Spotlight – One Summer Night

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I just love the idea of enemies (kinda) to lovers that Pineiro has going here!

*****

One Summer Night

by Caridad Pineiro

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Pages: 352

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

An offer that’s impossible to accept . . .

Maggie Sinclair has tried everything to save her family’s business, including mortgaging their beloved beach house on the Jersey Shore. But now, she’s out of options.

The Sinclair and Pierce families have been neighbors and enemies for almost thirty years. That hasn’t stopped Owen Pierce from crushing on Maggie, and he’s determined to invest in her success. Now he has to convince her that he’s more than just trouble with a capital T…

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*****

Excerpt:

Tracy Parker was in love with being in love.

That worried her best friend and maid of honor Maggie Sinclair more than she cared to admit.

In the middle of the temporary dance floor, Tracy waltzed with her new husband in a satin-and-lace designer gown, gleaming with seed pearls and twinkling sequins. But the sparkle dimmed in comparison to the dreamy glow in Tracy’s eyes.

The sounds of wedding music competed with the gentle rustle of seagrasses in the dunes and the crash of the waves down on the beach. The fragrance from centerpiece flowers and bouquets battled with the kiss of fresh sea air.

Connie and Emma, Tracy’s two other best friends and members of the bridal party, were standing beside Maggie on the edge of the dance floor that had been set up on the great lawn of Maggie’s family’s beachfront mansion on the Jersey Shore. Huddled together, Maggie and her friends watched the happy couple do a final whirl.

“She’s got it so bad,” Maggie said, eyeing Connie and Emma with concern past the rim of her rapidly disappearing glass of champagne.

“Do you think that this time he really is The One?” Connie asked.

“Doubt it,” Emma replied without hesitation.

As the DJ requested that other couples join the happy newlyweds, Maggie and her friends returned to the bridal party dais set out on the patio. Grabbing another glass of champagne, Maggie craned her neck around the gigantic centerpiece piled with an almost obscene mound of white roses, ice-blue hydrangea, lisianthus, sheer tulle, and twinkling fairy lights and examined the assorted guests mingling around the great lawn and down by the boardwalk leading to the beach.

She recognized Tracy’s family from their various meetings over the years, as well as some of Tracy’s sorority sisters, like Toni Van Houten, who in the six years since graduation had managed to pop out a trio of boys who now circled her like sharks around a swimmer. Although the wedding invite had indicated No Children, Toni had done as she pleased. Since Tracy had not wanted a scene at her dream beachfront wedding, Emma, who was doing double duty as the wedding planner for the event, had scrambled to find space for the children at the dinner tables.

“Is that Toni ‘I’ll never ruin my body with babies’ Toni?” Connie asked, a perplexed look on her features.  At Maggie’s nod, Connie’s eyes widened in surprise, and she said, “She looks…happy.”

A cynical laugh erupted from Emma. “She looks crazed.”

Maggie couldn’t argue with either of their assessments. But as put-upon as their old acquaintance seemed, the indulgent smile she gave her youngest child was positively radiant.

Maggie skipped her gaze across the gathering to take note of all the other married folk. It was easy enough to pick them out from her vantage point on the dais where she and her friends sat on display like days’ old cakes in the bakery. They were the last three unmarried women in an extended circle of business and college acquaintances.

“How many times do you suppose we’ve been bridesmaids now?” Maggie wondered aloud. She finished off her glass and motioned for the waiter to bring another.

“Jointly or severally?” asked Connie, ever the lawyer.

“Way too many,” replied Emma, who, for a wedding planner, was the most ardent disbeliever in the possibility of happily ever afters.

Maggie hadn’t given marriage a first thought, much less a second, in a very long time. She’d had too many things going on in her life. Not that there hadn’t been a few memorable moments, most of which revolved around the absolutely worst man for her: Owen Pierce.

But for years now, she’d been dealing with her family’s business and its money problems, which had spilled over into her personal finances. As she gazed at the beauty of the manicured grounds and then back toward her family’s summer home, it occurred to her that this might be the last time she hosted a celebration like this here. She had mortgaged the property that she had inherited to funnel money into the family’s struggling retail store division.

Unfortunately, thanks to her father’s stubborn refusal to make changes to help the business, she spent way too much time at work, which left little time for romance. Not to mention that none of her casual dates had piqued her interest in that direction. Looking down from her perch, however, and seeing the happiness on so many faces suddenly had her reconsidering the merits of married life.

“Always a bridesmaid and never a bride,” she muttered, surprising herself with the hint of wistfulness in her tone.

“That’s because the three of us are all too busy working to search for Prince Charming,” Connie said, her defense as swift and impassioned as if she were arguing a case in court.

“Who even believes in that fairy-tale crap?” Emma’s gaze grew distracted, and she rose from her chair. “Excuse me for a moment. Carlo needs to see me about something.”

Emma rushed off to the side of the dance floor, where her caterer extraordinaire, Carlo Teixeira, raked a hand through his thick brown hair in clear frustration. He wore a pristine white chef’s jacket and pants that enhanced his dark good looks.

Emma laid a hand on Carlo’s forearm and leaned close to speak to him, apparently trying to resolve a problem.

“She doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but her Prince Charming is standing right in front of her,” Connie said with a sad shake of her head.

Maggie took another sip of her champagne and viewed the interaction between Carlo and Emma. Definitely major sparkage going on, she thought.

“You’re totally right,” she said with an assertive nod.

Connie smiled like the proverbial cat, her exotic green-gold eyes gleaming with mischief. “That’s why you hired me to represent your company as soon as I finished law school. Nothing gets past me.”

“Really? So what else do you think you’ve seen tonight?”

Raising her glass, her friend gestured toward the right of the mansion’s great lawn where some of the fraternity brothers from their alma mater had gathered. One of the men slowly turned to sneak a peek at them.

“Owen has been watching you all night long,” Connie said with a shrewd smile.

“Totally impossible, and you of all people should know it. Owen Pierce has absolutely no interest in me.”

She set her glass on the table to hide the nervous tremble of her hand as her gaze connected with his for the briefest of moments. Even that fleeting link was enough to raise her core temperature a few degrees. But what woman wouldn’t respond like that?

In his designer tuxedo, Owen was the epitome of male perfection—raven-black hair, a sexy gleam in his charcoal-gray eyes, broad shoulders, and not an ounce of fat on him, which made her recall seeing him in much, much less on a hot summer night on Sea Kiss Beach. She had been staying in the quaint seaside town on the Jersey Shore with her grandmother that summer, much as she had all her life. As they also had for so many years, the Pierce boys had been residing next door for the entire season.

The two beachfront mansions had been built side by side decades earlier, before the start of the Pierce and Sinclair rift. The cost of waterfront real estate had escalated so drastically since their construction that neither family was willing to sell their beloved home to put some distance between the warring clans.

Well, make that the warring fathers, because as far as Maggie was concerned, she had no beef with Owen. They had played together down on the beach as kids. She couldn’t count the many sand castles they’d built or the time they’d spent out in the surf.

But after her mother had died, things had changed, and the carefree spirit of those halcyon days had disappeared. The Pierce boys had stopped coming down to the Shore for the next few years, and combined with the loss of her mom, it had created an emptiness inside her that hadn’t really gone away.

By the time the Pierce brothers returned  years later, the feud had gotten worse, and Owen and Jonathan had been instructed to stay away. But an ill-timed and half-drunk kiss with Owen on a moonlit summer night had proved that staying away was impossible. It had also helped the emptiness recede for a bit. Since then, fate had seemed to toss them together time and time again in both their business and personal lives, keeping alive her fascination with him. She felt not quite so alone when he was around, not that she should get used to that.

Owen Pierce had left her once before when she’d needed his friendship the most: right after her mother’s death. His on-again, off-again presence in her life proved that she couldn’t count on him.

Owen stood next to his younger brother, Jonathan, who couldn’t be more different. While Owen was clean-cut and corporate, Jonathan had the scruffy hipster look going on. It was appealing in its own way, but not to her.

“Trust me, Maggie. Your families might be at war, but Owen would clearly love to sleep with the enemy,” Connie said.

She blew out a frustrated sigh. “More reason to avoid him. You know I’m not the kind to sleep around.”

Emma returned, color riding high on her cheeks, but not in a good way.

“Something wrong?” Maggie asked.

Emma kneeled between the two of them and whispered, “It seems the groom had a bit too much to drink and Tracy caught him being hands-on with an old flame.”

“Not Amy? Tracy always lost it if she spotted him with Amy,” Maggie whispered.

“Definitely Amy. Now Tracy is refusing to come out and cut the cake. I have to say, this takes the cake, literally. Married a few hours, and already there’s trouble.”

“Ever the hopeful romantic, Em,” she kidded.

“If you think you can do better, why don’t the two of you come help me talk Tracy off the ledge?”

*****

Author Info:

Caridad Pineiro is a transplanted Long Island girl who has fallen in love with pork roll and the Jersey Shore, but still can’t get the hang of tomato pies. When Caridad isn’t taking long strolls along the boardwalk to maintain her sanity and burn off that pork roll, she’s also a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author with over a million books sold worldwide. Caridad is passionate about writing and helping others explore and develop their skills as writers. She is a founding member of the Liberty States Fiction Writers and has presented workshops at the RT Book Club Convention, Romance Writers of America National Conference as well as various writing organizations throughout the country.

Want to receive Caridad’s newsletter with exclusive content just for subscribers and special giveaways?

Just visit http://bit.ly/2cbxlYw to sign up.

Caridad values your privacy and will not share your e-mail or personal information.

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*****

Giveaway:

Caridad Pineiro is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

* By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.

* One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive $25 Amazon Gift Card

* This giveaway ends midnight September 29.

* Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.

* Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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*****

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Spotlight – His Hand-Me-Down Countess

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This one is definitely a scorcher … grab a fan, you’re gonna need it!

*****

His Hand-Me-Down Countess

Lustful Lords #1

by Sorcha Mowbray

Blurb:

His brother’s untimely death leaves him with an Earldom and a fiancée. Too bad he wants neither of them…

Theodora Lawton has no need of a husband. As an independent woman, she wants to own property, make investments and be the master of her destiny. Unfortunately, her father signed her life away in a marriage contract to the future Earl of Stonemere. But then the cad upped and died, leaving her fate in the hands of his brother, one of the renowned Lustful Lords.

Achilles Denton, the Earl of Stonemere, is far more prepared to be a soldier than a peer. Deeply scarred by his last tour of duty, he knows he will never be a proper, upstanding pillar of the empire. Balanced on the edge of madness, he finds respite by keeping a tight rein on his life, both in and out of the bedroom. His brother’s death has left him with responsibilities he never wanted and isn’t prepared to handle in the respectable manner expected of a peer.

Further complicating his new life is an unwanted fiancée who comes with his equally unwanted title. Saddled with a hand-me-down countess, he soon discovers the woman is a force unto herself. As he grapples with the burden of his new responsibilities, he discovers someone wants him dead. The question is, can he stay alive long enough to figure out who’s trying to kill him while he tries to tame his headstrong wife?

Buy it Now: 

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Purchase it in print:

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*****

Excerpt:

London, May 1860

Stone heard the butler intone his name and title loudly enough for all of London to hear, let alone the population of the Devonses’ ballroom. Had anyone suggested three years ago he would bear the family title, Earl of Stonemere, never mind be contemplating his future nuptials, he would certainly have laughed. True, he never actually laughed anymore, but he certainly would have found such a claim incredulous.

It was no longer an amusing matter.

Having survived the receiving line, he eased through the crowded ballroom. Every few feet, he stopped to speak with one acquaintance or another. Not so long ago, these same people would have been running for the hills and hiding their daughters. But fate, a fickle mistress to say the least, had other plans.

Moving with a quickness born of desperation, he barely acknowledged the next three men as the heat from the crowd paired with the stench of perfumes and body odor to choke him. After his service in India, crowded entertainments such as a ball had grown difficult to endure. The press of bodies and the loud murmur of conversation punctuated by the occasional shrill laugh smothered him, too similar to the roar of battle and the cries of the dying.

Moving past a swarm of silk skirts, he spotted a dark, hidden alcove, an oasis from the overwhelming onslaught, both real and imagined. If he could shut it down quickly enough, he wouldn’t embarrass himself. If he failed, all of London would learn just how broken he was.

He was an earl. Not a soldier. Never again a soldier.

Once the cool darkness enveloped him, he opened his mouth and drew a breath. His pounding pulse eased as the vise around his chest released and his damp skin dried. After another quarter hour spent tucked away, he believed he could manage the crowd long enough to find his betrothed.

As any good officer would, he had a strategy. Find her, claim his dances, and then await each one either on the balcony or on the dance floor, if required. Even the cardrooms at these soirees bordered on disabling.

He reached for the drapes to his hideaway, but hesitated as two women tittered in the immediate vicinity.

“Why, Gladys, I heard his name announced earlier. I’m certain Matilda invited Stonemere despite all the gossip.”

“I simply cannot imagine what she was thinking,” the one called Gladys said.

“Can’t you? Having one of the Lustful Lords in attendance at your ball? I daresay everyone who is anyone will wish to be able to say they were here. It’s all so deliciously scandalous and yet possible now the unmitigated rake is off the market.” Gladys’s friend sighed with a bit more drama than anyone in their right mind or otherwise would deem necessary.

“Well, one should hope that man can contain himself what with all these poor young virgins parading around. It would serve Matilda right if he debauched each and every one of them while here under her auspices.”

“Oh, do be sensible, Gladys. He could perhaps ruin four or five in one night, but all of them?”

Past ready to find his fiancée and escape his hidey-hole, he stepped out next to the ladies in question, turned to them, and bowed over each of their hands. The shock on their faces far outweighed any notion of good manners on his part. “Why, ladies, you both give me far more credit than I deserve. Even in my heyday of debauchery, I could only service three ladies in a single evening.”

As the two ladies sputtered, he departed their corner. The temptation to turn and wink at the gossipers won out, which caused another round of tittering and sputtering from behind him. Of course, he was well aware of what proper Society called himself and his friends. But the Marquess of Flintshire, Earl of Brougham, Baron Lincolnshire, and Viscount Wolfington—as well as himself—held little regard for polite society. Each of them had learned the hard way that they had no place amongst their peers.

*****

Author Info:

Sorcha Mowbray is a mild mannered office worker by day…okay, so she is actually a mouthy, opinionated, take charge kind of gal who bosses everyone around; but she definitely works in an office. At night she writes romance so hot she sets the sheets on fire! Just ask her slightly singed husband.

She is a longtime lover of historical romance, having grown up reading Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. Then she discovered Thea Devine and Susan Johnson. Holy cow! Heroes and heroines could do THAT? From there, things devolved into trying her hand at writing a little smexy. Needless to say, she liked it and she hopes you do too!

For more information about Sorcha, please visit her website, “Like” Sorcha on Facebook and follow her on TwitterInstagram and Goodreads. Join Sorcha’s newsletter to be the first to hear about upcoming releases. She’s loves hearing from her readers. Email her directly at sorcha@sorchamowbray.com.

Website: http://sorchamowbray.com

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*****

Book Review – A Hero To Love

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So far we’ve had a hot firefighter and a sexy hockey player … how about a hard-to-resist naval officer?

*****

A Hero to Love

Changing Tides #2

by Gail Chianese

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pub Date: 8/22/2017

Blurb:

A military police officer on the verge of a new beginning. A beautiful woman devoted to her career and her dream of putting down roots. The hardest thing they’ll ever do is to take a chance on love . . .

Navy Chief Master at Arms Jackson “Jax” Faraday is at a crossroads. He has to decide whether to reenlist or get out while he’s young enough to make a difference in the civilian world. Either choice could mean leaving behind his girl: his K-9 partner, Bella. But when she’s injured during a training session, Jax’s only concern is making sure she’s okay.

As the Navy base veterinarian, town local Risa Reynolds is right where she belongs: close to her parents in a farmhouse full of animals—with room to grow. She’s seen enough to put military men are on her “not happening” list, because they always leave.

But when a tall, hazel-eyed sailor arrives in her clinic with his dog in his arms, Risa finds herself falling hard. And all kinds of rules will get broken when Jax, a man who sticks to the straight and narrow, learns that there’s no predicting the twists and turns of the heart . . .

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*****

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Jackson Faraday was worried about his girl.

He should have been worried about his future. Time was running out for him to make a decision—stay in the Navy or get out—and the detailer was breathing down his neck. But the decision to throw away the past twelve years wasn’t easy.

He wanted more.

If NCIS—Naval Criminal Investigative Service—would make a decision on his application, that would be great. But what if they turned him down? Did he stay in for twenty years and retire? Then what? Start over at the bottom? Go home to a one-stoplight town with a police force that spent all its time dealing with bored teens wreaking havoc or frustrated couples fighting? Work security for one of the nearby casinos? All viable options, just not what he wanted.

He wanted to make a difference.

He shoved away the nagging questions. He had more pressing concerns. Like what was wrong with Bella, which was why he was at the base training center, even though his shift was officially over.

“Come on, Bella. Give me your best for an hour, and then I’ve got a treat for you.” He wagged the Frisbee to get her attention. Instead, Bella whined and flicked her ear.

“Hey, Jax. Heard we had a win in the courtroom today.” Chief Casey Thomas drove his Jeep up next to the chain-link fence.

“Stone? Yeah, he’s going away for a good couple of years for that little video stunt of his. Not that it makes up for what he put Lieutenant Riley through, but it’s a start.”

“Me and a couple of the guys are going to grab some grub and head out to the beach. Enjoy what’s left of summer. Come join us.” Casey drummed his fingers on the outside of the driver’s door, giving away he had more on his mind than a night’s celebration.

“What’s up with you, man? You seem agitated.” He and Casey went back a ways; spent some time in the sandbox together. Normally the guy was as easygoing as cool beer slipping down your throat on a summer day. “Got my orders in today.” Casey slid out of the vehicle and walked

through the gate. “I’m heading to Pensacola.” “Isn’t your ex-wife there?”

“Near enough.” Casey squatted down and scratched Bella’s ears. “Did you hear back on your application yet?”

“You know what they say: No news is good news.” At least he hoped that’s what it meant.

“You know what you need? To find a nice lady who can take some of your stress away and make you forget your worries.”

“The only lady I need in my life is Belladonna.” “She’s a little hairy and full of attitude.”

“Aw, but you forget. She loves me unconditionally and always has my six.” “Not lately.” Casey stood and looked out at the obstacle course. “The new handler had her out this morning, running her through basic commands, and she ignored them all. I know you two have a tight bond, especially after two tours, but you’re leaving soon. She’s got to get used to new people.” Bella had been more than his partner while deployed; she’d been his anchor, his pillar of strength, his confidant, and his hope when all seemed lost. She wasn’t just his K-9 partner. She was his family, and the idea of leaving her was ripping him apart inside. Chances were she could sense

his mood and the turmoil going on inside.

“Which is why I’m passing on your offer.” Jax released the German shepherd’s leash. “Thought I’d do some special one-on-one training with her and see how it goes. Find out if it’s the new guy or her.”

“She wouldn’t be the first dog to burn out.” Casey looked down at the dog, who hadn’t moved. “Of course, if she’s declared unfit for duty, you could adopt her. But then, what would you do with her while you’re in Glynco for NCIS training?”

Jax dropped the leash and Frisbee on top of his backpack and looked into the brilliant blue sky. He’d been playing the “what if” game for two months now with no answers in sight.

“Let’s deal with one problem at a time.”

“If you change your mind about tonight, you know where to find us.” Casey waved as he hopped back into his Jeep and drove off.

Jax squatted down and ran his hand down Bella’s back. “Okay girl, let’s get the work over so we can play.” Truthfully, everything they did was work. The game of Frisbee honed the dog’s speed, agility, and tracking ability just as much as anything else they did. She simply liked it better than the obstacle course. Not that Jax blamed her.

Jax stood up and gave the hand signal for sit.

The dog looked at him, then closed her eyes with a deep sigh. “Bella, sit,” he commanded.

She rolled over onto her side and laid her paw across her nose. Casey really nailed it with his description. The dog was full of attitude—bad attitude—and a military working dog that didn’t follow orders was of no use to the service.

Jax went through the commands again and again, getting no response. The two of them had worked together for almost six years, since Bella’s first assignment, and she’d transferred with him from the Middle East to the Sub base. In all that time, she’d never ignored an order from him. He bent back down and gave her a cursory inspection, but he didn’t find any obvious reason for the dog to balk. Concerned, Jax sat down on the ground next to his partner.

“Bella girl, talk to me. What’s going on in that brain of yours? Is it the heat? Don’t you like the new guy? Tired of the same old routine? Trust me, I’d understand if that was the problem. Maybe we should call it a night, and tomorrow go see Doc and make sure you’re okay.”

Bella scooted closer and laid her head on Jax’s lap, her tail thumping in the grass.

“You gotta be okay, girl.” Absently, he scratched behind her ears as he thought of the past six years. “I don’t think I could handle it if we’d come this far and something happened to you.”

Jax leaned forward and picked up the Frisbee. As he talked about nothing to the dog, he tossed the toy up and caught it, making no demands on Bella. Pretty soon she was sitting, her gaze following the disc.

“Ah ha. Okay, I get it. There are times when I don’t feel like working either. I’ll make a deal with you. Five minutes of play and then a lap around the course. Deal?”

Bella barked in response.

Jax laughed and jumped to his feet, relieved to see her respond like her old self. He threw the Frisbee, and Bella took off at the speed of light. She caught the disc and returned it.

They repeated it again and again.

“Okay, last one and then we work.” Jax threw it with all his strength. The disc flew up. Bella chased, but instead of running straight across the lawn, she ran up the stairs of the dog walk. When she got to the top, she jumped and caught the disc in her mouth. But as she came down, she twisted. The scene before him unfolded in slow motion. He ran, reaching for Bella. Almost there. He dove to catch her but it was too late. Bella crashed to the ground a couple of feet in front of him, letting out a yelp that made

Jax’s stomach cramp. He crawled to her side.

Thank God she was breathing. He ran his hands over her body. Nothing protruded and there was no blood, but she was crying.

Carefully, Jax scooped her up and ran for his truck. “Hang on, baby.

Everything’s going to be okay.”

And he prayed like he hadn’t done since his last night in the desert. Just like now, Bella had been at his side and they’d been pinned down by enemy fire. He’d prayed that night that they’d make it home alive and in one piece. He prayed now that his dog would live, because even though she technically belonged to the U.S. Navy, she was the love of his life.

*****

Review:

I enjoyed being there while Risa and Jax fell in love.  Neither one of them is really looking for someone and, while they feel a pretty big pull toward one another, circumstances just want to get in their way.  Luckily they keep getting pushed together because they make an adorable couple.

Risa has an extremely soft heart – caring and hard-working for her patients & their people.  That dedication has her in Jax’s orbit and she’s finding him awfully tempting.  One of those super-awesome southern gentleman, Jax was raised right but he’s still got a bit of a bad boy streak in him 🙂  Sexy, attentive, and sharp, he’s just about perfect … except he’s also military and that’s a big no-no for Risa.  But he’s also determined and turns his considerable charm on her.

My only real complaint came at the very end.  There’s this aha! moment with who was causing trouble (although it isn’t hard to figure out) but it isn’t explained.  I have absolutely no idea why Jax was able to figure it out.  Maybe I skimmed over an important detail in my zest to find out what happened next (which kept me turning pages quickly through a lot of the book) but if I missed it then I’m sure others will too.

Other than that, I will say that I was a little disappointed with Risa.  When the big conflict in their relationship comes up (which pretty much all romances have at some point) she shuts down.  Totally reverts to teenage drama and she should be mature enough to handle things better.  But then the resolution would have been a little too easy, I guess 🙂

For a first introduction to Chianese and this series (while this is the second book it can easily stand on its own), I found A Hero to Love a delightful read.  I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next – I understand that it is Risa’s uber-cool friend, Fiona.  I’m anxious to see who gets to be her HEA!

*****

Author Info:

Gail Chianese’s love of reading began at the tender age of three, when she’d make her grandpa read Fourteen Country Rabbits over and over and over again (and correct him when he skipped parts). While she’s branched out over the years by reading mystery, women’s fiction, and urban fantasy, she always circles back to romance in the end. That’s probably because she’s married to her real life hero. Her wonderful hubby has served in the US Navy for the past twenty two years and he’s done things he can’t tell her about. But it doesn’t stop her from being extremely proud of him and the sacrifices he makes for her, his family, and his country. He’s also uber-supportive of her dreams and of their three children. Living in Mystic, CT and a member of Connecticut Romance Writers of America, Gail loves to hear from readers.

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*****

Giveaway:

Enter to win your own copy of A Hero to Love

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*****

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Spotlight – Lucas

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Lucas

Cold Fury, Book #8

by Sawyer Bennett

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Blurb:

The Carolina Cold Fury hockey team is stacked with hotshots. But when a new player joins their ranks, he learns that even superstars can’t go it alone when it comes to love.

Lucas Fournier is only serious about one thing: hockey. The league’s fun-loving charmer, Luc is always up for a good prank or a great lay, and he has no intention of settling down. But being traded to the Carolina Cold Fury—and to play alongside his big brother, Max—is no joke. With another title in sight, the last thing Luc wants is to let his new teammates down. To succeed, Luc will need to keep his head in the game and the most . . . er, demanding member of his anatomy in check. But when temptation hits, Luc hits back harder.

Museum curator Stephanie Frazier has always put business before pleasure, which just about explains her nonexistent sex life. But when Stephanie meets Luc at a champagne-fueled gala, she finds herself flirting like crazy—and going home with the uninhibited athlete. For one night, she learns what passion is all about. She just never counted on the little surprise Luc leaves behind. And that’s when things really start to get . . . interesting.

Sawyer Bennett’s New York Times bestselling Carolina Cold Fury series can be read together or separately.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33593824-lucas

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2r9Tz3j

B&N: http://bit.ly/2iFAUc5

iBooks: http://apple.co/2jsm0mG

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2iWNW3m

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2jcyPk1

Audible: http://adbl.co/2h7mjm6

*****

Author Info:

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released multiple books, many of which have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active daughter, as well as full-time servant to her adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or even better, both.

Sawyer also writes general and women’s fiction under the pen name S. Bennett and sweet romance under the name Juliette Poe.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bennettbooks

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Sign up for Sawyer’s newsletter:

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*****

Spotlight – The Best Man’s Proposal

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Let’s start our week with a sexy firefighter … what do you think?

*****

The Best Man’s Proposal

Hamilton Sisters, #2

by Wynter Daniels

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Publisher:  Entangled Publishing

Release Date: September 18, 2017

Hosted by: Book Partners In Crime Promotions

Blurb:

Niki Hamilton had her hopes pinned on moving to Europe with her boyfriend. But then he dumped her. By text message. Just before her sister’s wedding. Left dateless in a flamingo-pink monstrosity of a bridesmaid dress, she decides to drown her sorrows in a glass of tall, dark, and handsome.

Firefighter Grant Powers has been burned by love, but when his best friend’s new sister-in-law falls into his arms—and stays there for one sexy night—he enjoys the experience a little too much. Then a rental snafu leaves Niki temporarily homeless. So, gentleman and masochist that he is, Grant offers his spare bedroom. Despite the smoldering sexual tension between them, starting anything would be playing with fire.

Now, they just have to survive living together for a few weeks…

Add the book to your Goodreads Shelf:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36119544-the-best-man-s-proposal

Buy the book:

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*iBooks:  http://apple.co/2vX19wb

*Kobo:  http://bit.ly/2wvHSpa

*Entangled:  http://bit.ly/2wwcYx9

Also in the Series:

Book 1: The Surrogate Husband

*Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2wwAr17

*Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/2wvNEHe

*iBooks:  http://apple.co/2vCSUdq

*Kobo:  http://bit.ly/2wvIBqp

*Entangled:  http://bit.ly/2wvosRg

*****

Excerpt:

Saying a quick prayer that he didn’t have any nosy neighbors with itchy 911-dialing fingers, she kneeled down and peered under the door. The paper was only an inch or two away. If she could stick something long and thin through the space, she could pull it out.

Rifling in her purse, she found a nail file. Perfect. On the first attempt, she missed by a fraction of an inch. She held her breath, ready to give it another try.

Out of nowhere, an orange furry paw landed on the note. Before she could grab the paper, a triumphant meow let her know that Grant’s cat had moved it out of her reach.

“Son of a—” Sweat ran down her face. She wiped it away and got even lower, hoping to get a better visual. “Here kitty, kitty.”

The damn cat was nowhere in sight. Nor was her note.

“Aw, seriously.”

“Looking for something down there?”

Oh God. She knew that honey-smooth, deep voice.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she imagined what she must look like, on all fours, butt up in the air, peeking under his door. The very picture of elegance. “I can explain,” she said to the ground.

*****

Author Info:

As a child, Wynter Daniels told her parents she wanted to be an archeologist, an actress or a sculptor. Unfortunately she didn’t demonstrate the natural ability to sculpt or to bring an audience to tears with her Ophelia. Nor could she stand getting dirt under her fingernails. But she could always talk her way out of anything by spinning quite a colorful tale.

Wynter has authored more than three dozen romances, including contemporary, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance books for several publishers including Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, and she writes for Kristen Painter’s Nocturne Falls Universe. She is also one of the foursome known as The Jewel Box Authors who write the Jewel Box Anthology series.

She lives in sunny Florida with her family and a spoiled kitty named Chloe.

-Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Wynter-Daniels-Romance-Author-112308715446045/

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-Website:  http://www.wynterdaniels.com/

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-Email:  wynterdaniels@gmail.com

*****

Giveaway:

(2) Winners – $10 Amazon Gift Card + eCopy of THE BEST MAN’S PROPOSAL

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7996b6c5404/?

*****

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Spotlight – The Chesapeake Bride

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New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart returns to the cherished Maryland shores of St. Dennis with THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE (Pocket Books; August 29, 2017; $7.99), the charming story of a jaded architect who meets the one man who could finally melt her heart—if she’s willing to let him in.

*****

THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE

11th in The Chesapeake Diaries series

by Mariah Stewart

Pocket Books

August 29, 2017

ISBN 9781501154355

$7.99

Blurb:

Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers, having just divorced the one she’d married. Now working with her father’s construction company to build ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay, she’s designing them for Cannonball Island. Knowing there’s been no new construction on the island in almost one hundred years, Cass is sensitive to the heritage and history of the sparsely populated island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy one for herself to live in. Even the fact that Owen Parker—whom she dismisses as a lightweight and a player— seems to be everywhere she goes isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as the girls in St. Dennis. He’s also a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska to working on a cattle ranch in Australia and a shrimp boat in Louisiana, to surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship in the Chesapeake, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it’s about time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. He’s totally smitten with the pretty architect, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.

Praise for The Chesapeake Bride, Book 11 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“Stewart succeeds in giving both Owen and Cass a smooth blend of strength and vulnerability, and the setting of this heartwarming romance will draw readers in with its island-life charm.”

—Publishers Weekly

Strengths: Noteworthy historical content; Engaging characters; Strong Romance; HEA…Measure of Love: Teaspoon…Mood: Poignant and lighthearted…Why You Should Read this: Definitely will appeal to readers wanting a strong romance. And the genealogy and historical aspects are a perfect addition to a pleasing story!”

Heroes and Heartbreakers Women’s Fiction Best Bet for August 2017

“The Chesapeake Bride is a small-town romance which will leave readers wanting more of the charming characters and unforgettable story. I enjoyed this book so much that I am still running some of the scenes through my head, which shows how fantastic the story is. Another great read by an outstanding author. A Recommended Read!”

—Romance Junkies, Five Heart Review

“The romance is slow and sweet…the lack of unnecessary melodrama, angst, and over-the-top gestures makes this a refreshing contemporary romance between two adults who act as such.”

—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Driftwood Point, Book 10 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“This second-chance-at-love romance is gentle and sweet…The colorful friendship between the family matriarchs…charms. Stewart seamlessly checks in with former series protagonists and introduces future romantic pairings without stealing attention from Lisbeth and Alec.”

—RT Book Reviews

Praise for That Chesapeake Summer, Book 9 in The Chesapeake Diaries:

“[That Chesapeake Summer] deftly uses the tools of the genre to explore issues of identity, truth, and small town kinship…Stewart offers a strongstatement on the power of love and trust, a fitting theme for this big-hearted small town romance.”

—Publishers Weekly

“A touching story of self-discovery and homecoming that is sure to warm readers’ hearts…fans are sure to feel right at home in Stewart’s idyllic seaside setting and follow this emotional journey with avid interest.”

RT Book Reviews

Praise for The Last Chance Matinee, Book One in The Hudson Sisters Series:

“The popcorn, the red velvet seats, the glittering Hollywood stars on-screen…I’ve enjoyed all aspects of going to the movies since I was a kid…so when I saw a vintage theater on the cover of this book, I quickly swiped it up…The tale was a sweet reminder of the importance of family. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!”

—First for Women magazine, July 2017

“[This] lively, warmhearted series starter will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment.”

—Booklist

“A good read, with a nice blend of mystery, family drama, and romance.”

—Library Journal

*****

Excerpt:

Diary~

I love the changing of the seasons—and I think summer into fall might be a favorite, being as how I relate to the whole “autumn of my years” thing. That’s how I see myself, anyway. If sixty is the new forty, I believe seventy must be the new fifty, eighty the new sixty, and so on. Therefore, I fall into that third quadrant. Don’t try to change my mind or confuse me with facts.

One of the reasons I love this time of the year: the steady influx of tourists into St. Dennis begins to wane. Not that I don’t love our visitors. Why, without them, St. Dennis would have continued to languish and would never have become the Eastern Shore mecca it now is. But there’s something sweet about having your hometown belong to you and yours again, even if it’s just for a while. I know soon enough the holidays will be upon us and many will flock to town for all the beautiful festivities—the Christmas House Tour, the weekend of caroling, the tree lighting at the square on Old St. Mary’s Church Road, Christmas at the Inn (a favorite of mine), and, oh, yes, the shopping! But this little respite between the beginning of September, when the families leave to return their offspring to school, and the holiday madness belongs to us, we old St. Dennis folk who like a little downtime.

Not to say there’s nothing going on here! There are new babies to celebrate and a special wedding on the horizon, one that makes me especially weepy. My dear nephew, Alec, will be marrying his lovely Lisbeth in an event that will be the talk of both St. Dennis and Cannonball Island for a long time to come. I’m not privy to all the details, mind you, but since my daughter, Lucy, is planning the wedding, I’ve heard bits and squeaks of what she has in mind, and it will, no doubt, be perfectly wonderful.

When we were children, Mama told us that when good folks passed, they earned a star in the heavens where they could sit and shine down on all the goings-on here on earth. Our brothers scoffed, but we girls believed her, and so it is that I know my beloved sister, Carole, will be watching happily from her star as her son marries his bride out on the point in just a few more weeks.

Thinking about the point makes me think of all the changes that are coming to Cannonball Island soon. So much, it could make your head spin! For the first time in roughly two hundred years, new dwellings will be going up on what had once been barren land. I heard from one in the know that some of the older homesteads—mostly those that have fallen into ruin or have been abandoned—will be replaced with new versions more suitable to modern living. Some are up in arms about this, but frankly, it’s about time. Those dilapidated old shells offer no shelter and, if anything, detract from the beauty of the island. My good friend Ruby Carter—the island’s matriarch—has given her blessing, and that’s good enough for me. Besides, Alec will be serving as the environmental consultant, so I feel confident that all will be well. The new homes are being designed with the island’s history in mind, so the legacy of those early settlers will be well protected. The architect is a lovely young woman who is serious about this project, so I know, eventually, all will be well.

Of course I do.

I know, too, that a certain islander with a “rolling stone” reputation will be finding his rolling days coming to a halt before too long. It will be amusing, to say the least, to see him meet his match. Will he be bested?

The smart money’s on the new girl. That’s all I have to say about that.

And so much excitement over all the goings-on at the mouth of the river on the other side of Cannonball Island! Who knew such mysteries lay beneath the water, waiting to be discovered—and now that they have been, well, the flurry of activity these days has my poor old head spinning like an old-fashioned top. I cannot wait to see what they find, and I’m more than happy that one of the principal players is staying at the inn. Not that I’d pry, but if one overhears a snippet of conversation now and then . . . well, let’s just say it’s good to keep informed. Now, how all this is going to affect the construction that was slated to begin in November, well, I suppose everyone will have to wait and see. Could be there will be delays, which will keep the new girl around for a while longer and will keep the rolling stone on his toes.

My, what fun this will be~

Grace ~

*****

Author Info:

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens.  Visit her website at mariahstewart.com, like her on Facebook at AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram at mariah_stewart_books.

Look for Gallery Books’ second installment in Mariah Stewart’s all-new trade original women’s fiction series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish—and discover themselves in the process. Book 2, The Sugarhouse Blues, will publish March 2018!

*****

Tour Schedule:

AUGUST 28

USA TODAY’S HAPPY EVER AFTER – EXCERPT

HEROES AND HEARTBREAKERS – WOMEN’S FICTION BEST BET FOR AUGUST 2017

AUGUST 29

A MIDLIFE WIFE

ROMANCING THE READERS

AUGUST 30

THE LIBRARIAN TALKS – Q&A

BOOK BITCH

ABIGAIL BOOKS ADDICTION

MY NOVELESQUE LIFE

AUGUST 31

DIRTY AND THIRTY

BOOK MAMA BLOG

SUZY APPROVED BOOK REVIEWS

COLLECTORS OF BOOK BOYFRIENDS

SEPTEMBER 1

SOS ALOHA

MARGIE’S MUST READS

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BOOKWORM

SEPTEMBER 4

READING BETWEEN THE WINES

SEPTEMBER 5

FRESH FICTION

SVETLANA’S READS AND VIEWS

BIBLIOTICA

MRS LEIF’S TWO FANGS ABOUT IT

SEPTEMBER 6

READ YOUR WRITES

REVIEWS BY CRYSTAL

BRAINFARTS AND BOOKS

IN PATTI’S IMAGINATION

BOOKJUNKIEMOM

SEPTEMBER 7

JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC

LORI’S READING CORNER

HAPPYMOMBLOGGER’S BLOG

HARDLY A GODDESS

NOTES ON MY SHELF

SEPTEMBER 8

READING FRENZY BLOG

THOUGHTS IN PROGRESS

DIVATUDE

UP ‘TIL DAWN BOOK BLOG

SEPTEMBER 12

SATISFACTION FOR INSATIABLE READERS

LINDA’S BOOK OBSESSION

CARLA LOVES TO READ

LORELEI’S LIT LAIR

SEPTEMBER 13

KATHERINE’S BOOK UNIVERSE – Q&A

BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN

REVIEWS FROM THE HEART

KT BOOK REVIEWS

SHANNON’S BOOK BLOG

BIGREADERSITE’S BLOG

GRANNY LOVES TO READ!

I WISH I LIVED IN A LIBRARY

SEPTEMBER 14

SCANDALICIOUS BOOK REVIEWS

ITCHING FOR BOOKS

COMMUNITY BOOKSTOP

BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH

SEPTEMBER 15

ROMANTIC READS AND SUCH

SUSIEQLAW’S BLOG

DEVILISHLY DELICIOUS BOOK REVIEWS

BOOKFAN

LOVEY DOVEY BOOKS

Spotlight – Jaded: Luke

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*****

Jaded: Luke

Laurel Creek Series #1

by Hildie McQueen

Genre: Contemporary Western Romance

Blurb:

Haunted by PTSD and a failed marriage, Luke Hamilton returns home to Laurel, Montana. Going home isn’t an easy fix, but it beats ending up in prison or dead. At first the familiar surroundings and open land seem to set things right, but soon his old demons rear their ugly heads and he realizes it’s the wrong time to enter any relationship.

Leah Morgan’s experience in the corporate world has prepared her to prosper her father’s ranch in Montana. She knows everyone expects her to fail, but nothing will stop her from turning the ranch around and selling it to the highest bidder – especially not a rancher. The quicker she closes the deal, the sooner she can get out of Laurel and move on with her career.

But when Luke and Leah cross paths, they both discover that starting over can be a complicated business.

Add to Goodreads

Books2Read * Amazon * Nook * iBooks * Kobo

*****

Excerpt:

Needing fresh air, Leah went to the front door and stepped out to the wide porch that ran across the entire front of the house.  Although some of the white paint on the walls and columns was chipped, it remained steadfastly beautiful. The wide porch with rockers had always made a perfect first impression to the graceful home she’d grown up in.

A truck rambled toward the house and she glanced at her watch.  Whoever it was came early.  The meeting was not for half an hour.

“Damn it,” she looked down at her worn jeans and bare feet.  She’d hurriedly pulled on a t-shirt and jeans to cook and planned to change before the meeting.  Too late now.

The truck stopped and a man surfaced.  Over six foot of muscles, tattoos with the blank expression of someone who would snap your neck and spit down your throat sauntered toward her.

Eyes wide, she took a step back.  This was not one of the Hamilton’s at least not someone she remembered.  Of course she’d seen Tobias and Taylor in the last couple weeks.  Luke, Tobias’ twin was gone, lived in Texas, or somewhere south last she heard.

“Who are you?” She said having made it just inside the doorway with one hand on the doorknob so she could close it before he reached the porch.

“He stopped in his tracks giving her a chance to study him.

This was not your typical Montana rancher.  Instead of a Stetson, he wore a baseball cap.  No plaid shirt for this man, instead his form fitting black t-shirt, left no illusions of the muscular body underneath.  If it weren’t for the flatness in his eyes and the stoic expression, she’d find him utterly gorgeous.

At the moment, however, she’d describe him as more of a serial killer than a hunk.

A hunky serial killer.  She moved back and closed the door a bit.  “Who are you?”

“Luke. I’m Luke Hamilton.  And you’re Pesky Morgan.”

No one had called her that since…well since middle school.  Then it was Luke Hamilton who’d started everyone at school calling her that.”

“I hate that nickname.  Don’t ever call me that again.” She relaxed and opened the door wider.  “What are you doing here?  Where’s Tobias, or Taylor.  We have a meeting.”

His wide shoulders lifted and lowered and his upper lip lifted in what she could only describe as an Elvis snarl.  “Neither want to deal with you.  So they sent me.”

“From where?”

“From Hell. I’m the devil.” His right eyebrow rose, the only hint he was kidding.

Leah blew out an annoyed breath.  “Well come in Lucifer.  I have to get brownies out of the oven.”

*****

Author Info:

Bestselling author Hildie McQueen loves unusual situations and getting into interesting adventures, which is what her characters do as well. She writes romance because she is in love with love! Author of Romance in Highland historical, Western Historical and contemporary, she writes something every reader can enjoy.

Most days she can be found in her pajamas hiding from deliverymen while drinking tea from her David Gandy coffee mug. In the afternoons she browses the Internet for semi-nude men to post on Facebook.

Hildie’s favorite past-times are romance conventions, traveling, shopping and reading.

She resides in beautiful small town Georgia with her super-hero husband Kurt, an unruly boy Chihuahua Pepito and a spoiled rotten girl Chiweenie named Lola.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads

*****

Giveaway:

$20 Amazon Gift Card

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/23d974a9394/

*****

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Book Review – A Gentleman Never Surrenders

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We had a sexy lawman and a hunky heartthrob yesterday, so how about a lady & her (maybe) rogue to kick off your Tuesday.

*****

A Gentleman Never Surrenders

Sins and Scandals, Book 2

by Lauren Smith

September 12, 2017

Forever Yours eBook

$1.99

Blurb:

Love is worth a little scandal.

Owen Hadley needs a wife. Preferably a wealthy one. Alas, there aren’t a great number of heiresses willing to marry a rogue of no particular fortune—luckily, if there is ever a gentleman capable of melting a lady’s chilly heart, it’s Owen.

Milly has had enough of the marriage mart. If matrimony means giving up her freedom for a foppish husband, then society can take their idea of marital bliss and toss it. But when the ton’s most notorious rogue mistakenly makes his way into her bedchambers, Milly finds herself unexpectedly and unwillingly at the altar . . .

Yet the more time she spends with her new husband, the more Milly starts to wonder if the marriage she never wanted may be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Now it’s up to Owen to convince Milly that what started as a mistake is anything but—and that every night with him will be more wonderfully scandalous than the last.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2r9Jsag

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2sXY9if

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2sXRfti

iBooks: http://apple.co/2s0bfOL

Google: http://bit.ly/2sYc6g9

*****

Excerpt:

Milly climbed onto the bed and pulled the bedclothes up around her chest and sighed. The bed was so large, and rather lonely. Usually she didn’t let such a melancholy thought bother her, but tonight for some reason, it did. There was a dull ache in her chest and she rubbed the spot with her hand. Somewhere tonight, Mr. Hadley was likely climbing into bed, dreaming of all the young ladies’ hearts he would steal and break. A treacherous little flutter in her chest made Milly wince. She ought not to think of Hadley, certainly not while she was in bed…yet thinking of him, as frustrating and maddeningly irritating as he was, flushed her with a welcome heat in the chilly room.

The oil lamp beside her bed was the only light left in the room and it burned steadily. Often she read late into the night and forgot to turn it off, but tonight she was too tired to read. She reached over and gently twisted the brass knob to kill the little flame. Darkness absorbed the dying light and Milly flipped onto her back. The cold of the sheets almost stung her bare toes and legs when her nightdress rode up to her knees. A cold bed, an empty bed. It shouldn’t have upset her, but after Mr. Hadley’s talk of heat and summer, she was off balance and bothered.

The mere thought of him and the way his eyes had darkened and seemed to shimmer with inner flames brought on another rush of warmth. His eyes, like honeyed fire, and his lips, the way he’d smiled sardonically, almost mockingly, in a way she rather liked, irritated her, yet fascinated her. There was no reason to like a man’s mouth or to imagine what it might be like to have that mouth pressed to hers in a kiss that caused the heat he was so fond of discussing. She knew his kiss would be hot, because when she thought of it, her body blossomed with a swelling of heat in her belly. His mouth is wicked…sinful…and I hate that I wish to know how he tastes. It was a forbidden thought, but one she couldn’t deny. She rolled over onto her stomach, fluffed her pillow, and squeezed her eyes shut, attempting to will herself to sleep. It was going to be a long night.

*****

Review:

I don’t know if it is this author or the time frame she set her book in (early 1900s) but it felt like a refreshing take on a traditional historical romance.  There were still lords & ladies, balls & waltzes, country parties & homes that went back generations.  But it felt a little more relaxed, including a hero that was not titled, cars instead of horses, and a woman yearning for independence.

Milly wants to be an equal in her marriage and since she’s not been able to find a man who thinks the same she’s content to live her life as an old maid.  Unfortunately a mix up at a house party finds her engaged to her worst nightmare – a fortune hunter.  There’s nothing in Owen’s past that would suggest that he’s going to be anything like the husband she’s dreamed of.

Owen needs money badly to set his family property to rights.  The sharp-tongued Milly is the last woman he hoped to be wedded to but she does come with a sizeable dowry.  And the more time they spend together, the more Owen finds himself seeing a different side to his wife.

I only have one complaint (and this may just be an indication of the times) but how can Owen really expect to compromise a woman, forcing her to marry him, only to have her be warm to him right away.  I know that women were little more than property, which is most of Milly’s fear in tying herself to a man, but that doesn’t mean that they are going to be super open in their feelings for him.  Luckily for him, he got himself a smart, albeit stubborn, bride.

For all their trouble, there really isn’t a ton of drama between these two.  They are smart enough to get read the signs that maybe they misjudged the other and are willing to put the effort in to try to make their marriage work.  It’s not easy but it is entertaining for the reader 🙂

(Part of a series but can easily stand on its own)

*****

Author Info:

LAUREN SMITH, winner of the 2014 Historical International Digital Award, attended Oklahoma State University, where she earned a B.A. in both history and political science. Drawn to paintings and museums, Lauren is obsessed with antiques and satisfies her fascination with history by writing and exploring exotic, ancient lands. She is currently an attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

http://www.laurensmithbooks.com

https://www.facebook.com/LaurenDianaSmith

www.twitter.com/ldsmith1818

Add An Earl by Any Other Name to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2rQ4EnE

Follow Lauren Smith on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sHyg6M

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*****

Giveaway:

Enter to win 1 of 15 free ebook downloads of A Gentleman Never Surrenders!

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*****

Book Review – The Real Thing

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We’ve got another sexy hero thanks to the ever awesome Melissa Foster!

*****

The Real Thing

Sugar Lake #1

by Melissa Foster

Releasing Sept 5, 2017

Montlake

Blurb:

This sassy, spirited baker is fine with heat—but is her fake fiancé too hot to handle?

Bakery owner Willow Dalton’s friendship with Zane Walker has always been a bit complicated. Now a scrumptiously hot A-list actor, Zane’s always had a reputation as player. He’s arrogant, and he’s definitely not boyfriend material. Sure, he did Willow a favor by agreeing to take her virginity before college, but is that reason enough to go along with a fake engagement a decade later—even if it comes with a real diamond ring?

Zane should have known better. Nothing involving Willow has ever been easy. Still, he knows her better than anyone, and becoming America’s hottest new leading man means cleaning up his reputation. An “engagement” to curvy, sass-mouthed Willow is the perfect PR move . . . provided no one gets hurt.

Now Zane and Willow’s little white lie has turned into an irresistible recipe for sweet temptation. And soon no one will be able to tell the difference between their fake engagement or the real thing—including them.

**THE REAL THING is being published by Montlake (an Amazon imprint) and won’t be available on other ebook retailers, but you can download a FREE ereader app to read it HERE, order the paperback.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34092384-the-real-thing

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/203560-sugar-lake

Buy Links:      AMAZON | PAPERBACK

*****

Excerpt:

“You’re sleeping on the couch,” Willow said for the fifth time in as many minutes as she and Zane left their suite. He was busy texting, and she wasn’t sure he was even listening anymore. He used to be such a great listener. When they were younger, he’d never acted like he was above her, despite the fact that he was the star quarterback, lead pitcher, and eventually the prom king, and she was two years behind and as awkward as a foal on new legs.

“Are you listening to me?” she asked as they walked down the hall.

“Yes. I just got confirmation. You’re catering breakfasts for the set. Cool?”

“Yes, perfect. But did you hear what I said?”

She had almost backed out of their deal twice since she’d accepted. First when she’d seen the king-size bed, which really drove home their situation, and again when Zane had whipped off his shirt to change and her sex-starved body had buzzed to life. She was still a little nervous about the whole thing, mostly due to that second issue, but she felt a certain obligation to help him. Regardless of how arrogant he was, she’d never forget how tender he’d been with her when she’d given her almost-eighteen-year-old self over to him, and he was a true friend, even if they had a weird friendship. The truth was, even if he hadn’t done her that favor before college, she would have agreed to his plan. She liked him despite his insatiable appetite for women. He was everything she loved in a person and more. He was confident and funny, direct and thoughtful, and honest when it counted. Painfully honest. The exposure for Sweetie Pie Bakery was just the icing on the fake-fiancée cake. What a difference national exposure could make.

Zane shoved his phone in his pocket. “Yes. Sleeping on the couch. Got it. But you can’t blame a guy for trying.”

She laid her best damn-right-I-can stare on him and pushed the button for the elevator.

“Fine. I’ll behave. Jesus, Wills, you’re never this uptight when I visit.”

“You mean that five minutes twice a year?” Willow remembered how happy he’d been when he’d finally left town to pursue his dream of being an actor. He’d been bursting at the seams for a bigger life. But her “five minutes” comment wasn’t really fair. He never missed Ben’s birthday, and he almost always made it back for a few days over the holidays, even though his parents had moved to Florida right after he’d graduated from high school and left town. He’d been back a few other times when he was filming nearby. Even though she rarely saw him, their texts—and the fact that he was her first real love, even if he didn’t know it—had kept him in the forefront of her mind. Unfortunately, it also kept her heartbreak pretty close to the surface, no matter how deep she tried to bury it.

*****

Review:

In general I really enjoyed this book – it had all the things I’ve come to expect from Melissa Foster.  The characters were detailed and interesting, their interactions popped and kept me entertained, and the story flowed so well that the book was over before I knew it.

But I did have a couple of smallish things.  I really wished that we’d gotten a bit more of their history first hand.  Foster makes sure that you get that there is a lot between them – they’ve known each other since they were kids, were (unbeknownst to each other) their first love, and have kept a connection to each other throughout the years.  I just wish we’d gotten to experience it a little more, instead of through conversations and memories, because I think that it would have helped deepen their relationship.

The other thing is a personal preference … Zane is a bit of a manwhore.  He’s a big time Hollywood actor with women throwing them at him and he doesn’t necessarily turn them down.  I know that rakes make for great SOs once they find The One (at least in romance novels) but it just kinda squicks me out.  We’re supposed to feel this thing between them (see above) and while I understand that they aren’t supposed to necessarily be acknowledging it to anyone, even themselves, the sleeping around just isn’t my personal favorite.  Maybe I’m too old fashioned but it just didn’t sit all that right.

Buuuut, not enough for me to dislike the book because they really are cute together and once he makes a commitment Zane is definitely all in.  And it is a joy to behold 🙂

*****

Author Info:

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.

Author Links:   WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

*****

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*****

Spotlight – Along Came a Ranger

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With everything else going on the world, let’s start the day with a sexy cowboy of the law!

*****

Along Came a Ranger

Long Arms of the Lawman/Texas Lawmen #3

by Debra Holt

Standalone?: While this book is the third in the series, it can be read as a standalone.

Release Date: September 11, 2017

Genre: Romance

Publisher: Tule Publishing

Blurb:

No cowboys allowed. That is Stacy Smith’s motto. Having overcome a rough childhood, she vows to not repeat the same mistakes that her mother made. Writing bestselling romance novels as Sabrina Noelle, she is happy to stay in her ivory tower, creating perfect worlds for her heroes and heroines that keep her busy and her heart whole.

Texas Ranger Davis McKenna handles crisis situations on a regular basis. But when he is stranded in a hotel elevator with a gorgeous woman on the verge of panic, he soon realizes that there’s more at play than just his protective instincts.

Take one determined Texas Ranger and one equally stubborn romance author and there is bound to be a showdown at high noon where desires and hearts are concerned. Can Stacy risk opening her heart to the man who represents everything she never wanted?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36053206-along-came-a-ranger

Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/DHACAR

*****

Author Info:

Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!).

When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

Debra invites you to visit her website at www.debraholtbooks.com. She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at debraholtbooks@gmail.com. Twitter is https://twitter.com/DebraHoltBooks and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DebraHoltBooks.

Where to find Debra

Website: http://www.debraholtbooks.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8424401.Debra_Holt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DebraHoltBooks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/debraholtbooks

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.com/Debra-Holt/e/B00M9HDIBK/

*****

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