A Model Engagement by Charlotte O’Shay – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Charlotte O’Shay will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Lacey Reed jumps at the chance for independence with a career in the big city. But her naivety and ambition blind her to the lure of a blackmailer. With her savings gone, she has nowhere to turn when she literally runs into financier Connor Devlin.

Though dazzled by Lace y, Connor sees the desperation she tries to hide. His gut tells him to help, and he hires her as his fake fiancée. Now Lacey has a job, and Connor has put a bandage on a family crisis.

When the blackmailer ups the ante, Lacey resolves to face him down—no matter what the consequences. Does that mean Lacey will lose the only man who’s ever seen who she truly is?

Enjoy an Excerpt

What Part of No Don’t You Understand?

Lacey Lee Reed was at the type of event, which for years had been, if not her life’s blood, then at least her meal ticket. Anyone who knew her, or thought they did, would say she was in her element—smack dab in the middle of a society party with every A-lister in New York in attendance.

But she couldn’t breathe.

The combination of exotic perfumes and expensive colognes in the warm room hit her harder than the kick of a mule. She swayed on her five-inch heels.

Focus, Lacey. You will not have a panic attack in the middle of your best friend’s wedding.

She pasted on a smile as she scanned the sparkling sea of Prada, Gucci and Dior visible over his head, scoping out her escape.

She inhaled again, slower this time, then eased out a steady, candle-extinguishing breath. Ridiculous to feel trapped. Another focused breath. She wasn’t alone. Not by a long shot.

She was in the middle of the most enormous ballroom the Pierre Hotel possessed at one of the splashiest New York City weddings in decades. The VIP crowd was nothing new, nothing she couldn’t handle.

It was individual people that creeped her out.

The old Lacey would have told this SOB staring straight into her cleavage where to go. Politely and with every bit of the charm her mama taught her. But that was the old Lacey. Current day Lacey’s head was spinning, just like it had that one time when they were thirteen and she and Mandy snuck a cigarette out by Mandy’s grandparents’ barn. That memory put a genuine smile on her lips.

Against her every instinct she extended her hand.

“It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Calloway.” The manners drummed into her through generations of Reed grandmas meant she remembered his name, met his lascivious eyes, and continued to smile even as she yanked her chilled hand from his too-familiar grip.

Their three-minute conversation had gone two and half minutes too long. Lacey had learned, at long last, to trust her intuition, and she needed to be gone.

Now.

About the Author: NYC girl Charlotte O’Shay was born into a big family and married into another big family.

The drama! The noise! The inspiration!

Negotiating skills honed at the dinner table led her to a career in the law. After four beautiful children joined the crowded family tree, Charlotte gladly traded her legal career to write about happily ever afters set in and around NYC.

When Charlotte isn’t reading or writing steamy contemporaries featuring heroines in crisis and swoony heroes, she’s on the hunt for that perfect pair of sunglasses. She loves to hear from readers.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

The City of Dreams series are all standalone books linked by the wedding that takes place in The Marriage Ultimatum.

Book 1, The Marriage Ultimatum ~ Sabrina & Vlad
Book 2, A Model Engagement ~ Lacey & Connor
Book 3, An Illicit Affair ~ Honey & Jake

Buy the book at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

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How to Handle Negative Criticism by Karin Rita Gastreich – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Karin Rita Gastreich will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How to Handle Negative Criticism

Every novel we write is a labor of love. So, it’s upsetting to receive negative criticism. Yet this is an inevitable part of the writer’s journey; no matter how stellar your book is, there will always be someone out there who doesn’t like it. Here are five strategies for managing negative feedback when it comes your way:

1. Make sure your work is the best it can be.

Many readers who complain have something legitimate to complain about. The market – especially the self-publishing market – is flooded with mediocre novels. Even I get angry after paying for a bad novel. Unfortunately, many readers vent their anger through scathing reviews.

If you don’t want to experience readers’ rage, do everything in your power to give them a great reading experience. For first time novelists, this means finding a legitimate press that provides rock-solid editing support. (Small press is a great place to start, but do your research before signing a contract!) If you’ve worked with a publishing house and are ready to strike out on your own, secure the support of a competent, professional editor. Doing these things will not make you immune to negative criticism, but it will reduce the risk of attacks by rabid readers.

2. Remember your story is not for everyone.

Even the best novels garner occasional 1-star or 2-star reviews. When your turn comes, stop! Before you read the comments, take a deep breath. Remember that not all critical reviews are negative reviews.

There are many reasons a reader might not like a story, most of which have nothing to do with the quality of the writing. Sometimes readers were simply looking for a different kind of novel than the one you wrote. I’ve run into this in my own work, when some readers were caught off guard by the dark and violent tones of my second novel, Sword of Shadows. As an author, I respect the fact that some of my readers may have a low tolerance for violence. (Ironically, I do too!) But I also must respect my characters and the story they want to tell. If the characters lead me to dark places, it’s my responsibility to follow. In being true to my craft, I occasionally upset a reader, and that’s okay. The more authentic a story is, the more likely it will touch a raw nerve somewhere along the way.

3. File away reader’s suggestions for later use.

I’ve found that poor reviews generally have little to offer me as a writer, because most of them fall in the category just mentioned: readers who don’t like a novel because it wasn’t the type of story they were looking for. But once in a great while, critical reviews have given me good ideas. For example, when I prepared the second editions of Eolyn and Sword of Shadows, I made some changes in response to reader reviews of previous editions. I am very grateful to those readers who took the time to detail the issues they saw in the earlier versions, as this helped me improve my craft.

4. Vent with friends.

The worst kind of negative review is the mindless rant. In some cases, it seems as if the reviewer hasn’t even read the novel. For example, I had one review complain about the “lascivious sex” in my first novel, Eolyn. The odd thing is, Eolyn has no sex scenes! Reviewers like this one are not interested in insightful analysis; they simply relish attacking someone through an anonymous platform. In other words, they are cyber bullies.

There are three things you should do when you run into a cyber bully review. First, ignore the reviewer (see step five below).
Second, report the review. Amazon, Goodreads, and other on-line reviewing platforms have guidelines that reviewers must adhere to. They are not always good at listening to authors who point out violators, but you should report every cyberbully you run into nonetheless.

Third, vent with friends. Sharing your frustration helps you gain some perspective on the situation and your work. Remember your path as an author does not depend on the opinion of one low-life who had nothing better to do with their time than write a nasty, dishonest review. Turn away from that negativity and reconnect to the people who appreciate your work. They will always lead you to a better place.

5. Never engage with a negative reviewer.

In every single case discussed above, and especially in the last one, you should never engage directly with someone who has written a negative review. In the case of reviewers who wanted a different kind of story and/or put forward some honest criticism, it is your job as an author to respect their opinion and let it be. Remember: When you published your novel, you surrender control over it. That novel belongs to your readers now, as does the discussion of its faults and merits.

In the case of cyber bully reviewers, nothing good can come of interacting with them. Do not give them fuel for their fire. Ignoring them will douse their flame, and allow you to turn your energy to more productive and creative endeavors.

Those are some of my strategies for dealing with negative reviews. How about you? Have you had experience with negative criticism? What are your thoughts on reviews and how to manage them?

Betrayed by her own prodigy, Eolyn stands accused of treason. As power-hungry nobles dismantle her life’s work and honor, the desperate queen forges a risky alliance with the ruthless and cunning Mage Corey. Determined to defend her son’s claim to the throne of the Mage King, Eolyn prepares for her last and greatest battle, this time against her own sisters in magic.

Across the Furma River, Taesara of Roenfyn is drawn out of seclusion and into an ever-more vicious game of intrigue and war. Subject to the schemes of a shrewd uncle and the mysterious ambitions of the wizards of Galia, Taesara struggles to assert her own destiny, even as she takes up arms to defend her daughter’s inheritance.

In the climactic finale to The Silver Web trilogy, threads of love, honor, betrayal, and vengeance culminate in a violent conflict between powerful women, opposed to each other yet destined to shatter a thousand-year cycle of war.

“An enticing and elegant series finale, filled with magic and turmoil.” -KIRKUS REVIEWS>

Enjoy an Excerpt

Taesara stiffened as Penamor took her chin in his fingers and subjected her to cold inspection. After a moment, his frown deepened and he shook his head. “Only the Sisters of the Poor could take a woman at the height of her flower and turn her into a dried-up weed.”

Taesara bristled. “There is no place for vanity within these walls.”

“Apparently not. They’ve made you skinny and sallow. Though it is nothing, I’ll wager, that a bit of sun and some proper food cannot remedy. What are these rags they dress you in?”

She stepped away, clenching her jaw. “This is all I need. All anyone needs, to live at peace in this world.”

Penamor snorted. “Indeed.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’ve come to fetch you home.”

“This is my home.”

“This was your temporary refuge. A foul place, but one of your choosing. We were generous enough to let you stay, first your father and then I, as we put the outside world in order. Now it is time for you to return.”

“I am not going back.”

“Oh, but I think you will.” Penamor spoke with an odd tone, at once menacing and full of promise. “War is at hand, and you will be the one to lead it.”

Taesara forced a laugh. “You know I will have no part of it. Eliasara would die at their hands if we so much as—”

“They do not have Eliasara,” he said. “We do.”

Shadows flashed through Taesara’s vision. She stumbled and caught hold of the back of a chair. A chasm opened inside her heart, swallowing the vines and trees with which she had concealed her love and pain during all these years. The bitter anguish of the day she was separated from Eliasara returned full force.

“Where is she? Where is my daughter?”

About the Author: Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands all her life. Her pastimes include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to THE SILVER WEB trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

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Buy EOLYN, Book One of THE SILVER WEB at Amazon.
Buy SWORD OF SHADOWS, Book Two of THE SILVER WEB at Amazon.
Buy DAUGHTER OF AITHNE, Book Three of THE SILVER WEB at Amazon.

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At Last in Laguna by Claire Marti


At Last in Laguna by Claire Marti
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (160 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Snapdragon

Alyssa Morgan has secretly been in love with her older brother Nick’s best friend, Brandt Dempsey, since she was an awkward, lonely teenager. When she catches the bouquet at Nick’s wedding, she throws caution to the wind and propositions Brandt to a two-week fling. He’s tried to ignore how Alyssa has blossomed into a strong, talented, gorgeous woman because as his best friend’s baby sister, she’s off limits.

After they share a mind-blowing kiss, Brandt struggles to fight their undeniable chemistry. His tragic childhood scarred him, but he pushes it deep inside, only allowing the world to see a wealthy, carefree entrepreneur. Forced to work together on Brandt’s latest charitable venture, Brandt and Alyssa’s passion cannot be denied. Alyssa knows he’s the one. Can she convince him they belong together?

Readers are intrigued right from the very start of At Last in Laguna. We cannot help but wonder exactly what has gone on before…and where on earth could this relationship be going?

The mention about how to find a ‘happily ever after?’ seems insane: Alyssa and Brandt don’t seem to be heading to any such ending. They can barely be in the same room together.

Brandt…oh she is so bitter about Brandt!

This is a twist on love-at-first-sight: More like, love at first kiss. Or would it be second? And can it be love? There is rejection, unrequited emotion, the desperate empty feeling of non-passion; who cannot relate? We cannot guess where this fast-paced and emotional start will bring these two. At Last in Laguna is entirely unpredictable.

I didn’t care for the changes in point-of-view, not because they weren’t well-written, but because it left no air of mystery on either side. Seeing both sides did not add to the plot, although I can’t say (for sure) that it detracted, either.

The powerful physical scenes would be enough to drum up fans regardless of the rest of the storyline; yet this is also well done, with influential secondary characters and a meaningful backdrop. There are a number of ups and downs, revealing more and more about each of our main characters; Brandt and Alyssa.

Powerful characters and an unusual conundrum plus plenty of hot action make this a top choice read for any romance fan.

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Hide and Seek by Desiree Holt – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions to celebrate today’s release of Hide and Seek. Desiree will be awarding a Kindle Fire 7 with Alexa to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Anything can happen when you let your guard down . . .

After receiving a violent threat on the heels of her father’s disappearance from the town of Arrowhead Bay, Devon Cole fears for her life—until Vigilance, a local private security agency, steps in to shield her from danger. Although she isn’t usually quick to surrender her freedom, she has no problem stripping her defenses for her new sexy bodyguard . . .

Tortured by the painful memory of lost love, Logan Malik is determined not to fall for a client again. So when he’s tasked with watching over Devon day and night, he’s focused on doing his job. Day is no problem, but as tensions rise at night, nothing can protect them from giving in to unbridled passion . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Your father is missing.”

Devon Cole tightened her grip on her cell phone and tried to make sense of what Sheridan March had just told her, as fear swept through her. Maybe she hadn’t heard right.

“What do you mean, missing?”

“The Coast Guard found the Princess Devon drifting five miles off shore early this morning,” the Arrowhead Bay Chief of Police explained. “But there’s no sign of him anywhere. And no clue to anything in the house. We went through every inch of it. The alarm was fried, probably needs to be replaced, but otherwise the place was clean as a whistle.”

Devon clutched the phone. “Was there anything on the boat? Something he might have had with him that could give us a clue?”

“Nada.”

“Where’s the boat now. Would the Coast Guard hold onto it?”

“In its slip at the Bayside Marina. After the Guard went over every inch of it they had one of the men on the cutter bring it back in and berth it. I have the keys.”

Dev0n swallowed to ease the tightness in her throat. “When was the last time anyone saw him?”

About the Author: Desiree Holt is the world’s oldest living published author of erotic and spicy romance. A graduate of the University of Michigan with double majors in English and History, her earlier careers include agent and manager in the music industry, public television, associate vice president of university advancement, public relations, and economic development.

She is three times a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award (and a winner in 2014), a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio as well as twice a CAPA Award winner for best BDSM book of the year, a USA Today Bestselling author and winner of the Holt Medallion for Excellence in Romance Literature.

She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times, The Huffington Post and numerous other national and international publications. She is also the Authors After Dark 2014 Author of the Year.

“Desiree Holt is the most amazing erotica author of our time and each story is more fulfilling then the last.” (Romance Junkies)

Website | Blog | Facebook Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google | Linked In

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Most of All You by Mia Sheridan – Q&A and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Mia Sheridan who is celebrating the release of Most of All You. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the book.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A magician. Seriously. No idea why. I wasn’t even that great at magic tricks. :p

How do you do research for your books?
It depends. But generally, I use Google and if I need to confirm something, I’ll use a location beta. If I’m writing about a culture or place I’m not very familiar with, I will always have a cultural or location beta read my work first.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Ugh. I was nursing one Thanksgiving and got caught up in cooking and setting the table while the baby was sleeping. When everyone sat down to eat, my husband started gesturing to me from the other side of the table which made everyone stop and look at me. I looked down to see two, large, wet, spreading milk spots on my light gray shirt. Needless to say, I woke the baby and everyone started dinner without me. Terrible. I can’t believe I just shared that!

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?
Favorite: potatoes of any kind. Must be the Irish lass in me. 😀 Least favorite: I hate goat cheese. I don’t know why! It always sounds delicious in recipes and I’ve tried to acquire a taste and I just hate it.

What is your strangest habit?
Hmm. I don’t know if this is strange, but I have to be showered and somewhat “coiffed” before sitting down to write. I think it’s a confidence thing!

Have you ever eaten a crayon?
Not that I recall. But I’ve eaten Play-Doh. 😀 Yuck!


A broken woman . . .

Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior and carries within her a deep mistrust of men, who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.

A man in need of help . . .

Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there’s an undeniable goodness in him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.

Only love can mend a shattered heart . . .

Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world, which had stolen everything from them, would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far, and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts.

About the Author:Mia Sheridan is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. Her passion is weaving true love stories about people destined to be together. Mia lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband. They have four children here on earth and one in heaven.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Google, Books-a-Million, or IndieBound.

When Writing Is Magic by Farzana Doctor – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Farzana Doctor will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner and a print copy of the book to 10 randomly drawn winners (US Only) via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

When Writing is Magic
All Inclusive, my third novel, was a bitch to write. During its five-year journey, I often felt I was writing in circles or backing myself into dead ends. I whined to other authors who nodded knowingly about the infamous “third novel blues”. I nearly ditched the project.

Of course, it wasn’t all confusion and angst. I was excited to explore the main character, Ameera, who works as a foreign tour rep at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. While there, she stumbles into the swingers’ scene, and her sexuality is a metaphor for growth. The resort provided a complex setting that offered lots of tension and story possibilities.

But something was missing. Something wasn’t quite right.

I consulted with multiple early readers, hoping that someone would offer me a roadmap for what wasn’t working and how to fix it. I even took Ameera to a therapy session. I persisted, stumbling forward, writing and rewriting.

Finally clarity arrived. I was on my bike, returning home after teaching an emerging writers’ workshop. I was tired, yet inspired by the group’s enthusiasm.

As I careened down a steep hill, I heard a voice in my head say, “I am your missing character.” The voice then told me that his name was Azeez, and in a single long-winded sentence, summarized his story. Azeez was Ameera’s father.

“What?” I yelled into the wind. I pulled over and listened. But the voice was gone.

I concede that this is odd.

I pedaled home and revised the book. I threw out characters and plot lines that had taken years to write. Azeez’s story fit almost seamlessly into the spaces they’d left behind.

During the revisions, I listened for it, and heard snippets of that voice. I still wonder where it came from and why it’s advice worked so well. Maybe it doesn’t matter.

The biggest lesson from all of this? Writing is all about perseverance, and rewriting. But it’s also about magic.

Thanks for reading! If you pick up a copy of All Inclusive I hope you will enjoy Ameera’s and Azeez’s journeys.

A story about an all-inclusive resort, the ghost of an unknown father, and the tragedies we can’t forget.

What’s it like when everyone’s dream vacation is your job? Ameera works at a Mexican all-inclusive resort, where every day is paradise — if “paradise” means endless paperwork, quotas to meet, and entitled tourists. But it’s not all bad: Ameera’s pastime of choice is the swingers scene, and the resort is the perfect place to hook up with like-minded couples without all the hassle of having to see them again.

Despite Ameera’s best efforts to keep her sideline a secret, someone is spreading scandalous rumours about her around the resort, and her job might be at stake. Meanwhile, she’s being plagued by her other secret, the big unknown of her existence: the identity of her father and why he disappeared. Unbeknownst to Ameera, her father, Azeez, is looking for her, and they both must come to terms with the reason why he abandoned her.

A moving new work from award-winning author Farzana Doctor, All Inclusive blurs the lines between the real world and paradise, and life and death, and reminds us that love is neither easily lost nor found.

Enjoy an Excerpt

March 27, 2015, Huatulco, Mexico

A DC8 droned above.

“Here they come,” I announced. Friday was our departure-arrival day. One sunburned and grouchy group left for their northern homes, and another cohort, ecstatic and pale, touched down and took their place.

Roberto grabbed a plastic file-box and gestured for me to sit beside him. I lowered myself onto the makeshift seat and wiped away a slick of perspiration from the creases behind my knees.

“Ameera, you hear about that tour rep getting fired over at Waves?” Roberto stroked his thin moustache.

“Nancy? Yeah, I’m still in shock.” I hadn’t known her well, but I’d gone clubbing with her and the other tour reps from our sister resorts a few times. She’d seemed all right to me. The airplane circled closer, and, in unison, we clapped our hands over our ears and tilted our chins to the sky. After it had rolled across the tarmac and quieted its engines, we resumed our gossip.

“What I don’t get is why someone in their late twenties would want to have sex with a fifteen-year-old.” Roberto shook his head, as though trying to dislodge the idea.

“But didn’t the kid lie about his age? He told her he was eighteen, right?” While I’d never in a million years sleep with a teenager, I could imagine how booze and loneliness could have led Nancy to her mistake.

About the Author:Farzana Doctor is the author of three novels: Stealing Nasreen, Six Metres of Pavement (which was a 2012 Lambda Literary Award and the 2017 One Book One Brampton winner) and the recently released All Inclusive which was a Kobo and National Post Best Book of the Year. Farzana was named one of CBC Books’ “Ten Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now”. She is also a Registered Social Worker with a part-time psychotherapy practice. She curates the Brockton Writers Series.

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Buy the book at Charis Books and More or Amazon.

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Holiday Stories from St. Martin’s Press


Long and Short Reviews is excited to feature two holiday stories from St. Martin’s Press: With this Christmas Ring and Hope at Christmas.

A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins.

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever–on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can’t let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.

Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.

About the Author: Manda Collins is the author of the Studies in Scandal series, The Lords of Anarchy series, The Ugly Duckling series and the Wicked Widows series as well as several other Regency-set romances. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

Buy the book at St. Martin’s Press.

Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, RayAnne, head for tiny Hopewell, North Carolina to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays.

Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born.

When a catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.

About the Author:USA Today bestselling author NANCY NAIGLE whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. Now happily retired, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she currently calls North Carolina home. Nancy is the author of Christmas Joy.

Buy the book at St. Martin’s Press.

Shadow of a Thief by Norman Green – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Norman Green will be awarding an e-copy of Sick Like That & The Last Gig by Norman Green to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Combining his pitch perfect voice for the characters who live in New York’s underbelly with a compelling new protagonist, Norm Green’s Shadow of a Thief grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go

In a previous life, Saul Fowler was a thief-for-hire with an impressive client list, including the US government. When he seeks shelter from his addictions up on the coast of Maine, his past come back to haunt him in the form of his estranged stepfather, Reverend McClendon. “Someone killed my daughter,” says the rev. “Find out who did it Saul, I know you can help me. Please?” None of this would be Saul’s problem, except that the girl might be his half-sister.

Back in NYC, a place he never thought he’d see again, Saul delves deep under the surface of the dead girl’s life. Before long he finds himself contending with gangs, pimps, prostitutes, the NYPD, and just maybe, the fifth fundamental universal force. Finding the truth will either change his life forever, or end it.

Gritty and unputdownable, this is perfect for fans of James Lee Burke and Robert Crais.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The safest time to walk lower Manhattan’s Avenue D, in Corey Jackson’s opinion, was early in the morning. Early in the morning, chances were, the ghouls who ruled the projects at night would be passed out somewhere, not roaming around looking for entertainment the way they were now. Half an hour to midnight, Avenue D, a white kid from South Carolina with his African girlfriend, even the cops would tell you that you were asking for it, and for no good reason. But at the tender age of twenty-three Corey already knew enough about women to know that there were some arguments you weren’t gonna win. “Babe,” he said. “Babe, where the hell are we going?”

“This way,” she said, and she kept on walking.

Corey could not wait to get back to Batesburg.

Two more semesters, that’s what he kept telling himself, two more semesters and he would be a real teacher, with the degree to prove it, and that would allow him to move out of the purgatory otherwise known as New York City. A degree would give him a leg up, a toehold in the middle class, a degree and a job teaching high school science and he just might be the first of the Batesburg Jacksons not to live in a trailer since the damn things were invented… It sounded like a good plan, it had always sounded good and sometimes you had to take a shot, but you never knew when you were gonna hit a pothole somewhere. You never knew when you were gonna wind up walking down a sidewalk in a neighborhood where you and everybody else knew you didn’t belong.

About the Author: Norman Green reports this about himself: “I have always been careful, as Mark Twain advised, not to let schooling interfere with my education. Too careful, maybe. I have been, at various times, a truck driver, a construction worker, a project engineer, a factory rep, and a plant engineer, but never, until now, a writer.” He lives in Emerson, New Jersey, with his wife, and is hard at work on his second novel.

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Top Five Halloween Plans by Elizabeth Hoyt

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Elizabeth Hoyt who is celebrating tomorrow’s release of her newest book Duke of Desire by sharing with us her top five plans for the upcoming Halloween season. Enter the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win one of ten print copies of the book.

Top Five Halloween Plans
5. Going to the University of Minnesota Arboretum to check out the fall colors and the last blooming flowers

4. Taking a trip to the local apple orchard to pick out a pumpkin and sip cider.

3. Dressing the dogs in costumes and taking pics.

2. Handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

1. Turning off the lights and hiding when I inevitably run out of candy too soon.

A LADY OF LIGHT

Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and-nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him…only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.

A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS

Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER…AND DESIRE

Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involes herself in his life—and bed. Soon he’s drawn to both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Desperately she flung herself at the opposite seat and tugged it up. Thrust her hand in.

A pistol.

She cocked it, desperately praying that it was loaded.

She turned and aimed it at the door to the carriage just as the door swung open.

The Wolf loomed in the doorway—still nude—a lantern in one hand. She saw the eyes behind the mask flick to the pistol she held between her bound hands. He turned his head and said something in an incomprehensible language to someone outside.

Iris felt her breath sawing in and out of her chest.

He climbed into the carriage and closed the door, completely ignoring her and the pistol pointed at him. The Wolf hung the lantern on a hook and sat on the seat across from her.

Finally he glanced at her. “Put that down.”

His voice was calm. Quiet.

With just a hint of menace.

She backed into the opposite corner, as far away from him as possible, holding the pistol up. Level with his chest. Her heart was pounding so hard it nearly deafened her. “No.”

The carriage jolted into motion, making her stumble before she caught herself.

“T-tell them to stop the carriage,” she said, stuttering with terror despite her resolve. “Let me go now.”

“So that they can rape you to death out there?” He tilted his head to indicate the Lords. “No.”

“At the next village, then.”

“I think not.”

He reached for her and she knew she had no choice.

She shot him.

The blast blew him into the seat and threw her hands up and back, the pistol narrowly missing her nose.
Iris scrambled to her feet. The bullet was gone, but she could still use the pistol as a bludgeon.

The Wolf was sprawled across the seat, blood streaming from a gaping hole in his right shoulder. His mask had been knocked askew on his face.

She reached forward and snatched it off.

And then gasped.

The face that was revealed had once been as beautiful as an angel’s but was now horribly mutilated. A livid red scar ran from just below his hairline on the right side of his face, bisecting the eyebrow, somehow missing the eye itself but gouging a furrow into the lean cheek and catching the edge of his upper lip, making it twist. The scar ended in a missing divot of flesh in the line of the man’s severe jaw. He had inky black hair and, though they were closed now, Iris knew he had emotionless crystal-gray eyes.

She knew because she recognized him.

He was Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, and when she’d danced with him—once—three months ago at a ball, she’d thought he’d looked like Hades.

God of the underworld.

God of the dead.

She had no reason to change her opinion now.

Then he gasped, those frozen crystal eyes opened, and he glared at her. “You idiot woman. I’m trying to save you.”

About the Author: Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

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Five Things K-lee Klein Likes to Do When Not Writing – Guest Blog and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes K-lee Klein who is celebrating the recent release of her newest book Unbroken Hearts. Enter the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Thanks for being here for my Unbroken Hearts blog tour! And thank you Long & Short Reviews for taking part. Unbroken Hearts, book 2 in the Unbreak My Heart series, was released on October 11th from Dreamspinner Press.

Though it’s the second edition, the new Unbroken Hearts contains more than just a polished, rewritten Unbroken Hearts, but also the short Unwrapped Hearts and 25,000 words of new material in the love story between Brett and JT. I hope you enjoy it and please make sure to enter the Rafflecopter draw at the end of the post.

I considered talking about my Top 5 recipes but…I don’t cook. Lol. So without further ado, here are the Top 5 things I like to do when I’m not writing.

1. Movies. I love films, especially big action superhero flicks that are best enjoyed in the theatre. I’m one of those weirdos who still buys DVDs of the movies I love. The Captain America films are my favourites and I may have seen each of them at least 5 times in the theatre. I also collect gay films and a lot of comfort watches.

2. Reading. What writer doesn’t like to read, at least in my experience? Of course, my reading habits are a little off since I’ve been stuck in a wind tunnel of fanficiton for a few years now. There’s just something about the familiarity of the characters and the fact I already love them with all my heart. Anyone ever heard of Stucky? They’re totally my OTP. 😉

3. Music. Live music (I’m a concert hound), music in the car, or just crutch-dancing in my living room and being judged by my cats–music is very important in my life. I have several stories featuring musicians because I love writing them too. I’ve even written songs for some of my books, Unbreak My Heart & Unbroken Hearts included.

4. Spending time with my kids. They’re all in their 20s (coughcough—and 1 is 30) and even though we live in the same city, can a mom ever see her kid enough? I have a girl & 2 boys and we’re all very close. We go for dinner or play crazy (inappropriate) games. And we go on holiday every year together to a little cabin by a lake. This year we’re spending time Christmas in Mexico. I can’t wait!

5. Travelling. Whether with my family, my husband, or by myself, I love going packing up and hitting the road—preferably on a plane, train or cruise ship. I’m not big at being in the car, especially since I’ve messed-up both knees. Traveling can be painful now but it’s hella worth it every time.

Country singer turned rancher Brett Taylor fought his way out of the bottle, so he could have JT Campbell in his life. JT’s patience, intelligence, and humor broke through Brett’s walls of depression, and now the once-isolated rancher and his young California guy in search of himself are together on Brett’s Texas ranch.

While Brett and JT are more in love than ever, they’re still dealing with past baggage and learning how to move forward. Brett’s former lover casts a long shadow over their lives—one JT tries to pretend doesn’t bother him. Can Brett soothe his fears with the sort of sappy, sentimental Valentine’s Day JT was taught to shun growing up—but secretly always wanted?

When Halloween rolls around, a costumed night out at the local bar might lead to another romantic first. And on Christmas morning, JT awakes to some sweet loving and the most meaningful gift he could ever imagine. The New Year truly brings a new beginning—ushered in by some silly, sparkly, and sexy fun.

One year. Four important holidays. Two men who have worked hard for the love and trust they share and the bright future that’s finally within their grasp.

About the Author: K-lee Klein loves guys with long hair and tattoos, and you’ll often find her front and center at her favorite rock concerts. She has bounced around Western Canada all her life, but will always consider the solitude and beauty of the British Columbian mountains home. Her life is blessed as the proud mother of three now-grown but still spoiled kids, the servant of two bossy felines, and the wife of a truly patient husband.

Her writing muse is terribly temperamental, so to keep him close by and in check, she had him inked on her left calf. The gorgeous, long-haired, mostly naked, kneeling angel that resulted is truly a work of art, although he’s still a handful and hopelessly uncontrollable. She writes on his schedule and inspiration.

K-lee tends to fall easily into obsessions. When something grabs her attention, she jumps into it headfirst with complete abandon. Actors, musicians, superheroes, fictional characters, and brainwashed assassins all hold spots on her cannot-get-enough list. She once followed Thirty Seconds to Mars around the United States and Canada and saw them perform fourteen times that year. Obsession sometimes leads to ideas for her kneeling angel to turn into stories.

Although an introvert in person, she’s extroverted online and has met many wonderful friends there, sometimes with the added fun of meeting them in person at gay romance conferences. She’s grateful for all the people in her life who accept her as she is and support her through her ups and downs as mom, wife, and joyfully obsessed writer.

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