A Conversation with Amanda Ashby, Author of THE WEDDING PLANNER’S BABY (Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm #2–with a New Release Review and Giveaway!)

He’ll have to choose between duty to his relatives and  love for the real family he never thought he could have. 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Bec’s quite wild and carefree and Lincoln is an English Lord and despite the differences they bounced really well off each other, which meant it was fun to write them. Plus, I loved Bec’s relationship with her best friend, Coop, so it was always a giggle when they were on the page together!

 

Name three things on your desk right now.

Colored Post It notes and colored pens

A large quartz crystal

A coaster in the shape of a Maori Tiki

(and one thing that isn’t on my desk is me! I tend to travel around the house following the sun like a cat, leaving the desk untouched by human hands!)

 

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silveria (loved this book so much and when I finished I did that sad blinky thing when you realize that you’re not in book world at all, but rather in your house).

The Starbound Trilogy by Aimee Kaufman and Megan Spooner

 Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

 

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

The silly kind. I do have a tendency to go over the top with the situations that I throw my characters into and I figure that when it gets too ridiculous then my editor will haul me back. Though, every now and then they forget, and I end up with crazy weird things happening in my books. I really shouldn’t be left unattended!

 

What are you favorite types of stories to read?

I read a lot of Young Adult and Fantasy books and often describe my reading tastes as that of a twelve-year-old boy because I like a lot of action, sword fighting and magic. But I also love humor and romance so when I get a book that combines all of these things, I’m pretty happy!

 

What 5 things should readers know about you?

1) I can’t tell my left from my right without shaking my hand and then working out if that’s the one I hold a pen in (and yes, I know about all the tricks of making the letter L with your left hand and no one wishes that way would work more than me. Alas, it does not). However, despite not being able to tell my left from my right, I have a really great sense of direction, which was very handy in the pre Google Map/SatNav days!

2) I was born in Australia but have lived for many years in both England and New Zealand and as a result have a very strange accent. No, seriously, if we were having a strange accent competition I would totally win!

3) I will forever love The Spice Girls and all forms of 90s pop music. This makes my husband shudder, to which I merely reply zig-ah-zig-ah.

4) When it comes to black boots, I’m a firm believer that more is better!

5) The above policy also applies to purses and white linen blouses.

 

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing when I was twenty-seven after suddenly waking up one day and deciding that I should write a book. I wish I could say I was exaggerating and that I’d some inkling when I was younger, but nope. Not a clue. I was really good at creative writing at school and had been a life long reader, but until that moment of clarity, the chances of me being a writer were as likely as me becoming an astronaut (which, no offence to astronauts, but it looks like a lot of work). But I digress. So, after waking up with the idea to write a book I promptly sat down and wrote a 50,000 word romance, enticingly titled Love Story. Yeah. It was as bad as it sounds! It took me about a month to write and if memory serves, I did the whole thing in bold. Because I really was that clueless!!! After that I kept writing more books and learning my craft until I finally sold my debut book ten years later. Probably another reason why I could never be an astronaut. I’m a very slow learner!

 

What do you do when you are not writing?

I also work in the children’s department at my local library, which is awesome! I love books and I love seeing kids reading books so it’s a win/win. I also spend lots of time watching television or having my own nose buried in a book. Oh and I have a small and totally under control addiction to buying vintage treasures, which keeps me busy!!! Apparently I also have a family to feed and water, so let’s pretend that they come further up the list!

 

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

I sure do! For a start, I’m so proud of everyone who listens to their inner voice, who dares to follow their dreams and who steps into the magical space of creativity, it’s an amazing place to be! As for advice, there is quite literally only one way to write a book, and that’s word by word. Yes, you might not have the craft nailed, or understand how a scene works but until you sit down and start writing your story, you’ll never figure it out. So, take a deep breath and get started. You got this!

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture.

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed in the New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age. Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

 

THE WEDDING PLANNER’S BABY
Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm #2
Amanda Ashby
Releasing April 10th, 2017
Entangled Bliss

Free-spirited Bec Watson was never having children­––until she is. No way she’s ready for this, and she’s not going to tie-down the father, not even (especially!) if he’s secretly an English Lord. She’s doing this solo, which means she needs help from the one place she swore she’d never return…Wishing Bridge Farm. Home.

Lincoln Mathews has never known love, only responsibility. And now his family home and business is at jeopardy unless he finds a solution. Fast. Their idea? Marry for money. But the girl who stole his heart is carrying their child. His first mission? Follow her to Wishing Bridge Farm. But soon he’ll have to choose between duty to his relatives and love for the real family he never thought he
could have. 


 

“I’m sorry I judged you. I hate when people judge me, and yet I seem to be constantly doing it to you.” Bec sighed, causing her chest to rise and fall beneath her thin T-shirt.

“I didn’t give you much to go on.” Lincoln tried to ignore the cramp in his shoulder. He should move, but if he did, he might somehow break the connection that had opened between them. “What with the whole forgetting to mention who I really was.”

“I understand why you did it.” Bec bit down on her lower lip, making her even more desirable. The numbness in his shoulder disappeared, replaced by the steady pounding of his heart as he drank in the sight of her mouth. “And I could’ve asked more questions. Or taken fewer photographs,” she said.

“At the time it seemed like a good idea.” He dared to inch closer to her, breathing in her aroma—soap and hay and all things bright. His pulse spiked as she let out a tiny moan. The air caught in his throat as the throbbing tension rattled his body.

“It did,” she murmured, her eyes never leaving his. A shudder went through him as her perfume caught in his nose and her lips parted. “Just like right now, this seems like a good idea.”

Desire raced through him. She wants to kiss me as much as I want to kiss her.

He leaned in and pressed his mouth to hers, feather light at first, until Bec let out a soft groan. Lincoln’s arms snaked around her, dragging her closer to him, pushing away all the things standing between them. They were back in Italy. She tasted of juice and sunshine. The sea was behind them, the sand beneath. Bec’s hand looped up around his neck. His title fell away along with his responsibilities. All he could taste was her skin. Her heart pounding—

A cute and fluffy read–a fun way to start the week 🙂

The end of book one ( Falling for the Best Man ) ensured that I was going to sign up for book two–what was Bec’s story? What–or who–was she running from, and why? And…a baby? I was intrigued. Not to mention anxious to see who her hero would be…and a titled English lord? Yes, please!

Though I have to admit Lincoln didn’t seem particularly British, and Bec was more than a little immature…still, they were both quite likable, and wanting to see them get to an HEA kept me turning the pages. Bec’s inner monologue was particularly amusing–I especially felt a kinship with her when she reflected that

All she knew was that she was miserable. And she’d once spent six months trying to study accounting, so she knew a thing or two about misery.

Preach it, sister. Though I had two semesters, so tell me about it.

The Wedding Planner’s Baby would work fine as a standalone, if you haven’t read the first book yet. One sister left to go–we’ve got a pretty good idea where Pepper’s story is going to go, but it will be nice to have confirmation 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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New Release and Giveaway! HIS LAST DEFENSE by Karen Rock (Uniformly HOT!)

Semper Paratus. Always ready.  

Describe yourself in five words or less.

Romantic dreamer and complete dork.

 

Can you tell us a little about your book?

This is a high-stakes, action-packed second-chance romance that takes place on Alaska’s most deadly waters: The Bering Sea. Nolee Arnauyq is a crab fishing boat captain who’s determined to make her own way in a man’s world after growing up dependent on others’ charity. She doesn’t want to be rescued, least of all by the ex that broke her heart, USCG rescue swimmer Dylan Holt who plucks her from her sinking vessel after he’s been assigned back to his old hometown in Alaska. Out on the most dangerous waters in the world, where a tumble overboard will stop your heart in five seconds, Dylan’s greatest worry is his returning feelings for Nolee, a woman who’s never left his heart or thoughts, no matter how far he’s traveled for his coast guard work. He plans to transfer stateside as soon as possible, and leave the stifling hometown that holds bad memories, but Nolee’s proving to be one sizzling temptation his body, and heart, can’t resist.

 

How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

I’m addicted to Discovery Channel’s hit show THE DEADLIEST CATCH! I knew I wanted to set a book in this extreme setting but needed the right, high-octane story. When I saw an episode where a USCG Air and Sea Rescue team rescues a crab fishing crew from a sinking vessel, I imagined the ultimate sexy alpha hero- a fearless rescue swimmer daring and determined enough to fling himself into most dangerous waters in the world to save others. Of course, then I needed a heroine strong enough to go toe-to-toe with such a tough guy and who better than a headstrong, fearless crab fishing boat captain whose staked her claim in this testosterone-charged world. I wanted them to be second-chance lovers with lots to lose by risking their hearts with each other again. Putting them on a boat together in a life-and-death adventure, where they can’t resist their sizzling chemistry, made this one of my favorite sexy romances to write of all time.

 

What gave you the most trouble with this story?

My biggest challenge was the painstaking research I undertook to ensure that I created an authentic experience for the readers in the unique world of crab fishing on Alaska’s Bering Sea. In addition to watching lots of THE DEADLIEST CATCH episodes and videos of USCG Air and Sea rescues, I fact checked with USCG Commander Bill Friday, a Jayhawk pilot who was stationed for several years in Kodiak, Alaska and one of THE DEADLIEST CATCH’S captain’s THE TIME BANDIT’S Jonathan Hillstrand. He provided the kind of insider details that helped me convey an unforgettably sexy romance set on treacherous waters.

 

Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

My cell phone! I’d feel lost if I couldn’t connect to my family and friends via social media, email and texts. The downside is that it’s also next to me as I write and even though I mute it, and turn it upside down, I still find myself checking it way too much.

 

Name three things on your desk right now.

Since my “desk” is really an easy chair where I write with my laptop, the following three things are on it: a can of lemon-flavored seltzer water wedged between me and the arm rest, Post-It notes stuck to the edges of my laptop reminding me of appointments, changes to make to my MS, reminders for contests and grocery lists, and my puppy, Zoey, who takes her job as “author assistant” very seriously by laying at the end of my chair, her head resting on my ankle, as I write.

 

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? 😉

Nolee Arnauyq has a white father, who abandoned her before she was born, and an Inuit mother who struggled to provide for them due to her serious health issues. Growing up dependent on others’ charity has made Nolee fiercely independent and determined to make her way in the world- even in a man’s world- like becoming a crab fishing boat captain. This high risk job also comes with huge rewards and she’s willing to gamble all, even her life, to never be dependent on anyone else again, and to provide for her mother. It surprised me just how easy it was to insert a female character into such a macho world. The crew men accept her as their leader and look up to her because she’s good at her job and keeps them safe while pulling lots of crab to fatten their bank accounts. She can also transform from tough as nails captain to an irresistible temptress when she decides to make the most of her time with her ex, gorgeous USCG rescue swimmer Dylan Holt. If stranded on a deserted isle, the one thing she’d need to have with her would be a fishing pole since she’s an expert fisherman and could feed herself with it.

Dylan Holt grew up in Kodiak Alaska. He’s the youngest son of a father he could never please, especially when he refused to join the family business to join the Coast Guard as a rescue swimmer. He’s tough, fearless and gorgeous with a sense of humor that’s disarming and so sexy. He’s also loyal and passionate and he’s never forgotten his first love, Nolee Arnauyq, who crushed his heart years ago. He vowed never to return to Alaska, but can’t avoid confronting his past when he rescues Nolee off her sinking crab fishing vessel when he’s transferred to the USCG Kodiak Air Station. Dylan is a talented swimmer and exceptional athlete. If he were stranded on a deserted isle, he’d need to have his swim gear (snorkel, mask and fins) so that he could deep dive for crab and other fish to feed himself, and possibly swim to safety. If anyone could cross an ocean in fins- it’d be Dylan.

 

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Military and law enforcement heroes are the ultimate sexy alpha male romantic hero. They’re strong, commanding, passionate, fearless and are smoking hot in those uniforms! I love personal courage and conviction and plan to write many more books featuring them. I’m drawn to stories with lots of edgy action and am currently working on a high-stakes suspense series set in a Dallas male strip club that will feature under cover law enforcement. Book One- Dangerous Moves- will be released with Kensington Press in 2018. For updates about my new releases and giveaways, follow my Amazon author page at http://amzn.to/1NSRVrT , follow me on Goodreads on http://www.goodreads.com/karenrockauthor or drop by my website at http://www.karenrock.com

 

Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes red-hot novels for Harlequin Blaze and small-town romances for Harlequin Heartwarming. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile. When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who’s typically immersed in three different books at a time, all in different genres. She also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking, Christmas (no need to specify—she loves every bit of it), and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat who keep her life interesting and complete. Learn more about her at her website.

HIS LAST DEFENSE
Uniformly HOT!
Karen Rock
Released March 21, 2017
Harlequin Blaze

Semper Paratus. Always ready.  
 
Years ago, Coast Guard rescue swimmer Dylan Holt left Kodiak, Alaska, with his heart in pieces. He thought Nolee Arnauyq and her mouthwatering curves were behind him—until he’s sent to rescue the crew of a capsizing boat…including Nolee. And Dylan is definitely not ready for the too-familiar way his body aches at seeing her again.
Nolee’s always gone after what she wanted, and to hell with the risks. Now she’s a rookie ship captain taking on the deadly waters of the Bering Sea. But out on these treacherous waters, there’s no way to avoid the sizzling sexual tension between them—or the dangerous pull of emotions that could leave both their hearts lost at sea…

 

“It’s getting nautical out here,” Nolee muttered as she strove to harness her crippled boat. Beneath them, the ship bucked and rolled her way through the waves, groaning with the effort. “With one engine, she’s going to do what she wants.”

Twenty-two feet.

Several minutes ticked by. A half hour. Forty-five minutes. Time was marked only by the pounding of the seas, the periodic sounding of the depth reader, the incessant clanging of the metal chains outside.

The boat pitched violently. “This is getting worse the shallower we go,” he said, widening his stance to keep his footing.

“A real washing machine,” Nolee affirmed without looking up from the fathometer.

Twenty feet. The number blinked lower and lower. Eighteen feet. Seventeen.

“It’s just going down,” she gasped.

A channel marker loomed yards off the bow, catching his eye. His pulse slammed. The ship barreled right at it. “Are we making the turn on the track here?” He pointed at it then whipped his head around to study her sharp profile.

“I’m trying.” Her strained voice emerged through clenched teeth. She jimmied the thruster and peered up from her monitors and out the window. The Pacific Dawn churned forward.

“She’s just driving straight. She’s not fucking turning.” Shit.

“Hang in there, Nolee,” he urged. Helplessness crashed over him. He wasn’t in control. Couldn’t rescue everyone, including the ship and the catch. Couldn’t get them all to safety. A damned unfamiliar feeling. But not entirely uncomfortable.

Why?

Because you trust her, came the sudden, unexpected thought. In fact, when push came to shove, he couldn’t think of anyone else he’d rather have by his side in a situation like this than Nolee.

Could that extend to other parts of his life?

Dylan shifted his balance expertly as the floor rose beneath him and spray obliterated the view from the window. His gaze swung to the fathometer as it began beeping loudly.

Fifteen and a half feet.

Beeping. Thirteen.

Nolee shoved to her feet and snatched her walkie-talkie.

Ten feet.

Ten feet!

Best Book Boyfriends Ever: MEN IN UNIFORM (Embrace New Adult books on sale and giveaway!)

This week, Entangled Publishing has been celebrating The Best Book Boyfriends Ever by shining a light on some of the heroes on Embrace! Today I’m joining in as we salute the military book boyfriends!

Authors Ophelia London & Cole Gibsen shared their thoughts about writing about men in uniform. Entangled has all of the Embrace stories with military heroes on sale for just 99¢, today only!

Is your hero inspired by a real-life person? If so, who?

Ophelia London (author of Abby Road & Crossing Abby Road): Actually, my hero, Todd, is very, very roughly based on a mix of my college boyfriend and the fantasy I wished he’d been back then. Hee-hee. I started dreaming up this story a few years after 9/11, so I KNEW Todd needed to have served in the military.

Cole Gibsen (author of Seared on my Soul): I’m the executive director of a charity that places PTSD service dogs with veterans. I wouldn’t say Reece was inspired by a particular veteran, but rather the struggle I’ve witnessed so many of them going through.

 

What other kinds of heroes do you like to read about?

Ophelia: Basically any of them! But currently, I love to read about powerful men: the businessmen: strong silent type that appear to be all business, but deep down have a gooey heart of gold. And if they have an accent, whooo baby!

Cole: I’m seriously a romance junkie, so when it comes to heroes, I don’t discriminate. I love them all.

Playlist – music inspired by Embrace’s men in uniform, selected by the authors.

Link: https://open.spotify.com/user/hollishter/playlist/77at4Yqi8hCkCxnAEdRLPN

Sales Card - Men in Uniform - April 7

Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros
Fight & Glory #1

She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew Dad was dead. Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. Her dad would never be coming home. Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor…and endowed with the most delicious hands that have a way of erasing her pain with a single touch. But just when Ember lets him in, Josh’s secret shatters their world. And she must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her world bare.

 

Eyes Turned Skyward by Rebecca Yarros
Fight & Glory #2

Since her sister’s death, Paisley, who shares her sister’s heart condition, is treated like glass by her parents. But nothing will stop her from completing her Bucket List—even if it kills her. And it almost does, until Jagger pulls her from the ocean and sets her soul on fire. Jagger is wickedly hot, reckless, and perfect for a girl living life to the fullest. Except Paisley is the commanding general’s daughter and her boyfriend is Jagger’s biggest rival. One wrong move, and they could crash and burn…

 

Beyond What is Given by Rebecca Yarros
Fight & Glory #3

The last thing Lt. Grayson Masters needs is the distraction of his gorgeous new roommate, Samantha Fitzgerald. While her smart mouth and free spirit are irresistibly irritating, he can’t deny their off-the-charts chemistry—or her ability to pull his focus away from his Apache helicopter course. Sam has no business digging for Grayson’s secrets while she’s hiding her own, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to tear down his walls. Each barrier she busts through drops one of her own, though, and she’s not prepared for the truth…

 

Hallowed Ground by Rebecca Yarros
Fight & Glory #4

Josh Walker is loyal, reckless, and every girl’s dream. But he only has eyes for December Howard. Together they have survived grief, the military, distance, and time. As Josh heads to Afghanistan, a country that nearly killed him once before and took Ember’s father, they fill their last days together with love, passion, and plans for their future… If there’s one thing Ember has learned from her father’s death, it’s that there are some obstacles even love can’t conquer.

 

Seared on My Soul by Cole Gibsen
Written on My Heart #2

Reece Montgomery never planned on being anyone’s hero, especially the foul-mouthed, bleach-blonde barista from the local coffee shop. He thinks there’s more to Emily Garret than her tattoos, and lip ring, but getting close means letting her into his past and meeting his ghosts.

 

Abby Road by Ophelia London
Abby Road #1

It’s been exactly one day since rock star Abby Kelly fled her chaotic life. One day without her demanding manager, papparrazzi, ridiculous tour schedules, and recording sessions. But all it takes is one twist of fate— to enter a stranger’s surf shop while trying to dodge some fans—for everything to change. When Abby meets Todd, an ex-Marine sniper turned surfer, she feels things she hasn’t felt for a long time. Possibly never. But when the real world comes crashing back in, Abby is caught between the superstar she’s become…and the painfully real human being she longs to be.

 

Crossing Abby Road by Ophelia London
Abby Road #2

Todd Camford went from Marine sniper to owning a beachfront surf shop in Florida. He’s a free-flying, unfettered hawk, and relationships outside of family are out of the question. And then she comes into his shop. Everyone knows who Abigail Kelly is—mega rockstar, tabloid fixture. He’d be an ass (or possibly insane) to think he can resist her. Just for today, maybe he’ll keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t get mobbed. Because really, how much damage could one day with a super-hot, kick-ass celebrity really do?

Rafflecopter Giveaway: A grand prize pack of signed print books, ebooks, swag, & specially selected gifts from your favorite Embrace authors!

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A Q&A with Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan, Authors of MY DARLING, MY DISASTER (Lords of Essex–with a giveaway!)

A princess who had it all.
A lord with everything to lose.

 

Describe yourself in five words or less.

AMALIE: Creative, fun-loving, humorous, passionate, free-spirited.

 

ANGIE: Relaxed, creative, inquisitive, cheerful, active

 

 

Tell us a little about your book.

MY DARLING, MY DISASTER is a fun, sexy story about an arrogant young lord who meets his match in a runaway princess disguised as his sister’s lady’s maid. There’s mystery, suspense, action, and buckets of sizzling romantic tension.

 

 

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

AMALIE: Journey’s DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’…seriously, it’s my personal anthem. Also, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY by Queen when I’m feeling saucy.

 

ANGIE: HAIR UP by Justin Timberlake from the movie TROLLS should play from magical speakers whenever I enter a room.

 

 

Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

AMALIE: My phone. I can work while waiting for my kids at various activities. That, and pants. I never leave home without pants. Because that would be awkward. And maybe scary for some.

 

ANGIE: There is NOTHING I won’t leave home without. Trust me. I’ve left home without my purse, my phone, my CHILD. Just kidding. I usually remember them all. But I do always remember to put a bra on. #goals

 

 

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

AMALIE: Two recent historical romance books I really enjoyed were THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE by Jennifer Ashley, and WILD WICKED SCOT by Julia London. They’re both very different, but the writing in each is sublime.

 

ANGIE: I loved THE ALIENIST by Caleb Carr and am so excited for the TV series starring Luke Evans coming up soon! I thought PROMISE OF FIRE by Amanda Bouchet was a really fun romantic fantasy. Right now I’m reading BARED TO YOU by Sylvia Day and I’m constantly blushing.

 

 

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

AMALIE: I’m an obsessive/compulsive reader. Sometimes, on a reading binge of a particular genre, I can read a book a night for weeks at a time. I also like to watch movies. I’m a very visual person, and films are my guilty pleasure. Put it this way, I’ve already seen Beauty and the Beast twice and it only opened two days ago on Friday. I saw Deadpool at least a handful of times in the theaters and bought the Blu-Ray, and let’s not even talk about The Force Awakens. Anything Marvel can take my money. I’m super excited for Ghost in the Shell and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2. #DIEHARDFANGIRL.

 

ANGIE: I make sure writing happens almost every day, and I’m usually working on more than one project at a time. But on my off-hours, I’m a school volunteer, a chauffeur for my daughters and their friends (unfortunately, there’s no bus transportation for our small school!), my town’s official crazy chicken lady, a freelance editor for Independent authors, a long distance runner, and — whenever I get the chance to sit down — an avid reader.

 

 

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

First of all, don’t be afraid to write what you love, and have confidence in your ideas.  For any new writer, we would encourage reading as many books as you can get your hands on—the more you read (especially books that have been successful in the genre), the more you’ll understand the elements required to pen an equally successful novel of your own. Reading outside of the romance genre will broaden your scope, too. The most important piece of advice though is just to keep writing, keep trying, and keep reading.

 

Amalie Howard’s love of romance developed after she started pilfering her grandmother’s novels in high school when she should have been studying. She has no regrets. A #1 Amazon
bestseller and a national IPPY silver medalist, she is the author of My Rogue, My Ruin, the first in the Lords of Essex historical romance series, as well as several award-winning young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including WaterfellThe Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid’s IndieNext pick. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children. Visit her 
website
 for the latest news and information.
 

 

Angie Morgan lives in New Hampshire with her husband, their three daughters, a menagerie of pets, and an extensive collection of paperback romance novels. She’s the author of MY ROGUE, MY RUIN, the first book in the Lords of Essex historical romance series,
as well as several young adult books, including The Dispossessed series written under the name Page Morgan. Critically acclaimed by Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal, VOYA, and The Bulletin, Angie’s novels have been an IndieNext selection, a Seventeen Magazine Summer Book Club Read, and a #1 Amazon bestseller. Visit her 
website
 for the latest news and information
 

 

MY DARLING, MY DISASTER
Lords of Essex #2
Amalie Howard & Angie Morgan
Releasing March 27, 2017
Entangled Select Historical

 


Lord Graham Findlay, the shamelessly virile Viscount Northridge, has a disgraceful secret, one he’ll do anything to hide. Holding his passions at bay, Gray has sworn off the fairer sex. But when temptation comes in the form of an intriguing woman he cannot easily avoid, Gray’s integrity—and his most depraved desires—are put to the ultimate test.

Self-assured and carefree Princess Svetlanka Volkonsky never dreamed she would one day become a lady’s maid to avoid a dangerous traitor. But danger also comes in many guises, especially in the sinful and devastatingly attractive lord of the manor who introduces her to a world of singular pleasure.

When Lana’s past emerges to threaten the life and the false identity she’s built in England, she and Gray find themselves falling into a tangled web of lies and intrigue…and the last place either of them expected to fall…in love.

 

 

The interior of the coach felt hot, and she could swear that Lord Northridge’s body was closer than it had been moments before. Lana’s pulse spiked, every inch of her skin prickling with bright awareness. She had been courted by suitors before and had been the recipient of hastily stolen embraces in the arbor at Volkonsky Palace. But no man had ever made her feel the way she did now—like a fox in a hunt with nowhere to run. Her short nails dug into her palms even as she feigned continued indifference. It was a talent she’d inherited from her mother: the ability to remain tranquil and unruffled in any situation.

But, lord, the man pushed her to the limits of her skill.

Despite her composed exterior, Lana was acutely conscious of him. With each inhale and exhale, she could scent the spice of his cologne and the bite of whiskey and cigar smoke, see the rise and fall of the pulse in his neck, hear the rustle of his clothing against the plush velvet seat. She could feel his hooded eyes settling upon her as if they were hands pressing against her flesh, boldly pushing past the confines of her cloak.

Undressing her.

Refusing to succumb to his debauchery, she met his eyes with cool hauteur, and they dropped provokingly to her lips. He was trying to shock her, she knew. But Lana held his stare, refusing to be cowed by whatever new perverse game he was playing. She swallowed a biting response that would remind him of his place, and hers—Lord Northridge at the best of times was unpredictable, and after a night on the town with liquor in his blood, she would do well to curb her tongue. Lest he force himself upon her like some lovelorn swain.

No, not lovelorn. Lord Northridge would not allow such a common emotion as love to rule him. The art of his seduction, if at all, would be calculated and ruthless…meant only to serve him and no other. Lovesick females fell at his feet, not the reverse. Lord Northridge’s eyes met hers as if her thoughts had grown transparent, and she flushed when another knowing smirk appeared.

Lord have mercy, he made her want to kick him. Hard.

Flustered, Lana couldn’t quite help herself as the coach finally rolled to a sharp stop in front of the manor. “Like what you see?” she asked in succinct tones.

A reluctant smile tugged at the corner of his lips at her veiled mockery. “Very much.”

Lana went still at the candid admission. He looked as surprised as she did. An arctic flush suffused her chest and climbed her neck as James opened the coach door. She slid forward, taking the footman’s hand and making her escape with every ounce of grace she could manage. “Perhaps you should endeavor to foist your attentions where they will be better welcomed. Good day, Lord Northridge.”

His husky chuckle at what would have been a crushing setdown in any other circumstance followed her all the way to the front door.

Blast the arrogant clodpole to Hades.

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Q&A with Jennifer Ryan, Lia Riley, and Maisey Yates, Authors of the SNOWBOUND AT CHRISTMAS Anthology (with a giveaway!)

When a snowstorm pummels the western half of the country, 
three couples find once off-limits love just in time for Christmas.

Jennifer Ryan

Describe yourself in five words or less.
Smart, spunky, giggly, fun-size, chocoholic.

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
The first kiss. I love the buildup to that moment, the anticipation, and the spark that finally ignites when two people give in to the connection that draws them together.

What are you favorite types of stories to read?
I write suspenseful contemporary romance, and I love to read suspense, but when I need a break from that, I escape into historical romance. I love a roguish Viscount or sexy Scottish Laird.

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

All Chained Up by Sophie Jordan

Troublemaker by Linda Howard

Breath of Scandal by Sandra Brown

What comes next?
Why, another Montana Men novel, of course.

Ford Kendrick gave up his one true love ten years ago to save the legacy his parents left behind for him and his brothers and get Jamie away from her abusive mother. He thought he sent Jamie away for her own good, but when she returns from the military broken in body, heart, and soul, he’ll do everything in his power to make his Firefly happy and shine again. When a friend from her past shows up and a secret revealed puts Jamie’s life at risk, Ford will put HIS COWBOY HEART on the line to protect Jamie.

 

Lia Riley

A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.
Wise-cracking ex marine gets stranded in blizzard with the ex-girlfriend who never forgave him for breaking her heart

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
I love me a good kissing scene

What gave you the most trouble with this story?
Keeping it short, novellas are such fun to write, but a little challenging because there is always a little more you wish you could include.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
My baby

Maisey Yates

Can you tell us a little about your book?
Mia is visiting her friend’s family for Christmas in Copper Ridge, and she and her friend’s older brother, Devlin, are the first to arrive at the lodge. Mia has always had a crush on Devlin, but she’s never had the courage to make a move. But then a storm whips up and leaves the two of them stranded overnight…and Mia figures it might be about time to make her some Christmas magic with the man she’s always fantasized about.

How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
Well, I love a cheerful heroine and a grumpy hero, especially for a holiday story. And I also love a good girl and a bad boy (with tattoos no less). Adding that forbidden element of her being his younger sister’s BFF, and a snowstorm, just seemed logical. 😉

Name three things on your desk right now.
A Diet Coke can (don’t judge me) my RITA (yay!) and a little iron mouse my husband gave me for Christmas.

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
I love banter. I love writing fights, I love any back and forth between the hero and heroine. And I love it most of all when a scene of banter takes a nosedive into double entendre and suddenly what started out light gets really tense and sexy.

What 5 things should readers know about you? I don’t take myself very seriously. I really do love sweet potato fries (which is why they’re mentioned in a lot of my books). I LOVE writing, I really do. I’m left handed. I can sing a mean country song.

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I’ve always fiddled around with stories, but I first finished a book in 2007. I was inspired by reading the Harlequin Presents line, and then by a contest Harlequin ran. I thought: Well, I should write something and enter the contest! That won’t feel like real rejection! I didn’t place in the contest, but at that point I’d written so much of the book I knew I had to finish. I did, and I sent it in, and eventually sold that book.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
They say writers should write every day, and I think that’s great advice to build good habits. But I would also add: finish the book. Don’t just write beginnings over and over. You need to practice seeing a project through to completion. No excuses. The biggest trap I see people falling into is being eternal starters, or eternal polishers or editors. Nope. Write the book, finish the book. Let it go. Do it all over again.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thanks for all the support. Readers are so important, and I’m so, so grateful for mine!

 

Jennifer Ryan
 is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.

Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to
the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.


After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, LIA RILEY scoured the
world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of
direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica,
sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands
in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.

 Website | Facebook | Twitter |GoodReads


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author MAISEY YATES lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

 

SNOWBOUND AT CHRISTMAS
Holiday Anthology
Jennifer Ryan, Lia Riley & Maisey Yates
Releasing Nov 15th, 2016

When a snowstorm pummels the western half of the country, three couples find once off-limits love just in time for Christmas. An unforgettable holiday anthology from bestselling authors Jennifer Ryan, Maisey Yates, and Lia Riley.

Close to Perfect: A Montana Men
Novella by Jennifer Ryan

At sixteen, Abigail gave Dex the gift of a lifetime, but the cost of it was more than he ever knew. Now she’s back in town with a secret that has been ten years in the making and this time it’s Dex’s turn to make the ultimate sacrifice or risk losing her forever.

 

Snowed in at Copper Ridge: A Copper
Ridge Novella by Maisey Yates

Mia Landry has always had it bad for brooding cowboy Devlin Grayson. Too bad he’s her best friend’s older brother. But when they find themselves snowed in at Copper Ridge Lodge, Mia finally has the chance to tell the man of her dreams exactly what she wants… him.

 

Hot Winter’s Night: A Brightwater
Novella by Lia Riley

While Brightwater is being covered in snow, Goldie Flint is stuck in her flower shop. She never expected her hero to be Kit Kane, the former love of her life. Kit knows that what he had with Goldie isn’t just in the past and with the help of a little bet, an ornery grandmother, and a lot of snow, he’s ready to show her that what he really wants for Christmas is a second chance.

tastytoursexcerpt

From Jennifer Ryan Close to Perfect

Ten years ago…

Dex sat on the hard bench outside the Sheriff’s office knowing he hadn’t done anything wrong, but shaking in his Converse just the same after a deputy showed up at the high school batting cage, cuffed him, and brought him down to the station. They charged him with stealing a car, drinking and driving, and in a drunken stupor, ditching the car in Crawford Pond.

The car had been pulled out of the murky water, a case of beer in the back seat—mostly empty cans—along with his baseball cap with the MVP pin the team awarded him last season.

How the hell did it get there?

Laurie walked out of her father’s office and turned the butterflies in his stomach into hummingbirds.

Oh God. I’m in deep shit.

He’d thought landing Laurie as his girlfriend made him big shit. Hell, he was seventeen and she had a hot body he wanted to get his hands on, even if she never let him past second base.

Then he met someone…different. Interesting. Nice.

Abigail Swain was barely sixteen and in the senior class. She was that smart. Really smart.

Paired together for a science class project, he’d gotten to know her and wondered why he’d never really noticed her. Small town, small school, still, she kept under the radar. Her parents believed school was more important than friends. Instead of spending her free time playing sports or hanging out at the diner downtown with other girls, she spent every spare minute at church or studying.

Abigail might come off weird and brainy, but really she was shy…quiet. And genuinely nice. A perfect target for Laurie, who made it known she didn’t like him spending time with Abigail, even for a class project.

Five days into working with Abigail something inside him shifted while she explained the intricacies of photosynthesis right off the top of her head. The way her eyes lit up. She planted her chin in her palm and looked right at him. Open and filled with kindness, she did something to his insides. He moved without thinking about it, leaned across the coffee table in his living room, and tentatively pressed his lips to hers in a soft kiss. He didn’t know why he had to do it until their lips touched and the wonder and softening in her eyes undid him. To his surprise, she kissed him back, and if he hadn’t been sitting on the floor already, he’d have hit his knees.

That kiss changed everything and put a lot of things into perspective. Like he’d rather be with someone he liked and enjoyed spending time with. He and Laurie had more fights than good times and it wore thin. Quick. Despite Laurie’s many protests, he ended things with her with a promise that he wouldn’t back out of taking her to the dance so she wouldn’t be humiliated and have to go alone.

From that moment on, he secretly spent more and more time with Abigail, though they kept their relationship hidden. Something about the way her overprotective father hovered nearby when they worked on their project at her house warned him that she’d get into deep trouble if her parents knew about them. Abby never said so, but he got the sense she feared her own dad.

As the mayor of their town, he had a reputation for advocating strict morals. A lot of people outside their church congregation found him judgmental. Including Dex.

He might not be valedictorian material, but he made better than good grades, was the best pitcher and hitter Crystal Creek High ever had, and he planned to take his team to the championships this spring. He had baseball and college to look forward to over the next couple of years and still Mayor Swain looked at him like he was nothing but a thing.

His dad sat beside him, ready to do battle, and nudged him with an elbow in his side. “Laurie’s here. She probably told her father the two of you were at the dance all night, and you couldn’t have stolen that car.” The hope in his father’s voice destroyed Dex.

I am so screwed.

Laurie walked right past him, smiling that sweet smile he and the other guys she’d caught in her web knew hid her devious side. She was out for blood. Since her dad was the sheriff, he had a feeling she was going to get it. Every last drop she thought she deserved because he’d had the audacity to dump her and ruined her plan to get back together at the dance.

The sheriff waved them into his office. “Let’s go, Dex. You’ve got some explaining to do.”

“Listen, Sheriff, Dex had nothing to do with the theft of that car, or how it ended up in the pond. Dex was at the dance with Laurie last night.”

Dex wished he deserved his father’s devotion and unwavering confidence. He wasn’t guilty of the charges, but he wasn’t innocent either.

“Step into my office, Steve. We’ll just see what Dex has to say about what really happened last night.”

His father turned and gave him one of those dad looks, telling him without words that Dex had better have a good explanation for not telling the whole truth this morning over breakfast about how great the dance was last night.

Dex took a seat in front of the Sheriff’s desk and refused to say anything. Not until the Sheriff gave up whatever he thought he knew. Or rather, what Laurie wanted her father to believe.

Dex stared up at his father, standing with anger flashing in his eyes after the sheriff laid out the evidence against Dex.

“Why didn’t you take Laurie home?” his father asked.

“She didn’t want to leave with me, said she’d get a friend to take her home, so I left.”

“And you can’t account for your time after leaving the dance,” the sheriff pointed out, an angry I’ve-got-you gleam in his eyes.

“I drove around in my truck for a while to cool down after the fight with Laurie.”

The sheriff snorted and rolled his eyes. “I suggest you call a lawyer and come up with a better defense than the bullshit you’re feeding your father.” The sheriff stood and waved them out of the office.

Dex walked out behind his dad in a daze. Even his father seemed at a loss for words. Dex wanted to explain what really happened, but couldn’t give them the whole truth. If Abigail’s strict parents found out he was seeing her behind their backs, she’d be in deep shit.

His father pulled out his cell and dialed.

“Who are you calling?”

“A lawyer,” he snapped, then moved a few steps away.

The sheriff stepped out of his office ready to process Dex and lock him up.

His dad glared and bit out, “Sheriff, you don’t have any proof he was in that car. I could drive a truck through the holes in that story. It’s Dex’s word against Laurie’s.”

“His hat was found in the vehicle. He claims he’s never been in the vehicle, nor does he know or associate with Mr. Fowler. Laurie, along with her friend, saw him on their way home.” The sheriff turned on Dex. “We’ll book you for DUI, grand theft auto, and destruction of property. You’re looking at three years minimum.”

Abigail stepped through the door and stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes wide with shock as the sheriff’s last words sank into Dex’s head. He’d spend the next three years in jail. No scholarship. No college education. No life as he’d planned it. This charge would follow him the rest of his life.

He’d lost everything.

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A Q&A with Beverly Jenkins, Author of FORBIDDEN (with a review and giveaway!)

 Enter to Win a  $25.00 eGift Card to Your Choice Book Seller

Beverly, please tell us a bit about the new book and series.

The book is titled: Forbidden and is set in 1875 Virginia City Nevada. Our hero, Rhine Fontaine is a saloon owner and a pillar of the community. Our heroine Eddy Carmichael is a cook from Denver and is traveling to California to fulfill a dream of opening her own restaurant when things go awry. She is robbed by a man impersonating a priest and left to die in the desert. Rhine finds her. Books 2 and 3 will focus on Eddy’s nieces Portia and Regan.

 

Did you do anything different with your research this time around?

I didn’t do anything out of the norm for me.  A recently conducted archeological dig in Virginia City unearthed the remains of a high end 1870s saloon founded by a man of color. It, like many of the city’s other business establishments  was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1875. I based Rhine’s saloon on that real saloon.

 

What about the Wild West called you?

Who doesn’t like the scope and sweep of the Wild West? I’ve written quite a few westerns. That I get to add to the standard lore stories about men and women who looked like me along with the Buffalo Soldiers, the all Black townships of Kansas and the black and the brown outlaws and lawmen of Indian Territory makes it even more of a blast.

 

Who did you have more of a connection with while writing, the hero or the heroine?

It depends on the story. Sometimes the story belongs to the hero and at other times the heroines. It can also belong to both. I let the characters decide.

 

Can you share a small teaser from your favorite scene of the book, or describe your favorite scene?

Eddy awakened in a four-poster in a large room barely lit by a turned down lamp. Having no idea where she was or how she came to be there, she shook the cobwebs dulling her thinking and noticed she was wearing a man’s shirt! Perplexed, her eyes moved around the room to a well-appointed sitting area and then to the face of a White man watching her from one of the chairs. Panic flared. She snatched the blanket to her neck and she drew back fearfully.

     “Don’t be afraid. You’re safe. I’m Rhine Fontaine. My friend Jim and I found you in the desert.”

Confused, she tried to force herself to calm down so she could make some sense of this, but she couldn’t. Watching him warily, she asked, “Where am I?” Her throat was dry as sand. She wanted water badly, but needed to solve the mystery of this first.

“Virginia City.”

“And this place is?”

“My bedroom.”

Her eyes went wide. “I need to go, I can’t stay here.”

“Maybe in a few days, but right now—”

Alarmed, she didn’t let him finish. She swung her legs over the side of the bed. Her mind was so foggy she wasn’t sure what was happening, but she knew she had to get away.

He stood and said urgently, “No! You’ll fall!”

He was right. The moment she stood, she was hit by a wave of weakness so strong her legs folded as if they were made of cards. She cried out involuntarily as she hit the floor.

He walked over to her. “As I said, maybe in a few days. Are you okay?”

Drawing away again, she looked up and recognized the face of the man from her dream. She stilled. Had it been a dream? “I’ll scream!”

He sighed. “If you feel that’s necessary, go right ahead, but I’m not going to hurt you—in any way. When you’re done, I can help you back into bed, or carry you to the facilities, whichever you’d prefer.”

Heated embarrassment burned her cheeks. Her needs were not something she talked about to a stranger, and especially not a White man stranger. “I can walk.”

“No, you can’t, but if you want to try, I’ll wait.”

At that moment she saw her bare legs sticking out from beneath the long-tailed shirt, and also realized she had on no underthings! Not drawers. No shift. As quickly as her weakened state allowed, she reached up and pulled the blanket down. Ignoring him as best she could, she covered her bare legs. This was getting worse and worse.

“As I said, my name’s Rhine. And yours?”

“Eddy. Eddy Carmichael.”

“Pleased to meet you, Miss Carmichael. You gave my partner Jim and me quite a scare out there in the desert, but I’m pleased to see you are recovering.”

Then her muddled brain remembered Jack Nash’s perfidy and her walk across the desert, but nothing else. “How long have I been here?”

“Four or five hours.”

Lord, she was thirsty. “May I have some water please?” she croaked. She felt so weak. It was not a state she was accustomed to.

He poured her a glass from a pitcher on the nightstand and handed it to her. “Slowly,” he advised softly. “Just a little for now.”

She nodded and took a few short swallows. The water tasted so good and she was so thirsty she wanted to down the entire offering, but heeding his advice, she took only a few more slow pulls. Done, she handed the glass back and her parched throat savored the relief. “Why am I so weak?”

“Walking the Forty Mile Desert under a full sun takes its toll. So, Miss Eddy—facilities or back to bed?”

She hated to admit it but she really needed choice number one. Thoroughly scandalized, she confessed softly, “The facilities, but I can walk. Just point me in the right direction.” Looking around, she didn’t see a screen of any kind.

“It’s at the end of the hallway.”

“Oh,” she said disappointedly. Still bent on getting there under her own power, though, she wrestled with the blanket in an attempt to fashion it around her waist. Trying to get it out from under her hips and secured without treating him to another show of her legs was a struggle, however. He’d seen more of them than any man ever before.

“Do you want to go today?” he asked in a tone of muted amusement.

She shot him a glare. Reasonably certain the blanket was secured, she said, “Yes.” Now she just had to get up. No small task. The fullness of the blanket made it difficult to get her feet planted so she could stand. She decided she’d use the side of the bed to give her the leverage she needed. She scooted closer.

“You always this stubborn, Miss Carmichael?”

“It’s called determination, Mr. Fontaine.”

“I stand corrected.”

Giving him another withering glare, she grabbed hold of the bed’s wooden side panel and began working herself to her knees. She made a bit of progress, but her weakened state conspired against her efforts. Refusing to surrender and breathing harshly, she slowly inched herself to a standing position, careful not to get her feet fouled by the swath of blanket, and promptly keeled face forward onto the mattress.

Chuckling softly, he picked her up from behind and placed her gently into the cradle of his strong arms. He smiled softly. “It’s called stubbornness.”

Rolling her eyes, she allowed herself to be carried from the room.

 

What is next for you?  What are you working on now?

Next up for me is the June debut of the 7th book in my Blessings series which is women’s fiction. The title: Stepping To A New Day. I’m presently working on Portia’s story which I hope will be out in the fall.

 

Thank you for taking the time to talk about FORBIDDEN.

Thanks so much for this opportunity to meet you and your readers.

 

Ms. Jenkins is the nation’s premier writer of African American historical romance fiction and specializes in 19th century African American life. She has over thirty published novels to date.                                                                                                                                                                                                      She has received numerous awards, including: five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards; two Career Achievement Awards and a Pioneer Award from Romantic Times Magazine; a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer’s Guild, and in 1999 was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th Century by AABLC, the nation’s largest on-line African-American book club.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She has also been featured in many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Dallas Morning News and Vibe Magazine. She has lectured and given talks at such prestigious universities as Oberlin University, the University of Illinois, and Princeton. She speaks widely on both romance and 19th century African-American history and was the 2014 featured speaker for the W.W. Law Lecture Series sponsored by the Savannah Black Heritage Festival.

 

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

 

FORBIDDEN
Beverly Jenkins
Releasing on January 26, 2016
Avon 

 USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns with the first book in a breathtaking new series set in the Old West

Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he’s always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.

Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won’t risk her heart for him. As soon as she’s saved enough money from her cooking, she’ll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .

 

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Review-Banner

Rhine Fontaine, the hero of Forbidden, the light-skinned and green-eyed son of a slave and her master, made the decision to pass as white when he moved west after serving in the Civil War. He’s carved out a very successful life for himself in Virginia City, Nevada, and is making a real difference for the people there–especially the people of color–as a white person. Only his business partner at his saloon (the only one in town that allows African American patrons–which essentially means no whites spend time there) knows the truth of his heritage. He’s content with his life and planning on marrying the only daughter of a prominent family–he doesn’t love her, but then he’s had very little experience with romantic love–until he finds and rescues Eddy Carmichael out in the desert.

Eddy’s a strong heroine–she’s determined to make it to California, where she’s planning on working hard until she can eventually afford to buy her own restaurant. She’s already had her hard-earned train ticket from Denver to San Francisco stolen, but managed to make her way to Utah working as a mule team driver. When she trusts the wrong person to get her as far as Nevada, though, she ends up robbed and left for dead out in the middle of nowhere. Rescued by Rhine and Jim, his partner, she feels an almost immediate pull to Rhine but resists, knowing a relationship between them is forbidden. The chances that a white man would want a respectable relationship with her are pretty much nil anyway; and she has too much respect for herself to settle for anything less. Besides, Eddy’s focused on earning enough money to make it the rest of the way to California.

Though I understand why Rhine kept his secret for so long–before Eddy burst onto the scene he never intended to reveal the truth, and really, once he’d made the decision going back on it would completely change his life so I don’t blame him for that–it did bother me that he let things go so far with Eddy without at least telling her the truth first. That he let her be so conflicted about their relationship for so long just rubbed me the wrong way–he knew she wouldn’t be his mistress, and she came right out and told him on multiple occasions that if she let herself fall for him he’d break her heart when he moved on to someone “suitable”. I had a tremendous amount of respect for her standing up to him like that, over and over. He was the one with all the power–even more so than in a typical 1870s male/female relationship that didn’t deal with (perceived) race differences–and he came on pretty strong, both in private and in public, which put her in a very difficult position.

All’s well that ends well, though–Eddy and Rhine get their HEA, and the book’s setting and characters make for entertaining reading. I’m definitely interested in seeing where this series is going in the future.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

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

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Release Day and Giveaway! THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR by Sarina Bowen (Ivy Years #3)

I have a review copy of this sitting on my ereader, taunting me–I’ll be reading it soon! Two magic words–COLLEGE HOCKEY.  So many fond memories. 🙂
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Q&A with Sarina Bowen

Q: Is Harkness College from the Ivy Years series based on Yale?

A: Heck yes! But it’s based on a Yale which has gone soft and fuzzy in my mind, in all the best ways. So I’ve fictionalized it to avoid the errors and inaccuracies that I’d be likely to make if I tried to get everything just right.

 

Q: So what parts of Harkness are the Yaliest?

A: The architecture! The turrets and gargoyles, the Harry Potteresque dining halls, the slate footpaths and the creaky oak doors. The iron gates. The courtyards. The window seats, where you perch while you wonder if you’ll find true love. (Or just do your homework.)

 

Q: Why did you decide to write a book about two guys this time?

A: In the first place, I didn’t really decide, so much as the idea for Graham’s struggle surgically implanted itself in my brain and would not let go. And when I pictured the two of them meeting up again in a locker room after five years of silence, I just got the chills. This became the book that I cheated on all my other books to write. (If my editors of other projects are reading this… sorry! I’ll get back to work now. Probably.)

 

Q. Why college hockey?

A. Because… duh! Hockey players are hot. And hockey is a fast-paced game where whining is categorically disallowed. Interestingly, fighting is not legal in college hockey, either. At the college level, it’s all about the game. I love that!

 

Q: How many Ivy Years books do you have planned?

A: Five, if you’re counting the novella. After Rikker and Graham’s book, Bella is going to need her own book. What, you haven’t met Bella yet? Just wait. She steals quite a few scenes in The Understatement of the Year. She is a kick-ass chick in much the same way as Corey, Scarlet and Katie. You’ll love her. You can read a bit more about all the titles on The Ivy Years page on my website.

 

Q: How did you come to write romance?

A: I’ve always loved novels—all kinds of novels. And my goal is to make the reader do three things when she’s reading my book: cry, laugh, and sigh. Romance is the best vehicle for that goal, and I’ve really enjoyed the ride.

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Synopsis:

What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexual orientation from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

Warning: unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky t-shirts and a poker-playing grandmother.

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | iBOOKS

Previous books in the series:

#1 The Year We Fell Down (March 2014)

#2 The Year We Hid Away (June 2014)

#2.5 Blonde Date (July 2014)

 

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