Top Five Pet Peeves about Writing by Jessica Lemmon – Guest Blog and Giveaway

1_28 Bringing-Home-the-Bad-Boy-Blog-Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. One randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter will receive a collection of Jessica Lemmon novels.

Top Five Pet Peeves about Writing

Hi and thank you for having me! Okay, you want to do know what irks me while I’m churning out 95,000 words of sexy, sensual romance? Well, I’ll put on my ranty pants and tell you. Here we go…

5: The dreaded 65%. Almost three-quarters into writing the first draft, I wonder how the heck I’m going to wrap up the book. Every. Time. Never fails. I start strong, plow through the middle, then right before the end, I’m pretty sure I’ll never figure out the happily ever after. Enter potato chips. Enter flailing. Enter rereading the book up to that point in search of clues.

4: Ow, my everything hurts. Why is there is no device that reads my thoughts and puts them into words so I don’t have to type? Because YOWCH, typing all those words hurts my wrists and fingers. I do have Dragon Dictation software, which helps, but getting phrases brain-to-mouth is difficult some days.

3: Try before you buy. Sometimes the only way to know if a scene will work is to write it. And sometimes that means deleting 2,000 words you just wrote because it didn’t. >.<

2: Pizza and potato chips. My coping mechanism during deadline is pizza and potato chips. My pet peeve about those two mechanisms is that they are very high in fat grams and calories. It’s impossible to stay fit while filling your face with deep fried potatoes.

1: WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE’RE OUT OF COFFEE?!?!

What about you? Do little things at your work get under your skin?

1_28 Lemmon_Bringing Home the Bad Boy_MMCreativity is his drug, painting is his escape, but she’ll be the addiction that brings him to his knees.

Evan Downey buried a part of his soul when put the love of his life in the ground. He knows he needs to get his shit together for the sake of their son, but escaping into his art is the only way he can begin to cope with Rae’s death. When the chance to move back to Evergreen Cove, one of the few places that has ever felt right to him, he knows it’s a chance he has to take. For his sake, and his sons. Charlotte Harris would give anything to have her best friend back. But if she can’t have Rae, then she vows she’ll at least be there to support the family Rae left behind. So when she learns that Evan is looking to move home, she does everything she can to help him and Lyon re-build their lives at the Cove. But when sparks start to fly between Charlotte and Evan it’s the first glimpse of something bright and beautiful either of them has seen in far too long. And they start to wonder if fate has offered them a second chance at happiness– if only their brave enough to take the risk and let love back into their lives.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Know why I moved here?” he asked, keeping his voice low.

She wrenched her eyes from his and focused on a spot over his shoulder.

“Because you didn’t want to live in Columbus anymore.” That’s what he’d told her. That he wanted a change. That he and Lyon had outgrown the house. And, she imagined it’d be hard to live in the house where Rae had passed.

“But why here?”

“Um…”

His fingers grazed her jaw and turned her head, his palm moving to her neck where he cupped her nape and forced her eyes to his.

Reluctantly, she met them.

“Rae’s more alive when you’re around, Ace.”

Her heart, oh her heart. Kicking against her chest in a confusing, hectic rhythm.

“You bring her to life for Lyon—more than anyone else. I need him to remember her because he can’t remember her alive.” His hold stayed, his palm warming her neck, his gaze unwavering.

She tried to separate the two feelings she was having—one that she was now talking about Rae with Evan and two, that he was touching her while talking about Rae.

Before she could, his lips closed over hers.

Her thoughts short-circuited.

This wasn’t anything like a soft peck hello. This was his lips moving over hers, slanting over hers, warm and firm and then his mouth opened and—

Oh my gosh!

His wet, warm tongue slid along the seam of her lips and she stopped being passive and started kissing him back. When she would have touched her tongue to his, he relocated it, running along her bottom lip instead and tugging with his teeth.

If she’d been standing, her knees would have given out and dropped her right on her butt.

And then there was the palm on her neck, now spearing up through her hair and clutching onto a handful of it. He held her captive, his hand fisting her hair as he angled his mouth again. In response to the soft whimper escaping her throat, he swept his tongue into her mouth. He tangled his tongue with hers once, twice, and released her.

When he pulled his mouth away, a long, satisfied sigh escaped her lips. Because that was a kiss. A kiss to rival all other kisses.

She opened her eyes to realize A) she’d closed her eyes and B) she’d at some point wrapped both hands around his forearms where she was holding tight and C) Evan looked as pleased as she felt.

“God damn, Ace. Your mouth.” His eyes flicked to her lips. Lips still tingling from the rough scrape from the stubble surrounding his.

She concurred with that sentiment. Not that she said anything. She’d gone dumb; completely mute.

He backed away, but held onto her chin and tweaked it lightly with the rough pad of one thumb. “That’s the way this is gonna go from now on.”

Her breathing went shallow, her thoughts went muzzy and her head blurred as her heart palpated to the point of panic attack.

“Sorry, Rae.”

She didn’t mean to say it, and it had only been a whisper, but by the look twisting Evan’s face—the angry look twisting his face—he’d heard. And he hadn’t liked what he’d heard.

“Sorry,” she said to him this time. “I should go.”

Unbelievably, he leaned closer. She pulled her chin back until she realized she likely had a double chin, then settled her head on her neck in a more reasonable position.

Gosh. He was making her crazy.

About the Author: 1_28 jessicalemmon_author photoJessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she’d only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since “eating potato chips” isn’t a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she’d started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn’t stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn’t be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)

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Lessons I Learned from the Devil Himself by Renee Bernard – Guest Post and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a $50 B&N or Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Lessons I Learned From the Devil Himself
I apologize for the shocking start but since the hero of my book is the last guy you’d expect to find lovable—I couldn’t resist. Before I tell you what I learned from my hero, I should explain that in the world of DEVIL TO PAY, Heaven, Inc. and Hades Enterprises, LLc (or H.E.LLc) are companies owned by an anonymous parent Corporation that oversees the development of human beings and does its best to keep the world on track.

And my Lucifer isn’t the original guy to hold the job. He’s the seventh in a line of Archangels unlucky enough to win the post when tapped by Upper Management. No souls are tortured and no evil is manufactured by employees of Hades. No dark caves or pits of brimstone here. Instead, think of H.E.LLc as a sixty-six story skyscraper filled with cubicles, paper shuffling departments and the best looking workers on the planet (apart from Heaven, Inc.’s but let’s not get that rivalry stirred up again, okay?)

When I first starting making notes about where I thought the story and the character of Lucifer were heading, I thought I would have to keep up with the sexy, darker trends of PNR and that Lucifer would be the Ultimate Bad Boy.

I was wrong.

It turns out he’s still an Angel at heart. It’s not defiance that puts you in the running for the title of Prince of Darkness. It’s obedience. He got handed a thankless job tied to a black onyx desk that guarantees him nothing but heartache and the eternal grind of watching just how horrible human beings can be to each other and themselves. He gets to absorb the blows of every wound, every bullet and every bomb of every single day without ceasing for the rest of eternity (or as long as he lasts in the black chair). He gets to shoulder the blame for the world’s ills and the curses of a good percentage of the human population.

It’s not a dream job.

So here’s what I learned from Lucifer. I learned that even if you are in a job or position in life that is miserable, there is honor and solace in doing your best. It may not be pretty but you take what you can, give what you have and love whenever the chance comes.

I learned that being true to yourself in the worst of circumstances is the best shield you can carry.

I learned that angels make terrible poker players.

I learned not to let the preconceptions of others define you.

I learned that the best gifts come from the heart and cost very little. Small gestures of kindness can change the world—or at the very least, make someone feel better about the world they’re in.

Everyone needs help now and then and a good Personal Assistant can make or break you.

I learned that we all deserve to love and be loved.

And finally, I learned that a sense of humor really helps when you are playing putt-putt golf with the Archangel of Death.

**

I hope readers will enjoy the DEVIL TO PAY and give the Devil his due…and then pick up the next books in the Eternity Gambit series, DEVIL MAY CARE, DEVIL OF A JOB and DEVIL IN THE DETAILS (all coming soon!)

Workplace comedy is always fun but when the company in question in H.E.LLc (Hades Enterprises LLc) and your job is being Lucifer, let’s just say, there are some unique challenges beyond Casual Fridays and who keeps taking your lunch out of the break room. Even if Hell really is just a place where evil is tracked and analyzed in endless cubicles-no brimstone and not a human soul in sight-there’s no room for error. This Lucifer (who is the seventh unlucky archangel to get the position behind the black onyx desk) is about to have his entire world rattled when a very sweet and likable mortal woman crosses his path.

After all, angels can’t lie. And when Jayne Hamilton wants to know what he does for a living, all bets are off. Because “dating” isn’t exactly in the cosmic scheme of the Eternity Gambit, but Love… Well, Love is never really off the table.

Now, if Lucifer can just figure out how to win the girl and get himself fired, he’ll be one very very happy angel.

“Filled with sparkling wit and devilish charm, DEVIL TO PAY is a delightful visit to the Shangri-La of Hell!” — Erin Quinn, The Three Fates of Ryan Love, NYT Bestselling Author

“Only Renee Bernard could make dating Satan sexy as sin! Funny, fresh, irreverent and utterly adorable!” – Dakota Cassidy, National Bestselling Author

First book in the new Eternity Gambit series from USA Today bestselling author Renee Bernard. This is a romantic comedy series with an original paranormal twist that defies categorization and turns every notion of Heaven and Hell on its ear.

Enjoy an excerpt:


“Smitten without a prayer,” Lucifer regained his focus on the present moment. “There’s no Sanction for me.”

“Wrong,” Uriel said softly. “How many people have walked into your building’s lobby in the last seventy-five years?”

Lucifer calculated his answer trying to remember. “Two. Besides her, I think it’s two.”

“Invited?” Uriel asked.

“Of course! Mortals can’t even see the structure unless—“ Lucifer stopped himself. “Oh, my God!”

Uriel smiled in triumph. “See? Sanctioned.”

“What did I just miss?” Raphael put the cards in the box.

“She found him without an invitation. She walked in of her own free will and unless it was Sanctioned, Management would have never allowed it.” Uriel smugly folded his hands like a magician revealing his best trick. “I’d say Michael’s going to eat his own hat when he finds out.”

Lucifer was speechless as he absorbed the implications.

Sanctioned. Was it really true that she’d been allowed to come to me? That there’s a chance? It’s all still human free will and the long shot of the millennia, but oh, God…thank you. I’ll have to get Malcolm to send you a gift in the morning for this one!

Luke shoved the chips at Azrael and excused himself with a bow. “I hate to win and run, but I have to see a Demon about a fruit basket.”

He instantly vanished and Raphael’s laughter filled the room. “You gotta love his exit lines!”

About the Author:

What in the world is a retired Navy chaplain’s daughter doing writing scorching hot historical romances and paranormal romantic comedies and even comic books? Renee Bernard is applying a great education from traveling all over the world to story telling and doing her best to keep her father proud. Truthfully, her father is her number one fan, even though he has sworn never to read a single word of her books (a vow he has kept to this day!) Nothing stops him from telling everyone he knows that his daughter is now a USA Today Bestselling author or from handing out bookmarks on the golf course. Love can make even a minister do strange things!

Renee Bernard is a freelance writer and host of “The Romance Bookmark” on Readers Entertainment, as well as a contributor to Romantic Times BookReviews magazine. Renee currently lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. (Note an interesting proximity to great wineries!)

DEVIL TO PAY is available now online wherever books are sold and is coming soon to Audio! The Eternity Gambit series is a fun departure from her well-known Victorian set historical romances and creates a new world for readers unlike any other. DEVIL TO PAY is the first book in this new series and is gathering up 5-Star reviews and momentum as more readers discover that office politics can hit a whole new level of crazy when you work at Hades Enterprises, LLc (or H.E.LLc).

For more information, please visit her website at http://www.reneebernardauthor.com or http://www.eternitygambit.com. You can also find her at Facebook at Renee Bernard Fan Page, and Twitter.

Buy the book at Amazon, Smashwords, or Barnes and Noble.

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Five Fun Facts about Hot and Bothered by Kate Meader – Guest Blog and Giveaway

1_27 Hot-and-Bothered-Launch-Day-Blitz[8]

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. One randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter will receive a set of Kate Meader’s Hot in the Kitchen series, including FEEL THE HEAT, ALL FIRED UP, and HOT AND BOTHERED.

Top 5 Fun Facts about HOT AND BOTHERED
1. It’s a Friends to Lovers romance, which after opposites-attract is my favorite trope. The conflict is so delicious. The stakes are high. The possibility of losing your best friend is JUST TOO RISKY. What could go wrong?

2. It starts with my heroine, Jules in labor, her best friend/future hero, Tad holding her hand through the birth—and he’s not the dad.

3. The hero is sex-on-Italian-legs, can cook, and owns a wine bar – ‘nuff said.

4. The heroine is dyslexic, but has come up with great coping strategies to help her read recipes (our hero helps with a cool gift designed especially for her)

5. Readers will learn the proper way to dice an onion without getting all teary-eyed. Keep the tears for the romance!

1_27 Meader_Hot and Bothered_MMA Fire They Can’t Put Out . . .
Although her baby boy keeps her plate full, Jules Kilroy is ready to take her love life off the back burner. Despite a bevy of eligible bachelors, it’s her best friend, Taddeo DeLuca, who is fueling her hormones with a generous serving of his mouth-watering Italian sexiness. But Jules learned her lesson once before when she went in for a kiss, only to have Tad reject her. She’s vowed never to blur the lines again . . .

After a lifetime of excuses and false starts, Tad has finally opened a wine bar, a deal made even sweeter when Jules joins his staff. Lovers come and go, and he’s had his share, but friendships like theirs last forever. Still, ever since he tasted her luscious lips, he can’t stop fantasizing about what could be. Then she joins an online dating site-and the thought of his Jules with another man makes Tad’s blood boil. Even if he gets burned, Tad can’t stop himself from turning up the heat this time.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Tip your chin up—yeah, just like that.” Click. “Now lean forward, lemme see those puppies.”

“Lili,” came the slightly embarrassed reply. Jules.

“Come on, don’t be shy. You have an amazing figure and—oh, perfect. Hold that.” Click.

Tad’s heart thudded insanely fast. He crept a few inches forward until he had cleared the pillar with his gaze. Lili had her back to him, shielding her subject, but he got a very healthy view of shapely legs inadequately covered by something red and soft-looking.

“You know, if you ever felt comfortable enough to go bare, I’d love to photograph you.”

Jules snorted. “I can see Jack’s face now.”

His cousin laughed. “We could insist he put it up in the dining room at Sarriette. He’d be so torn between wanting to encourage my art and being totally skeeved out.”

Girly giggles ensued.

“My wild days are behind me,” Jules said on the downside of a laugh. “You wouldn’t believe some of the shenanigans I got up to back in London.” He heard her breathy sigh of reminiscence and strained to hear what salacious details might follow. This London version of Jules sounded like a woman he’d like to know.

“Oh, yeah? Spill, girl.”

“Well, there was one time I jumped in a fountain and stripped down to my—”

“Hey, cuz,” Lili said to him, a sly smile quirking one corner of her mouth. “How long have you been there?”

He patted the pillar he had just been leaning against/hiding behind like they were great pals. “Just got here.”

Lili’s smile turned slyer. “Didn’t expect you.”

“Do I need an excuse to come see my favorite cousin?” It came out a touch testy.

“Not at all. I just thought you’d be busy stroking your Cabs and Pinots.”

“Only do that on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Should I leave?”

“No, we’re just finishing up.” Lili sat at her iMac and hooked up the camera with a cable.

“All right?” Jules asked, almost shyly, as though they barely knew each other and in a way it felt like he was looking at her anew. The dress she wore was one he hadn’t seen before, a cherry-red, draped affair. One of those wrap-around deals that separated her breasts and flared over her waist. Not especially sexy but…

In that dress, she looked like she should be running the PTA, then going down on her husband in the Subaru in the school parking lot. Thankfully, that was years off because Evan was just an ankle biter… unless she hooked up with some lonely widower who already had school-age kids. Damn, that was a real possibility. He bet those websites were crawling with lonely widower fathers.

He was having problems catching his breath, a hitch that extended to his cock, which suddenly needed breathing room. To be perfectly honest, if Lili wasn’t there, he would be seriously considering unwrapping that dress and exploring the finely curved gift underneath. Jules stared back, probably wondering why he was ogling her like a just-released convict who hadn’t seen a woman during his fifteen and a third in the clink.

“Hey,” he said, finally responding to her greeting of about ten minutes back. He diverted his eyes away from her breasts to a good twelve inches north. Women 101. They preferred when you looked at their faces.

“Getting your photo taken?” he mumbled in a clear case of graduating summa cum laude from the School of the Freaking Obvious. His IQ had just dipped a hundred points.

“Uh huh. For my profile.” She blushed, and that’s when he noticed that she was wearing a lot of eye make-up. The smoky, sexy eyes that you saw on magazine models. She had done something different with her hair, too. It was tousled, fuck-me hair.

“My glamour shot, as Lili calls it,” she said with an eye roll. Can you believe what they’re trying to make me do?

His body clenched and he willed it to relax. Her glamour shot. She may as well have painted a sign: Come All Takers, Get Your Hot Mama Here. Lord knew he was trying to stop staring at her but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from all those damn curves.

“Is something wrong?” she asked.

“No,” he snapped, and then softer, “It’s all good.”

“I’ll just get changed,” she muttered, swaying away to the cover of an ornamental screen in the corner.

He blinked to get his brain in the groove and made inane chitchat with Lili about the plans for Tony and Frankie’s wedding anniversary party. If his parents had still been here it would have also been their anniversary. The couples had married in a double wedding extravaganza thirty-five years ago. He shoved that to the back of his mind with the rest of the shit he had succeeded in burying.

He was an absolute expert at it by now.

Jules walked out from behind the screen, pulling up the zip of her sweatshirt, but not so fast that he missed the sweet swell of her breasts in something thin and stretchy. Come on!

“Could I see how it came out?” she asked Lili as she set a suit bag over a chair.

“Sure.” His cousin clickity-clicked her screen.

Tad stole another glance at Jules. He couldn’t not look at her. A pearly pink glow had washed her cheeks and she looked so damn fine, he wanted to lick every inch of her. He turned back to the screen and what he saw wasn’t much better.

She looked fucking gorgeous.

Well, she always looked gorgeous, whether she was in baggy sweats or a frayed tee that had seen better days. Even when she looked like she was falling asleep on her feet, she never failed to look amazing to him.

Now she looked amazing to the world.

About the Author: 1_27 KateMeader-author[7]Kate Meader writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, sexy heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she now makes her home in Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter – and where she met her own sexy hero. When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Visit her website at http://katemeader.com and follow her on Twitter @kittymeader

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Five Favorite Places to Vacation by Rebecca Zanetti – Guest Blog and Giveaway

1_27 zanetti Blind-Faith-Launch-Day-Blitz[19]

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. We’ve got a fantastic Rafflecopter tourwide giveaway which includes a grand prize of all three books in the series, plus an ARC of TOTAL SURRENDER, a “Who Shot Jory Dean?” T-shirt and a Blind Faith dog tag.

~~~~~

Thank you to the Long And Short Reviews folks for having me over today to have some fun. I was asked about my top five favorite places to vacation, so here they are:

1. Hawaii: I love the islands, and we usually fly over there when it’s freezing at home. Sitting on the beach and soaking in sun is the way to relax, and I’m also known to write a bit at the pool.

2. Mexico: We take a grown up trip with four other couples every few years to a private home in Mexico on the beach and with an awesome pool. We usually end up with a brutal volleyball tournament, complete with a trophy.

3. Ireland: I love Ireland and always will. My family is Irish, and I feel like I’m coming home when I’m surrounded by all that greenery.

4. Australia: I backpacked around Australia with a friend years ago, before I was married with kids, and I had an amazing time. I’d love to do that again someday.

5. Home: Yeah, I’m one of those folks who like to have a stay-cation at home with comfy jammies and ice-cream. I enjoy a good movie marathon in front of the fire.

This was tons of fun – thanks so much for having me here! Where does everyone else like to vacation?

1_27 Zanetti_Blind Faith_MM[19]A betrayal he couldn’t forget . . .

For Nate Dean, love is a four-letter word. As part of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be ruthless soldiers with an expiration date. They were loyal only to one another . . . until Nate laid eyes on the woman who stole his heart and blew his world apart. Now, years later, his family is still paying the price for his mistake. But as time runs out, there’s only one person who can save his family: the very woman Nate swore he’d never trust again.

A love she couldn’t deny . . .

The moment Audrey Madison spies Nate across a crowded ballroom, she can barely breathe. He’s just as undeniably sexy as she remembers, yet there’s an edge to him now that’s as irresistible as it is dangerous. When he asks for her help, Audrey can’t refuse. But she has secrets of her own–secrets that, if Nate ever discovers them, may cost them both their lives . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Let’s dance.” He turned her toward the dance floor.

She balked. “No.” God. She couldn’t dance with him, couldn’t be touched by him.

“Yes.” His hold slid down to the back of her elbow, and he ushered her toward where the orchestra was playing “I Will Wait for You” by Michel Legrand. The warmth in Nate’s touch flared her nerves to life in an erotic need she’d worked hard to overcome.

“Nate—”

“Shhh.” He tightened his hold and drew her into an impressive erection.

She gasped, her face heating, her sex convulsing. Blinking, she glanced up in confusion to see if he was as affected as she was and stilled at the look in his eyes.

Furious. The man was truly furious. Even with the contacts masking his eyes, his anger shone bright.

She tried to step back and didn’t move. Yeah, she knew she’d hurt him when she’d ended their relationship, but after nearly five years, he shouldn’t still be so mad. He’d had freedom for five years, which was a hell of a lot better than she’d had. She’d had pain and fear and uncertainty. She blinked. “What is wrong with you?”

His impossibly hard jaw somehow hardened even more. “Oh, we’ll discuss that shortly.” Threat lived strongly in the calm words. “For now, we’re going to finish this dance. Then you’ll take the north exit and meet me in my car so we can talk.”

“If I don’t?” she asked quietly, wings fluttering through her abdomen.

His hold tightened imperceptibly. “I know where you live, I know your daily routine in working for Senator Nash, and I know where you go when you need time alone. You can’t hide, you can’t outrun me—and you know it.”

The hairs on the back of her neck rose. “How long have you been watching me?” More importantly, why hadn’t she noticed?

“A week. Long enough to know the two apes toward the doorway are following you, too. What’s up with that?” His hold tightened just enough to show his strength.

She shrugged. “They haven’t made a move, so I’m not worrying about it.” Not true, and by the narrowing of Nate’s eyes, he could still smell a lie a mile away. “The commander is having me followed.”

Nate’s jaw clenched. “Why?”

“Dunno.” They didn’t have time to discuss it. “You should go now.”

“No.” He spun her, easily controlling their movements.

Her leg hitched, and she stumbled against him.

He frowned. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” None of his damn business, that was. “What do you want to talk about?”

His gaze narrowed, and he spun her again. She tripped again. Her damn leg didn’t move that way. She glanced toward the doorway and the two soldiers watching her. They’d straightened to alert stances. Damn it.

“What’s wrong with your leg?” Nate asked, brows furrowing.

Oh, they were so not going into her injuries on the dance floor. “You almost sound like you care.” She threw his words back at him, gratified when his nostrils flared in irritation.

His gaze probed deep, wandering down her neck. He blinked several times, his chest moving with a harsh intake of breath. “I like your dress,” he rumbled, his voice a low whisper.

With his tight hold, she had no doubt the tops of her breasts were visible. “Nathan, don’t—”

“Don’t what?” His gaze rose to her lips. A light of a different sort filtered through his angry eyes. She knew that look. Her body heated and her thighs softened. His erection jumped against her, and she bit down a groan.

“One kiss, Audrey.”

Her eyes widened to let in more light. “No,” she breathed. One of his hands held hers, the other pressed against her back. Thank goodness. He couldn’t grab her and kiss her, no matter how appealing the thought. “Bad idea.”

“I know.” Nate didn’t need hands. His lips met hers so quickly, she never saw him move.

His mouth covered hers with no hesitancy, no question—as if he had every right to go deep. His tongue was savage and demanding, holding nothing back and accepting no evasion. He tasted of loneliness, anger, and lust. Hard, needy, demanding lust.

The men at the door were watching.

But her body didn’t care—instantly igniting instead of pushing away. Her heart thundered in her ears, and she fell into his heat, uncaring of whether or not he caught her. He wrapped around her, his unyielding body holding her upright. He caressed her with his tongue, and she met him thrust for thrust, fierce pleasure lighting her on fire.
She forgot where they were, who they were, everything but the desperate need he created.

He broke the kiss, blatant male hunger crossing his face. His breath panted out even as he moved them in tune with the music.

She softened against him, allowing him to lead so she didn’t collapse. Her mind whirled, and she shook her head to regain reality. “Nathan, what do you want?” The question emerged as a breathless plea she couldn’t mask.

That quickly, all hints of desire slid from his face. His chin hardened. “Want? I want to know what happened to the child you were carrying five years ago when you ripped out my heart. Where’s my baby, Audrey?”

About the Author: 1_27 ZanettiFORGOTTENSINSRebecca[19]New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner – only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She is a member of RWA, has won awards for her works throughout the industry, and has a journalism degree with a poly sci emphasis from Pepperdine University as well as a Juris Doctorate from the University of Idaho.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day-or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.

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Enticing Hart by Mae Hancock – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter will receive a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Hart Emile is tired of cruising for guys, living a soulless existence. He needs a change; so when an acquaintance gives him the number of the gay friendly Red Fox Ranch that’s hiring for staff, he heads south.

Oak Redman is eighteen years old and desperate to explore his awakening sexuality. The moment Hart lays eyes on the handsome young rancher he’s smitten. Not only is Oak hot, spirited and very persistent, he is also the ranch boss’s son and strictly off limits. Hart tries to fight his feelings and to respect his boss and the family who quickly become dear to him, but after Oak’s Grandma suggests he gets with Oak he can’t deny himself the most exciting and enticing man he has ever met.

Hart’s not the only man to have noticed how sweet and charming Oak Redman is. A family friend, Steve, is also anxious to have the affections of the young rancher. Can Hart work out Steve’s dark secrets before it’s too late and keep his job, his lover and his life?

Enjoy an excerpt:

The high-pitched choir of songbirds echoed through the forest as Oak and Hart settled on a rug, late in the afternoon. The two of them had found a clearing at the side of the forest that was near enough to the tress to offer shade, but also close to the water where they’d been fishing. They’d no sooner sat down than Hart spotted something on the other side of the riverbank moving in the grass.

“Shh…I just saw something. I think it’s an otter.” Hart absentmindedly put a hand on Oak’s lap to still him. He didn’t know which was more exciting, seeing the otters, or the burning hot palm that touched his thigh. Oak sat rigidly, glancing between the handsome cowboy’s hand and the otter family bounding along through the grass bank.

“Aren’t you going to get your camera?” Hart chivvied him along.

“Oh…yes.” Oak moved slowly, reaching for the black bag and pulling the camera out. He attached the lens calmly and crawled down the small decline toward the stony bank. He beckoned Hart to join him then focused the lens on the otters. He could hear his companion creeping through the grass behind him. Belly down on the mud, Oak steadied the camera as Hart came alongside him, and let out a sigh as he sank down next to Oak to watch.

The female had two pups with her. As their svelte bodies wound through the rocks to the water’s edge, the mother otter glided into the river without so much as a splash, and the two pups followed. Oak lost count of the photos he took, possibly hundreds of shots as they paddled through the murky depths cautiously. Their fur shiny and dark from absorbing water, making their frames sleeker as they gracefully bathed against the flow.

“Can you hear them?” Hart said with a smile that sprang from his lips right through to his big gray eyes.

“Yeah…” Oak whispered.

The otters called to one another with endearing high-pitched squeaks.

“You ever seen them hold hands?” Hart asked, his lips so close to Oak’s ear that he could feel Hart’s breath tickling the skin.

“No, but I’d love to get a picture of it.”

After about fifteen minutes of lying in the grass like a predator, Oak’s pointed his lens to follow the family towards some big flat stones that were warm from the sun. The otters rested on the smooth surface, shaking their fur, and squeaking to each other until eventually all three disappeared through the long grasses.

“Hart.” Oak turned to face his companion on the ground.

“Yes?”

“I just realized I’m getting damp down here,” Oak said, letting out a snort.

“Me too…” A wicked smile came to his dark pink lips that spread out with luscious fullness as he broke into a chuckle.

At that moment elation filled Oak Watching the beautiful man was always a pleasure. The river tickled over rocks, murmuring quietly, and Hart’s lips were so close to Oak’s that he could feel each breath on his skin. Moving closer, Hart’s mouth brushed Oak’s so slightly, that Oak wasn’t even sure they’d actually touched.

With closed eyes, Oak parted his mouth willing the man’s tongue inside. Soft, plump lips pressed against his sending a shudder through his spine. His breath hitched with anticipation. A chaste kiss ended with Hart pulling away and shaking his head.

“You and your wildlife photography are leading me astray, young Mr. Redman.”

“Sorry…” Heat rushed up to Oak’s neck and face. He couldn’t understand why he was blushing. The soft, innocent kiss had been simple enough, but the highly-strung emotions behind it made him hot with every need possible. All of his senses were raw, responsive to the man’s presence. What would Hart’s muscles feel like under the man’s touch? Warm, golden skin would rub easily against his, and the comforting, arousing scent of pine would enhance each sensation further.

Hart stood; the blue T-shirt had ridden upward, exposing his flat stomach and hard abs. He tugged the material down, covering the dark treasure trail leading to his cargo pants, and dusted himself off, shedding grass from his top. Oak stared, then realized he should roll his tongue back in and get to his feet. He followed Hart back to the blanket, and flicked through some of the shots he’d taken of the otters.

“You want a look?”

“Sure.” Hart put hand out and took the camera instead of coming close to Oak but being three feet away still made his skin tingle with expectation. An expectation that would go unfulfilled.

About the Author:I enjoy writing both academic and fiction material. My research interests include focus on people who experience marginalization, both in historical societies and modern. Themes include disability, neurosis, homosexuality, addiction, mental illness, slavery and prostitution. The most important part of my work is creating multi-dimensional, believable characters that are able to build lasting romantic relationships against the odds. I want all my readers to laugh, cry and enjoy the erotic journey towards a happy ending.

Website: http://www.maehancock.com/

Blog: http://maehancockfiction.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: @Hancockfiction

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008234531718

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Character by Amber Kell – Guest Blog

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher.

 

 

First I’d like to thank you for letting me visit here at Long and Short Reviews!

I think writing a blog post can be one of the most nerve-wracking things to do. For a story I can write whatever comes into my head but for a blog story I’m supposed to have a focus.  I’ve decided to write a bit about character. All stories begin with picking a character or two to wrap your plot around.

There are a series of questions an author has to ask to determine basic things about a character. What does your character look like? Is he tall or short or did you borrow his physique from a porn star? What is he good at? Does he have badass computer skills or maybe he can take down an army with one hand tied behind his back while tying his shoes with the other? Establish your character’s abilities by sharing what makes him interesting. It could be something small or a large secret he doesn’t want to share.

In Porter’s Reaper, Porter is just coming into his powers and as he learns to control his abilities he becomes more confident in himself. Is your character naturally confident or does he have hidden insecurities to address? Deep down everyone has something they are insecure about. How much that controls your character’s behavior is up to you.

Sometimes authors learn about their characters as they’re being written. Okay, maybe I’m the only author who does that, some authors do this planning thing I don’t understand. I even know some authors who do extensive character backgrounds. There is no right way to build a character as long as you can identify with the person you create long enough to tell his story. What’s your favorite type of character? Please share below!

While you’re thinking it over here is an excerpt from Porter’s Reaper. You can see a bit about my characters here.

Excerpt from Porter’s Reaper:

Hades shook his head and caused a ball of fire to form on his right index finger. He tossed it from hand to hand as he spoke. “I tried to get hold of him, but something is blocking my communication. I would’ve thought it some sort of protection spell to stop magic from invading campus, but it has a sense of wrongness about it. I hate to sound like a worrier, but I suspect something is wrong at the Academy.

If I send a representative to the meeting, no one will think anything about it if you start poking around. Besides, you have the best instincts of all my Reapers. I trust you implicitly.”

Alstair puffed up with pride. Sure, he knew Hades used praise to manipulate him but Alstair also knew the God of the Underworld truly respected his skills.

“To help you snoop around, I’m going to send a companion with you. Someone familiar with the campus.”

“I have been there before,” Alstair reminded him. “When I taught Elijah and when I took a few classes.” He’d taken some night courses in the latest magical discoveries. Alstair liked to stay at the top of his game.

“Yes, but you didn’t live there. You stayed at a place off campus.”

“True. I still prefer to do things alone,” Alstair said, not quite willing to give up the argument. He kept his tone respectful. If Hades got too frustrated with him, the results were never good. Alstair didn’t want to spend another century processing incoming souls. The thought of the paperwork alone made him want to die all over again.

“Be nice to him,” Hades warned. “He’s shy.”

“Who is it?” There were many creatures in the Underworld, most Alstair didn’t think needed to see the light of day. Starting a riot at the campus probably wouldn’t make them open to any of Hades’ suggestions.

“Porter!” Hades shouted. The god’s voice echoed and Alstair fought the urge to clap his hands over his ears. If he weren’t a god, Alstair would wonder if Hades had hearing problems. The god never seemed to notice when people winced over the volume of his voice.

A slim man with blond hair, a scruffy face and worried eyes ran up to them. He came to a sliding stop and bowed low to Hades. He flashed Alstair a questioning look before returning his attention to Hades. “What can I do for you, Sir?”

Sir? The kid was adorable. If Hades’ grin was anything to go by, the God of the Underworld shared Alstair’s assessment. Damn, he was going to be stuck with a newbie. The gleam in Hades’ smile didn’t promise anything but hardship.

 

 

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This is book five in the A Wizard’s Touch series, see the full series listing here

Death is a minor inconvenience in the path to true love.

When the God of the Underworld sends Alstair back to the Academy to help pick out a new headmaster, he doesn’t mention he put Alstair in for the job. Angered but willing to keep his word, Alstair discovers the headmaster position comes with more knots of deception than a sailor’s rope.

Porter Exton had a crush on Alstair. He’d watched Alstair train Elijah through the window and had spent more than one night dreaming of the Reaper. However, dreams were set aside in order to discover the truth about his death and if the man who killed him is responsible for the other deaths at the school.

Two men with different backgrounds need to discover what they have in common if they hope to save themselves from plotting gods, egomaniacs and possible killers.

 

About the Author: Amber Kell has made a career out of daydreaming. It has been a lifelong habit she practices diligently as shown by her complete lack of focus on anything not related to her fantasy world building.

When she told her husband what she wanted to do with her life he told her to go have fun.

During those seconds she isn’t writing she remembers she has children who humor her with games of ‘what if’ and let her drag them to foreign lands to gather inspiration. Her youngest confided in her that he wants to write because he longs for a website and an author name—two things apparently necessary to be a proper writer.

Despite her husband’s insistence she doesn’t drink enough to be a true literary genius she continues to spin stories of people falling happily in love and staying that way.

She is thwarted during the day by a traffic jam of cats on the stairway and a puppy who insists on walks, but she bravely perseveres.

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Ember’s Center by Jillian Jacobs – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jillian will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC plus a signed paperback copy of Ember’s Center and a Green Moose Productions fridge magnet (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

1_26 Cover_EmbersCenterShe spent her life fighting for middle ground, and now that she’s found it, she’ll fight for her life.

Ember Brooks yearns for an end to the dark chapters of her life—abusive mother, negligent father, teenage trauma, and sibling suicide. Determined to escape her traumatic past, Ember is finally headed for solid ground, gathering strength and balance with the help of her trusted counselor and friend, Xander Kane.

Still reeling from the death of her brother, Ember finds solace when Manchester Marauders center, Owen Killion goes on the offensive and barrels into her life. Both on the football field and off, Owen is sure-footed and confident. With his domineering presence and reliable nature, he alters her game-plan. But for a girl continually left on the sidelines, can she leave her heart on the line?

When Ember is the victim of increasingly dangerous incidents, and Xander changes the course of their relationship, once more her life spirals out of control.

Ember trusts Owen to guard their love, but when someone else is calling the shots, can they reach the end zone or will they fumble?

Enjoy this exclusive excerpt:

Xander stretched his neck from side to side, limbering up for the hour-long class that would teach him nothing new. Real-life dramas were the true classrooms. From the first, Ember’s story drew him. Psychology textbooks scripted her life on every page. Her chapters lay titled in bold black font: abusive mother, negligent father, unhealthy lifestyle, teenage trauma, and sibling suicide.

He’d met Ember during her sophomore year of college, when she’d worked behind a fast-food counter. Teased and taunted by drunken customers about her weight…and yet, she never batted an eye. Right then, he knew she was the one.

After a few more nights of observation, he introduced himself and worked past her initial misgivings. Delving into her life story and helping her overcome her issues ranked him smarter and wiser than his peers. Ember was the perfect test subject. He watched other students waste time on recreational pursuits, but he allotted time with Ember, honing his knowledge, digging deeper into her psyche.

And now, the time spent grooming her had come to fruition. His patience and guidance would lead to their mutually beneficial future together. Carefully planned construction was necessary in the next phase of Ember’s development—love.

He alone held the hammer.

About the Author: In the spring of 2013, Jillian Jacobs changed her career path and became a romance writer. After reading for years, she figured writing a romance would be quick and easy. Nope! With the guidance of the Indiana Romance Writers of America chapter, she’s learned there are many “rules” to writing a proper romance. Being re-schooled has been an interesting journey, and she hopes the best trails are yet to be traveled.

Water’s Threshold, the first in Jillian’s Elementals series, was a finalist in Chicago-North’s 2014 Fire and Ice contest in the Women’s Fiction category.

Jillian is a: Tea Guzzler, Polish Pottery Hoarder, and lover of all things Moose.

The genres she writes under are: Paranormal and Contemporary with suspenseful elements.

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My Writing Process by Kelly Stone Gamble

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My Writing Process
Writers often talk about their ‘process’ and I bow to those who can actually define one. I’ve thought long and hard about what my own process for writing is, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to describe how I write is to talk about my first paintball experience.

When my sons were in high school, I tried to be the ‘cool’ mom and was willing to try anything at least once. I discovered I’m pretty good at laser tag, terrified of SCUBA and can still throw a mean left upper cut. But, typically, these activities weren’t necessarily planned well in advance, it was more like, “What should we do today? Go for a hike? Rollerblade? Try out the new boxing gym that opened downtown?” And soon, we were in padded helmets, boxing gloves and mouth pieces, punching bags and showing off our fancy footwork. That’s how we ended up at paintball.

I have to say I was uncomfortable at first. The gear can be heavy, the mask is designed for protection, not necessarily sight, and the gun full of paint was not something I was used to carrying around. But I soon got used to all of this and became somewhat comfortable with the restrictions. I started to gain confidence and began to formulate a plan of attack.

I found myself becoming frustrated quite often, as I would have what I considered a great hiding spot but was soon discovered by one of my sons who was more than happy to stealthily sneak up from behind and unload his purple paint on me while the other stayed at a safe distance and sniped me with green. I looked like Barney the Dinosaur, and, yet, no-one had a trace of my yellow paint on them. But frustration be damned, I was determined to make something happen.

I decided that hiding and playing it safe was not necessarily the best strategy. So I went rouge. I ran through the paintball court, shooting left, then right, behind me, above me, at anything that appeared to be moving. I even tried a fancy roll, which was much more graceful in design than in execution, but came up shooting.

I got slaughtered. I couldn’t have been more covered had I climbed in a barrel of paint. When the alarm sounded, indicating the session was over, I ran to the exit. I was a mess, exhausted and a bit humiliated by my performance.

But as we took off our gear, I noticed that there were splatters of yellow on my sons: a knee here, a butt cheek there and a few chest shots. Regardless of the pain and frustration I had experienced, I had managed to make a half dozen shots stick and some of them were expert in placement. In my mind, all of the mediocre could be deleted, leaving nothing but the perfect yellow circles.

My writing process is a lot like this. It begins with spontaneity, I have an idea, so I dive right in. I start with a plan, but soon find myself running through my field of thoughts, throwing paint everywhere. It is definitely exhausting and can be frustrating at times. But then I go back and evaluate what I’ve actually done. I delete the ineffective splatters and wash off what didn’t stick. And what’s left?

Bull’s-eye.

About the Author: 1_26 bio shotKelly Stone Gamble lives in a hunting lodge in Idabel, Oklahoma, and spends way too much time looking for Bigfoot and the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, both of which are said to reside in her 1,800 acre backyard. When she isn’t writing, trying to keep her dog from befriending a skunk, or shooting various wildlife (camera shooting, that is), she teaches Communications, Humanities and English to students at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

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1_26 They-Call-Me-Crazy-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalCass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it. But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn’t stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.

The police chief wants a quick verdict—he’s running for sheriff and has no time for crazy talk. But like Roland’s corpse, secrets start to surface, and they bring more to light than anybody expected. Everyone in Cass’s life thinks they know her—her psychic grandmother, her promiscuous ex-best friend, her worm-farming brother-in-law, and maybe even her local ghost. But after years of separate silences, no one knows the whole truth. Except Roland. And he’s not talking.

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For Keeps by Rachel Lacey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a collection of books by Rachel Lacey.

Top 5 Best Things about being a writer

1. I get to work in my pajamas with a glass of wine :)

2. The moment when you write “The End.” You just wrote a book! It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. It gets me every time.

3. I can’t NOT write. I always have, and I always will, and now I get paid to do it. That’s pretty great!

4. The writing community, and the romance writing community in particular, is SO amazing. I’ve made so many great friends and learned so much from fellow romance authors.

5. On a serious note, being able to stay home with my son while still working is really the icing on the cake for me. I feel incredibly fortunate.

 

1_26 Lacey_For Keeps_MMA SUMMER FLING . . . OR SOMETHING MORE?

Merry Atwater would do just about anything to save her dog rescue – even if it means working with the most stubborn man on the planet. It’s hard to avoid the sparks that fly with TJ Jameson, the ruggedly sexy cowboy in charge of the children’s camp where she’s just taken an animal therapy job. But commitment is not Merry’s style, and TJ clearly wants more than just a roll in the hay. TJ Jameson isn’t looking for anything complicated-just a peaceful life on his family’s ranch with a wife and kids. “No-strings” Merry Atwater doesn’t fit that bill, no matter how irresistible she is. But when he sees how Merry gets through to his autistic nephew and the other kids at Camp Blue Sky, TJ’s a goner. If he doesn’t give in to the now, he might just lose his shot at forever . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

His expression heated until his eyes practically burned her.

She nibbled her bottom lip. “I should, uh, I should go.”

“It’s late,” he said, his voice like gravel. It tickled all her sweet spots.

She stared at his hands, those big calloused fingers. Damn, but she wanted to feel them on her skin. Like, now.

“Really late.” She took a step, but her feet accidentally carried her toward T.J., not the door.

He sucked in an audible breath, his eyes scorching hers. “I thought you were going.”

“So did I.” But fuck it. If she was going to be in his house in the middle of the night in her underwear, she might as well give him a kiss goodnight.

She’d never been known for her self-control, after all.

He watched her, not moving a muscle, as if he’d become rooted to the floor.

She put her palms on his biceps and pressed her lips to his. Just a quick kiss to test the waters, because they did have to work together for the next month.

His scent wrapped around her, filled her lungs, and stole her sanity. She lingered for a moment, her lips on his, so soft, so warm. Just enough to make her want more. So much more.

Her body pulsed with it.

She was about to pull back and tell him goodnight when his arms slid around her waist, securing her against the firm column of his body, and oh God, she was a goner.

“What was that?” he whispered against her lips.

She slid her hands up to encircle his neck. “A goodnight kiss.”

“And why would you do something like that?” His voice vibrated through her.

“Because I wanted to.” Their bodies were pressed together, and though he hadn’t kissed her back, he wanted to. She felt the evidence pressed against her belly.

“Bad idea,” he growled, his lips still touching hers, teasing, tempting.

“Oh, yeah?” She could hardly breathe. Every nerve tingled with awareness, desperate for his touch, his kiss. More. More of everything.

Her heart throbbed in her chest.

T.J.’s eyes smoldered into hers, his pupils blown with lust. His body vibrated with tension, his arms like steel bands around her. “Yeah.”

“Then send me home.” She wiggled in his arms, pressing into his erection, tempting him, willing him to kiss her back. Just for tonight.

She needed to be kissed. She needed to feel.

And he could make her…

His lips crushed hers, taking her so suddenly, so thoroughly, that she didn’t have time to draw a breath. She heard herself groan, felt the desire inside her explode into something so completely out of control it almost frightened her.

Her back slammed into the wall, and her legs wrapped around his waist. His tongue plunged into her mouth, gliding against hers in a rhythm so perfect she shuddered in his arms. He lifted her hips, grinding himself against her until her eyes rolled back in her head, and…

Holy shit, holy shit.

She must have lost her mind. Her body burned, quaked, shook for him, and he felt so fucking good. He tasted like sin, sweet and sexy, like leather and cowboy boots, and…

Holy shit.

She needed more. She needed everything. She needed him buried deep inside her, groaning her name as he drove her over the edge, as he came inside her, and…

Holy shit.

This was completely out of control.

“Holy shit.” The words came from T.J.’s lips, not her own, as he tore his mouth from hers and speared her with his gaze. He panted for breath, his body coiled against hers, so hard, so ready. She felt every inch of him still pressed between her legs, right where her body burned hottest for him. “What the hell was that?”

She laughed. “If you don’t know, then you’re more out of practice than I am.”

About the Author:1_26 Rachel Lacey
Rachel Lacey lives in North Carolina, with her husband, son, and their own rescued pup. She volunteers her spare time with Carolina Boxer Rescue and truly has a passion for helping our furry friends. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her local Heart of Carolina RWA chapter.

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How to Handle Negative Criticism by Christine Rains – Guest Blog and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Christine will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly selected winner during the tour via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

HOW TO HANDLE NEGATIVE CRITICISM
By Christine Rains

It’s going to happen sooner or later. One of your critique partners is going to say something is wrong about your manuscript or you get your first bad review. Negative criticism can make your whole world crumble around you.

So what do you do?

Cry, scream, eat a pint of ice cream, drown yourself in a Star Wars marathon, vow never to write again, and cry some more.

And while those are perfectly normal responses, they aren’t going to help you when you receive your next bad review. Here are five tips on how to handle negative criticism and not let it devour your soul.

1. Remember that not everyone is going to like what you write. People’s tastes are different. It’s just a fact of life. Move on and find someone who does share your vision.

2. Learn to tell constructive criticism from negative criticism. Take a step back and try to see what the person is saying. It might be something that needs improvement. Or it could just be that random jerk that left the bad review to be mean. If you can tell the difference and filter out the jerks, you’ll be much happier for it.

3. Develop a thick skin. Yes, I know you hear this a lot, but it’s a vital survival skill for writers. If you can remember the first two tips, you’re already on the right path. No matter how much it feels that way, criticism of your work isn’t personal.

4. Improve your own critiquing skills. Wait, you say? How does that help? Critiquing is a skill. The more you learn about how to be objective and constructive, the better you can handle being critiqued yourself.

5. If you do receive negative criticism, don’t engage the critic. A lot of writers don’t read reviews at all. That’s how they survive this rough journey. Delete those awful emails, ignore the one star reviews, and get rid of that discouraging critique partner.

Unfortunately negative criticism is part of a writer’s life, but you can overcome it. Don’t let it stop you.

Dice and Debauchery, Book 1

A weekend away at a convention is exactly what overworked student Morgan needs. Dressed as her character from her favorite online game, Morgan is braced—seriously, could her corset be tighter?—to meet the other players. As Lady Gyrfalcon, she’s ready for everything—except her intense attraction to Dean. A clandestine meeting in the hallway of the hotel and Morgan’s corset is looser but now she can’t breathe for entirely different reasons.

Utterly charmed, Morgan decides to roll the dice and indulge in a fantasy-worthy weekend of sexy roleplaying, scorching sex and life-altering orgasms. Still, through it all Morgan is too smart to believe the chemistry constantly stripping her of costumes and control can last more than the length of the convention. But if she wants to keep a relationship so intense she thought it only existed in fiction, she’s going to have to let go of her cool-headed logic and allow herself to fall far and fast for the perfect guy.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Stomping out of the bathroom, I froze upon seeing Russell standing in the alcove between the drinking fountains across from me. Dressed as Snidely Whiplash, he had the perfect sneer for the character.

“Come to kidnap me and tie me to the train tracks?” I folded my arms and stepped out of the way of a group of girls going into the bathroom.

“Don’t tempt me. It would save us all a lot of trouble.” Russell’s sharp and bitter tone carried a phantom slap.

I hesitated, weighing the situation. He obviously didn’t like me, but why? I hadn’t felt such hate when we first met, no matter that we were playing enemies. Did something so horrible happen between him and Emily, he was taking it out on me? But why did it feel more personal than that?

“Okay.” I took in a deep, slow breath and let it out. “Clearly you wanted to talk to me since you’re waiting here. What did you want to say?”

“End this thing between you and Dean now. Today at least. Don’t drag it out. You’ll only cause more damage if you do.”

Not what I expected in the least. What did he have against me and Dean? Did he not think I was good enough for his cousin?

“What’s between Dean and I is our own business.” There. A mature and reasonable reply. I wasn’t going to resort to growling back at him.

“And what is between you, hm?” Russell raised his comical eyebrows. It looked silly and somehow foreboding. “Girlfriend and boyfriend? Or just a con fling?”

About the Author:

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood but make her a great Jeopardy player. As an avid gamer, she’s either going on adventures with her son or rolling dice with friends. Christine is a proud member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. She has several short stories and novellas published. Loose Corset is the first book of her geeky and hilarious Dice & Debauchery series.

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