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The Game of Love and Glory Days with Jeanette Murray

“Shouldn’t you let high school go? I know you loved it, but it was ten years ago.” – My husband…who clearly doesn’t know when he’s about to step in a steaming pile of his own making.

Okay. First of all…it was only nine, thankyouverymuch. And second…let go of high school? Seriously? Those were my glory days! And as a twenty-seven year old, I really don’t have a wide selection of days in which to glorify. So please, let me have them.

Dearly beloved—yet often clueless—Hubs walked in on me searching through a photo album of my high school days. I was looking for pictures for this post—yes, they’re all me!—and he thought I was having some sort of depressing walk down memory lane.

Um. No. Not quite.

But he’s right in one thing…I did love high school. (Did I hear some groans?) Truthfully, it was a great time in my life. Mostly because I was doing something I loved every single day. Sports.

So naturally, when these characters sort of showed up in my mind—a pair of high school coaches with former pro athlete status—I had to take them up on their offer to share their story. My heroine, Christina, she didn’t have the greatest experience in high school ever. But my hero, Brett, he had an experience more like I did. And I think their past really colors how they feel when they return to the high school arena, even though they’re the adults this round.

So I ask you…how was your high school experience? Did you love it? Hate every minute of it? Would you burn down the building if you thought you could get away with it?

Chris St. James is ready for normal. After walking away from her pro tennis career and a toxic relationship with a star hockey player, she’s starting a new life as a teacher and tennis coach in a small town. Now all she needs is an average guy to share it with.

Brett Wallace is no average guy. Forced to retire from the NFL after an injury—and suddenly single after being dumped by his status-conscious wife—he’s returned to his hometown to coach the varsity football team. Wary of women interested only in his celebrity, Brett finds Chris’s indifference to his former career refreshing.

The last thing Chris needs is to get involved with another pro athlete, but she can’t deny the sparks that fly between them. So she agrees to a purely physical, no-strings-attached affair. But the rules of the game change when she falls for him…

________________________________

Jeanette Murray is a contemporary romance writer who lives with her sweet & sassy little girl, a dumber-than-expected Goldendoodle and her husband. She loves to post pictures on Facebook, she tweets whatever’s on her mind, and she blogs on the regular. Head on over to www.JeanetteMurray.com to find out more about the author, the books, the dog, or all the above.

Why do we love a good mystery? Shirley Wells

I love to write about murder and mystery and I eagerly await every blood-spilling episode of Dexter. Many years ago, I was hooked on Columbo and loved nothing more than seeing the shambling detective catch the perpetrator. I enjoy all types of mystery, from Ian Rankin’s Rebus series to the gentle tales of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.

Mystery fiction seems more popular than ever and as an author I’m delighted about that, but why, exactly, do we thrive on the genre? After all, if we switch on the TV news, we can find more than enough horrors to occupy our minds. Real life is different though, isn’t it? We’re quite happy for a fictional family to be torn apart by a crazed killer but it has to stop there. Fiction can’t be allowed to spill into the real world.

I suppose it’s because a good mystery gives us so much more than real life. In fiction, we know that good will triumph over evil. No matter what heinous crimes are committed, our sleuth – whether a hard-nosed police detective or an elderly spinster busy with her knitting – will bring him to justice and restore order in our world. It makes us feel safe.

Also, while our sleuth is hard at work, we can sit back and enjoy the puzzle. While we root for him, we can mentally urge him to look in the cellar or double-check an alibi. We can pit our wits against him before he runs out of time.

In my latest mystery, DEAD SILENT, private investigator Dylan Scott is trying to unearth the truth behind a young woman’s disappearance. Curious? This is the back cover copy:

Ten months ago,  Samantha Hunt set off for work… and was never seen again.

Despite the statistics of cold cases, Dylan Scott wants to believe the young woman’s alive – and not just because her father, his client, is desperate to find his missing daughter before he dies of cancer. By all accounts Sam was a lovely girl, devoted to her younger stepsisters, well-liked at her work, in love with her boyfriend.

But as usual not everything is as it seems in sleepy Dawson’s Clough. Sam’s boyfriend has a violent past. She may have been having an affair with her boss. And Dylan can’t shake the feeling that her stepfather is hiding something. Meanwhile, someone is trying to scare Dylan off the case.

Who wanted to silence Sam, and why? The truth turns out to be worse than anyone expected…

What’s your take on this? What is it about a mystery that draws us in?

Multi-published author Shirley Wells was born in the Cotswolds and lived in Cyprus and Orkney before settling in Lancashire in the UK where the stunning Pennine Hills provide the inspiration for her popular mystery novels. She and her husband share their home with two dogs, two cats and any other strays who fancy a pampered life. Connect with Shirley via her website, Twitter or Facebook.

DEAD SILENT is available now:

Carina Press

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

WHAT’S IN A TITLE? Katie Reus

Thanks so much to Manic Readers for hosting me here! Deadly Obsession, my dark romantic suspense releases from Carina Press today. As my critique partners can attest, I loathe coming up with titles for books and usually ask friends for help (or most of the time my editor will come up with a much better suggestion).

The title of a book is important even if I’d like to pretend it isn’t. I think it’s almost as important as the cover, which is the first thing I notice as a buyer. I don’t buy on cover or title alone but those are the two things that draw me in immediately (other than the author name of course…if it’s someone like Karen Marie Moning, I’m buying no matter what her cover looks like or what the title is).

Summing up a full length novel in a few words can be tough, but if done right it can completely capture the essence of the book. Thankfully the publishing house for F. Scott Fitzgerald made him change his original title of ‘The Great Gatsby’ (originally titled ‘Trimalchio in West Egg’…OMG, who would have ever picked that up?).

Normally when I start a new story I don’t know what the title is. I’ll come up with something generic, like ‘John and Mary’s story’, using the main characters’ names as my reference. Sometimes I won’t even have a title by the time I’m ready to send it to my agent or editor, but in the case of Deadly Obsession I knew what it would be called before I even started. The villain of the story has a sick obsession with the heroine and everything about him is deadly. He’s also creepy, homicidal and sociopathic but fitting those words into the title didn’t exactly fit.

Some of my favorite titles are: All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard, Roxanne St. Claire’s Bulletcatcher books have some great titles (Hunt Her Down, Make Her Pay). How great are those? And, Blood Rights, the first book in a new series coming out in October by Kristen Painter is definitely memorable.

What about you? What are some of your favorite titles? Have you ever purchased a book based on title alone? One commenter will be selected to win a digital copy of Deadly Obsession.

Deadly Obsession now available from Carina Press.

The chilling words of a killer: This is just the beginning…

Ten years ago, Lilly Carmichael left town without an explanation, breaking Braden Donnelly’s heart. The death of her aunt has brought Lilly home–and face to face with memories she thought were long buried. Still getting over a traumatic incident from her work as an NSA agent, Lilly initially dismisses the face at her window as a figment of stress-induced paranoia.

Now the sheriff of Hudson Bay, Braden has spent the last year hunting a sadistic murderer. But his investigation is turned upside down when new evidence indicates that Lilly is the killer’s next target. Determined to protect the woman he’s never stopped loving, Braden must race against the clock to trap a dangerous psychopath—before it’s too late…

A little about me: I started reading romance at a young age (since I discovered my mom’s hidden stash) and the addiction stayed with me into adulthood. I write dark paranormal romance and sexy, fast-paced romantic suspense. Currently I write for Carina Press, Harlequin Nocturne (Destined Mate, October 2011), and in early 2012 the first book in my paranormal series will release from NAL/Signet Eclipse (Alpha Instinct: A Moon Shifter Novel). To learn more about me please visit my website, my blog, facebook or find me on twitter @katiereus.

Recipes Even Liv Could Manage with Cathy Pegau

An early scene in Rulebreaker shows the main character, Liv Braxton, waiting for the A1 Food Emporium guy to deliver her dinner. But when she opens the door, it turns out to be her ex husband Tonio, not her food. A similar scenario occurs a bit later, and this time it’s her estranged mother. Perhaps it’s time for Liv to learn to cook.

Whether you’re like Liv and can’t boil water even a planet where it’s over 100C, or just looking for a quick and easy dinner, here are a couple of recipes that have become staples in our busy household.

Smoked Salmon Pasta

8 ounces (~230 grams—Liv uses metric ; ) smoked salmon, retain liquid if jarred/canned

2 cloves garlic, minced

Enough extra virgin olive oil to cover salmon, approx. ½ to 1 cup

1-2 tsp. dried basil

1-2 tsp. dried oregano

A couple dashes of hot sauce, if desired

Salt and pepper to taste

Box of pasta of your choice (enough to serve 4)

Parmesan or Parm/Romano grated cheese

Cook pasta as directed. While water is heating, place all other ingredients in a small saucepan. Break up large chunks of salmon. Heat on medium to medium-low, stirring occasionally. Toss salmon mix with drained pasta. Sprinkle on cheese. Serve with crusty bread and green salad as a side.

And for dessert:

Vanilla Ice Cream with Melon and Port

Good vanilla bean ice cream

Cantaloupe and honeydew melon balls

Tawny or ruby port

Dish up ice cream, top with melon, sprinkle on a dash or two or six of port.

What are your quick and easy, oh-no-I-forgot-to-defrost-something dinners? Leave a comment and I’ll randomly choose someone to receive a PDF copy of Rulebreaker (or a can of Alaska smoked salmon if you live in the US—Your choice : ).

Cathy will announce contest winner on Monday August 14th…

Rulebreaker is out now! Buy it at Carina Press or Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

Liv Braxton’s Felon Rule #1: Don’t get emotionally involved.

Smash-and-grab thieving doesn’t lend itself to getting chummy with the victims, and Liv hasn’t met anyone on the mining colony of Nevarro worth knowing, anyway. So it’s easy to follow her Rules.

Until her ex, Tonio, shows up with an invitation to join him on the job of a lifetime.

Until Zia Talbot, the woman she’s supposed to deceive, turns Liv’s expectations upside down in a way no woman ever has.

Until corporate secrets turn deadly.

But to make things work with Zia, Liv has to do more than break her Rules, and the stakes are higher than just a broken heart…

Cathy lives in Alaska with her husband, kids, critters, and the occasional black bear roaming through the yard. Lucky for her, salmon is a staple in her freezer and pantry.

Visit Cathy in whatever way is easiest for you:

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DIVIDED BY A COMMON LANGUAGE with FIONA LOWE

We both speak English, right?

When I left Australia to live in Wisconsin I didn’t expect things to be so very different from home. I mean, we’re both a big country, we both speak English, right, so how different could it really be?’  It didn’t take long before I realized I’d entered a parallel universe. Things looked “sort of” similar, but in so many ways things were very, very different.

For starters, Americans drive on the right-hand side of the road and Aussies drive on the left. That took a bit of getting used to, not to mention missing buses because I was waiting on the wrong side of the road, and nearly getting killed because I looked in the wrong direction.  Filling the car with fuel was another experience. The pump looked the same as at home, but as I stood waiting and waiting for it to automatically start, I couldn’t work out why everyone else was gassing up their car without a problem. I watched the new people arrive and saw they flicked up a switch. Ah!

It didn’t take long before I noticed that in restaurants and shops people looked at me strangely when I started to talk. They couldn’t always understand me and I had to start speaking more slowly and adjust my words. My mobile phone became my cell, I no longer put petrol in the car, but gas and suddenly the main meal was called an entrée where in Australia that’s the appetizer. Imagine my surprise on my first night when this massive meal arrived!

There were lots of laughs, misunderstandings and total confusion on both sides. In Australia we put the day/month/year when we write a check, which we spell cheque so I was always post-dating them by accident and that isn’t strictly legal!  More often than not, I understood what was being said to me, although the day I was told that a shop was “kitty corner” to the gas station I had no clue what the woman meant.

My husband and I loved living in Wisconsin and although we’re both very different people from Matilda and Marc, some of our “parallel universe” experiences have made it into Boomerang Bride, my single title contemporary romance published by Carina Press.  I’m really excited about this story as it’s a departure from my Harlequin Medical romances and I loved writing a longer story set in Wisconsin, a state which is close to my heart.

Matilda Geoffrey risked it all for love. She left Australia to be with Barry—the man who had swept her off her virtual feet. Now, wearing a wedding dress, she’s alone on Main Street in small-town Wisconsin, and things aren’t working out exactly as planned…

In town for his annual family visit, Marc Olsen had never seen a bride quite like Matilda—staring into a storefront window, holding a tottering wedding cake, and looking desperately in need of a groom. He may not have any warm feelings for his hometown, but meeting Matilda just as she discovers she’s been scammed by her online “fiancé” stirs something in him.

Matilda is not the kind of woman Marc imagined himself with, and Marc is anything but the romantic hero that Matilda has always dreamed of. But as unlikely circumstances throw them together, can they let go of their misconceptions and risk their hearts for love?

Carina Press URL link to Boomerang Bride http://bit.ly/oO4gP0

Amazon Kindle URL link to Boomerang Bride  http://amzn.to/pGRmbw

Barnes and Noble Nook URL link http://bit.ly/ogdYDE

I’m giving away an awesome boomerang magnet decorated with Aboriginal dot-art and a signed postcard of the cover of Boomerang Bride. To be in the drawing, pop over to my website and read the excerpt and then come back here and tell me what Matilda calls the ‘trunk’ of the car.  I’d also love to hear about any funny travel stories you have or any experiences of not being understood.

Fiona Lowe is an award-winning, multi-published author of romance fiction with Harlequin Mills & Boon and Carina Press.  Whether her books are set in outback Australia or the USA, they all feature small towns with big hearts, and warm, likeable characters that make you fall in love.

When she’s not writing stories, she’s a weekend wife, a mother of two boys and she’s trying really hard to instill in them heroic characteristics like cooking and ironing.  She’s an avid reader, a guardian of 80 rose bushes, attempts to stay fit and is often seen collapsed on the couch with a glass of wine.

A previous Romantic Book of the Year finalist, Fiona is currently writing her 18th novel. You can find her at her website, her blog, confused on Twitter and a bit more together on Facebook and she loves hearing from her readers.

Defying Convention with Abby Niles

I’m a complete sucker for comedy. I love to laugh and I’m not afraid to show my amusement with a very loud, wide-mouthed laugh. Yeah, I’m one of those laughers. The kind you don’t want to sit beside in a movie theatre during a comedy.

The only thing better than a comedy, is a romantic comedy. It’s the best of both worlds. Laughter and love. What more can you ask for?

My writing voice tends to lean toward the humorous side, even with the paranormal pieces I write under Esmerelda Bishop. They’re not romantic comedies, but for some reason, my characters will say or do something readers find funny. I’m totally okay with this. I like to make people laugh, and if it makes you laugh, you’ve made my day.

However, Defying Convention was my first stab at a true romantic comedy. The idea for Defying Convention came in waves. The first pesky plot bunnies was very, very mean to me and only gave me a sliver of an idea but nothing more. (What? That’s how plot bunnies work? Well it’s cruel.) Normally ideas come to me in meatier portions. All I had was this idea of an author whose fans were majorly pissed at him. That. Was. It.

And it stayed that way for weeks. Then I read a wonderful romantic comedy by Pat White titled Got a Hold on You. And I learned something important: I can defy convention. (I knew this in the back of my mind, but fear kept me from embracing it).

I’m still a newbie author trying to find my place in what can be a very scary industry. A lot of evil voices like to talk to me and make me doubt every word I write. These doubts confined my imagination. Pre-Pat White, I would’ve never considered writing a romantic comedy set at science-fiction convention. It was just too out there. Post-Pat White: excuse the cliché, the sky was the limit.

With that new freedom, my imagination went wild. Those pesky plot bunnies showed mercy and that sliver of an idea blossomed into a full plot. I had a heroine trying to save her career but danged if the person she was supposed to investigate wasn’t a sexy piece of man flesh, a tortured hero trying to right a wrong but losing his fans in the process, and a fan organization out for revenge.

Defying Convention may have never been if I hadn’t read that book. It’s amazing to me that one thing can open your eyes and help you see things differently.

Has anything done that to you?

Contest: I’m giving away a copy of Defying Convention to one randomly selected commenter.

Bio: Abby Niles has always loved to read. After having twins and becoming a stay-at-home mom, she started doodling stories to keep her sanity. She mixed her love for laughter in with her writing and found she had a knack for humor. Nothing makes her happier than having a LOL written beside one of her favorite lines from one of her fabulous critique partners.

Abby is also published under the name Esmerelda Bishop. Esmerelda write erotic romance and has a paranormal titled The Panther’s Lair published with Carina Press and one with Lyrical Press titled The Feline Fugitive.

When Abby’s not writing, you can find her playing ‘Just Dance’ with her kids on the Wii or trying to catch up on her never-ending to-be-read list. She also loves Zumba, and refuses to admit she looks more like Animal doing his Muppet flail than a sensual dancer while doing it.

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Calista Fox….Why I enjoyed writing IOU SEX

IOU Sex—Why I Enjoyed Writing This Book—Yes THAT is One of the Reasons!

But this book isn’t just about sex. While I thoroughly enjoyed bringing Fiona and Michael together with a sticky-to-steamy situation – that being her need to have him escort her to a painful engagement party and his demand for “a little something” in return – it was Fiona and Michael as such strong-willed, yet sensual characters that made me want to write their story.

First, Fiona. Okay, she’s a workaholic. No two ways about it. But, geez, what woman isn’t wrapped up these days in her career or her family or both? Let’s face it, we’ve all got a lot on our plates and it makes finding time for romance difficult. Add to that the pressures of a high-powered family with very specific expectations of how you should live your life (all according to their rules) and a little sister who’s so jealous of your nerve to step outside the family box that she’ll stop at nothing to make your life miserable, and it’s a wonder you can even think straight. Sure, Fiona stumbles along the way. Who wouldn’t? But she has a very powerful champion in her corner…

Ah, Michael. *sigh* Here’s an alpha male and newly reformed womanizer who knows how to please. But when this guy finally accepts his love for the woman who’s not quite in his grasp, you can be sure he’ll do everything he can to have her! But Michael’s got a soft side to rival his bad boy side, and that’s why I love him so much.

IOU Sex is more than friends with benefits. It’s more than returning a favor. It’s about finding your way when you’re swimming in a sea of murky water with no life preserver in sight…until you open your eyes and see the saving grace right in front of you.

IOU Sex has already received a 4.5 out 5 reviewer rating! Also, this weekend is the last chance to enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card on my blog: www.keepingitsimpleandsexy.blogspot.com and a $25 Amazon gift card on my alter ego’s blog www.avamcknightauthor.blogspot.com! Stop by both, leave a comment and you’re entered!

IOU Sex by Calista Fox

On Sale August 1 at www.carinapress.com

Carina Press/Harlequin

Novella

http://ebooks.carinapress.com/C0115E73-326E-441E-ABEF-3E69D30AB17F/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID={5B4203E4-EEB6-4CC8-A68F-7331AC12E92F}

More titles at: www.calistafox.com

BLURB:

Fiona Carlisle didn’t think anything could hurt as much as finding her fiancé in bed with her sister. But receiving an invitation to the happy couple’s engagement party comes a close second. Determined to prove to her family and herself that she’s moved on, Fiona has every intention of attending, looking red-hot and with an even hotter man on her arm. And there’s only one man who will do: renowned photographer and reputed playboy Michael Houston.

Fiona’s rebound fling with Michael was a brief but erotic romp. Michael has made no secret of the fact that he’s still interested. So when Fiona asks him to escort her to the engagement party, he agrees, with one condition: she must spend a sensual weekend with him picking up where they left off.

Intensely attracted to Michael, Fiona can’t resist his offer for long. But when the weekend is over, will she be able to resist giving him her heart?

*****

Multi-published, award-winning author Calista Fox (aka Ava McKnight) began her professional fiction-writing career in 2005, following an exciting career in PR, where she specialized in writing speeches and Congressional testimonies. Her books have received rave reviews, and she has won several contests with publication as the prize. She is also the recipient of Romance Reviews Today’s Best Book for its category and a Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Sci-Fi Erotic Novella. In 2007, Calista’s paranormal romance, One Wish, helped to launch the e-publishing venture for print publisher Red Sage Publishing, Inc. She is a college graduate and avid vacationer. She has traveled the country many times over by Lear and Gulfstream jets (thanks to the PR gig), always with her laptop in tow to capture intriguing story elements and exotic locales.

Let’s Talk About Sex with Doc, Honey and Inez Kelly

That is the title of the radio show in my new Carina Press release TURN IT UP. Bastian and Charlie do it with flare. Dr. Hot and the Honeypot titillate listeners in three states with funny frank talk about blow jobs and oral sex. They heat up WTXT’s airwaves but never cross that friendship line. They hide their attraction to one another behind silly radio pseudonyms and let the verbal foreplay flow in flirts and steamy banter.

They have fun with sex, dissecting it, explaining it and offering insights into human behaviors. They make it fun. Flirting is fun. It’s adult play, with innuendos and double entendres, with body language and unspoken looks. They are masters of the game, turning simple statements into sexual teases.  But one night around a campfire changes the rules. Now they aren’t flirting for ratings. They’re flirting for keeps. And suddenly talking about sex isn’t quite enough.

“I love Honey. I asked her to marry me and she told me no. So I’m asking the listeners for help. How can an uptight sawbones convince a Honeypot to marry him? Tell me some way to win her heart, to show her sex might make the world go ’round but love is what keeps it centered. She’s the center of my world. Help me make her Mrs. Doc.”

In all the years she’d known him, he’d never played so dirty. Her temples throbbed in a sudden headache, and her vision tapered until he existed only in the narrowest slits of her eyes. “Tell me you didn’t just do that.”

“I did it and I meant it. I want to marry you. And I need all the help I can get.”

Dead air, the bane of disc jockeys everywhere, reigned for several deafening seconds as her brain fried. The phone lines lit, blinking small squares in hazy yellow. In the control room, Justine was frantic, answering calls and tapping computer keys. Bastian didn’t drop his gaze, nor did she. She snapped her body back to the control console.

“Nice little bombshell you dropped, Doc. But you left out half the story. You see, listeners, Doc’s suffering from a severe case of mistaken identity. He thinks he’s a broken ATM machine. He won’t put out.”

A tawny head crashed into his hands, just visible from the corner of her gaze. It didn’t slow her impassioned speech.

“Hard to imagine, but Dr. Hot is running cold in the bedroom. So you tell me, lovers, what’s the best way to get the good doctor to drop his pants and cough it up? Because this Honeypot doesn’t buy a car she hasn’t test-driven.”

“Touché.” Unbridled laughter flavored his tone as his face creased in humor. “So it’s an on-air battle. Who will say yes first?”

“You have a male appendage, Doc. All I have to do is get naked. You’ll be screaming yes before the next show.”

“Don’t count on it, Honey. I made it through Neuroanatomy and Organic Chemistry. I can handle anything you want to dish out.”

A flicker of enjoyment skittered through her stomach, and Charlie fought a smile. Fighting with Bastian was almost as much fun as kissing him. But he wasn’t getting off easy.

“Say hello to your palm then because I’m going be on your butt like those Fruit of the Loom. Okay, then. Everyone has their assignments. Send your emails to DocandHoney, all one word, at WTXT dot com. Pick a side and make sure you put one of our names in the subject line. Send the spicy ideas to me, the sweet ones to Doc. Just remember, you catch more flies with honey, and I’m after one fly in particular.”

“News update, Honey. I’m going to catch you in my web and put a ring on your finger.”

The switch keying up the theme song nearly broke in her hand as she whirled to face him. All she saw was his empty chair and the swinging door to the broadcast room.

Buy now at Carina Press, Amazon, B & N, ARe, BoB or most other retailers.

Inez Kelley lives in the Midwest in a house affectionately called The Brady Bunch place. She spends most of her time in a cramped little office (Alice’s room) surrounded by a multitude of books, a plastic gecko and her computer. The growing horde of dust bunnies, her children’s request for meals and a never-ending laundry pile vie for her attentions.

You can visit her at her website http://inezkelley.com/ Follow Inez on twitter at @Inez_Kelley or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/inez.kelley

Who Can Resist a Kilt-Clad Rogue?

There’s something about a guy in a kilt that is quite sexy to me. Especially if the man is a rough-around-the-edges type with a five o’clock shadow and a wickedly sharp dirk hooked into his shoulder belt. Add to that a rich Scottish brogue and well, it just all comes together in a perfect package.

I adore Scotland and love to lose myself in historical romances set in the rugged Highlands or luscious green Lowlands of the country. I’ve penned eight books either set in Scotland or featuring Scottish characters. The history of Scotland is fascinating and leads itself to endless possibilities for wonderful stories filled with love, betrayal and redemption. Conflict is already built in, particularly if the two main characters are of opposing nationalities such as Scottish and English.

In my current Carina Press release, Her Kilt-Clad Rogue, I employ exactly this device, pairing my Scottish rogue with a prim and proper Englishwoman hired to teach his wayward son. I further complicate their relationship by making them have a past together. Two very different teens find themselves in love only to have their dreams shattered by an arranged marriage neither can stop. Years later they may have a second chance at love if both are able to overcome a new threat to their future.

So, how many of you are fans of Scottish romances or do you find yourself drawn to other settings such as Irish, American or exotic?

Here’s an excerpt for Her Kilt-Clad Rogue:

“Christina Douglas.” The words came out like a revered whisper. “The resemblance is remarkable.”

Genevieve offered a small curtsey. “Mrs. MacDougal said you requested it. Given that we had little time to make a costume, I agreed this was a suitable choice.”

“Aye, I’m pleased that ye saw fit to indulge me. May I request the pleasure o’ this dance?”

“Now? But what about your guests downstairs?”

Connor grinned, his teeth flashing white. “Ewan, go on down to the ball and take my place temporarily as host, would ye, lad? Miss Fitzsimmons and I will join ye in a minute. I’d have her instruct me in a dance step or two.”

“Ye want me to host?” Ewan could barely contain his excitement. “Aye, da, I can do that.” He darted down into the corridor, presumably before his father changed his mind.

“He’s a good lad.” Connor turned to Genevieve and bowed. “Shall we begin, my lady?”

Genevieve nodded, trying to still the hammering of her heart. Connor held out his arm and she took it. He slid his warm hand down her arm, leaving a trail of fire before linking fingers with her. Together they began to dance, perfectly in step with each other. After a few minutes, Genevieve spoke.

“It’s clear you don’t need any instruction.”

“‘Tis only because I have an excellent partner.” He had a bit of the devil in his blue eyes.

She couldn’t help but smile. “You are quite incorrigible. And you do realize that wearing the kilt is illegal. The King has decreed it so.”

“Really?” Connor expressed mock surprise, pressing his palm expertly against hers and stepped forward. “And are ye intending to enforce the king’s decree?”

“Of course, not. But aren’t you worried that word of this will get back to the king?”

“Are ye?”

“Certainly, I am. You are my employer after all. If you are led to the gaol, who will pay my stipend?”

His warm fingers gripped hers as they stepped side by side. An air of command exuded from him, reminding her of just how powerful and virile he was. “Is that all that concerns ye? Your stipend?”

“I would worry for the effect it would have on Ewan, of course.”

He laughed. “Ye worry for naught. ‘Tis just a costume.”

She frowned. “A costume? And just who are you supposed to be?”

“Why Black Gavin, o’ course. If ‘tis necessary, I’ll remind the English that he was the one and only Douglas loyal to the crown.”

Genevieve stopped dancing. “You’re dressed as Black Gavin?”

In one forward motion, he pulled her into his arms. This was not part of the dance. “Aye, and for tonight at least, it appears ye are my wife.” His breath felt hot against her ear. “What say ye o’ that, Genevieve?”

Check out Her Kilt-Clad Rogue

Julie’s other Carina Press novels:

NO ONE TO TRUST

NO ONE TO TRUST (audio book)

NO ONE LIVES TWICE

NO ONE LIVES TWICE (audio book)

Julie Moffett is a bestselling author and writes in the genres of historical romance, paranormal romance and mystery. She has won numerous awards, including the prestigious PRISM Award for Best Romantic Time-Travel and Best of the Best Paranormal Books of 2002. She has also garnered several nominations for the Daphne du Maurier Award and the Holt Medallion.

Feel free to keep up with her at the following social media outlets:Twitter
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DARK MAGIC AND DRAGONS with REBECCA YORK

My first Carina release is out TODAY.  It’s a novella called DARK MAGIC, and it’s set in a fantasy medieval world where a princess thinks she can save her father’s kingdom by offering herself as a virgin sacrifice to a fearsome dragon.  Only the dragon’s a shape-shifter who comes to her in the guise of a darkly handsome man bent on seduction.

That’s not exactly my typical story.  I’m known for contemporary romantic suspense, usually heavy on the paranormal.

But DARK MAGIC gave me a chance to go wild with some of my favorite fantasy elements.  Like dragons.  I first fell in love with them when I visited China several years ago.  They’re all over the place, much more a part of contemporary life than they could ever be here in the U.S.

In Shanghai, we were shown a tall building with a huge hole carved out of the side.  Why?  The guide said that the architect consulted a Feng Shui expert who told him the building would block the route of a dragon who flew down every night from the mountains to the sea.  After being apprised of the problem, the architect changed his plans to include a hole for the dragon to fly through.  I’m not making this up.

I saw lots of dragons in China.  Made of stone, wood, precious jewels, cloth, painted on walls.  Some of the favorite items I brought home are my dragon tee shirts.  Did you know that in China dragons don’t breathe fire?  Instead they breath cool, protective mist.  Quite different from our Western concept.  And traditional Chinese medicine sometimes prescribes powdered dragon bones.  (Probably they’re really dinosaur bones, but I’m not going to tell them.)

My princess is another matter.  She’s from the world of fairy tales and my imagination.  And like any heroine I write, she’s the perfect match for my dragon-shifter.  He thinks he’s going to bend her to his will.  But he’s got another think coming.  After she learns his agenda, my princess is too determined to let him set the rules for their relationship.  And he’s going to find out that giving in to her is the best decision he ever made.

Do you like dragon-shifters as sexy heroes?  Or do you have some other favorite hero type you’d like to tell us about?

Twitter:      rebeccayork43

Facebook:    Ruth Glick

Web Site:    www.rebeccayork.com

Excerpt of DARK MAGIC:  http://www.rebeccayork.com/index.php?p=1_102