What to Read Wednesday

03 Jul

Happy Wednesday and thank you for joining me on another round of What to Read Wednesday. Today I have a good friend and awesome author joining me–Sara Walter Ellwood. Sara worte a terrific guest post about strong heroines and afterward she’s sharing a little about her latest release Cera duBois_2bwGAMBLING ON A HEART from the from the Colton Gamblers series. And don’t forget to join me in ogling her gorgeous cover…just scroll down. Don’t you just love the colors?

And after the excerpt please check out Sara’s awesome giveaway. She’s got an entire swag pack full of goodies you won’t want to miss. Just remember to please leave your email address along with your comment so we can contact you if you’ve won. Thanks!

Okay…enough from me…take it away Sara!!

Strong Heroines

I love strong women and they are my favorite kind of heroine to both read and write about. To me what makes a heroine strong is how she preservers and her choice to love the hero. 

That’s right. I said it was her choice to love. My heroines don’t need a man in their lives to make them the women they are. Their strength comes from their pasts, their choice of careers or a combination of both.

My heroines are strong and independent, even if she doesn’t think she is. Some of the strongest characters I’ve ever written are in the Colton Gamblers series. Charli from book one is someone I’d really love to meet. She’d overcome some horrible situations to end up where she is now.

Tracy in book two follows in her footsteps. She was the subject of bullying as a child and those scars followed her all her life, to the point of influencing her to make some really bad decisions as a young woman. These scars, along with impeccable good nature, have created a woman who is kind and gentle because she understands the underdog. However, her rough childhood and the gravity of her mistakes have given her strength to endure.

Of course they are also a little stubborn, but their strength isn’t just from that. I build a lot into their psyches, either from past abuse and addiction as in Charli’s case, bullying as in Tracy’s story or from cultural differences and prejudice as in Abby’s case (from Heartstrings) to make them strong.

What is it about strong heroines that you like most? What do you like least?


Gambling On A Heart

Book 2 of The Colton Gamblers

gamblingonaheart 500x750Blurb:

She once lost his heart on a bluff. Will she risk everything to win it back?

Beautician Tracy Quinn spends her days making the women of Colton, Texas beautiful, while living down the nickname of Olive Oyl, given to her by the only man she has ever loved—Zack Cartwright. She spends her nights alone, despite what her ex husband wants their friends and neighbors to think.

Ex-rodeo cowboy. Ex-bad-boy. Ex-Marine. Widower and single dad Sheriff Zack Cartwright can describe his life in exes. One ex in particular reminds him of what’s missing in his workaholic life: Tracy Quinn. For years since she broke his heart, he’s practically made avoiding her a second job. He still wants her, but can never go after her.

When cattle rustlers target her brother’s ranch, Tracy and Zack are stuck working together. Her son could use a positive male role model, and his daughter is wild for a chance at a “substitute” mom. But Tracy’s ex threatens to sue if she lets Zack near her son, and the Colton grapevine is abuzz with rumors about their past relationship. Is it worth the gamble to see if what they have is more than lust?



“I was hoping you could keep me company this afternoon.” He skimmed his fingers over her cheek.

Her insides, heating up like lava under the surface of the earth, pooled in her low belly. Her lips parted.

Against her lips, he whispered, “Tracy, I want you.”

She had thought of little else since he’d left her standing on her porch Friday night. He was asking her to enter into a sexual relationship without any hope of a future–without love.

But she was already in love with Zack.

Both of their kids would benefit from them being together. Hadn’t that been what she’d decided while she tossed and turned in her big, empty bed?

With her gaze locked on his, she murmured, “I want you, too, but I have a stipulation.”

He leaned back. “What is it?”

“I’m no one’s bed-buddy, Zack. I know what my reputation is in this town, but it’s all wrong.” She swallowed her rapidly thumping heart back into place. “I’ll only go through with this, if you promise to treat me as a serious girlfriend. That means we date, we visit with our families and we share our kids.” When his expression hardened, she quickly added, “Mandy likes me. And I adore her. I’d like to bring her here, to the shop, for a few hours and play. And take her shopping. I know your mom tries, but she’s busy with her foundations and charities she does for the Junior League.”

The breath she sucked in was full of Zack’s scent of sage and leather. “Meanwhile, you can teach Bobby how to ride and maybe take him to the sheriff’s department and show him around. Jake won’t like it, but I’ll deal with him.” Having laid her demands out on the proverbial table, she held her breath, waiting for him to tell her what she could do with herself. After all, a man of Zack’s caliber could have any damned woman he wanted. Tracy was just handy, and according to the gossip of her ex-husband and mother-in-law, she was easy.

He studied her for a few moments. “That’s more than one stipulation.”

“Take it or leave it.”

“Tracy, it won’t change what I told you Friday night. I’m never getting married again.”

His words stung as much now as they had the other night, but she didn’t show him how much. She kept her face determined, as if she were haggling over one of his horses, rather than her body and soul.

“Fine. But I’m not a floozy. Yes, I’ve made mistakes. But I have my son to consider. And I’d hope you’d feel the same about Mandy. They’re bound to see us together. What do you plan on telling your six-year-old daughter when she asks about me? That I’m your friend with benefits? I know that isn’t what I want to be teaching my son.” Moreover, she didn’t want to give credence to Jake’s claim that she had no sexual morals.

“Okay,” he said at last. “We’ll play the game your way.” He pressed her against him. “Luck would have it I’m off this afternoon, too. I’ve already put in sixteen hours.”

When his lips captured hers, she knew she’d made a pact with the devil, but she couldn’t stop the elation surging through her. There was something he wanted from her. Sex was a big portion of it, but something else kept Zack from walking away and hooking up with any one of the many available women in town.



Sara Walter Ellwood is an award winning author whose novel Gambling On A Secret was named by bestselling author Carolyn Brown in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today as one of her favorite romances of 2012. Although Sara has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her stories. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for nearly 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia.


She also writes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name of Cera duBois.


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Tour Grand Prize is a swag pack full of goodies! A signed copy of Carolyn Brown’sJust a Cowboy and His Baby, an ebook copy of my last release Gambling On A Secret, a notebook, a pen, and a custom jewelry set—all tucked into a keepsake box. A $20 value.

*Swag pack is for the entire six-week tour. Winner will be announced on September 1, 2013

*Open to Continental US citizens 18 years and older and where not prohibited by law.

*For the complete list of rules click HERE


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32 responses to “What to Read Wednesday

  1. Jerri Drennen

    July 3, 2013 at 5:21 am

    The book sounds awesome, Sara! I wish you the best of luck with sales.

    • ChristineWarner

      July 3, 2013 at 11:51 am

      I agree Jerri…and I love her cover 🙂 Glad you dropped in.

  2. Jennifer Lowery

    July 3, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I write strong, independent heroines too, Sara! They are so much fun to write and read 🙂 Can’t wait to read this series! Congrats on the release!!

    • ChristineWarner

      July 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Strong heroines that speak their mind are the best. They always make a story so much more interesting. Thanks for dropping in Jennifer.

  3. Kristina Knight

    July 3, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Love strong heroines, too!!! Great excerpt, Sara, thank you for sharing!!

  4. Sandra Dailey

    July 3, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I agree. It’s not enough that the hero be the man of your dreams. Your heroine should be the woman you’d like to be.
    Good luck and great sales, Sara!

  5. Ashantay Peters

    July 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Strong women of all ages are fun to read and write. I remember a time when sassy females were too often quirky secondary characters rather than heroines. It’s wonderful that women who speak their minds and act on their dreams have taken over the fiction world! Take that, stodgy old men . . . grin.

  6. JackieW

    July 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I’ve never been much of a gambler but I like to read about others who are. Your book sounds like one I would enjoy reading. Have a great 4th of July.

  7. Brenda

    July 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I love strong heroines too. I love heroines that speak their minds, scream and yell, lol.

    • ChristineWarner

      July 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Me too Brenda…they really can make a story extra special if done right. Glad you came by 🙂

  8. Debra St. John

    July 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Sara and Christine,

    What I love about strong heroines is when they allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to fall in love. The same could be said for strong heroes.

    Thanks for the excerpt, Sara!

  9. Joy Isley

    July 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I am always looking for new authors to read. Your book sounds really good. I have added it to my TBR list.
    Isn’t there a bit of gambler in all of us?

    • ChristineWarner

      July 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      There should be a bit of gambler in all of us….it makes life interesting. Thanks for coming by Joy.

  10. Shirley Buchanan

    July 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    This sounds like a really good book. I like strong hero and heroine! Love the cover and the title! Happy writing!

  11. yvonnesimpkins

    July 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    You have a great looking and sounding book. Thank you so much. email is (all lower case)

    • ChristineWarner

      July 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Good luck with the contest Yvonne and thanks for dropping in!

  12. Sharon Cullen

    July 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    My favorite strong hero is in My Sunshine by Catherine Anderson. The heroine suffered a brain injury and lost the brilliant career she worked so hard for. Sigh. Such a great book and such a great heroine.

    • ChristineWarner

      July 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      That sounds like a good read too Sharon. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. Mirriam Smyth

    July 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I’ve read duBois’ “Bloodwine” and loved the whole concept of it. It was such a different take on vampires that it kept my interest until the very end.

    The excerpt for “Gambling” is intriguing. Makes me wonder who Jake is and if he’s as much of an a** as he seems to be. Lol. And yes I did wonder about Zack and Tracy, mostly how long they’ll play by her rules before the game changes.

    Terrific interview and excerpt. Can’t wait to read more 🙂

    • ChristineWarner

      July 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      Hi Mirriam! Wonderful to see you. Thanks for coming by and sharing..I appreciate it.

  14. lizaoconnor

    July 3, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I love the cover. Gambling…sounds great. Can’t wait to read.

  15. Sara Walter Ellwood

    July 3, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Thank you, EVERYONE, for stopping by!!! I love my all my Lyrical covers and this one is no exception. The artist captured Tracy to a tee (except that Tracy’s a lot taller).

    Hope you all have a great 4th of July (even those who aren’t celebrating with fireworks…LOL)….

    Thanks Christine for hosting me today!

    • ChristineWarner

      July 3, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      Hi Sara, thank you so much for visiting What to Read Wednesday again…I love having you! Good luck with your book and come back anytime!

  16. Calisa Rhose

    July 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

    *waves* Hi Christine and Sara! Love the cover. I adore strong heroines too.

  17. Joanne Wadsworth * Romance Author

    July 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Sorry I’m late to the party. That’s what happens when you live Down Under and I’m asleep when you’re all awake. Anyway, huge congrats Sara. Loved, loved the excerpt.


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