The Part That Doesn’t Burn by Sam Poling


The Part That Doesn’t Burn by Sam Poling
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (319 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Review by Rose

In an overpopulated city-state where technology and magic are forbidden by the corrupt church, young witch, Mirabel Fairfax, plots the creation of a deadly plague to cull the burdensome rabble. That is, until she falls in love with the very alchemist she has been deceiving. Now, with soul-hungry geists flooding the city, the church scrambling for their prey, and her own mind at war with itself, Mirabel must decide what she’s fighting for before she loses everything to the evils of Autumnfall.

The Part that Doesn’t Burn is a fun romp filled with adventures as Mirabel Fairfax and Felix Eggland travel across the country…and, in the meantime, learn more about each other and are changed by each other.

The story is mostly Mirabel and Felix’s story, although we do also get the POV of the church through the eyes of the young priestess who is chasing them—I actually liked her and found her surprisingly sympathetic as she tried to do what she thought was the right thing to do. Ultimately, though, the person most changed throughout the story was Mirabel.

There were times during the first part of the story that I wanted to slap her –she was grating on my last nerve with her self-absorbtionism. However, the longer the story went on, the more I started to like her and realize that her attitude had more of a veneer of self-protectionism on it than true shallowness.

Felix is a bumbling scientific nerd who comes into his own during the course of the story and, even though this is not a romance, still made this reader’s heart fall a little in love with him.

There are some definite twists and turns in this story, keeping the reader on her toes to keep up. To me, however, it didn’t have the feel of a dark fantasy—it put me more in mind of The Wild Wild West (the old TV show) with magic instead of the steampunk elements.

I really enjoyed the world that Mr. Poling built for this story and would like to revisit it—there was a reveal at the end that came as a surprise to me and I really hope he has some other stories in mind.

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Texas Homecoming by Leigh Greenwood – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Leigh Greenwood whose first book in his new Night Riders series, Texas Homecoming, releases on April 4. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of the book.

She’s his last chance to find peace…

Cade, Captain of the Night Riders, is determined to lead his men home to Texas to recover from a long and brutal war. But when a fellow Rider betrays the team, Cade sets aside his hopes for peace and swears he will hunt down the traitor no matter what it takes…

He has a foolproof plan to use the feisty Pilar diViere to lure her traitorous brother out of hiding. And yet when he takes the dark-eyed beauty into his arms, Cade can’t help but remember the passionate past they shared. He would do anything for a chance to rekindle that flame…even spare her brother’s life.

The war has changed them all, and each of the Night Riders must decide what is more important: love or revenge?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Let’s go for a walk instead.”

“I don’t want to walk,” she said, angry he’d forced her to leave the fiesta. “I can do that any time.”

“We can walk along the river. The moonlight on the water makes it look like a river of silver.”

A walk sounded awfully dull compared to dancing, but she’d never seen a river in the moonlight. Young ladies of aristocratic lineage weren’t supposed to be interested in such things. Cade made it sound very pretty. “Okay, but if I don’t like it, I want to go back to the fiesta.”

The fruit drinks had undoubtedly contained more tequila than she suspected. She had never felt so uninhibited, so unfettered by tradition, so unrestrained by her grandmother’s strictures. It felt absolutely marvelous.

“Have you walked along rivers in the moonlight with a lot of girls?” she asked.

Cade chuckled softly. “You should ask Owen that question.”

“I’m not interested in Owen. I’m interested in you.” She didn’t mean it quite the way it sounded, but it was too much trouble to explain.

“No one seemed particularly interested,” Cade said.

Pilar couldn’t understand that. To her, Cade seemed like exactly the kind of man a woman would want to walk with in the moonlight. He was strong, handsome, and dependable, everything a young woman would look for in a man.

“I can’t believe the young women you knew were so silly.”

“Young ladies want excitement, clever words, flattery,” he said.

“They’d want something very different if they’d been driven out of their home and forced to cook for a living.” She hadn’t meant to mention that, but what he said seemed so frivolous, she couldn’t help herself.

“Some lost more than you. They just wanted to forget.”

She would never forget. “Let’s not talk about the war. Pretend I’m one of those silly women who pant after Owen. Tell me I’m pretty and you get lost in my eyes.”

Pilar felt herself flush with embarrassment. She didn’t know where those words had come from. She’d never even thought anything so foolish in her entire life.

“You’re not pretty,” Cade said.

That’s what she got for putting words into a man’s mouth.

“You’re beautiful. Any man would give his right arm to be able to drown himself in your eyes.”

Pilar didn’t know what more those Virginia beauties could want. Manuel had never said anything half so poetic.

“Your fiancé should be cut into small pieces and fed to the coyotes for leaving you unprotected. If I had been your fiancé, not even loyalty to my country could have been enough to make me leave you.”

Pilar was wise enough to know that no man ever valued his wife above his loyalty to his country; his money or his children perhaps, but never his wife. But the effect on her was the same as if it had been the truth. She’d never felt so important in her life, and she liked it.

“Would you really have stayed in Texas if I’d been your fiancée?”

“Maybe not, but I’d have made sure you were safe before I left.”

“Why?”

“A man protects what he values. Nothing is more valuable than the woman a man loves.”

Pilar had never expected to be loved by her husband, but when she was alone and faced with the future, she couldn’t help dreaming about it. Respect and all that stuff about lineage and money didn’t seem enough in a world that could turn cold and cruel at any moment.

“How would you show a woman you loved her?” Pilar asked.

“Like this.” Cade took her in his arms and kissed her.

Pilar knew that some part of her must have been wanting this, hoping for it, but a part of her was shocked to find herself in Cade’s embrace. That same part was even more shocked to discover how much she wanted it, welcomed it, moved forward to meet him. Nor did she back away from the kiss when it turned from a genteel brushing of lips to an unbridled expression of pent-up emotions.

She didn’t know what was responsible for the feeling that her life had suddenly turned in a new direction, had taken on a different meaning. She didn’t know how to account for the emptiness inside her, or the conviction that Cade was the only one who could fill it.

She only knew she’d been swept up in Cade’s powerful embrace, and it was the most wonderful feeling of her whole life.
She’d never imagined that anything could feel as wonderful as this kiss. His lips were full, his mouth soft. His tongue darted between her teeth before she knew what was happening. But even as her conscious mind started to reject the idea, her body’s response was the opposite—and enthusiastic. Her own tongue rose to duel with Cade’s, entwining sinuously around his, plunging deep into his mouth.

Gradually Pilar became aware that other parts of her body were reacting to Cade’s embrace. Her breasts—pressed hard against his chest—had become extremely sensitive, her nipples swollen. A feeling unlike anything she’d ever experienced uncoiled deep in her belly, then began to spread through her limbs, causing her muscles to go limp. Instinctively she clung still more tightly to Cade.

Without warning, Cade broke the kiss, took her by the shoulders, and thrust her away from him.

The shock was total.

“We have to go back to the hotel before I forget you’re a lady I’ve promised to protect,” Cade said.

Pilar’s brain refused to function. She couldn’t understand what Cole was saying. She could only understand that all comfort had suddenly been torn from her. “What would you do if I weren’t a lady, if we didn’t have to go back to the hotel?”

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

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Interview with Jane Larsen from Weave a Murderous Web by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome back Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks, who is sharing an interview with us today with Jane Larson. Take it away, Ken and Anne!

*****
Anne and I are very happy to have Jane Larson with us today for an interview. Jane is the star of our three books, Weave A Murderous Web, Mind Me, Milady, and Praise Her, Praise Diana. In her spare time, she likes to run, especially around the New York City reservoir.

Anne: Welcome, Jane.

Jane: Thank you for having me.

Anne: Tell us a little about yourself?

Jane: Objection, overbroad!

Ken: Huh?

Jane: The question is overbroad, so I objected. I’m a lawyer, remember?

Ken: Okay, okay. You were born and raised in New York City, correct?

Jane: Objection, leading!

Anne: Omigod.

Ken: (To Anne) What’s wrong with her?

Jane: Hey! I heard that. I’m sitting right here, you know.

Anne: Why are you giving us such a hard time? We’re trying to give you some good publicity.

Jane: Sorry. I’m a lawyer. All lawyers hate to testify. It makes them nervous.

Ken: You’re not under oath or anything.

Jane: What the heck is that supposed to mean? Are you calling me a liar? I always tell the truth. It’s probably my biggest personality defect.

Ken: It’s got a lot of competition.

Anne: (whispering) Hush!

Jane: What’s the matter, Ken. You don’t like strong women? You’re lucky my mother isn’t here. Now there was a strong woman. She wouldn’t even let me call her mom. I had to use her first name: Martha. The other kids thought she was great. Their parents thought she was nuts.

Anne: Tell us more about her.

Jane: Martha lived on 92nd Street when I was born. She had a law office on the ground floor of a tenement building. We lived in an apartment on the second floor. She had an incredibly busy law practice. Unfortunately, she liked working for people who weren’t able to pay so we never had a lot of money for the little extras. Actually, we didn’t have money for any extras.

Ken: So I guess you went to public school.

Jane: Actually, I started in Catholic school. Martha said our local elementary school was a joke, which was true, but I think she wanted me to get some ethical training among other things.

Ken: Good idea.

Jane: What is that supposed to mean?

Anne: Please continue. I didn’t realize you went to Catholic school.

Jane: Just through grade five. I hated it so much that I worked really hard to learn as much as I could to pass the exam to get into Hunter High School. I did well at Hunter and got a scholarship to Columbia University.

Anne: Wow. Congratulations.

Jane: Thanks. I think it was all part of Martha’s plan. She could be very sneaky sometimes. For example, she never told me that working for a large firm and making lots of money was bad for the soul. But I knew the kind of life she had lived, and when I had the law job for the big bucks, I found it hard to sleep at night. So here I am, in her office in the old neighborhood, still representing the people who need it the most and have the least money.

Anne: Martha would be proud of you.

Jane: Maybe. You never can tell with her. (Looks at her watch). Anything else? I’ve got a conference in Supreme Court on a new matter.

Ken: How’s the social life?

Jane: Why do you think there’s something wrong with my social life? My social life is fine.

Ken: Why are you so weird? I never said that.

Jane: But you thought it. You thought that because I’m not married and in my late thirties that I worry all the time about my social life. About having a kid while I still can? Right? For crying out loud, you think my whole life should be defined by a man? (Turning to Anne). Why do all men think that the whole world revolves around them?

Anne: (smiling). It’s a puzzle isn’t it? Thanks for coming in today, Jane. We appreciate it.

Weave A Murderous Web is a mystery novel by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks. It is one of three books in the Jane Larson series, published by Melange Books.

No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support.

Jane’s discovery of the deadbeat dad’s hidden assets soon unravels a web of lies, drugs, and murder that keeps getting more dangerous.

Soon, Jane is involved in a high stakes race to recover a missing suitcase of cash and catch the murderer before she becomes the next victim.

Enjoy an Excerpt from the first book in the series Weave a Murderous Web

I was in my office at Adams & Ridge talking on the telephone when Francine entered. At the moment, my friend, Lee, was on the other end of the wire, yakking up a storm in my ear. Her rant covered already familiar terrain. My man, my David, was drifting dangerously away from me while I did nothing to win him back. As we say around the courts, Oy.

Francine tiptoed forward and placed on my desk a two-day-old copy of The Daily News opened to the item concerning Mark Samuels’ death.

“I gotta go, Lee,” I said.

While Francine waited for me, she had backed into a corner of my office, leaned against the wall, and tried to make her six feet of lanky body less noticeable. Two large metal buttons were pinned to her heavily braided cotton sweater. One read Stop Fracking New York and the other protested against the annual Canadian seal hunt with a scarlet X through an image of a baby seal whose brains had been battered to a pink pulp.

I pointed at the newspaper and gave her a questioning glance, but she quickly averted her eyes to stare at the floor.

“Have you been listening to me at all?” Lee demanded. Her voice rose to a kind of exasperated wail. “David has been dating someone. I think he may be getting serious.”

“David was born serious, Lee,” I said.

“Stop it, Jane,” she shouted so I had to hold the phone away from my ear. Even Francine raised an eyebrow. “You know what I mean.”

“I’m sorry, Lee.”

“I don’t understand why you’re taking this so nonchalantly. You know you still love him. You could get back together in a heartbeat if you’d just spend a tenth as much time on a relationship as you spend on your career.”

“I’m a lawyer, Lee. Not a—”

A sharp intake of breath followed. “Not a baby maker?” Lee demanded. Anger replaced the plaintive wail. “Is that what you were going to say?”

Would I ever admit that the word had been on the tip of my tongue?

“No. I was going to say, ‘not a librarian’, or the owner of some other nine-to-five job. The hours come with the territory, Lee. David knows that, but deep down in that wonderful heart of his, he also thinks the hours spent at the office are A-okay for the guy, but not for the girl. In any event, Martha didn’t raise her daughter to compete over a man.”

The sound of a whale breaching the surface erupted from the phone. “You’re maddening, Jane.”

“No, I’m busy,” I replied.

Lee sighed. “Well, I have to go too. Laurie is home sick and I’m taking her to the doctor. We’ll talk more later, Jane. I’m not going to sit back and let this happen to my two best friends in the world. I’m going to fight, Jane.”

“Goodbye, Lee.”

She disconnected.

Actually, I wasn’t busy at all, or I wouldn’t have spent even that much time on the phone being lectured by Lee. She’s an old friend from Columbia Law, but enough is enough.

A major litigation I had been working on had settled just a day before and the client and powers-that-be at Adams & Ridge were very happy with me—especially Seymour Ridge. The old man himself had hammered out the settlement shortly after I made the CEO of the party suing our client look like a doofus on the witness stand. So, I had some time on my hands until I was given another assignment.

About the Authors:Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been collaborating on books for forty-six years. Their first joint effort was a student project while Anne was at Bryn Mawr College and Ken attended Haverford. Since then, they have written over twenty books together. They are members of International Thriller Writers. They live and work in New York City, where many of their books are set.

Their Jane Larson series of mystery/thrillers involves a high-powered New York City attorney with a penchant for getting involved in situations that she would be better off leaving alone. These novels have been praised by reviewers for their gritty portrayals of city life, lively characters, fast action, surprise endings and highly polished prose. Jane is cynical and rebellious, but she finds herself drawn to the simple life her deceased mother lived as an attorney who served women unable to afford legal services. The first two books in the series are Weave A Murderous Web and Praise Her, Praise Diana, both published by Melange Books, LLC. A third novel, Mind Me, Milady, will be published in early 2017.

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Forever Mine by Erin Nicholas – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized to celebrate the release of Erin Nicholas’ newest book Forever Mine, the second book in her Opposites Attract series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of the book.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always been a writer! Even as a little girl I was making up stories and writing them down. Raised in a family of readers, books and stories have always been a part of my life and I can’t imagine not writing

How long have you been writing?

All my life essentially. I wrote my first “true” romance (that didn’t have wizards and magic in it) when I was pregnant with my daughter who is now 20, but I didn’t pursue publication for several years. I’ve been published since 2009.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

READ! Know the genre, study what successful writers are doing, figure out what you love about the books as a reader first.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Infrequently. If I do get “stuck” I read, work on another project, or just let it all go for a day or so. When I give myself permission not to think about it, usually I can’t stop! 

Who is your favorite author and why?

Susan Elizabeth Phillips, hands down. She is a master story teller. She can make the most flawed characters loveable, has such great subtle humor, and is one author who can totally take me out of my own author head and just make me a giddy reader!

The second book in New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas’s series about three geeky girls and the hunky guys who fall for them.

Maya Goodwin doesn’t believe in holding back. Ever. As a cop, she never hesitated to throw herself into harm’s way to save someone. Even after an injury on the job forces her to retire, she’s not afraid to keep risking it all to get the life she wants. With a new career teaching martial arts to kids already underway, she’s looking forward to the future – and taking a chance on the unbelievably hot Dr. Alex Nolan.

Maya – daring and spontaneous – is the exact opposite of what Alex always thought he wanted. But when a nine-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up on his doorstep, Maya is the one who helps them hold it together. With love on the line, will the guy who’s always played it safe be willing to take the biggest risk of all?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Alex laughed. He liked Maya. The thought hit him directly in the gut.

Maya smiled brightly, and he admitted that he was intensely attracted too. Now fast attraction—that he’d experienced before. But it had been a long time since even that had happened.

“I’m Dr. Alex Nolan. I’m on staff at Boston Children’s Hospital. I’m on their website if you want to look me up.”

Maya suddenly frowned. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.”

“Of what?”

“Googling pediatricians and finding out who you are after the mall the other day,” Maya said.

Alex raised an eyebrow. “Wouldn’t that be a little creepy?”

“Probably,” she agreed. “Maybe that’s why I didn’t do it.”

He laughed. “Well, to further decrease the creep factor, I do have a kid,” he said. “A daughter. Charlotte. We call her Charli. She’ll be ten next month. She’s very into superheroes, GR, and swords, and I know nothing about any of that. I liked the demonstration at the mall and thought I’d come check out your studio.”

“So you’re wanting to sign her up,” Maya said with a nod. “Okay, not creepy at all.”

“Uh…” Alex knew this was going to sound strange. “Actually I want to take the class myself.”

Maya frowned. “These classes won’t teach you about superheroes exactly,” she said. “They are kind of a combination of stage fighting and martial arts and self-esteem workshops.”

“I know.” He’d been on the website. Which is how he’d found out more about the studio. And where he’d stared at Maya’s photo before going in to look up more about her on the internet. Which was how he found out that her classes had won some local awards, she’d been a brilliant cop—who had not, incidentally, been fired for beating someone up—and that she regularly blogged about superheroes and their fandom and the psychology of that fandom. He’d bookmarked her page immediately.

“And the things you do in class sounds like the perfect bonding activity for Charli and me. I’ll take the class and then go home and teach her.”

Maya looked puzzled. “Why not just bring her to class?”

“She…” He swallowed. Charli would love Maya. Hell, if she saw Maya with those pointy-weapon-things, she’d want to be Maya.

But Alex had only seen Maya twice, and he’d already witnessed her get hit with a Bo staff, punched in the ribs, and cut with some kind of sharp hand weapon. Which reminded him that she’d been bleeding.

He looked down, but the bleeding had already slowed or stopped. Which was what happened when a person with normal blood got cut. But Charli didn’t have normal blood. She didn’t bleed faster, but she would bleed longer—because of the genetic mutation he had passed on to her.

He’d told her mother that Charli should be able to try whatever she wanted. But he’d also told her he’d keep Charli safe. If Charli took classes here, he would have to fill Maya and her staff in on the hemophilia and precautions and treatment…

“She has some special needs,” he said, cringing a little as he said it, knowing that Maya might easily jump to conclusions that were not at all correct. But it didn’t matter what she thought. This was the right thing for Charli.

But Maya didn’t even blink. “Okay,” she said. “I understand. Maybe…” But she trailed off while watching him thoughtfully without completing the sentence.

“Maybe what?” he asked.

“Maybe I could teach you and your daughter a private Super You class.”

He was surprised at her offer, but more—he was tempted. Which meant he had to say no. The timing for meeting a gorgeous, intriguing woman couldn’t have been worse. “I think a class with lots of other people, especially kids, would be better.”

“Why?”

Maya was direct. He liked that. And he could return the favor. “Because you look just as good in workout pants as you do in leather.”

Her eyes widened in surprise just a beat before her smile widened. “And that’s a problem?”

“It is when I’m trying to give all of my extra time and attention to my daughter.”

She studied him for a moment. “Okay,” she finally said with a nod. “And once you see the class, if you change your mind, she’s always welcome.”

Alex relaxed. “Thanks.”

“You’re not going to feel funny taking a class with a bunch of kids?”

“I love kids,” he told her.

“What about the tights and cape?”

“Tights and cape?” Alex repeated.

“The costume,” she said with a nod.

“Thought the participants all helped create their own character,” he said, realizing she was messing with him.

“They do.”

“Well, there’s no way in hell I would create a character that would wear tights.”

Maya’s gaze wandered over him, head to toe, before she said, “Too bad.”

About the Author: Erin Nicholas is the author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines and happily ever afters. She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they’re shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).

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A Day in the Life…Author Style by Adriana Anders – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Adriana Anders, who is visiting with us this morning to celebrate the release of her newest book By Her Touch. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book (US only please).

A Day in the Life… Author Style

Adriana Anders

I’m probably the only person in the world who adores Monday mornings. While most everybody is getting up and heading to their day jobs, I get my kids on the school bus, throw my computer bag over my shoulder, and head to the coffee shop. It usually looks something like this.

It’s been a little tougher to get started recently, so I mainline my first cup of coffee while surfing social media, maybe post a line from the WIP or research such delightful topics as whether it’s possible to scuba dive with a prosthetic leg (apparently there’s new technology that makes this easier, but it’s also possible to dive with one leg!). Oh, and I pin. Lots and lots of pins

When inspiration (caffeine) finally starts flowing, I open up Scrivener (not a must-have program for all authors, but I’m not sure I could have finished any of my novels without it), reread what I wrote the last time I sat here, and start typing.

At some point, the lovely Madeline Iva (writer of sexy paranormal romance) and Joanna Bourne (mistress of historical spy romance) waltz in, settle down, and start typing away. It’s pretty awesome writing in such creative company, you guys. The stories galloping around that table are incredible.

By this time, the coffee shop is crowded, the earphones are on, and the music is loud enough to block out the sound.

Afternoon at the cafe… words, words, words…

A post shared by Adriana Anders (@adriana.anders) on

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It’s a race to the finish sometimes, with the kids to grab off the bus in the afternoon, but those good days—the ones where it all comes together and thousands of words flow from my brain into my fingers and onto the screen—those are magic. It’s magic to sit across from such great writers, to ask questions and answer theirs, to brainstorm and plot and put the world to rights around a tiny Mac-covered bistrot table, littered with empty coffee cups, smuggled Kind bars, and Madeline’s woo-woo tea blends.

More than anything, though, it’s magic to see those words appear, eventually, in print, on audio, or lit up on someone’s Kindle.

Undercover cop Clay Navarro left the Sultans biker gang a changed man. Its ringleaders may be awaiting trial, but he wears the memory of every brutal act he was forced to commit tattooed across his skin. He doesn’t have space in his messed-up life for anything gentle—not now, maybe not ever.

Dr. Georgette Hadley is drawn to the damaged stranger’s pain, intimidated but intrigued by the warmth that lies beneath Clay’s frightening exterior. But when the Sultans return looking for revenge, she finds herself drawn into the dirty underbelly of a life forged in violence…that not even her touch may be able to heal.

About the Author: Adriana Anders has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small nonprofits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, two small children and fat French cat in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the dark, gritty, steamy love stories of her heart.

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Twice the Chance, Twice the Ecstasy by Dakota Trace – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dakota Trace will be awarding a Kindle Fire (U.S. only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Calypso has been given a task…

Divorcee, Eryka Demonte, wants to find the sexual gratification that had been lacking in her marriage. So she’s willing to try anything, including signing up to meet two potential lovers at what used to be an abandoned resort in West Caicos. Now run by the reclusive Ms. Calypso, Club Ecstasy Caicos boasts of the most lavish accommodations and sinful temptations. Eyrka just prays the resort’s owner knows her business, because Eryka’s in desperate need of someone with the right touch.

Business partners and lovers, Luca Reed and Dre Bennet are anxious to celebrate their upcoming anniversary. Together for nearly twenty years, they want something special…and naughty. Dre thinks he’s found it when he receives a mysterious email from a Ms. Calypso. She’s preparing to open her newest exotic resort and would like them to come and test out the amenities. Eager for a tropical vacation complete with a beautiful woman, both men agree, never expecting they’ve been set up by a matching making Goddess with an agenda of her own.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Be gone. If ye willna agree to our terms, we’ll have no more of the likes of ye or yer empty promises!”

Standing with his legs parted as he were standing on the rolling deck of the Dutchman, Warren Jones’s gaze, one half of the fabled Davvy Jones, held nothing but anger and resignation. Behind him, David aka Davvy Amboise, the other half of the duo, crossed his arms over his chest, his expression completely closed off. For once the helpmate she’d gifted Warren with, was siding with his captain. Maybe she shouldn’t have rejected their ultimatum out of hand. But what did they expect? She was a goddess — the mighty Calypso— the owner of half a dozen hedonistic sex resorts scattered throughout the Caribbean! What did she know about human love?

Enough to know that humans couldn’t be trusted to not betray their lovers.

Her anger at their audacity, pushed away thoughts of the last time she’d risked her heart for a chance to break her curse. She still couldn’t believe they thought they could force her to prove they were more than a convenient fuck by making six love matches. And to up the ante, she only had six months to do it in – before they were once more called before her father. If she won, the pay-off was worth it. They’d re-up. But if she failed? They’d be done.

About the Author: Hi, I’m Dakota, an author of erotic romance (think 50 Shades of Gray – but better) and paranormal erotica. What exactly does that mean? Well, since I’ve always marched to the beat of different drum: it means that I get to take my unique life experiences – like putting around in the garage with my dad, or driving a train when I was ten, to create worlds where the heroines aren’t necessarily June Clever, but are strong independent women who may stand on their own two feet, but long to submit to the right man. Whether it’s two friends who realize there is more than friendship between them or the sexy alien who captures his unwilling slave’s heart, sparks are sure to fly! My imagination has no bounds or at least none I’ve found yet!

I’ve been writing professionally since 2008, but when I’m not clacking away at the keyboard, you can find me putting around the garden, out on the marching band field or cooking up something yummy in the kitchen for my kiddos.

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Allegiance by Marilee Brothers


Allegiance by Marilee Brothers
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full (312 pgs)
Heat: Hot
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Transplanted California girl, Melanie Sullivan, vows to stay in Oregon until she nails the killer of her best friend, Dani. Mel’s ability to search a soul for innocence or guilt is a big plus. Her love for Billy the Kid, former Marine and now a detective with the 3 Peaks police department is also a factor in her decision. She’s not quite sure what’s going on with Billy. Has the PTSD from his Middle East deployments returned?

When a hate crime is committed in 3 Peaks, Mel is recruited by sexy Homeland Security agent, Mick, who requires her soul-reading ability. Mick doesn’t hide his feelings. He’s more than eager to step in if Billy steps out, a complication Mel doesn’t need or want. As she goes undercover, Mel embarks on a dangerous journey, aided by her Uncle Paco and devoted friends. Along the way, she learns a valuable lesson about the power of forgiveness.

Filled with interesting and unique characters, and a heroine with a unique ability, Allegiance was absolutely entertaining.

We jump right into the story, after an off the page quickie with her boyfriend, Billy. Mel is sure she knows who killed her best friend and is basically stalking him in order to prove it. She’s asked for help from another friend, Mick, who wants to be more than friends… but then more things start happening.

Okay, first the one and only thing I didn’t like about this story: the point of view. It’s told in first person, present tense and it honestly drove me crazy. Had I known this ahead of time, I likely wouldn’t have selected it for review, because it’s the one POV I can not stand. Despite the engaging stories and characters here, I kept putting the book down and struggled to make it through simply because of the chosen POV. This is absolutely a personal preference, but I had to put it out there because it overshadowed everything else for me.

That said, the author’s done a fantastic job populating her story with interesting, quirky characters. While it’s clear there was a story previous to this, I had no issues at all keeping up with this book. Perhaps my experience would have been richer if I’d read the first book, but I honestly didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

I liked Mel. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes…the ability to “read” a person by looking into their eyes would be both disturbing and annoying. As much as we might profess the desire to know the truth, it’s a heavy burden to bear.  She handles it quite well.

I definitely had my preference for which of the two men who wanted her I liked best. I’m not going to say here because I want to avoid spoilers, but I don’t think my preference was the same as Mel’s despite the way things were situated at the end of this book.  I didn’t feel like she had honest feelings for the one she’s with at the end, so the next book should be interesting.

The mystery kept me engaged and turning pages and the wrap up was solid and believable. But the strength of this story was absolutely the characters. I’m a huge fan of character driven fiction, so that was a huge plus for me.

All in all, Allegiance is a good book. Likely had a different POV been chosen, I’d have rated it higher and enjoyed it more. If that type of thing doesn’t bother you, then I highly recommend it… it’s a solid book.

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Purr M for Murder by T.C. LoTempio – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding autographed copy of PURR M FOR MURDER (hardcover – US ONLY)to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.

Enjoy an Excerpt

We were in the doorway now. A large desk was at the far end of what appeared to be an office. The light was coming from a small lamp perched on the edge of the desk, and as we crossed the threshold, it flickered and then went out. Kat shone the pencil thin beam of the flashlight around the room, letting out a sharp cry as it hit the wall nearest us. “Lightswitch,” she squealed, and a minute later the room was filled with a harsh fluorescent light.

I glanced around. Yes, this was definitely an office, and not a very tidy one at that. There were several file cabinets pushed up against the far wall, and two of the drawers in the one on the left were half open. Papers were strewn across the desk, and some file folders had dropped onto the floor and were scattered across the Oriental rug.

“Good Lord,” my sister exclaimed. “For someone always so fastidious about his appearance, he certainly likes to work in a mess.”

I frowned. “It looks more to me like it’s been ransacked. Someone was searching for something. What do you think, Kat? Kat?”

My sister had moved over to the far corner of the room and was standing before a large wardrobe. “Wow, this is beautiful,” she said, lifting a hand to run it over the smooth exterior. She balled her hand into a fist and rapped it against the wood. “Solid oak. I saw a picture of one like this in a catalog. French, dates back to the late 1800’s. I wonder what it’s doing in his office?”

“Who knows? Maybe he keeps his suit jackets in it,” I said. “Why do you care, anyway?”

“It’s such a beautiful piece,” my sister murmured. “Too good for that rotter. It seems out of place in this office.”

“Maybe it just came in and he’s got it here for pricing,” I ventured.

“Maybe. I wouldn’t mind having something like this,” Kat said, running her hand once again across the smooth wood. “It looks deep enough – I wonder if the doors swing out all the way? It would be great to put a TV in.”

I eyed the piece. “That thing looks hand-carved. He probably wants an arm and a leg for it.”

“Probably.” She gave the handle a tug. “Hm. The doors seem to be stuck.”

I waved my hand impatiently. “Oh for goodness sakes, leave it alone. Must you examine it now?”

Her lower lip thrust forward. “Yes. Who knows, I might not get another chance.”

I shot her a sharp look. “You’re not thinking of buying this, are you?”

She sighed deeply. “I suppose not. Littleton will probably want some astronomical figure for it. But I might never get another opportunity to see such a finely made one up close.” She shot me an appealing look. “Give me a hand, won’t you? You’re strong. Maybe if we both pull on the handle at the same time it’ll open.”

I knew my sister. Once Kat made up her mind about something she was like a pitbull with a bone. I knew when it was futile to argue with her. “Okay, fine. But if we get this open, one quick look and then we’re out of here.”

She nodded and I placed my hand on top of hers. “On the count of three, give it all you’ve got. One, two—three.”

We both tugged at the same time and suddenly the door flew open. We went staggering backwards at the same time the body of Trowbridge Littleton, his eyes bulging almost out of their sockets, tongue lolling to the side, hit the floor at our feet.

About the Author: While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM. #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, is out this December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and < ahref=”http://www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com”>www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com.

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Holding Fire by April Hunt – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour to celebrate the release of the second book in April Hunt’s romantic suspense Alpha Security series, Holding Fire. It’s perfect for fans of Julie Ann Walker, Lora Leigh, and Rebecca Zanetti.

Alpha Security operative Trey Hanson is ready to settle down. When he meets a gorgeous blonde in a bar, and the connection between them is off the charts, he thinks he’s finally found the one. But after their night together ends in a hail of gunfire and she disappears in the chaos, Trey’s reasons for tracking her down are personal . . . until he learns she’s his next assignment.

Elle Monroe never expected to see Trey again. The night they shared was incredible, but the last thing she’s looking for is a relationship. Now that it’s clear she’s being targeted, though, she has no choice but to trust this man she barely knows with her life. And Trey’s not just determined to keep her safe . . . he’s determined to win her heart.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Elle stared, transfixed by the clock behind the airport’s claims counter. Each snap of the second-hand took about five years off her life. Being a few weeks shy of her thirtieth birthday, she estimated she had roughly ten-and-a-half seconds until the coroner needed to be called. Twelve, max, with a little bit of luck, but her luck seemed to be in short supply.

Her normal patience was at an all-time low, sucked into a black hole right along with her personal hygiene and her luggage. Twenty total hours in a plane, plus an unscheduled six-hour stop for mechanical repairs, was to blame for the first. The latter two were entirely the fault of the airline.

With a deep sigh, Elle looked around the large, open space. People milled through the airport, bulky suitcases bouncing behind them as they scrambled to their destinations, while others procured blankets and pillows and looked to be settling in for the duration of the night.

On her left, two children tackled the legs of a tall, slender soldier dressed in desert fatigues. Laughing, the woman bent, spreading kisses over every surface of their little cheeks.

Elle ignored the faint ache in her chest and watched the happy family walk away. As they disappeared around the corner, a new sensation whittled its way in—a tingle; the one she’d felt the instant she and Shay unloaded from the gate—the one that came with the ardent focus of someone’s attention. It took root in the pit of her stomach and didn’t let go.

When she’d sensed it earlier, she blamed the paranoia on lack of sleep and inhumane travel hours. But the prickle of awareness came back tenfold, turning her head until she noticed the man leaning against the far wall, reading a newspaper.

Elle did a double take. It wasn’t Trey. It couldn’t be. She’d left him back in Thailand without so much as her last name, much less her travel itinerary, yet the longer she stared at stranger across the room, the faster her heart galloped.

Worn blue jeans encased his thighs perfectly. Not tight. Not baggy. No doubt if he turned around, the rear would look as impressive as the front. Both his face and his hair were disappointedly half-hidden by a baseball cap and sunglasses, but he had the same strongly chiseled jaw and sexy blond scruff that made her want to throw every razor known to man straight into the garbage.

Though he never looked away from his paper, the wall lounger’s lips twitched, almost as if sensing her visual appraisal. That smirk. Those lips. The stretch of a long-sleeved T over a chest wide enough to land an airplane on. Elle nearly collapsed into an X-rated memory of how lips nearly identical to those of this stranger had pleasurably ripped away all her sensibilities only a scant few days ago.

Standing in the middle of a busy airport definitely wasn’t the time to relive her night with Trey. When her turn came up at the counter, she gave herself a mental slap and focused on giving the attendant the information the airline needed to reconnect her with her suitcase. And then with a Have a nice day and her single carry-on, Elle shuffled away to wait for Shay to finish in the bathroom.

She searched her purse for her cell phone and bounced off the chest of another traveler.

“Oh, my God. I’m so sorry.” She reflexively reached out to steady to victim.

“Shut it,” a low voice snarled.

Oh, hell no. Exhaustion mixed with an insane need to shower off the last day and a half made her head swivel to Mr. Attitude. She looked up. And up. Whoa. He was ridiculously tall.

If she’d had a little bit more sleep she’d probably be able to talk herself out of confronting someone so freaking huge, but she’d had a middle seat, and both Shay and the man to her left had been armrest hogs. Elle was eight hours past polite.

She narrowed her eyes, wishing her glare would make him squirm. “It was an accident. I said I was sorry. There’s no need to be a jerk about it.”

“Actually, there is.” Mr. Attitude clamped a hand around her upper arm and squeezed.

“Ow. Hey, watch it!” She tugged, and he tightened his hold.

He leaned his large body way past her personal boundaries. That was when she saw the scar, half-hidden behind his sunglasses. It looked angrier up close, the skin around his eye socket puckered straight up to his hairline. Cold dread licked up Elle’s spine.

It was Alley Man.

“I told you to shut. The fuck. Up.” He emphasized each word and punctuated it with a sharp jab to her ribs. When she attempted to twist away, the poke came again—this time with the cool sensation of metal.

A gun.

Alley Man stepped closer, careful to keep it hidden from view. “If you so much as twitch, sputter, or look at anyone cross-eyed, I won’t hesitate to make this very bad for you. Do you fucking understand me?”

Elle re-swallowed the bile that had risen to her throat. “I should probably warn you that I don’t have any money. Well, I have about ten dollars’ worth of Thai baht, but that’s about it. And maybe a fuzzy breath mint.”

Tightening his grip, he steered them away from anyone who would remotely care what was happening. And let’s face it: This was one of the busiest airports in the country. No one was going to notice one travel-ravaged blonde, even if she stripped down to her cotton undies and streaked half naked through the terminal.

Alley Man kept the gun pressed firmly between her ribs as he directed them to the exit. “I don’t want your money, Miss Monroe.”

Elle’s heart went from a steady thunder to an apocalyptic roar. He knew her name. He knew she’d be at this airport. On this day. On this flight.

The only thing Elle knew was that she was really—and completely—screwed.

About the Author: April blames her incurable chocolate addiction on growing up in rural Pennsylvania, way too close to America’s chocolate capital, Hershey. She now lives in Virginia with her college sweetheart husband, two young children, and a cat who thinks she’s a human-dog hybrid. On those rare occasions she’s not donning the cape of her children’s personal chauffer, April’s either planning, plotting, or writing about her next alpha hero and the woman he never knew he needed, but now can’t live without.

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The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki – Spotlight and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Jarecki who is visiting with us to celebrate the release of her print debut The Highland Duke. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Indie author Amy Jarecki makes her print debut with a brand-new series about rugged Highland lords.

She’ll put her life on the line for him . . .

When Akira Ayres finds the brawny Scot with a musket ball in his thigh, the healer has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save his life. Even if it means fleeing with him across the Highlands to tend to his wounds while English redcoats are closing in. Though Akira is as fierce and brave as any of her clansmen, even she’s intimidated by the fearsome, brutally handsome Highlander who refuses to reveal his name.

Yet she can never learn his true identity.

Geordie knows if Akira ever discovers he’s the Duke of Gordon, both her life and his will be forfeit in a heartbeat. The only way to keep the lass safe is to ensure she’s by his side day and night. But the longer he’s with her, the harder it becomes to think of letting her go. Despite all their differences, despite the danger-he will face death itself to make her his . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt

Curled under Geordie’s arm, Akira finally stopped shivering. All around them rain splashed. Everything was soaked and their little alcove smelled of horse—not a horrid smell, but not one she’d choose for her boudoir, either. If she had a boudoir.

She chose to ignore the voice in the back of her head telling her it wasn’t proper to allow a strange man to put his arm around her shoulders and offer her warmth. But there was something in the way Geordie looked at her that made her feel all warm inside and, moreover, protected. Aye, he’d been in a great deal of pain—was still in great pain—but since he roused from his last bout of unconsciousness, he’d behaved admirably. He’d brought the horse under control, figured out where they were, and formed a plan to take them to someone he could trust to provide her with an escort home.

With darkness, the air grew colder. Clutching her fists under her chin, Akira curled into Geordie’s heat. He smoothed his palm along her outer arm, his touch soothing.

When he turned his lips toward her, his warm breath skimmed across her forehead. “Try to sleep.” The gentle burr of his voice imparted all the more comfort.

But she couldn’t get too comfortable; she must to do her duty. He was still her patient. “I’m the healer. I should be telling you to do the same.”

His hazel gaze drifted to her mouth, and he grinned.

“Very well.” He pulled his arm away, but not before running his fingers across her back. Blessed tingles spread over her skin as if she’d been caressed by feathers. Oh, heaven help her, his touch was unbelievably sublime. If only she could ask him to run his fingers back and forth again—just one more time.

She reached for the hem of his kilt, then quickly snapped her fingers away. What had she been thinking? True, she’d applied the salve before, but that was when he was mostly unconscious and definitely before he’d put his arm around her shoulder and smiled at her like a…like a…brawny Highlander.

“Have you gone shy, lass?” he asked with a hint of humor in his deep brogue.

About the Author: Amy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.

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