Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on February 3, 2018

Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Montana
Hummingbird Books (January 4, 2018)
Print Length: 330 pages

Synopsis

You could call it the straw that broke the camel’s back but it was more like a Montana forest timber.
Just when Vangie Vale’s life was getting back to normal after a murder that rocked her little Rocky Mountain tourist town, she found herself in the middle of another murder… as the chief suspect.

Vangie stood shocked on the side of the curb as the sheriff stretched yellow crime scene tape around the front of her new bakery. Wouldn’t this make a lovely headline in next week’s paper: Local Baker Kills Parishioner With Pudding. Vangie’s road back to good graces as a part-time pastor was bumpy enough already. This would be a roadblock. Can’t have that.

Guest Post

My Fan Group

On Facebook, I have a wonderful group of Vangie’s friends who all congregate with me to talk about the books and our lives. We occasionally talk about Vangie, and as I was preparing for this book tour, I asked them if they had any topics for me to talk about in my guest posts. I borrowed some of their questions to write about. Here are some of the ones they posted.

* How did Vangie start baking?

Both her mother and grandmother were great bakers. They used to bake for every holiday and every special occasion, and Vangie learned from them. When they died—her mother first, and her grandmother after that—Vangie started baking as a way to connect with them. So, in a very real way, she bakes as an expression of love.

* What’s her favorite thing to eat or cook?

Vangie loves sandwiches, of all kinds. But she has a special fondness for grilled cheese sandwiches. That’s one of the things Derek noticed about her when she was recovering from a gunshot wound. She made grilled cheese sandwiches of every kind, using every bread and every cheese she could get her hands on. It’s also insanely easy to make. She does like that since she doesn’t like spending a lot of time taking care of herself. That sounds familiar for a lot of us, I imagine.

* What made her want to be a pastor?

Vangie has always felt a lot of responsibility for other people. And she loves the hands-on work of the church. She likes being able to counsel people and give spiritual direction but to refer them when they have psychological issues beyond her ability to handle. There are very clear boundaries for her, and she likes that. Except when it comes to people she feels responsible for. Then, the boundaries of the law are… fuzzy. J

* If she could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would she go and why?

Hawaii or Jamaica or somewhere that is 100% beach. She loves the feel and smell and sound of the beach. The best vacation she ever went on was to Puerto Vallarta. She loved the way the forest seemed to swallow up the land, all the way to where the beach started. It was beautiful. But next time, she really wants to go somewhere that’s all water and sand. She grew up going to the Outer Banks all the time, so she likes the ocean. It’s probably her favorite place in the world. OBX forever.

About the Author

Rebecca Syme writes small town romance as Becca Boyd and cozy mystery as R.L. Syme. She is a long-time foodie and loves fancy cheese. Becca calls the mountains of Montana her home and draws inspiration from the beautiful vistas and heartwarming people. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Line of Fire series of sweet romances and part of the Chick Tales series set in Somewhere, TX. You can find her on Twitter talking #fancycheese or #Chopped, and on Facebook with her fans in Becca Nation.

WebsiteFacebookBecca Nation FacebookTwitterGoodReadsAmazon Author Page

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on February 3, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m With You by Taylor Dean

Can three little words irrevocably change your life?

When the doctors inform Chloe Brennan that her pregnancy is “incompatible with life,” her subsequent choices will change her path forever.

She becomes one of the quiet, unsung heroes of this world, incredibly strong, yet somehow wrongly looked upon as damaged.

Three people will pierce Chloe’s existence: her husband, a stranger, and a precious baby.

One will say goodbye, one will say hello, and one will say both at the same time.

I’m With You is a novel about selfless love and the sacredness of life.

 

Please note: While this book is a romance novel, it also deals with the sensitive issue of baby loss grief.
The emotions are real, and sometimes dark. If you are sensitive to this issue, this may not be the book for you.

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m With You” is a beautiful story that centers on one woman’s tragic, heart-wrenching loss and the healing brought by unselfish love, giving love, in-sickness-and-in-health-love. It is sweeter, nobler, stronger — and even more passionate than the beginnings of love we so often see. Forever love. -Julie in Portland, Oregon, Amazon Reviewer

This book knocked my socks off. It was amazing and I will definitely read it again and again. It is “that” good. -Amazon Reviewer

This book. Oh my gosh. I could NOT put it down. I sobbed like a baby through most of it and felt my heart breaking for my own loved ones who have suffered such a loss. It was written beautifully with great sensitivity and I LOVED it. -Amazon Reviewer

 

 

“I’m sorry for what I said to you,” he reiterated.

“No big deal.”

“I think it was.”

She shrugged, trying not to show that she hurt so much she could barely breathe. No one noticed inner pain. A broken leg, a broken arm, yes. Outward signs of pain were obvious. Inner turmoil, not so much. And she was broken, just like a leg or an arm, only worse. She was bleeding, gushing from a huge, nasty, open gaping wound.

But no one knew it.

With his unwavering gaze, however, the husband seemed to sense it, maybe even see it. And it made her uncomfortable.

“I-I thought maybe we could have breakfast together or something and, I don’t know, commiserate. Misery loves company and all that. What do ya say? Can I take you out to breakfast? Let me make up for my rash words.”

Goodness sake, the only one unable to forgive him for his impetuous words was himself. The last thing Chloe wanted to do was spend time alone with Mr. Volcano. He’d obviously lost his temper on that fateful day their spouses had run off with each other, and had come looking for a fight. That meant he was probably easily agitated, maybe even volatile. Unstable. When the signs are there, you can’t ignore them. Right?

Yet, somehow, she didn’t feel as though he was a threat. As a matter of fact, he seemed quite courteous.

She simply had no way of knowing if he was sincere or a loon. Her uncertainty concerning him made her respond accordingly as she stammered, “Oh. Thank you, but no. I have so much to do today. So, so much. I’m not even sure I can get it all done in one day. Errands and more errands.” She paused. “Lots of errands.” She sounded like a bumbling idiot and a liar—the lady doth protest too much. She waved in the general direction of her car as she slowly backed away from him. “So much to do. I’m swamped. I have to go.”

“Your country’s 500th anniversary to plan, your wedding to arrange, your wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it. You are swamped,” he mumbled.

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing. Sorry.”

“Did you just quote The Princess Bride?”

“Oh, you know it?” he said with surprise. “Yep. Sorry. It’s a nasty habit of mine.”

“Quoting The Princess Bride?”

“No, movie quotes in general.”

“Oh.”

For a moment, she studied him curiously, her interest piqued. Any man who quoted The Princess Bride couldn’t be that bad. Chloe felt herself warm up to him, but he was a total stranger to her and she wasn’t about to jump in his jeep and go for a ride with him just because he knew about true love.

“Thanks for apologizing. I appreciate it,” she said. He’d gone to great lengths to make up for his unkind words and she was impressed with his tenacity. He felt badly, that much was obvious. It was, perhaps, indicative of his true nature. However, she didn’t need to dig any deeper and learn more about this man’s apparent compassionate side. It was enough already. “I have to go,” she blurted.

“All right,” he answered amiably, a hint of both disappointment and acceptance in his tone.

She turned to unlock her door, dropped her keys with shaking hands, and bent to pick them up. Chloe took a deep cleansing breath, trying to calm herself down. By the way she was acting you’d think a handsome stranger had never once tried to speak to her in her entire life, for heaven’s sake. It wasn’t as if he was trying to pick up on her, he was simply extending a hand of friendship. That’s all.

She needed a friend. Desperately. This man was offering. It would be nice to talk with someone. He’d understand. He was experiencing similar emotions. What the heck? She had nothing to lose. Absolutely nothing.

But he was a stranger, she argued with herself. It’s not safe. Maybe he was some kind of psycho or pervert.

I have nothing to lose.

Chloe turned just in time to see the husband taking his seat in his jeep. Not exactly the behavior of someone out to commit nefarious activities.

“Wait!” she yelled.

Surprised at her outburst, he slowly stood, one hand resting on the door of the jeep. He looked like he could be in a commercial promoting outdoor life. Yet, his expression was slightly intense as he looked upon her.

“I don’t really have anything to do. As a matter of fact, I have nothing to do and nowhere to go.”

He nodded, politely not commenting on her lack of a life. “How about breakfast?”

“I’d like that.”

A smile spread across his face, revealing perfect, white teeth. Even if he was a psycho, at least he’d be easy on the eyes.

So was Ted Bundy.

Chloe ignored her inner voice.

“I’ll drive. Hop in,” he invited.

Chloe took a few steps toward him.

“So what were you going to do today? If you don’t mind my asking,” he queried.

It was time for payback. “Go buy a wrench.”

“Why? Is something broken?” he asked, seemingly concerned. Would he consider it his responsibility to help her?

“No. Just because we don’t have one.”

The husband threw his head back and laughed out loud, surprising her. “I know that one. Beaches.”

Surprising. “How do you know that? I mean, these aren’t exactly guy movies.”

“I have four sisters. I’m the baby. No X-Men for me.”

“Say no more. That explains everything.”

He extended his hand. “I’m Jack. Jack Alexander, by the way. Guess it’s time we introduce ourselves.”

Chloe grasped his hand, his grip firm and strong. “I’m Chloe Brennan.”

“Chloe,” he repeated. “I like it. It’s an unusual name.”

“Alexander seems like an unusual last name.”

He shrugged. “Had it all my life.”

“Good answer.”

Jack smiled broadly and her worries washed away.

“Shall we go?” he said, his hand motioning toward his jeep as if it were a grand carriage.

It rather felt like a portal into a new world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 2/28/18

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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Posted in Giveaway, LDS, Movie, Trailer on February 2, 2018

Movie Synopsis

Written by Hollywood screenwriter David Howard and Jon Enos, and directed by Alan Peterson, TREK is a family comedy that follows a group of LDS teens as they stumble their way through the sagebrush looking for their pioneer heritage as well as their own testimonies.

Watch as Tom, a young Mormon teenager and his friends try to smuggle in unsanctioned food, battle sibling rivalry, encounter a “special ops” Young Mens leader, ponder doctrinal brain teasers, and match wits with a Twinkie-loving skunk.  Through all of the ups and downs, they are revealed to be “real” LDS youth who are struggling with real challenges—doubts, divorce, relationships.  When they encounter unexpected trouble, their faith is tested much like their pioneer ancestors.

Trailer

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Posted in 5 paws, excerpt, Giveaway, Review, romance on February 2, 2018

Synopsis

He might be winning her heart before she even knows who he is…

Welcome to Blessings, Georgia, the small town with a big heart! Anyone from a small town can tell you that gossip never stays quiet for long. The biggest news lately is Ruby Dye: she’s been receiving gifts from a secret admirer. But Ruby isn’t sure she can trust this newfound happiness. Nobody knows the dark secrets she keeps about her life before she arrived in Blessings. Is this the beginning of a would-be romance, or is she the target of something more sinister?

Everyone admires Ruby and her determination to do the right thing, especially local lawyer “Peanut” Butterman. He’s finally ready to tell her how he feels. But when trouble arrives on Ruby’s doorstep and their little town is threatened, Peanut may have to prove himself in ways he never imagined.

Preorder the Book Here

Review

I love the town of Blessings and how everyone comes together as a community to support and help one another. Makes me wish I lived in this town (or maybe one similar to it!)

This installment focuses on Ruby and Peanut. Peanut has been sending Ruby gifts as a secret admirer and now is the time to reveal himself and his love for Ruby. Luckily Ruby loves him just as much! The road to the forever for these two is not easy and they have to deal with Ruby’s ex-husband and a serious incident with Peanut that lands him in the hospital. But true love wins out in the end.

This book is very uplifting but has some dark and down moments, but it is what adds complexity to the book. There are some lessons that everyone can take away from this book, especially in how to treat someone.

If you have not read this series, definitely start with the first book as each book builds on the last one.

We give this 5 paws up!

Excerpt

Chief Pittman drove through town with lights flashing, then pulled into the alley behind the bar to the small, clapboard house.

There was no smoke coming out of the fireplace, no lights on anywhere inside, and when he saw the front door open and a tall, gangly boy and a huge bloodhound emerging, he jumped out to open the back door of his cruiser.

As he did, a woman followed them out. She was blue from cold and shivering. She coughed, then couldn’t stop. Then the boy approached and held out his hand.

“I’m Charlie Conroy, Sir. Thank you for calling.”

Lon wondered how desperate they were and then decided to deal with that later.

“You can put your dog in the back and ride up front with me.”

“Yes sir,” Charlie said, loaded up Booger, then got into the front seat.

Lon turned around.

“Mrs. Conroy, I’m Chief Pittman. Thank you for allowing your boy to help us. I’ll have him back as soon as possible, okay?”

“Yes, it’s okay,” she said.

And then another little voice piped up, and Lon saw a tiny little girl standing in the doorway, also wearing her coat over her clothes. She was crying.

“Mommy, Mommy, I’m cold.”

“I have to go,” Alice said, and ran back to the doorway, picked up the little girl and disappeared into the house, shutting the door behind her as she went.

Lon got in. The boy was already buckled up.

“We’re going straight to the nursing home.”

“Yes, sir,” Charlie said, his heartbeat jumping as the Chief drove away.

“So what’s going on at your house? Don’t you have any heat?”

“We don’t have any utilities, sir. We got cut off.”

“When was this?” Lon asked.

“Oh, a few days ago, but I’ll get the money earned to get them back on.”

“Is this why you put out the fliers?” Lon asked.

Charlie nodded.

“That was very industrious. How old are you?” Lon said.

“I’m twelve, but I am the man of the family now,” Charlie said, and then turned his head as they passed the school, looking at it with a mixture of longing and despair.

Another two blocks and he pulled up in front of the nursing home. One of his deputies was already there gathering info, while the other one on duty was back at the station. People were gathering here as the news had spread, ready to help search.

“Here we go,” Lon said, as he pulled up and parked. “You get your hound and follow me.”

“Yes sir,” Charlie said, and leaped out, grabbed Booger’s leash, and took off after the Chief.

Nathan Rose, the nursing home administrator, was trying not to panic as he explained what he knew to the Deputy, Ralph Herman.

“We’ve never had this happen before,” Nathan said. “We lock the doors at night and everything. Wanda is the one who discovered her absence.”

Ralph eyed the aide in purple scrubs. She looked to be in her late twenties, and she also looked scared to death, like someone was going to lay the blame of this on her.

“So, Wanda, how did you know she was missing?” Ralph asked.

“She wasn’t in her bed when I came on duty at six a.m., so I went looking for her, assuming she’d just fallen asleep somewhere else inside the building. They do that sometimes, but I couldn’t find her. That’s when we all began to search. She’s not here.”

“Were there any unlocked doors?” Ralph asked.

Willa’s shoulders slumped.

“The one from the kitchen leading out into the back alley. There’s an extra lock up high. She’s so little, I don’t know how she reached to open it.”

“Either someone helped her, or it was unintentionally left unlocked,” Nathan said. “It’s the only explanation.”

“Have you notified her next of kin?” the deputy asked.

“She doesn’t have any,” Nathan said. “She brought herself here three years back and hasn’t had a visitor from outside Blessings, since.”

At that point, the Chief walked up and didn’t waste time explaining.

“Nathan, I need something that belongs to Gertie…something that would have her scent on it…like her shoes… of a piece of her clothing…something that hasn’t yet been washed.”

Nathan saw the boy and the bloodhound and didn’t ask questions.

“Wanda, you heard him. Bring something that will have Gertie’s scent on it.”

Wanda turned and ran into the building as the deputy recognized the boy.

“Hey, that’s the kid from the flyer,” he said, then glanced at Lon. “Good call, Chief.”

“If it works, we can all thank Peanut Butterman. It was his suggestion.”

Charlie had outgrown his coat months ago, and had been wearing his Daddy’s clothes all winter, but he didn’t have a coat. It had burned up in the explosion. He shivered slightly as he waited, thinking nothing of the discomfort because it had become the norm, but Lon saw it.

“Be right back,” he said, and jogged toward his cruiser, popped the trunk and then came back with a heavy, fleece-lined flannel jacket. “Put this on,” he said, as he handed it to Charlie.

Charlie’s eyes widened.

“I might get it dirty.”

“Son, it’ll wash,” Lon said. “Put it on.”

Charlie didn’t argue. The warmth that enveloped him was so welcome it brought tears to his eyes.

“I thank you,” Charlie whispered.

Lon patted the boy’s shoulder as Wanda came running back holding a pair of cotton socks.

“Gertie wore these yesterday. They were still in her shoes. Will this work?”

Lon glanced at Charlie, who nodded.

“They’ll do just fine,” Charlie said, then glanced at Lon. “Are you ready, Chief?”

Lon glanced around at the small crowd of people who’d gathered to help search.

“We’re going to try this first before we send everyone out in differing directions. If some of you want to go home, you’re welcome. But if there are any who want to follow us and the hound, then fan out in a grid behind him and do your best to keep up.”

A few waved and headed back to their cars, but a good dozen of them stayed.

Lon heard one searcher call out.

“That hound won’t track. I reckon the rain has washed out her tracks and scent.”

“We’ll see,” Lon said, and watched as Charlie Conroy got down on one knee and shoved the socks up under Booger’s nose.

As he did, the hound began to whine, as if sensing he’d just be given a task.

“Hunt, Booger! Hunt!” Charlie said.

The massive bloodhound lifted his head, sniffing the air, then put nose to ground and moved toward the back of the building with Charlie hanging onto the leash. The moment they reached the back door, Booger bayed.

“He’s on the scent,” Charlie cried, and off they went, through two blocks of housing, across the baseball field and then up into the woods, with the cops and the searchers behind them.

About the Author

SHARON SALA has over ninety-five books in print and has published in five different genres. She is a seventime RITA finalist, four-time Career Achievement winner from RT Book Reviews, and five-time winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate. She lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

Website * Goodreads * Twitter * Facebook

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Posted in Book Release, Children, Giveaway, Interview on February 1, 2018

 

Book Title: Toddler Tootsies Take on the Day! by Marsha Nowakowski
Illustrator: Joan Coleman
Category: Children’s NonFiction, 34 pages
Genre: Education
Publisher: Lanier Press

Synopsis

Welcome to the wonderful world of Matt and Mattie, where every day is a learning adventure! Just as our ten toes help our bodies balance, Matt and Mattie’s ten daily habits help toddlers learn balanced behaviors that will guide them in leading happy, healthy childhoods.

Interview with Marsha

Where did you get the inspiration to write Toddler Tootsies Take on the Day?

As a grandma with a new outlook on parenting, I realized the need for teaching healthy habits to youngsters as early as possible to help them become successful and always be able to do their best! This needed to be fun and something they could relate to themselves! Learning their ABCs and numbers was hardwired in school, but I wanted to create a book with diversity that would make multiple everyday habits fun, balanced, and even adventuresome for toddlers. So it was my true conviction of healthy children and a healthy nation that inspired me to write Toddler Tootsies Take on the Day!

What inspired you to write Matt and Mattie as feet?

Characters in children’s books have been many things like sponges, princesses, animals, and superheroes, but there were no FEET! As a nurse spending many hours on hard floors, one of the pure pleasures in my life was having pedicures and leg/foot massages. Every time I had my nails painted, I had fun designs put on my large toe. During a trip to Florida with my husband, the radio was playing, and my feet started dancing on the dashboard where I had propped my legs. I knew then that children could really like a unique and different type of character such as feet that would take them on adventures.

Toddler Tootsies Take on the Day! is part of a series. What will the next book be about?

The next book I have in mind is about Matt, Mattie, and Murdock the Horse. Because of my love of horses, I would like to write ten safety tips for toddlers visiting a barn and being around horses for the first time. Murdock will be a sad, lonely soul looking for his lost barn when Matt and Mattie come upon him. They become fast friends, find Murdock’s home, and soon Murdock is the comic relief in teaching them about safety tips in the barn.

What is the last great children’s book you’ve read?

This is really hard to say because great makes me think of the books that have stood the test of time:

For creativity: I think Dr. Seuss books are the greatest, especially Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

For everyday lessons: Sesame Street books

For rhyming: the traditional Mother Goose books

My favorite book to read to my granddaughters at bedtime is simply about Grandma’s love and is called Grandma Wishes.

What advice would you give budding writers?

As a writer, you are vulnerable to criticism and rejection, so you should never give up and develop a thick skin.

Writing is the easy part, marketing is the challenge! You will need to put a lot of time and effort into the sales of your book.

Life is short, so follow your dreams! Your dreams can come true, but it will require patience, revisions, editing, and a good publishing team.

About the Author

Marsha K. Nowakowski is a loving wife, dedicated mother to three children, and a “grammie” to her grandchildren.

This is Marsha’s debut book for toddlers. She has spent forty years in the healthcare industry, primarily as a cardiac nurse. Her inspiration for writing Matt and Mattie’s Adventures developed from her own observations that patients who recovered more quickly exhibited healthy habits and good attitudes toward life. As a mother and grammie, Marsha recognized the need for books teaching healthy habits to help young ones develop into successful people who always do their best.

Matt and Mattie’s Adventures makes everyday habits fun, balanced, and adventuresome for toddlers. Marsha’s own adventures include travel, horseback riding, and reading. She also enjoys golf, baseball games, and sailing with her husband. According to Marsha, every day is an adventure!

Website ~ Facebook

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Western on February 1, 2018

Title: The Cowboy Who Came Calling

Author: Linda Broday

Series: Texas Heroes, #2

ISBN: 9781492646471

Pub Date: February 6, 2018

Synopsis

He’ll do what it takes

To win

Her heart

Glory Day may be losing her vision, but that doesn’t mean she’ll ever stop fighting. Determined to provide for her struggling family, she confronts an outlaw with a price on his head. But when a mysterious cowboy gets between her and her target, Glory accidentally shoots him instead. Flustered, she has no option but to take the handsome stranger home to treat his wounds.

Former Texas Ranger Luke McClain didn’t plan to fall in love, but there’s no denying the strength of Glory’s will or the sweetness of her heart. But Glory’s been burned before, and Luke will have to reach into the depths of his own battered soul to convince her to take a chance…

And trust that love is worth fighting for.

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Excerpt

A light touch on Glory’s shoulder gave her a start. The hand surely belonged to Luke, for only he could loosen this flurry inside. She blinked several times, cursing the inability to see what he held. At last the item came into view.

A toothbrush. A real one.

Glory whirled. Every well-planned, scathing remark vanished, not even the mere footprint of one remained in her head. She cradled the treasure with wonder.

“You hankered for one of these the first time I saw you in the emporium. I also recall how you had to bite your tongue to keep from giving those girls their comeuppance.” Quiet challenge lay beneath Luke’s words. He dared her to refuse something she so desired. If she could.

Moral indignation that had burned so hotly before deserted her. “I thought you didn’t notice me that day. You appeared quite taken with the…other patrons.”

“Oh, I noticed.”

In a Monday that held more twists and turns than a dog’s hind leg, his barely audible reply and intent stare added yet more bewilderment. Why did he have to go and make her forget her outrage? Awfully difficult to harbor a grudge when he seemed intent on filling her head with hope.

She stared at the object in her palm, afraid it would fade into thin air as the genie in the Arabian Nights had. Fairy tales were for children, not grown women who knew better. McClain couldn’t be Aladdin—unless he whipped out a magic carpet. This night she wouldn’t rule out anything.

“Say something, Glory.” Hope gave her a sharp poke.

Patience grinned. “If you wanna kiss him, we’ll hide our eyes.”

Hell’s bells!  If she didn’t die of mortification, it would be a sheer miracle.

“I know you want to,” Patience crowed. “Leastways that’s what you wrote in your private book.”

“What kind of woman would pass up a kiss?” Luke raised her chin with the lightest of nudges.

Her legs threatened to buckle. Powerless in the spell of his gaze, she marveled at the rakish curve of his mouth. The essence of him wrapped around, over, and inside her as she gladly stepped onto his magic carpet.

One more kiss wouldn’t hurt anything.

A sudden scurry of feet seemed in the distance. Glory’s ears pounded. His frenzied heartbeat jumped through the fabric of his shirt. She sank into the curve of his arm because he stole her will to step back.

The kiss that began with tender softness deepened. She shuddered under his caress, a piece of clay in the hands of a master.

Her feverish skin throbbed with some strange need she didn’t comprehend. She only knew if she died in his arms this second, she would depart the world in a state of bliss.

When he lifted his head at last, she would have fallen without his steadying support. She rested her face on his broad chest for a moment to still the dizzying whirl.

“Thank you.” His murmur came faint as a breeze through willows. His ragged breath ruffled her hair.

A few seconds later, she remembered where they stood and the liberties she’d allowed. Never before had she been so carefree. Or so warm. “Good heavens!” She patted her hair, giving the room a sweeping glance, relieved to find it empty. “I don’t know what came over me.”

“Whatever it was, I hope it remembers the way back.”

She groaned inwardly and lowered her eyes before he saw the answer. For the cost of a handful of wind she would stand before the preacher with him.

Darn him and his magic carpet!

Fact remained, no amount of wishing could erase the truth. Her father left…and so had her mother, though each in a different way. At the end of the day, she could put faith only in herself.

What hand of fate had flung him into her life? The man seemed to take extraordinary liberty in assaulting her with his presence at every turn—with no intention of staying.

“I need to ask where you got the money to pay off our note—and buy all this.” The pain inside made her voice sound cold.

“Will it matter?”

Glory wished for things that could never be. To stifle yearnings that swept her along like a dandelion in a sudden gust would take more will than she possibly had. And even more impossible…blocking the knowledge that she could forgive all else as long as he promised to never leave. She gripped the toothbrush. “I must know.”

“In my own time.” He brushed her cheek lightly with a fingertip.

Only after she could do a sight more than melt did she dare raise her eyes. “You’ve involved us in whatever it is you do.”

“Fair enough. First tell me what you were doing with your esteemed Dr. Dalton.”

Anger put her on familiar ground. She rested her hands on her hips and jutted her chin defiantly. Magic carpet rides were for damsels without obligations and those who could afford to daydream. “He’s not my anything. And I don’t have to justify it. Don’t let us keep you from wherever it is you need to mosey on to.”

“Fire and damnation! I’m trying to help.”

About the Author

At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up! A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She now resides in the panhandle of Texas on the Llano Estacado.

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Posted in Guest Post, Spotlight, suspense, Thriller on January 31, 2018

Synopsis

Unspeakable Things is a chilling mystery about motherhood and madness.

You’re pregnant.

You find out there’s madness in the family.

What are you going to do now?

Sarah moves back into her abandoned childhood home, hoping to connect with what’s left of her family. She is thrilled to learn about her long-dead mother from Uncle John, who runs the Woodlands Clinic nearby.

Then he tells her that her mother tried to kill her and died a mental patient at Woodlands. But is the truth even more shocking than that?

Sarah’s desperate search for what really happened to her mother rocks her marriage, career, and friendships. Can she discover the family’s bitter secret before her baby is born?

Or will she go mad trying?

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Thoughts from the Author

The Secret Behind the Title

I used to call my novel, The Gatehouse.

‘It’s a working title,’ I’d say when people looked doubtful.

‘Yeah. Definitely change it,’ they’d say.

When I hit upon Unspeakable Things, I got much better reactions. The phrase raises an immediate question: ‘What unspeakable things?’ and if you’re asking that, I’ve got you, and you’re not even on the first page.

The title comes from an unforgettable conversation I had years ago with a colleague – let’s call her Delia.

She had married young, with the blessing of her parents. The marriage broke down, but Delia’s mother really liked the husband and wouldn’t stop bemoaning the fact that Delia had left him. Delia got so fed up with this that she invented a reason for the break-up to get her mother off her back:

‘But Mum, he made me do unspeakable things.’

Her mother did not look as shocked as she had expected. ‘Oh men are like that, darling,’ she said.

It made Delia her look at her father in a completely different way.

About the Author

Sophie Kersey worked in publishing for almost thirty years before going freelance to pursue her lifelong writing ambitions. She is now a freelance writer and editor. Her articles have appeared in counseling and parenting magazines and in the US collection Enduring Love. She is the author of The History of Halstead School. Unspeakable Things is her first novel. She lives in Kent with her husband, Jon, and has two grown-up sons.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, paranormal, romance on January 31, 2018

Title: That Killer Smile

Author: Juliet Lyons

Series: Bite Nights, #3

ISBN: 9781492645375

Pub Date: February 6, 2018

Synopsis

THERE WILL BE HEAT…

Vampire Catherine Adair gave up trying to find her perfect match ages ago. But that didn’t stop her from founding London’s super successful vampire dating site. When a smoldering vampire overlord from her past launches an interspecies speed-dating service, Catherine vows to crush the competition….

WHEN THESE TWO COMPETE

Ronin’s new venture is purely about getting Catherine’s attention. He hasn’t stopped thinking about her ever since the night she gave him the cold shoulder. Nobody gets away from Ronin McDermott that easily…

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Excerpt

Cat

My first thought when I see the smashed lock is, How on earth did a burglar make it past Mrs. Colangelo?

I shove the door open and step inside. There, sitting—no lounging—in my Laura Ashley recliner and stroking Wentworth, is Ronin fuck weasel McDermott.

My eyes bulge as I absorb the preposterous scene of him sitting with my pet in his lap. He looks like an infuriatingly hot James Bond villain.

“Evening, Catherine,” he says with a nod of his head.

I glare into his intense blue eyes, fists clenching. “What the actual fuck are you doing in my apartment?”

He cocks a brow before rising from the chair, taking Wentworth with him. The latter stays snuggled under his arm, as docile as a newborn lamb.

Pointing at Wentworth, I hiss, “Did you glamour my cat?”

A cloud of confusion passes across his handsome features. “Why on God’s earth would I glamour a cat?”

Without missing a beat, I snap, “That’s what you do to get people to like you.”

He feigns an injured look before setting Wentworth down on the carpet. Then he reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a tiny object. It twinkles beneath the light. “You dropped this earring in my office. It must have fallen out when you kissed me.”

I snort in derision. “Ha! Yeah, I kissed you. Good one. And you came all the way here, broke in to my apartment just to return it to me?”

“I’ll get the lock fixed,” he says, placing the earring on the coffee table. “And I didn’t break in as such. One of your neighbors let me up.”

I shake my head. “Let me guess, an Italian lady in a robe?”

He smiles and I try not to notice how it softens the hard lines of his strong features, how his cool-blue eyes are suffused with warmth.

“There’s a chance she believes lover boy next door is bisexual.”

“What the hell did you tell her?” I ask, folding arms across my chest. The mention of Peter comes as a shock. Being in the same room as Ronin McDermott, I’ve already forgotten he exists.

“Nothing she didn’t secretly long to hear. So who is this guy anyway? Should I be jealous?”

My stomach flips, my mind skipping back to that moment in his office when I left him with a hard-on in the presence of Playboy bunnies. “Jealous?” I try to inject venom into my voice, but my heart isn’t in it. “Tell me, did you enjoy yourself with those girls the other afternoon?”

His brows knit. He looks genuinely flummoxed. “What girls?”

I toss my bag onto the sofa. “Meant that much to you, did they?”

He stays frozen to the spot, brows drawn. “Do you really think I care about other girls?”

His voice is low, as cracked as splintered glass. Suddenly, it seems as if all the oxygen has been sucked from the room. As I meet his burning gaze, it’s like the last couple of days—work, my date with Peter—never happened. I’m back in his office right before his lips landed on mine.

Except this time neither of us budge.

“You’re a sickness,” he says at last in that same fractured tone. “Don’t you see? A sickness in my veins.”

My brain sifts through responses at a hundred miles per hour, but my vocal chords remain frozen in my throat. I watch him like he’s a tiger, waiting for him to strike.

But he doesn’t pounce. He sighs instead, his jaw tightly clenched. “I’ve never wanted to upset you, Catherine. I’m sorry for what I did that night—biting you and giving you my venom. I shouldn’t have lost control like that.”

“No, you shouldn’t have,” I snap.

“I’ll be honest,” he continues. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start the speed-dating nights to get your attention. But I had no intention of ruining your business. In a way, it’s a compliment.”

My jaw drops in disbelief. “A compliment? Are you completely unhinged? Do you really have your head shoved so far up your ass that you don’t get why I can’t stand you?”

He shakes his head, holding out his hands, palms up. There’s desperation in his voice I’ve never heard from him before. “I’ve never once tried to play the ancient card with you. I never will, no matter how badly you piss me off.”

I stare at him, half believing he doesn’t have a clue, half-angry this is just another of his manipulative games.

“This isn’t about details. It’s about the bigger picture. One you’ve never bothered to try and get your arrogant head around. Who am I, Ronin?” The happiness the evening brought is leaking out of me faster than air from a burst balloon. To my horror, a sob escapes my throat. “What am I?”

“Is this one of those bizarre feminist questions?”

“For fucks sake, what am I? Answer me.”

His eyes flash in anger, but he doesn’t flinch. “A woman. A vampire. A neurotic shrew half the time.”

“A vampire,” I repeat, ignoring the last bit.

He looks utterly and completely blank.

“You have no idea. Do you?”

When he doesn’t answer, I open the busted door as wide as it will go and wave an arm toward it. “Goodbye, Ronin.”

If he wasn’t such a misogynistic playboy, I might experience a pang of guilt as I watch him skulk past me, defeated.

Outside he pauses, spinning around to face me. “I rang you,” he says. “Every day for a month after we slept together.”

“I know,” I whisper, staring at my Dolce & Gabbana boots. “I changed my telephone number on day three.”

He emits a short, hollow laugh, and when I look up, the hallway is completely empty. I hear the slam of a door as he exits the building onto the street.

 

About the Author

JULIET LYONS is a paranormal romance author from the UK. She holds a degree in Spanish and Latin American studies and works part-time in a local primary school where she spends far too much time discussing Harry Potter. Since joining global storytelling site Wattpad in 2014, her work has received millions of hits online and gained a legion of fans from all over the world. When she is not writing, Juliet enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

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Giveaway

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Posted in Book Release, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on January 30, 2018

When the Stars Come Out

A Cottonbloom Novel

By Laura Trentham

Synopsis

Cottonbloom. A beautiful, faraway place where a woman can escape her past—and find a reason to stay forever in Laura Trentham’s When the Stars Come Out. . .

Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .

Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?

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Praise for When the Stars Come Out

“The fifth installment in the Cottonbloom series, following Leave the Light On (2017) is hot and sweet, and readers will cheer for Willa and Jackson. Fans of Kristan Higgins and Susan Mallery will love the immersive world that Trentham has created in Cottonbloom, a small southern town divided by the Mississippi River.” Booklist

“When the Stars Come Out is a tender and sexy small-town tale of blossoming love.” BookPage

Returning to Cottonbloom has never been sweeter, When The Stars Come Out is pure literary magic, it’s sure to have readers mesmerized from start to finish!! Red’s Romance Reviews, 5 stars

Excerpt

“Short hair suits you. It’s—” He looked to the ceiling for a moment before dropping his gaze back to hers. “Spunky. Unique.”

Spunky? It made her think of an annoying, precocious child. The expression on her face must have been obvious.

His laugh rumbled like the leading edge of a storm, still miles away with plenty of time to take shelter. Yet all she wanted was to stand still and wait for the onslaught.

“Okay, how about tough and sexy?”

Sexy? The assessment was like a lightning bolt. Sizzling and scary. She had a difficult time coordinating her throat muscles. Her ability to handle men and attraction had been stunted at nineteen, and she felt her inexperience keenly. Her goal the past five years had been to hide her sexy.

About the Author

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

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Giveaway

Enter to win the first four (4) books in the Cottonbloom series!

Kiss Me That Way, Book 1
Then He Kissed Me, Book 2
Till I Kissed You, Book 3
Leave the Night On, Book 4

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post, Monday, mystery on January 29, 2018

The Vanished Bride of Northfield House

Gothic Mystery
1st in Series
Date of Release January 26, 2018
Cup of Tea Books
Paperback: 346 pages

Synopsis

England, 1922:  Times are hard. Anne Chatham is a clever, modest young woman with little money, no prospects for marriage, and a never-shared secret—she can see spirits.

Anne finds employment as a typist at Northfield House, the grand country manor of the Wellington family. Her employer, the wheelchair-bound Mr. Wellington, is kindly. His haughty wife is not. He has two handsome sons, the wry and dashing Thomas and the dark and somber Owen.

Anne feels sure her prayers have been heard. Until the terrifying night, she stumbles upon a tortured spirit roaming the dark halls of Northfield, a spirit that only she can see.

In a search for answers, she finds herself drawn to Owen as they unearth a tragic story from the Wellington family’s past—a beautiful young bride gone missing on her wedding day.

Then tragedy strikes again on the night of a glittering masquerade ball…

Guest Post

Today we welcome character Anne Chatham to SBR.  She is here to tell us a bit about her and her role in this mystery novel.  Take it away Anne!

I am Anne Chatham. My story is about love, loss, and new beginnings, but more importantly, it is about the human heart and the depths of depravity to which it may sink.

I should start at the beginning. Before arriving at Northfield House during midsummer in 1922, I was the beloved, last remaining child of a prosperous, well-respected man of the cloth. I had a home and knew my place, despite the tragic loss of my mother and siblings in the influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1919.

What little was left to me was torn asunder when Father was found seated at his desk in his study, one lifeless hand upon his Bible. He left little savings and no insurance, no ongoing support for me, a young woman of limited means and with meager prospects for marriage. At the age of 23, I was already considered a spinster.

It was up to me to support myself. Women were just starting to join the workforce in other areas than just Domestic Service. Though I respect the work a maid does, a life in service was not for me.

With the small sum of money left to me, I studied typewriting at a women’s college in Liverpool and applied for employment.  I was relieved when I found a job in a grand country estate outside of Northfield, a small community clinging to the values of the past.

And so I came to stay at Northfield House. Sir Henry Wellington, my elderly, wheelchair-bound employer, is gruff and distant but kind. His wife is not. He has two handsome sons, wry and dashing Thomas and the dark and somber Owen.

But they are not the only inhabitants of Northfield House.  A tortured spirit roams the halls… and I’m the only one who can see her.

With Owen’s help, I have started to unearth a tragic story from the Wellington family’s past – a beautiful young bride gone missing on her wedding day.  But time is not on my side and the answers may not be discovered before another tragedy strikes. ..

Excerpt

I heard scratching—fingernails or claws or beaks on wood. Then the rustle of wings, a soft fluttering. Perhaps a bird had gotten trapped on the floor above.

Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud.

Then nothing.

I waited for the thumps and scratches to begin again, but heard only Owen’s rapid breathing.

His grip on my shoulder softened. Before we could step away from each other, I heard something else. Whispers. Not words, but sibilance. A faint weeping.
I could pretend no longer that the sounds issued from an animal.

Owen shuddered, and I tried to swallow.

My sight darted from the floors to the ceilings, from corner to corner, searching for additional signs. I saw none. The bed, its elaborate draperies, and the pictures on the walls were all undisturbed, but a plaintive lament—a mournful sobbing—suddenly filled the space.

When the weeping stopped, I found my hand pressed against Owen’s chest. I could feel his heart beating, hard and fast, under my palm.

“I think it’s over,” he said, releasing my shoulders.

I reluctantly withdrew my hand and took a step away.

About the Author

Phyllis M Newman turned to writing mysteries after a career in finance and human resources. She lives in Columbus, Ohio in a big house with a weed-filled yard, three strong-willed cats, and a husband that’s easy on the eyes.

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