Crushes by Jessica Lauryn – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jessica Lauryn whose second book in her Rabourn Theater series, An Amorous Dance was released last month. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of the first book in the series A Passionate Play.

Always a romantic at heart, I experienced a number of crushes as I was growing up, beginning in grade school and continuing on into my adult years. Each and every time that I fell for someone new I believed that, this time, I was really, truly in love. My heart would flutter when that handsome guy I was secretly pining for would come by, smile in my direction, talk to me, flirt with me, make me feel as though I was the only woman in his world. When I began to explore the world of romance novels, I realized I was not unlike the heroine who falls for the man in her life—sometimes right for her, sometimes wrong—but always in close proximity, a most important part of her world. Living such experiences made them authentic for me and reading about them made me see just how powerful that feelings can become when characters know one another for a long time, their whole lives perhaps, harboring feelings that hold the ability to forever change the course of their relationship, for worse, for better, for happily ever after.

None of my own crushes ever became the real thing. But I spent so much time wondering if they could that the creative side of my imagination often took the liberty of creating scenarios—stories in which such possibilities took an idealistic turn, after a great amount of effort and strife, of course. Years later, I wrote stories like as An Amorous Dance, (a second-chance romance) with this very idea in mind, the idea that feelings deepen over time, that love is strong between two people who’ve known and cared about one another for as long as they can remember. Sometimes characters don’t even realize they’re in love. But we the reader can see what they cannot and when the moment comes when feelings can no longer be denied, we are right there, crying, and cheering right along with them!

I’ve read, and written, a number of stories in which a hero and heroine are meeting for the first time, in which there’s love that comes at first sight, in which there is an instant connection. But there’s something very special about couples who share a past. The past connects us and it makes us who we are. And when characters grow together, they grow together in love, and that is a love that never dies!

When Hannah Rabourn, daughter of Rabourn Theater’s late owner, is attacked, a surge of flashes prompts her to consider that her father may have been murdered. Hannah’s antagonistic stage director insists her subconscious is merely seeking closure. But as she and Evan become close once again, Hannah’s suspicions about the past deepen, and she wonders whether the man she’s falling in love with for the second time knows more than he’s letting on.

Evan Masters’s dreams were shattered when theater-owner Baron Rabourn destroyed his budding acting career. Having forged an alliance with Rabourn’s former partner, Evan assumed a mission to transform Rabourn Theater into what it always should have been. Fellow conspirators believe Rabourn’s daughter is the key to power, and Evan is the means by which to achieve their ends.

But Evan’s feelings for Hannah are stronger than he believed. And when he realizes Hannah’s life is in danger, he must decide between his passion and his heart.

About the Author:Jessica Lauryn is the author of the bestselling romantic suspense series, The Pinnacles of Power. The Romance Reviews says that her debut release, Dangerous Ally, has, “All the twists that a good suspense should have with just the right amount of passion and romance!” Jessica is a proud member of Romance Writers of America as well as her local chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers, for which she has served on the executive board in several capacities. She has a talent for remembering her dreams, many of which are explored in detail in her stories. Though she resides in central New Jersey, her heart will forever belong to the picturesque White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

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Buy the book at Bookstrand.

Cross My Heart by Catt Ford – Spotlight and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Catt Ford, who is celebrating the recent release of her newest book Cross My Heart.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Roland Reynolds—or Lana Renault, as she’s now known—knows that life is no fairy tale. Fortunately she has her trusted friends, nicknamed the “the dwarfs,” to keep her company. She lives her life to the fullest while keeping what’s beneath her skirt to herself.

American painter Daniel Hunter is no stranger to adversity either, and it’s left him with not only strength but secrets. Unlike Lana, he remains aloof, content to observe life and beauty from the sidelines… until the first time their eyes meet on a crowded Paris street.

Cupid’s arrow finds its mark in Daniel, but while Lana longs for romance, she knows there’s no prince in her happy ever after. If their story is to have a fairy-tale ending, Daniel will have to convince Lana to let down her walls—and, in the process, reveal what he fears sharing the most.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Daniel took great pleasure in watching people, even though hope was dying for finding the one to inspire him to paint again.

Until he saw her.

The first time, her confident stride caught his eye. Attracted by her long legs and perfect derriere, he followed along in a desultory way until he lost sight of her in the crowd.

She must live or work somewhere near his arrondissement, because he kept spotting her. Daniel hadn’t seen her face yet, but he admired her figure and the way she dressed. Like most Parisian women, she had that street-chic thing down. While her clothes were simple, they fit exceptionally well.

She probably wasn’t avoiding him purposely; it was simply one of those frustrating quirks of fate that she always seemed to vanish before he caught up. She couldn’t possibly know how much he wanted to see her face.

The colorful scarf she usually wore helped draw Daniel’s attention to her. Her hair wasn’t tortured to stick straightness. Instead, dark waves danced in the temperamental spring breeze as she moved, her stride long and energetic. Maybe the sun dazzled his eyes, but he thought he caught a glint of purple highlights. If only he could get close enough to check without alarming her.

Some might call him a stalker or obsessive, but ever since… it… happened, Daniel preferred not to get too close to his fellow beings. Watching them from afar was sufficient.

Even Daniel wasn’t sure exactly what he was searching for, but he hoped he’d know it when he saw it. Purely physical beauty did not satisfy him. He wanted something more, a quirk of personality or a hint of the inner spirit. Even a crooked smile might do the trick.

Ironically, now that Daniel had enough money to be able to paint anything he wanted, his muse had deserted him. If only he could catch up with this girl and she sparked his fancy, Daniel was sure he would be able to paint again. If he could convince her to sit for him.

Today she carried a large, flat portfolio, and the breeze lifted it like a sail, pulling her quickly along the pavement. Daniel tried to work his way through the throng of people without stepping on toes or elbowing ribs to get close enough for a good look. She laughed to herself as she turned to wrestle the errant portfolio back under control. For one breathless moment, the world stood still and their eyes met.

She was lovelier than he’d hoped, but not only for her cheekbones and eyes. In that one quick flash, he felt as if her essence had been laid bare to him, all the imperfections and fears, but more importantly the indomitable spirit of her being. Everything about her, the way she moved and the curve of her lips, said that if he was lucky enough to know her, life would be full of pleasant and interesting surprises.

In that split second of awareness, Daniel saw her and he knew she saw him. Then the wind caught her hair and tossed it playfully into her face. She reached up to smooth a strand behind her ear and turned away as if their souls had not just touched. Apparently unmoved by the moment they’d shared, she crossed the street with the rest of the pedestrians.

She was the one. He had to paint her. If only he could do justice to her. Shaken by the glance they exchanged, he doubted his own ability to capture what he’d seen, but he had to try.

Standing immobile on the pavement, buffeted by the hurrying crowd, Daniel let her slip away and disappear.

Damn. So that’s what it feels like.

About the Author: Catt Ford lives in front of the computer monitor, in another world where her imaginary gay friends obey her every command. Catt likes cats, chocolate, swing dancing, sleeping, Monty Python, Aussie friends, being silly, spinning other realities with words, and sea glass. She dislikes caterpillars, cigarette smoke, and rude people who think the F-word (as in faggot, or bundle of sticks) is acceptable. A frustrated perfectionist, she comforts herself with the legend about the weavers of Persian rugs always including one mistake so as not to anger the gods, although she has no need to include a mistake on purpose. One always slips through. Writing fiction has filled a need for clever conversations, only possible when one is in control of both sides, and erotic romances, where everything for the most part turns out happily ever after.

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Where Do Characters and Plots Come From by Karen Stivali – Guest Blog


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Karen Stivali as she celebrates the upcoming release of Moment of Fate, the fifth book in her Moments in Time series.

Where do Characters and Plots Come From?

Readers often ask where authors find their motivation for characters and plots. Is it purely imagination? Are things based on your real life experiences? Do the characters share your personality traits?

The answer to all of those questions is yes. And no. For me, as well as most of my author friends, the stories are completely fictional, the characters are not based on people we know in our real lives. But, and it is a significant but, small things may be pieces of us. A location we used to live. A restaurant we used to go to all the time. A particularly funny or poignant memory. And perhaps a facet or two of our own personality.

In MOMENT OF FATE I don’t have a ton in common with the main characters. Bryan is the lead singer in an up and coming rock band (I can’t sing a note and even if I could I don’t have the personality to be the front man—I was in the drama club in HS and was perfectly content working on the stage crew), he’s a sexy, gorgeous, charismatic gay dude (I’m none of those thing), and he’s got a sister he’s extremely close to (I’m an only child). But…he attends NYU as a photography student (I graduated NYU’s film school) and he’s got a secret he doesn’t share with anyone, which is the fact that he has chronic Lyme disease and pretty serious anxiety issues as one of the many symptoms. He doesn’t tell anyone because he stubbornly refuses to accept the limitations of a chronic illness and he doesn’t want anyone—himself or anyone else—to define him by his ailments. I’d like to say that’s not a trait I loaned him, but confession: I have chronic Lyme disease and yes it made my lifelong anxiety issues many times magnified. Like Bryan, I don’t talk about it because I refuse to be controlled by an illness any more than I have to be. But the lesson he learns in the book is one I definitely had to learn myself while figuring out how to cope with a disease that simply won’t go away.

Likewise with Oliver. He’s a teacher who spent several years engaged to his female BFF in a marriage of convenience because he wanted a family and wasn’t ready to accept his sexuality and come out. I’ve never gone through being closeted, but I am familiar with needing to make the best of things and making sacrifices for a friend. He’s also a writer, as am I. So again, I loaned him aspects of myself but he’s completely his own person. And I think his character arc of needing to learn to live your own truth is something universally relatable.

So, as I said in the beginning, when people ask authors if the characters are completely fictional or not, the answer is pretty much always yes. And no. No matter what the ratio is, the one thing that’s always true is that the characters very much become their own people in our minds. That’s why this series has gone from its original status as one short novella to one with seven books (and counting). The Moments In Time characters a part of my life. Thank you for making them a part of yours as well.

Bryan Dane’s been living the dream—photography student by day, up-and-coming rocker by night. His summer goals are to earn his last few credits, graduate from NYU, spend as much time in the recording studio as possible, and survive the next few months without sex so he can complete his yearlong goal of self-imposed celibacy. Everything is on track until he meets Oliver Newcastle.

For years Oliver planned a marriage of convenience with his high school BFF, but now that she’s fallen in love for real with someone else, it’s no longer convenient. So Oliver came out to his family, quit his job, and left small-town New England for NYC, an intensive summer study program, and a chance to find his own happiness.

From the moment they meet, the sexual tension between Bryan and Oliver sizzles. But Bryan wants no part of a relationship, and Oliver wants to sow his wild oats—he just isn’t sure how. Oliver seeks Bryan’s help navigating the NYC gay scene, which throws them together in increasingly more sexual situations until they can no longer deny they’re hot for each other. Bryan is desperate to keep things simple, but fate may have other plans.

This is a standalone novel set in the Moments In Time world. You do not need to have read any of the previous titles to enjoy this book.

About the Author:Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.

Karen’s lifelong fascination with people has led her to careers ranging from hand-drawn animator, to party planner, to marriage and family counselor, but writing has always been her passion. Karen enjoys nothing more than following her characters on their journey toward love. Whether the couples are m/f or m/m, it’s guaranteed that Karen’s novels are filled with food, friendship, love, and smoking hot sex—all the best things in life.

When Karen isn’t writing (and often when she is), she can be found on Twitter attempting witty banter and detailing the antics of her fruit-loving cat, BadKitteh. She loves to hear from readers (and other writers), so don’t hesitate to contact/follow/like her.

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Other books in the Moments In Time series:
MOMENT OF IMPACT (Book 1)
MOMENT OF TRUTH (Book 2)
MOMENT OF CLARITY (Book 3)
MOMENTS IN TIME (a compilation of Books 1-3)
MOMENT OF DOUBT (Book 3.5)
MOMENT OF SILENCE (Book 4)
MOMENT OF FATE (Book 5)

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Dreamspinner Press, Google Play, or iBooks.

Rushing Love by Meg Bawden – Spotlight and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Meg Bawden who is visiting with us today to celebrate the upcoming release of Rushing Love. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win an autographed paperback.

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Hi there! My name is Meg Bawden, and Long and Short Reviews has graciously accepted me on their blog today for the release of my new story, Rushing Love.

Rushing Love is a M/M romance story set in South Dakota, USA. I wrote it for the States of Love line from Dreamspinner Press and I can’t wait for its release. I had so much fun writing it and I can’t wait to share it with you. Please allow me to share the blurb with you:

After a devastating break-up with the man he thought he’d spend his life with, Flynn Webb takes a holiday to a South Dakota dude ranch. It’s something completely different from anything he’s done before, and it helps that it’s as far away from his ex as possible. Trapped in his own depressive thoughts, Flynn is surprised to meet Grayson Harland. Not only is Grayson a sexy cowboy—one fifteen years younger—but he’s the most charming man Flynn has ever met.

Flynn doesn’t have much experience with being seduced, and he has even less with guys like Grayson taking an interest in him—and Grayson is definitely interested. What begins as a fling while visiting iconic South Dakota sights soon develops the potential for much more. But Flynn is afraid that falling in love again so soon—and with a man so much younger—will lead only to another catastrophic heartbreak. Luckily for them both, Grayson isn’t giving up without a fight.

If you’re interested you can find the story here: Dreamspinner Press or Amazon.

To celebrate the upcoming release, I’d like to share an excerpt with you.

*****
“Tell me about yourself. If we’re on a date, I should get to know you, right?”

Grayson glanced at him briefly and smiled. “All right. But I expect the same from you. I’m Grayson, born on September 13, 1995. I was a big baby, and Mom loves to remind me of the pain I put her through.”

Flynn laughed.

“I don’t watch TV, don’t have time. But if I did, I’d watch something with hot guys in it.”

“Queer as Folk.”

“What’s that?” Grayson pulled onto another road. It looked like it led to the monument, because farther down, there was a ticket booth where people were collecting money.

“You haven’t heard of it?” Flynn went to get his wallet, but Grayson grabbed his hand and entwined their fingers. The touch sent a thrill through Flynn’s body. Grayson’s hand was warm and rough, and his fingers were much longer and wider than Flynn’s.

“Nope, should I have?”

“It’s a gay TV show. Full of hot gay guys that fuck. Brian…. Oh God, I’d bend over for Brian.”

Grayson’s eyebrows furrowed. There was a line in front of them, so they weren’t getting anywhere fast. He looked more than happy to drive with one hand and hold Flynn’s with the other. “Reality TV show?”

Flynn laughed. “Nope. Made up. But Brian is still hot.”

“Should I be jealous?”

“Are you jealous?” As soon as it escaped Flynn’s mouth, he pursed his lips. Goddammit. He had to remind himself that he’d only known Grayson for two days. Two damn days! He had no reason to be jealous.

“Yeah, I am.” Grayson stared at him. “I like to think I can make you mine.”

Words escaped Flynn. His chest felt tight, constricting until he could barely breathe, and his stomach was doing these silly little backflips. He liked those words, a lot, and he didn’t understand it. Couldn’t.

“Was that the wrong thing to say?”

“No….” Flynn cleared his throat. “No, it wasn’t.” He leaned in for a kiss, but before he could make it, the car behind them beeped their horn.

“Later,” Grayson promised. “So what about you? You haven’t really told me much about you yet.”

Flynn shrugged. “There’s nothing much to tell. I grew up in a religious home. My mom was a single mother after my dad left her for one of his groupies. He was a musician.”

“You’re joking.”

“Nope. And you know how they were in the seventies, even the late seventies. They liked their music and pot and sex. So Dad ran off and Mom raised me on her own. We were looked down on by the church, no matter how much Mom tried. She was never good enough for them.”

“Not all churches are that bad.”

He shook his head. “No, not all. But a lot are. Are you religious?”

“I suppose I believe in something being out there, but I don’t go to church. Mom used to, but she gave it up when some of the townsfolk started talking bad about me and Thomas for being gay.”

Flynn sighed. “Yeah, that’s how bad it got for Mom, even worse when some of the women from church saw me kissing a boy when I was fourteen. There are so many bigots now, but imagine in the early nineties. We were ridiculed. We had to pack up our stuff and move. Eventually, though, Mom sort of just gave up. She fell into depression and committed suicide when I was seventeen.”

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!”

“Yeah….” Flynn shook his head, pushing the memories out of his head. “It doesn’t matter. It happened and I’m over it. Well, not over it, but I’ve moved on.”

“I’m sorry, Flynn.”

He smiled and squeezed Grayson’s hand. “It’s fine. I’m fine. How about we focus on more positive things. Like how gorgeous I am.”

Grayson laughed and released Flynn’s hand as he drove up to the ticket booth. He handed the attendant the money and started to drive again. The road from the booth led straight to the parking lot, and it was a little hard to find a parking space, but they finally did.

They both exited the cab, and when Grayson reached him, he slipped his hand into Flynn’s again. Flynn knew he should have been worried about other people’s reactions. He knew from experience that not everyone was okay with seeing gay affection, but at that moment, as he stared up into Grayson’s eyes, he didn’t give a damn.

About the Author: MEG BAWDEN was born and raised in North Queensland, Australia. She’s loved stories since before she can remember and has always enjoyed creating characters of her own, even if it did begin with drawing faces on toilet rolls and giving them names. Writing has always been a passion of hers and she’s loved the M/M genre since 2004, the first book she read being Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez.

Writing M/M since 2007, Meg has never had the confidence to attempt publishing her own stories, but in 2015, she decided that it was all about to change thanks to the amazing friends she’s made in the M/M genre and their support and encouragement. So watch out world, Meg Bawden is coming out to have some fun!

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Are you interested in winning some signed paperbacks from me? Then now is your chance:

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Food Memories with Matthew Lang – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Matthew Lang who is celebrating the release of Better With Bacon on February 22. Leave a comment with your favorite food memory and, on the release date, the author will choose the winner to receive a copy of The Way You Are.

Better with Bacon – Food Memories with Matthew Lang

These are actually the red bean buns I’ve made. I don’t have pictures of the chocolate ones. They get eaten too fast. One day.

One of my earliest recollections is being perched on a chair, in the white kitchen of a giant house in Wellington, New Zealand, staring into a wall oven. I know it was a giant house because it had three lawns. My dad had to take a day off work to mow them. Or at least, that’s what I’m told. I don’t actually remember my dad mowing the lawns, or taking time off work. I’m pretty sure I understood that work was something he left home to do most days, but not every day. Maybe it was like kindergarten for grown ups? Anyway, my sister is old enough to remember this and she says it happened, so chances are good that it’s true. Unlike the story about how my parents met, but that’s a long tale of misdirection and betrayal of your children’s trust.

Anyway, the oven. It was covered with a brownish glass front and there were lines across the glass, a bit like looking out of the rear window of a car with the heater lines across it. Inside the oven were Chinese buns, or bao, steaming on racks and I can only assume a pan of boiling water underneath them all. Most had some sort of vegetables inside them but some precious few held chocolate. Little squares of milk chocolate that would melt and ooze once you tore through the sweet, white bread exterior. It was a rare indulgence in a house where junk food wasn’t stocked in the pantry and soft drinks were things you had…never. Still, I wasn’t interested in the bao. I’d never eaten one at that point. That came later. I was watching my snowman.

He was dying.

The thing about bread dough, is that cooking changes it. Yeah, I know, deep, huh? But it changes from its semi-liquid, viscous form into the texture solidness that is bread. Try explaining that to a three year old. Maybe you know three year olds who were smarter than me if they get that before seeing it. Anyway, in the heat of the steaming oven, the twig-like arms I’d painstakingly rolled with my little hands melted into the snowman’s dough body, and the facial features were being swallowed up by the expanding face as it cooked. I don’t know how it turned out. I can’t remember that. I just remember staring through the brown lined, brownish glass door into the oven deflating as my bread snowman inflated in the oven.

Nearly three decades later, I found myself with a surplus of those tiny Easter eggs. I’ve grown up as someone who’s not big on snack or junk food, and I needed a way to get rid of them that wasn’t just giving them away to people when Easter was nowhere in sight in either direction on the calendar. So I found a recipe for man tou, or the Chinese steamed white bread, and started making bao. With Easter eggs inside. The M&M ones were the best, I think. I don’t have a sweet tooth, really, but getting other people to eat steamed chocolate buns is about as easy as explaining what they are. Admittedly, in Melbourne the BBQ pork bun is a ubiquitous enough favourite that I don’t have any issues there.

In my new story, Better with BaconK/I>, Patrick uses the white steamed bread as the basis for sliders, which is possible, but will probably never happen at my place while people keep giving me chocolate. Sometimes I wonder if they’re hoping I’ll make more bao and ask people to eat them.

In any case, here’s the recipe. I stole it from a blog somewhere on the internet, but I can’t find the site now, otherwise I’d share the link.

Steamed Chocolate Bao
1.5 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup bao flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
3 tsp melted butter

In a small bowl combine the yeast, two tablespoons of water + 1 teaspoon sugar + 1 teaspoon bao flour. Let this stand somewhere warm for about 15 minutes or until frothy.

Cut 12 squares of baking paper. I get about three from the width of a standard width roll. You’ll need these for steaming later.

Sift all your flour together into a mixing bowl, and add the rest of the sugar. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and pour in all your liquid ingredients.

Combine and knead for approximately 10 minutes until the dough comes together.

Cover with a damp cloth and place the bowl somewhere warm. Allow the dough to rise for approximately 1 hour.

Divide the dough into twelve portions, and roll each portion out into a flat circle. Place a small Easter egg or square of chocolate inside and then bring the edges of the circle together and pinch shut. Place each bun onto a square of baking paper and place in a steamer basket.

Steam the buns for approximately 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Notes:

Bao flour is special, highly bleached flour you can purchase at an Asian grocery. You don’t have to use it, but if you just use plain and self raising flours you may find your bao has a slightly yellowish tinge when cooked. They’ll still be delicious though.

This recipe makes big bao. You can make 24 mini bao by dividing your dough more, but it’ll take longer. I recommend keeping any dough you aren’t working with covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out while you work.

You can use whatever you want as a filling. So far I’ve tried a mix of spinach, mushrooms and water chestnut, sweetened red bean paste, and custard (add corn flour or it’ll split when you cook them). But still, chocolate still has a special place in my heart, and quite possibly always will.

When Patrick’s long-term girlfriend Li Ling dumps him just as he’s working up the nerve to propose, he ends up drunk on David’s couch—and later in David’s bed. Although initially reluctant to pursue anything beyond a one-time drunken tryst, David throws caution to the wind during an intimate dinner, where the two men also discuss Patrick’s dream of entering the food industry. Just as the friends-turned-lovers are settling into their new romance, Li Ling calls Patrick—she’s pregnant.

Convinced the announcement spells the end of their love affair and a return to their platonic friendship, David flees to Sydney to escape his heartbreak. But upon his return to Melbourne, David discovers the situation hasn’t gone the way he’d expected. There might still be a chance for David and Patrick’s dreams to come true if they can forgive each other’s mistakes and move forward.

About the Author: Matthew Lang writes behind a desk, in the park, on the tram, and sometimes backstage at amateur theater productions. He has been known to sing and dance in public and analyze the plots of movies and TV shows, and is a confessed Masterchef addict. He has dabbled in film, machinema, event management, and even insurance, but his first love has always been the written word. He is suspected of frequenting libraries and hanging around in bookstores, and his therapists believe he may be plotting some form of literature.

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Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press.

Becoming Dragon by Eve Langlais – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Three randomly chosen winners via rafflecopter will win a print a copy of Becoming Dragon (international giveaway).

Can he embrace the beast within?

I’m a monster. That’s what Brandon thinks when he flees the medical institute that changed him. Living a normal life isn’t in the cards for him because, while he can hide his scaly skin, his wings are hard to miss. So he runs and lives in the shadows where monsters belong. What he didn’t expect to find were others just like him, and they call themselves dragons. Or so Aimi with the violet eyes tells him when she pins him to the ground.

Seriously, though, dragons?

He doesn’t want to believe, but the evidence is mounting. Not helping his resolve is the fact that the woman with the silver hair doesn’t fear the monster and wants to claim him.

However, before he can think of his own happiness, he has to rescue his little sister. Uncle Theo kidnapped her, and Brandon will do anything to get her back, even if he must embrace the monster within to become the dragon.

Read an Excerpt:

“Are you looking for compliments?” Her lips curved. “I claimed you because you intrigue me. It is hard enough to find an unmated male, but to find one who is handsome and strong and not a mama’s boy…” She reached out a hand to trace his lower lip. “That was not a prize I could ignore.”

“I won’t be owned.” His uncle and Andrew and Bittech had thought to own him once upon a time. He wouldn’t let that happen again.

“But I take ever such good care of my things. Wait until you see my hoard.”

About the Author:

A New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author

Hello, my name is Eve. I’m a stay at home mom who writes full time in between juggling my three kids, hubby, and housework, I write hot romance with a bit of a twist. I like strong alpha males, naked chests and shifters. Lots of different breeds of shifters. I am also extremely partial to aliens, you know the kind who abduct their woman and then drive them insane…with pleasure of course.I love to write, and while I don’t always know what my mind is going to come up with next, I can promise it will be fun, probably humorous and most of all romantic, because I love a happily ever after.

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Buy the book at Eve’s website.

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Background of the Book by Jody Vitek – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

Background of the Book by Jody Vitek

I would like to thank LASR for hosting me and my latest release, Taming the Texas Beauty, today. I’d like to share a little background about my book. To do that, I have to go back several years. My first release, Florida Heat, is Maggie Carlisle and Trent Randall’s story. Chad Rogers and Chloe Atwood, who are friends of the couple receive their own story in Texas Two Step. In Texas Two Step you meet one of Chad’s brothers, Ryan Rogers, and Chloe and Maggie’s friend, Stephanie Lockhart. Taming the Texas Beauty is Ryan and Stephanie’s story. Everyone, but Trent, is from the Dallas, Texas area.

When I wrote Florida Heat, after visiting Siesta Key, I had no intentions of writing a continuation. I released another contemporary romance and a short story for an anthology before deciding to write Texas Two Step. Having never visited Texas, I relied on the internet and help from folks who live in Texas or have been to Texas. I enjoyed writing Chloe and Chad’s story, but I had no plans of writing another book tied to the two previous books. I released another contemporary romance and another anthology short story when I decided to wrap up, what would be a series, with Taming the Texas Beauty.

In Texas Two Step, Chad Rogers calls on his brother, Detective Ryan Rogers, when his girlfriend Chloe Atwood goes missing. Suspecting her ex-fiancé, Andrew Lockhart, Chad calls upon Andrew’s sister Stephanie Lockhart, to assist them in getting close to Andrew. It is then that we see Stephanie and Ryan’s relationship bud.

I had a good grip on who my characters were for Taming the Texas Beauty, but I had to figure out Ryan and Stephanie’s story. Why didn’t their relationship blossom and grow when I left them at the end of Texas Two Step? What would create a conflict for them to have a relationship? How would I tie the characters from the other two books into this story? Once these and other questions were answered, I wrote Ryan and Stephanie a story that brings you love, intrigue, friendship, a touch of suspense, and of course, a happily ever after.

While working on edits for Taming the Texas Beauty, I approached my publisher about turning the three books into a series. It was decided they wouldn’t be labeled a series, but Florida Heat will get a new cover to match Texas Two Step and Taming the Texas Beauty. Once the new cover is created, the books will be labeled in the order as they appear in the sequence. Each book stands alone, without having to read the others, and you receive a satisfying ending to the book. But when characters reappear in their own story or other stories, you usually want to read all of them.

I hope you enjoyed learning the backstory to Taming the Texas Beauty, and thank you for visiting. I’d love to answer any questions you may have about my reaching the point to writing this book, as well as the trilogy. My questions for the readers are, do you like reading series? If so, do you have a limit of how many books you like to see in the series?

Two years ago, Ryan Rogers was attracted to Stephanie Lockhart, but as the detective who brought down her criminal brother, getting close to her was out of the question. Now, ready to restart the relationship, he discovers her salon is connected to a series of high-end robberies.

In spite of losing her brother because of Detective Rogers, Stephanie hasn’t forgotten their attraction. It could be happily ever after when they meet once again…until she and her salon are implicated in crime, sending her world spiraling out of control.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“I’m sorry to have brought it up, but at the salon you seemed to have put distance between us. And seeing you…I wanted to talk to you. Over the phone or in text wouldn’t have been right.” He glanced at his hands.

“Your turn.” She rested her hand on his forearm. “Why didn’t you call me?”

“We were busy with your brother’s investigation, as well as other cases. I couldn’t get involved with you while working on your brother’s case. When the time came around that I could’ve called you, I figured it was too late. A girl like you doesn’t wait around for a guy.”

“No, I didn’t wait around.” She removed her hand. “And what kind of girl am I, Ryan Rogers?” She relaxed against the back cushion and crossed her legs. Waiting. Waiting for his response.

“You’re beautiful and smart. You run your own business. Come from a wealthy, well-known family, and could have any man you wanted.”

She lurched forward with a laugh before raising an eyebrow. “Any man I want, huh? Your brother turned me away when he was single.”

Ryan sat upright. “You—my brother?”

“We kissed, then he kicked me out of his hotel room. So no, I can’t have any man I want. And you didn’t want me either.”

“I never said I didn’t want you. We never got beyond the phone number exchange.” He raised his voice, frustrated with the situation. “What if I told you I want you now? What if I took you into the bedroom and followed through on your handcuff suggestion?”

About the Author:Jody Vitek is a multi-published author with Satin Romance, an imprint of Melange Books, LLC. She has been a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Midwest Fiction Writers (MFW) since 2001 and is a Provisional PAN member of RWA.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Jody remains close to home living with her husband of twenty-five plus years, three children and a cat named Holly. Growing up, she enjoyed reading V.C. Andrews’ the Dollanganger series, starting with Flowers in the Attic, S.E. Hinton, and Stephen King to name a few. Today her tastes run across the board in fiction and non-fiction, in all genres.

She has traveled throughout the United States, to the Bahamas and Cancun, Mexico. Between watching her youngest son playing soccer, maintaining one of the many scrapbook albums, gardening and being the COO of the Vitek household, she writes contemporary romances.

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How Do You Know by Meredith Schorr – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Meredth will be awarding a $20 Sephora Giftcard to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the rest of the tour stops.

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly-aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary break from her live-in boyfriend results in a breakup, Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0.

As Maggie reenters the New York City dating jungle, suitors present themselves quickly, but who is “The One?” Is he a sexy coworker, one of many bachelors at a speed-dating event, or is he the man she already set free? How do you know? Her fun-loving friends and supportive family, including meddlesome “no-filter” Aunt Helen, eagerly share their (often unsolicited) opinions, but Maggie is determined to find her own way, even if she falls on her face—repeatedly.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“I think we should break up, Maggie.”

My body involuntarily jerks at his words, and I grip the table for support. “You mean permanently or a temporary break?”

“It’s been three years, Maggie. If you’re not sure I’m the one by now, chances are I’m not. I don’t want to waste more of your time.” He pauses. “Or mine. I’ll hunt for a new apartment.”

I swallow back my tears. This is not how I imagined the night would unfold. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Doug gives a slight shake of his head. “I’m sure I don’t want to do this. But I’m also sure I have to. I’ll stay with Connor tonight and pack up some of my stuff while you’re at your mom’s tomorrow night.”

I try to imagine my family’s reaction to hearing Doug and I broke up, and that he moved out to live with his older brother. I can’t. I’m pretty certain my own reaction will be delayed since I currently feel like this is happening to someone else.

Doug continues speaking. “I’ll take care of the bill. You should get out of here.”

“I can’t let you pay for all of this.” I point at the uneaten food. “I ruined my birthday, and now you’re going to pay for it?”

Doug drops his credit card on the table. “Your birthday was Tuesday so, no, you didn’t ruin it. But you did break my heart.”

“Doug…”

Not meeting my gaze, he says, “Just go, Maggie.”

I stand up but linger. I don’t want it to end this way.

“Please, Maggie. Go.”

About the Author:A born-and-bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing chick lit and humorous women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hardworking trademark paralegal and her still-single (but looking) status. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan, an avid runner, and an unashamed television addict.

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Royal Affair by Parker Swift – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release today of Royal Affair by Parker Swift. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a digital copy of the book.

One seriously sexy son-of-a-duke . . .

Behind the posh British accent, Dylan Hale possesses a down-and-dirty sexiness. Off-the-charts gorgeous, a ruthless architect . . . and did I mention he’s a future duke? Every time we touch, it’s wildfire. All need and lust and heat. But Dylan has rules: just sex, no one can know, and in the bedroom he gets complete control. All I have to do is follow the rules, because falling in love with Dylan Hale is all it would take to screw everything up . . . royally.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

We weren’t a foot inside when he closed the door behind him and said, “Turn around, damsel,” indicating I should face away from him. I complied, and he slowly came up behind me, running his hands along my bare upper back and down my arms. He unzipped the dress and pulled it off my shoulders so it pooled at my feet. I was naked except for my insanely high heels. Grabbing my hips, he pulled my naked ass into his front, and I could feel his hardness pushing against the seam of his trousers. “Can you feel how much I want you? How much I want this?” he said firmly, increasing his grip on my hips, pulling me even closer.

I tilted my head back and to the side to try to steal a glimpse of him, and he rested his chin on my shoulder. His hands wrapped around and palmed my breasts. He pushed them in and up, molding them in his palms, and he began to tug at my nipples, rolling them between his thumb and finger, teasing them to the point where pain met pleasure.

“I’m breaking all sorts of rules for you, aren’t I?” He was kissing my neck, sucking my skin, nipping it gently between his teeth, devouring me in motions that mimicked what he was doing to my breasts.

“What rules have you broken for me?” I asked, practically whispering, searching for steadiness in my breath.

He spun me around and lifted me by my ass in one swift move. I locked my ankles behind his back. “For starters I rarely sleep with the same woman twice, at least not in the same week. I don’t spend the night. Ever. And neither do the women I see. And I don’t invite women into my office. Ever. But I couldn’t resist with you. I’d been dreaming about having my mouth on that pretty pussy on that table for weeks. Picturing you just as you were.”

“Did it live up to the dream?” I nuzzled into his cheek, desperate to get to a place where he was naked, where I could feel his skin on my skin.

“The dream didn’t stand a chance.”

“Well, I wouldn’t want you breaking any of your rules, would I? I mean, maybe we better stop now, and you could sleep on my sofa. Or you can get back on your horse—”

“Not on your life, smartass.”

About the Author: Parker Swift grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and then grew up again in New York, London, and Minneapolis and currently lives in Connecticut. She has spent most of her adult life examining romantic relationships in an academic lab as a professor of social psychology. Now, she’s exploring the romantic lives of her fictional characters in the pages of her books. When she’s not writing, she spends her time with her bearded nautical husband and being told not to sing along to pop music in the car by her two sons.

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The Lady Who Drew Me In by Thomasina Rappold and To Tempt an Heiress by Susanna Craig – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding digital copies of both books on tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Daisy Lansing’s ability to transfer images from people’s thoughts onto paper was a novelty she used to trot out to amuse her friends. But when her “entranced drawing” begins to cause serious trouble for her guardians, she is banished to the country and forced to marry a man twice her age. After the joyless wedding, Daisy is determined to bury forever the strange skill that upended her life. However, she soon finds herself a widow and in dire financial straits. Suddenly, her curse may be her one chance at true independence.

Jackson Gallway’s reputation as a rogue has far surpassed his success as a lawyer. In the wake of yet another scandal, he decides to head west. But before he can escape Misty Lake, Jax makes a promise to find an elusive killer. When he encounters a lovely young artist with an unusual talent that could help him in his search, what he finds is something neither of them can escape . . .

*****
After her beloved father dies, Tempest Holderin wants nothing more than to fulfill his wish to free the slaves on their Antiguan sugar plantation. But the now wealthy woman finds herself pursued by a pack of unsavory suitors with other plans for her inheritance. To keep her from danger, her dearest friend arranges a most unconventional solution: have Tempest kidnapped and taken to safety.

Captain Andrew Corrvan has an unseemly reputation as a ruthless, money-hungry blackguard—but those on his ship know differently. He is driven by only one thing: the quest to avenge his father’s death on the high seas. Until he agrees to abduct a headstrong heiress…

If traveling for weeks—without a chaperone—isn’t enough to ruin Tempest, the desire she feels for her dark and dangerously attractive captor will do the rest. The storm brewing between them will only gather strength when they reach England, where past and present perils threaten to tear them apart—even more so than their own stubborn hearts…

Enjoy an Excerpt from The Lady Who Drew Me In:

The man was controlling her from six feet under. Daisy Lansing stared up at the portrait of her late husband, so angered by his betrayal she could scream. Monthly allowance, my foot.

She checked the hour on the gold watch around her neck. Her appointment with William Markelson was at three o’clock, so she had only minutes to brace herself for more bad news. Rubbing her temples, she soothed the budding throb of a headache. At the sound of a woman’s laughter outside, Daisy glanced to the window. Felice Pettington.

Daisy shot to her feet. “It’s about time,” she mumbled, scooting around the desk for a closer view. Misty Lake’s most celebrated summer guest strolled up the walkway, blond spit curls bobbing beneath her stylish bonnet as she slathered her charms on the tall man at her side.

And who do we have here?

Daisy craned her neck toward the window. The pretty heiress nestled against her handsome escort, her gloved hands like twin boa constrictors coiled around his arm. Curious as to whom the woman had snared to join her on the impromptu visit, Daisy hurried out to the porch. Felice’s sweeping yellow skirts brushed the blooming shrubs flanking the stone walk, stirring petals and the scent of rhododendrons through the air. Her mousy maid followed in the flurry.

“Yoo-hoo!” Felice unfurled her grip on the man just enough to wave her gloved fingers. “This is Mr. Gallway.” She leaned toward the man’s impressive shoulder, batting her lashes as they stepped up to the porch. “Mr. Gallway is from Troy.”

Daisy’s heart lurched, as it always did, at the mention of Troy. Even after all this time, the painful memories of her past in the city hadn’t faded a whit. Felice smiled smugly. “He’s an attorney.”

Daisy took a deep breath. Of all the lawyers Felice might have cajoled to browbeat Daisy on her behalf, the woman had enlisted a relative of Daisy’s closest friend. Tessa Gallway had gushed that her rakish brother-in-law was handsome, but the simple description hardly did him justice. Daisy gave a slow nod, her aversion to lawyers suffering a brief lapse as she studied him closer. Layers of wavy black hair matched his thick brows and the sideburns that led to his jaw. His sapphire eyes sparkled in the sunlight.

And his mouth. Good Heavens, his mouth. Daisy swallowed hard, awed by her response to the man. He was nothing like she’d imagined, yet everything portrayed in the gossip. A notorious rogue intent on skirting marriage and sowing a silo’s worth of oats in the process.

His smile widened, as though he’d heard Daisy’s unspoken assessment and expected no less. More likely he was simply too arrogant to care.

“You can wait for me here, Myrtle.” Felice waved her maid toward one of the rocking chairs on the porch.

Daisy ushered them inside, and then led them down the hall to the library. After all this time, the scent of Lawry’s final cigar still clung to the paneled walls. The familiar smell she’d relished so fondly after his death affected her differently now. How could he do this to her?

Blinking back tears, she returned her focus to her guests. Felice batted her lashes, then proceeded with a formal introduction. Extending an arm toward Daisy, she said, “Mr. Jackson Gallway, I present the Widow Lansing.”

About the Authors: A three-time RWA Golden Heart nominee, Thomasine Rappold writes historical romance and historical romance with paranormal elements. She lives with her husband in a small town in upstate New York that inspired her current series. When she’s not spinning tales of passion and angst, she enjoys spending time with her family, fishing on one of the nearby lakes, and basking on the beach in Cape Cod. Thomasine is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Capital Region Romance Writers.

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A love affair with historical romances led Susanna Craig to a degree (okay, three degrees) in literature and a career as an English professor. When she’s not teaching or writing academic essays about Jane Austen and her contemporaries, she enjoys putting her fascination with words and knowledge of the period to better use: writing Regency-era romances she hopes readers will find both smart and sexy. She makes her home among the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country, along with her historian husband, their unstoppable little girl, and a genuinely grumpy cat.

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