The Authors of LOVE, LAUGHTER, AND MERRILY EVER AFTERS Share their favorite holiday recipes (and a giveaway!)

It’s beginning to look a lot like…holiday baking time! Looking for some new recipes to try?
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Love, Laughter, and Merrily Ever Afters Collection
Publication date: November 25th 2014
Genres: Romance
Synopsis:

TEN fun, romantic holiday novellas by ten New York Times & USA Today bestselling authors

An all-star gathering of some of today’s most popular NYT and USA Today bestselling romance authors in a fun-filled collection…holiday style! With the overwhelming response to the chart-topping summer boxed set, we’ve brought together even MORE of your favorite authors for a winter compilation, and this time, we’ve giftwrapped TEN stories for you all. From the funny & sweet, to the STEAMY & heartfelt, each novella is packed with a whole lot of romance, and hand-picked to infuse perfectly-portioned holiday cheer into your busy days this season…along with hot bursts of holiday steam for those winter nights.

And at just ***99 CENTS USD*** that’s a huge savings of over 95% off retail for the individual books sold separately! This is an extremely limited edition bundle available for just 5 weeks so get your copy today!

 

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THE BOXED SET INCLUDES: 

IF I RETURN — by USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett
WILD IRISH CHRISTMAS — by New York Times bestselling author Mari Carr
SEDUCING SANTA — by New York Times bestselling author Janelle Denison (aka Erika Wilde)
DECKING DREW — by New York Times bestselling author Violet Duke
FAIRIES & WISHES — by USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy)
TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS — by New York Times bestselling author Jessie Evans (aka J. Evans)
HOLIDAY SPIRIT — by New York Times bestselling author Cathryn Fox
UNWRAPPED — by New York Times bestselling author Melody Grace
A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE — by New York Times bestselling author Alannah Lynne
HIS CHRISTMAS WISH — by New York Times bestselling author Marquita Valentine

Alannah’s Favorite Holiday Recipe 

Pineapple Cookies

 

2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Few grains salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter/margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Drain pineapple well, reserving liquid for icing. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Dissolve baking soda in pineapple. Mash butter until smooth, add sugar – blend well. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Gradually add sifted ingredients – mixing after each addition. Blend in pineapple.

Bake 6-8 minutes at 375

Icing:

2 Cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons pineapple juice

Mixed together powdered sugar and pineapple juice and use to glaze cookies.

 

About A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE:

All Samantha Mazze wants for Christmas is to create the perfect Christmas Eve celebration for her friends and family. The house is decorated, the meal has been prepared, the guests are arriving… and then all hell breaks loose.  There’s no salvaging the burned garlic knots. Her husband’s ex-girlfriend makes an appearance. And the unexpected delivery of a new arrival all ensure that while this isn’t a picture-perfect holiday, it will go down in history as the Heat Wave gangs most memorable and best holiday ever.

 

Excerpt:

Sam Mazze jerked her head back, dodging the burst of steam shooting up from the pan of boiling potatoes. The cubes bubbled and rolled in the frothy water, evading capture as she attempted to stab a piece to test its tenderness. Eventually, she managed to nick the corner of one with the tine of the fork enough to confirm her constant checking wasn’t getting the job done. She replaced the lid and vowed to leave them alone for at least ten minutes, then moved on to the top oven—what she’d come to think of as the guest of honor’s tanning bed.

Watching her husband, Kevin, truss up the turkey had gotten her a little hot and bothered, not to mention envious. The bird, however, either wasn’t kinky or he’d tried to escape, because when she removed the foil blanket to check his tan, she found the string popped loose and him lying there, spread eagle, flashing her.

She shook her head and sighed. “You’re a freak, Sam. You’ve been completely corrupted.” She wasn’t complaining. She loved the sexual adventure and excitement Kevin brought into her life. But it was a little embarrassing to always be thinking kinky, especially when looking at the Christmas turkey.

Setting aside her naughty thoughts, she switched her attention to the second oven. Her seven-year-old daughter Michy’s favorite, homemade macaroni and cheese, bubbled around the edges of the ceramic bake ware, while Sam’s personal favorite, fresh baked garlic knots, filled the air with downhome comfort. She’d fallen in love with Kevin for hundreds of reasons, but gaining possession of his mother’s garlic knot recipe had been the final gotcha.

She sniffed the air like a bloodhound on a scent and followed her nose across the kitchen to the creamy garlic-butter dipping sauce. The minced garlic had settled to the bottom of the bowl, while the colorful parsley and shredded Romano floated on top of the melted butter. Her saliva glands joined the party and made temptation impossible to resist.

She cut her eyes to the kitchen door and cocked her head to the side, listening for the sound of running shower water. Kevin hadn’t asked her to sample the sauce, but as the hostess, she had a responsibility to her guests to make sure everything was perfect. How would she know if she didn’t do a taste test?

Using the spoon Kevin conveniently left in the bowl, she vigorously stirred the contents, then ran her finger around the inside of the rim to gather the remnants. Her eyes rolled back in her head as the flavors burst to life on her tongue. “God, that’s good.”

The sample left her greedy and needy for seconds, so before she dove in with both hands, she fled from that side of the kitchen and found herself in front of the bar. Again. Kevin had the bar so well stocked, even Sunny, a professional bartender, would be impressed. One of the bottles of beer shifted and wiggled as a piece of ice melted beneath it. Any other day, she would take that as a sign from the universe she should grab the bottle up, pop the top, and say, “Ahhhh.”

But this wasn’t any other day. It was Christmas Eve. Her and Kevin’s first Christmas together as a married couple. Her first attempt at entertaining as Mrs. Mazze.

She took a deep breath, trying to get a grip on her tangled nerves. It was ridiculous to be so anxious when all of their guests were their closest friends, but all she wanted for Christmas was for this Christmas Eve dinner to be perfect.

 

A face you'd want to wake up next to!

 

Sawyer’s Favorite Holiday Recipe 

This one’s my absolute favorite holiday recipe!

Pumpkin Roll

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Two 3-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth. Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined. Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan. Sprinkle the dough with the chopped pecans.

Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 minutes.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack. Sprinkle some of the confectioner’ sugar on a large tea towel and carefully transfer the warm cake to the towel, folding the sides of the towel over the cake. Roll the cake up in the towel and cool in the refrigerator thoroughly for about 45 minutes.

With an electric mixer, combine the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake. Gently re-roll the cake up and refrigerate it until you’re ready to slice and serve. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

 

About IF I RETURN:

IF I RETURN is about a chance meeting between two people that are destined to be with each other, but it just isn’t the right time for them. After meeting and falling into a hot fling over a Christmas resort holiday, shy college student, Hope Camden and gorgeous Army helicopter pilot, Jack Freeman have more of a connection than just what they discover between the sheets. These two just click… on all levels.

In ordinary circumstances, they would have continued to see each other and developed a normal relationship. But Hope is devastated to learn that this can’t happen because Jack is headed off to war. He’s asked her not to wait for him… not wanting her to suffer if he’s killed in action.

He’s made her a promise, though. If he makes it back safely from the war, he will meet her back at this same resort one year from their last night together. Should she wait for him? And will Jack make it safely back? You’ll have to read it to find out, but Christmas is a time for miracles.

 

Excerpt:

I’m about to step outside of the proverbial box.

Pushing away from the elevator wall I had been leaning against, I walk up to Jack, bringing my body close into his. Looking into his face, I see his nostrils flare and unbidden desire leap into his eyes. It’s all the encouragement I need before I smooth my hands up over his chest, winding them behind his neck. My fingers graze over the stubble of his short haircut. I’m pleased when his arms wrap around my waist to draw me in closer. I waste no further time before pulling his head down to me, until our lips meet softly.

Despite the fact my inhibitions are lowered, despite the fact I boldly put myself in Jack’s arms, and despite the fact that his eyes were heated as our lips moved toward one another, the kiss is surprisingly sweet. It’s nothing more than a gentle meeting of our lips. Our mouths are slightly parted as we move against one another, tilting our heads first to one side, and then another as we explore.

Even though the kiss is soft and sweet, I still feel a warmth spreading through my body. It causes me to want more… to experience Jack on the next level. Tentatively, my tongue pushes forward into his mouth and at first he stills. I can feel his fingers flex into my lower back, and I push my tongue in just a little farther, taking a swipe at his.

He answers me with a groan and then he’s gripping my head, holding me in place so his tongue can take charge.

And I let him.

Letting go, for once in my life, I let Jack have his way with my mouth. He deepens the kiss and I can’t help the sigh that escapes me. He eats it up, pleading for more by the insistent way his lips move against mine.

Even though we seem to both be drowning in the kiss, I find myself wanting to submerge further into him. Desire floods my senses and my body moves without thinking. I push myself closer to him, our bodies connecting. My breasts mash into chest and I can feel his hardness against my stomach. I push closer yet, wanting—no, needing—the contact.

This kiss… this amazing kiss. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It’s full of passion and fire. I realize that my prior kisses have been lukewarm at best. Energy courses through me at the thought of what else I’ve been missing. The shy introvert is gone and I can feel my inner sex kitten awakening.

And I’m ready… ready to let her prowl because the passion that flows between us has firmly shut boring Hope Camden away.

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Saturday Morning Videos: I’M ALL ABOUT THOSE BOOKS (A song parody by high schoolers from MDI HS, ME)

This is sheer awesomeness! High schoolers using their powers for good–and for books. And libraries. 🙂

We’ve driven by this high school! More than once! Mini Moe #2 is now very upset that we never actually moved to the Bar Harbor area like I’ve been tempted to so many times…

 

New Release Review: WOLF HAVEN by Lindsey McKenna

Who doesn’t want a cowboy? 😉

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Title: Wolf Haven
Author: Lindsay McKenna
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Pages: 378
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 

New York Times bestselling author Lindsay McKenna brings readers back to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for another gripping, edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense!

U.S. Navy nurse Skylar Pascal is struggling to regain control of her life after a traumatic crash in Afghanistan that nearly destroyed her. After losing so much, an ideal job at the Elk Horn Ranch in Wyoming offers Sky something she thought she’d never find again—hope.

Former SEAL Grayson McCoy has his own demons. But something about Elk Horn’s lovely-yet-damaged new nurse Sky breaks something loose. Compassion—and passion. And even as Gray works with Sky to piece her confidence back together, something deeper and more tender begins to unfurl between them. Something that could bring her back to life.

But not even the haven of Elk Horn Ranch is safe from dangers. And all of Sky’s healing could be undone by the acts of one malicious man.

 

Review:

Wolf Haven was my first book my Lindsey McKenna.

The setting of the book–Elk Horn Ranch, Wyoming, a dude ranch for families as well as a working ranch and wildlife preserve–sounds fantastic. If it existed (note to self: do places like this exist? Investigate), Elk Horn Ranch would absolutely be on my “places I must vacation at before I die” list. I loved what they were doing there, especially the work with the animals. The scenes with the orphaned baby wolves were some of my favorite in the entire book.

I also appreciated that Sky, the heroine, suffered from PTSD. Having a heroine affected by that disorder was a unique twist, and every time she had an episode, it broke my heart a little bit more. Those parts were very intense to read.

Gray is a classic example of a strong alpha hero: a former SEAL, he’s ultra protective of both the animals on the ranch and his new assistant, Sky. Oh-so drool-worthy!

Though classified as a romantic suspense, the suspense part definitely took a back seat for much of the novel. There were a few tense moments throughout, but ultimately the entire “malicious man” situation was resolved off-screen, giving it all a rather anti-climatic feel. Much of Sky’s PTSD problems were alleviated in the first 60% as well–as a result, the last chunk of the story was missing much of the tension that the beginning part had. The HEA was sweet, but didn’t quite feel as earned as it could have been if they had run into a bit more conflict along the way.

Some aspects of the story didn’t seem to jive with realism–an RN who doesn’t want to give birth in a hospital? A wife who distrusts “white man’s medicine” but spends all of the time we see her at her husband’s side in the hospital without complaint or taking issue with anything being done to her husband by said medicine? A Marine who becomes a member of a Force Recon unit in his first (and only) four years of service? Details like these drew me out of the story quite a bit, and a tendency toward choppy writing and lightning-fast and frequent POV shifts didn’t help either.

Final verdict–an okay story, but its execution didn’t quite work for me in the end.

Rating: 3 stars / C

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Book Excerpt:

Sky Pascal moaned, tossing in her sleep on the hotel bed. Her stomach was in knots, with the pain radiating outward. She flinched and drew her legs up toward her body. The vibration of the Black Hawk helicopter sur­rounded her. She could smell the sweat from the bodies of the air crewmen on this flight to Forward Operating Base, or FOB, Charlie. The odor of the kerosene avia­tion fuel was always present.

She’d been asked to fly along with Dr. Aaron Zim­merman to take a look at an Army soldier who was thought to have appendicitis. They had been over at a different FOB when the call came in. The FOBs were only forty miles from one another, and they were the closest medical team that could respond.

Now the vibration of the Hawk skittered through her. Sky was on the metal deck of the medevac helicopter as it raced through the darkness to reach the soldier.

She was an emergency-room trained R.N. and Zim­merman, who sat near the door, was a surgeon, spe­cializing in internal medicine. Two other combat medic crewmen, whom she could not see, were nearby. The two pilots to her left were wearing night-vision goggles.

The tension was so thick it felt like a wet blanket around her hunched shoulders. Her mind raced.

She was assigned to the Army hospital at Bagram Air Base near Kabul, Afghanistan. A first lieutenant, she had three years under her belt in the U.S. Navy. It wasn’t un­usual for different military services to have personnel assigned to the huge, busy hospital. She loved her job in the E.R. Sky was good in a crisis—cool and calm. That was why Zimmerman had asked her to go with him as he visited the outlying FOBs. If he had to perform sur­gery on the spot at the FOB, he wanted someone like her with him.

But now her mouth was dry, and her heart was skip­ping beats in her chest. She was dressed in Navy fa­tigues, the “blueberries” coloring standing out starkly against others who wore desert-hued uniforms. Glad to have the forty-pound Kevlar vest on, Sky lived for mis­sions like this. They were exciting and scary as hell.

She knew there was danger with any helo flight. The Black Hawk Army pilots, who were from the black-ops Night Stalker squadron, were flying high enough so the Taliban couldn’t send grenade launchers up at them. However, the Stinger missiles were always a threat. One could blow them out of the sky regardless of their alti­tude. Sky was a knot of excitement and fear, adrenaline leaking through her bloodstream.

She couldn’t see through the darkness because she wasn’t wearing night-vision goggles. Only the four crew members were wearing NVGs. The flight wasn’t long to FOB Charlie, located three miles from the Pakistan border. There were only two platoons at the Army base.

Sky was told this particular FOB was an essential stopgap measure to halt or slow down the Taliban and al Qaeda soldiers trying to sneak into Afghanistan. FOB Charlie was an important deterrent.

Zimmerman had warned her beforehand that this would be a dangerous mission because of the FOB’s location. Sky had leaped at the chance. Maybe she was bored. But that couldn’t possibly be. She lived on the same dicey border of stress and pressure in the E.R. Night and day, men and women were brought in chewed up by the weapons of war. She felt no small amount of pride in being part of the E.R. team who helped save those lives. Now she was going to help a young soldier with appendicitis.

The sound of the engines changed on the Black Hawk. Sky felt a sudden lurch, the nose suddenly dropping. She inhaled sharply, throwing out her hand on one of the lit­ters against the wall. Wearing a helmet, she heard the tense, short exchanges between the two pilots.

Something was wrong.

She caught a whiff of what smelled like burning oil entering the cabin. Her pulse ratcheted up.

A sudden shrieking, screaming noise blasted through the cabin of the Black Hawk. The bird banked sharply right and plunged downward. It happened so fast. The thumping of the blades. Being thrown up against the skin, striking her head hard on the bulkhead, nearly los­ing consciousness. Suddenly, they were upside down. She hadn’t been able to wear the seat belt. The other crewmen were thrown around, as well. Yelling and sharp orders from the pilot filled the ears of her helmet.

They were falling out of the sky. The screeching of metal upon metal continued to shriek through the cabin.

Her mouth went dry. Sky bit back a scream. Oh, God, they were going to crash! It was some sort of mechani­cal malfunction. Her mind swam with terror. Where were they? She couldn’t see out the window! Gravity was shoving her hard against the aluminum skin of the Black Hawk. She was scared. She was going to die!

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About the AuthorLindsay McKenna

Lindsay McKenna is proud to have served her country in the U.S. Navy as an aerographer’s mate third class—also known as a weather forecaster. She is one of the original founders of the military romance subgenre and loves to combine heart-pounding action with soulful and poignant romance.

Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Wolf Haven.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE SHAPE OF MY HEART by Ann Aguirre (2B Trilogy #3)

Max and Courtney’s story–at last!

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THE SHAPE OF MY HEART Synopsis:

Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school—only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney’s social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she’s made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate, Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain—he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it’s time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney’s the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything…because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that’s ever been broken, there’s another that can make it complete.

 

Review:

I really enjoyed this trilogy. (And hey–perhaps Michael has a story coming? The epilogue did say “now that was a story” about  his relationship with his new girlfriend–so, yes? ;))

Mac and Courtney’s story was fantastic–not quite what I expected, somehow–but so good all the same. This book felt as if it had several stories in it–the unrequited love story. the cute romance story, and the enviable breakup. (Gah! I knew it was coming–there HAD to be one, of course–but I just didn’t see it coming down the way it did. Heartbreaking…)

But naturally the getting back together part is the best.

There was so much more to both Max and Courtney’s characters than I suspected, even seeing them both in the other two books. We had already seen quite a bit of Max, since he was one of the original roommates in 2B, but there were so many things I never knew about him. I never would have guessed that he had been hiding so much–he always seemed like a fun-loving, carefree kind of guy; but he’s so much more. Courtney too–we knew about her tragic past, since she had shared it with Nadia, but not how far her isolation really stretched. I loved getting to know them better, and watching them open up to each other as well. Max trying to come up with a name to call Courtney was one of my favorite parts–along with her comebacks–and the name he eventually comes up with is absolutely perfect, of course.

It was also great seeing so much of Nadia and Ty again–they’re still one of my favorite stories 🙂

This book works okay as a standalone–you learn enough of what you need to know without reading the other two–but of course the series works best as, well, a series.Don’t let the fact that you haven’t read the other two stop you from picking this one up, though; it’s definitely worth it. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Aguirre comes up with next…Michael? Please?

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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Make sure you grab the entire 2B Trilogy!

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I WANT IT THAT WAY

AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME

THE SHAPE OF MY HEART

 

About Ann Aguirre:Ann Aguirre

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

Links:

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Author A.L. Goulden Explains How She Came Up With the Story of DECEMBER RAIN (August Fog # 2–with Giveaways!)

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How did you come up with the story?

There is a little bit of real life in the story. I was laid up on the couch for a summer, forced to quit my job, because of three stress fractures in my ankle that wouldn’t heal. I was reading a lot to pass the time and eventually started writing. There really was a sexy neighbor, he really is an artist, but there was never really an affair. Luckily I’m married to a man that finds my overactive imagination amusing and he never once thought it was autobiographic.

So many of the books I was reading had a similar heroine who was “damaged” as well as the same alpha males. I wanted to build characters that were realistic and flawed to see if I could make them sexy as well. People you would know. Your best friend or coworker. Real life is complicated and real love is even worse. I knew Monica wasn’t always going to be likable. As much as we’d like to deny it, most of us aren’t when we’re going through life changes or stressful events. But that wasn’t a reason not to connect to her or even understand her. I didn’t want a woman who just callously throws away her life-long commitment because she needs to have sex. Monica loves her husband. He’s her best friend. But she realizes that she wants more than a friend and Quinn reminds her that she’s more than just this wife.

I struggled with the premise of an artist, because it’s been done so many times and is a little cliche. But I know a lot of real artists, painters, sculptors, whose lives are very free and I wanted Quinn to have that. It’s an element in Monica’s past that she let go of and forgot about. So, I looked at it like another opportunity to take a cliche and make it more realistic. There are secrets behind him that will eventually test her ideas of freedom and trust. It’s all about her growing into who she is supposed to be and finding out in her mid-thirties that she hasn’t been honest with herself.

I set out to create a story that touches on the complications of love and commitment. It’s been an adventure and I’ve learned so much. I never thought it would be a finished novel, much less multiple, but once I got into it I didn’t want to stop. I know I still have a ton to hone and learn, but I’m finding that the challenges of writing are so addictive that I can’t imagine ever quitting now. It’s become my vice I guess. The reality is that I have another career still as a Production Designer and Art Director in film and television so writing does tend to be crammed into my nights and weekends or between shows.

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December Rain
by A.L. Goulden
(August Fog #2)
Publication date: November 25th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
Synopsis:

Monica and Alex Waters have spent that last few months working to repair a broken marriage and rekindle their passion. Just as they start finding their spark, Quinn Matthews and his escalating career resurfaces, but this time Alex makes the decision to let Monica go.

The devastation of losing her high school sweetheart, her home, and even her dog twists Monica down a destructive path that alienates her from her closest friends and lands her on Quinn’s couch. Despite her efforts to resist jumping into his arms again, the spark between them reignites and sweeps her away on a whirlwind holiday adventure. She finds that falling in love with Quinn’s family and lifestyle is as easy as falling for his ocean colored eyes. The problem is that it’s all too easy, and when she sees that Quinn’s reinvented life has completely shifted towards her dreams, she starts to question whether he’s too good to be true.

Quinn has a secret that was never meant to be kept this long, but will Monica be able to trust another man who’s lied? And now that Quinn’s got his happily ever after in sight, he’s not about to let her go or share her with another man.

Book trailer:

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I’m a designer, author, wife and dog-lover living in the South Pasadena area of California. I got my BFA in Film Production from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, but my love of a good story came way before college. I remember writing my first full story in fifth grade on a typewriter. I cut and pasted it into a book, complete with cardboard cover and taped binding. Things have changed a lot since then. With the magnificent digital age I can produce books and give them to the world without a sticky mess.

In college numerous instructors and peers praised my dialogue pushed me to hone my storytelling skills. Of course the need to cut and paste was still there, so I went into the world of Production Design and Art Direction for films and television. It gave me the ability to connect design to storytelling in a way that no other career can. The past 18 years have spun a unique perspective on visually emotional tales of relationships and the thread that ties all things together. Now I’m shifting focus on the driving force that brought me here… stories. I hope that I can share a unique perspective on life, love and the pursuit in all of the above.

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Cover Reveal! BEHIND YOUR BACK by Chelsea M. Cameron

Today is the cover reveal for Chelsea M. Cameron’s upcoming title, BEHIND YOUR BACK. This book will be released in February 2015, but be sure to check out the author’s note below for some special news about the release!

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AUTHOR’S NOTE:

This past summer I traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland for a book signing. It was my first trip outside of the US and I was nervous as hell. While I was on the plane and begging for my motion sickness medication to kick in, I started thinking about a character I didn’t “know” yet. Every now and then I will get a character’s voice in my head and not have a story for them. More often than not, my books start with just one character. I don’t know where the story is going, or what they’re going to do. I only have their voice guiding me. I told myself I wasn’t going to work on anything new on my trip, since I already had existing deadlines. But of course the voice ignored me. He kept talking to me. I couldn’t resist, so I started working on his story in my gorgeous hotel room with its view of Edinburgh castle. I wrote some more words at the Elephant House, which is where J. K. Rowling started writing the first Harry Potter book. Over vegetable lasagna and jasmine tea, a story started to develop. It was different than anything I’d ever written. Told completely from a male point of view. It was also a romantic suspense, something I’d been dying to try writing, but didn’t think I had the ability to do. I called my mother in my excitement and her words were “that’s completely different than anything you’ve ever written.” This is that story. And since this story is so completely different, I’m doing something different when I release it. In February (date to be determined), you will not only get the first book on that day, Behind Your Back, you will also be able to buy the sequel, Back To Back! No weeks or months of waiting to find out what happens. You can read the two books in one day if you want. Instant gratification. I hope you fall in love with these books as much as I have while writing them.

 

TEASER:

She wears a wig and colored contacts the first time I see her in person. Her electric green eyes are too memorable, even in a crowd. But underneath the plain brown wig and the brown contacts and the bored expression she wears, something shines through that she can’t cover up.

I recognize it right away, even if I wouldn’t have been searching for her. Raising myself from my chair, I cross the coffee shop. She watches her phone, pretending to be the kind of girl who can’t abandon her Facebook page for longer than three seconds. But I know. I know her.

Her finger hovers over the screen of the phone, her shoulders slump, but her foot jiggles just a little bit. Not enough for anyone but me to notice. But I see it. I see her.

I pass by her table on my way out the door. I give her one glance. A visual brush over her body. I know she sees me, but pretends not to. She pushes the wig back and I can just barely see the flash of red hair at the nape of her neck, along with a tattoo. I can’t see all of it, but I don’t need to. I know that, too.

A Celtic knot.

I pass through the door and don’t look back. Her eyes follow me down the street to the crosswalk and until I’m out of view.

She sees me.

 

 

 AUTHOR INFORMATION:

ChelseaCamChelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

 

Website: http://www.chelseamcameron.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chel_c_cam
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chelsea-M-Cameron-Official-Author-Page/304422529610919
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5752359.Chelsea_M_Cameron

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New Release Review and Giveaway! A VERY GREY CHRISTMAS by T.A. Foster (A Kissing Eden holiday novella)

Holiday reads–they’re everywhere! 🙂

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A VERY GREY CHRISTMAS BLURB:

I was getting ready to spend the single most important holiday of the year alone. Completely and utterly alone.

That meant he wouldn’t be there Christmas Eve. No making Christmas cookies, or listening to my dad sing off-key while my mom bustled around wrapping last-minute gifts. No decorating the tree. No midnight Christmas kiss.

No waking up in Grey’s arms. We were actually going to spend our very first Christmas in different states.

That was until Grey gave me the most unexpected gift of my life.


Review:

A Very Grey Christmas tells the story of Eden and Grey’s first Christmas together–or does it? 😉

Eden, for whom Christmas has always been a special time, is heading home for the holiday–alone. Grey is staying behind, having lots of projects to do. Eden’s completely distracted her first two days back in North Carolina, missing Grey and wanting him there with her. Then her parents start to act strangely…

A Very Grey Christmas is like a sweet and sentimental Christmas card to all of Eden and Grey’s fans. The biggest conflict of the story (just how “Grey” will Eden’s Christmas be?) is resolved within the first third of the story. For the remainder of the book, we see Eden share her Christmas traditions–and her family–with Grey.

There is a sweetly romantic moment at the end…that I’m definitely not going to spoil. If you’re a fan of the series, this story will definitely make you smile. If you haven’t read the others, it’s a pleasant way to pass the time, but you probably won’t feel nearly as invested in the characters.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A VERY GREY CHRISTMAS BUY LINKS:
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Previous books in the series:

KissingEden
Purchase KISSING EDEN from…
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hCXkkv
B&N: http://bit.ly/NKhAGi
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iTunes: http://bit.ly/Y9509p

 

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Purchase LOVING EDEN from…

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1rn2neO
B&N Link: http://bit.ly/1spvrF2
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1un5YvK
>iTunes: http://bit.ly/Ye46rB

TAFosterT.A. Foster met, fell in love with, and married her own Marine fighter pilot. Through deployments, trainings, and sometimes living oceans apart, their own love story continues every day.
She grew up catching rays and waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her husband, two children, and two canine kiddos.
T.A. has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing, or planning her next beach trip.

Author Links:
Blog: http://www.tafosterauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tafosterwriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TAFosterauthor
Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7164289.T_A_Foster

 

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Release Day and Giveaway! THE SHAPE OF MY HEART by Ann Aguirre (2B Trilogy #3)

 I love this series! Finally–Max’s story 🙂

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We are so excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for Ann Aguirre’s incredible THE SHAPE OF MY HEART! THE SHAPE OF MY HEART is a New Adult contemporary romance, published by Harlequin HQN, and is the third book in the 2B Trilogy Series. Don’t forget to grab your copy of the first two books and fall in love with her characters all over again!

 

THE SHAPE OF MY HEART Synopsis:

Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school—only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney’s social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she’s made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate, Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain—he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it’s time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney’s the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything…because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that’s ever been broken, there’s another that can make it complete.

 

EXCERPT:

So many questions ricocheted around my brainpan, but Max’s shoulders were pulled up almost to his ears, his chin nearly on the table. Without looking at me, he shredded the napkin in his hands into four pieces and then in half again. The waning sunshine streaming in the smeared window behind him haloed his hair, so that the highlights shone blue instead of tawny or copper.

“You don’t have to tell me a bedtime story,” I said gently.

“No, you need to know. So you understand what’s going on and why it’s so tense when we get there.”

“Okay. If you’re sure.”

“I’ll set the stage.” His tone was brittle, uneven, and the bits of paper in his hands kept getting smaller. “I was sixteen, just got my license. My dad was drinking, acting like a fuckhead. Business as usual. When he started in on Mickey, I grabbed the keys. Figured I’d get us both out of there for a while. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but taking off is kind of my specialty.”

“Between your bike, the garage office, and the place you showed me by the river, I’ve picked up on the pattern, yeah.”

“I thought I was doing the smart thing, you know? But I was driving too fast and some asshole blew the stoplight. T-boned us. Mickey got the worst of it… weeks in the hospital without knowing if he’d make it. Then once he stabilized, we found out he’d never walk again.” He curled a fist and slammed it onto the table, making the pizza box dance. “Ironic, huh? I was worried that my dad would hurt Mickey but I’m the one who—”

“Not true,” I cut in. “That’s a textbook accident. Don’t tell me you blame yourself.”

“It’s impossible to do anything else. No, wipe that look off your face, Kaufman. I didn’t open up to make you feel sorry for me. I just want you to know the deal going in. I mean, my dad’s the biggest asshole I ever met and he hates me, too.”

“What about Mickey?”

“We weren’t talking much when I left. Every day I think, what if I’d put up with my old man’s shit for five minutes more? What if I’d picked a fight with him instead of grabbing those keys? I—” His voice broke on a shuddering inhalation.

Until this moment I didn’t realize how much weight Max carried on a daily basis or how good a job he did hiding it. I came out of my chair and rounded the little table before I consciously decided to make a move. Standing beside him, I hovered, unsure what to do. He answered the question by wrapping both arms around my waist and pulling me onto his lap. Unsettled, unnerved, even, I let him press his face into my shoulder, resting a hand on his head.

His breath warmed the skin of my throat, rousing an inappropriate shiver. Now is not the time. It wasn’t like I’d never noticed his hotness; he specialized in a scruffy, soulful appeal that women of all ages seemed unable to resist. But it was so much better for him to call me Kaufman and confide in me instead of flirting. At the moment, Max needed a friend. I stroked his back for like five minutes before he raised his gaze to meet mine.

“Sorry. The closer we get to Rhode Island, the worse I feel.”

“It’s understandable. You have to be worried about how your brother will react when you see him.” The rest of his family sounded like jackwagons. Though he’d only told me about his dad, if he had any decent aunts, uncles or cousins, they would’ve stepped up when his old man went upside his head with a bottle. A scar like that would take eight or ten stitches, minimum. I imagined Max as a scared kid with blood gushing from his scalp, and all of my protective instincts roared to life. People had been calling me a bitch since I was fifteen, and I was ready to wade in against Max’s family. Yeah, the funeral might be tense and shitty, but if his family said one fucking word—

The Shape of My Heart

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THE SHAPE OF MY HEART on Goodreads

 

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Make sure you grab the entire 2B Trilogy!

I WANT IT THAT WAY

AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME

THE SHAPE OF MY HEART

 

 

Author PhotoAbout Ann Aguirre:

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

 

 

 

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Release Day and

So, so good! I reviewed HARD TO COME BY here 🙂

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It’s here! It’s finally time for the Release Day Launch for Laura Kaye’s HARD TO COME BY! HARD TO COME BY is the third full length novel in Laura’s Hard Ink Series, published by Avon Romance. As a special treat, through December 2, pre-order Hard to Come By or purchase it during release week, and receive exclusive bonus content! Just fill out the quick form here!

 

About HARD TO COME BY:

Caught between desire and loyalty…

Derek DiMarzio would do anything for the members of his disgraced Special Forces team–sacrifice his body, help a former teammate with a covert operation to restore their honor, and even go behind enemy lines. He just never expected to want the beautiful woman he found there.

When a sexy stranger asks questions about her brother, Emilie Garza is torn between loyalty to the brother she once idolized and fear of the war-changed man he’s become. Derek’s easy smile and quiet strength tempt Emilie to open up, igniting the desire between them and leading Derek to crave a woman he shouldn’t trust.

As the team’s investigation reveals how powerful their enemies are, Derek and Emilie must prove where their loyalties lie before hearts are broken and lives are lost. Because love is too hard to come by to let slip away…

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Excerpt:

Marz was playing with fire. He damn well knew he was. But that didn’t make him want to pull away.

He just wanted more of the heat.

Marz nuzzled the side of Emilie’s face with his nose, his lips. She turned her face toward him and offered her lips. He couldn’t refuse.

Capturing her mouth on a tortured groan, Marz poured every ounce of his longing and confusion and desire into the kiss. They grasped at each other and Emilie turned in his arms. He pinned her against the railing and planted his hands in her hair. She opened to him and accepted his tongue, sucking him in until Marz’s blood ran hot and his hard-on ached. He ground himself against her and devoured every little moan and whimper and gasp she spilled.

Trailing kisses from her mouth to her jaw to her ear, Marz dragged a hand down her body and grasped her breast in his palm. She cried out and her head dropped back, drawing his mouth to her neck, where he licked and sucked and nipped as he kneaded her soft flesh. “You are so damn sexy.”

Her hand flew to his hair and grasped the back of his head. “Touch me,” she said. “Don’t stop touching me.”

Marz pulled away long enough to do a three-sixty scan. The lighthouse cast a dark shadow over them, and the pier was otherwise empty. His heart raced and his pulse hammered. He dove back in, trailing kisses down her neck to her collarbone, which he traced with his tongue. Her nails scratched deliciously at his scalp and her grip urged him down.

Through the thin material of her blouse and bra, he mouthed and flicked at her nipple. He shifted the deep vee of the neckline to reveal a lacy royal blue bra. He tongued her through the lace until she was panting and moaning and writhing against the railing.

“Oh, my God,” she rasped as he shifted her shirt and moved to her other breast. This time, he tugged the lace down to bare the deep pink of her nipple. She tasted and smelled like something fruity and sweet, and it made Marz hunger for more. “Derek,” she gasped. “Yes, yes, yes.”

Her palm cupped and squeezed the bulge of his erection through his jeans. His hips jerked into the touch, craving more of her, all of her. He groaned and it seemed to egg her on, because she pressed and rubbed her hand against his trapped cock until he was panting and imagining taking her down to the ground.

“Jesus, Emilie, you’re driving me fucking crazy,” he said as he worked kisses back up her body to her mouth.

“I know just what you mean,” she said. Her molten hot gaze met his. Eyes hooded, lips shiny and swollen, cheeks flushed, she was a freaking goddess standing under the moonlit sky. He felt the force of her beauty every bit as much in his chest as in his cock.

“You sure about that, babe?” he asked as he took her mouth in a deep, wet kiss. “Because my imagination has me stripping you of those fuck-hot jeans.”

“Yeah?” She rubbed his cock in a long stroke with the heel of her hand. “Mine has us getting a room at the hotel back there. So I’m sure,” she said with a smile.

Marz’s heart hammered against his breastbone and his cock jerked, clearly liking her idea, too. Except, if he took her up on it, he was going to end up buried inside her for as long as she’d have him. And so long as this clusterfuck of a situation defined their relationship, he couldn’t take things that far. Could he?

 

Praise for Hard to Come By:

“Rough sex and explosive fights power Kaye’s third Hard Ink novel, a thrilling adventure that feels more like an action movie with a romantic subplot than a typical contemporary romance. New readers will head straight for Kaye’s backlist after powering through this installment.” ~Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“TOP PICK! If you’re looking for danger, gritty action, and sizzling passion, then Kaye has just the book and the series for you.” ~RT Book Reviews Magazine

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Pre-order or purchase before December2, and get awesome bonus content!

 

And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:

Hard As It Gets

Hard As You Can

Hard to Hold On To

 

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Author PhotoAbout Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

 

 

 

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