apart enough that my eyes were continually landing on that section of blue jeans due south of that big, silver belt buckle. From time to time he shifted his hips as though my glances made him uncomfortable, and while I did try to keep my eyes on the road, every once in a while they would stray back to him—and that enticing bulge in his jeans…

“What would it take to get you to drive me all the way to Jackson Hole?” The hint of suggestion in his voice startled me almost as much as the abrupt nature of his query.

Suddenly, my mouth was as dry as a gulch. Reaching for my bottle of water, I took a sip and stole another peek at him. Those luminous eyes peered at me from beneath lids that were heavy with sensuous intent.

His lips curled into a provocative smile. “I’d be willing to bet there’s something I could do for you that would pay you back—or at least make it worth your while.”

COWBOY DELIGHT

By Cheryl Brooks

Erotic Western Romance e-novella

FREE on all retailers: Kindle | Kobo | Nook

“Out-of-this-world sexy… Brooks’ writing brings the eroticism to life.” —Long and Short Reviews

Getting stranded has never felt so good…

Lauren Allen is on her way to meet her future in-laws when her car breaks down on a scorching, dusty Texas highway. There’s no shortage of handsome cowboys turning up to save the day, but she puts her trust in local rancher Steve Williams. From the moment she shakes his hand, his warm, calloused grip makes her hotter than she knows what to do with…

Rafflecopter Giveaway – 3 copies of COWBOY HEAVEN by Cheryl Brooks

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49. Review: The Sultan’s Harem Bride by Annie West

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

At one time, I loved romances with sheikhs.  I loved the desert setting, the opulent palaces, and the armchair travel.  Current events have diminished some of this enjoyment, though, so it’s with a bit of trepidation that I pick one up any more.  I can’t remove myself from reality enough to enjoy them as exuberantly as I once did.  I saw some positive reviews for The Sultan’s Harem Bride and since it was at the library, I decided to give it a read before diving into Anne Bishop’s Vision in Silver.

The story worked for me because the author didn’t completely ignore current events.  Heroine Jacqui is suffering from PTSD after witnessing a suicide bombing that took the life of her best friend and fellow news correspondent, Imran.  Once a woman who thrived on adventure and danger to get to truth for her news reports, she’s now uncomfortable in crowds, jumpy at loud noises, and drowning in guilt because it was her lead that got her friend killed, while she walked away physically unscathed.  Emotionally, she’s a wreck, and when she’s given the opportunity to research the lives of women who lived in Jazeer’s  harem, she jumps at the chance.  It’s really her last option; she’s quit her foreign correspondent job and is struggling to find something meaningful to  do instead.

She and Asim clash from the get go.  Asim is distrustful of journalists, and he needs to protect his younger sister from more grief from the press.  He can’t believe that his grandmother invited Jacqui to the palace.  Jacqui is also partly to blame for the death of his cousin Imran.  Nobody can know that Samira is hiding at the palace, instead at an island resort, a story he’s carefully fed to the press.  Asim is skeptical of Jacqui’s motives, and he vows to keep a close eye on her.

I enjoyed The Sultan’s Harem Bride, but there were a few elements that marred that enjoyment.  I thought Asim, though he could be a caring man, acted like a jerk too many times, and he always thought the worst of Jacqui, without any basis for his behavior.  Then, after their steamy affair burns up the sheets, he continues to look for a suitable bride to help him rule his country.  His parents had a destructive, toxic relationship, so he refuses to even consider marrying for love, and instead is looking for a biddable woman to give him heirs.  The thought of considering Jacqui for the position never occurs to him, or when it finally does, he dismisses it because she’s all wrong for him.  Really?  She’s good enough to keep as a toy, for however long their attraction lasts,  but she’s not good enough to marry?  I’ve read this trope a few times in the past few months, and it irritates me every time.  It’s hard to actually like the hero when he’s so dismissive of the heroine.    

Despite my reservations, I liked Jacqui and Samira, and I’m looking forward to reading Samira’s story, The Sheikh’s Princess Bride, in April.

Grade:  C / C+

Review copy obtained from my local library

From Amazon:

WANTED: Desert princess to join harem

Sultan Asim of Jazeer has hundreds of women at his beck and call. So why does he want the only one who threatens to reveal his family’s shameful secrets? 

Journalist Jacqui Fletcher jumped at the chance to write a history of the harem—not to become a sultan’s plaything! But it’s hard to remember her assignment when the sultan’s sensuous caresses spark a fire she’s never experienced before… 

Asim is looking for a pliable princess for a marriage of duty. Brave, beautiful Jacqui couldn’t be more wrong for him. So why does holding her feel so right?

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50. Spotlight and Giveaway: A Touch of Passion by Bronwen Evans

A Touch of Passion
The Disgraced Lords # 3

By: Bronwen Evans

Releasing March 24th, 2015

Loveswept

Blurb

In the latest Disgraced Lords novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans, a vivacious thrill seeker clashes with her dutiful defender—causing irresistible sparks to fly.

Independent and high-spirited, Lady Portia Flagstaff has never been afraid to take a risk, especially if it involves excitement and danger. But this time, being kidnapped and sold into an Arab harem is the outcome of one risk too many. Now, in order to regain her freedom, she has to rely on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion.

After losing his mother and two siblings in a carriage accident years ago, Grayson Devlin promised Portia’s dying brother that he’d always watch over his wayward sister. But having to travel to Egypt to rescue the foolhardy girl has made his blood boil. Grayson already has his hands full trying to clear his best friend and fellow Libertine Scholar of a crime he didn’t commit. Worse still, his dashing rescue has unleashed an unforeseen and undesired consequence: marriage. Now it’s more than Portia he has to protect . . . it’s his battered heart.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/01/a-touch-of-passion-disgraced-lords-3-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22588939-a-touch-of-passion?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/112847-the-disgraced-lords

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Author Info

USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She has always indulged her love of storytelling and is constantly gobbling up movies, books, and theater. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer? Evans is a two-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Author Links Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

EXCERPT

Cyprians’ Ball, London, 1813

“I’m surprised Lord Blackwood has graced us with his presence. It’s common knowledge he’s enamored with the French ballerina Juliette Panache. I doubt he’s in the market for another mistress.”

“With his appetites, he no doubt has a stable of mistresses.”

“True. I heard he once pleasured ten women in one night.”

Lady Portia Flagstaff moved closer to the group of courtesans salivating over Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, as if he were a succulent feast to be devoured. Many years of experience allowed her to damp down her jealousy. She could hardly blame any woman for lusting after Lord Blackwood. She counted herself, along with most of England’s females, among his panting throng.

Being madly in love with Grayson was her penance for having being so mean to him when they were younger. She’d tried everything she knew to exile him from her thoughts, but it was hard to forget him when he was the talk of the ton.

Lord Blackwood had entered her life just before her tenth birthday. He had always been her elder brother Robert’s best friend, but the day he’d moved permanently into their home, she’d cried in her room for hours. Why did it have to be Grayson, a boy, who had survived his family’s carriage accident? She already had five brothers. How could life be so unfair?

Grayson’s sister, Lucinda, had been her friend, and she couldn’t understand why she’d died when Grayson hadn’t. Portia was too young and frightened to understand, so she’d blamed him.

Lucinda’s death was her first introduction to how precarious life could be. Almost dying from lung fever at sixteen had been her second lesson. From that moment on she’d made a vow to live her life to the fullest. She wanted no regrets when death finally came calling.

“They say he can outlast any man, and his lovers speak of his prowess with awe. He cares more about a woman’s pleasure than his own—rare indeed. His kind of loving is priceless. I’d even do him for free.” This statement was followed by a gaggle of giggles.

“I’m more interested in learning if he is truly hung like a stallion. If so, I’d love to explore the evidence.” More giggles.

“ ’Tis true. Claudette said she could barely walk for a week, but it was well worth the two days spent in his bed.” This statement was followed by a collective sigh.

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