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Erin Quinn and THE FIVE DEATHS OF ROXANNE LOVE with giveaway

Throughout history, reapers have been portrayed with images of skeletal, hooded beings with wicked scythes, long boney fingers and vengeful demeanors.  Pretty much the opposite of sexy.

Needless to say, the reaper in The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love is not that.  The Angel of Death who comes to reap Roxanne Love is a sentient being who feels he’s been cheated by her one too many times.  Roxanne is a miracle, you see.  She has died and been brought back three times in her life so far.  On the eve of her fourth death, the reaper decides that the only way to make sure she stays dead this time, is to come in person and do the deed himself.

He uses Santo Castillo—a grief-stricken police detective about to put an end to his own life to accomplish the task.  The Reaper delivers Santo’s soul to its next destination, but he keeps the body for himself.  Impersonating the detective, the Reaper tracks down Roxanne.  But when he finds her, he discovers the task at hand is not so easy.  Now he has emotions to deal with and once he comes face-to-face with Roxanne, those emotions tell him to help her, not kill her.

Now nothing is clear for Santo.  Is he a man or is he an agent of death playing dress up?  Can he trust the emotions he’s never felt before?  Or should he deny everything he feels?

Here’s a little taste of the dilemmas this reaper faces:

He’d crossed from the Beyond, breaking the laws of the Otherworld to experience her death on both planes. He’d fantasized about it, waiting impatiently for the call that her time had arrived once again.

His plan had been simple. Fire for them both. End it all with flames that would destroy her human body at the same time it devoured the one he’d taken. It was easy. Clean. Irrevocable.

So why didn’t he act?

Was it because he’d seen her now with human vision that discerned detail and dimension he’d never known as a reaper? Vision that perceived nuance and sensitivity? He’d watched the easy grace of her movements. Gazed spellbound at the way the light played off her creamy skin, glinted in the golds and rich browns of her hair. He’d caught her scent and it had twisted something inside him, making him want more.

Then she’d looked into his eyes and he’d felt . . .alive.

“Fuck,” he muttered, liking the vulgar way the human word rolled off his tongue.

It made no sense, the knot of rage and uncertainty lodged just beneath his breastbone. Human emotions as invasive as a strangling vine. As dreaded as a reaper at a wedding.

Carefully, he settled Roxanne in the passenger seat of the vehicle, then shrugged out of his jacket and pulled it around her. She’d be cold when she came back.

He circled Santo’s vehicle and got in on the other side. Gripping the steering wheel, he flexed his muscles, fighting the urge to strike out at something, anything.

In those first few hours after he’d taken the human, he’d felt trapped by the awkward form, but now the flesh and bone he’d stolen no longer felt heavy and cumbersome. It felt strong, powerful. A finely tuned machine of muscle and will.

Yet he was helpless to do anything but wait as he battled his doubt.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt and decide to take the journey with Roxanne and Santo!

Erin is giving away a digital backlist title, winner’s choice, to one (1) lucky commenter!  Sounds like Santo/Reaper~Agent of Death does have a problem.  What do you think of taking a figure like a Reaper and making them a hero?   I’m all for it myself…giveaway ends @12am est 9-1-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter.

Erin Quinn is an award winning author who writes romance for the thinking reader. Her books have been called “riveting,” “brilliantly plotted” and “beautifully written” and have won, placed or showed in the Booksellers Best, WILLA Award for Historical fiction, the Orange Rose, Readers Crown, Golden Quill, Best Books, and Award of Excellence. Go to www.erinquinnbooks.com for more information or follow Erin on Facebook or Twitter.

PLAYING CHASE by Julie Prestsater with rafflecopter giveaway

 
There are many words that have been used to describe Chase Marino: cheater, backstabber, dirt bag, heart breaker. He earned those titles cheating on his high school love Shelly and his co-worker Summer. He broke both their hearts and knows it’s his lot in life to make it up to them somehow. But while the ladies intend to make his life miserable, Chase is pretty good at doing it to himself. With his dad around treating him like a frat brother rather than a son, it’s easy for Chase to beat himself up over the shameful mistakes he made in the past.

That is until Tiffany Gutierrez, the new student teacher arrives. Feeling an immediate attraction to the young beauty Chase does everything in his power to fight it and do the right thing for once. But when Tiffany shows the attraction is mutual all bets are off. Chase soon realizes that while he’s teaching Tiffany how to be a good teacher, he’s learning a thing or two from her as well. Maybe it’s time to move on and let go of the past and realize that he may just deserve a real shot at love. 
   

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Julie is a high school teacher by day, and a writer by night. She writes both young adult and adult romances. When she’s not writing, she can be found out and about with her family, reading, and watching football. As a reading intervention teacher, she prides herself on matching her students with great books to encourage them to become life-long readers.   Visit Julie at her website.   Follow Julie on Twitter @juliepbooks.

NICE GIRL TO LOVE complete with giveaways

The • Nice • Girl n. 1. female of the species who never does anything or anyone bad: Hands-off, she’s a nice girl. 2. the woman that men take home to meet mom: Find my son a ‘nice girl to love.’ SEE ALSO: a good girl; girl scout; Abby Bartlett

This is the complete Nice Girl to Love serial romance collection, which contains: Resisting the Bad Boy (Book One), Falling for the Good Guy (Book Two), and Choosing the Right Man (Book Three).   

THE ONE SHE NEVER THOUGHT SHE COULD KEEP…  

Abby Bartlett is the quintessential nice girl. Between teaching, volunteering, completing her PhD, and helping her best friend raise his daughter, Abby never gets the chance to be anything but nice. That is, until the all-wrong-for-her man she’s only ever known from afar starts daring her to simply take that chance for herself. His sage advice? Try something wild and fast.  Preferably him.

An unbridled, hotshot attorney with a not-so-little black book, Connor Sullivan has earned himself quite the bad boy reputation. But in his defense, he’s a very conscientious one. He knows far too well that sometimes in life, love isn’t enough…or worse, not even a factor at all. To avoid that misery–and repel the drama–Connor has a firm ‘nothing over a month’ rule.  Who knew a nice girl would be the one to make him want to break all his rules?    

THE ONE SHE NEVER HOPED SHE COULD HAVE…  

Abby is well aware that everyone thinks she’s in love with her best friend Brian. He is, after all, the type of man a nice girl should be with—the polar opposite of the bad boy—the kind of guy who didn’t let his wife’s decade-long illness stop him from showering her with a lifetime of love every second until her dying day. But everyone’s wrong; she couldn’t possibly be in love with him.  Because she’s never once allowed herself that option.

It’s taken a while but Brian has finally come to terms with surviving the woman he spent half his life loving, a third of it losing. Truth is though, he wouldn’t have ‘survived’ any of it really had it not been for Abby—sweet, incredible Abby—the woman he’s never once had to picture his life without, never realized he couldn’t truly live without. Until now. Now that he’s finally able to love her the way she deserves, the way he knows she wants to be loved…by his brother.  Who’s giving him exactly one chance to speak now or forever hold his peace.     

A DECISION SHE NEVER DREAMED SHE’D HAVE TO MAKE…  

And now it’s up to Abby to decide between the bad boy wanting to start a life with her and the good guy fighting for the life they’ve already built.

Connor leaned back, stuffed, and frankly surprised at how good of a time he was having simply talking with Abby.  “Doesn’t sound like you have that much time for yourself.  What do you do for fun?”

She got up to grab them another two beers from the kitchen.  “Honestly, I’m a homebody.  Never got into the nightlife scene here.  Plus, by the time I was twenty-one, I was basically babysitting Skylar all day every weekend, and nearly all my weeknights.  Since that pretty much carried on clear until last year, I guess my idea of fun is hanging out with her.  Lame, I know.”

He felt like he was talking to a martian.  He hadn’t realized she’d spent even more time babysitting Skylar than he had.  And he knew for a fact—from Brian’s complaints about it—that she hadn’t taken a single cent from them for babysitting.

For God’s sakes, she was just so nice.

“So you don’t do anything just for yourself?  Just for fun?”

“Well, I have been privately executing my mission to learn how to cook the most beloved dishes from every country in the world,” she returned with a smile.  “That’s fun.”

It was possible baby bluebirds helped her get dressed in the morning.

She was just that sweet.

“You’re driving me crazy.”  He swept an arm around her waist and lifted her right up onto his lap.

“Connor!”

He slid a hand into her hair, rubbed a thumb over her heated cheekbone as he brought his lips to within inches of hers.  “I shouldn’t want you this much.  You’re everything I’m not, and I’m everything you couldn’t possibly want.  I know I should leave you alone, but I just can’t.  I can’t stop myself from wanting you.”

Her breathing had grown so erratic, he was actually starting to get concerned.  “Say something, sweetheart.  I’m baring my soul here.”

“I shouldn’t want you either,” she whispered, “but I do.”

His arms locked around her, instinctively staking a claim on her.  Mine.

For now.

The two words were his only anchor keeping him in the reality he maintained for himself.  He had to be brutally honest with her, with them both.  “I meant what I said earlier, Abby.  I’m never going to break my one-month rule.”  Feeling like the lowest piece of scum, he hammered that last nail in, “Not for anyone.  Not even you.”

She was silent for a long while, and Connor started preparing himself for the rejection to come.

“I know our fifteen minutes of friendship are up but can I ask you something as a friend?  Will you answer me as one?”

He tensed.  “I’ll try.”

She chuckled.  “Again with the copout.”  Raising her warm doe eyes up to his, she asked quietly, “If you weren’t trying to get in my pants, if you were just my friend and I asked you what one thing I could do to stop being ‘a nice girl’ for just a little while, what advice would you give me?”

That was easy.  “I’d tell you to try something new.  Something that excites you.  Something that’ll take you from zero to sixty just as fast as it could take you back to zero whenever you were ready to return.”

“Something wild and fast…”  She loosened her death grip on his shoulders, slid her hands down his back slowly.  “That’s good advice.”

He saw her gaze travel down to his lips and it took everything he had not to kiss her right then and there.

“Are you volunteering, Connor?  To be that something wild and fast for me to try?”

“No,” he replied raggedly, “I’m insisting.  Requiring.”  He dropped his forehead against hers.  “Asking.”

Her eyelids dipped down, veiling her reaction from him.

And so he waited.

“I can’t do a whole month with you.”

He blinked in surprise.  That, he hadn’t been expecting.  “Why not?!”

“It’s too long.”

Well, he did ask.

A touch indignant, he argued, “You said you don’t do one night stands.  Now you’re saying a month is too long?”  He knew he was getting overly worked up but he couldn’t help it, she was being irrational.  His brain started firing on all pistons, every combat cell in his body taking a front seat like they always did when he was about to do battle in the courtroom.  “Or is it just one month with me that’s too long?”

She flinched.

He felt thoroughly insulted.

“It’s not how you’re making it.  Being with you would be like…ice cream.  The most decadent ice cream I could ever imagine.  I’d be hooked after the first bite.  And if I didn’t discipline myself, I’d…overindulge.”

“Until it made you sick?”  He wasn’t really good with metaphors.

A smiled peeked through.  “No, until it was all I’d want to eat, all day, every day.”

What the hell was wrong with that?  “And if you overindulge on the ice cream…”

“I’d be in a sugar coma, incapable of doing or thinking of anything else.  But you.”

Call him a bastard but hearing that felt good.

 

Violet is giving away a signed print copy of NICE GIRL TO LOVE to one (1) lucky commenter.  Do you think a good boy can be bad or do you prefer the bad boy all the way?  Giveaway ends @12am est 8-30-13.

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A former professor of English Education at the University of Hawai’i, Violet does in fact miss teaching terribly but is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels. When she’s not catering to the whims of her story characters or feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, she enjoys tackling reno projects with her power tools while trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first and cooking ‘special edition’ dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. Violet lives in Hawai’i with her two cute kids and similarly adorable husband.

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8/19/2013
We Love Kink
Tiffany Craig
8/20/2013
Dear Brighton 
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
8/21/2013
Kindlehooked
Jelena’s Book Blog 
8/22/2013
Rachel Brimble Romance 
What’s On the Bookshelf 
8/23/2013
Simply Ali 
8/26/2013
#BookNerd 
Manic Readers Guest Author blog 
8/27/2013
My Book Muse 
8/28/2013
The World As I See It 
Reading Past My Bedtime 
8/29/2013
Love N Books 
Stitch Read Cook
8/30/2013
Tattooed Book Review
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RH's Loveswept and Ruthie Knox partner with Wattpad

New serialization from romance rising star Ruthie Knox
Loveswept, Random House’s digital-first romance imprint, announces an innovative digital publishing partnership with Wattpad, the world’s largest online community for reading and sharing stories. TRULY, the first novel in a brand new romance series from USA Today bestselling Loveswept author Ruthie Knox, will make its debut as a free serialized story on Wattpad this Fall before the complete ebook is published by Loveswept in August 2014.
Several chapters from TRULY will be posted each week beginning September 3, 2013, building up to the story’s conclusion onNovember 4.  Knox’s fans and new readers from the Wattpad community will have advance access to TRULY and will be invited to help Loveswept choose the cover that goes on the final ebook edition. The Loveswept and Wattpad collaboration also provides a unique social experience and opportunity for readers to discover and engage directly with the author, instantly and from anywhere because of Wattpad’s mobile-friendly platform.
“Wattpad’s innovative approach to content creation and distribution has attracted millions of voracious readers from all over the globe,” said Allison Dobson, V.P., Business Development & Digital Publishing Director at Random House. “Everyone who reads Ruthie Knox, loves Ruthie Knox; so we are particularly excited to introduce her to the Wattpad community through this new partnership.”
“Wattpad is such a great platform for storytellers to share their work with readers in a community setting,” added Knox. “I can’t wait to see readers’ reactions to the work and build excitement week by week!”
TRULY is the first of Knox’s New York series, which will consist of three full-length contemporary romances that revolve around Pulvermacher’s, a Green Bay Packers-themed bar in Greenwich Village, and the Big Apple and Cheesehead couples who meet there. The following books in the series will be published as full ebooks; MADLY in October 2014 andCOMPLETELY in December 2014.
 
 
ABOUT LOVESWEPT
Originally a Bantam imprint that helped launch the careers of romance authors such as Janet Evanovich, Sandra Brown and Iris Johansen, Loveswept relaunched in 2011 as the first digital-first romance imprint Random House, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Loveswept publishes the best and brightest voices in romantic fiction and delivers those stories directly to digitally-savvy readers. For more information, visit ReadLoveswept.com.
ABOUT WATTPAD
Wattpad is a community of 16 million active readers. It’s the best place to read and share stories on the web and across every mobile device. Everyday millions of people discover great fiction on Wattpad or share their own creative writing spanning mystery/thriller, romance, sci-fi, poetry, fan fiction and more. Think: YouTube of Books!  It’s a new way to connect directly with the people writing your favorite stories and for writers to reach the next generation of readers.

Passions Poison by Lexi Post with Giveaway

Passion’s Poison is an erotic romance that was inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” I know, it is a little strange that I am inspired to write explicit sexy romances from classic literature, but it works for me (shrugs). What I didn’t like about the original story was that Beatrice Rappaccini had no female relatives, just her mad-scientist dad, so in Passion’s Poison, my Beatrice, a descendent of the original, has a mother and a grandmother.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s all wine and roses for Bea. Due to the poisonous nature of the Rappaccini women, each generation handles the problem differently. When Rappaccini women hit puberty, their bodies start to generate poisons that will kill them if they don’t detoxify by having intercourse with men. These men then get sick, and if any of the women have sex with one man too many times, she will kill him.

Bea’s mom, Susan, named after the Black-eyed Susan flower, has taken on the hippie lifestyle even though it was gone before she was a teenager. She has had 4- 6 regular men take turns keeping her alive.  But Susan’s priorities are a bit mixed up, a situation her own mother is well aware of. Grandma Beatrice is living in a retirement community and loving it. She is the first of their line to live long enough to see her grandchild grown, mainly thanks to Viagra. She is a straight-shooter and doesn’t mince words when Bea has some tough questions.

Of course, Grandma Beatrice and Susan don’t always get along, and Bea has some real issues with her mother’s way of thinking, so conflicts arise. Throw in Zach, the hero who is a chainsaw artist, Bea’s six fathers, a police officer, an old flame, and things practically explode. Hmm, maybe Hawthorne had it right to begin with. Just Beatrice, her dad, and the man she loved.  Then again, that Beatrice died and my Bea makes it to a happily ever after.

How is your relationship with your mom, grandmother, sister? Do you ever have conflict? I will give one lucky person an ecopy of Passion’s Poison. So come on, dish.

Always, Lexi

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Zach nudged his empty plate aside.

As he began to sketch, Bea’s curiosity piqued. She finished half her sandwich and pushed her plate away so she could lean forward for a better view. “I saw a sketch of raccoons in your shop. Can you do something that nice?”

He didn’t look at her, his attention fixed on his drawing.

Her gaze wandered from the paper to his face. His brows moved inward, revealing deep lines of concentration. His eyes were a dark green and heavy-lidded, which to her mind was a winning bedroom combination. He had a straight nose, strong and masculine, but his lips were to die for. They were dark with a lot of stubble around them and supported by a square jaw. Thankfully, he had no cleft in his chin. She despised that model look.

He turned the pad toward her. “Here are a few options. If I stay with the lake theme, I could do fish jumping, or reeds, or a mermaid, though I admit to being less than stellar with female faces. The chainsaw doesn’t like them.”

His quick grin had warmth spreading from her neck to her toes. His eyes shone with good humor and she wanted to revel in their merriment. But he broke eye contact and pointed to a few other rough sketches.

“Or I could do beaver, black bear, or…” He hesitated.

She leaned closer to get a better look at the pad. The faint scent of musk floated toward her.

He met her gaze, their faces mere inches apart, and all she wanted was for him to kiss her.

His eyes were full of excitement, but for her or the carving? She couldn’t read him, which drove her crazy. Her own attraction overrode all her normal senses.

He grinned. “How about a birch tree? I could have a beaver at the bottom in the process of gnawing it down while a downy woodpecker yells at him from a branch above. I think it would blend well with the inn’s surroundings and yet stand out as a story in itself.”

Bea swallowed. His face glowed with energy and vitality. She couldn’t resist.

She leaned forward and kissed him.

 

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Is He an Alpha or Just an A** with Declan Sands

Romance readers love strong men. Arguably the most important aspect of a romance novel is hitting the right note with your hero. Readers want heroes who are alphas. Strength is sexy to most people, which is why soldiers, firemen, and cops are automatically elevated to hero status in romance stories.

So, are you susceptible to the alpha male?

Let’s do a little test. You are a contestant on a couple-matching game show. Through a series of questions, the field of bachelors has been whittled down to 2 men. Both are attractive. Both are clean and well-spoken. However, Bachelor #1 wants to be a house-husband. He promises to cook and clean house, and then rub his lover’s feet when he/she comes home after a long day of work. Bachelor #2, works hard all day conquering his little piece of the world and then comes home to sweep his lover off his/her feet and create mind-blowing sex. He cooks steaks on the grill but not much else, and his idea of cleaning is throwing his sexy, silk boxers into the laundry basket.

Now, I realize the idea of having somebody clean and cook for you is damn tempting. But is that really what you want in a man? I would choose Bachelor #2, because I like the alpha male. I think men were meant to be strong and conquering. And though I definitely believe women can and should be strong and independent, a strong woman deserves a strong man—one who can keep her on her toes (as well as curl those toes when the lights are turned down low #:0).

But when does strong become overbearing? It’s a fine line in romance fiction. One person’s alpha can be another person’s jerk. We want a man who is decisive and knows how to get things done. But we don’t want him telling us what to do or taking decisions away from us. He should be strong enough to know when to let his partner stand tall, while he stands behind him/her in support. He isn’t afraid to let his softer side show, or too politically correct to be strong when necessary. Walking that line can be tricky, both in fiction and in real life. But certain basics must always hold true. An alpha male doesn’t let anybody mess with his friends and loved ones and he’ll fight to the death to protect them. He might make mistakes, but in the end he always does the right thing, even when it’s hard to do. And he might not be rich or famous, but he rocks the bedroom, keeping his lover’s needs foremost in his mind.

An impossible standard for any man to reach? Maybe. Maybe not. But if you don’t have an ideal to shoot for, you might just end up with the ass!

Happy Reading everybody!

 

SIZZLED – M/M, M/F Erotic Sci-fi/Paranormal

Intergalactic intrigue, sizzling sexual tension, and a giant snake shifter to be vanquished. Things are never dull.

Enjoying much-deserved R&R on the black sand beaches of the ruling Authority’s planet Enitrus, Cliff Blood is not happy when his brother Matt and his lover Rum show up to spoil his vacay with bad news. It seems Brand Lotus, evil snake-villain with a plan to take over Earth by force, has been discovered heading back to Earth, and he’s targeting the Bloods’ favorite cops.

Problem is, the Blood boys aren’t going to make it back to Earth before Lotus gets there, so Littlejohn and Petra have to fend for themselves, while negotiating a new development in their relationship that already has them slightly off-balance.

Book Page

Other books in the series:

DUSTED
FORKED
ROASTED

Declan Sands writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Declan has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

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Former marine biologist Toni Anderson's DARK WATERS with giveaways

Dark-Waters

How do you go from marine biologist to author and do you ever miss it and the travel?

The bridge between marine biologist and author was motherhood, and writing kept me sane. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being home with my babies, but my brain started to atrophy and digging into writing gave me an outlet for my mind that didn’t involve diapers or teletubbies. I started writing when I was still a marine biologist, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant that I had time to dedicate myself to learning everything I could about the process. After my daughter was born, I wrote when she slept.

I’m lucky to be married to another (shark) biologist and so I’m still surrounded by that world and by garrulous hard-working, hard-partying scientists (that would be the biology department—any biology department!). Our family regularly travels to marine stations around the world (hence both DANGEROUS WATERS and DARK WATERS being set in Bamfield, near the Bamfield Marine Science Center).
Is there a genre, other than romantic suspense, you’d like to try?

I once tried to write a straight contemporary romance and really struggled with not killing anyone. RS is my favorite genre to read and to write, so not really. However that could always change. Everyone changes. Never say never, but I’d have to absolutely love the story idea to try anything else.

What are the hardest and easiest parts of writing for you?

Hardest part… Seriously? Honestly? The pay. If I earned a 100K tomorrow I’ve still average less than 8K a year over the last 13 years. And, no, I don’t have a 100K paycheck in the mail :). The pay makes it hard to stick at writing. I’m lucky I have a supportive partner and a friendly banker 🙂

The easiest part… There are no easy parts. I love managing my own time, I love being my own boss (aside from editors). I love the camaraderie of writers and the joy of meeting readers who enjoy my work. I love the process of writing, even the pulling-your-hair-out days. But I really don’t think it’s easy. Does it beat working in a factory? Definitely. But there’s no way it is easy.

If you get the urge to write then go for it. There is nothing more satisfying or more addictive. And who knows—maybe you’ll find it easy:

Thanks so much for having me today!

 

It may be summer, but schoolteacher Anna Silver’s trip to the coastal town of Bamfield is anything but a vacation. She’s on the run, desperate to stay one step ahead of her father’s murderer and determined to track down the one man she’s been told to trust: her father’s old cell mate, Brent Carver. But when she finds him, she discovers not a kind, elderly artist but a dangerously hot alpha male with blood on his hands.

Loyal to the core, Brent would never turn away his friend’s daughter when she comes seeking help. He can’t deny Anna his protection…just as he can’t deny the instantaneous attraction he struggles to keep in check. But as their passion blazes out of control, a sadistic killer is on the hunt to stop Anna from uncovering his dark secrets.

Amazon             Amazon.ca     Amazon.co.uk      Amazon.de      Amazon.fr      BAM!      McNally Robinson     Chapters Indigo        B&N

 

In addition to the Amazon gift card below Toni is giving one commenter a digital from her backlist, their choice.

Are you a fan of the ocean, lakes etc or do you prefer a pool? 

Giveaway ends @12am est 8-23-13.  Time’s short on this one so don’t miss your chance.

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Brent Carver lay in bed listening to the surf outside his open window. The rhythmic pounding pulse helped calm the ragged unset­tled feeling that clawed inside him. Sometimes it even let him sleep. Not tonight.

He shifted restlessly, sweat damp on his skin. The west coast was getting a blistering-hot summer that had him thanking God he wasn’t stuck in that shithole prison, sweating it out with a few hundred of his least best friends. He sat up in bed and swiped irritably at his too long hair.

Gina had liked it long.

Damn.

He’d spent the past year trying not to think about Gina, or her murder, and yet memories snuck past his guard all the time. Her smile, her giving nature, her unwavering dedication to his undeserving ass. When he’d broken things off with her, he’d hoped she’d finally move on. Find herself a man she could marry and have babies she could spoil. But things hadn’t worked out that way, and no one regretted it more than he did.

He whipped back the covers and padded naked to the open window that faced the Pacific. It took a moment for his heartbeat to stop hammering. A moment for the burn in his chest to ease. At nearly forty years old, he’d spent half his life in prison and would never get enough of breathing in the fresh clean air of freedom.

The dark water before him stretched like a smooth satin sheet all the way to the horizon. But the calm tranquility was an illusion that disguised deceptive currents and gigantic swells, cold depths and wicked storm surges.

That ocean called to him—it always had. This sliver of coast was what he’d missed locked up in his cell for so many years. Not peace. Not serenity. Not pissing in a private bathroom. Huge rollers crashing home. Elements clashing like titans in his backyard. The abandon. The wildness. The energy. Prison had squeezed the need for that energy into a tiny corner of his mind and tortured him with it in his dreams. When he’d gotten out, he’d spent two days just staring at the ocean. This was where he belonged. This was where he needed to be. And no one was ever going to take it from him again. Being caged, being imprisoned, had almost wiped him out of existence, and the worst thing was—it was his own damn fault. He’d taken a life and gotten what he deserved.

He’d been out four years now, but the smells, the memories, the sense of watching his back, was ingrained, tattooed on his brain like most cons wore ink. He’d found his salvation in a tal­ent for painting, enough of a talent that he could afford a kick-ass mansion anywhere in the world. But he’d returned here, to the small remote strip of land on the western edge of Vancouver Island. The scene of the crime and the only home he’d ever known.

Maybe he should buy a yacht, learn to sail. But that sort of aimless wandering didn’t appeal and his parole officer probably wouldn’t approve either. He rubbed his aching neck muscles and headed downstairs for a drink. He’d finish that last piece for the exhibition.

Exhibition.

He shook his head in disbelief. Some fancy-schmancy museum in New York was giving him an exhibition. He opened the fridge and pulled out a beer and popped the top. His agent had worked some serious magic, wrangling that mother. Only trouble was the gallery wanted the elusive and mysterious B.C. Wilkinson to turn up in person to the opening. His agent had even taken care of a passport and special visa requirements.

Yeah, right. He snorted. No fucking way. Still, Brent had learned years ago that it was easier to do what he wanted and beg forgiveness later. Not that he dealt much in forgiveness. Gina’s image smiled sweetly inside his head, but she was dead—stabbed to death by a homicidal maniac last year—and thinking about her wouldn’t bring her back.

His fist tightened around the neck of the bottle and he resisted the urge to hurl it at the wall. Prison had taught him iron control—he just hadn’t realized how much he’d need it on the outside. He headed onto his back porch, buck naked and glad of the fresh ocean breeze that cooled his overheated body. His nearest neighbor lived a quarter of a mile away, out of sight, over the bluff. This region was too remote for passersby and anyone with a boat would moor it in a sheltered cove, not at the mercy of Barkley Sound’s treacherous grasp. The moon was cloaked behind restless clouds that billowed like smoke across the sky. He was just about to sit his ass down when he saw a shadow flitter near the woods.

He had visitors?

No fucking way.

In prison he’d received enough death threats to take serious precautions with his safety. When some of the local thugs had been arrested last year, he’d let down his guard and thought the danger was over. He’d obviously thought wrong. What if it was his brother, Finn? Or the cops? He pressed his lips together. Finn knew better than to spook him and the cops had no reason to be sniffing around.

Something was going on.

No one made social calls on Brent Carver—no one without a death wish. He lived on a peninsula that, due to the rugged terrain, was only accessible by boat. There were about thirty locals living on this side of the inlet, but they were more likely to hand-feed rabid wolves than drop in for a beer.

Did his visitor know he was out here?

Leaving the bottle on the deck, he carefully slipped over the side of the porch and melted into the night. It was pitch-black in the woods, but he’d grown up here and knew every tree and hol­low. He made his way along the side of the shed and ducked into the forest. Over the last year, he’d gradually stopped listening to the scanner for signs of trouble, stopped keeping firearms in the house. He’d gotten soft, but not stupid. Silently he dropped to his knees beside a massive Sitka spruce that was technically on his neighbor’s property. If she found out about his little cache, she’d be pissed. He swept dirt and dead needles off the top of a waterproof box he’d sunk into the ground, and removed his SIG Sauer. He replaced the lid and covered it as best he could in the dark. He got his bearings, and found the tree where he’d hidden his ammo. He grabbed a magazine and headed up to the road, circling around. He inched down an old trail and came up behind where the shadow had been.

Darkness cloaked the clearing where his house sat but his night vision was sharp. And damned if the woman—put a man in prison long enough and he could spot a female blindfolded at twenty paces—wasn’t climbing his porch steps shining her flashlight around the place like a laser show. Maybe she was a thief? Maybe someone had figured out Brent Carver was B.C. Wilkinson and sitting on a shedload of very expensive artwork? Then she knocked on his back door.

What the…?

He rubbed his hand over his brow. He was stark naked except for his gun, and now some woman was standing on his deck? He hoped to hell she wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness because she was about to have a come-to-Jesus moment.

But she could still be armed and dangerous. He’d pissed off enough bad guys in the joint to be wary of anyone turning up in the middle of the night. Hell, no one visited here, period.

“Hello?” She pressed her ear to his door. “Mr. Carver?” she said louder. Her shoulders sagged when no one answered.

He didn’t recognize her voice. He moved fast and silent across the clearing, padded up the stairs just as she reached for the doorknob.

“You’re trespassing.”

She jolted, her hand going to her heart as she spun to face him. “Oh, my God. You scared me.”

Never admit fear.

“I don’t like visitors, lady.”

Her flashlight dipped and then shot back to his face, almost blinding him. She swallowed, taking in his lack of clothes and keeping her eyes north of the hot spots. “You’re naked.”

“I was in bed.” He didn’t know why he needed to explain himself.

Her voice came out like gravel. “I’m looking for Brent Carver.”

“I’m looking for peace and quiet. Looks like we’re both screwed.”

“You’re Brent?” Her free hand slipped into her bag and he grabbed her wrist and pinned her against his door before she could get the drop on him. She went ballistic and tried to whack him with the flashlight. He jerked it out of her fingers and threw it behind them. She felt tiny and delicate, crushed between him and that solid piece of oak, although her lungs were in full working order.

Shit, his ears hurt.

“No one will hear you, so you might as well stow it.” She jammed one hand against his chin, squirming like an eel, then went for gold by trying to knee him in the nuts. He deflected the attack and pressed her tighter against the door, wedging her there with his body. She barely came up to his chin but fought like a wild thing. “Want to tell me who you are and why you’re knock­ing on my door in the middle of the night?” He concentrated on making sure he didn’t injure her while he tried to check out what she was going for in her purse.

She scratched sharp fingernails down his arm, drew in a breath to scream even louder. Her breasts pushed against his chest, which would have worked for him in a big way if she wasn’t so goddamn terrified. Sonofa-fucking-bitch.

Why me?

He had nowhere to stick his gun so he removed the pocketbook from her fingers and stepped back, keeping a wary eye on her bloodthirsty knee. She stood there stunned, trembling, and breathing heavily. He didn’t think it had anything to do with his dazzling good looks.

“You bastard.” Her chin snapped up. “You aren’t Brent Carver.”

He cocked a brow. “What makes you say that?” He searched her bag, more by touch than sight in the darkness. A cell phone, wallet, keys, tampons, tissues. No gun or shank.

“He’s a respectable painter. He’s not some nutcase who runs about in the middle of the night, waving around a gun, among other things,” she muttered darkly. “Attacking innocent, defenseless women.”

The scratches on his arm stung enough for him to snort out a laugh at that. Her eyes narrowed. He watched moonlight flow over her features, fine boned and delicate, except for the tight clench of her jaw.

There was no obvious threat in her pocketbook, but it didn’t mean he should let his guard down. He needed clothes. For some crazy reason, he was getting a little turned on by Miss Prim and Proper telling him who and what he was. It was probably being naked and within a hundred yards of anything two legged and female, but he didn’t want to scare her any more than he had already. He wasn’t a hound. Nor was he under any illusion about what she thought might happen when he grabbed her. Someone had jumped him in the shower once and lost their eye for the trouble. Hell, most people thought he was evil incarnate and that was the way he liked it. He reached past her and opened the door. “Inside. Now.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you.” She tried to dodge aside.

He grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her across his threshold. “You want to meet Brent? I’ll take you to him.” Her eyes were so huge with fear she looked like she’d been electrocuted. But she’d come to him, she had to play by his rules.

My thoughts on DARK WATERS

While working late Davis Silver discovers millions of dollars being moved using his access code.  Having already served time for a crime he didn’t commit Davis gets all the info he can and quickly hides the money until he can reach the FBI.  He mails the info as added protection but never makes it to the FBI.   Moments before his death he makes a frantic warning call to his daughter, Anna, telling her the only one she can trust is Brent Carver, his cell mate for five years.  When police come to tell Anna her father is dead she takes her dad’s advice and hightails it to Brent.

Brent is reclusive and doesn’t particularly care for people.  When Anna shows up unexpectedly on his door step he has no choice. Davis was like a father and one of the few friends Brent ever had.  A man of his word, Brent will do what’s necessary to protect Anna.

Davis Silver, ex-con and convicted embezzler. Davis has always claimed his innocence.  He’s Anna’s dad, Brent’s former cell mate and ex-husband to Katherine. Davis was given an accounting job at a charitable foundation for veterans in Chicago formed and run by a former general.  Even in his absence Davis impacts the characters and events.  His desperate actions set everything in motion.

Brent Carver, lifer for murder and celebrated artist.  Brent may no longer be in prison but he’s still a lifer.  He has to report to his parole officer regularly for life.  The smallest infraction can have him returned to prison.  Brent is proof that justice is often blind in the worst possible way. Davis was like a father to Brent while he in turn protected Davis in prison.  Brent came to know Anna via her letters to Davis.  Brent is handsome, loyal, and possesses a moral integrity most law abiding citizens would envy.  His guilt-o-meter also works overtime. I admired and liked Brent for so many reasons.  He’s a wonderful hero.

Flinn, Brent’s little brother and former soldier.

Holly, police officer and Flinn’s fiancée.  Holly’s father is highly placed in the force.

Anna Silver,Davis’ daughter and our heroine.  Anna is a school teacher in Washington State.  Anna has deep seated issues stemming from events that occurred on her prom night.  Anna always wrote to Davis in prison and has seen him since his release and move to Chicago; however I didn’t really like Anna. By the end she was tolerable but I never completely warmed to her.  She believed in her dad enough to run to Brent, a complete stranger, but never in his innocence.  She never gave him the benefit of the doubt yet she made excuses for her mother’s failure to be there at one of her darkest moments.  Nor did I care for the way she judged and behaved toward Brent in the beginning despite the fact that she went to him.  There was also at least one incident she teetered on the edge of TSTL for me.

Katherine Silver Plantain, former wife to Davis, current wife to Ed and Anna’s mother.  In spite of how much she claimed to love Davis she never supported or believed him.  Then she commits the ultimate betrayal.   She grows a spine but for me it was too little too late.

Ed Plantain, Katherine’s current husband.

Barbara and Harvey, a couple Ed and Katherine meet on their cruise.

The main bad guys:

Petrie, tech and computer whiz.  I wasn’t impressed with Petrie’s skill. He was a bit slow on the intel and electronic trail. For their organization to be so accomplished they came off a bit inept.

Rand, lead mercenary and killer. Rand has cold-blooded meanness down pat. He ruthless, unfeeling, enjoys causing pain, and would just as soon kill you as look at you.  He’s “attracted” to Anna.  Having Rand desire you isn’t a good thing.  I actually felt for Anna on this point.

Other readers may not feel the same but obviously Anna and Katherine’s lack of faith in Davis bothered me.  There was no justification for them to doubt his word.  He wasn’t a bad father or husband, abusive or a habitual liar.  Though I did have a few issues there was a lot about DARK WATER I enjoyed.  The characters were relatable and interesting.  The suspense, action and love scenes were well done.  I really got into the exciting climactic confrontation near the end.  There are several characters that, for grins and giggles, I’d like to see how and where they wind up in the future.  Who knows, there’s always the chance Anna and Katherine will grow into characters I could consider liking.

3.5 stars

8/6/2013

Reading Between the Wines 
Cocktails and Books 
Hesperia Loves Books

8/7/2013
We Love Kink 
Tattooed Book Review 
Love N. Books

8/8/2013
Busy Moms Book Reviews 
Twinsie Talk Book Reviews 
Queen of All She Reads

8/9/2013
Fae Books 
Musings From An Addicted Reader
StoreyBook Reviews 
First Class Books

8/12/2013
Read Your Writes Book Reviews 
Smardy Pants Book Blog
Blackraven’s Reviews

8/13/2013
Erzabet’s Enchantnents
Delighted Reader 
HEA Romances With A Little Kick

8/14/2013
The KariAnnAlysis 
Mrs Condit & Friends Read Books 
The Readers Roundtable Smokin’ Gun

8/15/2013
SnifferWalk Books 
Shh Moms Reading 
Reads and Thoughts 
Guilty Pleasures

8/16/2013
Bookworm Brandee 
My Book Muse 
Simply Ali
Reviewing in Chaos

8/19/2013
3 Partners in Shopping,Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
Heart Breaking Reviews 
From the TBR Pile

8/20/2013
Manic Readers Guest Author Blog 
My Fiction Nook 
Books Books and More Books

8/21/2013
Romancing the Book 
Harlie’s Books 
My Life Beyond Label

J. Kenner’s WANTED Cover Reveal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, Bared to You, and Release Me comes an all-new erotic series of three enigmatic and powerful men, and the striking women who can bring them to their knees.

He is everything I crave, all I desperately want—and he is everything I can’t have.

Evan Black embodies my every fantasy. He is brilliant, fierce, and devastatingly handsome. But he is also headstrong, dangerous, and burdened with secrets.

My family warned me to stay away, that I could never handle Evan’s dark dealings or scarred past. Maybe I should have listened. Maybe I should have run. But our desire is undeniable, and some temptations you just can’t fight.

And from the moment we touch—the passion between us consuming us both—I know that I will never be the same.

Buy Julie’s books here

J. Kenner, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author ofRelease Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me. She spent more than ten years as a litigator in Southern California and central Texas, using her rare free time to indulge in her passion of writing. She lives in Texas with her husband and daughters.

 

Georgian Fashion Sells Books with Beverley Eikli

In my gap year before starting university in South Australia I studied costume making at the London School of Fashion.

It was an exciting year as I juggled studying with waitressing at Smiles Café in Picadilly Circus. Dressing up as Smiles, the Party Bear taught me how to entertain a crowd while my pattern-cutting course taught me how to construct crinolines and bustles.

Fast forward twenty years and I was looking for novel ways to publicise my eight historical romances while supplementing my income stream.

The result was my History Through Costume talks: From Georgian Extravagance to Regency Simplicity, which have proved popular with libraries and community groups.

The idea of making a complete costume with all its layers had been prompted by the discovery of a pair of russet silk curtains I found in an op shop. I knew I’d need many metres of material for the petticoats (the name given to the skirt that’s revealed by the drawn-back dress, as opposed to the underwear we call a  petticoat, today). Suddenly my sumptuous gown was affordable.

I then used a polonaise pattern from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion: 1660-1860 –  to create the full ensemble. My writing work in progress at the time – The Reluctant Bride, now just published by Choc Lit – was set between the French Revolution and the Battle of Waterloo, so a polonaise seemed ideal. It represented a popular and ornate precursor to a Regency gown though it was, nevertheless, based on simple working attire and replicated the look created when women hitched their skirts into their waistbands to get down to dirty work. It’s attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette and the fluffed-up effect of the skirts is achieved when cords are drawn through small rings sewn into the material, pulling up the fabric.

In my talks I discuss the social and political upheavals of the Georgian and Regency periods and how events could influence fashion. During extensive research of the French Revolution and Robespierre’s Reign of Terror in 1792 (the backstory for the events of The Reluctant Bride which opens in 1811) I’d come across a wealth of fascinating information about how and why people dressed for particular events, and their cleanliness routines. This then brought in perfumes, cosmetics and hair. The changes in attitudes with regard to clothing and cosmetics between 1780 and 1810 were radical and I’ll be discussing this in future blogs. (Refer to my website).

The talks, which have been aired on radio, are the ideal format as audiences have so many questions.

It’s been a great way to introduce my books to people who’d not necessarily come to an author talk. The best part, though, is that I love doing the costuming and researching the history almost as much as I love weaving the intrigue of the times into my stories.

And so now for the picture show….

On the left I’m wearing the polonaise. First I would put on a chemise or shift, then, over the top, back-lacing stays (later referred to as the corset), panniers or hoops, bum roll, petticoat and finally gown. The stays were designed to produce a barrel-shaped torso, pushing up the breasts to form what was called ‘rising moons’. This is the sort of gown I’d wear for making afternoon calls.

Twenty to twenty-five years later, my daughter would wear the Regency gown on the right for the same occasions but her dressing routine would be simpler. She’d still wear a chemise or shift, made probably of hardwearing linen as it would be regularly laundered. (As the garment closest to the skin, it would absorb the body’s natural oils during a time when daily bathing was not usual.) She would probably wear stays which often had a wooden busk (like a ruler) inserted down the middle to improve posture). The stays pushed the breasts up and apart. She’d probably also wear a simple sleeveless petticoat which tied at the back like a long, sleeveless sweater, and it’s unlikely she’d wear drawers. Although drawers made their appearance in about 1806 they were considered highly daring on account of their resemblance to men’s trousers. For warmth she’d wear a spencer or pelisse or a shawl, depending on the occasion.

The Reluctant Bride, which won Choc Lit’s Search for an Australia Star competition late last year, is a Regency espionage romance set between the French Revolution and the Battle of Waterloo. It has just come out in ebook with the paperback edition due for release on September 15.

It’s about a beautiful French spy who places her daughters – by various French revolutionaries – into different foster homes. The story begins 20 years later when the girls have been brought up with different allegiances.

Can honour and action banish the shadows of old sins?

Emily Micklen has no option after the death of her loving fiancé, Jack, but to marry the scarred, taciturn, soldier who represents her only escape from destitution.

Major Angus McCartney is tormented by the reproachful slate-grey eyes of two strikingly similar women: Jessamine, his dead mistress, and Emily, the unobtainable beauty who is now his reluctant bride.

Emily’s loyalty to Jack’s memory is matched only by Angus’s determination to atone for the past and win his wife with honour and action. As Napoleon cuts a swathe across Europe, Angus is sent to France on a mission of national security, forcing Emily to confront both her allegiance to Jack and her traitorous half-French family.

Angus and Emily may find love, but will the secrets they uncover divide them forever?

 

The Reluctant Bride available on Kindle, Kobo and Apple!


Can honour and action banish the shadows of old sins?
‘The Napoleonic War, spying, betrayal and intrigue form the core to this romantic tale.’ The Bookseller – Sept Paperback Preview, May 2013.

Read the first two chapters here.

Buy from:Kindle UK, Kindle US, Apple UK, Apple US, Kobo Books

Website     Twitter

Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances published by Pan Macmillan Momentum, Robert Hale, Ellora’s Cave and Total-e-Bound. Recently she won UK Women’s Fiction publisher Choc-Lit’s Search for an Australian Star competition with her suspenseful, spy-based Regency Romance The Reluctant Bride.

She’s been shortlisted twice for a Romance Readers of Australia Award in the Favourite Historical category — in 2011 for  A Little Deception, and in 2012 for her racy Regency Romp, Rake’s Honour, written under her Beverley Oakley pseudonym.

Beverley wrote her first romance when she was seventeen. However, drowning the heroine on the last page was, she discovered, not in the spirit of the genre so her romance-writing career ground to a halt and she became a journalist.

After throwing in her job on South Australia’s metropolitan daily The Advertiser to manage a luxury safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, Beverley discovered a new world of romance and adventure in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met around a camp fire.

Eighteen years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s as an airborne geophysical survey operator during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia teaching in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, as well as teaching Short Courses for the Centre of Adult Education and Macedon Ranges Further Education.

She writes Regency Historical Intrigue as Beverley Eikli and erotic historicals as Beverley Oakley.

Eliza Watson KISSING MY OLD LIFE AU REVOIR with giveaway

 

 

Event planner Samantha Hunter is prepared for a few challenges when escorting a group of good ole boy beer distributors to Paris, the city of haute cuisine and fine wines. However, she doesn’t foresee being passed up for a promotion because she is too professional and doesn’t knock back beers with her clients. Her focus soon switches from landing the well-deserved promotion to finding her free-spirited sister, who lives in Paris and has disappeared, leaving behind family secrets to be uncovered. A sexy puppeteer helps Samantha search for clues to her sister’s whereabouts and teaches her to embrace her inner child. And a funeral-crashing psychic demonstrates the importance of living life to the fullest. It takes Samantha’s life spiraling out of control for her to finally get a life.

Kissing My Old Life Au Revoir is available here: AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwords, and Kobo

 

 

Eliza is generously offering an autographed print copy  for a U.S. winner or an ebook if the winner is international. Are you more in control or free spirited?  Giveaway ends @12 am est on August 19th with the winner announced shortly thereafter.  Good Luck! 

 

 

Eliza’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. The journey from fourth grade script writer to published author wasn’t an easy one, but it was always an adventure and the final destination was well worth it.

When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Wisconsin working on her next novel. She enjoys bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley, Frankie, and Sammy.

Learn more about Eliza        Goodreads             Facebook