Irresistible by Darby Burke – Q&A and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What would we find under your bed?

Duchess, the cat we’ve had the longest (she’s 11). She’s the sweetest cat—half-Bengal and very talkative.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

This is a tough question! Getting stuck in traffic as freezing rain started ranks right up there. I turned around to go home, but it was too late. I slid down a hill and hit the curb. My car went up onto it and my axel got bent. That was pretty terrifying.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Often! I sometimes create a specific playlist for a book. I also have play lists for certain kinds of scenes. Yes, I have a love scene play list, and it includes several Depeche Mode and Dave Matthews Band Songs songs.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I’d like to work on a secret project that’s been percolating in my brain for the past six to nine months. It’s still baking, but hopefully by next year, I’ll be ready to write it.

How long did it take you to write this book?

It felt like forever, lol. It took me six weeks to draft, which is surprising now that I go back and look. After that, it’s another two months of rounds of editing.

Jessamine Goodfellow has spent six Seasons avoiding the parson’s trap, and spinsterhood is finally within her grasp. A brilliant scholar, she longs for adventure and new experiences, things her family frowns upon. Presented with the opportunity to use her puzzle-solving talent on a secret mission for the Foreign Office, Jess eagerly accepts. Even when it means posing as the wife of a scorchingly attractive Scotsman who she must also covertly investigate as a possible double agent.

Lord Dougal MacNair, the new Viscount Fallin, has always completed his assignments for the Foreign Office alone. Now he’s saddled with an overly enthusiastic amateur partner. She possesses a remarkable intellect, but something about her isn’t quite right, and after two failed missions, Dougal is certain someone is working against him. Battling their secret suspicions, Dougal and Jess dive deep into their cover as a married couple, which arouses temptations they find irresistible. Danger is all around them, but it’s their hearts that may be the most imperiled.

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“Tell me why I’ve hurried back.”

“A mission to the Dorset coast. You leave in a week.”

Dougal frowned. “If I don’t leave for a week, why am I here now?”

Lucien hesitated the barest moment. “Because you need time to prepare with your partner.”

“My what?”

Voices in the hall interrupted further conversation because a moment later, Lucien’s butler announced the arrival of Lady Pickering and Miss Jessamine Goodfellow. Dougal was very familiar with Lady Pickering, but the other white woman was unknown to him. Taller than most ladies, Miss Goodfellow possessed vivid cobalt eyes that assessed him with a keen curiosity. Indeed, her unabashed attention could only mean one thing—that she was to be his partner.

Lady Pickering moved her vigilant gaze toward him. “I’m pleased you could arrive so quickly, Lord Fallin. I do apologize that you were called away at this time.”

Dougal inclined his head. “I am always eager to serve.”

“One of your best qualities.” Lady Pickering turned slightly toward the young lady. “Jessamine, this is Lord Fallin.” Lady Pickering then looked to Dougal. “Allow me to present Miss Jessamine Goodfellow. She will be your wife on this endeavor.”

“My what?” First, he had a partner, and now he had a wife?

About the Author: Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Click here to Join her Reader Club.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, artist daughter, and imaginative son who will almost certainly out-write her one day (that may be tomorrow).

They’re a crazy cat family with two Bengal cats, a small, fame-seeking cat named after a fruit, an older rescue Maine Coon with attitude to spare, and a collection of neighbor cats who hang out on the deck and occasionally venture inside. You can find Darcy at a winery, in her comfy writing chair, or binge-watching TV with the family.

Her happy places are Disneyland, Labor Day weekend at the Gorge, Denmark, and anywhere in the UK—so long as her family is there too.

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Hunted by Allyson Charles – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Allyson Charles will be awarding a $20 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.

A tough special forces operator who’s never run from a fight. A woman about to give him the biggest battle of his life.

Marine Raider Jake Skinner has a nose for trouble. He never expected to find it in a beautiful woman adrift at sea. But once he has her in his arms, he knows he’s never letting her go.

Caroline only had one rule when it came to dating – no military men. When the sexy Marine pulls her from the ocean, her resolution goes to war against his resolve to break through her walls – and goes against her own secret longings.

As a drug cartel sets its sights on Caroline, Jake is determined to move heaven and earth to keep her safe. But if Caroline can’t learn to trust her heart, it could spell the end for them both.

Meet the men of Alpha Squad. Protective, strong-willed, and tough, they go hard after what they want. And when they set their sights on a woman, they’ll use every weapon in their arsenal to make her theirs. Each book in this series is a fast, steamy read, full of pulse-pounding action. Dive into this series today!

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She pressed herself closer, the ice of her skin leaching into his chest.

He’d take it. If he could take all the cold from her, exchange it with his heat, he would.

Her eyelids fluttered. With what looked like immense effort, she finally opened them a crack. Pale blue eyes met his.

He rubbed her back. “You’re okay. You’re safe,” he murmured. “Can you tell me your name?”

She opened her mouth, but only a harsh rasp came out. His gut clenched as she licked her lips, swallowed, and tried again.

“Caroline,” she whispered.

Tony cleaned a patch of skin with an alcohol wipe, inserted the needle, and taped it to her arm. He held the saline bag in his hand and gently squeezed.

She swallowed then winced.

“Water.” He didn’t look to see who handed him the plastic bottle. He held the water to Caroline’s lips and slowly tilted it up.

She greedily sucked the liquid down. The look of betrayal she shot Jake when he took the bottle away almost had him laughing. Her face was so expressive, her spirit seemingly undiminished by her ordeal.

“You can’t drink too much at one time,” he told her. At her continued scowl, he relented and gave her a tiny sip more. He put the bottle down. “Caroline. Sweetheart.” He dragged his thumb over her bottom lip, catching a stray drop of water. “Can you tell me what happened?”

“He tried to kill me,” she whispered.

Jake looked at Tony, meeting his narrowed gaze. His friend’s jaw went hard, his nostrils flaring. He’d heard her words, as well, and if there was one thing his squad wouldn’t stand for it was a man hurting a woman.

Jake leaned back against the rail as the boat sped towards the marina. The itch between his shoulder blades was finally gone. He looked down at the woman in his arms. Now he knew what his intuition had been trying to tell him.

Trouble had been coming.

And it had landed in his lap in the form of a woman.

About the Author:

Allyson Charles lives in Colorado. She’s the author of sexy and funny small-town romances, including the Pineville Romance series and The Forever series. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?). One of Allyson’s greatest sources of happiness is that she now lives in a city that has a Cracker Barrel.

Allyson Charles also writes steamy historical romances under the name Alyson Chase, and paranormal romances under the name A. Caprice.

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Whiskey Love by Joy Allyson – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Joy Allyson will be awarding a $30 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.

She’s an uptight Bostonian
Proud and beautiful, Chloe Tanner, inherits her family’s famous distillery—a legacy she must save from certain disaster. Her troubles can be traced back to one man. The man whose very presence is more intoxicating to her than whiskey.

He’s a laid-back Tennessean
No one disputes handsome Penland Kittrell’s expertise in all things whiskey. But Pen can’t make heads or tails of his new neighbor and now business rival; an undeniable attraction tainted by her connections to the powerful group of Eastern moguls and tycoons she moves among.

It’s a Whiskey War they both want to Win!
Passions ignite between Chloe and Pen in this deadly tangle against revenuers, moonshiners, and robber barons who all try and come between them and their whiskey in this gilded age adventure where the real gold is amber nectar.

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“Are you not afraid of reaching a stage of inebriation I might be tempted to take advantage of?” he asked cocking one dark brow up.

“No. As you have reminded me several times earlier tonight—there is not anything else you could do with me you have not already done.”

“What a little innocent you are, Chloe.” He circled the table and took the flask and pulled her up from the chair. “I’ve thought a lot about you these past few months. Didn’t want to. But did.” He wrapped his arms around her and nuzzled her neck.

She breathed in the butterscotch whiskey and sandalwood smell she associated with him. Wanting to see if there was truth in his eyes, she pushed against his chest locking her arms to study his face. Could she believe him?

“Tell me you want to kiss me too,” he whispered.

Inch by inch she moved in, surrendering equal distance. Finally their lips met as if no time had passed between them—a continuation of their night together a few months before. She could taste the heavy sweetness of the whiskey they had drunk, smell its heady scent, but it was his mouth, his touch that made her dizzy with desire.

About the Author:As the daughter of a United States military officer, Joy Allyson grew up with a love of travel and a deep appreciation of history. A teacher by training, she always preferred reading historical romances to pedagogy. Her favorite characters – rebel heroines and salvageable scoundrels. Joy believes the best romances are the ones you want to read over and over again.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Music City Writers. She resides among the beautiful hills of Tennessee with her husband and near her two daughters and six grandchildren. Whiskey Love is her debut novel.

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My Do-It-Yourself Writer’s Retreat by Kerry Crisley – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kerry Crisley will be awarding a $50 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.

My Do-It-Yourself Writer’s Retreat
 

Here’s how – and why – I planned it
Last Christmas, my husband’s gift to me was a weekend away to write. I’m planning on taking it this fall, and it will be my second writer’s retreat. I use the singular form of writer’s as I was the only at the first one in 2021.

I planned it for two reasons. First, I was stuck with my second book. I had a general idea, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. Why? That brings me to my second reason.

At the time, I hadn’t been alone in my house for more than a year. My husband and I had been – and still are – working from home during Covid, and our kids were learning remotely. The writing nook that I had carved out for myself when writing my first novel was now where I did my day job. My home wasn’t the same, and it was not an environment conducive to kick-starting my creativity.

I fantasized about a writing retreat, one that was free of distractions and offered guidance to get me past my writer’s block. But the cost – upwards of $1,000 or more for travel, hotel, meals, and conference fees – was simply out of my reach. At least, until I can get this book written and sold (optimism!).

One Saturday afternoon, as I sat at my writing-desk-turned-work-desk struggling with Untitled Book Two, an image of myself clacking away on my laptop with the ocean outside my window came to mind. It occurred to me that a change of scenery might be the solution. If I couldn’t attend an official writers’ retreat, I’d create a budget version of one for myself. As I started planning, I thought about what I wanted and needed in order to call it a success. Keep in mind that these are the things I wanted and needed. Your wants and needs will be different for your own retreat, but the process I followed in planning mine may be helpful.

What I wanted

● A room with a view not too far from home. I didn’t want to purchase a plane ticket or spend hours in a car, nor did I want to be so close that it would be tempting to pop home and check in on everyone. And the view? Well, it is a wish list after all.

● Comfortable – and separate – spaces to sleep and write. For me, this meant a room with desk or table for my laptop and notebooks.

● Access to nature. If I was going to write successfully, I’d need a rejuvenating break in between sessions. For me, that meant time outdoors in the woods or near the ocean, preferably close enough to walk.

● Minimal distractions in the form of chores. A hotel stay appealed to me over renting a cottage or condo. For the cost savings, yes, but also for one embarrassingly trivial reason. I just didn’t want to spend my retreat doing dishes. The idea of two days free of standing over a kitchen sink scrubbing mugs and silverware felt like a vacation in itself.

What I needed

● Goals. In order to justify bidding my family farewell for two days and spending my limited rainy day fund on this retreat, I needed something to show for it. What would satisfy me was 4,000-6,000 words of solid writing that moved my story forward.

● Structure and a schedule that worked for me. There’s so much good TV out there, isn’t there? And being alone with no one to swipe the remote was going to lead to temptation. If I stuck to a schedule and met my daily writing goals, a movie or a few episodes of whatever show I was currently into would be an evening reward.

● A coach. Part of the draw of a writers’ retreat was the access to experts and keynote speakers. Since there wouldn’t have a live expert in my hotel with me, I brought a paperback one: Story Genius by Lisa Cron. It turned out to be an excellent choice for me.

I ended up at the Hampton Inn in Bourne, Massachusetts, an hour’s drive from my house and just steps from the Cape Cod Canal, which is lined on both sides by a seven-mile walking and biking path. The rate was within my budget, the stay included breakfast, and the room came with a coffee maker, a microwave, and a refrigerator, which allowed me to bring my own supplies for lunch and dinner.

In a perfect world, I’d have two full days on retreat. But since the world isn’t perfect, I had to get creative. I arrived at 3pm on the dot for check-in, and arranged for a late check out of 1pm two nights later. Over the next 46 hours, my retreat unfolded as follows:

Day 1:
● 3:00-4:00pm: Check in, unpack, settle in.
● 4:00-6:00pm: Write
● 6:00-7:00: Walk on the canal path
● 7:00-bed: Dinner, movie (The Next Three Days – not bad!), journaling, reading

Day 2:
● 8:00-10:00am: Breakfast, coffee, an episode or two of Arrested Development
● 10:00am-1:00pm: Read Story Genius/Write
● 1:00-2:00pm: Canal path run. Lunch.
● 2:00-5:00pm: Write
● 5:00-bed: Dinner, movie (The Car – hilariously campy 1977 horror film with James Brolin and Ronny Cox), journaling, reading

Day 3:
● 7:00-8:00: Breakfast, coffee, another episode or two of Arrested Development
● 8:00-10:30: Read Story Genius/Write
● 10:30-11:30: Canal path run.
● 11:30-12:30: Write
● 12:30-1:00: Pack up and check out

Cost:
● Two-night hotel stay: $313
● Groceries: $20
● Gas (four gallons): $12
● Housekeeping tip: $10
● Total: $355

On a scale of 1-10, my retreat was an 11. My room was sunny and comfortable, the canal path was a welcome mental and physical break, my schedule afforded me the right blend of writing and relaxation, and the coaching and guidance within Story Genius gave my novel the jump start it needed. I drove home excited and empowered, which was precisely how I wanted to feel.

Deep into her 40s with a lackluster career, Georgie wonders how she became so…underwhelming. If she’s not battling her micromanaging boss and egotistical CEO, she’s trying to quiet her inner voice, the one whispering that she hasn’t lived up to the cool, funny and creative person she used to be.
When she’s fired for finally pushing back on her CEO’s questionable business practices, Georgie – with the support of her husband and book club friends– uses her free summer to rekindle latent talents and redefine success. But just as she figures out what’s next, an unexpected hurdle threatens to turn her summer of opportunity into a zero-sum disaster.

Summer of Georgie is a fresh and likably snarky take on the “middle age do-over,” with an authentic portrayal of friendship, marriage, motherhood, and that inner critic inside us all.

Enjoy an Excerpt</b.

“Hey mom, if we won the lottery, could we go to Godzilla Fest?” Max asks, starting one of our favorite mealtime conversations.

“Yes,” I say definitively. “We’d fly first class, and stay in the largest, nicest room in the whole hotel, and you would get any figure you wanted, no matter how much it cost.”

“And then,” Shannon picks up the thread. “We’d go to Paris and ride to the top of the–“ she pauses to consult my phone. “Eiffel Tower!”

I turn back to the stove as Dan joins the kids at the breakfast bar to make plans for our imaginary future. Right, I think. Chicago and Paris. With my 22 hours of vacation.
At the thought of work, a small knot forms in my gut. My sizable gut, the criticism comes before I can stop it. It’d been coming a lot since discovering early on that my job move was a profoundly bad one. How much have you gained this year, Georgie? Ten pounds? Twelve? Is it worth it? The weight? The pay cut? Lena? The complete and utter misery?

“Oh, shut up,” I mutter quietly to my inner commentator, shifting the pan on the stovetop so Dan can’t hear me. At least it’s Friday. And yes. As a matter of fact, it is worth it.

I give my head a small shake and turn around, smiling. “And then, we would find a beautiful house on a lake and spend the rest of the summer in it. Nothing but swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding all day.” I pause. “Except if it rains. Then we’d have movie marathons or read on the porch. Because there would definitely be a screened porch.”

Shannon gets up from her stool and puts her empty bowl in the sink. “Would we invite Nana and Bop Bop?”

I place my hands on her small shoulders and plant a kiss on the top of her head. “Well, duh,” I say. “Of course we invite Nana and Bop Bop!”

“Better stock up on gin,” Dan offers, goading me.

“Helpful,” I say, swatting him on the shoulder.

About the Author:Kerry Crisley is a communications professional, with a focus on the nonprofit sector. Fiction, however, is her first love; she wrote and directed an original play performed by her second grade classmates and has been writing ever since. She lives in Wakefield, Massachusetts with her husband, their children, and their (very spoiled) rescue dog. When not at work, Kerry can usually be found reading, hiking, or getting into a wide variety of shenanigans with her book club. Anything to avoid housework.

Kerry is a current member of the Women’s Fiction Writing Association, and also muses about life as a writer, autism mom, dance mom, and rescue dog mom on Lazy Sunday Days. Summer of Georgie is her first novel.

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My Husband is Married to An Alien Time Traveler by Janie Emaus – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Janie Emaus will be awarding a $50 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.

My Husband is Married to An Alien Time Traveler

One of the laws in The Time Traveling Matchmaker Handbook refers to blood type. Those with RH negative blood find it easier to time travel and make excellent matchmakers.

According to articles I have read on the Internet, a most reliable source as we all know, those with RH negative blood are descendants of aliens.

it’s a double whammy for because Rh-negative blood flows through my veins.

Or at least it did before Covid. My blood type may now be Cabernet-positive, but I wasn’t born that way.

So, not only could I be a relative of ET, I possess the ability to time travel once I find the correct portal.

The Rh factor refers to a protein first discovered on the red blood cells of the Rhesus monkey. Having this protein means one is Rh-positive. Without the protein, one is Rh-negative.

Only 15% of the population fall in the negative category. And scientists cannot fully explain its origin.

Which logically follows, if we didn’t evolve from earthly organisms, aliens must have landed here via spaceship or time travel, zillions of years ago and left their mark.

What other explanation could there possibly be?

One of the reasons for this belief is that an Rh-negative mother may reject her Rh-positive baby. And what civilized species rejects one of its own?

It’s also been noted that some of us have an extra vertebrae. I do, in fact, have a floating rib. We usually have lower than normal blood pressure and a low pulse.

Upon further dissection into my behavior, I began to question the validity of my human status.

I do have some very off-beat characteristics.

For one, I have to keep things in balance. For instance, if I touch a knob with one hand, I have to touch it with the other. When I walk, I have this pole which I tap with both fingers. And I sometimes even ask the friend I am walking with to touch the pole after me.
She rolls her eyes, a very human trait. But she does comply. Isn’t that what best friends are for?

I once had a dream where each piece of my clothing had numerical value. I couldn’t wake up until I was in balance.

I love mayonnaise, lettuce and peanut butter sandwiches. I find myself counting steps all the time.

I could go on and on, but the more I think about this, I’d rather keep my existence a secret from possible “other-worldly” spies. Experiments may be ongoing.

Perhaps my “real” descendants are looking for me.

Please don’t worry.

Should I suddenly disappear, I will phone home!

In The Time Traveling Matchmaker, love takes on a new meaning when soul mates are brought together through time and space.

Like every goal-oriented twenty-something, Jessica Singleton, an aspiring filmmaker, is obsessed with finding her future as quickly as possible. What she doesn’t know is that the future is obsessed with finding her, too. Renn Porter, an agent with Time Traveling Matchmaker’s Inc, blasts back in time – and into her life- in order to transport Jessica to the soul mate who has paid for this service…in the future. But things turn dangerous when it’s revealed that Renn has been sent after his own soul mate.

Caught between two times, Jessica and Renn must struggle to stay alive. Falling in love is the biggest risk either of them has ever taken – because, as they are destined to learn, the very existence of Time Traveling Matchmakers, Inc. rests in Jessica’s hands.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Renn was coming toward me now and our eyes met. Fireworks went off inside my chest. He wasn’t avoiding me this time. This time I would learn the truth.

I raised my hand in a small wave.

“Watch out!” A bicyclist shouted as he sped down the sidewalk, completely out of control.

He clipped Renn’s shoulder, pushing him up against me. Renn’s coat got caught on the buckle of my purse. I heard a rip. No, more than that – I felt a rip down the center of my body, jagged like a piece of broken glass. Beneath my feet, the sidewalk tilted, and I lost my balance.

A strong a wind kept me from falling. Once steady, I turned to find Renn.

This all happened in a less than a second. And in that second Renn was gone. Vanished. Just like that. All that was left was his lemony scent. And the memory of his hand on my arm.

I didn’t see him in either direction. My head throbbed as if something heavy kept knocking into it.

A minute later a mother with her little girl walked past me. I knew before she stopped, that the little girl was going to bend down to tie her shoe. Time was going to repeat itself. Again.

She giggled, just like before. “Thanks, Mommy,” she said. “Tomorrow I can do it myself.”

I held on to the desire I had seen in Renn’s eyes, wondering about my tomorrow.

About the Author Janie Emaus believes when the world is falling apart, we’re just one laugh away from putting it together again. The Time Traveling Matchmaker is her debut adult novel. She is also the author of the blended holiday picture books, Latkes for Santa Claus, and the forthcoming Matzo Balls & Easter Eggs. Her essays, stories and articles have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and websites. In 2016 she won an honorary mention in the Erma Bombeck Writing competition. To learn more about Janie visit her at her website.

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WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY VILLAIN by Jenna Jaxon – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jenna Jaxon will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN 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 I LEARNED FROM MY VILLAIN

This is a hard/tricky question for this book, because it actually has two villains and I learned something from both of them. The first villain in The Widow’s Christmas Surprise is Maria’s (the heroine) second husband, Allan, Lord Kersey. Her first husband died at Waterloo, leaving her a very young widow. She seduced/was seduced by Lord Kersey and married him. This is the backstory, although at the end of the first book of the series, we are given the hope that the couple will do just fine. Rakes make the best husbands.

Except when they don’t.

And as I was writing the series, I became convinced that Allan would not change his ways. He would cheat on Maria and she would be miserable. This book opens with Allan getting ready to go out and duel with a man whose wife he was found in bed with. Yeah, Allan is pretty dastardly.

But I also became convinced that some villains could be redeemed at the very last minute. They may be rakes or blackguards or cads, but they could still have a shred of decency in them and redeem themselves in surprising ways—Allan’s is by showing heretofore unknown courage and a final thought for his wife and child. I find sometimes I want to redeem a villain and sometimes they earn that last bit of grace.

The second villain, Lord Wetherby, taught me that sometimes everything I just said above doesn’t hold true. Sometimes the villain is simply a villain and so gets their just desserts, either death, or imprisonment, or merely a money-grubbing shrew for a wife. We don’t learn Lord Wetherby’s ultimate fate in The Widow’s Christmas Surprise, but I can guarantee, it will be exactly what he deserves, no redemption in sight.

The death of her husband has thrown Lady Maria Kersey’s future into doubt—and her heart into the arms of a man she cannot have. But Christmas with the Widows’ Club will bring choices—and surprises–that may change all her holidays to come . . .

Maria just gave birth to her first child, a beautiful daughter—but the event is shrouded in sorrow. A month earlier, Maria’s husband, Lord Kersey, was killed in a duel under compromising circumstances. Worse, Maria’s failure to provide a male heir has stripped her of any hope of an inheritance. Scorned by the ton, one of her few allies is her late husband’s steward, Hugh Granger. Hugh is everything her husband was not—warm, charming—and penniless. . . .

Hugh has fallen desperately in love with Maria, but has little to offer but comfort. As their attraction becomes impossible to resist, Maria flees to London to spend Christmas with her dearest friends, a group of widows who lost their own husbands in the Battle of Waterloo. Little does she know the holidays will reveal a twist of fate she never expected—proving that the greatest Christmas gift is the magic of true love . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt

“I see the skating came back to you,” he steered them down the center of the frozen pond toward the bulrushes at the end, then turned to head back up the far side.

“It did–this is so marvelous–I did not realize how much I had missed it until I started to skate.” Maria’s excitement was infectious. He’d not thought of skating since last year, but now the thrill of the speed—almost like flying—seemed one of the most exhilarating things he’d ever done. “Take my hands like this.”

He clasped her hands, left in left and right in right, until they faced one another, then he began to spin them around, faster and faster until the world sped by at a dizzying pace.
Maria leaned her head back, laughing up to the cloudless sky, her face more beautiful than he’d ever seen it.

He slowed them down until they stood facing one another, panting. “I love you.” Hugh managed to get the words out before he sank his mouth onto hers.

The kiss was quick—they were still both gasping for breath—then a gulp of air, then he kissed her again. Longer this time, pressing against her even as he wrapped his arms around her and drew her to him. Another breath and he settled in for a lengthy kiss that he deepened, delving through her lips, into her mouth, tasting all the entrancing flavors that were uniquely her. God, he would never get enough.

About the Author: Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling author of historical romance, writing in a variety of time periods because she believes that passion is timeless. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories.

She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets–including two vocal cats, one almost silent cat, two curious bunnies, and a Shar-pei mix named Frenchie.

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Love Blooms in Morning Star by Charlotte Hubbard – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Charlotte Hubbard will be awarding a $15 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.

As Jo Fussner keeps the Marketplace humming, her heart dances with a joyous secret. Jo and Michael Wengerd, a shy nursery owner from a nearby town, have fallen hopelessly in love. When Michael buys a courting buggy, Jo is sure a proposal will follow. But she’ll have to work hard to gain her mother’s approval—because the widowed Drusilla Fussner is convinced that marriage will bring her daughter nothing but heartache.

To win Jo’s hand, Michael enlists his father’s help in convincing Drusilla to give the marriage her blessing—and perhaps even open her heart to new happiness of her own. . . . But just as Jo and Michael’s hope for their future grows, an even bigger obstacle looms. The Amish elders vote to forbid any maidel from working once she marries. Now Jo must choose between the beloved store she’s put her heart into, and the man she can’t live without. Conflicted, Jo will have to trust that anything is possible when true faith guides the way.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Jo Fussner gripped the pew bench in her excitement, thrumming with joy as she gazed across the center of the room at Michael Wengerd. As newehockers, they had front row seats at Molly and Marietta Helfings’ double wedding, which was about to begin now that the church service had concluded. In his black pants and vest, with a white shirt that glowed in the March sunshine that streamed through the window, Michael looked so handsome and elegant that Jo still wondered what he saw in a bulky, big-boned woman like her. But the love shining in his gray-blue eyes as he returned her gaze had the power to make her feel beautiful beyond belief.

Michael might’ve stayed in Queen City over the winter to make things easier for me, but his face still reflects his deep feelings for me—his belief that we should be together. It’s a miracle even more special than springtime, Lord, and for that I thank You!

When Bishop Jeremiah Shetler smiled at Marietta and Molly, the brides rose from the pew bench. In their dresses of deep teal, adorned with aprons made of crisp white organdy, they looked fresh and lovely as they centered themselves before the bishop with their grooms on either side of them. Pete Shetler appeared as nervous as Jo had ever seen him—until Molly’s reassuring smile brought the dimples back into his playful grin. Widowed nearly a year ago, Glenn Detweiler offered his elbow to slender Marietta, who took it with a dreamlike sigh as he placed his hand over hers.

Lydianne Christner, another of the twins’ side-sitters, leaned closer to Jo. “It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for!” she whispered happily. As the bishop’s fiancée, the pretty blond teacher was anticipating her own wedding in May, after school let out.

On Lydianne’s other side, redheaded Regina leaned forward to share her excitement, as well. “And your turns are coming!” she put in. “Last year at this time, who could’ve believed that every one of us confirmed maidels would find the man of her dreams?”

About the Author:

In 1983, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. She wrote around 70 of those confession stories, and she’s sold more than 60 books to traditional or online publishers. A longtime resident of Missouri, she’s currently writing Amish romances set in imaginary Missouri towns for Kensington. She now lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.

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How do you fight fear in creativity? by Melissa J. Roche – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Melissa J. Roche will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC or a digital copy of the book to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How do you fight fear in creativity?

Fear is the mind killer. ~ Bene Gesserit litany, Dune Chronicles, Frank Herbert

I’m a roller skater, so I know what fear feels like.

Fear is the bunching of the muscles in my back and neck, bracing for the impact on hard concrete. Fear is those same muscles clenching early, anticipating failure, throwing off my balance before I even find it. Fear is the heavy sigh that says I shouldn’t even try next time—not when my bruises already have bruises.

I’m a writer, so I know what fear looks like.

Fear is a blank page that refuses to be filled. Fear is red ink, lifeblood leaking into the margins. Fear is a haze of alphabet soup, phrases floating through my peripheral vision—you can’t, that’s ridiculous and wrong, just delete it already, why would anyone ever want to read any of your words?

I’m an author, so I know what fear sounds like.

“How’d the release go?” “Did you hear about her six-figure deal?” “What are you working on next?” “Oh, that’s nice.” And let’s not forget the sound of silence—from the inbox, from the comment threads, from the vast void of social media marketing. A newborn author can find herself swallowed in that silence, fast forgetting the sound of her own voice.

I’m human. I stare Fear in the face, sometimes daily. I roll out of bed, put my feet on the floor, and find Fear already parked on my slumped shoulders, whispering lies into my ear. It’s hungry, ravenous even. It gobbles up insecurity, shame, comparison, scorn, failure, rejection—the table scraps of a diet no human should sustain. And just like that, it’s bigger, meaner, hungrier, ready for the next day.

But I’m still human, which means something else too: I’m stubborn. Tenacious. And equipped with the one weapon Fear fears most.

Anyone who’s put themselves through training knows it—only the stubborn become the skilled. Out on the skate rink I get up again, dust off my bruises, and get back at it. I spin around again, trip again, fall again, get up again, spin around again. And slowly, spin by spin, my reflexes grow more familiar with success than afraid of failure.

As a writer, I’m tenacious. To be honest, I learned tenacity from the words themselves. Words sometimes wake me in the middle of the night, restless until written. Ideas won’t let go until they’re shaped into story. That blank page that tries to dictate my opinion of myself as a writer? I’ve found I have to grab hold of it, shake loose all the unhelpful words, then put pen to paper and simply write the next right thing.

But then I have to face Fear’s greatest weapons: those whispers. They’ll hate it… She’s a better writer than you… You’re a fake… They’re all laughing behind your back… You’ll never be enough… These are the moments when stubbornness and tenacity fade, the words run and hide, and the doubt creeps in. And the only one weapon I’ve found that’s strong enough to counter Fear’s fiercest whispers… is Love.

Love yourself. As a writer, as a skater, as a human—love yourself. Learn to laugh when the words play tricks on you or when the wheels fly out from under you. Look yourself in the mirror, and speak truth to lies. Be proud of a first draft, however malnourished, no matter its Apgar score. Practice patience with yourself and your creativity, giving it the time it needs to work its magic.

Then, love outward. Love someone else’s creativity enough to shout it from the rooftops. Assume the best of the human behind every rejection letter. Show up on social media for the sake of another, or the Other. And above all, love your world by offering it the greatest gift you have—the gift of yourself, your brave creativity, the best and only antidote to fear.

Kriss heads home to her small prairie town with 98% of an astrophysics PhD, a load of memories she’d rather not think about, and a survival plan: skate and graduate. Her plan doesn’t include the attention of a familiar admirer from the nearby fire station, one with an impressive physique, a hidden singing talent, and a smile dazzling enough to sweep her off her skates. Before she knows it, she’s falling for him—hard.

Chase has settled into the rhythms of his small-town firefighter routine, but he remembers Kriss from high school: the starry-eyed skater girl on her way out the door of his life. Now she’s back, just as gorgeous as ever, spinning around the next-door rink without a care in the world. Or so he thinks, until Kriss is targeted with mysterious acts of vandalism designed to derail her dreams. Can he help Kriss find the courage to stand up under the attacks and trust herself to love again?

Enjoy an Excerpt

He rounded the first corner at the far end of the field and snuck a glance back toward the rink just in time to watch Kriss’s long ponytail sail out behind her helmet with another tight spin. That one must not have gone quite as planned, because she stumbled a little and lurched sideways. But she recovered gracefully enough with a quick laugh a moment later, as if she enjoyed the thrill of almost wiping out on the concrete.

Yup. Gotta fall to get better. His ass knew as well as anyone else’s, after too many falls on that very same rink, shuffling his own inline skates and hockey stick around one of the goals in his spare time.

Too much of his spare time. But he wasn’t so bad on wheels himself, these days—MVP on the fire department’s informal team, crushing the police department’s lousy attempts at rivalry in the yearly Battle of the Badges tournament.

His high school self would die a thousand deaths before admitting it, but young Chase had taken up street hockey for a very… specific reason. Kriss had been just as badass on her skates all those years ago as a senior at Sacreola High, three years ahead of him. Hot, smart, and senior—and totally out of his league.

She had graduated and moved on without giving him so much as a second glance. But his newfound love for skating had stuck around long enough to turn him into a decent hockey player on the side. No harm done.

About the Author Melissa received her first pair of black-and-hot-pink inline skates in fourth grade, a couple of years before she swore her life to the study of the stars (in a fit of sci-fi inspired passion). Two decades later, she has acquired several larger pairs of skates and an astronomy PhD, both of which tend to slip out from under her at the most inopportune moments. She enjoys skating and singing at the neighborhood rink in her small town in Colorado, where she lives with her husband, two boys, and a cozy lap cat. Only one of which is allowed to read her writing over her shoulder.

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The Background of the Book by C.S. Edwards – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddeess Fish Promotions. C.S. Edwards will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Background of the Book

Love Potion #999 is a fun romp with a sassy cast of characters; a whole lot like my twenties. You see, Betsy Babington hales from a famous witch doctor family, and has risen to the height of success and fame. She’s the brains and name behind the famous Babington’s Best brand of potions, which are more like beauty products than life altering magical mixtures. Together with a circle of misfit friends that are also her co-workers and a couple of troublesome cupids, Betsy seems to be headed for nothing but trouble. The bigger problem is she’s bored, single and lonely. Being a good witch, Betsy has never stepped out of line. She’s followed every recipe in her father’s master potions book to a tee… until she finds a forbidden love potion and can’t resist the thought of adding it to her collection; and testing it out for herself. That my friends, was a bad idea and causes all sorts of mayhem; including not knowing if she is really in love with the hunky witchologist she met in Arnold’s Bar! Thinking her rogue potion has possessed the man she may or may not love, Betsy and her band of wacky tag-a-longs go on a journey to set things straight!

Well, my twenties weren’t exactly like Betsy’s adventure, but the background of this book really took me back to my younger years. I lived in New York City in my twenties with a bunch of my college buddies and we couldn’t help but get into trouble – even when we weren’t looking for it. Our antics were always like a domino of errors, where everyone tried to pick up the pieces for everyone else, and that effort just kept knocking other things over. We had a lot of fun! Our intentions were mostly always good, and more importantly, we were there for each other through thick and thin. That is the basis for Betsy and her friends’ story.

However, the second layer of this backdrop and foundation of this book is where it takes place! While I lived in NYC during my crazy years, Betsy and her crew live in Cincinnati, Ohio and travel around in Northern Kentucky, ending up in the tiny town of Rabbit Hash— I Iive on the Kentucky side of Cincinnati today; not in Rabbit Hash, but pretty close! I love to ground my stories with something very tangible from my life. In this series, the characters live where I live and go places I go. For example, there really is an Arnold’s Bar and Grill in Cincinnati and I love it! Rabbit Hash, Kentucky sits on a famous stretch of road that draws a ton of bikers to the General Store every summer. All of those details in this book, and the Witch Doctor’s Series are all real!

Lastly, I was drawn into the paranormal genre by first a love of the fantastical worlds, but second by my best friend and fellow author Robyn Peterman. She is the mastermind behind the Magic and Mayhem Universe that connects this story and series to so many other amazing tales of paranormal romance. Thus, this Witch Doctor’s series always has a strong theme of friendship and how important friends are in the lives of the characters! Because without my best friend, I might not have told these tales!

Now, I hope you have a better sense of the background of Love Potion #999, and all the Witch Doctor books in this series. It’s a dream to share my stories with you! Thank you for reading and supporting!

Did you hear what happened when a witch doctor met a witchologist in a bar? Well, mayhem ensued! What else did you expect? It’s all because everyone had too many Gnome Island Iced Teas, not to mention the cloud of intoxicating glitter that put everyone under the table even if they didn’t drink a drop. But the real punch line in that fateful tale were the two potion-filled arrow toting cupids. For one witch, after that night, stuff got real.

You see, the witch doctor was none other than the famous apothecary and alchemist, Betsy Babington. She’s a celebrity! Famous, successful, single, and… bored. Before she walked into that bar, Betsy was itching to change things up. So, she enlisted her coven of misfits and two mischievous cherubs to make a rogue love potion recipe — destined to be the next big thing in her famous potions brand. She never once thought about making Love Potion#999 for herself! Definitely not! Well, maybe she did, just a little…

For the whole truth, you’ll have to read the story. All I can really say is some magical historians have said Betsy Babington’s tangle with the trouble of Love Potion #999 was like opening Pandora’s box. Now that was a little extreme. For the folks who were there, it was more like a weekend in Vegas.

Enjoy an Excerpt

She was tired of the same ole same ole. The truth was, Betsy Babington was tired of a lot of things in her life. She was tired of working so hard. She was tired of being famous. Some days, she was tired of being a witch doctor. But most everyday Betsy was tired of being alone. Of course, she had her coven, Ron, Lola, April and Jessica—which she loved. Charles, her ogre bodyguard, was truly like family. Her baby boy cherubs were total stinkers, but she totally adored them. But that one true special someone in her life was missing. She was 135, and single. That fact, coupled with the news of her younger sister falling for a hunky, mysterious, mystic angel, made Betsy jealous. Jealously was not an emotion she was used to having or liked. She’d never been jealous of either of her siblings. Bart and Betty Babington were awesome witch doctors, in their own right. But she had the life to be jealous of—that’s what she used to think. Lately, Betsy Babington felt green with envy at the mention of Betty and Gates, or any couple, and that icky feeling was stuck in her crawl.

A red blush crept across her face — brought on by envy and jealousy. She rubbed her cheek, desperate to temper the color before any member of her coven caught a glimpse of it. Ron, Lola, April and Jessica never noticed. They were oblivious, busy arguing about measurements.

“Not too much honey, that’s the key.” Ron measured the thick gooey liquid in a beaker.

“And just a drop of artemisia. We wouldn’t want to poison anyone.” April fussed. “It’s only for the silver color, anyway.”

Betsy strolled across the room to join her team as she gently folded the loose-leaf paper and tucked it in her lab coat pocket. “April’s right. Artemisia can be dangerous. But not the way we use it to tint the potion. Just a drop and a quarter should be all you need to make the Mirror Me potion sparkle.”

About the Author: I was born in Ashland, Kentucky, the youngest of three children, and grew up in the small Eastern Kentucky town of Inez. I moved to Lexington to finish high school. Attending Transylvania University for two years, before graduating from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia – with a degree in Economics – go figure! After a stint in New York City, I moved back home to Kentucky and have since built my life around family.

Living just outside of Cincinnati with my husband, Sean, and our five amazing kids, and a precious goldendoodle, I work hard to find time to balance family, work, and writing.

My first passion is weaving mysteries and I’m working on several new fiction projects now. This past year, I also found great joy in creating useful journals, trackers, and planners. I have big plans for publishing more of these creative notebooks in the future! As always, I cannot wait to share my next novel with you. I hope you enjoy, and welcome hearing from you!

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The Undeniable Truth by Diana Rhodes

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn host. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Is who you have become who you really are?

People are lost. They are roaming around looking for answers and can not find them in the typical places where answers should be. They are looking for the truth and that is hard to find in a world that is bombarded with false messages, lies and manipulations.

The truth as we once knew it has become distorted. The world has become inverted, turned inside out and it is only getting worse.

Only those who have the spiritual fortitude to fight their way through will get to the
ultimate truth, the undeniable truth. At that level, all will be revealed including the truth about
who you are, why you had to go through the things you went through and ultimately, what God’s
purpose is for your life. (Hint: The answer has something to do with the gifts he gave you)

For some of us, in the beginning it is a turbulent journey at best, one that starts off with
disappointment, heartache and pain, but that is where perseverance comes in. For those of you
who are able to move beyond our circumstances and still honor that energy that is God, thereis
a reward!

Enjoy an Excerpt

Lottie directed us to sit in an area that was out of the way, but close enough for us to watch her do her thing on stage. When it was her time to go out, the music played loudly and the men got pumped up. The MC said her name and the stage lights came on instantaneously. He introduced her as, “Lottie The Body”. The colored lights swirled around the stage creating a mesmerizing effect. Lottie took center stage then emerged from the lights to thunderous applause and a number of whistling men started calling out her name like she was a superstar. She became this whole other person on stage. She morphed into this goddess that men had to have.She flung her body effortlessly into the air then strategically wrapped her long legs around a brass pole twirling herself around like a doll in a music box I once had. As the music played, she went up and down the pole rhythmically keeping perfect time with the beat as she contorted her body into positions that delighted every man in the room, even the dj.

About the Author

Diana Rhodes is an African-American playwright, screenwriter and author. She is the proud mother of two sons and has written, directed and produced several Off-Broadway plays. She is most noted for her theatrical production of “Troubled Little Angel”, a tribute to the life and legacy of R & B songstress Phyllis Hyman.

Diana continued her writing after moving from New York to Atlanta in 2015 and a few years later was selected as one of the contributing playwrights in the annual production of 50In50 “Letters to Our Sons”, a production usually performed at the Billie Holiday Theater. Her works also include an impressive list of short stories featured on the Ebook website Write On Press.

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