Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Blitz for Expected by Sarah England


Blurb: Red Alert.

Sam Sweet is terrified of giving birth.

Only, she doesn’t dare tell anyone. Especially her grandchild-obsessed mother, or her fiancé, Simon – top surgeon by day, mind-game expert by night.

Repressed by the expectations of others, Sam feels trapped. All she ever wanted was a career and a crack at independence, but as a catastrophically failed psychiatric nurse who now injects fillers into the crinkled faces of unhappy women, a career is proving tricky. There’s something wrong with the product and now clients are suing.

Nasty work colleagues stir up scandalous gossip, and soon Sam hits rock bottom, consoling herself with button-popping chocolate binges and terrifying spending sprees.

Sam is going to have to find her voice if she ever wants to be herself, fall in love, and follow her dreams.

Alas, the wedding date is set…

Excerpt: I have a needle stuck in Mrs. Devine’s face.

“Is it working, Sam?” she asks.

“Oh, um, definitely. Yes.”

Truthfully? Nothing is coming out of the syringe, and the harder I press the plunger the more my hand shakes and the needle bends. This is what is going to happen next—the needle snaps off before speeding along the venous highway like a tiny dart toward Mrs. Devine’s heart. Either that, or the whole thing suddenly gives way, and I rip a hole through her head. Sweat surfaces all over my body. I must have the flu or a nasty virus. Might even faint while still holding a syringe with a client attached to it.

Damn. Cellafiller is supposed to be the best thing since Collagen, but really, it’s nearly impossible to squeeze this stuff out, let alone artfully sculpt it beneath tissue-thin skin. I don’t remember it being so difficult during training, but now I’m on my own, well . . . let’s just say it isn’t a happy situation being in a back-street beauty salon with a bunch of women expecting great things.

Mrs. Devine, my model, and something big in local amateur dramatics, is lying on the clinic couch in full make-up, coral lips stretched into her performance smile as I try in vain to fill the ravine between her eyebrows. She doesn’t have a frown line through her glabella muscle so much as a grand canyon.

The small crowd of potential customers straining for a glimpse of this miraculous demonstration is visibly shrinking back. You can almost hear the hissing recoil. I don’t need to glance up to see the sharp downturn of glossed lips and the widening of black-rimmed eyes. Mrs. Devine’s grand canyon is oozing fresh blood. I’ve got the needle fully inserted now, retracting the syringe oh-so-slowly the way I’ve been taught, while my furiously vibrating thumb tries in vain to inject treacle-thick product. Should have taken minutes, and then ta-da! But the harder the plunger is depressed, the more blood oozes out, lying darkly now in a swelling puddle of glistening, ruby red.

Hot nausea tides over me. I feel terrible, by the way, just in case you’re wondering; this poor woman had a long, squiggly frown line, and now she’s got what looks like a botched lobotomy. All eyes focus on my trembling hands as I withdraw the syringe, mop up the debris, and declare the job done. I’ve seen less blood-soaked gauze following open-heart surgery.

“There we are,” I trill, as lightly as if I just served up a plate of lasagna. “And in a couple of days, the line will be gone.”

Ignoring the horrified faces, particularly mine in the mirror opposite—so white against my red hair I look like Elizabeth the First after a nasty shock—I snap off my latex gloves, and return to its box the still full syringe with its severely weakened, bent needle. I cannot look at Mrs. Devine as she hops off the couch with blood pouring from her head. To be honest, I could cry. Mrs. Devine owns the clinic and had it gone well, there would have been a list of new clients for our new product. Instead, it’s a major screw-up. Another one. In time, she will have a scar, and that will no doubt take her mind off the ravine. But long before that, there will be that call—the one about having spoken to her lawyer.

***

My name is Sam Sweet, and I’m in total control; just because every decision I have never made was made by someone else does not mean I am not in control of my life now. Of course I am. Oh, God. Look, I’m doing my best. What else could I have done back there? Oh, God.

Available for purchase atAmazon

Author Bio: Sarah originally trained as a nurse in Sheffield (UK) and then went on to work as a medical representative for nearly 20 years, specialising in mental health.

She had always wanted to write fiction, but did not begin until around 8 years ago, prompted by a house move and relocation to the South coast. Since then she has had around 140 short stories published, mostly in national magazines and various anthologies; and most recently a 3 part detective serial in Woman’s Weekly.

3 am and Wide Awake was released in May 2013 by Alife Dog Fiction – a collection of 25 thrillers, many supernatural or medically based – two of her predominant themes.

Expected is Sarah’s first novel – a comedy launched by Crooked Cat Publishing on 28th June, 2013. She lives in Dorset with her husband, Don, and spaniel, Harry.

Be sure to visit Sarah at: Website 
Blog 

 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Book Blitz for Last Chance Reunion by Linda Conrad (+Giveaway)


Blurb: Two Lone Star stories from bestselling author Linda Conrad!

TEXAS COLD CASE

Determined to solve the cold case of his mother’s murder,  Colt Chance returns home to Texas. Turns out the new deputy sheriff is the woman who broke his heart. But when someone targets Lacie, Colt’ll have to decide between the vengeance he seeks and protecting the one he still loves….

TEXAS LOST AND FOUND

After witnessing a murder, firefighter Nina Martinez finds an ally  in medic Josh White. On the run, they discover that Nina is the long-missing Chance sister, Cami. Will Cami embrace the love  from Josh and her real family before it’s too late?

Excerpt: Fire exploded up the forty-foot cedar, snapping and cracking like a whip as it raced to chew off every living thing in its path.

Hotshot fire-fighter Nina Martinez struggled with the urge to hold still and ogle the magnificent flames—a   firefighter’s worst nightmare.  Dropping your guard during a blaze, for any reason, could get you killed.

A little while ago she’d gotten caught behind the fire-lines while stamping out hot spots on orders from her superintendent.  But when they’d first arrived on site in Texas, her super gave his crew the coordinates to safety zones and added tricks to finding natural escape routes.  No need for her to be overly concerned yet.

Tearing past dry cactus and mesquite not yet aflame but heating fast, she had to shift direction to miss a huge rattler in her path.  After that scare, she hesitated at the top of a mesa, checking coordinates for the best course for rejoining her crew.  But as she gazed to the east, she spotted a ranch house directly below her that lay in the current route of the now reigniting blaze.

Giving the house a thorough once-over with her binoculars, she tried to determine if the place had been evacuated.  Thankfully it looked deserted.  But as she slowly swiveled her head to find a different heading, two people standing close to a barn came into view.  The male and female appeared to be having an argument and not paying any attention to the spreading smoke and flames.

Keeping them in her sights, she started downhill, prepared to give them a lecture about evacuating when told to do so.  When she reached their position, there wouldn’t be a lot of time left to move them out of harm’s way.

She used her radio to raise her team, asking for ground evacuation support for the civilians.  Her super was not happy about her situation and said to keep moving, in and out of those coordinates as fast as possible.  The fire was spreading from the west toward her position.  But he agreed to spare someone to help with the evacuation if it came soon.  The fire was moving fast.

Crackling fire echoed at her back, while swirling winds showered her with stinging embers.  It was difficult not pausing to dig at hot spots.  Her training wanted to overrule her conscious mind.  But the two civilians had to be first priority.

She closed in while continuing to keep watch on the couple, but all of a sudden a shovel appeared in the man’s hand.  Before Nina could yell, he used it to bash at the woman’s head.  The female dropped to her knees.

“Hey!” Nina screamed at the top of her lungs.  “Stop.”

Ignoring the steep decline, she picked up her speed and raced toward the couple.  “Put it down!”

The man hit the woman once again and the force of his blow laid her out on the ground.  Only then did he look up toward the noises Nina was making.  By that time she’d closed the distance to where he stood to a few yards.  His gaze locked with hers and the deep anger in the man’s eyes nearly caused her steps to falter.

But concern for the woman kept her going.  Without pausing, Nina reached into her pack for a fusee, preparing to use it if necessary in her own defense against the man. But after she fisted her hand and took a few more steps in his direction, he finally turned and disappeared around the side of the barn.

Closing in on where the woman lay, still and unmoving, it was apparent to Nina that the female was already beyond help.  The pool of blood surrounding her head seemed like more than any human could lose and still survive.

Nina’s stomach rolled as she swiveled and made an effort to chase the man down.  After turning the corner of the barn, she expected to see a car or truck pulling away.  Instead, she found an open field full of boulders and mesquite.

She spent a moment wondering what direction the murderer had gone when a bellowing roar, sounding just like a freight train, captured her attention.  The winds howled, switching direction, and at that moment a sight she’d only heard about greeted her disbelieving eyes.

fire tornado developed within half a mile of her current position and headed straight at her.

Too late to get out of its way.  Within seconds the whirl was fifty feet tall and moving fast.

After dragging her face shroud across her nose and mouth, she grabbed her portable fire shelter by its handles and shook it out.  Protecting her lungs and airways was the most important lesson to remember.  Another lesson that could keep her alive was to strip off her pack.  She pitched her gear as far away as possible, relying on years of training to do things by rote.

She tried to put as much distance between herself and the fire devil as possible in the few seconds remaining. How she prayed to find a good spot to hunker down as she leapt a few more yards away from the barn and into the boulder field.  But the intensive heat soon became unbearable.  No time left.

Diving for an indentation next to a huge boulder, Nina pulled the shelter over her body and curled up in a fetal position inside it.  Face down, she buried her nose and mouth in the air pocket at the base of the rock.
The ferocious shriek from above roared in her ears as the whole world narrowed down to her tiny space between the shelter’s walls.  The tiny space that might just save her life.

She should have known something like this would happen in Texas.  For years she’d stayed away, only thinking about the God-forsaken place in her nightmares.  If her team hadn’t been called in to give the Texas firefighters added backup during the worst firestorms in the state’s history, she never would have set foot inside the Texas state lines.

But wherever the team was sent, she went too.

Mind pictures of the little bit she remembered of Texas from her early childhood came unbidden as she closed her ears to the wailing firestorm outside her shelter.  Horses and saddles.  The smell of hay.  Kind eyes and soft hands. A woman calling her “Cami, love.”  A male voice cooing: “Easy, little girl.

That was always as far into the dream as she ever got before the memories disintegrated and turned to ash.  Warm eyes turned cold as ice.  Soft hands turned hard as steel.

Pulling herself out of that particular pit of depression, she tried turning her thoughts to something far more pleasant.  Her Hotshot unit team.  The only reason she’d agreed to this temporary deployment in Texas in the first place.

Her crew: Superintendent Ralston, the strongest man she’d ever met; her fellow firefighters Mad Mike; Geek; and Alabama.  And Doc, real name Josh White, the crew’s medic with the sensual bedroom eyes.
As the walls of her shelter overheated, she allowed herself the luxury of concentrating on mind pictures of Doc and his sexy eyes—something she usually wanted to stop.   Lustful thoughts of him had already invaded far too many of her daydreams during fire season.  But she would never have let him get an inkling of how often she thought of him.

Simply picturing those eyes, green as spring grass and so full of expression, could make her melt with unfulfilled longing.  Even in the middle of heavy training.  Luckily, thoughts of his rip-cord lean body, all muscle and strength, usually came into her mind during slow times and instead of the nightmares, despite the fact that their relationship was nothing more than a nodding acquaintance.

Her imaginative thoughts now brought a frisson of awareness shooting through her.  Being in the middle of a fire tornado was anything but normal, but those feelings for Josh were as familiar as breathing.  She gave up trying to get him out of her mind now and focused on the memory of his eyes, ignoring as best she could the extreme heat and gas-filled haze filtering in through her fire shelter’s walls.

Tightening her grip on the shelter’s handles, she refused to consider her situation dire. Don’t think about it.  Thoughts of the sexy doctor Josh White were as good a way as any to spend her last seconds on earth.

Available for purchase atAmazon

Author Bio: Best selling author Linda Conrad writes for Harlequin-Silhouette Books. Her novels have been translated into sixteen languages and are sold in over twenty-two countries!

Linda’s sensual characters and passionate stories have brought her numerous awards and raves! Over the years her workshops for RWA chapters and conferences have helped many writers learn new skills and techniques.

Growing up in south Florida, Linda made up stories and read everything she could get her hands on. After college, she taught first grade in Miami and tried to give the children as much love for the written word as she’d always felt. When her own true-life hero came along and whisked her away to five cities in seven years, Linda became a sales assistant, a quality control supervisor, a ninety-unit apartment manager and finally a stockbroker and Certified Financial Planner in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

When her mother suffered a disabling stroke, Linda moved to southern California to be close. “Mom couldn’t focus well enough to read anymore. So I began reading to her,” Linda recalls. “Eventually, my sister and I started making up stories to keep her entertained. Mom remembered my high school writing attempts. Before her death, she asked me to stick with story telling.”

Today Linda is back in south Florida, living with her husband by the sea and telling the stories in her heart.

Be sure to visit Linda at Website



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Monday, August 26, 2013

Covet Release Day Blast!


Covets have all the sexiness, emotion, and happily ever after that readers have come to expect and love from Entangled. They are firmly grounded in the contemporary world, but each novel brings in supernatural twists, breaking the contemporary and paranormal rules, alike. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, and LIKE their Facebook page.

Today I'm happy to be featuring Covet's August releases!!


The Awakening: Liam by Abby Niles
The Awakening #2

Shifter, Liam Doyle knows Hell. At least he believed he did. The night he feels his mate die, he learns how very wrong he was. Nothing he’d struggled with since Ava’s rejection compares to the emptiness that fills his soul by her death. Lost in his grief, he’s taken by surprise and drugged. When he wakes, everything changes. Nothing is what it seems, and someone is dead set on making him pay.

When Ava Michaels is taken captive, she’s thrust into a dark and terrifying world along with the man she was forced to leave behind. While being near Liam again is heartbreaking, the motive behind her kidnapping is gradually revealed. The more she learns, the more she worries Liam isn’t the man she believed him to be. He has enemies willing to do anything to extract their revenge. Can their love survive a crazy man’s vengeance?

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo * Itunes * Goodreads

The Demon's Desire by Kendra Leigh Castle
Hearts of the Fallen #2

He’s as dark and dangerous as the storms he once commanded…and she can’t get him out of her heart.

Dru has spent two thousand years fighting to keep the people of Terra Noctem safe. In all that time, she's only opened her heart to one man, with disastrous results. But when her city takes in a group of renegade Fallen, she finds herself drawn to the brooding and tormented Meresin, despite the fact that he seems to be the least redeemable of them all. When his instability hits a breaking point, Meresin’s only chance at survival is a perilous journey into a place from which few ever return. What he never expected was that confronting his demons would mean risking not only his future, but Dru's as well...and that one stubborn vampire might give him back not just hope…but his heart.



About Abby:

Ever since Abby Niles picked up her first Sweet Valley High book in sixth grade and fell in love with Elizabeth and Todd, she’s been hooked on romance. By the time she reached high school, she was devouring meatier romances with pirates, cowboys and knights. She never imagined that those years of reading would one day lead to her becoming a published author.

In her late twenties, after having twins and becoming a stay-at-home mom, she started doodling stories to keep her sanity. Next thing she knew, she was actually submitting to publishing houses. And was immediately rejected. That didn’t stop her though. She found herself some kickass critique partners, honed her craft, and continued submitting.

And eventually sold a short story, then a novella, then a novel, and now a series.

Today, she juggles work, home life, and writing. It’s not always easy, but hey, who said life was easy?

In her downtime, which isn’t often, you can find her playing ‘Just Dance’ with her kids or trying to catch up on her never-ending to-be-read list. She also loves Zumba, and refuses to admit she looks more like Animal doing his Muppet flail than a sensual Latin dancer.

Find Abby online:


About Kendra:

Kendra Leigh Castle was born and raised in the far and frozen reaches of Northern New York, where there was plenty of time to cultivate her love of reading thanks to the six-month-long winters. Sneaking off with selections from her mother’s vast collection of romance novels came naturally and fairly early, and a lifelong love of the Happily Ever After was born. After graduating from SUNY Oswego (where it also snowed a lot) with a teaching degree, Kendra ran off with a handsome young Navy fighter pilot and has somehow accumulated three children, three dogs, and one enormous cat during their many moves.

While stationed in a remote corner of the Nevada desert, Kendra penned her first romance, and a career often spent working in fuzzy slippers and pajamas was born. Her work has garnered both critical praise and award nominations, but the best part has been connecting with readers who share her love of dark romance (not to mention heroes with sharp, pointed teeth). Kendra currently lives in Maryland, and can usually be found curled up with her laptop and yet another cup of coffee working on her next book. She loves to hear from her readers, and can be contacted via email or her Facebook page.

Find Kendra online:


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Friday, August 23, 2013

Spotlight on Talking Dirty with the Player by Jackie Ashenden


Blurb: Up-and-coming photographer Judith Ashton is pretty sure she has everything in her life under control. That is, until a blast from the past comes back to taunt her, in the shape of Caleb Steele, her older brother’s best friend–the same man who broke her heart eight years ago. Their chemistry is combustible, but she’s been fooled once by this player, and she’s not going there again.

To pro rugby player Caleb, Judith has always been Kryptonite, but his former playboy lifestyle is the last thing she wants to be involved in, and he can’t blame her. In the midst of her brother’s threats to back off, and the deal of his career sending him far away from her, he knows he’s playing with fire. And this is one game he’s going to lose.

Excerpt: Judith Ashton crept around a corner clutching her laser gun to her chest. She couldn’t see a thing. The dim lighting of the room was designed for effect rather than illumination, and the curls of dry ice that swirled around her feet only made the visibility worse.

Laser tag. At a wedding. What was Christie thinking? Jude’s new sister-in-law was a doll, but really, having the conference room of the hotel where her wedding reception was being held laid out like a level on one of her beloved computer games was surely a step too far.

Judith blew out an irritated breath and rested against a handy pillar, squinting into the darkness.

She knew Christie had meant well by encouraging her to give the laser tag a go, but this was not her definition of fun. This was her definition of stupid. Organizing and taking the wedding photos? Now that was fun.

The dry ice swirled and a large shape seemed to loom in the darkness ahead of her.  Was that—?

All at once the vest she wore vibrated and made a horribly loud noise, and the light in her gun died out.

“You’re dead, Judith my darling,” a deep voice said from behind her.

Oh, great. Caleb.

She gave a long suffering sigh. “I should have known. Only you would shoot someone in the back.”
“Hey, an opportunity’s an opportunity.”

She turned around and sure enough, Caleb Steele, her older brother Joseph’s best friend, stepped out of the darkness. Winning as usual, and smug about it. Also as usual.

The lights of his vest flashed jauntily as he flourished his laser at her. Dry ice eddied around his legs, snaking up powerful thighs and twining about lean hips. Then it dissipated, revealing him in all his magnetic glory like a rock star taking the stage. Typical Caleb. He always did know how to make an entrance.

“You know that vest looks ridiculous, right?” Judith pointed out. And over the top of his tuxedo, it certainly did.

Caleb grinned. “I think this is the first time you’ve actually deigned to speak to me all evening,” he said in his deep, husky voice. “Been avoiding me, babycakes?”

Ah yes, he liked to call her babycakes. How she’d missed that while he’d been away in England playing rugby for the clubs. Not.

“I wasn’t avoiding you,” she said calmly, waving her laser for emphasis. “I just had other, more important stuff to do.”

Caleb’s smile flashed in the darkness. “What’s more important than saying hello to an old pal you haven’t seen for at least a couple of years?”

“A couple of years? Has it been that long? Well, well, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? And also, I’m not sure we were ever pals.” She let a delicate emphasis rest on the last word.

His smile widened and Judith had to remind herself that she was now immune to its lethal charm. Completely immune. “Oh don’t be like that,” he said. “You missed me. Admit it.”

“Yeah. Like I miss gonorrhea.”

One dark brow rose. “You’ve had gonorrhea?”

Judith sighed. He was all about the witty comeback. If that’s what you called wit. “Oh, shut up, Caleb.”

Available for purchase atAmazon
Kobo 

Be sure to visit Jackie at: Website 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review of Prophecy's Child by Brenda Dyer


Blurb: His secret will shatter her world.

Katherine Colby’s life splintered ten years ago when her lover suddenly vanished, leaving her with more than a broken heart. But when Kal unexpectedly makes an appearance, her safe, dependable existence is shattered once more. Drawn into Kal’s deadly world of vampires and demons, she must now put aside her hurt and anger and learn to trust him. Can she forgive past deceptions and find the courage to love again? Or will she turn away the one man who owns her heart and soul?

Her secret will change his life.

Powerful, and lethal, Kal is a vampire warrior, sworn to protect humans from demons. Loving Katherine too much to pull her into his dangerous world, Kal deserted her, believing his decision was best for them both. But not even time could assuage his yearning for the woman who has captured his heart. As fate tosses them together once again, Kal must fight to win Katherine’s trust and forgiveness before evil separates them forever. But is he ready to become the man she needs him to be? Or will he lose the one woman he can’t live without?


Review: So I've waited for this book for quite a while. In the first book, Love's Prophecy, we are introduced to Kal who is the fun-loving ladies' man prankster. This second book in the series, shows a deeper side of Kal that I hadn't expected.

Prophecy's Child is an emotional, character-driven read that's a second chance romance. Our hero and heroine have a shot at a happily ever after that neither thought possible.

Now, I'll admit Katherine spent a large portion of the book dealing with her emotions - feelings of distrust, abandonment, rage, and the need to protect her son. There were times I wanted her to give in and trust Kal, but I understood her reasons. He didn't have the best track record in their past, and then he left her alone to deal with all the unexpected, frightening consequences of their time together. Yep, I get her anger for sure. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have let it go. That being said, I'm a meanie, so there you go. But, I suppose time does heal all wounds. Of course, a hot groveling vampire doesn't hurt either.

And groveling he was. I really loved that about Kal. He owned up to his mistakes. While he thought his leaving Katherine was a better choice for her in the long run, he had no problem making amends and showing her that he was the hero she could count on. He wasn't too much of a stiff male that he couldn't open up and truly reveal the depth of his love for her. And it was quite endearing. That bedroom scene with the picture. *Sigh*

Yep, so I'm hooked. Overall, this is a great addition to the series. I can't wait to read the next one.

Available for purchase at: Amazon

Be sure to visit Brenda at: Website
 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Guest Post with Caridad Pineiro (+Giveaway)


I'm pleased to have Caridad Pineiro on the blog today. Woohoo! I can't wait to read this one. She's going to tell us a bit about Tatiana from To Catch a Princess. Take it away, Caridad! :)

Caridad Pineiro: I was a Teenaged Princess and it wasn’t easy.  My parents were always on my case about doing the right things and being with the right people.  Everywhere I went I had a bodyguard around to keep away those nasty paparazzi who were just dying to catch me in a compromising position.

When my brother, Alexander, opened up the casino in Atlantic City, I jumped at the chance to live with him and go to school in the States.  There I could just be Tatiana and not have to deal with all the craziness of being a princess.

I loved it so much that when I finished college in Philadelphia, there was no way I was going back to Russia to live with my parents.  Or Paris or Monaco or London or any of the other places they have homes.

Yeah, we’re that wealthy.  Filthy rich as you Americans would say, but I have tried not to let that get to my head.  I’m not that kind of girl although I do enjoy the luxuries of it.  But I love working hard as well and I’ve had such an amazing time of it in Atlantic City with my brother.

The casinos and hotels are a challenge, especially with the economy taking a downturn.  Not to mention Hurricane Sandy which did major damage when it blew through a year ago.  We pitched in to help our fellow Jersey residents and we survived that storm, but it’s been hard work.

Like I said, I don’t mind hard work, even if I’m a princess.  But I do mind my parents telling me what to do and would you believe they’ve actually cooked up some crazy marriage bargain with a Grand Duke?  I thought they were crazy at first since the Grand Duke must be 80 and there was no way I was going to marry an eighty-year old, but then it turned out my husband-to-be is his son.

Not that I have any intention of honoring that bargain.  I want to choose my own husband.  One that I love.  One that’s honorable and reliable, like Detective Peter Roman, Alexander’s best friend.  Not that I’ll admit it to anyone that I think Peter is sexy and hot and . . .

No way, I am not going to think about him or this crazy marriage bargain.  In a couple of weeks I’m supposed to fly off to Monaco to put the finishing touches on a big charity event we’re holding at our casino there.  Millions in jewelry and designer gowns and I’m responsible for all of them.

Let’s hope everything goes as planned!  This is my first big event at the casino and I don’t want anything to go wrong!

Thanks for coming by to find out a little more about me (and wish me luck with Peter.  He really is quite sexy! :)



Blurb: Untold wealth, a loving family, a solid career in America: the only thing Princess Tatiana lacks is the one thing she really doesn’t want—a husband. Unfortunately, her parents have just arranged her marriage to a royal from the old country. Are they kidding? It’s the twenty-first century!

Police Detective Peter Roman is a royal living incognito … and escaping a secret that has haunted his family for years. He’s been quietly in love with his best friend Prince Alexander’s sister for as long as he can remember. Little does she know that he is secretly the Grand Duke to whom she is unwillingly betrothed…

When a series of high-end jewelry heists threatens Tatiana’s exclusive charity exhibition in glamorous Monaco, the two must trap the clever jewel thief before he strikes again. In a fight for their lives, Peter’s secret identity is revealed. With danger and passion increasing to the breaking point, she must decide: catch a thief…or trust the heart of her true love.

Excerpt: "Whirling from the mirror, she snatched a dark charcoal grey wrap from her bed and tossed it over her shoulders. Monaco was far warmer than the winter weather in New Jersey, but the night air could sometimes hold a chill.

She rushed into the shared living room, otherwise known as the demilitarized zone. She stopped short at the sight of him standing there, looking anything but scruffy. Or rumpled. Or anything but devastatingly handsome and sexy. In fact, she blinked just to make sure of what she was seeing.

She had found him attractive before, even with the slight shadow of beard on his face, the longish, sometimes unruly brown hair, and the bargain basement suits that failed to hide the lean sculpted physique beneath them.
Now he literally took her breath away.

She had to gulp in some air and press a hand to her midsection to contain the curl of desire as she took in all the changes.

His face was freshly shaven and the lack of stubble showed off the sharp, crisp lines of his jaw and a mouth that had hers watering for a taste. His thick cocoa-colored hair had been cut short in stylish layers, although the top locks were still a little longer and still a little rumpled, as if he had run his fingers through them.

The suit. . .well, the suit was luscious. It hugged a body that could grace any fashion magazine, and made her want to see what was beneath. If she was honest with herself, she had been hoping for another look for quite some time. Summer on the Jersey Shore could not come fast enough.

At her prolonged, stunned examination, he grinned. That sexy, dimpled grin that sent a wave of heat through her, especially when his gaze settled on hers and she saw his interest reflected right back at her.

He held out his hands in a check-me-out gesture and said, “So do I pass muster, Your Highness?”

Boy, did he ever. He was every inch the prince she now knew him to be, and despite the fact that she wasn’t sure she could trust him and was angry with him, it was difficult to battle the desire he roused in every inch of her body. She walked to him, reached out, and straightened his tie just a bit. Then she trailed her hand down to rest in the center of his chest and with a mocking smile said, “You really clean up nice.”

The grin broadened. He laid a hand at her waist and skimmed his gaze along her body. “You look pretty in pink.”"

Available for purchase on Aug. 26th atAmazon 

Author Bio: New York Times and USA Today bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Caridad Pineiro wrote her first novel in the fifth grade when her teacher assigned a project – to write a book for a class lending library. Bitten by the writing bug, Caridad continued with her passion for the written word and in 1999, Caridad’s first novel was released. Over a decade later, Caridad is the author of more than thirty published novels and novellas. When not writing, Caridad is an attorney, wife and mother to an aspiring writer and fashionista.

Be sure to visit Caridad atWebsite

***Giveaway***

 


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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spotlight on Something's Cooking by Meg Lacey


Blurb: Tess Banyon has turned her brilliant recipe and crafting ideas into a multimedia empire. Landing her own TV show throws her into a panic. If she’s not careful, the public will discover she isn’t the domestic diva everyone thinks she is.

Investigative reporter Josh Faraday smells something smoking in Tess’s world. His goal to expose the real Tess goes into overdrive when she lands a television show deal. He secures an assignment to shadow her, reporting on her program, but what he’s really doing is getting dirt for his expose. Things get even stickier when Tess’s family play matchmaker. There’s no shortage of fire between them, and after an impulsive night together, Josh discovers a story he never expected–or bargained for.

Excerpt: Josh Redmond Faraday’s Little League baseball team was behind by six runs when it was Joey Murray’s turn at bat. The little boy looked over his shoulder at Josh. His pale face reflected his terror, and the groan of the other kids added to the pressure. Josh could relate. He’d been terrible at sports, too. That’s why he’d agreed when his best friend asked him to coach this Little League team. It was T-ball, and the kids were just learning, but to him it was more important that the boys and the two girls on the team learned confidence as well as skills.

“You can do it, Joey,” Josh said, walking over to clasp the little boy’s shoulder.  “Just take your time, and wait for your pitch. When you see it coming, take a swing.”

Joey’s lips trembled for a minute, and then he said, “Coach Josh, I think I’m going to throw up.”

He squatted down to eye level to look at the chubby little boy in the too-big uniform. “I know how you feel. When I was a kid, I was the worst player on the team.  I missed every time I tried to hit the ball.”

“I always miss.”

“It doesn’t matter if you miss. The important thing is you try your best. Will you do that for me?”

“Okay,” Joey said with a resigned shrug. He picked up his bat and stepped to the plate.

“You can do it,” Josh said as he backed up to join his best friend, Marty Logan.

“Think he’ll hit it this time?” Marty asked, leaning back against the fence.

“Man, I hope so. I’ve been working extra with him. The poor kid’s never even seen a baseball, much less tried to hit one.” Josh felt his stomach clench as Joey took a swing and a miss, and then another. “Shake it off, Joey. You can do it.”

The little boy set his jaw, took a better grip on the bat, and swung, this time connecting with the ball, which dribbled forward a few feet. Joey was so shocked he stood there staring at the ball instead of running, resulting in the other team’s catcher scooping up the ball and tagging Joey out. That’s when a parent started yelling his displeasure from the stands.

Josh glared up at the man who was commenting on Joey’s lack of ability. “Leave the kid alone. It’s not the World Series.”

He walked over to Joey. “Good hit, kid. I’m proud of you.”

“I’m still out,” Joey said, with a disgusted look.

He gave him a high five. “Doesn’t matter. You tried. That’s what counts.” Then he walked back to Marty. “Did you hear that guy yelling at the little kid? I’m going to write about parents who put too much pressure on kids at sporting games.”

“You are, or your alter ego, JR?”

He shrugged. “My column’s under JR’s byline.”

“When are you going to junk that idea and write as yourself? Aren’t you getting tired of the unknown journalist routine?”

“Yeah, sometimes I wish I’d never started it. But until I can get my other ideas off the ground, JR pays the rent.”

Marty nodded. “And from what I’ve seen, pays it pretty well.”

“That it does, but I earn every penny of it.  I’ve worked my butt off to get where I am.”

“That’s not news, you’ve been doing that since we met in prep school.”

Josh watched as their team took the field for the last inning. “You know how it goes. Snooze you lose. Today, competition is worse than ever. Someone’s always snapping at my heels. I don’t have any choice but to go after what I want every way I can.”

Marty heaved away from the fence. “You’re your own worst enemy most of the time.”

“You should talk. I’m amazed you found a woman to put up with you,” Josh said, as they walked toward the team bench.

“Speaking of that, Liza has this friend who’s perfect for—”

“No deal,” Josh said, holding up his hands like a traffic cop. “Not after that last blind date. The woman almost had us married before dinner was over.  I’ll damn well find my own woman, thanks.”

“I wish you’d hurry up so Liza will get off my back.” Marty looked toward the field. “Great. The other team just hit a home run. There goes the ballgame.”

Shaking his head, Josh said, “That’s seven in a row. At least they’re improving. This time we only lost by eight runs.” He chuckled. “I call that progress. I think we should celebrate. How about we take them out for pizza? My treat.”

“Anything to avoid cooking, huh?” Marty said, picking up the bag of bats.

“You got it. When I find my perfect woman, she’s going to look like an angel and cook like a dream.”

Available for purchase atAmazon

Be sure to visit Meg at: Website
 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cover reveal for Caridad Pineiro's To Catch a Princess


Blurb: Gambling at Love:  To win her heart he has to risk his secrets. . .

Romantic Times: 4 Stars – “From the first page, the pacing is strong, the action plentiful and the characters interesting enough to hook you in.”

Untold wealth, a loving family, a solid career in America: the only thing Princess Tatiana lacks is the one thing she really doesn’t want—a husband. Unfortunately, her parents have just arranged her marriage to a royal from the old country. Are they kidding? It’s the twenty-first century!

Police Detective Peter Roman is a royal living incognito … and escaping a secret that has haunted his family for years. He’s been quietly in love with his best friend Prince Alexander’s sister for as long as he can remember. Little does she know that he is secretly the Grand Duke to whom she is unwillingly betrothed…

When a series of high-end jewelry heists threatens Tatiana’s exclusive charity exhibition in glamorous Monaco, the two must trap the clever jewel thief before he strikes again. In a fight for their lives, Peter’s secret identity is revealed. With danger and passion increasing to the breaking point, she must decide: catch a thief...or trust the heart of her true love.


***Be sure to visit my blog on August 21st for a guest post and giveaway with Caridad.***

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Guest post with Jessica Lauryn

Help me welcome author Jessica Lauryn to the blog today. She's here to tell us a bit about her new release, Dangerous Proposition. Take it away, Jessica. :)


Jessica: Thanks very much for having me, Melissa!  I’d like to share a bit with your readers about one of my favorite topics—villainous heroes. 

But heroes can’t be villainous, you say.  They’re heroes.  Nevertheless, every hero struggles to fight his inner demons.  And sometimes, that struggle involves a little temptation by the dark side.  Just think of Anikin Skywalker in Star Wars.  It takes Anikin quite a while to become any sort of hero, but it’s the darkness in him that creates a killer-conflict and makes him sexy as hell.  Taking a walk on the dangerous side with a devil can help a heroine grow, and it’s almost sure to provide her an erotic-fantasy-come-true.

Generally, in TV and movies and in books, characters fall under the category of one archetype:  hero, villain, anti-hero, etc.  But sometimes the writer shakes things up.  That’s when we get to wonder for a while as to whether a character will be ultimately good…or evil. 

Badboys are quite the turn-on in romantic fiction—in many instances, the main draw of a story.  The allure of jumping into bed with a man who is suave, gutsy and down-right-dangerous (minus the potential repercussions, of course) is very tempting, and a great reason to pick up a particular book.  Villainous heroes possess many qualities that make them intriguing—desirability, sexiness, bravery, ruthlessness, arrogance, a take-no-prisoners attitude, fearlessness, and a dangerous-by-nature edge.  What female reader wouldn’t want to see a bad-boy such as this take center stage? 

Lord Rochdale in Candice Hern’s Lady Be Bad is a notorious gambler and rake, who believes there isn’t a woman in London who’s bed he could not seduce himself into with very little effort.  Though Rochdale is actually the hero in this story, I would argue that he possesses the characteristics of a villain. For one, he places a bet that he can seduce any woman in London and sets out to seduce the heroine to prove this.  Clearly, Rochdale has much to learn about love.  Hern develops his character quickly, almost as though there are two stories being told, one in which we see Rochdale at his worst, and one in which his eyes are opened and his reformation occurs. 

In my latest release, Dangerous Proposition, Colin Westwood a doctor-by-day and diamond smuggling kingpin by night, has his world shaken when he learns his best recruit is missing in action, and the man has been keeping a secret for years—he has a twenty six year old daughter.  Like Rochdale, Colin is consumed by many demons, past events that essentially drive his criminal behavior and initially keep him from being the hero he can be.  It’s his struggle to reform that gives this badboy character, and makes him dangerously sexy!

Dangerous (no matter the cause) = excitement.  As is the case with villainous heroes, their dangerous sides are often what spawn their initial appeal.  In essence, it enhances their masculinity, and gives the heroine a hunk she can drool over! 

Villainous heroes are in a class all their own, and they’re not every reader’s cup of tea.  But finding a great one definitely makes for a fun, suspenseful read.  I fell so hard for one of my own “villainous heroes” that I wound up taking him from an unpublished manuscript and making him the hero in what would later become my debut novel, Dangerous Ally.  I proved to myself with this experience that feelings can develop hard and fast for a knight in tarnished armor. 

If, like me, you find badboys irresistible, then villainous heroes are definitely for you.  Either way, one just may make for your greatest reading experience yet!


Blurb: In the course of one disastrous evening, diamond smuggling kingpin Colin Westwood learns that his best recruit is missing in action, and that the man has been keeping a secret for years—he has a twenty six year old daughter. Determined to protect his identity, Colin vows to find the young woman, and keep her silent at any cost. Intrigued to learn that she is actually the attractive woman he kissed, he makes Julia an offer. Come to New York City with him to search for her missing father…as his mistress.

When Julia Dyson learns her father has been abducted, she believes his hidden profession may be to blame.  But when she discovers a man’s name in her Dad's caller history, a man suspected of shady business activity and also her teenage crush, she decides to take matters into her own hands.  She confronts her father's presumed abductor, resulting in an unforgettable kiss, and his offer of a dangerous proposition indeed.

Though becoming Colin’s mistress could very well be her undoing, Julia must choose—give in to her desires, or protect her already-broken heart…


Excerpt:
As he stepped into the hotel elevator, Colin loosened his hold on Julia. She was clearly terrified, but he didn’t suppose he was going to help her any by crushing her to death. Wincing at the sight of her tearstained face, he pressed the button for the second floor.
The elevator doors closed and he retightened his hold on her. He stroked her back, which was the same thing he had been doing for most of the ride there.
He sincerely hoped it was helping. Julia had stopped shaking, but her lack of chatter indicated that she was still very much in shock. Though he imagined any woman would have been in shock, had she just been held in a room against her will.
Only, Julia Dyson wasn’t any woman. She was as courageous and headstrong a person as he had ever known. Which was why it was worrying him so much that she hadn’t yet snapped out of her trance.
Maybe Dylan Rossler had done something to her. Maybe the bastard had hurt her, or worse, maybe he’d taken her against her will. So help that prick if he had touched one hair on Julia’s head…
Keeping Julia firmly within the groove of his arm, Colin stepped inside the hotel room and flicked on the light switch. After shutting the door, he double-bolted it behind them.
Short of a pale complexion, Julia didn’t appear to be injured. At least, it didn’t look as though she had any bruises. But he knew he wouldn’t feel better until he saw this for himself. Though it was completely unethical, he had half a mind to give her a physical. And if he actually believed he could perform one on her and control himself, he would do just that.
He led a trembling Julia to the bed. Looking into her tearful eyes, he knelt beside her, cupping her cheek. It killed him seeing her like this, killed him even more knowing that he was completely to blame.
Speaking as gently as he could manage, he said, “You’re safe now. It’s all right, sweetheart. You’re safe. I’m right here—no one’s coming after us. No one’s going to hurt you ever again.”
Julia nodded, but she said nothing, causing him to have a horrifying realization. Maybe something had happened between her and Dylan Rossler in that room. She’d been dressed when he found her, but that didn’t mean she hadn’t put her clothes back on afterward, or that Rossler had bothered to remove them at all.
Feeling as though he were on the brink of an explosion, Colin said, “Did that guy—I mean—Dylan Rossler didn’t…you and he didn’t—”
“Of course not! Holy crap, Westwood. What kind of girl do you think I am?”
“One who clearly has a death wish,” Colin muttered under his breath.
“Me?” Julia exclaimed. “I went over there to save your ass. Not the other way around.”
“Which you were obviously doing a phenomenal job with while you were locked inside that bedroom.”
Her chin squared. “You may have been the one to kick the door down, but I would have gotten out of that room with or without your help.”
“If you really believe that, Julia, then you really are naïve. Do you realize what Dylan Rossler would have done if I hadn’t gotten there when I did? Allow me to clue you in, since you’re obviously not aware. Because it’s the same thing every other red-blooded bastard at that party wanted to do to you!”
“You mean”—she bit her lip—“that he—”
“Was planning on having sex with you? Of course, Julia. Of course those guys thought you were sexy, of course Dylan Rossler wanted to have sex with you! I’m not blind. I can see what’s right in front of me. Any man at that party who didn’t want you was either gay or in a drunken coma!”
Her blue eyes narrowed, and Colin bit his tongue. He hadn’t intended to say all that out loud. Hadn’t intended to say any of it, in fact. But he was glad it had happened because he was done holding back.
There was something between him and Julia. A need that ran deep and had been building since that night in his bed. Sometimes it seemed as if it had been longer, particularly at moments such as this when he wanted nothing more than to toss her onto the bed, rip off that damned cocktail dress she was wearing, and sample every last inch of her skin.
He’d wanted to keep his desires to himself, wanted to keep things simple between them. The complications they were risking were great, and God knew he hated the idea that he might be taking advantage of Julia when her father was missing. But right now, he couldn’t seem to think about those things. And after everything they’d been through tonight, he was no longer sure that holding back was going to be possible.
“Does ‘every other red-blooded bastard’ include you?” Julia asked, blinking her blue eyes furiously.
Colin took a staggered breath. Narrowing his gaze, he approached her with two hastened steps. “If you didn’t want me to behave like a red-blooded bastard, Julia,” he whispered, “then, you shouldn’t have worn this dress.” 


Available for purchase at: Bookstrand

Be sure to visit Jessica at: Website

Friday, August 16, 2013

Spotlight on The Best Man's Baby by Victoria James


Blurb: Florist Claire Holbrook has always played by the rules her entire life, but breaks them to spend one night with sexy lone wolf Jake Manning, a man she’s adored since she was a teenager. Six weeks later, things get complicated when she discovers they created a bond that will last a lifetime

Jake has never played by the rules. Getting Minister Holbrook’s daughter pregnant wasn’t part of any life plan, but he won’t run from his responsibilities. He’ll step up and be the best man he can, even if he doesn’t have a clue where to begin. The more time he spends with Claire, though, the more he wants her, and the harder it is to get close, because that would mean sharing the one thing he hasn’t with anyone–the truth and his heart.

Now I couldn't resist posting this excerpt even though it's a bit longer than I usually post. I love it.

Excerpt: You don’t have to tell him tonight. As long as it’s sometime in the next eight months you’re fine. Liar.  

Claire Holbrook knew there was no way she’d be able to keep her pregnancy a secret in a small town like Red River.

Jake wasn’t an idiot. Jerk maybe, idiot not.

She continued to gaze out her best friend’s kitchen window at the man she’d fantasized about for thirteen years. And as usual, Jake had no idea she was around. Not once in the years that they’d known each other had Jake looked at her twice—until the night of his brother’s and her best friend’s wedding. That was the moment cautious Claire had taken the biggest gamble in her perfectly mundane life.

The night of Holly and Quinn’s wedding had provided her with an epiphany—thanks to a little help from the open bar. She had been living her life without any courage, like the lion in The Wizard of Oz. Holly was finally getting married to the man of her dreams and Claire hadn’t even kissed the man of her dreams. So, after a few too many glasses of champagne and a few whiskeys as well, Claire had made her move. And when his arms tightened around her, his head dipping close to her ear, his powerful chest tightening beneath her fingers…she and Jake had stumbled into one of the luxurious suites in the historical Inn. He had lit her body on fire with his touch and filled her heart with promises. But then he left. The first and only man she’d ever slept with, the only man she’d ever loved, just left her in the middle of the night, alone in a hotel room.  And now, six weeks later he was back in town, without so much as a phone call.

Claire squeezed her eyes shut and tried to block out the memory of their night together along with the smell of grilling beef, which was making her stomach turn faster than a roller coaster. Her hands gripped the sweating plastic bottle of water she was holding, its crackling the only sound in the empty kitchen.
The sound of laughter and deep masculine voices wafted through the open window, and her heart catapulted forward a few traitorous beats at the sound of Jake’s low voice. She heard the old iron gate swing open as guests meandered down the cobblestone pathway to the impeccably landscaped backyard, their clacking sandals and brightly colored clothes a reminder that summer was imminent. Her eyes narrowed sharply and she stood up a little straighter as a vaguely familiar blonde in short shorts and a tight halter top appeared and snaked her spaghetti-thin arms around Jake’s waist.

Claire crushed the plastic bottle in her fist, the remaining water sputtering out and onto the quartzite countertop with enough force that it could have been from a running fountain. But she didn’t care about the water. What she did care about was the woman snuggling into his side like a slimy sardine. How could he have brought someone here tonight? He must have known she would be here, so why would he blatantly flaunt his newest acquisition in front of her? And did she have to be Claire’s extreme opposite? She was five feet five inches on a day that included an intense Pilates workout. And short shorts were something she’d never contemplate even in private, let alone in broad daylight where even a mere smidgen of cellulite would be highlighted like a neon sign. Despite the fact that she was wearing a stylish but conservative navy sundress, she was no match for that walking Barbie outside.

“Hey, when did you get here? And why is water dripping down your dress?”

Claire whipped her head around to look in the direction of the teasing voice and then down at the wet spot on her sundress. She hadn’t even heard Holly approach.

“Sorry, Holly,” she mumbled, avoiding eye contact as she grabbed a floral tea towel beside the sink to wipe the counter.

She hadn’t told Holly about her one night with Jake, mostly because Holly and Quinn had been away on their honeymoon. She wanted to confide in her, but Holly’s life was so blissfully happy right now, and hers was horribly messed up. Combined with the fact that Jake was now Holly’s brother-in-law, it was all very complicated.

Claire turned her attention back to the blonde and Jake. Sly, ugly jealousy snaked its way through her already wound-up body as she watched the blonde squeeze his perfectly formed, denim-clad butt. What kind of person does that in public, anyway?

She jumped as Holly pried the tea towel out of her hand and blotted the water on her dress. She took a deep breath and finally looked into her friend’s concerned eyes.

“What’s going on with you, Claire? Is it your dad? I know this year has been so hard on you and I feel like I haven’t been there for you—”

Claire waved her hand, silencing her friend. She didn’t want Holly to feel guilty about anything. And she couldn’t think about her father tonight. It was hard having him so far away, in Africa of all places. She shook her head and forced a smile on her face, gently taking the tea towel out of Holly’s hand. “Oh, please. You are the best friend I could ever ask for. I’m fine, really. I’m just tired.”

Holly’s eyes narrowed on her as she tilted her head to the side. Claire knew her best friend wasn’t buying her explanation. Holly had a sixth sense about lies. She avoided eye contact with her and pretended to be overly fixated on drying her dress.

“You? You’re never tired,” Holly said.

Yeah, until she became pregnant. Now she had to fight a losing battle with keeping her eyes open all day, while Jake just carried on with his normal life.

“Enough about me. I haven’t heard a thing about your month-long honeymoon. How was the cruise? How did Ella like it?”

“That’s a nice attempt at changing the subject. The trip was great, Ella loved it. We loved it. Now back to you and why you look so spacey.”

So much for trying to divert the attention off herself. “Who’s Jake’s date?”

Holly eyes widened comically. “You mean you don’t know?”

“I didn’t see her face,” she said, panicking now.

“I almost kicked her out, but Quinn stopped me. It’s Amanda,” Holly said wincing. Claire felt whatever bit of hope there was for her and Jake die faster than a rose in a blizzard. Amanda.

“Oh, wow. I haven’t thought about her in a long time,” Claire said, doing her best to fake a casual smile, doing her best to pretend she hadn’t thought of Amanda since high school.

“Good, because she’s still as irritating as before. Jake has the worst taste in women. You know, I wish you’d just tell him how you feel and put us all out of our misery.”

Claire gritted her teeth. “I don’t feel anything for him anymore.” Her words came out sounding like she was choking on a dry steak.

Holly scoffed. “Hey, this is me you’re talking to, remember? The one who spent her entire adolescence hearing about how you were going to marry Jake Manning?”

Claire stared at her friend’s pretty face, and memories of the two of them laughing and sharing dreams of what their lives would be like when they were older filled her with sadness, because none of it had happened for Claire. Her life was nothing like she’d envisioned. She was hiding in the kitchen, for goodness’ sake. Claire was not an overweight, shy teenager with acne and braces anymore. She didn’t live with her vain, size-four-or-die mother anymore. She’d spent years trying to get her mother’s shrill, disapproving voice out of her head when she looked at her reflection in the mirror.

Claire was a successful florist who owned her own business and home. She was not going to cower in her best friend’s kitchen while Octopus Barbie groped the father of her child. And there was no way in hell she was going to let Jake be so happy while she was miserable.

“Earth to Claire?” Holly’s waving hands in front of her face snapped her back to reality.

Claire didn’t answer as she marched over to her purse sitting on the kitchen table. She was not going to be a bystander to her own life any longer. Was there ever a better time to assert one’s independence than when one was about to become a parent? And what if she had a daughter? Would she criticize her and plague her with trivial ideas about weight and beauty? Or would she love her unconditionally and encourage her to be strong and independent?

Holly’s voice softened, but the worry in it was unmistakable as she came to stand beside her at the table. “Hey, let’s get together tomorrow, okay? I’ve missed you, and now that the wedding is over we can catch up and talk.”

She ignored her best friend and dumped the contents of her purse on the kitchen table in between Holly’s neatly stacked plates and assortment of drinks.

She was looking for the little item she’d kept in her purse for the last five days. She’d carried it around with her because she couldn’t believe it was true, kept looking at it to see if both pink lines were still on the indicator.

“What are you doing?”

She still didn’t answer.

“You’re starting to worry me. Your face is blotchy and you look upset.” Claire thought Holly sounded as though she were speaking to a mentally unbalanced person.

She swung her arm wide, clearing some of the mess, her lipstick clinking against the china. Where was that box? Her eyes scanned the mess and finally fell on the thin box sandwiched between the San Pellegrinos and Heinekens. Bingo. She snatched the prize in her hand, clutching it as tightly as a newly won Oscar. She quickly jammed her belongings back in her purse and swung it over her shoulder as she tried to sidestep her best friend before she could see the box in her hand.

Holly crossed her arms and blocked her path. She could be formidable, but she was no match for Claire right now.

“What are you doing? What is that?” She tried to unfold Claire’s arms. Claire squeezed her arms together tightly.

“I’m giving Jake a welcome-home present.” She tore past Holly, nearly knocking her worried friend over. It was now or never. Jake Manning could not sleep with her, take off for six weeks, and then reappear with another woman groping him. Especially that woman.

“Claire!” She ignored Holly’s plea and stormed down the steps to the outdoor patio. She didn’t even falter as she approached the door and saw Amanda casually caress Jake’s back. His broad, muscular back, the one she remembered clutching, digging her nails into as…

She flung the Victorian screen door open with a force that sent all the boisterous partygoers looking in her direction, the sound of conversation slowly fading to a frightening silence. Quinn was just placing a hamburger on Jake’s plate and stopped, the plate frozen in midair between them, each brother left holding one side.

Claire saw Amanda’s eyes zero in on her and watched with satisfaction as the woman’s sinewy body tensed, like a cat sensing someone encroaching on her territory. Oh no, honey, not only am I encroaching, I’m claiming my throne. Claire’s eyes locked with Jake’s blue ones and the panic she read in them made all of this oh so worth it. She forced herself to turn her lip upward, hopefully pulling off a Mona Lisa-type smile. She strode over to Jake, her strappy sandals clacking confidently on the flagstone patio.

Claire clutched her precious piece of evidence in her right hand, holding it like a knight would hold a sword, ready to pierce his opponent through the heart.

Jake opened his perfectly chiseled mouth. “Claire.”

“Welcome home, daddy.” She stabbed the positive pregnancy indicator stick through his hamburger with enough force that it could have killed the cow had it still been alive.

Available for purchase at: Amazon
Kobo 
 
Be sure to visit Victoria atWebsite 

Guest Post with Patricia Rosemoor (+Giveaway)


Today, I have the other half of Written in the Stars duo authors. :) Please help me welcome Patricia Rosemoor. Can I just add, I love the cover of Written in the Stars!

Patricia Making Magic Work

     Spotting a magazine that had fallen to the deck of her mother’s chair, Cordelia concentrated on it, willed it to move back where it belonged. A couple of pages fluttered—her or the breeze?—and Cordelia gave up. She’d been trying to make telekinesis work for her off and on all her life, but it seemed that strong emotions had to be involved or she simply couldn’t do it.
    “Magic, huh?” she mused.

    Magic doesn’t always work. If it did, if it was too easy, it would be far less interesting. It wouldn’t grip us and make us anxious to know how it is going to affect the story.
    The blurb above is from my contemporary half of WRITTEN IN THE STARS, a reincarnation romantic suspense. My co-author Sherrill Bodine wrote the historical half. Her heroine is as clueless as mine about how to make her magic work at the beginning of the story. But finding their magic is imperative to both women.
    My heroine Cordelia knows that she has an otherworldly talent—just as she has an otherworldly alarm system in a birthmark that burns at danger—but she can’t seem to call up telekinesis at will. And sometimes it surprises her.
    He reached for her, but instinct made her whip his hand away using nothing more than her anger and her mind. His whole arm flew back hard, twisting his body, and her heart thundered in response.
    “What the hell, Cordy?”

    Using magic of any kind in a novel means setting it up early in the story, and carrying through, showing progression until you get to the big moment when you pull out all the guns, so to speak. Allowing the character to use that magic in a big, important way. I love it when a heroine or hero doesn’t know the extent of her or his power, but must discover it through the story.
    As a reader, what is your favorite use of magic in a story?


Blurb: “A passionate tale of destiny, danger and dark magic—and a love so powerful that it conquers time.” Mary Jo Putney, New York Times Bestselling Author.

A love so deep that it can last through centuries?

In 1601, Lady Elizabeth York’s star-shaped birthmark proclaims her a child of magic. When she arrives at Dunham Castle to marry Carlyle, heir to the Duke of Lennox, but finds enchantment in the eyes and touch of Will Grey, the Duke’s bastard son. Bewitched by Elizabeth, Will defies all for their love, and his jilted half-brother places a curse on them both.

Searching for a treasure ship sunk long ago, present-day marine archeologist Cordelia Ward is pursued romantically by both salvager Innis Foley and treasure hunter Morgan Murphy. She is haunted by a murderous nightmare where one man is the killer and the other the victim, but which man is her enemy, which her soul’s mate? Can a journal that belonged to her ancestress, Lady Elizabeth York show her the answers…in time to save her true love?

Chased by evil, two women discover their own magic to fight the villain’s curse on the Posey rings that draw them to the men they are destined to love.

Excerpt: "He leaned into her so close his breath laved her face. “How about I make you an honest offer—a partnership.”

She stuck her right hand against his chest and backed off. “I don’t think so. You and I have very different goals.”

“I thought we both wanted to find the motherlode of The Celestine.”

“I’m a marine archeologist and—”

He captured her hand before she could remove it. “And I’m a pirate?”

“I didn’t say that, but you are looking for treasure, while I am looking for artifacts.”

“Not that I see the difference, but how about I offer you this.” From his pocket, he pulled a diamond-studded gold chain from which hung a crescent moon set with sapphires.

Cordelia’s eyes widened.

“Exactly.” He took her right hand from where he’d trapped it and placed the artifact in her palm.

The touch of metal and jewels to her ring electrified Cordelia. Startled, she gasped at the power but wrapped her fingers around the jeweled moon so she wouldn’t drop it. Her heart beating too fast, she took a closer look and recognized its age. This was no modern copy of something old.

Fearing he’d found this on his earlier dive, would somehow beat her to the motherlode, she panicked. “All right, partners, then, but we need to work out details—”

Before she could finish, he curled his fingers over her hand with the crescent and kissed her.

Her wrist burned.

Her ring tightened.

Her head went light.

The chain trapped between their hands connected them like a live wire, kept them from pulling apart. The current spread to every pore of her body, to her head, to her toes, to her feminine center.

She had never felt so alive, so sure of herself.

Until the kiss ended."

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Author Bio: With 90 novels and more than seven million books in print, Patricia Rosemoor is fascinated with “dangerous love” – combining romance with danger. She has written various forms of romantic and paranormal romantic thrillers, even romantic horror, bringing a different mix of thrills and chills to her stories.

Patricia has won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America and two Reviewers Choice and two Career Achievement Awards from RT BOOKreviews, and in her other life, she teaches Popular Fiction and Suspense-Thriller Writing, credit courses at Columbia College Chicago. Three of her Columbia grad students and two students from other venues are now published in novel-length fiction.

SKIN is her first original indie thriller. With 53 Harlequin Intrigues since 1985, she is now writing romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing.

Be sure to visit Patricia atWebsite

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