Crossing Quinn by Gail Koger – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gail Koger will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Quinn Jones is a formidable Coletti warlord. His mission is to capture Xenia and bring her back to Tanith to be mated with a warrior the Overlord has chosen. Problem is, Quinn finds himself falling for the beautiful Farin. Her unusual “psychic powers, combat training and berserker abilities” make her the perfect mate for him. How does he convince Xenia and the Overlord that she’s meant to be his?

Xenia and her parents are relic hunters who just discovered the fabled home world of the Nabateans. She isn’t about to leave the greatest find of the century to hook up with some Coletti. Not happening. Ever. No matter how many threats the Overlord makes or that he’s sending his best hunter to apprehend her. Okay, she’ll admit she’s drawn to the handsome warlord and she loves the way Quinn’s heavily muscled body fills out his black battle suit, but the egotistical jerk is about to get his ass handed to him.

When the galaxy is threatened with annihilation, Xenia and Quinn join forces to stop the murderous Tai-Kok. Fate has brought them together and nothing will stand in the way of their victory or their love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I closed the door and turned to face the warrior. The direct approach was usually the best option when dealing with Coletti warlords. I took one look at the Coletti’s arrogant expression and decided to have some fun. “What did you say your name was again? Troublesome?” I shook my head.

“No. That wasn’t it. Sorry, I’m not good at remembering the names of Zarek’s servants.”

“My name is Quinn Jones. I am Zarek’s hunter and I hold warlord status,” he responded with a dangerous glint in his eyes.

“Whatever.” I hid a smile. The egotistical ass really didn’t like my dismissive attitude. He had expected me to be in awe of his amazing good looks and the fact he held the prestigious rank of warlord.

About the Author: I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for the Glendale Police Department and to keep from going totally bonkers – I mean people have no idea of what a real emergency is. Take this for an example: I answered, “9-1-1 emergency, what’s your emergency?” And this hysterical woman yelled, “My bird is in a tree.” Sometimes I really couldn’t help myself, so I said, “Birds have a tendency to do that, ma’am.” The woman screeched, “No! You don’t understand. My pet parakeet is in the tree. I’ve just got to get him down.” Like I said, not a clue. “I’m sorry ma’am, but we don’t get birds out of trees.” The woman then cried, “But… What about my husband? He’s up there, too.” See what I had to deal with? To keep from hitting myself repeatedly in the head with my phone, I took up writing.

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Her Rodeo Masters by Anya Summers – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anya will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ivy Phillips is on a mission. She’s an investigative reporter for the Pasadena Tribune, and is hoping to write the story of the century by infiltrating Pleasure Island claiming to be a submissive. Except, when she gets there, she inadvertently finds herself auctioned off for charity and now has two hunky cowboys who want to own her body and soul.

Dax Johnson and Nate Banks have been a rodeo team – and lovers – for years. But they’ve yearned to add a sweet submissive to their union. When they meet Ivy, Dax knows she is the one for them, and the duo set out on a seductive campaign to win Ivy’s affection.

But when the truth is revealed, will their newfound relationship survive? Or will the two cowboys ride off into the sunset without her?

Publisher’s Note: This is the ninth – and final – instalment of Anya Summers’ bestselling Pleasure Island series. While we recommend all the books, it can be enjoyed on its own.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“The bull pen meeting is about to start. You planning to attend?” Kevin Donnelly asked, looking every inch like he’d just stepped off the pages of Vogue magazine. He had movie star good looks, and fashionably cut, beach blond hair. He was wearing the latest skinny jeans and a hipster dress shirt in a silver gray. It was too bad the five foot seven, moderately buff and toned man was gay. Otherwise they’d be perfect for each other.

“Yeah, just give me a minute,” Ivy replied, refolding the paper in her hands. She shoved the letter and envelope into her massive tan leather shoulder bag that was essentially her life. There was room enough for her iPad, her makeup, tampons, condoms—although she hadn’t needed any of those in a while—wallet, keys, even a small yappy dog if she were so inclined. She carried everything in it. You name it, she carried it with her. Which worked out well for Ivy since she always seemed to be on the move.

“So, how did the other night go? You never mentioned your date, and I live to hear about my co-workers’ love lives,” Kevin simpered, giving her his full attention. This was one of the reasons Ivy loved him. The man was a consummate flirt, and knew just how to get a girl to spill all her secrets. How many times over the years had they done yoga and brunch on Sundays, where he would magically get her to tell him all her troubles? They were the best therapy sessions in the world.

“You and Chad are still not talking to one another, I take it,” she replied.

Kevin put his hands on his hips and did the gay male equivalent of tossing his hair back. “Please, honey, the man wishes he still had me. Nope, I’m moving on and into the market. Which means I don’t currently have a sex life and must live vicariously through you. So, no deflecting. I want all the juicy tidbits.”

She removed her iPad from her bag and said, “Yeah, well, good luck with that.”

“So the date the other night was a no go?” Kevin asked, his light ice blue eyes twinkling with interest.

“It’s fair to say I left as early as I could. When the crying started, there was really no point to saving the night,” she said. And wasn’t that just the kicker. Every single date she’d been on over the last eight months had been an absolute dud. She was in a relationship—just with her vibrator and her favorite Chardonnay.

“You cried?” Kevin asked aghast, a hand against his chest and his eyes wide with horror at her perceived faux pas.

“Nope. My date did. Going on and on about his ex. Clearly the guy wasn’t ready to get back out into the meat market. After listening for two hours about how much he loved Kelli with an ‘i,’ I was done,” she replied.

About the Author: Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

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Pleasure Island Series

Her Master & Commander, Book 1
Her Music Masters, Book 2
Their Shy Submissive, Book 3
Her Undercover Doms, Book 4
Her Lawful Master, Book 5
Her Rockstar Dom, Book 6
Duets & Dominance, Book 7
Ménage In Paradise, Book 8
Her Rodeo Masters, Book 9

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Hearts of Fire by Amanda Bouchet – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amanda Bouchet as she celebrates the recent release of Hearts of Fire, the riveting conclusion to The Kingmaker Chronicles! Enter to win a bundle containing A Promise of Fire and Breath of Fire, the first two books in Amanda Bouchet’s Kingmaker Chronicles!

Without Griffin—and apparently a few meddling Gods—to push me along, I’d still be telling fortunes at the circus, lying about my past, ignoring my future, and living as far away from my tyrant mother as humanly possible.

True understanding thuds into place. Hope isn’t just an abstract concept; it’s me. Flesh and blood me. Griffin knew it all along. Probably everyone did. I’m an idea in human form.

I have the power of the Gods at my fingertips.
The only thing ever stopping me has been me.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Griffin’s hand tightens on my arm.

I roll my eyes. “I’m not going to fall in, you know. The cliff is all the way over there.”

He loosens his hold. Sort of.

I glance up at him, trying to tame my sudden smile. Domineering and overprotective doesn’t even begin to describe my husband. There’s also deliciously jealous, but that’s another subject all together. The black stubble framing his mouth makes his full lips look impossibly kissable. It’s been hours since they were last on mine. And I love to kiss the hawkish curve of his nose. So strong and masculine. I adore that nose. And the rest of him. His powerful body. Muscle. Sinew. Bone.

I gaze up at him, nearly sighing. “I love you.”

Griffin stops dead in his tracks and glares down at me. “That’s it. We’re leaving.”

I blink. “What? Why?”

“You think something terrible is going to happen.”

“No, I don’t.” I frown. “I don’t think so.”

His eyes narrow, wariness hardening his expression. “You do.”

“What are you talking about?”

He scowls at me.

“Well, something terrible could happen,” I concede. “But that’s always true, no matter where or when. Tomorrow, I could trip over my own feet and break my neck for all I know.”

Judging by the look on Griffin’s face, I don’t think that helped.

“You only say you love me or you’re sorry when you’re scared or almost dead. You’re not almost dead, so what’s scaring you?” he demands.

“I say I love you all the time!”

“When we’re in bed. When I’m so deep inside you that you can’t feel anything but me. Not when we’re about to knock on a stranger’s door. What’s scaring you?” he demands again.

I huff. “At the moment? The way your jaw is popping like it’s alive.”

Griffin crosses his arms. “I want honesty. Right now.”

“Right now, Your Imperialness?”

His nostrils flare. His hard look is spectacular.

I’m not intimidated. It makes me hot. Then again, so does just about everything at the moment, but not in the same way.

“If you must know, the magic around here is a little intense and…disturbing, but it’s not scaring me. Not really. It’s probably just something coming from whatever is down there in that God Pit,” I say, waving toward the cliff. “I’m a shade nervous. That’s all.”

His eyes stay flinty and unconvinced. “That’s all? That’s not generally cause for a heartfelt declaration, at least not from you.”

I toss my hands in the air. “Fine. I take it back. I looked at you, found you incredibly desirable, and my body got all hot and tingly. I blame pregnancy for an excess of sentimentality and…and…urges!”

Griffin stares at me. Then his mouth splits into a grin that makes me all kinds of angry. He reaches for me again, his grasp lighter this time.

“Incredibly desirable?” Looking smug, he threads his fingers through mine.

Scowling, I poke him in the chest with my free hand. “Well, you do have that whole overbearing warlord thing going on. Plus, plenty of muscles in all the right places, some good ideas, and, you know, a really big sword.”

A laugh cracks out of Griffin, and my heart swoops like an off-balance bird. He’s rarely free with humor these days, or maybe there’s just not enough of it in our lives anymore. The happy flutter that wings through my chest takes any lingering irritation away with it.

Gah! Talk about mood changes!

Griffin captures my other hand and then pulls me in to him until I’m standing between his legs. “I love you, too, Cat.”

He kisses me, his mouth pressing softly against mine. Warmth rolls straight from his lips to my toes, which curl in my boots.
“Tell me again,” he coaxes.

I shake my head, our noses brushing.

“Say it,” he demands against my mouth.

“I don’t think so.”

“Last chance,” he warns, gently nipping at my lower lip.

“Big sword.”

Chuckling, Griffin swats my bottom. “There’s more where that came from.”

I look up at him through my lashes. “I sure hope so.”

He grins. “I think you just managed coy.”

“Good Gods! Has the Underworld frozen over?”

“Next, Centaurs will fly.” He brushes his lips over mine again, not lingering, and when he lifts his head, his black hair ruffling on the faintly sulfurous wind, the teasing gleam is already absent from his eyes. “You’re sure there’s nothing else?”

“Nothing besides our baby wreaking havoc on my moods?” I shake my head. “But I wanted you before. I want you always.”

He lifts his hand and brushes his thumb across my lips. Then his fingers fall away, trailing lightly down my arm until I shiver.

“You’re the air I breathe,” he says without a trace of humor in his voice.

My whole chest clenches hard, squeezing a tight, almost painful beat from my heart. “I admire you,” I reply. “I need you. I love you with all my heart.”

Griffin offers me a different kind of smile this time, small, lopsided, gentle, and so entirely genuine. It fades almost immediately, though, and he straightens to his full, imposing height, abruptly pinning me with his warlord stare. “If you feel anything off here, we leave, with or without the potion we came for. You’ve got great instincts, Cat. Trust your gut.”

I nod. I will. I always do.

About the Author: USA Today bestselling author AMANDA BOUCHET grew up in New England and studied French at the undergraduate and graduate levels, first at Bowdoin College and then at Bowling Green State University. She moved to Paris, France, in 2001 and has been there ever since. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children, who will soon be correcting her French.

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Collateral Risk by Gwenan Haines

Collateral Risk by Gwenan Haines
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (370 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

After losing her sister to a serial killer years earlier, scientist Mia Lindgren survives by focusing on the most dangerous viruses known to man. She’s become adept at shutting herself off from human contact—until her lab partner drowns under suspicious circumstances.

Forced to accept the assistance of Nick Doyle, an FBI counter-terrorism expert on leave, she soon realizes someone at the Institute for Research of Infectious Diseases is involved in a deadly deception. As she and Nick race to find a killer who will stop at nothing to accomplish his version of Armageddon, they can’t ignore their own chemistry. But can Mia truly put the past to rest?

Intelligent and complex, Collateral Risk checked all the boxes for a solid romantic suspense. I admit, I had a hard time connecting with the heroine, Mia, for the first part of the book. She’s closed herself off to all emotional involvement due to a traumatic incident with her sister years before. This makes her come across as cold and selfish and uncaring. The hero, Nick, and Mia’s mom, Angela, made up for that a bit, however.

The action starts at a good clip, and seldom slows down except when we’re at the rehab facility where Nick and Angela are residing temporarily. The times we spend there give us a bit of a breather from the race to stop Armageddon (in the form of a horrendous virus with no known antidote).

Nick was an awesome hero: handsome, funny, clever and strong. I didn’t understand his immediate attraction to Mia (other than she is described as being basically perfect in physical looks). She’s short with him, somewhat unkind and impatient. I also didn’t quite buy their relationship developing as quickly as it did due to Mia’s emotional issues, but really that was the only thing that didn’t click for me in this book.

The suspense plot and story were awesome. I liked everything about it… even the parrots (and yes, the line from Nick about the parrot made me giggle a bit). I can’t imagine doing what Mia does. Her preoccupation with the tiny cut she accidentally gives herself at the start of the book because of her job, having to double and triple glove before putting on her hazmat suit to do her job … holy cow, I couldn’t handle that kind of stress. It takes a special kind of person to do that work.

There was lots of action, lots of suspense, and just really solid writing and descriptions throughout. I read this book in one sitting and that’s a big thing for me. I seldom do that, and can’t remember the last book I did it with.

If you like a solid, well-written suspense novel, I can happily recommend Collateral Risk.

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Saturday Seven #1: First lines

I get the privilege of kicking off the first Saturday Seven post here at LASR! I’ve decided to do the seven first lines from seven random books on my TBR pile. Here we go:

1. “You’re late,” said Mrs. Trilby, staring down her long nose at Mari.
What A Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell

2. The house was a mottled gray color that reminded me of dead fish.
Twist of Faith by Ellen J. Green

3. I told myself that if she showed, that would be the sign I needed.
Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch

4. It’s an age old story: woman meets man, man woos woman, woman spends her best years believing their love is the everlasting kind.
Woman Last Seen in her Thirties by Camille Pagan

5. As their carriage rolled closer and closer to London, James thought about her.
It’s Hard Out Here for a Duke by Maya Rodale

6. The door would never open.
Cold Harbor by Matthew Fitzsimmons

7. Dr. Helena Tate knew what a madhouse the ER could be during and after a major nor-easter but to experience it firsthand was always a draining experience.
Christmas With the Best Man by Susan Carlisle

Did any of these intrigue you? Do you think first lines are massively important? Do you want a hook right away, or will you read awhile before deciding if a book is for you or not?

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Heart of the Wolf, Anniversary Edition by Terry Spear – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Terry Spear who is celebrating the recent release of the 10th Anniversary edition of Heart of the Wolf, the first book in her Heart of the Wolf series. Enter to win a copy of Between a Wolf and a Hard Place by Terry Spear!

Celebrate Ten Years Of Paranormal Romance From Beloved Author Terry Spear

Bella, a female red werewolf, was adopted by a pack of gray wolves as a pup. Now grown up, the alpha of the pack tries to make her his mate against her will—Bella knows she has no choice but to run away.

She makes her way as a lone wolf until childhood friend, Devlyn, comes to bring her home. On their journey back, they get tangled in up in unimaginable danger and must apprehend a werewolf murderer while keeping their identity secret from humans. The chemistry between them sizzles like never before…but they both know if they mate, Devlyn will have to fight the pack’s wicked alpha…and it’s a fight to the death.

As a companion to Bella and Devlyn’s story, this edition includes an exclusive, brand new novella that brings the story of the lupus garou family full circle.

Enjoy an Excerpt

But Devlyn had to make sure. She could have been any one of a number of lone red lupus garou females all across the States. Or not. Because such a shortage existed, he sure as hell hoped Argos was right—that she was their stubborn Bella.

When Devlyn saw her in the pen at the zoo, he knew. He couldn’t be angry with her for having run away—but for her to risk proving to the world that lupus garous existed? That was irresponsible and unforgivable. At least that’s what he told himself, though his heart ached to hold her close again, only this time to claim her for his own.

Devlyn stalked toward the door of his hotel suite. “All right. Let’s break our little red wolf out of jail.” The notion that she was theirs, though, struck a chord. She wasn’t theirs. She belonged to Volan. Fire burned in Devlyn’s veins with the thought. Ever since Devlyn had rescued her near the river, the wildfire in hot pursuit of her, Volan had wanted her, too.

For years Devlyn had pinned her to the ground in their wolf states, avoiding her retaliatory bites, playing with her as young wolves frolicked. He still wanted to tackle her to the ground, to force her reaction, to have her pay attention to him. But the burning desire to have her for his mate drove away any notion of having another female.

He hurried his four younger male cousins out to the SUV with Argos at his side in the freezing drizzle. The black-haired, amber-eyed quadruplets, twenty-two years of age, all itched for a fight as they clenched their fists and steeled their square jaws.

Devlyn slammed his door. “If we wait much longer, she’ll have changed and be half frozen in this weather.” He’d rescue her again. He had to. Not for Volan, but for his own greedy desires. But what to do with her afterwards? He knew what he wanted to do with her. Make her his…forever…his mate for life.

But with Volan still living, how could Devlyn hope to take her for his own? That question had plagued him every minute of the day since he’d learned she still lived.


Backed into the confines of the wolf den, Bella spread her arms out, slowly, in her crouched position, to make herself appear larger. “Back off, Big Red.”

He continued to snarl. She took a step forward, and shivered, but it wasn’t the chill in the air that made her tremble. The notion that the zoo staff would catch her in the wolves’ den in human form forced concern to worm its way into every pore.

Big Red held his ground.

She took another step in his direction. Her eyes remained locked onto his. He didn’t back down.

Wrinkling her nose, she bared her not-very-scary human teeth. Anything to show him she wasn’t intimidated by his posturing.
After what seemed like an eternity of an old western gunfight showdown, he turned, and trotted out of the den. She took a deep breath, then quickly followed him out. The icy drizzle coated her skin. Hoping to make her escape easily, she crossed the pen to the keeper’s door.


Her stomach muscles tightened with irritation. Heading for the water trough, she thought to use it as a step in the moat. But it was filled to the brim with water, and she couldn’t budge it. Her frustration level mounted, but her body temperature dropped rapidly with the chilly wet breeze swirling about her.

What she wouldn’t have given for her wolf’s thick undercoat—the dense second coat of fur virtually water¬proof, a thermal insulator so effective even snow falling on her back wouldn’t melt.

She hurried to the edge of the moat and considered the height of the wall across from the pen. Big Red watched her from a corner of the pen, but never made a menacing move toward her. She’d probably confused the hell out of him. She smelled like a wolf in heat, the same one he wanted to mate, but she didn’t look like one in the least bit now. Poor fellow.

She sat on the edge of the concrete, the substance icy and rough on her bare bottom. After twisting around, she clung to the edge with frigid fingers, then dropped into the moat. It was about a six-and-a-half-foot drop and, with her five-four height, easy to make. But when she turned to consider the other side her heart filled with alarm.

Whether the wall rose eight feet or ten…didn’t matter. She didn’t see any way to climb the rough concrete without foot or hand holds. She turned back to the other side. Her heart fell. She wouldn’t be able to climb out that way, either.

The cold had already affected her mind, slowing her ability to think. The shock at turning into her human form earlier than she’d planned had compelled her to panic.

Great. Just great. The next morning, the zookeepers would find a half-frozen, naked woman in the moat. She jumped at the shorter side, but couldn’t reach the top edge.

After several tries, she did what went against every instinct for survival—she gave up and yelled for help.

About the Author:USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has written over sixty paranormal and medieval Highland historical romances. In 2008, Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world and is raising two Havanese puppies. She lives in Spring, Texas.

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Interview and giveaway: Scarlett Sanderson

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Scarlett Sanderson, whose next book in in the sizzling Mission Pleasure series, Enslaving Dana, is being released next month. The other books in the series are Claiming Ruby and Taming Nora. Leave a comment on the post for a chance to win 1 of 3 digital copies of Taming Nora.

When I asked Scarlett how long she had been writing, she had to look it up. She’s been writing for 12 years now!

“I cannot believe it’s been that long,” she told me. “I still remember sending in my first submission to The Wild Rose Press back in 2005 and the excessive anxiety that went with it. Looking back, I’ve always been a writer – I used to write short stories and fan fiction in my childhood/teenage years. But 2005 was when I first decided to get ‘serious’ about writing and start publishing.”

She’s written nine books that have been published/republished. Enslaving Dana is due out soon. Shadows, a futuristic urban fantasy romance, has not yet been published.

Shadows is unlike anything she’s written before. It took her five years and is the first book she’s written over 50,000 words.

“It’s dark, and it challenged me every single time I sat down to write,” she explained. Left me emotionally exhausted. The chemistry that built between my heroine (a female Detective) and my hero (convicted serial killer/assassin) is off the charts. It’s so different to every else I’ve ever put on paper.”

Scarlett is also working on a motorcycle club erotic romance trilogy. All the books in the series center around Zeke and Grace.

“I don’t really want to say more at this stage, but the first one is almost done and whew! Zeke is hot, hot, hot. Bad, dark and dangerous,” she shared.

“If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?” I wondered.

“I’d make sure I read the contracts and considered the implications. It might sound like a cliché, but because I was new I got blindsided by one of the bigger publishers and signed without considering the future. It was a bad move. When that publisher started to go under I was completely tied to them. I’d also make sure I’d had a good back catalogue of things already written before I started to publish. Having a lot of quality things written takes the pressure off when you first start publishing – especially if you are planning to self-publish.”

Scarlett has a lot of favorite writers: Nora Roberts. J.R. Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Laurell K. Hamilton and Sherrilyn Kenyon.

“All these authors are auto-buys for me and have been for years. I also love Joe Hill and John Connolly, and Karin Slaughter. I’ll pretty much read anything but the reason I love these so much is characters. They create amazing, memorable characters,” she said. “I also have what my husband would call an unhealthy obsession with The Great Gatsby (I own five copies of it!), so I’m going to have to include Scott Fitzgerald in there. Just for sheer gut-wrenching storyline. Favorite author of the moment – Callie Hart. Have you read some of her books? Her male characters are dark, dominating and completely to die for!”

The hardest part of writing for Scarlett is carving out the time to write. With a day job (as a librarian), family, and chronic health issues, some days it’s a real struggle for her to just sit down and write.

“Especially if it’s a sex scene and my chronic fatigue means I’m stuck in my pjs, not showered or combed my hair,” she said. “That is definitely a struggle. I’m getting better at carving out time – even if it’s just 15 minutes a day while I’m waiting for the bus.”

She’s a morning person and a planner. At the beginning of the week, on Sunday, she plans out what needs to be done every day in an organizer – for home, work and writing. She works more productively in the mornings, so on her days off from work (Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), she tries to get in a good, solid two hours of writing. The other days, she tries to squeeze in 500 words wherever she can.

She has a lot of hobbies for when she’s not writing.

“I like to craft,” she told me. “I’m really big into knitting and cross-stitching. Knitting is my big one at the moment. I love getting different colors and types of yarn. I like to bake – not as often as I would like. Plus there is only me and my husband, so I end up eating all the cake! I’m pretty much obsessed with history and tend to always be doing some kind of additional college course or learning. I’m a complete geek.”

The history geek came out in her again when I asked her who she would most like to meet and her answer was Elizabeth I.

“She’s been a heroine of mine for a long time. A strong women who guided England into stability after years of turbulence. A woman who resist marriage and ruled in her own right. Got to be her. We’d spend the day talking, dancing and riding at Hampton Court (one of my favorite palaces). I’d love to know how she really felt about her mother’s beheading by her father – that has got to do some damage to your worldview, yet she never let it show. Also if she actual remained a virgin or did she have a physical affair with Robert Dudley. Gossip galore.”

“What did you want to be when you grew up?” I asked.

She laughed. “I wanted to be soooo many things. First it was an archaeologist. Then I spent years wanting to be a virologist (until I got a terrible phobia of germs). Then I wanted to be a journalist. And back to an archaeologist. Although I studied history at college and have a Masters in counter terrorism studies, and had a variety of jobs, I ended up as a librarian. I got my Master in library studies and have been working at it for 15 years now. And now I write part-time too. I still dream of being an archaeologist though…someday.”

“Tell us about your favorite character from a book.”

“I have a lot book boyfriends! They have numerous things in common – dark, a little edgy and dangerous. Vishous from the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Zeith Mayfair from the Blood and Roses series. But hands down Jericho Barrons from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series is my favorite character. I mean, seriously, have you those read sex scenes? And who can resist a man who will move heaven and earth to keep his woman alive? I’m actually swooning a little over here. He is the perfect blend of mysterious, possessive and dominating. Got to love a complex and damaged hero.”

Because of Scarlett’s chronic illness, she spend a lot of time watching TV and laughed when I asked for her favorite shows.

“Do you have all day? Supernatural and The X-Files are my top two. As with books, I’ll tend to watch anything. Love Outlander, Z Nation, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, all the Marvel and DV tv shows. I have eclectic taste. One of my biggest guilty pleasures is Total Divas and Total Bellas. Since being with my husband I’ve become a huge WWE geek!”

Speaking of her husband, he is one of her biggest supporters and advocates, and he is the number one thing that makes her happy.

“He is behind me 100% no matter what I want to do. When I wanted to go back to library school, he supported me. When I’m struggling with publishing, he gives me a pep talk. We’ve been together a while and he still makes my heart flutter every time he walks into a room. Even when I’m having a bad day because I’m in so much pain, he makes me smile with a silly joke.”

Other things that make her happy: her family is one of her biggest joys. A good cup of coffee. A sweet, decadent cake. Her friend’s children. Getting a new book through the post.

“Sometimes the simple things can make you the happiest,” she told me.

“What would we find under your bed?”

“I’m sure people who know I write erotic romance would like to think there are whips, chains and bondage equipment. Under my bed at the moment are packed away bed linen, Christmas wrap, a step ladder, lots of dust…Oh, I think the most exciting thing is a pair of black and white stiletto heels. I purchased them for my first ever book reading here in the UK. It was an erotica festival and I was invited to take part in some of the literature workshops. The night before there was a burlesque evening so I purchased these stilettos. I’ve worn them a handful of times and they cripple my feet, but I can’t bring myself to part with them. They are so pretty. So they are stuffed under the bed.”

“Speaking of writing erotic romance, what do you find is the biggest misconception about the genre?”

“I think there are three big misconceptions. Two about erotic romance and one about erotic romance writers.

The first is erotic romance is porn. It’s not. Porn is devoid of emotion. Its insert slot A into slot B. There is no back story, no emotional connection. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a porn hater. I’ve watched my share of it. I used to review websites back in the day. But erotic romance is not just porn for women. It’s much deeper. It’s story, and emotion, and the fantasy element of being swept away.

Another big misconception I hate is that all erotic romance heroes have been abused or are abusers if they are into BDSM. That makes me so mad. BDSM is not about abuse. It drives me nuts.

Lastly, and I get this a lot, erotic romance authors must be having tons of sex and sexual experiences. We are constantly sat there in leather and high heels, seductively composing our erotic tales. The amount of people in real life who find out I write erotic romance, and then feel perturbed when they find out my writing outfit involves pjs or comfy pants, is huge.” She laughs. “That’s not to say we aren’t having lots of sex, but there is this misconception that were are 24/7 sex kittens. Sooo not true.”

Now that it’s a new year, I wondered about what she would like to accomplish in her career this year.

“I’d really like to publish more books and grow my back catalogue. Because of my chronic illness, I have periods where I can’t write. It always puts me behind. I have so many stories I want to share with everyone, so getting a regular release schedule would be my goal for this year.”

Finally, I asked her, “What advice would you give to a new writer just starting out?”

“This might sound extremely clichéd, but write, write, write. You can’t submit or publish anything unless you have written it. Keep writing. Even when you think it’s a load of drivel. Even when it’s like pulling teeth. Keep going. It hones your skills. Again, another major cliché, but writing is like a muscle. Use it. The more it’s exercised the leaner it becomes.

Another piece of advice from personal experience with publishers – do your research, enter into contracts with caution. Just because you are a new writer, don’t immediately sign one from a publisher just because you feel you are lucky to receive a contract from them (they are lucky to have such a talented writer!). Look at the small print. Consider the consequences. With so many publishers going under recently, beware of the small print in contracts.”

Nora, a CIA ballistics expert, has recently begun visiting Decadence—a club where people can indulge their fantasies. But with limited experience, she’s afraid to embrace her submissive side—until she sees co-worker Alexander St. Clare performing a public display of punishment. Equal parts shocked and inflamed, she flees when Alex notices her, praying it won’t mean an end to her career.

Dominant and spy, Alex is surprised to see the pretty agent from his office at Decadence. Even more surprising is Nora’s obvious desire as she watches him perform. Her reaction ignites something deep inside him, but the dangers of the job mean he can never act on it.

When an assignment allows them a taste of the forbidden, the intensity between them is off the charts. Amidst the backdrop of a dangerous mission, Alex and Nora discover each might just have what the other has always craved.

Inside Scoop: Nora enjoys being taken by three Dominant marines and a female sub.

About the Author: Multi-published author Scarlett Sanderson is a librarian by day and an erotic romance novelist by night. She lives in suburban England with her husband and dreams of having Lara Croft-type adventures. As a reader, she loves to immerse herself in sweeping tales of romance, fantasy and, most of all, tantalizing erotica. Those are the elements she tries to weave into the stories she creates.

When not writing, Scarlett has a burning passion for history, good chocolate, great coffee and anything supernatural (especially if it includes the hunters Dean and Sam Winchester from the TV show Supernatural!).

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What Inspired Me to be a Writer? by Rosemarie Aquilina – Guest Post

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rosemarie Aquilina who is celebrating the recent release of Triple Cross Killer.

What Inspired Me to be a Writer?
Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, which translated to a shortage of toys and books. The few books I had I read so many times I could recite them—and I don’t usually memorize anything easily. Intrigued by each world I entered, and wanting to know more, I invented what happened next, what happened before, what was the untold backstory. My brother Joe, eleven months younger, asked me from the time we were toddlers, to tell him a story. We sat on the porch stoop or on the family room couch for hours as I made up stories. I treasured the sheer glee on his face at my stories and recall his inquisitive entertained boyish face still today. I still hear our laughter and feel the sheer thrill of the emerging story—one I hadn’t planned but one that simply emerged and developed as I told it. And so I also developed the “panster-writer” in me. I don’t plan, I just write.

I don’t remember a time I didn’t want to be a writer. From those earliest toddler telling memories forward, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I eventually became an English major at Michigan State University. I attended all the classes I could that allowed me to read, study, and dissect great authors of all genre. I discovered a love of Hemingway, Steinbeck, Keats, and, Bradbury. Because my father was worried I could not support myself as an author, I veered. I became a lawyer. My law professors constantly left me notes on my final exams, that this was not creative writing, which forced me to limit my creativity. However, in my free time, I kept writing. I never let go of my dream to be a writer.

It would be years before I became published, however I have several completed novels, reams of notes, lists of story ideas. During my many years of practicing law and now being a JAG Officer in the Michigan Army National Guard, a District Judge and now a Circuit Judge, I wrote. I took notes, kept inventory of interesting stories, twists of words, and possible outcomes and backstories of characters I created. My writing improved. I learned truly that writers must write about what they know even if it is fiction. Had I become a writer after law school, I would have been a black slate regularly going through the writer’s block experience, something I do not have to worry about now as my experiences have served me well. My father was right, although it delayed my writing. My life experiences have made me a better storyteller. Also being an lawyer, I developed a thick skin, professionally and personally. This greatly assisted me to find an outstanding agent and publisher. You see, I never got discouraged, when I received a rejection, I sent out five more query letters. At one time I had over one hundred query letters out to agents. It only takes one acceptance. And I am very happy I clung onto my goal of being a writer and I’m thrilled to be an author.

Have you ever wondered what really happens to Santa Claus letters? In Detroit and Sarasota some children’s letters are diverted and reviewed by Nick Archer, a religiously obsessed, narcissist. Nick responds, leaving a trail of devastation in the two cities.

In Detroit, co-ed partners and wise-cracking lovers, detectives Jaq McSween and David Maxwell, team up with Sarasota detectives Abel Mendoza and his partner, Rabbit, to find this daunting killer.

When Jaq’s friend, the lovely nurse, Rita Rose, takes a chance on love again, she gets caught in Nick’s web. Working with the ME, she joins in, adding her perspective when events take a sinister turn.

Can this diverse team of characters pool their insights, barbs, and taste for bad food to save Rita when she discovers the final clues or will she become the next victim?

About the Author:Rosemarie Aquilina is the mother of five children. Elected as a 30th Circuit Court Judge serving in the General Trial Division, after having served as a 55th District Court Judge in Mason, Michigan, she takes pride in public service.

In 1986, Judge Aquilina became the first female JAG Officer in the history of the Michigan Army National Guard, she retired in 2006 with twenty years Honorable Service. She is an adjunct law professor at both Western Michigan University—Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Michigan State University College of Law and has earned teaching awards at both institutions. Judge Aquilina is the former owner of Aquilina Law Firm, PLC, and former host of a syndicated radio talk show called Ask the Family Lawyer.

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Earl Interrupted by Amanda Forester – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amanda Forester who is celebrating the recent release of Earl Interrupted, the second book in her Daring Marriages series. Enter to win a copy of If the Earl Only Knew, the first book in Amanda Forester’s Daring Marriages series!

After restoring his fortune as a notorious privateer, Captain Robert Ashton, Earl of Darington, goes to London in search of a bride. Instead, he finds unexpected dangers and unknown assailants. He is shot and left for dead. Life on the high seas was far calmer.

Enter Miss Emma St. James. She may appear sweet and demure, but she quickly proves herself to be equal to any challenge, including saving Darington’s life. Just when Darington is sure he has found his perfect bride, she reveals she’s betrothed to another.

Now things REALLY start to get complicated…

Enjoy an Excerpt

Heroine takes a stand excerpt from Earl Interrupted by Amanda Forester

Emma watched in horror as her protector fell to the ground. She raced to him, kneeling in the mud beside him. She lifted his head out of the icy sludge and rested it in her lap. She drew back his greatcoat, searching for injuries. She did not have to go far before she found a large stain of dark-red blood on his waistcoat.

She put a hand to his chest and was relieved to find him still breathing. He appeared to have lost a good deal of blood, and Emma surmised the wound was not fresh. The man was a gentleman by the quality of his clothes. She surmised he must have fallen prey to her vile attackers earlier that day, though how he had come to be entangled with such company and what connection, if any, he had to her step-brother was a question for later. The most pressing need was to save his life.

“Sally, bring the luggage. My medicine kit is inside.” Emma glanced up at Sally, who appeared frozen in place—her eyes wide, her mouth open in horror. “Sally!” Emma repeated, allowing a rare sharpness into her tone. “Bring the luggage immediately.”
Sally blinked. “Yes, miss.” She ran around to the far side of the coach, where the luggage had been tied to the top.

Emma shuddered in the cold of the night. Their attackers’ coach remained on the road, the horses’ breath visible in the pale light of the coach lantern. She needed to get her injured protector inside and somehow drive them all to the next hamlet to get help. To do any of this, she first needed to revive the gentleman.

“Here, miss.” Sally returned with all the luggage, dragging Emma’s large trunk and carrying her own small bandbox.

“Thank you, that is very helpful.” Emma wasted no time in opening her father’s medical bag and finding a vial of smelling salts, waving it under the man’s nose. The man started and opened his eyes with a gasp.

“W-what? Who—?”

“I am Miss Emma St. James. A pleasure to meet you.”

“I am Dare…” murmured the man, his voice trailing off into something inaudible.

Emma smiled at the man. She was not sure what sort of name ‘Dare’ was, but it did seem an apt description. “I am sorry for the rude manner of your awakening, but you have been injured and we cannot tarry.” Emma spoke plainly and pleasantly, as she had found injured people needed hope and a calm presence.

“Go,” the man croaked. “You need to find safety.”

“I will not leave you.”

“You need to go!” said the man in a stronger voice, his dark eyes blazing with intensity. He had angular features with dark-brown hair tied back in a queue. She might have been afraid had she not been cradling his head in her lap.

“I will not leave you here to die in the road,” said Emma firmly. “What a poor way to repay your kindness. I could never live with myself. So we will either leave together or stay here together.” As she spoke, she grabbed some bandages from her bag and pressed them to his wound, wrapping a bandage around his blood-soaked clothes.

The man inhaled sharply through his teeth as she pressed hard against the wound. “Sorry,” she murmured. “This will stop some of the bleeding, but you need a doctor.”

“Your life is in danger,” the man croaked, rousing himself to a seated position beside her.

“My life? Did my brother send these men to kill me?” Emma gasped.

“Your brother? No, those men are after me.”

“After you? But why would my brother be after you?”

They stared at each other, his eyes mirroring the confusion she felt.

“Can we l-leave n-now?” asked a shivering Sally through chattering teeth.

“Yes, let us get Mr. Dare to his feet. If we can get him to the carriage, I can attempt to drive us to safety.”

Between the two of them and the man’s own efforts, they were able to raise him to his feet. He was a tall man, muscular but thin, which was fortunate in getting him back upright.

“Let us get you to the coach and—”

The man lying near them let out a long, low groan. At the same time, a man cried out from the coach with a string of curses. “That bastard stuck me. Help! I’m bleeding like a stuck pig. Where are you lubbers?”

Emma’s heart pounded in her throat. There was another man in the coach. The man in black, the one she thought her rescuer had shot dead, also groaned and moved on the ground. Sally let out a short shriek that was silenced by Dare, who clamped a hand over her mouth. He looked back at the hedgerows. Emma nodded in understanding. Crouching to avoid being seen, they crept off the road and into the bushes.

About the Author:AMANDA FORESTER holds a PhD and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing novels was decidedly more fun. Whether in the rugged Highlands of medieval Scotland or the decadent ballrooms of Regency England, her novels offer fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. Amanda lives near Seattle, WA.

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An Audiobook Narrator Comes Out of His Studio by Joe Cosentino – Q&A

An Audiobook Narrator Comes Out of His Studio

I was incredibly fortunate to have actor Derick Snow perform the audiobook of my Porcelain Doll, the second Jana Lane mystery novel, published by The Wild Rose Press. To celebrate the audiobook release, I interviewed Derick, and here’s what I found out. Enjoy!
Joe Cosentino

Derick, you are a versatile actor with an impressive resume. What was your last acting role, and what’s coming up next for you?

I’m currently preparing for a few roles for stage, and a musical commercial that is shooting next week. One great thing about acting is there’s always something fun if not strange right around the corner. Probably my best, recent role in front of a camera was as disgraced Reverend Jim Bakker on the television series Scandal Made Me Famous.

I saw that. You were fantastically slimey. No offense.

None taken.

As an actor, what got you started in the audiobook field?

I love challenging myself as a voice actor. Even though I’ve gotten the chance to do some great animated television and video game voices, it’s a great skill to perform in a long-form format like an audiobook to tell a single story while keeping the energy of less lengthy projects.

Where do you record your audiobooks?

I traveled a bit during the production of this book, so I had a portable studio I set up while at my home studio in a very, very large closet and used it early on to keep acoustics as consistent as possible. I basically recorded it in a home studio; in a studio, and in a specially designed recording box. On the road, I used the self-contained acoustic box in my spacious hotel room while on tour.

So after recording, you came out of the closet. (smile)

Good one.

In doing the audiobook for Porcelain Doll, the second Jana Lane mystery novel of five, how did you key into the mindset of people in our country in 1982?

Fortunately for me, a lot of currently produced media looks back fondly on the 1980s, so I had lots of source material to work with. Some of my favorite films were made in 1982: Blade Runner, Annie, Grease 2 (I have an affinity for the Betamax version I watched way too many times living in Barrow, Alaska in the early 1980s), The Dark Crystal…It was a golden age for beautiful film quality and practical effects and interesting lighting and film chemical colorization techniques.

Not many people claim Grease 2 as a favorite film, but whatever floats your grease. Recording Porcelain Doll, how did you connect with the world of movie making, the humor, the plot twists and turns, and the shocking ending?

I’ve always loved cinema and being able to create a fictional world for a big screen pushed me into art design and acting. This book’s understanding of the particular machine that is the film industry was compelling. Some of the characters in Porcelain Doll were definitely filled with character and comedy, but all was balanced by the heart of the AIDS crisis framing several of the characters in the book, which kept the world as a place I really enjoyed inhabiting. As for the ending, who doesn’t love a good surprise twist?

I know. When I heard the audiobook, the ending shocked me, and I wrote it! How did you come up with the diverse and entertaining voices for the approximately twenty distinct characters voices, some quite eccentric?

Like many of my favorite character voices, they come pretty close to my own experiences with my friends, loved ones, and strangers I’ve had real interactions with. Everyone knows a soap-opera-loving, no-nonsense Theresa; or if one works on enough sets, you’ll find a real-life cocky, self-entrenched Ryan O’Halloran telling you why he could direct a project better, if only “they” let him.

Which was your favorite character to perform in this audiobook?

My favorite role was probably the talent agent Simon Huckby. I could chew on his character-y dialogue all day. I’ve been doing a version of his voice for years when I want to make my lovely wife laugh.

I agree! I want to play Simon in a television version of the Jana Lane mysteries. Perhaps you can play Reverend Charlton.

Another fun character to play. I also really enjoyed the arc of Tom Strong. He’s complex and you want to root for him as a classic Hollywood icon in the midst of some big changes. Jana Lane of course was wonderful, and I really loved inhabiting her as well.

Which character was the most difficult to perform in this audiobook?

Creating a varied, realistic character in Jana’s husband was surprisingly tricky, because I wanted to use particular voices for the other leading men. How to make a loving husband who’s easy to relate to, but maybe also causing Jana to consider leaving him and having a fling with her hunky leading man in the movie? I wanted to create further complexity with some inherently unbalanced characters, like Reverend Charlton and his wife. Everyone likes themselves, and even villains need to feel real if they are supposed to live in the real world. I found Mrs. Charlton’s character mannerisms in one of my friend’s grandmothers who I shall not name, bless her heart.

Have you now joined the many fans of the Jana Lane mysteries?

Absolutely. I also want to see some sweet, sweet Jason Apollo fiction.

I can see Matt Bomer play Jason Apollo in a television version of Porcelain Doll. At this point, I don’t see a big future for Jason in my novels. However, since you like Jason, you might enjoy my popular Nicky and Noah mystery novel series. Check it out: What’s next for you in the audiobook world?

The next book is a secret I can’t divulge; but as a voice actor I’ve got a lead role on a television anime cartoon releasing weekly on called Kino’s Journey (based on a manga of the same name), where I play a sentient, wise-cracking motorcycle named Hermes. It’s getting great reviews. I appreciate all the hard work and talent everyone put into the project, and I invite folks to check it out. More to come!

That’s the word from the gifted and talented Derick Snow. So, grab your popcorn and take your front row seat. Listen to the Jana Lane mystery, PORCELAIN DOLL, performed by the wonderful Derick Snow. Lights up! Action on mystery, humor, romance, and lots of surprises!

Is art imitating life in 1982? Jana Lane, ex-child star, is doing a comeback film about murder. When a crew member is killed on the set, it looks like Jana could be next. Thickening the plot is Jana’s breathtakingly handsome and muscular leading man, Jason Apollo, whose boyish, southern charms have aroused Jana’s interest on screen and off. Will Jana and Jason stop the murderer before the final reel, or end up on the cutting room floor in this fast-paced whodunit with a shocking ending?

Praise for PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:

“Porcelain Doll is Joe Cosentino at his finest. We are drawn back to the fashions and attitudes of the 1980’s in a character-driven story full of intrigue and passion.” Kirsty Vizard, Divine Magazine

“Beautifully written and intensely detailed, Porcelain Doll is one not to be missed. Flirtatiously decadent with a strong moral undertone, set in a decade of extraordinary social change this is a story of its period that is as poignant today as it was then. Joe Cosentino controlled the emotions that the book encouraged with a deft but delicate touch. Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews

“Murder, mystery, and suspense are high inside of this brilliant masterpiece by Joe Cosentino.” “Every page fills the readers with intrigue.” “Edge of your seat mystery that lures readers instantly.” “Once you read it, you can’t put it down.” Urban Book Reviews

“great climax” “80s film thriller” “really did tick all the boxes for me” “he’s (Joe Cosentino’s) definitely someone to look at” “great mystery thriller!” BewitchedBooks

“If you like a fun cozy mystery, suspense, humor, and all-around clean and sexy fun, this is for you.” Cathy Brockman Romance

“Porcelain Doll hooks from the start with characters behaving badly, all of whom have life-changing secrets.” “The story includes a nice arc, well-developed characters, and a few unexpected surprises.” InD’tale Magazine

About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press). As an actor, he has appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married.

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Buy PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery by Joe Cosentino published by The Wild Rose Press at the publisher, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.