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

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Bishop by Marie Johnston – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Marie Johnston will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Fyra is on the run. Permanently. Pursued by fellow underworld demons—and one very angry vampire, she’s running out of options. After failing her last mission of forcing vampire, Bishop, to give the demon world the information they want, Fyra knows she’s as good as dead. Too bad she’s no good at hiding. Everywhere she goes, fires break out. Her combustible personality is more than annoying—it’s going to get her killed. Tracked by the random fires reported on the news, her enemies can easily find her—unless Bishop can find her first.

Bishop Laurent has to free himself of the bond Fyra tricked him into…and do it without exposing his own icy secrets to anyone, especially his team. But after he captures her, he sees past her fiery demeanor. Her knowledge of the underworld would be a huge asset, a perfect reason to keep their bond intact. Only Fyra overhears them and refusing to be a pawn, goes on the run again. Bishop has to find her first, and this time, he must admit his real feelings for her…at least to himself. Can he find her in time to save her life and make their bond last forever? Or will they be killed fighting Hell with fire and ice?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Sirens wailed, disrupting the silence of the night. Ahead of Bishop, an orange glow carried through the moonless night. Must be a fire, a mile, maybe two, away.

Bishop almost dismissed it until he remembered the seared plastic tape at the house.

His demon was hot.

Pressing on the accelerator, he aimed for the blaze. Firetrucks zoomed in front of him, racing to the scene.

Bishop stopped a block away, blending in with other late night rubberneckers. Smoke rolled from a building. A gas station. And not a building, but a car parked at the pumps was engulfed in flames. Did she really have to pick the most dangerous place for open flame? If it was her. But his old friend, intuition, curled through his gut like a tendril of smoke.

Yes. It was her. He’d catch her and finish her. Cover his mistake before she threatened his team. The dependable, calm Bishop had royally messed up. He’d make it right. His friends had been through a lot and Bishop would mop up his own mess and keep them protected, while protecting himself. He’d do it to honor his mam.

Firemen hopped out, but Bishop remained in his vehicle. Hoses were unraveled and they battled the fire as people fled the premises but stayed within watching proximity.

Bishop scanned the crowd. His demon should be in her own form. Could she possess another human without the help of the humans who would summon someone like her? It was possible, but his pull to her was stronger, likely not from being muted in a host. He had no clue what she looked like, but he studied the crowd closely.

His bond didn’t ping, didn’t tighten his gut sensing her proximity. She wasn’t among the spectators.

You can’t hide from me, demon.

About the Author:Marie Johnston lives in the upper-Midwest with her husband, four kids, an old cat, and a young dog. After trading in her lab coat for a laptop, she’s writing down all the tales she’s been making up in her head for years. An avid reader of paranormal romance, these are the stories hanging out and waiting to be told, between the demands of work, home, and the endless chauffeuring that comes with children.

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The book is on sale for $0.99. Buy it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, or Kobo.

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At Home with Andre by Kathleen Duhamel – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway


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

New York public relations consultant and self-proclaimed control freak Katie McDowell may have made the biggest career mistake of her life. She’s agreed to temporarily leave her beloved Manhattan to manage the company’s struggling New Orleans office, knowing her biggest client is television chef Andre Thibodeaux, whose massive masculine presence makes her feel hotter than the onset of menopause.

Finding her way in a funky new city and earning the trust of her employees is tough enough without annoying hot flashes, night sweats and ugly mood swings, not to mention the lingering memory of one steamy night she shared with the big man she thinks she can’t have.

Sexy, smart, and successful, Chef Andre has everything a man could want except the right woman, and he’s determined to learn why Katie rejected him. To convince her to stay in Louisiana, he’ll need to find a way to make her fall in love-with him, as well as the vibrant southern city he calls home.

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt

We take our wine glasses and the half-finished bottle into the living room, where I flop onto the sofa, numb with mental fatigue.

“I know I could’ve done a better job of plannin’ our weekend,” Andre says, before refilling our glasses. “But when ya sent me that text, I rescheduled some things and made a hotel reservation without thinkin’ it through.”

“You rescheduled for me?”

“Of course, dawlin’. I wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass me by.” He throws one arm around my shoulders and draws me in.

“I’m stayin’ tonight and I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

“You won’t get much sleep, I’m afraid. The airport car is picking me up at four a.m.”

“I’ll be all right, and at least I’ll know you got off on time.”

I rest my head on his chest and inhale his now-familiar woodsy scent while I try and collect my thoughts. Without warning, my internal furnace kicks on again, and a surge of heat rises in my chest. I press the cool wine glass to my forehead, hoping for some relief.

“Hot flash?” Andre asks.

I nod rapidly. Setting the glass down, I grab a magazine from the coffee table and begin fanning myself.

“If you’re too warm,” he says, grinning at me, “you could take off your top. I wouldn’t mind.”

“I will if you will.”

About the Author:Kathleen Duhamel is the author of Deep Blue, Deeper, and At Home With Andre. She wrote and illustrated her first short story at the age of eight, and has been a writer for most of her life. Her love of the written word continued throughout her varied career as a newspaper journalist and editor, public relations executive, freelance travel writer and owner/operator of two small businesses. A native of Texas, she spent most of her adult life in Colorado before relocating to Virginia in 2014, where she lives with her husband, a standard poodle and geriatric cat. She is a lifelong devotee of rock and soul music, contemporary art and pop culture.

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Danced Close by Annabeth Albert and Intoxicating by Heather Heyford – 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 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.

In the second book of Heather Heyford’s series, set in Oregon’s wine country, having a crush takes on a whole new meaning when a lady sommelier teams up with the hottie from her high school days . . .

The Girl Most Likely

. . . to be a waitress at her hometown café. That’s what Clarkston’s high school yearbook said about Poppy Springer ten years ago and that’s where the beauty queen is today. But that’s about to change now that Poppy has been offered a position as a lady sommelier at a cutting-edge new restaurant. Only Poppy has an embarrassing secret that could keep her from landing her dream job. A secret her high school crush seems determined to help her with . . .

The Man Most Wanted

In high school, Heath Sinclair may have been voted most likely to blow something up, but these days the sexy science prodigy is a self-made success story with his popular microbrewery and chiseled good looks. So why is Clarkston’s most-eligible man so hell-bent on helping Poppy prove that she is more than her reputation? Could it be the enigmatic bachelor has a hankering for the girl who got away?

*****
Portland, Oregon, is one of the hottest cities in America. Just ask all the hard-working men sweating it up behind the counters of the restaurants, boutiques, and cafés all over town . . .
Newly clean and sober, Todd’s taken a shine to his job at Portland’s most talked about bakery. It’s not just the delicious desserts they sell, but the tasty treats who keep walking through the door. That certainly includes Kendall Rose, a wedding planner with eyes the color of brown sugar and skin to match. Todd doesn’t try to hide his attraction to Kendall’s elegant confidence and unique style, even as he worries about exposing the secrets of his past.

For Kendall, the attention is just part of the anything-goes Portland he’s grown to love. But he’s still looking for that special someone who will embrace all of him—including his gender fluidity. So he takes a chance and asks Todd to be his partner in a dance class leading to a fundraiser. When the music starts and he takes Todd in his arms, Kendall is shocked at how good it feels. Turns out taking the lead for once isn’t a mistake. In fact, it might be time to take the next step and follow his heart . .

Enjoy an Excerpt from Intoxicating

He caught a glimpse of skin, a flash of navel inside his jacket.

And that’s when his earlier objective to methodically analyze her flew out the window. This wasn’t the little girl he once knew. This Poppy was every inch a woman. When had that happened? How had he been so blind, and for how long?

And then her weight landed on her heel and her knee buckled. In the blink of an eye her jubilant expression turned tortured, and she inhaled sharply.

Before he knew what he was doing he was there, his arm snaking around her waist, propping her up. “Over here.” He guided her to- ward the nearest couch, letting her use his body as a crutch.

“If I hadn’t second-guessed myself, I would have gotten all six of those wines right!” said Poppy. Not even her pain could erase her elation for long. For Poppy, every victory, even a small one, was cause for celebration.

But for Heath, that test was rapidly becoming a memory.

The main thing is her foot and easing her discomfort, insisted his ever-practical nature.

He tried to maintain decorum as he deposited her rump onto a couch covered in a crimson plush and, mission accomplished, began to straighten his spine.

But Poppy apparently had a different idea. Still caught up in her enthusiasm, she seemed to be in no hurry to unclamp her grip from around his neck.

With a growing uncertainty, Heath searched her face and saw that now her expression had softened. Her eyes sparkled with a new ardor that both disturbed and exhilarated him. A waterfall of gold cascaded behind her as her head fell back, exposing her vulnerable neck, her eyes narrowed, and her lips parted in invitation.

About the Authors:Heather Heyford is the author of contemporary romances set in the wine country. See what inspires her writing on her many Pinterest boards, read more about her on HeatherHeyford.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Buy Intoxicating at Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

*****
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

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Buy Danced Close at Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

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Keep Pushing On by Rachel Brimble – Guest Blog and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Rachel Brimble. Rachel’s latest book from Harlequin is Saved by the Firefighter (currently on sale) and her latest book from eKensington is Her One True Love, currently on sale for only $0.99. Rachel is giving away two PDFs of the winner’s choice from her backlist, so leave a comment! For a full list of her published work visit her website.

Keep pushing on…
I started my writing journey when my youngest daughter started school in 2005. Having always wanted to write, I had a ‘now or never’ moment and embarked on my first novel. The Wild Rose Press published Searching For Sophie in 2007.

Since then, I’ve had at least two books published each year – another two novels and two novellas followed with Wild Rose and another two novels with small press, Lyrical Press.

It was 2011 before I secured representation with an agent in the US – the process to obtaining an agent was painful, to say the least. I had submitted a book to over 30 UK agents and had some very nice rejections, but rejections all the same. I was beginning to feel unmotivated and kind of depressed. I then attended the Romance Novelists Association annual conference and submitted the partial manuscript to a MIRA agent. She requested the full…and rejected.

Yet, she did give me some fabulous advice that would spring board my career to the next level – she said that although I write UK characters in a UK setting, I have a very global voice. Who knew? She recommended I submit to US agents. The rest is history!

I secured an agent and in 2012, Harlequin Superromance accepted Finding Justice, the manuscript that had travelled many miles, lol! I went on to sign not one, but seven more books with Harlequin and, right now, they are considering the first two books of a brand new series. I have found a home and editor I love!

As well as my contemporary romance and romantic suspense with Harlequin, I also have four Victorian romance novels published with eKensington.

And coming up for the rest of the year? I have a new book, Ethan’s Daughter, releasing with Harlequin in August and then I’m back to my original home at The Wild Rose Press with a brand new romantic suspense. Exciting!

Writing is hard work, an arduous journey, but overall something I HAVE to do – my work is a compulsion; an addiction, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

My advice to any aspiring writers out there—or published authors struggling to get to the next stage—keep going! It will be your tenacity and dedication that will get you through to where you want to be. If you give up…it ain’t never going to happen. Simple!

Right now, my agent is shopping out the first book in what I hope will be an ongoing Edwardian series with a single-title publisher. The next big jump!

Wish me luck!

Rachel’s latest Harlequin release is SAVED BY THE FIREFIGHTER – OUT NOW!

How can she forgive him for what he didn’t do?

Photographer Izzy Cooper feels as frozen as her pictures. Trent Palmer might be the hottest firefighter in Templeton Cove, but she can never face him again. Not after he failed to save her brother. But when they’re forced together by a calendar shoot, the sparks between them are undeniable.

Izzy knows it’s not fair to blame Trent for the tragedy, but opening herself up to loss again isn’t something she’s prepared to do, no matter how determined Trent is to show her that pain is part of life and that love—their love—can make any suffering bearable.

 

 

*****

Rachel’s latest Victorian romance with eKensington is HER ONE TRUE LOVE – currently ON SALE!

She Can’t Forget Him…

Jane Charlotte Danes has loved the squire of her idyllic country town for as long as she can remember. He is good, kind, and alluring beyond words… and he chose to marry another. Tired of dwelling on her futile longings, Jane plans a move to Bath, where she dreams of a new beginning. But the man who has so imprisoned her heart is only a few steps behind…

He Can’t Let Her Go…

Until now, Matthew Cleaves has endeavored to meet the responsibilities of his position with dignity and good spirits–including his dutiful marriage. But when his wife leaves him for another man, Matthew is at last free to pursue his one true love. Only one vital question remains: will the captivating, stubborn, beautiful Jane allow him the challenge, and the pleasure, of winning her back?..

About the Author:Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eight coming in Feb 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

Buy Saved by the Firefighter at Amazon UK, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

Buy Her One True Love at Amazon UK, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

Solo by Lauren E. Rico – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

When graduate student Katherine Brenner walked into my class, I couldn’t stand her—all perfect skin and big, blue eyes—just like the woman who broke my heart.

If it wasn’t for that blizzard, if her car hadn’t broken down outside my house, if she hadn’t looked amazing by the firelight, I never would have kissed her. No matter how hard I try, every excuse I make not to see her comes up flat.

I can’t stop thinking of her lips. Or the way her curves fit perfectly in my hands. There’s a million reasons why this won’t work. I’m her professor. It’s against university policy.

And if this gets out, I could lose everything.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I hear the creak of the bathroom door behind me and there’s a palpable shift in the room as he enters. Then I feel his hand on my shoulder. It just makes me cry harder. And then he is there, on the floor with me, pulling me up against his chest with strong arms. I shake my head no. I don’t want this. But I do. I don’t need this. But I do. And, somehow, this awful, mean, arrogant man seems to know this already.

With my face buried in his sweatshirt, I just cry and cry until the only thing left is the sound of my dry, hiccupping, heaves and sniffling nose. He’s patting my back, rubbing my arms and shushing me softly.

Oh. My. God.

This is my worst nightmare, and then some. I sit up, abruptly, trying to wipe my sodden face with my hands, not looking at him. I can’t look at him.

“I’m sorry,” I say in a hoarse whisper.

Drew Markham gets to his feet and holds out a hand for me to take. I do, still not able to meet his gaze. When I’m upright once more, he turns away from me and briefly runs the water in the sink.

“Here,” he says, cupping my chin in his hands gently, trying to direct my face to his. I stare at the floor and shake my head. “Please? Katherine?”

When he says my name, it’s so unexpected that my head jerks up. He reaches toward my face and I just close my eyes, allowing him to press the wet, cool facecloth to my skin. When I open my eyes again, he’s smiling. But not any smile I’ve ever seen in his limited repertoire of pleasant expressions. It’s shocking. And disarming. And sexy as hell.

About the Author:Lauren Rico was going to be principal French horn of the New York Philharmonic. That was HER plan, anyway. The New York Philharmonic had no idea of her intentions, and that’s probably a good thing, since she wasn’t an especially good French horn player!

Lauren was, however, an exceptionally good classical music radio host. Calling herself a “Classical Music Reanimator,” she has made a career of demystify classical music for her audiences by taking it off a dusty old pedestal and putting it into a modern context.

It’s only been over the last couple of years that Lauren has discovered a passion for writing, which she’s managed to combine with her love and knowledge of the classical music world.

You can hear Lauren Rico on SiriusXM’s Symphony Hall Channel; on WQXR and WSHU-FM in the New York City metro; WSMR in Tampa/Sarasota, FL; WDAV in Charlotte, NC and KMFA in Austin, TX

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Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Honor Before Heart by Heather McCorkle – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Heather will be awarding a digital copy of Honor Before Heart to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Risking it all for love and valor . . .

When Corporal Sean MacBranian awakens after being injured in battle, he is sure the luck o’ the Irish has run out on him. Or that he’s died and gone to Heaven. There can be no other explanation for the blond-haired, blue-eyed angel standing before him. But his “angel” is a truehearted lass named Ashlinn, and she wears a nurse’s uniform. Her tender ministrations have brought him back from the brink of death—and have given him a new reason for living.

Ashlinn knows their parting is inevitable; her handsome hero must return to the 69th infantry of the Union army, and there are no guarantees of his safe return. With most of her family already destroyed by the war ravaging America, she is sure she cannot survive another loss. Yet she feels powerless against the draw of Sean’s strong and steady heart. Neither time nor distance nor the danger of battle seems to lessen their bond. But when their secret letters are intercepted, the devoted nurse’s love will face the ultimate test . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt

Not even the threat of rain heavy upon the Virginia air could banish the sickly sweet stench of death. The boom of cannons and rifle fire slowly trickled to a stop. That, or Sean’s hearing was going. A quick glance around revealed bodies of the dead and dying strewn across Malvern Hill, turning its green grass a brilliant red. Relief churned with the ever-present guilt of all he had done in the name of country and freedom this day. Turning his head up to the cloud-choked evening sky, he said a silent prayer for the fallen on both sides of the conflict.

Only soldiers in blue coats were left standing and not many of them down near the river where Sean was. It made him wonder how many of the 69th regiment had perished this day. So many Irish brothers lost…no, American brothers, he had to remind himself. They were more than just Irish now. They were Americans, and had died as such.

The muzzle of his rifle drooped until the bayonet fixed upon the end of it touched the muddy bank of the James River. With General Lee’s soldiers on the retreat, it seemed they had won the day. But at such a horrible cost. A rustling in the brush along the river pulled Sean from his dark musings. In the fading light, he couldn’t quite make out what moved within the tall brush. Whatever it was, it was close, no more than ten feet away. Though his heart hammered like a galloping horse, his hands were steady as he tossed his empty rifle aside and drew his saber.

“Damn beast!” a man cursed with a thick Southern drawl.

The voice came from much farther down the bank than the rustling brush. Sliding into a fighting stance, Sean split his attention between the direction of the voice and that of the rustling. From the brush emerged a furry shape that at first glance seemed the size of a bear. Wouldn’t that just be his luck? To survive such a battle only to be mauled by a bear. Huge brown eyes gazed out of a gray face that was decidedly canine. While the creature was over three feet at the shoulder, it was most certainly a dog. And it was a breed Sean knew well: an Irish wolfhound.

He began to wonder if perhaps he had been struck on the head. Such a dog didn’t exist in America. He hadn’t seen one since he’d left Ireland over three years ago. Mesmerized by the creature’s curious eyes, he took a step toward it. Pink tongue lolling from the side of its grinning mouth, it moved toward him as well.

About the Author:Heather McCorkle is an award-winning author of paranormal, steampunk, and historical fiction. When she is not writing, editing, or designing book covers and websites, she can be found on the slopes, the hiking trails, or on horseback. As a native Oregonian, she enjoy the outdoors nearly as much as the worlds she creates on the pages. No need to travel to the Great Northwest though; connect to her instead on her blog and her many social networking sites. You can also find her the first Monday night of every month at 6:00 pm Pacific Time on the #WritersRoad chat on Twitter, which she co-created and moderates. Entertaining readers and uncovering stories and points of view that haven’t been covered are two of her greatest passions.

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

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Top Five Summer Vacation Destinations by Victoria Denault – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Score the first book in Victoria Denault’s San Francisco Thunder series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Top 5 Summer Vacation Destinations
1 – Ocean Park Maine. I spent every summer of my childhood and a lot of the summers in my adulthood going here – and I was married here. It holds some of the best memories of my life. It’s quaint, old fashioned, kitschy with a stunning beach at one end and a pine forest at the other.

2 – San Sebastian, Spain. It’s got an amazing beach and the most incredible tapas that I’ve ever eaten in my life at the bars in the Old Barrio area of town.

3 – Biarritz, France. Another scenic coastal town with a totally relaxed yet sophisticated vibe. Amazing architecture too.

4 – New York City. I love the diversity and hustle of this city. It truly feels alive. I can’t do more than 3 or 4 days here, but I always miss it once I’m gone.

5 – Los Angeles. It was my number one go-to vacation place for years before I moved here. I love the sprawl of it. I love the history (Laurel Canyon, Sunset Strip, Venice Beach). I love the vibe – you feel like you can do or be anything here. And the weather, I adore the weather! I pinch myself every day that I get to live in this magical place.

He’s used to winning, but now he’s playing with his heart.

Jude Braddock. Hockey god. That’s how everyone sees him now. But when they were teenagers, Zoey knew him as the kid who didn’t have enough nerve to make a move on their one and only disastrous date. Seems he doesn’t have that problem anymore, though. According to the rumors, he’s with a different woman every night. After a rough divorce, the last thing Zoey needs is more heartbreak. But Jude’s cocky, playful attitude is mighty hard to resist.

Jude knows he isn’t built for long-term relationships. But he’s getting sick of women pounding on his door in the middle of the night looking for a rematch. When Zoey comes back into his life, it’s like fate has given him a second chance. He’ll do anything to make her happy again. Is this what love looks like? He has no idea. All he knows for sure is that this time, he’s playing for keeps.

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Still staring at my blank phone screen, I stumble toward the door and of course I walk straight into someone. Of course. Because to- day is going to be shitty in every possible way. Luckily, I manage to avoid getting chai latte on either of us; it barely spills over the lid and only dribbles onto my hand.

“I’m so sorry!” I say at the exact same time she does, and I look up to see a familiar face staring back, but I can’t place it.

She blinks azure eyes and then her whole face lights up. “Zoey? Zoey Quinlin? Oh my God!”

She’s hugging me before I realize what’s happening. I wrap the hand not covered in latte around her back and return the embrace. She pulls back, still holding my shoulders, and smiles. “Holy crap! It’s been over ten years! Oh my God.” She pauses and glances around before adding in a softer voice, “It’s Dixie. Dixie Braddock. You used to babysit me at my family’s summer cottage in Maine. You were friends with my brother, Jude.”

“Holy shit! Dixie Braddock?” I can’t believe it. The last time I saw her she was thirteen. Wheat hair; pink, suntanned skin; freckles across her nose and chronically scabbed-up knees from trying to keep up with her older sisters and brother, who were all daredevils on their bikes and skateboards and surfboards. Babysitting them—well, the girls, anyway—for the two years I lived in Maine was a highlight of my summers. And so was seeing their brother. Shit, I hadn’t thought of Jude Braddock in a while. I find myself smiling now that I am.

“You live in San Fran?” she questions as she takes my elbow and leads me over to the counter and hands me a napkin for my latte- soaked hand.

“Yeah. Stayed local after college,” I explain as I put down the latte and wipe my hand. “And you live here?”

She nods, her sleek blond bob moving like a curtain around her face. She looks close to the tiny thing I babysat but much more refined and beautiful now. I do the math: she’s only twenty-four, but she looks more put together than any twenty-four-year-old I’ve known.

“Yeah. I went to school for sports media, then interned with the San Francisco Thunder hockey team, and they hired me full- time this year.” Her eyes dart around, and her voice drops again. “Jude plays for them, so I use my mom’s last name, Wynn, so no one thinks he got me the job. He didn’t.”

“Jude is in San Francisco?” I don’t know why I felt the need to say that with such breathless shock. I knew he made the NHL, but I had thought he was playing in Milwaukee. That’s where he was last time I Googled him, which was three years ago, before I married Adam.

“Yeah. Got traded a couple years ago,” Dixie explains. “So how’s your family? Where’s your dad preaching now?”

“He’s retired. Mom and Dad are in Sacramento,” I explain. “My brother, Morgan, is a teacher here in San Francisco.”

“Morgan!” She laughs and her cheeks turn a little pink. “Sadie, Winnie and I had such a crush on your brother when we were little. Remember we used to keep begging you to invite him over when you were watching us?”

I nod and can’t help but smile back. Yeah, that memory hasn’t faded. The Braddock girls wanted my brother to come over, but I never invited him. Not because he was gay, which I already knew at that point, but because if Morgan was around, he would tease me about gawking at Jude, which I always did if he happened to come home before Mr. and Mrs. Braddock’s date night ended.

Dixie glances at her phone in her hand, and I realize we both must have been looking at our screens when we collided. She frowns. “I have to go. I have a meeting at the arena in twenty.” She puts a hand on my arm again. “But I would love to catch up with you, and I know Winnie and Sadie would too. They’re going to be in town this weekend. Would you be able to do brunch?”

“Yeah, I can do brunch,” I reply and am shocked at how excited I am at her suggestion. I haven’t really done much of anything social since the separation. I kind of lost touch with a lot of my friends after marrying Adam and adopted his circle of friends. And they all promptly orphaned me after the separation. I didn’t care much because I didn’t feel up to social interaction, but suddenly this seems like a pleasant distraction from my reality. The Braddock family was one of my favorite parts of my childhood.

“Amazing!” Dixie almost squeals. “How about tomorrow. Eleven?”

I nod. “Where?”

“You pick.”

“MKT?” I blurt out because it’s in my hotel and I’m too flustered to think of anything else. To be honest, I don’t even know what they serve for brunch.

“Great! Sadie loves that place, and she’s normally impossible to please.” She hugs me again. “See you tomorrow! Winnie and Sadie are going to be so excited!”

And then, before I can even lift my hand to wave, she’s back out the door. She never even got a coffee, but she doesn’t seem to notice. I’m more dumbfounded and confused than I was from the phone call with Minerva. The Braddocks are here. Well, at least Jude and Dixie are here. In San Francisco. Where I live. When the hell did that happen?

I look around the coffee shop to make sure there’s no one else from my past lurking around. A teacher, a neighbor, another sister of an old unconsummated love. Although Jude was my only unrequited love, but he did have three sisters. Whom I will be having brunch with tomorrow. Crazy!

I slip out of Peet’s and concentrate on the clicking of my heels as I make my way back over to my office. I finally take a sip of my jostled latte. It’s barely warm but the caffeine still manages to clear my head a little. Not enough that eagle-eye Marti doesn’t notice something is up.

“Everything okay?” she wants to know as she stands at her desk, gathering things she needs for her day and placing them in her bag. “You look more out of it than you did before the coffee.”

“I ran into someone I haven’t seen in a long time,” I murmur, and for some reason Jude’s seventeen-year-old face floats through my head, not Dixie’s from this morning. “The last time I saw her was in Maine eleven years ago, so it was surprising.”

“Wow.” Marti takes a break from filling her Michael Kors satchel with listing flyers. “Small world, huh? I love when that happens. Unless it’s someone I hate. Was it someone you hate?”

“No. Not at all,” I reply and drop down gently into my seat. “She and her sisters were sweethearts. Seems like they still are. I’ll definitely find out, because I’m having brunch with them tomorrow.”

“Cool.” Marti isn’t paying attention anymore. Her eyes are focused across the room on Parker McDavid, who is the owner of our company. He’s midforties, tall with a dad bod that is oddly at- tractive, probably because he covers it in perfectly tailored designer clothes. His dark hair is graying in all the right places, like George Clooney’s, and his eyes are warm and his smile is kind. But he’s an astute businessman who expects a lot from his Realtors, and Marti is constantly trying to impress him. I am too, if I’m being honest, but I’m new. She’s not new, but she’s still hungry.

“I’m going to tell Parker about the deal I just closed, and then I’m off for a condo showing,” Marti explains and barely even waves good-bye as she hustles toward the kitchen Parker just disappeared into for his morning croissant and English Breakfast tea.

I open my laptop and pull up my email, determined to keep my mind focused on work. I need to send a follow-up email regarding the potential Haight listing, but my brain is bouncing from Adam to Dixie.

One future encounter I’m dreading—confronting Adam—and one I’m looking forward to—seeing the Braddock sisters. But the one that isn’t destined to happen is the one that fills me with excitement I haven’t felt in a long time—the potential that since I’m meeting three Braddock siblings I might also run into the fourth: Jude.

About the Author: Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in L.A. but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

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Six Impossible Things by Elizabeth Boyle – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Elizabeth will be awarding a digital copy of Six Impossible Things to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Lord Rimswell is a man of honor and absolutes. If he says something is impossible, it is. Yet his life of right and wrong is turned upside down when he finds himself in a compromising situation with the most unyielding, yet maddeningly beautiful, woman in London. If only he had not given in to the irresistible temptation to kiss her. Now he must marry her.

Miss Roselie Stratton is the very definition of impossible-headstrong, outspoken and carrying a reticule of secrets that could ruin more than her reputation. Kissing Brody is hardly the most ruinous thing Roselie has ever done as a secret agent for the Home Office…nor will she let a marriage of convenience stop her from continuing her work. Little does Roselie realize that she has underestimated Brody’s resolve to keep her safe-for he has hopelessly fallen in love with her and is determined to do the impossible by stealing her heart in return.

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London, 1811

“Smile, my dear Miss Stratton,” Lady Essex Marshom advised. And not for the first time.

So Roselie did her best to smile.

It was a Herculean effort, to say the least.

She glanced around the crowded room at Almack’s and wished she could be more like the other girls. That her only concern was who might ask her to dance. Or if she should have worn her green ribbons or her blue ones. Or whether she needed new slippers.

But she wasn’t like other girls.

After all, she’d been out in London Society for four long years—a veritable eternity in the ton. Nor in her favor was her complete lack of interest in frippery or likely candidates.

Actually, she was rather proud of her ability to send suitors shying for the hills. And she would continue to be too sharp, too bossy and whatever else it took to maintain her freedom.

Because quite simply, marriage would ruin everything.

Especially when she had work to do.

She checked once again—and yes, the note she’d been slipped by one of the servants was still tucked in the top of her glove. She wouldn’t have a spare moment to read it until she got away from this crush, most likely until she got home . . . and bother . . . that was still a few hours away.

The note that might be the answer to all her prayers. Years of work. The last bit of evidence she needed to bring down her enemy, the Marquess of Ilford.

For he was her enemy, as much as he was England’s. And nothing would deter her from seeing him pay for his heinous crimes.

But in the meantime . . .

Her frustration got away from her, and she sighed. More like, groaned. Quite loudly and rather unbe-comingly.

“Miss Stratton!” Lady Essex chided. “The company tonight may be thin, but a lady never reveals her bore-dom. Why look at Miss Taber! How fortunate Lady Muscoates is to have a ward who illuminates every room she enters.” Her ladyship tapped her fan against her chin as she examined the fetching girl across the room. “Though I must say, a ward should never be that pretty. Rather, indecent, don’t you agree, Mariah?”

About the Author:ELIZABETH BOYLE has always loved romance and now lives it each and every day by writing adventurous and passionate stories that readers from all around the world have described as “page-turners.” Since her first book was published, she’s seen her romances become New York Times and USA Today bestsellers and win the RWA RITA Award and the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice awards. She resides in Seattle with her family, her garden and always growing collection of yarn.

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Researching Along the Way: Using Life Experiences in the Smoky Blue series 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 or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Researching Along the Way-Using Life Experiences in the Smoky Blue series

I am frequently asked how I go about researching my stories. There is no one answer to this, as the answer depends on what I am writing about and what I need to know. When writing battle scenes, for example, I go to Google and play some of the videos posted, or talk to soldiers about their experiences. If I’m writing about a health issue, I run it by a health professional. If a plot point involves a point of law, I find a lawyer and ask. If I need to know about a certain career, I find someone in that career and pick their brain. But the best research is the kind I do when I’m experiencing something myself, for myself, that I can later use in a book. Most the research I did for the Smoky Blue series, ‘Smoke’ in particular, was done along the way-that is, while I was seeing or doing or experiencing something myself that I would later use in my story.

I became interested in mountain and bluegrass music in 2012, the same year I sold my first book to Boroughs. That book was set in the Texas Hill Country and I had plans to write more in that series, but in the back of my mind I was already thinking about what direction I would go when I’d written the Texas series. I had bought my first dulcimer on a trip to Eastern Tennessee and found a group to play with here in San Antonio. They told me about a dulcimer festival that was held every year in Palestine, Texas, and said I would find it fun. As I attended the workshops and listened to the concerts in Palestine, I kept thinking ‘Wouldn’t this be a wonderful backdrop for a series? Books about bluegrass and mountain musicians and the men and women who love them?’ The idea for the Smoky Blue series was born that weekend.

Never one to let grass grow under my feet, I cornered a couple of the musicians who I particularly enjoyed and pumped them unmercifully for their background story and what their life as a professional old timey musician was like. I stored the notes away. I kept playing and learning the music. I made two trips to Hawaii and brought home three ukuleles and a love for Brudda Iz’s music. Over the next three years I continued to amass ideas. I talked to numerous luthiers peddling their creations and bought instruments in Tennessee, Hawaii, Missouri, California, and Texas. I learned to play the dulcimer and the ukulele, and am working on the bowed psaltery. I went to music festivals all over Texas. I went to the workshops associated with these festivals. I listened to street musicians in Gatlinburg and teenaged bands at the Ozark Folk Center in Arkansas. I talked to more musicians, picking their brains every chance I got. I bought countless CD’s from festival performers and street musicians and played them as I barreled down the highway. Would I have gone to the festivals and bought the instruments anyway? Sure. But knowing I was going to write about it all just made it that much more fun.

I made music myself. With the dulcimer group, I played old time mountain tunes at jams and street concerts and festivals. With an all-ukulele group, I played Hawaiian music at luaus and rock and roll tunes at murder mysteries and parades. I jammed with a friend’s bluegrass group in Florida. I went to Mountain View, Arkansas and jammed in their ‘Pickin’ Park’ right off the courthouse square. I experienced the same joy in making my music that my characters do when they make theirs.

When it came time to write, I was ready. I had lived it. I could now write it.

Did I know everything I needed to know to write ‘Smoke’? Of course not. I knew very little about classical violin, and spent considerable time enjoying You-tube postings of fabulous young musicians playing Vivaldi and Corelli, among others. I did a little Googling of Brooklyn, the setting of the prologue, since it had been years since my last visit. I took an on-line tour of Bass Hall. Although Cooper wasn’t the first amputee I’ve written, I did do a little research into prosthetic arms and how he would wear and operate one. Since I wasn’t sure how a psaltery and a fiddle would sound together, I found a fiddler and played a fiddle-psaltery duet with her.

But the heart and soul of ‘Smoke’, the joy of making music, the magic of the old timey mountain tunes? I already had all the background I needed. I had done my research along the way. I wrote what I knew. I wrote what I love.

A concert violinist and musical prodigy, Francesca Giordano is internationally acclaimed and always in the spotlight—right where she doesn’t want to be. Not after she’s witnessed a murder. Suddenly on the run, she finds her way to Bristol, Tennessee, and to the music club Acoustics. There, as “ Chessie Hope,” she can hide out in the open. But with this newest gig comes a different kind of danger. Older and impossibly sexy, bluegrass singer Cooper Barstow is everything she’s ever wanted in a man, and his daughters are just as easy to love. Yet Francesca cannot enjoy the luxury of such a relationship, not even if he could protect her from the men on her trail or if she could be honest with him about who she is. Cooper is as wounded as he is strong, and he needs someone who will stay by his side for the rest of his life. Just as Francesca does. And the smoke on the mountains and the haze of desire almost make her believe that could happen.

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“No, it was more than that. You’re wise for your tender years, Chessie. How did you get to be so smart?”

“I’m not all that smart. You’d eventually have figured it all out.”

They stared into one another’s eyes for a moment. “I was jealous.” Cooper was abrupt. “Of Jeremy. When he came on to you.”

Chessie cupped his face between her hands. “Cooper, why?”

Cooper put his good hand on Chessie’s shoulder. “He’s young and he’s cute and he has both his arms.”

“If I were into boys, I might have been impressed. But I’m not into boys, Cooper. I’m into men. One man, in particular. And you know what? I’m going to kiss that man, right now.”

Cooper stood, not moving, as Chessie went up on her tiptoes and placed her lips against his. She held his face in her hands and nibbled, touching and seeking in the gentlest of caresses before deepening their embrace. At first Cooper let her take the lead, but as hiss torment became unbearable he crushed her to him, her soft curves fitting just right into his hard, muscled body like a cool drink of water in the parched Arizona desert. She wrapped her arms around his body and held him even closer. Her nipples stiffened with desire and poked into his chest. Cooper was overcome with longing. He wanted this woman so badly he could taste it.

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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