New Release Review and Giveaway! DUKES PREFER BLONDES by Loretta Chase (The Dressmakers #4)

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DUKES PREFER BLONDES
The Dressmakers #4
Loretta Chase
Releasing December 29th,2015
Avon Books
Lady Clara, the fan-favorite character from Loretta Chase’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling Dressmakers series, finally gets her own happily ever after!
Convenient marriages are rarely so…exciting. Can society’s most adored heiress and London’s most difficult bachelor fall victim to their own unruly desires?
Biweekly marriage proposals from men who can’t see beyond her (admittedly breathtaking) looks are starting to get on Lady Clara Fairfax’s nerves. Desperate to be something more than ornamental, she escapes to her favorite charity. When a child goes missing, she turns to Oliver Radford—a handsome, brilliant, excessively conceited barrister.
Having unexpectedly found himself in line to inherit a dukedom, Radford needs a bride who can navigate the Society he’s never been part of. If he can find one without having to set foot in a ballroom, so much the better. Clara—blonde, blue-eyed, and he must admit, not entirely bereft of brains—will do. As long as he can woo her, wed her—and not, like every other sapskull in London, lose his head over her…
 
 
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Excerpt-Banner
Charing Cross
A short time later

“Look out! Are you blind? Get out of the way!”

Clara hadn’t time to see what she was in the way of when an arm snaked about her waist and yanked her back from the curb. Then she saw the black and yellow gig hurtling toward her.

At the last minute, it swerved away, toward the watermen and boys clustered about the statue of King Charles I. Then once more it veered abruptly off course. It nicked a passing omnibus, struck a limping dog, and swung into St. Martin’s Lane, leaving pandemonium in its wake.

Some inches above her head—and plainly audible above the bystanders’ shouts and shrieks and the noise of carriages, horses, and dogs—a deep, cultivated voice uttered an oath. The muscular arm came away from her waist and the arm’s owner stepped back a pace. She looked up at him, more up than she was accustomed to.

His face seemed familiar, though her brain couldn’t find a name to attach to it. Under his hat brim, a single black curl fell against his right temple. Below the dark, sharply angled eyebrows, a pair of cool grey eyes regarded her. Her own gaze moved swiftly from his uncomfortably sharp scrutiny down his long nose and firmly chiseled mouth and chin.

The day was warm, but the warmth she felt started on the inside.

“I daresay you noticed nothing about him?” he said. “But why do I ask a pointless question? Everybody flies into a panic and nobody pays attention. The correct question is, Does it matter?” He shrugged. “Only to the dog, perhaps. And in that regard one may say that the driver simply put the wretched brute out of its misery. Let’s call it an act of mercy. Well, then. Not injured, my lady? No swooning? No tears? Excellent. Good day.”

He touched the brim of his hat and started away.

“A man and a boy in a black Stanhope gig trimmed in yellow,” she said to his back. Clara was aware of the tall, black-garbed figure pausing, but she was concentrating, to hold the fleeting image in her mind. “Carriage freshly painted. Blood bay mare. White stripe. White sock . . . off hind leg. No tiger. The boy . . . I’ve seen him before, near Covent Garden. Red hair. Square face. Spotty. Garish yellow coat. Cheap hat. The driver had a face like a whippet. His coat . . . a better one but not right. Not a gentleman.”

Her rescuer slowly turned back to her, one dark eyebrow upraised. “Face like a whippet?”

“A narrow, elongated face,” she said. With one gloved hand, whose tremor was barely noticeable, she made a lengthening gesture over her own face. “Sharp features. He drives to an inch. He might have spared the dog.”

Her rescuer looked her up and down, so briefly Clara wasn’t altogether sure he’d done it. But then his expression became acutely intent.

She kept her sigh to herself and her chin upraised, and waited for the wall to go up.

“You’re certain,” he said.

Why should I be certain? she thought. I’m only a woman and so of course I have no brain to speak of.

She said, more impatiently than she ought to, “I could see the dog was barely alive. No doubt boys would have tortured him or a horse would have kicked him or a cart would have rolled over him soon enough. But that driver knew what he was doing. He struck the animal on purpose.”

The stranger’s keen gaze shifted away from her to scan the square.

“What an idiot,” he said. “Making a spectacle of himself. Killing the dog was meant as a warning to me, obviously. A master of subtlety he is not.” When his gaze returned to her, he said, “A whippet, you say.”

She nodded.

“Well done,” he said.

For an instant Clara thought he’d pat her on the head, as one would a puppy who’d learned a new trick. But he only stood there, alternately looking at her then looking about him. His mouth twitched a little, as though he meant to smile, but he didn’t.

“That man, whoever he is, is a public menace,” she said. “I have an appointment or I should report the incident to the police.” She had no appointment. Her visit to the Milliners’ Society was a spur-of-the-moment decision. But a lady was not to have anything to do with the police. Even if she got murdered, she ought to do it discreetly. “I must leave the matter to you.”

“Firstly, nobody was injured but a dog it’s obvious nobody cared about,” the gentleman said. “Otherwise the creature would have been a degree more alive to begin with. Secondly, one doesn’t pester the police about the demise, violent or otherwise, of a mere canine unless its owner is an aristocrat. Thirdly, it’s now clear the fellow was aiming for me when you stepped in the way. I couldn’t see him clearly through the”—he gestured at her hat, his mouth twitching again—“the whatnot rising from your head. But Whippet Face . . .” Now he smiled. It wasn’t much of a smile, being small and quick, but it changed his face, and her heart gave a short, surprised thump. “He’s been trying to kill me this age. He’s not the only one. Hardly worth troubling the constabulary.”

He gave her the briefest nod, then turned and strode away.

Clara stood staring after him.

Tall, lean, and self-assured, he moved with swift purpose through the sea of people surging over the streets converging on Trafalgar Square. Even after he entered the Strand, he didn’t disappear from sight for a while. His hat and broad shoulders remained visible above the mass of humanity until he reached Clevedon House, when a passing coach blocked her view.

He never looked back.

He never looked back.

Review-Banner
Clara and Oliver Radford/Raven are my new favorite fictional couple!

I loved everything about this book–such lovely, witty writing; fantastic banter between the hero and heroine; Raven’s complete lack of social skills and somehow endearing obnoxiousness; the description of Clara’s outfits–did I mention the hero and heroine are my most favorite couple ever? 😉

Gah! I just want to bask in the warm glow this book has left me with. I’m afraid to start reading something else because it might not be as awesome. (But I will–because, books. I’ll be brave and take one for the team.)

I’d only read the first book in this series ( Silk Is for Seduction ) up until this point, and therefore missed most of the previous Clara parts. Clearly, I’m going to have to go back and read the rest; it won’t be quite the same without Oliver Radford, but just knowing he’s in her future will be enough. (Plus, the Noirot sisters are such fun. I’ve had the other two books on my TBR for ages…there’s no excuse, really.)

I highlighted so many favorite parts in this book, but won’t put them all here so that other readers can have the joy of discovery for themselves. I’ll just put in two that really show the two things I love most about this book; first, the quick wit:

He was a man, an attractive man if one overlooked the obnoxiousness. But women had to overlook men’s personality flaws, else nobody would ever wed and/or reproduce and the human race would come to an end.

(LOL, preach it, sister!)

…and the second, the lovely romance under all the bluster and banter:

She laughed.

And sunshine broke out in the shadowy bedroom.

His heart soared with a happiness so rare he wasn’t sure happiness was the name for it.

See? He thinks things like that and I just melt. Sigh.

Such a lovely romance. Excuse me while I go back and re-read all my favorite bits again…

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

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

Loretta Chase has worked in academe, retail, and the visual arts, as well as on the streets-as a meter maid-and in video, as a scriptwriter. She might have developed an excitingly checkered career had her spouse not nagged her into writing fiction. Her bestselling historical romances, set in the Regency and Romantic eras of the early 19th century, have won a number of awards, including the Romance Writers of America’s Rita. For more about her past, her books, and what she does and doesn’t do on social media, please visit her website www.LorettaChase.com.



Release Day and Giveaway! NIGHT FOX by Tia Giacalone

It’s the release day for Night Fox, a new contemporary romance from Tia Giacalone! Check out the exclusive excerpt and enter Tia’s giveaway!

Night Fox RDL Banner

 

About Night Fox:

Beckett Fox lives his life on the edge between danger and responsibility, and that’s all he’s ever known… until he meets Avery. Now, time at home is more appealing than the do-or-die future he’d always pictured for himself.

Fox has everything he’s ever wanted. But he knows better than anyone that life can change direction faster than the wind.

When an accident threatens to destroy his entire world, Fox will have to choose between fighting for what he loves or letting his past dictate his future.

How much strength does it take to move forward when history seems determined to knock you down? And how do you find the path to redemption when you don’t even recognize your own life?

 

Excerpt:

When the wind shifted, I knew this would be more than an eighteen-hour day. We all did. I went through the motions I’d been trained for, checking supplies, working the containment line, keeping up communications with air support and the ranger station. Trying not to get burned alive by the furious inferno that seemed intent on taking down all four million acres of the Oka-Wen National Forest… the usual.

No time to think about anything else, no time to dwell on the months-empty condo back in Seattle or the fact that lately everything I did seemed like a prequel to my life actually starting. This fire wanted us, and she wasn’t giving up. Mother Nature had it in her to be the worst girlfriend you’d ever had.

“Damn, Foxy,” McDaniels panted, jogging up to my side. “Is today over yet or what?”

I cracked a grin at him, feeling the blistering heat from the sun and the fire mix into one and swirl around us as I hefted my chainsaw. “Not by a landslide.”

McDaniels gave me the side-eye. “Really? You wanna joke about landslides?”

“Hey now,” Sloane popped his head out of the crew buggy where he was listening intently to the handheld radio. “None of that.”

 

NF Amazon

About Tia Giacalone:

Author Pic

Tia Giacalone is a hairstylist, a former English Lit major, and blogger-turned-New Adult author. After many years of writing a now-retired personal blog, her work was also featured on numerous forums including Open Salon and Hooray Collective. She believes in eyeliner as a defense mechanism, equal rights, and Marc Jacobs. Her favorite things include One Direction, story time, and the overzealous use of punctuation. When not writing and reading, she binge watches only the best (subjective) TV shows. Tia lives in Southern California with her husband, daughter, and tiny dog.

 

www.facebook.com/tiawritesbooks

@tiawritesbooks www.instagram.com/tiawritesbooks

@tiawritesbooks www.twitter.com/tiawritesbooks

www.tiawritesbooks.com

 

Enter Tia’s Giveaway!

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New Release Spotlight and Giveaway! THE HOWLING HEART by April Bostic

The Howling Heart
by April Bostic
Adult Paranormal Romance
Paperback & ebook, 220 pages
August 8th 2013

Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies, and just when she thinks her luck couldn’t get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River.

Soon, she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv—wolves descended from 13th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack.

Now, she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.

 

Excerpt:

I stood in the hardware section looking at flashlights, when I suddenly felt someone staring at me. I tried to remain inconspicuous as I glanced to my left without turning my head. At the end of the aisle stood a slender, young man at least six feet tall, wearing a red and black plaid, flannel shirt with cut-off sleeves. Lean muscles flexed on his bicep as he grabbed something off the shelf. His bare arms revealed a tattoo on his right shoulder, but I wasn’t close enough to read it.

He must’ve felt my gaze on him, because he looked over at me. The sun gently kissed his skin with a golden tan, and his full lips spread into a charming grin. He had a clean-shaven, square jaw and sharp cheekbones that would make any woman envious. His sandy blonde hair flowed like waves and curled softly on the ends, brushing his ears and collar. A few, untamed strands fell in his eyes, making his hair appear disheveled. There was no doubt in my mind he was handsome.

Immediately, a heat wave crashed beneath my skin…and I knew it wasn’t due to the summer weather. I blushed under his steady gaze and looked away in an attempt to ignore him. For some reason, I couldn’t control myself. My gaze kept finding his. A smirk played on his lips—the color of a summer peach—and I wondered if they tasted as sweet.

 

April Bostic is a New Jersey-based, Adult Romance author who enjoys unleashing her creativity and letting her imagination run wild. Her love of romance books inspired her to become not just a reader, but also a writer. In December 2008, she self-published her first novel, a contemporary romance with a supernatural twist entitled A Rose to the Fallen.

Her first short story, Right Here, Right Now, released in January 2012, is an erotic romance with a dash of S&M. The following year, she released two more short stories–a romantic urban fantasy inspired by the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche entitled Eros, My Love, and a sexy romantic comedy entitled Love Addiction.

After five years, she released her second novel, The Howling Heart, a paranormal romance that delves into the mystical world of werewolves and Norse gods. To end her busiest year in publishing, April also released her fourth short story in December 2013, a historical paranormal romance entitled A Dark Scandal.

Goodreads

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon eGift Card & ebook of The Howling Heart
Open internationally
Ends January 9th

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Tour Schedule:

December 27th: Launch
December 28th: Cherry Mischievous
December 29th: Reading Addict
December 30th: Mythical Books & Becky on Books
December 31st: Harlie’s Books & Singing Librarian Books
January 1st: Cover2Cover & Enthralling Dimple
January 3rd: Grand Finale

Ask Estelle Maskame, Author of DID I MENTION I LOVE YOU? (with a giveaway)

Ask Estelle Maskame:

What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t be afraid to get your work out there. Show your family, your friends, anyone you trust, even if it’s complete strangers online. Gaining feedback and advice from people around you is a great way to improve your writing and to find your style. And read, read, read!

 

About the Author:Estelle 24

Estelle Maskame started writing at the age of thirteen and completed the Did I Mention I Love You?  trilogy when she was sixteen. She has built an extensive fan-base for her writing by serializing her work on Wattpad. Fitting book writing between work, Estelle has amassed followers from all over the world. She lives in Scotland. For more visit estellemaskame.com

Social Media Links:

http://books.sourcebooks.com/dimily/

https://twitter.com/EstelleMaskame

 

 9781492632153-300

Did I Mention I Love You?
By Estelle Maskame
December 1, 2015; ISBN 9781492632153
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire

Summary:

Love is everything but expected.

Eden Munro came to California for a summer of sun, sand, and celebrities- what better way to forget about the drama back home? Until she meets her new family of strangers; a dad she hasn’t seen in three years, a stepmonster, and three stepbrothers.

Eden gets her own room in her dad’s fancy house in Santa Monica. A room right next door to her oldest stepbrother. Tyler Bruce. Whom she cannot stand. He has angry blue eyes and an ego bigger than a Beverly Hills mansion. She’s never felt such intense dislike for someone. But the two are constantly thrown together as his group of friends pulls her into their world of rule-breaking, partying, and pier-hanging

And the more she tries to understand what makes Tyler burn hotter than the California sun, the more Eden finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t…

Did I Mention I Love You? is the addictive first book in Wattpad sensation Estelle Maskame’s DIMIY trilogy: three unforgettable summers of secrets, heartbreak, and forbidden romance.

 

Did I Mention I Love You? Excerpt:

I can almost see the road through the gaps in the fence by the side of the house, and I squint through. There’s music playing. More like blaring. I can hear it over the crappy music that’s already bouncing around the back yard, and as a sleek white car speeds up to the edge of the sidewalk and skids against the curb, I grimace in disgust. The music cuts off the second the engine is killed.

“What are you looking at?” Rachael asks, but I’m too busy staring to even attempt to answer.

The car door swings open roughly, and I’m surprised it doesn’t fall straight off its hinges. It’s difficult to see clearly through the fence, but a tall guy gets out and slams the door shut just as aggressively as he opened it. He hesitates for a moment, stares at the house, and then runs a hand through his hair. Whoever he is, he looks su-per depressed. Like he’s just lost all his life savings or his dog just died. And then he heads straight for the gate.

“Who the hell is this jackass?” I mutter to Rachael as the figure nears us.

But before either of us can say anything more, Jackass decides to hit the gate open with a fist, drawing the at-tention of everyone around us. It’s like he wants everyone to hate him. I figure he’s probably that one neighbor that everyone despises, and he’s only here in a fit of rage because he wasn’t invited to the lamest barbecue get-together that’s ever been hosted.

“Sorry I’m late,” Jackass comments sarcastically. And loudly too, with a smirk on his lips. His eyes flash green as emeralds. “Did I miss anything besides the slaughtering of animals?” He throws up the infamous mid-dle finger to, from what I can see, the barbecue. “I hope you guys enjoyed the cow you just ate.” And then he laughs. He laughs as though everyone’s expressions of disgust are the most entertaining thing he’s seen all year.

“More beer?” I hear my dad call out to the silent crowd, and as they chuckle and return to their conversations, Jackass heads through the patio doors. He slams them shut so hard I can almost see the glass tremble.

I’m stunned. I have no idea what just happened or who that was or why he’s just entered the house. When I realize I’m slightly slack-jawed, I close my mouth and turn to Rachael.

She bites her lip and pushes her sunglasses down over her eyes. “I’m guessing you haven’t met your step-brother yet.”

 

Praise for Did I Mention I Love You?

“Readers will root for them, like they would with Edward and Bella—the mutual attraction and need for one another is palpable. It rings of passion, excitement, and first love.” –VOYA Magazine

“An edgy young adult romance with dark layers” –The Examiner

“A believable coming-of-age story and an unconventional romance, set against a present-day California summer… . The fallout of divorce, the insidiousness of substance abuse and family secrets, and especially the pangs of first love drive this emotionally resonant tale.” – Publishers Weekly

“Written in first person, Maskame’s trilogy opener is an excellent portrayal of a teenage girl’s life in the 21st century. Eden has to adjust to her blended family, try to feel pretty, be body conscious, and make friends, all while falling in love for the first time. She is someone all young people can relate to…Romance fans will be captivated by Eden and her journey to finding herself and true love.” –School Library Journal

 

Goodreads Link

Buy Links:

Amazon
Apple
Barnes&Noble
BooksAMillion
!ndigo
Indiebound

Coming Soon!

Did I Mention I Need You (March 2016) & Did I Mention I Miss You (June 2016)

 

9781492632184-300

Title: Did I Mention I Need You?
Author: Estelle Maskame
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire

Eden and Tyler have desperately tried to ignore their love for each other for the sake of their family. But they can’t seem to stay apart for long, especially once Tyler invites Eden to spend the summer with him in New York.

Away from their life in California and caught up in the excitement of the city, their summer fling turns into something much more serious. Unable to deny their feelings, Tyler and Eden must face reality. But how will their family react when they confess their romance? And is their relationship strong enough to survive the fallout?

 

Pre-Order Links:
Amazon
Apple
Barnes&Noble
BooksAMillion
!ndigo
Indiebound

 

9781492632214-300

Title: Did I Mention I Miss You?
Author: Estelle Maskame
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire

Eden’s on her way back to Santa Monica for the summer, and she hasn’t seen Tyler since the devastating fallout of their forbidden relationship. Eden claims to have moved on—but Tyler wants to rekindle the flame.

He convinces Eden to visit his new home in Portland, Oregon, where he has set up a center for troubled teens. Eden’s proud of what he’s built, but the last time they were together, it nearly destroyed Eden and their family. Then a tragedy draws them together, and Eden must search her heart and decide if Tyler is worth the risk once and for all.

 

Enter to Win a Copy of DIMILY & an advance copy of DIMINY. This giveaway is active December 1st-December 31st. Open to US & Canadian residents only:

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New Release Review! CAUGHT BY YOU by Jennifer Bernard (Love Between the Bases #2)

Read more about CAUGHT BY YOU here–there’s an interview with Jennifer and a giveaway as well! So much fun!

Caught by You
by Jennifer Bernard

Review:

Though it had a slow start, once the ball got rolling (see what I did there?), I had a hard time putting Caught By You down. Mike Solo is my new fictional baseball player boyfriend, though I love Donna so much too that I *almost* feel guilty about it.

Almost. 😉

Ms. Bernard did a great job keeping the tension taut in this story, both in the romance and with their personal lives. After a somewhat awkward start (maybe it would have worked better for me if I’d been able to read book one, All of Me, and seen their early flirting first? Really, other than that this one worked just fine as a standalone, but now I’ve got to go back and read Caleb and Sadie’s story–pronto!) Both Mike and Donna have plenty going on outside their attraction for each other. Donna’s trying to remake her life and earn custody of her young son. Her own childhood was a prime example of less-than parenting, and she’s determined that her son’s will be different–but she’s got a wild past to atone for and an ex and his vengeful fiancee to battle first. Mike’s trying to move up to the majors–though he has to deal with a huge P.I.T.A. rookie pitcher first–and is struggling with significant concerns about his older brother’s health. He’s been estranged from his father and lost his then-fiancee when he chose to leave the Navy to give Joey a kidney, so he’s doubly motivated to make it big and prove himself.

Enter the fake (if you ask Donna, because she’s determined to marry for love) or not-so-fake (Mike’s POV, because he’s never going to fall in love again, so why the heck not? He really likes both Donna and Zack, so it can work, right?) engagement, which soon turns into a big baseball wedding and media circus.

Surely nothing can go wrong with this, right? 😉

I have to admit I wondered what was up with the odd suggestions Donna’s lawyer was giving her throughout much of the book–they just didn’t seem to make much sense. I was relieved to find out the reason why. Ms. Bernard pulled all the strings together in the end to give us a highly satisfying and believable ending, which she absolutely owed to us because oh my gosh, so much drama before that point! She had me all over the place on this one–laughing, tearing up, fanning myself…phew! Fortunately I had a slow morning at work today, because I was good for absolutely nothing until I saw Mike and Donna get their HEA.

Which they did. And it was awesome. 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / A-

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

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A Conversation with Jennifer Bernard, Author of CAUGHT BY YOU (Love Between the Bases #2–with a giveaway!)

Enter to Win a Love Between the Bases Print Bundle
(ALL OF ME & CAUGHT BY YOU)

Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, Jennifer!

Thank you so very much for having me!

 

What 5 things should readers know about you?

I live on a homestead in Alaska, where my biggest fear isn’t bears, but the Internet going out. I’m a stepmother of two, passionate about romance writing, drinker of a gallon of tea a day, voracious reader and devoted yogini.

I agree, having to go without Internet is scary! (Especially with kids in the house. The horror!)

 

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

Mike Solo is the catcher for the Kilby Catfish. He was training to be a Navy SEAL, but left when he donated a kidney to his ill brother. That choice created a divide with his Catholic family because his brother is gay. He’s very loyal to the people he loves and is the first to jump in and protect someone. Since he’s got that Navy training, he’d probably have a completely stocked inflatable life raft with him. Donna MacIntyre is working hard to gain back custody of her little boy. She had a wild youth, but has put all that behind her in her quest to get Zack back. The hardest part of that journey is believing in herself. She would do anything for Zack, so she’d probably have a parenting book with her on that desert island.

Excellent choices! (And definitely true to their characters :))

 

Where did the inspiration for this book come from? 

Inspiration number one was the sheer hotness and appeal of baseball players. I’m a lifelong fan and really enjoy the game and baseball culture. For this book in particular, an added inspiration was the experience of a gay family member myself. My family isn’t Catholic, so Mike’s story is very different from mine, not to mention that he operates in the macho world of baseball. But that was part of my inspiration for this book.

You had me at “sheer hotness and appeal”. I am NOT a fan of baseball the sport, but I am a fan of hot baseball players in their very nice uniform pants. And books with baseball player heroes…especially when they’re ex-military and really awesome brothers. 😉

 

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I’ve been writing forever, it seems like.  One way or another, I’ve made my living writing since college, but the romance novel path is relatively new, the last eight years or so. What inspired me to write was my passion for reading, quite honestly. Nothing else ever seemed quite as amazing as the creation of a new world on paper.

Very true!

 

What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

The best part is that little light bulb that goes off – a moment, a scene, a line, a plot twist – and your brain starts firing in all directions. It’s the best feeling! It’s exhilarating. The most challenging part, to be honest, is the worry that comes with such an unpredictable way to make a living.

Very understandable.

 

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I’m working on two exciting projects at the moment. First comes a super-fun crossover collaboration with Erin Nicholas called GETTING WOUND UP. A boy from her Sapphire Falls series signs with the Kilby Catfish in my series. So fun! It’s coming out in March 2016. Then in July comes DRIVE YOU WILD, which is the third book in the Love Between the Bases series and stars bad boy slugger Trevor Stark.

Great! They both sound like a lot of fun 🙂

 

What authors and/or books have inspired you?

So many, starting with Jane Austen and moving on through Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I’m pretty much of a magpie, so I take inspiration from just about every book I read. Which gives me an excuse to read a lot, right? I find something to love in almost every book.

I am 100% in favor of that kind of research!

 

What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?

I’m currently reading Cora Brent’s Gentry Boys series. I love how she takes these really damaged characters who grew up in hellish environments and treats them with respect and love. Plus it’s super-hot.

Hmmm…(jumping over to Goodreads, TBR just grew a little larger…)

 

If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

Catcher Mike Solo just gave Donna the hottest kiss of her life, but now she’s in major league trouble with her powerful ex. Love comes out of left field in Caught By You!

Great job, Jennifer! Thanks again for joining us today 🙂

Jennifer Bernard is a graduate of Harvard and a former news promo producer. The child of academics, she confounded her family by preferring romance novels to … well, any other books. She left big city life for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters. She’s no stranger to book success, as she also writes erotic novellas under a naughty secret name not to be mentioned at family gatherings.

 Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

CAUGHT BY YOU
Love Between the Bases #2
Jennifer Bernard
Releasing Dec 29th, 2015
Avon Books

 

Love comes out of left field in the second novel in USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Bernard’s sexy baseball-themed series…
Months of alternately flirting and bickering with Kilby Catfish catcher Mike Solo just turned into the hottest kiss of Donna MacIntyre’s life—and that’s a major league complication. Any hint of scandal could keep her from getting her son back from her well-connected ex. Then Mike comes up with a game-changing idea: a marriage proposal that could help win her case—even as it jeopardizes her heart.
Mike hasn’t been able to get the gorgeous, gutsy redhead out of his fantasies. The least he can do is fix the mess he helped create. Yet their engagement is quickly becoming about a lot more than doing the right thing. Because after swearing he’d never risk love again, Mike has found a passion that puts all his emotions in play, and a woman he’ll go to bat for again and again.
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Mike looked around at the milling Roadhouse crowd. Denim jackets and cowboy boots, short skirts and long legs, plenty of lip gloss and teased hair, glimpses of cleavage, earrings dangling against bare skin, pretty girls flipping their hair, laughing, teasing, sexy, cute …

And not Donna.

He drained his club soda. “Mañana,” he said to the other Catfish, who stared after him with expressions of shock and betrayal. He never left the party early. Too bad. The Roadhouse without Donna was like a game without a hit. A dinner without steak. A shower without water.

It just wasn’t worth the bother.

He strode out of the Roadhouse into the still-warm night. Up above, stars bedazzled the blue-velvet sky. The Wade kid had it right. Play well, get out of town. That was the plan. Definitely, for sure, forget Donna.

Unless, of course, she was standing right in front of him.

“Donna?”

He blinked, but she didn’t disappear. On his way to the stadium for batting practice, he’d stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and a cruller. Now his coffee steamed, forgotten, in his left hand while he drank in the sight of Donna MacIntyre. She stood next to a miniscule red Kia in the drive-through, a little brown bag in one hand and a Big Gulp of coffee in the other.

She looked … different.

“You are Donna, right? Donna MacIntyre?”

She rolled her eyes with a Lord-help-us expression that confirmed her identity. “Solo. How’ve you been?”

“Great. What are you wearing?” It looked horrible, whatever it was. Boxy, boring blue, below the knee. Its only benefit was that it showed off her calves. Unfortunately, they were covered in beige panty hose. “Did you just come from Salvation Army band practice?”

“That’s an extremely inappropriate comment.”

Yeah, it was, but he was rattled. “Sorry. I’m a little traumatized. Are you on a Mormon mission or something? What did you do to your hair?”

The state of her hair made him want to cry. All the curls had been flat-ironed out of it; he knew the process because his sisters used it on their curly black mops. The color hadn’t changed, thank the saints, but she wore a headband that hid most of the glorious red. A headband! And her hair was short too. She’d chopped it to shoulder-length. All that wild, beautiful hair, sitting on a salon floor somewhere.

“Wait, let me guess. You’re on your way to an encyclopedia convention.”

Looking extremely annoyed, she brushed past him. He caught the scent of fresh woodlands. At least that hadn’t changed. As she peered into the Kia, he followed her gaze and saw a sleeping kid strapped into a car seat in the back. The window was halfway open, giving the child plenty of air. He had red hair and his mouth lolled open.

“Is that the Shark?”

For the first time, she looked kindly at him. “You remember about the Shark?”

“Of course. You’re a nanny for a Shark. Hard to forget that. Or the rest of it.” He raised one eyebrow suggestively, but she ignored his double entendre. His suspicion grew that something was wrong in Donna’s world. In the old days, she never let a chance to flirt pass her by.

“I’m not a nanny anymore,” she told him, circling around to the driver’s side. “I’m a receptionist at a dentist’s office. You should come by sometime. We’re famous for our root canals.”

Cradling her coffee and paper bag against her chest, she put her key into the lock on the driver’s side door. Damn. She was about to drive away, and he didn’t know when he’d see her again.

“You know, I could use a good teeth cleaning. They look kind of green up on the Jumbotron. Where’s your office?”

“Oh. Where? It’s, um, at the corner of Twelfth and Forget I Said Anything.”

“Ouch. Now there’s the Donna I remember.”

She fumbled with the lock. “Well, forget her.”

“I tried that. It wasn’t any fun.”

She glanced up at him, her eyes narrowed, and a zing shot between them. For the first time since he’d gotten back to Kilby, Mike felt completely happy with life. He bounded around the car and lifted her coffee out of her way. “There, is that easier?”

“You don’t have to help me. I’m fine. Don’t you have some balls to play with?”

“Ouch again. I think our Donna’s back in business.” He squinted at her. “Are you wearing a football pin? Now you’re just breaking my heart.”

“Welcome to Texas,” she said, all sassy. “Where football is king, and baseball is the nerdy neighbor boy your mom makes you play with.”

“Them’s fighting words, Donna MacIntyre. You can’t just say something like that and not give me a chance to prove how superior baseball is in every possible way.”

She turned the key in the lock and swung open the door. He stepped back to avoid getting a crotch full of South Korean automotive metal. In the car seat, the child’s legs twitched, and a low wail began.

“Gotta go,” said Donna, suddenly in a big hurry. “Nice running into you and all. Have a good season.”

“Mama!!!” the boy cried. Mike could see it was a boy now. A boy with bright red hair the exact color of Donna’s.

“Shhh, sweetie. It’s okay. I’m here, and I got you some milk.” She stuck a straw in the cup and handed it to him.

Abruptly, the crying stopped. Donna shot Mike a complicated look—he detected regret, warning, pleading, and probably a few more layers—then closed the door.

He watched her drive away, speculation running rampant. So Donna had a kid. She’d never mentioned any such person. Neither had Caleb or Sadie. Not that it was his business.

Except … well, he kind of wanted to make it his business. How many dental offices could there be in Kilby, Texas?

Don’t Miss the First in the
Love Between the Bases Series, 
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New Release Review and Giveaway! GAME WINNER by Collette West (New York Kings #6)

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Game Winner
by Collette West
New York Kings
Publication Date: December 4, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance,Sports

Playing center field for the New York Kings, Jake Woodbury has one of the most prestigious jobs in all of sports. To the world, he’s the good-looking, soft-spoken minister’s son who’s survived celebrity without a hint of scandal. But, inside, he’s reeling from a secret that seems destined to haunt him forever.

Scarlett Moore is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, famous for singing about her celebrity ex-boyfriends. The CEO of her record label has carefully honed her provocative image since she was fifteen. Sex sells, and Scarlett’s well aware that it takes more than talent to stay on top.

One thing is clear: She’s the last thing Jake needs. And he’s the do-gooder jock she should avoid at all costs. But when the game begins, all bets are off.

 

Excerpt:

“Hey! Where are you going?” Scarlett cries when I hastily start pulling on my clothes. “You can’t leave. Not now. Please, Jake. Don’t run away from me.”

But I don’t stop. I shove one leg into my boxers and then the other before hoisting them up and over my butt. My cheeks burn because I know she’s watching me, and after what we just did, it shouldn’t matter that she’s seeing me naked, but I feel embarrassed all of a sudden. I let her get too close, let her see too much of me. The dark parts, the ugly parts, the parts no one should ever have to see. That’s why I have to get out of here. I don’t know what came over me, spilling my guts to her about things my teammates don’t even know about. I was horny, and I acted on impulse, something I really have to stop doing.

I slide my shirt over my arms, buttoning the cuffs around my wrists, and only now do I begin to breathe a little easier. I always take great care in keeping my tats covered, wearing wristbands out on the field and, for the most part, long-sleeve shirts whenever I’m out of uniform. The guys think it’s because I’m all about presenting a put-together appearance to the world that I’d never be caught dead in anything but my Sunday best.

But on the days I do forgo my usual dress code and don a polo shirt or ratty, old tee, I stack on at least three inches’ worth of charity bracelets on both wrists, showing my support for every cause imaginable, from autistic children to breast cancer survivors, my thick, black crosses hidden beneath a rainbow of colored plastic. 

That’s just who everyone expects me to be: the good guy, the one who’s always there for everyone else. But when you’re that guy, it turns out more often than not that no one’s ever there for you. Not even God. 

Review:

A super good-guy, preacher’s son hottie baseball player and a Taylor-Swift-like pop singer–sounds like a grand slam, right?

There was a lot to like about this one–Jake really is a great guy, giving his all on the field, to his fans, and for those he cares about. Scarlett is a heroine to root for–she’s trying to take her career back from the slime ball who’s been controlling it since she was essentially forced to trade her v-card for stardom, getting out from under his thumb and finally having the chance to play the music she wants to play.

All good things.

What didn’t work as well for me: I didn’t really feel their relationship. It went from zero to about a million in a millisecond; even the bit leading up to the epilogue didn’t feel completely genuine. I also had a hard time with the speed with which Zack went from chastity guy to I need to have sex before every game or I’ll stink up the field man.

Though kudos to him for having super alpha sperm, that’s for sure. I’m still scratching my head over his bizarre relationship with his ex, though. Even after the explanation…

Game Winner is the sixth in the series, but it worked well as a standalone. It’s clear that there’s plenty of backstories with the other couples on the team, but I didn’t feel as if I missed out on anything major not having read them yet.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

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

GW Amazon

Purchase: Amazon | Nook | iBooks

ABOUT COLLETTE WEST:

Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of baseball’s biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette’s impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven.

Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she’s not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers. Email her at collette_west@yahoo.com.

She is the author of the New York Kings series which includes: NIGHT GAMES, GAME CHANGER, GAME ON, PERFECT GAME, INSIDE GAME and GAME WINNER.

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New Release and Giveaway! THE EARL’S COMPLETE SURRENDER by Sophie Barnes (Secrets at Throrncliff Manor #2)

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THE EARL’S COMPLETE SURRENDER
Secrets at Thorncliff Manor #2
Sophie Barnes
Releasing December 29th,2015
Avon Books
An unexpected passion ignites as secrets are exposed in Sophie Barnes’s captivating Regency-set romance
Despite the diversions offered at Thorncliff Manor, former spy James, the Earl of Woodford, has one purpose in staying there. He must find an encoded book that exposes a conspiracy within the British aristocracy. And he must do so without revealing his purpose to the clever, tempting Chloe Heartly. The lady has a knack for appearing wherever it is least convenient. In the library. In the salon. And, especially, in his arms . . 

Somewhere within Thorncliff’s labyrinth of rooms lies the journal Chloe desperately seeks. When she realizes the brooding, handsome earl is hunting the same quarry, Chloe enters into an uneasy partnership. But in the face of public danger and enemies hiding in plain sight, both must decide how much they’re willing to risk to solve the mysteries of the heart.
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Chloe shielded her eyes from the sun with her hand and saw a carriage approaching. It bore no crest and was drawn by four magnificent black horses, their tails whipping the air as they plodded along in perfect unison. “I wonder who it can be.”

“Someone important, I’d imagine,” Fiona said. “See those markings on the wheels? That’s a Robertson carriage—one of the most expensive there is.”

Stepping aside, they watched as the carriage rolled past them, allowing a brief glimpse of the two men within. One was older and appeared to be extremely well groomed and stylish while the other . . . Chloe’s heart took flight, skipping along as she met his dark and brooding gaze. He was a young man in his prime, with unfashionably long hair falling across his brow and temple where it blended with the shadow darkening the edge of his jaw. Politely, he dipped his head in greeting as the carriage continued along the road, but his mouth was uninclined to hazard a smile and his eyes remained sober.

Chloe watched as the carriage disappeared around a bend up ahead. A breeze licked between her shoulder blades and she realized that she’d allowed her shawl to slip. Repositioning it, she pulled it tight against the breeze and recommenced walking.

“Who was that?” Fiona asked almost immediately. “Did you recognize either of them?”

“One of them—the older gentleman, that is—is the Marquess of Hainsworth. I had the pleasure of sitting next to him a few years ago when Newbury and I were invited to visit the Duke and Duchess of Pinehurst for dinner. He was most agreeable—both interesting and amusing.” She frowned at the recollection. Newbury had thought her too welcoming of Hainsworth’s company. He’d glared at her continuously from across the table.

“What about the other gentleman?” Fiona asked, forcing Chloe back to the present. “Might he be Hainsworth’s son?”

“No. Hainsworth has no children.” Slanting a look in her sister’s direction, Chloe nudged her gently with her shoulder. “I hope you’re not contemplating your prospects already, Fiona. With our other sisters still unwed you’re not in any hurry to—”

“Don’t be silly,” Fiona said as she nudged Chloe back, making her stumble. “I am not contemplating marriage or anything that might lead to it.”

“I’m relieved to hear that,” Chloe told her. “It’s terribly important for you take your time with such a . . . permanent decision.”

“I know,” Fiona murmured, her brow creasing in a frown that looked misplaced upon her otherwise smooth forehead. As if discomforted by it, Fiona suddenly smiled, erasing all traces of any concern. “But I am curious, you know. I always have been.”

Chloe allowed a faint smile. “Well, in this instance I’m sure that your questions will likely be answered. As soon as we return to Thorncliff you may inquire about Hainsworth’s companion from the butler.”

Fiona’s eyes glowed like a pair of pearls caught in a ray of sunshine. “Then let’s return quickly so that this mystery may be solved.” Her steps quickened, forcing Chloe to hurry after her.

“Honestly, Fiona, I don’t understand the urgency. He’s either going to be a peer or gentry, neither of which is likely to be of interest to you since you’re not in the market for a husband.”

“If it makes any sense, I simply cannot stand the not knowing.”

 

Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian. She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parsons. But, most impressive of all, she’s been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion: writing. When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.

 

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New Release (Audiobook) Review: SWEETEST SCOUNDREL by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane #9)

Sweetest Scoundrel
by Elizabeth Hoyt

Synopsis:

SHE’S TAKING CHARGE

Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother’s investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London’s premier pleasure garden, Harte’s Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can’t be controlled.

HE’S RUNNING THE SHOW

Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn’t have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden’s larger-than-life owner, he’s already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He’s not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.

BUT LOVE CONQUERS ALL

In spite of her lack of theatrical experience—and her fiery clashes with Asa—Eve is determined to turn Harte’s Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There’s no denying the smoldering fire between them—and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all.

Review:

Sweetest Scoundrel was an excellent example of the enemies to lovers troupe–so well done! Their initial meeting–and the next few–are nothing but antagonism, but since they have no choice but to work together, they’re forced to try and get along. Their attraction is a slow buildup, but once it’s there, it turns explosive. And absolutely delicious.

Eve and Asa were a fabulous couple. At the outset, he’s so focused on his theater–it’s his entire life, and he doesn’t see a problem with that. He’s willing to try and work with Eve for the sake of Harte’s Folly…everything is for Harte’s Folly…but oh so slowly concern for Eve starts to work its way into his priorities, until finally, finally she becomes number one. It seemed like it would never happen, though, for a while there.

Eve’s resigned herself to living a half life–the bastard daughter of a Duke, she’s not only used to not being first to anyone ever, but she also dealt with some pretty horrific events in her childhood. Big brother Val came to her rescue in a big way, and he’s still looking out for her now. Or is he just keeping her perpetually in the same place? Asa helps to bring her out of herself, and gives her the push she needs to overcome her biggest fears.

Well, Asa and Henry the mangy mastiff help her to overcome her fears. With some extra help from Dove. 🙂

I just love this series–book nine, and it’s still going strong! We’ve been waiting forever for Asa Makepeace’s story, it seems like…and yay! it was totally worth the wait. We also get a glimpse into the current lives of the rest of the Makepeace family, which is great if you’ve been reading the series from the beginning (but if you haven’t, don’t worry, you won’t feel left out. The family dynamic is still enjoyable to read, even if you have no clue who those people are.) I think I might have missed book 8, however (Dearest Rogue)–or maybe I just read too many books between now and then? Is that even possible? Surely not…but either way, I have zero memory of the heinous thing that Eve’s brother did in that book that was referenced several times in this one…it wasn’t a huge deal, but it was troubling (for my confidence in my memory–not at all a reflection on the book itself, I assure you). I do have my fingers crossed that Val will be a future hero–surely he’s hero worthy, deep down, despite his apparent despicableness toward everyone but his sister?

Narrator Ashford McNab does another stellar job at narration–she’s done more than half of the series so far, and I’ve really enjoyed her reading style.

Bring on book 10–I’m ready! (Though I’ll take a quick look at number 8, either a full-read or a refresher read in the meantime.)

Rating: 4 stars / A-

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New Release Review: WILD GAMES by Mila Rossi

Wild Games
by Mila Rossi

Synopsis:

Despite warnings of annoying mosquitos and beastly spiders, Becca Glover couldn’t be more excited about her expedition to Costa Rica. Rooming with Matt Ritter, however, is an inconvenience she doesn’t see coming. He wields a machete, shaves with a knife and needs to wear a decent amount of clothes to cover the muscles she can’t stop staring at.

Hired to lead a group of scientists through the jungle, Matt is convinced the fiery redhead is intent on making his job harder than it needs to be. Rebecca doesn’t listen and seems to invite danger at every turn. Her attitude is as much of a distraction as her curves and emerald green eyes. Now if he could only pay as much attention to his job as he does to her, their one-month adventure would fly by without a hitch.

Hot temperatures, wild animals and a shared tree house are just the beginning of Becca and Matt’s obstacles. The real challenge lies in surviving each other.

Review:

Wild Games was a short read, but enjoyable. Becca and Matt get off on the wrong foot together, and spend the first half or so of their time in Costa Rica sniping at each other. Both feel an attraction toward the other–Matt keeps walking around the treehouse hut the two are sharing for the duration only half clothed, which distracts Becca to no end; she inadvertently gave Matt an eyeful at the outdoor shower one afternoon–but they’re determined to ignore the pull.

Until they can’t ignore it anymore…

But one night together doesn’t seem to change too much–the two appear bound and determined to misconstrue and misunderstand each other at every opportunity–and even when a second night happens a throwaway comment from Becca pretty much guarantees the two are going to spend the rest of the research trip at odds. Can their relationship be saved?

There were several cute moments, and some pretty amusing ones as well, which combined to balance out the frustration that came from knowing Matt and Becca could have resolved a lot of relationship angst by sitting down and talking to one another. They had some real chemistry together and it all ended in a sweet HEA, which together placed this book firmly in the plus column.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-

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

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