The Truth Inside by Trish Edmisten – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Trish Edmisten will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

For as long as he can remember, Nate’s dreamed of being an MMA fighter. Nothing is going to stand in his way and no one is going to distract him. Everything is going according to plan when Natalie comes along. Even though he wasn’t looking for love, Nate can’t help falling fast and hard. Smart, sweet and supportive, she seems too good to be true, but it’s actually the other way around. Nate isn’t good enough for her, and he’s keeping a secret that will change everything between them. One day, she’ll see the truth inside of him. Until then, Nate’s determined to keep Natalie in his life for as long as he can.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Scooting forward until their knees touched, Natalie reached up and framed his face with her hands. “It doesn’t change anything between us, Nate.”

“It changes everything.”

“The only thing that changes is now I know. That’s it, nothing else.”

“It really doesn’t matter to you?”

Nate still looked doubtful, but she wasn’t surprised. Having spent his whole life being confused by and ridiculed for what he was, she knew better than to expect it to be easy to convince him it wasn’t a deal breaker.

“It matters, but it doesn’t change the way I feel about you.”

A hint of wonder sparked in his eyes. “How is that possible?”

“Would it matter to you if I’d been born male?”

“No, but that’s different.”

“It’s really not. I fell in love with who you are, not what you are. You may have been born a female, but you’re not. You never have been.”

“I still have ”

Natalie pressed a finger to his lips, cutting off his words. “What’s between your legs doesn’t make a difference to me. It isn’t what I fell in love with.”

Tears glistened in his eyes as he took a shaky breath. “You say that now, but you haven’t seen what’s under my clothes.”

“I don’t have to see what’s under your clothes to decide how I feel about you. The only parts of your body I care about are the parts that make you who you are,” Natalie said softly. “Your heart and your mind are what matters.”

About the Author: Trish Edmisten is the author of several novels, including Extraordinary Will, a Reader Views Literary Award Winner. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Journal, Creative With Words and A Long Story Short. Besides being an author, she holds a degree in criminology. Trish lives in Fresno, California with her husband and their teenage daughter.

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Don’t Let Him Go by Kay Harris – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Kay Harris 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.

Candace Gleason passed the bar, landed a great job, and is making a killer salary–basically, all of her dreams are coming true. Until she’s assigned to keep the boss’s petulant son out of trouble.

Jack Morrison is the rebellious black sheep of a mighty real estate family. He runs a nonprofit whose mission is to save poor people from evil corporations, like the one his own family owns. He is obnoxious, ridiculously charming, and insanely hot. He is the bane of Candace’s very existence.

Sparks fly from the moment they meet. Candace suddenly has more to worry about than keeping Jack out of jail. She has to keep him out of her heart.

 

Enjoy an Excerpt

I folded my arms across my chest and glared at Jack as he moseyed into the room. “You ambushed me.”

Jack came to a stop a few feet away and nodded. “I did.”

“That’s it?” I spread my arms out and leaned forward. My voice rose despite my effort to control it. “That’s all you have to say?”

“What do you want me to say? You’re smart. You can see what I did back there. I used you for my own gain.”

“You’re a prick!”

“I’m not surprised you feel that way. But I am sorry you had to get caught in the crossfire.” He moved to the couch and took a seat in the middle of it, purposefully giving me the high ground.

He slung his arms over the back of the couch casually, making him look like an arrogant ass. And that is exactly what I thought of him at that moment. So I called him on his supposed apology. “Are you?”

“Yes, I am. But you’re not innocent, Candie. You put yourself in this position by going to work for Morrison.”

“It’s Candace!” I shouted, on the edge of insanity.

He didn’t respond. He just looked at me with that infuriatingly handsome face and waited, an amused grin dancing on his face.

About the Author:

Kay Harris has had a diverse career with jobs ranging from college professor to park ranger. Now she adds author to her repertoire. Kay writes romance novels that contain a little bit of sweet, a dash of sexy, a touch of heartbreak, and a whole lot of fun!

Kay grew up in the Midwest and has since lived all over the western United States including Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. She loves to hike, is obsessed with museums, and enjoys taking her extremely tall and very handsome husband on adventures.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Faceboo | Goodeads | BookBub Author Page
Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Racing the Tide by January Bain – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Racing the Tide, Book one in the TETRAD Group series.

Cole and Gabby, undercover in Vancouver’s Chinatown, have no time for the attraction developing between them. Not when the race is on to rescue a kidnap victim before time runs out.

My name is Cole McClintock. My new job with the TETRAD Group has me working with a woman that’s gotten me so tied up in unfuckingbelievable knots that I’m a certifiable nut job. I mean, just look at her. The woman is beyond hot with those big doe eyes and luscious curves that makes me want to possess every single inch of her.

One look at Cole McClintock and knew I should stay right the fuck away from him. My name is Gabriella Banks and I’d be the first to admit I’m complicated, but at least my job as a new operative with The TETRAD Group keeps me too busy to dwell on my lack of a sex life. I never thought I’d be admitting this, but my strong-woman exterior hides a craving for something more—something only Cole can provide…

 

Enjoy an Excerpt

The bed trembled, its legs jerking and thudding about in a kind of macabre dance. Cole woke instantly. Is this the big one? The king-size bed shimmied and rattled a few more times, then settled back down, coming to rest slightly askew on the hardwood floor of his bedroom, the earth having released its rage. Another fucking tremor. He ran his hands through his sweat-damp hair, glancing over at the bedside table.

Five-fourteen a.m. He slid his gaze from the clock to the picture, as he did every morning, ready to administer his daily punishment. During the long night of sleeping intermittently, he had made up his mind, but now, looking at her face, he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t dishonor her memory in that way. Especially not in that way. The coward’s way.

His mind zeroed in on the single event defining his life, the day haunting him every second the clock ticked. The day almost a year ago when he’d pulled into his driveway after a voice message he could make no sense of. Finding the front door ajar. Walking down a hallway so silent he could hear the pounding in his skull echoing his slamming pulse. Finding the bathroom door shut against him. One more obstacle. Turning the handle as slow as a swimmer in deep water, finding it unlocked, his throat tight and aching. The creak of the hinges. The door swung open. His vision darkening around the edges as he took in the horror of the scene. The heaviness in his chest that made him sink to the floor, gathering her into his arms. No. Oh, God no. Not like this.

About the Author:

January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create a series that features strong women who don’t take life too seriously, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope the stories of her beloved Brass Ringers will capture your imagination as you follow their exploits as much as they did when she wrote them.

If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with two furry babies trying to prove who does a better job of guarding the doorway. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.

If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook, twitter and writes a weekly blog about her journey on Blogger. Oh, and she loves to talk books…

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Smoldering Flame by Andrew Grey


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Andrew Grey who is celebrating today’s release of Smoldering Flame, the third book in his Rekindled Flame series.

Smoldering Flame is a special story for me. At its heart, this story is about how one kind deed can lead to happiness in a way that Marco never expected. When Dean and Sammy show up at his studio, he’s about to turn them away. But when he sees Sammy, he changes his mind and does what he can to make the sick little boy happy. Sammy completely stole my heart as I was writing the story. He’s a young boy who has been through a lot. Sammy’s father is a fireman and Sammy is all about fire dogs and his fire daddy. He was just too cute for words. Of course, Marco and Dean both have issues and commitments that could pull them apart, but the fact remains that one kind deed from Marco has the power to change everything for all of them.

Here are my Top 5 Book Writing Songs. As you can tell I love show tunes mostly. They just get me going like nothing else does. I listen to the Broadway channel on Sirius all the dang time. Smile

Make Your Own Kind of Music – Mama Cass. I love this song and it really inspires me because we all need to make our own music.

Hello – From Book of Mormon because this song always makes me laugh and sometimes you just need that.

Love Changes Everything – This is an amazing song which is so true, especially for me.

Movie in My Mind – From Miss Saigon. This song is so haunting and longing, it always moved my soul.

Only Make Believe – From Showboat This is an old show, but the song has such an interesting way of conveying two people falling in love at first sight. And then it’s used when they come back together after hard times.

Sometimes the strongest flames take the longest to ignite.

Firefighter Dean’s life revolves around his very ill son, Sammy. Caring for Sammy and working to make ends meet leave Dean time for little else, and romance isn’t something he can even consider—no matter how much he longs for someone special to join their family. Because money is tight, Dean couldn’t be more grateful to the photographer who does Sammy’s session free of charge.

After growing up in the foster care system, Marco knows how to rely on himself, and his hard work is about to pay off—he’s poised on the cusp of fame and success he could only have imagined as a lonely child. When Dean brings Sammy into Marco’s studio, Marco can see they’re struggling, and both the boy and his father stir Marco’s heart. The slow burn between the two men isn’t something either expected, but neither wants to lose the possibility of a loving future. With Dean’s dangerous and possibly life-threatening career and Marco’s demanding one, can romance and forever find a place to fit?

Enjoy an Excerpt

With the squeaky toy echoing in his ears for the millionth time, Marco tried to get the dog to look at him. He needed one last picture with Snickers looking straight at him.

Marco had to be careful—he wanted Snickers to only turn his head. The dog’s body was perfect. If he squeaked the toy too loud, the dog would move and everything would go to hell. And it would be another half an hour before he’d be able to get the damned shot.

Marco was tired. Snickers was tired. His owner, Baily, was slumped in a nearby chair, already having given up the ghost on this one.

“That’s it, boy. You’re almost perfect.” Marco pressed the shutter button, taking one picture and then another. As Snickers moved his head toward him, Marco held the button, rattling off multiple shots in quick succession. Then Snickers huffed and lay down, closing his eyes as if to say he’d had more than enough and was done for the day. Marco took a few more pictures because Snickers looked adorable and he never knew what was going to click with the client. Then he backed away from the camera, smiling.

“Is that it?” Baily asked hopefully.

“Yes. I think we’re all done for the day. Snickers did really good, and I appreciate your patience.” For the owner, this kind of session was hard. These pictures weren’t for her, but for an advertising agency in New York, and if they liked what they saw, there would be a decent payday for Marco, as well as Baily.

“Do you want to take a look?” Marco asked, turning the nearby computer screen to face them, then moving through the pictures one by one.

“Wow! Those look great.”

“Let me know which one you want and I’ll have it printed for you.” She had been so patient, and Marco wanted her to have a really good picture of Snickers.

“I love that one,” Baily said, smiling as Snickers doggy-laughed at the camera. It was a great image of the sand-colored corgi and one Marco was sure the agency would flip for.

“Me too.” He made note of the image. “He did a great job,” Marco reiterated, then stifled a yawn. This session was only supposed to have taken an hour, and almost three hours later, he was wiped out and had zero energy.

Baily scooped Snickers into her arms, and he settled right against her. Clearly he was just as wiped out.

“I’ll call you as soon as I hear. I’m hoping, if they like what they see, they’ll contact us for more pictures, and then, who knows?”

“Thank you, Marco.” Baily grinned. She was in her midtwenties and was a really sweet person. She’d first brought Snickers in for a personal portrait session, but when one of Marco’s clients came looking for dog images, Marco had shown them Snickers and they’d requested more for an ad campaign.

“No problem. I’ll be in touch.” Marco loosely hugged her and then led her to the front door. He let her out and locked up before returning to his studio. He cleaned up the toys, dusted down the backgrounds, and vacuumed the carpet he’d used as a base for the shoot. Then he turned out the lights and settled in for a few hours’ work with his camera and computer.

A knock on the door ten minutes later pulled him out of his task. Marco groaned. His calendar was booked for months and he never took walk-ins. His website even suggested potential clients try to schedule appointments at least three months in advance. So who was knocking at his door?

Marco got up, walked to the door, and pulled it open. “Can I help you?” he asked professionally.

The man there stood taller than Marco by a good six inches. He had to be nearly six four and was as broad as they came. He wore a sweatshirt, unzipped, over a tight navy-blue T-shirt that strained to cover the muscle underneath.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” he said gently but with a hint of agitation, or maybe it was nerves. Marco wasn’t sure, but he was definitely worried about something, judging by how his lower lip had been scraped, probably by the man’s own teeth. “Do you—”

A soft, weak-sounding voice cut through what the man was saying like a knife through butter. “Daddy.”

About the Author: Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world, visiting every continent except Africa and Antarctica. Andrew adores meeting people from cowboys, to executives, artists, police officers and everyone in between. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing). He also hates laundry, cooking, and cleaning. Luckily he has a husband who does that for him so he can keep writing. He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

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Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press.

Five Great Excuses Not to Write by J. Scott Coatsworth – Guest Blog and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes J. Scott Coatsworth who is celebrating today’s release of Lander, the second book in his Oberon Cycle series. Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate and three copies of his queer sci-fi eBook The Stark Divide.

Five Great Excuses Not to Write
by J. Scott Coatsworth

Authors gotta procrastinate. It’s in our DNA. We love to write. We need to write.

And yet we gotta not write, too.

Our writer brains are strange and wonderful things, They need time to recharge, time to work out the various odds and ends from our stories and plots.

So we’ve come up with a number of ways to put off the inevitable, and I thought I’d share a few with you.

1) Laundry. There’s always laundry, and laundry’s gotta be done. And there’s no better time to do it then when you’re on a deadline and gotta finish 20,000 words in the next three hours. Separate those colors. Bleach those whites, and if you need to waste a little more time, run to the grocery store for some more dryer sheets. You can do this!

2) Cleaning your keyboard. This is a master class in procrastination. Get yourself some q-tips and a little 409 or hand soap, and go for it. Make sure you get around all the keys, and extra points if you manage to short out your keyboard and have to drive to the Apple store to get a new one.

3) Personal hygiene. This is a goldmine for the professional procrastinator. The possibilities re nearly endless. There are eyebrows to be trimmed, nose hairs to be plucked, nails to be cut, and various body parts to be shaved, depending on gender and personal preference. If you run out of options, offer to trim something on your significant other.

4) Social media. This is only for master-level procrastinators, because once you go in, you may never come out. Writers procrastinate, but they also need to write, or they’re just people with computers who don’t write. So approach it with caution. Even seasoned writers have been known to lose entire days at a time in the twisty halls of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Take a flashlight and have a friend check on you after a few hours to be sure you make it home.

5) Drawing maps. The great thing about this one (and the related “doing research” and “outlining the story”) are that they actually feel like writing work I mean, you have to know what the world (or city or piece of toast) that you are writing about looks like. You can while away hours and hours sketching rivers and mountains, coming up with compelling names like Skaithin Castle and the Whifforwillow River.

So that’s it. Master these skills (and figure out how to write a good scene or two) and you too could be a great writer.

Sometimes the world needs saving twice.

In the sequel to the Rainbow-Award-winning Skythane, Xander and Jameson thought they’d fulfilled their destiny when they brought the worlds of Oberon and Titania back together, but their short-lived moment of triumph is over.

Reunification has thrown the world into chaos. A great storm ravaged Xander’s kingdom of Gaelan, leaving the winged skythane people struggling to survive. Their old enemy, Obercorp, is biding its time, waiting to strike. And to the north, a dangerous new adversary gathers strength, while an unexpected ally awaits them.

In the midst of it all, Xander’s ex Alix returns, and Xander and Jameson discover that their love for each other may have been drug-induced.

Are they truly destined for each other, or is what they feel concocted? And can they face an even greater challenge when their world needs them most?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Jameson savored the kiss, his arms around Xander, the way they fit together just right. They were finally together, and Titania and Oberon were one again.

Erro, Quince had called this new world. Like the skythane god of the sun, the one Errian and the Erriani were named for.
For the moment, everything was right in his life, and he never wanted it to end.

A cold drop of water on his cheek brought him out of his reverie. He glanced up. Storm clouds were piled high, swiftly overtaking them. Rain began to pour out of the sky like a waterfall, and thunder echoed in the clouds as the valley went dark, sunlight smothered by the onrushing clouds. Nearby trees thrashed about in the wind, their purple leaves fluttering in distress.

“What the hell?” Xander said as the winds picked up and ruffled the feathers of his wings. He stared up at the black tempest.
“The Split!” Jameson shouted over the howling of the wind. He mimed the two halves of the world, each with their own atmosphere, suddenly being forced together in the middle. “When the Oberon half shifted, all the atmosphere it brought with it along the Split was forced up here!”

A bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree, crisping it to ashes and standing Jameson’s hair on end.

“Run!” Xander shouted.

Jameson’s vision swam, and a memory slipped into his conscious mind from that other part of him—a high-ceilinged cavern that was more like a faery palace than a cave—where he’d stolen away with a lover. More than once.

His stomach heaved at the displacement, and he clenched his hands. That wasn’t me. They were someone else’s memories.
“Follow me!” he shouted at his four companions—Xander, Quince, Kadin, and Venin—and ran toward the cliffs that were rapidly fading to invisibility behind the rain. He pushed down the memory-nausea, tasting bile in the back of his mouth.

Alia was missing. He’d last seen her as they had fled the Mountain, when it had begun to collapse. Jameson looked around wildly, but she was nowhere to be seen. “Where’s Alia?” he shouted at Kadin as they ran. Thunder shook the valley.

Kadin shook his head, mouthing, “I don’t know.”

Rain swirled all around them, coming down so fast that it pooled on the ground and ran in rivulets downhill toward the lake that was now half filled with the broken remains of the Mountain.

The mud made the footing treacherous. Jameson clambered up the hill, using roots and rocks that offered a firmer surface than the naked ground. The wind tugged at his wings, threatening to flip him over. He pulled them in tightly and glanced back to be sure the others were following him through the tempest.

Jameson reached the cover of the forest, plunging under the protection of the canopy. The trees here were tall and thin with white bark trunks and broad purple leaves that were being shredded by the storm.

About the Author: Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own reality.

Website | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Goodeads | QueeRomance Ink Author Page | Amazon Author Page

Buy the book at Dreamspinner, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, or Queer Romance Ink.

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Necessity of a Writing Room by Naomi Boom – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Naomi Boom will be awarding a $10 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.

Necessity of a Writing Room

Turns out, I desperately require a writing space. A lack of one messes with my head. I can’t seem to focus and my work suffers. It suffers so much that I blame my recent bout with writer’s block on a lack of my own creative space.

When I lived in Kansas, my writing area was my living room. I sat in my favorite chair, ignored the tv in front of me, and focused on my work. That room worked beautifully, and I miss it so, so much.

But then I moved. Twice. The second move was not good. I had zero space to write in, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find a comfortable workspace. Luckily, I only lived there for a span of four months before moving to my current house where I discovered a new set of problems.

First, my behemoth of a desk wouldn’t fit into my designated office. Then, my step-daughter moved in and I lost the room completely, but I won’t complain about that loss because I’m delighted she’s here. But that still left me searching for a work area. Anyplace that would allow me to work in peace, with minimal distractions, and a cozy atmosphere. I tried working in my living room but something felt off. The room felt too open and just didn’t work, which meant I had to get creative and find something else.

So, what did I do?

I emptied a storage room and squeezed my favorite rocking chair into the corner. As you can see in the following picture, it’s not pretty but it has had the most amazing effect on my ability to work.

This room makes me actually want to work and not just stare blankly at my computer screen. It’s the most freeing, magical feeling, and now I can say I have an official writing room. Although it needs some paint, and different shelves, and décor. But it has electrical outlets and my favorite chair, and most importantly, grants me the freedom to write.

If I ever move again, I now know my number one priority, aside from necessities, is to establish a creative space. Granted, my current one is far from finished. I need to find a soothing paint color and I am open to suggestions. Seriously. Suggestions for any improvement at all because I am having the toughest time deciding on a paint color.

Miss Alexandra Farris lost her heart to her older brother’s friend, Lord Maxon Collins, long, long ago. Despite her girlhood attempts to win him, he never noticed her. Now that her first season is underway, she understands why. He prefers willowy blondes, not curvaceous maidens with darker coloring like herself. Rather than wallow in self-pity, she forgets love and focuses on something more attainable—an advantageous match.

Lord Collins is plagued by an uncomfortable feeling whenever he goes near Miss Farris. One of annoyance. And yet, he can’t seem to stop thinking of her, touching her, kissing her…He must act in her brother’s stead, which means he has to approve her suitor and ensure her safety. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to find a worthy gentleman.

Wedding her off should be a simple task, but not if he can’t let her go.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“I have too given you compliments.”

“Really?” She exhaled. “Name one.”

He contemplated the matter for a moment and then said, “I told you your hair was prettier in disarray.”

She had forgotten that. “So you said one thing. Congratulations.”

“Thank you.” He swept an exaggerated bow and smirked up at her.

“That is not something to be proud of. Why, it’s not even that monumental a compliment.”

He straightened, and a light flared in his eyes. There had always been an easy mood between them, but he had never looked at her in such a way before. It was almost, well, sinful.

“Allow me to remedy my error, then.” He caught her hand in his, and gazed deep into her eyes. “Your eyes remind me of a summer storm.” Her gaze faltered from his, but he continued. “Your skin is as smooth as fine porcelain, and your hair is made of the most enticing curls I have ever seen. I can imagine your freed hair would make a man lose his senses. And lastly, you have deliciously kissable lips.”

She swallowed. His ridiculous, probably oft-used lines had the most amazing effect on her. Her knees had grown weak, and her mind was slow to focus. “I-I d-don’t think…” Her voice trailed off as he chuckled.

“With that said, you also possess a tremendous ability to irritate me beyond comprehension.”

About the Author: Naomi Boom never expected to love writing. Her inspiration struck while searching for the perfect historical romance novel to read. Nothing sounded appealing, so she decided to write her own. That one novel has morphed into a series, and hopefully many, many more.

She resides in her home state of South Dakota with her husband and toddler. Her dream is to someday find an acreage where she can raise chickens and, naturally, continue her writing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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

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Just for Nice by H.M. Shepherd – Guest Blog


Long and Short Reviews welcomes H. M. Shepherd as she visits with us to celebrate today’s release of her debut novel Just for Nice.

Top Five Recipes

1. Pizzelles

We used to go to my grandmother’s every Christmas to bake cookies with her and my aunts. I hated going for a variety of reasons, one of which was the iron fist my grandmother used to control her kitchen. I always envied my grandfather, who was left to sit in a corner and make pizzelles for hours on end without being bothered by anyone else. We eventually stopped going to these baking days, but not before I got the recipe my grandfather had originally been given by his Abruzzese mother. It was meant to feed nine children, six step-children, and a legion of grandchildren, so, you know. Adjust accordingly.

● 12 eggs
● 6 cups flour
● 5 cups sugar
● 4 1/2 cups oil
● 3 tbps anise extract
● Zest of 2 lemons

Mix well and press in a pizzelle iron according to instructions.

2. Italian Wedding Soup

My late uncle wrote this up from memory when I complained that I had never been given my grandfather’s soup recipe (same grandfather as above, but since this is a little more involved we never did get around to writing it down). It’s presented here as it was given to me, lax measurements and all, because that’s how this family rolls.

● Whole frying chicken
● Chicken bouillon
● 1 head of escarole
● 1 large onion, diced
● 1 clove garlic, diced
● Celery, diced
● Tiny meatballs
● Ground pepper to taste
● Pastina/orzo
● 2 eggs
● 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
● 1/4 cup milk

To make stock, boil chicken in 2 gallons of water; add bouillon cubes. Once cooked, remove the chicken and cut up as much as you want for the soup. Saute meatballs, onions, and garlic; add to soup with pieces of chicken. Clean and boil escarole. Add as much pastina as you’d like. Let soup boil uncovered until reduced by half. Beat eggs, mix in Parmesan and milk. Add this mixture to soup as you stir.

3. No-Knead Skillet Bread

This is not, in fact, an old family recipe; I found it on Pinterest. But it’s awesome for when you need a side, and it can be customized however you’d like.

● 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
● 2 cups lukewarm water
● 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
● 4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
● Olive oil
● Rosemary

Combine yeast and warm water in a large bowl or pitcher. Using a wooden spoon add in 1 cup of the flour and then the salt and mix until combined. Stir in the rest of the flour, one cup at a time, until completely incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid that is not shut completely. Allow to rise for 1 hour. Do not punch down the dough. Lightly oil the bottom of a cast iron skillet (a 10′′ or 12′′ skillet works well). Sprinkle a good amount of flour on top of the dough and then cover hands with flour. Take all of the dough and shape into a disc (it will be sticky). Place in the skillet, cover loosely with a towel, and allow to rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400oF. Drizzle a little more oil over the top of the bread, and slash the dough with a knife creating an X. Sprinkle with coarse salt and rosemary leaves. Bake for 35–40 minutes until the top is a deep brown color.

4. Hot Dog Sauce

I have no idea whether or not this is true, but family lore says that my great-uncle got the recipe for Yocco’s hot dog sauce from the owner’s girlfriend, with whom he was having an affair (presumably this was before he met my great-aunt, who was ex-military and a feminist before it was cool). This recipe admittedly tastes pretty damn close, but I don’t think it’s anything someone couldn’t have figured out on their own. Still, I like the story.

● 1 lb ground beef
● Grease from 3 or 4 slices of bacon
● Salt
● Pepper
● 1/2 cup chopped onion
● Chili powder

Brown ground beef in bacon grease. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in onions and chili powder. Cover with water and let simmer for one hour.

5. Apple Dumplings

Because at least one recipe from the author of a story set in Pennsylvania Dutch Country should be Pennsylvania Dutch. This is one of my Dad’s favorite desserts, though when I make it I generally end up using puff pastry. Cheating? Maybe, but pie dough is a pain in the ass to get right and I don’t have the patience for it.

● 6 medium Pennsylvania baking apples
● 2 cups all-purpose flour
● 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
● 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
● 3/4 cup sugar
● 1/2 tsp salt
● 2/3 cup shortening
● 1/2 cup milk
● 1 tbsp cinnamon
Sauce
● 2 cups packed brown sugar
● 2 cups water
● 1/4 cup butter
● 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pare and core apples, leaving whole. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening until particles are about the size of small peas. Sprinkle milk over mixture and press together lightly, working dough only enough to hold together. Roll dough on floured surface as for pastry and cut into 6 squares; place an apple on each. Fill cavity in apple with sugar and cinnamon. Pat dough around apples, covering completely. Fasten edges securely on top of apple. Place dumplings 1″ apart in greased baking pan. Combine brown sugar, water and spice. Cook minutes; remove from heat and add butter. Pour over dumplings. Bake at 375°F for 35 to 40 minutes, basting occasionally. Serve hot with whole milk, cream, or ice cream.

Nick Caratelli flees the city in an attempt to escape a broken relationship and a career he never wanted. He plans to set up a bed-and-breakfast in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country—despite the fact he has no experience in renovating the old building. Luckily his handsome neighbor Sam approaches him with a curious proposal: he’ll help with the restoration in exchange for Nick babysitting his niece.

As they work to have the bed-and-breakfast open for business by summer’s end, their lives become interwoven without them even trying. Before he knows it, Nick is recovering from his loss and taking his place in the unconventional family that seems determined to form. But for Nick and Sam to be together in all the ways they desire, they’ll have to realize all the arguments against romance exist only in their heads….

About the Author: H. M. Shepherd is a twentysomething paralegal living in Berks County, Pennsylvania, with both parents, two dogs, a baby sister who should stop growing up, and a brother who similarly failed to launch. Contrary to the Millennial stereotype, however, she does not live in the basement—a blessing considering the size of the spiders down there. She crochets as a hobby, cooks when she can, and reads as though it were her vocation. She is also an amateur genealogist and spends entirely too much time squinting at old census records and church documents. A little spacey, she once managed to forget that her car needed an oil change until it stopped running, and regularly has milk-in-the-cupboard-cereal-in-the-fridge moments. While she is an avid writer, Just for Nice is her first and so far only professional publication.

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Reg’s Porn Name by Amy Lane – Guest Blog


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Lane who is visiting with us today to celebrate the recent release of the latest book in her Johnnies series Bobby Green.

Reg’s Porn Name

Reg’s porn name is sort of a major character tell—because, for most of the book, he doesn’t have one.

Reg was one of John’s first models—when John asked him which name he’d like as his porn name, Reg doesn’t think he needs one. For one, he’s pretty excited to be known as a guy who can get naked on camera, but for another, he’s aware of his limitations. He doesn’t think quickly—he might not respond if someone calls him by a different name.

A few years later (right before Tommy meets Chase, for those who know the timeline) Reg has an encounter with a young lady that leaves him feeling… off balance. She takes his porn persona at face value, and Reg is left feeling… used. He never thought that sort of thing could happen to him—hey, he started when he was nineteen and all sex was good sex. But after nine years, it occurs to him—the naked guy on camera, and the guys he’s naked with, are only one part of who he is.

He suddenly wants to be a different person on camera.

It’s a hard bell to unring, the porn bell. He tries to be Digger for the next year and that… that doesn’t work so well. Because Reg is and always has been fundamentally Reg. He’s been kind and decent and as up front as he can be about what he’s feeling and what he’s thinking and who he is as a person. He assumes this is because he’s stupid and can’t think beyond the here and now, but the truth is much simpler and much more profound.

Reg is a character without artifice.

The one and only time he got his pubes waxed, it hurt and he cried and he stopped. He doesn’t compartmentalize, whether it’s pleasure or pain. If he’s happy, he tells you. If he’s hurt, he cries. And when he realizes that the guys from Johnnies are growing up and graduating from porn to other endeavors, he is hurt—but he’s not bitter.

“Lance?” he mumbled.

“Yeah?”

“You think you’ll remember me when you’re off doctoring and being famous, and I’m still here?”

Lance’s hand in his hair was gentle, and in spite of what they’d just done in bed, brotherly. “I don’t think I’ll be able to forget you,” he said, his voice raspy and sad.

The guys from Johnnies love him even though he can’t make “Digger” stick. He’s straightforward and decent and real, and he carries a tough burden. So Reg is the one Johnnies boy whom I didn’t have to worry about coming up with a porn name for.

But coming up with his happy ever after was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever written.

Vern Roberts couldn’t wait to turn eighteen and get the hell out of Dogpatch, California. But city living is expensive, and he’s damned desperate when Dex from Johnnies spots him bussing tables.

As “Bobby,” he’s a natural at gay porn. Soon he’s surrounded by hot guys and sex for the taking, but it’s not just his girlfriend back in Dogpatch—or her blackmailing brother—that keeps him from taking it. It’s the sweet guy who held the lights for his first solo scene, who showed him decency, kindness, and a smile.

Reg Williams likes to think he’s too stupid to realize what a shitty hand life dealt him, but Bobby knows better. What Reg lacks in family, opportunity, education, and money, he makes up for in heart. One fumbling step at a time, they connect, not just in their hearts but in their bodies, where sex that’s not on camera, casual, or meaningless, becomes the most important thing in the world.

But Reg is hampered by an inescapable family burden, and he and Bobby will never fly unless he can find a way to manage it. Can he break the painful link to his unrealized childhood and grow into the love Bobby wants to give?

About the Author:Amy Lane is a mother of two grown kids, two half-grown kids, two small dogs, and half-a-clowder of cats. A compulsive knitter who writes because she can’t silence the voices in her head, she adores fur-babies, knitting socks, and hawt menz, and she dislikes moths, cat boxes, and knuckleheaded macspazzmatrons. She is rarely found cooking, cleaning, or doing domestic chores, but she has been known to knit up an emergency hat/blanket/pair of socks for any occasion whatsoever or sometimes for no reason at all. Her award-winning writing has three flavors: twisty-purple alternative universe, angsty-orange contemporary, and sunshine-yellow happy. By necessity, she has learned to type like the wind. She’s been married for twenty-five-plus years to her beloved Mate and still believes in Twu Wuv, with a capital Twu and a capital Wuv, and she doesn’t see any reason at all for that to change.

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That Killer Smile by Juliet Lyons

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Juliet Lyons who is celebrating the recent release of That Killer Smile, the third book in her Bite Nights series. Enter to win a copy of the first book in her Bite Nights series, Dating the Undead.

THERE WILL BE HEAT…
Vampire Catherine Adair gave up trying to find her perfect match ages ago. But that didn’t stop her from founding London’s super successful vampire dating site. When a smoldering vampire overlord from her past launches an interspecies speed-dating service, Catherine vows to crush the competition….

WHEN THESE TWO COMPETE
Ronin’s new venture is purely about getting Catherine’s attention. He hasn’t stopped thinking about her ever since the night she gave him the cold shoulder. Nobody gets away from Ronin McDermott that easily…

Enjoy an Excerpt

My first thought when I see the smashed lock is, How on earth did a burglar make it past Mrs. Colangelo?

I shove the door open and step inside. There, sitting—no lounging—in my Laura Ashley recliner and stroking Wentworth, is Ronin fuck weasel McDermott.

My eyes bulge as I absorb the preposterous scene of him sitting with my pet in his lap. He looks like an infuriatingly hot James Bond villain.

“Evening, Catherine,” he says with a nod of his head.

I glare into his intense blue eyes, fists clenching. “What the actual fuck are you doing in my apartment?”

He cocks a brow before rising from the chair, taking Wentworth with him. The latter stays snuggled under his arm, as docile as a newborn lamb.

Pointing at Wentworth, I hiss, “Did you glamour my cat?”

A cloud of confusion passes across his handsome features. “Why on God’s earth would I glamour a cat?”

Without missing a beat, I snap, “That’s what you do to get people to like you.”

He feigns an injured look before setting Wentworth down on the carpet. Then he reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a tiny object. It twinkles beneath the light. “You dropped this earring in my office. It must have fallen out when you kissed me.”

I snort in derision. “Ha! Yeah, I kissed you. Good one. And you came all the way here, broke in to my apartment just to return it to me?”

“I’ll get the lock fixed,” he says, placing the earring on the coffee table. “And I didn’t break in as such. One of your neighbors let me up.”

I shake my head. “Let me guess, an Italian lady in a robe?”

He smiles and I try not to notice how it softens the hard lines of his strong features, how his cool-blue eyes are suffused with warmth.

“There’s a chance she believes lover boy next door is bisexual.”

“What the hell did you tell her?” I ask, folding arms across my chest. The mention of Peter comes as a shock. Being in the same room as Ronin McDermott, I’ve already forgotten he exists.

“Nothing she didn’t secretly long to hear. So who is this guy anyway? Should I be jealous?”

My stomach flips, my mind skipping back to that moment in his office when I left him with a hard-on in the presence of Playboy bunnies. “Jealous?” I try to inject venom into my voice, but my heart isn’t in it. “Tell me, did you enjoy yourself with those girls the other afternoon?”

His brows knit. He looks genuinely flummoxed. “What girls?”

I toss my bag onto the sofa. “Meant that much to you, did they?”

He stays frozen to the spot, brows drawn. “Do you really think I care about other girls?”

His voice is low, as cracked as splintered glass. Suddenly, it seems as if all the oxygen has been sucked from the room. As I meet his burning gaze, it’s like the last couple of days—work, my date with Peter—never happened. I’m back in his office right before his lips landed on mine.

Except this time neither of us budge.

“You’re a sickness,” he says at last in that same fractured tone. “Don’t you see? A sickness in my veins.”

My brain sifts through responses at a hundred miles per hour, but my vocal chords remain frozen in my throat. I watch him like he’s a tiger, waiting for him to strike.

But he doesn’t pounce. He sighs instead, his jaw tightly clenched. “I’ve never wanted to upset you, Catherine. I’m sorry for what I did that night—biting you and giving you my venom. I shouldn’t have lost control like that.”

“No, you shouldn’t have,” I snap.

“I’ll be honest,” he continues. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start the speed-dating nights to get your attention. But I had no intention of ruining your business. In a way, it’s a compliment.”

My jaw drops in disbelief. “A compliment? Are you completely unhinged? Do you really have your head shoved so far up your ass that you don’t get why I can’t stand you?”

He shakes his head, holding out his hands, palms up. There’s desperation in his voice I’ve never heard from him before. “I’ve never once tried to play the ancient card with you. I never will, no matter how badly you piss me off.”

I stare at him, half believing he doesn’t have a clue, half-angry this is just another of his manipulative games.

“This isn’t about details. It’s about the bigger picture. One you’ve never bothered to try and get your arrogant head around. Who am I, Ronin?” The happiness the evening brought is leaking out of me faster than air from a burst balloon. To my horror, a sob escapes my throat. “What am I?”

“Is this one of those bizarre feminist questions?”

“For fucks sake, what am I? Answer me.”

His eyes flash in anger, but he doesn’t flinch. “A woman. A vampire. A neurotic shrew half the time.”

“A vampire,” I repeat, ignoring the last bit.

He looks utterly and completely blank.

“You have no idea. Do you?”

When he doesn’t answer, I open the busted door as wide as it will go and wave an arm toward it. “Goodbye, Ronin.”

If he wasn’t such a misogynistic playboy, I might experience a pang of guilt as I watch him skulk past me, defeated.

Outside he pauses, spinning around to face me. “I rang you,” he says. “Every day for a month after we slept together.”

“I know,” I whisper, staring at my Dolce & Gabbana boots. “I changed my telephone number on day three.”

He emits a short, hollow laugh, and when I look up, the hallway is completely empty. I hear the slam of a door as he exits the building onto the street.

About the Author: Juliet Lyons is a paranormal romance author from the UK. She writes kind-hearted heroes and snarky heroines with sass to spare. Her debut series ‘Bite Nights’ revolves around interspecies dating site V-Date.com. Expect lots of humour and lashings of steam as humans venture forth into the tight-knit London community of centuries old vampires and discover that dating the undead can be a risky business.

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Highland Conquest by Alyson McLayne – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Alyson McLayne who is visiting with us today to celebrate yesterday’s release of her newest book in her The Sons of Gregor MacLeod series, Highland Conquest. Enter the rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win 1 of 2 copies of the book.

He was looking for vengeance
Instead he found her

Laird Lachlan MacKay never planned on leading his clan, but when his older brother was murdered, he was left with no choice. His vow to avenge his brother has led him to the MacPherson clan—and their bewitching healer, Amber.

Amber MacPherson is desperate. Dressed as a boy to escape her clan’s treacherous leader, she runs right into Lachlan—who orders her detained. At first she causes him nothing but frustration, especially when she blackmails him into helping her clan. But when she’s threatened by the same man who murdered his brother, Lachlan will do whatever it takes to keep her safe—and by his side.

About the Author:Alyson McLayne is a mom of twins and an award-winning writer of contemporary, historical and paranormal romance. She’s also a dog lover and cat servant with a serious stash of dark chocolate. After getting her degree in theater at the University of Alberta, she promptly moved to the West Coast of Canada where she worked in film for several years and met her prop master husband.

Alyson has been nominated for several Romance Writers of America contests, including The Golden Heart, The Golden Pen, The Orange Rose, Great Expectations, The Molly’s and The Winter Rose.

Her debut historical romance, Highland Promise, will be published by Sourcebooks on October 3, 2017. Highland Promise is the first of five books in The Sons of Gregor MacLeod series. Highland Conquest came out on February 6, 2018.

Alyson and her family reside in Vancouver with their sweet but troublesome chocolate lab puppy named Jasper.

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