Guest release–The Last Detail by Lisa J. Lickel

THELASTDETAIL_Lickel

BLURB

Hope, love, and loss meld two polar opposite personalities. How long can they keep passion for their ministry and each other after the wedding?

Medical missionary and avowed bachelor Merit Campbell is wounded during a skirmish at his Mideast clinic and sent home to recover. Restlessness propels him to explore the happier moments of his childhood in Illinois where he meets Amalia Kennedy, owner of The Last Detail, who enjoys helping people prepare for their final years. Merit ushers in new life; Amalia ushers it out. Love? Obviously. Marriage? Check. Dealing with the family closet? Step back…

EXCERPT

Seven seconds. Merit counted silently from the time the last missile whined past his ear. Senna’s goon needed seven seconds to reload. Merit ignored the flash on his right and kept his eyes on the child who sat in the dirt about a dozen long steps in front of him, waving her tiny fists.

After the next barrage of fire went silent, Merit took off in a crouching run, grabbed Tangra’s youngest granddaughter, Mardra, and rushed toward the nearest pile of rocks. The punch and stabbing sensation in his left shoulder, followed by a thud, let him know he had almost made it. As he was lifted off his feet, he thrust the child he’d delivered last spring into her father’s outstretched arms. As gravity reclaimed him his left foot plunged between stones. His ankle twisted viciously as strong hands pulled him to relative safety amongst the band of defenders.

The child began to scream when her uncle fired his weapon close to her little ears. Merit felt like doing the same as his ankle thrummed and ground with his every movement. Broken, at least. No competition for the shoulder wound. He took Mardra back into his arms so her father could aim his US-made hunting rifle, meant for small game—not humans—back toward Senna’s position.

Merit hunched over the little girl as a brilliant flame arced overhead. A ground-shaking explosion followed, then smoke and men’s shouts and the acrid scent of the rocket’s accelerant. He hoped he wouldn’t have to run, because he couldn’t. Nothing he could do but pray between the throbs of searing pain and deep anger at Senna.

The baby wiggled, tugging Merit’s heartstrings away from his fury. It wasn’t her fault her grandfather’s rival destroyed Merit’s life work. Both factions were going to miss the little missionary medical clinic Merit ran in the mountains of Nehrangestan, a tiny spot on National Geographic’s map of Asia.

Something tickled. Wha—oh, right—blood from the shoulder wound. He touched the front of his blue shirt then looked at the growing red stain flowing like a waterfall. Tentatively, he reached behind his collarbone and hissed at the gouge. Not serious. He’d probably get a nice scar out of it. Senna’s pound of flesh. Merit shifted the baby and tried to flex his ankle. He bit back a scream and panted while sparkles pulsed in the fringe of his vision. Yeah, broken.

Well, that answered that question. If he got out of here alive, the mission board would make him go home for treatment. Question was, how soon could he get back to rebuild the clinic?

BUY LINKS

All Romance ebooks

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Smashwords

Lisa Lickel D (3) 46 KBLisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. A multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and magazine editor.

WEB CONTACTS

Website

Blog

Facebook

Goodreads

Twitter: @lisajlickel

Guest Interview–Lynda Coker

Say hello to an author friend from The Wild Rose Press, Lynda Coker.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Writing Timeless Romance You’ll Read Again and Again.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I’ve always had a love affair with fabric. I sewed clothing in the beginning, then tried my hand at traditional quilting. I’m not one for structure, so I soon switched to art quilts, mostly wall-hangings. I found I could use my imagination in design and execution. I was hooked.  A photo of one of my pieces is below.

fabric art_Coker giveaway

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

My writing style is definitely, and sometimes deplorably, freestyle. :) As I said earlier, I detest anything that looks like an outline or schedule. So I fly by-the-seat-of-my-pants, better known in the writing world as a ‘Pantser’. Once in a while, when I’m having trouble deciding on which plot path to take next, I will break down and outline a couple of thoughts.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

I recently spent two weeks in Galveston, Texas where I did research for a book that is now in progress. It’s the first time I’ve combined a vacation with a book research site. It was both enjoyable and interesting. I can still hear the surf and taste the salty air.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

It has to be my editor’s favorite phrase – Dangling Participles. I’ve come to dread that phrase… I’m a constant grammar student, but sad to say, I don’t think I’ll ever graduate. I think part of the problem is being ‘Southern’. Being born in Texas and living here most of my life, I think my brain is hardwired to speak and write Texany. I’m not sure how to describe that, but you can be sure, it’s not completely normal. (*Winks)

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pintrest, collages) when plotting or writing?

Pintrest is an absolute treasure chest of visual aids. I create a board for each book I’m writing and pin things that reflect elements of that book. Followers can get a feel for a story before it’s ever released. I use the boards to keep followers up to date on the progress of each book and when it is contracted and released.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

I don’t use any name resources. When I’ve gotten an in depth understanding for my characters, appropriate names seem to just pop in my head. I’ve sometimes played a mental game when waiting for an appointment or sitting in my favorite book store. I study people and then give them a name that reflects their perceived personality. This whole process probably doesn’t make any sense to anyone but me, but I never have a problem naming my characters.

StormeeWaters_w8636_300BLURB

Dirk Savage never fails to acquire what he wants until he encounters Stormee Waters and a backwash of trouble…

Stormee Waters knows about hard times. Needing to care for her aging grandmother and teenage brother, she moves to Houston, Texas and takes a writing job for a popular magazine. Her first assignment is to interview a successful business man for a series of articles entitled, Make My Man Texas-Sized. Her target, Dirk Savage, appears to have the right criteria. He’s adventurous with the air of a conqueror. Admired by his peers and coveted by beauty queens and debutantes, he’s just the type of man that Stormee needs to make her first article sizzle and sell. But can she handle the heat when she catches his attention?

Dirk Savage is used to acquiring what he wants, except in the illusive quest for the one woman who can fill his heart. The shock of discovering her in the naive young woman assigned to interview him sets his jaded emotions on high alert. Can he convince her that his pursuit is genuine?

EXCERPT

He studied her in silence before making a blunt reply. “I’ll pick you up at 7:30 this evening.”

Had he extended an invitation or a command?  “Well—ah.” She shrugged to hide her confusion.

“Surely, you eat dinner?” he quizzed through lips curved with humor.

“I suppose it’s okay.” She fiddled with the edge of her collar and contemplated the hint of challenge underlying his playful smile.

“Dress casually but bring a wrap. We’ll be dining by the river.” He dismissed her with a short command to leave her phone number and address with the receptionist.

Why do I feel as though I’ve been ordered to show up for duty call? Did alpha males assume that women in general deferred to their decisions, or was she just a simple-minded exception?

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

I’m hosting a launch giveaway with a variety of prizes through my website. Click here

Lynda Coker

Lynda is an author of contemporary romance that lingers in a reader’s mind long after they’ve closed the book. She lives in Northeast Texas with her husband of fifty years. They enjoy traveling, trying new foods, spending time with family and friends, and doing community service work together. When she feels the need to take a break from writing, she enjoys creating fabric art.  She offers an open invitation to view both her writing and fabric art on her blog.

Web Contacts

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Twitter 

Facebook 

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Guest Release–Legitimate Lies

Legitimate Lies

LEGITIMATE LIES

 A Contemporary Suspense Romance, #2 in Hushed in the Storm saga

Jen has a new identity and life, until someone discovers her secret. However, that’s not the one which may destroy her one chance of happiness. When she unravels the family scandal within the walls of an English country manor, will she have to reveal the truth she’s hidden for so long as well?  Or will she choose to live the lie in order to keep the man she loves?

EXCERPT

As I peered into the baby’s face, I shared Marisol’s sorrow. She should be holding this child, not me. Had Marisol chosen to give this sweet thing up? Or had she been snatched moments after birth? I didn’t want to know. I ached inside—for this baby, for her mother, and for me. All naive victims tossed in the treacherous waves of deceit generated in the wake of my husband’s ambition and cruelty.

I drew her to me. “Oh, why on earth did your daddy have Tom bring you to me?”

The infant’s soft eyes blinked the answer straight into my soul. This little girl needed love, no matter how she came into this world. All babies deserved that much. But, was I the one to give that to her?

My little finger stroked her chubby cheek as I cradled her. The scents of baby powder and formula filled my nose. Her shiny eyes twinkled unabashed-trust as they focused upon my face.

Some innate motherhood gene awoke from deep inside me. A tingly, warm sensation spread from my chest to my eye ducts. My heart double-knotted with hers.

A grin crept across to my cheeks as I gently swayed her in my arms. She seemed so innocent. No one had hurt her yet. No one had stomped on her feelings, or lied to her face, or cheated on her. And now, in this new life the government had given me, I had to pretend that none of that had happened to me either.

Maybe, this baby symbolized my fresh start. I’d protect her. Ensure she had a normal, safe life. No one would be the wiser, right? Surely lots of kids grow up in WITSEC protection.

But would I be able to keep all the hurt she’d dredged up hidden? What if somehow, someday, she discovered her past…and mine? Could we love each other, then? Oh, how I hated living a lie.

With a swallow of my now-cold cup of Earl Grey tea, I washed down the tightness in my throat. I traced her forehead with my little finger. The impact of her presence tangled the words in my throat. I swallowed hard to release the question from my vocal chords. It came out louder than I wanted. “What do I do with you?”

“I guess what anyone should do under the circumstances, Mrs. Williams.”

I looked up to see the Bonita Springs’ deputy sheriff, Jorge Hernandez, gaze down at me and the newborn. “Josh told me you two found her on the steps outside. So, that means you have no idea who she belongs to, right?”

One of his thick black eyebrows raised in a tight arch.

I gulped.

BUY LINKS

Prism Book Group

Amazon

Julie’s website

Julie B cosgrove

Novelist, freelance writer and professional speaker, Julie B Cosgrove, writes for several inspirational publications and websites, as well as leading workshops and retreats. Her characters are strong, determined, and face danger head on with a prayer and a deep, cleansing breath. Follow her inspirational blog Where Did You Find God Today or visit her website at www.juliebcosgrove.com.

Web contacts:

http://www.juliebcsogrove.com

http://WhereDidYouFindGodToday.com

Facebook: /juliebcosgrove.tx

Twitter: @JulieBCosgrove

http://www.pinterest.com/juliebcosgrove/

Guest Release–End of Lonely Street by Alicia Dean

EndofLonelyStreet_w9180_300 (1)

Blurb:

Can she let go of the past, before it destroys her future?

All Toby Lawson wanted was to go to college to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and the painful memories of finding her and the guy Toby loved kissing. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away, helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.

Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, and even though she knows her mother initiated the kiss, and that he didn’t kiss her back, she can‘t seem to get past what happened. He soon realizes that the true problem lies in Toby’s belief that she’s not good enough for him and in her fear that she will be just like her mother.

What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Mapleton, Tennessee, November, 1957

Toby Lawson closed her eyes and shut out all sounds of the diner, except for Elvis Presley’s voice. He was crooning about how she was the only one for him…no matter where he went or what he did… he’d spend his whole life loving her…

Rough hands landed on her waist and shattered the fantasy. She caught a whiff of hair tonic and too much cologne, and she snapped her eyes open. Wes Markham’s hateful face replaced the image of Elvis’ beautiful, crooked smile and smoldering blue eyes.

“Let me go.” She gritted her teeth, keeping her voice low. If her boss, Mr. Winstead, knew there was trouble on account of her, he’d explode. He’d barely let her have the job in the first place. Everyone in Mapleton knew the Lawson women were trouble.

Toby gripped his right wrist with one hand, tightening her hold on the utensils she held in the other. “I said let me go. Now!”

She shoved against him, but he didn’t budge.

He pulled her tighter. “Your momma’s a whole lot friendlier than you are. They say the apple don’t fall far from the tree, so how’s about you cut the pretense and we go someplace quiet? Winstead won’t miss you for a few minutes.”

Her cheeks heated. She didn’t dare look around. No doubt the customers were watching, listening. Elvis had stopped singing and everyone in the place could hear what he’d said about her mother. It wasn’t like they didn’t all know, though. Constance Lawson hadn’t exactly kept her escapades a secret.

Toby clenched her teeth and brandished the utensils. She spoke loud enough for everyone to hear. “Release me this instant, or I swear, you’ll be pulling this steak knife out of your eyeball.”

He held her gaze for a split second, then gave a laugh that was somewhere between nervous and furious. “Sure, sure. Okay.” He released her and stepped back. “I was just foolin’ around anyway. I got better things to do with my time than waste it on a used up chick like you.”

Muffled laughter rose around her. Oh God, she could crawl into a hole.

“How about you apologize to the lady, then beat it?”

Toby whirled at the male voice. Noah Rivers stood behind her, looking handsome and sharp in his police uniform—even with his dark hair in the military buzz cut. Her knees weakened, and tingles swept over her skin. She swallowed against the sudden dryness in her throat. She’d heard he was back, but hadn’t seen him until now. And what a time to have a reunion.

*** 10% of all of Alicia Dean’s net royalties for End of Lonely Street will go to The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation http://www.graceland.com/epcf/ ***

 

BUY LINK:

Amazon

Alicia Dean

Alicia Dean lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

GIVEAWAY: – Entries accepted from January 8, 2015 through noon on January 22, 2015

Three prizes –

Elvis Gift Basket including DVD, CD, plus more

$25 Amazon Gift Card

$10 Amazon Gift Card

First place winner has first choice, second place winner has second choice, third place winner receives remaining prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest interview–Angela Smith

Today I welcome a chapter mate from the group of great writers in San Antonio Romance Authors, Angela Smith.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I am published in romantic suspense but also write other subgenres of romance, including young adult and historical. A few years ago, I quit writing to pursue the career that pays the bills until I decided to once again pursue my passion. By day, I’m a certified paralegal and manage a District Attorney’s office.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

“Solving the mystery of love with romance novels.”

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I love to read, go Jeeping with my husband, and different sorts of crafts. I live on some acreage, manage a small chicken farm, and love to be outside. My husband and I constantly have house type projects going on, and I’ll help him with car restorations occasionally.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

It depends on the story, and each one is different. I’ve had ideas for characters first, and the one I’m writing now was plot first.

What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?

 Both! I usually start at the story concept to make sure I understand my subject, but I go back to research while writing if I get stuck or for a refresher.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Yes, via Google Earth! Regrettably, I haven’t been to Montana yet, but my other books are set in my home state of Texas.

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

 I usually read a lot of fiction when I get stuck, and I’ll reread books on writing, plotting, etc. The best way I’ve found to get back that stuck phase is to just keep writing. And figure out what it is that made me stuck, because it’s usually something that needs changed.

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pintrest, collages) when plotting or writing?

 Yes! I always do a character collage before beginning my story, and it’s usually on a computer but I’m starting to do more freehand with paper. I use Pinterest a lot and have taken to using the storyboarding in Scrivener. Anything and everything I can get my hands on to increase my creativity.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

Sometimes I just know what I want a name to be, but my favorite resource is Babynames.com

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

Oh yes! I live on a small ranch and have cats, both indoor and out. I also have chickens (yes they are my pets). In the past, I have had ferrets and a dog, but never replaced my dog when she died.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

To be thoroughly entertained by my stories

OneLastHold_Smith

BLURB:

He has a shaded past…

Wesley Webb is at the pinnacle of his auto racing career when his main rival is murdered hours after their confrontation. That, along with evidence found at the scene, shades him as prime suspect. Now he’s under intense press scrutiny, particularly from Caitlyn Daniels, an ex-girlfriend who knows all about his secret past.

And she’s the one woman who could expose him…

Caitlyn thought to never see Wesley again. Now, his life could be in her hands. Ten years ago, a tragedy tore apart everything she held dear, including their relationship. When she’s assigned to do an exclusive story with the reluctant race car driver she once loved, she believes this could be her purging. But chemistry tears apart her resolve to stay strong. Can they work out their differences and fall in love again, or will tragedy keep them apart?

 

EXCERPT:

 

Wesley Webb turned his wheel to face the front straight, beginning the last lap of the race.

“You’re looking good,” his spotter, Derrick, affirmed through earplugs that had long-since burned a hole in his head. “Don’t push it. You need a good finish.”

Derrick knew him well enough to know he’d punish himself on the last lap and take chances he shouldn’t take. But a good finish wasn’t what it was about for him. It was about winning, and heading into turn two, Wesley was confident the win was his.

“Watch Armstrong to your left.”

Wesley’s palms sweat as he gripped the wheel. He imagined his car racing through the finish line—first. A few more seconds and that would become reality. His heart pounded and every beat seemed to pull Chad Armstrong closer. He held his breath, his pulse thrummed low as his mind reeled with all the consequences of all possible moves. He quickly exhaled, every exertion an effort to slow his rival’s advance.

“Focus, focus,” Wesley said as he let out a breath and took another one in, this time through his nose. Every nerve ending tingled in adrenaline and anticipation.

He was so ready to get out of this cage.

He bit his lip, concentrating in order to out maneuver Chad’s tricks as Chad nudged him closer to the wall. This game was getting old.

“You’re almost there,” Derrick cued. “Watch the wall.”

“Stay with me,” Wesley said to his car, to his spotter, to God, and to whoever the hell else wanted to listen.

He only needed to maintain the lead a few more seconds.

Derrick’s warning shrill was too late. Chad clipped the left quarter, spinning Wesley’s car out of control. He frantically tried to steer out of the skid. For a moment, control was within reach, until the tire’s sidewalls dug into the soft earth of the infield.

The car flipped.

Over and over.

He skidded to a stop upside down and watched Chad cross the finish line. Something he wouldn’t have a chance to do tonight.

“You okay?” That damned voice in his earplugs again, reminding him people were freaking out because he hadn’t come out of the car.

“Yeah.” No. Fury was a molten hole in his gut, eating its way into his throat.

He crawled out of the cage and pitched his helmet and earplugs to the ground. Firefighters rushed to douse the blaze, and troops surrounded him to assist him and his car out of the infield.

Fisting his gloved hands, he pushed through the men and focused on his main goal: get past that finish line.

Even though he’d be footing it tonight.

Adam, his crew chief, advanced on him. “Do you need an ambulance?”

“No.” He didn’t need an ambulance, he didn’t need sympathy, and he damn sure didn’t need anyone trying to comfort him with words.

Right now, vengeance was his only fuel.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Angela-Smith_photo

During her senior year in high school, Angela Smith was dubbed most likely to write a novel, and that has been my dream ever since her mother read ‘Brer Rabbit’ to her and her sister so often that they were able to recite it before being able to read. Before venturing into writing, she fell into the perfect job in criminal justice and later became a certified paralegal. When not caring for her small farm or spending time with her husband of two decades, she loves to craft, read, go off-roading, and dream of all the places she’ll visit one day.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Pintrest

Amazon Author Page

Guest Release–Nobody’s Baby by Carol Burnside

 

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BLURB:

She was the incubator, nothing more  until the parents died tragically. Now she’s having Nobody’s Baby.

For Kate, surrogacy seems like a great way to get tuition for her education. After putting her life on hold to raise and educate her two brothers, she’s desperate for freedom and a college degree that will secure her future. Weeks from realizing her dreams, a freak accident threatens everything.

Adopted into the Hawthorne family, Rio swore he’d never pass along the legacy of abuse from his father. Inheriting the Hawthorne heir forces him to become a parent. Convincing Kate to teach him infant care was easy. Proving his love isn’t her prison may be impossible.

EXCERPT:

Rio couldn’t figure Kate out. At first he’d thought her greedy, but she lived modestly and he saw no evidence of extravagance in her life. He would’ve thought she’d be happy to be pampered for awhile. Instead, she was fiercely independent and acted like they were punishing her.

He’d carried her into the house, glad the reporters were absent for once and not here as witnesses, and deposited her on her bed with the extra pillow elevating her feet. Following her instructions, he’d found her suitcase and opened it beside her, then proceeded to fetch the various items she called for. Surely she had enough stuff in that bag to last her a month of Sundays by now. “Is that everything?”

“Ah, no.” Kate’s gaze darted around the room, and he could swear her skin was pinker.

“Just point me in the right direction. What do you need?”

Her gaze bounced off him and wandered again. “Um … underwear.”

“Oh.” He stared at his feet, his mind racing for alternatives to her moving from the bed.

“I can get them. It won’t take but a second.”

“No way. Just watching you hobbling to the bathroom hurt me.” Hell. It was bad enough having to carrying her, feeling her soft breasts pressed against his chest, inhaling the feminine scent that was part soap, part shampoo, part essence of Kate. It had done strange things to his insides that he still hadn’t fully recovered from. He didn’t need to know what kind of things she wore closest to her soft, fragrant skin. “Tell me which drawer. I’ll bring it to you.”

“Good idea.” She beamed at him. “The top middle one in the dresser.”

Rio slid it out and off the track before his gaze dropped to its contents. Oh, man. He’d been in Africa too long, been without a woman way too long when the mere sight of bras and panties in a drawer made him imagine what they’d look like on a woman eight months pregnant. Never thought he’d see the day, but had to admit the mental picture wasn’t an unattractive one when the woman was Kate.

She cleared her throat, jolting Rio into realizing he’d been staring at the bits of silky scraps and lace. He shrugged, refusing to apologize for being male, and broke the silence with the first thing that came to mind. “You’re ankles are looking less painful.”

“See? I told you I just needed to put them up for a few minutes and they’d be fine. There’s no need for me to leave here.”

He sat the drawer beside her. “Whoa, now. I didn’t say they were fine, just better than before. Mom will have a fit if I don’t bring you back home with me.”

“But you don’t want me there any more than I want to go. Surely you can convince her this isn’t necessary.”

“I never said you weren’t welcome at Hawthorne House, and it is necessary. You can’t stay off your feet if you’re constantly having to get up for drinks and food and …” He forgot the last of his sentence when Kate’s chin wobbled and her eyes grew damp.

Damn. Her eyes had filled in the limo, and he’d had to fight back the same urge to fold his arms around her.

Before he could figure out the proper course of action, she bounced her fists off the mattress. “Augh. This is ridiculous. Women have babies all the time without going on bed rest and having people hovering over them. I’m not a hothouse flower and am perfectly capable of taking care of myself.” She drew in a shuddery breath and released it though pursed lips, her eyes beseeching him to understand.

Rio had seen the same look of frustration recently, when a famous football player had been felled by heat stroke and had to adjust his safari plans around his health. Accustomed to being at the top of his game, he’d been a wounded bear for the duration of the trip. Kate was a runner, active and athletic. She’d already adjusted her life to provide James and Allie with the child they so craved. Cutting back on the most basic of activities had to be difficult.

“Under ordinary circumstances, I’m sure you manage just fine,” he assured her. “This situation is anything but. Your body is giving off warning signs. You need to heed them, and I can help. It’s my responsibility.” The weight of it hung on his shoulders, thick and ropelike, but the more time he spent with Kate, the less heavy it became. Maybe he was getting used to his fate.

Kate studied his face, then nodded. Blinking rapidly, she looked away and reached into the drawer only to withdraw empty fingers. “Don’t mind me. It’s not that I’m not grateful. It’s just that no one has offered to take care of me in a really long time. Losing control takes some getting used to.”

“I get that. The last few days I’ve felt like someone jerked a rug from under my feet, and I can’t get my balance.” He felt especially off-kilter around Kate. Unfortunately, he couldn’t avoid her.

Buy e-book on: Amazon / AzonUK / AzonCA / AzonAU / B-N / Kobo / GooglePlay / iBooks / AllRomance / Smashwords and other retailers

C burnside

CAROL BURNSIDE: SIZZLING ROMANCE WITH HEART AND HUMOR

Carol is an award-winning author of contemporary sizzling romances, often with a generous dose of southern charm. She enjoys a second-chance-at-love story with her husband of over thirty years.

Writing as Annie Rayburn, she produces soft sci-fi and lite paranormal erotic romances.

– – – – –

Carol blogs on her website at www.CarolBurnside.com. Connect with her via: Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter / Goodreads / Pinterest / Google+ / Tsu

 

Guest Interview–Jacqueline Diamond

Welcome to today’s guest interviewee, Jacqueline Diamond, award-winning author of romance stories in multiple genres.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

It varies. Often I start with a plot twist or premise, but since I’ve been writing a series (Safe Harbor Medical, from Harlequin American Romance), I often explore a character or relationship that’s developed previously, secondary to the main story of an earlier book. My March 2015 release, The Baby Bonanza, features a couple who started out loathing each other and gradually, during the previous two books, became housemates and prickly friends.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

Definitely planned. I jot down ideas, then think about the hero-heroine conflict and the major turning points. I organize these and write a synopsis for my editor. However, the story and characters almost always change during the writing, so I update and revise my plot as I work.

What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?

There’s a lot of research involved because I’m writing about doctors, nurses, ultrasound technicians and other medical personnel, as well as occasionally people in other professions. I did a lot of research  for my September 2014 novel, The Surprise Triplets, involving my hero, a family attorney, and his sister who was being sentenced to prison for robbery, leaving him to raise her daughter. I do as much research as possible in advance, because this helps determine the storyline, but often I find areas as I write that require further research.

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

For me, getting stuck almost always indicates that I’ve lost sight of something important or failed to develop something. I go back and reread what I’ve already written, plus review my plot outline. This has never failed me in 100 books so far.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

My 100 published books include romantic comedy, romantic suspense, medical romance, mystery, fantasy and even horror. I’ve contracted to write two more Safe Harbor Medical romances and then I plan to work on a mystery series, which I’ll probably self-publish.

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pintrest, collages) when plotting or writing?

It’s very helpful for me to cut out photos of models or actors to represent my main characters. This helps shape the development of their characters as well as reminding me of their appearance. I also draw maps of towns and other locales, and diagram the characters’ houses. I started doing this while writing a Gothic romantic suspense called Touch Me in the Dark where the hero and heroine rent rooms in a haunted house. About halfway through, I discovered that I’d conceived the action in ways that were physically impossible. I had to go back and draw a diagram, then revise the story.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I find it moving to hear from readers who were encouraged, inspired or helped by one of my books. My goal is to provide both insight and encouragement—and, where appropriate, laughter.

Daddy,MD300

BLURB for Daddy, M.D.

Five-year-old Spike wants fun-loving pediatrician Chad Markham, who just moved in next door, to be his daddy. But Spike’s Aunt Jill, who’s adopting her orphaned nephew, sees heartbreak ahead. Unable to bear children and still fragile after a painful divorce, she isn’t ready to fall in love with the handsome doctor. It’s surprising how one little boy, and Christmas, can bring a family together.

EXCERPT:

As soon as she turned into the mini-mall parking lot, relief swept through Jill. Spike’s head of shiny black hair glowed in the sunshine as he emerged from the parlor, blissfully licking a cone.

A man followed him out. Tall and lean, the newcomer had sun-warmed brown hair and a few crinkles around his eyes as he smiled down at the boy. The way the maroon sweater stretched across his muscular chest made it evident that he packed plenty of power.

Despite the stranger’s good looks, why was he buying her nephew a treat? Surely he realized that an unaccompanied child ought to be reported.

Jill’s throat went dry as the man caught Spike’s free hand and led him along the sidewalk. She was reaching for her cell phone when she remembered her concern about involving the police. Besides, there was no indication that the man had done anything wrong.

Gathering her courage, she stepped from the car and marched toward the duo. The closer she got, the less angry Jill became. Spike’s cocky manner of walking indicated he felt in charge of the situation, although that could be a delusion. However, his companion’s lopsided smile as he listened to the boy reinforced her impression that he was a good-hearted bystander.

“Hi,” Jill called. The pair stopped, and Spike presented a grin full of mischief.

“Ice cream!” he crowed. “It’s for my tonsils.”

“Your tonsils?” Jill repeated in confusion.

“They fell out,” the man said solemnly. At close range she saw that he had intelligent, gray-green eyes.

Unexpectedly, his assessing gaze made her aware of herself as a woman… aware of her hair falling softly to her shoulders, and of the silk blouse that clung to her body. Most of all, aware of the fact that it had been far too long since a man had studied her this intently.

What’s wrong with you? Hunger pangs, maybe. But the wrong kind of hunger.

“His tonsils fell out?” she repeated. “That’s a creative excuse for eating ice cream.”

“This isn’t ice cream,” her nephew said. “It’s frozen yogurt. Like you tell me to eat, Aunt Jill.”

The man’s expression darkened. She was trying to figure out what she’d done wrong, when he said, “Are you the person responsible for this little guy?”

“I’m his guardian,” she said cautiously.

“Don’t you know he’s too young to play unsupervised?” he demanded.

“Of course I know.” It had been a long day and she felt embarrassed about her initial attraction to this judgmental man. “I appreciate your looking after him,” Jill said crisply. “I’m well aware of my responsibilities, thank you. And I’d be happy to reimburse you for the frozen yogurt, Mr.—?”

“Doctor,” he said. “Dr. Markham. I’m a pediatrician.”

In spite of her annoyance, Jill was impressed by the man’s title. That fact made her even more determined to stand up to him. She’d spent four years of marriage being too awed by her dynamo husband to challenge him about anything. Never again.

“How much do I owe you?” To her chagrin, she realized she’d left her purse in the car. She didn’t need to admit that, though, until he named an amount.

“Nothing,” he said. “I only hope you’ve learned a lesson from this experience.”

Her cheeks flamed. “I certainly have. Next time, I’ll tell the baby-sitter to chain my nephew to a chair so he can’t wander off while she’s in the other room. That should take care of the problem.”

“There was a sitter? I assumed…” He stopped in confusion.

“Next time, take the trouble to ask.” Gripping Spike’s free arm, Jill led him toward the car without a backward glance. She doubted the arrogant Dr. Markham would be offering an apology, anyway.

Learn a lesson? She had, indeed. She’d learned which doctor not to request when she took Spike to the clinic.

BUY LINK

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BIO

Jacqueline Diamond has published 100 novels, including romantic comedy, romantic suspense, fantasy, mystery and Regency romance. A two-time finalist for the Rita Award, Jackie received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times and is a former reporter and TV columnist for the Associated Press. Her bestselling ebooks include By Leaps and Bounds, Designer Genes and A Lady’s Point of View. Jackie also writes the Safe Harbor Medical miniseries for Harlequin American Romance.

AUTHOR CONTACTS

website: www.jacquelinediamond.com (sign up for free monthly newsletter on site)

Facebook site, JacquelineDiamondAuthor.

On Twitter: @jacquediamond.

GIVEAWAY

Daddy M.D. will be free on Amazon from 12/31 thru 1/4/15

Go to book page

Guest promotion–A Very Merry Superhero Wedding by Kitty Bucholtz

Cover_ip03

BLURB

Tori Lewis can hardly wait for her Christmas Eve wedding to handsome Joe Clarke. Joe expected to be a happy superhero bachelor for years to come, but he is determined to marry Tori, the woman he saved on Halloween. But she doesn’t know who he really is. How can he explain his life to a woman who doesn’t believe in superheroes? Meanwhile, the city is going through a Christmastime crime spree. Will it all come together without ruining the perfect Christmas wedding?

EXCERPT

TWO things always surprised Joe Clarke in December: the weather, and the people of Double Bay.

Some years the snow would start falling by Halloween. Thanksgiving would be a day to have a plan B in case you couldn’t make it to Grandma’s house due to blowing and drifting snow. And Christmas would be both beautiful and frustrating with every outing marred by icy roads and fresh piles of snow to clear off the car.

Other years, like this year, there were a few snow showers, but hardly any of the snow stuck to the ground. The ski slopes were covered with machine-made snow. Shopping and traveling were a breeze.

And tracking potential home invaders proved more difficult.

Ah, yes, the wonderful citizens of Double Bay constantly surprised him. The young man he tracked now — that is, that his alter ego Superhero X tracked — really put the “dumb” in dumbed down. Not only was he peeking in windows in the fading light of the afternoon rather than waiting for the full dark that would fall over the city by dinnertime, but he wasn’t paying attention to the security signs.

This particular yard sported a bold red and white sign near the front door — MGV Security. The sign wasn’t hidden by snow either. What, did the guy think it was a Christmas decoration? Superhero X shook his head and waited. When the young man took out a pocket knife and pried the screen off one of the windows, Superhero X moved closer and cleared his throat.

The man jumped and dropped his knife. His eyes widened as he looked up — way up — into the superhero’s face. “Oh! I-I-I was just…I mean, I…I live here…”

X raised his eyebrows skeptically. “What’s your address?”

“It’s, uh, let me think, I just moved here and…” The man looked around the yard and at the other houses nearby, searching for a helpful clue.

Taking a long black zip tie from a pocket of his super suit, X gestured. “Hands.”

The man sighed heavily and sagged against the siding. “You’re not going to call the cops, are you?” He held out his hands. “I didn’t take anything.”

X tied the man’s hands, then pressed a button on the wrist of his suit. “Superhero X to dispatch,” he said. He gave the address, dispatch assured him that a police car would be there soon, then he marched the would-be Christmas thief to the sidewalk.

Pressing another button, he winced at the time. He’d have to hurry home to change after the police picked up the wannabe burglar. His fiancée, Tori Lewis, would be waiting for him — that is, for Joe — to pick her up from her last day at work. He didn’t live far from here since this was his regular patrol neighborhood, but he still wanted to hurry.

Superhero X kept his facial expression impassive, but on the inside he could feel a grin. In five days, on Christmas Eve, he would finally marry the girl he rescued Halloween night. He could hardly wait.

Afraid a smile would break through and spoil his stern superhero expression, he brought his mind back around to work. He pressed a different button on his wrist and recorded a message with the time, the date, and the address of the house that had been broken into. Someone at MGV Security would get the information and call the homeowner to make a report.

“Someone” who was not Joe Clarke. MGV Security was a real security firm, but it was also Joe’s cover job. A cover job from which he was technically on vacation for the next two weeks. Owned and operated by Joe’s friend and fellow superhero Mickey Valient, a.k.a. Tick Tock, MGV provided professional security services to all of its clients, but there were also more…discreet…services they provided the city.

A snowball whizzed overhead.

Superhero X turned to look down the sidewalk. Two boys around eight or ten years old stood frozen in their snow suits, mouths gaping. They’d collected what little snow was on their lawn and made a half dozen little snowballs, piled at their feet. X smiled and gave them a little salute. They whooped and jumped up and down. X grinned. He loved his job.

A Double Bay police car pulled up to the curb. Time to finish up work for the day and hightail it over to get his girl.

***

TORI Lewis felt butterflies square-dancing in her stomach. In a few minutes, she’d be off work to finish planning her wedding — and then she’d be away on her honeymoon. It almost didn’t seem real.

For the last ten years or so, she had lived a quiet, semi-solitary life. Her mother Dixie and older sister Lexie were living proof that women in her family didn’t make good choices when it came to men. Dixie’s marriage to Tori’s biological father had ended so badly that Dixie was still angry about it nearly twenty-five years later, even though her second marriage to Danny Lewis was filled with love and respect. Lexie had finally turned her life around a few years ago and found a “good” man to share it with. Then he broke it off and left when he found out she was pregnant. With those examples always on her mind, Tori had been afraid to chance the heartbreak and disaster she was sure would accompany a profession of love.

Until now.

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Kitty Bucholtz Author Photo2 small

Kitty Bucholtz grew up forty miles east of Traverse City, Michigan—a town that is a smaller but surprisingly similar version of Double Bay, Michigan, the setting of this book. As far as she knows, there are no super villains in Traverse City, but they have super pie.

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Twitter name is @KittyBucholtz

Guest promotion–Book of Love by Constance Bretes

BookOfLove_Small

BLURB:

A librarian, a mechanic, and a psychotic ex. What could go wrong?

When her marriage came to a devastating end, Janice Meyers moved to Montana to try to escape her past and get a fresh start. She’s sworn off men, but she didn’t anticipate meeting Chris.

After the death of his wife, Chris Jamisen focused all his time and energy on running his auto repair shop and raising his children. He’s not looking for love, and when he first meets Janice, the town’s new librarian, he never imagines they might embark on a relationship. Sure, he’ll admit he finds the smart, sexy blonde attractive, but the frustrating woman expects miracles from him. Her vehicle is practically beyond repair, but she insists he has to keep it running.

As Chris gets to know Janice, he begins to develop feelings for her, but he’s reluctant to pursue a relationship. He’s Native American, and he worries about the complications of a biracial relationship. He’s experienced prejudice first hand, so he knows how difficult it can be.

When Janice’s ex-husband shows up seeking revenge, things could reach a horrible end. Will Chris save Janice in time? And will he and Janice be able to set aside their painful pasts and give their relationship a chance?

EXCERPT:

Janice had butterflies in her stomach as five o’clock came and Chris arrived at the library.

“Hi, Chris,” Janice said.

“Hello. What’s this all about?” he asked pensively.

“I wanted to take you downstairs to the basement and show you something,” she said.

They walked down the stairs, Chris following Janice. When she turned on the light a rat slithered across the floor, and she let out a shriek. Chris looked around the room.

“We have all these books here,” Janice said. She lifted one of the old books and opened it to the pages and within where some were eaten away. “The vermin and bugs have been attacking these, and in some cases, the books have disintegrated. See here? This is a book about Colstrip back in the 1800s and we can’t even open the book to read it because it has totally disintegrated inside. Some of these books are real gems. This is one of a first edition, Samuel Clemens, do you know of him?”

“No.”

“His pen name is Mark Twain. He wrote Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.”

“Oh,” Chris replied.

“Look at his book. It’s totally destroyed, and it would have been worth a lot of money now, if it had survived.”

Janice went over to the ladder and stepped up on it to show Chris the books on the top shelf. The ladder gave way, and she came crashing down. Chris caught her before she fell to the floor.

“Are you okay?” he asked, concern in his tone.

“Um, yeah, I think so.” She put her feet on the floor and turned, facing Chris, her breasts against his chest. His arms were around her waist, holding her tightly. His breath mingled with hers, and he was looking down at her lips.

Oh, she wanted him to kiss her. Please, please kiss me. The sweet, intoxicating musk of his body overwhelmed her. He bent slightly toward her, and his lips touched hers softly. She kissed him back, lingering, savoring every moment. She felt the kiss all the way through her body as she put her arms around him. A loud rustling noise broke their kiss with a start.

Chris looked around and saw that there were rats in the corner rattling paper. He turned back to her. “Are we finished here?”

“Yes, I think we are.” Janice hoped she had convinced him that there was work to be done in the basement.

When they went upstairs, he turned around and asked her huskily, “What was the purpose of our little meeting, Janice?”

Janice thought about how she should answer the question then said, “I submitted the request to the mayor’s office for several things, and I heard that you would probably be the one person that would oppose spending any money for the project I’m suggesting, so I wanted to show you the benefit of my proposal and the problems we are faced with currently.”

Chris had a gentle smile on his face as he looked at her. “Good persuasion, Janice. Does that include the kiss too?”

Janice looked down at her feet, embarrassed. “No, the kiss was not part of the persuasion. At least, not on my part.”

BUY LINKS:

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Constance Bretes

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Guest release–Of Love and Vengeance by Louise Lyndon

COVER Of Love and Vengeance

BLURB:

Forced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her nephews survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for so many deaths. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves.  But will Laila really let Aymon die once she learns the truth?

A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?

EXCERPT:

Laila heard them long before she saw them. Their angry, frenzied shouts and thunderous roars filled her ears. With her hands tied securely behind her, she was dragged up the lane toward Tyburn Gallows, where she was to be hanged for a crime she did not commit. The mob sounded blood thirsty. Large. Frightening.

There was no sign of Aymon. Or Hugh. Had they left her alone to die?

Her chin trembled and her nails dug into her palms.

She suddenly fell to her knees and screamed until she tasted blood at the back of her throat. She kicked out and tried to crawl free as her hair was almost torn from the roots as she was pulled up and shoved along the lane.

Her eyes burned with her tears.

“I am innocent!” Laila screamed.

They came around a corner, and that’s when she saw them. There must have been a least two thousand men, women, and children, hungry for her blood. And when they saw her, they erupted into a wild fever of roars and cries for a slow and painful death. Their thirst had been piqued, and now it must be sated.

Laila was shoved into the center of the clearing.

She glanced wildly around in a desperate search for Aymon’s towering, bulky frame. She could not see him.

But what she could see was the Tyburn Tree. The gallows she was to be hanged from. The executioner, hooded, stood beside the tree as he waited patiently for her. Laila’s mouth suddenly went dry.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon US http://ow.ly/FT0wg

Amazon UK http://ow.ly/FT0CD

Amazon AU http://ow.ly/FT0GP

The Wild Rose Press http://ow.ly/FT0oK

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Book Strand http://ow.ly/FT0Ra

Louise

Louise grew up in Australia before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia. In 2013 Louise won first prize in the Crested Butte Sandy Writing Contest – Historical Romance Category –for her story, The Promise, which has since been retitled as, Of Love & Vengeance. When not writing, she can be found crawling under barbed wire and hoisting herself over twelve foot walls!

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by author Linda Carroll-Bradd