Fatal Courage by Misty Evans – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour to celebrate the release of Fatal Courage, the latest book by Misty Evans. Check out the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC.

FC for WebsiteHe ruined her career…

In twenty-one missions, CIA golden girl Ruby McKellen has failed only once. Thanks to Navy SEAL Jaxon Sloan, the man who stole her heart and forced her to choose between him and her partner Elliot, she’s on probation and Elliot is in prison for national security crimes. To prove Elliot’s innocence and save her damaged career, Ruby is running an unsanctioned mission—but the only way to get the proof she needs is to go to Jax with her tail between her legs.

She wrecked his heart…

Jaxon left the Navy after the mission with Ruby in Morocco went south, but that one hot, unbelievable night with her will haunt him forever. Working for Shadow Force International now, his new assignment has brought him full circle—the CIA operative Jax’s testimony sent to prison has escaped and Jax has been ordered to hunt him down. Just like in Morocco, the one thing standing in his way is Ruby.

A second chance at love could prove fatal…

When Ruby’s life is threatened and Jax stumbles on information that might prove Elliot is innocent, guilt over putting the man in prison compels him to join her unsanctioned mission. What really happened that night six months ago? Is Elliot an honorable spy or a mastermind at manipulation? Ruby is the only one who can help Jax navigate the world of undercover lies and betrayal to find the truth.

In a battle of wills—and of hearts—Jax and Ruby must have the courage to face the truth about themselves, their past, and what it really means to betray someone you love.

About the Author: Misty Evans PhotoUSA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011.

Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

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What is Alternate History? by R.F. Dunham – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. R.F. Dunham will be awarding $20 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.

What is alternate history?
When people ask me about my book the first question is usually something like, “What’s your book about?” or “What kind of book is it?”

To which I always answer, “Well, it’s an alternate history.”

The common response to that is something like a blank stare. Maybe a polite nod.

I typically follow up my answer with a question: “Do you know about alternate history?”

A few are brave enough to say, “No.” Most say the same thing with less precise language. Something along the lines of, “A little bit,” “Kind of,” or even, “Yes. But what is it again?”

Needless to say, I’ve found myself explaining alternate history quite a few times over the last few months and I thought I’d share some of that here with you.

Alternate history is a very broad genre. Particularly considering the fact that it’s basically a small sci-fi niche. Some of it looks a lot like historical fiction (see my current work in progress, The Other Side of Unity for an example), some could easily be mistaken for traditional science fiction (such as Lest Darkness Fall), some is steampunk (check out Jeff Provine’s Hellfire), and some is contemporary in its setting (like The Other Side of Hope). The genre allows for action, adventure, romance, thriller, drama, or anything else you want to include. For this reason, it has the potential to appeal to practically every reader on the planet. You could say there is an alternate history for everyone.

So what the heck is it?

The basic idea behind the genre, the unifying factor that connects all of those types of alternate history, is that some event in the past has been changed. History has been changed to create a timeline that is alternative to the one we live in. Sometimes it’s a big change, sometimes it’s small. It’s common to change the outcome of a major battle or war. Especially common is the good old, “What if the Nazis won WWII?” story. My book, The Other Side of Hope, changes the outcome of the Battle of Tours. But other things can be changed, too. In Hellfire, it’s the technology that’s different and the invention of the Newton Catalyst is what separates the alternate world from the real one.

Once you’ve got that change, known to alternate historians as the point of divergence, you project the effects forward in time to create the alternate world. In Phillip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, the point of divergence is that Germany won WWII (it’s common for a reason!) and the projected effect is an America split at the Rocky Mountains into German and Japanese controlled states. In The Other Side of Hope, the POD is the Battle of Tours and the effect is a world where Islam, not Christianity, is the dominant religion.

That’s really all you need for an alternate history. A point of divergence and its projected impact. From there, the possibilities and the variables are endless. Because, in essence, describing a story as “alternate history” is only describing the way the world came to be. Once that world is created, the writer is free to fill it with any story he chooses. It might be about what happens immediately after the change, or a few decades later, or a thousand years later. It might be an action-packed adventure, a steamy romance, a tense thriller, or an enthralling drama. All of those elements are embellishments on the alternate history foundation.

I hope this has sparked some interest in alternate history and maybe it will even open up a whole new genre you would never have considered before. It’s definitely a growing niche (thanks to Amazon’s TV series based on The Man in the High Castle) with lots to discover. If you want a place to get started, I’d recommend taking a look at Inklings Press and their new Tales From Alternate Earths anthology. It’s a great way to get eight alternate history stories all at once!

MediaKit_BookCover_TheOtherSideOfHopeIn 732 A.D., the Frankish and Burgundian forces led by Charles Martel defeated an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi and halted the Muslim advance into Christian Europe. At least, that’s what happened in the world as you know it.

Step into the world of The Other Side of Hope, where the world as you know it is turned on its head. A world where Charles Martel fell on that field south of Tours, France and was never given his nickname, “The Hammer.” A world where Europe came under Muslim rule and Christianity was eventually forced to flee to the shores of a distant land in search of religious freedom. A land where, without support from European colonial powers, they found only conflict and poverty.

In the modern day, this world remains divided. The wealthy Muslim East and the poverty-stricken Christian West are constantly at odds. A single spark is all it takes to ignite fresh conflict and the cycle seems never-ending.

Follow the paths of Ethan Lewis and Hamid Damir as they are put on a collision course with the other side. Will they find hope for a brighter future or be lost in the despair of intractable conflict?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

The path to Elisa’s house was one Ethan had walked often. One he took every Sunday afternoon after church and sometimes other days as well. Since it was Sunday, all the shops were closed. Church had only just let out and most of the people in the town of Cayuga would be at home having lunch with their families now.

Most, but not all, Ethan saw.

A large crowd had gathered up ahead and he would have no choice but to elbow his way through once he reached it. The crowd was loud and raucous, enraptured by the words of a single man standing on a low roof above them. The man wore the loose fitting, layered clothing common to all in Lachlond and the closer Ethan got, the more clear the speaker’s voice became.

“The time of our oppression is drawing to a close. Our deliverer is coming soon. He will ride on the clouds with his name marked on his thigh to bring the judgment of God down on our enemies. He is calling. Our deliverer is calling you! Will you answer his call? Will you stand with him and wear his mark? He is calling you to cast off the chains that hold you down, to rise above the fear that holds you back, and strike back at the enemy that defies His name!”

Ethan had to fight the urge to cover his ears against the cheers of approval. He reached the crowd and pushed his way in. He wasn’t a large man, but he’d always been stronger than his average build implied. Still, it was a struggle to shove his way through the thick press.

“He did not come to bring peace, but a sword, and that sword will overcome the power of our enemy and bring freedom!”

The words grated on Ethan’s ears. They were all too familiar. The same words that had drawn his father into battle ten years ago. A battle he had never returned from.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheOtherSideOfHopeR.F. Dunham writes with one purpose: to take you places you’ve never been before. That might be a distant fantasy land, the far reaches of space, the future of earth, or simply to an idea you’ve never encountered. A student of language and culture, Dunham’s stories will pull you into complex worlds that challenge your perception of your own surroundings.

After working for over two years as a professional ghostwriter, the time has finally come for him to release his first full-length novel published in his own name, The Other Side of Hope. His short story, “Just a Drop,” was recently published in Nebula Rift Science Fiction magazine and an interactive version of the story is currently in beta testing. When he’s not writing, R.F. can be found playing the trumpet, writing his thesis in Arabic linguistics, or hiking in the mountains of Virginia.

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Name The Feature & Win a Prize!

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We so excited! Starting next Saturday, we will have a weekend feature here on Long and Short Reviews.  This weekly blog post will not just feature books– believe it or not, Marianne and Judy (and our reviewers) like other things as well!  So, we’ll be chatting about some of our other interests … and we’d love to have you visit with us as well, if you want to guest post here.

One issue — we don’t know what to call it!  So… here’s your chance to help us choose the name for our new weekend feature.  It’s going to be miscellaneous offerings on things we happen to be thinking of, movies we might have recently seen, music we like (or don’t), something goofy (or frustrating or edifying) that happened to us, pet stories, kid stories, interesting tidbits we discovered during the week …the sky is pretty much the limit. One thing we will not be talking about is politics, so if you want a politics-free zone, come hang out with us on the weekends and chat with us!

So…what do you think the name for the new feature should be?  Leave your thoughts in the first entry on the rafflecopter, below, and be entered into a drawing for a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble GC! The drawing will be held on Friday, September 2nd and will announced on Saturday during our featured post!

And, hey … leave a comment about what you think of this new idea, and maybe even ask Judy, Marianne or our reviewers some questions or give us ideas about what you’d like us to talk about.  Thanks and good luck!

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LASR Anniversary: Victoria Pitts Caine

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Growing Succulents

My new passion is growing succulents. Last year I made a succulent wall out of concrete bricks, stacked just right to expose the center hole, filled it with potting soil and I had an easy care garden. My front porch holds a very large and very old Jade plant.

Succulents are also known as fat leaves since they store their moisture in various parts of the plant. There are sixty different plants families including succulents and they do well in a hot, dry climate which is what we experience a good six months of the year.

If grown indoors, they need five to six hours of sunlight and don’t go with the temptation to overwater. You need a well-draining container and they’re less happy in glass. They prefer 70 to 80 degrees, so if you’re comfortable, they probably are, too.

This year for my spring birthday and Mother’s Day, I received a basket of succulents and a box of succulent starters. Since the starters were routed from California to the vendor on the east coast and then back again, I was worried they’d survive. They also sat in a delivery van and the little box was hot when I received it. I busily got them planted, hoping they’d endure their ordeal. Thankfully they did, and I have a beautiful planter to keep my other succulents happy at the entryway.

I have been told you can water them and ignore them, probably why I do so well. Did you know the best thing for succulents is a spray bottle? Spritz and forget.

Cairo_Cover_medLiz McCran and Donnie Barnes travel to Cairo, Egypt, in search of Addie and Gary Wright, who were asked to deliver a mysterious envelope. Within days of their arrival, the couple has vanished. When Liz locates the Wright’s contact, Mr. Moustafa, she receives the first of several riddles.

Rayhan Shenouda, an Egyptian working at the American Embassy, agrees to help but his desire is to win Liz’s heart. Following his traditional customs, and much to her surprise, he proposes within days of their meeting.

Will the Wright’s be found? Can Rayhan and Liz’s love withstand an inevitable collision of cultures and customs? Or will it all end at the hands of a nomad insurgent named Ahmad?

About the Author:Victoria Pitts Caine is a native Californian and lives in the central portion of the state. Her varied interests include genealogy and exotic gemstone collecting both of which she’s incorporated into her novels.

The author has received recognition in both fiction and nonfiction from: Enduring Romance top 10 picks for 2008, William Saroyan Writing Conference, Byline Magazine, Writer’s Journal Magazine and The Southern California Genealogical Society. Her first novel published in 2007.

Victoria is a former staff technician in air pollution control. She is the mother of two daughters. Victoria and her husband enjoy travel, cooking, and are self-appointed “foodies”.

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LASR Anniversary: Carolyn Haley

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Gardening

The first gardening mistake I made when we moved to rural Vermont 17 years ago was thinking that perennials are something you plant once and enjoy forever.

Ohhhhhh no. Oh-ho-ho-no.

Well, in some cases it’s true—we’ve got peonies, for example, that came with the place and must be decades old—but the very fact that perennials stay in the ground makes them subject to seemingly endless variables, all exacerbated by the seemingly endless microclimates that characterize the region in general and our yard in particular.

I knew going in that some perennials, such as gladioli, are sensitive and must be brought indoors for the winter then reestablished in the spring. So I skipped those. I also knew that some perennials, such as most everything in the mint family, are invasive and must be either contained or planted where they can run amok. So I avoided those, too.

Then went on to plant my favorite species, since our well-established perennials represented a previous homeowner’s taste. Pretty much everything I put in failed within 1-3 years, while the established plants flourished. Huh?

I can divide or transplant the established perennials with shocking brutality and they just keep going like Energizer Bunnies, but my carefully selected, carefully tended new perennials just don’t last. Heck, I’m the only person I’ve ever met who can’t keep daffodils!

Even after I got smart and started planting only Zone 3–hardy specimens (learned from cataloguing everything established and finding that to be the common denominator), I still lose the new ones. Or else they shrink back in number to a few feeble survivors that keep returning enough to keep giving me false hope.

The experience has taught me a lot about the dominance of microclimates over zone maps, the difference between reproductive techniques, and perennial vs. diennial growth patterns. It also clarified the definition of “partial sunlight.” The thing that surprises me year after year, however, is the fact that some perennials move.

It’s a creepy thought that nags at me during the winter. While the land is frozen for months, somewhere below my feet there are tendrils reaching out, or seeds that fell over the summer, which will result in plants emerging somewhere other than where I put them. Thus I’ve had grape hyacinths and glory-of-the-snows pop up in the middle of the lawn. Thus I’ve had a crocus appear even though I never planted one. Thus the horseradish emerged in the woods 30 yards away from its calculated placement, the phlox choked out a complete garden, the lupines stepped sideways two feet, and the bee balm took over the compost pile.

These plants behave, in fact, like certain weeds. Heck, perennials are weeds, if you consider this definition: “What we call a weed is in fact merely a plant growing where we do not want it” (E. J. Salisbury, The Living Garden, 1935). In my yard, some perennials are invasive weeds—like the nightmare phlox, along with lilacs, anything in the rose family, and lily of the valley, which to me is as pernicious as grass. I have come to hate grass, which grows like a metastisizing cancer where you do not want it and refuses to grow where you do.

What this all adds up to is a three-part lesson: (1) Do thorough homework before you plant perennials. (2) Be prepared to monitor them closely and manage them regularly. (3) Make sure you put clumpers in the garden and movers somewhere they can spread.

Else you’ll discover that perennials are actually annuals, because you’ll be reinventing your yard and garden every year!

IntotheSunrise_w9422_300On one day in 1975, Linny Eagan loses her job, her beloved, and her dream of becoming an equestrian champion. So she adjusts her dream to include only horses, since unlike men they can never betray her.

While recovering on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, after a fall in a show, she meets Con Winston, trail leader at a stable. Con dreams of being a cowboy artist on a Montana ranch, but must play family head-games with his father until his twenty-fifth birthday, when he will inherit a fortune that will actualize his dream.

Though Linny needs love and money, she needs independence more. With neither of them willing to abandon their dreams, they continue in opposite directions despite a perfect match of heart and mind. Only Con’s horse connects them, until distance proves that pursuit of a dream needs love to sustain it.

About the Author:Carolyn Haley is a writer, editor, and reviewer living in rural Vermont. Through her business, DocuMania, she writes magazine articles and commercial copy, while helping book authors through editing, production, and education. She is author of The Aurora Affair, a metaphysical romance, and Open Your Heart with Gardens, a primer about interacting with the living green world.

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Buy the book at The Wild Rose Publishing.

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LASR Anniversary: Megan Slayer

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Fun Songs of the Summer

When I’m writing, I love to listen to music. I need to have noise. It’s silly, but if it’s quiet, then I’m not very productive. Now I’ve been on a writing binge this summer and I mentioned needing music. So what’s on my summer music list?

Glad you asked! Here are my top 5 songs:

Catch a Wave by the Beach Boys – it just puts me in a great mood and makes me want to write playful scenes. Plus, it’s a good segue into something a little hotter.

Short Shorts by The Royal Teens – this one is a little older than I am, but I love it. This tune makes me want to write beachy scenes with lots of hugging and kissing in the sand. It kind of makes me wonder about the sand in places, but that lends itself to fun in the shower, trying to get the sand off!

Splish Splash by Bobby Darin – Nice segue, eh? I thought so. Yep, this is the splashing in the tub song, but it’s more. I like the part about everyone joining him in the tub. Does it make me think of a ménage? You bet!

Wild Thing by the Troggs – First, I think of the movie Major League and what’s better than baseball players? The boys of summer!! But I also think of hot, steamy nights and needing to cool off…in inventive ways. That ménage, now with baseball players who may or may not have been on the beach in shorty shorts and sand in dangerous places, is really starting to take shape!

Finally… (this one will date me a bit)

Rush, Rush by Paula Abdul – This one sets the tone for hot times and snuggling. So after all of the theatrics of the day for those baseball players, now they can get comfortable.

What about you? Do you have special songs for the summer? Something a little newer than the ones on my list? Something to recommend? I’m all ears!!

MS_TogetherinCedarwood_coversmBobby Gagnon came back to town in the hopes of starting over. He’s got his kids and his accounting business, but he wants more. One look at the hot guy sharing the running trail with him is enough to stoke Bobby’s fire. He wants to hook up with the sexy runner, but he doesn’t even know the guy’s name. Will the man even want to be with a single father?

Remy Bard never considered himself a kid person or parent material. He’s happy with his job at the Cedarwood Tribune, but it’s not enough. Something’s always been missing in his life. He keeps seeing the same guy at the park—tall, dark, handsome and hot as hell in those running shorts. Although he’s shy, Remy isn’t about to let this guy get away without at least one night together.

These opposites certainly attract, but will their differences be enough to keep them apart or will they find a way to come together in Cedarwood?

About the Author: Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com and AllRomance Ebooks.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. Find out more about Megan and Wendi at: http://wendizwaduk.com/indexMegan.htm

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LASR Anniversary: Tess Bowery

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Garden marks in history

There is something compelling and intrinsically summer about the feel and smell of a kitchen garden. Our small plot of herbs, berries and veggies was the first thing to go in when we bought our first house, that feeling of ownership and belonging solidifying with every turned-over shovelful of that rich, dark earth. We’re urban gardeners, far from our families’ roots as farmers, but there’s still a magic to picking the first peas of the spring, and watching the strawberries and raspberries swell and redden in the sun.

I try an experiment in part of the garden every year, and last year’s ‘new thing’ was a packet of baby bok choi seeds, in the hopes of freshening up our stir fries and hot pot dinners. We were out of town when a heat wave hit, and the entire crop bolted, so I put the bok choi out of my mind and this year didn’t bother to reseed — on to asparagus and parsnips, for spring salads and winter stews. Except something wonderful and unexpected happened as soon as the weather turned warm. Little heart-shaped leaves began to push their way up where I had planned to put this year’s tomatoes, and within days —thank goodness I was lazy about weeding!—they developed into the delicate green leaves of more baby bok choi. We’ve enjoyed two meals out of the volunteers so far, with hope for more to come.

Sitting and weeding this morning, the dirt under my nails and the surprise bok choi flourishing in the space it reclaimed for itself, I flashed back to a study done in the 1970s, by a botanist named John Erskine. He travelled the province of Nova Scotia looking for evidence of colonial homesteads, houses and farms that had long since vanished. He wasn’t looking for foundation stones or rusted gates, though—he found his evidence of habitation in the plants surrounding the spaces where villages might once have been.

He found his long-deported Acadians in imported European plants, still seeding and replanting themselves in the reclaimed forests and old trails. Hawthorne hedges mark off pastures and boundaries from 350 years ago, collections of tansy, sorrel and hops flourish in spaces that may once have been kitchen gardens or herbals.

Flower seeds brought to Nova Scotia by trading ships clung to wagons and to horses, dropping along the stretches of wagon roads as farmers headed home from market, and found favourable soil. The roads not turned into modern highways have vanished along with the homesteads they connected to, but Erskine could trace their history in the unexpected patches of yellows and pinks that remained to colour the ground.

I couldn’t ask for a better reminder that the actions we take today will have ripple effects running down through time. What traces will my humble garden leave behind for future generations?

We are all autobiographers, in a way, leaving pieces of our own histories etched into the face of the planet. The next time I go walking in the woods and spot something out of place —a stand of horseradish, or patch of garden cress—my mind will be going to Erskine’s study, and the memories of a people who once made this land bloom. Will someone, hundreds of years from now, stumble upon some trace of my tiny asparagus bed and my perennial herbs and trace the memory of my summer days, recall the dirt under my nails for future generations?

It’s not a bad legacy, all told.

~~Erskine, John S. The French Period in Nova Scotia, A.D. 1500-1758, and Present Remains : A Historical, Archeological and Botanical Survey. Wolfville, N.S.: 1975.

SheWhomILove1400_webres Love would be simpler if it came with a script.

Marguerite Ceniza dies on the London stage each night, but her own life has barely begun. The ingénue is on the prowl for a lover, but while she burns with desire for Sophie, a confession could ruin their decade-long friendship. In the meantime there are always men vying to be her patron, and square-jawed, broad-shouldered James Glover can’t help but catch her eye.

Sophie Armand has been a lady’s maid for too long, and she’s sick of keeping secrets. Her hidden scripts and the story of her birth are only the beginning. Her nights are haunted by desperate thoughts of the beguiling Marguerite, and of James, the handsome tradesman who whispers promises of forever into her ear.

James has the kind of problem a lot of men would kill for—two women, both beautiful, both sensual, and both willing. Sophie wants marriage, while Marguerite’s only in it for fun, and choosing between them isn’t easy.

What’s the worst that could happen if he secretly courts them both?

Their romantic triangle is complicated in the most delicious way, until a shadowy figure from Marguerite’s past threatens to destroy the budding relationship—and their lives.

Warning: Contains a lady’s maid with secret desires, a corset-maker who knows his way around a woman’s body, and an actress who never has to fake it. Rated for adult audiences only.

**ARE Bestseller, and Finalist in 2016 Bisexual Book Awards for both Best Romance and Best Erotic Romance categories.**

About the Author: Tess Bowery lives near the ocean, which sounds lovely, except when it snows. An historian by training and a theater person by passion, she’s parleyed her Masters degree in English history into something that would give her former professors something of a surprise.

Her love for the Regency era began as they always do, with Jane Austen, and took a sharp left turn into LBGT biographies and microhistory. Now she indulges in both of her passions, telling the stories of her community in the time periods that fire the human imagination. Her first foray into contemporary M/M fiction, High Contrast, releases in 2016.

Along with writing, Tess splits her time between teaching, backstage work, LBGT activism and her family. She spends far too much money on comic books, loves superheroes and ghost stories, and still can’t figure out how to use Twitter properly.

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Buy the book at Tess’s website.

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LASR Anniversary: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

The Place to Be in the Summer

Every summer, my Granny’s porch became the gathering spot, a seasonal replacement for her living room. Sometime in late spring, my Pop would check out the glider. If it needed a fresh coat of paint or some oil to keep it gliding, he took care of the chores before returning it to its’ usual spot. Granny would get out the cushions or, every few years, buy new ones, usually in bright floral prints and make the glider a comfortable place to sit. To handle guests, they always brought a few of the heavy iron lawn chairs from the back as well and by the time summer arrived, the porch had become the place to be.

Although times have changed, I remain a porch person. I like to settle down in the swing on my front porch and read. I enjoy sipping some sweet iced tea or a chilled glass of Moscato wine. I also enjoy savoring a favorite summer treat out on the porch. Sure, there’s ice cream, sherbet, and Italian ices but another delight is peach upside down cake. It’s simple to make delicious to taste, and goes perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Here’s the recipe:

Peach Upside Down Cake

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 and ½ cup fresh peach slices or 1 16 ounce peach slices
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk.

Melt margarine in an eight or nine inch oven proof skillet or layer cake pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and arrange the peach slices. Cream margarine and granulated sugar together, blend in egg and vanilla, then add combined dry ingredients alternating with milk. Stir batter and pour over fruit. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Invert onto serving platter.

Enjoy and savor the sweetness of peaches, one of my favorite fruits, while reading. Romantic suspense fans might enjoy my latest, Slattery’s Sin available in eBook or paperback. Here’s the cover blurb:te

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00070] Living in California, working undercover is still surreal for Louisiana native Pride Slattery. He stands out – because of his unusual name, his military service in Iraq, and even his disability. Although he’s never quite adjusted to Los Angeles, he remains in place because he’s lost any enthusiasm for the future. One day is just like another and he’s schooled himself not to care. Things change, however, when he rescues a stolen purse for a beautiful woman, Sabetha Hill, who turns out to be from back home. He risks his heart for the first time in years as events propel him closer to an unexpected future. When he’s billed as a hero at a traffic accident, Pride is unmasked as a federal agent and danger looms ahead for both him and his lady. Someone will live, someone will die, and whether or not there can be a happy ending rests in Pride’s hands.

About the Author: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy delves deep into the human experience as she writes from the heart about everyday people caught up in often extraordinary circumstances. Although she makes her home in the small town of Neosho, Missouri in the Ozarks, she’s a native of St. Joseph, Missouri. When she’s not writing or reading, she may be found in the classroom as a substitute teacher. She’s penned more than 17 full length novels, a number of novellas, has been included in two dozen anthologies, and published many short stories and articles. She writes a weekly column for the Neosho Daily News. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Missouri Writers Guild and the Ozark Writers League. Her novels and short fiction have won awards. Her publishers include World Castle Publishing, Evernight Publishing, and Champagne Books. She is married with three children. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and sitting on the front porch in what passes for suburbs in a small town.

Look for a new release coming this fall, Canaan’s Land, also from World Castle Publishing or any of her other titles. Check out the full list on her Amazon author page.

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LASR Anniversary: Jana Richards

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Summertime in Spain
Two summers ago, my husband and I were lucky enough to spend a few days in Barcelona. We were about to embark on a cruise of the Rhone River in southern France, but before the cruise began, we had about three days to explore Barcelona. I loved the city. The architecture was beautiful, the people were warm and the weather was fabulous. Everywhere you look there’s something interesting to see.

We spent a lot of time walking around the old city, making our way through narrow cobbled streets lined with shops and tapas bars, and visiting extraordinary churches and other historical buildings. After our long walks we discovered the very pleasant Spanish custom of sitting at a sidewalk café and ordering a pitcher of sangria. I’d never much cared for sangria before, but I’m sure that was because it hadn’t been prepared properly. The Spanish really know their sangria! In every café we had it, it was delicious and refreshing. I can tell you the world looks very good when you’re watching it go by with a glass of sangria in your hand.

Here’s a recipe I found from Minimalist Baker that I believe embodies the summertime, chilled-out feel of Barcelona. ¡Que aproveche amigos!

Easy Traditional Red Sangria
½ apple, cored, skin on, chopped into small pieces
½ orange, rind on, sliced into small pieces, large seeds removed (plus more for garnish)
3-4 Tbsp (41-55 g) organic brown sugar, or 3 Tbsp (37.5 g) organic cane sugar
¾ cup (180 ml) orange juice, plus more to taste
1/3 cup (80 ml) brandy, plus more to taste
1 750 ml bottle of dry Spanish red wine
Ice to chill – 1 cup

1. Add apples, oranges and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with a wooden spoon for 45 seconds.
2. Add orange juice and brandy and muddle again to combine for 30 seconds.
3. Add red wine and stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust flavor as needed. You can add more orange juice, brandy or sugar if you wish.
4. Add ice and stir once more to chill. Serve as is or with more ice. Garnish with orange segments (optional).
5. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator for up to 48 hours, though best when fresh.

perf5.000x8.000.inddDr. Alex Campbell has an agenda—finish his contract to provide medical services in Maine, pay off his medical school debt, and head back to his real life in San Diego. But when he meets Julia, all his carefully laid plans are put in jeopardy.

Julia Stewart, Lobster Cove’s high school principal, swears she’ll never let another man drag her away from the home she loves. Her aging parents need her, and the Cove is where she wants to raise her daughter. When her mother’s illness brings her and the big city doctor closer together, panic sets in. Her marriage taught her men don’t stay.

Can she put aside the heartaches of the past and trust Alex enough to accept the love he’s offering? Or will her fear of abandonment mean she’ll send him away forever?

About the Author:When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with their Pug/Terrier cross Lou and several unnamed goldfish. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website.

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LASR Anniversary: Victoria Pitts Caine

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Summer Memories

It’s hard to put my finger on one special memory, but a number of memories from summers spent at the lake surfaced in my mind. Several families joined us over the years. Some related, some friends. I was always the youngest child, much to my brother and cousin’s dismay.

I learned to swim at the lake even though I took lessons at the high school pool. Dad would always take us around to the back of the lagoon where there was a large tree with massive exposed roots clutching on to gleaming white quartz. I have a piece of it in my rock garden fifty some odd years later.

The meals and evening campfires were the best because everyone ate together. The grownups pooled their resources and came up with the best meals. My mother always fried yeast bread at least once during the two weeks we stayed. Sprinkled with powdered sugar it was a wonderful treat resulting in my sticky fingers mingled with the dirt of camping.

After dinner, the adults would sit at long wooden benches, the night lit by Coleman lanterns. Depending on who might be there, as many as four couples. They all played cards, while my brother told me stories. He liked to scare me and convinced me moths were only the babies of a monster winged creature that lived over the mountains. He called them hoo-dangs and had me scared for years.

We camped in the same spot after I married and had children, but a certain magic was gone. I was now the magic maker teaching my girls to roast marshmallows in the evening after a day at the creek with their dad. Their sticky little fingers reminded me of mine and I hope left a memory.

TheTemperingAgent_Cover_medDr. Priscilla Hackling finds herself thrown back into the murder investigation of her fiancé, Trey Whittington. While she was a suspect three years ago, she’s now working with the police to find the murderer, Egyptian artifact trafficker, Zarka El-Din.

During a sting operation in Siwa, she and Agent Donnie Barnes are drawn to each other but Priscilla, overcome by personal ghosts from her past, decides a relationship isn’t possible.

Priscilla realizes she’s the bait in the ruse and uncovers others involved with El-Din. Will she and Donnie reconcile and unravel the reason behind Trey’s death before El-Din kills her, too?

About the Author:Victoria Pitts Caine is a native Californian and lives in the central portion of the state. Her varied interests include genealogy and exotic gemstone collecting both of which she’s incorporated into her novels.

The author has received recognition in both fiction and nonfiction from: Enduring Romance top 10 picks for 2008, William Saroyan Writing Conference, Byline Magazine, Writer’s Journal Magazine and The Southern California Genealogical Society. Her first novel published in 2007.

Victoria is a former staff technician in air pollution control. She is the mother of two daughters. Victoria and her husband enjoy travel, cooking, and are self-appointed “foodies”.

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