Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: A VERY COWBOY CHRISTMAS by Kim Redford

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A VERY COWBOY CHRISTMAS (Smokin’ Hot Cowboys, Book 3) by Kim Redford

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

59296C1B-41D3-4FD1-A2BB-14367437F197Third in a spicy contemporary cowboy series from acclaimed author Kim Redford. Sydney Steele needs to wrangle cowboy firefighters to model for her charity Christmas calendar, and Dune Barrett—who she has in mind for Mr. December—is just the man for the job.

There’s nothing like a firefighting cowboy to keep you toasty warm this Christmas…

Christmas is coming up, and single mom Sydney Steele is determined to make this a holiday to remember for Wildcat Bluff County. She still has to get those pesky, reluctant—and deliciously attractive—firefighting cowboys to pose for her charity calendar. They claim they’re too busy pursuing an unknown arsonist to take a break.

Dune Barrett has been flirting with Sydney for months, so he jumps at the chance to give her a hand. And when he agrees to pose as Mr. December, she couldn’t be happier. But to really win her over, Dune will have to convince eleven other guys from his crew to exploit their good looks for charity…a task much easier said than done.

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A NOTE FRIM KIM REDFORD

As a holiday tradition, imagine a big, roaring bonfire with red and orange flames leaping upward along with spirals of pale smoke. I’ll be in my chair beside the fire, along with family and friends, in an open meadow surrounded by the sight and scent of evergreen trees. Bright stars twinkle in the canopy of dark sky above us. Dogs and cats lounge here and there. Guitar and flute and voice serenade us with favorite Christmas carols and old-time country songs that stir fond memories of our close community of loved ones, as well as those who are no longer with us or who are too far away to be there. We drink hot apple cider, roast marshmallows, cook hotdogs, and make s’mores as we sing and visit while making plans for another wonderful year.

And just so you know, there’s always room for one more at our bonfire.

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Excerpt

Sydney felt the heat of Dune’s gaze and glanced up at him. He’d moved closer. She inched toward Celeste, her 1959 pink Cadillac, but if she backed up any farther, she’d be impaled on the tinsel-wrapped longhorns. Drat that gleam in his blue eyes. He had it whenever he was around her, and it had a tendency to strike sparks in her.
“You want me to look under the hood?” He leaned forward with a little quirk of his sensual lips.
So kissable. She squashed that thought and immediately was swamped with another one that had him looking under her skirt instead of the hood. What was wrong with her? She definitely did not want him looking anywhere but at her convertible. She had to get her mind back on business.
“Are you in a hurry?”
“Yes!” She was in a hurry to get away from him, or she’d be wearing tank tops instead of sweaters this Christmas.
“You want to step away from Celeste?”
How could she when he was right in front of her? If she made a single move, she’d be right up against his body. If she could’ve, she would’ve looked into the distance to try to clear her mind of unacceptable thoughts, but she couldn’t see over his broad shoulders. He totally filled her world with his presence.
“Guess you’ve got a lot on your mind.”
She rolled her eyes. He didn’t know the half of it. She caught her lower lip with her upper teeth in frustration.
He reached out, tugged her lip free with the pad of his thumb, and gently rubbed back and forth as if to soothe a hurt. “No need to worry. I’m here to help you now.”
She felt chills run up her spine at his gentleness and concern. She didn’t mean to do it—and wouldn’t have been so bold if he hadn’t short-circuited her brain—but she flicked the tip of her tongue over the edge of his thumb and tasted the essence of him. All male.
“Now, why’d you go and do something I can’t resist?” He eased his thumb across her lower lip, down her jaw, and captured the back of her neck with his fingers to hold her head in place as he lowered his face toward her.
She knew a kiss was coming—right on the side of Wildcat Road in front of the whole county—and she knew she should say something or do something to stop him, but she wanted his kiss more than anything else she could imagine at that moment. It’d been so long since a man had held her or kissed her that she wasn’t sure she even knew how to respond anymore.
When his lips finally touched hers—just a gentle brush really, as if he was gauging her response—she felt swept up in a blazing wildfire.
And yet she sought to keep her wits about her. She should focus on business, not her own sudden need. She put her hands flat against his broad chest to push him back, but she quickly realized she couldn’t budge him because he was so much bigger and stronger. She felt a little shock. She was five ten—although she’d claimed to be six feet tall since her high school basketball days when height was critical—and sported enough muscle to work a ranch, but he made her feel almost petite.
She intended to push him away—absolutely, no doubt about it. Instead, she found her hands slowly sliding up his chest, making her hyperaware of the soft cotton of his shirt as his muscles hardened under her touch. All her senses came shockingly alive. She heard a mockingbird’s song, caught the tangy scent of cedar trees, and Dune’s taste still lingered on her tongue. He didn’t move a millimeter, as if he’d waited a lifetime for her to touch him.
When she reached his shoulders, he gave her another feather-light kiss that promised more than it gave. Not nearly enough, not now that her mind had given way to her body. She sighed against his soft lips and clasped his shoulders to pull him closer. He groaned—as if the ragged sound was torn from his gut—at her response to him. She returned his kiss, teasing his lips with the tip of her tongue until she tore another groan from him, and he plunged inside while he crushed her against him, holding her head in one hand and her waist in the other as if he’d never let her go.
She moaned as she thrust her fingers into his thick hair, shivering with heat as he plundered her mouth and made her weak in the knees. She quickly realized that she had an answer to her question. No, indeed, she hadn’t forgotten how to give or receive a kiss, particularly one of this magnitude.
Finally, when she was putty in his hands, he raised his head and looked at her with eyes the color of midnight. She simply blinked in response, unable to articulate a single word.
“If you let me into your life—even a little bit—I promise not to disappoint you.”

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

 

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Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas by Kim Redford

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

KIM REDFORD is an acclaimed author of Western romance. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at kimredford.com.

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Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: HIGHLAND PROMISE by Alyson McLayne

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HIGHLAND PROMISE (The Sons of Gregor MacLeod Book 1) by Alyson McLayne

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

9210840E-B4E2-4221-90E3-3E024B36C7B5Five boys destined to become Highland lairds are fostered together as brothers. Darach, Lachlan, Callum, Gavin and Kerr fight for their clans, for each other, and for their own true loves.

When forced to choose between duty and honor…
Darach MacKenzie vowed never again to let a woman near his heart after his betrothed betrayed him. It sparked an intense feud between his clan and the Frasers. With all-out war on the wind, Darach can’t be distracted—not even by a sweet and charming lass who desperately needs his help.

This Highland Laird will find a way to have both
When Darach rescued Caitlin MacInnes from the clutches of vile Laird Fraser, she vowed to never let men or misery rule her life again. With Darach and the MacKenzie clan, Caitlin finally feels safe. But when Laird Fraser shows up to claim what’s rightfully his, or go to war, Darach will have to use all his brawn and brains to protect Caitlin—even if it means losing his heart.

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Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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Author Guest Post

Letter to the Reader

Hello Lovely Readers!!

My name is Alyson McLayne, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to introduce you to my book, HIGHLAND PROMISE, a Scottish Highlander Romantic Adventure!

It’s the first book in my historical romance series, THE SONS OF GREGOR MACLEOD, starring five Highland Lairds, who were fostered together as lads to become brothers. Darach, Lachlan, Callum, Gavin, and Kerr fight for their clans, for each other, and for their own true love.

These Highland Lairds are a band of brothers, who will defend each other to the death—if they don’t kill each other first with their sharp wit and hilarious banter. They take their oaths seriously, whether it’s to bring peace to the Highlands and defend one another as friends and allies, or to razz each other so hard, only one brother is left standing—and then they’ll take him down too.

And the women they love? They have spirit, and tenacity, and they take care of others before they take care of themselves. They’re all different—their backgrounds, their struggles, their interests and talents—but at the core of each woman is a strength, compassion, and a capacity to love that brings their man to his knees.

Totally. Slayed.

Before I tell you about HIGHLAND PROMISE, here’s a little about me. I live on the west coast of Canada with my adorable (aka annoying) 5 year old boy/girl twins; my sweet yet sarcastic husband (who just said he’s not sarcastic at all, he’s ironic!); my counter-surfing puppy, Jasper, who turns one year old the same day HIGHLAND PROMISE debuts (Happy Birthday, baby!!); and my 86 year old dad who gets a look on his face every time it’s mentioned there are—gasp—sex scenes in my books…but then goes on to tell me young people (meaning me) did not invent sex.

Ears…burning…must pour…hot oil…inside…

Speaking of ears, as I’m writing this, I have ear plugs in because my son is beside me in my office (aka my bedroom) building a fort under the covers on the bed, while my Slytherin-declaring daughter waits to knock it down, which results in WW3; Jasper hovers at the edge, barking, until he can’t stand it anymore and jumps onto the bed with the monsters, er, I mean children; my husband comes in and says something “ironic” about the chaos; and I stare fiercely at my computer screen determined to ignore it ALL—and thanking God my dad can turn his hearing aids OFF.

Just grist for the mill…grist for the mill…said all writer-moms everywhere.

Okay. Onto the important part: HIGHLAND PROMISE! I started writing HIGHLAND PROMISE almost 10 years ago after reading ALL of Julie Garwood’s medieval-set historicals, most of which were set in the Highlands. I LOVED them. I don’t read a lot of books over and over, but I did hers. I found them completely captivating.

I think HIGHLAND PROMISE captures that same tone and spirit: Caitlin MacInnes is the archetypal Waif/Free Spirit who turns the archetypal Chieftain, Laird Darach MacKenzie’s life upside down—and then spins it around and dribbles with it for a while. As Lachlan MacKay, Darach’s foster-brother, says of Darach’s and Caitlin’s courtship:

“I doona know when I’ve laughed so much as watching Darach trying to control [Caitlin] over the past few weeks. Her intentions are good, but she’s trouble. It follows her around like a faithful hound.”

Darach is undone by her. His heart, which he swore he’d NEVER give to another woman, is torn from his body and becomes putty in her hands. Of course, he doesn’t know that at first, and even when he finally figures it out, he doesn’t tell her—he’s a warrior, a leader of his people, not a poet. And Caitlin, who is determined to make Darach happy whether he wants her to or not, doesn’t believe there’s any possible way she can stay with him. She needs to leave the Highlands immediately and find her mother’s family in France.

’Cause there’s a whole lotta trouble on her tail (some might call it a shite storm—haha!) heading straight for Darach. But what Caitlin fails to realize is that Darach, along with his brothers and their clans, is strong enough to handle it.

War is coming. Caitlin didn’t start the blood feud between the Frasers and the MacKenzies, nay, Laird Fraser and his sister, Darach’s former betrothed, did that, but she will be the catalyst that ends it—pinning the good men of the Highlands against a monster.

And hopefully winning.

(Well of course they win, and of course Darach and Caitlin live happily ever after—it’s a romance, after all!!)

Now go—before I start rambling and give too much away. Read the words and feel the feels. Fall in love with both Darach and Caitlin…and prepare yourself for Lachlan’s story next.

Smooches,

Alyson McLayne

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Giveaway

5 Copies of HIGHLAND PROMISE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

473EEA56-C0D2-4DCF-BD66-F43EAB222D55A stay-at-home mom of twins and award-winning writer, Alyson McLayne is 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 where she worked in film for several years and met her Prop Master husband.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: DROP DEAD GORGEOUS by Juliet Lyons

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DROP DEAD GORGEOUS (Undead Dating Service, #2) by Juliet Lyons

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

cvr drop dead gorgeousSWIPE RIGHT FOR MR. BITE

Mila Hart’s first experience with the hot new vampire dating site is a complete disaster. Turns out, her date is wanted for murder! But things turn around when she’s rescued by dashing vampire cop Vincent Ferrer. Dangerous and drop dead gorgeous, he’s just the vampire hottie Mila was hoping for.

Haunted by his past, Vincent can’t risk falling in love again, even if Mila charms him more than anyone he’s ever met. But when the killer from Mila’s first date seeks her out, Vincent is the only one who can protect her. Protecting his heart is a different story…

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Excerpt

Inside the flat, I kick off my heels and turn the cold tap on full blast, grabbing a glass from the cupboard. “Do you have any aspirin?” I ask, breaking the silence.
Vincent shakes his head, face glum. “I’m sorry I listened to your conversation,” he says, picking at the edge of the kitchen island with a finger.
“It doesn’t matter,” I say quietly. “Thanks for sorting out O’Geary for me.”
He nods, frowning. “Mila—”
“Look,” I say, interrupting him. “I know what you must think of me.”
His frown deepens, eyes dark. “What do I think of you?”
“That I’m totally flaky and pathetic. What with dead rats in my bed and going on dates with serial killers and getting felt up my first week at work. If you think I don’t know how ridiculous my life is, Vincent, you’re wrong, because I do, and the truth is, I don’t know why I told my work friend you like to be tied up with silky scarves. Maybe I’ve watched too many dodgy French movies. But my point is, I know I’m not like you, with the fancy view and the starch spray in the cupboard and all this.” I circle a finger wildly in the air. “So I’m sorry that you’re stuck with me, and I’m sorry you had to show your fangs and lose your chance at a hookup with Leggy Layla from Marketing. I am sorry.”
I suck in a deep breath and take a gulp of my water. I must be drunker than I thought.
When I finally summon the courage to meet his eye, I jolt in surprise. His eyes are dark, tortured. He leans against the counter, hands gripping the edges so tightly his knuckles are whiter than bone.
“That’s the second time you mentioned those girls.” His voice is husky, throaty, as if the words are coming from some dark, forbidden place deep inside him.
“Yeah, well. They irritate me. Add that to my list of faults. I’m jealous of a group of women who wear double the recommended amount of mascara.”
“Jealous,” he repeats.
Jesus. What is up with him? He looks like a four-year-old trying to figure out an algebraic equation. “Yes. Jealous. Not usually. Just tonight. Because you were speaking to them.”
Inside, I’m well aware I’ve more or less just announced I have an enormous crush on him. But on the outside, the half-drunk, cocky Mila is still running the show.
He continues to stand, frozen. I snatch up my glass of water and slip past him into the lounge.
“Mila,” he says loudly.
I turn around at the same time he does.
“I don’t enjoy Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”
“Yes, you do.”
“No. I don’t.” He runs a nervous hand through his dirty-blond hair. “It’s the only show where I can sit and not have to pay attention to the plotline to know what’s happening.”
I sigh. “Fine. I give up. We’ll hire a harpist for our evening entertainment.” I continue stomping toward the bedrooms—as much as it’s possible to stomp in bare feet.
A gust of air lifts the hair from the nape of my neck and, in an instant, Vincent is filling the doorway with his luscious frame. “I can’t pay attention to the plot,” he says, “because I’m too distracted.”
“Why? Because I’m here messing up your apartment and getting in the way? It won’t be forever, and I’ll tidy up before I go—”
Before I can finish the sentence, he cuts the short distance between us in a single bound, placing hands on my hips. The heat from his fingers burns through the material like red-hot flames. My heart thuds beneath my ribs. Without my heels, my head is level with his chest—his perfectly sculpted, chiseled-from-rock chest—rising and falling as if something is fighting to get out. I lift my gaze, and as our eyes lock, he bunches my dress in his fists. The relaxed look he wore when he lied to the marketing girls and threatened Leery is gone, naked anxiety assuming its place.
“Ask me to stop,” he says, his voice breaking.
I gulp. The only sound is my heart pounding against my ribcage. Is this really happening?
“I can’t,” I say at last. “Because I don’t want you to.”
He releases my dress, looping strong arms around my waist, and lifts me onto my tiptoes until our bodies press together, torso to torso. I drop the glass of water onto the rug at our feet, hearing the loud slosh of liquid as it soaks into the carpet. The water is swiftly forgotten as he leans closer, brushing warm lips over my jawline. He tightens his grip, anchoring me to him as a tremor of pleasure rips through my body.
When his mouth finally fastens onto mine, I mold myself into him like clay, my breasts pushed up against the steely ridges of his chest, my hands twisting into his hair like vines around the branches of a tree. I part his lips, and he responds intensely. He tastes like champagne—warm and fruity—and I devour him like a woman who’s been living carb free would a loaf of bread. My tongue slides over his, a low animal groan erupting from my throat.
He cups my face in his warm hands as he begins feverishly whispering my name between kisses. “Mila, oh God, Mila.”
He wants me, I realize in surprise, knowing from the way my name sounds in his mouth—hard and spiky as barbwire—that this is no whim, no spur-of-the-moment fancy. All the times he’s blushed suddenly make sense, those intense stares I mistook as him thinking I’m an idiot.
I stop kissing him, leaning back to gaze into his drowsy, silver-dappled eyes. His face is slack, his mouth half-open, lips moist.
“It’s true, isn’t it?” I murmur, dragging hands down his muscled back. “You haven’t really been enjoying Dr. Quinn at all.”

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Cori 4 Stars

DROP DEAD GORGEOUS was just what I needed! It is the second book in Juliet Lyons new paranormal series, the Bite Nights Series. The series is about a dating service for vampires and humans. In Juliet Lyon’s frictional world humans are aware of vampires. This is such a fun and sexy romance series and DROP DEAD GORGEOUS left me with a smile on my face. I loved Vincent, the hot vampire cop, and wanted to be friends with Mila. Hot romance, danger and some humor made this a great book. I recommend this series for paranormal lovers looking for a fun new vampire series. I’ll be grabbing the next release.

*Review copy provided by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.

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drop dead gorgeous spotlight graphic

Author Guest Post

A MADLIB BY JULIET LYONS

Please choose the following and insert below:
Verb
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Color
Adjective ending in ing
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Liquid
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A woman’s name
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swipe right for mr. bite!

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Check out book 1:
Dating the Undead (Bite Nights Book 1) by Juliet Lyons
Kindle | Review 4 Stars

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Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of DATING THE UNDEAD by Juliet Lyons, the first in her sexy and snarky Bite Nights series

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

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About the Author

Juliet 2 web_ photo by Sharan Rai PhotographyJULIET LYONS is a paranormal romance author from the UK. She holds a degree in Spanish and Latin American studies and works part-time in a local primary school where she spends far too much time discussing Harry Potter. Since joining global storytelling site Wattpad in 2014, her work has received millions of hits online and gained a legion of fans from all over the world. When she is not writing, Juliet enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Wattpad

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Spotlight, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway: TOUGHER IN TEXAS (Texas Rodeo, #3) by Kari Lynn Dell

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TOUGHER IN TEXAS (Texas Rodeo, #3) by Kari Lynn Dell

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Genre: Western/ Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

9781492632009He’s got five rules
And she’s aiming to break them all

Rodeo producer Cole Jacobs has his hands full running Jacobs Livestock. He can’t afford to lose a single cowboy, so when Cousin Violet offers to send along a more-than-capable replacement, he’s got no choice but to accept. He expects a grizzled Texas good ol’ boy.

He gets Shawnee Pickett.

Wild and outspoken, ruthlessly self-reliant, Shawnee’s not looking for anything but a good time. It doesn’t matter how quickly the tall, dark and intense cowboy gets under her skin—Cole deserves something real, and Shawnee can’t promise him forever. Life’s got a way of kicking her in the teeth, and she’s got her bags packed before tragedy can knock her down. Too bad Cole’s not the type to give up when the going gets tough…

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Author Guest Post

My Favorite Cowboys Who Don’t Play One on TV

We all know about the actors who play cowboys, but you might be shocked to know who among the celebrity crowd are the real thing. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve heard of Madison Baumgarner, the pitcher who led the San Francisco to the World Series title in 2014 and was named the MVP. This long, lanky North Carolina boy doesn’t just have a 90 plus mile-an-hour fastball. He also throws a pretty mean loop. He’s ridden horses all his life and started team roping when he met his future wife, whose family is involved in rodeo. And since his spring training is in Arizona—a hotbed of team ropers—he brings his horses along to squeeze in a few roping sessions in his spare time. I’m sure his manager is thrilled.

I love this interview discussing similarities between baseball and rodeo. Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s chatting with Stran Smith—once named to People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful list—and the all-time winningest cowboy in professional rodeo, Trevor Brazile, who gets a gold buckle for world champion dimples. http://wranglernetwork.com/portfolio-view/trevor-brazile-and-madison-bumgarner-with-stran-smith/

James Pickens Jr. sounds like a born and bred cowboy name, but you’re more likely to know him as Dr. Richard Webber on Grey’s Anatomy. Despite growing up in Cleveland, Pickens had been involved with horses from early on. Twenty some years ago on a movie set, a cowboy working as a transport driver had brought along a roping dummy and was throwing a few practice loops to kill time. Intrigued, Pickens asked to give it a try…and he was hooked. He is now a card-holding member of the United States Team Roping Championships association and produces his own prestigious charity event each year. And yeah, I had to include this particular picture because the winning cowboy on the left is Dustin Bird from right here in my home town of Cut Bank, Montana.

In the Texas Rodeo books, team roping is Shawnee Pickett’s main event, though she’s put it on the back burner to fill in as a pickup man at Jacobs Livestock’s rodeos. Despite his dread of competition, in the excerpt below, Cole agrees to be her partner so she can get a roping fix on one of their off days. Now that’s my kind of hero.

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Excerpt

Shawnee slowed and turned into the driveway of the saddle club. The parking lot was already crowded and a good number of riders circled the arena, warming up. Her pulse did an eager shimmy of anticipation.

Cole gulped audibly. “I thought this was just some little local deal.”

“It is.” Shawnee wheeled into an empty slot and shut off the engine. “Looks like there are a lot of locals.”

Cole trailed behind her like a bewildered child as she strolled over to the entry office/concession stand. He got a Coke while she gave the secretary their names. They both paid their entry fees. As they stepped aside to make way for the next in line, Cole froze, staring at the poster that described the roping, taped to the table for quick reference.

“It’s progressive?” The horror in his voice suggested she’d invited him to a ritual sacrifice.

“Almost all of the ropings are nowadays,” she said, ignoring the curious glances from the others in the line to enter.

“If I miss the first steer, we’re done. You won’t even get to rope.”

He sounded so desperate, on the verge of panic. “Well, then, don’t miss,” she said, and walked away.

If only it were that simple. When the position draw was posted, she and Cole were the fifty-seventh team out of ninety-eight, and with each successive bang of the chute gate, he got a little paler, sat a little more rigid in his saddle, until Shawnee was afraid if she tapped his arm he’d keel over.

As team number fifty-one rode into the roping boxes, she nudged Roy closer until her knee bumped Cole’s. His eyes were glazed and he was barely breathing. She crooked a finger. When he leaned down within reach, she clenched her fist in the front of his shirt and slapped a long, hot kiss on him. By the time she let go, he had regained some of his color.

“Just a reminder,” she said. “What you get later for being a sport.”

“Even if I miss?”

“Especially if you miss. Then you’ll owe me. Big. And I already know how I plan to collect.”

His smile was a pitiful thing, but at least he seemed to be taking in air again.

And he didn’t miss. The loop wasn’t a thing of beauty, but it fit. Cole dallied up and went left, and Shawnee was able to snag both hind feet. Roy buried his rear end and the big steer hit the end hard enough to jerk two feet of rope through her gloved hand. Like a junkie snorting a line, her blood sang at the hot slide of nylon against her palm and the smell of burning rubber from her saddle horn.

God, she loved this game.

Her grin was made of pure joy. Cole’s held the petrified relief of a man who’d taken a single step into a minefield and hadn’t blown up…yet.

While they waited for their next run, Shawnee wallowed in the singular aroma of horses and ropes and dirt, Roy’s quiet strength beneath her, the laughter and banter of the other ropers filling the air. Not a particularly friendly bunch. Or Cole was scaring them away with his Grim Reaper face. Shawnee stuck by him, rather than wandering around to chat up strangers. Funny, how much easier it was to make friends after they saw her double-hock a steer or two.

Yeah, kiss this, boys.

Almost half of the teams dropped out in the first round, so their turn came up quicker the second time. As the team ahead of them tracked their steer to the catch pen, Shawnee stuck out her chest and flipped back one side of her button down shirt to flash Cole some cleavage. “Don’t forget. Catch now, or pay later.”

He caught. Farther down the arena than Shawnee would have preferred, but her own loop was quick and deadly, so their time was still respectable. The two runs combined put them eleventh out of the top twenty that got to rope a third and final steer. Not bad. And as the saying went, a bad day roping was better than the best day doing anything else. Shawnee was buzzing with adrenaline. Cole looked like he was going to puke.

Shawnee put her hand on his thigh and squeezed. “Dude. It’s a fifty-dollar jackpot. We’re not roping to win the world.”

He just shook his head and rode over to the corner where he sat alone, muttering to himself.

By the time they backed in the roping boxes for their final steer, he’d gone from pale to green. He nodded his head, took three swings, and threw a balled up mess of a loop that swatted the steer on the side of the head and fell on the ground. Cole dropped his head, reined Salty up, and turned to ride straight out the gate, his rope trailing behind, without even glancing at Shawnee. He was already off his horse and jerking at the cinches when she caught up with him at the trailer.

“Cole—”

“Don’t try to tell me it doesn’t matter.” He wadded up the rope and slung it in general direction of the tack room. “I’ve heard Tori talk. You rope to win, not just show up.”

Shawnee paused, knowing she needed to tread carefully. Not exactly at the top of her skill set. She listened instead—to the times being announced while Cole yanked his saddle off and slammed it onto the rack so hard it almost went through the wall. Finally, she said, “You did rope to win.”

Cole made a noise packed so full of disgust it practically turned the air purple.

“Quit your tantruming and pay attention.”

“I am not—”

“Oh please. You’re two seconds away from throwing yourself on the ground and holding your breath until you turn blue.” Shawnee pointed at the nearest loudspeaker, now droning out the final results of the roping. “Listen to the placings.”

Cole scowled, but listened, then punched a frustrated fist into the other palm. “If I’d caught, we would’ve won third or fourth.”

“Assuming I caught two feet.”

He glared at her. “You never miss.”

She laughed outright. “If only. Then I’d be a legend in something other than my own mind.” She hitched her thumbs in his belt loops and dragged him close, wishing she had a bucket to stand on so she could glare straight into those stony blue eyes. She gave him a shake instead. “You threw to win. Gave it your best shot. That’s what matters. I know how hard this was for you, and I really appreciate it. If you hadn’t gutted it out, I wouldn’t have been able to rope at all.”

He shook his head, jaw set, rejecting every word.

Shawnee sighed. “How long do you intend to mope about this?”

“Forever.”

She laughed again, then realized he wasn’t joking.

“I can list every steer I ever missed for Xander at a rodeo,” he said, his voice flat. “And every free throw in basketball in high school. This is why I don’t play team games. I don’t forget anything.”

She had to blink a few times to take it in. “What about the good runs? The shots you made? Do you remember those?”

“Well…yeah.”

“But you focus on the mistakes.”

“I can’t help—”

She wanted to call bullshit—would’ve if it had been anyone else—but Cole’s brain didn’t work like other brains, so maybe he couldn’t stop himself from obsessing. Either way, he’d known this day would be torture and he’d come with her anyway. Her heart did a complicated, slightly terrifying whirl and swoop. This man. This strange, wonderful, maddening man.

What the hell was she going to do with him?

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Buy Links

KindleAmazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Three bundles of the first three Texas Rodeo books (Reckless in Texas, Tangled in Texas, Tougher in Texas)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Spotlight & Giveaway: A NEW LEASH ON LOVE (Rescue Me) by Debbie Burns

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A NEW LEASH ON LOVE (Rescue Me Series, Book 1) by Debbie Burns

Publication Date: July 4, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

9781492650836First in a fresh contemporary romance series from award-winning debut author Debbie Burns.

Every heart has a forever home.

Megan Anderson loves the animals at her no-kill shelter. She’ll do anything for them—even go toe-to-toe with a handsome man who’s in way over his head. She’ll help him sort out his troubles, but getting too close to an adorable puppy’s human counterpart? Been there, done that, got burned.

When Craig Williams arrived at the local shelter for help, he didn’t expect a fiery young woman to blaze into his life. But the more time they spend together, the more he realizes it’s not just animals Megan is adept at saving—she could be the one to rescue his heart.

Soon, Craig and Megan find that the magic of unconditional love can do anything…even lead to their forever home.

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Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

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Author Guest Post

A Letter from Debbie Burns:

Dear Reader,

Chances are you’ve been drawn to this book because you enjoy second chance love stories, whether they’re about animals, people, or both. It’s my hope you fall in love with the dynamic characters, both two and four footed, in A New Leash on Love as much as I have.

Writing this book enabled me to blend together two of my favorite things, a love of animals and a good romance. I’ve been an animal lover ever since I can remember. When I was 13, I began volunteering with a friend at a local rescue shelter. I’ve never forgotten the remarkable dedication of the people working and volunteering at shelters, helping to ensure surrendered animals get care and comfort while waiting for forever homes.

As I mentioned, I’m also a sucker for a good love story. I soak them up in both film and literature. I’m an eclectic reader and read a blend of romance, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction. I get the most enjoyment from books with love stories that are powerful enough I become convinced the world would be a sorrier place if the main characters hadn’t gotten together. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice three times, and most other Jane Austen novels at least once. I am awed by her accomplishments. Jane Austen wrote stories that have survived over two centuries and are still among so many people’s favorite novels. And of course, I enjoy reading the contemporary masters of romance as well. I’m also drawn to unique and quirky love stories like the one portrayed in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that leave me thinking about them for a long time afterwards. The love story featured in A New Leash on Love is one I hope you’ll cheer for, laugh with, and walk away from reading believing all is just as it should be.

To tell you a bit more about me personally, I’m a Saint Louis resident and native who has also lived in Georgia and Michigan. I’m the mom of two amazing teenagers. Being an integral part of their life journeys has been a profound experience. I try not to pass a single day without giving thanks for all the blessings in my world, and these remarkable young adults always top that list. Coming in a close second are my family’s two rescue dogs and willful Maine Coon cat. I’ve posted pictures and shared my dogs’ rescue stories on my website, authordebbieburns.com.

Like their human counterparts, the animals we share our homes with have personalities of their own. Our family’s trio of pets are no exception. To paraphrase Roger Caras, dogs (and cats) aren’t our whole lives, but they make our lives whole. There are times when I’m not excited to wake up before dawn to make sure the dogs have a good walk before I head out for the day, and times when I cringe at vet bill statements. However, when you strip away the investment of training, time, and money, you’re left with a companion who thinks you’re more awesome than a bowlful of gravy. And if you let it in, you’ll feel that same kind of unmasked adoration right back. If you ask me, that’s what it’s all about.

Happy reading,
Debbie

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Giveaway

Five copies of A New Leash on Love

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Debbie Burn resides in St. Louis, Missouri. Shelter is her first contemporary romance and has finaled in multiple contests. Her writing commendations include first place awards for short stories, flash fiction, and longer selections from the Missouri RWA and the Missouri Writers’ Guild.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Blog Tour, Q&A, Excerpt & Giveaway: FROM DUKE TILL DAWN by Eva Leigh

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FROM DUKE TILL DAWN (The London Underground #1) by Eva Leigh

Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

from duke dawn mm cEva Leigh launches a seductive new series that sizzles with the dark secrets of London’s underworld…

Years ago, the Duke of Greyland gave his heart—and a princely sum of money—to a charming, destitute widow with unparalleled beauty. But after one passionate night, she slipped from his bed and vanished without a trace. And just when he’s given up hope of ever seeing her again, Greyland finds her managing a gaming hell. He’s desperate to have her… until he discovers everything about his long-lost lover was a lie.

In truth, Cassandra Blake grew up on the streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a mark—to be fleeced and forgotten—but her feelings for the duke became all too real. Once he learns of her deception, however, the heat in his eyes turns to ice. When her business partner absconds with the gaming hell proceeds—leaving unsavory investors out for blood—Cassandra must beg the man she betrayed for help.

Greyland wants compensation, too, and he’ll assist her under one condition: she doesn’t leave his sight until her debts are paid. But it’s not long before the real Cassandra—the smart, streetwise criminal—is stealing his heart all over again.

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Excerpt

London, England
1817

A woman laughed, and Alexander Lewis, Duke of Greyland felt the sound like a gunshot to his chest.
It was a very pleasant laugh, low and musical rather than shrill and forced, yet it sounded like The Lost Queen’s laugh. Alex could not resist the urge to glance over his shoulder as he left the Eagle chophouse. He’d fancifully taken to calling her The Lost Queen, though she was most assuredly a mortal woman. Had she somehow appeared on a busy London street at dusk? The last time he’d seen her had been two years ago, in the spa town of Cheltenham, in his bed, asleep and naked.
The owner of the laugh turned out to be a completely different woman—brunette rather than blonde, petite and round rather than lithe and willowy. She caught Alex staring and raised her eyebrows. He bowed gravely in response, then continued toward the curb.
Night came on in indigo waves, but the shops spilled golden light in radiant patches onto the street.
The hardworking citizens of London continued to toil as the upper echelons began their evening revelries. Crowds thronged the sidewalk, while wagons, carriages, and people on horseback crammed the streets. A handful of pedestrians recognized Alex and politely curtsied or tipped their hats, murmuring, “Good evening, Your Grace.” Though he was in no mood for politeness, responsibility and virtue were his constant companions—had been his whole life—and so rather than snapping, “Go to the devil, damn you!” he merely nodded in greeting.
He’d done his duty. He’d been seen in public, rather than disappearing into the cavernous chambers of his Mayfair mansion, where he could lick his wounds in peace.
The trouble with being a duke was that he always had to do his duty. “You are the pinnacle of British Society,” his father had often said to him. “The world looks to you for guidance. So you must lead by example. Be their True North.”
This evening, before dining, Alex had taken a very conspicuous turn up and down Bond Street, making certain that he was seen by many consequential—and loose-lipped— figures in the ton. Word would soon spread that the Duke of Greyland was not holed up, sulking in seclusion. His honor as one of Society’s bulwarks would not be felled by something as insignificant as his failed marriage suit to Lady Emmeline Birks. The Dukes of Greyland had stood strong against Roundheads, Jacobites, and countless other threats against Britain. One girl barely out of the schoolroom could hardly damage Alex’s ducal armor.
But that armor had been dented by The Lost Queen. Far deeper than he would have expected.
Standing on the curb, he signaled for his carriage, which pulled out of the mews. He tugged on his spotless gloves as he waited and adjusted the brim of his black beaver hat to make certain it sat properly on his head. “Always maintain a faultless appearance,” his father had reminded him again and again. “The slightest bit of disorder in your dress can lead to rampant speculation about the stability of your affairs. This, we cannot tolerate. The nation demands nothing less than perfection.”
Alex’s father had been dead for ten years, but that didn’t keep the serious, sober man’s voice from his mind. It was part of him now—his role as one of the most powerful men in England and the responsibilities that role carried with it. Not once did he ever let frivolities distract him from his duties.
Except for one time . . .
Forcing the thought from his mind, Alex looked impatiently for his carriage. Just as the vehicle pulled up, however, two men appeared and grabbed his arms on each side.
Alex stiffened—he did not care for being touched without giving someone express permission to do so. People on the street also did not normally seize each other. Was it a robbery? A kidnapping attempt? His hands curled instinctively into fists, ready to give his accosters a beating.
“What’s this?” one of the younger men exclaimed with mock horror. “Have I grabbed hold of a thundercloud?”
“Don’t know about you,” the other man said drily, “but I seem to have attached myself to an enormous bar of iron. How else to explain its inflexibility?” He tried to shake Alex, to little avail. When he wanted to be, Alex was absolutely immovable.
Alex’s fingers loosened. He tugged his arms free and growled, “That’s enough, you donkeys.”
Thomas Powell, the Earl of Langdon and heir to the Duke of Northfield, grinned, a flash of white in his slightly unshaven face. “Come now, Greyland,” he chided. A hint of an Irish accent made his voice musical, evidence of Langdon’s early years spent in his mother’s native County Kerry. “Is that any way to speak to your oldest and dearest friends?”
“I’ll let you know when they get here.” Alex scowled at Langdon, then at Christopher Ellingsworth, who only smirked in response.
Alex took a step toward his carriage, but Ellingsworth deftly moved to block his path, displaying the speed and skill that had served him well when he’d fought on the Peninsula.
“Where are you running off to with such indecorous haste?” Ellingsworth pressed. He held up a finger. “Ah, never tell me. You’re running back to the shelter of your Mayfair cave, to growl and brood like some big black bear in a cravat.”
​“You know nothing,” Alex returned, despite the fact that Ellingsworth had outlined his exact plans for the rest of the night.
​Ellingsworth looked at Langdon with exaggerated pity. “Poor chap. The young Lady Emmeline has utterly shattered his heart.”
​Alex shouldered past Ellingsworth, only to have Langdon move to stand in his way.
​“My heart is not shattered because of Lady Emmeline,” Alex snapped. At least that much was the truth.
​“But why shouldn’t your heart be strewn in pieces throughout Regent’s Park?” Langdon mused. “You courted the young lady for several months, and you told Ellingsworth and I that you’d already received her father’s grateful acceptance of a marriage offer.”
​“She never agreed to anything,” Alex said flatly.
​“A modest girl, that Lady Emmeline.” Ellingsworth nodded with approval. “She wouldn’t have said yes right away. They never do. Nothing to be alarmed by.”
​“How would you know?” Alex’s voice was edged. Ellingsworth had little experience with offering for ladies’ hands, committed as he was to a life of reckless pleasure.
​Langdon added, “It’d be unseemly for an earl’s daughter to eagerly snap up a marriage proposal the moment it was offered.”
​Alex scowled. Despite the fact that, at thirty-eight, he was sixteen years her senior, they would suit well as a wedded couple. Lady Emmeline had been perfectly trained in the responsibilities of an aristocratic wife. Though he wished she stated her own opinion rather than constantly agreeing with him, there were worse faults one could find in a prospective bride.
​They could marry at Christmas, eight months from now. It would be a small but elegant wedding, followed by a lavish breakfast and a wedding journey in the Lake District. And then, if everything went well, in less than a year, Alex and Lady Emmeline might welcome their first child—hopefully a boy so the line would be secure. It would’ve been precisely the sort of match Alex’s
father would have approved, considering Lady Emmeline’s faultless background and her spotless reputation.
​“Look at him now, mooning away,” Langdon sighed, smugly thwarting Alex’s attempts to step around him. “He looks poorly.”
​It would be bad form to knock his friend to the ground. Damn the social niceties that dictated a man couldn’t punch another without repercussions.
​“Perhaps he should be bled,” Ellingsworth suggested with his habitual smirk. It was his constant companion since returning from the War, as if he refused to take anything seriously.
​“I am perfectly well.” Alex looked back and forth between these two rogues whom he called friends. “No need to call for a quack.”
​“He’s already had an amputation,” Langdon noted, raising a brow as he always did. “One prospective bride—gone.” He made a sawing motion at his ankle, as if cutting the shackles of matrimony.
Alex glanced down at his own lower leg, as if he could see the invisible links that might have bound him to Lady Emmeline. He’d come so close to becoming a married man and sharing the rest of his life with one woman—the faultless duke his father had bred him to be. It hardly mattered that Alex felt nothing for the gel other than a sense of distant respect. She would have made a fine duchess.
“We were at White’s yesterday when we heard about what happened,” Langdon said with disapproval. “Didn’t even tell your two closest friends that Lady Emmeline had run off with a cavalry officer. No, we had to hear it from Lord Ruthven, of all people.”

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Describe yourself in five words or less. Feminist who believes in HEA.

Can you tell us a little about your book? Alexander Lewis, the Duke of Greyland, met a beautiful, destitute widow and lost his heart to her—but she disappeared. Two years later, the duke finds Cassandra again as she manages a gaming hell. Alex is prepared to offer Cassandra everything, even his name, until he discovers a gut-wrenching truth. Cassandra is not a genteel widow. She’s a confidence artist, targeting aristocratic men with her swindles. Heartbroken and furious, Alex wants nothing to do with her. Fate steps in when Cassandra’s business partner vanishes with the profits from the gaming hell, leaving Cassandra at the mercy of dangerous people. In desperation, Cassandra turns to Alex for help. Delving into London’s underworld, they form an uneasy partnership as they track down her partner. Yet the passion they’d shared two years ago is nothing compared to their desire now. Can Alex protect himself, or will Cassandra once again steal his heart?

How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story? As with my Wicked Quills of London series, I enjoy having characters that aren’t necessarily part of Regency High Society. I’m fascinated by confidence artists—their methods, their motivations—and thought it would be exciting to see what would happen when England’s most morally upright duke falls for a morally ambiguous woman.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Exploring the other, shadier side of Regency London was a lot of fun. That time period is so rich with possibility, with so many people of many different walks of life all living in one place. I also really enjoyed having Alex learn to lighten up a little and free his wild side. Nothing like a buttoned-up guy who loosens the reins of his control. (It turns out Alex likes talking dirty!)

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Baking is one of my favorite things to do, because, unlike writing, you finish with a tangible result. Plus, you make something delicious. I read, of course, and spend too much time on the internet. When I’m feeling industrious, I crochet little soft toys called amigurumi and give them to friends.

A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less. Uptight duke. Beautiful con artist. Trouble and sexytimes ahead.

Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉

Alex has been born and bred to be a duke. Everything he does falls within a strict code of responsibility and honor. He doesn’t fully understand degrees of morality. Having a brief, passionate affair with Cassandra two years ago was entirely out of character. Once she comes back into his life, he’s shocked and infuriated to learn that he was just another mark. He’s ready to write Cassandra off as a cold, calculating criminal—despite the fact that he still desires her. If Alex was stranded on a desert island, he’d need his walking stick. He doesn’t have an injury that requires it, but a walking stick can be a useful took for building shelters, using to hunt for food, or making it into a sundial. He’s a no-nonsense, practical guy!

Cassandra grew up alone on the rough streets of London. She had to learn how to survive in a brutal world. With no one to take care of her, she turned to crime as a way to keep from starving. Her life changed when she met a man who taught her the art of pretending to be a gentlewoman while swindling members of the gentry. Instead of sleeping on filthy hay, now she could rest her head on feather mattresses, and she had as much as she wanted to eat. She always thought of aristocrats as targets to be swindled, until she met Alex, who treated her with dignity and kindness. With Alex, she broke her rule of never sleeping with a mark, and later fled out of self-preservation. Cassandra is street wise, self-sufficient, and has learned to view everything with suspicion. Only Alex sneaks past her defenses. If she was stuck on a desert island, she’d be practical and take a small knife (which could also be used as a lock pick if she found buried treasure).

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Find a way to sit down in front of your computer and just start writing. Even when you doubt yourself, you have to keep going. It’s trite, but books really don’t write themselves. And also, enjoy the process of writing simply to write. Success isn’t a guarantee so we have to love what we do.

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Buy Links

AMAZON | B & N | IBOOKS | KOBO

Amazon Author Page

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Giveaway

(5 print copies of FROM DUKE TILL DAWN)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

EVA LEIGH bw author photoEva Leigh is the pen name of a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the ’80s. Eva and her husband live in Southern California.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | AMAZON

Blog Tour, Q&A, Excerpt & Giveaway: JUST ONE TOUCH by Maya Banks

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JUST ONE TOUCH: A Slow Burn Novel by Maya Banks

Publication Date: May 23, 2017

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

JustOneTouch Cover#1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks continues her Slow Burn series with a suspenseful and sizzling story of a young woman who escapes a terrifying past… into a more uncertain future.

Raised in a strict religious cult since she was a young girl, Jenna has no connection to the outside world beyond vague flashes of memory that seem to be from another life. Memories she clings to when the cult leaders discover her extraordinary ability to heal-and punish her. Years held captive and forced to do the cult’s bidding have turned Jenna into a meek, timid woman…or so they think. In truth, she is merely biding her time, waiting for the perfect moment to escape.

When a terrified young woman tries to steal the SUV of Devereaux Security’s toughest recruit, Isaac’s anger quickly turns into a strange sort of protectiveness for the beautiful, bruised stranger. But when they are caught in a firestorm of bullets and Isaac is hit, he’s sure the end is near, until Jenna touches him and closes his wounds. As he tries to bring Jenna to safety, she refuses to tell him what danger haunts her or how she healed him, but Isaac vows to do whatever it takes to gain her trust…and her heart. Because with just one touch, Isaac knows he wants Jenna to be his–forever.

~*~*~*~

Excerpt

“She’s mine, Dane. No one else’s. I told you I’d ask if and when I need backup or help. Until then, it’s better that none of you are associated with her or are seen anywhere near her. She risked everything to save me when I could have been no better than the assholes trying to get to her. She sealed her fate in that moment because I’m not going anywhere. I need time to hear her side and I have a feeling she’s not just going to volunteer any information about herself, so I’m also going to need time to gain her trust and I’m going to prove to her that she can trust me. I appreciate the offer. More than you know. But she isn’t a DSS client or assignment. She’s mine, and I’ll protect her with my life.”

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Describe yourself in five words or less.

Unorganized, melt-down prone, laid back, despise drama & conflict!

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

My Give A Damn is Broken

Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

A cup of crushed ice

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I’m a complete homebody & enjoy hanging out at home with my family every chance I get. It’s rare for me to leave my house!

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

I love revealing information about various characters personalities and the closeness between them through dialogue. I also always look forward to writing the dark moment as I love me some angst!

What are your favorite types of stories to read?

I love stories that don’t feature a couple who spend the entire book apart or that focus on internal conflict. I much prefer to see the hero and heroine together on the page and to see them working together to overcome external conflict.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I absolutely love following up with characters from a previous story whether it’s including them as secondary characters in a newer book or writing a short novella that revisits them so readers can see them after the HEA.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I absolutely credit my readers with my success and my career. They, not me, are why I’ve been able to write close to 80 stories in the 11 years I’ve been writing.

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Buy Links

Kindle | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

($50 Amazon Gift card and copies of the Slow Burn Series Books 1 – 4.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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About the Author

imageMaya Banks is a #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.

She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Spotlight, Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: DATING THE UNDEAD by Juliet Lyons

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DATING THE UNDEAD (Undead Dating Service, #1) by Juliet Lyons

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

CVR Dating the UndeadWOMAN SEEKING VAMPIRE:
Likes to keep things casual
Absolutely no poetry
Zero romance required.

Silver Harris is over clingy men—maybe men altogether. But when she shares a toe-curling kiss with a sexy Irish vampire on New Year’s Eve, she wonders if maybe it’s human men she’s fed up with. Silver turns to the popular vampire dating site, V-Date, only to discover that vampire men are just as unimpressive as their mortal counterparts. And her mysterious hottie? He’s nowhere to be found.

Can’t a girl catch a break?

Logan Byrne can’t get that sassy redhead—or that kiss!—out of his head. When his boss assigns him to spy on V-Date, he meets Silver again. Turns out, the police are recruiting humans to snitch on vampires through the dating site. As the snark and sparks fly, feelings between Silver and Logan deepen. But, when old demons resurface—literally—Logan isn’t sure he can shield either of them from the dangers that have been lying in wait for centuries.

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Excerpt

I freeze in terror. What a waste of Dad’s money those self-defense classes turned out to be.
“Silver, it’s just me,” a lilting Irish voice says at my ear, the hand dropping from my shoulder.
I turn around to find myself nose to nose with my vampire from New Year’s Eve, his bright green eyes piercing mine.
I’m struck by several conflicting emotions all at once—anger, relief, and in a tiny measure—happiness. Anger wins out. On impulse, I slap him hard across the face, pointing with a white, clenched hand to the garden I’ve just sprinted across.
“I thought I was about to be murdered, asshole,” I hiss through my teeth. “I ripped my coat. My heels are ruined. All because you thought it might be fun to follow me home.”
He smirks, nonplussed, sliding his hands into the deep pockets of his navy pea coat. “I wasn’t following you,” he says, eyes twinkling.
“Oh, that’s right,” I say, voice dripping with sarcasm. “You were just walking me home again. Except this time from fifty yards behind and without me knowing.”
Before he has a chance to reply, the front door flies open and my landlady Vera emerges in a long, silky, oriental dressing gown. She is wigless for once, a Pucci scarf twisted into a makeshift turban covering her head. In her right hand, she holds a meat cleaver.
“Step away, you rapist bastard!” she yells, holding the large knife shakily aloft.
I glare at the vampire, expecting him to either throw his hands in the air or take a step backwards. Instead his brows knit together and his mouth drops open. “Etta Marlow?” he asks, staring at her as if she just walked on water.
The meat cleaver lowers a fraction. “What’s it to you?” Vera demands, her voice losing some of its previous menace.
I roll my eyes. Of course he remembers her. He’s probably seen all her films.
“It is you!” he erupts, wagging a finger in her direction. “You’re Etta Marlow! You played Susie De Sousa in Girl Uptown with Gregor Lane. I love that movie.”
The meat cleaver drops, forgotten, to her side as she pats her turban, eyelashes fluttering. “Fancy you recognizing me,” she mutters happily.
“Excuse me, Vera,” I interject, “but there’s still a potential rapist on your doorstep here.”
Vera looks back to the vampire, who shakes his head, smiling. “A misunderstanding, Etta. I was making sure Silver here made it home safely. She got the wrong end of the stick.”
Vera, or Etta as she was once known, glances over at me. “Do you know this charming fellow, dear?”
I scowl at them both. “Well, yes, but— “
“Well then, you must come in, dear boy. I could show you my Oscar, if you like?”
The Vampire looks as if he’s about to pee himself with excitement. “You mean the one you got for Days Like These with Vic Stevens?”
She holds out a thin hand towards him, gold bangles jangling on her wrist. “The very one, dear. Come, come in.”
I watch, stunned, as he takes her hand, green eyes lit up in excitement.
Before stepping through the door, he hangs back. “Ms. Marlow, I’m afraid it’s only courteous to let you know before I enter that I’m not human. I’m a vampire.”
Vera’s tinkly laugh echoes around the street like a bicycle bell. “Oh, you’re so sweet. Didn’t you know I’ve met dozens of vampires? They’re two a penny in Hollywood, darling.”
Following her across the threshold, he flashes the cockiest of grins. “Coming, Silver?”
My jaw drops in disgust. I’m tempted to sulk off to my basement flat, but instead, I trail after them and slam the door.
We follow Vera along an elegant gold and cream hallway into her immaculate, monochrome front room. Even though I’ve been here on numerous occasions, I’m always mesmerized by the sheer extravagance of the place—buttery white leather sofas, cream fur rugs, one wall is painted black and white to resemble piano keys. It should look tacky, but somehow, it works.
“You two make yourselves at home whilst I go and make myself presentable.” Vera says. “Then I’ll dig out that old Oscar of mine.”
I know, of course, the Oscar will not have to be ‘dug’ out of anywhere. It’s always on display in the den, alongside her film stills and other memorabilia.
“I didn’t catch your name,” she croons to the vampire before she leaves.
He puts a hand on his chest. “Forgive me, I should have introduced myself. Between the meat cleaver threat and getting slapped by Silver here, I seem to have forgotten my manners. I’m Logan. Logan Byrne.”
For strange and unfathomable reasons, my stomach flips. Logan. It suits him.
“Charming,” Vera says. “Don’t you go anywhere, Mr. Byrne.”
As soon as Vera disappears from the room, Logan collapses into one of the white leather arm chairs and puts his crossed feet onto the cut glass coffee table.
I’m still standing, one brow arched, arms folded across my chest. “So, Logan,” I hiss. “What the hell is this?”
He grins, dimples putting in their first appearance of the night as he gazes up at me. “Did anyone ever tell you, you’re particularly beautiful when you’re angry?”
“Oh, cut the crap,” I say, ignoring the hot flush climbing my neck. “Why did you follow me?”
“Like I told Etta, I wanted to make sure you got home safely, that’s all. Though I’m a little confused as to why you have three houses.” He holds up fingers to count. “The one I left you at on New Year’s, the one Nathaniel dropped you at, and now this—cohabiting with an aged 1940’s screen siren.”
“It’s none of your business,” I say, chin in the air. “And anyway, how do you know Nathaniel?”
He shrugs. “I know most of the vampires in London.”
I humpth. “I bet you do.”
In the blink of an eye, he is towering over me, face inches from mine. I inhale his clean, masculine scent like a drowning person coming up for air, and as he leans closer, I find myself gravitating towards him—a flower reaching for sunlight.
He pulls the collar of my coat aside and peers into the gap. As his fingers brush my jaw, an uncontrollable shiver zings through me. I disguise it by stepping out of reach and batting his hand away.
“He did a messy job on your neck,” he says, in a low voice.
“What’s it to you?” I snap.
Before I realize what’s happening, he closes the gap between us. One hand cupping my cheek, he bends over, lips brushing the place Nathaniel bit me, tongue gently swiping the puncture holes.
“That should stop the bleeding,” he says, pulling away. “But you’ll still have a bruise in the morning.”
I rub my neck and look at my fingers. No blood. “So, you can heal wounds? Just another of your unique skills along with beating up drunk men and following young women home for kicks?”
He sinks back into the armchair. “You’re a sexy girl, Silver. I’m glad we’ve met again.”
I snort incredulously, trying, without success, to forget the warmth of his hand on my face. “Well, you certainly made sure we did.”
“And of course,” he continues, pretending to examine a photo on the coffee table. “I’m hugely flattered I’ve managed to turn your head towards my kind.”
“You didn’t turn anything,” I say tartly.
He cocks a brow, gaze burning through my clothes like a laser. I feel a sharp twitch between my legs, as though he’s controlling my private areas by some invisible string. “Are you sure about that?”

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Dating the Undead Spotlight Graphic

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Cori 4 Stars

This was such a fun read! DATING THE UNDEAD is the first book in Juliet Lyons new paranormal series, The Undead Dating Service Series. The series title tells readers exactly what it’s about, a dating service for vampires and humans. I really enjoyed this one. It was a fun and sexy romance that had me smiling, rooting for the characters and flipping the pages. I’m adding this author to my buy list and I’ll be grabbing the next book when it releases.  I recommend this series for paranormal lovers looking for a fun new vampire series.

*Review copy provided by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.

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Author Guest Post

10 Ways to Tell if Your Date is Actually a Vampire

  1. They only want to meet at night, using the excuse that they’re not ‘a morning person’.
  2. On a date to the beach, you catch them harassing the lady in the mini mart to check the stock room for Hawaiian Tropics factor 500.
  3. When you get a papercut, they’re oddly excited.
  4. They’re still not over their ex. Even though the latter has been dead for two hundred years.
  5. Every time you mention a church wedding they recoil in horror*.
  6. They often refer to Eric from True Blood as someone who ‘has their shit together.’
  7. They drink a lot of red wine, but never seem drunk. Wait—is that actually wine?
  8. They have pale, flawless skin despite the fact you’ve never once seen them cleanse and/or moisturise.
  9. When watching any kind of sporting event, they constantly scoff and sneer at the athletes. ‘Please! Is that the best they can do?’
  10. They are particularly keen to remind you that the neck is a top five erogenous zone…

*Does not necessarily mean they are a vampire. Mortals—particularly males—are also prone to behaving in this way.

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Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Alibris

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Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 10 copies of DATING THE UNDEAD by Juliet Lyons

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Juliet 2 web_ photo by Sharan Rai PhotographyJULIET LYONS is a paranormal romance author from the UK. She holds a degree in Spanish and Latin American studies and works part-time in a local primary school where she spends far too much time discussing Harry Potter. Since joining global storytelling site Wattpad in 2014, her work has received millions of hits online and gained a legion of fans from all over the world. When she is not writing, Juliet enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Wattpad

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Spotlight, Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: SWEET SOUTHERN TROUBLE by Michele Summers

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SWEET SOUTHERN TROUBLE (Harmony Homecomings Series, Book 4) by Michele Summers

Publication Date: May 2, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

9781402293641-PRAn ambitious Southern belle

Marabelle Fairchild knows she’s a gal who can get things done. Feeling unappreciated at the exclusive private school where she’s a kindergarten aide and varsity tennis coach, Marabelle determines to score with the next big fundraiser. What she doesn’t expect? A smokin’ hot football coach to throw her off her game…

A reclusive NFL bachelor…

NFL coach Nick Frasier is Raleigh’s most eligible bachelor, but he wants to focus on his career…not his playboy status. He doesn’t need a smart-mouthed, pint-sized kindergarten teacher pestering him. So he cuts Marabelle a deal—in exchange for Nick sponsoring a bachelor auction starring him and his gorgeous celebrity pals, Marabelle will pose as his fiancée to ward off unwanted advances.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Donna review 4.5 stars

I completely enjoyed this story full of southern charm and southern vipers. Marabelle was a lot of fun to read, even though her inferiority complex got a little tiring at spots. Nick was the perfect leading man, taken unawares by the clueless girl. Their friends also made the story enjoyable, the perfect counterpart to the rich snobs engaged in their power-plays. This sweet romance also holds enough heat to spice things up. A fun read.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt

“Tinker Bell, we need to talk.” Nick caught up with Marabelle on the courts the next afternoon shortly after the gala committee meeting. She was in the middle of running drills for the team. She growled in his direction like a feral cat, but that didn’t deter him. He opened the gate to court one and forged ahead.
“I have nothing to say to you.” She continued to feed balls like a machine, with a death grip on her racket.
He watched the boys hitting behind the baseline. “Now, honey, is that any way to talk to your intended?”
“Get back on your court and keep drilling,” she ordered the boys as some of them started to gawk and work their way over to him. She threw her racket in the basket of balls and grabbed his arm to pull him off the court.
Nick allowed himself to be turned and then stopped. “Where’re we going, Thumbelina? Behind the bleachers to neck?”
“Fat chance. Away from the courts. Those boys have a fanboy crush on you, and I don’t want them to hear us.”
Nick strolled next to her toward the bleachers. “I think their crush is on you, not me.”
Marabelle stopped, eyes snapping as she dug her small fists into her hips. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means…those teenage boys have the hots for their tennis coach.”
Marabelle’s eyebrows shot so far up they got lost under her tennis hat. “Are you insane?” She put up both hands. “Don’t answer that. What kind of fiancé are you? You don’t write; you don’t call. I’m sitting on pins and needles here. This charade has gone on long enough,” she whispered fiercely.
Nick bit back a grin. “Awww, it’s only been two days. Have you been missing me?”
“Of course not. That’s not what I meant.” Nick started to chuckle. “I don’t think I can keep up this lie. In case you didn’t notice, those committee members want to lynch me,” she said, eyes flashing. “They’re very upset that the man of their dreams has taken himself off the market and gotten engaged to me.”
Nick had shown up at the meeting unannounced, and walked in on complete pandemonium with a lot of hysteria thrown on top. He’d managed to settle everyone down. Pledging a shitload of money will do that. Marabelle should be kissing his ass for saving hers.
“And that’s a problem because…” Nick shrugged.
“Because now the entire committee thinks I’m a slut. Hazel Cartwright asked how long I’d been ‘boinking’ you.”
“Really? Well maybe we should—”
“Look, can’t we pretend we had a big falling-out and broke up? I’ll tell everyone you dumped me for…for Jennifer Aniston. That’s totally plausible.”
Nick hated to burst Marabelle’s bubble, but he needed her more than she needed him. Marty Hackman loved the idea of his “engagement” and told Nick not to fuck it up…his exact words. And Nick had no intentions of disappointing the gruff, cigar-chewing owner of the Cherokees. If he asked Nick to join hands and sing Joni Mitchell songs, then he would do exactly that.
Nick placed his hand over his heart. “Tinker Bell, I’m wounded. Besides, Jennifer and I didn’t get along all that well.”
“You’ve actually dated Jennifer Aniston?” Marabelle drew back as her mouth formed a perfect O.
“We went out a few times. What’s the real problem here? I think the committee bought our story. We had them eating out of our hands.”
“Eating out of your hand. Look, it’s time we go our separate ways.” Marabelle ticked off on her fingers. “You do what you do best…date groupies. And I’ll do what I do best…make my mother’s life miserable. It works.”
Nick gave an exaggerated sigh and rubbed the back of his neck. “Anybody ever tell you you have no sense of adventure? You need to get out more.”
“I’m adventuresome. I’m all about adventure. Adventure is my middle name.”
Nick shook his head. “Huh-uh. My mind is made up. We’re engaged, and you’re just going to have to accept it. The sooner you do, the sooner we get to the good stuff.” He waggled his eyebrows at her scowling face.
“How can someone so gorgeous be so wicked and depraved?” Marabelle wondered aloud. “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”
“Honey, I’m not picking on you. I’m playing with you.” Nick allowed his gaze to roam over the tennis sweats swallowing her petite body. “I can’t wait to play doctor and get to the part where I undress you,” he said in a husky voice, moving in close and invading her space.
“Oh my God…you’re impossible.”
“Sh-h-h, you’re drawing a crowd.” Nick pointed at nobody over her head.
Marabelle whipped around to see who was listening, and Nick took advantage by gathering her in his arms.
“Marabelle, honey, stop fighting. Trust me.” He slipped his arm around her waist and lifted her up on her toes.
Then he kissed her silly. Or did she kiss him silly? Because the second his lips met hers, he forgot what they were arguing about. He’d never had to work this hard to get a girl on board. Frustrated didn’t begin to describe his feelings. Maybe he was losing his touch. He lifted his head, and Marabelle’s whacked expression matched his. Nah.
“See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” he murmured.
Marabelle lowered herself and licked her bottom lip as if tasting him there. “Mmm. Okay. We’ll pretend. But only when others are around. And no sex.” She narrowed her eyes to slits. “I’m no groupie. I worship only from afar. It’s safer that way.”
He pressed another hard kiss to her lips, wishing he could scoop her up in his arms and take her home. “Get back to work. I’ll call you later.”
“Yeah, right,” she mumbled. Nick watched as she trotted back to the courts, wondering how he was going to survive the next few months.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon PBKKobo | B&N | iBooks | Alibris

Amazon.com’s Michele Summers Page

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Author Guest Post

The best things about the South can be debated until the cows come home. For me, the list changes as often as our weather. I was born and raised a Carolina Blue Tarheel, but after college, I made my home in Miami, Florida and stayed for over twenty years (A different kind of south altogether). But since returning to my Tarheel state, it’s quite evident, some things have changed…and some things have not!

Here’s one of my favorite things about the south:

Weather: Most people love the South for its four seasons and the fact that our climate is mild. Okay, I’m basically on board with this, except I’d ix-nay winter altogether and order up two summers, one fall and one spring. Not a fan of winter, obviously due to the years I spent under the Miami sun. I know, you’re thinking—she’s freakin’ nuts—but the 90-degree temps never really bothered me. And Miami winters are amazing, because let’s face it, they’re basically non-existent.

Back home in NC, I start shivering mid-November and don’t stop until mid-April. Gone are my favorite flip-flops replaced by boots and clogs…anything I can wear with thick socks. But alas, I’m in the minority on this whole winter-should-be-outlawed thing and therefore will concede that overall the South’s weather is pretty darn nice.

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Giveaway

5 Copies of SWEET SOUTHERN TROUBLE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

  Michele Summers writes smart romances with spunky heroines, hunky heroes and wacky characters, with sigh-worthy emotion and a satisfying happily ever after. She never tires of creating fictional towns with lovable but flawed characters. When not writing, Michele loves her career as an interior designer and works with clients in NC and Miami where she lived for over 20 years. These days she stays busy herding her college freshman and high school sophomore and spends a lot of time watching them compete in tennis.

Presently she resides in NC where she grew up with her family, but still misses sunny South Florida, swaying palm trees and wearing open-toed shoes…everyday!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon Author Page

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Blog Tour, Review, Q&A & Giveaway: NEVER TRUST A PIRATE (Playful Brides) by Valerie Bowman

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NEVER TRUST A PIRATE (Playful Brides) by Valerie Bowman

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

IMG_8136The rules of engagement were never so scandalous. . .

A rumored pirate and the scurrilous black sheep of his well-to-do family, Cade Cavendish relishes his world of rebellion, deception, and seduction. Nothing and no one can hold him to be the duty-bound, honorable man he is expected to be. But when an unexpected run-in at his twin brother’s estate with a ravishing, raven-haired maid leads her to believe he’s actually a viscount, Cade’s renegade life is thrown wildly off-kilter. And even though a case of mistaken identity can be quickly set to rights, matters of the heart are quite different…

Miss Danielle LaCrosse is startled to learn that the handsome gentleman who radiates sin and has the devil in his eyes is not her employer the Viscount, but rather his infamous brother. A former heiress, orphaned and left penniless, Danielle has more than a few secrets of her own. Cade may be skilled at coaxing even the most hidden desires out of Danielle but can he earn her trust—and win her heart—as they embark on an adventure to confront a dangerous enemy from both of their pasts . . . and uncover the identity of the so-called Black Fox along the way?

Never Trust a Pirate is part of the Regency-set Playful Brides series by Valerie Bowman.

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Author Guest Post

  1. What is your favorite scene in Never Trust a Pirate? I truly do love the whole book but I think everything that happens after they get on the ship is especially fun. The book is sort of pre-ship and post-ship.
  2. What’s your favorite underappreciated romance novel?
 One of my favorite romances ever is Dark Future by KC Klein. It’s a futuristic scifi romance, which is not normally something I gravitate toward (I like to read historical romance!) but I picked up KC’s book and couldn’t put it down. It’s fantastic. She also has me reading contemporary cowboy stories.
  3. Are you methodical in your writing, certain hours of the day, certain rituals you may perform before you sit down? Or are you one of those writers who binge write when the mood is upon you? I’m a binge writer, but it’s not about the mood striking so much as it’s about having more time to write on the weekend because I’m not at my day job.
  4. Are there particular tropes you are fond of using? My favorite trope is probably reunited lovers or old friends who fall in love. I love the brother’s best friend trope, too. I’ve used all of those and am currently writing a story where a married couple (who haven’t seen each other in ten years) are forced to work together again. Of course hijinx (and romance) will ensue!
  5. What lead you to writing historical romances? My love of reading them. I read them a lot as a teenager. They made me so happy.
  6. How would you describe Never Trust a Pirate using only three words? Racy Regency Romp. That’s how I describe all of my books, actually.
  7. What is your advice for other writers? Write! It’s simple. I see a lot of would-be writers taking classes and reading books about writing but the best thing to do is just write, write, write. Worry about the mechanics later. You do need to study craft and learn the business but you’ve got nothing to improve if you’re not actually writing.
  8. Do you, or your publisher decide on your beautiful covers? If your publisher, do you have any input? My publisher makes the covers for the books and I love them. They send them to me for input but it’s usually quite minimal. They are gorgeous! I’m very lucky.
  9. Why this setting and why pirates? Inquiring minds want to you, or me anyway. I unabashedly love pirates! I love to read stories about them and when I was a kid I wanted to be one. Of course I get horribly seasick and am about the least adventurous person you’d ever meet. Swashbuckling would stress me out. I guess that’s why I have to write about it instead.
  10. What do you do to relax, after a day of writing? And how, do you set your writing day in order to achieve your goal of a certain number of pages? My favorite way to relax is to take a nap. I should have been born in a country that embraces the concept of siesta. That’s where I belong. Ha! I don’t count pages so much as I count words. So if I have to get twenty thousand words (about ¼ of a novel) written in a weekend, I would need to write about 6,600 Friday night, 13,000 on Saturday, and 6,600 on Sunday. I have a day job so weekends are very important to me as far as hitting my word count goals.
  11. Another inquiring minds want to you, approximately, how long does it take you to write a full length novel?  How many books can you write in a year? It takes me about two months to actually write the novel (working mostly nights and weekends around my full-time job) but it takes months to plot and think about the novel which is why I only write two novels per year.
  12. Which Hollywood stars would you like to see as the main characters in NEVER TRUST A PIRATE? I actually have a Pinterest board set up with my idea of who all the main characters in the Playful Brides series look like. For Cade Cavendish and Danielle LaCrosse it’s Chris Pine and Zooey Deschanel. You can find the board at: https://www.pinterest.com/valeriegbowman/playfulbrides/.
  13. Do you write fulltime? No and I actually have a theory that if I did write full-time I would get much less writing done. I think having to be so disciplined about my writing time forces me to focus. At least that’s what I tell myself.
  14. Twitter or Facebook? Both!
  15. Favorite TV show? Of all time? Gilmore Girls. As for what’s on today, I love Homicide Hunter: Lt Joe Kenda. I’m a sucker for true crime.
  16. Who is your ultimate Book Boyfriend? My book boyfriend is Jason Fielding from Judith McNaught’s Once and Always. Talk about the perfect tortured hero!
  17. What are you reading right now or what’s on your TBR? I’m currently reading Kerrigan Byrne’s, The Duke, and I can’t wait to dive into Anna Bennett’s, I Dared the Duke!
  18. 2017 Movie you’re most looking forward to? I just saw a trailer for Dunkirk and I got goosebumps! I can’t wait. I love WWII-era history almost as much as the Regency. 
  19. Give us the “elevator pitch” for your new book. I call Never Trust a Pirate: The Scarlet Pimpernel meets Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in Regency England.
  20. Series or stand alone?  If series do you already have a set number of books that you plan to write? Series. When I began to write the Playful Brides series, I planned three books. I’m happy to say it’s going to be eleven altogether, plus a novella. Plans change!
  21. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? I’ve been to Bath and seen the Jane Austen museum there. Does that count?
  22. What are your future project(s)? Right now, I’m editing book 8 in the Playful Brides series. It’s called The Right Kind of Rogue and comes out on Halloween. I’m also writing book 9 of the Playful Brides series. And I’m always plotting future books in my head. In this case I’ve already got a lot of ideas for how I’m going to end the series with book #11 (Delilah and Thomas’s book) in Spring 2019. 
  23. For novices who haven’t read a novel of yours what is it that they will find unique in your work? I hope they will find a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is filled with humor and heart. Above all, I just want my stories to entertain. I’m not here to give anyone a history lesson. I just want readers to smile and sigh. 
  24. Do you find that you base any of your characters on people in your life? Have you gotten any inspiration for scenes in your novel from things that have happened to you in real life? The entire Playful Brides series was conceived based on my friend’s terrible boyfriend. She wouldn’t break up with him and I kept telling her to let me call him and break up with him for her (I was kidding, sorta). On a drive home from dinner with her one night, after she’d filled my ear yet again with a bunch of stories of the awful things he’d done (forgot her birthday, asked her to pay his cell phone bill), I started thinking how funny it would be if there was a service that you could call to break-up with your boyfriend for you. The opposite of Cyrano de Bergerac. I decided that would be great story and immediately began to think about how I could set it in the Regency. That was the idea for The Unexpected Duchess, the first story in the series.
  25. Are there any books or authors that have really influenced you and made you want to write? What about those authors inspired or influenced you? Lisa Kleypas was a huge influence on me. I was snowed in at an airport in 2007 and picked up Scandal in Spring. Many hours later (I couldn’t put the book down) I considered giving romance writing a try. She is a brilliant writer and a lovely person both inside and out.
  26. Have you read anything lately that you loved? Julie Anne Long’s The Legend of Lyon Redmond was sheer perfection if you ask me.
  27. Do you usually work off of an outline while writing or do you tend to just start writing and see where the story takes you? I don’t have an outline per se, but I sketch out a few sentences for each chapter in my Word .doc so I know where the story is going. I’ve been working lately on making my stories more character driven so I may change this up a bit.
  28. Where did you get the inspiration for your main characters? What other books or movies or music influenced this novel? As with all of the stories in my Playful Brides series, Never Trust a Pirate was inspired by a play. In this case it’s The Scarlet Pimpernel. I loved the concept of a character with dual identities.
  29. What advice do you have for pair wanting to get into the writing field? If you want to write romance, join Romance Writers of America (RWA.org). Hands down it was the best thing I did to learn how to write a romance novel. Leslie Wainger’s book, Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies, is also fantastic.

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Cori 4 Stars

I really enjoyed this one! I was in the mood for a good historical romance and Valerie Bowman’s NEVER TRUST A PIRATE fit the bill. It was fun and sexy, with a bit of mystery that added to the story. It satisfied my historical romance craving and had me craving more. I’ll be checking out Valerie Bowman’s previous books and I look froward to the next book in her Playful Brides series. NEVER TRUST A PIRATE is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone. I recommend this book for historical romance lovers looking for a good book to curl up with.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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Excerpt

Read an Excerpt Here

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Buy Links

Kindle | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of NEVER TRUST A PIRATE by Valerie Bowman

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Paperback provided by St. Martin’s Press. 

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About the Author

IMG_8135Valerie Bowman grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzer, Huckleberry. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is the author of the Secret Brides series, starting with Secrets of a Wedding Night, Secrets of a Runaway Bride, and Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage.

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