Her General in Gray — Interview with Linda Nightingale and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organied by Goddess Fish Promotions. Linda will be awarding Black Diamond Earrings and an eBook of Her General in Gray (International Giveaway) to one winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you want to play your main characters?

I’m not much of a movie buff, frankly, and rarely remember the actor’s and actresses’ names. I guess I’ll have to go with my tried and true Johnny Depp for the hero and Cameron Diaz for the heroine.

How do you come up with the titles of your books?

Usually, the lead character who’s telling me the story to begin with, before the others walk onto stage, gives me the title. The story more or less names itself. When I’m having trouble, I consult my friend and author Toni V. Sweeney. I can trust her to come up with several suggestions from which I usually choose. Class Act Books (for whom Toni writes) is republishing my controversial dark fantasy Gemini Rising, renamed Gemini Unveiled, in November 2017. Toni came up with that title.

What does your writing space look like?

I dedicated a bedroom to my office. The desk with my laptop faces a window overlooking my backyard and a purple flowering bush just outside the window. My printer and bookcase are on the right. The walls are covered with angel prints, a tapestry of the Lady and the Unicorn and on the rear wall is my certificate for first place in the SARA Merritt Award with I, Lucifer, soon to be released by The Wild Rose Press as Gylded Wings.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

I love to drive and enjoy events with my car club from twisty roads to get-together dinners for the club members. I also love to dress formal, get out the china and glass, and have formal dinner parties for my friends. Pass the champers please!

What is your favourite color?

Red, I think, but pink runs a close second.

What is your favourite pleasure food?

Ice cream. Guilty pleasure: Sometimes I sneak out of bed in the middle of the night for a few spoonfuls of ice cream or Marie Callander’s coconut cream pie.

What is your favourite season?

There’s something about each season I love. In south Texas, our seasons blur, so that you might get spring in winter and fall in winter. We had a two day winter this year. It froze and we lost plants, then it was spring, and now in March summer is creeping up on us. A humid affair, summer is…well, hot.

What is your favourite television show?

Poldark followed by Lucifer and Lethal Weapon, oh, and Game of Thrones and Outlander.

What is your favourite movie?

Last of the Mohicans

Who is your favourite actor?

Johnny Depp

What is your favourite song?

Memory from Cats.

What is your favourite comfort clothing attire?

Leggings and tunic

What books might we find on your bedside table?

The White Cliffs of Dover

Describe yourself in three words.

Insane, reformed dreamer, still dreamer.

Autumn Hartley purchases Allen Hall at a steal, but the northern lass gets far more than a beautiful plantation in the South Carolina Low Country. The house comes complete with its own ghost, a handsome and charming Civil War General—for the Confederacy. The stage is set for another civil conflict.

John Sibley Allen died in battle from a wound in the back, the bullet fired by the turncoat, Beauregard Dudley. The traitor’s reincarnation is Autumn the Interloper’s first dinner guest. Sib bedevils her date and annoys her with fleeting, phantom touches, certain he can frighten her away as he did previous purchasers. As time marches on, her resident ghost becomes more appealing while her suitor, Beau, pales in comparison. Autumn finds her ability to love didn’t perish in the divorce that sent her south seeking a fresh start.

After over a century in the hereafter, Sib discovers he is falling for none other than the feisty Yankee girl, but what future could a modern woman and an old-fashioned ghost possibly hope for?

Excerpt:

In an age of smart phones and tablets, she stood for a moment contemplating the past. The temptation was almost too much for her, but she’d started to fold the dress back into its resting place when a hand landed on her shoulder.

Sib’s voice was soft and tender. “The dress belonged to my mother. She wore it at a ball before the war. It appears to be in passable condition. Why don’t you try it on? I’ve imagined you so attired.”

“I’m a Northerner, remember? I’m surprised you offer your mother’s gown to me.” She turned, the green frock draped over her arm. “Where have you been anyway?”

“Here. All the time. I was simply playing along with your game of asking for my disappearance.”

She stiffened. “Don’t play games with me. My mother used to do that. It was disturbing and hurtful to a child.”

“You reveal more of yourself every moment, and I’m enjoying getting to know you. Very well, I’ll share something about me. My father—what do you call it today?—cheated on my mother. More than once.. I’d hear her crying at night. Thus, I would have been true to my wife.” Eyes sad, he nodded at the dress. “I’d like to see you in that, Autumn. We are becoming friends. She would have approved. I’ll assist with the buttons.”

“Turn your back. I’ll have to get undressed.” She motioned at him. “I’ve no desire for a ghost to see me in my bra and panties.”

He chuckled, his big grin enticing. “Such modesty. Actually, I was anticipating that view. Anyway, I’ve seen you in your underwear before.”

“You Peeping Tom!” She accused, shaking a fist at him. “Will I have no privacy? Do you follow me to the bathroom, too?”

“No, Ma’am.” He shook his head, his hair moving in soft waves. “I was simply in my bedroom when you changed into your nightgown.”

“It’s not your bedroom. This is my house, and don’t you forget it.” She glared at him.

He snapped a smart military salute. “Yes, commander.”

“Turn around.” She slid her sweatshirt over her head and slithered out of her sweatpants. “You are…such an annoyance.”

“Thank you. I couldn’t be more offended.”

A strange feeling of awe washed over her as she slid the beautiful gown over her head. “Okay. I’m ready for help with the buttons.”

The touch of his fingers filled her with an emotion she’d thought dead. A thrill actually rippled over her. Perhaps, because he was no threat. The General couldn’t break her heart as Chad had done. That dreadful affair seemed as far in the past as the dress of rustling satin. He was the VP at the agency, and their brief association and parting had twisted her feelings into knots.

“You’re tense.” Sib stroked her back. “I sense it isn’t the dress.”

“I’ll tell you later.” She spun, swirling the skirt. “What do you think?”

“I think you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.” A very sweet emotion seeped through her.

“Not in the least.” He offered her an old-fashioned bow.

Born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston. She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.

Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award and the SARA Merritt. She is the mother of two wonderful sons, a retired legal assistant, member of the Houston Miata Club, and enjoys events with that car club. Among her favorite things are her snazzy black convertible and her parlor grand piano. She loves to dress up and host formal dinner parties.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LNightingale
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaNightingaleAuthor
Web Site: http://www.lindanightingale.com – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
Blog: https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/ – Lots of interesting guests & prizes
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4839311.Linda_Nightingale
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lbnightingale1/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Nightingale/e/B005OSOJ0U

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Ahe’ey by Jamie Le Fay – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jamie will be awarding a $40 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.

Morgan’s feminist books didn’t prepare her to deal with the dashing Gabriel and the land of Ahe’ey . . .

Morgan is a dreamer, change maker and art lover. She is a feisty, slightly preachy, romantic feminist full of contradictions and insecurities. Morgan uncovers a world where women have the power, and where magic is no longer just a figment of her wild imagination. Sounds like a dream, but it may, in fact, turn into a nightmare.

The world of the Ahe’ey challenges and subverts her views about gender, genes, and nature versus nurture.

The strong and uninvited chemistry between her and the dashing Gabriel makes matters even more complicated. His stunning looks keep short-circuiting her rational mind.

Enjoy an Excerpt

It took less than two minutes for Gabriel to knock on her door. “Surely you’re not considering going ahead with the outdoor event?” He spoke faster, and his pitch was higher than usual. “It’s much too dangerous. We have no way to control the crowd or prevent an attack. I can’t allow—”

“You can’t what, sir?” she said, raising her voice. She was furious. Her eyes were spears ready to be fired without mercy. “Who do you think you are, to give me orders?”

There was nothing he could say or do. This confrontation wasn’t about the event. She needed to show him that she was the agent of her own destiny and that he had no power over her.

“Morgan, don’t risk your life for anger and pride.” He lowered his voice and attempted to reason with her.

“Great advice from the person who placed my life at risk in the first place. Why don’t you go and do your job instead? Aren’t you supposed to be leading my security team? Do your job! Neither you nor the MRD will stop me from doing mine. I won’t allow manipulation or bullying.” Morgan’s tone was cutting, almost feral.

“I can’t let you risk your life,” his mouth twisted; his voice held a cocktail of frustration and desperation.

About the Author:Jamie is an accomplished writer and speaker that focuses mainly on topics related to girlhood, feminism, gender equality, and the misrepresentation of minorities in media and marketing.

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So Wrong It Must Be Right by Nicole Helm – 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 all 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.

It’s all fun and games until fantasy gets real . . .

At twenty-seven, Dinah Gallagher thought she’d have it all figured out. Instead, she’s having mind-blowing online sex with a man she knows nothing about and fighting for her rightful place in the family business. Part of that battle means expanding their century-old restaurant by getting the stubborn urban farmer next door to sell them his lot.

But Carter Trask is tired of being pushed around—especially by rich families like the Gallaghers. All he has left is the little farm he’s scratched out of his grandmother’s yard. At least he can blow off steam with the anonymous woman he’s been emailing for the past eight months, who makes his every sexual fantasy come alive—even if it’s only online.

When Dinah suddenly realizes that Carter’s gardens look just like some of her mystery man’s photos, she can’t resist trying to turn her dreams into reality. Against his better judgment, Carter joins in the game. But in real life, passion has a way of becoming very complicated, very quickly. And sometimes the wrong choice can turn out to be oh so right . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt

“You’re not still emailing with that guy!”

Dinah looked up from her phone and blinked at her cousin. It took a minute to get her bearings and remember that Kayla was waiting on her to get started.

“Actually I was reading up on Trask. I found an article that might explain his reluctance to sell.”

Kayla snatched Dinah’s phone away, then frowned at the screen. “It is sick that you get the same look on your face reading those pervy emails as you do reading stuff for work.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dinah replied primly. Okay, maybe she did know what Kayla meant, and maybe it was a little sick, but Gallagher’s Tap Room was Dinah’s blood. The Gallagher family had moved to St. Louis over a century ago, and built a little pub on the very land beneath the concrete floor under her feet.

It was everything to her, and yeah, she got a little excited about that. Kayla gestured toward the back door and Dinah stood to follow. Meeting with Trask was going to be the moment she finally proved to Uncle Craig and the board she was ready to take over as director of operations.

Being Uncle Craig’s “special assistant” had turned out to mean little more than being his bitch, and while she’d worked to be the best damn bitch she could be, she was ready for tradition to take over. From the very beginning, the eldest Gallagher in every generation took over. These days, the title was director of operations, but it was all the same. And she was the eldest Gallagher of the eldest Gallagher.

She’d been told her whole life Gallagher’s would be hers when her father retired, or, as it turned out to be with Dad, abandoned everyone and everything in the pursuit of his midlife crisis.

It was time. Dinah was ready, and getting some crazy urban farmer to sell his land next to Gallagher’s for the expansion was going to be the final point in her favor. No one would be able to deny she was ready.

Director of operations was everything she’d been dreaming about since she was old enough to understand what the job required. Long after she’d understood what Gallagher’s meant to her family, and to her.

“So, you finally stopped emailing creepy Internet dude?”

Dinah walked with Kayla down the hallway to the back exit. “He’s not creepy.” The guy she’d randomly started emailing with, after she’d tipsily commented on his Tumblr page one night, wasn’t creepy. He was kind of amazing.

“Dinah.”

“I’m sorry. No way I’m giving that guy up. It’s some of the hottest sex I’ve ever had.”

Dinah thought wistfully about how he’d ended his last email. And when you’re at the point you don’t think you can come again, I’ll make sure that you do. It might be only through a computer, but it was far superior to anything any other guy had ever said to her.

“It’s fictional.”

“So?”

“He’s probably like a sixty-year-old perv. Or a woman, if he’s really as good as you say he is.”

“As you pointed out, it’s fictional. Who cares?”

About the Author: Nicole Helm grew up with her nose in a book and a dream of becoming a writer. Luckily, after a few failed career choices, a husband, and two kids, she got to pursue that dream. Nicole writes down-to-earth contemporary romance. From farmers to cowboys, midwest to the west, she writes stories about people finding themselves and finding love in the process. When she’s not writing, she spends her time dreaming about someday owning a barn. She lives with her husband and two young sons in Missouri. She is slightly (okay, totally) addicted to Twitter (@nicolethelm), the St. Louis Cardinals, and someday owning a barn.

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The Edge of the Cemetery by Margaret Millmore

EDGE
The Edge of the Cemetery by Margaret Millmore
Ghost Killer Book 2
Publisher: Creative Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (225 pages)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

There are ghosts and demons that wander among the living; they do not haunt in the traditional sense. Instead, they plague mankind with diseases and physical deformities, and once a ghost finds its victim it will haunt them for a lifetime. When George Sinclair discovered he could see these ghosts, and more importantly, he could kill them and save their victims, his life changed from ordinary to extraordinary, he’d become a ghost killer, one of the most powerful to be born in some time. George has embraced this new life and now works alongside his new friends, Billy Wilkinson and Phil James. Together they assist the Watchers, an international group of ghost killers and supernatural experts who monitor the world for ghostly sightings and demon infestations to maintain the balance between the living and the dead.

When San Francisco and the surrounding area are suddenly plagued by rogue groups of ghosts and demons, who appeared to have a leader of sorts, a 17th century musketeer demon, the Watchers know it isn’t random, nor was it the usual form in which ghosts and demons prefer to haunt. These monsters were also possessing their victims and forcing them to hurt others, and once the ghost killers arrived, the demons directed their human weapons on them. The question was, who was this musketeer demon and why was he directing these attacks?

As George, Billy, Phil and the Watchers investigate, they discover the 17th century demon is teamed up with a teenage boy, who they come to realize is a powerful ghost killer himself and more importantly, they believe he is being controlled by the demon and is now using its energy to kill people at will. Their search for the teenager and his demon lead them to the discovery of an enemy from their past and a mysterious prophecy. As they decipher the true meaning of the prophecy, they uncover a plot for murderous revenge involving a secret vault containing numerous malevolent souls and a plan to return those wicked dead to human form as directed by Satan himself. Unfortunately, they also discover the true purpose of the demon musketeer’s involvement, which is to become one with the powerful teenage ghost killer, creating a monster that cannot be defeated. With the clock ticking against them, they must find the vault and destroy it before it can be opened and kill the demon and his teenage host.

Written in the first person, this story is about ghost killers. Apparently ghosts have died fairly recently, but demons died many years ago, the longer they are dead, the stronger they become. Ghost killers help them to pass over, sometimes willingly but usually in the case of demons, unwillingly.

George and his friend and neighbor Billy are very strong ghost killers so when a very old demon is determined to take over a young boy and then release hundreds of evil ghosts into the world, it’s up to the ghost killers to stop them. Unfortunately all is not how it seems, and chaos begins to take over. Billy and George belong to the Watchers, a group of people who watch for unusual behavior and possible haunting.

This book was extremely well written and the story captivated me, keeping me reading until I reached the end. A sense of lightheartedness came into the story with George’s weapon of choice, a number two pencil. Billy uses a chopstick. Unusual weapons but they definitely work, sending the spirits to the other side. Several eerie scenes gave me the good old ghost shivers and it was surprising how the story fitted into everyday life.

The Cowboys of Copper Mountain by Katherine Garbera, Melissa McClone, and Jane Porter – Spotlight and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn rafflecopter winner (international giveaway). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Three novellas and an unforgettable short story, now available together in one festive package!

A Cowboy For Christmas by Katherine Garbera

Annie Prudhomme never expected to be back in Marietta, MT and her family is fond of reminding her that she left them and the town behind in search of better things. A humiliating divorce that cost her everything she’d gained has driven her back home and her family isn’t about to welcome her back into the fold. She’s in town to rebuild the old home that she inherited and to move on once again.

Carson Scott never forgot Annie or the way she left. Now that she’s back in town he’s realizing that the old flame still burns hot but he can’t risk his heart the way he did last time now that he has his son to think about it. Being trapped together during a December snowstorm gives them a chance to rekindle their romance but is Annie back for good or is she just looking for a cowboy for Christmas?

Christmas At Copper Mountain by Jane Porter

Since the loss of her family in a plane crash, Harley Diekerhoff has led a quiet life and keeps to herself. Taking the temporary job at the Copper Mountain Ranch as widower Brock Sheenan’s housekeeper seems perfect for her. But her calm cocoon is invaded with the arrival of Brock’s pre-teen twins, Mack and Molly who’ve never experienced a proper Christmas and before she knows it, Harley’s determined to make their holiday perfect.

Annoyed at first by Harley’s interference, Brock is secretly pleased she’s changed Mack and Molly’s world. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Harley incredibly attractive, fierce, smart and passionate. It’s also an added bonus that she’s not afraid to challenge him and get his blood heated! But when sparks fly and the attractions sizzles between them, Harley’s not so sure she can handle something permanent with this dark, taciturn cowboy who doesn’t know how to let her in. But Brock is determined to hold on to her and praying for a Christmas miracle…

Home For Christmas by Melissa McClone

Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Rachel Murphy loves the scent of gingerbread baking almost as much as she enjoys creating custom edible houses at Christmastime. But she needs a bigger kitchen if she wants to make the most of her impromptu holiday business.

Enter Nate Vaughn, handsome venture capitalist turned Montana dude ranch owner and her brother’s boss. Nate’s commercial kitchen is perfect for the baker. And he thinks she might be perfect for him…as a business partner.

After being burned by a celebrity baker, Rachel’s wary of Nate’s interest in her gingerbread houses, not to mention his mistletoe kisses. She should leave the Bar V5 ranch and return to Arizona. Or can Nate convince her she’s already home?

Mistletoe Magic by Melissa McClone

Spending a quiet Christmas housesitting and reading novels about hot cowboys sounds perfect to Caitlin. Until a stray kitten brings her face-to-face with Noah, her crush from college. Watching the handsome vet in action melts Caitlin’s heart and brings back long-forgotten emotion. She would be safer back at the house lost in the pages of a book. But a toe-curling mistletoe kiss tempts her to stay. Maybe she won’t be spending this Christmas… alone.

Veterinarian Noah Sullivan isn’t a Scrooge, but the Christmas Eve tradition of hanging mistletoe in the clinic’s waiting room annoys him. Kissing doesn’t belong at the Copper Mountain Animal Hospital. Noah rethinks his position when Caitlin Butler arrives with a stray kitten she found freezing in the snow. All he wants now is to maneuver the pretty preschool teacher under the mistletoe. If he’s not careful, he’ll wind up on Santa’s naughty list.

Enjoy an except for Home For Christmas:

Rachel leaned against the island counter, watching Nate Vaughn’s retreating backside, relieved to see him go. Forget about wanting a nice guy in her life, even flirting was too strenuous for her bruised heart. She only wished she hadn’t noticed how nicely Nate’s jeans fit or how his leather jacket showed off wide shoulders or how the duffel bag he carried made her wonder where he’d spent last night.

None of those things should matter.

Not to her.

He might be show-off sexy with that razor stubble on his handsome face and an I’d-like-to-get-to-know-you-better smile, but she didn’t need his business help or advice. She didn’t want anything from him. Well, except the use of his kitchen.

Nate glanced over his shoulder, meeting her gaze straight on.

Busted for staring. Heat rose up her neck. Good thing she was flushed from the heat in the kitchen. Maybe her blush wouldn’t give her away.

His lips curved into a wry grin.

Too late. Her face burned hotter. “Forget something?”

“If it’s not too much trouble, save a piece of gingerbread for me.”

By the time she finished baking, she would have platefuls of ends and cutouts. “No problem, as long as you don’t mind the scraps.”

“Don’t mind at all. My hungry stomach won’t know the difference.”

She expected him to turn back. Walk away. Let her work.

Nate continued staring. He must want another look at the gingerbread houses. Except… she wet her lips… he was looking at her.

The hunger in his eyes made Rachel’s blood simmer. His gaze ran the length of her slowly, appreciatively, like he wanted a taste of her.

Her heart thudded.

Something stirred inside Rachel. Excitement, yes. But also possibility.

He made her feel like an unexpected, but welcomed, guest at a cocktail party. That her flour-stained clothes were as appealing as a little black dress.

Did she dare let herself have some fun? Something missing from her life for a long time.

Self-preservation told her to look away. Run away would be better.

Safer.

She might not have dated many men, but she knew that look from the last cowboy who had broken her heart after Ty had broken his nose. Nate might be a great guy according to her brother, but she needed to keep her distance. She knew better than to think she could handle a man like Nate Vaughn.

About the Authors:

USA Today, and New York Times bestselling author of 47 romances and women’s fiction titles, Jane Porter has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times, with her Tule Publishing novella, Take Me, Cowboy, winning the Novella Category July 2014. Jane today has over 12 million copies in print, including her wildly popular Flirting with Forty, a novel picked by Redbook Magazine as it’s Red Hot Summer Read in 2006 before being turned into a Lifetime movie in 2008 starring Heather Locklear.

Jane holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband, three sons, and two dogs. You can learn more about Jane at www.JanePorter.com.

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USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 65 books. Writing is the chief focus of her time after her family and the only thing she likes more than working on her own books is reading other authors. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and loves the opportunity to talk about writing with anyone who’ll listen. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.

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Melissa McClone has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

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Common Enemy by Sandra Dailey

ENEMY
Common Enemy by Sandra Dailey
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (273 Pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Jordan Holbrook is the single mother of a five-year-old daughter. She’s just inherited her grandmother’s house in South Florida where she’s hiding from an abusive ex-husband who’s been released from prison early. A new man in her life isn’t part of her plans.

Connor McCrae is a handyman who lives out of his van. He walked away from a privileged life and loving family after being badly scarred in a vicious attack. He doesn’t believe a woman’s love is in the cards for him.

They are brought together by a rundown house, a mutual attraction, and a common enemy: Bobby Ray Butler, who is cutting a path of murder and mayhem through south Florida in his quest for vengeance against his ex-wife.

Can Connor protect Jordan and her daughter from the enraged Bobby Ray? Can Jordan learn to trust men again? If anyone has a say in this–it’s Connor.

A classic mystery where the past is bent on revenge!

I think there are some who would say that the classic mystery would be where the male lead would be the handsome guy who would save the day at the end of the novel (with a Happily Ever After). I’d agree with those people too. However, classic mystery I think varies between different people’s opinion.

Here’s the general idea of this story. The male lead is an injured lawyer who have been running or trying to come to terms with his life after an injury. He drifts from town to town doing odd jobs for people. So when another odd job lands him with a beautiful woman and her daughter, they connect. All the old wounds start healing. Relationships are forged and strengthened. In the end it was surprising that justice was served but the road to find it wasn’t easy for them.

When I started reading this book it was simple. It caught my eye and kept me interested throughout to the end of the book. But what I disliked most of all was how fast everything was moving in the beginning. I like fast-paced books but this was smoking. It took me some time to wrap my head around it. I kept going back every couple of pages to make sure I didn’t misread or skip a page.

That said, the book also gives insight on how grief works and affects the whole family. The author did not let me get bored. Something was always happening. Questions kept rising in my head while reading, to answer it I had to read the coming pages. By the time those questions are answered I had a new set of questions at the ready. And then–Ta-da–I had finished the book.

This is a perfect book for readers looking for injured hero and heroines and how they help each other learn to live again.

Always A Groomsman by M. Durango

GROOMSMAN
Always A Groomsman by M. Durango
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (17 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Doug’s happy to stand up at his best friend’s wedding, even if it reminds him that he’s no closer to finding his own partner. After a missing flower delivery, a fire, and a mad dash around town to find alternatives that don’t come from a convenience store, Doug discovers that he might not be single for much longer.

Doug feels like he’s going to his friends’ weddings almost every weekend. Now that same-sex marriage is legalized all his “committed” gay friends are having ceremonies and his social life has become a crazy round of wedding after wedding. Ten years ago when all his straight friends had tied the knot he’d not been jealous. Back then marriage wasn’t something he could have. Now that it was open to gay people, he felt the loss much harder. Thankfully, for the current wedding Doug has Garth as the other best man. Having been friends for a long time, they can handle pretty much anything together – and Garth is tired of waiting for Doug to come to his senses.

This is a really fun, lighthearted short story. Full of near-disasters it struck a chord with me, having been through the craziness of “wedding season” myself. Readers who like a slow progression with their characters should find this satisfying. I enjoyed getting to know Doug and Garth, and liked how they clearly were good friends who worked well together. I was a little disappointed that there was no sex, but the happy ending still left me with a smile.

Despite the short length I felt the author spent most of the book showing us the more humorous side to weddings and the near-misses we all experience. I enjoyed watched Garth run interference with the two grooms and found Doug’s story-telling voice fun and sharp. A wonderful book when you don’t have much time and want something quick yet satisfying.

A Taste of Chardonnay by Heather Heyford

10_17 heather VBT_ATasteOfChardonnay_Banner

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

Today on LASR we’re playing Ask Me Anything with Heather Heyford, author of the brand new sister series, The Napa Wine Heiresses. The first book in the series, A Taste of Chardonnay, just launched this week in digital and print-on-demand.

So tell us! Are you psyched, or what?

I can’t even. I feel like I just gave birth to a new baby! Nine months ago, I was teetering atop a rickety ladder hanging Christmas lights, when my phone rang over on the kitchen counter. I thought about not climbing down to answer it, but then I thought, what if it’s New York? It’s never New York. But this time, it was! When I got off the phone with my brand new editor…well, let’s just say it was the next day ‘til I finished hanging those lights!

How did you get the idea for a sister series based in the Napa Valley?

Honestly—aside from the hard work—there’s definitely been some sort of magical element. I never had a bucket list, but if I had, visiting the wine country would have been number one. I really never thought that would happen, though, because you’re always planning your vacations around your family, not yourself, right? And I was the only one who was interested. Then, suddenly, I’m still not sure how, I found myself standing in the midst of the autumn crush with a glass of chardonnay in my hand. I went home absolutely enchanted with all things Napa.

Do you have any phobias?

I am terrified of driving over big, tall bridges. I was hypnotized for it, but it didn’t help. It’s awful.

What was the last thing you splurged on?

A local book launch at Cupboard Maker Books, my local indie bookstore. Michelle, the owner, believed in me back when A Taste of Chardonnay was still a twinkle in my eye. Plus, it’s so important to support our local bookstores.

Are you obsessed with anything?

How much time do you have? I love clothes. There, I said it. I’m also an animal lover. I’m particularly fascinated by the whole suburban wildlife phenomenon. I live in suburbia, but my backyard is a virtual zoo. Everyday I have wild turkeys (if you’ve never been up close to one you don’t realize how tall they are…our tom comes up to my waist!) foxes, and deer.

I’m also obsessed with that ancestry website. Did you know one out of ten Americans is a Mayflower descendant (though not me, so far).

What do you like to read?

I grew up devouring everything I could get my hands on. We didn’t have a lot, but books were important to both of my parents, and although we moved every three years, we hauled our slim library around with us everywhere we went.

Today? I’m loving Kristan Higgins’ humor, Robyn Carr’s sensitive yet practical side, Mary Balogh for her pacing, and I just met Victoria Roberts so I’m starting one of her Scottish historical series.

What are you doing as soon as this interview is over?

Back to work! I’m trying to decide what will be Sake’s job in A Taste of Sake. Hint: I’m leaning toward something food-related.

Anything you’d like to ask your readers?

First I just want to say a huge thank you for all the good feedback. I’m always wondering, what do you say when people ask you what kind of books you read? It can be such a hot button…

10_17 heather Cover_A Taste of ChardonnayWhen the richly bred, poorly raised daughter of a notorious Napa Valley winemaker competes with Hollywood’s hottest man in an unlikely race to see who can do the most good, who will win?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Do I seriously have to go to this thing?” Ryder McBride asked Amy, his publicist. He had better things to do than spend his Friday night with a bunch of ritzy people he didn’t even know and would probably never meet again. He’d just got off the plane from LAX yesterday to find his mom’s gutters needed cleaning and the lawn mowing, and he was anxious to get started on it. And then there was the favor he’d been asked to do by the Firefighters’ Relief Fund. But going to the right parties was part of promoting his acting career and arranging the invitations was Amy’s job. And he had to admit, one she was damn good at.

“Are you kidding me?” Amy was incredulous. “Look, Ryder, I busted my butt finagling this invite. An actor—even a lucky one like you—has to network. You might be a rising star, but a ticket to one of the St. Pierre winery parties is envied up and down the whole north coast. You might meet anyone there, producers to politicians. Of course, they always blend a few mere mortals into the mix. But you have to be on your toes. Tomorrow you could read that the stranger you chatted up during cocktails was a Pulitzer Prize winner, a federal judge, or some rapper on the brink of gold. So hell yes, you have to go. No amount of my hard work will have an effect unless you do your part.”

About the Author:10_17 heather AuthorPicBorn in the Northeast, Heather Heyford learned to walk and talk in Texas, and then moved to England. (“Ya’ll want some scones?”) While in Europe, Heather was forced by her cruel parents to spend Saturdays in the leopard vinyl back seat of their Peugeot, motoring from one medieval pile to the next for the lame purpose of ‘learning something.’ What she soon learned was how to allay the boredom by stashing a Cosmo under the seat. Now a recovering teacher, Heather writes love stories, feeds hardboiled eggs to suburban foxes, and makes art in the Mid-Atlantic. She is represented by the Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA, @nyliterary) in New York City. The first book in her Napa Wine Heiresses Series from Kensington Publishing, A Taste of Chardonnay, is now available!

Buy the digital book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Buy the print book at Amazon or Kensington Publishing .

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Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Anne Clinard Barnhill

DAUGHTER
Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Anne Clinard Barnhill
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (365 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Peppermint

From the author of At the Mercy of the Queen comes the gripping tale of Mary Shelton, Elizabeth I’s young cousin and ward, set against the glittering backdrop of the Elizabethan court.

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.

Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.

The author weaved fact and fiction, blending it seamlessly to create one truly entertaining story. The fact that the story was based around Queen Elizabeth I was what initially intrigued me, and I must say I was not disappointed.

Mary is the queen’s ward from a young age, and as such the Queen has raised her as if she was her own child. From the very beginning I was interested and entertained by Mary. She clearly lived a life of privilege, and had no real idea of what commoners were experiencing during this period, yet she never seemed to forget how lucky she was to be viewed as one of the Queen’s favored. Though she may not always agree with the Queen, it is clear her love for her never truly waivers.

Sir John, on the other hand, had lived the life of a commoner. While he was not poor he knew what life struggles are about, especially when left a widower with five children. Yet, he still sees what even the Queen can recognize: Mary is someone special who should be cherished. When she starts to show him favor it is clear he does not take that attention lightly and will do whatever it takes to win her heart and keep her safe above all others.

The love story is entertaining in this, but it more of a coming of age story than a romance. Mary and her relationships, including the ones with the Queen, Sir John and other suitors is a key in the plot. While this only follows a few short years in Mary’s life, it is clear these are the most influential years in her life. It also gave me a glimpse of the time in which Mary lived.

This story has some historically accurate portrayals including people and events. Religion during this period is a driving force behind many in the story, and plays a key role in everyone including Mary’s life. I really enjoyed that the author really tried to keep the story as accurate as possible while still entertaining. I could tell from the very beginning that some of the events took place, even if the timeframes may have changed a bit to make it more entertaining. I has truly impressed by the amount of knowledge the author was able to incorporate, and it left me wanting more. While I have not read the author’s previous story about this time period I most certainly plan on picking it up. This is a story I believe anyone would enjoy no matter if they enjoy history or just want an entertaining story.

Author Interview and Giveaway: Shawn Martin

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Shawn Martin whose latest book Forget Me Not is released today. Forget Me Not is the second book of the Shadowflesh Series. Leave a comment for a chance to win one of two print copies of the book.

The books in the Shadowflesh Series are as follows: Shadowflesh (February 2013), Forget Me Not (March 2013), Invisible Ink, Shadow of Doubt, and Nevermore (the last three TBA). Shawn subscribes to the theory that even though a picture is worth a thousand words, a poet believes a word is worth a thousand pictures–so he tried keeping his titles concise, using words that were rich with passion, lament, fear, and dreamy imagery.

“If, for example, I had called the books Aileen’s Story, Aileen’s Other Story, etc… the titles may have been accurate, but they wouldn’t have made anyone’s world move. Titles should make the ground quake and the skies swirl,” he explained.

Much of what is in Shadowflesh and Forget Me Not was taken out of the pages of Shawn’s personal experiences. He encountered bullies and intolerant religious types and outcasts who hid in the shadows. In fact, the outcasts–the group who belonged to no group–was the group he hung out with in high school. They hid themselves from the bullies, or simply hid from themselves. He has known both love and pain, life and death. He has seen dreams come true and nightmares shatter hearts.

“Somehow I had managed to survive those years with my memories intact, without reconfiguring my past to conform with the future I had constructed,” he said. “Of course some of the paranormal elements were spawned in my imagination, but they were nourished from both the darkest and brightest days of my teen years.”

For the last several months, Shawn has been working on the third installment in the Shadowflesh Series, Invisible Ink.

“I had found myself with the book nearly finished, but felt it lacked the passion and promise of the other two books. That was likely a grim reflection of my personal life,” he admitted. “However, my darkness has been vanquished, and light is shining on both Invisible Ink and my life once again. I’m spending my nights rewriting the story and hope to have it out sometime next year.”

Shawn began writing fiction during his high school days. I asked him to tell us about some of his early writing.

“Everything from a touching tale about a killer whale falling in love with a submarine, or a musical play about a lonely girl trapped in an insane asylum, all mirroring the time when Alice had been admitted to Wonderland Memorial, or heart-wrenching excuses written to school counselors telling them why poor Shawn had missed school the last three days because he had saving nuns lost in a cave,” he said. “Ten years ago, I spent serious time refining my art, hoping that one day it would rise up to the level of being a talent. After many Zen moments of near success consumed by the dragon of failure, my status went from amateur to pro in February 2013, with the publication of Shadowflesh.”

“Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I asked. “If so, what do you do about it?”

“When writer’s block comes to visit, it often plans on staying a while. It robs the psychic nourishment from my mental fridge. It kicks me out of my bed, steals the remote, and worst of all, runs away my muse—that super-secret inner voice which whispers words into my pen and breathes life into my soul. I fight writer’s block by forcing myself to get a change of scenery, a change of perspective, and a change of attitude. Writer’s block doesn’t like change, and he often slams the door and leaves. Then my muse comes wandering back home, ready to tell me about her adventures.”

Shawn told me that he doesn’t invent his characters as much as he meets them, just like he meets people. He will find himself immersed in a situation or event, where new and interesting people cross his path, and he gets to know them.

“So, really the plot, in its rawest, brutish form, comes first,” he told me. “Then I meet the characters, and they blossom like a rose nearly a week after Valentine’s Day. But then once I get to know my characters, the plot grows and details emerge, and more characters are met. And so on, and so on. Plot does indeed come first, but it is woven in with the characters so much that it’s easy to lose sight of where it all began.”

“What is your work schedule like when you are writing?” I wondered.

“I have to balance my writing schedule with the other obligations in my life. While I’d like to be one of those old Victorian authors in his oak paneled study puffing on a pipe in his red velvet smoking jacket, writing, writing, writing, I live in the 21st Century and am a slave to our times. I work as a firefighter, which has my undivided attention 24 hours out of every 72. I don’t write on duty, so that gives me two days to devote to my stories. I prefer the late evening into the early morning hours for writing. My inhibitions are low and my creativity is high, a perfect combination for spilling ink onto paper.”

“Now, a fun question. Have you ever eaten a crayon?”

“Wow, what a question! I’m afraid the answer is, yes. I’ll offer this explanation, which should never be interpreted as justification. When I was young—grade school young—and far from my finest moment, I had upgraded from the standard sixteen crayon box to the exquisite sixty-four crayon box. The colors had such fascinating names, such as mulberry, and mulberries sounded absolutely delicious. The crayon looked so ripe, and I thought, what could be the harm? One nibble later and I was sorely disappointed. It tasted nothing like any berry I had ever eaten. It more closely resembled wax and made my teeth feel gummy. Since then, I’ve sworn off crayons.”

“Thanks for stopping by! And, good luck with the new book.”

“It was a joy sharing a little about myself with you, and I want to offer a big Thank You to Long and Short Reviews. Never stop reading, dreaming, and living.”

About the Author3_31 author photoShawn Martin calls Springfield, Missouri, home. After graduating from Missouri State University with majors in Economics and Political Science, he bounced around the Midwest only to end up right where he started.

His day (and night) job is being a firefighter. Aside from rescuing cats in trees and removing burnt pot roasts from ovens, he spends his time finding the hardest way to do the simplest of things. The rest of his time is spent weaving words into another installment in the Shadowflesh Series.

Website ~ @martiniaff152 ~ Facebook ~ Blog

3_31 ForgetMeNot 200x300Fortune has smiled on seventeen year old Aileen McCormick ever since Addison came back into her life, giving her the love she has so desperately longed for. That is, until a mysterious man slithers across her path and slips a spellbinding cameo around her neck. The cameo holds more than just the image of an enchantress who hungers for souls. It possesses a curse that strangles away every memory Aileen has of Addison.

Addison, a three hundred year old fugitive from the netherworld, recognizes the wretched woman inside the cameo and the curse she has cast on his unsuspecting love. The enchanted cameo has but one purpose: to torment Aileen with hints of love she can no longer recall.

Nothing more than a stranger to Aileen, Addison insists that she knows him, that she has felt his lips on hers. Thinking the handsome young man in his leather jacket and dark Wayfarers is playing some cruel game, she pushes him away and runs into the arms of Geoff, the one person who could ever rival Addison.

Geoff has waited oh, so long for Aileen. Before the opportunity slips away, he sweeps her off her feet at the Christmas masquerade ball. But fate thrusts Aileen into Addison’s waiting arms. One passionate kiss later, she knows beyond a shadow of doubt that she loves the icy stranger with smoky blue eyes.

Her newfound love is overshadowed by tantalizing hints of the first love she shared with Addison, just beyond her memory’s reach. And remembering comes at too high a price. Aileen cannot escape the deadly cameo. She runs for her life with the curse only a breath away. If she truly wants her memory back, the enchantress is all too willing to restore it. It will cost her, though. Cost her everything.

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