Beyond Reason by Kat Martin – Spotlight

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kat Martin who is celebrating the release of her newest book Beyond Reason. To celebrate the release of BEYOND REASON, enter Kat’s new contest for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB and a Kindle copy of AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY and AGAINST THE TIDE. Contest runs from May 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017. Also, enter her May contest for a chance to be one of FIVE winners who will win an audio edition of one of her AGAINST series books, plus a copy of INTO THE FIRESTORM.

She’s determined to be successful–no matter who tries to stop her

Someone is willing to kill for control of Drake Trucking, a well-respected firm now run by a woman named Carly Drake. Big money is involved. And very big danger.

Multi-millionaire Lincoln Cain is determined to keep the promise he made her grandfather, the man who helped him change his life after he got out of prison. Cain has vowed to protect Carly, no matter what it takes.

Unfortunately, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close–and fight like crazy.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Carly pulled the pickup into her garage, saw the single headlight of Linc’s impressive black Harley coming down the street behind her. He’d insisted on following her home. She waved as she got out of the truck, hoping he would take the hint and leave, but instead he pulled his motorcycle into the driveway behind the truck and turned off the engine.

As she took the pistol out from under the seat, Linc walked up beside her.

He eased the gun out of her hand. “Stay here till I make sure it’s safe.”

She didn’t argue. Now that she was home, the whole terrifying chain of events came rushing back with stark clarity. She followed Cain into the kitchen, thought of the Glock, and wished she’d had it in her hand when those men had attacked her.
She sank down in a kitchen chair to wait while Cain walked through the rest of the house. Tears welled. Dammit, she didn’t want to cry. Joe had taught her to be tough. He’d known he wouldn’t always be there for her.

But deep down inside, she was still the frightened ten-year old who had walked into the bathroom and found her mother on the floor, dead of a drug overdose.

She closed her eyes, bit back a sob. She didn’t realize she was crying till she felt Cain drawing her out of the chair and into his arms.

For several seconds she let him hold her, let the tears come, just wrapped her arms around his thick neck and hung on. Then she realized what she was doing and felt like a fool, eased back and turned away.

“I’m sorry, I’m not…not a cryer. Not usually. I’m sorry.” She wiped her eyes, mortified that he had seen this side of her.

“Hey. It’s been a helluva day.” His mouth edged into a smile. “Maybe I’m the one who needed a hug, okay?”

She managed a smile in return. She wouldn’t have thought he could be sweet. “Thanks for checking the house.”

“No problem. You sure you’ll be okay?”

Her smile returned, more real this time. “You’re bigger than I am, but I’ve got the gun.” Now resting on the kitchen table.

He chuckled. “All right, if you’re sure, I’ll see you in the morning.”

He’d see her in the morning? Dammit, she’d forgotten he was coming to the office tomorrow for the call to his private investigator. “Good night.”

Cain left the house through the garage, swung a long leg over the seat of his Harley and fired up the engine. The biceps in his huge arms bulged as he grabbed the handlebars. Carly pushed the button on the garage door as he started backing away, turned the bike and roared off down the block.

Exhaustion swamped her. Dragging herself into the bedroom, she stripped off her clothes, pulled on an XXL navy blue Drake Trucking T-shirt she liked to sleep in and crawled beneath the covers. The pistol rested on the nightstand. She should have been able to sleep.

But she couldn’t.

Linc got up Sunday morning at the crack of dawn, loaded his fishing gear onto the back of an ATV and took off to one of the two lakes on Blackland Ranch. He’d called Townsend way too late last night and told him what had happened at the roadhouse. He’d instructed the investigator to set up security on Carly Drake twenty-four/seven and find out everything he could about a guy who called himself El Jefe.

Linc had slept a little after that, not much. He’d awoken early and decided he needed to clear his head. Tossing a line in the water, kicking back and waiting to get a bite, worked almost as well as morning sex.

Well, almost. Hell, he hadn’t been with a women in nearly a month, too damned long as far as he was concerned. He needed to make a phone call, talk to Renee or maybe Melissa, see if one of his friends with benefits was up for a good time when he got back to Dallas.

Something stirred deep and hot inside him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an image of Renee or Melissa. It was Carly Drake who fired his blood.

As he leaned back against the trunk of a tree, the end of his line jerked. He waited for another tug, set the hook, and started reeling. Dammit to hell, whenever he thought of Carly, he felt like the fish on the end of that line. How had the little blonde managed to sink her hooks into him? How had she managed to snag his interest so quickly?

In fairness, she wasn’t even trying. He knew women, knew she was attracted to him. He also knew she wasn’t interested in climbing into bed for a couple of nights of fun.

About the Author: Bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, in Missoula, Montana, Kat has written sixty eight Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, INTO THE FIRESTORM, took the #7 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. This will be the 15th novel in a row to be included on that prestigious list. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

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My Take on Critique Groups by Judi Lynn – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

My Take on Critique Groups

I’ve belonged to a local writers’ group for over twenty years. We don’t have any dues or many rules—only that we have three people volunteer to read for each meeting, each reader gets fifteen minutes to read before we go around the table to comment, and the reader can’t respond until everyone’s finished their feedback. The last rule became a necessity when readers replied to every comment, and we could only manage one reader in two hours with a lot of repetition. Our group critiques, but we also encourage. We state what we consider the work’s strengths, what we liked, and what we think the author could make better. Too many passive verbs? Someone catches it. Word choice? Think of a better one. Plotting. Pacing. All the basics are scrutinized. If we know of any markets for someone’s work, we recommend those. It’s a good base for a critique group, but our real strength is that we’ve known and cared about each other for so long. If someone’s hit a snag, she can use her fifteen minutes to brainstorm instead of read. If marketing is beyond someone, we talk about that. We concentrate on how to make each writer better—including the actual story and the follow-through.

I’ve attended a few other groups. Some have speakers who talk about specific topics. POV, conflict, how to develop characters—all of those are good. I always learn something, even if it’s something I knew once and forgot. Some groups just share what they’ve written with no feedback. One group was so brutal, I’d burn my manuscripts and walk away if I attended it often. Everybody needs different things at different times. But my group works for me. They don’t let me slack off. If I’ve come up with a weak idea to hang a novel on, I hear about it. If there’s not enough emotion, enough angst, it’s brought to my attention. And if I have a case of the Why Am I Doing This?, they tell me to pull up my girl panties and write better. Our group might not work for you, but it keeps us motivated and honest. It makes us try harder.

Tyne Newsome promised to help Daphne Ferris pick up the pieces if her professor boyfriend dumped her. Tyne is a hottie chef with no intentions of committing to anyone. He has big plans for his future. Daphne owns a stained glass shop and spends most evenings eating dinner with her parents. She prefers safety and solitude, but Tyne keeps bumping her out of her usual routines. He’s not someone she can ignore. And soon, they find that they complement each other so well, they’re both pushed to places they’ve never been before.

Enjoy an excerpt

Tyne zipped down the inside staircase and stopped to glance at Daphne’s shop in the dim light. Most people didn’t move at four-thirty in the morning, for good reason. When he returned later this afternoon, would the shop be decorated with dangling crepe paper and balloons? The professor she’d been seeing was supposed to be a free man today. All he had to do was sign his divorce papers. Patrick could finally ask Daphne to marry him. Nothing Tyne would celebrate. The man was as exciting as porridge, but Daphne thought she’d be happy with him.

On his way out the door to his Jeep, he inhaled the crisp, clean Fall air. It perked him up, cleared his head. Driving down Main Street with its brick buildings, striped awnings, and old-fashioned street lamps, he saw Maxwell step out of his bakery to snag the morning paper by his door. Another early riser. When Maxwell saw Tyne’s orange Jeep, he raised a middle finger and grinned. Tyne laughed and returned the gesture.

About the Author: Judi Lynn lives in Indiana with her husband, a bossy gray cat, a noisy Chihuahua, and a parakeet. She loves to cook and owns more cookbooks than any mortal woman would ever need. That’s why so much food sneaks into her stories. She also loves her flower beds, but is a haphazard gardener, at best.

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Favorite Summer Recipes by Heidi McLaughlin – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release tomorrow of Heidi McLaughlin’s Grand Slam, the third book in her The Boys of Summer series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a digital copy of the book.

Favorite Summer Recipes
Oh boy. I don’t have any recipes. When I cook, it’s all from memory with what my great grandmother or mother taught me.

I love making a pistachio pie – from my great grandma’s recipe

My husband makes balsamic chicken and garlic salted green beans
*Marinate chicken breasts in maple balsamic dressing for the day
*Marinate fresh green beans in garlic salt for the day.
Cook on barbeque!

Another fave is fried chicken. Very bad for you because it’s fried, but nonetheless the best, especially after you’ve let it sit and cool down for a bit.

Win the game. Lose your heart.

Everyone knows who I am and that I could have any female fan I want. That’s supposed to be the “perk” of playing left field for the Boston Renegades. But I don’t want just any woman; I want her.

She should be just another face in the crowd, but I can’t stop thinking about the one night we spent together-and her look of regret the morning after.

Because Saylor Blackwell is the kind of woman who haunts a man. Smart, sexy as hell, and one of the best managers in the business. She’s every ballplayer’s dream woman. And I’d do anything to make things right with her.

I’m done sitting on the bench when it comes to Saylor Blackwell. Time to swing for the fences.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Whenever I wake up with a hangover, I often ask myself why I drank so much and promise that I’ll never do it again. That promise is something I’ve been breaking for the past few days, and up until now, I didn’t care.

I had hoped the booze would muddy my memory of last night, but it hasn’t. Every word she said, every expression she had, every punch to my chest to get me out of her apartment is crystal clear. I fucked up, and I don’t even know how. All I know is that the sobs I heard on the other side of Saylor’s door last night were enough to sober my stupid ass up.

For hours, I sat against her door, until a resident suggested I leave or they were going to call the police. If I hadn’t been arrested ear- lier, I probably would have encouraged them to dial Boston’s Finest. Another man might understand my plight. The woman that I want to be with kicked me out of her house, and while I probably deserved it, I didn’t want to leave until she stopped crying. I didn’t want to be the one to walk away in her time of need.

But as egos go—and believe me, mine is huge—I couldn’t let it get in the way any longer, so I walked my drunk ass back home with my tail between my legs, only to stay up all night while the booze wore off, knowing that I had to live with whatever I’d done to Saylor.

She’s the last person in the world who I want to hurt, and she’s the one person who can save me. Not only from a life behind bars, but from myself. When I’m with her, I’m a different person. The cocky son of a bitch whom everyone is used to doesn’t exist when she’s near me, and frankly, that is the man I like, or at least I used to. It’s easier being a fucking douche. It’s second nature to me and comes with the territory of being named one of the city’s most eligible bachelors.

Except when I’m with Saylor, I can be the man who hides in the shadow of that Travis Kidd. I can be the kind of man who doesn’t have to have a one-liner available or wink in order to get a phone number. When I’m with her, life outside of baseball starts to have a meaning, a fucking purpose.

About the Author: Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, Jill.

When she isn’t writing one of the many stories planned for release, you’ll find her sitting courtside during either daughter’s basketball games.

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Spotlight and Giveaway for Debra Holt’s Books


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ms. Holt will be awarding a $10 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.

Fighting for his life after an ambush, Sheriff Josh Wellman awakes to find himself looking into the eyes of a real-life angel of mercy. Despite his groggy condition, he knows his life has changed the instant their hands touch. Devastating heartbreak has left Mercy Smith’s faith in tatters, her heart guarded against more loss. Her dedication to the air evac trauma team she leads has insulated her from the realities of the earth below, so now Josh faces the biggest challenge of his life. Can he find a way around the walls that fortify her heart and convince this angel to stay on the ground with him? Can Mercy open herself to life again and find a way to restore her faith in God … as well as love?

*****
J.D. Sterling shook the dirt of the small Texas town from his boot heels a dozen years before. Now, he’s returned… not as the poor country boy who left to follow his dream, but as country music’s sexy superstar. He has everything he always wanted except for the girl who holds his heart. Mandy.

Years come and go and people change. Amanda Lawson has grown up. From heartbreak and struggling to survive to becoming a successful businesswoman, she has taught herself to never look back. Once before, she had survived the wild, green-eyed cowboy with only a guitar to his name and a pocketful of dreams. Then he left her behind with nothing but his hollow vows and a shattered heart.

Mandy was his muse. J.D. was her dream. But tragedy and broken vows can be insurmountable obstacles. Can they find their way home to each other again… or is it too late?

*****
“Sheriff’s Department! Raise your hands above your head and don’t move.”

She’s a runaway bride who left her two-timing fiance at the altar. He’s a county sheriff determined to keep the peace in his country and leave city girls alone after his own fiance left him for the bright lights of the city. Neither of them planned on running straight into each other…over a burning wedding dress.

Ellie and Lucas planned on never trusting their hearts to love again. When danger follows her from the city, the sheriff must do his duty to protect her. However, it isn’t long before he discovers the real danger may be to his heart. Ellie just might teach him that even a city girl can be a country girl at heart.

Enjoy an Excerpt from Mercy’s Rescue

She ventured a quick look but didn’t see a wedding ring. That meant nothing—many men didn’t wear rings. Her David would not have worn one either. He’d often said a ring would only get lost when he removed it to do surgery. The dark cloud of remembrance jolted her back to reality. Her job was done; she passed her patient over to the trauma team. There was no need for her to stay. With a last look at the man currently the focus of everyone’s attention, Mercy stepped outside the room. Her steps faltered as she realized that she’d automatically send a brief request on his behalf to whatever power the man might believe in; a request that the trauma specialists behind her would be able to use their combined expertise to keep him in this world for those who loved and needed him.

“Three minutes out. Descent begins in one.” The pilot’s voice crackled through the headset as he tossed a look over his shoulder to Mercy, strapped into the jump sear. She responded with a quick thumbs-up. “They’ve secured the scene,” he added. “We’re in and out fast. There’s only one to transport.” A dull, leaden weight sank to the pit of her stomach. Mercy Smith knew his words meant the other injured person had died before their arrival. “We can’t save them all, Mercy.” Paul Robards, the second medic onboard and seated across from her, responded to the shadowed look that crossed her face. “Some things are out of our control.”

About the Author: Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!).

When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

Debra invites you to visit her website. She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at debraholtbooks@gmail.com.

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The Scariest Part About Being an Author by Scarlett Scott – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Scarlett Scott will be awarding a Kindle or paperback copy of Books 1 & 2 in this series to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the rest of the stops.

The scariest part of being an author
After months researching, plotting, writing, re-writing, editing, revising, reading, re-reading, and performing every other (seemingly endless) task related to publishing a book, the scariest moment for me is a book’s release. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a control freak and this is the stage of being an author where I finally have to step back and let go. Releasing a book is a little bit like putting your child on the bus for her first day of kindergarten in that way. So much possibility, so much trepidation.

Maybe it’s because of all the unknowns. When an author releases a book, she has no way of knowing for certain that readers will connect to the story and characters enough to pick it off the shelf or sync it onto their e-reader. After all, each book is one among an ever-expanding pool of options. We have no way of knowing if readers will like our books, if they’ll read them or only skim them, if our books will make them happy sigh or shake their fists, if we’ll get emails from readers telling us they can’t wait for the next book or if readers will email us to tell us we’ve let them down this time around.

Waiting and wondering is scary, my friends, especially for me.

Of course, releasing a book isn’t just scary. It’s also exciting. Toiling away on a computer, tucked off in a corner of my house, gets lonely. The moment where I get to share a book with readers fills me with as much happiness as nervousness. It’s the payoff for the long, arduous months of hard work, determination, and staying up way too late.

For me, releasing a book is a rollercoaster—scary as all get out, but worth the ride!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave me comments or questions, or visit my blog.

A staid duke

Heath, the Duke of Devonshire, has been living a passionless life of penance after losing the woman he loved. Determined to do his duty, he’s in search of an innocent bride with a sterling reputation. A bride who’s nothing at all like Tia, Lady Stokey.

A bold lady

The Duke of Devonshire may be handsome, but he’s as boring as a bowl of porridge. Or so Tia thinks until he carries her to her chamber and undoes half her buttons while kissing her senseless.

A decadent desire

The moment he scoops the delectable Tia into his arms, Heath wants her in his bed, and he’ll stop at nothing to have her there. When they unleash the scandal of the century, they must face consequences that are deeper and far more dangerous to their hearts than either of them imagined. Will they find love, or was the reckless need between them doomed from the start?

Enjoy an Excerpt

If there was one thing in the world that Tia, Lady Stokey, adored, it was parties. Give her a good fête, an army of new dresses, an entertaining assortment of guests and she was a happy woman.

Under ordinary circumstances, that was.

Grumbling to herself, she trekked through the maze at the Marquis of Thornton’s hunting estate, Penworth, in search of her wayward charge. A mere hour after their arrival for a country house party, Tia had discovered Miss Whitney missing from her bedchamber.

“In need of a nap, my bottom,” Tia grumbled, stalking around a corner. If only the hedges weren’t so frightfully high and she so irritatingly diminutive in height. But of course, that would have rather nullified the purpose of a maze, she supposed.

The young Miss Whitney had declared the need for a respite after their travel through the countryside, and Tia had acquiesced. But suspicion had brought her round to collect the girl early, where she’d discovered only a note telling her that her charge had decided to take a restoring turn about the gardens instead.

“Restoring indeed,” Tia scoffed, her ire growing with each step. She had a dreadful feeling that her charge was going to prove much more than a handful. After all, she recognized herself in the girl, and it was one of the reasons why she’d agreed to help introduce her to society.

The sound of gravel shifting interrupted her cantankerous musings. She stopped, holding her breath to listen. It sounded as if Miss Whitney was perhaps just around the next bend, behind the thick hedges obscuring Tia’s vision. Smiling in triumph, she grabbed her skirts and hurried around the turn in the maze.

“Ah ha,” she called out in delight. “I’ve found you now, you little minx.”

But her moment of triumph was terribly abridged, for the noise-making culprit, seated on a bench before her, was not Miss Whitney. Nor, in fact, was it even a female. Quite the opposite.

Dear heavens. Eyes the same wistful color as a summer sky met hers, stealing her breath. She stopped, her heart thumping as madly as a runaway stallion’s hooves. The man staring back at her, an open book in his large hands, a golden brow raised, was decidedly as far as one could get from the petite, Virginia-born Miss Whitney.

“I daresay I’ve been called a great number of things in my life, but never yet a little minx,” drawled the Duke of Devonshire as he stood and bowed to her.

“I must apologize,” she hastened to say, embarrassment making her cheeks go hot. “I mistook you for someone else.”

A small smile curved his lips, drawing her attention to just how finely formed his mouth was. He had changed since she’d seen him last. He’d grown a beard. She swallowed, her heart continuing its mad pace. The duke had always been a handsome man, possessed of a rare masculine beauty that almost made him seem too perfect to be real. But the neatly trimmed beard took the purity of his features and rendered them somehow sinful. Seductive. Her cheeks burned as she realized she was staring and, to her greatest dismay, he’d said something to her.

She had no earthly idea what.

About the Author: Award-winning author Scarlett Scott writes historical and contemporary romance with heat, heart, and happily ever afters. Since publishing her first book in 2010, she has become a wife, mother to adorable identical twins and one TV-loving dog, and a killer karaoke singer. Well, maybe not the last part, but that’s what she’d like to think.

A self-professed literary junkie and nerd, she loves reading anything but especially romance novels, poetry, and Middle English verse. When she’s not reading, writing, wrangling toddlers, or camping, you can catch up with her on her website www.scarsco.com. Hearing from readers never fails to make her day.

Scarlett’s complete book list and information about upcoming releases can be found on her website.

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Foolish Bride by A.S. Fenichel and Knight Secrets by C.C. Wiley – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a digital copy of both of the 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.

Sadly ever after . . . unless some dreams really do come true?

Elinor Burkenstock never believed in fairy tales. Sure, she’s always been a fool for love—what woman isn’t? But Elinor knows the difference between fiction and truth. Daydreams and reality. True love and false promises. . . . Until the unthinkable happens, and Elinor’s engagement is suddenly terminated and no one, least of all her fiancé, will tell her why.

Sir Michael Rollins’s war-hero days seem far behind him when, after one last hurrah before his wedding, he gets shot and his injuries leave him in dire shape. He wants nothing more than to marry Elinor, the woman of his wildest dreams. But Elinor’s father forbids it . . . and soon Michael is faced with a desperate choice: Spare Elinor a life with a broken man or risk everything to win her heart—until death do they part?


*****

Sworn to protect the crown, a Knight of the Swan must never surrender—not even to love . . .

England, 1415. Ordered never to leave the lonely tower on her family estate, Lady Clarice Margrave is suddenly set free when her home is plundered. Now she is determined to discover the truth behind her father’s alleged treason. But an act of daring only propels her into a new prison, with the very knight who destroyed her home as her keeper. Sir Ranulf, Lord of Sedgewic, is ruthless in his inquisition, though there is a searing tenderness in his touch. Is it possible her bold jailor is the Red Wolf of whom her father spoke—and the one man she might be able to trust?

As a knight, Ranulf never questions his troth, but his beautiful prisoner stirs his heart and mind like no other. Clarice is achingly vulnerable—and extremely closed-mouth about her possible ties to the plot against the king. Duty demands he keep his distance, though he yearns to take her to his bed and adore her until he discovers what lies within her heart. And he would—if he weren’t in danger of losing his own . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt from Foolish Bride

Her heart beat wildly. “But is that not why you pursued me?”

He kissed the tip of her nose. “I will not deny I came to London this season because I needed to marry to restore the money that my father squandered.” He kissed her cheek. “I had every intention of finding a rich bride to enable that plan.” He kissed her other cheek. “Then I met you, and you were the perfect solution to my problems.”

She tried to pull away, but he held her close and kissed her lips. It was only a peck, but the thrill of it traveled to her toes and hit everywhere in between.

His body filled all her curves as he hugged her and spread kisses along her cheek and neck. “I knew you were the one, Elinor. So beautiful, charming, and sweet, I could not resist you. I want to be worthy of your love, and in the weeks we courted, I found a way to get enough money to repair my country home and still have enough to make a good start of the marriage. I made the deal on some grain. It will take a bit of time for my plans to pan out, but in a couple of months, I should be able to show your father that I am worthy of you.”

About the Authors:

A.S. Fenichel adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey. She now lives in the southwest with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When she is not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history and puttering in her garden.


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*****

C.C. Wiley is a longstanding member of the Romance Writers of America, and a published author with Samhain Publishing. She lives in Salt Lake City with her high school sweetheart of over 35 years and their four wacky dogs. When given a choice, she prefers a yummy, well-written, historical or contemporary romance that is chock-full of hope, love and a Happy Ever After. She believes there are wonderful courageous characters waiting for someone to tell their story. It’s her hope that each adventurous romance she writes will touch the reader and carry them away to another place and time, where hopes and dreams abound.


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How to Make a Spanish Omelet by Laura Bailo – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Laura Bailo whose debut novel The Sun Still Rises releases today.

How to make a Spanish omelet

If there’s one thing I love about writing books set in Spain, it’s introducing people to our food and making them curious to try it. In The Sun Still Rises, David and Erik cook a Spanish omelet, so here’s the recipe for that one.

But first, the ingredients. You’ll need:
• Potatoes – let’s say four mid-sized ones.
• Eggs – let’s say four.
• Onion – one. Also, there’s a whole fight between Spanish people that prefer their omelets with onion, and those who prefer them without.
• Olive oil – enough to cook the potatoes in.
• Salt – a pinch.

As for the cooking, it’s quite easy:
• Cut the potatoes into pieces and cook them in olive oil. When they’re half done, add the onion.
• Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a big bowl.
• One the potatoes and onion are done put them in the bowl with the eggs and mix well, adding a pinch of salt.
• Save most of the olive oil in a jar for another time, leaving only enough in the pan to cook the omelet in.
• Heat that oil in the pan (shouldn’t be too hot or the omelet will burn) and drop the eggs and potatoes mixture into it.
• When you see that the side that’s in contact with the pan is done, you’ll have to turn the omelet. I recommend turning it with the help of a plate.
• Finish cooking – the time is up to you. Some people like them a bit runny, while others will only eat it dry.
• Now eat!

You can also get creative with it once it’s done: cut it in half and add some ham and cheese in the middle, or some salad, or whatever you can think of. In some places here you can now find omelets covered in tomato sauce, basil, oregano and cheese, kind of an omelet-pizza.

Give the recipe a try and tell me how it goes! Erik certainly likes it, as you can see in the next excerpt.

David nodded and got up, looking back at Erik. “Have you ever tried a Spanish omelet?”

Erik shook his head.

“Come with me, then. We’re going to make one.” He offered his hand to Erik, who took it and followed him into the kitchen. This should be fun.

He’d been right—it was the most fun Erik had had in the kitchen in ages. He liked cooking, but cooking just for one got tedious after a while and he’d lost the passion for experimenting. But there was David, showing him how to do something completely new. It was an easy dish to prepare, not very challenging, but peeling potatoes and frying them while David whisked the eggs, along with heated looks and stolen touches, had been exhilarating for Erik. He admired David’s easiness and skill in the kitchen, and couldn’t contain a gasp when he flipped the full omelet with just one hand. That must have taken some practice. He clapped, prompting David to give him a bow in return, that had them both laughing for a few minutes.

While the omelet finished cooking, David prepared a quick salad to go on the side and Erik set the table. He was amazed by how natural all of it felt, how they’d gotten used to each other so fast. Going back home without David was going to be difficult, but he couldn’t stay in his house forever, and there were things he needed to do.

They sat down to eat, David serving Erik the first slice, and he couldn’t contain a moan after trying it. “Oh my God! This is so good! How is it so good?”

David was grinning smugly. “I know, right? I’m sure you were thinking it was really easy to make and wondering what all the fuss was about. But you can’t say the same now, can you?”

Erik forced himself to eat slowly and not put it all inside his mouth as he wanted to do. “Certainly not. I may need you to prepare a few of these for me to take home.”

“You know the recipe now. You can make them yourself.”

Erik swallowed. “Yes, but it won’t taste the same.”

David’s expression went soft, and he put his fork down to take Erik’s hand. “I’ll make this for you whenever you want. But we have to finish this one first.” He took his hand back and pointed at Erik’s plate. “Go on, eat.”

After another slice, Erik couldn’t eat another bite, and he said so to David, who laughed while looking at the half of omelet still left. “Well, I guess we won’t have to cook dinner tonight. Why don’t you head over to the living room and I’ll make coffee?”

: Erik’s father lived for Pamplona’s yearly festival and the running of the bulls. Now he’s gone, and Erik flies to Pamplona on a whim to see the festival his father loved—without booking a room first. He’s looking at sleeping on the ground until friendly David from the tourism office offers to share his home.

When Erik realizes he trusts David, that he might even be willing to face his anxiety to get to know David better, he begins to understand what this trip could mean. Pamplona is even more beautiful when seen through David’s eyes, and Erik might have traveled around the world just to find himself. But can he hold on to his newfound confidence—and to David—when it’s time to go home?

About the Author:Laura Bailo is a veterinarian and a teacher in training who can do surgical sutures but can’t sew on a button to save her life.

She lives in Spain with far too many books and boxes full of notebooks. She loves exploring the narrow streets of Pamplona and she’s known to have gotten lost in her own city. She loves reading, singing and trying out new cooking recipes, and if she’s feeling adventurous she may try to do all of these at the same time.

She loves hearing from people and you can find her at the following social media links.

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World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

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Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti – Q&A and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour for Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti, which is being released on May 16. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a LETHAL LIES prize pack.

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

That’s a little personal. 😉

Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?

I really like Kristen Ashley. She’s sweet and very supportive of other authors…and she’s an awesome writer. I like how she helps everyone around her and is always kind.

What would we find under your bed?

Hmm…let me go look. Two socks (that don’t match), a quarter, a heating pad, and chapstick.

What makes you happy?

My family. They’re the best.

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

I received a letter from a female soldier stationed ‘down range from Afghanistan,’ which I took to mean she was in the battle zone. She and the other female soldiers were arguing about which hero they liked the best in one of the series. I thought that was amazingly cool that they’d take time to read the books, maybe escape a little, and then drop me a line. I thanked them all for their service.

A deadly secret can’t stay buried forever . . .

Revenge. It’s the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars—even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can’t do this alone.

Private investigator Heath Jones’s job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it’s personal. He knew the Copper Killer’s latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he’s all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath’s identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath’s every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they’ll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“All the more reason to get you out of town,” Heath said quietly.

She shook her head. “No. I’m staying.” Her words were brave, but her chest hurt. No way could she deal with a serial killer all on her own. She could train every day for the rest of her life and not end up as practiced or as deadly as Heath already was, and she knew it. “I understand you have other cases and people after you. So leave, and I’ll handle this myself.”

“Those are big words, baby,” he said softly.

Her lip quivered, and she bit down on it. “I know. I promised her, Heath. It’s all I have left to give to her.”

He paused, understanding crossing his expression. “Ah, sweetheart. Your sister wouldn’t want that for you.” His voice turned velvety and soft. Soothing.

Anya nodded. “I know. But she was my sister. We shared blood and part of a childhood. She took me trick-or-treating when I was five, and it’s one of my best memories. Then when I needed help as an adult, she didn’t hesitate. She came to me right away, like family. She was the first person I really cared about in far too long, and it hurts like hell that I got her killed.”

He breathed out, the emotion in his eyes deepening.

She swallowed. “I have to do this for her. Either you understand that or you don’t.”

“Why don’t you just let us handle it?”

She pressed her point. “I could, but you need me. I’m the bait.” Inwardly, she winced at the description. That wouldn’t help her to convince him. “Also, here’s the deal. This could be a long op. At some point, you have to leave and deal with whatever is haunting you from your past. When you do, I’ll just challenge him again, and next time you won’t be around to assist.”

“That’s extortion,” Heath said, amusement curving his lip.

She grinned. “Apparently I’m getting quite good at it.”

Heath shook his head. “You’re putting me in an untenable position, baby.”

“No, I’m not.” She shrugged out of his hold. Finally. “I’m not yours to protect, Heath. We’re not together, and we’re not responsible for each other.” The words sliced through her even as she said them. “You’ve been more than clear on that score.”

“There’s something here, Anya. Maybe something real and lasting, if I get everything done I need to do.”

She blinked. “What’s that?”

“The less you know the better. Believe me.”

“What a bunch of bullshit. Go back to your ‘This is fake’ proclamation,” she all but yelled. “Your position is one of work . . . and this is just work.”

His chin lifted. “You think this is just work?” The tone—low and filled with tension—zinged through her body.

Her legs trembled with the urge to take a step back. “Yes.”

“Want me to prove otherwise?” His eyes darkened to the color of the sky right before midnight hit.

As a threat, as a warning, it was damn good. But she’d gone too far to give in now. “You can’t.” Yeah, she’d just waved a red flag in front of a bull.

He didn’t move a muscle. His focus on her was so absolute, she wanted to squirm. “You’re into challenging dangerous men these days, aren’t you?”

She kept her stance. “You’re not all that dangerous, Heath.”

His smile stole her breath. Then he moved. Faster than she could track, he had her by the armpits and up in the air as he carried her toward the bedroom with such speed that her legs automatically wound around to clasp his rib cage. By the time she sucked in air to protest, her butt was on the bed, and he was flattening himself over her.

She struggled, her body on fire, fighting the urge to laugh out loud.

His mouth crushed hers, and she stilled.

Heat.

Fire.

True danger.

He held nothing back, kissing her hard, pressing her head into the comforter. His tongue worked hers, his powerful body plastered against hers, and his hands dug into her hair to hold her in place. Desire spun so quickly into need she couldn’t breathe, even when he wasn’t controlling her mouth.

She shifted against him, closing her eyes to kiss him back. This was what she’d wanted. All of this.

He nipped her lip, soothing the slight pain with another kiss. Then he traced along her jawline, kissing and nipping, finally reaching her earlobe, where he bit.

She arched against him, letting out a soft sigh.

“Anya.” His fingers tangled in her hair, and erotic pain tingled down her scalp. One of his strong arms slid around her waist and then down. His palm spread across her butt, and he ground her against his hard cock.

Pleasure swamped her, and mini explosions flew through her sex. The idea passed, somewhat fleetingly, that he wasn’t playing. Not at all.

Yet she couldn’t stop herself. Her knees widened, and she rubbed against him. “This feels real,” she whispered.

About the Author: Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

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Emily’s ‘Must-Haves’ for a Good Romance Novel by Emily Mims – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Emily Mims will be awarding a $10 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.

Emily’s ‘Must-Haves’ for a Good Romance Novel

I began my career as a romance writer as an avid romance reader. I discovered Harlequin Romances back in the seventies and eagerly devoured both their books and their rivals Silhouette and Candlelight. I eventually wrote eighteen books for Candlelight. When that came to an end, I took some time off from romance novels until about ten years ago. I returned to the genre to find it much changed, with a more diverse and varied offering of subgenres to choose from. Nevertheless, all good romance novels must have certain elements to make it a compelling read for me. These became the elements that I strive to include in each and every one of my stories.

The first must-have for a good romance novel is an interesting story line. Sounds simple, right? But I don’t know how many times I’ve come away from a story disappointed that there was simply no story to the book. Sure, sexual tension is great, hot love scenes are great, but something besides sex has to be happening for a story to work for me. A rule of thumb for me-if I took out the sex and there wasn’t anything left, it wasn’t a good book! In my own work, if the book is to be a full-length novel, I will frequently add an element of suspense around which I build my plot.

The second must-have for a good romance novel is a likeable hero and heroine. The reader must be able to empathize with both the hero and heroine or the story falls flat. A huge pet peeve for me is the harsh, cruel hero and the doormat heroine who falls for him anyway. Perhaps in reaction to this, my heroes are usually sweethearts (my editors rave over them)…but I have been instructed numerous times by numerous editors to make my heroines nicer and more loveable! Hopefully I have learned to do this.

Another absolute necessity is an ongoing conflict that is serious enough to keep these likeable characters at odds for most if not all of the story. This conflict, which can take many forms, must be compelling. No simple misunderstandings that could be resolved in a simple conversation. This conflict should be something they must work together to resolve in a way that will satisfy both them and the reader.

An important element of the story is the backdrop or setting. Almost any setting will work if, and only if, the story would believably take place in that environment. That was much of my motivation for setting the Smoky Blue series in Eastern Tennessee and not writing those stories as a continuation of the Texas Hill Country series. The characters are bluegrass and mountain music musicians and Acoustics is a bluegrass nightclub. While I love bluegrass and mountain music dearly, the genre is not popular in Texas and bluegrass music as a backdrop would be totally unrealistic.

The last element that is needed for a romance novel, or any written work, to be good is that it be well-written and painstakingly edited. A good novel is not written in a vacuum, and a professional author hopefully knows this. My stories are seen by more eyes than my own. They go first to a skilled beta reader and next to a professional content editor. These two people tell me that my hero wouldn’t do or say that in a particular situation or that my manuscript is waaay too long! Then, after I have addressed their concerns, I have a copy editor who tackles spelling, capitalization and punctuation. I am grateful to my publisher, Boroughs Publishing, for the quality editing that helps me make my stories just that much better.

Of course, other authors would include other elements-humor, nail-biting suspense, maybe a hard-core villain or two, depending on what stories they write. But these are mine. If I pick up a book and these elements are present, I’m going to enjoy the story!

Thirty-year-old musician Leilani Mahuiki is in Tennessee to find Joe Barstow, the birth father whose bone marrow might save her daughter’s life. She finds Bradley, too, Joe’s adopted son. Against all odds, she and Bradley make wonderful music together, she on the ukulele, he on the banjo. And Bradley is everything else she’s ever wanted in a man.

Bradley wants her, too. But is that enough? He needs a family of his own. Having grown up an outsider, he’s always dreamt of something simple and old-fashioned. No entanglements. No complications. Just mom, dad, and the kids. Not something Leilani can ever offer. She already has the very complications and entanglements that he so desperately wants to avoid, and that are not going away any time soon. And yet, as he and Leilani pull out all the stops to save her daughter’s life, he knows Leilani is the only woman for him. The most beautiful music in the world can sometimes happen when disharmony resolves—and a lonely Tennessee winter can become a tropical paradise.

Enjoy an Excerpt

He eased open the bedroom door and tiptoed down the hall to the landing, where he could see down the stairs into the living room. What in the world? Leilani carried a garbage sack across the room to her small dining room table. Bradley watched as she eased open the sack and started slowly withdrawing colored cups and spoons. It was the garbage from the club tonight, the cups and spoons they’d all used to eat the pudding and drink the Bay Breeze. His eyes narrowed as she zeroed in on the red and blue cups and the red spoon. He’d watched enough crime scene television shows to know what she was doing. She wanted somebody’s DNA sample. But whose? And why?

Only one way he knew to find out.

Bradley tiptoed down the stairs and stood with his arms folded as Leilani carefully put the cups and spoon into a gallon-sized plastic sack and zipped it shut. Intent on her task, she didn’t notice him until she’d loaded the rest of the garbage back into the sack and turned around with the sack in her arms. She stared at him in shock and the bag slipped out of her arms, spilling dirty cups and spoons all over the floor. “Shit, Bradley, you startled me.” Her eyes widened and she looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

Bradley did not try to hide his suspicion. “Care to explain what the hell you’re doing?”

She shrugged, looking resigned. “I may as well, you’re all going to find out anyway. Help me get this mess cleaned up first. I don’t want the sticky pudding soaking into the carpet.”

“To hell with the carpet,” Bradley said harshly. “Tell me what’s going on.”

“To hell with your attitude. The mess first, then the explanation.” Leilani held two dishtowels under the tap and threw one at him, hitting him in the middle of his chest. “Help me clean up and I’ll tell you all about it.”

He gave her a go-to-hell look but started picking up the dirty cups and spoons. He sneaked a glance in her direction. Her face was expressionless, but her trembling hands gave her away. She was in the grip of powerful emotion, so powerful that she was hanging on by a thread. Whatever was going on was important to her.

They got the mess cleaned up. Leilani took the soiled dishtowel from him and motioned to the sofa. “This may take a few minutes.”

Bradley sat down across from her. “Okay, spill. Whose DNA are you after and why?”

“Joe’s. I have reason to believe that Joe Barstow is my father.”

Bradley felt a river of ice gush down his back. “What the hell do you mean, you think Joe Barstow’s your father? You’re from Hawaii. Joe’s never been to Hawaii.”

“No, but Debbie Pickens has been to Tennessee. Mom used to sing on the bluegrass circuit. She was a damned fine dulcimer player.”

“Which is why you know bluegrass music and play the dulcimer so well. She taught you.”

Leilani smiled faintly. “We are the only two dulcimer players in Hawaii. Anyway, she got pregnant with me somewhere in Tennessee at a bluegrass festival. I figured out about when I was conceived and found an old festival flyer in her keepsake box. She’d circled her picture and the picture of The Barstows on that flyer. I don’t know, obviously, but I think she and Joe hooked up that weekend. Here, let me show you.” She ran upstairs and came back a moment later with an old flyer. “Take a look.”

Bradley took the flyer from her with fingers that trembled, and stared down at the circled pictures of a pretty young woman and The Barstows as they appeared thirty-one years ago. A much younger Joe, the only original member of the band still performing, smiled up at him out of the picture. “So based on just a date and a flyer, you think Joe’s your father? What else do you have that makes you think that?”

Leilani lifted her hands and pulled the hair up off her face, exposing the wide forehead and sharp widow’s peak that so defined both Joe’s and his brother’s faces. And the cheekbones and the blue eyes. Bradley’s breath caught in his throat. How could he have missed it? How could any of them have missed it? No wonder she’d looked so familiar the first time he’d laid eyes on her. Underneath all the hair she wore down around her face, she looked like Joe. Even more strikingly, she looked like Jake.

She looked like her dead brother.
She looked like her father.

About the Author: Author of thirty romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time. The mother of two sons and grandmother of six, she and her husband Charles live in central Texas but frequently visit grandchildren in eastern Tennessee and Georgia. She plays the piano, organ, dulcimer, and ukulele and belongs to two performing bands. She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them. Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”

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Past the Breakers by Lucie Archer – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release today of Past the Breakers by Lucie Archer. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $15 Amazon GC.

In the immortal words of the Cowardly Lion, “I do believe in spooks.”

Okay, that’s a lie. I’m a skeptic, which might sound strange considering I’ve just written a paranormal romance staring a ghost, but that’s one of the beautiful things about being a writer. Despite my own feelings on the subject matter—and the challenges they present—with the help of my keyboard, I can create worlds in which ghosts and spirits and anything else I dream up not only exist, but also interact with the living in very tangible and meaningful ways. And that’s exactly what I’ve done in Past the Breakers.

At the start, Casey is a skeptic as well. His head is a mess after he loses his restaurant and girlfriend, and at first, he attributes Myles’s presence as the delusions of a man on the brink of a breakdown. But Myles does his best to turn him into a believer.

Casey’s evolution makes me wonder what it would take for me to become a believer, but I honestly don’t know. It’s definitely a subject I enjoy exploring. I like watching paranormal shows and videos on YouTube. They may send a shiver up my spine, but things on camera are too easily faked these days for them to convince me. It’s the same with pictures people have taken claiming to have photographed ghosts. Even though they are fun to look at.

Ghost stories are entertaining by their very nature, and during my research, I spent quite a few hours on a website dedicated to people who claimed to have had incubi and succubi encounters. Lucky bastards! But I know second hand accounts won’t convince me either. There are too many unknown variables, including the unreliability of the human mind and our faulty senses, for me to take those with anything more than a grain of salt.

I think I’d have to experience something paranormal before I’d believe it, but that’s also not a guarantee. I did a lot of research on different aspects of paranormal exploration while I wrote Past the Breakers, and tons more before that just for fun. Which means I’ve also read quite a bit about debunking such phenomena. I admit there is a lot we don’t know about the world around us, most of which we may never know, but something rather significant would have to occur in order for me to believe in ghosts.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that is, because I wouldn’t know until I experienced it.

With all that said, I had a lot of fun getting into Casey’s mind and exploring his development from skeptic to believer. I also enjoyed playing with the ghostly aspects of Myles’s character. But the most interesting part for me was where their two worlds collided. At that intersection is where the heart of the story lays, and I hope, despite your own stance on ghosts and apparitions, you’ll enjoy the book as much as I do.

Happy haunting!

Casey North lost everything when his restaurant burned to the ground: his hopes, his dreams, his reason for living. With nothing tying him to LA, he packs up and moves back to his hometown of Land’s End. He takes up residence in a beach house and attempts to shake the depression he’s fallen into after his life collapsed. There’s just one tiny problem: the ghost haunting his kitchen.

Myles Taylor wasn’t always trapped in the Between. One minute, he was about to propose to his boyfriend of five years as they sat out on their surfboards, and the next, he woke up on the beach to find his long-dead uncle walking toward him. After his shock fades, he must learn to navigate his new reality as he searches for a way to move into the Great Beyond. But first he must deal with the man who’s invaded his territory.

With Myles tied to the beach house and Casey unwilling to leave it, the two must learn to cohabitate as the lines separating them begin to blur. They grow closer than either expected, but what will become of them once Myles finally escapes the Between?

About the Author:Lucie Archer is a student of the universe who is obsessed with the stars, in love with beaches, and crazy about dudes falling in love. She tells stories of romance, love, and life, with a little bit of passion thrown in for good measure. Because what’s life without a little pop and sizzle?

When she’s not writing, she can be found tending to her garden, playing with her four-legged children, or procrastinating. Although, she spends a lot of time fending off random plot bunnies that threaten to derail her WIP’s.

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