Posted in Book Blast, excerpt, romance, Spotlight on May 31, 2015

Vicious Cycle Banner

 

20622381Title: Vicious Cycle
Author: Katie Ashley
Series: A Vicious Cycle Novel 1
Genre: Motorcycle Club Romance
On Sale Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Imprint: Signet
ISBN: 0451474910
ASIN: B00OQS4DMI
Print Length: 328 pages

 

Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Katie Ashley revs up the danger and sexual tension in her brand-new Vicious Cycle romance series.

Deacon Malloy’s life is dedicated to the Hells Raiders motorcycle club. Tough, hard, and fast with his fists, he serves the group as sergeant at arms. But his devil-may-care approach to life is thrown for a loop when the five-year-old daughter he never knew existed lands on the club steps.

Alexandra Evans is devoted to all her students—but there’s always been something about Willow Malloy that tugs at her heart. There’s an aura of sadness about her, a girl in need of all the love Alexandra can give. When Willow stops coming to school, Alexandra’s search leads to a clubhouse full of bikers…and a father hell-bent on keeping his daughter always within sight.

The moment Deacon sees Alexandra, he has to have her in his bed—and he’s never met a woman yet who couldn’t be persuaded. No matter how attracted she is to Deacon, Alexandra refuses to be just another conquest. But it’s Deacon himself who could be seduced—into a brighter future for himself, his daughter, and the woman he’s falling for against all odds.

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Excerpt

As I entered the door, I took a deep breath to try and still my out-of-control nerves. Smoke hung heavy in the air, stinging my eyes and causing me to cough. Several men in leather biker cuts lounged on stools at the bar, nursing beers. Across from me, a heated pool game was taking place.

I took a few steps inside and then froze. “Are you lost, darlin’?” a big busted woman in a halter top asked.

“Uh…I’m looking for David Malloy,” I said.

Two men at the pool table whirled around. The shorter of the two, a tough but cute looking blond, cocked his head curiously at me. But then the moment my gaze locked on the other man, I knew he was Willow’s father. They had the same dark hair, soulful dark eyes, and heart-shaped face. David, however, had dark scruff covering his face. Although he was Rev’s brother, I didn’t see any resemblance between the two. Although he was shorter and slightly less built, David was just as good-looking as Rev. “Mr. Malloy?” I questioned, as I closed the distance between us.

He tossed the pool stick on the table. Taking a long drag on his cigarette, he then stubbed it out in an ashtray on the table. “What do you want?” he demanded.

Without even glancing around the room, I knew that every eye in the place was on us. “I really need to speak with you for a moment.”

His dark eyes narrowed as they raked over my body. Then the next thing I knew, he leapt at me, knocking me back into the wall. One of his hands came to grip my throat while his body pinned me in place. Fear like I had never known overwhelmed me, sending my heartbeat drumming wildly in my ears. It was so loud it felt like a cannon blast going off around me. “Please,” I murmured.

David glared at me as his thumb pressed harder into my throat. “They’re really falling down on their job at the academy.”

“E-Excuse m-me?” I stammered.

With a smirk, he replied, “Don’t they train you ATF bitches to hide your fear a little better? I mean, you’re practically pissing your pants right now, not to mention your heart is beating ninety to nothing.”

I shook my head slowly back and forth as I tried processing his words. “ATF? I don’t understand.”

He rolled his eyes. “A white-bred piece of ass comes waltzing into my clubhouse wanting to talk to me alone. It doesn’t take a f*ing genius to realize you’re a Fed.”

A Fed? It took me a moment to process what he meant. Holy shit, he thought I worked for the government as an agent of some sort. Quickly, I replied, “No, I’m not.”

A voice came from him. “Deacon, man, you’re gonna get your ass jacked up even further for this.”

Glancing over his shoulder, Deacon said to the young, blond haired man, “Stay out of this, Bishop.”

Bishop held up his hands. “Fine. It’s your f*ing funeral.”

David’s hand slid down my throat to the buttons on my dress. Glancing over his shoulder at the others, he questioned, “What do you bet she’s wired up under her tits?”

When his hands started to rip open my dress, I couldn’t hold back my scream. “No, stop! I’m not who you think I am. I swear!” I protested.

“Then just who the hell are you?” he demanded.

Before I could answer, a tiny voice came from behind us. “Miss Alex?”

The sound of Willow’s voice caused David to release his hold on my dress, but his body still kept me pinned to the wall. At that same moment, Rev entered the clubhouse. When he saw me, his eyes bulged, and he broke into a run to reach us. Grabbing David’s shoulders, he slung him away from me. “For f*’s sake, Deacon, what the hell are you doing?”

“I’m giving this undercover ATF bitch what she deserves,” Deacon spat, taking a step back toward me.

“Christ, she’s not ATF,” Rev countered.

“Oh, then who the hell is she?”

“She’s my teacher…and my friend,” Willow answered in a small voice.

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About the Author

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Katie Ashley is the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of The Proposition Series, Runaway Train Series, as well as several New Adult and Young Adult titles. Her latest series, Vicious Cycle, has been picked up for publication by Penguin Books.

She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her two very spoiled dogs. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Supernatural, Sons of Anarchy, Downton Abbey, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo.

With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in English Education, she spent 11 1/2 years educating the Youth of America aka teaching MS and HS English until she left to write full time in December 2012.

She is represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.

 

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Posted in 5 paws, Children, cooking, Middle Grade, Review on May 30, 2015

 

Apple Adventure

 

Book #1 – Amazing Apples!

Celia is bored. And with everyone in her family busy she doesn’t know what to do…until her dad gives her a task that leads to her best day ever; the day she meets Cedric and their yummy adventures begin!

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Dirt Balls

 

Book #2 – Eat Dirt Balls!

After a rainy night Celia had a fun idea as usual. Who knew that what started out as mud and grass clippings would turn out to be the most delicious, delectable snack they or anyone else had tasted…yes, even her teenage brother, Jake.

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Little Green Dragon

 

Book #3 – Little Green Dragon

Celia and Cedric meet a new friend! In this new adventure, they meet the little green dragon who becomes a fun playmate and an inspiration for a yummy new recipe. Celia and Cedric enjoy the Little Green Dragon’s smoothie and you can too!

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Review

I had the opportunity to read and review these 3 children’s books and if you have young children that you want them to enjoy a book and learn something at the same time, well these are the books that fill the bill.

These may be a kid’s books but it sends a good message about eating healthy. I like that it encourages children to think about food in a healthy way and in the first book, there is a recipe for Apple cake and there are 3 versions given: a regular version, a gluten free version and a Paleo version. What more could you ask for when given a recipe in a book?! 

The second book has Celia & Cedric outside trying to make treats from mud/dirt. Mom steps in and has them make dirt balls from healthy ingredients. They find it is easy to make and a delicious treat too. Even big brother likes it.

The third book has Celia & Cedric playing outside and trying to evade a green dragon. Mom has another treat up her sleeve, this time it is a smoothie and it is green thanks to the spinach. I have seen many recipes for smoothies with spinach and have yet to try one myself, but perhaps one day I’ll add a handful.

If you have young children definitely a series to give them and encourage them to think and eat healthy and even trying the recipe in the book. It looks easy enough and quite tasty too.

We give these books 5 paws up.

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About the Authors

ellen kurtMother and daughter team Erin Kurt, B.Ed. and mom, Laara Exsnar, B.Ed, RHN, have joined forces to write fun, adventurous stories with their little characters Celia and Cedric. Erin, a former school teacher and mother of two young kiddies, and Laara, a retired school teacher and now nutritionist, have a passion for families, health and yummy food. Bringing their combined experitise together they’ve created a Read and Bake Series they hope will bring families continuous hours of fun and enjoyment.

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Posted in excerpt, Spotlight, Young Adult on May 29, 2015

Blackmail of Evelyn Faust banner

The Blackmail of Evelynn Faust

by Shirley Anne Edwards
YA Contemporary w/Romantic Elements/73k

Evelynn Faust suffers from horrible insomnia and paranoia. The summer before her senior year of high school should be one of the best summers of her life. But she’s tormented by guilt and an addiction that haunts her every waking moment. Evelynn is a drug dealer who also craves the drug she sells. The money and the popularity that come with it aren’t bad either. But when she’s caught dealing on school property by Eric Wagner, the respected and admired police chief’s son, the game is over.

He won’t snitch on her, unless she gives him whatever he wants – her.

She’s being blackmailed.

Evelynn has no one to turn to for help. Not her parents who don’t understand her rebellious nature or her circle of friends who only care about partying and getting high. When Adam Tristen moves in across the street, and he wants to get to know her better, it all seems too good to be true.

She must make a pact with the devil.

Evelynn now looks over her shoulder wherever she goes, waiting for Eric to act on his threats. But Adam, the charming college sophomore, sees something special inside Evelynn, and he wants to help her fix mistakes. In order to do that she must confront a dark secret from her past that could destroy her family…her life…and her entire world as she knows it.

She must take a leap of faith.

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Excerpt

Sweat caked my body. I shook even as I held my cell between my ear and shoulder as I waited for Adam.

He remained on the line the entire time he drove, talking to me, keeping me sane. I didn’t tell him about Eric. It would be better to tell him to his face and hope he didn’t freak out.

The sounds of tires rolling over crushed gravel met my ears. A few moments later, his tall, beautiful dark-caramel body came into view, and I crawled out of my cubby hole. Adam rushed over to me and pulled me in his arms. He smelled so clean, as if he had just taken a shower. I didn’t even want to know how I smelled.

“Are you okay?” he asked, cupping my face.

I shook my head and burst in tears. He held me tight while I cried.

***

We sat in the back of his car near the old entrance where a brick shed stored sports equipment. We were all alone, surrounded by long grass, weeds, and broken concrete that hadn’t been paved in years since the main parking lot was used in the front. The car windows were down, letting a hot breeze in. Adam wanted to take me home, or to his house, but I told him no. I wasn’t sure what I would face there. So, we suffered from the heat, or rather I did. Adam didn’t seem to mind as he held me in his arms and whispered in my ear.

I wiped my swollen eyes, staring down at my lap. My wrists and arms were covered in red from my sunburn, including a rainbow of new colors.

“Someone hurt you. Tell me who did this to you.” He rubbed the pad of his finger over the inside of my wrist. His thumb grazed the side of my hand, sending a tingle up my arm. I wanted to feel the same on my whole body, to erase the aftermath of Eric’s abuse.

“Eric and I had a disagreement about something.”

“Evelynn,” Adam murmured. “What did he do to you?”

He laid his palm on mine. The breeze whipped through the car. I closed my eyes, wishing I was lying on my bed in the cool darkness even with the annoying streetlamp shining through my bedroom window.

“He didn’t rape me if you’re wondering. I stopped him before he could. He found out about me and you, and he got very angry. He said awful things about you, and I flipped out on him. He-he…threw me on his kitchen table and almost—” I rubbed my face on his shoulder and inhaled his clean scent.

“You were at his house?”

I nodded. “I visited Tink’s earlier in the day to meet some friends. He saw me coming out from there, but I think he followed me. I was so stupid to think we could talk. He was being nice for a change. I went over to his house to have lunch, and he became mean.” I dropped my head in my hands and groaned. “I messed up big time, and I don’t know what to do.”

Adam rubbed his cheek over mine. “You can trust me. Tell me what’s going on.”

The moment of truth had arrived. I couldn’t lie anymore. “My cousin Jenn and her boyfriend were arrested yesterday on possession of drugs and selling them. They’re involved in a network of drug trafficking in the area where they sell not just to high schools but to the middle school and maybe younger. The reason I’ve been on and off with Eric is because he’s blackmailing me. He caught me dealing a few months ago in the parking lot of the high school. Unless I become his girlfriend, he’ll tell his father about me.” I shook my head. “I-I’m so dead.”

Adam stared out the window, pulling at his bottom lip. I scraped the side of my thumb nail where the skin was rough from all the biting and picking I’d done.

“It’s okay if you want to throw me out of your car and never speak to me again.”

He sighed, and I went to open my door. He drew me into his embrace. His mouth brushed the side of my neck, and he cursed, holding me until I turned my head and looked at him full in the face. Our noses almost touched. I pressed my palm on his head, enjoying his short curls and how they felt through my fingers as I tugged on them.

“No more lies between us. Okay?” He lifted his hand to my head, mimicking my touch.

“I promise you, no more lies. I’m all tapped out with my lies. I want to be more like you.”

“Like me?’ he asked, his breath a whisper on my mouth, a tangy scent I wanted to inhale.

“Yes. You’re everything I’m not. Honest, good, and sweet. You make me want to be a better person.”

“I think you’re sweet, but just misunderstood,” he replied.

“Misunderstood, huh? I’d rather just be sweet.” I moved closer, wrapping my leg around his waist until I almost sat on his lap.

He gasped and his mouth brushed mine. “Not quite good, but we’re working on it.”

That made me smile. He then gave me one in return and kissed me as I’d been dying for him to. He nipped my lips gently, prodding slowly, erasing Eric’s harsh kiss until I ended up panting, wanting even more of his kisses…his touch all over me.

“Hold me, please. I need you,” I whispered, sliding my hands beneath his shirt to feel his stomach and the muscles there that jumped under my circling fingers.

“I have you.” He sighed. “But we shouldn’t. You’ve been—”

“Hush.” I kissed him with a deep intensity and demanding hunger. “Don’t let me go. I feel clean when I’m with you.”

“I won’t let you go. Ever.” He pulled me against him, just like I wanted.

Straddling his hips, I locked my thighs around his until he moaned. His hands skated up my legs and higher until I gasped, dizzy and punchy as a tide of emotion brought happy tears to my eyes.

 

About the Author

shirley edwardsShirley Anne Edwards is a Northeast girl who first found her love for books when she read Nancy Drew’s The Secret of the Old Clock Tower at thirteen. Shirley found her love for writing at a very young age, and since then has let her imagination run wild by creating quirky characters and vast worlds in her head.

Shirley lives in New Jersey and works in the entertainment industry in New York City.

In the immortal words of Mark Twain: “Life is short, Break the Rules. Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret ANYTHING that makes you smile.”

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance on May 29, 2015

 

Synopsis

Frontman of the grunge rock band NightHawk, Gideon Hawk has had enough of the rock star life. He is jaded, disillusioned, and haunted by the memory of an unresolved heartbreak. On a whim, he leaves the band in New York and heads to England in search of answers.

After attending the funeral of her estranged mother, Abigail Thomson makes a shocking discovery in her parents’ attic. The still-raw memories that surface, along with even more startling discoveries, force Abi to face a devastating truth that leads to a series of life-changing events. She and Gideon must race against time to reclaim the life stolen from them a decade before.

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Excerpt

Abi saw the car as she came along the main road. There were never many tourists around in November, and to see a strange car parked in the lay-by was worthy of a second glance. Probably someone who got lost, she thought to herself as she turned down her track.

She had spent the day with one of her clients in Penzance, sorting out the artwork for their new marketing campaign, and she was very glad to be home. She had lit the fire before she left the house that morning, and the chimney was smoking cheerily as she got out of the car and headed for the front door. As she turned to close it behind her, she once again noticed the strange Range Rover parked on the main road. She paused for a second, then shivered and closed the door. For some reason the sight of it had given her a little chill in her heart. She shook her head in exasperation. What was she turning into? The events of the past week must really be taking their toll.

She tossed her jacket down on the sofa and went into the kitchen to put the kettle on. As anticipated, the little cottage was very warm and cosy, and Abi anticipated a lovely warm relaxing evening. Although she was very fond of her friend and neighbour, she couldn’t help hoping that Chris wouldn’t pop over. She really fancied a night to herself.

She made a cup of tea, cut herself a slice of cake, carried them both over to the fire, and sat down on the hearth rug. A basket of logs stood to one side of the woodburner, and Abi opened the doors and tossed another log onto the already roaring fire. She gave a little shiver of pleasure. She really liked to be warm. She was going to enjoy the evening.

She leant back against the sofa, extended her legs in front of her, and took a large bite of cake. No sooner had she done that than the doorbell rang. Abi rolled her eyes and tried to swallow her cake.

“Come in, Chris, the door’s open!” she called, spraying crumbs in all directions.

After a moment the door slowly opened and a deep voice said, “I’m not Chris. Can I still come in?”

Abi leapt to her feet and swung round to face the door. For the last ten years she had dreamt of the moment when Gideon Hawk would appear on her doorstep, and now it had finally happened she had no idea what to do. For a few long seconds they stared at each other, neither daring to speak. Then Abi took a tentative step forward and nodded her head jerkily.

“Yes. Come in,” she croaked, her mouth suddenly dry, adding automatically, “Mind your head.”

Review

I had started this book and put it down because I wasn’t in the mood to read it. was glad that I picked it back up because this was an enjoyable story. I did have to get used to British terms (like jumper for sweater) but that was pretty easy to overcome.

I was a little surprised that after 10 years that Abi and Gideon still loved each other so much that it didn’t take a lot to overcome why they were separated. The actions of others kept them apart but that didn’t seem to be much of a barrier to resuming a relationship.

There were some interesting twists and I will say that Abi’s mother was not likeable at all…not by me or even the characters in the book. But it appears she did have some redeeming qualities in regards to a certain situation but we never know why since she dies early in the book.

We give it 4 paws up

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About the Author

Rachael Richey lives in Cornwall with her husband and children. She writes Women’s Fiction, and Storm Rising is the first book in the NightHawk Series. She has been writing since she was a child, starting with stories about her teddy bears and dolls.

She lived in the Hebrides for nearly fourteen years, having originally gone there to work for the summer season. She met and married her husband David whilst there, and had two children, before moving to Cornwall at the end of 2000.

There are currently four titles in the NightHawk Series, the second of which is due for publication later this year.

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Posted in 4 paws, mystery, Review, romance on May 28, 2015

Droppingthedimecover

 

Dropping the Dime by Ellie Ashe

Romantic Mystery

Miranda Vaughn was once falsely accused of stealing millions, and now she’s helping others who are facing criminal charges. While being an assistant to her former defense attorney isn’t Miranda’s dream job, she’s eager to prove herself, and her first task is a simple one—protect Kathryn, a shy CFO turned informant, and help her prove that a popular real estate developer is embezzling millions from his company. But what should be a straightforward assignment is deliciously complicated when Miranda is thrown together with FBI Agent Jake Barnes, the man who saved her life, broke her heart, and then disappeared.

Beneath the neatly plotted rows of new homes lurk dark secrets, bitter feuds and a whole lot of greed. Nothing is what it appears, even Miranda’s timid client, who is hiding secrets of her own. Despite her growing distrust of her client, Miranda must protect Kathryn from becoming the target of the FBI’s investigation and protect herself from the real thief—all while protecting her heart from the sexy FBI agent she can’t seem to resist.

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Review

This is the second book in this series (and there is a novella in between) featuring Miranda, a former financial advisor that was accused of embezzling funds. She was found not guilty but that hasn’t really helped get her hired. So she is working for her lawyer since she is a financial genius to help solve the latest case. Kathryn, who is the CFO for a home builder, thinks her employer is stealing from his company. Of course the FBI is called in and so Miranda gets to work with Jake…lots of chemistry/tension between the two of them.

Anyway, the book was good..at times seemed a little slow in the beginning (might have been me) but picked up the pace as the book was coming to a conclusion. I honestly had no idea who the “bad guy” was and it wasn’t until the very end when it was almost revealed was I able to figure it out. This person was totally off my radar! Now that is the sign of a good mystery to me!

Of course we couldn’t get away from Miranda still having the hots for Jake, but there is the introduction of Quinn, a local rancher who is also interested in Miranda and is easy on the eyes. It will be interesting to see going forward who captures her heart!

We give this 4 paws up.

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About the Author

Ellie Ashe has always been drawn to jobs where she can tell stories—journalist, lawyer, and now writer. Writing quirky romantic mysteries is how she gets the “happily ever after” that so often is lacking in her day job.

When not writing, you can find her with her nose in a good book, watching far too much TV, or trying out new recipes on unsuspecting friends and family. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats, all of whom worry when she starts browsing the puppy listings on petfinder.com.

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Posted in Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on May 28, 2015

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Boca Undercover

 

Boca Undercover: The Dirty Harriet Mystery Series (Volume 4)
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (October 30, 2014)
Paperback: 160 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1611945584
E-Copy ASIN: B00P2WL8KM

Synopsis

Patients at a posh Boca Raton rehab center are ending up stiffer than a Boca babe’s smile. Tough PI Harriet Horowitz, once a bedazzled babe herself, signs in at The Oasis at the request of a frightened friend.

As a pattern emerges in the murders, it’s clear the killer is targeting patients with an unusual addiction. How did they end up with the same drug problem at the same time and in the same rehab together? Harriet’s sleuthing leads her down a path of secrets and danger, and what she learns could lead her undercover assignment to a dead end.

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BOCA UNDERCOVER is on sale on Kindle for $2.99, and the two previous books in the series, Dirty Harriet Rides Again (2) and Dead in Boca (3) are on sale for $1.99, May 18-31

About This Author

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Miriam Auerbach is the author of a satirical mystery series set in Boca Raton, Florida and featuring Harley-riding, wisecracking female private eye Harriet Horowitz. Her debut novel, Dirty Harriet, won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best First Series Romance. Miriam can only assume that this is because the heroine kills her husband on page one. In a parallel universe, Miriam is known as Miriam Potocky, professor of social work at Florida International University in Miami. She lives in South Florida with her husband and their multicultural canines, a Welsh Corgi and a Brussels Griffon.

 

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Giveaway

I am giving away a copy of this book courtesy of the author.  You can win an e-book or a print version (US only for the print version).  Open internationally

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Posted in Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on May 27, 2015

Taylor Dean’s newest book is now available!

GIRLOFMINE


 

Trailer

 

The song that inspired me while writing GIRL OF MINE:
(Watch until the end. There’s a surprise!)

A interesting tidbit about GIRL OF MINE:
My dad always worried about the cost of the electricity bill. If he walked past my bedroom and noticed that my light had been left on, he would turn it off and holler,
“That’s okay, Taylor, I got your light.”
It became a bit of a joke in our household. My siblings and I loved to try and catch my dad leaving on a light, just so we could say,
“That’s okay, Dad, I got your light.”
Now that I’m an adult with my own family, the term takes on new meaning.
The message behind it has worked its way into my new novel, Girl of Mine.
My father brought me into this world, he cared for me, and he taught me well. He gave me my “light,” my life.
He nourished my “light” and helped me become the person I am today.
So, Dad, thanks for getting my light.
I’ll always be grateful.

Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense–you’ll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up.


 

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$100 Blast Giveaway

Enter to win an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/15/2015

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by readinglight.com. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Posted in excerpt, mystery, Spotlight on May 26, 2015
AD Cover

Synopsis

This third book in the series. A vacation becomes complicated by murder, discovery, and friendship. Danger lurks in too many directions. Alicia and her friends will have to stay alive and sort through the clues carefully if they want to save an innocent friend and prevent the destruction of an historic treasure.

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Excerpt

When the ranch faded out of sight, I began to get nervous. There was always the chance of an accident. The horse could step in a gopher hole and stumble, or a million and one other problems could arise, but those possibilities weren’t bothering me. I had the unnerving feeling I wasn’t alone out here. The nervous tension didn’t feel natural. It was more like a warning from outside myself. As I had this thought, I could feel that the red pendant was much warmer than normal. If it got much hotter, it would burn me. If the necklace was an early warning system, that would be great, but from the things the shaman had said, I didn’t think it would turn out to be that simple.

The dips, rises, and dry washes could hide someone from view, but they’d have to know the desert like a native if I couldn’t catch a glimpse of them. I could have chalked my fears up to knowing the ranch was empty or that the isolation had spooked me. I could have, but a little voice in the back of my mind kept asking, “Did the pendant spook me or had it warned me of danger?” I didn’t know, but I turned the horse around and let him pick his own speed on the return ride. He chose an all out gallop, and he was so fast I felt almost like I was flying.

A full hour had passed for Nick to take care of his meet-and-greet responsibilities by the time I rode the horse into the stable. David was still there. When he turned and saw us, his jaw dropped. He said, “Wow, that’s the last sight I ever expected to see.”

I said, “What are you still doing here? I thought you’d be out partying by now.”

I climbed down off the horse and began gathering the equipment I needed to groom Star. David said, “Let me do that. Star has decided to tolerate me again, and it is my job, you know. Besides, you’re all cleaned up for the party, and I still have to get ready. I’m just finishing up here, so I’ll rub down the horse and take him back to the pasture. You go have fun, and I’ll see you out there later.”

I thanked him and said, “By the way, what do Cobber and Corker do since the cattle drive is over? I haven’t seen them back at the compound.”

“You’d be surprised. Their work is never done. Cattle are always grazing somewhere on the ranch, and the dogs keep them more or less in the same area. Those guys are pretty good at running off any predators too. There’s always a cowboy or two who stay at the line shack closest to where the cattle are, and they keep an eye on both the herd and the dogs.”

My curiosity satisfied, I thanked him again and went to find Nick.

I saw him talking to the cooks. The barbeque was almost ready to serve, and as I got closer the smell made my mouth water. Standing beside Nick was Laudine. She was wearing a yellow skirt and a white blouse with a multicolored ruffle. She looked about thirty years old. I said, “Don’t you look great today? What are you doing hanging around the cooking on your day off?”

“I’ll have you know the absolutely perfect barbeque sauce being used today is my own special recipe. You didn’t seriously think I’d leave all the cooking to a bunch of cowboys, did you?”

One of the cooks at the grill said, “Hey, watch it, lady, or we’ll have you out at the cook wagon on our next roundup.”

I laughed at their banter and said, “I should have known. If this food tastes as good as it smells, we are all in for a treat.”

We weren’t quite ready to eat yet, so we rounded up Lawrence and walked out behind the recreation room to check out the activities. I rounded the corner and stopped dead in my tracks. I said, “Good grief, I had no idea a full carnival was camped out here. This is as big as most carnival midways, including the rides!”

Nick said, “We try to have something spectacular and different each year. This not only looks like a carnival, it actually is a carnival. The owner is a friend of Lawrence’s, so he set this up.”

I said, “Lawrence, you have hidden talents. How in the world did you ever become such good friends with a carnival owner?”

“It’s a long story and a good one, but I don’t think we have time for it today. One night when we’re sitting around a good fire, I’ll tell you about the first time I ran into Hannibus Carson. Right now I challenge you all to a game of breaking balloons.”

Nick was picking up the tab for the carnival, and all the games were free to party-goers. We began by throwing darts and progressed around the circle of booths. I love carnival food and was tempted to eat at all the food booths we passed, but I resisted in anticipation of the barbeque. Hopefully I could try these goodies later. It wasn’t long until we’d worked up an appetite and headed back to the food tables. We loaded our plates with barbequed ribs, potato salad, homemade French fries, and anything else that struck our fancy from the dozens of choices. One of my favorites was the cowboy beans, usually made with pinto beans, but the cook wasn’t above throwing in any other type of beans he happened to have around. I knew this dish always had ham or bacon for flavoring. I didn’t know what else they added, but I planned to ask before I went home. I wanted to be able to make this dish myself when I got a craving for the delicious smoky taste.

Once our plates were full, we found table space in the rec room and settled down to some serious eating. Laudine and I only managed to get through our first plateful, but when Nick and Lawrence went back for seconds, we had them bring us peach pie for dessert. Each piece was a huge slab, and Laudine and I could easily have shared one, but when the men brought us each a piece of our own, we ate every bite. The peaches were fresh from a local grower, the crust flaky, and the juice still slightly warm. All the food I tasted seemed way above the normal quality for a gathering of this type. When we couldn’t hold another bite, our friends went off to visit with Hannibus Carson and Nick and I decided on a walk to help digest the food. People were still coming up to talk to Nick, but now it was just friendly chatter. We strolled around from group to group, and sooner or later I saw almost everyone I knew. Betty and Cameron had been in the rec room while we ate. I saw David and Cody together at the carnival surrounded by a group of flirting girls. Becky Cloud, the assistant cook I’d met in the restaurant break room, stood close to David, smiling up at him like he’d hung the moon. The sheriff and his wife were piling plates with food, and the Herreras were still competing, but this time it was at one of the games on the midway. I saw Hwan with a tall, good-looking guy and steered Nick their direction. She introduced her friend as someone she had met in one of her classes at the university. I only caught his first name, which was Tony. Hwan was stunning in jade green jeans and a shimmering pearl-colored top. As we were moving to the next group, Reed walked up to chat with Hwan. Olivia Denning was there wearing a beautiful pleated squaw dress and barely resembled the efficient head housekeeper I’d met previously. Both the guests and the employees seemed to be having a great time. Even the Banner twins were here with a group of kids their own age and were behaving like normal teenagers.

It was just getting dark when we heard the band start its first number. We decided to have a go at dancing. Nick assured me it wouldn’t hurt his leg. We’d danced together a few times before, and we both loved it. The second number was a two-step and we were doing pretty well when I stumbled slightly and said, “Oh, damn, you need to come outside with me now.”

About the Author:


From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane : Dowager Diaries Book 1 is her latest release.


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Posted in 4 paws, cooking, Cozy, Monday, mystery, Review on May 25, 2015

Chef Maurice Cover

 

Synopsis

“They say one should never trust a thin chef. By this measure, Chef Maurice was very trustworthy indeed.”

It’s autumn in the Cotswolds, and Chef Maurice is facing a problem of mushrooming proportion.

Not only has his wild herb and mushroom supplier, Ollie Meadows, missed his weekly delivery—he’s missing vital signs too, when he turns up dead in the woods near Beakley village.

Soon, Chef Maurice is up to his nose in some seriously rotten business—complete with threatening notes, a pignapping, and an extremely well-catered stake-out.

Can he solve Ollie’s murder before his home-made investigation brings the killer out for second helpings?

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Amazon US * Amazon UK * Kobo * iTunes * Googleplay

Review

If you like cozies set in Britain and are a fan of British shows, you just might like this book. The main character is a rather rotund chef named Maurice. He is a strong character and reminds me a lot of Gareth Blackstock who is the main character in a British comedy called Chef – other than their sizes. Both believe that everything they say and do is right and they run right over the others.

Maurice has a friend who is a food/restaurant critic and together they make quite an interesting investigative duo.

The characters are witty and it wasn’t until near the end that I suspected who the killer might be based on actions at that time. You might be able to figure it out before then but the clues are subtle.

A series to watch and we give it 4 paws up

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About the Author

JALangJ.A. Lang is a British mystery writer, and author of the Chef Maurice Mysteries series.

She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.

Webpage * Goodreads * Facebook

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Cozy on May 24, 2015

Veils and Vengeance

Veils and Vengeance by Rachelle J. Christensen

When wedding planner, Adrielle Pyper, goes to Hawaii to orchestrate a destination wedding, she isn’t prepared for what she finds.
After the trauma of her previous event, the beautiful isle of Kauai is the perfect place for Adri to unwind and do what she does best – plan. She even lets herself indulge in the attention of the groom’s handsome brother. But just when everything seems to be perfect, an afternoon snorkeling trip turns to murder when Adri discovers the body of a young woman.
Shaken, but unable to let it go, Adri’s sleuthing leads her into more danger than she could imagine. When a number of “accidents” threaten her own life, it soon becomes apparent that someone will do anything to keep Adri from interfering with their vengeance.

 

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 rachelleAbout the Author

Rachelle J. Christensen is a mother of five who writes mystery/suspense and solves the case of the missing shoe on a daily basis. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a minor in music. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and, of course, reading.

Rachelle is the award-winning author of six books, including Wrong Number, Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things, and What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know. Her novella, Silver Cascade Secrets, was included in the Rone Award-winning Timeless Romance Anthology, Fall Collection.

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$25 Cover Reveal Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/15/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

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