Grinders Corner by Ferris H. Craig and Charlene Keel – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ferris H. Craig & Charlene Keel will be awarding two winners, a free copy of Grinders Corner (print or ebook). (U.S. only for print, International for ebook) to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Grinders Corner explores the world of taxi dance halls in the 1960s in all its raw hilarity. Saucy, sassy and sexy, but not the least bit erotic, it follows the adventures of three young women trying to survive in the glitter palaces of Los Angeles.

Like lambs led to the slaughter, Uptown, a newly divorced English major with panic anxiety disorder and no job skills, Voluptua, an out of work actress, and Mouse, a former child star trying to make a comeback all struggle to make enough tickets to pay the bills. Things get complicated when Uptown falls in love with a customer who happens to be a priest.

In Grinders Corner it was a simpler time, long before gentlemen’s clubs and pole dancers, and it happened in a place where shy, lonely men could talk to women, even dance with them, with no fear of rejection—for about fifteen cents a minute.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Downtown Los Angeles
Romanceland, 1969

The jukebox was playing Close To You. The lights were low and romantic, the red candles on the intimate little tables for two flickered seductively, and the many-faceted, mirrored chandelier reflected tiny droplets of shivering, shimmering light onto the dance floor. His strong arms were about me, and he was lightly kissing my ear. Then he spoke in a throaty whisper.

“Hey, baby, you wanna make a quick twentyfive bucks? Let’s go to a motel.”

Oh God, I thought, as I looked at the clock. One more hour to go. I’m going to have to put up with this clown for sixty more minutes unless he runs out of money. Maybe I can get him to sit down and have a Coke. Then I won’t have to endure this tortuous ritual known as dancing. If we get a Coke, I’ll have to make conversation with him and that might be worse than dancing.

The only good thing about dancing is that I don’t have to talk to him. I only have to hear about the motel.

He was staring at me as if waiting for a reply, so I asked, “What did you say?”

Okay, that isn’t particularly original but it used up a couple of seconds. Then he had to repeat it all. That took a few more minutes.

I started to think maybe I could make it to the two o’clock finishing line, but I was wrong. He wasn’t slobbering on my ear anymore. Now it was my bare shoulder.

“Hey, I’m kind of thirsty,” I said. “Why don’t we sit down and have a Coke?”

“Baby, I don’t want a Coke.”

“Oh, hell,” I said as I deftly stepped out of his reach. “Let’s go to the desk so you can check out.”

He retorted with, “How about fifty bucks? I’ll buy you a steak besides.”

I smiled, thinking how delicious that can of beans at home was going to taste. “I’m sorry. I’m not in that line of business.”

“Whaddya wanna do—get married?” he yelled.

About the Authors: Ferris Craig is a professional dancer, choreographer, actor and writer. Her credits include The Dean Martin Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Honeymooners, The Golden Girls and many TV commercials. In the 1970s she performed with The Hollywood Hoofers in Las Vegas, later establishing The Burbank Academy of Performing Arts where she taught dance and acting. More recently, she choreographed and performed for The Broadway Seniorettes, and with Recycled Teenagers (dancers over 50). Currently she lives in Southern California with her three delightful dogs.

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Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books. Shadow Train, the final installment of her YA supernatural trilogy, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award, and The Congressman’s Wife (for Red Sky Presents) is getting rave reviews. Her new blended-genre novel, Lost Treasures of the Heart, was released in November, 2016.

Keel has also worked as editor for international magazines, including Playgirl, For the Brideand Black Elegance. She says the most fun she’s had as an editor (so far) was at Spice, a fanzine featuring rap, R&B, soul and gospel music. During her time there, she enjoyed going to parties for such notables as Puff Daddy, having lunch with Gloria Gaynor and attending a pasta dinner where Mariah Carey did the cooking.

Keel’s editorial assignments include The Health of Nations, a book on political philosophy, and That Nation Might Live, a moving tribute to Sarah Bush Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother. Her TV credits include Fantasy Island and Days of Our Lives, and her book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera. She also produced (for Romantic Times) the first annual Mr. Romance Cover Model Pageant.

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Arrogant Bastard by Zara Cox – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the recent release of Arrogant Bastard, the third book in Zara Cox’s Dark Desires series. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of the book.

I’m known as the Black Widow because the desires I hide inside are pure poison.
I was a different person once. Faith, a young wife, hoping to become a mother. My life was pleasant. Stable. It was hell. Until Killian Knight opened my eyes to a world of espionage and intrigue. He saw something in me, something I was too afraid to acknowledge. I didn’t want to be excited by the danger. Didn’t want to crave the wicked passion only he could provide. But I did want, so now I run. And I pay.

I never meant to corrupt her, but I’m not sorry.
After all, I’m already damned.

After four years of searching and longing, I’ve finally found her. Faith, the one person in the world I breathe for. She lives beneath my skin as surely as I wear proof of our transgressions inked on my body. And like the forbidden fruit that doomed us from the beginning, our end is inevitable. We lived with no regret. We loved without inhibition. We betrayed those closest to us. We killed for that love. Now…we will burn in hell together.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Killian
Present Day

I’ve found her.

After four years and two months.

I stare at the screen, my blood pumping relief and shock and fury and joy through my veins. The cocktail of emotions paralyzes me for several minutes.

Then I force myself to analyze what I’m seeing.

Her hair is different. Longer. Darker. Pin-straight and rigid where soft, friendly waves used to be. The curve of her jaw captured by the camera lens also shows the difference. She’s leaner. Meaner. Even from this obscure angle, I can tell any trace of gentleness has been wiped clean. Eroded by sin and tragedy and horror. The change was probably inevitable, but I still don’t want to see the evidence.

To anyone else, the picture would seem ridiculously vague, the image nothing more than a blurred black-and-white pixelation of hair, chin, and shoulder.

It’s the reason my algorithm spat it out almost reluctantly, a last batch of possibilities in the dregs of to-be-discarded possibilities, and then dumped it in my supercomputer’s equivalent of a spam folder, the code scrolling impatiently as it waited my command to delete, delete, delete.

But I know it’s her. Despite the dark leather cap pulled low over her forehead. Despite the bulky jacket designed to hide her true shape. Her stealth speaks volumes. Besides, she’s in my blood, in my heartbeat. After so many years of dead ends and fruitless hoping, of agonizing disappointment and withering despair, this time I simply…know.

It’s her. The Widow.

My hand shakes as I hit the zoom-in key. My gut churns, and I feel a little sick as my ever-helpful brain cheerfully supplies me with all the ways she could’ve continued to elude me—if I’d turned away, for a second, to stare at one of the other three screens on my desk. If I’d trusted my supersmart computer and accepted the prompt to delete without reviewing this particular needle in my mountain of haystacks. If I hadn’t tweaked the code yet again last night to capture just such an obscure image.

Hell, if I’d blinked at the wrong time…I torture myself with infinite possibilities as I stare at that mesmerizing angle of chin and shoulder.

A chin I’ve trailed my treacherous fingers over many times in helpless wonder.

A shoulder I’ve rested my guilty but secretly unrepentant head on.

There’s so much more to her. And I treasured every single inch of her forbidden body, fucked her at every opportunity she granted me. Until she systematically erased herself from my life.

But why New York? And why now?

I know how good she is. Hell, she’s the best or she wouldn’t have eluded me for this long. The thought of another four years without her punches a cold fist through my gut. With it comes the certainty that I wouldn’t have survived those next four years without her. That I’ve been clinging on with the very last dregs of my endurance to make it this far.

But here she is…

The Widow.

I can’t see her eyes, but I don’t fool myself into thinking they’ll hold an ounce of softness. What we did changed us forever. And not for the better.

I lean back in my chair. Exhale slowly. Terrified of blinking in case she disappears from my screen. It doesn’t matter that I’ve copied and stored the longitude and latitude of her location in a dozen vaults on my server and memorized every single piece of data on the screen.

New York City. East Fifty-Third Street. CCTV camera. A one-in-a-billion shot.

Without taking my eyes off her, I reach for my phone and press the voice activation app. “Good evening, Mr. Knight.”

“Nala, how many times do I need to tell you to call me Killian?”

“You have yet to change my default settings, Mr. Knight.”

My lips twitch but a smile doesn’t quite form. My eyes water with the need to blink. But I resist. “I changed them last week. You reset them again, didn’t you?”

“I assure you, I’m quite incapable of doing that.”

“Yeah, right. Fine. Place a call for me. Pilot. Home.”

“Dialing pilot. Home,” the female AI obliges me.

Nelson Whittaker, my LA-based English pilot, picks up on the second ring. It’s three a.m. but he answers as if it’s normal working hours. Which it is, to be fair. Everything is normal for me in my line of work.

“Good morning, sir.”

“How soon can you get to the airport?” I snap.

“As soon as I put on my trousers and chuck a bucket of water over my son to wake him up,” he replies with a dark chuckle.

My fingers fly over the keyboard as I save her information in a few more electronic vaults. “Give William my apologies,” I say.

“No need. He’s been champing at the bit to take the new girl for another spin.” The new girl being the Bombardier Global 8000 I added to my collection of private jets last month.

“In that case, I expect to see you at Van Nuys within the hour.” At this time of the morning, traffic from their Santa Monica apartment should be light enough to get them there fast.

“We’ll be there.” He clears his throat. “I expect the paperwork regarding out-of-curfew flights—”

“Will be taken care of. I’ll text you the details but we won’t be straying far from the usual parameters.”
“Very good, sir. Destination?” he asks crisply.

My gaze tracks that chin. That shoulder. The hair. Four years’ worth of turbulent emotion threatens to rip free. My chest burns with it, but I contain it. “New York.”

About the Author: Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!). This series is Zara’s next step in her erotic romance-writing journey, and she would love to hear your thoughts.

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Billionaire Ever After featuring Victoria Pinder Arabpour and Tia Morris – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Feel the sparks fly off the hot romance and action-driven pages of these EXCLUSIVE TITLES—unavailable separately in ebook format anywhere else!

From sweet to sensual, they’ll satisfy your most indulgent fantasies as you fall in love with an array of billionaire beaus in this contemporary romance collection by some of today’s hottest New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors.

Quench your book-boyfriend addiction with page-turning stories overflowing with decadent luxury, heart-warming love, heated adventure, steamy scenes, and happily-ever-afters.

Featuring billionaires from bad boys to Marines and CEOs to cowboys, this set will take you around the country and jet-setting around the globe with intense, passionate men who always get what they want and fulfill the desires of the women they crave.

Relish each journey in this LIMITED-TIME collection PACKED with novels and novellas that will provide over one hundred hours of reading.

Grab your copy today before these hot billionaires fly off into the sunset!

Enjoy an Excerpt from Victoria Pinder Arabpour’s Tempting Harry

As the Christmas holiday approaches, Roxy’s determined to lay low and get through the holiday unscathed, but when she meets Harry, her plans suddenly change. Could their chance meeting lead them in a better direction or will their broken hearts and spirits prevent them from finding their happily-ever-after?

Excerpt:

Her face was hot. Chris had been supposed to come for Thanksgiving, but when they were about to make the trip up, he broke up with her and slept with another woman, all on the same day. Which was sadly fitting as he’d cheated on his fiancée, Calliope, when he met Roxy. Her mother would probably say publicly that she got what she deserved, if she was given another opportunity. She had already told her privately, on more than occasion. Roxy thought it herself. She hugged her stomach, then looked at her mother’s blue eyes and squared her shoulders. “If I go offer to get him a drink or something, you’ll leave me alone and not talk about either my looks or my love life?”

“Oh, very well. I’m sure you’ll like him.” Her mother pushed her slightly again, to tell her to move faster. She hated having to introduce herself to anyone. Someone else had introduced her to Chris, so the social awkwardness had been lessened when she met him. But she had no time to think about any of that now. She took a step forward, lightly tapped the man’s rather strong muscular arm, and did exactly what her mother had told her. “Hello, would you like a drink or something?” At that moment, the front door opened and everyone in the room grew silent. The attractive, so far unnamed man placed his hand on her shoulder. “Stand behind me.” Without another word, he blocked her view. She peeked around him and saw Gabe and her uncle Tom greet a dark-haired man. “Who is that?”

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Enjoy an Excerpt from Tia Morris’ Billionaire Puppy Love

A sexy, busy corporate CEO and billionaire hires an attractive woman as his live-in pet sitter when a basket of puppies is dumped at his corporate office by his zany aunt who wants him to settle down and find love.

Excerpt

This was a date, not a business meeting, and she’d taken the job as his pet sitter in hopes of being his PA. Well, they could spend time together, and she would keep things very professional. Friendly, but not romantic.

They stopped to admire the silvery light of the moon shining on the nearly flat ocean. Emma sighed and plopped onto the sand.

Max sat next to her. “I was going to be a gentleman and remove my jacket so you wouldn’t get your dress sandy. And then I remembered I didn’t wear a jacket.”

She gave him a shy smile. “I like you in these clothes better than a suit.”

He leaned close. “Look at that moon,” he murmured, sliding an arm around her waist.

And then he was stroking a hand down her back, his touch assured and confident, but amid the hunger on his face was absolute tenderness.

The tender look evaporated all her resolve. Emma fell backwards onto the sand on her side. Max did the same, facing her.

She didn’t care if her dress was stained or that sand covered her bare legs. All that mattered was this moment…and Max.

“You’re so cute,” he murmured, cupping her cheek.

Emma wrinkled her nose. “Puppies are cute. I’m not a puppy.”

“When you do that little thing with your eyes…”

“You mean when I roll them because you’re comparing me to a pet?”

“Hush,” he said softly. “You mean a lot to me, Em. I haven’t felt this way about a woman in a very long time. You’re sweet and generous and beautiful, inside and out.”

Emma gazed up at him as the waves lapped at their feet.

“Em, I’m going to kiss you now.”

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The Sullivans Boxed Set by Bella Andre – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Bella will be awarding a signed copy of the The Sullivans Box Set and a tote bag, open internationally to 2 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

More than 6 million readers have already fallen in love with the Sullivans! Now get ready to meet your new favorite family in Bella Andre’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romances with the first three books in the #1 hit series.

“Not since Nora Roberts has anyone been able to write a big family romance series with every book as good as the last! Bella Andre never disappoints!” Revolving Bookcase Reviews

THE LOOK OF LOVE

Chloe Peterson is having a bad night. A really bad night. The large bruise on her cheek can attest to that. And when her car skids off the side of a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced even the gorgeous guy who rescues her in the middle of the rain storm must be too good to be true. Or is he?

As a successful photographer who frequently travels around the world, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women, and whenever he’s home in San Francisco, one of his seven siblings is usually up for causing a little fun trouble. Chase thinks his life is great just as it is–until the night he finds Chloe and her totaled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley. Not only has he never met anyone so lovely, both inside and out, but he quickly realizes she has much bigger problems than her damaged car. Soon, he is willing to move mountains to love–and protect–her, but will she let him?

FROM THIS MOMENT ON

For thirty-six years, Marcus Sullivan has been the responsible older brother, stepping in to take care of his seven siblings after their father died when they were children. But when the perfectly ordered future he’s planned for himself turns out to be nothing but a lie, Marcus needs one reckless night to shake free from it all.

Nicola Harding is known throughout the world by only one name – Nico – for her catchy, sensual pop songs. Only, what no one knows about the twenty-five year old singer is that her sex-kitten image is totally false. After a terrible betrayal by a man who loved fame far more than he ever loved her, she vows not to let anyone else get close enough to find out who she really is…or hurt her again. Especially not the gorgeous stranger she meets at a nightclub, even though the hunger – and the sinful promises – in his dark eyes make her want to spill all her secrets.

CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE

Gabe Sullivan risks his life every day as a firefighter in San Francisco. But after learning a brutal lesson about professional boundaries, he knows better than to risk his heart to his fire victims ever again. Especially the brave mother and daughter he saved from a deadly apartment fire…and can’t stop thinking about.

Megan Harris knows she owes the heroic firefighter everything for running into a burning building to save her and her seven-year-old daughter. Everything except her heart. Because after losing her navy pilot husband five years ago, she has vowed to never suffer through loving – and losing – a man with a dangerous job again.

Enjoy an Excerpt from THE LOOK OF LOVE

Chase almost missed the flickering light off on the right side of the two-lane country road. In the past thirty minutes, he hadn’t passed a single car, because on a night like this, most sane Californians—who didn’t know the first thing about driving safely in inclement weather—stayed home.

Knowing better than to slam on the brakes—he wouldn’t be able to help whomever was stranded on the side of the road if he ended up stuck in the muddy ditch right next to them—Chase slowed down enough to see that there was definitely a vehicle stuck in the ditch.

He turned his brights on to see better in the pouring rain and realized there was a person walking along the edge of the road about a hundred yards up ahead. Obviously hearing his car approach, she turned to face him and he could see her long wet hair whipping around her shoulders in his headlights.

Wondering why she wasn’t just sitting in her car, dry and warm, calling Triple A and waiting for them to come save her, he pulled over to the edge of his lane and got out to try and help her. She was shivering as she watched him approach.

“Are you hurt?”

She covered her cheek with one hand, but shook her head. “No.”

He had to move closer to hear her over the sound of the water hitting the pavement in what were rapidly becoming hailstones. Even though he’d turned his headlights off, as his eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness, he was able to get a better look at her face.

Something inside of Chase’s chest clenched tight.

Despite the long, dark hair plastered to her head and chest, regardless of the fact that looking like a drowned rat wasn’t too far off the descriptive mark, her beauty stunned him.

In an instant, his photographer’s eye cataloged her features. Her mouth was a little too big, her eyes a little too wide-set on her face. She wasn’t even close to model thin, but given the way her T-shirt and jeans stuck to her skin, he could see that she wore her lush curves well. In the dark he couldn’t judge the exact color of her hair, but it looked like silk, perfectly smooth and straight where it lay over her breasts.

It wasn’t until Chase heard her say, “My car is definitely hurt, though,” that he realized he had completely lost the thread of what he’d come out here to do.

Knowing he’d been drinking her in like he was dying of thirst, he worked to recover his balance. He could already see he’d been right about her car. It didn’t take a mechanic like his brother, Zach, who owned an auto shop—more like forty, but Chase had stopped counting years ago—to see that her shitty hatchback was borderline totaled. Even if the front bumper wasn’t half smashed to pieces by the white farm fence she’d slid into, her bald tires weren’t going to get any traction on the mud. Not tonight, anyway.

If her car had been in a less precarious situation, he probably would have sent her to hang out in her car while he took care of getting it unstuck. But one of her back tires was hanging precariously over the edge of the ditch.

He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “Get in my car. We can wait there for a tow truck.” He was vaguely aware of his words coming out like an order, but the hail was starting to sting, damn it. Both of them needed to get out of the rain before they froze.

But the woman didn’t move. Instead, she gave him a look that said he was a complete and utter nut-job.

“I’m not getting into your car.”

Realizing just how frightening it must be for a lone woman to end up stuck and alone in the middle of a dark road, Chase took a step back from her. He had to speak loudly enough for her to hear him over the hail.

“I’m not going to attack you. I swear I won’t do anything to hurt you.”

She all but flinched at the word attack and Chase’s radar started buzzing. He’d never been a magnet for troubled women, wasn’t the kind of guy who thrived on fixing wounded birds. But living with two sisters for so many years meant he could always tell when something was up.

And something was definitely up with this woman, beyond the fact that her car was half-stuck in a muddy ditch.

Wanting to make her feel safe, he held his hands up. “I swear on my father’s grave, I’m not going to hurt you. It’s okay to get into my car.” When she didn’t immediately say no again, he pressed his advantage with, “I just want to help you.” And he did. More than it made sense to want to help a stranger. “Please,” he said. “Let me help you.”

She stared at him for a long moment, hail hammering between them, around them, onto them. Chase found himself holding his breath, waiting for her decision. It shouldn’t matter to him what she decided.

But, for some strange reason, it did.

About the Author:Bella Andre is the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of “The Sullivans”, “The Maverick Billionaires”, “The Morrisons”, and the NYT bestselling “Four Weddings and a Fiasco” sweet romance series written as Lucy Kevin.

Having sold more than 6 million books, Bella Andre’s novels have been #1 bestsellers around the world and have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists 32 times. She has been the #1 Ranked Author at Amazon (on a top 10 list that included Nora Roberts, JK Rowling, James Patterson and Steven King), and Publishers Weekly named Oak Press (the publishing company she created to publish her own books) the Fastest-Growing Independent Publisher in the US. After signing a groundbreaking 7-figure print-only deal with Harlequin MIRA, Bella’s “The Sullivans” series is being released in paperback in the US, Canada, and Australia.

Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into ten languages. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post called her “One of the top writers in America” and she has been featured by Entertainment Weekly, NPR, USA Today, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and TIME Magazine. A graduate of Stanford University, she has given keynote speeches at publishing conferences from Copenhagen to Berlin to San Francisco, including a standing-room-only keynote at Book Expo America in New York City.

If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.

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Research by Wendy May Andrews – Guest Blog and Giveaway

 

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

Research
I’m really lucky in that I actually love doing the research for my books. I write historicals so research is always necessary for setting, facts about the timing, costumes, descriptions, etc. So far, all of my published books have been set in Regency era England. There are millions of references online for this time period, which is fantastic. The MET in New York City had a visiting exhibit about women’s clothing that was really great. We have also travelled to England a few times so that I could get a feel for my locations. Last summer we went specifically for research. It was wonderful!! We toured Wilton House and Blenheim Palace, visited Bath and Brighton, wandered around London, and even went to a research centre set up by two counties to consolidate their records. That was amazing! They had handwritten receipts for rent paid three hundred years ago! And they let me touch it! That was the amazing part. They had so much stuff that they weren’t even particular about most of it. I could have spent days there. My husband and I both love to travel so when I can combine both my interests, it is particularly rewarding.

One thing that I can never keep straight in my mind and have to research for every book is the proper use of titles and how to address the aristocracy. So I have a good reference book that explains it all and I look it up whenever I’m introducing a new character. For example, an earl’s daughter might be Lady Jane. But depending on who she marries, she will remain Lady Jane or become Lady Husband’s Last Name. Then there are the heirs who get courtesy titles until they inherit… Yeesh… That is the hardest part about writing Regencies for me. Other than that I love it  And I hope you’ll love reading my newest one. 🙂

The Duke of Wychwood seeks retribution from the Earl of Pickering. When he finds out the earl has a beautiful young niece, the duke thinks to involve her in his feud, but is shocked to discover he is attracted to her.

The orphaned niece of the earl, Lady Victoria, serves as governess to four of his children and is made to feel like an interloper in her own home. A chance encounter with the duke affords her the opportunity to enter Society, but to take it means risking what little security she has.

Revenge and love don’t sit well together, to have a future can they learn to give up the past?

Enjoy an Excerpt
from chapter 3 – first time heroine sees hero

All she could do was try to cuddle the small child until he began to calm. She hugged him to her and spoke soft, comforting words into his ear. As his wails began to slowly subside, she again glanced up to the bank of the river. She almost dropped Daniel in surprise, as on the bank staring down at her were three handsome men.

A fierce blush stole over her entire body, which served to momentarily warm her against the chill of the water swirling around her. One of the men was particularly striking, and, despite herself, Victoria had trouble tearing her eyes away from his. The man did not seem to care how rude he was being in staring at her, and seemed mesmerized by her nonsensical mutterings to her young charge. Finally, he caught himself from his reverie and sprang into action.

Stripping his perfectly tailored coat from his shoulders was a momentary effort. Disregarding the hard work of his tailor and valet, the duke shrugged out of it and tossed it to his brother as he called over his shoulder to Fred. “Bring our horses closer. If I cannot leverage her up the bank on my own, they can be of assistance.”

Keeping his voice as low and calm as possible, Bryghton reached down towards the frightened child. “Hand him over to me. We shall get him on shore first, and then we can more easily pull you up.”

Despite having calmed down, at these words Daniel tightened his grip on his only means of survival and let out another frightened wail.

“Daniel, my darling, it is going to be all right. This kind man is going to pull you up and give you to Pansy. Pansy will have a lovely warm blanket to wrap you in and I am quite sure she still has a couple of those delicious cookies you loved so much. If you are very brave and let go of me, I promise you can have the biggest piece of dessert that Cook has prepared for us tonight.”

About the Author:

Best-selling author, Wendy May Andrews, has been in love with the written word since she learned to read at the age of five. She has been writing for almost as long but it took her some time before she was willing to share her stories with anyone other than her mother.

Wendy can be found with her nose in a book in a cozy corner of downtown Toronto. She is happily married to her own real-life hero, who is also her best friend and favourite travel companion. Being a firm believer that every life experience contributes to the writing process, Wendy is off planning her next trip.

She loves to hear from her readers.

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Promise to Defend by Diana Gardin – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Diana Gardin who is celebrating the release today of Promise to Defend, the second book in her Rescue Ops series. Enter to win 1 of 15 free ebook downloads of Promise to Defend – the Rafflecopter is at the end of the post.

By saving her, he might just save himself…

I’m broken. I have been for seven years. Ever since my wife was murdered while I was deployed overseas. I was protecting our country, but I should have been protecting her. I haven’t looked at another woman since–but then Olive Alexander crossed my path. She stirs up feelings I thought were long dead. So when her house is ransacked after she receives a threatening message, I know I have to step in and keep her safe. I failed my wife, but I won’t fail Olive. Unfortunately, Olive isn’t exactly ready to accept my help…

With her sexy-as-sin pencil skirts and sleek ponytails, Olive clearly doesn’t let anything–or anyone–mess up her perfectly ordered life. But years spent working as a special ops soldier has taught me how to read people… and I know Olive is hiding something. When my covert mission for Night Eagle Security collides with Olive’s past, I’ll have to get her to open up–or risk losing her. And losing Olive is not an option. If she’s in danger, I’ll defend her…even if it costs me my life.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Couldn’t sleep, Red?”

“No.”

Turning, he gets up and walks down the hall. I hear a door open and close and when he returns, his arms are laden with a cozy-looking gray chenille blanket. Pausing in front of me as I look up at him in confusion, he uses his leg to nudge my knee.

“Scoot over.”

Moving sideways, Ronin sits down and stretches out behind me on the couch. Then he spreads the blanket out over his legs and wraps an arm around my waist. He tugs, and I find myself settling down in front of him while he spoons me from behind. He places the blanket over both of us, and then wraps his other arm around me.

It’s like I’m trapped in the hardest, warmest, most protective, best-smelling cocoon there ever was.

At first, I’m stiff, because what?

Ronin’s scent wafts over me, and I breathe it in like a woman deprived of air. It’s partly cologne, but it’s a fresh, masculine clean scent with just the tiniest hint of spice. It’s amazing. His body, pressed up against mine in the most intimate way, is so hard that heat pools deep in my gut and my thighs clench together to try to fight the bubbling desire he’s stirring up inside me. A kind of true desire I haven’t felt in years.

His arms tighten around me, pulling me closer. “Relax, Red.” His words raise the hairs on the back of my neck, and a delicate shiver rolls through my whole body.

Taking a deep breath, I allow myself to soften against him.

“Not comfortable being touched, are you?” Ronin’s voice in my ear is husky and deep, and it feels like he’s reaching inside me rather than just speaking to me.

I shrug. “Not usually.”

“Do you want to talk about why that is, Red?”

My eyes trail over his hands as his capable fingers begin to stroke unassumingly along my forearms. It’s the slightest touch. Barely a caress, really, but the way I can feel it reverberating everywhere from my neck to my toes is unsettling. I’ve never been touched on a level as deep as this, and I don’t know what to do with the way it feels.

Shrugging again, I think about how to answer that question.

“I’m just…cautious…after everything.”

There. That should satisfy his curiosity.

But Ronin doesn’t quite let it go. “There’s more to you than cautiousness. And that’s okay…I get it. I have layers, too. Ones that go so deep I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the bottom of them. And I’d never expect anyone else to, either.”

The sheer understanding in his tone floors me. He doesn’t elaborate on his own issues, and he doesn’t ask me to delve further into mine. I’ve never been around a man who doesn’t ask for something from me, usually too much, in return for spending time with him.

Tentatively, I caress the bicep that holds me so tightly. The corded muscles jump beneath my touch, and I can feel the breath that Ronin sucks in.

“Tell me about these?” I ask, caressing the giant bird tattoo in the center.

His voice low, velvety, he answers me. “Well, this is an eagle in flight. I got it when I first joined the army.”

I trace the intricate details of the tattoo, the fine lines given to each of the bird’s feathers.

“And this one,” he continues, indicating the three thick, black bands stretching around his arm nearer his shoulder. “Represent each time I had to pass a test to achieve something great. Army entrance, officer exam, Ranger training.”

Marveling, I imagine the sheer amount of strength it took for him to achieve each of these goals.

He’s silent for a moment, and I trace the bright, bold heart tattoo entwined with rope. “And this one?”

Ronin stiffens slightly. He pauses, but then when he answers, there’s a cooler quality to his voice, one that I don’t understand. “That represents my heart.”

And that’s it. That’s all he says, and it surprises me how much that hurts.

We sit in silence for a few long moments, the tension swirling between us, when I finally feel his body relax against mine once again.

I haven’t stiffened since we started talking. I haven’t felt the need to flee from his hold, to shy away from his closeness. It’s huge, at least for me. This doesn’t happen. Not unless it’s on my terms, and with men I can keep at a safe distance.
But something tells me there’s no keeping Ronin at a distance. It should terrify me…but it doesn’t. Instead, a spark of hope flickers to life inside me. Hope that this man can succeed in breaking down the walls I’ve built so carefully around my heart.
When a chuckle rumbles through his chest, I almost jump out of my skin and his grip on me tightens for just a moment to reassure me.

“What the hell is this?” he asks.

Focusing my attention on the television, a smile ghosts across my lips. “It’s ‘Behind the Scenes: Big Top.’” Reality television is an addiction for me, and the show that follows the leading players in a traveling circus behind the scenes is one of my favorites.

His laughter grows louder and I can’t help myself; I chuckle right along with him.

“Red…please tell me why we’re watching ‘Behind the Scenes: Big Top.’” The teasing lilt in his voice makes my pulse race.
“I like it.” Feeling the need to defend myself, my tone is indignant. “If I weren’t an interior designer, and I was just a little bit braver, I think I’d probably be a circus performer.”

Ronin’s laughter fades away as he considers my words. “What act would you do?”

I can answer that question without a second thought. “I’d be a trapeze artist. Flying high, all those dangerous catches? The freedom of it? It’d be amazing.”

Ronin’s quiet for a moment. I think he’s forgotten all about my answer when he speaks again, his words dusting across my skin once more.

“That’s a circus I’d pay big money to watch, Red. Because I think I’d really enjoy seeing you look free.”

About the Author:Diana Gardin is a wife of one and a mom of two. Writing is her second full time job to that, and she loves it! Diana writes contemporary romance in the Young Adult and New Adult categories. She’s also a former Elementary school teacher. She loves steak, sugar cookies, and Coke and hates working out.

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A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Lauren Smith who is celebrating today’s release of A Gentleman Never Surrenders, the second book in her Sins and Scandals series. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win 1 of 15 free ebook downloads of A Gentleman Never Surrenders!

Love is worth a little scandal.

Owen Hadley needs a wife. Preferably a wealthy one. Alas, there aren’t a great number of heiresses willing to marry a rogue of no particular fortune—luckily, if there is ever a gentleman capable of melting a lady’s chilly heart, it’s Owen.

Milly has had enough of the marriage mart. If matrimony means giving up her freedom for a foppish husband, then society can take their idea of marital bliss and toss it. But when the ton’s most notorious rogue mistakenly makes his way into her bedchambers, Milly finds herself unexpectedly and unwillingly at the altar . . .

Yet the more time she spends with her new husband, the more Milly starts to wonder if the marriage she never wanted may be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Now it’s up to Owen to convince Milly that what started as a mistake is anything but—and that every night with him will be more wonderfully scandalous than the last.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Milly climbed onto the bed and pulled the bedclothes up around her chest and sighed. The bed was so large, and rather lonely. Usually she didn’t let such a melancholy thought bother her, but tonight for some reason, it did. There was a dull ache in her chest and she rubbed the spot with her hand. Somewhere tonight, Mr. Hadley was likely climbing into bed, dreaming of all the young ladies’ hearts he would steal and break. A treacherous little flutter in her chest made Milly wince. She ought not to think of Hadley, certainly not while she was in bed…yet thinking of him, as frustrating and maddeningly irritating as he was, flushed her with a welcome heat in the chilly room.

The oil lamp beside her bed was the only light left in the room and it burned steadily. Often she read late into the night and forgot to turn it off, but tonight she was too tired to read. She reached over and gently twisted the brass knob to kill the little flame. Darkness absorbed the dying light and Milly flipped onto her back. The cold of the sheets almost stung her bare toes and legs when her nightdress rode up to her knees. A cold bed, an empty bed. It shouldn’t have upset her, but after Mr. Hadley’s talk of heat and summer, she was off balance and bothered.

The mere thought of him and the way his eyes had darkened and seemed to shimmer with inner flames brought on another rush of warmth. His eyes, like honeyed fire, and his lips, the way he’d smiled sardonically, almost mockingly, in a way she rather liked, irritated her, yet fascinated her. There was no reason to like a man’s mouth or to imagine what it might be like to have that mouth pressed to hers in a kiss that caused the heat he was so fond of discussing. She knew his kiss would be hot, because when she thought of it, her body blossomed with a swelling of heat in her belly. His mouth is wicked…sinful…and I hate that I wish to know how he tastes. It was a forbidden thought, but one she couldn’t deny. She rolled over onto her stomach, fluffed her pillow, and squeezed her eyes shut, attempting to will herself to sleep. It was going to be a long night.

About the Author:LAUREN SMITH, winner of the 2014 Historical International Digital Award, attended Oklahoma State University, where she earned a B.A. in both history and political science. Drawn to paintings and museums, Lauren is obsessed with antiques and satisfies her fascination with history by writing and exploring exotic, ancient lands. She is currently an attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Uncharted Waters by Micah Persell – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

When a hermit and a scientist are snowbound in a cabin in the woods, the sparks they generate just might melt it all down in this scorching and sensual romance.

Scientist Bethany Morgan discovers the schematics to a world-changing recycling system that will help her realize her greatest dream: providing clean water to the world. The only problem? She must track down the creator, a Dr. Anderson, to help her complete the prototype, and he’s been missing for decades.

James Anderson has clung to the quiet, pain-free existence he’s made in the mountains since his father’s death years ago. But when the determined scientist he rescued gets snowed in at his cabin for an undetermined time, his world is turned upside down…

Enjoy an Excerpt

Not a rabbit.

James stood beneath his most lucrative snare, hands on his hips.

It appeared that … he tilted his head and narrowed his eyes just to make sure. Yep. Unless he was mistaken, instead of catching a small woodland creature, his snare had trapped a human.

James watched as long, silky hair swayed back and forth in midair. A slender neck led to a narrow back that tapered into an even narrower waist.

A real, flesh-and-blood woman.

About the Author:Micah Persell lives in Southern California with her husband, 1.7 children, and menagerie of pets. She writes romance with strong women, smart minds, and scorching love.

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Promise of Hope Shelter by Sarah Hadley Brook – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sarah Hadley Brook will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Jacob Baumgardner is struggling to get his nonprofit shelter for gay teens up and running. The old building needs a lot of help in order for it to pass inspection. Raised by his grandparents for part of his life, the shelter is his chance to honor them. Unfortunately, someone is making his dream difficult. An anonymous extortionist is determined to ruin his late grandfather’s good name which could mean the end of the shelter.

Luka Smith is fairly new in town and willing to work hard at any job available. He is struggling to find his place in the world after a traumatic event in his teen years pushed him to run. When Jacob hires him to help with repairs at the shelter, Luka falls hard and fast. He wants nothing more than to be part of his world and help him with his dream, if Jacob will let him.

As they work together to ensure The Promise of Hope Shelter gets off the ground, their feelings only grow. But will a calculating blackmailer close the shelter before they even have a chance?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Jacob was torn between being embarrassment of being caught in the middle of a panic attack and the safety he felt while wrapped in Luka’s arms. Technically this was the second time this man had rescued him in less than…two…maybe three hours. Okay, the first time was not really rescuing, but he’d still helped him during a bad situation.

He squirmed a little and tried to pull away, but Luka’s strong arms tightened around his waist.

“Give it a few more minutes.”

Jacob nodded and slumped back against the wall of muscle behind him. His heartbeat sped up and he realized he could feel Luka’s beating hard into his back. Had Luka been worried about him?

It felt so natural to be in the man’s arms. Jacob hadn’t dated in quite some time, mainly due to his grandparents’ death and trying to start this new shelter, but he also hadn’t met anyone that had piqued his interest. And Luka definitely piqued his interest. Unfortunately, he was pretty sure he hadn’t made the best impression on Luka, although he was just as confident that Luka wouldn’t soon forget meeting him. .

“I’m okay,” he whispered.

“Okay,” Luka replied, pulling back. “No quick moves.”

Jacob nodded and waited for Luka to stand before he tried to push himself from the floor. His legs felt like jelly, so he was glad when Luka reached down like a lifeline. He grabbed onto the hand and let Luka pull him to a standing position.

They faced each other, Jacob eye level with Luka’s chin. He was too embarrassed to say anything and too wobbly to move, so he concentrated on the cleft in Luka’s chin.

“Jacob?”

Luka’s voice washed over him and brought him warmth. He caught himself before he leaned his forehead into Luka’s perfect golden skin. “Mmm?”

Luka’s thumb gently nudged up his chin until Jacob looked into his eyes. Dark chocolate eyes full of concern. “Are you okay?” Luka whispered, his hot breath caressing Jacob’s flesh. He shivered and nodded.

About the Author:Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the non-profit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures up in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have co-starred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity to live. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.

Author of:
The Great Pretender
Matthew’s Present
Caleb’s Choice
The Promise of Hope Shelter
Coming Soon:
Fate Heats Things Up
Eggplant Highlights and Mustard Yellow Jeans

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Chasing Red by Isabelle Ronin – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Isabelle Ronin who has stopped by to share an excerpt from Chasing Red, the first book in her duology, which recently released. Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of the book (US/Canada only please).

THEY SAID SHE WAS GOING TO BE MY RUIN…
THEN LET HER RUIN ME.

He had everything—wealth, adoration, a brilliant future. Until one chance encounter changed everything. The moment Caleb Lockhart spotted the mysterious woman in her siren red dress, he couldn’t tear his eyes away. For the first time in his life, he wanted something. Something he knew he could never have. The unforgettable stranger he dubs RED.

Chasing Red Duology:
Chasing Red (Book 1) – available now
Always Red (Book 2) – available November 7

Enjoy an Excerpt

It was late when I arrived at Caleb’s apartment. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t help the grin that spread across my face. I might not have gotten a job offer, but I’d gotten my résumé into as many hands as possible. It had been a very productive day.

Opening the fridge, I wondered how fast I could make Caleb’s dinner so I could slip into my bedroom before he returned home—but the fridge was as empty as my bank account.

I groaned in defeat when I heard the front door open. But when I heard heavy footsteps coming from the living room, I reached for my pocketknife in case it wasn’t Caleb. I’d already made one mistake, but still—better safe than sorry.

“Red?”

I let out a sigh of relief when I heard Caleb’s voice. He was sprawled on the couch, remote control in hand as he turned on the TV. His black leather shoes and dinner jacket decorated the floor. Discarding his clothes there seemed to be a habit.

I stood behind him, admiring the way the bronze in his hair glinted in the light.

“What’s for dinner?” he asked, propping his feet on the coffee table.

“I just got back. I’ll make you something now if you want.”

He looked over his shoulder at me. If my heart tripped—which it totally didn’t—it was a normal and healthy reaction to seeing a gorgeous face. It didn’t mean anything.

“Are you trying to butt out of our bargain already?” he asked, turning back to the TV.

Insulted, I put my hands on my hips, glaring at him. “Unless you want orange juice soup with Pop-Tart croutons, you need to go to the store. We don’t have any groceries.”

He rested his head on the couch headrest and arched up and over so that he was looking at me upside down. “You’re giving me a neck injury. Why don’t you come around so we can talk like normal human beings?”

I narrowed my eyes at him.

He sighed. In a smooth move, he straightened, turned, then climbed to sit on top of the couch. He playfully studied me. “I’m bored,” he stated.

I raised my eyebrows. Did he expect me to entertain him? “And?”

“You owe me dinner.”

“I told you—”

A grin stretched across his face as he loosened his red tie. “You can pay me another way.”

My jaw fell open.

He laughed. “Why is your mind always in the gutter?”

I blinked once. Twice. My mind was always in the gutter?

He pushed off the couch, put his shoes back on, grabbed his keys and helmet from the coffee table, and walked past me. I thought he was going to leave when I felt his hand circle around my wrist, dragging me out the door with him.

“Oh for God’s sake, where are you taking me?”

God, he was tall. For every step he took, I had to take two to keep up.

He pressed the elevator button. “For a ride.”

“A ride?”

He started laughing as he pulled me inside the elevator, pressed the Down button, and watched the door close. “I’ve never met a girl who twisted my words as much as you do. You have a filthy mind, Red. Filthy.”

“What the… A filthy mind!” I sputtered.

When the elevator door opened, he dragged me into the basement parking garage.

“A ride.” He clucked his tongue. “On my bike.”

I pulled my wrist from his hold, rubbing my hand against my jeans. His skin was hot and made me feel strange things.

He stopped and glanced back at me. “Problem?”

“It’s Sunday night. Don’t you have class tomorrow?”

“So?” He shrugged a shoulder. “I’m in college, not high school. I can skip class if I want.”

“Of course you can. You’re rich. You don’t have to work for anything.”

His eyes darkened, and he shoved his hands in his pockets, giving me a long look. “Do you like to be judged for being poor? You think having money saves me from pain?”

Chastised, I fell silent. When I opened my mouth to apologize, he cut me off. “You coming or not?”

I nodded, feeling guilty, and followed behind.

When he stopped in front of a sleek black machine, I stared at him in disbelief. It looked like it ate kids for breakfast.

“Ever ride a bike before?” he asked, tossing his black helmet from hand to hand like a basketball.

I took a step back. “I’m not riding that monster.”

His laugh was low and sexy. He grabbed my wrist again and pulled me close—closer than was necessary.

“I don’t know,” he whispered, his thumb stroking my palm in lazy circles. “I have a feeling you’re going to like it.”

My breath hitched, and he chuckled when I pulled away.

“N-no. I’d like to keep my limbs intact, thank you very much.”

His eyes danced at me playfully. “Yeah? Where’s the fun in that? Rule number one,” he said, gently placing the helmet on my head, “safety first.” He fastened the straps tightly under my chin.

“Rule number two,” he continued, flipping the visor down. I felt slightly claustrophobic so I flipped it back up. “When I’m making a turn, lean your body toward the turn. Never the opposite way. Got it?”

“Sure.”

He smiled down at me, staring for a moment. I wanted to bottle the color of his vibrant green eyes. Realizing I was staring, I shook the thought from my mind and snapped, “What?”

He shrugged, then swung his long leg to straddle his bike. “Hop on.”

When I didn’t, he turned his head, eyebrows raised and eyes glinting with challenge. At that moment, he looked like a gorgeous devil who’d take my soul to hell—and enjoy every minute of it. “You scared?”

My skin prickled with irritation. It would take more than a pretty boy on a big-ass motorcycle to scare me. I’d prove him wrong. I huffed and climbed on the bike, grabbing the sides of my seat.

“Where’s your helmet?” I demanded.

“Only have one,” he replied. He was so close—close enough for me to catch his masculine scent. “Nobody rides this bike but me. You’re the first passenger.”

He turned the engine on, revving it a few times. The bike vibrated angrily.

“Forgot to tell you the last rule,” he said conversationally, looking over his shoulder. I could hear the mischief in his tone.

“I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”

He grinned. “Hold on to me. Really, really tight.”

“No, thanks.”

“Suit yourself.”

I cried out as the bike zoomed forward, and my arms automatically went around him. I could feel his shoulders and hard stomach shaking with laughter.

He so did that on purpose! Fine, he won this round.

I vowed the next one would be mine, as we exited the garage with a roar.

I didn’t like the bike. It was noisy and dangerous. But as we streaked down the road, and the wind whipped cool and damp on my skin, I felt…

Freedom.

About the Author: My name is Isabelle and I’m a lover of belly laughs and snorts and I eat fries and tofu a lot and I’m in love with kind, compassionate people and you can usually find me in bookstores, coffee shops, karaoke parties or at the beach when it’s not frozen solid and I’m Filipino Canadian.

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