FREE TODAY ONLY! REVERB by J. Cafesin!

jc rBOOK BLURB: James Whren is brilliant, beautiful, rich, and taken—with himself, or more precisely, his genius for creating music. Desired by many, committing to no one but his muse, on the eve of his brother’s funeral, his father inadvertently turns his life into a living nightmare, and James is left abandoned in hell with no one real to save him.

His odyssey to freedom takes him beyond the looking glass, to the reflection of friends and lovers. Humbled and alone, James escapes to the Greek island of Corfu. But instead of finding solace there, loneliness almost consumes him.

Until Elisabeth, and her son, Cameron.

Reverb is a love story, a psychological thriller paced with romantic suspense. Spun from The Magus, also about a man who learns to love someone other than himself, and way beyond 50 Shades of Gray, Reverb is told like Crime and Punishment–modern, clean, edgy verging on sharp. Like nothing you’ve read, guaranteed…

REVIEW: here
READ SAMPLE: here
FREE TODAY Romantic Suspense ebook Kindle Giveaway.

Outlander Ep. 102 – ‘Castle Leoch’

cl 102

Recap: I was pleasantly surprised that the second episode picked up right at the end of the first, Claire’s arrival at Castle Leoch.

Photo Credit STARZ

Photo Credit STARZ

Stablemaster Old Alec greets Dougal

Stablemaster Old Alec greets Dougal

After two days and nights on the back of a horse and in the company of the rough man, our Claire is now pretty sure she’s going to need someone’s help if she’s to get back to those stones, and so she needs to ‘bide’ her time, keep a low profile [YEAH!] and draft someone to aid her …maybe.

The audience is taken to the bosom of the Castle Leoch as much as Rupert and Murtagh are to Mrs. Fitz’s. We get a glimpse of many characters that will in some way touch our heroine, among those are the Laird Colum MacKenzie and his wife Leticia; Old Alec, the stablemaster; Geillis Duncan, herbalist that befriends Claire; little Hamish, the heir of Colum MacKenzie. And of course, the woman who runs the show, from top to bottom, Mistress Fitzgibbons, Mrs. Fitz as she likes to be called.

From that first moment that Mrs. Fitz spots Claire, we know this woman is warm,

Laird Colum Mackenzie

Laird Colum MacKenzie

affectionate and don’t take ‘shite’ from no one. A formidable woman who our heroine is better off to heed, yet our Claire is one strong female as well and stands her proud self erect while the older dame casts a suspicious look at her, having Jamie introduce them and explaining how they ‘acquired’ her.

After insisting to Mrs. Fitz that Jamie needs tending and that she’s capable of doing it, all three head into the castle, at which point Claire is reminded of her visit to its ruins with her Frank.

Mrs. Fitz finds some decent lodgings for Claire and leaves her and Jamie alone by the fireplace so she can tend him properly. Both we and Claire get to see the deep, ugly scars spanning from one end of his back to the other.

jammf 111

He tells her they are from a few floggings administered to him by the Redcoats. As she asks him the crimes he committed, he recounts a few and tells her of the first flogging done by Captain Jack Randall.

His father was at a funeral, he in the fields, and Redcoats came that day to ‘collect their levy’. He heard screams coming from the house, ran to see what was happening and found his sister Jenny fighting off the Redcoats. He doesn’t hesitate to help her, telling her to run into the house, and taking on the two guys, only to be stopped by the casual, low-voiced Captain Randall, holding a gun to his sister’s head.

"You need not be scared of me, nor anyone else here. As long as I'm with you." "When you're not with me?" "Just never forget that you're English in a place where that's not a pretty thing to be." - Jamie

“You need not be scare’t of me, nor anyone else here. As long as I’m with you.” – Jamie

He surrenders to them and asks the Captain to let his sister be. Randall is intrigued by the fact that this is his sister and compliments her on her beauty then very calmly wipes her dirty face with his saliva and suggests that he’d like to “take a closer look”, ripping her bodice open, exposing her naked breasts. The man shows he’s one son of a bitch even more by having his men hold Jamie and lifting his head to look at her!

jammf101

He then proceeds to whip him until he’s all sweaty and thirsty from all that ‘hard work’ of whipping a tied man. He asks Jenny if he should continue or is she ready to offer him “better entertainment”, at which point Jamie orders her not to do it even if she has to watch them cut his throat. She finches as Captain Randall reaches for his knife, approaches Jamie and …knocks him out. He then tries to excuse his sisters compliance with the evil Captain by telling Claire why she chose to join him in the house, and how he ended up in the back of the cart with the chickens, who were not the best of company on the way to Fort William.

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As Jamie comments on her kindness, gentle touch and that her husband’s a lucky man, her thoughts flashback to Frank and what he might think of her disappearance, which brings her to tears. Jamie asks her to tell him what’s distressing her and she tells him, prompting him to offer her some comfort her by holding her. Both are a bit surprised by their connection; his compassion and her confusion add to the awkward moment of quick separation and a hasty exit, but not before he tells her not to be ‘scairt’ of him or anyone else in the Castle, as long as he’s with her, yet when she asks him what happens when he’s not around, he tells her to remember that she’s English in a place where that’s not so popular.

Clair Hair

Clair Hair

The next morning Claire is woken from a deep sleep by Mrs. Fitz, who brings her some porridge and tries to get her ready to be presented to the Laird of Castle Leoch. It was so poignant watching this scene where she sheds all her 20th off for the 18th Century. A look on Mrs. Fitz’s face was priceless as she is confronted with Claire’s bra which she explains as a ‘French’ fashion.

"It's a brassiere ... ... from France." - Claire

“It’s a brassiere … … from France.” – Claire

Murtagh escorts Claire to a meeting with Colum, and she is now sure of the century but not the year, so she does some quick look-about Colum’s quarters, trying to find anything that would help her find out the year she apparently ‘fell into’. A letter dated 1743 on his desk helps her greatly when it comes to Colum’s gentle interrogation. As they sit and talk, she tells him who she is [using the knowledge Frank once imparted about interrogations], so she sticks as much as she can to the truth, telling him she’s a widow from Oxfordshire, on her way to see distant relatives in France.

Photo Credit STARZ

Photo Credit STARZ

She was robbed by brigands, and then attacked by Captain Randall. Colum isn’t buying her story and tries to point some facts about the Captain, but our Claire stands her ground and veers the conversation to the arranging her transport to Inverness as soon as possible, which it seems is only five days away. In the meantime, he offers her his hospitality and she accepts it, leaving him and heading out for some fresh air and trying to hold onto her sanity, I believe. She spots Dougal jovially sword playing with some boys and especially the one red-headed boy, picking him up and twirling him around. She is comforted to believe that ‘this alien world’ may not be so much alien after all.

“It’s true that Captain Randall has a certain reputation. But he is an officer. A gentleman. And you’re saying that a man bearing the king’s commission decided to rape a stray lady traveler that he came upon int he woods for no good reason?”  – Laird Colum MacKenzie

 

“Is there ever a good reason for rape, Master MacKenzie?” – Claire

That night she joins the people of the castle for their evening meal in the hall and is greeted with stares from many, and offered a prominent seat between the brothers, Colum and Dougal. Colum’s wife Letitia, seated to his right, is introduced to her and they converse a bit and while Colum is always ready with her wine refill, she tries to find out where might Mr. Mactavish be.

Dougal tells them all that he has him at the stables, taking care of the horses and outside the castle walls. Colum questions that decision for only a minute but complies with Dougal’s decision, and at the same time continues the questioning of Claire.

Photo Credit STARZ

Photo Credit STARZ

She welcomes the distraction of the young red-headed boy she saw earlier in the day with Dougal and introduces herself, at which point Leticia asks the boy to give her his name, Hamish he says, and Claire assumes he’s Dougal’s son, and tells him she saw him play with his father, reminding Dougal of the incident. Well, you could hear a feather drop in that hall after that little exchange! The boy is a bit confused and tells her he’s the son and heir of Colum Mackenzie …and as our heroine is just about to pass out from all that wine, she thinks retreat is the best course of action. The permission is granted by the great Laird and off she goes on her wobbly feet, but still holding her head high.

The following day, Claire is pointed by Mrs. Fitz into Jamie’s direction, by the stables and she’s off to feed and re-bandage the young man. We see that she has acquired a ‘shadow’ [Rupert is the 'eyes' of the 'head' of Dougal and is now watching her closely].

" ...I trust you ..." - Jamie

” …I trust you …” – Jamie

She smiles as she spots Jamie training a horse and she tells him why she’s there, so they hide from the rain under the roof of the open stable to have a bite of food. Jamie decides to trust her and let’s her know why his uncles from his mother’s side, Colum and Dougal, have him hid in the stables [a good price on his head for murder that he didn't commit but was responsible for]. He also tells her his surname is not Mactavish, but never divulges what is.

As they finish the meal, she heads back but stops to talk to Dougal’s ‘eyes’ and Rupert admits to watching her at his orders, telling her she better be happy Angus isn’t following her! Her decision to face Dougal might have been smart at the time, but the man has no gumption telling her that he believes her to be English spy and threatens to have her as long as she’s with them. Well, what’s a woman to do?! She tells him to have fun next four days as she’ll be leaving on a Saturday with the tinker! Take that and smoke it, Dougal! The man is shocked at that information and she can tell, so she drives that point right in. It looks like he doesn’t ‘ken’ his brothers mind!

To kill the time, Mrs. Fitz has her working in her gardens, gathering herbs and vegetables for the kitchen and that’s where she meets Geillis Duncan, a very interesting village woman that’s into herbs as much as Claire. They hit it off and are later seen in the hall of the castle as the Laird dispenses his justice among his people, with Dougal standing to his right.

Photo Credit STARZ "They say I'm a witch." - Geillis Duncan

Photo Credit STARZ
“They say I’m a witch.” – Geillis Duncan

One of those that are seeking his counsel and punishment, is a father for his wayward daughter. In steps Jamie volunteering to take the punishment for her, choosing fists and not the straps and Rupert is the one doling out the punishment. Before Rupert starts beating the crap out of Jamie, Murtagh warns him that his Uncle Dougal is up to something and to be careful. Well, needles to say Rupert gets on with the business of punishment, but is always looking at Dougal for the sign’s to stop, which doesn’t come until the blood is drawn from Jamies eye. Poor Claire is ready to rush in and help the poor lad but Geillis stops her from interfering and takes her to him as he leaves the hall.

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While tending to his wounds yet again, she is curious about why he did it, did he know her? Jamie tells her that he’s seen her around but never talked to her and the reason for doing it is simple. It would be harder for the girl to get over the shame of being punishment in front of everyone, while he’s only bruised a bit.

Happy to leave ....

Happy to leave ….

Mrs. Fitz steps in the kitchen [the girl Laoghaire’s (Leree) grandmother], bringing Jamie some concoction for pain. As Claire finishes tending him, she tells him to he’ll be taking off his bandages by himself as she’ll be leaving tomorrow with a tinker. Even though this comes as a surprise to Jamie he wishes her a safe journeys and that’s when Claire spots Laoghaire hovering by the kitchen door obviously wanting to speak to him alone, she bids him goodbye and retreats to her rooms.

Saturday arrives and we see Mrs. Fitz and Claire running down the steps to meet the

Assailed with memories and faced with the Laird's decision that she is 'invited' to stay on as a healer ....

Assailed with memories and faced with the Laird’s decision that she is ‘invited’ to stay on as a healer ….

tinker and as soon as they bid their farewells, BOOM! Dougal stops by the cart and tells her that Colum would like to talk to her and points her back to the castle. She soon realizes where he’s taking her and is very apprehensive about it, feeling that something is up but not knowing what; she is left with no choice but to follow Dougal into the room only two days ago her husband made love to her in.

Meeting Colum in that room did nothing but bring memories of her and Frank, and she really tries very hard to hold her own and demand to be let go after learning that Colum changed his mind and decided to keep her as long as it takes for him to make sure her secrets are not going to hurt his family and his clan. She is devastated as she can’t help but, once left alone in the dark apothecary, break into sobs.

...lonely and alone she breaks into sobs ...

…lonely and alone she breaks into sobs …

Bookworms, am I the only one that’s totally immersed into the Outlander World? Are you watching it? What do you think about it so far?

The above photo’s are my favorite moments [among many]. Tell me which one was yours?

CREDITS: Written for television by: Ronald B. Moore

Directed by:  John Dahl

Starring: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Duncan Lacroix, Graham McTavish, Gary Lewis, Lotte Verbeek, Nell Hudson, Annette Badland

‘Back To You’ by Jessica Scott …

Pre-Launch Blitz Q&A

BTY JS

1. You first introduced Trent and Laura a few years ago and readers have been eagerly awaiting their story for a few years. Did you always know when you first created them in BECAUSE OF YOU that this was how their story would play out?

I knew they would have a story to tell but telling their story in this particular way, no I didn’t intend it. It took finding my amazing editor along with multiple attempts at trial and error to get them just right. I’m a nervous wreck about their story but I’m also really excited because I’m very happy with how their story turned out. Plus, hamsters. Who can argue with that, right?

2. BACK TO YOU is the incredibly emotional story of a marriage at the breaking point. What or who inspired you to write this story?

I remember standing in the ops one day and one of the guys was on the phone with his wife. He was telling her how much he was sorry, how much he didn’t want to work late. Then one of the other guys remarked that he always says that but he doesn’t ever mean it. So I had this idea of a man who was so driven to get back to war that he let his entire family and personal life suffer but I also wanted a wife who people could relate to, as well. Laura is Trent’s perfect compliment.

3. In your own personal life, you’ve been the soldier that has deployed to a war zone and the spouse that stayed home and has taken care of the family on the home front. Which was more difficult for you in your experience? And why?

That’s a much bigger topic than we have time for but I’ll say this: each one has it’s own unique challenges. Being deployed, not being able to get home when your kids are crying that they want mommy, that’s brutal. It rips your soul out. But then coming home and your reality doesn’t live up to the fantasy? In some ways, I think it’s worse and that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. As far as being the wife at home? I remember vividly lying awake at night, obsessively checking to make sure my ringer was turned on. I never cared when he called I just wanted to hear his voice. So which one is worse? I can’t really say. But I’m grateful that we’ve made it through each one a little bit stronger, you know?

4. Which is your favorite story to write—a reunion romances like Trent and Laura’s where each scene is alive with their own history or a fresh romance where they meet for the very first time and everything is new? Why?

I love a reunion story. I love the idea being able to forgive and love the person you’re with right then and not the memory of someone. I’m a huge sucker for reunion stories, honestly. I love the reconnection, the noting of how things have changed, of learning to love that person all over again, especially after a betrayal or things didn’t work in the past.

5. Trent is such a compelling character and you do a beautiful job of showing his survivor’s guilt and the resulting anxiety and fear that provokes in him. He’s both so alpha and strong and so very broken. What inspired you to create such a complicated hero? A real life person? A culmination of your own experiences? What you’ve seen yourself in the army? And were you at all concerned about the way readers would respond to him?

Trent is going to be hard for people to read, I suspect. He comes close to crossing some boundaries and I wanted to do that deliberately: I wanted people to understand that coming home from war isn’t cured in a day or a week. It’s a process. Someone like Trent who has bled in combat isn’t going to be okay after a night of magical sex. I know that’s the fantasy but I wanted something more: I wanted the fantasy that the couple will be strong enough to make it. So for me, Trent is deeply, deeply personal because I’ve seen friends struggle with some very tough choices. And the truth is, there is no magical cure but there can still be a happily ever after if you have someone strong enough to stand with you.

6. Laura is such an amazing character because she’s done the best for her family at every turn and supported her husband. But when all communication breaks down with her husband and he just keeps deploying, she serves her husband with divorce papers while he’s serving. It seems like such a taboo to serve papers while your spouse is deployed—is that true? And why did you choose to have Laura, the ultimate good wife, respond this way?

Laura sending Trent divorce papers while deployed I think is the ultimate prohibition. It’s just wrong on so so many levels and yet, I wanted to give readers a sense of what could drive someone to their breaking point. Laura is such a strong woman and yet, she broke. The strongest of us all have our breaking points. I wanted to show people how hard the war has been on everyone: not just the soldiers deploying but on the kids, on the spouses but I also wanted to give people hope, too.

7. Agent Chaos and Fluffy, the family hamsters, almost steal the show with their disappearing acts and they add the perfect amount of cuteness and comic relief. What inspired you to add them into the story?

Ah Fluffy and Agent Chaos. So for readers who don’t know, we have hamsters. It all started when we volunteered to buy the pre-k class pet. I didn’t realize that this would include home visits for the holidays. Fluffy was the first hamster and she promptly escaped within the first 24 hours. After that, we’ve become a multiple hamster household and well, when they escape, it’s madness because we have dogs and cats who, by some miracle, haven’t actually ever managed to capture one of the little buggers.

This story badly needed something to lighten it up. I thought adding in some escaping rodents would be the perfect thing to break up a really tough interaction between Trent and his kids. They provided a bridge for him to cross, a way to reach them while he was still getting used to them.

8. Big wedding or small? Hamsters or dogs? Sweats or lingerie?

Small wedding. Both hamsters and dogs and cats. Sweats all the way.

9. Emma and Ethan, Trent and Laura’s kids, are adorable and watching Trent learn how to be a dad again is an amazing thing. How do you think Trent got so detached from his family?

Coming home to be a parent again is probably the hardest thing soldiers do. The kids have changed, they have their own wants and needs and, well, they’re not your soldiers. They don’t listen like your soldiers have to. The noise and the chaos and the constant needs are really tough to get used to again so I think Trent just ran away because it was too much to deal with.

10. Since this is such an emotionally charged story, was it difficult for you to write? Or did it come easily?

It was very, very difficult to write. I wanted to push boundaries and create at least a glimpse of what it’s like to come home. I wanted to give readers a taste of the emotions that people go through, the fear, the uncertainty but also the love and the hope and the relief that their loved one is home safe.

11. Since you’ve been in Trent’s shoes, what is the hardest thing about readjusting to civilian life after a deployment?

The crowds and the entitlement. To this day, I won’t go into crowded stores or wait in crowds. It’s suffocating. And it’s funny because when I first came home, I was so annoyed at people complaining about lines and traffic and school starting. I was just so grateful to be back. Now, I’m much more sympathetic to everyday gripes and groans. I think it’s just part of how we get through our days.

‘Back To You’

BTY JSBOOK BLURB: He’s in for the fight of his life . . . 

Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn’t explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family-so he deployed again. And again. And again…until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs …if she’ll have him

. . . to win back his only love.

Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she’s just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried-and a love that won’t be denied. But can she trust that this time he’s back to stay?

EXCERPT: 

“So, to what do I owe the honor of this visit?” she asked, minimizing her e-mail to be able to focus.
“Don’t throw me out of the office,” he said, trying to keep his voice light. “But I need to talk to you about Trent’s case.”

Laura leaned back in her chair, folding her arms over her chest, and started counting to ten.
“I know you’re having a hard time with him.”
Laura sucked on her top lip for a moment before answering. “I wouldn’t necessarily call filing for divorce a hard time.”

“And that’s what I need to talk to you about.”

“Patrick…”

“Just hear me out, okay?”
She ground her teeth but after a moment nodded.

“Listen, there’s no case against Trent. It’s weak at best. With the Article 32 about to start, we have a good chance of getting it stopped here before it goes to court-martial. But I need to plant doubt that the allegations against him are true.” He met her gaze. “I need you to do that.”

Laura chewed on her bottom lip, playing his words over and over in her head, not understanding what he was asking of her. “What do you mean, you need to plant doubt?”

“The primary witness against your husband, PFC Adorno—”

“Oh, we’ve met,” Laura said dryly.

Patrick’s smile was humorless. “Yes, well, that’s part of the prosecution’s problem. She’s alleging that Trent was inappropriate but the problem is that she and Lieutenant Randall were caught in their shenanigans downrange.”

Laura frowned. “So you think this is a ploy to get herself out of trouble?

“Her and her husband. If they were working together to steal the missing weapons systems, then what better way to get out of trouble than to make this stuff up against Trent? Takes the focus off her and her husband completely.” Patrick leaned forward, tapping his index finger on the desk. “If I can cast

Trent as a sympathetic family man who would never do anything like what she’s alleging, this case is all but dismissed. I’m not attacking her. All I have to do is make Trent look better than the story she’s telling and we’ve got a win.”

“And you need me to paint on a happy face and be the loving wife.”

Patrick shook his head. “No, I need you to be one half of a loving couple. And I need you to do it publicly where everyone can see it—in the PX, in the chow hall, everywhere. I need the officers on this board to believe exactly what I’ll be telling them on the day of the hearing.”

She looked down at her empty ring finger, absently rubbing the bare skin beneath the bandage. “Everyone knows that we’re having problems, Patrick.”

“Then make sure everyone knows you’ve fixed it.” He leaned back. “I wouldn’t ask you to do this if I didn’t think it was our best shot at getting this whole thing thrown out.”

She looked up at him. “Why didn’t Trent ask me to do this?”
Patrick swallowed and looked away. “He refused to drag you into this,” he said quietly. “For what it’s worth, I don’t in a million years believe the allegations against Trent. I don’t think he would ever, ever be unfaithful to you.”

Laura pressed her lips together in a flat line. “You’re wrong, Patrick. He’s been cheating on me for years. It was just with the army instead of another woman.”

“Laura—”

“Let me think about it,” she said quickly. “I won’t say no out of hand but I can’t make this decision on a whim.”

Patrick leaned across the desk, gripping her hand. “I know this is hard for you, Laura. I know what I’m asking you to do.”

She said nothing for a long moment and he gave her a sympathetic but firm smile. “Give it some thought, okay?”

When she was alone, she sat there, staring at the picture of her family. Wondering how she was going to bring him back into the kids’ lives and then rip him out again. What he was asking wasn’t fair. He had no idea what this was going to do to her family.

She glanced at the photo on her desk as she typed furiously, trying to get ahead of the flood of e-mails in her inbox.

There was a quiet rap on her office door. “I’m not here,” she said quickly, looking up.
Her fingers froze on the keyboard. Her heart stopped in her chest.

Trent stood in the doorway. He had a duffle bag slung over his shoulder. His glasses hid the darkness of his eyes. There was a streak of dirt on his cheek. An assault pack hung limply from his left hand.

A thousand emotions ripped through her all at once, rioting for supremacy as she drank in the sight of her husband.

Ex-husband, she reminded herself. Or at least he was supposed to be.

She wished that this were a normal homecoming. One where she would rush across the small space and crash into him. His arms would come around her and she would inhale the strong spicy scent of his skin. Feel the heat of his touch. Savor that first, wild kiss.

Instead she had this. This empty chasm between them, echoing with loneliness.
And she had no idea how to cross it.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / Bookish / iTunes

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Jessica ScottAbout the author:

USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs; wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well-adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.She’s written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.

She’s pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine‘s Americans of the Year for 2012.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads 

Happy New 2014!

hny 2014

Here we are. The end of 2013 is nipping at our heels and I’m astounded that it went by so quickly.

I have to acknowledge my two cohorts that joined me this year, Connie & Leah, without whose help and support this blog would have been lost to me. I truly hope they stick around with me for a long time to come.

I also would like to acknowledge Evelyn Archer and Kristal Faith who were tremendous help to me in shaping the blog into what it is today. I miss them both very much along with their creative input, but life took us into different direction and I wish them much success in whatever endeavor they undertake.

This year I felt many times like that ‘engine that could’ and at the end of the year, it looks like it not just could, but it did.

There are many components that go into a blog, and one of them are many authors that despite their busy schedule, family problems and business issues, they stopped by to share with me and you, their life and work. I can only say that I’m humbled with every single author that graced us this year with their visit. Love you all…

And now I come to you, my subscribers and followers.

I could blog, post and have a million authors stop by, but without YOU coming over and joining in the conversation, there would be no b2b, and that is humbling and amazing. Makes my heart sing. Thank you.

Connie, Leah & I wish to lift a glass in your honor and wish you the best a year that is knocking at the door, can bring.

May it be healthy, prosperous and filled with love and joy…and many, many books? After all, what is a bookworm without a book to warm its heart?!

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HUGS!

Leah’s 2013 choices for…

Five Star Reads are:

XMTS VRI know we all have our favorite genres and our favorite authors. As for me, I read all types of historical books. Even a few contemporaries.

I had many 4 – 4 1/2 star reviews this year but I thought I’d post about my 5 star reads and you will see by my list just where my heart lies when it comes to genres, which doesn’t mean that I won’t give high marks to contemporary novels.

I gave a very high 4 1/2 to ‘Spin’ by Bella Love.  I am hooked! You can check out my review here.

Now, back to my FIVE STAR reads and so, here we go….

Julianne Lee and her Tenebrae series

‘Knight Tenebrae’, ‘Knight’s Blood’ and ‘Knight’s Lady’.

“Trapped in a place not their own, two strangers find the only thing they can count on is one another”.

Follow Alex and Lindsay as they travel back through time to 14th century Scotland. All three books take you on their journey. I was simply full of emotion throughout all three books. Read Mel’s reviews for the series here.

Sue-Ellen Welfonder and her Highland Warriors series

 ‘Sins Of a Highland Devil’, ‘Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel’ and ‘Seduction of a Highland Warrior’, along with SOTC PBthe novella, ‘Once Upon a Highland Christmas’.

I can tell you that Sue-Ellen brings medieval Scotland to life for me every time I go into one of her stories. They are full of humor, mystery, highland magic, warfare, and love. All are filled with history bits that will keep all history buffs happy. You can read my reviews for the series here, here & here, with Melanie’s review for the novella here,

Monica McCarty and ‘The Hawk’

It is part of the Highland Guard series and I highly recommend it. They all received high marks from me but Eric “Hawk” MacSorely stood out above the rest. She is another auto-buy for me. You can read my review here.

Diane Darcy and ‘She Owns The Knight’

I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed this book! I am sitting here smiling from ear to ear as I write this. If you love 13th century England, laughing, and watching as two people learn what love is all about, this story is a must buy! You can read my review here.

Victoria Roberts and ‘X Marks The Scot’

TH MMcCThis is #2 in the Bad Boys of the Highlands series and I waited patiently for Declan and his story and was so excited when I finally got it in my hands.

I knew there was a wonderful man behind the rogue. Laidain is just the woman for him too, one who won’t let him hide behind his blether, and one who is strong enough to stand her ground with him and everyone else for that matter.

This story is packed with treason, danger it seems around every turn, secrets discovered that condemns some and saves another, and laughter…..tons of laughter!

Patricia Bracewell and ‘Shadow on the Crown

Loved this story! From the history to the direction Patricia took this story in, her writing had hooked me in!

I felt for Emma as she accepted her lot in life and smiled when she stood for herself when needed. King Aethelred was constantly suspicious of everyone and because of his guilt, found himself tortured by visits from his murdered brother’s ghostly shadow. He also blatantly carried on with Elgiva, his mistress. I enjoyed the way Ms. Bracewell took the story line with Athelstan, the King’s son and his relationship with Emma. Through her words she brought OUAHC SEWcharacters into my life to love and hate, and added with the history, this became one of my most favorite reads this year. I cannot wait for the next on this series to see what she brings us next!

Kris Kennedy and ‘The Conqueror’

This author’s words move me. Period. I feel a deep connection while reading her work and urge you to give her a try if you haven’t yet. You can read my review here.

Margaret Mallory and ‘The Chieftain’

This is book 4 in the Return of the Highlanders series.

From beginning to end she had me captured in their world. My heart-felt warmth as I read the epilogue. I enjoyed watching their love come to fruition and talk about HOT!! I loved the mystical parts of this story. Tearlag and Ilysa and their sight, the fairy glens and the chants… ghostly sightings and the legends surrounding them all call to my heart. Scotland is full of lore and Margaret Mallory does an TIW KKexcellent job of bringing it to life.

She left me aching to walk the fairy glens, graveyards, and hills with standing stones. You can read Melanie’s review here.

Tanya Anne Crosby and her Highland Brides series. 

‘The MacKinnon’s Bride’, ‘Lyon’s Gift’, ‘On Bended Knee’ and ‘Lion Heart’ were re-reads for me that kept calling for me to pull out. Screamed at me actually. ‘Highland Song’ is a new addition to the series and stole my heart just as swiftly as the others did.

I found Tanya when I started reading 20 years ago and she was instantly catapulted to the top of my favorites list.

To me, her writing pulls at my heart and wraps me solidly within its pages.

You can read my reviews for the series herehereherehere, and here. You can now get the first 4 in the series in a boxed set…Cheaper that way, only $9.99!

So, there you have it! The stories that hit 5 stars for me this year and in no particular order. I would love to hear what everyone else read this year that received a 5 star rating. Feel free to share with us and give us your recommendations.

Now, I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014 brings into my reading world.

*Leah for b2b

Closing out 2013 with …

My 2013 Debut Authors are:

As the year ends I look back at the books I’ve read, some new ‘to me’  and some début authors I’ve enjoyed and today I’m giving you heads up on these because I think they’re the ones to watch out for in the years to come.

Please note that they come in no particular order. All are equally good and worthy of my esteem.

TP KWKate Worth and ‘The Promise’

BOOK BLURB: When pastry chef Jane Gray tries to sell her daughter’s locket, she becomes the unlikely subject of a massive police hunt and fodder for London’s tabloid press. Secrets unravel, lies are exposed, and the Duke of Rutledge demands custody of his niece.

Charming and handsome, the duke’s brother Finn spends his leisure time between the sheets of London’s most beautiful, wanton women. The seasoned rake is perplexed by his attraction to demure, virtuous Jane… definitely not his usual type. It soon becomes evident there is more to Jane than meets the eye and Finn longs to possess the passionate woman hidden beneath her modest facade.

When the publicity draws the attention of a madman from Jane’s past and Finn is forced to enter London’s dangerous underworld in a heart-stopping race to save her.

REVIEW: here.

AMAR EPEvelyn Pryce and ‘A Man Above Reproach’

BOOK BLURB: In 1830s London, scandalized whispers surround the pub known as The Sleeping Dove. A hidden bordello, the rumors say, catering to straying nobles eager to shed the trappings of their stations.

Josephine Grant knows the rumors are true–she plays piano at the Dove, known only as “The Bawdy Bluestocking” to the pub’s faithful. Tales swirl as to her real origin: some patrons claim that she was an orphan prodigy, others go so far as to name her concubine to the King.

The society ladies call the reluctant Duke of Lennox “The Uncatchable,” not that he cares for them or their nicknames. Elias Addison’s estate was thrust upon him when his father died and it has been little else but a burden. He spends his days mired in responsibilities and his nights pursued at endless balls by fortune-hunting debutantes. He is morose, serious, and tense.

When a friend brings him to the Sleeping Dove in an attempt to lighten his mood, the consequences of those good intentions are far greater. When the Duke of Lennox finds himself at the Bawdy Bluestocking’s piano, they begin to play a dangerous melody. Though Elias cannot resist courting Josie, she has a past to protect, a shaky future, and no time for frivolous nobility with soft hands. When the Duke uncovers the truth, will he wish he had never begun the tune?

REVIEW: here.

U ACAnna Cowen and ‘Untamed’

BOOK BLURB: Outspoken and opinionated, Katherine Sutherland is ill at ease amongst the fine ladies of Regency London. She is more familiar with farmers and her blunt opinions and rough manners offend polite society. Yet when she hears the scandalous rumours involving her sister and the seductive Duke of Darlington, the fiercely loyal Katherine vows to save her sister’s marriage – whatever the cost.

Intrigued by Katherine’s interference in his affairs, the manipulative Duke is soon fascinated. He engages in a daring deception and follows her back to her country home. Here, their intense connection shocks them both. But the Duke’s games have dangerous consequences, and the potential to throw both their lives into chaos…

REVIEW: here.

perf5.000x8.000.inddSandra Owens and ‘The Letter’

BOOK BLURB: THE LETTER is a story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore two lovers apart for eleven years. Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed, the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed, in bed with his cousin on the eve of their wedding.

Diana, the daughter of a marquess, remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is she was forced to marry Michael’s cousin, Leo, and then spent the next eleven years in hell.
When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, they must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses that of their youth.

REVIEW: here.

TSOLP EQElla Quinn and ‘The Seduction of Lady Phoebe’

BOOK BLURB: Polite society has its rules for marriage. But for Ella Quinn’s eligible bachelors, their brides will show them that rules are for the weak of heart…

Phoebe Stanhope is not a typical Lady. As feisty as she is quick witted, no one can catch her, especially when she is driving her dashing phaeton with its perfectly matched horses. And unlike her peers, experience has guarded her against a growing list of would-be suitors. But when she encounters Marcus Finley, what she fears most burns deep within his blue-eyed gaze…

For Lord Marcus, the spark of recognition is but a moment in the love he has held these many years. Now that he’s returned to England, all the happiness he desires rests on Lady Phoebe never finding out that he was the one who turned her heart so cold and distant. He must work fast to gain the advantage—to convince her what she wants is exactly what she denies—but in order to seduce her into his arms, he must be willing to give up more than he can control…

REVIEW: here.

TDL MCMáire Claremont and ‘The Dark Lady’

BOOK BLURB: Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jaded soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse.

Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.

REVIEW: here.

The Illicit Love of a CourtesanJane Lark and ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’

BOOK BLURB: Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty––a vessel––deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.

When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?

Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress.  The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.

Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn’t hesitate, he helps her flee He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

REVIEW: here.

ADI EMErica Monroe  and ‘A Dangerous Invitation’

BOOK BLURB: One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of two years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.

REVIEW: here.

Those are some of the authors that have debuted this year, but I’ve discovered this year ‘new to me’ authors that have been around and they are: Victoria Vane; Sherry Thomas; Julianne Lee, Tracy Grant, Susan King, Elizabeth Chadwick…

There are so many more on my Kindle and still on my TBR so I need to get to them all…eventually.

How was your reading year and have you any recommendations for me?

Melanie

Holiday TV movies to see this Season…

‘A Princess for Christmas’

starring Sam Heughan & Katie McGrath

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‘On The 2nd Day Of Christmas’

staring Mary Stuart Masterson & Mark Ruffalo

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‘One Night With a King: Story of Esther’ 

starring Tiffany Dupont & Luke Goss

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‘Christmas Cupid’

starring Christina Milian & Burgess Jenkins