Sunday, June 30, 2013

House Rules

It takes a wealth of collected experiences, emotions, successes and failures to craft the personality of a true Alpha Male Jack Gordon, real estate broker, licensed builder, Juris Doctorate, has had his fair share of strife. His ability to cope, to fall down and pick himself back up has lead him to a place where he believes he has it all. Friends, money, cars, more women than he can count, and a club in Detroit where he can exorcise his inner demons, fill his days and his nights. When he walks up to a penthouse door on a hot Ann Arbor summer afternoon, frustrated, exasperated and ready to call it quits after hours of condo shopping with a wealthy couple, the last thing on his mind is meeting his destiny.
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Excerpt Rated R for content/language:
“Jack!” He heard his name, rolled over, tried to hug her close. But his hand found air. “Jack! God damn it.” Something hit his head, and then again.
“Cut it out.” He grabbed at it, still half asleep, aching deep in his muscles, his cock raw and sore under the sheet. “Go the hell away.” Once he realized he was in his own bed without Mindy to curl around and mess with, his mood darkened immediately.
The whole of the last few weeks had been a blur, but a pleasant one. Until recently, when Jack had been getting a distinct sensation of rejection, of having to work too hard for Mindy’s attention. It was pissing him the fuck off. And setting off all sorts of alarm bells.
“Get up, you ass.” Brandis’ voice was clear now. “Your room is a pigsty. Are you on drugs or something? Drugs you aren’t sharing? Because I’ve never seen you like this. Get up!” The pillow hit him again, making him grunt, sit, and glare at his oldest friend.
For some reason, the serious look on the boy’s dark-skinned face made Jack want to burst into laughter at the utter absurdity of what he’d been doing —fucking himself into sweet oblivion. In every possible way, shape, and position with the woman who, at the same time, wanted to marry his father.
He groaned and lay back, tugging the blanket up over his eyes, wishing the whole stinking mess away.
“Come on, dickhead. Let’s go…. I need some hoops time, and I’m sick of your excuses.” Brandis stood to his full six-foot-three inches, glaring down at Jack.
Jack blinked then put his feet on the floor, rubbing the back of his neck, trying to sort out why he was so god damned pissed off. He was the same guy in the same body, albeit one that had come a long way since he’d walked into the office that day eager to go to a party and grope a girl.
“All right.” He got up and stretched, relishing the way his sore muscles sang out and his body tingled all over. “Hold your water.” He made his way to the bathroom, took a piss after his morning hard-on receded, then wandered out naked. He grinned at Brandis who’d reached for Jack’s not-so-secret stash of Penthouse mags.
Jack got dressed, then flopped back onto his bed and put an arm over his eyes. His head still pounded from lack of sleep and a strange sort of elusive stress he couldn’t pin down. Oh, right. Mindy. She of the teaching skills who had let him more or less live with her for nearly three months then told him last night he needed to “move on.” To “find some girls his own age and use his new skills on them.” This after he’d fucked her standing up, in the hallway, unable to even wait the short few steps to the bedroom.
Jack ran a slightly shaking hand down his face. Truth was, he didn’t want any “girls his own age.” He wanted nothing more than to hole up with Mindy, eat the crappy Chinese takeout she loved, watch whatever she wanted on TV. Just be with her, content, totally at ease in his skin.
Well, and fucking her a lot, like four or five times a day. He sighed as his cock stirred to life, then sat, needing to redirect his energy. Maybe Brandis was right. He needed to get out and use his body for something other than getting laid.
“Let’s go before you have to spank your monkey all over my magazine.” Jack smacked the titty mag out of his friend’s hand and walked out of his room.
“Are you calling me a monkey, you racist pig?” Brandis ran past him into the hall, hitting the door and tumbling out into the light of the early summer day, making Jack smile.
“No. Just a poor, sex-starved loser. I couldn’t give a fuck less what color you are.”
“Ha, you don’t know me very well, do you?” Brandis snapped, tossing Jack a basketball then climbing behind the wheel of his Shelby Charger. “Don’t get your loser germs on my leather seats.”
Jack grinned, flipped his friend off, then licked his palm and wiped it, ostentatiously, across the steering wheel. “There. Some of my ‘hitting it with regularity’ mojo for ya.”
Brandis snorted. “You’re such a liar.”
“Oh no, I’m not,” Jack said mildly, staring out the window and trying to come to terms with how lonely he felt at that moment.
They screeched out onto the quiet street, stereo blaring, and parked at the high school where a couple of outdoor courts were already busy. Brandis kept his hands on the wheel a minute, staring out the windshield. Jack barely noticed, so sunk in his own stew of self-pity.
“Where have you been?” he said quietly.
Jack blinked then looked at his friend. “What do you…?”
Brandis held up a hand. “Gordon, it’s not like I need you around me or anything but shit, dude, you are like…gone somewhere. You’ve missed the team workouts more than once. You never go out on the weekends. I mean…what is it?”
“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.” Jack said, suddenly needing to spill it, to tell somebody. Why not his best friend since elementary school? He rolled the basketball around in his hands, its familiar leather contours comforting.
“Try me.”
“I’ve been, uh, sort of hanging out, I mean, staying over…um…well,” he sighed and rubbed his neck. “I’ve been banging my father’s secretary nearly constantly for about three months. She’s um...been teaching me stuff and...ah….” He stopped, glanced at his friend who was staring at him, open-mouthed. “What?” Jack frowned, suddenly angry. “This is too much for you?”
“Je-sus H. Christ. You lucky bastard!” Brandis smacked his shoulder. “Damn. I thought you were in a cult or got some bad acid or…I don’t know. Fuck!” He pounded the steering wheel. “Finally, no longer the Big V!”
“Shut up,” Jack muttered, the day darkening around him again. He wanted Mindy, needed her. Did not want to be here, doing this. That made him furious with himself. He jumped out of the car and headed for the court. Movement, that would help and mindless hours of playing his favorite game.

The Balancing Act By Liz Crowe
 “When do you sleep?” is a question I get asked a lot. “At night,” is my typical answer but I understand why it gets asked. I have written and had nearly 20 books published in the last 3 years, including 7 over the course of the current year. I also am part owner and marketing/retail manager of a successful new craft microbrewery in Ann Arbor. I have kids, yes but they are at the self-sufficient stage for the most part, a 21–year-old in college, an 18-year old about to graduate high school and almost 15-year-old. The youngest is a soccer player on an elite travel team, which does lend itself to a lot of driving around. But they are all way past the needing my undivided 24-hour attention. But I do manage a household, with a couple of dogs, along with all of that. And as anyone who has written a single book knows, the promotion piece of that puzzle is a near ‘round the clock effort on multiple platforms so the “writing of a book” part is one of the only internet downtimes I allow myself. What I find is that a triage method, along with a “this is a brewery day” or “this is a writing day” or “this is a family day” works best, along with firm boundaries to go with each. In other words, I have weaned myself off the need to be constantly connected with my facebook pages and twitter feeds (I have multiple ones as you might imagine). When it’s a writing day, I don’t even glance at them, lest I get pulled into a promo opportunity that seems crucial (when it isn’t) or get discouraged by all the success everyone else seems to be having while I’m just toiling away, scribbling and pretending I’m successful. The whole “Facebook status one-up-manship” thing can be a downer and when writing, you need zero downers as it is a tough enough thing already. So within the established theme of the day I tackle various stages of it, like the way I go about a housework day (these are rare but they do occur). One room at a time—no drifting between rooms and getting distracted by chaos in one while controlling it another. One task within the room at a time—no starting laundry then stopping halfway to pick up the vacuum cleaner. Use a distinct and logical process—no mopping until you hoover (vacuum), no hoovering until you wipe off counters, no wiping off of counters until you organize them or (preferably) clear them off (even if it is straight into a garbage bag, another one of my favorite things). I am not an organizational whiz by any stretch. I am what they call “the creative,” so many ground level tasks skip right past me in ways that would be embarrassing should I admit to them (let’s just say, “auto pay” is my best friend). But because my mind seems to thrive best when the chaos is at its highest, I will allow myself stretches of time to just revel it in. And since I am a marathon writer –the sort that once the head writing is done and it’s time to just “write the dang book” I will dive in and be more or less gone for weeks at a stretch, sort of floating through the house on auto pilot, always plotting the next twist or turn in my head. So I don’t always take my own advice. But the bigger picture, the balancing of the many and varied balls I have in my personal air, is a matter of taking it a week at a time, sometimes a day at a time, and never, ever ending a day without looking back and finding one thing that was accomplished, be it a killer 5 or 10,000 word count on your WIP, a new reader fan, a new beer drinker or bottle placement, or a pile of folded laundry – even if it’s still sitting in the middle of the family room floor.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rachel Van Dyken

When I'm not sitting by my computer thinking about writing, you can usually find me.... Eating Watching way too much reality T.V. Eating Reading romances aka researching ;) Daydreaming Did I say eating?? Okay, okay...I don't just sit and eat and read, though I think the world would definitely be a better place if we ate more chocolate and read more books. Just saying. ;) I grew up in a small farm town where cows outnumber people and tractors are more common than cars. I desperately wished to one day wake up and be a princess. My sister and I often played "pretend," though she was always the princess and I the prince or evil step mother. Maybe that's why I write? I wanted to be the princess so desperately that I decided to write my own story. I've always been a dreamer and a thinker. I blame my parents for allowing Disney to pollute my mind, not that I care, considering I live and breathe all things Disney. I went to college thinking I would change the world one child at a time via counseling...I ended up being a K-8 school counselor for around five years while getting my MBA....the whole time I kept feeling like I was not necessarily doing something I was very passionate about. One day, after a terribly sad counseling session with a few young girls--I began typing. I've been typing ever since. In 2011 I had my first book published. I cried, jumped up and down, and called everyone I knew! I can only say I wake up wanting to do nothing but fall to my knees in thanks to God for his many blessings. I was told one time by a very wise person to sit and think about your childhood. About the dreams that you had, the fantasies you wanted to come to digging in your past it's often found that you can decide what your destiny is. I was a prince, a toad, a monster, the evil step-mother, and sometimes the slave girl waiting to be rescued. So now, I'm an author. Sounds about right... I love to hear from readers...and if you ever stop by Idaho, hit me up. We'll go to Starbucks and talk about food, books, romance, and rakes. :)
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 1. You have mentioned you like to eat, what are some of your favorite foods?
I do love to eat. :) My favorite food is probably Thai good! But if I'm being completely honest, I'm a hot dog girl haha! I love good ol bbq as well! I usually snack on  almonds when I write...and treat myself with wine when I finish a book!

2. What is it about the historical romance genre that grabbed you, that inspired you to write so many books?
I love historical romances. The dresses, the mannerisms--everything about the regency era was really captivating to me. It was so different from typical life now, that I thought it would be fun to write. I also love rakes...the regency bad boy? Can't get any better than that!

3. As you know I am now addicted to your book Elite and am waitng with baited breath for Elect, do you know how many book you will be having in this series yet?
My initial plan was to have two books with the Eagle Elite series. At this point..I'm thinking I may end up having four. After all, I want to write about Mo and Tex and we don't really get to see much of their relationship in Elect.

4. I am currently in the middle of reading The Bet great book by the way, what would you say is your favorite personality trait that each of the characters has?
Each character? Hmmm..I love grandma's personality. She has no censor whatsoever! I love Travis's protective nature, Jakes selfishness b/c at least he's honest about who he is, and finally Kacey's silly fears ;) I love that each of them bring something different to the table. I mean, that's how family life is right? We all have that crazy uncle or weird grandma, or even that silly crush on our neighbor ;)

5. When you get stuck on a book what do you do?
Write something else. This is why I am, at all times, writing several stories. I get bored with some of my stories, or I can't stop thinking about other characters, so I move on and then come back to the book.

6. Have you ever written a character in a book that you took from one of the reality shows you watch?
 Angelica from Shatter was easy to write b/c i just based her off all the catty women on The Bachelor ;) I have to admit that watching The Vampire Diaries helped me a bit with the Seaside series. I wanted to see how two brothers would react if they loved the same girl.

Renwick House
   Since childhood Sara has lived with the reality of being ugly. Something her awful family never ceased to remind her. After her sisters run off to Gretna Green, she's left with one choice--go to London and take their place for a Season. It's up to her to marry well and save her family from financial ruin. A distant aunt decides it's in her best interest to sponsor Sara for the season and help her snag a husband by any means possible. Nicholas Devons, Earl of Renwick, is a retired rake and consequently bored with life. He's given up beautiful women and carnal pleasures. Desperation makes him decide to give his massive fortune away and marry the first country girl he sees. Lucky for Sara she's that girl. Unlucky for Nicholas, he's to be her new tutor in the ways of the ton. Two waltzes, one masquerade, a violent carriage ride, and two duckless ponds later.... and all that's left is a fun twist on one of the oldest stories ever told.
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  When the angelic Duke of Tempest, Sebastian St. James, appeared unexpectedly at his boyhood friend’s home, he had but one goal: Find a suitable wife as soon as possible. However, his impeccable reputation made him a prime target for ambitious mothers of debutante daughters. He needed a plan. Help came in the form of an unlikely alliance with Miss Emma Gates, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy viscount, who has deemed herself on the shelf, and only wants to marry in order to appease her parents. Together they could sort through the mire of would-be mates to find their perfect matches. That is, if they could keep their hands off each other long enough to pursue likely candidates. When a man from Emma’s past makes a play for her hand, the truth about her life threatens to destroy Sebastian’s reputation, a reputation he has carefully guarded since his youth. In the end, the Angel Duke has to make a choice that will end up changing his reputation forever.
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  Spoiled New York rogue Royce Mc Arthur lives a charmed life. He sees no reason to settle down, until his mother issues her decree that he must grow up, find a wife and produce some grandchildren…preferably before she dies of old age. But his choices are quite limited considering the only women of his acquaintance are ones of ill repute. Meeting the beautiful Evelyn DeJarlias at a ball gives him hope he may have found the one. Her southern blue collar outspokenness and lack of refinement draws him like a moth to a flame. Unfortunately, she does not find him nearly as endearing -- consistently refusing his lavish gifts and his attentions, she poses a challenge he simply cannot ignore. When his mother and her widowed father begin to keep company together secretly, it provides the perfect excuse for him to spend time with Miss DeJarlias But figures from Royces past threaten to destroy the blossoming love between the couple. Evelyn must decide if she is willing to trust the man or hold his past indiscretions against him.
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  Phillip Crawford, the eighth Earl of Rawlings and notorious rake of the ton, has come to the end of his rope. Out of money, out of favor, and out of luck, he wanders the streets of London in the rain, hoping to be hit by inspiration...or a runaway carriage. Something has to give. It is his father's final cruel trick to hold his inheritance just out of reach, requiring him to marry by his next birthday in order to claim his full rights as earl. His step-mother refuses to offer him any more support. With no money, no prospects and no other place to turn, he has only two options. Marriage or debtor's prison. Book Three of the House of Renwick Series: The better choice seems clear enough, but with his name and reputation being attacked daily in the society papers, there's not a proper lady in all of London desperate enough to accept him. It isn't going to be easy, even if the reports of his exploits and rakish lifestyle are greatly exaggerated. On the other hand, debtor's prison does start to look much more appealing when the only friends he has left decide to help him in his search for the perfect bride. Matters become much more complicated when the only woman who shows an interest in him just happens to be the young sister-in-law of the Duke of Tempest; the same man who, just months ago, had been tempted to kill him. One thing is for certain, as the Season draws to an end, Lord Rawlings will have to decide once and for all, if his wicked ways are enough to bring him contentment in life, or if a leopard really can change his spots. Or in Phillip's case—can a devil truly be redeemed?
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  Who said being bad wasn't oh so good? Benedict Devlyn, Duke of Banbury, has one thing on his mind and it isn't marriage. But things take a turn for the worse when his menacing aunt throws a hitch in his plans to remain the most sinful and talked about man in the ton. After all, a man cannot keep the reputation of being The Devil Duke when he is leg-shackled to some simpering spinster. But his aunt, bless her heart, thinks she's dying, and believes her nephew’s behavior is the only thing standing in the way between her entrance to heaven or hell. So she very lovingly and selflessly sets him up. With his childhood nemesis. A young woman who, though she claims it was an accident, has nearly killed him thrice through her lack of grace and manners. It matters not that the minute he sets eyes on her at the Christmas ball, his blood boils with lust. He refuses to allow himself to fall prey to his aunt’s ministrations. That is, until he is compromised and stuck in an engagement to a girl who claims she'd rather jump from a moving carriage than marry him. Funny thing that, for the very minute she says no, he finds his heart very much wants to say yes. When she doesn't leap at the chance to marry him, he sets about to not only prove that he's worthy of her favor, but also worthy of her heart. 
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London Fairy Tales
"I release you..." were the last words Rosalind remembered before her world went black. Stefan, the future duke of Montmouth, no doubt thought his words were welcomed but he couldn't have been more wrong. Oh, he was handsome as a pagan Norse god, but that was unimportant when her life as well as those of her family hung in the balance. With less than six weeks left, Rosalind has stopped believing in the fairy tale, the prince on the white horse, and the stolen kiss that would awaken her from her worst nightmares. Resigned to her fate, she waits for the inevitable curse to run it’s course. "We must marry at once!" Stefan declared, fully expecting Rosalind to be delighted that he had come to save her, but he was sorely mistaken. Rosalind was no simpering docile female; she was a fiery temptress with a stubborn streak only matched by his horse, Samson. Insulting, infuriating, intoxicating and alluring enough to drive a man mad. Stefan found himself thankful for the curse that required him marry her, thankful for the betrothal contract he had so recently tried to release her from...With the fortitude of a sailor shipwrecked, abandoned, and a solider warring for his life Stefan decides to lay siege to the greatest prize, Rosalind's heart. 
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  Scarred at a young age, Dominique Maksylov, Royal Prince of Russia, has lived a reclusive life. As a musical prodigy, his music has wide reach into the world, but few ever see his face. He never ventures into polite society, but when he dis-covers he is the only heir to the Earldom of Harriss, he goes to one ball. And that one ball, was enough to change the direction of his life forever. But how could he possibly have known that other person— the other half of his whole—would not only need his help but threaten his very existence? She didn’t know how hard it would be to love the broken. Isabelle Hartwell’s mother just sold her to the Beast of Russia. He’s mean, tem-peramental, and the most virile, handsome man she has ever encountered. But he has a secret, one he’s willing to die for and he refuses to let anyone in. Will she be able to reach his heart before it’s too late? Find out if love prevails in this regency retelling of how Beauty tamed the savage Beast…
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  What happens when one is both Hunter and Wolf? You know it’s going to be a bad day when you get shot at—twice. Hunter Wolfsbane, Duke of Haverstone, also known as “Wolf” is having exactly one of those days. Things take a turn for the worse when he’s notified that he’ll be acquiring a partner for his newest mission. The rub? He’s kissed her---twice. In his defense, she was already ruined, but it didn’t help matters that she was the sister-in-law to his best friend in the world. And how does a woman protect her heart from one who has the power to destroy every-thing she holds dear? Lady Gwendolyn has only one thing on her mind--Finding the Wolf and strangling him where he stands. Unfortunately, she needs him to complete one final mission for the Crown and to keep her family safe. It has absolutely nothing to do with her attraction to him, or his golden eyes, or his wicked smile, or the fact that he’s convinced to keep his heart encased in ice—that is, if he still possesses one.
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When Ash Falls (coming July)

 The Vandenbrook Series
  The last thing career-driven Kessen Newberry wants is to leave her home in Colorado to spend a Season in London, far away from her job, her friends and the memories of her mother. However, her father, the Earl of Newberry, threatens to disinherit her unless she gets in touch with her British roots. She complies, but has no intention of enjoying the experience. That is until she meets Christian Vandenbrook, the arrogant and irritatingly handsome future Duke of Albany and her father’s business partner. Unfortunately, Christian hates Americans. And coffee. And apparently, Kessen. A hatred this passionate can only lead to one thing… marriage. Caught in the middle of a Regency-inspired nightmare, Kessen and Christian are forced to marry in only one week’s time. Resigned to their fate, the two resolve to give the relationship a chance—which would be much easier if everyone would stop interrupting them every time they found a moment alone.
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 Irresistible Terms (coming 2013)

The Seaside Series 
  Life as a teenager is never easy. But for Natalee Murray, things have just gotten way more difficult. Bored with life, she can't wait to graduate high school and get out of town, especially considering the famous band members from AD2 suddenly start attending her school, making her once boring life, absolutely insane. It starts with a pen. A single brush of fingers, and she is captivated. But Alec and Demetri have a dark secret, one that could shatter their reputations and Natalee's heart. What do you do when one guy paints your life with color while the other infuses your soul with passion? How do you choose when your heart is divided? 
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  Jaded rock star, Demetri Daniels, is in Hell — also known as Seaside, Oregon. Sent to rehab after nearly getting himself killed last year, his record company wants nothing more than for him to lay low, away from the limelight. Irritated and more alone than he’s ever been in his life, Demetri tries desperately to rebuild his shattered reputation as a drug addict and player, which proves to be difficult when he meets Alyssa. Alyssa is everything he should stay away from. She’s beautiful, smart, but above all else, she’s damaged. And one thing Demetri has learned is two broken hearts don’t equal a whole. In the end, he has to decide if he can rise above the life he’s created in learning from his past mistakes, or fall into the darkness of his choices.
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  Sometimes the only way to heal... is to shatter. Rock star Alec Daniels has it all. Love, fame, money... But being in the limelight isn't all it’s cracked up to be, and after one bad choice comes back to haunt him he is left picking up the pieces of his carefully constructed life. Now he faces the toughest decision of his life: Deal with his mistake like a man, or dive back into the dark hole of depression, drugs, and denial that have been his comfort for so long. One wrong move could destroy everything. His girlfriend, his family, and his future.
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 Fall (coming August/September)

Seasons of Paleo
  If they take you, you don't come back. You either die...or wish you had. The Western Empire was ruthless. The only reason I survived was because he gave his life for me--a life that might as well have been mine, for when they stole his last heartbeats, they silenced my own. They call me princess, an answer to the prophecy, but I’m nothing more than a prisoner...awaiting my lifelong punishment. Marriage. To the Prince of the East. But it’s the Royal Protector who reminds me of what I lost. He threatens something I never thought I'd have heart.
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Reign of the Lion (Savage Spring)-Christmas

Waltzing with the Wallflower

  The Season has only just begun, but already Ambrose Benson is bored…until his brother offers him a challenge. Something worthy of his particular talents. The object: The girl hiding behind the plants—the one in the horrible dress. The goal: Turn her into the envy of the ton. A lady suitable for a duke. But there is just something about the lady—in spite of all her social misgivings—something that draws him like a moth to flame and makes him want to waltz with the wallflower.
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  Driven to distraction by the redhead across the room, Anthony Benson barely hears the terms of his brother’s challenge before agreeing to them. No matter. It will be easy. Viscount Maddox has never had any problem impressing the ladies. And four weeks is more than enough time to win over this so obviously neglected wallflower. But things are never as easy as they seem. The lady has lofty aspirations. And not one of them includes love or marriage. Especially not with an arrogant and self-assured playboy like the viscount. No matter how attractive he may be.
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  Being level-headed and even-keeled is a thing of the past. Sir Colin Wilde’s broken heart has sent him over the edge. And he is convinced the only way to get over the loss of Lady Gemma is to lose himself in debauchery. Taking his cue from the private bachelor journal of Viscount Maddox, he presses forward in his quest to become the most notorious rake the ton has ever seen. Prim and proper Lady Gemma isn't about to let him soil his reputation, especially over a misunderstanding. In spite of the propriety ingrained in her since birth, she throws convention to the wind and sets about to do the impossible... seduce a rake and tame Wilde.
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The Bet

  "I have a proposition for you..." Kacey should have run the minute those words left Seattle millionaire Jake Titus's mouth. Instead, she made a deal with the devil in hopes of putting her past behind her once and for all. Four days. She could do four days! But she wasn't counting on Jake’s older brother Travis being there to witness their farce of an engagement. One thing is for certain. One brother is right for her. One wants a lifetime. And one is in league with the devil. She should have gotten Jake’s signature in blood. 
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The Wager (coming October)


When I won the annual Eagle Elite College Scholarship lottery, I was thrilled. After all, my grandma had just died and I wanted to take care of my aging grandpa -- he couldn't be a farmer in Wyoming forever. And graduating from Eagle Elite meant opportunity. But I wasn't counting on meeting Nixon. Nor was I counting on the rules of the Elect. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. And worst of all? Don't discover the secret they hide, because in the end, you may just realize... it's about you. 
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Elect (coming November)

Stand Alone

  Amanda turned down Preston's prom invitation in front of her entire high school, but that was eight years ago. Somehow, her past mistakes always have a way of catching up with her, and making her pay. Amanda's sarcastic wit mixed with Preston's insufferable ego make sparks fly in more than one way. Preston, against his better judgment can't fight the desire to get under Amanda's skin and mercilessly tease her, but when that teasing becomes flirting, and flirting becomes something dangerously more, neither of them are prepared for the adventure that follows.
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  Blaine Graham lost his mother at the tender age of eleven. Grief over the loss drove a wedge between him and his father, and soon proved too difficult for him to deal with. At the age of sixteen, he falsified his papers and made the trip across the border into Canada with his best friend to join the Royal Canadian Air Force and enter the war in Europe as a pilot. Ten years later Captain Graham finds himself flying commercial jets in Boston – his estranged father and his past life all but forgotten, until the day he receives a telegram from his dying father asking him to come home. The persistent Mara Crawford, a live-in nurse, has experienced her fair share of loss as well. Her attachment to Blaine’s father drives her desire to bring reconciliation between the two men before time runs out for her patient. But her best laid plans didn’t include falling in love again.
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  Freedom always comes at a cost… The fallen were never named, therefore we go by our human names, names given to us by people who use to worship us. I’m Athena, one thing you need to know about me? I hate having to protect the human race, but my job as Seeker asks me to do just that—so that one day, I can earn a spot in heaven. My father is the leader of the Phantoms, so I’m pretty sure that the archangels think of me as a flight risk, maybe that’s why they gave me the most gorgeous and annoying partner in all of Halceyon, Adonis. His kisses give me strength, his presence soothes my soul—but our love, is completely forbidden. There is a war coming, and now that the Titans have been released, it’s been brought to my front door. One thing is for certain—I’m going to have to make a choice, and I’m not sure I have the strength to make the right one, not anymore. Not after meeting Seth, not after my best friend’s betrayal, and not after I meet my father face to face and learn the truth—I may be exactly like him.
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Friday, June 28, 2013

Stupid by Choice

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Beautiful, bold, and born with a silver spoon firmly planted in hand, Melanie St. John is, by all outside accounts, the picture-perfect Texan Oil Princess. An independently wealthy daddy’s girl through and through, Melanie has spent her adult years flitting from one exotic, exclusive locale to another, being wooed by handsome, successful men, and in the dizzying center of dazzling, diamond-encrusted society life. But behind the glittering façade of her debutante life lays a very different story. In Stupid By Choice, this summer’s must-have beach read from author Leighton Summers, we follow the fictional and fabulous Melanie as she attempts to find true, lasting love amongst the wealthy, jet-set, spoiled, sought-after playboys in the elite social circles of Texas, Monte Carol, Manhattan, Newport, and Palm Beach. Facing one destructive love affair after another, as well as financial troubles, family drama, unplanned pregnancy, and more, Melanie and her friends traipse through the high high’s and low low’s of elite society, all while negotiating the blows they’re dealt with vulnerability, extravagance, and a resilience that every woman, regardless of social strata, will recognize as her own. “Stupid By Choice is pure fiction, but it’s entirely inspired by the affluent, privileged world that I grew up—and still live—in,” says Summers. “All that glitters is not gold. It’s easy to get caught up in the glamour of it all, but no matter what your age or station in life, we all have to learn—as Melanie does—to not be ‘stupid by choice’ and stay stuck or settle if we’re not happy.” A celebratory romp through the lives of ladies who have, lose, and ultimately triumph over it all, Stupid By Choice is as juicy a summer read as they come—equal parts entertaining, thought-provoking, and emotionally gripping. Among the topics and themes explored in it are: Don’t mess with Texas! An insider’s look—good and bad—at what socialite American society life is really like from a Texans’ P.O.V. The ‘problem-free’ lifestyles of the rich and well groomed: does money solve as many issues as one might think? Or does it just create more? Handling divorce, infidelity, family problems, motherhood, and career goals with grace and fearlessness Finding courage in the face of the unknown, taking risks, and following your heart!

I realize, of course, how stupid I’d been. There were signs. I can see them now—vibrant, crushing red banners waving like Spanish muletas down a highway straight to Doomsville. We’ll get to those, in all their hindsight-is-a-bitch glory. For now, all you need to know is that my marriage was an empty, hollow nothing. Appearances had gone out the window long ago—we did our own thing. It was a good day if we stayed out of each other’s way, a bad one if I called the cops.
And yet I stayed. I chose to stay, every day in fact. The absurdity of this concept still surprises me, or at least the version of me who now knows better. I’ve learned that stupidity is often masked stubbornness, resignation, or fear—and for five straight years of my life, I was stupid.
When I realized the mess I’d gotten myself into… really examined the events and decisions that got me to where I am now—the full, shocking brunt of it—I realize that I was propelled into my catastrophe of a marriage as much by momentum as by design. And though I do take full responsibility for it, there were also others at work here, cranking on the propellers of the winds of fate, whether I consciously knew it at the time or not. It was all just too—
“Ding-dong,” the doorbell rang out loudly. It was time. I quickly scooped my soapy toddler Blakely out of her bath, wrapped her in a giant fluffy towel, and motioned for her to put on her robe while I located the key to her bedroom door as fast as I could.
“Ding-dong,” the doorbell rang again.
My now-awaked but still hung-over husband shouted from the master bedroom, “Somebody answer the DAMN DOOR! I’m trying to SLEEP!”
What else is new? I thought as I picked Blakely up and went to the foyer. After today, he would have to get the ‘damn door’ himself. The thought brought a smile to my face as I swung open the front door.
There stood three hulking men in green jumpsuits standing in the doorway. Blakely’s big blue eyes widened at the sight of them; I don’t think she’d ever seen such large men before. Their names were written on each breast pocket in cursive script: “Big Al” was a stocky, tank of a man, “Nick” was tall, chiseled, and lean, and “Joey’s” balding, oversized head sat atop a pair of massive shoulders.
They’re perfect, I thought as I patted Blakely reassuringly.
“Good morning… ah, Melanie—?” Big Al asked, glancing at some paperwork.
“Yes,” I said with a nod to hurry him along.
He held out the stapled set of papers with their moving company’s name written out across the top in big, black, bold letters: Three Men & A Truck. “We got a contract here that says you need us to pack up your whole apartment and move it to Texas.”
“Yep, that’s right,” I said as I glanced at the papers. “I just need one minute though, do you mind waiting here? I’ll be right back…”

About the Author:
Leighton Summers is a sixth generation Texan who has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe her whole life. During her travels she was always surrounded by interesting, successful (and often eccentric) people who encouraged her to find her passion and live life to the fullest. Writing novels always intrigued her, and so one day while in New York City she took out her laptop in a café and decided to jot down some notes about how a female character created from her own world could “love smarter.” Over the next four years the notes turned into both funny and sad adventures of a women’s quest for finding friendship, love, self, and family and she weaved them all together into this, her debut novel. Links: Goodreads Website

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grading On Curves

One-on-one instruction never felt so right—or so wrong. There’s nothing unusual about Mia Page’s attraction to the young science teacher at the middle school. After all, she’s not the only one who finds him enticing. But when he pulls her son aside to ask for her phone number, she knows she’s in serious trouble. Since her divorce four years earlier, she’s been out of circulation, choosing to focus on parenting instead, and she’s not entirely sure she can handle an entanglement with the sexy Mr. Walden. There are also other reasons why getting involved with Curt would be a bad idea. He’s two years shy of thirty, and she’s on the downside of that unmentionable number. He’s adamant about never having kids, and she has a son. Even the guy’s romantic gifts are suspect. Energy saving light bulbs? He has to be kidding. On the other hand, he’s fun, sweet, and smart. He stimulates her intellectually, emotionally, and Lord help her, physically, opening her eyes to life outside her comfortable world. Yet their differences quietly gnaw at Mia even while she succumbs to their undeniable chemistry. As their romance deepens, so do Mia’s fears that Curt will eventually hurt her. On edge, all it takes is an innocent comment to provoke her into drawing first blood. Mia recklessly wounds Curt, learning only too late that this blade cuts both ways. Frantic to make amends, she fears it might be too late to admit the feelings she’s tried so hard to suppress. Content Warning: contains sensual sex

I write stories I like to read -- contemporary romances with identifiable characters and themes. Life is hard, love makes it bearable. If you like stories with heart, heat, and humor, I have a title for you. In the real world I'm a pampered wife, lucky mom to three amazing sons and one wonderful daughter-in-law, and I just became a very young grandma. I should probably underline the word very. Oh heck, why not the word young too? Nah, you get the point. I'm also the daily monitor of one naughty dog with an attitude.
Links: Tara Mills Romance Facebooks

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The Modeliser

Hollywood's favourite Bad Boy and Modeliser is about to meet his match.

When Hollywood bad-boy and legendary womanizer Alex Golden’s beloved grandfather dies he returns to London, and is thrown into the path of the women from his past. There is ex-lover Tamara, a super-bitch actress who never lets anything get in her way: until she falls head over heels in love with a powerful billionaire, that is. Then we have Alex’s sister, Helena, who dreams of stepping out from her family’s shadow and carving out a career as a photographer. And finally there is Talia, Helena’s best friend, whose hopes for a career writing for the big screen are dashed when she is unfairly fired from her job in the script department on a successful soap opera.

Alex’s fate is caught up with these three women as ambition, lust and love collide against the drama-fuelled backdrop of the film world...

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Havana Adams is a London girl who left her heart in NYC and has collected a crazy amount of airmiles dashing back and forth across the pond. When she's not plotting super steamy romance novels, she works in the film and TV industry, which is the inspiration behind her first novel The Modeliser. Havana loves movies, TV, reading, sporty things and baking cakes. 

Alex spun around to see that she was standing in the doorway to the bedroom, slowly advancing in. He watched as she reached to her side and slowly pulled down the concealed zip in her white dress. He swallowed hard.

“What are you doing?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” she replied as she let the dress fall to her feet and she stepped away from it, now clad only in a sheer flesh-tone thong. She reached up to unclasp her hair and Alex’s eyes were drawn to the way this movement raised her breasts. God, he had forgotten just how beautiful she was. 

He watched as she let her blonde curls fall around her shoulders and she combed her fingers through her hair. Her eyes, Alex could see, were riveted to his cock and the erection that was growing fast. 

“How do you want me?” Tamara asked her voice husky and something in Alex snapped."

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Anything But Sweet

A man who doesn’t like change . . .
The Wilder family is something of a Sweet, TX institution: between their yearly BBQ blow-outs and their Hardware and Feed store, they’re an institution—an institution that ex-marine Reno Wilder has tried to preserve, in honor of his lost loved ones. But it seems like he’s the only one who’s got any respect left for traditions when a new TV makeover show rolls in to renovate Sweet to bring in more tourists. Everyone is pleased except Reno—and this cowboy is determined to keep everything just the way he likes it.
 A woman who wants to change everything . . .
Inquisitive. Stubborn. Smart. Drop dead gorgeous. That would be makeover show host and designer, Charlotte Brooks—the woman Reno has declared war against. And yet, he can’t seem to keep away from her, or to get her off his mind. Charlotte isn’t afraid to back down from a challenge—of any kind—and she’s promised to prove to Reno that change can be sexy, hot, and very, very sweet, if Reno and Charli learn to let go of their pasts and grab hold of a future full of promise. 4 of 5 stars false

Guest post from Candis
What are some of the things you enjoy most about being a mom or a grandma?
Way back when I was a new mom with a newborn who wouldn’t sleep through the night (sound familiar?) a friend gave me some romance novels to keep me awake as I rocked that baby girl for hours. Months later I got this crazy idea that I could write a book. The idea didn’t actually get out of my head and onto paper and a word processor until that baby girl turned four. Then I would write at night after everyone else had gone to bed.
My daughter turned out to be very active, as I’m sure most mom’s can relate to. She played soccer and volleyball. She got involved in 4-H, FFA, and rodeo queening. And boys. We were always in the truck hauling her and her horse all over Idaho. And then there were the cowboys who’d look at my 16-year-old with interest in their eye and I’d have to shut them done fast. My husband and I now admit we were probably a bit overprotective. Nah. We were a lot overprotective. I’ll swear that teenagers were created to drive parents’ nuts! Even so, all the activities we continuously did together along with the camping, fishing, and long truck rides, kept us very close. I adore my daughter and we have a wonderful relationship. Now that I don’t have to watch her every move with a magnifying glass! I’m very proud of the woman and the mom she’s become.
And then there’s my granddaughter.
I was lucky enough to be in the delivery room when she was born. Okay. My daughter insisted I be there. I got to help with the delivery and besides the doctor I was the first one (even before her parents) to see her precious little face. We bonded like crazy. I’m the kind of MiMi (I wanted a special moniker because the kid has a ton of grandmas!) who gets down on the floor and plays. I have always read to her, sang to her, made up stories for her. Heck. I’d do anything that kid wants me to do.
There’s such a difference in being a mom or being a MiMi. It took me a while to figure out why the whole MiMi thing was so much better. Then it was like this Disney laser light show went off in my head. I only have half the worry. None of the responsibility. And I get lots of love. Who’s going to complain about that, right?
We go for walks. We build fairy gardens together. I get to show her new and amazing things. And then I get to hand her over to her mother for the discipline, the piles of dirty clothes, the homework. Ah. I can just enjoy her and who she is and is becoming without all that extra stuff that gets in the way.
I’m super happy that she’s quite the little reader. She goes through chapter books like crazy. I just think it will be quite a few years before she can read my books. She keeps asking though.


****I received an ARC of this book and reviewed it on content only****
 On the request of the residents Charli has come to a small Texas town to fix it up, Reno Wilder is not happy with change and he is not having it. The two of them have differing ideas and as their personalities clash, the attraction between the two of them starts to smolder. Can the two of them work together, be together or will they push each other away and ruin the project?  
I really liked this book, beyond the two main characters Charlotte aka Charli and Reno, there were a bevy of lovable people who kept the story rolling with their attempts to help. I loved how the author made the couple really work for their relationship, it wasn't just a they met and now they are in love, no it was they met sparks flew and they kinda wanted to punch each other in the face. Charli and Reno both have issues and problems in their pasts that they needed to get over, I think the author did a good job of tackling them and not having them disappeared. Anything But Sweet is a great light funny read, nothing to deep but it's very entertaining and you can't help but become addicted to the family and town.
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The Keepers: Archer

Lose yourself in the world of The Keepers, an exciting new Paranormal Romance trilogy from Rae Rivers. “Don’t ever look for me again, Archer.” His mouth curled into a smile. “Game on.” Central Park. Sienna Beckham is out jogging in the autumn sun, feeling almost ordinary. Trouble is, she'll never be. She's on the run from her life as a powerful witch and the three Keepers blood-bound to protect her. Evil is hot on Sienna's tail and Archer Bennett is searching for her, desperate to find her before they do. As one of her Keepers, he will fight to his death to defend her. Sienna must return and defend her hometown, Rapid Falls – but she has to face the past and master her powers. And as forbidden feelings blossom between Sienna and Archer, will their love survive the ultimate war? The Keepers: three strong and handsome warrior brothers, born to protect.

Sienna put a hand on Archer’s arm. “I’m going to find Warrick and get him to talk to me so we can go home.”
Archer responded by sliding both hands behind her lower back and pulling her tighter against him so that her body was flush against his. She gasped at the sudden close contact and the intensity of his grip on her and tried to pull back to see his expression.
Just a minute more,” he whispered in her ear, keeping her in place as they swayed to the music. Her body shivered in response, his breathy words scattering her thoughts in an instant.
Careful, Archer, any closer and people will start thinking I’m your woman.”
You are my woman.”
She’d meant to tease him, to ease the sudden possessive grip he had on her, but when his mouth edged towards hers, the gentle scrape of his lips against her skin and his whispered words ripped a soft shudder through her.
Not yet. In time, you will be.”
She smiled against him. “Confident tonight, are you?”
I call it like I see it.” His fingers toyed with the seam of her dress at her lower back, and his lips hovered dangerously close to hers.
You know we can’t.”
I’m not in the mood to please The Circle right now and besides, some of the best things in life are the things that are forbidden.”
What are we, Adam and Eve?”
His face softened in a breathtaking grin and in a gentle movement, he released her, twirled her around, and drew her back to cradle her in a possessive hold that enthralled rather than annoyed her.
She longed to throw caution to the wind and kiss him, take what he offered, and lose herself in this gorgeous man. Screw the consequences.
Instead, she opted for the safe route. “Stop it, Archer.”
Scared to admit the truth?”
Liar,” he breathed against her lips before pulling back.
She blinked, trying to ignore the flash of desire that raced through her body and pretend her senses hadn’t just been overrun by pure male sexiness.
I should go,” she said, needing some distance between them. After all, she was here for a reason and it wasn’t to spend the night in Archer’s arms – on the dance floor or otherwise.
The silent motion of his head agreed with her, but she could see that he was worried.
She didn’t blame him. Beneath her cool façade, even she was worried.
But she had a plan. One she wouldn’t share with her Keepers just yet.
And she hoped to hell it worked.

I’m an avid reader and writer with a passion for writing romance novels. I live in Cape Town, South Africa, with my gorgeous husband, two beautiful children and a zoo of house pets. Besides writing, I love family time, the outdoors, travelling, watching TV series, reading and chocolate. For more information about my books, or me, please visit
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