Q&A with Mary Wine

Named a Top 10 Pick for Spring 2015 by Publishers Weekly, Mary Wine’s A Sword For His Lady comes out this July! Mary’s agreed to stop by today and has answered some questions for us about herself and her career as an author.

Do you do anything special for release day?

Check Amazon every hour because I know that makes my reader numbers better…right? But seriously, it’s a battle to gain readers.

What book is your go to “pick-me-up read” after a long day?

At the moment, I’ve been reading the Outlander books.

7_3 mary wineHe’d defend her keep…
After proving himself on the field of battle, Ramon de Segrave is appointed to the Council of Barons by Richard the Lionheart. But instead of taking his most formidable warrior on his latest Crusade, the king assigns Ramon an even more dangerous task—woo and win the Lady of Thistle Keep.

If only she’d yield her heart

Isabel of Camoys is a capable widow with no intention of surrendering her valuable estate. She’s fought long and hard for her independence, and if the price is loneliness, then so be it. She will not yield…even if she does find the powerful knight’s heated embrace impossible to ignore. But when her land is threatened, Isabel reluctantly agrees to allow Ramon and his army to defend the keep—knowing that the price may very well be her heart.

Enjoy an excerpt:

He lifted one foot and set it on the bottom step.

“What are you doing?”

“I am entering the keep.” His tone made it clear he knew he was invading her home.

“No.” She fought back her breathlessness. “You shall not.”

She backed up, but forced herself to stop in the doorway.

“Why not, my lady?”

He climbed another step and she felt her knees quiver. It was an insane reaction, one that shocked her with how intense it was its intensity.

“You do not belong in the keep. This is my home.”

He frowned but climbed another step to stand on even ground with her. Isabel lifted her chin so she might maintain eye contact.

“I will be making a full assessment of this structure, lady. You may stand aside or I shall remove you from my path.”

She should have lowered herself and gracefully glided out of the doorway. It was the only response the code of chivalry afforded her, but she couldn’t force herself to do it. She didn’t feel in control of her emotions; they were scattering like autumn leaves. Her heart accelerated. He was pressing closer, watching her, gauging her reactions to him. She’d never felt so exposed. Never felt like any man took so much notice of her. He reached for her, his expression full of promise.

“No one enters this keep without bathing.” She spat the words out in a rush and had to pull in a deep breath because her lungs burned when she was finished. At last, relief flowed through her, for she had found a valid argument to use.

The baron’s expression didn’t change. His hands were clenched around his wide leather belt, his knuckles turning white.

“Take yourself off to the bath house, my lord baron.” She was being brazen.

He suddenly grunted, amusement returning to his eyes. “Very well lady, since you wish to offer me your hospitality, I accept.”

She stared at him, uncertain of the flicker burning in his dark eyes. This wasn’t a man who knew defeat, and the muscles in her neck tightened when his lips twitched into a smug grin once again.

An expression that was full of victory.

“I shall enjoy having you bathe me, Isabel. It is certainly a good place for us to begin to learn more about one another.” A gleam appeared in his eyes that sent a shiver down her body.

“I did not offer to bathe you myself.” Her voice was a horrified whisper. He stepped closer, capturing her wrist in a grip that surprised her because it lacked pain with its gentleness. Instead, she felt their connection keenly, so much so, it felt as though that she couldn’t form a single, sensible thought. Logic had always offered her salvation in the past. Before Ramon, it crumbled away, leaving her at his mercy.

“You claim you are no maiden, so it is only customary for you to attend me since you are the lady of this keep.” His voice lowered. “Or perhaps, you would prefer not to act as a lady. In such a case…I will be most pleased to dispense with ceremony.”

About the Author: Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of erotic fantasy, romantic suspense, and historical romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives with her husband and two sons in Yorba Linda, California.

Buy the book at Amazon, Apple, BAM, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, or IndieBound.

Things I Like Doing When I’m Not Writing by Hope Ramsay – Guest Blog and Giveaway

7_3 Last Chance Hero Release Week BlitzB

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win the entire print set of Hope Ramsay’s LAST CHANCE books.

Things I Like Doing When I’m Not Writing

I am a person with too many hobbies and not nearly enough time.

First of all I’m a knitter. I can’t sit in front of the television without something in my hands. I guess I’m just antsy or something. I have a ridiculous stash of yarn, a collection of knitting books that’s taking over my bookshelf, and more knitting needles than I’ll ever need in a lifetime.

I also love music and I play the guitar. I learned to play when I was thirteen and I’ve been pretty serious about playing guitar ever since. In my twenties I was in an all-girl folk-rock band that played gigs all over the Washington, DC area. At that point in my life I was writing music and seriously pursuing the dream of becoming a singer-songwriter. But, unfortunately, the band broke up, and believe me when a band disbands it’s as emotionally draining as a divorce. I needed a little alone time after that happened, so I decided to take a few months off from the music to write a novel.

Yeah, well, the rest is history.

7_3 ramsay BassI also garden, and sew, and play golf, and avidly root for the Washington Nationals baseball team. But my newest interest may be fly fishing. The Georgia Good Ol’ Boy (AKA the dear husband) is a fly fisherman, and he’s determined to teach me. Not too long ago he took me out to a lake in Pennsylvania where I managed to catch an itty-bitty large-mouth bass. The Good Ol’ Boy insisted that we capture the moment for posterity.

7_3 Ramsay_Last Chance Hero_MMRoss Gardiner has had his fill of difficult relationships. Returning to Last Chance after a rough divorce, the town’s handsome new fire chief just wants safety and stability-a tall order given his dangerous job and the way he has the attention of all the single women in town. All except Sabina Grey, the girl who stole his heart when they were teenagers. Sabina knows a lot about playing it safe. Always the good girl, she’s now responsible for her antiques store and caring for her sister. But having Ross in town brings back the memory of one carefree summer night when she threw caution to the wind-and almost destroyed her family. Now that they are both older and wiser, will the spark still be there, even though they’ve both been burned?

Enjoy an excerpt:

She wore a pair of faded blue jeans that clung to her hips and butt like they were part of her. Her green tank top looked like something she might have found at a tag sale. The slippery, clingy fabric was covered in Oriental flowers, and it was almost see-through.

Not to mention that it exposed her shoulders, which had freckles on them. As usual, Sabina had pulled her hair back into a ponytail. And as usual, wisps of hair had escaped around her face. He wanted to cross the room, pull that damn rubber band out of her hair, and bury his hands and his nose in all those amazing curls.

Oh yeah, and his hands itched to touch her breasts through that silky fabric. Which is why he balled them into fists and jammed them into his pockets. Then he pretended that his feet were set into concrete.

A man could get hurt by lust like this.

And that didn’t even count the damage his feelings for Sabina might do to Lucy or Henrietta or even the folks in Last Chance who were all invested in him marrying Lucy.

He didn’t want to feel this way.

About anyone.

Lust like this was just crazy. It made a man do stupid things, and he had been there and done that. He much preferred the cool, calm feeling he had for Lucy and her lists.

Sabina stood there staring at him for a moment, her lips soft and parted. The afternoon sun coming through the dusty window, lit up her hair. Her voice sounded squeaky when she started talking, and she stammered, which was not like her at all.

“Uh . . . I . . . Uh. I got a call from Bubba Lockheart. I gather y’all moved the trunk down from the attic?”

“Oh, yeah, you came for the trunk.” He had the twin sensations of being relieved and disappointed all at the same time.

She nodded.

“It’s in the living room. Let me get the hand truck.” He hurried out onto the back porch and snagged the dolly and wheeled it into the living room.

Sabina was waiting for him.

“So, did you search through it? What else is inside?” She tilted her head, and for an instant, she resembled a little kid on Christmas morning, so excited to be unwrapping a present.

“Uh, no. We were kind of busy today.” He kept his words sharp and short. He shoved the dolly under the trunk and tilted it back. Then he wheeled it all the way out to the porch and down a make-shift ramp that had been set up over the front steps. Sabina followed him and opened the tailgate of her van.

“Can you lift it yourself or do you need help?” she asked.

“I can do it.” He wanted her to leave. Fast. But the trunk was awkward and he almost tilted it sideways when he tried to lift it. Before he could stop her, Sabina bent down and grabbed one of the handles and helped.

Together they got it up into the van. But in the process they ended up side by side and their shoulders touched.

He’d never been burned by a fire. He was practically religious about keeping his gear in topnotch form. But that touch scalded him. It would have been normal to jump back from all that heat. After all, he’d been trained to know the danger of uncontrolled fires.

But his training went right out the window, along with his common sense. Instead of running like hell, he turned toward her. She looked up at him, the fire dancing in her eyes. Oh, man, this was so wrong.

And so right.

“Ross,” she whispered, her voice so damn sultry.

His mind told him to stop. But his heart had a completely different idea. His heart had been waiting decades to kiss Sabina Grey. And there she was, right in reach, and her mouth looked so ready to be kissed that he couldn’t help himself.

He leaned down and pressed his mouth to her lips, and even though this wasn’t exactly the hands-on, bodies-pressed-together, hot and heavy kiss he’d once fantasized about, the heat of the moment still swept through him.

He wanted to pull her close. He wanted to explore her mouth a little deeper. He wanted to do a lot more than dance with her.

But Sabina pushed back.

“We can’t do this.” Her look was stunningly sober.

“Right,” he said on a deep exhalation. “Right.” He repeated the word because his mind had sort of checked out for a moment. “I’m sorry.”

She didn’t accept his apology. She just gave him one of those female looks that were so hard to decipher. This one was pretty bad ass.

And then she backed away, ran to the driver’s side of the van, and took off, sending the gravel on the driveway flying.

About the Author:7_3 RamsayHope

Hope Ramsay grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar.

Twitter | Website | Pinterest | Facebook | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, GooglePlay, iTunes, or Kobo.

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Marilyn Pappano’s Strangest Experiences – Guest Blog and Giveaway

7_2 marilyn A-Promise-of-Forever-Release-Week-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win the Tallgrass Series.

Marilyn Pappano’s Strangest Experiences
I’m a magnet for odd things.

1. My office was fried by a lightning strike just minutes after I walked out. (The only electronic device to survive was a decade-old cheap boom-box.)

2. Whenever an angry, ranting, delusional, stalking person is looking for someone to be crazy with in public, he always picks me.

3. When my dog Jack and I went for a walk one day, we ran into an ostrich. In the woods. In northeast Oklahoma.

4. I’ve had more encounters with copperheads than I can count and have never met a horse who didn’t try to bite me.

5. One time, while in my own yard minding my own business, a bird flew over and pooped. On my head. Coincidence? More like calculated, bird-brain plan to add one more incident to the weirdness of my life.

7_2 marilyn Pappano_A Promise of Forever_MMSergeant First Class Avi Grant’s return to Tallgrass, Oklahoma is a long-deferred wish come true. With her final tour in Afghanistan over, Avi can focus on her future-a job here at home and a family of her own. There’s just one thing she has to do first: visit her beloved commanding officer’s widow and share her grief. The last thing she expected was to feel an instant attraction to the woman’s son. Too bad the sexy surgeon is impossible to ignore . . . and even harder to resist.

The sting of his parents’ divorce still niggles at Ben Noble. So when a warm, funny, and beautiful young sergeant arrives, mourning his stepfather’s loss as strongly as his mother does, Ben can’t help but feel conflicted. If his parents taught him anything, it’s that love doesn’t last-especially with a career soldier. But try as he might to keep his distance, Ben begins to see that Avi-and the spark she brings to his life-is the stuff forever is made of. As Avi’s leave ticks away, can Ben convince her to take a chance on forever with him?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Outside, the sounds of children playing were louder, the splashes indicating that the kids across the street were enjoying one of the last swims of the summer. Avi and Ben walked silently to her car, parked in the driveway.

She nestled the pie plate into the passenger seat, tucked her purse around to hold it in place, then closed the door before turning to him.

So . . . Would he ask for her cell number? Offer his? Make firm plans to see her again before driving away?

For the first time in a long time, the answers mattered.

Linking his fingers with hers, he pulled her to the driver’s side of the car, then stood, invading her personal space. She liked it.

“Do you have any plans for tomorrow night?”

Yes! “Not a single one.”

He combed his fingers through his hair. “Would you like to go out to dinner?”

She wanted to blurt out the affirmative as quickly as it had echoed in her head, but he went on. “You would have to drive to Tulsa. Tuesday is surgery day, so if I come here, I can’t get here before seven, and I’ll have to head back before nine.”

Drive to Tulsa? An hour or less. No big deal. She’d had commutes between apartments and forts that took longer, and that was just to work. An evening with Ben was such a nicer payoff. “I don’t mind.”

“I usually get out of clinic around six. We could meet at my house around six thirty?”

A smile spread across her face. “I can handle that.”

“Good.” He wasn’t smiling, but his eyes showed something just as encouraging. Relief, maybe, or satisfaction. Hmm. She could show him satisfaction.

He leaned closer, just slightly, and lowered his voice. “I’d kiss you good night, but we have an audience.”

Glancing over her shoulder toward the house, she caught just a glimpse of Patricia before the blinds at the living room window settled. Looking back at Ben, she smiled. “Kiss me anyway.”

He closed the last of the distance between them, lowering his mouth to hers, giving her a sweet, gentle, tender kiss that set her blood on fire. It was impressive and surprising and just a bit scary, considering she’d had tons of kisses that were a whole lot more passionate and evoked a whole lot less of a response.

When he lifted his head, her fingers curled, wanting to wrap around the back of his neck and pull him down again. Her heart skipped a beat or two, and something deep inside her felt deprived.

In the dim light, Ben looked impressed and surprised and a bit scared, too. For a moment, he stared at her, all intense and searching, then he gave a rueful shake of his head. Stepping back, he asked for her cell phone, input his number, and texted it to himself to get her number.

“Six thirty,” he said when he handed it back, his voice rough-edged. “I’ll send you the address.”

“I’ll be there.”

About the Author: 7_2 marilyn Pappano, MarilynKnown for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband’s Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.

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Favorite Desserts by VK Sykes – Guest Blog and Giveaway

7_1 VK Summer-at-the-Shore-Release-Week-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publishers. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of Summer at the Shore.

Favorite Dessert recipes for VK Sykes (picked by Vanessa)
1. Apple Pie – starting with Randy’s favorite. It’s all about the pastry. A tender, flaky piecrust is a thing of beauty. When you find a good recipe, you stick with it.

2. Chocolate cake – My favorite. First of all…chocolate. And second, because there are just so many different variations on chocolate cake. You can never get bored!

3. Blueberry crisp – simple ingredients that bake into the perfect summer dessert. And you can even convince yourself it’s (sort of) healthy.

4. Salted caramel gelato – okay, not really a recipe, but we both love it. An insanely good comb of sweet, salty, and creamy.

5. Lemon bisque – a lemony, mousse-like dessert with a graham cracker and pecan crust. This was my favorite dessert when I was a kid, and I often asked my mother to make it instead of cake (see #1) for my birthday. Now when I have lemon bisque, it reminds me of my mother and my childhood!

7_1 VK SummerAttheShoreJUST A SUMMER FLING?

Morgan Merrifield sacrificed her teaching career to try to save her family’s bed-and-breakfast and care for her younger sister. She can’t let herself get distracted by Ryan Butler. After all, the rugged ex-Special Forces soldier is only in Seashell Bay for the summer. But her longtime crush soon flares into real desire-and with one irresistible kiss, she’s swept away.

Ryan values his freedom. As much as he wants Morgan, he’s not ready to settle down with anyone, much less in sleepy Seashell Bay. But his code of honor doesn’t allow him to leave a woman in distress-and she’s in desperate need of help to fix the inn. It only takes one day working under the same roof and Ryan is already hoping for a lifetime of hot summer nights . . .

About the Author: V. K. Sykes is a wife/husband writing team -Vanessa Kelly and Randall Sykes – who write romantic suspense and single-title contemporary romance. One of the great things they appreciate about being writers is that they can work anywhere so Vanessa and Randy split their time between Ontario, Canada, in the summer and Florida in the winter. Both locations have shores just as beautiful as the imaginary Seashell Bay.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, or BAM.

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Lily’s Most Embarrassing Moments by Jill Shalvis – Guest Blog and Giveaway

7_1 Second-Chance-Summer-Blog-Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter to win a copy of Second Chance Supper.

Most Embarrassing situations that my heroine Lily got herself into during Second Chance Summer
1. Ran outside in her skimpy pjs to grab some wood to start a fire and plowed into hero. She ran up the stairs back inside before she remembered that her pjs have “kiss it” across her butt.

2. When she buys the local convenience store out of junk food and the cashier guy asks her if she’s high, or just been dumped.

3. When she sees sexy Aidan for the first time in ten years and backs into a display in the store trying to get away. Stealth, she is not.

4. When she thinks about maybe running the smug Aidan over and he just smiles at her, knowing she won’t do it because, dammit, she likes him too much.

5. When he realizes that she loves him before SHE realizes she loves him, mostly because she hates when he’s right…

7_1 Shalvis_Second Chance Summer_MMCedar Ridge, Colorado, is famous for crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and pine-scented breezes. And it’s the last place Lily Danville wants to be. But she needs a job, and there’s an opening at the hottest resort in her hometown. What has her concerned is the other hot property in Cedar Ridge: Aidan Kincaid-firefighter, rescue worker, and heartbreaker. She never could resist that devastating smile . . .

The Kincaid brothers are as rough and rugged as the Rocky Mountains they call home. Aidan has always done things his own way, by his own rules. And never has he regretted anything more than letting Lily walk out of his life ten years ago. If anyone has ever been in need of rescuing, she has. What she needs more than anything are long hikes, slow dances, and sizzling kisses. But that can only happen if he can get her to give Cedar Ridge-and this bad boy-a second chance . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Come here,” he said.

“I’m right here.”

“Closer.”

She walked into his arms. He pulled her in and kissed her. He kissed her until he knew he’d taken it as far as he could without tearing off that pretty sundress right then and there, and only then did he lift his head.

“Oh,” she breathed, staggering back a step, clearly trying to play it cool—which might have worked if her eyes weren’t dilated and the pulse at the base of her throat wasn’t going apeshit crazy.

He gave a slow smile and pulled her back in, not hard for him to do, since she already had a grip on his shirt like he was her lifeline and she was going down for the count.

She cleared her throat. “So you showed up all Captain America to save the day, and now what? I jump into bed with you? Was that your plan?”

“Yeah,” he said, “but in my version we didn’t talk this much.”

“A full-service rescue then,” she said evenly.

He tried a cajoling smile. “I’m really good at full service.”

“Do you really think this is a good idea?”

He laughed softly and let his mouth brush over her temple and then her ear, which caused her to shiver. “Of course it’s not a good idea. Or we’d have gone for it already.

But sometimes the bad ideas turn out to be the best ideas of all.”

“Yeah?” she asked. “Name one.”

“Bringing out your keys from the convenience store after the postcard display demolition.”

She let out a soft laugh and fisted her hands in his hair.

“So what now? We really going to try this out?”

Were they? He’d promised himself he wouldn’t give her a chance to devastate him again. But somehow over the past few weeks he’d lost sight of keeping his heart safe and moved onto wanting to heal her heart. “I’m game.”

She hesitated so long he took a step back from her and prepared himself to leave. But her hand came out and gripped his. “You’re wearing too many clothes,” she said softly.

About the Author: 7_1 JillShalviscroppedNew York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Buy Second Chance Summer at Amazon, B&N, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, or BAM.

 

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June Erotic Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Brokenhearted Beauty by Heather Rainier


BEAUTY
Brokenhearted Beauty by Heather Rainier
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (281 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Brokenhearted and grieving, Leah Woodworth’s heart is filled with regret for never confessing her love to Patterson Elder. His loss haunts her dreams and she can’t set eyes on his brothers, James and Vincent without seeing his face. Having denied her attraction to them until it was too late, how can they possibly still want her?

James and Vincent were sure Leah was the one from the moment they met her. Patterson had always shared that belief, taking every chance to convince her that she was meant to be theirs. With Patterson gone, James and Vincent are deep in their own mourning and at a loss as to why Leah avoids them. When she is offered an opportunity that may take her permanently out of Divine, they realize time has run out and seize what may be the last chance they have to make her theirs forever.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

June Non-Erotic Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Tenth Suitor by Laura Strickland

TENTH
The Tenth Suitor by Laura Strickland
(Twelve Brides of Christmas Series)
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Holiday
Length: Short Story (82 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

When Edwina’s father invites ten titled lords to spend Christmas at his medieval estate so Edwina may choose one for a husband, she finds the idea romantic. She dreams of gazing into the eyes of one of her suitors and falling deeply in love. But it soon becomes apparent the lords in question are far more interested in gaining her father’s estate than Edwina’s hand.

Thorstan’s in attendance, but he hasn’t been invited, and he’s no lord. A former mercenary, he’s come disguised as a jester to get near Edwina, long adored from afar. Edwina quickly falls for his charm and quirky humor even though she fears her father will never approve of a commoner for her husband. But when Edwina is abducted, only Thorstan—a skilled swordsman—has hope of rescuing her in time for the promised Christmas wedding.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley – Spotlight and Giveaway

6_30 ashley Ride-Steady-Blog-Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher as Ride Steady is released today. Enter to win one set of the Chaos series: FIRE INSIDE, OWN THE WIND, and RIDE STEADY via the Rafflecopter below.

6_30 Ashley_Ride Steady_MMThe ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy—until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa’s pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he’s the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa’s acting, it’s clear she’s falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker’s secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa—or ride away forever . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Yo!” I heard Snapper call and I looked to him to see he was looking beyond me. I turned around and saw Tabby was heading toward me and Snapper. “I’m takin’ Carissa out on my bike. You wanna look after her purse or put it in Shy’s room or somethin’?”
At his request, Tabby’s gaze immediately cut to the pool tables. When she took them in, for some reason, her face got hard before she softened it and looked back toward us.
“Not a problem,” she said, stopping at us. “Go. Ride.”
“Never been on a bike,” I told her and her face split in a big smile.
“Then go. Ride.” She leaned in to me. “Beware, wind in your hair, moon on your skin, you’ll fall in love.”

I wasn’t sure that was a good thing. I’d fallen in love with something I couldn’t have, and if I fell in love with the wind in my hair and the moon on my skin, without someone to give that to me, I couldn’t have that either.

But to heck with it.

Maybe this would be the only bike ride I’d I’d have in my life.

And maybe the kiss Joker gave me was the only fabulous kiss I’d ever get.

And maybe my dream of having a family or the other dream of getting behind the steel guarding Joker’s eyes was lost to me.

But I was still breathing.

So I’d take what I could get.

Tabby put her hand on my purse, which was lying on the bar. “Got this. Have fun.”

“Thanks,” I whispered.

She winked at me.

I looked to Snapper. “Let’s go.”

“Meet you at the end of the bar, babe.”

“Right!” I chirped, jumped off my stool, threw Tabby a smile, nabbed my jacket that I was sitting on and bounced to the end of the bar.

When I got there, Snapper had pulled on his leather jacket. He grabbed my hand and guided me out the door and to his bike. Then he got on his bike before instructing me on how to do the same.

The bike roared, he backed out on an angle, and we glided over the tarmac of Ride.

He pulled out onto Broadway and I got it.

The wind in my hair.

The moon on my skin.

The leather of his jacket in my nostrils.

The solidness of him under my hands at his waist.

We got close to the onramp of I‑25 and he shouted, “Hold on!”

“Sorry?” I shouted back.

“Hold on!” he yelled, taking one hand off the grip and using it to pull my hand from his waist and around to his stomach.

He put his hand back on the grip and we turned up the ramp, going faster, faster, faster, the wind whipping my hair and biting into my skin. I curved my other arm around him, put my chin to his shoulder, drew in air and leather, and I got it.

Instantly.

That it being why this was the life for a biker.

No encumbrances. You wanted to smoke pot, you smoked it. You wanted to wear a tube top, you wore it. You wanted to drink shots, you drank them. You wanted to make out hot and heavy on a couch in a room filled with people, you did it.

You wanted to live, you lived.

You wanted to be free, you got on your bike and rode in the moonlight.

You did not drink martinis you didn’t like. You did not take a job your mother‑in‑law thought you should have. You did not take guff from your ex, not ever.

You did what you wanted.

You were free.

In all that was happening to me, all that I was feeling, all the disappointment of that night and the bizarre devastation I felt that the first time this happened, me on the back of a bike, I would have preferred it be with Joker . . . right then, for that moment, I let it all go.

I let it go, held on to Snapper and I let myself feel it.

Feel something rare and beautiful and overwhelming.

Feel something I knew for certain I hadn’t felt in my whole life.

Free.

About the Author:6_30 AshleyKristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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Side Swiped by Lia Riley – Spotlight and Giveaway

6_30 lia Sideswiped-Print-Release-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of Sideswiped by Lia Riley. She stopped by today to answer a few questions:

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

At this point I’ve written ten, nine which you’ll be able to read by end of 2015. The first shall never leave my computer. Choosing a favorite is like picking a child–can’t do it. They each have a special place in my heart in their own way. Some were easier. Some hard. Some made me laugh. Some made me cry in bed out of frustration. But they each have been a part of my writing journey.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I have two Facebook reader groups and interact a lot on social media. I love hearing from readers and we can talk about everything from Australia, to future releases, to how hot Michael Fassbender looks in the new Macbeth trailer.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Truth? A writer. Or a professional book reader :-)

How do you do research for your books?

I buy research books on Amazon, visit places if it allows (I was lucky enough to be back in Australia while drafting Sideswiped and made the most of it), and my old friend…Google!

What is your most embarrassing moment?

You want me to pick one…because that would be impossible. How about the time in a state of newborn exhaustion I drove to the grocery store with my shirt open and nursing bra unclasped and didn’t realize until (wait for it) the dairy section. Oops.

Thanks so much for having me on your lovely blog!

6_30 lia Riley_Sideswiped_TPIt was only meant to last the summer . . .
Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless SoCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight-because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

An hour later I’m zipping the back of Talia’s wet suit at the edge of the tide line. Moonlight glimmers on the black water. The waves line up perfectly, peeling clean. I breathe deep, savoring the air’s briny tang and the musty smell of decomposing kelp. My awareness is sharpened by anticipation, the five senses amplified by the dark.

Talia shuffles at my side, getting antsy.

“You sure about this?”

“Yes. Well, sure enough.”

Another set breaks. The conditions are choice. If she changes her mind, I might need to have a ride—a quick one.

Maybe two, tops.

“What’s that noise?” She stills. “There it is again. Can you hear it?”

I concentrate and smile when a sound like a wheezing donkey drifts from beyond the breakers. “Fairy penguin.”

“Shut up! There are penguins around here?”

“Sure. In the summer they build burrows in the scrub along the coast. If you stand outside a colony right after sunset, things get pretty noisy.”

“Penguins.” She almost whispers the word. “That’s so cool.”

The wash races over the sand and breaks across our toes. I figure out a plan of attack. “We’ll paddle to the left shoulder where the wave’s less steep. Stick with me, okay?” No one else is out and my voice feels extra loud even though I’m speaking quiet.

“Have you ever been to Rome?” She takes my hand.

“No, not yet.”

“Me neither. But I can’t imagine the Sistine Chapel being more amazing than this.”

Besides the moon, there’s zero light pollution. The Milky Way arches in a dazzling band across the sky’s apex. Individual stars are indistinguishable in the brilliant haze.

“You ready?”

She squeezes my hand in reply.

We paddle out.

“Whoa!” She pushes her chest up to better peer over her board’s tip. Around us the water casts a luminous green-blue light.

“Phosphorescence. Cool, eh? It’s blooming phytoplankton, caused by this marine species of dinoflagellates releasing enzymes that—”

“That’s enough, Sid the Science Kid. Let me retain this fairy kingdom illusion a little while longer.”

“Science is cool, Captain.”

“I never said— Oh, crap!”

Instead of duck-diving under the incoming wave, the water wall pounds her in the face. She breaks through the other side, coughing out a lung.

“We can head back to shore, don’t have to—”

“I’m fine. Please. There’s a wave coming. I can feel the pull. Can you?”

“You want it?”

“It’s all yours.”

I take off on a left break and fly down the smooth face. For a few perfect seconds, I’m right here in the moment. Rational thought is eclipsed and with it the aggravating confusion of having everything: Talia, Tasmania, honors, and still hungering for more like a greedy bastard. I paddle back to her.

“You looked great.”

“That was good.”

She sits, bobbing lightly. “It’s not as freaky out here as I imagined.”

“Fucking hell, Captain. You said you weren’t scared.”

“No, I never did. I’m scared by everything. But I want to do this.”

We’re quiet. A few more waves come but I let them go, happy to be with my girl, the stars, and the radiant water.

Hard not to believe in magic on such a night.

She clears her throat. “About what happened back at the house…if this is going to work, you can’t shut me out. You’re not just a you anymore; we’re an us. We have to be there for each other.”

I bob on my board and drag my fingers through the water. The phosphorescence lights from my touch. Finally I speak. “Karma’s got this mate; he’s on the crew of a Sea Alliance vessel. There’s an opening for a gig, with voyages to Japan and Antarctica.”

“You want to go for it?” I can’t decipher her expression.

I almost say no, but honesty’s easier in the anonymous dark. “Yeah, kinda. But I want to be with you more.”

“Oh, Bran, that’s way too much pressure.”

“What do you mean?”

“Imagine coming home in a few months and I’m all vegged on the couch, watching awful reality television. Will you think to yourself, ‘I could be gallantly defending the high seas but instead I’m attached to this boring anchor’?”

“Life with you is bound to be a lot of things, but boring isn’t the first depiction that springs to mind.”

“But life isn’t always night surfing. I…I can’t compete against a fantasy.”

“I never said you had to.”

“Isn’t supporting the other’s goals a fundamental part of the good girlfriend/boyfriend job description? I mean, say I always wanted to volunteer in Africa? Join the Peace Corps.”

“Do you?”

“I used to toy around with the idea. Now? I’m not sure but I don’t want to close myself off to opportunities.”

“We can travel through Africa someday.”

“Peace Corps is one of my dreams, not yours. I want you to have the freedom to pursue your own happiness.”

“You make me happy.” I strike my words like flint before sucking in a rough breath. “Look, I’m not a guy cut out for the long-distance thing. I hated every second we were apart the last two months.”

“Bran…” She reaches out her hand and I take hold. “I won’t let go.”

“Me neither.” I scrutinize the sky, heart clanging. Everything appears so deceptively still. In reality, the Earth careens through space. Talia and I, we’re little specks of cosmic dust in the grand scheme. It wouldn’t take much to blow away from each other.

“But in the future—”

“I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate the support. But the only future I’m willing to discuss is the one where it’s me and you—together.”

Better to orbit far away from black holes.

About the Author:6_30 Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme2After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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Favorite Writing Snacks by Tiffany Snow – Guest Blog and Giveaway

6_29 tiffany Power-Play-Tiffany-Snow-Release-Week-Blitz
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. One randomly drawn reader will receive a copy of Power Play. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.

Favorite writing snacks
My favorite writing snacks really varies depending on how close my deadline is. A typical day with a deadline approximately two weeks away will look like this:

Morning:

7:30 am – Brew a pot of coffee, sit down to have a cup while taking care of email and social media.

8 am – Pour another cup of coffee and open my manuscript. Reread what I wrote yesterday to be inspired for today.

8:22 am – My coffee needs heating up. Quick break to do that and top off with more coffee.

9 am – I’ve written twenty-five words and I’m a little hungry. Some breakfast will help get the creative juices flowing.

9:37 am – An egg, piece of bacon and another cup of coffee. Okay, now I’m ready to write. Bacon fixes everything.

10:43 am – More coffee. Is there something sweet around here? *rummages through week-old muffin tin*

11:35 am – It’s lunchtime! A legitimate time for a break. There must be cold-cuts in the fridge…with a side of Cool Ranch Doritos and Pepsi.

12:02 pm – NOW it’s technically lunchtime, but I’ve already eaten. Time to get back to work.

1:15 pm – Vaguely hungry again and don’t know what happens next in my manuscript. Think I’ll have a snack and brainstorm.

1:35 pm – Snack pack of Cool Ranch Doritos chased with snack pack of Cheetos later and still don’t know what happens next. Pour a glass of white wine and decide to change location to the porch. A fresh view will help.

1: 58 pm – It’s hotter out here than I thought and the sun is bright. Back inside.

2:46 pm – Wine is gone but feels a little naughty to pour another glass. Let’s have something sweet instead. I think there are some Oreos in the pantry…

3:24 pm – It’s almost “happy hour,” so another glass of wine is totally fine. But it should be civilized, with food, so time to dig out the water crackers and cheese. Now it’s not wine-in-the-middle-of-the-day but a very French snack.

4:40 pm – They have tea time in Britain so I can do that here. I may even have some Earl Grey. How very Continental of me. And they have biscuits, too, which means cookies and hey, I still have Oreos. This works…

5:28 pm – Look at me, working late! That deserves a cocktail! After all, it was Hemingway who said “Write drunk, edit sober.” Granted, I’m no Hemingway, but still. Time for that margarita. And you can’t have a margarita without chips and salsa so let’s dig those out, too. I can totally get some more word count in with this.

6:12 pm – Quitting time! And time to make dinner for the family. Weird that I’m not even hungry. I’ll just have a glass of wine while I cook.

6_29 tiffany book coverTHIS KIND OF BUSINESS CAN ONLY BE PERSONAL

Sage Reese lives for her job. More precisely, she lives for her debonair boss, Parker Andersen. Sage handles everything for Parker, even as she fantasizes about the one thing that isn’t in her job description: him. But when a high-stakes account crosses the line from shady to deadly, a tough cop starts giving Sage the attention she wishes Parker would . . .

Detective Dean Ryker couldn’t be more different from Parker. While Parker wears expensive suits like a second skin and drives a BMW, Ryker’s uniform is leather jackets and jeans . . . and his ride of choice is a Harley. While Parker’s sexiness is a reserved, slow burn, Ryker is completely upfront about what-and who-he’s after. And Sage tops his list.

Now, as Ryker digs deeper into the dark side of Parker’s business, Sage finds herself caught between two men: the one she’s always wanted-and the one who makes her feel wanted like never before . . .

About the Author: A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Tiffany Snow earned degrees in Education and History from the University of Missouri-Columbia, before launching a career in Information Technology. After over a decade in IT, she switched careers to what she always dreamed of doing – writing. Tiffany is the author of romantic suspense novels such as the Kathleen Turner Series, which includes No Turning Back, Turn to Me and Turning Point. Since she’s drawn to character-driven books herself, that’s what she loves to write, and the guy always gets his girl. She feeds her love of books with avid reading, yet she manages to spare time and considerable affection for trivia, eighties hair bands, the St. Louis Cardinals, and Elvis. She and her husband have two daughters and one dog.

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