What Matters Most by Dianne Maguire – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dianne will be awarding an eCopy of What Matters Most to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

There is good love and bad love. Good sex and bad sex. And sometimes it’s hard to know the difference.

Paediatrician and mother Mia Sandhurst is scraping to keep her marriage together after her husband of 25 years breaks her heart. Finally facing reality, Mia embarks on a series of outlandish new behaviours to make startling discoveries about herself, love and life.

But the lies and betrayal Mia endures are nothing compared to those of her 15 year old patient, Rachel Hooper.

Set on the magical coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, What Matters Most is a story of love, family, misplaced loyalty and how our choices shape who we are.

Enjoy an excerpt:

It was well after 4.00pm by the time Mia plodded down the concrete steps into the car park. The flash and beep from her car as she pointed the remote always gave her a discernible burst of joy because it meant she was on her way home. On this particular occasion she also realised she had not had time all day to think about her own family. Tossing her bag onto the passenger seat before sliding behind the wheel and turning the key in the ignition, she resolved to ring Adam after dinner. In the meantime, she thought, there was a more irksome task to be dealt with. She rummaged through her bag, dug out her phone and slipped it into the hands-free carrier. She eventually found the number and dialled, the rings at the other end echoing through the car as she emerged from the car park into the fading light.

‘Leila Anderson,’ a voice answered as Mia accelerated onto the street, still shining with evidence of the day’s persistent early-spring showers.

‘Hello, Leila, it’s Mia Sandhurst,’ she said, pulling up at the traffic lights, the indicator clicking like a metronome as she waited for a young couple with a pram to saunter across the pedestrian crossing before she could turn left.

‘Hello, Mia.’ Leila’s voice registered surprise. And there was something else that was indecipherable in her tone as well.

‘I’m really sorry to intrude on your Sunday, but Eric isn’t responding to my calls. I’m a little worried. Have you heard from him?’

A brief silence was followed by hesitant, deliberate intonations — the type of response one would expect from a witness on the stand in a courtroom, or someone giving evidence to a Royal Commission. ‘Well, no … not really. Only a few emails with attached reports and letters he wanted me to type.’

‘Has he called you?’ Mia asked, her concerns curdling to suspicion, purely due to Leila’s obvious wavering.

‘No … no calls. Look, I’m sure he’s fine, Mia. He has a pretty packed schedule this trip.’

Mia turned into her street, the energetic, almost cheerful clicking of the indictor at odds with the anxiety, edged with anger, that swirled in her gut. Of course, it was Leila’s job to protect her boss, but it was not her place to shield him from his wife. ‘Mm, that’s part of the problem, I think. I didn’t get his schedule for this trip. I wonder if you would email me a copy, please.’

There was another awkward pause before Leila said, ‘Sure. I don’t see why not. And if I do hear from Eric, I’ll have him call you.’

‘Excellent — thanks, Leila. Enjoy the rest of your day. And sorry again for disturbing you, but I feel so much better now we have spoken …

‘… not,’ Mia said through clenched teeth, stabbing the end button and accelerating into her undercroft. Within seconds, she was pounding her way up the stairs and charging through the back door into her kitchen, ignoring the beep from within her bag, which signalled the arrival of a text to pour herself a large glass of chilled white wine.

Soothed by a few velvet sips, Mia slammed her palm onto the gas fire, bringing its flames to life with a deep puff, shoved a section of pre-cooked Peking duck into the oven and made an Asian salad, then took a long hot shower. Rummaging to the back of her wardrobe she dragged out her comfort clothes — elephant-sized track pants and an equally large windcheater. She relished their sense of freedom and warmth and padded in bare feet back to the kitchen where aromas of cooked duck filled the space and teased her appetite.

It was when she was taking the first sip of her second glass of wine that she remembered the text message and lifted her phone to see that there were actually two messages awaiting her.

The first was from Maggie Malloy: Rachel’s cardiac tests clear. Still refusing to engage with psych. Will be discharged tomorrow in the am. Have reported my concerns to Child Welfare.

Mia’s brow furrowed. ‘Oh no, Rachel. What is really happening in your life? Should we be worried or should we simply leave you alone?’ She resolved to visit Rachel one last time tomorrow, before she was discharged from hospital.

The second message was from Eric: Singapore deal successful. Sorry haven’t been able to return calls. Will be home Tuesday, but have another appointment that evening so no plans pls. E. His blisteringly terse tone seemed misplaced and unwarranted, especially after days of silence. ‘How astounding, Eric, that you have chosen to message me less than one hour after I phoned your secretary. What is going on?’ she muttered, her appetite immediately leaving her.

About the Author:

Dianne Maguire is a social worker turned novelist with over 20 years’ experience in child welfare and protection.

She has won the Pauline Walsh Prize in the Eastwood/Hills Regional Annual Literary Awards and in 2010 she co-wrote a collection of non-fiction short stories, It’s About Time, for children’s charity Time for Kids. Her articles have been published in state and national newspapers and magazines.

Although Dianne lives in Adelaide with her husband Jerome, she does most of her writing on the Fleurieu Peninsula. What Matters Most is her debut novel.

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Exposed by Karyn Good – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Karyn Good will be awarding a $50 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.

MediaKit_BookCover_ExposedKate Logan needs a safe haven, a place to start over after her modeling career disintegrates in scandal. But her hometown of Aspen Lake isn’t the sanctuary she hoped. Her vow of a low-key life is disrupted by a break-in and other strange happenings at her boutique. As the chair of Aspen Lake’s Gothic Revival Festival, she’s also drawn the ire of a religious fanatic. Kate is up to her stilettos in drama and intrigue including one sexy carpenter who’s determined to get in her way.

New to town, Seth Stone is seeking inspiration and solitude to concentrate on his art. Short on funds, he agrees to take on a second job restoring the damage to Kate’s Closet. Trouble erupts along with the desire to get to know Kate better. When he’s used as a pawn in a smear campaign against his gorgeous boss Seth fights back. But now the whole town is watching. Including the man determined to further his own agenda. Time is running out with nowhere to hide.

< Enjoy an excerpt: Against Kate’s will, her lips twitched and she nodded. “Why don’t we see how the door goes first?” “Fair enough. I’ll do my best to amaze.” He grinned. A heart-stopping, slow-spreading, deadly kind of grin. A slight lift of the corners until it gradually widened to reach all the way to his eyes. Eyes that hid a hint of jungle cat in them. The kind of smile that took forever to get where it was going, but when it got there you felt like someone had forgotten to yell “Clear!” before they used the paddles. When she committed to getting sober, booze wasn’t the only thing she’d given up. If you didn’t count the one night of insanity and crushing loneliness she’d succumbed to, it meant she hadn’t had sex in over a year. She battened down her hatches as a lovely rush of hormones washed through her. He wasn’t her type. She didn’t go for younger men, and she put him somewhere in his early twenties. She was twenty-nine going on eighty. No, he was not for her. But that didn’t stop her from squirming in her high heels. “I’ll leave you to it.” She slipped her ice queen persona back into place, stiffened her spine and her resolve as she tried not to ooze pheromones. Or desperation. Then she decided to ignore all of it and him and hoped any potential fantasies died from lack of cultivation. She had enough problems. She didn’t need gorgeous. Or intense. Or broad shouldered. It was time to give older, stable, and established a try. A gentleman by choice. One who owned a suit. Someone respectable. She did a quick scan of Seth’s back view. Not a guy who looked like summertime at the beach. Were those leather bracelets? With beads? And what? She was doing inventory now?

So…he was hot. Her life was a mess. She didn’t need it to become a hot mess.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ExposedI grew up on a farm in the middle of Canada’s breadbasket. Under the canopy of crisp blue prairie skies I read books. Lots and lots of books. One day the inevitable happened and I knew without question the time was right. What to write was never the issue – romance and the gut wrenching journey towards forever.

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Missing by Randa Flannery – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Randa 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.

MediaKit_BookCover_MissingHaunted by her best friend’s disappearance, always practical Rowan Quaide lives a life of cold logic. As an intelligence analyst, her world is ruled by who has the best strategy and Ro’s reasoned control makes her Queen.

A Chance encounter with a man from her past stretches the bounds of reason and throws her into a game of dark deception and danger. With the past creeping from her nightmares into her reality, Ro pits herself against the monster determined to destroy the new love she’s found.

As the intel gets more and more disturbing and events begin to spin out of control, she must rely on her instincts and cling to an unreasonable truth, or allow logic to tear her apart.

Enjoy an excerpt:

He turned to her with a considering gaze. “You’re a fascinating woman, Quaide,” he spoke softly. “A strange mix of pragmatic and unwillingly romantic with just a touch of eager rashness.”

Rowan wanted to laugh it off, but was lulled by his voice and those fathomless eyes that always seemed able to hold her gaze so easily. So she simply watched as he slowly moved closer.

“I find myself…” He paused and she saw him swallow, watched the movement of his throat, and noted the unevenness of his breathing. She noted with vague surprise that her own matched it. “Mesmerized,” he finished on a whisper.

She felt the air thicken around them, that quickening of anticipation. Her heart danced in her chest and her limbs quivered. His hand reached up to touch her hair, her neck, her cheek with gentle caresses that made her tingle, made her stomach tighten. She licked her lips nervously and saw his eyes darken, a deep flush answering in her cheeks. It made no sense, she thought dimly, to feel all this before he’d even kissed her.

He lowered his head those final few inches, meeting her trembling lips with his. It was the merest of touches, almost hesitant more than patient. It shouldn’t have made her knees weak or her stomach flutter. It surely shouldn’t have breathed heat through her or caused her to shudder. She’d been kissed before, with the crushing of mouths and dueling of tongues, and those kisses had never made her weak or needy. But this one did. It did all of those things that it shouldn’t have.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MissingRanda Flannery has an a degree in English and writes a variety of romantic fiction, including suspense, comedy, and urban fantasy. Randa is a member of the Romance Writers of America and lives as an expat with her husband and children in FuYang, China.

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First Season/Bride to Be by Jane Ashford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcome Jane Ashford, who is here as part of a virtual book tour organized by her publisher for the release of the First Season / Bride To Be. duology. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of the book.

10_8 FirstSeasonBrideToBeTwo classic Regency romances by beloved bestselling author Jane Ashford celebrate the adventures of a London Season


Widowed Lady Anabel Wyndham was married right out of the schoolroom and has never before experienced the delights of a London Season. She’s dazzled by the attention of the fascinating Sir Charles Norbury, a man whose touch seems to melt her very soul, but a notorious rake. She’s drawn to handsome friend-of-the-family Christopher Hanford and the comfort and serenity he offers. But how does one choose between two such charming suitors? Anabel is finding that love is so much more dangerous the second time around.


Emily Crane is the toast of the ton—and she couldn’t find it more tedious. Until she encounters the darkly sensual stranger whose life she once saved and the London Season becomes infinitely more exciting. Recently returned from the wilds of South America, Lord Richard Sheldon has only contempt for tiresome London chits, but he finds himself stunningly intrigued by the dauntless Emily Crane. When the two become embroiled in a budding scandal and are forced into an engagement, they discover a passion more dangerous than any killer…

Enjoy an excerpt from First Season:

“There you are,” said someone from the hall below. “They said you had gone upstairs.”

Anabel looked down to find Sir Charles Norbury gazing up at her. A tingling shock ran through her body, and the candle trembled a little, dripping wax.

“You have missed the first waltz,” he added, meeting her at the bottom of the staircase and taking the candlestick from her hand. He snuffed the flame between forefinger and thumb and set it aside. “And I came early especially to engage you for it.”

“I wanted to look in on the children.” As always, his presence overwhelmed her. He seemed to tower over her, yet his pale green eyes felt close and compelling. She found it hard to breathe.

“It is a country dance now, unfortunately. Mayn’t we wait outside here for the next and hope?” He smiled and reached for her hand to lead her across to a small empty anteroom.

Anabel knew she should say no, but her voice seemed to have died, and she went with him silently and allowed him to escort her to a sofa and sit beside her, his arm thrown along its back.

“You look exquisite tonight,” he said softly. “The loveliest woman at the ball.”

This outrageous compliment revived her. “What a plumper. There are dozens of prettier ones.”


“Flatterer.” She smiled, but when she met his eyes, they were very serious.

“No,” he said again. “To me you are the most beautiful.” He held her gaze for a moment, then slowly bent forward and took possession of her lips, his arm tightening around her shoulders.

Anabel’s slight trembling increased, and her mind dissolved in confusion. She should pull away, part of it cried; this was terribly fast, and someone might come in at any moment. But another part urged her on, fascinated by Sir Charles’ attractions and filled with curiosity.

His kiss was very expert, and nothing at all like her deceased husband’s, Anabel’s only standard of comparison. His lips seemed to draw all strength out of her, leaving her limp and pliant, yet she felt disconnected from the expected sensual pleasure. He knew how to draw response from her body, clearly, but her heart and mind remained in turmoil.

Norbury, on the contrary, was in the grip of feelings stronger than any he had ever experienced, and for him the kiss confirmed a decision. This was the woman he wanted. Never had his passions been suffused with such emotion. Beyond thinking, he moved his free hand to Anabel’s knee and slid it upward caressingly, savoring the curve of her waist under the thin satin dress and cupping his fingers around her breast. She drew her breath in sharply.

A scuff of footsteps in the hall, followed by a scrap of conversation and a laugh, jerked Anabel upright. She pulled away from him only just in time to avoid being caught by two couples coming into the room. But it was obvious in the way that the newcomers stopped, smiled, and apologized that their appearance gave them away. Anabel rose and hurried from the room, Norbury behind her. Her cheeks were flaming, and she felt that she could not possibly face the crowd in the ballroom.

About the Author: 10_8 JaneAshfordJane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.

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Shatter by Courtney Houston – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Courtney will be awarding a $5 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.

MediaKit_BookCover_ShatterI am going to do something that has never been done before.

My name is Telor Conway, and I am going to destroy Death. Bring her to her knees in front of me.

I don’t know how and I don’t know when.

The only thing I know for certain, is that nothing will come between me and my soul mate ever again.

I’ve been given a second chance at life, a life with Catalina. I’ve been given something worth fighting for.

I will fight for it, for her… for us. Even if it is the last thing I do.

I have thrown the gauntlet.

On your marks.

Get set.


Enjoy an excerpt:

Telor took my hand and lead me to the couch, sitting down next to me. With two gentle fingers, he titled my chin up so my eyes met his.

“He may look like your brother, he may sound like him and smell like him, but he is not your brother.” He said softly. “I told you once to remember that your brother loved you, but that he was gone now.”

Angry at his indifference, I knocked his hand away and stood in front of him with my hands on my hips, to keep them from shaking.

“He is my brother.” I said through my teeth. “And he needs my help. I can’t leave him with her. I’ll do it with or without your help.”

“If there was anything worth saving, I would help you, there is not.” He stood, the space between us was nonexistent as his hard chest push against mine. “There is nothing Tori could do to force him to act this way, he is doing it on his own free will.”

“You’re wrong.” I said, lowering my eyes to his chest.

“Do you love me?” He asked suddenly. “If you do, please trust me on this. If there was any way to bring your brother back to you, I would do it in a heartbeat because I know it would make you happy.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_Shatter
Courtney lives in Kentucky with her husband (Mr. Houston), her two boys (Emmett and Ellis), her two cats (Polly and Jed) and her 3 chickens. Legal Assistant by day and writer by night, Courtney enjoys pancakes, coffee, wine and the number 26. She’s a Leo, at least that’s what the tattoo on her back says.

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One More Kiss by Kim Amos – Spotlight

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

10_6 Amos_One More Kiss_E-BookONE MORE KISS . . .
Betty Lindholm doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The banner advertising the new shipment of satin at her fabric store finally arrived and now the entire town of White Pine is up in arms. How was she supposed to know there’d be a typo? Now the entire town thinks she’s proclaiming “Satan is here!” Even the gorgeous pastor with his steel-grey eyes and sexy smile . . .

Pastor Randall Sondheim is always on the lookout for excuses to drop by Betty’s shop and gaze into her lovely blue eyes. The latest is her crazy sign-could that be a sign of something more? Sweet Betty brings out the best in him but it’s the worst in him, his dark secret tragedy, that worries Randall. Can this man of God conquer his own demons to win a match made in heaven?

Enjoy an excerpt:


Betty Sondheim studied the fresh-baked apple pie in her shopping cart and wondered what in the world was happening to her. The golden-colored filling looked rich enough to be called buried treasure, the way it was artfully folded under all that flaky crust. And the bottom of the tin was still deliciously warm: No doubt the pie had just been baked that morning by Arleen Raider, who had won White Pine’s most recent Fourth of July dessert contest. Even now, she caught a glimpse of Arleen behind the Lumberjack Grocery’s bakery counter piping frosting onto cakes, her experienced baker’s hands moving with graceful ease.

This pie was going to be delicious. Arleen’s pies were always delicious.

So why did Betty suddenly want to throw the whole tin across the room and never touch another bite ever again?

Audrey Callaghan rolled her cart next to Betty’s. “Get everything you needed?” her friend asked. The pair were picking up a few extra items for that evening’s Knots and Bolts recipe exchange. Betty would never bring a store-bought pie to a recipe exchange, but she would bring one home to her husband, Randall Sondheim.

“I just need to grab some cream of tartar, then I’m done,” she said. She eyed the pie warily as she spoke. Sometimes she and Randall had Arleen’s pies with their coffee in the morning, sitting in their sun-soaked kitchen and appreciating the fact that life was too short to always eat dessert last.

She took a breath as her heart thudded, thinking of Randall and how lucky they were to have each other. Arleen’s pies were more than just dessert—they were a symbol of all that was good between them.

Her stomach roiled and she nearly dropped the tin.

So why did she feel like what was good between them suddenly made her sick?

Audrey reached out and grabbed Betty’s elbow. “Are you okay? You look pale.”

Betty set the pie back down. “I’m—I’m fine. I just don’t think I should be buying this right now. We’re trying to watch our waistlines.”

She swallowed, hating the lie but not knowing what else to say. Because deep down was the sudden realization that maybe this wasn’t about pie at all. Maybe this was about something much more exciting. And terrifying.

She forced herself to smile at Audrey, whose lovely brown eyes were watching her carefully.

“You go on and check out,” Betty said. “Let me grab the last of what I need and I’ll meet you up front.” The two women were slated to return to Betty’s when they were done at the store, to prep their food for that evening. Betty was supposed to show Audrey how to make homemade strudel dough, though her brain felt so scrambled at the moment that she wasn’t sure how she could brown toast, never mind tackle anything more complicated.

“All right,” Audrey said hesitantly. “I’ll be right up front. If you’re not there in five minutes, I’m coming to find you.”

Betty waved her off. “I’m fine. Go get one of those Hollywood magazines you like and read about the latest plastic surgery fiascos until I get there.”

Audrey smiled and headed for the front. Betty pushed her cart away from the bakery section, telling herself she was making a big deal out of nothing. Right? The fact that she didn’t want the pie didn’t mean anything else was going on.

And yet there was a fluttering in her stomach that she couldn’t lock down. She clutched the top of the cart more tightly and steered it through the store, trying to get to the spice and baking aisle as quickly as possible. But her steps slowed when her eyes landed on the aisle with toilet paper and toothpaste and…something else.

She turned her cart and stopped in front of a small row of white boxes.

Pregnancy tests.

She gripped the cart until her knuckles were white. That couldn’t be it, could it?

It would explain the pie, anyway. And why couldn’t it be possible? She and Randall had started trying, after all. It’s just that it had only been…well, barely a few weeks. She’d figured that it would take months, maybe even years, since she was approaching her mid-thirties. But maybe her ovaries were as impatient as the rest of her tended to be.

She glanced around to see if Audrey was anywhere nearby. When the coast was clear, she grabbed one box—then another—and stuffed them into her cart under a bag of spinach.

She steered toward the front of the store, wondering how she was ever going to check out without Audrey seeing the tests. Not that she didn’t want to tell her friend. It’s just that their other friend Willa was pregnant and due in another few weeks, and she wanted Willa to have the spotlight to herself for as long as possible. And who knew if Audrey was trying now too, what with her recent marriage to Kieran Callaghan and the dazed-in-love look she wore most days.

Betty knew spilling news about babies and pregnancy could be complicated. Women had funny reactions to it all sometimes.

She took a steadying breath. Bigger than all that, though, was the fact that she wanted to tell Randall everything first. She wanted to pull her husband close and feel his strong arms around her, and have it be just their secret. For a time anyway.

If she even was pregnant.

It was a huge if. After all, everything she was feeling could be indigestion. Gas. Heartburn from all that spicy chili she made earlier in the week.

Audrey waved as Betty approached the check-out. Audrey’s wedding ring glinted under the bright store lights. Her shopping bags were resting on the floor by her feet. And now, standing next to Audrey, was her sister Casey, who’d just moved to town recently. Snow fell gently outside the windows facing the grocery store parking lot, blanketing the blacktop in white.

“Look who I found!” Audrey said, bumping her sister with her shoulder. “Looks like we’re all here trying to get ready for tonight’s recipe exchange.”

“Hi Casey,” Betty said, trying to sound like it was a regular Thursday afternoon and she didn’t have two pregnancy tests shoved into the bottom of her cart. “You settling into town okay?”

“So far so good,” Casey said, looking like a carbon copy of Audrey—but with more beige in her wardrobe. She shifted the bags in her hands. “The job is great, and I’m unpacking slowly but surely. Audrey here tells me you’re teaching her to make strudel.”

“That’s just it,” Betty said, turning to Audrey, “I’m, ah, not feeling so hot, and I think you’d better just drop me off at home. Sorry about that, Audrey. We can do the strudel next week.”

Audrey nodded sympathetically. “It’s absolutely fine. Let’s get you into bed. You looked like you were going to pass out back there in the bakery.”

“Maybe you could pull the car around?” Betty asked, eyeing her items again. She didn’t want to put them on the conveyor belt in front of her friend. “I’d appreciate it.”

“Of course,” Audrey said. “I’m all checked out. It’s no problem.”

Audrey gave her sister a quick hug. “See you later, Casey.”

Casey opened her mouth to answer, then closed it sharply. Her golden-brown eyes widened and she swallowed visibly. Betty and Audrey followed her gaze to a nearby end-cap of cereal where a tall, broad-shouldered man was checking out nutrition labels. He picked up a box and frowned at the small print, the cardboard seeming small and flimsy in his massive hands.

Betty realized it was Abe Cameron, their local fire lieutenant.

As if he knew he was being watched, Abe turned around and spotted the cluster of ladies. He nodded and smiled at them, teeth flashing bright white. His gaze lingered for a few long moments. Was it Betty’s imagination, or were his eyes locked onto Casey’s?

Next to her, Casey stiffened. Nervous energy was radiating off her. There was a crackle in the air Betty couldn’t hear—but she could sure feel it. After a long moment, Abe broke the stare and turned away. But Casey’s eyes kept tracking on Abe, even as he pushed his cart away, down toward the frozen food section. And no wonder. His ass was gloriously tight and high as he walked along.

“Some view,” Betty said. “I bet you could bounce a quarter off those cheeks.”

Audrey chuckled. “Casey looks like she could watch him leave all day.”

Casey blushed so red, Betty swore she could feel heat radiating off the poor girl’s face.

“Next,” the cashier said, jolting them all out of their fireman reverie.

“I’ll get the car,” Audrey said, grabbing her bags and fumbling for her keys.

“I’ll join you,” Casey said, tearing her eyes away from the retreating form of Abe. “I’m all set here, too.”

Betty let out a small breath, watching them go. She unloaded her cart quickly, shoving the pregnancy tests on the belt between some clementines and oatmeal, her foot tapping out a steady rhythm on the floor. Now that the idea of being pregnant was in her head, all she wanted to do was to find out for sure—one way or another. Gray areas never sat well with her. Finally, she paid the cashier, then bundled everything into her canvas shopping bag.

Outside, Audrey pulled up to the front doors, and Betty dashed through the falling snow to meet her. She pulled the car door shut against the cold and kept her shopping bag clutched on her lap. Drive fast, she begged Audrey silently as her friend pulled away from the Lumberjack Grocery and toward home.

About the Author:Kim Amos is a romance writer whose Midwestern roots run deep. You can usually find her hanging out in a state that borders the Great Lakes. She is married to an artisan ice cream maker, which is a dangerous complement to her enduring love for cheese.

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It’s October, Do You Know Where Your Bathing Suit Is? by Judy Teel – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

It’s October, Do You Know Where Your Bathing Suit Is?

It seems like a long time ago that I was at the beach. It was only August in fact, a week before our oldest headed back to college and her sister to high school. My husband’s parents came down and we all headed for Oak Island.

Renting a house on the beach with a fabulous ocean view is one of my favorite kinds of vacations. Don’t get me wrong, I love the mountains or visiting family at Christmas, and I adore the occasional weekend getaway with my husband, but there’s something about sitting around on a covered porch and looking at the ocean that erases my stress and obsessively driven tendencies faster than anything in this world.

10_6 Copyright Judy Teel 1

I love everything about a week at the beach. Especially having only one goal, that of reading a book or two by one of my favorite authors. Nothing earth shattering mind you, just something fun and adventurous and if there’s some romance in it, I’m good with that too. Very good.

In addition to being incredibly lazy, I like to take non-serious strolls on the beach, or better yet take a chair down to the water and sit in it — the chair not the surf, since generally speaking I don’t care for sand where sand is not meant to be. Going out to eat is also a favorite pastime enjoyed by all, but my top choice of activities is taking a nap on the shaded porch with the sound of the ocean, the seagulls calling, and the laughter of other people’s young children soothing me into oblivion.

If, in my superbly relaxed state, wonderful ideas for books or scenes or characters pop up, I respect their presence and jot them down, but I don’t go looking for them. A week at the beach is my time to rest and renew. All those busy people and worlds in my head need to settle down and take a load off for a while.

I don’t think I would ever choose to live at the coast. The cares and To Do lists of everyday life would be bound to put a damper on the ambiance. The wonderful word “vacation” put after the equally beautiful word “beach” makes all the difference.
Yes. Definitely.

10_6 Copyright Judy Teel 2

MediaKit_BookCover_SavageMagicA deadly disease from an unknown origin…

Addison Kittner and ex-FBI agent Cooper Daine arrive at Bone Clan expecting a warm welcome. Instead they’re imprisoned and placed under quarantine, where they discover that the werewolf mountain Clans are being decimated by a deadly plague which can’t be cured.

An old obligation that changes everything…

With only a few days to live, Cooper’s brother, Alpha of Bone Clan, asks Cooper to fulfill his promise, one that’s crucial to their Clan’s survival. But if he does, Cooper risks loosing Addison. Forever.

An ancient creature bred for genocide…

Determined to stop the plague and cure Cooper’s brother, Addison defies Clan law and sneaks away to an ancient ruin which might hold the key. There she discovers an unexpected link to her past and inadvertently calls forth an immortal monster that will destroy the paranormal races protecting humanity if it can’t be stopped.

But as Cooper and Addison battle to stop the annihilation of the Clans and the forces trying to tear their bond apart, something even more powerful and deadly gathers just out of sight…

And prepares to strike.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The scent of blood got stronger, pulling my thoughts back and making my heart pound a little harder against my chest. Slipping a knife from the sheath inside my right boot, I watched the flutter of shadows on the path below where it turned and disappeared behind a thick wall of laurels. Slow breath in…Silent breath out…

Deeper shadows emerged and took shape — a man and a woman, both dressed for living outdoors and blending in. And there was Cooper, complacently allowing them to roughly pull him along between them, his nose and a cut on his cheek seeping blood. Weird. Cooper was built like an early twenty-first century Olympic gymnast and I’d seen him take out opponents in less than ten seconds without a single blow landing on him. How had they managed to subdue him?

I watched them come closer and pass below me. The woman on one side of Cooper was medium height with light skin and dark red hair that she’d pulled back into a short ponytail with a strip of leather. The man on the other side was tall and muscular with tanned skin, his bright red hair in a military cut.

I adjusted the soles of my logger boots against the branch under me to give myself a more solid launch, judged the distance — and jumped.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SavageMagicJudy Teel was born in Virginia and moved to North Carolina just before middle school. She’s a fiction author and novelist writing in the dystopian urban fantasy genre. Her stories deliver mystery with some thriller elements, a kick-butt heroine with a large dash of snark in her, a bit more than a touch of romance with a guy that makes readers’ hearts beat a little faster, and a wild ride full of action and emotion from start to finish.

Shifty Magic is permanently free on all platforms and Undercover Magic is free as a thank you gift for anyone who signs up on my readers list.

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Buy Book 1, Shifty Magic, at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Buy Book 2, Undercover Magic, at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Buy Book 3, Savage Magic, at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Flicker by Courtney Houston – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Courtney will be awarding a $5 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.

MediaKit_BookCover_FlickerMy name is Catalina Franklin. And I should be dead.

When Death called my number, sending one of her Guides to take my soul, she didn’t count on one thing. The Guide she sent – He was made for me, and I for him. Pulling me back from the arms of Death, Telor changed my fate – and his. Now we’re left with the question of not only how he’s still here, but why. Will we get the answers we need? Or will Death find us first? Only time will tell…but ours is quickly running out.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Every part of me wanted to materialize right in front of her, to take her in my arms and hold her close. That was the type of self-serving bastard that I was. Was, I was that man. I could be different now. She made me want to be different.

“I can’t remember you. I’m trying, but I can’t. I don’t know how to explain it, but I know there is a you, whatever that means. I can feel this abstract idea of a you.” She wiped angry tears from her face and took a deep breath, releasing it in a puff of smoke and wrapping her arms around herself to help ward off the cold.

“Go in the house, crazy girl,” I said aloud. “You’ll catch your death out here.”

Her eyes traveled over me, feeling rather than seeing me.

“Good, God.” She rubbed her eyes roughly with the heel of her hands and let out a cry of frustration. “Look at me, standing in my backyard, talking to the wind. I’m going crazy. I’m really going crazy. Now, I’m talking to myself.”

Despite the seriousness of the situation, my lips tilted upward into a small smile. Wanting to soothe her obvious pain, I made a split-second decision. I stood and walked toward her so we were standing face to face, her hot breath exhaling onto my face. I wanted to embrace her and hold her in my arms.

“You’re not crazy,” I told her, sliding my knuckles down the side of her face, taking pleasure in the way she closed her eyes and leaned into my touch.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FlickerCourtney lives in Kentucky with her husband (Mr. Houston), her two boys (Emmett and Ellis), her two cats (Polly and Jed) and her 3 chickens. Legal Assistant by day and writer by night, Courtney enjoys pancakes, coffee, wine and the number 26. She’s a Leo, at least that’s what the tattoo on her back says.

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The Rebel by Adrienne Giordano – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short welcomes Adrienne Giordano to celebrate the release day of her latest book The Rebel. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a $25.00 eGift Card to an online book retailer of winner’s choice or one of three swag packs.

10_1 The RebelBad to the bone…in all the right ways

A brilliant civil lawyer, David Hennings has always been the outsider—at odds with his wealthy family, shunning relationships, defying convention as a sexy leather-jacketed biker. Which is why sculptor Amanda LeBlanc agrees to his request to reconstruct a skull from a cold case murder. The instant heat between them is scorching.

But once Amanda takes the job and gets too close to the rebellious attorney, her carefully balanced life is upended by a series of methodical attacks. Someone doesn’t want her to finish the job. Now David will risk everything not to lose the woman he unknowingly put in jeopardy.

Enjoy an excerpt:

INSIDE THE STAIRWELL of the hundred-year-old building on the city’s West Side, David climbed the last few steps leading to the landing of Amanda’s second-floor studio. He loved these old structures with the Portland stone and brick. The iconic columns on the facade urged the history major in him to research the place. Check the city records, see what information he could find on who’d built it, who’d lived here or which companies had run their wares through its doors.

Structures like this had a charm all their own that couldn’t be duplicated with modern wizardry. Old buildings, this building, had a life, a past to be researched and appreciated.

Or maybe he just wanted to believe that.

He rapped on the door. No hollow wood there. By the scarred look and feel of its heavy weight under his knuckles, it might be the original door. How amazing would that be?

The door swung open and a woman with lush curves a guy his size could wrap himself around greeted him. She wore jeans and a graphic T-shirt announcing he should make love, not war—gladly, sweetheart—and her honey-blond hair fell around her shoulders, curling at the ends. The whole look brought thoughts of lazy Sunday mornings, hot coffee and a few extracurricular activities, in a bed and out, David could think of.

To say the least, she affected him.

And she hadn’t even opened her mouth. Please don’t be an airhead.


Yep. That was the voice from earlier. Soft and sweet and stirring up all kinds of images right along with Sunday mornings and coffee. With any luck, more than the coffee would be hot.

Hokay. Mission Pam Hennings getting derailed by wicked thoughts. Time to get serious.

“Hi. Amanda?”

“Yes.” She held her hand out. “Amanda LeBlanc.”

David grasped her hand and glanced down at her long, elegant fingers folding over his. Her silky skin absorbed his much larger hand, and he might like to stay this way awhile. Nice hands. Soft hands. He’d imagined a sculptor’s hands to be work-hardened and rough. Not that she swung an ax all day, but he’d expected…different.

“Um.” She pointed at their still joined hands. “I kinda need that hand back.”

Epic fail, Dave. He grinned and regrettably slid his hand away. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but where have you been all my life?”

As recoveries went, it wouldn’t be listed among the top hundred in brilliance, but a man had to work with what he had. Still, her lips, those extraordinary, shapely lips, twisted until she finally gave up and awarded him with a smile.

“Good one,” she said. “Come inside and we’ll talk about your project.”

About the Author:10_1 Giordano Author PhotoUSA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.

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Would You Rather Game with Gwyn Cready – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Gwyn Cready. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of Just in Time for a Highlander, the first book in the series.

This October the second in Gwyn Cready’s Sirens of the Scottish series, First Time with a Highlander, comes out! To celebrate, Gwyn’s here to tell us a little bit more about the inspiration behind her time-travel romances AND play a quick game of “Would You Rather.”

“People often ask me why I like to write time travel romance, and it’s a two-part answer, because there are really two questions in there—why do I like to write romance, and why do I like to write time travel.

I began to write with the intention of getting published in June, 1997 to honor my younger sister, who was a poet and photographer and who had died suddenly the month before. The sort of book I wanted to write was a book like the one a friend had given me a few months earlier—Outlander. At that time, I’d never read a romance before, and I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. Jamie is the best sort of hero—devoted, funny, brave, smart, and supportive of the heroine. I was so hopped up on the first three Outlander novels, it was pretty much all I could talk about in the spring of 1997—and it was one of the things I talked to my sister about since her college boyfriend had been named Jamie and like the heroine in Outlander, my sister’s name was Claire. It was the last conversation I ever had with her.

So there I am, in 1997, wanting to honor my sister with a book, and certain the book I want to write is a romance like Outlander. Time travel fit in nicely for me. Outlander is a time travel novel, of course, but I’d been a time travel fan before that. The Back to the Future movies are my holy grail of time travel. I loved Somewhere in Time, of course, as well as the Terminator movies, Time After Time, and Groundhog Day. Time travel lets you quickly throw your character into adversity and see if he/she sinks or swims. The question you want readers asking in romance novels is “How, with all these challenges, will the hero and heroine still end up together?” Time travel adds another layer to that tension, specifically, “How will they end up together when each is destined to be in his/her own time?” In my mind, one of the most heroic things a character can do is give up his own time in order to be with the person he/she loves, and that’s always a tender and gripping moment to write in my books.

Which brings us to First Time with a Highlander. Serafina and Gerard were such fun characters to chase through a novel. As with Just in Time for a Highlander, the first book in the Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands series, I wanted to shake things up a bit by having the hero be the person who travels to the past. Gerard is an ad man—and since I spent twenty years working in brand management at a big pharma company, I know what ad men are like. The women in this series hold positions of unusual power for women in the eighteenth century, and Serafina is no exception. She inherited a shipping concern from her father, but her blackguard of an ex-fiancé has run the business into the ground. He’s ruined her socially and financially, but Serafina is not one to take things lying down. She uses herbs she’s, ahem, “borrowed” from a famed spell-caster to summon a man to help her claim the cargo from the ship’s final voyage before her fiancé can get his hands on it. She only needs a man for one night and…well, you can imagine what that leads to in the hands of an inexperienced spell user. But Serafina is willing to pay the price—in fact, she’s quite willing once the smart, dashing Gerard appears.

Would You Rather Question: Would you rather fight in a war in the 1940s or the 1600s?

I don’t want to fight in any war at all. If I had to pick, I guess I’d pick the 1940s, since they had antibiotics then, at least.

9_30 first time withShe needs a man—but only for a night
What do you get when you imbibe centuries-old whiskey—besides a hangover the size of the Highlands? If you’re twenty-first century ad exec Gerard Innes, you get swept back to 18th-century Edinburgh and into the bed of a gorgeous, fiery redhead. Gerard has only a foggy idea what he and the lady have been up to…but what he does remember draws him into the most dangerous and exhilarating campaign of his life.

Be careful what you wish for…
Serafina Seonag Fallon’s scoundrel of a fiancé has left her with nothing, and she’s determined to turn the tables. If she can come up with a ringer, she can claim the cargo he stole from her. But the dashing man she summons from the future demands more than a night, and Serafina finds it easier to command the seas under her feet than the crashing waves he unleashes in her heart.

About the Author:Gwyn Cready is a writer of contemporary, Scottish, and time travel romance. She’s been called “the master of time travel romance” and is the winner of the RITA Award, the most prestigious award given in romance writing. She has been profiled in Real Simple and USA Today, among others. Before becoming a novelist, she spent 25 years in brand management. She has two grown children and lives with her husband on a hill overlooking the magical kingdom of Pittsburgh.

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