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Results 26 - 50 of 2,331
26. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Duke’s Temptation by Addie Jo Ryleigh

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Men of Circumstance #1
Addie Jo Ryleigh
Released Oct 14th, 2015
Soul Mate Publishing

A Duke. A Runner. An Earl.
Three men, each born into different circumstances.
Each fighting to overcome their own adversity.
All striving to change their past.
Gabriel St. James, Duke of Wesbrook, desires any birthright other than being the son of a hideous man. Unfortunately, Gabe knows the exact moment he became like his father—a night that has haunted him for seven years. Resigned to his future, he is unprepared when his illegitimate—and more importantly unbeknown—young daughter appears on his London doorstep. With no one to care for her but him.
Lady Elizabeth Blakely has loved only one man—her brother’s longtime friend, Gabe St. James. Not even his rakish and, oftentimes, wicked behavior dissuades her. Yet it all seems hopeless as he continues to overlook the woman she has become.
When Elizabeth learns Gabe is in need of assistance with his daughter, she seizes the opportunity. Gabe, less than thrilled with the situation—mostly due to his fierce desire for his best friend’s sister—has no option but to concede. Besides, a more sinister threat lurks; someone is blackmailing Gabe with his darkest secret. Through it all, Gabe vows to resist Elizabeth, no matter how tempting.
Sometimes it’s better to surrender . . .

He’d already been subjected to a sleepless night battling the possibility she could be carrying his babe. Part of him leapt with joy thinking of her slender frame, rounded from increasing.

Mostly, he felt worry. And fear, that his future son would, despite Gabe’s best efforts, grow to be like him and all the previous Wesbrook scoundrels.

Afraid or not, if it came to pass, he would do the right thing and marry her. In no way would he leave her vulnerable to the vicious ton. Besides, if things were different—if he were different—he would whisk her to Gretna Green right now and attach her to him for the rest of their lives.

Instead, he would love her the only way he was capable of—from afar. And someday hope he found the strength to break from the person his past had made him.

If only he knew how to inform Elizabeth they could no longer be together intimately. She would fight him on it. Of that he was damned sure.

Thinking of how her face brightened, and her eyes flashed with light when she became so determined, sent shivers of enjoyment through him.

Absorbed with all the wicked ways he’d like to turn the light in Elizabeth’s eyes to burning embers, he didn’t notice the door opening until it clicked shut.

When he realized who’d entered, uncharacteristic heat rose in his cheeks. His only excuse for the boyish flush was that being caught in the middle of erotic thoughts by his three-year-old daughter wasn’t an everyday occurrence. Thank God.

A bit unclear as to how to interact with the half-sized person before him, Gabe chose to remain silent and let her make the first move. It might not be very manly, but it was by far the wisest decision he knew of.

He remained seated as her blue eyes scanned the room before she finally spotted him sitting at the desk. It was so bloody adorable the way she set her tiny chin in a determined angle and headed straight toward him—a small doll clasped in each arm—that he almost circled his desk to greet her.


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Addie Jo Ryleigh writes historical regency romances that feature rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines.
Addie Jo lives in the same cold winter and hot summer area of Minnesota where she was born and raised. And frankly, wouldn’t live anywhere else. Sharing in the raising of her three extremely rambunctious boys is her very understanding husband that so graciously enabled her to fulfill her dream of writing. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes (besides her wonderfully loud children) is her yorkipoo, Bella, who is never far from Addie Jo’s side.
Addie Jo has always had a love and passion for romance books and became engrossed in historical romance (particularly Regency) soon after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, Addie Jo reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.
Addie Jo has a bachelor degree in accounting and is a financial coordinator when not driving her children around central Minnesota, cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.

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27. Spotlight and Giveaway: Rock Me Two Times by Dawn Ryder

Sexiest Rock Stars (And What Makes Them So Hot!) with Dawn Ryder

Rock Stars…some are just lick-able….

Let’s face it, there is something about a man in leather, who can bring a stadium to its feet. I know there are all sorts of different music out there but heavy metal in all its formats has a certain, gut-wrenching appeal that just gets girls wanting to squeal. So here’s one of my favorites:

David Bowie – Okay, I’m an 80’s child and there was this little movie called “Labyrinth.” Now I don’t care if you hated the Muffat/D&D/Princess Bride concoction that was this movie, there was one thing that made it worth your attention…David Bowie in Regency garb. And when he opened his mouth and those deep vocals came out with a rhythm that had you squirming in your seat…well, he made my top three male singer list for sure. Besides, his Goblin King makeup was amazing and I actually based a lot of Syon, the hero of Rock Me Two Times, on this character.

There are so many types of passion, and music is one that the world stops and listens to. If I’m lucky, someday, one of my books will captivate a reader just as completely as some of the great songs out there that everyone knows.

Dawn Ryder


Title: Rock Me Two Times

Author: Dawn Ryder

Series: Rock Band, Book 1

ISBN: 9781492616764

Pubdate: November 3, 2015

Genre: Erotic Romance

Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca


First in Dawn Ryder’s sizzling new Rock Band series.

Rock star Syon Braden writes and plays the most extreme—and profitable—music from the depths of his shredded heart. He’s got a double platinum record, adoring fans, and success for his band Toxsin—but it’s what he can’t have that he craves. Custom leather designer Kate Napier has her sights set on success, and that means keeping irresistible rock stars like Syon out of her bed. The chance to tour with the band and provide them with a fantastic custom wardrobe is too major an opportunity to turn down. But immersion in the dark, wild world of Toxsin on tour means Kate’s about to get rocked…hard…body and soul.

Author Bio

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

Social Networking Links

Website: http://www.dawnryder.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mary-Wine-133965836120

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dawnryder_write

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/853496.Dawn_Ryder

Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Rd2svU

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

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

Apple: http://apple.co/1LmFKh5



The Staples Center was roaring.

It sounded like a tsunami coming in, or a freight train passing three feet in front of her face. It was more than sound; there was a vibration that traveled through her body, all the way down to her bones. There was a current in the air that practically crackled with excitement.

The bodyguard-slash-security guy showed Kate up to a private box. She followed because she didn’t want to squeal like a little girl and ask to be taken home.

She’d never lost her head like this before.

It was embarrassing on an epic scale. She was pissed at herself for rolling over so easily for a man who wouldn’t recall her name by the end of the night.

The box had plush seats and an open rail overlooking the stage. The lights went down, and the drummer started up. The beat was infectious, taking over her heart until she was sure the muscle was keeping the same rhythm.

The crowd roared again, thrusting their hands up into the air as two guitars joined the drummer. Her nipples puckered again, her memory offering up an image of Syon arching back as he played those final chords. It was like he was pushing the music out of himself, almost as if he were giving birth.

On stage, he was just as raw.

Syon took command of the space completely. The audience ate him up.

And were they screaming. Syon worked them just as skillfully as he did his guitar. He really was lord of all he surveyed. Kate discovered herself leaning forward, being drawn toward the spellbinding energy pulsing on the stage. Sitting still was impossible; her body wanted to move in time with the notes Syon was wringing out of his instrument. She became fixated on his hands; the way he worked his fingers was downright dominant.

Her teeth were clenched  by the time the last song finished, she was panting softly and felt wrung out.

But it was fucking wonderful. She was drifting on a high and collapsed back into her padded chair, her composure scattered around her like fall leaves. She felt spent but amped up at the same time.

Fangirls were definitely climbing the respect ladder in her book.

Okay, so she was drooling over a rock star like some high schooler, but at least B.O.B.—her battery-operated boyfriend —was waiting for her at home. All in all, the buzz was worth the slightly stinging blow to her pride, because in some corner of her mind, she believed she should be grown-up enough to realize fantasies weren’t mature. So disappointment wouldn’t stalk her in the wee hours of the night.

A hollow feeling in her gut warned her she was hoping in vain.

As Syon and the rest of the band left the stage, Kate indulged herself in a long moment of reflection. Syon had worked that guitar until it wailed. He had to be hell in bed if he applied even half that effort to pleasing his partner.

“So, what’d you think?”

She jumped, grabbing the armrests of the movie theater-style chair. Her eyes popped open wide, and her belly did a triple flip when she found Syon watching her.

“Ah…” Her tongue suddenly felt like a wad of cotton in her mouth as she scrambled to stand up and turn around to face him. “It was fantastic…”

He grinned at her, a huge, arrogantly pleased expression that showed off his perfect teeth.

God, she wondered if he knew how to bite…

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28. Launch Day Blitz: Blowback by Emmy Curtis


About Blowback

One year ago, David Church kissed a beautiful, brilliant woman on an airfield in Iraq-and hasn’t stopped thinking about her ever since. Now, the military veteran gets a chance to rekindle that fire when he sees his lost love again-looking sexier than ever-at an international conference in Athens. David yearns to take her in his arms, to hold her close and never let go. But when the bullets begin to fly, it’s not just his heart on the line. It’s his life.

When Molly Solent agreed to deliver intelligence for the U.S. government, she didn’t realize she’d be caught in the crossfire of a surprise ambush-and underneath the hard-muscled body of David Church. Shielding her from harm and swearing to protect her, the elite bodyguard reignites a searing passion that Molly can’t resist. But with unforeseen danger around every corner-and unquenchable desire in every embrace-falling in love could be the greatest risk of all . . .

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1kZvfdk
B&N: http://bit.ly/1GhYx0m
iBooks: http://apple.co/1NGablE
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1SdywRf
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1LSBZiJ

About Emmy Curtis

Emmy Curtis is an editor and a romance writer. An ex-pat Brit, she quells her homesickness with Cadbury Flakes and Fray Bentos pies. She’s lived in London, Paris and New York, and has settled for the time being, in North Carolina. When not writing, Emmy loves to travel with her military husband and take long walks with their Lab. All things considered, her life is chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny. And if you get that reference…well, she already considers you kin.





David. Here.

Hell, he looked good. All these months waiting for him, and he was just here.

When she first really laid eyes on him, she was peeking at him through a window as he took an impossible shot into a trailer and saved them. He’d been drunk, and impossible. And she’d wanted him so much. Wanted to save him, to make him feel better. To stomp on whatever demons were keeping him from participating in reality. To run her fingers through his short dark hair. His eyes had been so sad, and he’d seemed resigned. Like he’d already given up on life. In that second he’d broken her heart, as he’d saved her life.

It hadn’t hurt that he was tall, and built in the way only a career combat military guy could be. Broad shouldered, with hard arms that she just wanted to be wrapped in. When his dark eyes had rested on hers, the hard lines on his face faded, and although his lips remained pressed into a hard line, his eyes had smiled at her. She thought. Maybe she hoped.

She wanted to touch his face. To kiss him. To understand what had happened to him, and what had changed. And he had changed. He seemed more in control, sober, obviously. He spoke with a lower voice. Seemed less…something. She couldn’t put her finger on the change. Her hand reached out to him, but she snatched it back before she could touch him.

She was on a mission. She was supposed to destroy the envelope she didn’t use, but in the end she hadn’t had time to give him either of the messages, so she figured she should keep them, but everything was getting confused in her mind. Should she destroy them both? Is there someone else she should give the message to? She had to keep working through the problem. If she stopped, she feared she’d break down and might never be able to pull herself together. She didn’t want him to witness that. She clenched her fists.

“Who was he?” David asked.

“He’s the Russian Minister of Antiquities. Alexandre Doubrov. Why would someone…?”

“I have no idea,” he said leading her back to the bed. “But you’re not going anywhere. There was no way he’d have been able to survive that shot. I’m sorry.”

She nodded but said nothing. He’d died right in front of her. Poor Alexandre. She had to get hold of Brandon to tell him she’d failed. But she wanted the whole picture before she called him. She yawned. Suddenly sleepy.

“So what have you been doing this past year?” David said, his voice seeming miles away.

Her mind immediately went to the airport at Iraq, as it had a million times before. He’d grabbed her and roughly pulled her into his arms, telling her that he would find her and come for her. Then he’d kissed her forehead hard and departed with his old team of explosive experts on a mission, leaving her to return to the states. Damn him.

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29. Review: Harlot

Harlotby Victoria Dahl. 2015. Reviewed from electronic ARC.

HarlotThe Plot: Caleb Hightower went to the California gold fields to earn his fortune; two years later, he's back, to marry the sweet girl he left behind.

And discovers that Jessica Willoughby, the beautiful innocent he left behind is now a notorious prostitute.

A whore.

The girl he barely dared kiss -- the girl who he wasn't good enough for, so he went to earn the right to court her --  is selling her body to others.

Caleb is hurt and furious and angry. And he'll get his revenge. He'll pay for what she's sold to other men. He'll make her sorry.

The Good: So it's Victoria Dahl, so of course it's hot, hot, hot. And hell the title is Harlot; Jessica has sold her body to pay her debts; so you know this, up front. You know what type of hot you're getting.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Harlot; but wowza, it was both what I expected and also not what I expected. And, also, it's a quick read, less than two hundred pages.

So if you're a fan of Dahl's writing, like I am, all you need to know is yes, it delivers.

And if you haven't read her work, this is a good introduction because it's a standalone, and as I said, it's short, so you can fall for Dahl in a couple of hours.

So now that that is out of the way, the observations that I'll add, the particular details that I adored.

Caleb has been gone for two years, but he hasn't really written to Jessica in that time because he's dyslexic. Oh, given the nineteenth century setting, he doesn't have a name for why it's so tough for him to read or write, but that is the issue. And let's just say that the people he is relying on to keep up his connection and correspondence with Jessica are less than trustworthy, for reasons. I think it's a great way to explain the lack of communication between the two, that led to Caleb riding into town not knowing about Jessica, and Jessica thinking Caleb had abandoned her.

Jessica did what people say. But, of course, there are reasons; there is a story. So part of what is explained is why Jessica did what she did. Which, long story short, if you create a society where you don't expect a woman to earn a living, if you have a world where a woman's options to earn a living are extremely narrow and limited, if society says that a woman without a man (no father or husband or brother) is vulnerable and a target -- well, when a woman has nothing and no one and few resources, she sells the one resource she has. Her body.

But Dahl takes this a step further, which is why she's Dahl, and fantastic. Because what Dahl does next is use this story of Caleb and Jessica to examine views toward sex and sexuality, lust and love, and the virgin/whore complex. Caleb isn't excused for his attitudes; Jessica has her own learning curve. And perhaps because her virtue is gone, Jessica -- who had been raised to think good girls don't like sex because of the time and her class --  is now open to the idea that sex can be pleasurable.

Anyway. Trust me. Read Harlot.

And then, if you're like me, get angry that now there is no new Dahl to read. And look at your bookshelf, at those handful of Dahl books that you deliberately aren't reading so that you still always have an unread Dahl book for when you really, really need it. It's like that piece of chocolate you don't eat, because one day, you'll have to have it.

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

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

0 Comments on Review: Harlot as of 11/2/2015 8:17:00 AM
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30. Guest Post and Giveaway: Daniel’s True Desire by Grace Burrowes


The Joys of True Gentlemanliness… by Grace Burrowes

About twenty books ago, I lamented (whined) to one of my brothers that coming up with ways to challenge a romance hero into facing his worst fears and risking all to win the heroine’s heart was taxing my imagination. My brother, without a heartbeat’s pause said, “Make him choose between the competing demands of honor.”

THAT was great advice. Make the hero choose between the woman who needs him, and the military unit depending on him. Make him choose between avenging injustices from his past, or respecting the wishes of the pacifist woman he loves. Make him decide whether to be publicly vindicated or privately forgiving… Delightful stuff, for an author!

And yet, to travel along these brilliant character arcs, our hero must have one characteristic: He must have a well-developed sense of honor. To me, that means this fellow must be honest and kind. He can be poor, grouchy, lacking in charm, without prospects, unlucky in love—Daniel Banks is nodding his head—but ideally, he will still be a true gentleman at heart.

The true gentleman, alas for him, can be tormented from page one by the author and by the story, but from the start, the true gentleman will play by the rules of decency.

Rules are tough. The true gentleman will never misrepresent himself, which means Daniel Banks must inform Lady Kirsten that a) he’s married, and b) he won’t disrespect his vows. Too bad for Daniel, this honesty only raises him in the lady’s esteem, when he’s trying to emphasize his unsuitability.

The true gentleman will lend a hand—or an ear—to those in need. When Daniel Banks realizes that Lady Kirsten has been overlooked by her entire family, and is as lonely as an earl’s daughter can be, the least he can do is listen when she explains the misery in her past. Again, his respect for, and understanding of her increases, but what else could a gentleman have done?

The true gentleman is kind. He does not ignore the suffering of others, even if that means, he’s left with a bigger helping of suffering on his own plate. When Lady Kirsten needs a champion to fight her battles with an overbearing brother, Daniel steps up, though it might cost him his position. Once again, Daniel’s decency only gets him in hotter water, because now Kirsten’s brother is also viewing the impecunious, reserved, sometimes grouchy, vicar with renewed respect.

This business of being a true gentleman is darned hard, and darned heroic. What Daniel has to learn, though, is that true gentlemanliness begins at home. When he’s honest with himself, and shows himself the compassion we all deserve, all the inconvenient rules, tough choices, and honorable standards turn out to have been his second-best friends.

Lady Kirsten is, of course, his very best friend, being a true lady. But that’s another story…  

Excerpt from Daniel’s True Desire

Daniel Banks is the new vicar in Haddondale, temporarily a guest of Lady Kirsten’s family. They’ve dragooned him into tutoring some of the local boys, and Kirsten is managing the staff who’ll turn the dower house into a place of learning. What Daniel doesn’t know is how a married man, even one estranged from his unworthy spouse, can resist the allure of friendship with Lady Kirsten…

“I dread crossing the garden,” Lady Kirsten said. “Susannah has taken up reading old issues of La Belle Assembleé, Della is memorizing DeBrett’s, and the countess talks only of fashion. Nobody does anything.”

“Most would envy them their idleness,” Daniel said, though he did not. The earl gave a good account of himself, tending to significant acreage and mercantile interests, but the women were bored.

One of the women was mortally bored, though never boring.

“I want to take the vicarage in hand,” Lady Kirsten said, marching from the pantry. “I doubt I’ll have time before we leave for Town the week after next. Lemon and beeswax won’t cure rising damp any way.”

Nothing cured rising damp save for replacing every scrap of affected wood. “You’re leaving soon, then?”

The prospect of distance from Lady Kirsten should have been a relief. She was unconventional, discontent, and unpredictable. Worse yet, she was patient with small boys, had a strong streak of domestic competence, and could not dissemble even to appease appearances.

Most troublesome of all, Daniel liked her. A lot.

“I smell fresh bread.” Lady Kirsten’s pace increased, then she halted to twist a sachet from behind a curtain. “Nicholas told George that in addition to Digby and the Blumenthal brats, you’re to take on both of Squire Webber’s sons. He aspires to send them to public school, but they lack a foundation.”

And years of dedicated tutors had been unable to remedy that lack? “I think you had better join me for lunch,” Daniel said resuming their progress toward a hot meal.

“I believe I shall. I adore a hearty beef stew with bread and butter on a cold, rainy day. Cook uses Mama’s recipe, and I’m partial to it.”

Peasant fare, for an earl’s daughter. Daniel liked her entirely too well.

A scullery maid set places for them at a wooden table heavy enough to double as a threshing floor, while Lady Kirsten served up bowls of steaming stew and Daniel sliced the bread. Daniel held the lady’s chair, and then, without even a nod in the direction of further small talk, took shameless advantage of his companion.

“I want to know every detail you can share about my scholars, Lady Kirsten. They’re shaping up to be a pack of ne’er-do-wells, scamps and scapegraces. One wonders if the parish isn’t attempting to run me off rather than welcome me.”

She snapped her serviette across her lap. “They’re out and out rotters, every one save for Digby, but George says he’s showing dubious potential. Don’t steal all the butter.”

Daniel passed her ladyship the plate of butter, small golden molds in the shape of roses.

“Your butter, and Lord-we-thank-Thee-for-this-food, amen. Now tell me about these scoundrels.”

Lady Kirsten sat back, her smile indulgent. “I’ve known them since they were babies, Mr. Banks. They’re full of energy and mischief, and there’s not a Latin scholar among them. They are truly, truly awful.”

She loved these rotten boys, and—greatest possible inconvenience—Daniel regarded this her most attractive quality of all.


Book Information

Title: Daniel’s True Desire

Author: Grace Burrowes

Release Date: November 3, 2015

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca


An honorable life
Daniel Banks is a man of the cloth whose vocation is the last comfort he has left-and even his churchman’s collar is beginning to feel like a noose. At the urging of family, Daniel attempts to start his life over as vicar in the sleepy Kentish town of Haddondale, family seat to the earls of Bellefonte.

Challenged by passion
Lady Kirsten Haddonfield has resigned herself to a life of spinsterhood. Then the handsome new village vicar, Reverend Daniel Banks, becomes a guest of the Haddonfield family while the vicarage is being renovated, and Kirsten finds herself rethinking her position. Lady Kirsten does not know that Daniel’s past is about to cast a shadow on love’s future.

Buy Links

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1R7I6Eg

Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/1L8mc22

iBooks – http://apple.co/1RDfSSt

Author Biography

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

Social Media Links

Website: http://graceburrowes.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-Burrowes/115039058572197

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GraceBurrowes

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4152482.Grace_Burrowes

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31. Spotlight and Giveaway: His Kind of Trouble by Terri L Austin

Protagonist Monica Campbell takes a break from the action in His Kind Of Trouble to share her Top 5 Tips for Releasing Your Inner Wild Child. 

Releasing Your Inner Wild Child

My name is Monica Campbell and I’m a reformed wild child. Growing up in Vegas, trouble was easy to find and hard to resist. But these days, I’m a responsible job-holding, tax-paying, tooth-flossing citizen. I don’t dance on tables or sneak off to dive bars. I even had that unfortunate tattoo permanently removed. I’ve changed my ways for good. Most importantly, I’ve sworn off bad boys. I’ve had my fair share of them, believe me, and men who look like trouble usually are. Now I only date serious men with life goals and steady paychecks.

But then Calum Hughes roared into town with his hot British accent and even hotter body. We shared a moment five years ago, a moment I’ve never gotten over. So what’s a girl to do? I’ve tried to steer clear of him, but he’s …amazing. Wait, did I say amazing? I meant persistent. The man won’t leave me alone. Why does he have to be so charming? I can’t quite figure him out, and trust me, I don’t want to. I’m on the wagon where bad boys are concerned, and that especially includes Cal.

As long as I stay out of his orbit, I can focus on my work and not his lopsided grin or his rock hard abs. But he doesn’t play fair. The more I try to avoid him, the more he comes around, asking me to go play and tempting me to return to my wild child ways. That’s not going to happen, do you hear me? I’m over men like Cal. Been there. Done that. And I had that fugly tat to prove it. I’m not reverting back to bad habits.

Yet every time he kisses me or speaks with that deep, scratchy voice, I want to lose myself in him. He makes me miss the uninhibited side of myself. I thought I’d closed that chapter of my life for real this time, but Cal…, maybe I could let a little bit of my wild side poke through. That wouldn’t be so bad, right? After all, it’s not like Cal’s sticking around for good. He never stays in one place for long. He’s a professional drifter.

The question is, can I give in just a tiny bit, and still keep my heart intact? They say there’s a first time for everything.

Monica’s Tips for Releasing Your Inner Wild Child (Without Getting Arrested)

1. Wear sexy lingerie. You never know when that bad boy might decide to peek under your blouse, and you do not want to be caught in white cotton.

2. Know when to give into temptation. Sometimes, when a man looks that delicious, you can sin all night and make a fresh start in the morning. Kind of like a diet. A sex diet.

3. Drive your man’s car as fast as possible—he won’t like it. Don’t let this dissuade you. After all, it’s not your Mustang on the line, now is it?

4. Get over that fear of public sex. You don’t have to be a complete exhibitionist, but the thrill of almost getting caught adds to the fun.

5. Go ahead and dance on the table. Wild Child motto: no regrets!

6. Be careful with your heart. When you start having feelings, it gets real. So don’t, I repeat, don’t fall in love, no matter how tempting he is. Trust me on this one.  


Book Information

Title: His Kind of Trouble

Author: Terri L. Austin

Release Date: November 3, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Contemporary Romance


Monica Campbell may have a history as a wild child, but she’s changed her ways. She’s respectable, responsible-and, most importantly, she’s sworn off bad boys. That is, until Callum Hughes roars back into her life with his sexy British accent and killer smile.

Cal remembers every steamy moment he shared with Monica, but he barely recognizes the straight-laced woman she’s become. Determined to lure Monica into letting go of her inhibitions, Cal will use every trick he knows to fire her blood and tempt her body…reminding her
just how good it can feel to be bad-and his.

Buy Links

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iBooks:  http://apple.co/1VDQfqp

Author Biography

As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. Now she writes steamy contemporary romance and mysteries. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Independence, Missouri.

Social Networking Links

Website: http://www.terrilaustin.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerriLAustin

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782231.Terri_L_Austin

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32. Spotlight and Giveaway: Forever and Always by Leigh Greenwood

This November marks the release of Forever and Always, the final book in Leigh Greenwood’s Cactus Creek Cowboys trilogy. To celebrate, we’re sharing an excerpt from the book!

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“I was hoping to catch you before you left.”


“To tell you not to come in to work tomorrow. The swelling seems to have gone down a little, but you aren’t looking very strong.”

Something inside him gave way. It was a moment before he realized it was his resolve to keep his distance from this woman who obviously cared for him a great deal. He was sure she believed the swelling had gone down because she wanted it so badly. Knowing that removed the final barrier, and he reached out to take Sibyl’s hands. It was almost too much for his self-control when he received an answering squeeze.

“How could I have been so lucky to find someone to care as much as you and Kitty?”

“We wouldn’t care so much if you weren’t so wonderful.”

The sincerity in her voice was his undoing. Any shred of restraint vanished. Before he knew what he was doing, his arms were around Sibyl, and he was kissing her with an ardor all the more intense for having been denied so long. When he realized she was responding just as eagerly, it was nearly too much. Still, he fought to keep control. It almost wouldn’t matter if he dropped dead afterward. He would have had this one moment of indescribable happiness.

Finally, Sibyl broke the kiss. “You’ve got to take better care of yourself. You may not care what happens to you, but I care very much. Now before I say something I can’t retract, I’m going back inside.” She kissed him again—quickly this time—then turned and almost ran back around the corner of the house.

Logan was unable to move for several moments. His life had taken a turn so abrupt that it had thrown him off balance. Did Sibyl love him as much as he loved her? It seemed impossible that could be true. Still, she had responded to his kiss and kissed him again. Surely she wouldn’t have done that out of mere sympathy. The euphoria started to wear off, leaving him feeling week and shaken. Needing to sit for a few minutes, he walked over to the steps and sank down. Trusty approached and whined softly.

“I’m not going to fade out on you yet,” he told the dog. “In fact, once I get my strength back, I’m going to do everything I can to live. I might even see that doctor. I never knew holding a woman in my arms could make me feel like I’ve been half asleep for my whole life.”

Title: Forever and Always

Author: Leigh Greenwood

Series: Cactus Creek Cowboys, #3

Pubdate: November 3rd, 2015

ISBN: 9781402284526

From USA Today Bestselling Author Leigh Greenwood comes a historical Western romance filled with gritty cowboy heroes, strong-willed heroines, and a whole lot of heart in the Wild West.


Logan Holstock, oldest of three brothers orphaned on the Santa Fe Trail, has always been content knowing his brothers were alive and happy somewhere in the vast and brutal West—until he learns he may be dying. Certain he has little time left, Logan sets out to find them and end his days near a family he’s never known…and stumbles across a strong yet vulnerable widow who makes him yearn for what can never be his.

Logan knows he shouldn’t love Sibyl Spencer—he couldn’t bear leaving her a widow all over again. But as he finds himself drawn deeper into the lives of this small Western town, he can’t escape the longing to find peace in her arms. When he discovers that his death sentence is anything but, Logan swears he will do whatever it takes to prove himself to the woman he loves…and show he believes their love is worth fighting for.

Leigh Greenwood is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Seven Brides, Cowboys, and Night Riders series. The proud father of three grown children, Leigh resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. He never intended to be a writer, but he found it hard to ignore the people in his head, and the only way to get them out was to write. Visit him at www.leigh-greenwood.com.



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33. Spotlight and Giveaway: Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley

This November Asa Maria Bradley releases the first in her exciting new Viking Warriors series, Viking Warrior Rising! To celebrate, Asa’s here to play a game of Marry, Kiss, Kill with three names we provided. For this round we gave her Captain Jack Sparrow, Han Solo, Tony Stark.

All of these three splendid specimens of the male species will offer great adventures. Pirate adventure? Space adventure? Modern day tech adventure? Those are hard choices. If I’m pressed for an answer, I’ll say yes to taking Tony Stark to the altar. Since I’m a physicist and a romance writer, I think we’ll have a lot in common when it comes to science and technology. (Plus, have you seen his biceps and his bank account? 😉 )

I’ve had a crush on Han Solo since I saw the original Star War movies. I was too young to see them when they first came out, but mom and dad finally allowed me access when I was 12. We’ll be smooching for a long, long time because I have a lot of pre-teen fantasies to make up for. Don’t worry, they’re all very innocent.

That leaves Captain Sparrow to kill, but I’m pretty sure he’ll survive all of my attempts. The British has tried just about everything to take his life and he always comes back to laugh another day.

An Excerpt:

Leif strode toward her, stopping a few paces away, concern on his face. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” she croaked. The air between them crackled, making the hairs on her arms stand up. Was she the only one feeling this?

He took a step closer and cupped her cheek in his palm. “Are you sure? You look a little pale.”

She resisted the urge to rest her head in his hand. “No, I’m fine.” She took a step back.

He frowned.

“We found one more bug in the game room.” Her voice sounded rough.

“Ulf told me.” He stepped toward her, eyes blazing.

“We’re working on the computers tomorrow,” she whispered, taking another step back. He crowded her. His body heat confused her, making her want impossible things. She cleared her throat. “It shouldn’t take us long to improve your firewall and install a few security checks.”

Leif watched her silently.

“You want to sit down?” She gestured toward the arm chairs.

“Sure,” he said, but didn’t move.

Naya had to step around him. Her skin sizzled when her arm accidently brushed against his. Relieved, she sank down in one of the blue chairs. A small table created a barrier between her and Leif. “So,” she said. “You were going to explain what makes you different from regular humans.”

He sat down in the empty chair, elbows on knees, studying his clasped hands. After a few moments he tilted his head and looked at her. “I’ll try to answer all of your questions, but some of this may sound a little crazy.”

“I’ll keep an open mind.”

Leif’s eyes met hers. Whatever he saw in them seemed to satisfy him. “I died in 1050.” He paused, watching her reaction.

Naya kept her gasp from escaping and instead nodded encouragingly.

“In the Norse culture, warriors who die in battle or die a heroic violent death are sent to live with the gods in Asgard. The men spend their time training in Valhalla with Odin. The women are schooled by Freya.”

Naya’s mind reeled. What he described didn’t seem possible, but he was so sincere. Obviously he believed his story to be true. “I thought there were only male warriors in the Nordic tradition.”

“Most stories are based on the old Icelandic sagas. They describe Valkyries as leading the men to Valhalla.”

“And that’s not the way it is?”

Leif smiled. “The sagas were all written by men long after the Viking age ended. They didn’t know what happened in Freya’s meadow and took some poetic license.”

“So, typically male, instead of just saying ‘I don’t know,’ you make up shit instead.”

He smiled, his dimples stealing her breath. Again.

She looked away. “So, this place where the gods live, this is the Nordic heaven?”

“Not exactly. It’s the warriors’ reward for dying an honorable death. They are allowed to live on, to fight again.” He studied his hands. “I don’t remember much of Valhalla. Time flows differently there. All my memories run together as if they happened the same week.”

She looked up to find him watching her. “I’m sorry, I’m trying to follow what you’re saying. But—”

“It is a little crazy?” He smiled.

“A little.” A lot.

“Is it any crazier than being abducted and kept in a camp? Any crazier than enhancement injections?”


Title: Viking Warrior Rising

Author: Asa Maria Bradley

Series: Viking Warriors, #1

Pubdate: October 6th, 2015

ISBN: 9781492601968

Immortal Vikings are among us

Leif Skarsganger and his elite band of immortal warriors have been charged to protect humanity from the evil Norse god Loki.

Under attack from Loki’s minions, Leif is shocked to encounter a dark-haired beauty who fights like a warrior herself. Wounded and feverish, the Viking kisses her, inadvertently triggering an ancient Norse bond. But when Naya Brisbane breaks away and disappears before the bond is completed, Leif’s warrior spirit goes berserk. If Leif doesn’t find her fast, he’s going to lose himself to permanent battle fury.

But Naya doesn’t want to be found…and he’ll do anything to find her. Because they’re both running out of time.

Asa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, which inspired the immortal Viking and Valkyries in the Viking Warriors series. She came to the U.S. as a high school exchange student and liked it so much she never returned home. Asa holds an MFA in creative writing and an MS in Medical Physics. She lives on a lake deep in the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest with her British husband and a rescue dog of indeterminate breed. Visit her at www.AsaMariaBradley.com.

Buy Links:

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34. Spotlight and Giveaway: Every Little Kiss by Kim Amos

About Every Little Kiss

Eternal good girl Casey Tanner moved to White Pine for a fresh start. Her mission: to finally have fun. And a fling with a reckless bad boy is the very first item on the to-do list she pretended not to make. After one long, lingering look at a sexy firefighter, Casey has found her man.


Getting women into his bed has never been a problem for Abe Cameron. Letting one into his heart is an entirely different matter. But just one kiss, just one touch, just one smile from beautiful Casey has this lifelong bachelor flirting with the idea of forever. And Casey’s refusal to settle down only makes Abe more determined than ever to win her heart. Now the one woman who can’t be caught is the only one Abe can’t live without . . .






About Kim Amos

Kim Amos is a romance writer whose Midwestern roots run deep. You can usually find her hanging out in a state that borders the Great Lakes. She is married to an artisan ice cream maker, which is a dangerous complement to her enduring love for cheese. Learn more at www.kimamoswrites.com




“Heard you had some excitement yesterday at your job,” Betty said to her, ladling her plate with food as the dishes were passed around. Betty’s curly blond hair was aglow in the soft light.

“False alarm, as it turned out. Just low batteries in Robot Lit’s CO2 detector.”

Casey silently gave herself props for following through earlier in the day on replacing the CO2 detector’s batteries, also buying two smoke alarms and a fire extinguisher.

“I meant the part where you got stuck in an elevator with a fireman,” Betty said.

The other women around the table stilled.

“You didn’t tell me that!” Audrey said, her brown eyes wide. “And you hate small spaces. Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. It was just an old elevator that stalled out.” She eyed Betty. “How did you even know about that?”

“Sometimes I tune into the scanner. Sounded like you and the lieutenant were in there for a good long while.”

“I—” Casey stalled, unsure what to say next. They’d been in there for what seemed like hours, even though it had probably only been twenty minutes or so. She could still feel the warmth of his hand around hers, the steady beat of his heart against her fingertips.

“The lieutenant is Abe Cameron, right? Stewart’s older brother?” Audrey asked.

“The serious one,” Willa said. “Stu was so easy-going and fun. I was on student council with him in high school. Abe would pick him up from school sometimes, and I remember Abe being like—one of the faces on Mount Rushmore or something. So stony and serious.”

“The opposite of his parents,” Betty said.

“What do you mean?” Casey asked.

“Julia and Pete Cameron were such free spirits. They both painted, and I always loved their work. Now, they live up in the White Pine Retirement Village. I hear Pete’s memory is going.”

Casey blinked with surprise. She couldn’t imagine Abe’s parents being artists. Military sergeants, maybe. But not painters.

Until she remembered how warm and gentle Abe had been in the elevator. He’d been perfect, really, as she’d panicked in the cramped space. Until the light of day had shone on him again, and Casey figured she must have imagined the compassion he’d shown her.

Or had she? It was maddening to wonder what her addled brain had cooked up and what had been reality.

“What’s that look?” Audrey asked, reading Casey all too well. “Did something happen in that elevator?”

Leave it to her sibling to cut to the chase.

“If it did, you’re in the clear,” Betty said. “Abe is single. At least that’s what I hear.”

“Abe is always single,” Willa said.

“The parade of ladies through his life is impressive,” Anna agreed. “Sam knows some of the guys down at the station and I guess he’s got quite a reputation.”

“Is that good or bad?” Casey asked.

“Very good while it lasts,” Betty said with a wink, “since apparently he’s quite… gifted in certain ways. But then bad when it’s over.”

“Didn’t he go out with Maddie Fronting?” Audrey asked. “I was in a book club with her once, and I feel like she was always talking about this guy who turned her into a gymnast in bed. Twisted her up in all the best ways.” She giggled. “That was Abe, right?”

“Probably,” Stephanie said, nodding. “He might put all that stony seriousness to good work in the bedroom, but at the end of the day, he’s an unreformed serial monogamist.”

“A what?” Casey asked.

“Someone who dates one person seriously for a while. Then breaks up with them and dates someone else—wash, rinse, repeat.”

“Did he ask you out?” Audrey asked Casey.

She shook her head. “No, nothing like that. In fact, just the reverse. Abe got me thinking that I should pursue the opposite of him. Someone lighter, more fun-loving.”

“Like his brother?”

“Stu’s a charmer,” Betty said. “Works at that winter gear store, I think.”

“I didn’t mean Stu necessarily,” Casey said. “Just someone with similar attributes. Someone playful. Lively.” She bit her lip, unwilling to admit to her rule-bound past, which is why she was thinking about all of this to begin with.

Betty arched a brow. “You sound like you wrote out a whole list.”

Casey stared at her untouched casserole. The truth was, she had made some mental notes. Okay, more than a few. She had come to White Pine determined to open her heart to others, and there was a tiny ember inside her that was ready to kindle romance, too. Though, romance was too nice a word for what she really wanted, which was a tumble in the sack. She’d already begun thinking in earnest about a few ways she wanted to jettison her…inhibitions.

“Oh, you didn’t!” Audrey laughed, staring at her. “You actually made a bullet-pointed list, didn’t you!” Once again, leave it to Audrey to bare her secrets.

“Not exactly,” she said, “I haven’t put pen to paper, it’s more like I’m thinking about what could be on it.”

Willa chuckled. “A serious list to achieve a not-so serious goal.”

“It’s not a list, I haven’t written it down,” Casey protested.

“It’s in your head though,” Audrey said, grinning.

“We don’t mean to poke fun,” Stephanie said, perhaps catching the frown pulling at the corner of Casey’s mouth. “We’ve just been around each other so long, we’ve lost some of our verbal filters.”

Another reminder Casey was the outsider. She set down her fork, no longer hungry.

Audrey bumped her shoulder playfully. “Come on. You have to admit, it is kind of ironic. An serious list so you can have some fun?”

It wasn’t serious, though. It wasn’t even a list. More like it was a mortifying set of thoughts about wanting to get some. Casey knew she should probably be talking about finding Mr. Right, just like all these other women had. But the truth was, she didn’t want that. After a lifetime of rule-following not to mention a serious relationship with even unhappier ending, she wanted something she’d never had before, and it sounded an awful lot like hot sex, no strings attached. Forget a ring. She wanted a fling.

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35. Spotlight and Giveaway: One Wild Winter’s Eve by Anne Barton


As the Duke of Huntford’s sister, Lady Rose Sherbourne follows the rules of well-bred society. Always chaperoned. Never engaging in unseemly behavior. Well, except for that one summer, years ago. And yet she’s never been able to forget that handsome stable master or the stolen moments they shared. She’s always wondered what might have happened if he hadn’t disappeared without a word . . . Now she’s about to find out.


Charles Holland never expected to see Lady Rose again. And yet the years haven’t lessened his devotion-or his desire-in any way. Despite their differences in class, Charles cannot stop himself from wanting to possess her. But as they uncover one intimate secret after another about her family, they realize that, this time, their love may come at a very dear price . . .






About Anne Barton

Anne Barton began swiping romance novels off her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager, so when she had the chance to spend a semester in London-home to her favorite heroes-she packed her bags and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.
Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anne found her way back to writing the stories she loves and in 2011 won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband (who, sadly, is not a peer of the realm-but a great guy nonetheless) and her three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute-but-impractical shoes, and caffeinated beverages of all kinds.





“What are you doing?”

The voice was authoritative, rich, and deep. And hauntingly familiar.

She turned, hiding the letter behind her. She made a clumsy attempt to shove the drawer shut with her bottom but only succeeded in bumping the desk, which rocked on spindly legs. The man must be a servant. If she could manage a haughty tone, she could probably talk her way out of the situation. But she’d never been particularly good at haughty. Her face burned.

“I was looking for something.” She looked at the man, hoping he wasn’t half as intimidating as he sounded, and froze.

Dear God. It couldn’t be.

“Rose?” He blinked, clearly as stunned as she, then quickly corrected himself. “Lady Rose?”

“Charles.” The sound of his name on her lips was surreal. She’d thought that her feelings for him had withered, dried, and blown away like dead leaves.

She’d been wrong.

He was the same as she remembered—confident, solid, and steady. But he was different too. His hair had turned a darker shade of gold, and he seemed to have grown all over. His neck was thicker, his jaw stronger. He’d traded the patched trousers and threadbare shirt that he’d worn in the stables for buckskin breeches and a nicely tailored jacket, both of which showed his strong physique to advantage. But the biggest change in him was the way he looked at her.

And it nearly broke her heart.

For instead of looking happy to see her, like he was anticipating a few stolen moments of summertime bliss, he looked suspicious. The laughing amber eyes that had always welcomed her to the stable glowered, chilly and remote.

She choked out the obvious question. “What are you doing at Lady Yardley’s?”

“I could ask the same of you.” The words, formal and clipped, didn’t fit with the Charles she knew.

She raised her chin and matched her tone to his. “I’m acting as a companion to Lady Bonneville, and we’re guests of the countess.”

“You’re a companion?” He raised a brow, skeptical.



Once, she would have willingly explained everything to him. For even before she’d regained her voice, she’d shared her whole being with him—she’d been as honest and open as it was possible for her to be. But now, his question irritated her. It presumed too much—a connection, a trust, a bond.

“I don’t see where it’s any concern of yours.”

“Forgive me.” But the look he leveled at her belied his apology. It said, Fine. We can play it that way if you’d like.

Fighting the urge to shiver, she folded the letter behind her back. She felt for the drawer, slipped the note through the crack, and slid the drawer shut. “You’re no longer a stable master.” It was an idiotic thing to say, but she had to say something—anything—to fill the vast and unnatural gulf between them.

“No.” His stiff smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“And I think it’s safe to presume,” she stated saucily, “that you’re not Lady Yardley’s companion.”

“I am not.” This time, his smile was genuine.

Dangerous, that. She gripped the edge of the desk behind her to keep her knees from wobbling.

He took one step toward her. “I’m her steward.”

Ah, he’d been too busy moving up in the world to reply to her letters. She couldn’t blame him for wanting to better his station in life—that had always been his dream. Perhaps he wanted no reminders of the days he’d spent mucking out stables. But those days happened to be the ones she most treasured.

“Congratulations are in order then.”

“I’m grateful to Lady Yardley for giving me the opportunity.” He took another step toward Rose. “And I am in her debt.”

The show of loyalty to his employer stung—especially since he seemed to have forgotten the sultry summer days and the confidences they’d shared. “I’ve no doubt you’ve proven yourself worthy.”

He strode closer, till only an arm’s length separated them. His clothes might have been more refined, but the man beneath them was not. He looked like he’d be more at ease chopping wood and hammering nails outdoors than reviewing ledgers and attending to correspondence in a study. The merest shadow of a beard covered the lower half of his masculine face, but his lips, soft and full, captured her attention. She’d imagined kissing him so many times that she could almost convince herself she had.

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36. Spotlight and Giveaway: Wishes for Christmas by Fern Michaels

Enter to Win a

Fern Michaels
Releasing Oct 27th, 2015
Kensington Books

New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels brings together the beloved heroines from two celebrated series—the Sisterhood and the Godmothers—for a holiday to remember…
This Christmas, instead of finding and punishing bad guys, all Maggie Spritzer wants is to bring a little more joy to the world—especially to a beloved teacher from her past. And as the Sisterhood unites to find her, they learn that no holiday treat is as fulfilling as giving to others…
Meanwhile, with a little help from the other Godmothers, Toots Loudenberry is preparing for Charleston’s annual holiday showcase of historic homes. But when the Godmothers sense trouble with one of the decorators, they must tackle a mystery and hope for a happy ending…
When Sisters and Godmothers unite, the result is a warm and wonderful holiday—with a special touch of magic…


This year, for some reason, I want . . . no, I need to make the angels sing. I want to hear them sing. Does that make sense?” Maggie asked fretfully.

“Of course it makes sense. I think it’s a wonderful idea. Count me in,” Annie said. “Now, you know if you include the boys, the fund would grow substantially higher,” she said slyly. The others agreed as they all started to eat.

“Not so fast,” Myra said. “Dear,” she said, addressing Maggie, “did you forget we have an organization that Abner is in charge of that donates yearly, very generously and very heavily, during the holidays? Any new charity or person is always welcome. I thought we all had agreed to that. Last year alone, we donated—anonymously, of course—over one billion dollars, which we confiscated from that monster, Angus Spyder. So, I’m not quite sure what it is you want us to contribute to, and while I have no problem with that at all, I guess I just don’t understand the end result here.”

The women stopped eating long enough to stare at Maggie, waiting to see how she would respond.

“I guess I didn’t fully explain, because I’m not clear in my own mind. Sometimes late at night, when I can’t sleep, I think about my life, my childhood, my family and wonder, as I think most people wonder, if I could do things over, what would I do differently? Is there some wrong in my past life that I never made right, for whatever reason? Just think about that for a minute. I have an instance, and I’ve never forgotten it. I don’t know if money can or will right that situation, but I want to look into it and try. It’s not the same as what Abner is doing with Spyder’s money and all those other people’s money we helped ourselves to. This is personal. That’s the best way I can explain it to you all. Does it make more sense now?”

“Well, yes, dear, it certainly does,” Myra said. “I think you might be on to something. Let’s run this up the flagpole. Now that I understand where you’re going with this, I think we should include the boys in this.”

“I agree,” Isabelle said. The others were quick to agree.

“We can’t call them now. It’s too late,” Yoko said. “They’ll be miffed that they weren’t included in this luncheon.”

“Then we’ll do a repeat tomorrow at my house,” Nikki said. “That’s when we’ll run it up the flagpole, and they’ll never know this was a rehearsal for tomorrow. How about that for sneaky? Do you all agree?”

“What are you going to serve?” Kathryn asked, her mind jumping ahead to the menu.

“How about a little of everything that is takeout?” Nikki laughed.

“Works for me.” Alexis giggled. Not surprisingly, it worked for everyone.

“So, let’s get to the dessert, Maggie,” Annie said.

The women talked nonstop as they devoured the peach cobbler, the main topic being that memories, for the most part, were a wonderful thing, be they sad or happy.

“How much money are we talking about?” Yoko asked. “The reason I ask is that Harry and I are going to China next month, and that always puts a big dent in our budget.”

“It doesn’t matter how much, Yoko. If it’s fifty dollars, that’s fine. If it’s two hundred fifty thousand dollars, that’s fine, too. The point is it has to be our own personal money, whatever we can afford. Gus’s insurance money is just the cherry on top. I’ll be putting my own money in, too. It will all go into one fund, and then, when we’re ready to distribute it to whoever needs it, we’ll vote on it. I think that’s fair. If you all want to keep your amounts secret, that’s okay, too. We should vote on that tomorrow. In the end, it might not even come down to money. Maybe there is someone out there from our past who needs something other than money. Something we can provide for them that no one else can. That kind of thing.”

“I think this is a wonderful idea,” Myra said. “I can’t wait for tomorrow. Thank you so much, Maggie, for bringing this up. Sometimes I think we forget that it’s better to give than to receive. Oh, this is going to be such a wonderful Christmas. The true meaning of it. Truly, truly.”

Annie swiped at her eyes. “Myra’s right. This is just what we all need. We’ve been getting complacent. I agree with Myra. I can’t wait till tomorrow.”

Twelve minutes later, right on schedule, Maggie’s kitchen and dining room were back to normal, with just the autumn centerpiece in the middle of the table. A second round of fresh coffee was served as the girls talked nonstop about what was going to transpire the following day.

“It’s going to take a lot of research to track down people from our past,” Isabelle said.

“And who better to do that than our four in- trepid reporters, meaning Ted, Dennis, Maggie, and Espinosa?” Nikki chortled.

“We need a name for this project,” Alexis said.

The group threw out names and titles, but it was Yoko who came up with the one they finally agreed to. Bright Star.

The Sisters all clapped, making their newest project official.


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FERN MICHAELS is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood and Godmothers series, and dozens of other novels and novellas. There are over seventy-five million copies of her books in print. Fern Michaels has built and funded several large day-care centers in her hometown, and is a passionate animal lover who has outfitted police dogs across the country with special bulletproof vests. She shares her home in South Carolina with her four dogs and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret. Visit her website at www.fernmichaels.com

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37. Spotlight and Giveaway: Men of Mercy by Lindsay Cross

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Gifted Ebook Copy of

Men of Mercy #1
Lindsay Cross
Releasing Oct 21st, 2015
Cypress Bend Publishing
Hunter James didn’t want or need redemption.
Until one mission turns his world upside down.
He left Mercy to fight for his country and escape a broken heart. Years later, he is hard. Cold. A man without mercy.  Part of an elite Task Force, he tracks a brutal terrorist to his home town. And runs into the woman who betrayed him…
Evangeline Videl was destroyed when Hunter left. Determined to move on, she finds another man, but discovers too late the monster hidden beneath his smooth smile. Struggling to find the conviction to live, Evie finds her life spinning out of control.
Then Hunter returns…
Forced to band together to find the terrorist before its too late, Hunter and Evie must learn to forgive or risk losing the promise of redemption and their lives…

Men of Mercy #2
Lindsay Cross
Releasing Oct 21st, 2015
Cypress Bend Publishing
Ranger James accepted his best friend’s death like a good soldier. With guilt. Regret. Vengeance. But a forbidden desire keeps pulling him from his mission…
Desire for his best friend’s widow.
Killed in Action. That’s why Rachel Carter’s husband wasn’t coming home.
A war widow, alone and broke, Rachel struggles to revive her family’s crop dusting service to survive. Now she takes to the skies to find escape. Escape from the pain. From the guilt. From the earth-shattering desire for her husband’s best friend.
Rachel and Ranger can’t fight the attraction between them any longer. But one fateful night cleaves their new found love in two…
Can they find the will to fight for true love? Or will an evil so shocking destroy their lives for good?

Men of Mercy #3
Lindsay Cross
Releasing Oct 21st, 2015
Cypress Bend Publishing

They say you can’t go home again. Jared Crowe never wanted to.

Home meant facing memories of abuse and neglect. Of dark closets and evil nightmares. Of his own relatives intent on killing him. But now his brother’s kidnapping forces him to face those demons. Only this time, Jared isn’t a scared little boy. He’s a full-grown Special Forces operative bent on revenge.

As a little girl, Sparrow Pickney risked her life to free two abused boys. As a grown woman Sparrow needs to earn a place in her adopted family’s business or be forced into a life of degradation. The chance to prove her family loyalty comes when she catches Jared spying on the compound and captures him.

When Jared sees his captor, he realizes she’s the girl of his dreams and vows to rescue her from a life of poverty. What Jared doesn’t know is Sparrow may not be the savior he remembers…but the one responsible for abducting and torturing his brother.

Jared is determined to find the truth. But that truth may be more than his heart can take.


Rachel spun around, the yellow airplane a perfect backdrop to her beautiful face. “What are you doing here?”

Ranger let his gaze travel from her scruffy boots, torn jeans and gloriously figure hugging tank, to the top of her dark red head. Her pink cheeks flushed.

“Like what you see?”

Ranger approached, her green gaze turned wary. Good. She should be worried. She’d doused him in chemicals. His skin still itched. He reached forward, plucked an oil stick from her ponytail and sent her hair spilling to her shoulders. He caught the brief scent of flowers and oil.

Rachel grabbed her hair, lips parted. Angry. Stubborn. Sexy.

He held up the stick right in front of her face. “Oil stick.”

Rachel snatched it from his fingers and tossed it across the room. “I told you to stay away from me.”

Ranger shrugged, his brain still caught on the image of her jean-clad ass hanging out of that airplane. Forget Sports Illustrated. He had farm fucking fantastic right here.

“Don’t you think dropping that all-natural excuse for chemicals on me is a bit dramatic? If you want to get me naked all you had to do is ask.” Ranger gestured to himself, sweeping his hand from his head down to his torso, Rachel’s eyes followed.

That definitely wasn’t desperation or anger in her gaze.

The desire he’d been trying to hold in check for months reared up inside him.

“You think I want to see you naked?” Rachel snorted, lifted her chin. “Besides, I figured anything would be an improvement to your normal smell.” So much for her vulnerability.

The wind picked up, blew into the hangar. Ranger shifted, praying the wind wouldn’t open the fly on his boxers, and almost covered himself. Almost. Until he remembered she was the reason for his stench. Instead, he stood tall. “You’ve never had a problem with the way I smelled before.”

“My manners were just too good to say anything.” She strode past him, punishing him with the sexy sway of her hips.

Dammit, he was so hard up for her, even her walk had his mind blanking. He stood there, nearly naked, and drenched in herbicide, and she walked past him like a stranger on a sidewalk.

Running from him. Again.

“Rachel Ann.” He didn’t yell, but she stopped mid-stride. Turned. Lips parted.

“You did that on purpose,” Ranger said. She’d been hard headed even in high-school, when he tried to break up with her, explaining that he needed a little space to see if life in Mercy was what he really wanted. Jumping on the marriage and kids bandwagon at eighteen years old had scared the shit out of him. But he’d obliterated any chance for reconnecting with Rachel when she’d seen him making out with Tonya at the football game senior year.

He hadn’t thought that leaving her to sow the wild oats of his youth would be a self-fulfilling prophecy of regret. Or that his best friend would move in on Rachel so fast and fill the void that Ranger had left in her heart.

“You bet your ass I did.”

“What the hell for?” He couldn’t get her smell, her taste, her touch out of his head. But she’d dumped shit on him for the last time.

Her eyes narrowed and her lips flattened. “I warned you.”

Yeah, she’d warned him to stay away from her. He’d stayed with her for weeks, helping her after the funeral. She’d healed physically, but remained an emotional tomb.

“I promised Shane, if anything ever happened to him, I’d look out for you.” He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss that angry expression right off her face. He’d wanted her since high-school, but when she’d married Shane, he’d vowed to put those feelings away. Forever. But the attraction hadn’t disappeared. And he knew it never would. “I know the chemistry between us is weird. Scary. But dammit it’s real and it’s here and now. You’re just flying through the clouds because you don’t want to see what’s on the ground right in front of you.”

If he hadn’t been studying every minute expression on her face he would have missed the brief flash of vulnerability in her gaze. Then her anger slid back in place. “The only thing I feel is annoyance. Are you so desperate that you have to chase after what you can’t have? You dumped me first, remember?”

Him? Desperate? No. He’d never had a problem getting women. Until Rachel.

If he hadn’t been so young and stupid he would have been the one she’d married. Not Shane.

Now all he could think, all he could see, was the small sprinkle of freckles across her pert nose. He could be on a mission in a third world country or down the road. It didn’t matter. She affected him.

He had an all-consuming need for his best friend’s wife. He hadn’t counted on lust eating him alive.

But he had honor. He had loyalty. Ranger had vowed over Shane’s grave to take care of Rachel.

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Lindsay Cross is the award-winning author of the Men of Mercy series. She is the fun loving mom of two beautiful daughters and one precocious Great Dane. Lindsay is happily married to the man of her dreams – a soldier and veteran. During one of her husband’s deployments from home, writing became her escape and motivation.
An avid reader since childhood, reading and writing is in her blood. After years of reading, she discovered her true passion – writing. Her alpha military men are damaged, drop-dead gorgeous and determined to win the heart of the woman of their dreams.

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38. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Wrong Bride by Gayle Callen



By Gayle Callen

Hi! I’ve begun a new trilogy, “Highland Weddings,” set in Scotland. The first book is THE WRONG BRIDE, a story about an arranged marriage meant to bring peace to two warring clans. Here are a few Fun Facts to put you in the mood for my Scottish romance:

1) Scotland is a new country for me! I’ve never set a book there, and I didn’t know what I was missing. Technically, in the early eighteenth century, Scotland and England were united as Great Britain, but the Highlanders believed they’d been robbed of their rightful king. That gave me lots of conflict for my heroine, raised in England, and my hero, a Scottish clan chief.

2) I also tried a brand new century. My medievals were set in the fifteenth century, my Elizabethans in the sixteenth, my Victorians in the nineteenth century. My new Scottish trilogy is set in the Georgian era, the eighteenth century. Everything was different: the clothes, the transportation, the political problems. Lots of research—but I love research!

3) I’ve set the book at Larig Castle, a craggy fortress high in the mountains overlooking a beautiful loch (lake). This part was fun for me, because the first 6 books I wrote were medieval, and it was like I was returning home to an old friend.

4) My heroine Riona is the Cinderella of her family—a cousin not much considered by the earl. She’s not the one betrothed to Hugh McCallum. But when the earl is regretting sending his precious daughter to the wilds of the Highlands, and tries to get out of it, Hugh won’t have it. Since Hugh has never met his betrothed, the earl substitutes Riona for his daughter, and Hugh ends up kidnapping Riona and stealing her away to Scotland.

5) Hugh McCallum is the chief of his clan, but he wasn’t raised among his people. He was taken away to protect him, and now he has to return to win the respect of his clan. He thinks bringing home the promised bride, the path to peace, will win him acclaim. Whoops, he won’t be happy when he discovers he’s got the wrong bride!

So please check out THE WRONG BRIDE and find out why I now love Scotland!

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Highland Weddings #1
Gayle Callen
Releasing Oct 27th, 2015
Avon Romance
The first in a wonderfully engaging series set in the Scottish Highlands, USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen creates an unforgettable story of mistaken identity and irresistible attraction.
Shaken from sleep during the night, bundled off to the Highlands by a burly Scot, Riona is at first terrified, then livid. Hugh McCallum insists they were promised to each other as children to ensure peace between their clans. The stubborn laird refuses to believe he’s kidnapped the wrong Catriona Duff. Instead, he embarks on a campaign of slow-burning seduction…
At first, Hugh cares only what their marriage can do for his people. Now he’s starting to crave Riona for her own sake. But her true identity jeopardizes his clan’s contract. And unless she chooses to risk all to be his bride, he’ll lose the only thing he prizes more than the lands he’s fought so hard to save-the passionate marriage they could have together.

From Gayle: A first kiss is always such a fun scene to write. They’re usually filled with conflict and chemistry and confusion—the three Cs!

Riona shivered, but it wasn’t from the bathwater’s chill. It was from the frightening realization that there was something powerful between them, something that called to her, that made the risks Hugh had taken to have her for himself seem arousing, not just self-serving. There was a place inside her she’d never sensed before, surely a recklessness, a weakness.

“Ye’re strangely quiet, lass,” he murmured.

His gaze lazily moved over her face, dipping to her breasts, where the upper curves were displayed above the soapy water. Her skin felt … prickly, sensitive, even inflamed.

“I’m not done fighting you,” she said at last, almost wincing at how breathless she sounded.

A slow grin curved his mouth, even as he reached his hand to cup her face and tilt it toward him. The shock of his warm palm settling so gently on her skin made her tense, but she didn’t pull away, as if that would show that she’d given up, that she was afraid of what he could do to her … what he could make her feel.

He leaned over the tub and kissed her, his palm guiding her head. She wanted to show him he didn’t move her, that this display meant nothing to her. But his lips were warm, and glided over hers with purpose, parted gently as if he wanted to taste her. She’d never been kissed … She felt her head swim at the sensation that seemed to travel down her body, to her breasts, to the pit of her stomach and between her thighs as if he’d touched her in her most secretive places.

When his tongue traced her lower lip, she jerked back in surprise. He didn’t laugh, just studied her with those gray eyes that were considerably warmer. He kept his hand on her face, and his thumb caressed her cheek over and over.

“Our first kiss bodes well for the future,” he said.

He glanced down to her breasts again, and she stiffened. With a faint smile, he let her go and stood up.

“Dry off,” he said, back to ordering her around. “We have things we need to discuss.”

Not the topics she wanted to discuss, apparently, but she didn’t argue. He turned his back and went to the window, while she hastily dried herself and pulled on a dressing gown Mrs. Wallace had laid out for her, trying to forget the feel of his mouth on hers, and how instead of being afraid or disgusted, she’d felt … aroused. Her cousin Cat had told her one could feel overwhelmed when in intimate situations with a man, and Riona hadn’t been able to understand what she meant. She did now, and felt a new kind of fear—fear of her own reaction and response to this compelling persuasion of his.


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After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, GAYLE CALLEN found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than twenty historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion, the Laurel Wreath Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award, and been translated into eleven different languages. The mother of three grown children, an avid crafter, singer, and outdoor enthusiast, Gayle lives in Central New York with her dog Uma and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane. Visit her website at www.gaylecallen.com.
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39. Spotlight and Giveaway: A Friendly Engagement by Christine Warner

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$10.00 Amazon eGift Card

A Friends First Novel #1
Christine Warner
Released June 2015
Entangled Publishing

Omar Esterly is married to his job. But when Omar sets his sights on a potential, family-oriented client, his confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem. Fortunately, his friend and employee, Devi Boss, has the perfect plan…
Okay, so it wasn’t exactly Devi’s plan to become her friend’s fake fiancée. Lies aren’t her style. However, Omar offers her a big, beautiful raise—enough to track down the missing father she’s never known—and Devi reluctantly agrees to the whole engagement hoax…
This was supposed to be a no-strings-attached win-win for both Devi and Omar, but when they cross the line between friendship and…well, something more, Devi realizes she’s made a huge mistake that just might cost her both job and friend—falling for her fiancé.

ONLY $0.99

A Friendly Arrangement
A Friends First Novel #2
Christine Warner
Releasing Oct 26th, 2015
Entangled Publishing
What happens when your plus one becomes “the one”?

Holly Haggerty and Roth Esterly are two besties with everything in common—they’re neighbors, career-driven, and commitment-phobes. Tired of always being set up on dates by well-meaning friends and family, they take matters into their own hands: they will be the other’s plus one—a little friendly arrangement between friends.

Easy…until a steamy night where they cross the line. But that’s okay, they’ll add an addendum—one that includes a little action between the sheets…on top of the sheets…and without the sheets. But there are rules. Dating and sex are exclusive until one of them decides to terminate the agreement. No slumber parties. And if either party becomes emotionally involved they will break things off with no hard feelings.

When unexpected news changes their plans and turns their fun arrangement into something more serious, Holly and Roth must come to terms with what’s more important—what they thought they wanted, or what they really need.

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Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her family, one laptop, and a much loved assortment of furry friends.
Besides laughing and a good dose of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing, but no arithmetic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes, and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines.
A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on facebook, twitter and her website at christine-warner.com


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40. Spotlight and Giveaway: Nowhere to Hide by Lindsay McKenna

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$100.00 VISA eGift Card

Lindsay McKenna
Releasing Oct 13th, 2015
Blue Turtle Publishing

Lia Cassidy left the Army scarred physically and emotionally after a vicious attack by two fellow soldiers. She turns to helping others, working at a Delos Home School Charity in Costa Rica that provides schooling for children. But when the deadly drug lord, La Arana, attacks the school, Lia finds herself on the run for her life. The only person she can trust is the ex-SEAL sent to protect her.

Cav Jordan is strong, honorable and gorgeous…and intrigued by Lia. He knows she has suffered pain in her past, and he is determined to break through her barriers and earn her trust. But as Cav slowly chips away at the walls Lia has built, ghosts from her past threaten to destroy their fragile relationship.

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

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Lindsay McKenna lives her life as a risk taker, and it shines through the books she loves to write: romance, adventure and suspense. She started writing at age thirteen and continues to hone her writing skills to this day. She sold her first romance novel in 1981. The rest is history.
Because she went into the military, this experience became the backbone of her writing—she is credited with writing the first military romance novel (Captive of Fate, 1983, Silhouette Special Edition) and has created a thriving sub-genre within the romance field! As a New York Times Best Selling author, she has sold 23 million books and in 32 foreign languages in her career thus far. Her many experiences in the U.S. Navy are backdrop for her understanding of the military in general, and also her very successful Morgan’s Mercenaries, which is an ongoing series in Silhouette to this day! Forty-five books strong!
Lindsay has gone Indie in 2015 and has created a new family saga on par with Morgan’s Mercenaries It is known as the DELOS SERIES. There will be paperback and eBooks created under Blue Turtle Publishing, her company for her fans. Readers who love Morgan and his family are bound to fall in love with the Culver family. Delos is romantic suspense, which Lindsay is well known for. It took her five years to create and bring DELOS to her readers. It was worth the wait, but we’ll let you decide that.

Lindsay loves to hear from her readers and loves to know what they’d like to see her write next. Stay up with the latest on the Delos Series here. Please visit her Web site at www.lindsaymckenna.com. And be sure to sign up for her free quarterly newsletter. It contains exclusive content found nowhere else on the Net. Plus, giveaways and other surprises, to her loyal and faithful subscribers!

Grab a FREE Ebook copy of 
The Prequel Novella to NOWHERE TO HIDE

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41. Spotlight and Giveaway: First Season / Bride to Be by Jane Ashford

Enter for your chance to win First Season / Bride to Be, which have both been long out of print!

First Season Excerpt

“There you are,” said someone from the hall below. “They said you had gone upstairs.”

Anabel looked down to find Sir Charles Norbury gazing up at her. A tingling shock ran through her body, and the candle trembled a little, dripping wax.

“You have missed the first waltz,” he added, meeting her at the bottom of the staircase and taking the candlestick from her hand. He snuffed the flame between forefinger and thumb and set it aside. “And I came early especially to engage you for it.”

“I wanted to look in on the children.” As always, his presence overwhelmed her. He seemed to tower over her, yet his pale green eyes felt close and compelling. She found it hard to breathe.

“It is a country dance now, unfortunately. Mayn’t we wait outside here for the next and hope?” He smiled and reached for her hand to lead her across to a small empty anteroom.

Anabel knew she should say no, but her voice seemed to have died, and she went with him silently and allowed him to escort her to a sofa and sit beside her, his arm thrown along its back.

“You look exquisite tonight,” he said softly. “The loveliest woman at the ball.”

This outrageous compliment revived her. “What a plumper. There are dozens of prettier ones.”


“Flatterer.” She smiled, but when she met his eyes, they were very serious.

“No,” he said again. “To me you are the most beautiful.” He held her gaze for a moment, then slowly bent forward and took possession of her lips, his arm tightening around her shoulders.

Anabel’s slight trembling increased, and her mind dissolved in confusion. She should pull away, part of it cried; this was terribly fast, and someone might come in at any moment. But another part urged her on, fascinated by Sir Charles’ attractions and filled with curiosity.

His kiss was very expert, and nothing at all like her deceased husband’s, Anabel’s only standard of comparison. His lips seemed to draw all strength out of her, leaving her limp and pliant, yet she felt disconnected from the expected sensual pleasure. He knew how to draw response from her body, clearly, but her heart and mind remained in turmoil.

Norbury, on the contrary, was in the grip of feelings stronger than any he had ever experienced, and for him the kiss confirmed a decision. This was the woman he wanted. Never had his passions been suffused with such emotion. Beyond thinking, he moved his free hand to Anabel’s knee and slid it upward caressingly, savoring the curve of her waist under the thin satin dress and cupping his fingers around her breast. She drew her breath in sharply.

A scuff of footsteps in the hall, followed by a scrap of conversation and a laugh, jerked Anabel upright. She pulled away from him only just in time to avoid being caught by two couples coming into the room. But it was obvious in the way that the newcomers stopped, smiled, and apologized that their appearance gave them away. Anabel rose and hurried from the room, Norbury behind her. Her cheeks were flaming, and she felt that she could not possibly face the crowd in the ballroom.

Book Information

Title: First Season/Bride to Be

Author: Jane Ashford

ISBN: 978-1492630944

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca


Two classic Regency romances by beloved bestselling author Jane Ashford celebrate the adventures of a London Season


Widowed Lady Anabel Wyndham was married right out of the schoolroom and has never before experienced the delights of a London Season. She’s dazzled by the attention of the fascinating Sir Charles Norbury, a man whose touch seems to melt her very soul, but a notorious rake. She’s drawn to handsome friend-of-the-family Christopher Hanford and the comfort and serenity he offers. But how does one choose between two such charming suitors? Anabel is finding that love is so much more dangerous the second time around.


Emily Crane is the toast of the ton—and she couldn’t find it more tedious. Until she encounters the darkly sensual stranger whose life she once saved and the London Season becomes infinitely more exciting. Recently returned from the wilds of South America, Lord Richard Sheldon has only contempt for tiresome London chits, but he finds himself stunningly intrigued by the dauntless Emily Crane. When the two become embroiled in a budding scandal and are forced into an engagement, they discover a passion more dangerous than any killer…

Author Bio

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.

Social Media

Website: http://www.janeashford.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jane-Ashford-154028944714495

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/842700.Jane_Ashford

Buy Links

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

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

iBooks: http://apple.co/1jf7ixV

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42. I Remember You Book Review

Title: I Remember You Author: Cathleen Davitt Bell Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Publication Date: February 10, 2015 ISBN-13: 978-0385754552 320 pp. ARC provided by publisher Juliet is a good student who has never had a boyfriend before. So when hockey player Lucas tells her he remembers their first kiss, she's not sure what to make of him. Cathleen Davitt Bell creates a premise

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43. Spotlight and Giveaway: Thunder on the Plains by Rosanne Bittner

Enter for your chance to win Thunder on the Plains by Rosanne Bittner!

Thunder on the Plains Excerpt

Sunny held her chin higher and faced him. “I’ll race you,” she told him.


She gave him a daring look, a new boldness in her eyes. “I said I’ll race you. If you catch me and manage to pull me off my horse, you’ve won!” She charged away, and Colt sat there a minute, wondering what she was up to. What was this sudden change in conversation? She was like a crazy woman today, and she had turned his feelings a thousand different ways.

Colt watched her, the way her bottom fit her saddle, the way her hair blew in the wind. Her daring look stirred his pride, and the race was on. He kicked Dancer into a hard run, manly desires stirring in him at the challenge of catching her. He held the reins with one hand and smashed out his cigarette against his saddle horn with the other, tossing the stub aside and leaning into the ride. “Get up there, Dancer,” he shouted to the horse.

Dancer’s mane flew up into Colt’s face as he galloped up and down more sandhills. He noticed Sunny veer to the west rather than north, and he turned Dancer, taking a cut between two more sandhills and emerging near Sunny as she came around the end of one hill. She screamed and laughed when she saw him, and now he knew he could catch her.

He came closer, the determination to reach her now a burning need. It went against all reason, was totally foreign to all sense of maturity. They were like children for the moment, and yet not children at all. The emotions it stirred in him to think of catching her were dangerous, yet he could not stop himself. He came ever closer, and now he was on her!

Sunny screamed when she felt his strong arm come around her. Suddenly, she was free of her horse and sitting sideways on Dancer, a powerful arm holding her. She covered her face and laughed as Colt slowed his horse. “Now you are my captive,” he teased.

She threw her head back and faced him, and both of them sobered. For a moment they sat there breathing heavily from the ride, watching each other.

“We had better go catch your horse,” he finally told her.

“We’ll find it later,” she answered. She moved her hands to touch his powerful arms, ran her fingers over his bare shoulders. “Tell me, Colt. What does an Indian do with his captive?”

For a moment everything went silent for him. Nothing existed but the utterly beautiful woman in his arms, her tempting mouth, her open blouse, her blue eyes, her golden hair. He moved a hand to rest against the flat of her belly. “He takes her to his tipi and makes her his slave,” he answered, his voice gruff with passion.

She touched his face. “That’s what I want you to do with me, Colt. Make me your slave—today, tonight, tomorrow.”

He shook his head. “Sunny—”

She touched his lips. “Don’t say it, Colt.” Her eyes glistened with tears. “I don’t know what’s right and wrong anymore, and today I don’t care. I just want you. I’ve always wanted you.” A tear slipped down her cheek. “It can’t be anybody else, Colt, not the first time. I—”

His kiss cut off her words, a deep, hot kiss that removed any remaining inhibitions. She could barely get her breath for the thrill of it, the ecstasy of his hand moving to her breast, the ache of womanly desires that surged in her when his tongue moved between her lips. Dancer moved slightly, and she clung to Colt. He left her lips for a moment, keeping one arm around her as he slid off the horse and pulled her after him.

Book Information

Title: Thunder on the Plains

Author: Rosanne Bittner

ISBN: 978-1492631200

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca


With more than 7 million books in print, RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award–winning and USA Today Bestselling author Rosanne Bittner pens a historical Western romance filled with dangerous cowboys, capable heroines, and an epic love story that sweeps across the Old West.


Sunny Landers wants a big life—as big and free as the untamed land that stretches before her. Land she will help her father conquer to achieve his dream of a transcontinental railroad. She won’t let a cold, creaky wagon, murderous bandits or stampeding buffalo stand in her way. She wants it all—including Colt Travis.


Like the land of his birth, half–Cherokee Colt Travis is wild, hard, and dangerous. He is a drifter, a wilderness scout with no land and no prospects hired by the Landers family to guide their wagon train. He knows Sunny is out of his league and her father would never approve, but beneath the endless starlit sky, anything seems possible…

Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Vdn1cv

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

iBooks: http://apple.co/1h0y3nP

Author Bio

USA Today bestseller and award-winning novelist Rosanne Bittner is known as the “Queen of Western Historical Romance” for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West—and are often based on Rosanne’s personal visits to each setting. She lives in Coloma, Michigan, with her husband and two sons.

Social Media

Website: http://www.rosannebittner.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosannebittner

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/67759.Rosanne_Bittner

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44. Spotlight and Giveaway: THE LEGEND OF LYON REDMOND by Julie Anne Long

Enter to Win a
$50.00 eGift Card to Choice Book Seller
Complete Print Set of the Pennyroyal Green Series

Pennyroyal Green #11
Julie Anne Long
Releasing Sept 29th, 2015
Avon Books

Bound by centuries of bad blood, England’s two most powerful families maintain a veneer of civility…until the heir to the staggering Redmond fortune disappears, reviving rumors of an ancient curse: a Redmond and an Eversea are destined to fall disastrously in love once per generation.
An enduring legend
Rumor has it she broke Lyon Redmond’s heart. But while many a man has since wooed the dazzling Olivia Eversea, none has ever won her—which is why jaws drop when she suddenly accepts a viscount’s proposal. Now London waits with bated breath for the wedding of a decade…and wagers on the return of an heir.
An eternal love
It was instant and irresistible, forbidden…and unforgettable. And Lyon—now a driven, dangerous, infinitely devastating man—decides it’s time for a reckoning. As the day of her wedding races toward them, Lyon and Olivia will decide whether their love is a curse destined to tear their families part…or the stuff of which legends are made.


Three weeks later …

Olivia Eversea sighed in the soothing, well-sprung recesses of her family’s barouche, grateful for the solitude if only for the duration of the drive from St. James Square to the Strand.

It was perhaps an acknowledgment of how insufferable she’d been lately that her family had let her go to Madame Marceau’s alone.

The discussion over whether she ought to have silver trim on her wedding dress, like poor Princess Charlotte, or perhaps even beading along the hem, which would be much more expensive, but wouldn’t she just glow like an angel (her mother’s words) in it, had become absurdly impassioned, and subtle insults may even have flown, and her even-tempered sister, Genevieve, may even have slammed a door. Or, rather, shut it emphatically, which was close as Genevieve ever came to throwing a tantrum.

Minutes of sullen silence later, they had fallen into each other’s arms, all apologies.

Olivia knew she was being difficult and prickly and she was somehow skillfully bringing out the worst in everyone she knew, herself most particularly. She was doing all of them a mercy by taking herself off to the modiste’s alone.

And she still didn’t know what kind of trim she wanted.

Did no one see the irony in choosing the same trim as the poor doomed Princess Charlotte, who had married the man she wanted to marry, rather than the man her father preferred her to marry? She had promptly then died horribly in childbirth, casting all of England into mourning.

Olivia wondered how many parents in England used Charlotte as a cautionary tale. See what awaits you if you don’t listen to me?

Olivia was satisfied that she, at long last, had made a sensible choice from the years of suitors. Everyone in her family approved of him.

She peered out the window as the Eversea barouche rolled through the noisy, colorful, lively throngs of the Strand. Pye men and puppeteers and costermongers and pickpockets wove in and out of gorgeously dressed men and women aglow with wealth and flawless breeding. The Strand’s lively dissonance would resonate nicely with her mood and she expected to find it soothing. And she liked Madame Marceau’s shop, she truly did. It was a hushed, feminine paradise. It was just that she’d had so many fittings she’d begun to feel a bit like a calf being measured for chops.

She was to have silk petticoats and fine lawn night rails, traveling dresses and walking dresses and riding habits, gloves both kid and cotton, stockings both silk and woolen, ball gowns in silks and satins in glowing, muted jewel tones, along with fascinators and feathers and furbelows. It was a veritable avalanche of finery, or perhaps a bulwark of finery, she thought dryly, for surely abandoning it would inspire such crippling guilt that Olivia wouldn’t dream of fleeing?

Not only that, but nearly every relative from both sides of her family would be convening upon Pennyroyal Green, Sussex, in May, and there would be not only a wedding, but a ball. Reinforcements was what she called these relatives, but not out loud.



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Julie Anne Long originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up, and she has the guitars and the questionable wardrobe stuffed in the back of her closet t prove it. When playing to indifferent crowds at midnight in dank clubs lost its, ahem, charm, she realized she could incorporate all of the best things about being in a band—namely, drama, passion and men with unruly hair—into novels, while at the same time indulging her love of history and research. So she made the move from guitar to keyboard (the computer variety) and embarked on a considerably more civilized, if not much more peaceful, career as a novelist.
Julie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with a fat orange cat. (Little known fact: they issue you a cat the minute you become a romance novelist.)

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I remember M.E. Kerr. My sister had a book called DINKEY HOCKER SHOOTS SMACK, and I was in grade school and thought the title sounded awful. Who'd name their kid Dinky? With books, though, curiosity traps me every time, and the fact that Dinky was a... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on TURNING PAGES: EDGE: COLLECTED STORIES by M.E. KERR as of 9/30/2015 6:24:00 PM
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46. Guest Post and Giveaway: First Time with a Highlander by Gwyn Cready

This October the second in Gwyn Cready’s Sirens of the Scottish series, First Time with a Highlander, comes out! To celebrate, Gwyn’s here to tell us a little bit more about the inspiration behind her time-travel romances AND play a quick game of “Would You Rather.”

“People often ask me why I like to write time travel romance, and it’s a two-part answer, because there are really two questions in there—why do I like to write romance, and why do I like to write time travel.

I began to write with the intention of getting published in June, 1997 to honor my younger sister, who was a poet and photographer and who had died suddenly the month before. The sort of book I wanted to write was a book like the one a friend had given me a few months earlier—Outlander. At that time, I’d never read a romance before, and I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. Jamie is the best sort of hero—devoted, funny, brave, smart, and supportive of the heroine. I was so hopped up on the first three Outlander novels, it was pretty much all I could talk about in the spring of 1997—and it was one of the things I talked to my sister about since her college boyfriend had been named Jamie and like the heroine in Outlander, my sister’s name was Claire. It was the last conversations I ever had with her.

So there I am, in 1997, wanting to honor my sister with a book, and certain the book I want to write is a romance like Outlander. Time travel fit in nicely for me. Outlander is a time travel novel, of course, but I’d been a time travel fan before that. The Back to the Future movies are my holy grail of time travel. I loved Somewhere in Time, of course, as well as the Terminator movies, Time After Time, and Groundhog Day. Time travel lets you quickly throw your character into adversity and see if he/she sinks or swims. The question you want readers asking in romance novels is “How, with all these challenges, will the hero and heroine still end up together?” Time travel adds another layer to that tension, specifically, “How will they end up together when each is destined to be in his/her own time?” In my mind, one of the most heroic things a character can do is give up his own time in order to be with the person he/she loves, and that’s always a tender and gripping moment to write in my books.

Which brings us to First Time with a Highlander. Serafina and Gerard were such fun characters to chase through a novel. As with Just in Time for a Highlander, the first book in the Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands series, I wanted to shake things up a bit by having the hero be the person who travels to the past. Gerard is an ad man—and since I spent twenty years working in brand management at a big pharma company, I know what ad men are like. The women in this series hold positions of unusual power for women in the eighteenth century, and Serafina is no exception. She inherited a shipping concern from her father, but her blackguard of an ex-fiancé has run the business into the ground. He’s ruined her socially and financially, but Serafina is not one to take things lying down. She uses herbs she’s, ahem, “borrowed” from a famed spell-caster to summon a man to help her claim the cargo from the ship’s final voyage before her fiancé can get his hands on it. She only needs a man for one night and…well, you can imagine what that leads to in the hands of an inexperienced spell user. But Serafina is willing to pay the price—in fact, she’s quite willing once the smart, dashing Gerard appears.

Would You Rather Question: Would you rather be able to shape-shift or time travel?

I’ve always wanted to be a hawk. They’re so beautiful and hang on the breeze with barely a movement. The downside, of course, is eating mice—gah! Time travel, of course, would be great, too. And there’s always the chance to find Jamie Fraser before Claire does. I’m pretty divided on this one. I think life should be measured by the experiences we gather, and either of these scenarios would have to top.

Title: First Time with a Highlander

Author: Gwyn Cready

Series: Sirens of the Scottish, #2

Pubdate: October 6th, 2015

ISBN: 9781492601968

From the “master of time travel romance”, award-winning author Gwyn Cready continues her steamy Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands series.

She needs a man—but only for a night

What do you get when you imbibe centuries-old whiskey—besides a hangover the size of the Highlands? If you’re twenty-first century ad exec Gerard Innes, you get swept back to 18th-century Edinburgh and into the bed of a gorgeous, fiery redhead. Gerard has only a foggy idea what he and the lady have been up to…but what he does remember draws him into the most dangerous and exhilarating campaign of his life.

Be careful what you wish for…

Serafina Seonag Fallon’s scoundrel of a fiancé has left her with nothing, and she’s determined to turn the tables. If she can come up with a ringer, she can claim the cargo he stole from her. But the dashing man she summons from the future demands more than a night, and Serafina finds it easier to command the seas under her feet than the crashing waves he unleashes in her heart.

Gwyn Cready is a writer of contemporary, Scottish, and time travel romance. She’s been called “the master of time travel romance” and is the winner of the RITA Award, the most prestigious award given in romance writing. She has been profiled in Real Simple and USA Today, among others. Before becoming a novelist, she spent 25 years in brand management. She has two grown children and lives with her husband on a hill overlooking the magical kingdom of Pittsburgh.


Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Od18Lg

Apple: http://apple.co/1UTdm01

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

B&N: http://bit.ly/1KdVz9j

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

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1Lfl8eq

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1LwEJ5N


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47. Spotlight and Giveaway: DANCES UNDER THE HARVEST MOON by Joanne Rock

Enter to Win a
Jet-Setter Prize Pack

Heartache, TN #3
Joanne Rock
Releasing Oct 1st, 2015
Harlequin Superromance
Heartache—the best place to heal
Chance of a lifetime
It’s finally Heather Finley’s moment. After spending years looking after her mother in the tiny town of Heartache, Tennessee, Heather’s about to follow her dream of singing country music. She can nearly hear the audiences hollering…until the town’s handsome mayor, Zach Chance, comes to her with troubling questions about her late father’s past. Once again, Heather has to choose: protect her family or chase her heart’s desire? Zach is determined to help, and to convince Heather that she belongs in Heartache—with him. But is he just another distraction? Or could he be the one to show Heather how a small-town love can make her big-time dreams come true?


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Three-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy novels enjoys writing contemporary romance and medieval historicals alike, recently exploring Young Adult romance under a pseudonym. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance–in all its forms– fits her life outlook perfectly. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.

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48. Monday Mishmash 10/5/15

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

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Our Little Secret Feature and Review Opportunity  Limitless Books is organizing a feature and review opportunity for bloggers. We're looking for people to feature the book and possibly review it on November 6th. If that's you, sign up here.
  2. Editing  I'm editing for Seek this week. I have two books on my plate and both are amazing.
  3. Revising  I have an emotional hangover from revising an Ashelyn Drake new adult title last week. Seriously all the feels! This week, I'll be revising another Ashelyn title, and it's adult. I'm still getting used to the fact that I wrote for adults.
  4. Reminder to All Readers  I want to remind everyone to please, please, pretty please review the books you read. I'm so grateful for every review that pops up on Amazon. Yes, even the not-so-stellar ones. Why? Because reviews get Amazon's attention and then Amazon makes the book more visible to readers. So please, if you love books, help the book community by posting a review.
  5. The Case of the Washed-Up Warlock  I'm so excited to announce that the first book I edited for Leap will releases today! It's a great middle grade book by Patrice Lyle and it's absolutely gorgeous too. up tomorrow. Order it here.

    That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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49. Spotlight and Giveaway: Chance the Winds of Fortune and Dark Before the Rising Sun

The second and third books in Laurie McBain’s Dominick Trilogy are finally available!  Enter for your chance to win the entire series!

Chance the Winds of Fortune Excerpt

Rhea blinked in disbelief. “What an insufferable man you are. And whether you are, as you would have me believe, a marquis, or whether you are a tinker, I would still find you the rudest, most vulgar individual I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.”

“I am impressed by this splendid show of ladylike disdain, feigned though it be, but well done nonetheless. But the light of truth has revealed you in my cabin. Now, how do you explain yourself out of that?”

Dante glanced down at the map, which was lying at his feet. “Since the map is still here, I must deduce that was not your intended object in stealing on board the Sea Dragon. Rather, you wanted to make my acquaintance. Perhaps you imagined that a marquis makes love differently from other men you have known. I assure you, except for my own personal preferences, I am no different from any other man.”

Dante eyed the girl up and down, noting with distaste her limp hair and dirty clothes, and guessed she was eighteen or older. Probably older to have so arrogant a demeanor and the derring-do to beard the lion in his den. But one thing was for certain, she was old enough to be held accountable for her misdeeds. She needed to be taught a sobering lesson, one that she would not soon forget, Dante decided, for he was in no mood tonight to show leniency to anyone. Besides, odds were, if she’d had a pistol tucked away somewhere, he would be lying dead at her dainty, secondhand shoes right now.

“So, you wish to get to know me better,” Dante commented. “You have been rather inept at engaging anything more than my displeasure thus far. If your scheme is to succeed, then you will have to make a few concessions to me. You should have taken more care to learn my likes and dislikes. I am a very particular fellow about whom I let into my bed. And right now, you haven’t a ghost of a chance to fulfill that wish of yours.” Dante was pleased to see an expression of concern passing across her grimy face.

“However, that can be remedied quite easily,” he continued. “I’ve never been one to stand in the way of another’s ambition, as long as it does not interfere with mine.” He sounded almost friendly, but Rhea was not deceived, for his painful grip on her wrists had not lessened.

“Either you are hard of hearing or extremely obtuse,” Rhea declared furiously. “I despise the very sight of you and would find the burning fires of hell preferable to sharing a bed with you. I do not care if you have an arm’s length of titles to your wretched name, whatever that might be. All I desire is to get off this ship, and away from you.”

“Ah, come now, no more protestations against sharing my bed, for we both know how hollow they are,” Dante responded easily. His smile was forced, though, for this insolent chit had a way with words that cut deeply into a man’s self-esteem, and his had already been inflicted with a few jabs of late.

Dante’s gaze clashed with the violet eyes that were glowing with hatred of him, and he resented the fact that such beauty should belong to a dirty little street urchin, who would spit in his face if she thought she could get away with it unscathed. Her contempt for him was visible in every quivering ounce of her, and yet she was the one who had set out to entrap and deceive him. He was the one with the grievances, although to look at her one would think she had been the victim of foul play.

Dante allowed his eyes to linger on the contours of her face for a moment longer, a moment which seemed endless to Rhea. Then he smiled, and it was a strangely beautiful smile in spite of its coldness. Abruptly, he released her wrists, picked up the map, and walked away from her.

Book Information

Titles: Dark Before the Rising Sun and Chance the Winds of Fortune

Author: Laurie McBain

Series: Dominick Trilogy books #2 and #3

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Chance the Winds of Fortune

Lady Rhea Claire, kidnapped and shipped to the Colonies as an indentured servant, manages with wits and courage to escape…straight into the arms of a ruthless English pirate.

For all his worldly ways, Dante Leighton, Marquis of Jacqobi and captain of the Sea Dragon, never expected to discover his redemption and his greatest treasure within the amethyst eyes of a beautiful English refugee.

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

Dark Before the Rising Sun Summary

Newly-wed, Lady Rhea Claire and Dante Leighton must return to England, where their reception is anything but warm.

Now armed with wealth and power, Dante is a target for the murderous smugglers who despoiled his family home, while Rhea’s father, the powerful Duke of Camareigh, vehemently rejects their marriage.

The two lovers thought themselves invincible together. But in the riveting conclusion of McBain’s epic trilogy, Dante’s determination to reclaim his family seat and Rhea’s desperation to win over her father threaten to cause an insurmountable rift that could break them apart forever.

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

Author Bio

Laurie McBain became a publishing phenomenon at age twenty-six with her first historical romance. She is a winner of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Romance Author. All of her romances were bestsellers, selling over 11 million copies. Laurie’s books have been out of print for over 5 years.

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50. Launch Day Blitz: One More Kiss by Kim Amos


About One More Kiss


Betty Lindholm doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The banner advertising the new shipment of satin at her fabric store finally arrived and now the entire town of White Pine is up in arms. How was she supposed to know there’d be a typo? Now the entire town thinks she’s proclaiming “Satan is here!” Even the gorgeous pastor with his steel-grey eyes and sexy smile . . .


Pastor Randall Sondheim is always on the lookout for excuses to drop by Betty’s shop and gaze into her lovely blue eyes. The latest is her crazy sign-could that be a sign of something more? Sweet Betty brings out the best in him but it’s the worst in him, his dark secret tragedy, that worries Randall. Can this man of God conquer his own demons to win a match made in heaven?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Vz69SX

B&N: http://bit.ly/1L1V7LK

iTunes: http://apple.co/1Pf00q2

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1Mb6PUk



Betty Sondheim studied the fresh-baked apple pie in her shopping cart and wondered what in the world was happening to her. The golden-colored filling looked rich enough to be called buried treasure, the way it was artfully folded under all that flaky crust. And the bottom of the tin was still deliciously warm: No doubt the pie had just been baked that morning by Arleen Raider, who had won White Pine’s most recent Fourth of July dessert contest. Even now, she caught a glimpse of Arleen behind the Lumberjack Grocery’s bakery counter piping frosting onto cakes, her experienced baker’s hands moving with graceful ease.

This pie was going to be delicious. Arleen’s pies were always delicious.

So why did Betty suddenly want to throw the whole tin across the room and never touch another bite ever again?

Audrey Callaghan rolled her cart next to Betty’s. “Get everything you needed?” her friend asked. The pair were picking up a few extra items for that evening’s Knots and Bolts recipe exchange. Betty would never bring a store-bought pie to a recipe exchange, but she would bring one home to her husband, Randall Sondheim.

“I just need to grab some cream of tartar, then I’m done,” she said. She eyed the pie warily as she spoke. Sometimes she and Randall had Arleen’s pies with their coffee in the morning, sitting in their sun-soaked kitchen and appreciating the fact that life was too short to always eat dessert last.

She took a breath as her heart thudded, thinking of Randall and how lucky they were to have each other. Arleen’s pies were more than just dessert—they were a symbol of all that was good between them.

Her stomach roiled and she nearly dropped the tin.

So why did she feel like what was good between them suddenly made her sick?

Audrey reached out and grabbed Betty’s elbow. “Are you okay? You look pale.”

Betty set the pie back down. “I’m—I’m fine. I just don’t think I should be buying this right now. We’re trying to watch our waistlines.”

She swallowed, hating the lie but not knowing what else to say. Because deep down was the sudden realization that maybe this wasn’t about pie at all. Maybe this was about something much more exciting. And terrifying.

She forced herself to smile at Audrey, whose lovely brown eyes were watching her carefully.

“You go on and check out,” Betty said. “Let me grab the last of what I need and I’ll meet you up front.” The two women were slated to return to Betty’s when they were done at the store, to prep their food for that evening. Betty was supposed to show Audrey how to make homemade strudel dough, though her brain felt so scrambled at the moment that she wasn’t sure how she could brown toast, never mind tackle anything more complicated.

“All right,” Audrey said hesitantly. “I’ll be right up front. If you’re not there in five minutes, I’m coming to find you.”

Betty waved her off. “I’m fine. Go get one of those Hollywood magazines you like and read about the latest plastic surgery fiascos until I get there.”

Audrey smiled and headed for the front. Betty pushed her cart away from the bakery section, telling herself she was making a big deal out of nothing. Right? The fact that she didn’t want the pie didn’t mean anything else was going on.

And yet there was a fluttering in her stomach that she couldn’t lock down. She clutched the top of the cart more tightly and steered it through the store, trying to get to the spice and baking aisle as quickly as possible. But her steps slowed when her eyes landed on the aisle with toilet paper and toothpaste and…something else.

She turned her cart and stopped in front of a small row of white boxes.

Pregnancy tests.

She gripped the cart until her knuckles were white. That couldn’t be it, could it?

It would explain the pie, anyway. And why couldn’t it be possible? She and Randall had started trying, after all. It’s just that it had only been…well, barely a few weeks. She’d figured that it would take months, maybe even years, since she was approaching her mid-thirties. But maybe her ovaries were as impatient as the rest of her tended to be.

She glanced around to see if Audrey was anywhere nearby. When the coast was clear, she grabbed one box—then another—and stuffed them into her cart under a bag of spinach.

She steered toward the front of the store, wondering how she was ever going to check out without Audrey seeing the tests. Not that she didn’t want to tell her friend. It’s just that their other friend Willa was pregnant and due in another few weeks, and she wanted Willa to have the spotlight to herself for as long as possible. And who knew if Audrey was trying now too, what with her recent marriage to Kieran Callaghan and the dazed-in-love look she wore most days.

Betty knew spilling news about babies and pregnancy could be complicated. Women had funny reactions to it all sometimes.

She took a steadying breath. Bigger than all that, though, was the fact that she wanted to tell Randall everything first. She wanted to pull her husband close and feel his strong arms around her, and have it be just their secret. For a time anyway.

If she even was pregnant.

It was a huge if. After all, everything she was feeling could be indigestion. Gas. Heartburn from all that spicy chili she made earlier in the week.

Audrey waved as Betty approached the check-out. Audrey’s wedding ring glinted under the bright store lights. Her shopping bags were resting on the floor by her feet. And now, standing next to Audrey, was her sister Casey, who’d just moved to town recently. Snow fell gently outside the windows facing the grocery store parking lot, blanketing the blacktop in white.

“Look who I found!” Audrey said, bumping her sister with her shoulder. “Looks like we’re all here trying to get ready for tonight’s recipe exchange.”

“Hi Casey,” Betty said, trying to sound like it was a regular Thursday afternoon and she didn’t have two pregnancy tests shoved into the bottom of her cart. “You settling into town okay?”

“So far so good,” Casey said, looking like a carbon copy of Audrey—but with more beige in her wardrobe. She shifted the bags in her hands. “The job is great, and I’m unpacking slowly but surely. Audrey here tells me you’re teaching her to make strudel.”

“That’s just it,” Betty said, turning to Audrey, “I’m, ah, not feeling so hot, and I think you’d better just drop me off at home. Sorry about that, Audrey. We can do the strudel next week.”

Audrey nodded sympathetically. “It’s absolutely fine. Let’s get you into bed. You looked like you were going to pass out back there in the bakery.”

“Maybe you could pull the car around?” Betty asked, eyeing her items again. She didn’t want to put them on the conveyor belt in front of her friend. “I’d appreciate it.”

“Of course,” Audrey said. “I’m all checked out. It’s no problem.”

Audrey gave her sister a quick hug. “See you later, Casey.”

Casey opened her mouth to answer, then closed it sharply. Her golden-brown eyes widened and she swallowed visibly. Betty and Audrey followed her gaze to a nearby end-cap of cereal where a tall, broad-shouldered man was checking out nutrition labels. He picked up a box and frowned at the small print, the cardboard seeming small and flimsy in his massive hands.

Betty realized it was Abe Cameron, their local fire lieutenant.

As if he knew he was being watched, Abe turned around and spotted the cluster of ladies. He nodded and smiled at them, teeth flashing bright white. His gaze lingered for a few long moments. Was it Betty’s imagination, or were his eyes locked onto Casey’s?

Next to her, Casey stiffened. Nervous energy was radiating off her. There was a crackle in the air Betty couldn’t hear—but she could sure feel it. After a long moment, Abe broke the stare and turned away. But Casey’s eyes kept tracking on Abe, even as he pushed his cart away, down toward the frozen food section. And no wonder. His ass was gloriously tight and high as he walked along.

“Some view,” Betty said. “I bet you could bounce a quarter off those cheeks.”

Audrey chuckled. “Casey looks like she could watch him leave all day.”

Casey blushed so red, Betty swore she could feel heat radiating off the poor girl’s face.

“Next,” the cashier said, jolting them all out of their fireman reverie.

“I’ll get the car,” Audrey said, grabbing her bags and fumbling for her keys.

“I’ll join you,” Casey said, tearing her eyes away from the retreating form of Abe. “I’m all set here, too.”

Betty let out a small breath, watching them go. She unloaded her cart quickly, shoving the pregnancy tests on the belt between some clementines and oatmeal, her foot tapping out a steady rhythm on the floor. Now that the idea of being pregnant was in her head, all she wanted to do was to find out for sure—one way or another. Gray areas never sat well with her. Finally, she paid the cashier, then bundled everything into her canvas shopping bag.

Outside, Audrey pulled up to the front doors, and Betty dashed through the falling snow to meet her. She pulled the car door shut against the cold and kept her shopping bag clutched on her lap. Drive fast, she begged Audrey silently as her friend pulled away from the Lumberjack Grocery and toward home.

About Kim Amos

Kim Amos is a romance writer whose Midwestern roots run deep. You can usually find her hanging out in a state that borders the Great Lakes. She is married to an artisan ice cream maker, which is a dangerous complement to her enduring love for cheese. Learn more at www.kimamoswrites.com.



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