Book Spotlight–HEARTS IN VEGAS by Colleen Collins

Hearts in Vegas by Colleen Collins

Hearts in Vegas

Private Eye Romance Series #3

By

Colleen Collins

Releasing July 1st, 2014

Blurb:

“You’re not going into this alone.”

P.I. Frances Jefferies is the perfect person to slip into Las Vegas’s underworld to recover a priceless necklace. With her elite investigative skills, not to mention her jewel-thief past, she knows she can get the job done. That is, until a sexy stranger gets in her way.

Braxton Morgan’s past is as secretive as her own. There’s so much about this man she wants to discover—but not at the cost of her case. For that, she must stay focused. Then Braxton suggests adding his security expertise to catch the criminal. And suddenly they’re mixing smarts with danger and a whole lot of passion!

 

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   Buy Links:

Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  iTunes  

 

Hearts-in-Vegas-Colleen-Collins

Follow the Tour   

 

Meet Colleen…Colleen Collins

Colleen Collins is an award-winning author who has written several dozen novels for Harlequin and Dorchester, as well as three indie nonfiction books on private investigations and one indie mystery, The Zen Man. When not sleuthing, Colleen loves spending time with her husband, the two of them watching one of their favorite sports teams, taking walks with their two Rottweilers (named Jack Nicholson and Aretha Franklin) and herding their three cats.

Author Links:

Website  |   Goodreads  |   Twitter

 

A Rafflecopter Giveaway  

Winner receives autographed print copies of all three books in this private-eye romance series for Harlequin Superromance (The Next Right Thing, Sleepless in Las Vegas and Hearts in Vegas) + $20 Amazon gift card.

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Book Spotlight and Review—LILY’S SUMMER COWBOY by D’Ann Lindun

Today, I welcome back D’Ann Lindun with a spotlight on her latest novella Lily’s Summer Cowboy.  I just finished reading this well-written, fantastically emotional second-chance romance and LOVED IT….So, I figured since I was scheduled to do a spotlight, I’d surprise her with a review.

 

Lily's Summer Cowboy by D'Ann Lindun

 

Lily’s Summer Cowboy

by

D’Ann Lindun

Blurb:

Afraid to love, Lily Halderman is determined to never feel despair like when she lost her husband to cancer. Left alone to continue their custom farming business, she struggles to stay afloat, both financially and emotionally. Until Will comes along to help with the farm, impressing her with his hard work ethics, and presenting a danger to her heart because he is just the kind of man she could love.

Will Wainwright is running from the pain of the past. Feeling responsible for the death of fellow soldier—the woman he loved—Will takes a job working for Lily, hoping the dawn-to-dusk labor will help him forget his sorrow. But, Lily’s grit and determination to move forward catches him off guard.

Friendship turns to passion …but can they heal one another?

 

Excerpt:

Three days passed and Lily had forgotten all about Maggie’s grandson. Her hours had been filled with getting seed in the ground and nothing else. Her shoulders ached from steering the big John Deere and she still had another five hundred acres to plow by the end of the week.

She parked the tractor in the barn and trudged toward the house. The sun had begun to set behind the mountains in the distance, making it hard to see, but she thought someone sat on one of her wicker chairs on the porch. Maybe Maggie’s grandson had come after all.

Too tired to do more than eat, shower and fall in bed, she fought a spark of irritation. She didn’t have time to babysit a spoiled teenager. Why Maggie thought she did was beyond her. With a frown, she stepped up on the porch. And stopped. And stared.

A man sat on the rocking chair, spinning a Stetson on the toe of one of his boots. A striped western shirt hung open over a grey t-shirt snugged against a flat belly and faded Wranglers pulled over taut thighs.

This was Maggie’s grandson?

Lily swallowed and swiped her palms down her jeans, realizing for the first time how she must look in a dust stained tank top and jeans, her tangled ponytail pulled through the back of a ball cap. “Hello.”

A smile lit up against his darkly tanned face. “Howdy.”

“I—uh, I’m Lily.” She stood on her own steps, unsure how to proceed. “You’re Maggie’s grandson?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He stood and held out his hand. “Will Wainwright.”

“Nice to meet you.” She took his hand and jolt of awareness went through her. Dark blond hair, eyes as dark brown as the earth. Chiseled cheekbones. Wow.

Maggie had led her to believe her grandson was a teenager. This man was no teen. Probably around twenty-five. A man. Although a decade younger than Lily.

“I’m sure sorry about your husband,” he said. “Gran told me what happened.”

“Thank you.” He’d probably never been touched by tragedy in his life. Suddenly she felt ancient. “Would you like iced tea?”

 

My Thoughts….5 Stars

As I said above this novella was well-written and despite it’s short length, this story was an emotional ride. Will and Lily both are heartbroken and aren’t looking for love when Lily’s friend offers her grandson to Lily for hire for the summer.  Lily is a 30 something widow who is grieving the untimely death of her husband and has her plate full to overflowing with her farm. Will is a cowboy who is a little younger than Lily, and he’s swoon worthy. But he’s also a  tortured hero,  literally. He’s a veteran returning from the war and is dealing with the death of his fellow soldier and girlfriend. But when he and Lily meet the tension is scorching and their attraction causes all kinds of internal conflict.

This book is one I highly recommend for sitting on the beach. It’s the perfect length for those who want a great story but don’t have the time to read a long book. But just because this book isn’t long doesn’t mean D’Ann short-changes the reader on quality. This story is packed with emotion and by the end I was in love with these characters as much as they were with each other.

(I purchased this book from Amazon and the author is unaware I did a review)

 

Buy at Amazon 

 

Meet D’Ann…

Falling in love with romance novels the summer before sixth grade, D’Ann Lindun never thought about wrD'Ann Linduniting one until many years later when she took a how-to class at her local college. She was hooked! She began writing and never looked back. Romance appeals to her because there’s just something so satisfying about writing a book guaranteed to have a happy ending. D’Ann’s particular favorites usually feature cowboys and the women who love them. This is probably because she draws inspiration from the area where she lives, Western Colorado, her husband of twenty-nine years and their daughter. Composites of their small farm, herd of horses, five Australian shepherds, a Queensland heeler, two ducks and cats of every shape and color often show up in her stories!

D’Ann loves to hear from readers! Please contact her at

Email  |  Website  |  Facebook  |  Amazon Page  

 

 

 

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Guest Post– “The Story of Inspiration” by Kristin Wallace author of ACTING UP

The Story of Inspiration

 

Ask a writer the question they get asked the most and it’s probably some variation of “Where do you get your ideas?” It is the most frequent and often the hardest question to answer for a writer. The truth is a lot of us are not sure. We’d love to say ideas come floating through the air and we just reach up and grab them. That doesn’t happen. There are no idea fairies waving magic wands to produce fully formed book plots.

Ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere. A book we read, a movie, a magazine article, a commercial, something another person says. I often say coming up with idea is a lot of like playing a slot machine. You pull the lever and then watch it turn, hoping you get three cherries (the magic idea). It rarely works so easily. You have to play over and over again until you get the right combination.

For my latest book IMAGINE THAT I know exactly where the idea came from. I was sitting in a movie theater watching the pre-movie entertainment and they had a segment about the upcoming Harry Potter movie (Yes, this idea and the book itself is a couple years old even though it’s just now seeing the light of day.) Anyway, I started to think about what would happen if J.K. Rowling couldn’t come up with another idea for a book or series. After having such phenomenal success, where you go from there? What could you possibly do to match that? As recent events have proven, her later books haven’t come close to making the impact of the Potter books. In fact the last one, which was written under a pseudonym, didn’t take off until after it was “leaked” that she was the author.

So the idea was born of a best selling children’s book author who had a phenomenal first book and then the second book flopped. Now Emily Jane Sinclair (aka E.J. Sinclair) is stuck and has seemingly lost her inspiration. So she sets out on a quest to recover her imagination. The journey takes her to Covington Falls where she meets someone (Nate Cooper) who is far away from her upbringing as possible. It was such a fun book to write because Emily and Nate are so different. She’s highly educated and comes from a world of literature professors. He barely made it through high school. Her every reference has something to do with books. He hasn’t read any of them. In the end they are the perfect foil. She brings lightness into his world. He grounds her in this one.

Hope you has as much fun getting to know Emily and Nate as I had writing them.

 

~*~

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Acting Up by Kristin Wallace

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Acting Up

A Covington Falls Chronicles Romance

By

Kristin Wallace

Blurb:

Children’s author Emily Sinclair was supposed to be the next J.K. Rowling… Until her second book flopped and her imagination went on the fritz. So Emily sets out on an epic adventure to find inspiration again. Till a dead car lands her in Covington Falls, Georgia. Soon Emily is taking up her quest, looking for inspiration driving a mobile library van, as a companion to a crotchety old woman and her insomniac dog, and as a very ungraceful baker’s assistant.  Of course, what really sparks her romantic fantasies is a valiant hero, though he yields a paint roller instead of a sword.

Rugged, blue-collar Nate Cooper has spent most of his life avoiding the printed page. These days he doesn’t have much use for fancy words and certainly not for a slightly off-center writer on the lam. Not when his mother is battling cancer, his little brother has morphed into a teenaged ogre, and God seems to have taken a vacation.

On paper, these two would seem the least likely pairing, and a happily ever after nothing but fantasy. But with faith and imagination Emily and Nate are about to write a new chapter that will lead to unexpected love.

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Excerpt:

Chapter One

A stomach-churning thunk. A disaster-laden chug. A scary, threatening gurgle.

Emily Sinclair’s hands clutched the steering wheel as she guided her how-could-you-give-out-on-me-now convertible to the side of the road. With a last ominous blunk and splutter, the car gave up the ghost.

She switched off the engine, waited a few seconds, and then turned the key again. Nothing.

Not surprising. As if anything glug-glugging like an octogenarian trying to cough up a lung was going to restart with so little effort.

A cranky yowl went up from the passenger seat. Emily glanced over at the pet carrier and sent the fat Persian inside a confident smile. “Don’t worry, Wordsworth. This is why modern man invented cell phones.”

She fished her phone out of her purse. A blank screen stared back at her. Pressing more buttons did nothing.

Dead as her car.

With a sound of disgust, Emily tossed the useless phone aside and stared out the windshield at the deserted country road in front of her. The very deserted country road that stretched around a sparkling blue lake and disappeared into the back of beyond. The kind of road featured in all the best horror stories. Emily’s mind conjured up every one, along with the opening line in the newspaper article.

Onceamous children’s author found mangled to death. Quest to locate her lost imagination and revive faded career ends in disaster… as her mother predicted.

Muttering an oath, Emily climbed out of the car and slammed the door as hard as she could. What a fix. And ironic. There were rules about writing. Not grammar rules, like where to put commas or when to use a semicolon. No, the unofficial rules for fiction writing. Chief among them is that an author should never start a novel with the character driving or thinking. No, readers wanted action right off the top, and the car could never break down.

In college, Emily had written a short story where the heroine’s car stalled in a typical these-people-will-murder-you-in-your-sleep town. Emily’s professor had written cliché in bold, red pen across the page. Not satisfied, she’d added boring cliché, underlining the boring with three thick red lines. The critique had stung. The fact that it had come courtesy of Professor Vanessa Sinclair, Emily’s mother, had been like ripping off an old bandage.

Emily was breaking all three cardinal rules of writing at once. Though technically the driving rule didn’t apply. Same for the sitting rule. She was thinking, though. Thinking her entire life had become a cliché, so what did it matter if she broke her mother’s precious writing rules? She was a one-hit writing wonder. A flash in the pan. A big-haired eighties’ rock band that had scored one giant hit and then disappeared into the oblivion of those nostalgic ‘Where are they now?’ music specials.

Emily sighed. If one had to break down somewhere, one could do worse than… what had the sign said back there? Covington something. Covington something, Georgia. Muted afternoon sun shimmered off the surface of the lake. She lifted a hand to ward off the eye-watering glare and focused on the water. In her previous life, the golden flecks of sunlight reflecting off its surface would have transformed into a million different kinds of fantastical creatures. Or maybe something nightmarish would charge out of that bank of oak trees across the lake.

Unfortunately, Emily was stuck in her real life, and her imagination was on the fritz.

Well, at least she wouldn’t die of water deprivation while she waited to be rescued.

Speaking of rescue.

A car had appeared, winding around the curve of the lake. A big ole’ country truck calling to mind hoedowns and hay rides. A big ole’ rusty truck, Emily realized as it drew closer. Burnt red growth spread out across the hood like a marauding band of Vikings overtaking a defenseless village. She imagined rust was the only thing holding the vehicle together.

The truck slowed and Emily tensed, torn between elation at being found and wariness regarding exactly who might be behind the wheel of the ancient rattletrap. The glare off the windshield made it impossible to see inside the cab, however.

The tires veered off to the side of the road and stopped, sending up a cloud of dust. Emily waved her hand, choking on the airborne dirt. Her mouth felt dry as if she had licked the ground. The door opened. Work boots emerged. Brown and roughed-up and covered in… paint. A man stepped out, and Emily steadied her hands against the car to keep from falling over.

Mr. Darcy. No, Heathcliff. Only instead of a cravat and breeches, he was dressed in faded jeans and a black T-shirt, which seemed molded to an impressive chest. Heath stretched up a good six-plus feet, towering over her puny five-foot-two frame. A lock of dark chocolate-brown hair brushed over his forehead. Their eyes met. Since she was already thinking in clichés, Emily’s mind offered up a million of them to describe his eyes. She could start with gray, but no way did such a mundane word do them justice. Slate, storm clouds, a roiling sea, glazed pewter. Devastating, and framed by thick sooty lashes no man had a right to possess.

He stopped a few feet away, and Emily had the fanciful notion he was trying not to frighten her. Like she was a skittish filly about to bolt.

“Hi,” he said. “Car trouble?”

His voice was like his eyes. Smooth and deep, like honey in a cup of hot tea.

Emily nodded. How could she speak when every male literary fantasy she’d ever dreamed about had unfolded from a rusted-out pickup?

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Buy Links:

Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  

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Meet Kristin…

Growing up Kristin devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate. Her first Golden Book led to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Kristin WallaceDrew, C.S. Lewis and the Sweet Valley High series. Later, she discovered romance novels and fell in love all over again. It’s no surprise then that Kristin would one day try her hand at writing them. She writes inspirational romance and women’s fiction filled with love, laughter and a leap of faith. When she’s not writing her next novel, Kristin works as an advertising copywriter. Kristin is the author of the Covington Falls Chronicles, romances set in a quirky Southern town with a character all its own. Be sure to check out the first two books in the series, Marry Me and Acting Up.

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Connect with Kristin:

 Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon  |  Goodreads   

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Guest Post– “How Christina Hendricks and Chris Pine Inspired My Characters” by Shannyn Schroeder author of CATCH YOUR BREATH

Character Inspiration

 Before I start writing a book, the first thing I do is try to get to know the characters. I figure out their personalities and what they look like. Then I create collages that I hang on the bulletin board above my desk as visual inspiration as I write.

Moira O’Leary is the only daughter who inherited the red hair from her mother. She is also buxom. So naturally, I pictured Christina Hendricks in the role of Moira. Not only does her coloring and body type fit the character, but I also think it was her smile that made me know she was the right inspiration. She’s sexy and smart and looks like she knows how to have fun.

 

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Jimmy O’Malley gave me a bit of a harder time. I needed a guy who is good looking (duh!) but could also be intense. Jimmy spends most of the book being very serious. He’s not the kind of guy who smiles and laughs often. However, when he does, it’s powerful. Because of this, I chose Chris Pine as my inspiration for Jimmy. Really, I don’t think any other explanation is needed, is there?

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~*~

 

Catch Your Breath by Shannyn Schroeder

 

Catch Your Breath

The O’Learys Book #4

By

Shannyn Schroeder

eKensington

Releasing July 3rd, 2014

Blurb:

As kids they steered clear of one another–but now a beautiful, well-connected reporter and a sexy, driven detective are all grown-up and on the job. . .

Moira O’Leary’s work as a reporter gives her access to some of Chicago’s swankiest soirées. She knows how to navigate the jet-set crowd, and her style and confidence help her blend right in. But when her childhood crush starts popping up at posh events, her poise begins to falter–until she realizes she has the upper hand in a high-stakes game of secrets and seduction. . .

Jimmy O’Malley has always tried to avoid his friend Liam’s little sister. Something about Moira spelled trouble. But he’s out of his element working undercover in Chicago’s high society, and Moira is his ticket to the inner circle. As sparks begin to fly–and their chemistry heats up–Moira gets dangerously close to his investigation. Will Jimmy be forced to push her away to keep her safe–or will they surrender to a desire that could leave them breathless?

 

Buy Links:

Amazon  |   iTunes  |  Kobo  |  Barnes and Noble 

 

Catch-Your-Breath by ShannynSchroeder 

Follow  the Tour

 

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Meet Shannyn…

Shannyn is a former English teacher, who now works as a part-time editor while raising her three kids.

Even though she wrote from high school through college (mostly poetry), she’d never considered a career as an Shannyn Schroederauthor. Writing fell by the wayside as she focused her energy on creating lesson plans and new and fabulous ways to torment her teen students. One group in particular dubbed her “The Torture Master,” a title she carried into motherhood.

After the birth of baby number two, Shannyn resigned from teaching and fell in love with reading romance novels. She read so many books so quickly that her husband teased, “If you’re going to read so many damn books, why don’t you just write one?”

So she did.

That first book is safely buried on her hard drive, but the process set Shannyn on the path to where she is today—agented with a debut ebook coming out with Kensington in late 2012.

She is recovering from her Diet Coke addiction, fears putting her foot in her mouth on social media, and has a renewed appreciation for the bad girls of the world.

 

Author Links:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twiter  |  Goodreads

 

A Rafflecopter Giveaway ($10 gift card to Amazon or B&N, a digital copy of one of the first 3 O’Leary books (More Than This, A Good Time, or Something to Prove) or Three Swag packs including: Keeper Kase with signed cards, O’Learys bottle opener, and O’Learys post-its)

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Book Spotlight—IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE by Beth Ciotta

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Enter to Win 
Cupcake Lovers Tote Bag w/ Print Copy of ANYTHING BUT LOVE
& Signed Cover Flat of IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
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https://www.goodreads.com/series/96857-cupcake-lovers
BUY NOW
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THE ONLY THING BETTER THAN A SURPRISE FLING…
 
Sugar Creek, Vermont, is a world away from Los Angeles for high-powered, media-obsessed Harper Day. When she took the job doing publicity for the Cupcake Lovers, she never expected to be won over by the town’s old-fashioned charms. But that was before she moved into the Victorian vacation home of her dreams and fell in with a man whose good looks and irresistible ways are anything but small-town…
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IS FINDING TRUE AND LASTING LOVE.
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Sam McCloud is a widowed father of two. He and bossy, big-city Harper appear to have nothing in common… though the attraction they feel toward one another cannot be denied. But will their romance last longer than the day’s headlines? There’s more to Harper than meets the eye, and as it turns out, she needs to get married—fast. Little does Harper know that family-man Sam will do whatever it takes to keep her in Sugar Creek—even if that means taking matters into his own hands. And never letting her go…in the fourth novel in the Cupcake Lovers series, In the Mood For Love.
 
 
 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Storytelling comes naturally to award-winning author Beth Ciotta. Dubbed “fun and sexy” by Publisher’s Weekly, Beth specializes in contemporary, historical, steampunk, and paranormal romantic fiction. Beth lives in NJ with her husband, two zany dogs, and a crazy cat. A retired professional performer, Beth now pours her artistic passion into her writing. To learn more about her colorful life, visit her website at http://www.bethciotta.com
 
 
 
 
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Guest Post–”Every Woman Is a Goddess!” by Cate Masters author of GODDESS, AWAKENED

Every Woman Is a Goddess!

 At least, every woman should be treated like one. That’s the premise of my series, The Goddess Connection. In each book, the heroine will be somehow connected to a goddess. Her lifelong quirks will become strengths once she finds her true place in the world, and accepts herself for who she really is. Something every woman should do!

The first novel to kick off this series is Goddess, Awakened, available for preorder from Kensington Publishing’s Lyrical Press imprint: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/30452

In Goddess, Awakened, the heroine Jocelyn Gibson doesn’t become aware of her family ties to the realm of magic, or to the Goddess Iris, until she buys an old bed and breakfast. All she wants is a quiet life, preparing special dishes made with lavender she grows at the inn, but before she can have it, she has to first deal with a few demons and goddesses. How could she know the inn sat atop powerful ley lines that would cause a battle to erupt between the forces of dark and light?

Release day is July 7!  *happy dances*  Watch my blog at http://catemasters.blogspot.com/ for fun news including giveaways and goodies – lots are coming up!

 ~*~

 Goddess Awakened by Cate Masters

Goddess, Awakened

The Goddess Connection Book 1

By

Cate Masters

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Fantasy/paranormal romance novel

About 89,700 words

 

Blurb:

With a little help from a goddess, battling evil is a piece of cake for Jocelyn Gibson.

A descendant of the goddess Iris, Jocelyn Gibson may have forgotten about the realm of magic, but it hasn’t forgotten her. When Eric Hendricks is targeted by a demon, Joss must step in to battle the evil and save the town’s awkward, but endearing, vet…who also happens to be the man she loves.

Joss’s new inn, a culinary career specializing in cooking with lavender and a new love all make for a fine recipe of disaster. She needs to embrace her inner goddess and harness the powers she never knew she had before it’s too late.

 

Excerpt:

The sting remained with Joss long after Eric fled the inn. Deep-rooted pain emanated from him when he’d first entered, and his palm against her arm sent an electric shock straight to her bones. The poor man. Grief kept him its prisoner. Joss understood how easy it was to fall into that dark trap. The way he’d held her, he sought escape. Comfort.

He awakened deep-seated sensations in her. In the few moments with him, she’d felt more alive than she had in three years.

So strange. Normally, one look allowed her to see the person inside. With Eric Hendricks, her receptivity went into overload. His soul, pent up for years, stirred to life and churned up love, fear, joy, hopelessness, yearning, jumbled and shifting faster than light. He displayed great strength in his firm stance and gentle touch. Beneath a hard veneer of sheer pain, one other trait came through clearly—purity of spirit, and integrity enough for many men.

The arrival of more guests drew Joss to the foyer again. Another matronly witch and an older man wearing a checked flannel shirt, jeans, and boots stepped inside, followed by a princess and a boy in a fabric turtle shell.

Joss recognized the girl as one of the riders whose horse was boarded at the inn’s stable. After greeting them and pointing them toward refreshments, she returned to Lydia. “Sorry about Dr. Hendricks.”

“Don’t apologize. It’s wonderful you have so many guests.” Lydia fingered the flowers in the vase on the table.

One woman stood in the archway to the front room, her bright-eyed glare directed at Joss. Wearing a short white shift adorned with large red hearts, the woman held a wand topped with a glittering red heart.

Confused by the woman’s malevolence, Joss approached and fought to overcome the negativity oozing from her. “Did you try some of the booscotti?”

The woman tilted up her chin. “I’m not hungry, Mrs. Gibson,” came her familiar nasal reply.

Recognition finally hit. Of course—the girl who worked at the diner in town. “Sheree?”

At her curt nod, Joss forced a smile. “I love your costume.”

Sheree’s gaze darted her length. “Likewise.”

What could be her problem? The woman wielded her wand like a weapon, ready to strike. “Please have a drink and make yourself at home.”

“Thank you.” Her narrowed eyes swept the room as if suspecting an ambush, and then she moved stiffly away.

Joss crossed the room to Lydia. “That was weird.”

Lydia whispered, “Be careful of her.”

“Sheree? I can’t imagine why.” Could she be nervous the inn would take away some of the diner’s business? Though Joss would have liked to think it was the cause of her strange behavior, Sheree’s vibes told Joss otherwise. Business had nothing to do with it. The waitress directed her bad juju at Joss personally. Had Joss unintentionally insulted Sheree? She’d barely met the woman.

Leaning close, her aunt spoke sternly, “I warned you to watch for others who seek the power of this place.”

Sheree? Her aunt must be mistaken. The woman’s terrible attitude resulted from something. Maybe an imagined slight? Joss would find a way to put Sheree at ease.

More guests entered, and Joss excused herself. She left Lydia deeply inhaling the air. Joss couldn’t deny the charged atmosphere was one of the reasons she’d bought the place. Not to tap into any lines of power for herself, but maybe to enhance the lavender field she planned. Joss needed the garden to thrive so the inn would as well.

 

Trailer:

 

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |All Romance eBooks| Kensington  

 

Meet Cate…

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Author Links:

Website  |  Email  |   Facebook  |   Twitter

 

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Love, Lust and Lipstick Stains and My Family’s Heart Book Reviews 30 Days of Summer Blog Tour

30DaysofSummerBanner

 

I’m excited to be part of the Love, Lust and Lipstick Stains and My Family’s Heart Book Reviews 30 Days of Summer Blog Tour. We have 30 authors sharing excerpts and teasers throughout July all over the internet with the help of some wonderful bloggers! Be sure to stop by our event because there will be some flash giveaways going on plus you’ll be able to follow the tour there.

 

JOIN THE EVENT!

 

Also enter our HUGE Rafflecopter as we’ve got a lot of prizes to be won! A Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

Participating authors:

Skye Callahan

C.E. Black

Natalie Gayle

Christina Phillips

Anne Conley

Em Petrova

Samantha Holt

Cd Brennan

Kate Robbins

Victoria Barbour

Kristina Mathews

Eden Ashe

Gemma Brocato

Storm Chase

Annie Nicholas

Krissy Daniels

Sara Walter Ellwood

Holley Trent

H.Y. Hanna

Pippa Jay

Misa Buckley

Lisa Chalmers

Em Taylor

Sylvia Ryan

Willa Blair

Paige Thomas

Rhonda Lee Carver

Emma Weylin

Kirsten S. Blacketer

Jenn Roseton

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Cover Reveal—DEFINING MOMENTS by Dori Lavelle

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Defining Moments

by
Dori Lavelle

Blurb:

How much heartbreak can one heart take?

Melisa Dane has made it through the worst. Her heart was broken, but Florian Dane, better known as “Heat”—and the man of her dreams—returned to mend it. Now, with her family almost complete, Melisa is ready to sit back and enjoy life.

But fate isn’t done with her yet. The perpetual smile on her face freezes when the second man to steal her heart shows up in her life once again. Scott Bergfeld, the husband she buried and grieved for years ago, is not dead, and he comes back bearing secrets.

Heartbroken and confused, Melisa tries to find answers to questions she never thought she’d ask, but what she learns throws her life into turmoil. Soon, cracks start to form in her marriage with Heat. As her heart is torn into two halves—between the man she loved first and the man she married first—she comes dangerously close to having her whole life destroyed again. How many people will end up getting hurt? This time, does she have the strength to make it through?

Meet Dori…
Dori Lavelle, is a mother, wife, and lover of happy endings and mint chocolate. She thinks love and chocolate make such a perfect pair. Give her a great romance novel with a hint of suspense and a mug of hot chocolate and she’d be one happy woman. Growing up, Dori read a lot, and when she wasn’t happy with a particular ending, she wrote a different one, just for herself. Before long, she was writing stories when she should have been doing homework. The time has come for her to share the stories she cooks up in her head.
 
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Filed under Tasty Read Book Tours

Interview with Lynn Crain author of A VIENNESE CHRISTMAS

Welcome Lynn Crain.  Let’s start with what genre/genres do you write?

I write quite a few genres actually. I love to write sci-fi and paranormal romance both erotic and sensual. I also love fantasy and urban fantasy. Recently, I’ve branched out in some tamer areas which surprise me a whole lot.

If you are a pantser, how do you handle when you write into a corner?

Well, first I see if I’m truly in a corner or have just can’t think of a creative way to make the writing work. If I have worked myself into a corner, I look at where the wrong turn was made. If I determine I can just start from where the wrong turn was made, that’s what I do. If not, I may just have to toss the section and start new. I always place tossed writing into a dumb file for the story as it may be possible to use it elsewhere. The one thing I always try to remember is I might have to toss some good stuff but then I remember, I can always create more.

Do you have any other books? What do you have planned next?

Yes, I have lots of books. The best place to go see what I have is my blog as my website is going through a renovation right now. On my blog, www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, you can read snippets from WIPs as well as current books. Last week, I highlighted my sci-fi erotic romance, More Than Robotics. Right now, I’m working on some new Urban Fantasy books. I have two series I’m doing and polishing one for publication later this year.

 What can you tell us about A Viennese Christmas that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?

This story came about because I wanted to discover the city I live in, Vienna, Austria. I was here for a year when I decided to tackle a series about my adventures in this foreign land. While coming to Austria was very exciting, I knew nothing except what I’d learned in history class about the country. I also found myself quite alone as we lived in the center of the city, surrounded by most native Austrians. This series will have at least five books as there are many different aspects about Vienna, Austria and I want to show them all. Of course, most of the heroines will be American but the heroes will come a variety of places. Like in book 2, Night Train, the hero is Greek.

Was A Viennese Christmas easy to write?

I found this book very easy to write. I wanted to capture something I considered really amazing about living in Vienna. What I came up with for the first story were the Christkindlemarkts that they have every Christmas. The place is simply amazing. The first year, it rained but the second year, we had some great snow for the season. There is nothing like it in the world.

What is your favorite part?

I love when my hero and heroine meet. Here’s a snippet from the book:

Her disappointment must have been plain on her face as she found herself suddenly gazing into the greenest eyes in a very handsome male face. A question in German followed as she tried to ascertain just what he said.

“I’m sorry,” she stated, her confusion obvious. “I’ve only picked up a word or two since I’ve been here. Do you speak English?”

“You’re American?” he questioned without the accent most Austrians possessed.

“Don’t make it sound like such a curse. There are a lot of us, you know.” Her indignation evident in her tone.

His rich laughter filled the space, warming her to her bones in ways she hadn’t expected. “Sorry. I guess one does pick up the attitudes of where they live.”
She looked at him puzzled. “That’s that supposed to mean?”

“Henry Jager, American, at your service ma’am.” His sweeping bow brought a smile to her lips.

“Amanda Kranz and I hardly think I qualify as a ma’am.” She stuck her hand toward him. His firm grasp sent an electric sensation as she felt the spark deep within her. She swore he felt it too as his eyes darkened.

“Do you prefer Amanda or Mandi? I know there’s not much of a choice with Henry.” His serious gaze spot of his interest.

Laughter bubbled up in her, the first such emotion in weeks. “Henry is a fine, strong name. And it doesn’t matter much with mine.” His hot look made her want to shiver in anticipation of what she could only speculate.

“Really? I would have thought your business associates would call you Amanda. Now your intimate contacts I expect call you Mandi.”

She gazed at him. Intimate contacts, now there was a misnomer. It had been years since she’d had any intimate contacts of the male persuasion. “Sounds good to me.”

“You gave in too easy.” He reluctantly let go of her hand as his look took on a more serious aspect. “Are you meeting someone?”

She shook her head. “No one to meet.”

“Good.” He grabbed her hand again, placing it in the crook of his arm. “Have you ever been to one of these before?” Henry expertly meandered around people, baby carriages and more as he led her to the next booth.

“Not really. I saw them last year but being so new to the city, I couldn’t bring myself to go to one alone.” She gazed at the Rathaus beyond them, remembering how intimidated she’d been by building even though it had a Christmas tree in front.

His eyes narrowed. “Sounds like you’re still a relative newcomer.”

“I suppose so. I got here in November of last year.”

“Ah – your impression?” His brows lifted when he drew back as if to study her face.

“Very commercialized. I expected something more – ” she struggled to find the right word. “– more homey, more authentic – more Austrian.”

Henry gazed around a moment before looking back at her. “I see your point. This is probably the one Christkindlemarkt that’s got the least to offer in specialized, authentic goods in my opinion except it does have a certain ambiance. And of course, there’s the skating rink as well as the park decorations.”

Her brow arched in amazement. She really hadn’t expected anyone to agree with her. All the women she knew gushed over every one of them. “You agree with me?”

His naughty smile was breathtaking. “Most definitely. This is the one where most of the tourists come. While there are some very Austrian things here hidden amongst the drivel, most are not unique or special in any way.”

“My thoughts exactly. Where exactly does one find more traditional items?” Astonishment spread through her. She had not once heard anyone say a negative comment about Vienna. All her colleagues gushed over the city but as far as she was concerned, it was just another place to live.

They stopped in front of a food booth, the aroma tantalizing. “Would you like something hot to drink?”
The brisk breeze nipped at her cheeks and she felt the cold through her coat. She definitely could use something to warm her up. “Sure.”

 

Now for Some Fun Questions:

What’s your favorite TV show or movie of all time?

Geez…this is horribly hard…LOL! See right now, I have to purchase the shows I watch and download them when I take a trip to the States. Then I get to watch them all at once over the course of a few days. Here are my current favorites: Elementary, Castle, Bones, Longmire, The 100, Supernatural, Agents of Shield and Revolution. In the past, I’ve loved things like Buffy and Firefly. As far as movies goes, I love sci-fi action with my overall favorite being Alien. The Matrix series is high on the list and a new one, Edge of Tomorrow is pushing them all out.

If you could chose a period in history to be born in, what would it be and why?

I really like where I’m at but if I had to go back in history, it would be sometime during Scotland’s history. I’m thinking in the late 1700s to early 1800s. A lot of things were happening then.

What was the most embarrassing thing your husband/boyfriend/partner/friend ever did to you in public?

 We don’t often embarrass each other at all. But there is one time that sticks out in my mind and that was when we were driving to Tahoe from my in-laws place in California. This was the time when the speed limit was only 55 and I’ve always had trouble with speed limits. I grew up in Nevada for my teenage years and at that time, there was no posted speed limit at all there. So, we’re driving along and I know I’m going about 75 when I see the lights behind me. It was a horrible roadway and no real place to stop. We slow down and I tap my sleeping husband to have him get the papers we need as I roll down the window.

The officer pops his head in and says, “Ma’am, do you know how fast you were driving?”

I answer, “Absolutely, officer, I was going 75.”

Before the man could get out another word, my husband sits up and screams, “What? How fast were you going?”

All I hear is a snicker in my ear and the officer saying, “I believe I’ll leave you to take care of this, sir.”

And he left me there to fend for myself. It was days before I lived that one down.

What is the one place you have never visited but would love to?

New Zealand. It looks awesome and reminds me of Scotland.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could chose any famous person (living or dead), who would you chose to be stranded with you and why?

Another tough one…I mean whose brain would I pick…Margaret Mitchell or Andre Norton? Very hard. Basically, it would be an author and probably one who writes in the genre I’m writing at the time it happens. I know that’s not a very good answer but the truth is that I actually don’t mind being alone and would probably write a book or two in the time I had.

Quick Quiz:

Cake or Chips

 Both…LOL!

Steak or Veggie Burger

Steak

Chocolates or Roses

Roses

Boxers or Briefs or Nothing at all

 Boxers or nothing at all!

And since I write both, I have to know which you prefer… Vampires or Cowboys

Would it be a sin to say both? <snicker> Honestly, there are too many good stories out there with both that I want them all! LOL!

 

~*~

 CoverFinalMD-AVienneseChristmas

 

A Viennese Christmas

A Taste of Vienna Book 1

By

Lynn Crain

 

Blurb:

The heart knows the language of love.

Sign language interpreter, Amanda Kranz, wants to find her soul mate but fears her chance has past due to the death of her childhood sweetheart. Finding sexy historian Henry Jager during an outing in her new home of Vienna, Austria, may have been a stroke of luck. When his ex-fiancée shows up just as their relationship starts to sizzle, Amanda must decide if standing up for what she really wants will give her lifetime happiness. Or will she be destined to spend her life alone?

 

Excerpt:

Her disappointment must have been plain on her face as she found herself suddenly gazing into the greenest eyes in a very handsome male face. A question in German followed as she tried to ascertain just what he said.

“I’m sorry,” she stated, her confusion obvious. “I’ve only picked up a word or two since I’ve been here. Do you speak English?”

“You’re American?” he questioned without the accent most Austrians possessed.

“Don’t make it sound like such a curse. There are a lot of us, you know.” Her indignation evident in her tone.

His rich laughter filled the space, warming her to her bones in ways she hadn’t expected. “Sorry. I guess one does pick up the attitudes of where they live.”

She looked at him puzzled. “That’s that supposed to mean?”

“Henry Jager, American, at your service ma’am.” His sweeping bow brought a smile to her lips.

“Amanda Kranz and I hardly think I qualify as a ma’am.” She stuck her hand toward him. His firm grasp sent an electric sensation as she felt the spark deep within her. She swore he felt it too as his eyes darkened.

“Do you prefer Amanda or Mandi? I know there’s not much of a choice with Henry.” His serious gaze spot of his interest.

Laughter bubbled up in her, the first such emotion in weeks. “Henry is a fine, strong name. And it doesn’t matter much with mine.” His hot look made her want to shiver in anticipation of what she could only speculate.

“Really? I would have thought your business associates would call you Amanda. Now your intimate contacts I expect call you Mandi.”

She gazed at him. Intimate contacts, now there was a misnomer. It had been years since she’d had any intimate contacts of the male persuasion. “Sounds good to me.”

“You gave in too easy.” He reluctantly let go of her hand as his look took on a more serious aspect. “Are you meeting someone?”

She shook her head. “No one to meet.”

“Good.” He grabbed her hand again, placing it in the crook of his arm. “Have you ever been to one of these before?” Henry expertly meandered around people, baby carriages and more as he led her to the next booth.

“Not really. I saw them last year but being so new to the city, I couldn’t bring myself to go to one alone.” She gazed at the Rathaus beyond them, remembering how intimidated she’d been by building even though it had a Christmas tree in front.

His eyes narrowed. “Sounds like you’re still a relative newcomer.”

“I suppose so. I got here in November of last year.”

“Ah – your impression?” His brows lifted when he drew back as if to study her face.

“Very commercialized. I expected something more – ” she struggled to find the right word. “– more homey, more authentic – more Austrian.”

Henry gazed around a moment before looking back at her. “I see your point. This is probably the one Christkindlemarkt that’s got the least to offer in specialized, authentic goods in my opinion except it does have a certain ambiance. And of course, there’s the skating rink as well as the park decorations.”

Her brow arched in amazement. She really hadn’t expected anyone to agree with her. All the women she knew gushed over every one of them. “You agree with me?”

His naughty smile was breathtaking. “Most definitely. This is the one where most of the tourists come. While there are some very Austrian things here hidden amongst the drivel, most are not unique or special in any way.”

“My thoughts exactly. Where exactly does one find more traditional items?” Astonishment spread through her. She had not once heard anyone say a negative comment about Vienna. All her colleagues gushed over the city but as far as she was concerned, it was just another place to live.

They stopped in front of a food booth, the aroma tantalizing. “Would you like something hot to drink?”

The brisk breeze nipped at her cheeks and she felt the cold through her coat. She definitely could use something to warm her up. “Sure.”

NOTE: This is a SHORT STORY with adult situations.

 

Meet Lynn…

Lynn Crain realized at an early age she wanted to write. She took the long way to being published by doing a variety of things like nursing, geologist, technical writer and computer manager all of which have added to her detail-oriented stories. Now she’s a full time storyteller and weaves fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales as well as erotic stories for various publishers. She normally lives in the very hot southwest with her family, dog, three cats and she’s gotten rid of her snakes. Don’t ask unless you want to hear some grumbling. Other members of her clan live nearby and include a son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons as well as various long-time friends. Currently, her kids have the house because she’s run away from home. She is a past national board member of the RWA; founding president of Las Vegas Romance Writers Chapter of RWA; has held the positions of president, vice-president, secretary and contest chair of EPIC. Her latest adventure has taken her to Vienna, Austria with her husband as he works at his dream job. You can find her hanging out at A Writer In Vienna Blog (www.awriterinvienna.blogspot.com) and various other places on the net (www.mysexysaturday.blogspot.comwww.twitter.com/oddlynn3www.lynncrain.blogspot.com). Still, the thing she loves most of all is hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Award winning author, Lynn Crain realized at an early age she wanted to write. She took the long road with many careers, all of which have added to her detail-oriented stories. Today, she’s a full time storyteller and weaves fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales as well as erotic stories for various publishers. She normally lives in the very hot southwest with her family and furbabies. Currently, her kids have the house because she’s run away from home. Her latest adventure has taken her to Vienna, Austria with her husband as he works at his dream job. You can find her hanging out at A Writer In Vienna Blog (www.awriterinvienna.blogspot.com) and various other places on the net (www.mysexysaturday.blogspot.comwww.twitter.com/oddlynn3www.lynncrain.blogspot.com). Still, the thing she loves most of all is hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

 

Buy Links:

All Romance eBooks ~ https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-aviennesechristmas-1031953-149.html

Amazon US ~ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BBFDLOK

Amazon UK ~ https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BBFDLOK

Amazon DE ~ http://www.amazon.de/Viennese-Christmas-Taste-Vienna-ebook/dp/B00BBFDLOK

Amazon FR ~ https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B00BBFDLOK

Amazon ES ~ https://www.amazon.es/dp/B00BBFDLOK

Amazon JP ~ http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B00BBFDLOK

Amazon CA ~ https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00BBFDLOK

Amazon IT ~ https://www.amazon.it/dp/B00BBFDLOK

Barnes and Noble ~ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-viennese-christmas-lynn-crain/1114313180?ean=2940016221441

iTunes ~ pending

Kobo ~ http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/A-Viennese-Christmas/book-KLxTdvUwEkukzOyG93F9yA/page1.html

Smashwords ~ https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/282513

 

Where Lynn Is:

www.lynncrain.com

lynncrain.blogspot.com

awriterinvienna.blogspot.com

http://throughheartshapedglasses.com/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/XtraOrdinaryRomance/

http://www.twitter.com/oddlynn3

http://www.facebook.com/oddlynn3

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLynnCrain

https://www.facebook.com/groups/xtraordinaryromance/

http://www.youtube.com/lynncrain

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/684863.Lynn_Crain

https://www.amazon.com/author/lynncrain

 

 

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Interview with award winning writer Susannah Sandlin author of ALLEGIANCE

Welcome award winning author Susannah Sandlin!  Let’s start with what genre/genres do you write?

I started in urban fantasy with romantic elements, then added paranormal romance to my repertoire. I’m also writing romantic suspense, and am working on a contemporary proposal. I like to think of it as “multi-faceted” rather than “indecisive”!

 

If you are a plotter, how do you handle when your characters decide they don’t like you have plotted and do their own thing?

I used to fight them and try to bend them to my will, but that never worked out very well, so I plan out my outline like a good little plotter and then, at the end of each chapter, I go back to my outline and update it to reflect whatever havoc my characters have created. Sometimes it’s a minor point; other times, it changes the tenor of the whole book.

 

Do you have any other books? What do you have planned next?

I currently am writing three series—the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series as Suzanne Johnson and, as Susannah Sandlin, the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and The Collectors romantic suspense series. Penton Book 4, Allegiance, came out on June 24; The Collectors Book 1, Lovely, Dark, and Deep, comes out June 27; book 2, Deadly, Calm, and Cold, will be out in December. The fourth book in my Sentinels series comes out in April 2015. Whew!

 

What can you tell us about ALLEGIANCE that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?

The book is all about loyalty (hence the title) and the notion of home—and what you’ll do to protect your home when it’s threatened. Yeah, okay, and there are sexy vampires and shifters.

 

Is ALLEGIANCE part of a series? If so, tell us about it.

It is the fourth book in the Penton Legacy series, which is about a peaceful community of vampires and their human mates and familiars who come under attack after it’s discovered that the vaccine developed for a human pandemic makes human blood poisonous to vampires. There’s a civil war brewing in vampire-land, and it’s all centered around a small town in Alabama.

 

Who was easier to write–Hero or Heroine? Why?

The heroine, Robin Ashton, is an eagle shape-shifter, and she is no-holds-barred, in-your-face, bat-poop nuts. She pretty much wrote herself and dictated to me how I should write every other character. Did I mention she wasn’t originally going to be the heroine? (See earlier question about when characters go off-script.)

 

Why are your hero and heroine perfect for each other?

At first blush, Cage and Robin would seem to be natural enemies or at least rivals. They’re both adrenaline junkies. They’re both alpha personalities used to getting their own way. They’re both commitment-phobes, or at least they profess to be. But somehow when those characters came together, they sparked and I threw out my original plans to put Cage with a different heroine. I can promise Cage and Robin will butt heads farther down the road, but I’m pretty sure they’ll make it.

 

Now for some fun Questions:

 

What’s your favorite TV show or movie of all time?

Ah…..probably Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Sheer awesomeness. Does that count as one?

 

If you could chose a period in history to be born in, what would it be and why?

I’ve always been fascinated with the Victorian era because of the industrial revolution and how fast everything was changing. But honestly, I’m not sure I’d want to have been born in that era because women were so limited in their options. I’m pretty happy in this era.

 

What was the most embarrassing thing your husband/boyfriend/partner/friend ever did to you in public?

Man, I’m blanking on this one. I think I’ve led a sheltered life, or else my significant others know better than to embarrass me publicly.

 

What is the one place you have never visited but would love to?

Scotland—most of my ancestors were Scottish and I’d love to wander around there for a week or two or three.

 

If you were stranded on a desert island and could chose any famous person (living or dead), who would you chose to be stranded with you and why?

Since he’s a character in one of my series, I’ll say the pirate Jean Lafitte. He’s sexy, he knows how to survive on an island, he knows his way around a weapon in case of island critters, and did I mention he was sexy?

 

Quick Quiz:

 

Cake or Chips

Cake, go easy on the frosting, though.

 

Steak or Veggie Burger

Steak

 

Chocolates or Roses

Chocolate

 

Boxers or Briefs or Nothing at all

Briefs

 

And since I write both, I have to know which you prefer… Vampires or Cowboys

Vampires! Although a vampire cowboy would be interesting…

 

Thanks for having me today!

 

~*~

Allegiance by Susannah Sandlin

 

Allegiance

The Penton Legacy #4

By

Susannah Sandlin

Blurb:

Out June 10 from Montlake Romance * British vampire psychiatrist and former mercenary Cage Reynolds returns to Penton, Alabama, looking for a permanent home. The town has been ravaged by the ongoing vampire war and the shortage of untainted human blood, and now the vampires and humans that make up the Omega Force are trying to rebuild.

Cage hopes to help the cause, put down roots in Penton, and resolve his relationship with Melissa Calvert. The last thing he expects is to find himself drawn to Robin Ashton, a trash-talking eagle shape-shifter and new Omega recruit.

Meanwhile, as a dangerous saboteur wreaks havoc in Penton, the ruthless Vampire Tribunal leader Matthias Ludlam has been freed on the eve of his scheduled execution. But by whom? And to what end?

As war and chaos rage on, love isn’t something Cage is looking for, but will his attraction to Robin distract him from the danger living among them?

 

Excerpt:

Mirren Kincaid was six feet, eight inches of muscle and bad attitude, and Cage wouldwager few had ever spoken to him the way the girl had. At least not and lived to tell about it.

Cage glanced at Nik, who was biting his lower lip and not doing a very good job of hiding his own amusement. “Is she always like this?”

Nik gave a slow shake of the head. “Negative. Not at all.” He paused. “Sometimes she’s worse.”

This time, Cage couldn’t stop the smile that spread across his face. “This is going to be fun, as long as we stay out of the way.”

“I can f**king hear you, Reynolds.” Mirren growled at Cage over his shoulder, but kept his eyes pinned on the girl. Woman, Cage should say, although she was so diminutive next to the Scottish behemoth it was hard not to see her as a waif. Probably accounted for her Mirren-like attitude. Short-man syndrome, so to speak.

Mirren’s hands balled into fists, and if the man had still been human, his face would have turned about six ugly shades of pissed off. Cage couldn’t see the big guy’s expression, but he’d bet those gray eyes had gone from thunderstorm to snowstorm.

“The colonel has lost his mind.” Mirren’s voice dropped about an octave. “What could you possibly do to help us here?”

She propped her hands on her hips, gave Mirren a slow, sultry once-over with more than a little come-hither in her expression, and lowered her voice—but not so low that Cage couldn’t hear.

“I can do things to you that are beyond your wildest dreams, vampire.”

“Uh-oh,” Nik muttered under his breath. “She’s gonna blow.”

If Cage hadn’t been afraid Mirren would turn his wrath on the nearest safe target—him, in other words—he would’ve explained to Nik that Mirren was showing uncharacteristic restraint, and if anyone was going to violently break the stalemate it would be the big guy.

“Little girl, I suggest you walk back into whatever hole in the woods you crawled out of.” Mirren’s voice dropped even lower and softer. Funny how, on some people, a soft voice was more menacing than a shout. “In the morning, the colonel can reassign you to a more fitting place. I don’t care what you turn into—squirrel, otter . . .” He gave her a head-to-toe once-over and waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. “Chipmunk.”

Nik groaned and looked at the ground. “Oh, man.”

Ashton took a step toward Mirren, craning her neck again. “And where might that more fitting place be, Mirren Kincaid?Oh, don’t look surprised. I did my homework. Where is it you think I belong in this man’s army?On my back?”

Mirren shrugged. “Probably, but don’t spread your legs on my account, honey.”

The air around them crackled with tension, and even Cage thought Mirren had gone too far. He opened his mouth to suggest that Nik take Ashton far, far away for the eveningand start fresh at dusk tomorrow, maybe with a referee. He froze at her expression, though. She was grinning, dark eyes alight with mirth and a look Cage recognized all too well. The undeniable, addictive power of the adrenaline rush. Ashton was having fun.

Clearly, the woman was insane. She was suicidal. She was . . . superb.

With a screech that would do a banshee proud, she ran at Mirren headfirst. If Cage hadn’t heard the man’s oof and been knocked off-balance himself when Mirren fell ass over teakettle, he’d have sworn he’d hallucinated the whole thing.

“Told ya,” mumbled Nik, who’d stepped out of the way with nimble speed.

A burst of pain erupted on Cage’s cheek, followed by the trickle of blood streaming toward his neck. Damn, but that little woman could throw a punch. Unfortunately, she was throwing them so hard and fast, she’d clocked him as well as Mirren.

Cage rolled out of the line of fire and took the outstretched hand Nik offered. “That woman is barking mad.” Cage rubbed his jaw, amazed that Mirren was fending off blows but not striking back.

Nik nodded. “As a hatter.”

Finally, breathing hard from either fists or fury, or both, the woman stopped her assault. She sat astride Mirren, looking down at him with a frown. “Why won’t you fight back? Afraid of being beat by a sorority girl?It’s no fun if you don’t fight back.”

Cage waited for it. The name-calling. Maybe a backhand to show Ashton what the Slayer was made of—which, even from his prone position, would send her flying. The lesson-teaching that was sure to follow.

Instead, the choked noise Mirren uttered was one it took a moment for Cage to recognize because he’d never heard it from the man. Didn’t think it was possible. Mirren Kincaid was laughing.

His voice even sounded different—lighter, amused. “What the hell are you, Ashton?”

She climbed off him and rose to her full height, which wasn’t much. “Eagle shifter. And a damn good tracker. And stronger than you fang-faces can imagine. Plus, I can fly. So don’t mess with me.”

Mirren rolled to his feet with surprising grace for a man his size and rubbed his face. The fingers he drew from his mouth were covered in blood from multiple scratches, and there appeared to be tooth marks along his jawline. “You got a first name?”

Ashton squinted up at Mirren a few heartbeats. “It’s Robin.”

An eagle named Robin. Bloody brilliant. Cage opened his mouth to comment but caught an elbow in the ribs from Nik, who gave a slight shake of his head.

Right. Don’t tease the eagle about her name.

Mirren seemed to have reached the same conclusion, since he bypassed any comment about ironic names. “Guess you’ll work out after all, Ashton. Gonna have to find a new place for you to crash, though. Since the colonel didn’t say you were a girl”—Cage saw Robin’s eyebrow take a dangerous spike at that, but Mirren was oblivious—“I’d planned to put you and Zorba in a room together.”

“That’s fine.” Robin ran her fingers through her short, spiky hair, and Cage tracked the movement. Such delicate fingers in hands that held such power. “We sleep together half the time anyway.”

Nik huffed under his breath, “I swear that woman has no filter.”

Interesting. “And where do you sleep the other half of the time, little bird?”

The words came out before Cage could stop them, which he instantly regretted. Talk about no filters; his were usually a mile high but they seemed to have suddenly vaporized.

He’d been off Robin Ashton’s radar during her preoccupation with Mirren. Now, however, she stepped away from Mirren and looked at him. Really looked. Cage felt naked, as if she could see way more than he’d ever intended to share. When had he developed such a big mouth?

“You asking me to sleep with you the rest of the time, vampire?”

 

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Meet Susannah…

Susannah Sandlin is a native of Winfield, Alabama, and has worked as a writer/editor in educational publishing in Alabama, Suzanne-Johnson-Susannah-SandlinIllinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, with two rescue dogs named after professional wrestlers (it was a phase). She has a no-longer-secret passion for Cajun music, Canadian French pop music, and reality TV. She’s single and is on the hunt for a longhaul Ice Road Trucker who also hunts gators. * She writes the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series and Collectors romantic suspense series of Montlake Romance. * ABSOLUTION, book two in the Penton Legacy series, won the Holt Medallion for paranormal romance in 2013 and was a finalist for the 2013 Prism and Gayle Wilson awards. * Penton book three, OMEGA, was nominated by RT Book Reviews Magazine for the 2014 Reviewer’s Choice Award in paranormal romance, and is a finalist for the 2014 Booksellers Best Award. * STORM FORCE is a finalist for the 2014 Prism Award for dark paranormal romance. *Susannah is a member of Romance Writers of America and the following chapters: Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Southern Magic, Georgia Romance Writers, and Kiss of Death. She also is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and Novelists Inc. * As Suzanne Johnson, she writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books.

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