The Moment of Realization by M.L. Buchman – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a Sourcebooks romantic suspense prize pack including M.L. Buchman’s BRING ON THE DUSK.

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The Moment of Realization by M.L. Buchman

One of the great challenges as a writer of romantic suspense is how to escalate a relationship relatively quickly without making it unbelievable. However, in my upcoming release Bring on the Dusk, I have two characters who are very used to keeping their thoughts to themselves. That was part of the real joy of writing this book, discovering along with the characters, their own emotions and reactions—whether getting ready for a dangerous mission, or stripped bare by exhaustion.

In the following scene, Michael and Claudia have known each other less than a day and already she’s considering the unique nature of the first meeting story.

*****

“No mission tonight.” Michael had taken her statement at face value. “But I think you might wish to attend the briefing.”

Not her first choice at all. She’d be asleep within thirty seconds of hitting the chair and end up slumped on the floor of the meeting room on her first day with the company. Hell of a first impression.

“I’ll try not to be boring.”

She laughed. It just burst out of her.

No one had ever been able read her like that.

Claudia had been accused of being an Ice Queen any number of times in her career, just because she liked keeping herself to herself. Of course, the guys said it because she wouldn’t sleep with them, which also had made the nickname useful. She’d learned early on the advantages of nurturing the image. She would occasionally let carefully selected men through her barriers, discreet ones who had no association with the Corps, though none of them had stuck for more than a few months.

But some of the women called her that too, which made her wonder. It was exactly the sort of thing Trisha would have said, if she’d thought to.

Claudia was far too tired to try to make sense of Trisha at the moment.

She was about to decline when Michael tipped his head in a gentle “C’mon.”

It was charming and she was tired enough to be charmed a little. She hadn’t missed his compliment or how much it had surprised his tablemates. And she’d never met someone who might understand the attraction of her desert. But maybe, just maybe, he did.

Share her desert with Colonel Michael.

She noted that in her head, it wasn’t an interrogative but rather a flat statement. Too young to be going senile, perhaps going psychotic? She’d known him for…an embrace, a meal, and a firefight.

Well, that only verified that they were both soldiers to the core. The average couple couldn’t point to the obliteration of an al-Qaeda cell as their meet-cute.

Couple? She really was losing it. It was a good thing she wasn’t one of those people whose brains connected directly to their mouths with no filter.

With a shrug of acceptance—which she deemed safe enough—she followed him up the steel ladders, through the ringing hangar deck where dozens of SOAR and Navy people were now scattered along a makeshift track, and on up to the flight deck.

3_2 BringontheDuskFive nations surround the Caspian Sea, five nations desperate for the vast resources there, and willing to go to war. It will take all of Claudia and Michael’s ingenuity to avert disaster. As they discover how right they are for each other, it will take even more to breach the walls they’ve so carefully built around their hearts…

Find the book at Goodreads and buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iTunes.

About the Author: 3_2 ML BuchmanM. L. Buchman has over 25 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” In addition to romance, he also writes contemporaries, thrillers, and fantasy and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.

He is now a full-time writer, living on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing at www.MLBuchman.com.

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Texting All Hearts by Various Authors – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter will receive a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TextingAllHeartsTexting All Hearts—Boxed Set
Seven Multi-Published Authors

What do rodeos, otherworldly encounters, exotic dancers, bondage, hot sex, refound love, and time travel have in common? Besides romantic, edge of your seat fun and intrigue, they all evolve from a single text. Seven multi-genre novellas that promise to heat your nights and warm your hearts.

Her Cowboy Dom
Bliss

Tate Hardy’s best friend leaves him all his cattle if he spends thirty days on a ranch with a woman he wants but can’t have. Jess is a nice girl, and Tate doesn’t do nice. Jessica Campbell needs her brother’s cattle as collateral for a loan. To get rid of the sexy bull rider, she suggests he teach her about D/s. When he agrees, Jess gets more than she bargained for from her cowboy Dom.

Midnight Road
Lorelei Buckley

Drew Mathews cherishes her deceased husband’s lingering spirit. When his best friend, Dominic, reveals her late spouse’s dark secrets, Drew’s crushed. She turns to Dominic and neighbors for support and stumbles into a passionate love affair and a slew of bizarre commonalities restricted to the residents of Midnight Road. As mysteries unfold, inalterable conditions threaten her romantic relationship, her life, and possibly, the world.

A Lethal Affair
Debra Jupe

With a rumored serial killer targeting exotic dancers, Daisy Piper is more than a little worried when her co-worker goes missing. Her concern escalates when a guy she’s never met shows up claiming her friend stole his laptop. A mild-mannered computer whiz on the surface, Miles Garton is a total contrast from the streetwise Daisy. But he’s on a mission of his own, making the jaded stripper suspicious. Fighting each other, a mutual attraction, and the truth, they team up to find the missing woman.

Sexting Texas
Darah Lace

Texas Tallulah Taylor never thought she’d be turned on by a dirty text from a stranger, one that leads to a delicious sexting session with her best friend. Will Sanderson never thought the love of his life would see him as anything but a friend. Maybe sexting Texas will show her this cowboy aims to give her the ride of her life…for the rest of her life.

The Dom Delivers
Nese Lane

He’s a Dominant, and she’s as vanilla as they come…
Designer Jenna Jaynes enjoys the safe bubble of her creative world, until her delivery guy bursts through and steals her heart. CFO Aden Kelley’s regimented world is thrown into chaos when a spitfire dressmaker captures his soul. Will the Dom convince vanilla to swirl?

Wounded Hearts
Linda LaRoque

Sarah Lawson’s fiancé Logan Miller died in Afghanistan. She receives a text from Brandon Perdue, one of his war buddies, who wants to meet and deliver a message from Logan. Physically and emotionally scarred, Brandon values Sarah’s friendship. Sarah wants their relationship to deepen, but he fears she’s projecting her feelings for Logan on to him.

Pale With Color
Susan JP Owens

Cheyenne Clark doubts Captain Joseph Westerly’s beliefs about reincarnation, but a twenty-first century gal stuck in1862, during the Battle of Gettysburg, creates a new perception about philosophies and physics. After Joseph’s death, Cheyenne returns to her time period and anticipates his rebirth. Will Joseph find her?

Enjoy an excerpt from Midnight Road

Drew fixed the buckle of her overalls. “Roland’s disorderly. I think as far as spirits go he’s in ghost preschool. Maybe dumping food on the floor is equivalent to finger painting.”

Dominic’s rich brown skin paled. “This is a joke, right?”

Above the window seat, a curtain rod yanked off the hooks and struck Dominic on the head. Astonished, he tumbled backward and collapsed on the seat’s cushion.

“Plants, food, window treatments, he’s done in here. I’ll be back. I’m going to the study. He likes to fling books.” She rushed onward, thrilled Dominic witnessed the phenomenon. Now they could have a real heart-to-heart. Well, eventually, when the color returned to his face.

About the Authors: ProfilePic_TextingAllHeartsLinda LaRoque is a Texas girl, but the first time she got on a horse, it tossed her in the road dislocating her right shoulder. Forty years passed before she got on another, but it was older, slower, and she was wiser. Plus, her students looked on and it was important to save face.

A retired teacher who loves West Texas, its flora and fauna, and its people, Linda’s stories paint pictures of life, love, and learning set against the raw landscape of ranches and rural communities in Texas and the Midwest. She is a member of RWA, her local chapter of HOTRWA, NTRWA and Texas Mountain Trail Writers.

Linda writes contemporary western romances, time travel romances and futuristic romances.

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Bliss

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Lorelei Buckley

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Debra Jupe

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Darah Lace

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Nese Lane

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Susan JP Owens

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Buy the book at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, Kobo, or Bookstrand.

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Meet the Authors from the Small Town, Large Hearts Tour – Q&A and Giveaway

3_2 Small Town Blog Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter to win a small town contemporary romance prize pack including titles from Grace Burrowes, Sharon Sala, Andrea Laurence, and Samantha Chase.

What can you tell us about the small town setting of your upcoming romance?

Samantha Chase (author of RETURN TO YOU): The south shore of Long Island had always been my heroine Selena’s home. Born and raised minutes from the beach, she always dreamed that it would be where she’d find love, raise a family and live happily ever after. The small coastal town really hadn’t been part of James Montgomery’s plan for his own life, after meeting Selena, it’s suddenly a very appealing part of his future.

Grace Burrowes (author of KISS ME HELLO): Damson Valley lies in rural Maryland, about an hour away from both Washington, DC, and Baltimore. The Appalachian Mountains give the town a protected, bucolic feel, despite the proximity of big city lights. My hero attorney MacKenzie Knightley loved growing up with his brothers on a farm right outside Damson Valley, and was all too happy to go into practice with both James and Trent. The Knightley farm is now owned by foster mom Sidonie Lindstrom, who has moved away from Baltimore to give her foster son a better start in life. Sid has no patience for small town life, though before too long, the scenery does catch her interest…

Andrea Laurence (author of FEEDING THE FIRE): If you’re willing to turn your car off the highway and venture from the beaten path, you might be lucky enough to run across a town like Rosewood, Alabama. Steeped in southern charm and the traditional values of God, Family and Football (although not always in that order), Rosewood is like a time capsule preserving everything modern cities have lost. Here, you’ll find homemade pies, perfectly brewed sweet tea, and beauty parlors filled with lively gossip. It’s the kind of town where everybody knows everybody – and everybody knows your business whether you like it or not! Thanks for stopping by. Sit a spell and tell us what you know.

What is the most romantic spot in town?

Grace Burrowes: The most romantic spots in Damson Valley aren’t in the town itself, they’re in the surrounding countryside. Mac and Sid watch the moonrise from a blanket in the middle of a field, they enjoy some quiet time on the swing on Sid’s porch, they have a lovely meal on Mac’s back terrace. The great outdoors are for love when a couple lives in the country!

What is the heroine’s favorite memory of the town? Your hero’s?

Samantha Chase: For Selena, her favorite memory is of the time she spent with her grandmother and how they used to volunteer in the community and with their church. They enjoyed gardening and touring the local arboretum and parks. As for James, he considered himself and outcast but he looks at the time he lived in town as one of the only times in his life that he felt accepted. The friends he’d made and the people he worked for embraced him in ways he never thought his family did.

Is there a big party or a community get together for your small town?

Andrea Laurence: Rosewood has several big events throughout the year. They can turn anything into a party. Christmas, the Fourth of July, Halloween… you name it! One of their biggest events is the county fair. It comes in September and everyone enjoys taking their turns on the Tilt-a-Whirl and entering the bake-off. There’s a year of bragging rights hanging on that event! There’s the parade, and of course, the Miss Rosewood Pageant. Every teenage girl in town aspires to sit on that throne.

Keep an eye out for our movies in the square starting next summer!

About the Authors and Books

Samantha Chase: 3_2 small town ReturnToYou New York Times and USA Today Bestseller 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.

RETURN TO YOU releases March 3, 2015. You can preorder the title here: http://amzn.to/1EV1EpC .

Grace Burrowes: 3_2 small town KissMeHelloNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

KISS ME HELLO releases March 3, 2015. You can preorder the title here: http://amzn.to/1GzO387 .

Andrea Laurence: 3_2 small town FeedingtheFire
Andrea Laurence has been a lover of reading and writing stories since she learned to read at a young age. She always dreamed of seeing her work in print and is thrilled to finally be able to share her special blend of sensuality and dry, sarcastic humor with the world. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she’s working on her own “happily ever after” with her boyfriend and their collection of animals including a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody’s business.

FEEDING THE FIRE releases March 16, 2015. You can preorder the title here: http://amzn.to/1ADp431 .

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Interview with Mac Coalson from Whistlin’ Dixie by Maggie Adams – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggie will award a $20 GC to Amazon or Barnes and Noble to one randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Hello, this is Cecelia Hope with Channel 2 news. I’m with Mac Coalson, eldest son of Hank and Ginny Coalson, and owner of Coalson Construction Company: Give us a little background on your company

Coalson Construction Company is a family-owned business. My six brothers and I all have shares in the company. We actually started the company when the flood of 1993 happened. The Army Corp of Engineers camped out at our farm. We helped with the clean up, of course, and we decided to take it a step further. I had just graduated college with degree in construction management. Chance was right behind me with a business degree. The others worked through college here.

How long have you lived in the Grafton area?

One of my ancestors came with the Fr. Marquette expedition to bring Christianity to the area, fell in love with a Native American and settled here. Coalsons have been here ever since. That’s one of the reasons we are so determined to save our town.

Any ideas on who is vandalizing the homes your company has built? Why just your company?

My company? I have no idea, but I will find out. As for the actual vandalism, we are cooperating with the police and setting up our own security to facilitate a rapid conclusion to the problem.

Rumor has it, you picked up some teen vandals. One of them, the new schoolteacher’s brother?

Some teens were brought in for questioning, but were later released.

Makes it a bit awkward to date the new schoolteacher if you arrested her brother, doesn’t it? She was the one who accused you of the vandalism in order to collect the insurance money, right?

No comment.

C’mon, Mac, is it true you fired a man for grabbing her hand? Did she or did she not accuse you of being a fornicating, Mississippi river rat?

The interview is over.

But Mac…what do you think about the bets going on around town about you and Dixie Harris? Who’s going to surrender first in your silent war? Well, this is Cecelia Hope, Channel 2 News with a now absent Mac Coalson.

Enjoy the book video:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00064]A man on a mission….

Mackenzie Coalson was determined to rebuild his hometown after a devastating flood left it in ruins. He has no time for a relationship and all the romantic junk that goes with it. He has a vandal to catch and no sweet smelling bundle of femininity is going to sway him.

A woman protecting her family…..

Dixie Harris charged into the county sheriff’s office with a sassy sway and a smart mouth, eager to give the sheriff, and anyone else, a piece of her mind. When she locks horns with the devil himself, in the form of Mac Coalson, she quickly learns he has a temper to rival hers, even if he’s the living epitome of her sexual fantasies.

When the two unite to catch a potential murderer, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep it, “business only”. But that’s hard to do when their combined attraction is volatile enough to burn down the town.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Knocking again a little more forcefully, he pleaded. “Dixie baby, please open up. You didn’t see what you thought you saw. Please. Just let me explain.”

“I may be young, but I’m not stupid. And I am most certainly not blind,” she snapped at him from the other side of the door. The man was unbelievable.

“You are the most infuriating bit of baggage I have ever encountered. If I didn’t care for you so much, I’d leave right now and never look back.”

“You call that caring?! I call it a line of crap! The only thing you cared about begins with an “F” and ends with me losing my virginity!” Oh, God! Had she really just shouted that?

Pounding on the door with his fist, he shouted, “Dixie Harris, you open the door this minute, or I’ll break it down!”

“Then I’ll just have you arrested for breaking and entering. Sort of ironic, don’t you think?” she countered sweetly. She felt like crying the Mississippi River because he broke her heart, but she was not going to let that arrogant pain-in-the-ass know just how much she was hurting. She had her pride!

“Fine. Just fine. I should’ve known better than to get involved with a little girl, anyhow. Maybe, in a few years, when you grow up and if you have apologized nicely, I might just take you back! And bring a damn soapbox to stand on. My neck’s getting sore from looking down at you!” he snarled. After giving the closed-door another good pounding, he stomped out of the house, slamming the front door.

“Oooooh!” Dixie’s eyes narrowed to mere slits and her hands balled into fists as Mac’s last remark registered with the banging of the screen door. It was like pouring gasoline on a bonfire. She was out of her bedroom and on the front porch in seconds. Heedless of the people walking down the street, she advanced like a mad woman across the yard, screaming. “Apologize to you? When pigs fly, you Mississippi River rat.

About the Author:Hi! I’m Maggie Adams. I live near St. Louis, MO, with my high school sweetheart, Ned, and my wonderful kids, Katie (Kyle) and Ross (Valerie). My life is like a walking, talking sitcom from I Love Lucy, but I love it, although people do tend to keep their distance from me!

Writing has always been my dream, with reading my favorite hobby. When I’m not writing, I can be found singing, dancing, and cooking, often all at the same time. I try to include a little bit of my life in everything I write, so when you read my books, keep your eyes wide open – I’m in there somewhere! Happy reading!

I love to hear from readers and I can be contacted at maggieadamsbooks@gmail.com.

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Buy the book at Amazon.

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Shattered Vows by Linda LaRoque – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Linda will be awarding three individual prizes to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour: 1st prize—sterling charm bracelet with baby theme and a handmade wooden jewelry box; 2nd prize—a handmade wooden shawl pin and an ecopy of Shattered Vows; or 3rd prize—an ecopy of Shattered Vows. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ShatteredVowsA mother, confronted with her husband’s infidelity, must decide whether to help raise his child or end her marriage.

Annie and Stuart Rayburn have loved each other since high school. Their life is idyllic until their baby dies of SIDS, and Annie falls into a deep depression. Months of therapy help her recover, and they look forward to another child sometime in their future.

Despite his own grief Stuart tries to comfort Annie, yet when he reaches for her in the night, his advances are rebuffed. In a moment of weakness, he turns to another woman. Stu learns his night of infidelity produced a baby girl. The mother died in a car crash, and her will gives Stu custody.

Stu can’t deny the child is his, and he’s determined to raise her. He begs Annie’s forgiveness. Hurt and angry, Annie must face her demons, decide if she can forgive Stu, and love the innocent child, or divorce him and move on without the only man she’s likely to love.

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

In his room, with his few clothes stowed in the closet and drawers, he undressed and put the suit and shirt in a bag for the cleaners to pick up. He yanked the spread back on the king size bed and stretched out in his boxers and a tee shirt. His cell phone on the bedside table rang. He grabbed it hoping it was Annie.

Susan, his assistant, fired a question before he could say hello. “Stewart, will you be in early in the morning?” He’d been gone all day. Most likely she wanted to bring him up to date with the day’s activities.

“Yes, I’ll be in by seven-thirty. I need to be at the airport at noon, so cancel any afternoon appointments.”

“When do you want to reschedule?”

“Day after tomorrow.” He paused. “By the way, doesn’t the casino have cribs and such as that for when guests come with children?”

“Uh . . . yes, I believe so.”

“And a well-screened babysitting service?”

“Yes. Stewart, what’s going on?”

He sighed and raked a hand through his hair. “Just get a crib sent up to my office and resumes and credentials on all the sitters on the list. I’ll explain everything tomorrow. Good night, Susan.” He dropped the phone to his chest and flung an arm across his eyes.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ShatteredVowsLinda LaRoque is a Texas girl, but the first time she got on a horse, it tossed her in the road dislocating her right shoulder. Forty years passed before she got on another, but it was older, slower, and she was wiser. Plus, her students looked on and it was important to save face.

A retired teacher who loves West Texas, its flora and fauna, and its people, Linda’s stories paint pictures of life, love, and learning set against the raw landscape of ranches and rural communities in Texas and the Midwest. She is a member of RWA, her local chapter of HOTRWA, NTRWA and Texas Mountain Trail Writers.

Linda writes contemporary western romances, time travel romances and futuristic romances. Shattered Vows is her first Inspiration Women’s fiction.

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

Other Books by Linda LaRoque

Contemporary Westerns
Forever Faithful
Investment of the Heart
When the Ocotillo Bloom

Futuristic
Born in Ice

Time Travel
The Turquoise Legacy
My Heart Will Find Yours
Flames on the Sky
A Way Back
Desires of the Heart
A Law of Her Own
A Marshal of Her Own
A Love of Her Own
Birdie’s Nest
A Time of Their Own (A collection of three time travels set in Prairie Texas—A Law of Her Own, A Marshal of Her Own, and A Love of Her Own.)

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Pretty Poison by Lynne Barron – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

What’s an American heiress to do when a pair of britches, a plunge into a pond in the dead of winter and a broken betrothal force her to set sail across the ocean to an arranged marriage with a fortune hunting Englishman?

With her hopes and dreams sinking to the bottom of the sea like so much lost treasure, Emily Calvert falls into the pretty poison she finds in a little blue bottle.

Can Nicholas Avery, a charming aristocrat with a faulty memory for names and a family in dire need of financial salvation, convince the wounded lady that the blessed oblivion she finds in his arms is sweeter than opium?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Without a word Emily pushed open the carriage door and jumped to the ground, her boots sinking into the muck of the stable yard, her hem trailing along behind her as she turned and marched off toward the small village.

“Miss Emily!” Tilly struggled to catch up to her mistress, her little hands clenched in her skirts to hold them above the mud. “Lord above, what’s come over you, hollering at your father that way?”

“Do not start in on me, Tilly,” Emily warned with a glare over her shoulder. “You’d do well to remember your place.”

“My place?” the girl repeated as she caught up and fell into step beside Emily.

“You are my servant,” Emily answered even as she cringed at the malice dripping from her voice, swirling in her head. She felt mean, mean and nasty and cruel. “We’re in England now, Matilda Calvert. I’m to be a lady now and you had best learn to curb your tongue and behave as a lady’s maid ought to.”

“Why’s everyone staring at us?” Tilly asked, ignoring Emily’s words entirely.

“They’ve likely never seen a dark-skinned girl like you before,” Emily replied. “Drop your skirts, Tilly, you’re showing off your ankles.”

Tilly dutifully complied, her wide eyes taking in the village and the people who’d stopped to stare at them as they passed. “I think it’s you they’re eyeballing.”

“Why on earth would they be looking at me?” Emily demanded.

“I don’t think they’ve ever seen a lady marching down the street with her hair falling from her pins and fire shooting from her eyes,” Tilly answered with a grin.

“Well, let them look,” Emily muttered as she reached up to tuck a wayward curl back into place.

“Where are we going?”

In answer Emily stopped before a little shop wedged between a milliner and a curio shop. The door was painted a bright green and flanked by two large multi-paned windows through which she could see row upon row of bottles stacked on shelves from floor to ceiling. Above the door hung a weathered sign carved with a mortar and pestle.

The proprietor, a stoop-shouldered man with a shiny bald head and trim beard greeted them, his welcoming words tinged with a faint Prussian accent.

Wasting little time on pleasantries, Emily ordered a bottle of the apothecary’s own special recipe of laudanum, one he’d only whipped up that morning.

As she waited, she looked about the long, narrow shop, entranced by the odd assortment of goods stored on the shelves and on tall rotating display cases. The air was redolent with myriad scents, from lavender to ginger, frankincense to eucalyptus, all combining into an exotic, spicy aroma that somehow soothed her frayed nerves, calmed the rapid beat of her heart.

“Oh look at all the pretty little bottles!” Tilly cried from across the room.

Emily joined her before one of the windows where the girl had discovered a display of colored glass bottles of all shapes and sizes. A bright blue bottle with a round base and a long, elegant neck sat on the edge of the shelf. Emily tilted her head to study the bottle that was as pretty and dainty as any porcelain statue that had ever graced her mother’s front parlor. It was shaped almost like a woman, the base the bell of her shirts, the handle a long elegant arm cocked out with hand resting along a trim waist. Deep within the fluted neck sat a stopper decorated with pretty blue, red, and green gems.

“My wife says the ladies prefer their tonics in pretty bottles,” the apothecary said as he joined them. “She thinks it make the taking of them less onerous.”

“I’ll take this one.” Emily lifted the dainty blue bottle, surprised by its near weightlessness. The bottle was only slightly larger than her hand and even lovelier up close. She held it up to the sunlight, amazed by the way it glowed, by the blue beam that shot through the glass to dance along the warped wood floor, as if the little bottle had captured the sunlight and turned it into a moonbeam.

“Shall I fill it for you?” he asked with a nod.

“Thank you,” Emily replied with a trembling smile, her eyes fixed on the package he held out to her in exchange for the blue bottle. The paper-wrapped parcel was heavy enough that Emily suspected the contents would last her to London, would see her cocooned in oblivion through her first meeting with her aunt, through her father’s departure to join up with a group of train-mad gentlemen to tour the country’s fledgling railways, perhaps even through her first introduction to her future husband.

If she was very lucky she might even manage to make it through her first London Season in quiet contentment, might avoid thinking of her future, a future that held no resemblance whatsoever to the one she’d imagined for herself.

“Now mind me, young miss,” the apothecary cautioned as he handed the second, smaller wrapped parcel into her hands. “Every apothecary brews his own variety of laudanum. This here that I’ve given you might be a bit more potent than what you’re familiar with. You be sure to take care with how much you take until you’ve accustomed yourself to it.”

Emily nodded, barely hearing his words as anticipation shivered up her spine, finding a nest at the nape of her neck where it settled like a faint beat, a warm, whispering tingle.

It was an odd sensation, anticipation coupled with a sort of jittery restlessness, and one she would come to both welcome and dread in the months that followed.

About the Author: Write About What You Know.

Every Creative Writing Teacher and College Professor said these words to Lynne Barron in one form or another. But what did she know?

She knew she enjoyed the guilty pleasure of reading romance novels whenever she could find time between studying, working and raising her son as a single mother.

She knew quite a bit about women’s lives in the Regency and Victorian era from years spent bouncing back and forth between European History and English Literature as a major in college.

She knew precious little about romance except to know that it was more than the cliché card and a dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day.

Then she met her wonderfully romantic husband and finally she knew.

Passion, Love and Romance.

And she began to write.

If you would like to learn more about Lynne Barron and the Idyllwild Series, please visit her website at www.LynneBarron.com or follow her at Facebook or Twitter.

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Once and Forever by Elizabeth Hoyt – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy if Once and Always by Elizabeth Hoyt.

2_25 elizabeth cover54861-mediumIS THERE A PROBLEM, OFFICER?

Small town cop Sam West certainly doesn’t mind a routine traffic stop: speeding ticket, stern warning, and sayonara. With a whopper of a blizzard closing in, that’s all he has time for. But the lawbreaker he pulls over is anything but typical. From her mile-long legs to her razor-sharp wit, Maisa Bradley is like nothing Coot Lake, Minnesota, has ever seen . . . and she’s about to take Sam on the ride of his life.

BEING BAD HAS ITS BENEFITS

Whoever said blood is thicker than water probably wasn’t related to a former Russian mobster. But an innocent mix-up and rumors of stolen diamonds soon have the Russian mob taking an unusual interest in the sleepy little town—and Maisa facing heated scrutiny from a certain tall, dark, and handsome deputy. Sam’s dazzling blue eyes beg her to reveal all her secrets, but how much should she tell? Getting snowed in with the sexiest lawman in the frozen north may not be the worst way to decide.

Read the beginning of the book on the author’s website.

About the Author: 2_25 elizabeth HoytElizabethElizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of historical romance, including reader favorite, The Raven Prince.

Elizabeth was born in New Orleans but grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was fortunate to be able to travel extensively as a child, visiting St. Andrews, Scotland; Germany; France; and Belgium. She spent a year in Oxford, England and was a summer exchange student to Kawasaki, Japan.

Elizabeth has a BA in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and, as a result of having no clue what to do with her life thereafter, a career history as a barista, a (terrible) sales clerk, a Wisconsin Revenue Service data entry slave, and an archeological field work grunt. Fortunately, Elizabeth married relatively young and produced two children who kept her busy until her mid-thirties. At about this time, when her youngest was entering Kindergarten, Elizabeth’s mother hinted that perhaps Elizabeth should get a Real Job.

Sadly, Elizabeth was so delusional she thought writing a romance novel might qualify as a Real Job.

But! Five years later, to everyone’s surprise, she actually sold that romance novel (The Raven Prince) and began a rather successful career as a Romance Novelist. This was most fortunate since Elizabeth is singularly unqualified to do anything else but Make Up Stories.

Since then Elizabeth has written eighteen books to critical acclaim: The Prince Trilogy (The Raven Prince, The Leopard Prince, and The Serpent Prince); the Legend of the Four Soldiers series (To Taste Temptation, To Seduce a Sinner, To Beguile a Beast, and To Desire a Devil); and the Maiden Lane series (Wicked Intentions, Notorious Pleasures, Scandalous Desires, Thief of Shadows, Lord of Darkness, Duke of Midnight, Darling Beast, and the upcoming Dearest Rogue.) She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Julia Harper (Hot, For the Love of Pete, and the upcoming Once and Always.)

Elizabeth’s books have made the New York Times bestseller list seven times, have finaled six times in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award contest, and have won three Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Awards. All of her books have received Top Pick reviews from RT BookReviews magazine. Wicked Intentions, Notorious Pleasures Scandalous Desires, and Thief of Shadows received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly. Four of her books were voted into All About Romance’s (AAR’s) Top 100 Romances of All Time list and six were Desert Isle Keepers at AAR. Elizabeth’s books have been translated into eighteen languages.

Elizabeth researches extensively for her historical romances, both by reading books on topics such as: history, costume, warfare, social mannerisms, and cooking, and frequenting museums whenever she can to study portraits and the little dogs that aristocratic Georgian ladies seem to always be holding. When desperate she often consults Mr. Hoyt, who is an archaeologist and Historical Research Wizard.

Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with three dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the ever faithful Mr. Hoyt.

Buy Once and Always at Barnes and Noble, BAM, IndieBound, Kobo, Google, Apple, or Amazon.

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Top Five Pet Peeves About Writing by S.C. Stephens – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter to Rafflecopter to win a signed set of the Thoughtless series.

Top 5 Pet Peeves About Writing

-Realizing you used the same word fifty thousand times.

-Making major storyline changes when you’re 80% done.

-Working on a book all day, and only having 200 words to show for it.

-Hating a character’s name and changing it over and over and over.

-Editing. Editing. Editing.

2_26 Stephens_Thoughtful_TPIn Thoughtless, Kiera told her story. Now it’s time to hear from the sexy rock star who captivated us all . . .

The only place Kellan Kyle has ever felt at home is onstage. Gripping his guitar in a darkened bar, he can forget his painful past. These days his life revolves around three things: music, his bandmates, and hot hookups. Until one woman changes everything . . . Kiera is the kind of girl Kellan has no business wanting-smart, sweet, and dating his best friend. Certain he could never be worthy of her love, he hides his growing attraction . . . until Kiera’s own tormented heart hints that his feelings might not be one-sided. Now, no matter the consequences, Kellan is sure of one thing-he won’t let Kiera go without a fight.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Determined to stop thinking, to just go with whatever happened, I dipped my finger into my drink and wet the backs of our hands. Kiera watched every move I made as I shook some salt over our hands. When she made no move to drink her shot, I broke the ice and took mine so she’d feel more comfortable about doing this with me. My throat was numb from doing Jäger shots all night, so it didn’t even burn. It burned for Kiera though.

Her tongue came out to lick the salt off her hand, her mouth opened to receive her drink, and her lips curled around the lime, squeezing its juices. It was an erotic thing to watch. Then her face twisted into a grimace. I chuckled at her reaction, then poured us another round.

The second shot went down easier for her. The third was even easier. We didn’t talk, just drank. And the more alcohol she consumed, the hungrier her eyes became. She was staring at me as tenaciously as the women in the bar did. I did my best to ignore it, but it was difficult to do…I wanted her to look at me like that. I wanted to look at her like that. But I wasn’t about to make any assumptions on what was going to happen tonight. We were just two friends sharing a drink. Two single friends who had almost shared a lot more recently…

By the fourth shot, the alcohol was getting to me. I spilled the tequila trying to pour it in those tiny little glasses. I laughed as I almost dropped the lime from my mouth. I was way beyond buzzing now.

On the fifth shot, everything changed. Just as I was bending down to lick the salt from my skin, Kiera took my hand and ran her tongue over the back of it. She was soft, wet, warm, and felt amazing on my sensitive body. I wanted her to keep doing it, but she pulled back to drink her tequila shot. When she placed her wedge of lime between my lips, my heart sped up. Was she…?

She was. Her mouth reached up to connect with mine. Our lips pressed together as she sucked on the lime. All I could taste was lime and her. It was an intoxicating combination. But it wasn’t nearly satisfying enough. I needed more.
My breath felt strained when Kiera pulled away. Ragged. She teasingly removed the lime from her mouth and set it on the counter. When she seductively licked her fingers, my resolve evaporated. I suddenly didn’t give a shit what we’d been before, or who we’d been with. I didn’t care if she’d dated Denny—that seemed like a long-past memory at the moment. I didn’t care about Evan’s warnings, my regrettable experience with bedding roommates, my promise to Denny to stay away, or my own decision to not cross that uncrossable line. Kiera kissed me. She wanted me. And fuck, I wanted her too.

I took my shot of tequila straight, slammed the glass on the counter, then pulled her back to my mouth, where she belonged.

Our lips moving together felt better than I had imagined. There was so much eager, pent-up passion, I felt like we were both going to burst into flames. I couldn’t get enough of her. My hand on the back of her neck tightened, drawing her in even closer. My other hand found the small of her back. Perfection.

About the Author: 2_26 Stephens_Thoughtful_TPS. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.

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Favorite Meals from the Authors of ACCIDENTAL VALENTINE: Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour sponsored by Roane Publishing. A randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter will receive a paperback copy of Accidental Valentine and a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The authors of this anthology have agreed to share their two favorite meals for us.

Claire Gillian: I love to go a Mongolian Grill type restaurant where you assemble your own fresh ingredients and the chefs stir fry it on this massive grill while you wait. I don’t have to cook or clean up, always a plus, and it’s fairly healthy eating with no hidden MSG or excessive oils or other fats. After that I really enjoy making my yearly Thanksgiving spread, with a roasted turkey, yeast rolls made from scratch and slathered with creamy butter, an array of root and green vegetables and something sinfully decadent for dessert. Yum! I’m hungry now!

Katrina Sizemore: My favorite meals are homemade meatballs with spaghetti, and steak.

Jaylee Austin: Favorite meals are any dish I didn’t have to prepare. Cooking is the least favorite activity I like to do. If I never have to prepare another meal I’d be on top of the world. Two favorite dishes are my fresh cranberries with brandy, coconut sugar, orange juice or peel and nuts. Yummy! And Chicken tortilla soup.

S.L. Hughson: My most favorite meals are all about the gravy. Top choice: buttermilk biscuits slathered with sausage gravy. Close second: chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes – both drowned beneath country gravy – and green beans. I eat like a Southern girl, don’t I?

Wendy Sparrow: Eggplant Parmesan made by someone else. Food that I don’t have to agonize over getting right—and I never can seem to with eggplant—is the best sort of food. Then, of course Key Lime pie for dessert. Nothing makes me happy like good Key Lime pie.

2_24 AccidentalValentine_CvrGuiding Hearts by Claire Gillian: Is a lonely woman’s GPS sentient or is her subconscious taking her by the hand to help heal a scarred heart?

When Jemma Ernst’s GPS malfunctions and sends her to the home of handsome and engaging Gabriel Nash, she writes it off as a fluke. But she can’t seem to reprogram him out of her thoughts nor her GPS.

Better Latte Than Never by Katrina Sizemore: Single and cold on Valentine’s Day, Hailey Merritt is not looking forward to working all day at the coffee shop while everyone around her is cheery with romance and she’s stuck trying to figure out her next step in life.

But, when a special bouquet arrives for her from a secret admirer, she decides to reserve judgment on this holiday and find whomever sent the flowers.

Maybe Cupid has a plan to make this her favorite Valentine’s Day ever.

Dream Architect by S.L. Hughson: Taylor and Sons Custom Design keeps ASHLIN TAYLOR at arm’s length from her dream job. If only she were a son, she could follow her architectural dream. In the Taylor creed, girls get married and boys have careers. DYLAN CUTRIGHT focuses on finishing college and landing an architectural engineering job in a large firm. Minus emotional ties.

After their accidental encounter, their attraction is amplified during their work interaction. Unlike her family, Dylan encourages Ashlin to pursue her dream by enrolling in college. He even argues her case with Uncle Mike. All of this support confuses Ashlin because when she moves closer to him, he rebuffs her for reasons she can only speculate about.

Valentine’s Day might be the perfect opportunity for Ashlin to make him notice her. They are working together – alone – on the most romantic day of the year. Dylan builds her dream of career, but will he ever lower his walls and become more than just the man IN her dreams?

One Hot Angel by Jaylee Austin: Oblivious to Tiffany Jenkins in three short weeks her life will end—unless she makes the perfect choice. Will she chose revenge and expose her ex-husband? Or chose love and surrender her heart to the only man who can save her?

Rock My Bones by Wendy Sparrow: Jared has been eyeing the sexy mural painter from inside the museum’s paleontology lab, but she’s way out of his league. He can’t let her paint that obviously misplaced fern, though…even if it means initiating contact.

You could call her a paleontology groupie, but Shay Meyers is interested in a more modern specimen. An adult male Homo Sapien to be exact—one who needs to be dragged out of his lab for a practical course in mating rituals. If she’s lucky, this will be the Valentine’s Day she rocks his bones.

Buy the book at  Roane Publishing, Createspace, Amazon, Amazon (UK)Bookstrand, Smashwords, or Barnes & Noble.

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A Stolen Season by Tamara Gill – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_AStolenSeasonTime-traveling archaeologist Sarah Baxter just left a piece of 21st-century equipment in 19th century Regency England. Unfortunately, when she goes back to retrieve it, she makes an even bigger mess of things—resulting in the death of an English earl. Now his brother is not only out for revenge, but he also has Sarah’s device. Now Sarah must find a way to steal back her device, hide the truth about the earl’s brother and—most importantly—to not fall in love…

Enjoy an excerpt:

How did you tell a man of this era you would sleep with him, but marriage was certainly not a possibility? She was being cruel, leading him on. Who was she kidding? She felt the connection between them, too. It was like riding an out-of-control freight train that would eventually crash. And Eric would hate her if he ever found out why she was really here and what she’d done. She cleared her throat, unable to form the lie.

“Allow me to try and win your hand?” Eric asked, his eyes full of hope.

Sarah swallowed the lump in her throat. “You may try, Eric.” But you will fail.

About the Author: Tamara is an Australian author who grew up in an old mining town in country South Australia, where her love of history was founded. So much so, she made her darling husband travel to the UK for their honeymoon, where she dragged him from one historical monument and castle to another.

A mother of three, her two little gentleman’s in the making, a future Lady (she hopes) and a part-time job keep her busy in the real world, but whenever she gets a moment’s peace she loves to write romance novels in an array of genres, including regency, medieval and paranormal.

Tamara loves hearing from readers and writers alike. You can contact her through her website, and sign up to follow her blog or newsletter.

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