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BOOK BLITZ ~ I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne ~ GIVEAWAY

In Honor of Superbowl Winning Quarterback Jackson Burke, 
Enter to Win a  Ladies “TEAM” T-Shirt from 
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I WISH YOU WERE MINE
Oxford #2
Lauren Layne
Releasing on February 2, 2016
Loveswept

 

Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.
 
A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy
of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.
 
Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

EXCERPT

Jackson took a sip. Perfection. Although what did it mean that Jackson’s life had turned into one where the highlight of his day was a well-made cocktail?

It wasn’t that Jackson needed the booze. He enjoyed it, certainly. Had relied on it more than he probably should have in those first few days when he’d gotten out of the hospital and come home to a whole lot of nothingness.

But these days he could take it or leave it.

Tonight, however, he was taking it. Sobriety had no place when you had to sit across from the most off-limits woman on the planet.

Knowing that didn’t stop the anticipation, however. He hadn’t seen her since she’d shown up in his hospital room to deliver a bag of Gatlin’s BBQ and . . .

His divorce papers.

That had been eight months ago.

He’d avoided her ever since, and he couldn’t even say why except that he’d avoided pretty much everyone. Jackson still spoke with his parents every Sunday, but everyone else—all the old teammates, the old neighbors—had eventually stopped calling.

Mollie hadn’t, though. Mollie had never given up on him. Until today, he hadn’t responded to a single text, a single email, and yet she hadn’t stopped sending them. That was Mollie for you. Fiercely loyal to both him and Madison, even when things had started to go to hell.

Mollie had been accepted to Columbia just about the time that he and Madison started coming apart at the seams. In hindsight, he was grateful that Mollie had been in New York when things started to go to hell in his marriage. That she hadn’t seen him at his worst.

At the time, however, he’d been hit with an unfair sense of abandonment. He hadn’t realized how much he’d come to rely on the much younger Mollie to mediate things between him and the volatile Madison until she was in a different time zone.

Even now, more than a decade since first meeting Mollie, he struggled to reconcile the fact that she and Madison had come from the same parents. Madison was perfectly coiffed, charming only when she was in the mood, and manipulative as all hell. Mollie, on the other hand, was adorably awkward—a brainy research assistant who cared a hell of a lot more about her scientific journals than her manicure.

But somewhere along the line, Mollie Carrington had ceased to be that awkward kid who talked about bugs at inopportune times. Somewhere along the line, she’d become his rock. The one person in the world, save for perhaps his parents, who always knew the exact right thing to say to make him feel like a human whenever he’d started to feel like a caricature of himself.

For years he’d tried to tell himself that it was just sibling affection—that he cared about her the way he would a sister. But then things had gotten worse with Madison—way worse. And Jackson had been hit upside the head with the truth: that maybe he’d married the wrong sister. That he didn’t want to spend the rest of his days married to the beautiful, brittle Madison.

He wanted someone who made him laugh. Who listened. Someone who cared more about people than she did about hair appointments.

Someone like Mollie.

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Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

Don’t Miss IRRESISTIBLY YOURS
Oxford Book One
 
 
 
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Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights

 

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INTERVIEW with Brenda Gayle author of Me + You ~ Giveaway

Welcome to the blog! Please help me welcome Brenda Gayle. She’s agreed to take a comfy seat and answer a few questions about herself as well as her release Me + You!

Don’t forget to enter her awesome giveaway as well. The link is toward the end of the post :)

Let’s get started …

Tell us about yourself tweet style :) That’s right, you get 140 characters!

Contemporary romance author. Lover of words, wine & wisdom. If only I could leave but one mark on life, it would have to be a question mark.

Awesome! Tell us the last restaurant you ate out at.

I’m not going to count the take-out Mediterranean wrap I got from McDonalds last weekend as I was taking my son to a water polo tournament. The last restaurant I actually sat down and ate at was The Black Dog Bistro, which is located in the small town next to ours. Great name. Great food.

I do like the name :) What was the main goal you accomplished in 2015 and the one main goal you hope to accomplish in 2016?

In 2015 I wanted to push myself outside my comfort zone. After four full length contemporary romances and four novellas, I had been toying with the idea of a women’s fiction story—a 20th Century historical—but have been afraid to actually start working on it. Last year I began the plotting & researching of it, and this year my goal is to write it.

I hope you reach your goal. It’s wonderful to stretch yourself. What’s the one question you’re asked most often when it comes to your writing?

That’s a funny one. Everyone always asks when my next book is coming out. I expect most authors get this question. While the publishing process is faster now than it has ever been, the creative muse often has her own agenda.

True words :) When did you first know you wanted to become an author?

I’m sure this is going to sound cliché, but I’ve always known my life would involve writing in some way. I come from a family of writers, many published in a number of different genres.

It doesn’t sound cliche at all. I knew from an early age I wanted to write, but didn’t take the leap until my sister shoved me. lol Who was the first person you told when you were contracted for Me+You?

My husband. He’s always been very supportive of my writing, so he’s always the first to know of both my successes and disappointments.

I love choosing character names. Tell us how you came up with your character’s names in Me+You.

I love choosing character names, too. Often when I’m in the outlining phase, the names come to me as being appropriate for the type of people who’ll be populating the story. The hero of Me+You is Mark Wilder, and it made perfect sense for a guy who runs a Jeep Tour company. Plus, the company could be named Wilder Jeep Tours. In the original synopsis I sent to my editor at The Wild Rose Press, the heroine’s name was Jenn. However, between when the synopsis was accepted and when I actually started writing the story, I wrote another novella with a heroine name Jill and I was afraid I’d confuse myself, so I changed it to Lori.

I don’t necessarily think about people I know with the same name when I decide on names for my characters. A couple of times, I’ve changed names just prior to submitting to my editor when I’ve suddenly realized I’ve named a particularly nasty character the same as a family member or friend. Totally unintentional. Really.

What inspired you to write Me+You?

I wrote this story after visiting Sedona, Arizona. I’d been there, briefly, many years ago and had wanted to return for a long time. Last March, my husband and two kids travelled there for a week and it was amazing. The spectacular scenery, the new age atmosphere with its vortexes and crystals, and the combination of locals and tons of tourists all come together to create a truly unique and wonderful world. I really wanted to make that come across in this story not just in terms of setting, but as a character.

What’s the one scene from your book that stands out in your mind as being your favorite to write?

My favorite scenes to write involved the heroine, Lori, and her best friend Sharon. They each lead very different lives and they have an idealized image of the other’s life. I chose to have most of their scenes involve some sort of physical fitness activity—spinning, yoga, Nordic walking—that Sharon is keen on. Lori participates only because she knows it’s good for her and she can reward herself with a treat afterward.

Do you have a writing ritual—as in do you wear a lucky pair of socks, drink a certain drink, light a candle, play music?

At the start of each day I need 30-60 minutes to sit quietly and drink my coffee (which my husband brings me in bed—even on weekends). The radio may be on, but I am rarely listening to it. I need to be alone with my thoughts, which may range from the practical what I need to do that day to daydreaming about living in a warmer climate, although more often than not, they are merely wisps of ideas or wishes or nothing at all. If I don’t have this time, I feel totally out of sync for the rest of the day, and no writing gets done.

When writing do you try and reach a certain word count each day, or do you write for a certain amount of time, or do you just write and don’t worry about either?

Unfortunately, I don’t write every day. I have a weekly goal of what I want to get accomplished and try to arrange my schedule around that. I am fortunate that I work from home so my schedule is more flexible than those with an “outside” job, but it also means more distractions.

Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

I’ve started writing my 20th Century women’s fiction story, which is loosely based on a family legend. After writing contemporary heroines, it’s an interesting process to imagine my heroine as a woman living in the 1930s without many of the modern conveniences I take for granted, and having to deal with the prevailing attitudes of society.

RANDOM FUN: FINISH THIS SENTENCE…

If I could go anywhere in the world … I’d go to Fiji.

My toothbrush is … purple.

I’ll never eat … lima beans again!

When I was a kid … I wanted to grow up. Now I wish I could take back that wish.

My favorite television show … is no longer on the air.

My favorite quote is …The secret of getting ahead is getting started” by Mark Twain.
The last book I read was … Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.

 

 

 

Enter to Win a 
$25.00 Amazon eGift Card

 

ME + YOU
A Candy Hearts Romance
Brenda Gayle
Released January 20th 2016
Wild Rose Press

 

 

Teacher Lori Tait has always wanted a family, but now she’s 40, she’s pretty much decided all the good men are taken. Instead, she
devotes herself to her students, particularly one little girl whose struggle with math seems inconsistent with an otherwise brilliant and artistic mind.
 
Mark Wilder hadn’t planned to become a father, but when a fling resulted in his daughter, Grace, he whole-heartedly embraced the role.
Raised in a family of boys, what does he know about women and girls? Once he learns of Grace’s inability to comprehend basic math, he welcomes the role of tutor as a way to connect with his daughter; the opportunity to spend time with her sexy teacher is an added bonus.
 
When Lori cracks the mystery of Grace’s problem Mark’s world is thrown into turmoil; he’s the last person who can help his daughter.
He pushes everyone away, confirming Lori’s theory about men. Grace, however, has other plans. Using her new-found understanding of math, she sets out to prove to her father and teacher that, together, they add up to the perfect match.

EXCERPT

“…if I wait much longer I will be too old to be accepted into an IVF program.”

“I could give you one of my kids on a rotating basis.” Sharon grinned. “You could take a different one every week. Heck, I’d even throw in Tom for a week, he’s almost as bad as the young ones.”

“I’m serious!”

“I know.” Sharon sobered. “But raising a child isn’t easy, especially if you have to do it on your own. For all I rag on Tom about being a big kid, I couldn’t manage without him.”

“Lots of women do it,” Lori said stubbornly.

“True,” Sharon conceded. She took a sip of her drink and then seriously observed Lori over the rim of her cup. “Okay.” She put the cup down on the table and sat up straighter. “But if you’re determined to have a child, don’t do in vitro. Find some sexy hot stud and, at least, have the fun of doing it the old-fashioned way.”

Lori gagged on a mouthful of mochaccino, trying not to spit it out with laughter. “And where do you think I will find such a specimen?” she asked when she managed to compose herself.

Sharon shrugged. “What about Mr. Tall, Dark, and Yummy?” She pointed over Lori’s shoulder.

Lori swiveled in her chair and found herself staring at the crotch of a poster-sized Mark Wilder exiting one of his famous purple Jeeps. She quickly raised her gaze to the familiar stubbled chin and deep brown eyes, but not before she felt the crimson rush of embarrassment flood her face. He was the only man she’d met recently that looked better than his picture. Take a Trip to the Wild Side with Sedona’s Wilder Jeep Tours, the poster proclaimed.

Yessiree, if she was picking a partner on looks alone, she’d definitely take a trip to the wild side with him.

 
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I’ve been a writer all my life but returned to my love of fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communications–although some might argue there is plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too. I have a Master’s degree in journalism and an undergraduate degree in psychology. A fan of many genres, I am drawn to contemporary romance and enjoy creating deeply emotional stories with elements
of mystery and suspense.
 
I live in eastern Ontario with my wonderful husband, two fabulous children, a rescued cat, two Siberian Huskies, and assorted aquatic
wildlife.



 
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Posted by on February 2, 2016 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights

 

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SPECIAL GUEST Madeline Martin author of Enchantment of a Highlander ~ giveaway

Please help me welcome author Madeline Martin to the blog today. She talking about research for her books and then sharing her latest release Enchantment of a Highlander. All of her covers are mesmerizing. After you tear your eyes away from ogling them, you’ll fall in love with her blurb and snippet too.  

Also, don’t forget to enter her giveaway. The link is toward the end of the post :)

Okay, take it away Madeline …

One of my favorite things about writing is all the incredible things I learn while researching my books. When I wrote Deception of a Highlander, I took Krav Maga class to understand how it felt to fight like Mariel. When I wrote Possession of a Highlander, I researched a lot of old texts that Brianna would have read and applied to (or associated with) her own life. With Enchantment of a Highlander, I became engrossed in the study of herbs and even started making my own bath and body products.

 

It was a fascinating study that produced all kinds of healing aids everywhere I looked that I’d never even considered. Like the common marigold for example. Those have natural healing properties to them. Soaking petals in oil in the sun will infuse it with those healing oils and can be used on cuts and will help heal bruises more quickly. You can then combine that infused oil into salves with other herbal properties to boost the natural healing power.

 

While I had modern amenities to make a lot of my products with more ease than Celia would have had at her disposal, creating those salves and teas and oils myself gave me an incredible connection I might not ever have had otherwise.

Enter to Win a Print Copy of
ENCHANTMENT OF A HIGHLANDER

 

 

ENCHANTMENT OF A HIGHLANDER
Highlander #3
Madeline Martin
Releasing January 19, 2016
Diversion

 

The sweeping historical romance that began with DECEPTION OF A HIGHLANDER, and continued with POSSESSION OF A HIGHLANDER, reaches its dazzling conclusion in this scorcher set on the Scottish plains.


Alec MacLean returns home after a decade to find his recently deceased father has let his inheritance fall to ruin. As the new laird, it’s Alec’s responsibility to rebuild the castle and restore the lands. He must also regain the people’s trust after having abandoned them so long ago, a feat not easily done when he fears he’s plagued with the same darkness as his father.


Celia escaped the North Berwick witch trials at a young age, surviving because of the sacrifice of her beloved caretaker. She’s made a life for herself in the wilds of Scotland where no laird rules, a life where she heals for coin, a life without love so she can never feel the hurt of loss again.


When the new laird comes back to claim his land, his determination to restore order threatens everything Celia has worked so hard to gain, especially with the undeniable attraction sizzling between them. Together, they will face all challenges, from the tangle of their own damaged pasts to the fire-fueled witch hunts sweeping the Isle of Mull. Together, they will find that the best way to overcome darkness and war is through the undeniable light of love.

EXCERPT

Celia had known the man was nobility by his fine dress, but she hadn’t expected him to be Laird MacLean. Nor had she expected the son of the former laird to be so just, so powerful.

So dangerous.

The law did little good from what she’d seen, from what she’d experienced. Innocents were sacrificed under the guise of ‘law’.

A scratch sounded at the base of the door where the wind mewled. Celia pulled the latch and held the door wide enough for the red fox to slink inside before bolting it shut once more.

“Is he gone now, Ruadh?”

The fox stared up at her with his golden eyes and flicked his bushy tail in aggravation.

“Good riddance to that one.” She tossed the remaining thread into the fire and watched the remnants of the laird’s blood sizzle and curl into ash. “For the time being we are safe.”

She glanced at the door once more. Her skin still tingled where he had touched her. Unwanted, a thrill wound down her spine and blossomed in goosebumps across her skin.

He would be back and she would need to keep her secrets locked away, the way she had managed to do thus far.

Her life depended on it.

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NOW
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Madeline Martin lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters and a menagerie of pets. She graduated from Flagler College with a degree in Business Administration and works for corporate America. Her hobbies include rock climbing, running, doing Mud Runs and just about anything exciting she can do without getting nauseous. She grew up in Europe and still enjoys traveling overseas whenever she can find the time to get away. Her favorite place to visit thus far: Scotland.
 
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads


Don’t miss the other Highlander Romances

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2016 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights

 

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INTERVIEW with Beverly Jenkins author of Forbidden ~ giveaway

Today I’m happy to have Beverly Jenkins on the blog. She’s agreed to a little interview about her latest book FORBIDDEN. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know more about her books and writing habits. 

Afterward check out the blurb and excerpt and don’t forget to enter her giveaway!

Let’s get started…

Beverly, please tell us a bit about the New Book and Series.

The book is titled: Forbidden and is set in 1875 Virginia City Nevada. Our hero, Rhine Fontaine is a saloon owner and a pillar of the community. Our heroine Eddy Carmichael is a cook from Denver and is traveling to California to fulfill a dream of opening her own restaurant when things go awry. She is robbed by a man impersonating a priest and left to die in the desert. Rhine finds her. Books 2 and 3 will focus on Eddy’s nieces Portia and Regan.

Did you do anything different with your research this time around?

I didn’t do anything out of the norm for me. A recently conducted archeological dig in Virginia City unearthed the remains of a high end 1870s saloon founded by a man of color. It, like many of the city’s other business establishments was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1875. I based Rhine’s saloon on that real saloon.

What about the Wild West called you?

Who doesn’t like the scope and sweep of the Wild West? I’ve written quite a few westerns. That I get to add to the standard lore stories about men and women who looked like me along with the Buffalo Soldiers, the all Black townships of Kansas and the black and the brown outlaws and lawmen of Indian Territory makes it even more of a blast.

Who did you have more of a connection with while writing, the hero or the heroine?

It depends on the story. Sometimes the story belongs to the hero and at other times the heroines. It can also belong to both. I let the characters decide.

Can you share a small teaser from your favorite scene of the book, or describe your favorite scene?

Eddy awakened in a four-poster in a large room barely lit by a turned down lamp. Having no idea where she was or how she came to be there, she shook the cobwebs dulling her thinking and noticed she was wearing a man’s shirt! Perplexed, her eyes moved around the room to a well-appointed sitting area and then to the face of a White man watching her from one of the chairs. Panic flared. She snatched the blanket to her neck and she drew back fearfully.

“Don’t be afraid. You’re safe. I’m Rhine Fontaine. My friend Jim and I found you in the desert.”

Confused, she tried to force herself to calm down so she could make some sense of this, but she couldn’t. Watching him warily, she asked, “Where am I?” Her throat was dry as sand. She wanted water badly, but needed to solve the mystery of this first.

“Virginia City.”

“And this place is?”

“My bedroom.”

Her eyes went wide. “I need to go, I can’t stay here.”

“Maybe in a few days, but right now—”

Alarmed, she didn’t let him finish. She swung her legs over the side of the bed. Her mind was so foggy she wasn’t sure what was happening, but she knew she had to get away.

He stood and said urgently, “No! You’ll fall!”

He was right. The moment she stood, she was hit by a wave of weakness so strong her legs folded as if they were made of cards. She cried out involuntarily as she hit the floor.

He walked over to her. “As I said, maybe in a few days. Are you okay?”

Drawing away again, she looked up and recognized the face of the man from her dream. She stilled. Had it been a dream? “I’ll scream!”

He sighed. “If you feel that’s necessary, go right ahead, but I’m not going to hurt you—in any way. When you’re done, I can help you back into bed, or carry you to the facilities, whichever you’d prefer.”

Heated embarrassment burned her cheeks. Her needs were not something she talked about to a stranger, and especially not a White man stranger. “I can walk.”

“No, you can’t, but if you want to try, I’ll wait.”

At that moment she saw her bare legs sticking out from beneath the long-tailed shirt, and also realized she had on no underthings! Not drawers. No shift. As quickly as her weakened state allowed, she reached up and pulled the blanket down. Ignoring him as best she could, she covered her bare legs. This was getting worse and worse.

“As I said, my name’s Rhine. And yours?”

“Eddy. Eddy Carmichael.”

“Pleased to meet you, Miss Carmichael. You gave my partner Jim and me quite a scare out there in the desert, but I’m pleased to see you are recovering.”

Then her muddled brain remembered Jack Nash’s perfidy and her walk across the desert, but nothing else. “How long have I been here?”

“Four or five hours.”

Lord, she was thirsty. “May I have some water please?” she croaked. She felt so weak. It was not a state she was accustomed to.

He poured her a glass from a pitcher on the nightstand and handed it to her. “Slowly,” he advised softly. “Just a little for now.”

She nodded and took a few short swallows. The water tasted so good and she was so thirsty she wanted to down the entire offering, but heeding his advice, she took only a few more slow pulls. Done, she handed the glass back and her parched throat savored the relief. “Why am I so weak?”

“Walking the Forty Mile Desert under a full sun takes its toll. So, Miss Eddy—facilities or back to bed?”

She hated to admit it but she really needed choice number one. Thoroughly scandalized, she confessed softly, “The facilities, but I can walk. Just point me in the right direction.” Looking around, she didn’t see a screen of any kind.

“It’s at the end of the hallway.”

“Oh,” she said disappointedly. Still bent on getting there under her own power, though, she wrestled with the blanket in an attempt to fashion it around her waist. Trying to get it out from under her hips and secured without treating him to another show of her legs was a struggle, however. He’d seen more of them than any man ever before.

“Do you want to go today?” he asked in a tone of muted amusement.

She shot him a glare. Reasonably certain the blanket was secured, she said, “Yes.” Now she just had to get up. No small task. The fullness of the blanket made it difficult to get her feet planted so she could stand. She decided she’d use the side of the bed to give her the leverage she needed. She scooted closer.

“You always this stubborn, Miss Carmichael?”

“It’s called determination, Mr. Fontaine.”

“I stand corrected.”

Giving him another withering glare, she grabbed hold of the bed’s wooden side panel and began working herself to her knees. She made a bit of progress, but her weakened state conspired against her efforts. Refusing to surrender and breathing harshly, she slowly inched herself to a standing position, careful not to get her feet fouled by the swath of blanket, and promptly keeled face forward onto the mattress.

Chuckling softly, he picked her up from behind and placed her gently into the cradle of his strong arms. He smiled softly. “It’s called stubbornness.”

Rolling her eyes, she allowed herself to be carried from the room.

What is next for you?  What are you working on now?

Next up for me is the June debut of the 7th book in my Blessings series which is women’s fiction. The title: Stepping To A New Day. I’m presently working on Portia’s story which I hope will be out in the fall.

Thank you for taking the time to talk about FORBIDDEN

Thanks so much for this opportunity to meet you and your readers.

 

 

 

 

Enter to Win a 
$25.00 eGift Card to Choice Book Seller

 

 

FORBIDDEN
Beverly Jenkins
Releasing on January 26, 2016
Avon 

 

USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns with the first book in a breathtaking new series set in the Old West


Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he’s always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.


Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won’t risk her heart for him. As soon as she’s saved enough money from her cooking, she’ll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .

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Ms. Jenkins is the nation’s premier writer of African American historical romance fiction and specializes in 19th century African American life. She has over thirty published novels to date.
 
She has received numerous awards, including: five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards; two Career Achievement Awards and a Pioneer Award from Romantic Times Magazine; a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer’s Guild, and in 1999 was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th Century by AABLC, the nation’s largest on-line African-American book club.
 
She has also been featured in many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Dallas Morning News and Vibe Magazine. She has lectured and given talks at such prestigious universities as Oberlin University, the University of Illinois, and Princeton. She speaks widely on both romance and 19th century African-American history and was the 2014 featured speaker for the W.W. Law Lecture Series sponsored by the Savannah Black Heritage Festival.
 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2016 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights

 

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BOOK BLAST ~ All In by Aleah Barley ~ Giveaway

All In Cover

About ALL IN

 

World-class statistician and poker prodigy Daisy Drake has two rules: never risk anything you can’t afford to lose, and never, ever, trust a gambler. Which is why she gave up the game and moved to Los Angeles, where she became a tenured professor. But when an old acquaintance calls needing Daisy’s…expertise…to help catch a cheater, she heads back to Las Vegas and the poker tables.

FBI Agent Ryan DiNatto’s been a gambler since he was four, and a hustler since he hit puberty. Coming off an undercover mission that ended with him shot and his partner in a wheelchair, Ryan’s out for blood. With a mob accountant and a hit man on the loose, the stakes have never been higher, and this time, he’s determined to make things right—even if it means beating spunky, sexy, Daisy Adams at her own game

EXCERPT

In the two weeks he’d prepped to go undercover as a tournament poker player at the Hendrix, Ryan had studied the case file more thoroughly than he’d ever studied anything in college. This was his chance to prove he was really back. That he wasn’t just the screw-up who’d gotten Jack shot.

More importantly, it was his chance to take another crack at Vic Morelli. There’d been enough stolen property in the warehouse to send Vic upriver for five to thirty—depending on the judge—but the Feds were still working to build racketeering and corruption charges. Ryan wasn’t about to let that stand. He wanted the mobster in jail for life or—better—parked on death row for conspiracy to commit murder.

Forget the drug dens in Manhattan or the warehouse in the Bronx; he was going to hit the man where it hurt.

His wallet.

Edgar Blethins was Vic’s best friend and personal accountant. The FBI had frozen all of the accounts he managed, but there was still a chunk of money unaccounted for.

Ten million, seven hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars to be exact.

Almost eleven million dollars hadn’t just gotten up and walked away. So when Blethins signed up for the Hendrix’s inaugural poker tournament in Las Vegas, it only made sense to send an agent in undercover to keep an eye out for him.

Ryan had demanded to be put on the case. He’d fucking begged, and when he’d finally gotten the go-ahead for the assignment? He’d started doing his homework.

He knew every employee, every longtime guest, and every big winner currently checked into the hotel. He for damn sure knew every player registered to play in the tournament, but he didn’t know “Adams, Daisy Adams” from Eve.

The woman had to be a last minute entry.

But how? And why?

In the world of professional gambling, the women who played were tough, domineering, and sexy as hell. Men wore TT-shirts, shorts, and lucky charms, anything to stay comfortable. Women wore low-cut shirts and too much makeup, working their own special charm to gain the slightest advantage.

Daisy Adams wasn’t sexy. She was cute.

Wearing a pair of cotton-candy pajamas with fluffy white sheep embroidered on them, she was adorable. The pajamas were a size too big, hanging loose on her already petite frame, but they didn’t completely hide her curved hips and firm, high breasts. Her hair was inky black, loose waves flowing around her heart-shaped face like a dark and twisted halo. Her features were delicate, like the rest of her. Her eyes were royal blue, so deep they were almost purple.

“Is there any other reason I’d be in Las Vegas?” she snapped, answering his earlier question. Her tone was harsh, coming from soft pink lips that curved generously on top and were full on the bottom. At five in the morning, she probably wasn’t wearing any makeup, so the apple red color of her cheeks had to be all natural. Fresh from bed, she smelled like the orange trees his grandparents kept in their dining room in Coney Island in winter, then dragged outside for the summer months.

Fresh faced and innocent, what the hell was she doing in the casino?

“You play poker?” Ryan asked, just in case he was missing something.

“Sure, want some pointers?”

Cute wasn’t his type. He liked leggy law-enforcement professionals who knew the score—he’d been engaged to three of them—but Daisy had spunk.

Ryan liked spunk.

It kept things interesting.

He wondered if the blush that was coloring her skin went all the way down, underneath those absurd pajamas. The way she was glaring at him, she’d probably cut his throat if he tried to find out, but it might be worth it. His gaze moved back to those warm, full, lips. It would definitely be worth it.

“I’m always up for improving my technique.” He ran his fingers through his hair, wishing he’d had time to brush it before he opened the door. “Give me a second to throw on a shirt, and I’ll take you out to breakfast.”

“What?” Daisy’s hands went to her hips—all spunky and defiant—and those threadbare pajamas pulled tight against her petite curves.

Ryan lost the ability to think.

Damn. Daisy might be small, but she was very well proportioned, with luscious breasts and full hips. What was she wearing under those things anyway? A gentleman would step back and close the door, but—fuck it—he definitely wasn’t a gentleman.

He moved closer for a better view.

 

 

On Sale in Digital: January 4, 2016

Amazon  |  iBooks  | Kobo

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CELEBRATE THE RELEASE WITH A GIVEAWAY!

Grand Prize: $20 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

2 Runner-up Prizes: Each Get 1 Digital Copy of LEAVING LAS VEGAS

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Check Out the First Book in the Leaving Las Vegas Series!

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About LEAVING LAS VEGAS

When West Virginia wild child, Glory Allen enters a private poker game with her town’s dreams at stake she loses it all. To make matters worse, she’s trapped in a car with the sexy but infuriating man who won—and accused her of cheating. Now because of him, she’s on the run from the mafia who put out a hit on the stuck-up casino magnate with the toe-curling good looks—and he isn’t even her type. So why can’t she cool the explosive chemistry between them?

 

She’s out of control…and she’s enough to drive Luke Tanner crazy. Yet she’s the only one willing to put her neck on the line…for him—a complete stranger she professes to hate. Now he’s in debt…to her. And it’s a debt he’s willing to work off any way she wants…on the hood of his sports car, in a waterfall—wherever she’ll have him, he’s willing to pay the price.

 

But the stakes are raised when they return to West Virginia—helping Luke escape has put Glory and her hometown in the sites of someone who wants him dead. This time Glory decides she’s not going to end up empty-handed—it’s time for the winner to take all and she won’t stop ’til she wins his heart.

 

Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Books | Goodreads

Aleah Barley Author Photo

Author Bio: Aleah Barley is a writer of explosive romance for everyone. She lives and writes in Detroit, Michigan, with a cat who’s recently learned how to levitate, an over enthusiastic Labrador, and the cutest guy in the world. She will do anything for a hot cup of coffee or a wild romance–and, she can spell onomatoepia without using spell check.

You can also visit her online at the following places:

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon 

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2016 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights

 

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What to Read Wednesday with Sophie Barnes author of The Earl’s Complete Surrender ~ Giveaway

I’m so excited for this round of What to Read Wednesday. Please help me welcome author Sophie Barnes to the blog. She’s talking Regency Christmas and sharing her release The Earl’s Complete Surrender along with a giveaway.

The link for the giveaway is toward the end of the post. Don’t forget to enter after you check out her cover and read her blurb/excerpt!

Take it away Sophie …

 

A REGENCY CHRISTMAS

 

While Christmas trees traditionally form the centerpiece of modern Christmas celebrations, they were not as common during the Regency period as they are today. Although it is true that Christmas trees were introduced to England in 1800 by Queen Charlotte (the German-born wife of King George III), they were only popular amidst the upper classes. Additionally, they were not decorated with sparkling glass balls and tinsel, but with edibles such as apples, nuts, or other foods instead.

In reference to the tree that Queen Charlotte had placed in the Queen’s Lodge at Winsor Castle, Dr. John Watkins, the Queen’s biographer wrote:

“In the middle of the room stood an immense tub with a yew tree placed in it, from the branches of which hung bunches of sweetmeats, almonds, and raisins in papers, fruits and toys, most tastefully arranged, and the whole illuminated by small wax candles. After the company had walked around and admired the tree, each child obtained a portion of the sweets which it bore together with a toy and then all returned home, quite delighted.”

Based on what I’ve found, it would seem that mistletoe was of greater importance during that period. Found on orchard and forest trees in England (as opposed to oak trees in the US), it was collected in the weeks leading up to Christmas (especially during the month of November), ornamented with ribbons and hung on chandeliers, above doorways and from the ceiling in general – any place beneath which a kiss might have been made possible. And if an unmarried girl happened to be standing beneath it, she would not have been able to refuse such a kiss. In fact, receiving a kiss beneath the mistletoe was thought to foreshadow her prospects for the coming year. In other words: no kisses = no likelihood for marriage, which might have been true since it would have probably have proven her unpopularity with the gentlemen.

Other Christmas traditions during this time period included plum-pudding (a boiled pudding consisting of dried fruit) and wassail (hot mulled cider) which would have been served during the holiday season. Collecting a Yule Log for the hearth was another popular custom, perhaps more important than the others I’ve mentioned according to an excerpt from New Monthly Magazine, December 1, 1825. Granted, this was five years after the Regency had ended, but I’m sure it would have been just as relevant ten years earlier, and, at any rate, an interesting reflection of the early 19th Century:

“I remember we had a discussion that time as to what was the great point and crowning glory of Christmas. Many were for mince-pie; some for the beef and plum-pudding; more for the wassail-bowl; a maiden lady timidly said the mistletoe; but we agreed at last, that although all these were prodigious, and some of them exclusively belonging to the season, the fire was the great indispensable. Upon which we all turned our faces towards it, and began warming our already scorched hands. A great blazing fire, too big, is the visible heart and soul of Christmas. You may do without beef and plum-pudding; even the absence of mince-pie may be tolerated; there must be a bowl, poetically speaking, but it need not be absolutely wassail. The bowl may give place to the bottle. But a huge, heaped-up, over heaped-up, all-attracting fire, with a semicircle of faces about it, is not to be denied us. It is the lar and genius of the meeting; the proof positive of the season; the representative of all our warm emotions and bright thoughts; the glorious eye of the room; the inciter to mirth, yet the retainer of order; the amalgamater of the age and sex; the universal relish. Tastes may differ even on a mince-pie; but who gainsays a fire?”

 

 

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THE EARL’S COMPLETE SURRENDER
Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #2
Sophie Barnes
Releasing December 29th,2015
Avon Books
An unexpected passion ignites as secrets are exposed in Sophie Barnes’s captivating Regency-set romance
Despite the diversions offered at Thorncliff Manor, former spy James, the Earl of Woodford, has one purpose in staying there. He must find
an encoded book that exposes a conspiracy within the British aristocracy. And he must do so without revealing his purpose to the clever, tempting Chloe Heartly. The lady has a knack for appearing wherever it is least convenient. In the library. In the salon. And, especially, in his arms . . 


Somewhere within Thorncliff’s labyrinth of rooms lies the journal Chloe desperately seeks. When she realizes the brooding, handsome earl is hunting the same quarry, Chloe enters into an uneasy partnership. But in the face of public danger and enemies hiding in plain sight, both must decide how much they’re willing to risk to solve the mysteries of the heart.

EXCERPT

They reached the front door where the coach was being unloaded by footmen. The men who’d occupied it, however, were nowhere in sight. The butler on the other hand, was very much present, issuing orders to each of the footman as they carried trunks into the house.

“Excuse me, Mr. Caine,” Chloe said as she and Fiona walked up to him.

Raising his chin in the typical butlery manner that conveyed that his complete attention had been drawn, he spoke a succinct, “Yes, Lady Newbury?”

“My sister and I were out walking when this carriage drove past.” Angling her head, Chloe indicated the carriage in question. “I immediately recognized the Marquess of Hainsworth, but I failed to place his companion. Perhaps you can enlighten us regarding his identity?”

Mr. Caine hesitated only a moment before bowing his head in acquiescence. “I believe you must be referring to the Earl of Woodford, my lady.” A brief pause followed. “Will that be all?”

Chloe blinked. “Yes. Thank you, Mr. Caine.”

The butler nodded before turning away and resuming his duties.

“Isn’t he the one whose parents—”

“Yes,” Chloe said, silencing her sister. It was as if her heart had suddenly been filled with lead. Shaking off the melancholy that had swooped down upon her the moment she’d learned of Woodford’s identity, she placed her hand against Fiona’s elbow and guided her through the foyer and toward the hallway beyond, no longer surprised by the solemnity with which Woodford had regarded her from the carriage. Somewhere, trapped inside that man, was the little boy who’d once suffered the tragic loss of his parents, and Chloe found that her heart ached for him.

 

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Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian. She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parsons. But, most impressive of all, she’s been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion: writing. When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in What to Read Wednesday

 

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INTERVIEW with Annabelle Bryant author of Society’s Most Scandalous Viscount ~ Giveaway

Please help me welcome Annabelle Bryant to the blog today! I’m excited to have her visit because she’s agreed to answer a few questions about herself and her release SOCIETY’S MOST SCANDALOUS VISCOUNT. I love having authors on to interview so this is going to be a good day. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know Annabelle as much as I am … and wait to you check out her book. Not only is the cover fantastic, but the blurb and excerpt will have you curious to read more.

Also, please don’t forget to check out her giveaway. The link to enter is toward the end of the post!

Now, let’s get started …

How would your friends describe you?

Loyal, confidant who loves to have fun and laugh. Giver by nature, creative and dedicated booklover.

Love that description :) What’s the room in your home that always becomes the gathering place?

The natural gathering place is the kitchen. Not just because of the food and drink, but the old saying proves true every time. The kitchen is the heart of the home.

I agree. It’s the same here. What restaurant did you dine out at last?

The Heart of Portugal. I love Portuguese food almost as much as Mexican.  Spicy, flavorful food wins me over easily.

What 3 things do you hope to accomplish in 2016?

Just three? This year I promised myself to return to some of my healthier habits abandoned due to an overload of work, so I hope to reclaim my daily run and participate in more 5K and fun-runs. I want to begin a new series, something a little darker, still set in Regency but with edgier, more overtly powerful characters. Last, I’d like to find balance. My schedule is frenetic and I need to sort it out and find predictability in my day.

All good goals. How did you know you wanted to become an author?

I don’t believe that I chose or wanted the skill. Writing chose me. I’ve always possessed a very vivid imagination and stories have been part of me for as long as I can remember. Even as a child I was writing in journals, diaries, books, slams – I have several of these from decades ago and they’re very entertaining.

Love it! What was the first thought you had when you saw the cover for SOCIETY’S MOST SCANDALOUS VISCOUNT?

Sexy. I wanted my hero to look a little like a pirate, a nobleman who cared little for the lines of propriety and I think it was achieved. I love all my covers.

Your cover is awesome. Congrats. I love choosing character names. Tell us how you came up with your character’s names in SOCIETY’S MOST SCANDALOUS VISCOUNT .

I love choosing my character’s names. I often incorporate traits of their personality or the story’s overall theme into the process. Benedict, my hero, named himself. He told me. The name popped into mind, but it became perfectly appropriate when the heroine realizes he is her salvation, “a benediction”. There is a “rebellion against religion” message woven into the romance and Angelica, my heroine, had to have an ironic name since she breaks every rule dictated the church.

What made you want to write the genre you do?

Historical romance was the first genre I read as a teenager and I read them voraciously. Like a first love, the impact of the time period made a strong impression and I’ve been in love with Regency England ever since. It was natural to want to set my stories there, I possessed extensive knowledge from reading and enjoy researching the era.

Who was your inspiration for your hero? Your heroine?

My inspiration for Benedict, my hero, was a photo of Brad Pitt when he was much younger. For Angelica, I wanted an ethereal image. She is mistaken for a mermaid by the hero, otherworldly, blond, delicate and yet very strong.

What’s the one scene from your book that stands out in your mind as being your favorite to write?

I enjoy writing love scenes and this novel was definitely one of my most sensual stories since there is an emphasis on scandal, and my hero is part “pirate”. That being so, the scene in the carriage when Benedict finds Angelica and hauls her back into his life…that’s my favorite. Things get very hot within the carriage on the ride home.

That sounds good. Can’t wait to check your book out. Do you do a lot of research for your books before you start writing or while you’re writing?

I include different circumstances, historical events and locations in every novel. While I have a good sense of the period, I do research while writing to guarantee accuracy and ensure I provide a realistic depiction of the time. Readers have mentioned my ability to place them right into the scene. I hope that means I’m doing this well.

Describe your writing space.

I have the cutest and most comfortable office. I’ve painted the walls, hung inspiring art and photographs, filled the shelves with treasured favorites and purchased a gorgeous vintage desk. Everything I could ever need is upstairs in that office, but I do all my writing at the kitchen table. Go figure.

lol. Your office sounds wonderful, but I can understand about writing somewhere else because I’m guilty of the same thingTell us about your book in tweet form—that’s right, you get 140 characters :)

Scandalous viscount chases elusive beauty, defies society & pursues passion until Fate provides the HEA. Sexy Regency will melt your Kindle.

Nicely doneWould you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

I’m currently completing book 4 of the Regency Charms series where every novel is linked together by the charms on an intriguing bracelet. His Forbidden Debutante releases on February 4, 2016 and brings the series to a clever end.

 

RANDOM FUN: FINISH THIS SENTENCE…

My favorite author is Lisa Kleypas.

I can’t get through the day without coffee.

I wish I could write full time or at least, have more uninterrupted time.

When I was a kid I wanted to fly.

I generally wake up at 5:45 am.

The one thing I don’t enjoy is cleaning is someone else’s mess.

2016 is full of potential.

 

 

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$25.00 Amazon eGift Card

 

SOCIETY’S MOST SCANDALOUS VISCOUNT
Regency Charms #3
Anabelle Bryant
Released on November 3, 2015.
Carina  

When rules are made to be broken…


Viscount Kellaway may sound like a gentleman, but he doesn’t act like one. As far as Kell is concerned, drink, women and the wrong side of the law are much more attractive indulgences than could be found in polite society – much to the scandal of the ton.


With all of Brighton’s women to choose from, Kell has never settled for one – and his devilish good looks have meant he’s never had to. But when he spies Angelica Curtis walking on the beach by moonlight, the living vision of a familiar dream, all that changes.


Suddenly, Kell finds himself craving the touch of a single woman…and it just so happens that the woman in question won’t have him! But if Kell’s bad ways have taught him anything, it’s that nothing is truly out of bounds…

EXCERPT

He was tall, strikingly handsome, and absolutely forbidden. Virility rolled off him in waves. She should have a care. She knew better. Still that ever-present undercurrent of wild curiosity suffocated any suggestions made by common sense.

While she contemplated her reckless not restless behavior, he lit the lantern on the hook by the door and bathed them in the soft glow of the lamp.

“We need to dry off.” He said the words as if they were an edict to be obeyed, and she nodded her agreement although how they were to accomplish the task remained unknown.

He wriggled the knob on the door and patted his pocket, although she couldn’t imagine why. Only the groundskeeper and the owner of the manor would retain a key. Then he raised his boot and before she could summon an objection, kicked in the cottage door with a dull thud. He grabbed the lantern from the hook and preceded her, glancing over his shoulder and offering a winsome smile to imply she should follow inside.

She swallowed audibly. What was she doing? This was insane, yet she’d never felt so enthralled. Some unspoken sensation she couldn’t explain assured she was in no peril, but still how could one be certain? If he desired, this stranger would overpower her with ease proving only a fool should enter the cottage. A rumble of thunder concurred, underscoring her decision to depart. She managed one step backward before his hand shot through the doorframe, captured her wrist, and tugged her into the dry shelter of the room.

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NOW
 
Anabelle Bryant began reading at age three and never stopped. Her passion for reading soon turned into a passion for writing and an author was born. Happy to grab a suitcase if it ensures a new adventure, Anabelle finds endless inspiration in travel, especially imaginary jaunts into Regency England, a far cry from her home in New Jersey. Instead, her clever characters live out her daydreams because really, who wouldn’t want to dance with a handsome duke or kiss a wicked earl?
 
Though teaching keeps her grounded, photography, running and writing, counterbalance her wanderlust. Often found with her nose in a book, Anabelle earned her Master’s Degree and is completing her Doctorate Degree in education. Thrilled to be an author for Harlequin’s Carina line, Anabelle’s historical romances are character driven. She strives to provide a heartfelt connection between her hero, heroine, and the reader, believing the emotional journey on the path to true love is the most important bond. Clever secondary characters and lively conversation keep the pages turning.
 
Anabelle knows sometimes life doesn’t provide a happily ever after, but her novels always do. She enjoys talking with her fans. Follow her on Facebook for the latest news concerning her upcoming novels. Visit AnabelleBryant.com to join her newsletter and follow at Twitter and Pinterest.
 
Don’t Miss the other Regency Charms Romances

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights

 

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