Release day for Sweet Inspiration

Dependable Cadence Wills yearns for excitement. The owner of a yarn business, she is pulled in every direction by her demanding family. Haunting dulcimer notes draw her to a practice session where she spies an intriguing stranger.

Musician Rafe Frasco is a rover, bouncing between musical competitions. Interest ignites at his first glance at a woman enthralled by his music, who he learns has a heart big enough to encompass everyone within her reach.

A fantastic opportunity for Rafe presents Cadence with a dilemma—is she strong enough to negotiate the business deal that will take him away…maybe forever?

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EXCERPT

Unmarried and approaching thirty in a small town branded her as ready and willing to meet every unattached man who set foot inside the city limits. A sigh escaped. Like last week when Espe called Trent Sullivan over to their table at El Tres Amigos and then suddenly remembered an important errand, leaving them together. What Espe hadn’t known was Cadence and Trent already had been set up on blind dates—twice—by other well-meaning friends.

Nothing had clicked on those occasions either. Cadence craved someone with a mysterious past like in her beloved romantic suspense novels. A dark, shadowy figure who knew how to excite a woman with a molten look or a lingering touch. A man who fought to hide his pain and almost succeeded. Not someone like Trent—a guy whose high-school accomplishments she could probably recite.

Sweet plaintive notes of a stringed instrument floated on the breeze. Cadence stopped, straining to recognize the tune. A person didn’t grow up surrounded by folk music without knowing just about every ballad that could be plucked.

But this one eluded her. The twanging strings cried with a soulful sadness that grabbed her by the throat. Her thoughts were washed in loneliness, and she turned toward the sound, past the Heritage Herb Garden. A part of Cadence that couldn’t resist helping others had to see who was expressing such need.

She lifted the hem of her long skirt and hurried toward the haunting sound, as if the notes pulled her feet along the path. The compulsion to know who played added speed to her steps. Abreast of the groundhog pottery kiln, she slowed and peered toward the outdoor stage.

On the platform, several musicians were gathered—some unpacking instruments, others adjusting microphones. Off to one side, a dark-haired man sat in a straight-backed chair, one foot braced on a scratched case. He leaned forward and strummed a dulcimer, the light wood instrument cradled on denim-covered thighs.

Cadence stood a dozen feet away and studied the talented player. His too-long hair was tied back, his shoulders were broad inside his western-cut shirt, and his legs were long and lean. Scuffed boots, faded jeans and a worn Harley-Davidson tee-shirt composed his attire. Definitely more attractive than her own outfit. Even from this distance, she spotted a posture that meant the man had an attitude…or was mysterious. A thrill ran over her skin.

Who was this guy? He’d definitely swagger when he walked. Yummy. At the thought, she stepped closer, wanting nothing between her and the performance.

Long fingers picked the strings in a heated crescendo—note on teasing note, twang on shivery twang, strum on driving strum. He ended the song with a flourish, right hand arcing upward as the last note hung on the early morning air.

How did he know exactly how she felt on nights when everyone in Mountain View either had a date or was home curled next to a spouse? The isolation of being solo at the drive-in or enduring the knowing smile of a sympathetic waitress. His song wrapped all those feelings tight around her heart and squeezed. She inhaled, and the backs of her eyes stung.

Hadn’t she learned her lesson about musicians from the way Dale deserted her when his band got the chance to go on the road? Three years running, and he hadn’t yet steered the tour bus through his hometown.

The stranger laid a hand over the strings, rolled his shoulders, and lifted his head. Piercing brown eyes scanned the area, surveying the other musicians, and his gaze locked with hers. For a suspended moment, his gaze roved along her length, widened, and then returned to her face.

Under his scrutiny, she shifted her feet and tugged at the sides of her skirt. Her period costume didn’t exactly show off her figure to its best. Not that the fact should matter, but she couldn’t look away and chose to ignore the warning bells ringing in her head.

Interview with Daniel Rice

Welcome to my blog.  Let’s get rolling.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

You know the writing advice, write what you know? I followed that adage in several instances in my debut YA urban fantasy, Dragons Walk Among Us. Like Allison Lee, the novel’s protagonist, I’m an avid shutterbug. I mostly photograph nature scenes–my current obsession is photographing birds–and my son’s soccer games.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I’m defin itely a planner. I’m a member of a writing group called The Puget Sound Writers Guild (http://www.pugetsoundwritersguild.org), which puts a big emphasis on the planning process. My personal approach is to develop a concept for the novel–think of a one to two-page outline of the plot. I expand this into a scene-by-scene outline, which I try to keep reasonably high-level but it can get pretty detailed if I’m not careful. I find the advantage of this process is it allows me to write the rough draft fairly quickly. For example, I took Dragons Walk Among Us from concept to rough draft in about six months. For me, at least, that’s a pretty good clip.

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

I have traveled to the locations and photographed them! Dragons Walk Among Us takes place in the Pacific Northwest, including wilderness locations such as beaches along the Olympic Peninsula and Mount Rainier National Park. Hopefully, readers who have visited these locations find my descriptions capture their essence.

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

When I first started writing, I absolutely dreaded the idea of editing a rough draft. That’s probably because those early works were little better than chicken scratch. As a more experienced writer, I no longer fear the revision process. In fact, I enjoy it. It’s fulfilling to finish editing those tens of thousands of words and realize how much the story has improved.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

I’m a member of #5amwritersclub. The more writing I can get done in the wee hours of the morning before the boys wake up, the better. The little lads relish making their presence felt.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Gosh. I do enjoy traveling. I have family in Southeast Asia, so that destination is always high on the list. In fact, I plan to have a portion of the sequel to Dragons Walk Among Us take place there. The photographer in me, however, dreams of visiting Iceland’s primordial landscapes.

In what genre do you read?

I read all kinds of speculative fiction–fantasy, science fiction, and some horror. I’m a big believer in reading extensively in the genre you write, so I’m always looking to read young adult fantasy and science fiction. Thrillers, suspense, and popular science–I really enjoy Neil deGrasse Tyson’s books–round out most of my reading. I enjoy listening to audiobooks while taking walks, so I find the Libby app, which allows me to check out audiobooks from the local library, invaluable.

BLURB

Shutterbug Allison Lee is trying to survive high school while suffering the popular girl’s abuse. Her life is often abysmal, but at least her green hair is savage. Her talent for photography is recognized by the school paper and the judges of a photo contest.

While visiting her friend Joe, a homeless vet, Allison’s life irrevocably changes after an attack leaves her blind. All her dreams as a photojournalist are dashed as she realizes she’ll never see again. Despair sets in, until she is offered an experimental procedure to restore her vision. But there are side effects, or are they hallucinations? She now sees dragons accompanying some of the people she meets. Can she trust her eyes, or has the procedure affected her more than she can see?

BUY LINKS

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EXCERPT

I march across the dark swath of wet grass interspersed with towering Douglas fir toward the lamplight in the distance. Obscured by the surrounding shrubbery next to the base of a conifer is a blue tarp. I press my free hand against the brown bag, feeling the warmth radiating from the container of broth. Good. I’d hate for the soup to be cold.

A gust of wind pushes me sideways. From somewhere overhead comes a loud crack like the bone of some gargantuan creature snapping. A widowmaker thumps to the earth. Gasping, I nearly drop the soup and freeze in place. Overhead, the trees sway in the wind, branches creaking and groaning. I scamper toward the encampment.

About half a dozen tents surround the base of the tall conifer. A wide man with hunched shoulders moves around the camp. I smile. It’s Joe.

~**~

Dan has wanted to write novels since first reading Frank Herbert’s Dune at the age of eleven. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he often goes hiking with his family through mist-shrouded forests and along alpine trails with expansive views.

Dragons Walk Among Us is his debut novel. He plans to keep writing fantasy and science-fiction for many years.

WEB CONTACTS

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanRiceWrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanSciFi

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/114572800-dan-rice

Blog: https://www.danscifi.com

 

#MFRWhooks Release of Cadi, an Oregon Trail story

Since learning about the Oregon Trail travelers in school, I’ve been intrigued about the vent. When hubby and I lived in Oregon in the 1980s, we visited the end of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City. Seeing how small the wagons were that carried people, supplies, and furniture was an eye-opener. Finally this month, I had the opportunity to write a story about that event that involved more than 400,000 Americans and lasted from the 1830s until after the construction of the Trans-Continental Railroad in the late 1860s.

Spring, 1873

After her father betrayed her trust by gambling away their Kentucky horse breeding business, Cadi Gruffyn salvaged the pregnant prize mare gifted for her 21st birthday. The loss of the horse farm displaces her aunt and uncle, so Cadi joins them on a wagon train to northern California where her brother established a ranch in the Diablo Valley. When her uncle dies, several men approach Cadi, insisting she needs a husband to help her finish out the trip. She refuses, afraid they only want to claim her valuable mare.

Carpenter Trynt Pembroke just wants a fresh start. A week before his wedding, he was betrayed by his fiancée who ran off with his brother. He’s looking to get as far away as he can and start a new business. As much as he doesn’t want the complication of a woman in his life, he keeps coming to the rescue of strong and determined Cadi, a woman who shares his cultural heritage. Can he convince her they are stronger together than on their own?

Book 11 in Prairie Roses Collection multi-author series

Free in KU

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Learn about the other titles featured this week by clicking here

Interview with Vicki Batman

Welcome to the blog, Vicki.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I do have other creative outlets. I like to stitch needlepoint and embroidery. Usually, when Handsome and I watch TV in the evenings, I pull out my project and get to work. Kinda “doing two things at once” idea.

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

I say characters, but it is what they say—the dialogue–I start with first. I write lots of it; then, I have to go back and add the details.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I am what my friend calls a “plotster,” meaning plot(ter) + pant(ster) = plotster. I know the plotting elements I have to hit-beginning, middle, black moment, end. I sit down and write in a linear fashion. Yes, I toss some stuff, but most goes in.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I listen to classical guitar, classical music, Simply Frank, and the ’70s.

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

I also write romantic comedy short stories and have had a lot published. Others are in collections I have published.

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

I am a pet person. All my life, I’ve had cats until our sister cats passed a while back. For the last ten years, Handsome and I are mom and dad to Champ and Jones, the Adora-poos.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I want readers to have a good laugh, sigh with the ending, and enjoy the ride.

BLURB

Great job. What man? And murder. Newly employed at Wedding Wonderland, Hattie Cooks is learning the industry from a woman she greatly admires. When her former brother-in-law is found dead in his luxury SUV, all fingers point to Hattie’s sister, who is planning her own I Dos.

Detective Allan Wellborn is caught between a rock and a hard place—Hattie’s family and investigating the murder of a well-connected Sommerville resident, the same loser who was once married to Hattie’s sister. Determining who’s the bad guy—or gal—isn’t going to be easy and sure to piss off someone.

Can Hattie beat the clock to find out who murdered Tracey’s ex before she is charged with the crime and her wedding is ruined?

BUY LINKS

Amazon E-book

Amazon Print

Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook

Barnes and Noble Paperback

The Book Depository Paperback

BAM! Books-A-Million Paperback

Google Play eBook

Kobo eBook

EXCERPT

Stuart bounded to my side. “Hattie. Allan. You’re naturals.”

I rolled my eyes. Great. I passed the tango test.

Allan chuckled.

I stayed in position for what seemed like hours but most likely were five loonnng minutes. My lower back spasmed, which caused me to grimace. Allan pulled ever-so-gently and restored me to my feet. I removed my hands from his. Moisture coated my palms and sweat dripped down my back along my spine. I was a wreck.

“Thank you so much, couple.” A beaming Ms. Yolanda rotated. “I’m impressed by your length and beauty.”

Length and beauty—my ass.

REVIEW COMMENT

Review: I loved it! It was a very entertaining and a fast read that kept me engaged throughout. The pacing was perfect. My only complaint is now I’m craving M&Ms and enchiladas. And donuts. And wedding cake.

Funny, sweet, and quirky, Vicki Batman’s stories are full of her hallmark humor, romance, and will delight all readers. She has sold many award-winning and bestselling romantic comedy works to magazines and most recently, three humorous romantic mysteries. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Cat fancier. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby.

WEB CONTACTS

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Interview with Gabbi Grey

Welcome to the blog, Gabbi.

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

For me, it’s all about character.  In my new book, Jared was an existing character in an existing world.  He’s been in about 25 other books so all the fans have an impression of him.  I wanted to go deeper.  He puts up a front of being the friendliest guy in town – and he is – but what is that happiness hiding?  What’s beneath the surface?  What doesn’t he want everyone to know?  And for Xander, my other hero, I started with his emotional wound.  What has brought him into Jared’s sphere and what if his wound is in conflict with Jared’s need to avoid certain circumstances?  How can they make it work?  The story and plot were built out of my two heroes.

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

I write romances so I often have the beginning and the end with very little in the middle.  I have my couple and how they meet and I have their happy ending.  Everything else is often unknown to me when I start.  I envy plotters because I like to believe they don’t get stuck quite as often.  I will say that I write linearly so if I sit down at the keyboard, I’ll force myself to type the next word and the next and so on.  I might wind up editing or deleting those words, but the push to move on is what keeps the story moving forward.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?  I always believe I’m submitting a complete and clean manuscript, but my eagle-eyed editors always find something.  These days I’ve been working on expletives (the non-swear word varieties).  I’m guilty of having plenty of ‘there was’, ‘there were’ and ‘it was’ in my manuscript.  My editor believes (correctly) that this is lazy writing. To tighten up my sentences, she makes me go back to rework them.  Also, my Canadian sometimes shows and I throw in an extra ‘u’ (neighbour, labour) or a theatre.  Again, my trusty editor finds them and fixes them so the manuscripts are consistently American spelling.  Guess that British ancestry is stronger than I thought.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

I have a day job so my writing is in snippets, snatches, and every possible minute of vacation I can get.  I also do writing sprints at 5am so I can get in some words before I start working for the day.

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

I do.  I don’t like to be hemmed it. I think it might be my ADD.  I love writing gay romances and within the genre I write contemporary – be they sweet through to spicy.  I also write m/f dark erotic BDSM romances under the pen name Gabbi Black.  I will be launching my indie career later this year writing contemporary romances (mid-heat, mid-angst) under the pen name Gabbi Powell.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

You’ll laugh – I primarily use baby books.  I went through several and created a master list of names from various backgrounds and time periods.  Sometimes when I’m stuck, I’ll use either a name generator or I’ll see which names were popular in the year my character was born.  I try to make it fun for myself and I hope my readers like my choices.

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

I’ve a pet in my life since my early twenties and I’m now (gasp) pushing fifty.  These days I have a cantankerous seventeen-year-old Himalayan Blue Point named Arabella de Bergerac (better known as Bella) and a trusty five-year-old ChinPoo named Ally.  There’s a scene in my newest book that takes place in an animal shelter and I don’t want to give too much away, but I might have made readers sniff.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I’m a firm believer in love is love.  I read and write gay romances.  I’m hoping readers who haven’t tried the genre before will be willing to read my book.  It’s a sweet gay romance about two men falling in love.  I was especially honored to be able to give Jared the awesome ending he so richly deserves and a man who will make him happy forever.

BLURB

Jared Langford is a happy man. The desk clerk at the Deerbourne Inn knows everyone in his cozy town in Vermont. He is accepted and loved by the community, but he’s missing someone special in his life.

Devastating news has brought journalist Xander Fortier to Willow Springs for some much-needed rest. He’s photographed every major conflict in the world for the last ten years, but being stateside has forced him to reassess the solitary life he’s been living.

Something in Xander’s gruff demeanor calls to Jared’s caring nature. Soon the men are spending time together, but Jared’s kisses might not be enough to keep Xander from leaving. Can the men find a happily ever after if they only have today?

BUY LINKS

Amazon US:  https://amzn.to/3fOsviy

Amazon CA:  https://amzn.to/31LG1LP

KOBO:  https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/if-only-for-today

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/if-only-for-today-gabbi-grey/1138919955

iBooks:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/if-only-for-today/id1556170342

Publisher:  https://www.thewildrosepress.com/book-post/if-only-for-today

EXCERPT

A low whistle drew Jared’s attention. Since the view from his balcony over the grassy area wasn’t likely to garner much attention, the whistle had to be because of the artwork. With a grin, he headed past his kitchen and into his living room. His smart television hung on one wall across from his recliner couch. Surrounding it were ten photographs. Some were black and white, some were color. All were of landscapes and nature.

“You took these, didn’t you?”

No hint of accusation, just awe.

“Yes, I did. I’m pretty proud of them.” Proud was an understatement. He’d given them pride of place, on the wall he looked at most. Whether he watched television, curled up with a book, or simply sat and listened to a soundtrack, he’d always admire his photos. When friends came over, he was happy to show them off. He didn’t preen in public, to be sure, but sometimes a little pride was okay.

“Good goddamn you’re talented.”

He wanted to cheer at the admiration in the other man’s voice. “I… Yeah, I guess I am. Although my reject pile is massive.”

“Hey, for every great shot there are dozens of mediocre ones. I get that.” Xander placed the bags on the floor and stepped forward. “The mountain?”

“Sugar Bush.” Jared pointed to another shot. “And I took that one from the top of the mountain.”

“And I like it as well, but this one…” Xander pointed to the landscape of snow and ice. Dusk had been falling and the sky was pink and purple.

“That was quite a sunset. I lucked out. I was walking out of town when it happened. I could’ve snapped a shot from my balcony, but wires obstruct the view. Just beyond the town boundaries are some lovely fields. The view of Sugar Bush is unobstructed.”

Xander nodded. “And this one?”

“I heard the owl and it took me about five minutes to locate her. I got one shot before she flew away.”

“Well, you nailed the shot.”

Damn, Xander Fortier was complimenting his photographs. Didn’t that just beat all?

Gabbi lives in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black.

WEB CONTACTS

Website: https://gabbigrey.com/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/gabbi-grey

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15456297.Gabbi_Grey

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Gabbi-Grey/e/B07SJVFX1M

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorgabbigrey/

Facebook (page): https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGabbiGrey

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GabbiGrey

Guest release promotion–Tempered Truth by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Fate declared them neighbors. Scandal insisted they were brothers. The fact that they looked enough alike to be twins only added fuel to the rumors flying about their parentage.

For fifty-plus years Craig Harris and Scott Hensley have enjoyed a bond nothing can sever.

Not the insinuations that they share the same father.

Not the years of strife and grief and heartache.

Not even death.

Will the truth set them free or will it destroy the friendship that has lasted a lifetime?

BUY LINK

EXCERPT

February 28th, 2005

Craig settled in for the seven-plus hour drive to Scott’s home in Lafayette, Louisiana. His daughter-in-law sat in the back seat so she could take care of his granddaughter should she awaken. Her continued weeping unnerved him. “Lex, please, you’ve got to get a hold of yourself.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do if he dies, Craig. I don’t think I can handle it. He’s my father. I’ve already lost one father; I’m not ready to lose Scott too. Oh, God, I can’t believe this is happening!”

“We don’t yet know how he’s doing. Trina said he’s stable. Whatever the situation, what he and Trina, need from you now is your strength and your faith. Besides, being this upset is not good for you, especially in your condition. Nor is it good for Tamera Joy.”

She sniffled. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

He glanced in the rearview mirror and smiled as she rubbed her gently rounded abdomen, then returned his gaze to the road. “No need to apologize. Let’s focus on the positive here.” Easier said than done but I hope she can get it together. Neither my heart, nor my nerves, can take much more of her crying.

Craig swallowed the bitter bile of fear in his throat. Hard to believe barely two months ago Scott sat at his kitchen table toasting the holidays, the upcoming New Year, and their joy over their second grandchild.

Now he clung to life in a hospital room.

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

WEB CONTACTS

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/psthibnewsletter

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pamelasthibodeauxauthor

Release Promotion–Destiny’s Secrets by Kara O’Neal

I’m so excited to introduce you to Andrew and Ben, mischief-making twins, who are private investigators and catch the case of their life. They must reunite sisters who were kidnapped and torn apart at ages 3 and 2.

I have to tell you that my fingers flew over the buttons of my laptop on this one. There was so much to write, so many characters to flesh out. And I absolutely adore that steadier, calmer, and quieter Andrew gets trail-blazing, pants-wearing, veterinarian, Jo Tatum as his lady love, while fun-loving, never serious, mischievous Ben ends up with Charlotte Ryan, a math wizard who has more courage in her pinky than you can shake a stick at.

These sisters don’t know each other, and Andrew and Ben must bring them together. It’s a story filled with joy, sorrow and bravery. I loved writing every word of it.

BLURB

Pike’s Run, Texas, 1882

Andrew and Ben Lonnigan, brothers and private investigators, have accepted an important case—to reunite the long-lost DuBois daughters with their rightful inheritance. Abducted from their childhood home in New Orleans when they were three and two-years-old, Jo and Charlotte were adopted by separate families.

Andrew heads north to find Josephine Tatum—a pants-wearing, spitfire veterinarian who challenges his mind and captures his heart. Ben travels south to find Charlotte Ryan—the financial mind behind her father’s ranch, with a sweet disposition and, unfortunately, a fiancé.

As the sisters journey toward destiny, Charlotte must guard her heart against Ben, a man too daring to ever return her love. And Andrew must hide his feelings from Jo, a woman determined to carve her own path. While the foursome battle feelings, they must also war with a villain from the sisters’ past, one with the will and the means to destroy everything the DuBois daughters hold dear.

BUY LINK

EXCERPT

“You aren’t gonna talk just because I won’t sleep in the tent with you?” Andrew asked.

Jo took a deep breath and glared at him, trying to rein in her temper.

“That’s more of a punishment for you than me,” he went on. “I’m not much for conversation. My brother is better at it. I prefer silence, but you sure seem ready to explode with things to say.”

He looked at her with such ease that her good sense left her. “I think it’s rude of you to tell me outright that you find me ugly.”

“When did I say that?” he replied.

“When you told me you weren’t going to sleep in the tent with me.”

He made a face. “No, I don’t think I said that.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. You implied it.”

“No, you inferred it. I implied something altogether different.”

She sat ramrod straight. “What do you mean? What else could you have meant?”

He shrugged. “Maybe I can’t share that cramped space with you because I find you too damned attractive.”

She reared back.

“Maybe I’m trying to protect you from my inability to leave you be and not touch you.” He watched her carefully, his gaze direct and intent.

Her breath came more quickly. “Do you mean to tell me…that you…you find me desirable?”

“I do.”

She almost declared the ridiculousness of the statement. But it wasn’t. Not at all. It shouldn’t be. What was absurd was his honesty. And even more unbelievable…she tried the control of someone as disciplined as he.

Pleasure burst through her. She couldn’t help but grin at him.

He cursed.

The heat in his gaze made her pulse race, and she stood.

He shot to his feet.

And now she picked up on his nervousness. It was subtle, but she could tell he considered running away. He’d given her a powerful piece of information, and he didn’t even know if she found him attractive.

She walked the ten paces necessary to get to him.

He didn’t back away, but she could sense he steeled himself against whatever she planned.

“You can sleep in the tent with me. I’d like that very much.” She heard the husky note in her voice.

His brown eyes went warm, and her body melted. She refrained from leaning into him.

“We probably ought not to,” he ground out.

“Why?” she murmured, stepping even closer. Her breasts almost pressed against his chest. “I won’t tell anyone.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “Have you done this before?”

“What?”

“Seduced a man.”

“Is that what I’m doing?”

“Yes,” he clipped.

Born and raised in Texas, I had to make the state the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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Blog – The Story Continues

99cent Multi-Genre Bookish Event

Each day, from April 6 to 12, four different titles and the respective authors will be featured. My feature will post at 8AM EDT on Saturday, April 10. Enter the rafflecopter (see end of this post) for a chance to win a $30 gift card. Winner will be announced April 15.

All spotlight features can be found here at the event here.

I’m excited to be part of this event with a backlist contemporary title, When Lonely Hearts Meet.

Tagline:  Can online dating entice a divorced woman and a rancher to reveal the secrets of their lonely hearts?

Amazon

Amazon UK

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Apple ibooks

Smashwords

a Rafflecopter giveaway

or the direct link https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db7750105

Reflection on New Venture by Liz Flaherty

A Cruise in A Different Kind of Boat

I love metaphors and similes and anything else involving comparative language, which is why I’m talking today about a cruise in a different kind of boat.

I’m a romance author. Mostly contemporary, although I did jump into a rowboat once and write a historical. I’m pretty sure it’s sold a couple hundred copies by now and I still love it, but no matter how hard I pulled on the oars, I just wasn’t cut out to write historical romantic fiction. (Now, if you want to talk about reading historicals, I go right from the rowboat to the ocean liner as far as expertise goes.)

For even longer than I’ve been published in romance, though, I’ve written a column called “Window Over the Sink.” I’ve written it for newspapers, for a magazine or two, and in several spots online—including my own blog. It’s my favorite thing to write, so my husband asked me to compile some favorites into a book. I agreed, and 15 or so years later, I did it.

The reason I published Window Over the Sink when I did was because the romance boat was becalmed. I’d gotten a rejection that threw me for a much bigger loop than it should have, and I needed something to pull me back toward shore.

It’s been interesting and fun. I love the book’s cover. I love that I did what I promised my husband I would do.

I love that a ride in a different kind of boat gave me time to refurbish and overhaul the engine of the romance-writing boat. It also reminded me that it’s always good to try different vessels now and then.

EXCERPT

TURKEY, JOY, AND A SMALL GLASS OF BEER

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

~~ Marcel Proust

Aunt Nellie was my great-aunt. She was born in 1892, loved and married two men, and never had any children. She was the other side of the coin from my grandmother, who’d undoubtedly been the Good Daughter, and even though I loved them both, I worshiped the ground Aunt Nellie walked on.

My mother’s side of the family were all teetotalers, but when my brother-in-law asked Aunt Nellie if she’d like a beer, she said, Yes, she wouldn’t mind a small glass. I don’t know that she ever drank beer again, but she did indeed enjoy every drop of that “small glass.” Where Aunt Nellie was, there was always laughter.

We used to go to her house for Thanksgiving. I’m not sure how many of us were there. It seemed like dozens at the time, but the number was probably closer to 25. She lived in a pretty little Cape Cod house on a pretty little street in Goshen, Indiana, and she had…oh, even in memory, it thrills me…she had a step stool you could sit on and the steps pushed out in front! She also had a finished basement with its own kitchen! In the living room part of the basement, there was a cabinet Victrola with a stack of records. They were tinny and scratchy and it was hard to get them going the right speed with the crank, but there was such safety lying on the rug listening to Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore.

Even though I grew up on a small farm, the only time we ever had turkey was on Thanksgiving. I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in it every year. I loved eating whatever I wanted and never having to touch the squiggly red stuff that slid out of the Ocean Spray can. The dessert table was impressive, to say the least, and it was pretty much stripped by the end of the day. Even then, leftovers went home with each family, and the feeling of fullness and warmth would go on with turkey and noodles the next day.

I imagine being poor was a key player in my satisfaction with Thanksgiving, but that’s really neither here nor there. What matters are the memories and the lessons Aunt Nellie left behind. She was somewhere in her 80s when she died. She’d been packing for a trip to Grand Rapids with friends when she passed away. Grief created a hard, empty place in my chest at the loss, and I just knew I’d never get over it. However, at the funeral the officiating pastor mentioned her preparing for her trip and said she’d been just as ready to go to heaven as she’d been to go to Grand Rapids. My grandmother, who’d loved her younger sister even more than we did, said she thought if she’d had her choice, Aunt Nellie would rather have gone to Grand Rapids. Laughter softened the grief and added one more rung to the memory ladder.

Aunt Nellie was one of the first people I thought of when I became a Harlequin Heartwarming author. She’d have loved the line’s premise, its joy and sense of family, and its humor. She’d have also told everyone at the beauty shop all about her niece, the author. Knowing that reminds me again of how lucky I was to have her.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. If you have that small glass of beer, be sure to enjoy every drop.

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Retired from the post office and married to Duane for…a really long time, USA Today bestselling author Liz Flaherty has had a heart-shaped adult life, populated with kids and grands and wonderful friends. She admits she can be boring, but hopes her curiosity about everyone and everything around her keeps her from it. She likes traveling and quilting and reading. And she loves writing. You can reach her at lizkflaherty@gmail.com.

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Guest release promotion–The Earl’s Error by Kathy L. Wheeler

BLURB

The countess of Kimpton, can’t trust her husband. Not only did he exile her brother from England without a word to her, but she’s since learned he fathered his ex-mistress’s unborn child. She’d had only one stipulation at the start their marriage… to treat her with respect.

The Earl of Kimpton, wants his wife. When she threatens to leave over an accusation so far beyond the pale, he panics and offers to pay her to stay. He’s bought himself two weeks and prays it allots him enough time to find her missing brother and prove he’s not the scoundrel she believes.

Neither is able to ignore the explosive passion between them, but in their search for her brother, they encounter a threat that could not only destroy their relationship, but their very lives.

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EXCERPT

“Dammit, Lorelei. Don’t. Don’t run from me.” He took the stairs two at a time. Reached the top as she turned down the hall of the wing where their chambers nestled side by side. He should never have allowed her a separate room. At the end of hall, her hand twisted the knob on her door. “I’ll pay you,” he blurted. She stopped but didn’t turn. “One thousand pounds if… if you can manage a fortnight. Just until—” Until what?

The tightness in his gut registered as fear. Fear he’d never gain ground. But he had the advantage. Lorelei had nothing. She’d had no dowry. He didn’t need or want one. She’d be destitute without him. He’d saved her useless brother from debtor’s prison. But now, her brother had stooped to a new low. Abandoning not only his sister, but a child as well. So what if the mother was one of the most sought-after courtesans in London? Lorelei would never care about such a detail, though most of the beau monde would turn her away if they knew she felt that way.

Blast. The short, cruel thing would be to enlighten her. Take her by the shoulders and shake her until she heard the truth. Make her realize that he hadn’t put her brother on board a ship, show her that her precious Brandon was acting as an irresponsible cad, running from his responsibilities of a mistake—a mistake most men of their standing took pains to buy their way out of.  Hell, the man was more a noose around one’s neck. Had been since Thorne and Lorelei’s wedding.

Lorelei’s body stiffened, and he swallowed the words. Thorne could never hurt her so callously. She turned, pierced him with flinty blue eyes. The world revolved to a stop, and perspiration gathered at the nape of his neck. He inhaled through his nose, letting out a slow stream through pursed lips.

“Per week,” she said. His wife’s tone, usually warm and full of husky mischief, radiated cold gray steel.

“What?”

“A thousand pounds. Per week. For two weeks I shall stay. And I want half now.” Her crystallized pitch would have made Medusa proud. Curiosity driving him, Thorne looked her in the eye, certain he would turn to stone, while bitter irony held him in a firm grip.

Two weeks. Could he find that no-good brother of hers in that amount of time? Force him to acknowledge his responsibility? Thorne had his doubts, but he would accept her offer. Give her half now, and pray it was enough to keep her from leaving before he located Harlowe.

But he had his pride as well. In a tone that matched her cold glare, he said, “Done.” He stepped back, enough out of reach to keep from grabbing her, with the scent of her hair annihilating what was left of any remaining sense, good or bad. He tipped his head, unable to stem the sarcasm. “Perhaps you’ll excuse me, my lady, I’ve urgent business to attend.” He stalked down the stairs to his study and shut the door with a solid click. Someday he might learn to hold his tongue. Not speak until spoken to—a quality his father had tried beating into him until the day the old bastard dropped dead of an apoplexy when Thorne was but ten and three.

He tossed the note he still clenched on his desk, furious with his reaction—no, overreaction—and moved behind the desk. He peered up at his father’s portrait with disgust. The pompous ass. It showed in the set of his shoulders, his grim facade. He made a silent vow to remove it to the attic. Or perhaps make Harlowe paint over it as retribution.

Thorne reached up and ran his fingers along the gilded edge of the frame, just inside one corner, and pressed the minute mechanism. The large painting parted slightly from the wall without a sound. He slipped a key from his watch fob pocket and fit it into his pride and joy—one of the first burglar-resisting safes created by Charles Chubb. Granted, it was a test model, but it worked magnificently. Talk about an exquisite piece of art.

Thorne counted out several hundred guineas, locked the safe, and restored the painting to its rightful position.

Of all the asinine things he could have thought of to entice his charming and beautiful wife into remaining by his side, he had to offer money. It was the panic, of course. Money she would likely use, inevitably leading him to the same fate she’d threatened. Losing her.

Well, he’d bought himself a fortnight to locate Harlowe and hopefully convince Lorelei to stay. He jerked out the bottom drawer of his desk and grabbed a sheet of paper. He scribbled off a quick note and rang for Oswald.

Minutes later, snatching up his top hat, he jammed it on his head. There was some satisfaction in slamming the door behind him. Only fifty feet from the stables, the heavens parted, dumping a waterfall of ice-cold tears that soaked through every layer he wore.

The perfect ending to the perfect day, eh? There was nothing now but to follow through on this idiotic voyage he’d forged for himself. For if his wife found out about the babe …

Kathy L Wheeler loves the NFL, the NBA, musical theater, travel, reading, writing, and … karaoke.

 

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by author Linda Carroll-Bradd