The Theme’s the Thing ~ Keeping It Blue with @MeganSlayer #writing #themes #authorthemes

When I started writing, I was told I needed a theme. Not just a general idea for what I wanted my author overall image to be, but a theme. I know, sounds confusing, doesn’t it? A very wise friend told me as I was setting out, I needed to have something that said, this is Megan Slayer every time someone saw it. Why’d she question my theme? Because back then I had a picture of racing on my blog. The photo was right at the top and to the right. It totally went with my passion, but had only a little to do with my writing because at the time, I’d only written two stories and neither had racing in them. So I set out to create a theme.

I had a few fits and stalls along the way. I knew what I wanted to write–second chance romance. A lot of authors write that. So what made mine different? Back when I started, the heat level was the thing, too. The hotter the better. But heat levels then and now are totally different. What was HAWT back then is hot now. What was ‘oh-my-gosh-scorching-the-page-gonna-melt-the-screen’ hot is now HAWT. Back then, there was dark erotic romance, but not as prevalent as now. So my initial theme of HAWT second chance romance is still viable, but the heat isn’t as hot as I once thought.

I’m still all about my second chance romance. I’ve always had a soft spot for characters who had a rough start in life or whose initial romance didn’t quite work. I want them to have happy endings. Sometimes it’s with the same people and most of the time with new people. When you pick up one of my stories, there will be a second chance romance in it.

But I’ve got another theme I hadn’t planned on. Pretty much from the start of my career as an author, I’ve had blue hair. Why? I wanted something fun to do with my hair and it covered the grays nicely. Plus…it was fun. Still is, to be honest. It’s been brighter at times and more muted at others, but it’s always been blue. Okay, there was that one patch where I had it red for a while… And you know what? People didn’t like it. They wanted the blue back. Craziness, right? Not really. They identified me with the blue hair. That’s you, they’d tell me. When I think of you, I think of Blue. Pretty nice, eh? I love it.

I had thought about a logo, but I’m not sold on one and how do you make a logo concerning blue or second chance romance? I’m not sure.

But I’ll keep plugging along. I’ll stick with the blue hair and the second chance romances. Why? They make my heart happy. The characters demand their happy ending and I’m not going to argue with them. If people think of me and think blue, then that’s great with me, too. I like to have fun. What about you? How do you see me?

We Belong Together by Megan Slayer 

Super Novel

Contemporary

M/M, M/F, M/M/F, M/F/M, Menage, Anal Sex, Voyeurism

From Pride Publishing

Art by Posh Gosh

 

When the broken road leads you home, we will find each other.

Dare Evans left the small town of Kenton for the bright lights of Hollywood. The moment he climbed on the plane, he missed his college sweetheart. Coming home was always in the cards and a chance sighting is the catalyst he needs. But he’s not alone.

Liam Turner never thought he’d find love so soon after his divorce, but then came Dare. He’s in love and the happiest of his life—but he’s a secret. Dare, the hottest man in the movies, isn’t supposed to be married and certainly not to Liam. Liam’s learned to live with the charade because he knows Dare’s heart…that is until he finds out about Sarah.

Sarah Morrison wants nothing more than to teach at the college, raise her son and live her life. Celebrity was never in her cards. Then Dare and Liam walked back into Kenton. She never forgot Dare…or as she knew him, Daryl. He’s been the only one for her. When she meets Liam, her thoughts change. What if Liam could be the one? What if both men could be? Is she strong enough to withstand the bright lights of fame intruding on her existence?

Can these three people find a way to be together when the rest of the world says they should be apart? When the past joins the present to make a future, love is possible.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of ménage featuring m/m/f and m/f/m pairings, voyeurism. This book also contains scenes of murder, references to abuse, rape, stalking.

Publisher Link: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/we-belong-together

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4AgqrK

Amazon Japan: https://www.amazon.co.jp/Belong-Together-English-Megan-Slayer-ebook/dp/B072PWQ2SH/

Amazon Austalia: https://www.amazon.com.au/We-Belong-Together-Megan-Slayer-ebook/dp/B072PWQ2SH/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/We-Belong-Together-Megan-Slayer-ebook/dp/B072PWQ2SH/

Amazon Germany: https://www.amazon.de/Belong-Together-English-Megan-Slayer-ebook/dp/B072PWQ2SH/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/We-Belong-Together-Megan-Slayer-ebook/dp/B072PWQ2SH/

~ ~ ~ ~

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. Find out more about Megan and Wendi at: http://wendizwaduk.com/indexMegan.htm Sign up for the newsletter here: http://ymlp.com/xgjmjumygmgj 

Website, Blog, Fan Page, Amazon Author Page, Bookbub, Instagram, Goodreads, and Twitter

Biting Love and Halloween Fun with @MeganSlayer

I love writing vampire stories and the season of Halloween. I’m not fond of gore and blood. I faint at the sight of my own blood. I know…it’s not fun. And I love to write vampires?

By Book Illustrator Charles F. Lester (The Project Gutenberg Etext.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 Don’t they drink blood and aren’t they a tad gory? They can be. I love the mean, scary vampires. Nosferatu and Dracula are favorites. I’m not wild about pretty vampires. Now let me clarify this. I want vampires that are alluring. The kind that draw you in only to bite the crap out of you. The ones who look sexy, but are scary as heck and will kill you. Those are my kind.

One thing I’ve struggled with when writing my vampires is the alluring factor. You might ask why or you may see the conundrum. I write romance. How can a vampire be romantic and still want to rip out your throat? Isn’t that an odd pairing? It is. Here’s the thing: vampires have to be alluring. They’re the undead. If you saw someone strolling up to you who has half of his face falling off and smells like death…you might not want to offer your blood up to him. He’s essentially a zombie. The walking dead. This is one of the genesis stories for vampires – they’re really zombies who don’t eat brains, but rather drink the life blood from living beings. Okay, so zombies on the whole might not be terribly sexy. So what’s a vampire to do to be alluring? Be sexy. That’s why vampires got the Dracula, handsome, but deranged count overlay. He’s handsome. His minions are pretty. Or her minions. One might be more attracted to a guy with money, nice clothes and something that draws you to him.

So that’s how I want to write my vampires. They can kill you, but they’re still handsome and sexy. They’re still something attractive, but they can turn on a dime.

By Joergsam (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

When I wrote Biting Love, I wanted Anson, my vampire, to be attractive. He’s got to win the trust of Parker. How can he do that if he opens with the line, I can and will kill you? Um, probably won’t work. Grin. So  he has to be charming. Has to be protective. I loved writing Anson and Parker because they’re very opposite, too. Anson is dark, kind of scary and sexy. Parker is a geeky kind of guy. They might not have run in the same circles to begin with, but once they find each other…it’s a whole new thing.

Part of the fun of writing Biting Love has been my getting to work with my dear friend, Madison Sevier, again. We wrote in her Rosie Peaks series earlier in the year when we wrote Faeries After Dark together. Biting Love is the next in the crossover world. Her book, Out Foxxe’d features her characters after Faeries. She went with a shifter and I have vampires. Hehe. And there will be more books in the crossover world. Vampires are like potato chips. I can’t have just one.

Want to know more about Biting Love? Then keep reading!!

Biting Love By Megan Slayer

A Rosie Peaks Crossover Novella

Megan Slayer Publications

M/M, Anal Sex

Vampires

Contemporary, Paranormal

 

Mix one vampire with one human who doesn’t believe in the paranormal and add some sizzle.

Anson wasn’t looking for a partner when he spotted the handsome human, but he’s not about to argue when the mood strikes. He’s got to bring a date to the Halloween bash and Parker fits his bill exactly. Now all he needs to do is convince Parker that vampires truly exist.

Parker is practical, intelligent and a little on the geeky side. He can’t believe his eyes—a handsome man has not only hit on him, but asked him out…to a masquerade ball. He doesn’t believe in vampires, but Anson wears his Dracula costume a bit too well.

Can these two find love and trust after all or will the sparks only last until the dawn?

 

Universal Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/3nOWlB

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075MHSXYL/

Amazon JP: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B075MHSXYL/

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B075MHSXYL/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075MHSXYL/

Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B075MHSXYL/

Amazon FR: https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B075MHSXYL/

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B075MHSXYL/

 

Now for an excerpt:

©2017 Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved

“Okay, then where’s your boyfriend?”

“Don’t have one.” Not since Seth dumped him a year ago. Seth wanted to sleep around and Parker wanted monogamy. According to Seth, gay men couldn’t be monogamous. The asshole. Parker tried to get him back, but Seth never called him again.

“You should.” Anson grasped Parker’s hand. “But it makes this so much easier.”

“Me? I? What?” Oh Jesus, he had to stop talking. He made no sense and he could’ve sworn Anson wanted to kiss him.

“It’s rather difficult to ask someone out if they’ve already got a date or boyfriend.” Anson scooted he chair around the table until he sat next to Parker. “Right?”

“You’re asking me out?” He must’ve heard Anson wrong and understood the wrong vibes. “Really?”

“Of course…unless you don’t want to.” Anson trailed his fingers down the back of Parker’s neck. His eyes shimmered. “Not interested?”

“I…yes.” Christ. Start going for what you want, Parker. “I’d like a date. Yes. But I need some time. I mean—not tonight.” Shit. He was fucking up the plan. “I mean…”

“I’m pretty free. What works for you?”

“Uh…I need to get this paper down. But I’ve got time around lunch tomorrow. If I can get this turned in before tomorrow night, I’ll be free for Halloween. Would lunch work? Then if you don’t like me, we’re not committed to a night date?” He’d just talked himself out of a date. Shit.

“No good. I’m…in a class at lunch.” Anson draped his arm across the back of Parker’s chair. “I’m better at night.”

“Oh.” Anson didn’t strike him as a college student. “Which class? I could meet you at your building afterward.”

“Uh…it’s off campus at the sculpture building at the old farm.” Anson nodded. “You know, all of those power tools and bending machines. They can’t have it too close to campus in case one of the artists does something crazy.”

“I doubt that.” He turned in his seat to face Anson. “The worst you could do is burn down the building, but why? Performance art? Nah. You’re all careful. It’s a reason to be out there.” He wanted to touch Anson and prove to himself the man was real. He rested his forearms on his thighs instead. “I’ve never been to the arts building out there, so I wouldn’t know too much about it.”

“Oh? Why not?”

“No wheels.” Embarrassment washed over him. If his dorky personality wasn’t enough to push Anson away, his lack of a car would be the topper. “I had to sell my car to make my tuition payment. My job at the front desk at the student housing complex was cut.”

“That’s awful.” Anson didn’t pull away. He kept caressing Parker’s biceps.

“Unless I can find a sugar daddy or get some cash flowing from my writing, I’ll have to get a part time job over at the burger joint across from the student center. It’s not a bad job, but I’d rather be writing.” He smiled to hide how he felt—embarrassed, dejected, screwed over. He had to get more positivity into his life, but damn it. Life kept throwing him curveballs.

“You never told me what you write.” Anson wriggled his eyebrows. “Anything juicy?”

“No.” Here he wanted to be a writer and he hadn’t self-promoted. Bad Parker. “Science fiction with a little paranormal mixed in. It really depends on the day and my mood. I’ve got one about aliens invading the earth and this one is more paranormal.”

“Really?” Anson smiled.

Parker couldn’t read his expression. “You don’t like it? Too out there for you?”

“No, I’m fascinated.”

“You are?”

~ ~ ~ ~

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. Find out more about Megan and Wendi at: http://wendizwaduk.com/indexMegan.htm Sign up for the newsletter here: http://ymlp.com/xgjmjumygmgj

Website, Blog, Fan Page, Amazon Author Page, Bookbub, Instagram, Goodreads, and Twitter

Saving Sophie by Ronald Balson – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short welcomes Ronald Balson whose latest book, Saving Sophie, was released in September. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a copy of the book.

*****

Thanks for the invitation to post on your exciting site and to share some personal insights into Saving Sophie, the second offering in the Liam and Catherine Series (the third, Karolina’s Twins, is due out next fall). As you may know, in Saving Sophie, Jack Sommers, a recently widowed attorney with a six-year-old daughter, is in the midst of trying to put their lives back together when his father-in-law files a guardianship petition to take the child away. Jack had met his wife, Alina, a beautiful Palestinian concert pianist, while on assignment for the Foreign Service in the Middle East. Love knows no borders, they fall in love and decide to defy Alina’s stern prohibitions. They run off, get married and move to Chicago where Sophie was born.

The court denies the father-in-law’s petition, but in a Sunday visitation, he kidnaps Sophie and whisks her back to his fortified compound in Hebron, deep in the Israeli West Bank. Despite all of Jack’s efforts with governmental agencies, Sophie is unreachable. In desperation, Jack disappears along with $88 million of his client’s money, presumably to ransom Sophie’s return. Liam Taggart and Catherine Lockhart are hired to locate Jack and recover the money. That’s as much as I can tell you without giving away the plot.

The idea for Saving Sophie first came to me twenty years ago when I was working on a commercial transaction in my law practice. One company was acquiring another for $300 million and, typical of such transactions, all the funds were being exchanged through bank wire transfers – this one to pay off a bank loan, that one to pay off the equipment, another to pay the shareholders. The attorneys supplied the written wire transfer instructions – where the money was to be sent, the account numbers, the routing numbers, and the account names. It occurred to me back then, if you could get the timing just right, and if you had the cooperation of both attorneys, and if both of you were willing to disappear forever, wouldn’t it have been possible to divert $100 million dollars to some secret Caribbean account?

So with that devious idea, I started to pen a novel and I worked on it for quite a while. But I wasn’t happy with it. It didn’t really have much fabric beyond the embezzlement. It lacked a love story. It lacked any social meaning. So after 200 pages, I threw it away. I didn’t write any fiction until some years later when I wrote Once We Were Brothers. I liked my characters Liam and Catherine, so when I went to write a sequel, I returned to my original embezzlement idea. Only this time the focus of the story would be a father’s love for his daughter and a daughter’s unshakeable faith in her father. The theft of the money would be the reason to get Liam and Catherine involved.

I chose the violent city of Hebron as the setting for the story. Clearly, it would have been impossible for Jack to walk into the most dangerous city in the world and walk out with his daughter. My trips to Hebron convinced me of that! Add some bad guys, a hideout in Hawaii, Jack’s warm relationship with Alina’s best friend and a beautiful spy, and I had the pieces for Saving Sophie. As in Once We Were Brothers, the subject matter required extensive research and Saving Sophie took almost three years to write. It is my hope that you will enjoy the historical and regional background to the story as much as the plot.

Saving SophieAN ACTION-PACKED, UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY OF MURDER AND DECEPTION, TESTING THE BONDS OF FAMILY AND LOVE

Jack Sommers was just an unassuming accountant from Chicago—until his wife passed away, his young daughter was kidnapped, and he became the main suspect in an $88 million embezzlement case. Suddenly Jack is on the run, hoping to avoid detection long enough to rescue his daughter, Sophie.

Now Catherine Lockhart and her partner, Liam Taggart, must join forces once again, this time working with mysterious CIA operative to launch a secret mission that aims not only to recue Sophie but also thwart a major terrorist attack in Hebron. But will the ever-escalating violence of the Palestine-Israel region put their entire team at risk and end in catastrophe? Or can they overcome the odds and save countless lives—including their own?

About the Author: saving sophie authorRONALD H. BALSON is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator, and a writer. His practice has taken him to several international venues. He is also the author of the international bestseller Once We Were Brothers.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Which Montgomery Brother is Right for You? by Samantha Chase – Guest Blog and Giveaway

4_17 samantha MontgomeryBrothersSeries
Take a quiz to find out which Montgomery Brother is right for you. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a Samantha Chase romance book bundle + $50 gift card.

Which Montgomery Brother Is Right For You? With Author Samantha Chase

With plenty of Montgomery Brother books on shelves now (and more coming your way soon) bestselling author Samantha Chase invites you to take this quiz to find out which Montgomery man is right for you.

1. What is your ideal hero’s idea of a perfect date?

a) Wandering the aisles of IKEA – if you don’t break down and start yelling at each other, then you know it is meant to be!

b) Locking yourself in your office to work. Who has time for fancy dates?!?!

c) A pizza picnic at the local arboretum. Ten points to the one who can guess the most species of plants and flowers!

d) Bungee jumping followed by a long, hot soak in a hot tub. The both can provide an adrenaline rush!

2. Which flavor of ice cream do you associate with your guy?

a) Neapolitan because there are just so many different sides to this man.

b) Coffee Mocha Fudge because he is strong and intense and can stay up…all night long.

c) Rocky Road because loving him is a journey with ups and down, but definitely worth it!

d) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough because he is amazingly sweet and indulges your every whim.

3. Where would your perfect man take you on vacation?

a) An isolated ski chalet, including a snow storm that would keep you two alone for days.

b) New York City – plenty to do there, both business and pleasure.

c) A super-private beach resort where you can feel like you’re the only ones there, complete with candlelit dinners and dancing in the moonlight.

d) A nature walk in the woods, a pampering day at the spa, whale watching … it really doesn’t matter to him, as long as you can be together.

4. Your man’s best quality is:

a) His nurturing nature. Once you get past his gruff exterior, there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for you.

b) Rock solid work ethic.

c) Independence. He knows who he is and doesn’t let anyone push him around.

d) Deep down loyalty to everyone he cares about.

5. His best physical feature is:

a) His devastatingly strong shoulders – he’s got the body of an athlete.

b) His smile – wicked or sweet, one smile can melt your heart.

c) His hands – he really knows how to use them!

d) His kind, soulful eyes that see the real you.

6. A romantic gesture that he plans just for you is…

a) Having the band play only slow songs so he can continue to dance with you in his arms.

b) Buying you tickets to your very favorite sporting event.

c) Planning a surprise engagement party!

d) Sweeping you off your feet (literally!) to convince you that he loves you and wants you to stay – forever.

***

If you chose mostly ‘A’s, then Lucas Montgomery from Wait for Me is your soul mate. To the world, Lucas seems like a loner, but deep down he’s not. He cares fiercely about the people in his life and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for them. He may come off as grouchy, but don’t let his growling get to you because this just hides his big heart. Lucas is not afraid to apologize and admit when he’s wrong and, in the end, he’ll do anything to prove how much he loves you.

If you chose mostly ‘B’s, then you will not be able to take your eyes off of the delicious Jason Montgomery from Trust in Me. Confident, level-headed, and seemingly all about business, Jason is a man of action. He likes to take control of almost any situation and prefers things to go his way. But all this aside, he’s considerate of those around him and pays close attention to details – a person’s likes and dislikes – and incorporates them into the relationship. Whether it’s business or pleasure, Jason is a man who takes notes and remembers exactly what it is that will mean the most to you.

If you chose mostly ‘C’s, then James Montgomery from Return to You is the hero of your dreams. James is a very hands-on type of man. He enjoys working with his hands and his love language is primarily all about the touching. He puts his heart and soul into everything he does – he loves deeply and hurts just as much. His pride and his need for privacy may get in the way at times, but the lucky woman in his life will know that she is everything to him because he loves so completely.

If you chose mostly ‘D’s, Meant for You’s Ethan Reed will have you melting like butter. While he may not be a Montgomery, he has been in the family for years as a best friend and confidant. There is nothing boring about Ethan! The woman in his life had better enjoy a well-rounded lifestyle because Ethan offers it all – romance, adventure, passion. He knows his limitations and his sense of loyalty to the people that mean the most to him may have him hesitating in going after what it is that he truly wants, but in the end, he’ll make it worth the wait!

Return To You

James Montgomery has achieved everything he’d hoped for in life…except marrying the girl of his dreams. After a terrible accident, Selena Ainsley left ten years ago. She took his heart with her and she’s never coming back. But it’s becoming harder and harder for him to forget their precious time together, and James can’t help but wonder what he would do if they could ever meet again.

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

Meant For You

Summer Montgomery wants to be taken seriously almost as much as she wants her brother’s best friend, Ethan. But with a long resume of seemingly random career choices and a protective brother on watch, those things are nothing more than pipe dreams…

Ethan Reed would like nothing more than to live by his own rules. Not wanting to disappoint his best friend Zach, or any of the Montgomerys, Ethan’s had to push his long-denied feelings for Summer aside. But it only takes one night away from watchful eyes to make impossible dreams come true…

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

Wait For Me / Trust In Me Duo

Wait for Me

Former NFL superstar Lucas Montgomery is perfectly fine in his self-imposed solitude until sweet, sexy and completely off-limits Emma Taylor comes crashing into his world…

Trust in Me

With a make-or-break business expansion in the works, the last thing Jason Montgomery needs is a hands-on assistant who wants to get her hands on him…

Buy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks.

About the Author: 4_17 Samantha ChaseNew York Times and USA Today bestselling romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Fire Down Below by Andrea Simonne – Spotlight and Giveaway

3_5 NBTM Fire Down Below Tour Banner copy

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

3_5 Cover_Fire Down BelowChoosing between two hot guys? Not a bad way to turn thirty-five….

Running into an old boyfriend is bad enough, but why does it always happen when you look your worst? Kate Alexander is wearing gray sweats, no makeup, and feels as glamorous as a pile of dirty laundry when she runs into her hunky ex, Ben Mathews. Ben is the only man who’s ever asked her to marry him. And now still single, and closing in on her thirty-fifth birthday, Kate suspects her shelf life is nearing its expiration date. Though Ben once broke her heart she’s convinced fate has brought them together for a second chance at love.

The problem is Declan O’Connor, a sexy Irishman. Kate considers him a friend—except she’s been having some very un-friend like thoughts about him. They shared a hot kiss one night, before Ben reentered her life, and now she can’t stop thinking about it. Despite the attraction with Ben, Kate is remembering her old resentments all too well. But then Ben asks her to marry him again, and her second chance has finally arrived. Is this what she really wants though?

From Seattle to Dublin, from the old to the new, Kate is caught between playing it safe or playing with fire.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I’m glad we’re together again,” he murmurs, kissing me softly. His fingertips trail down my body creating little sparks on my skin.

I’m still aware that we’re outside naked. Ben obviously doesn’t care though and I wonder if he sleeps out here a lot. It would be just like him. He’s like a dog that refuses to be kept indoors.

“What are you thinking about?” he asks, sensing my distraction.

“You. I was wondering if you sleep out here a lot.”

He chuckles softly. “I do. Crazy huh? Sleeping on my deck. You’re finding out all my secrets tonight. I love sleeping under the stars.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever slept under the stars.”

“Are you serious?” Ben looks shocked. “Never?”

“I was a Girl Scout when I was a kid and went camping with them once, but that’s the only time.” What I don’t add is that I hated it. All the bugs and dirt. It was awful.

“You were a Girl Scout? I’ll bet you were cute. But I can’t believe you haven’t gone camping since then.” He buries his face in my neck. “We’ll have to fix that. I’d love to go camping and sleep under the stars with you in my arms every night.”

“Sounds great.”

“Really?” He strokes my cheek. “Let’s do it. We’ll go when I get back from California.”

He kisses me slow and deliberate. I wrap myself around him, dizzy from wanting him again. The past fades away in a smoky haze and the present is bright and clear. There are stars overheard, and I have to admit, the view is beautiful. I decide that I’m even looking forward to going camping with Ben.

Sort of.

About the Author:3_5 AuthorPic_Fire Down BelowAndrea Simonne grew up as an army brat and discovered she had a talent for creating personas at each new school. The most memorable was a surfer chick named “Ace” who never touched a surf board in her life, but had an impressive collection of puka shell necklaces. Eventually she turned her imagination towards writing. Andrea still enjoys creating personas, though these days they occupy her books. She currently makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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

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Marry, Kiss, or Kill: Mr. Darcy, Jamie Frasier, or Roarke – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Today we are pleased to have Susanna Ives join us for a round of Marry, Kiss or Kill! For this stop, we asked her to choose between Mr. Darcy, Jamie Frasier, and Roarke from J.D. Robb’s series:

I had to call a mystery writer friend for consultation on this one. “You should kill Roarke for being a smart ass,” she advised me. She then went on to add her opinion on Jamie, “You should marry him because he’s a virgin, and you can teach him up right.” And I was going to marry him for being played by Sam Heughan and looking super-hot in a kilt. I’m rather shallow that way. That leaves Darcy to kiss… all over his body.

Read about Susanna’s newest release coming out March 3 and then enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of the book.

2_23 Ives book coverA smooth-talking rogue and a dowdy financial genius

Handsome, silver-tongued politician Lord Randall doesn’t get along with his bank partner, the financially brilliant but hopelessly frumpish Isabella St. Vincent. Ever since she was his childhood nemesis, he’s tried—and failed—to get the better of her.

Make a perfectly wicked combination

When both Randall’s political career and their mutual bank interests are threatened by scandal, he has to admit he needs Isabella’s help. They set off on a madcap scheme to set matters right. With her wits and his charm, what could possibly go wrong? Only a volatile mutual attraction that’s catching them completely off guard…

Enjoy an excerpt:

She stationed herself by the window and scowled as if to say to the people looking in her window for vacant seats, Don’t get in this carriage. It’s occupied by a dangerous, sleep-deprived, hysterical woman who wants to be left alone. Stay away. Stay away. When the conductor’s whistle blew and the train started to rumble underneath her feet, she released her held breath and rested her head against the back of the seat.

Wham! The carriage door flew open and a brown leather bag went flying past her, hitting the opposite wall. Randall leaped in just as the train lurched forward. “Good morning, love.”

“W-what are you doing?” she cried, the great plan that she’d spent the night weaving suddenly torn to shreds. “You’re supposed to be getting your black heart shackled to some beautiful nincompoop.”

“You didn’t really think I was going to let you go alone?”

“No, of course not,” she stammered, feeling stupid. Why was she so terrible at understanding subtle meanings? She took everyone at their literal word. She should have known better from that slippery snake of a man. After all, he was a politician, and a good one, in a profession not renowned for its honesty and forthrightness.

He sat himself down beside her, his woodsy scent clogging her nose and setting her nerves alight. She switched to the opposite seat. “And don’t sit next to me. I don’t want people to think we’re lovers.”

“We’re lovers?” He shot her a sly glance. “Did you get me foxed out of my poor wits, take advantage of me in my defenseless state, and then not have the courtesy to tell me? Did I enjoy it?”

She refused to dignify that bit of lunacy with a direct answer. “Your mother, Judith, everyone thinks that I l-love you. Oh, my throat hurts for uttering such moronic nonsense.”

He extended his legs, cupped his hands behind his head, and let a charming smile laze on his lips. His blue coat molded to his lean, flat belly and the contour of his sex bulged in his brown trousers. “Naturally they think that,” he said. “What’s not to love?”

She averted her eyes, determined not to look at his male part. However, the generous, manly swell in the fabric was now emblazoned on her brain. “I really don’t have the time to discuss all the things that I don’t love about you. The list is quite long, and I’m a bit upset. I didn’t get any sleep, and now you are here to complicate everything. I just…just want to read.” She unfurled her journal and bowed her head, hoping he would take that as a cue to be quiet.

She gently rocked in her seat, as if it were a comforting cradle, trying to keep her curious eyes from roving back to his lap as she read and reread the first paragraph in an article about interest rates in the banks of Holland. She had almost made it to the second paragraph when she felt his shoulder rub against hers.

“Just relax,” he said, settling next to her. “We’re not lovers. I detest you as much as you detest me.”

“I don’t detest you,” she corrected. “I just don’t like you some—well, most of the time.”

“I certainly despise you, no question about that. Now that we have our mutual dislike for each other clarified, I think we should play a little game.”

She looked at him askew. “The our bank fails, we lose all our money, and our names and reputations are ruined game? I hear that it’s great fun until they cart us off to the poorhouse.”

“No, it’s the let’s-invent-false-identities-so-as-not-to-cast-suspicion game.”

“Oh.” It made sense. She hated when Randall made sense.

About the Author: Susanna Ives started writing when she left her job as a multimedia training developer to stay home with her family. Now she keeps busy driving her children to various classes, writing books, and maintaining websites. She often follows her husband on business trips around Europe and blogs about the misadventures of touring with children. She lives in Atlanta.

Buy the book at Amazon, Apple, BAM, B&N, Chapters, Indiebound, or Kobo.

 

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LASR Anniversary: HL Carpenter – Guest Post and Giveaway

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Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!
Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize –One e-copy of Walled In, our young adult novel.

Summer Weather Forecasting is for the Birds

Weather forecasting is for the birds—bluebirds, that is.

Here in Carpenter Country, the magical place where we write, we offer room and board to local avians in exchange for the pleasure of their company. We built two of our community birdhouses especially for bluebirds, and they’ve been continually occupied over the years.

During that time, the bluebirds-in-residence have followed the same routine. In spring, for warmth, they raise chicks in the box that sits in full sun. In summer, to keep the nestlings cooler, they use the quarters that occupy a shady spot close to a leafy Sycamore.

Last month, Mr. and Mrs. Blue reversed the procedure and built a summer nest at their spring address.Bird House small

We’re pretty sure bluebirds don’t move house because the kitchen in the new place is equipped with great appliances or the bathroom has a hot tub. We think they’re more into the realtor’s creed of location, location, location. They decide—in advance—which location will offer the best conditions for the survival of their chicks.

So, are bluebirds better at long range forecasting than human meteorologists?

Turns out they are. Every day during the month of July, the weather people predicted an occasional shower and lots of sunshine. But the birds knew July would be cloud-covered and rain-soaked.

Perhaps forecasters should watch birds instead of computer models. How about putting bluebirds on the air? A live-stream webcam of bluebird activity would be more interesting than swirling maps of radar simulations. And, given the accuracy of recent forecasts, Mr. and Mrs. Blue would earn their salary of insects and berries.

What do you think? Is employing bluebirds as forecasters an idea whose time has come? Or could it only happen in Carpenter Country, a place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue?

walledin-500 full size 500 by 750Seventeen year old Vandy Spencer lives like a princess. Sheltered by her wealthy family, she happily makes plans to spend a fantasy before-college gap summer with her gorgeous boyfriend.

Then her dad is accused of a huge financial fraud. Vandy is thrust into a frenzy of media attention as accusations and innuendos pile up daily. The victims of her dad’s swindle vow revenge, and her dad flees.

As her perfect life disintegrates, Vandy struggles to separate reality from lies. Was her perfect life truly so perfect? Did she ever really know her father?

When family secrets come to light, revealing an unimaginable betrayal, Vandy learns to appreciate the simple richness of sincerity and truth.

HL Carpenter is a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. Their latest young adult novel is Walled In. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Their work is featured on their website, HLCarpenter.com.

http://www.hlcarpenter.com/

http://www.hlcarpenter.com/index.php/essay-summer-weather-forecasting-birds/

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K2KKVJS/

Musa Publishing – http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5&products_id=780

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The Beauty Within by Shannon Curtis – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Shannon Curtis with us today to talk about her new release Enraptured. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a digital copy of the book.

The Beauty Within

We’ve all grown up with them – be it Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm, or even the Disney studios – fairy tales are a part of our cultural fabric. Intrinsically, we use the fairy tale model for modern stories – a likable character, seemingly insurmountable odds against a powerful foe, and then hopefully a fair and just (and happy!) ending…

8_12 Beauty and the Beast TVIn my Once Upon A Crime series, I take one of those fairy tales that I loved to listen to and read as a child, and adapt a modern romantic suspense to it, with a crossover into the Fairy Isle. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is the disparity between the male and female characters.

 

Usually the males are the Prince Charmings termined to save their particular Princess from Pure Evil. Whilst I love a Princess-In-Peril story, I must admit, I was a tomboy growing up, and I always wanted the Princess to be a little more pro-active when it came to saving her own skin. There was one tale, though, where it was the Princess who ends up saving her Prince.

Enraptured is based on one of my all-time faves, Beauty and the Beast. There have been so many re-tellings of this tale – and for a really good reason. It’s a gem. There is something about a strong heroine that will always capture my attention, and my daydreaming whimsy. Here is a gentle, kind, caring heroine who ends up risking all for her beastly beau. I also loved the strength, the steel fist within the satin glove, of this particular heroine.

My father is blind, so another attraction to this particular fairy tale is the ability of the characters to look past the obvious imperfections, the limitations – perhaps even the disabilities – to really see another’s soul. Seeing beyond the exterior to the beauty within.

Okay, and I do so love a cranky-pants hero who turns into a bumbling prat in front of his beauty.

8_12 Beauty-and-the-Beast-2012There is also the dark tortured hero that we chicks can’t seem to resist, the possibility that perhaps we might be the ones to ‘save’ his furry hide. Possibly one of the reasons why I love this tale so much is because our hero is tormented, suffering – and as a writer, I do so love to make my heroes really prove themselves to my heroines.

In Enraptured my hero, Gabriel Martin, is recovering from a gun-shot wound (so he really is that ‘wounded’ hero), and my heroine, Bella Tompkins, is his physiotherapist. Both are just a little damaged, and both really struggle with the their pain, and whilst they have their own Fairy Godmother trying to protect them, there is true evil stalking them.

Not everybody gets their Happy-Ever-After in this second installment of the Once Upon A Crime series…

Enjoy this excerpt:

He was useless, damn it. His shoulder ached constantly, he had a limited range of movement, he’d lost muscle strength and he still couldn’t feel all of his fingers. The tingling sensation in his fingers fluctuated from annoying on a good day to excruciating on a bad one.

And now he had another pest who thought she could poke and prod around, cause him more pain, just for the hell of it.

Several months after the accident, and he still couldn’t open a tin of Spam, for Pete’s sake. Just getting dressed was an ordeal that left him achy and trembling with fatigue.

‘Why don’t I make us some lunch, and then I can assess the damage to your arm and shoulder and take it from there?’ the woman said brightly.

He brushed past her and stormed out of the kitchen. ‘Screw you.’

8_12 Enraptured_Final
What happens when fairytales get the romantic suspense treatment? A cross-genre mash-up with enchanting results!

Once Upon A Crime…

Gabriel Martin was shot by his boss, and now he’s unemployed and unhappy. Furthermore, he has to deal with a continuous parade of in-home carers who just can’t seem to get his treatment right. Physiotherapist Bella Tompkins just wants to do her job in order to pay off her debts. A grumpy client is the least of her problems.

Neither of them is aware that there’s more going on than a rocky client-practitioner relationship. In the land of Fantasia, Esmerelda — Fairy Godmother Enforcer — and Rumpelstiltskin are working frantically to make sure that their beastly charge gets his fairytale ending. It should be a simple task, but nothing is ever as it seems on the Fairy Isle, where dark forces are rising, the consequences are dire, and Esmerelda has only an accident-prone fairy and an untrustworthy imp for help.

With the stakes rising ever higher, can Gabe and Bella get it together to save both their happy ending and the world?

About the Author:  8_12 Shannon_CurtisShannon Curtis has worked as a copywriter, business consultant, admin manager, customer service rep, logistics co-ordinator, dangerous goods handler, event planner, switch bitch and betting agent, and decided to try writing a story like those she loved to read when she found herself at home after the birth of her first child. Her books have been nominated finalists for Favourite Romantic Suspense for 2011 and 2012, as well as Favourite Continuing Romance Series by the Australian Romance Readers Association. Now she spends entirely too much time daydreaming about hunky heroes and malicious murders — for her books, of course! She loves reading, loves writing, and loves hearing from her readers, so visit her at www.shannoncurtis.com and say hi!

 

Buy Enraptured

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Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22569083-enraptured

Product Page:

http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9780857991775