‘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

*Enter — >>> a Rafflecopter giveaway <<<

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?!

fallingconfettidivider1221[1]

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

G b2b

‘On The 2nd Day Of Christmas’

staring Mary Stuart Masterson & Mark Ruffalo

G b2b

‘One Night With a King: Story of Esther’ 

starring Tiffany Dupont & Luke Goss

G b2b

‘Christmas Cupid’

starring Christina Milian & Burgess Jenkins

My FOREVER 2013 Christmas recommends…

IHFC JS‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ by Jessica Scott

BOOK BLURB: There’s nothing in the world Army Sergeant Vic Carponti loves more than his wife and his country. Smart-mouthed and easy tempered, he takes everything as a joke…except his promise to come home to his wife, Nicole, for Christmas. As he prepares to leave for his latest deployment into Iraq, Vic will do everything he can to shield his beautiful, supportive wife from the realities of war…and from his own darkest fears.

As a career army wife, Nicole Carponti knows just what to expect from her husband’s tour of duty: loneliness, relentless worry, and a seemingly endless countdown until the moment Vic walks through the door again. But when the unthinkable happens, Nicole and Vic’s bond is tested like never before and changes everything they believe to be true about the power of love and the simple beauty of being home for the holidays.

REVIEW: This was a short read and if you’re into military contemporary reads, I think you’ll like it. I found it interesting and entertaining because of the subject and the way their life was portrayed as they were dealing with his deployment at Christmas time. It gave me an ‘in depth’ look at the military families that, I must admit, I don’t think about often enough.

It’s kind of sobering to ‘see’ how strong the women as well as their men have to be and that’s the main reason I recommend you read it.

It’s sweet, funny, sexy, and eye-opening story of love that can withstand many obstacles in its way. Liked it a lot.

G b2b

ACTR A‘A Christmas to Remember’ by Marilyn Pappano, Molly Cannon, 

Hope Ramsay, Kristen Ashley & Jill Shalvis

BOOK BLURB: Jill Shalvis, Dream a Little Dream: Melissa has kept every man at a safe distance-especially firefighter Ian, a sexy friend with sexy benefits. But Ian secretly longs for more. Luckily, ’tis the season for giving love a chance . . .

Kristen Ashley, Every Year: Holidays don’t come easy for Shy and his brother, Landon. But with the magic of Christmas, along with a little help from Tabby and her family, the Cage brothers are about to get the gift of a lifetime . . .

Hope Ramsay, Silent Night: Down on her luck and evicted from her apartment, single mother Maryanne hopes to start over in Last Chance. When the snow begins to fall, it looks like her baby might literally spend Christmas Eve in a manger. And Maryanne might celebrate the holiday with a handsome stranger.

Molly Cannon, Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas: Lincoln is a bachelor who’s set in his ways-until a professional organizer dressed up as Mrs. Claus changes his life, one tip at a time. . .

Marilyn Pappano, A Family for Christmas: War widow Ilena doesn’t mind spending Christmas alone. But when a new doctor blows into town with the winter wind, will she get her secret Christmas wish?

REVIEW: There’s a lot of stories in this anthology, and frankly most of these authors are my first reads, so we have a mixed bag of goodies here.

Keep in mind that this is an anthology, therefore the stories are short and fast moving. These kinds of stories are not for everyone, but I do recommend you read them for the most obvious reason: getting to know and ‘feel’ the authors you’re not familiar with, and enjoying the ones that you are familiar with.

That said, here we go:

‘Dream a Little Dream’ by Jill Shalvis

I was impressed with Ms. Shalvis’ character development within the constraints of this short story.

Melissa and Ian’s relationship was well developed, and fun to read about.

If you’re familiar with the Lucky Harbor series, you will defenatly love it, and if this is your first time reading this author, have no fear, this story stands on its own.

‘Every Year’ by Kristen Ashley

I’ve never read this author before and after this short story I’m debating if I should try her. I was a bit confused by the plot and the characters were not as well rounded as they could have been.

However, this may not be the case for you, so I think you should still give it a try.

‘Silent Night’ by Hope Ramsay

Leave it to Ms. Ramsey to make me cry. I just adored this story. It was well told, well-rounded and altogether just sweet, poignant and filled with hope in humanity.

Maryanne and Daniel with little baby Joshua, will steal your heart.

This is a perfect story for all of you that have never read this author before. You’ll be searching her other books after you’ve read this story. I guarantee that!

And for us that are getting more familiar with her, this one just makes us want for more!

‘Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas’ by Molly Cannon

Molly Cannon is a new author for me, but this story will make me seek her out again.

I actually enjoyed the predictability of this romance. It was fun watching Dinah, a personal organizer, who gets hired by Lincoln, a messy accountant to organize a home of his parents.

And the sparks get ignited as these two personalities come together.

Fun and sweet, with some heat mixed in.

 ‘A Family for Christmas’ by Marilyn Pappano

Again, an unfamiliar author to me, and again, I’m conflicted about will I or won’t I read her again.

I just didn’t connect with the hero and heroine.

The story was good, but the characters just fell flat to me, and once that happened, I didn’t feel emotionally vested in their happily ever after. That doesn’t mean that you’ll feel the same, though, so give it a go.

Bottom line: worth reading for sure!

G b2b

TTWC DM‘The Trouble with Christmas’ by Debbie Mason

BOOK BLURB: It will take a Christmas miracle to melt her heart.

Resort developer Madison Lane is about to lose the one thing she loves most in the world—her job. Dubbed “The Grinch Who Killed Christmas,” Madison spoiled a deal that would turn quaint Christmas, Colorado, into a tourist’s winter wonderland. Now the citizens want her fired but the company gives her one last chance, sending Madison to the small town to restore the holiday cheer.

For Sheriff Gage McBride, no hotshot executive from New York City is going to destroy the dreams of the people he loves. But one look at this beautiful woman and it’s his heart that may be broken. In just a few days, Madison causes more trouble than he’s had to deal with all year. He can’t decide if she’s naughty or nice, but one thing is for certain—Christmas will never be the same again…

REVIEW: I just about loved everyone in this tale, but the hero is one of those down to earth guys that you can’t help but love.

It took me a bit longer to warm up to the heroine, but the longer I got to know her, the more I liked her.

I also thought that the people of this quaint town aptly named Christmas, in Colorado, were a hoot and I’m looking forward to reading about them through this series. I hope you give it a try because it had everything a Christmas story should: A heroine that’s nicknamed a ‘Grinch’ falling for a local man who loves his town and its folks who look up to him for more than just to ‘protect and serve’ their community.

If you’re looking for a very funny, very entertaining and heartwarming story, this is it!

G b2b

HfC JH‘His for Christmas’ by Jennifer Haymore

BOOK BLURB: Jennifer Haymore introduced sweet, but shy Lady Esme in The Duchess Hunt, the first novel in her House of Trent Series. But what readers may not know is that proper young Lady Esme has a secret: the youngest sister of the Duke of Trent privately pens erotic stories!

Society would never allow Lady Esme to share her own work, so her friend Jennifer Haymore is here to help—and just in time for Christmas!

His for Christmas is the steamy story of two travelers who find themselves stranded in an inn when an upexpected snowstorm blankets the English countryside. As the temperature drops, desire rises and the two strangers share a night of passion unlike anything either has ever experienced. When dawn breaks and the storm clears, will they continue on thier seperate journeys, or will they begin a new path together?

REVIEW: For me, this story was heartwarming, sweet and ‘sauna’ steamy, all at the same time.

Amelia and Evan were very likable and relatable characters, while their love story took both of them back to the past and the reasons behind their separation.

Once the reason for the misunderstanding begins to dawn on both, these two light up the pages with tension and sexual buildup of years and years of longing for one another, and let me tell you, get ready for it. It is HOT!

Recommending it to all of you that believe in second chances, and to those that are looking for a read that has a mix of sweet romance with sexy characters!

G b2b

TtNBM NR”Twas the Night Before Mischief ‘ by Nina Rowan

BOOK BLURB: ‘Twas the night before mischief and all through the house, a lady was plotting—it was time to break out!

When Penelope Darlington is persuaded to elope with a most unsuitable suitor, she wastes no time. With visions of passion and adventure dancing in her head, she steals away in the middle of the night, just before her father’s Christmas feast.

Fearing for his daughter’s reputation, Henry Darlington begs Darius Hall, the Earl of Rushton’s daring yet discreet son, to bring Penelope home. When Darius finally catches up to Penelope, he is shocked. She’s not the silly little girl he expected, but a beautiful woman with a sharp mind and an allure that cannot be ignored.

Now forced to kidnap Penelope in order to bring her home, Darius and his new charge spend the next several days—and nights—in very close quarters. Penelope wanted passion and adventure, but she never could have imagined the pleasures Darius can provide…

REVIEW: At a first glance, this might sound like a predictable story, but the further you go into it, the more you realize that not to be the case.

It is one of those love stories that involves two people who have a total misconception of one another, yet both are attracted to the other.

I thoroughly enjoyed the journey they took to come, finally, together.

I can’t recommend this one enough for the simple reason that this hero may as well have been my husband. It made me chuckle all the way through.

It really is true that opposites attract, and I can vouch for that!

G b2b

OUAHC SEW‘Once Upon A Highland Christmas’ by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

BOOK BLURB: Warrior Grim Mackintosh understands why his friend Archibald MacNab has decreed there be no trace of Christmas in his castle. After a devastating attack destroyed everything-and everyone-in Archie’s life, he prefers to stew in his own misery until the holiday passes. But Duncreag has seen enough tragedy. Grim decides to throw a grand Yuletide feast, one that the bards will sing about for years to come, one that will remind his laird how beloved he is. He can’t do it alone, though. Grim needs an accomplice . . .

There’s nothing Breena O’Doherty won’t do for Archie, so she’s thrilled to help Grim with his plan. Yet she has a Christmas wish all her own-to win Grim’s heart-and this might be her only chance to make it come true. As Breena and Grim work together to bring the joy of the season to the cold, gloomy castle and to the heart of the cantankerous chieftain, an undeniable passion ignites between them. But when a shocking secret about Breena’s past comes to light, threatening everything she holds dear, will it ruin Christmas in Duncreag forevermore?

REVIEW: Hope you click here for my review of this wonderful, fun and entertaining story.

*Melanie for b2b

*Books provided by the publishers through NetGalley.

FOREVER would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas by giving one book to six commenters who can tell us about their earliest Christmas memory….

GOOD LUCK!

GIVEAWAY INTERNATIONAL!

Featuring Illustrator of Romance Novels…

Jon Paul

JPF

It is no secret that I adore every cover ever illustrated by this talented man. I dare you to watch this video and not come up with at least one of these books.

I don’t have all of them, but I bet that most of my Keeper Shelf books are Jon Paul covers. These are not your ordinary pictures…these works of art never fail to amaze me. They make me gasp and leave me breathless, as much as the stories depicted by these covers.

My thanks go to Mr. Mario Sorcinelli for putting this vid together. It’s amazing!

ENJOY!

 

Can you name some of the titles featured in the video?

The person with the most titles named will get one of the books with Jon Paul cover!

*[US only]

Jon Paul FerraraARTIST BIO: Jon Paul is one of the most talented artist/photographers in the Romance Novel Cover Art industry. The covers of Jon Paul appear regularly in books issued by the leading romance novel publishing houses. In the mid-80’s, Jon Paul was one of sixteen art students chosen worldwide to participate in a nine-month program at the prestigious New York Academy of Fine Arts. He also attended the National Academy of Design under Nelson Shank, the official portrait painter of the late Princess Diana. Jon Paul has received more than thirty awards for excellence from the Romance Writers of America, often placing in two or more of the top ten positions. His work has appeared on the cover of Zink (September 2004), one of the leading fashion industry magazines.

Jon Paul also painted an advertisement for Chopard , a world famous jewelers who designs jewelry for celebrities. In 2005 Jon’s work was showcased on a True Romance gaming machine which was distributed in casinos worldwide. In 2006 he completed an advertising campaign for Oral-B which included portraits of celebrities like Fabio. His portrait of Fabio appeared on Valentine’s Day 2006 on the NASDAQ Billboard in Time Square NYC. Jon Paul was commissioned to design the artwork for the tombstone of Anna Nicole Smith and was unveiled on what would have been her 41st birthday. Ever vigilant to expand his horizons, Jon Paul pursues his fine art along with his commercial ventures, both are enjoyed by millions of fans that visit his site every year.

Social Media: Website /  Facebook /

Priscilla Shay stops by b2b…

We welcome Priscilla to our celebration of her debut…

RTF PS‘Returning the Favor’

BOOK BLURB: At tender age of thirteen, Lady Catherine James fell out of a tree and into Colin Barringer’s heart.

Six years later and with guilt in his heart, now the newly minted Viscount Mannes must make her fall again—for him.

REVIEW: This is a début story and even though it was way, WAY too short, I liked it.

Because of the shortness of the story, I felt a bit cheated in ‘telling’ and I thought it had great potential of becoming a full-fledged novel.

However, that said, there was a lot to love about this story, like Colin and Catherine as they discover their true feelings for each other.

Ms. Shay did a very good job with characterization, plot and pace, but what delights most in this tale is the dialogue, and not just between Colin and Catherine. I loved it!

“Colin took a  deep breath and emptied his glass. The golden liquid stung as it went down.

‘I want to marry her.’ And as quickly as possible, before he lost his control and did something really stupid and outraged the people he loved the most.

‘My wife?’

Colin groaned and dropped into the seat across from John. ‘No, your daughter.’

‘Oh. Because as much as Claudia and I are fond of you, I cannot permit you to marry her.’

Colin froze. ‘Catherine?’

John blinked. ‘My wife. I have already married her.’ He paused. ‘And thoroughly consummated the marriage. With evidence.'”

Great début, wonderful characters, sweet romance, as well as a fast read for those cold fall or winter evenings that are around the corner.

EXCERPT: 

Catherine was never so angry in her life. Fury clogged her throat and seeped out her pores in waves of heat.

“This is supposed to entice me?” She deepened her voice in a poor approximation of his to mimic his words. “You are now my property. Produce my children.” She succeeded in freeing a hand from his grip and slapped his chest as she glared at him. “I am not a factory. You, Colin Barringer, Viscount Mannes, my brother’s best friend, are an—”

He put his forefinger on her lips. “I know that, my dear. You are entirely too supple and curvy to be a factory.” Colin proceeded to caress said curves.

Her heart thudded, and she could hardly breathe from the intensity of his focus on her

mouth. Suddenly dry, she licked her lips. Her ribs expanded beneath the heat of his palm.

As if standing to the side, and not within the circle of his arms, Catherine saw Colin’s head slowly dip toward her and she did not fight him. She did not want to. Contrarily, neither did she wish to surrender.

He ignited a fire within her that only he could control. Now, it crawled over her skin at an agonizingly painful pace. It was not terrible to have Colin want her. It was distressing that she wanted him. He had an appalling power over her, he always had.

Colin’s mouth stole her words, his taste invaded her senses. He crowded her against the tree, framed her face with his large hands. Sandalwood and heat surrounded her.  His lips pressed against hers in a hot demand. A swipe of his tongue along the seam, a nip at the bottom lip. She gasped and his tongue snaked inside. One hand slid from her face to her neck, his thumb moved across her pulse. He played with her, coaxed a response until she couldn’t breathe. He moaned and she felt it in her chest more than heard it.

Finally, he pulled away. He touched his forehead to hers, his quiet pants mingling with her shallow breathing. Catherine’s eyes refused to open. They were heavy, sleepy.

She licked her lips as her eyes filled with tears. “What was that?” What she couldn’t seem to ask was the question uppermost in her mind.

Colin pressed his thumb to her lower lip and said, “That was a promise. You will be my wife, Catherine.”

BUY LINKS: All Romance Books / Amazon  / Boroughs Publishing Group / Diesel-eBooks / iTunesKobo / Nook  / Smashwords

***   ***   ***

GIVEAWAY: one eBook to one lucky commenter. *International

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us which ‘Book’ would you like to ‘Push’ and why…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three are required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Grand Giveaway!

 Already a follower & our FB buddy?

All you need do is…COMMENT on this post.

***   ***   ***

Priscilla ShayAUTHOR BIO: She is fascinated with all things historical and the only way she can explain it is by claiming she was – clearly – born in the wrong century. (Although, she has been dabbling in the Paranormal and Young Adult.)

She holds a B.A. in English: Creative Writing, Honors (with a minor in History) and currently lives in New York pursing a M.A. in History. She is also a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America). When not writing she can be found in a corner crafting, drawing, or baking.

*RTF bookmarks available upon request (limited quantities).

Social MediaWebsite / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / GoodReads / Authorgraph

Monica Burns stops by b2b…

 

Help us welcome and celebrate today an author I love a lot! Here is Monica Burns and her book…

BC MB`A Bluestocking Christmas’

BOOK BLURB: Sinful words, wicked pleasures and a ghost all add up to

A Bluestocking Christmas with a Dickens of a twist.

As a young man, Simon, Viscount Wycombe learned the painful truth that a tradesman’s daughter is suitable only for liaisons and nothing more. But Ivy Beecham is a far cry from his preconceived notions, and he’s determined to have her.  But when she rejects him, it only increases his determination to seduce her into a world of sin and pleasure.

Ivy Beecham knows first-hand that handsome aristocrats like Simon can’t be trusted. But the intellectual scoundrel is hell-bent on making her his mistress, using every means at his seductive disposal. When she refuses to give away her heart on Christmas Eve, a ghostly specter shows her in one night why her surrender can be the greatest gift of all.

MY REVIEW: here.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / Smashwords / Kobo / iTunes / ARE

***   ***   ***

EXCERPT:

Sinful words, wicked pleasures and a ghost all adds up to A Bluestocking Christmas with a Dickens of a twist.

1892

Chapter 1

“I want to know why.”

Simon’s voice was like a whip cracking in the air, and Ivy turned away from him. His angry demand didn’t surprise her. She’d known ending their liaison would not please him. She was certain no woman had ever dared to discard him as she was doing now.

His betrayal had only made it easier for her to end things between them. Ivy’s heart clenched painful in her breast at the realization that Simon had no comprehension of how he’d betrayed her. In his arrogance, he’d brought the one person she never wanted to see again into her home. If he’d even bothered to ask, she would have vehemently objected to his intentions when it came to his seeking out her cousin.

Ivy swallowed the bile rising in her throat. She had no one to blame but herself. If she had kept her own counsel, he would never have thought to seek out Caroline. When her cousin had entered the salon a short time ago, the past had rushed up to assault her senses with the sharpness of a kitchen blade.

The constant reminders of her inferiority to the nobility, the rejection by her mother’s family, and the painful humiliation had rushed at her like a wall of water threatening to drown her. Worse than that was the memory of Caroline’s betrayal. Ivy’s hand pressed against the fluttering in her stomach. It only intensified the pain of her heart breaking with each breath she took.

“Damn it to hell, Ivy. Answer me.”

The fierce command made her mouth tighten with resentment. She’d never taken orders well from anyone, least of all a member of the peerage. It was a remnant from the days of her childhood when she’d been treated like a servant. Suppressing her anger, she squared her shoulders and slowly turned to face him. The sight of him made her throat close until it was difficult to breath. A tall, dark angel could not have looked more dangerous.

“What do you want me to say, Simon?” she asked quietly. “I thought I made it perfectly clear. I no longer wish to see you.”

“And I asked you why.”

Again the demand for an explanation. Ivy’s fingers tightened on the swag of material that hugged her hips as she prepared to weather the storm brewing about her. That she was facing his anger with a serenity she didn’t feel amazed her. More importantly, she could tell her calm manner was only increasing his ire. But she wasn’t about to reveal her heart, and the real reason for breaking off their liaison.

“Sometimes there isn’t a reason,” she lied.

“There’s always a reason,” he snarled. “Is it because of my title? I know how highly you think of the peerage.”

“If you’re suggesting our different social standings are of little consequence, might I remind you that you deem me unsuitable for Anthony because you thought I was hoping to catch a nobleman for a husband.” At her bitter accusation, Simon frowned darkly.

Goddamnit, that was before I knew you,” he exclaimed in a harsh voice.

“Still, it changes nothing, and today only confirms that in my mind.”

“Other than your treatment of Caroline a few moments ago, what does she have to do with this?”

“She means nothing to me.” The lie scraped across her heart. Seeing her cousin enter the salon had only emphasized how much she’d lost since leaving Parkland Manor.

“No? For a commoner, your condescending snub was worthy of even the most elite member of the Marlborough Set.” His words sliced through her, and her skin grew cold as he emphasized the difference in their social status.

“You should never have brought her here.” She instantly regretted the bitterness in her voice as he narrowed his gaze at her.

“I thought it would please you.” His rough explanation made Ivy’s heart skip a beat before she extinguished the brief spark of hope in her breast.

“You were mistaken. But it doesn’t matter. My decision is final. I have no wish to continue our liaison.”

“I don’t believe you,” Simon said with the impatience he always displayed when things weren’t to his liking.

“Believe what you like. I’ve already made plans to go to the country next week.”

It was a half-truth, but it would prevent him from trying to stop her from leaving for Italy the day after tomorrow. If she were to stay in England, he would find her. That she couldn’t risk. Her heart wouldn’t be able to bear it. A flash of what might have been fear flickered in his silver eyes, but she immediately dismissed the possibility as a familiar arrogance swept across his face.

“Change your plans.” The imperious command made her mouth tighten.

As usual, the man refused to take no for an answer. But isn’t that what you want, Ivy. Don’t you want him to fight for you? Don’t you want him to say your social standing is of no consequence to him? The voice in her head taunted her. More importantly, it frightened her because she knew it was precisely what she wanted. But she wanted Simon to do so for the right reason. She wanted more than the passion he felt for her.

“I can’t. The arrangements are already in place.”

“Can’t or won’t.” His clipped response made her swallow hard. He was making this far more difficult than she’d imagine.

“Is there a difference?”

“Yes,” he snarled. “And if you think I’m going to let you go so easily, then you’re mistaken.”

The determination on his face made her heart pound violently in her chest. She needed to find a way to end this conversation. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t be able to prevent herself from throwing herself into his arms and letting her emotions overrule her head. She wouldn’t be able to snap the invisible cord that connected her to him. If he were to break her resolve, she would be as vulnerable as a newborn babe. Her breath hitched at the thought. She didn’t have the strength to risk such a possibility.

“No, Simon. You’re the one who’s mistaken. There’s nothing more to say, and I want you to leave.”

Ivy turned away, afraid her true feelings would show on her face. She couldn’t bear it if he knew the truth. It would give him the power to keep her with him, and that was something she couldn’t afford to do. A second later, Simon’s strong hand gripped her arm as he forced her to face him.

Startled she blinked in surprise as she stared up into his gray eyes. Once more, she saw the odd flash of emotion in his gaze, but it was gone before she could identify it, and angry frustration replaced it. Aware of her perilous condition, Ivy tried to jerk away from him. She didn’t succeed, and flinched at the determination darkening his face.

“That’s where you’re wrong, Ivy. I have a lot more to say. But I don’t intend to use words.”

With a swift tug, Simon pulled her tight against him and covered her mouth with his in a searing kiss. The heat of it stirred her senses into a whirlwind of desire. A strong hand slid up her waist and then over the top of her breasts. She moaned with the need to feel his skin against hers one more time. Just one more moment of passion for her to remember.

Without thinking, she melted into his arms as her body and heart ignored the frantic warnings sounding in her mind. Familiar sensations tingled across her skin as his kiss deepened into the seductive caress that had always sent her pulse skittering wildly. She offered up no protest as he guided her toward the loveseat, his muscular legs pressing into hers. Almost instantly, she was wet with desire, and she ached for him to assuage the need only he could fill.

The cool air brushed against her legs as he pushed her skirt upward over her stockings. A strong hand caressed her thigh, and her body instinctively arched upward. Warm fingers stroked her skin before they dipped into her wetness. Wild and wanton sensations held her hostage. They blinded her to everything but this moment and his touch. Nothing else mattered except for the overwhelming taste, scent, and feel of him.

Shuddering beneath his touch, desire drove her body to thrust up against his hand, while the need for him to complete her burrowed it’s way along every nerve ending in her body. Since the first time he’d touched her, she’d always been eager for his touch. Today was no different except that it would be the last time her heart would ever beat again.

The sobering thought pulled back the curtain of desire blinding her, and she uttered a soft cry of fear. Dear Lord, with just a single touch he’d managed to drive every sane thought from her head. Her hands splayed against his chest to push him away, but he suddenly retreated of his own accord. Bewildered, she watched him rise from the couch to stand over her. For a brief moment, she thought she saw a flash of anguish in his eyes before they became cold, dark silver.

“Perhaps you’re right, Ivy. If this is all we have then there really is nothing more to say, is there. ” With a jerk, he straightened his coat and the steely frost of his gaze bored into hers. “You’ll forgive me if I don’t overstay my welcome, but a mere commoner is the last thing I can stomach at the moment.”

Ice sluiced across her skin at the brutality of his words as she stared up at him in horror. If someone had cut out her heart, the pain in her chest could not have been any worse. One hand pressed against the base of her throat, she struggled to breathe. Something akin to anguished regret furrowed Simon’s brow, and he took a step toward her. Instinctively, she recoiled. With a scowl of what she was certain was contempt, he wheeled about sharply and stalked out of the salon.

Stricken by both his words and departure, Ivy gripped the back of the sofa as she pulled herself upright. Fingernails biting into the dark mahogany trim of the green velvet couch she stumbled to her feet and staggered a few feet toward the salon door.

“Simon.”

His name was barely a whisper as she called out to him. Seconds later, the sound of the front door crashing shut reverberated through the room. The reality of her situation slowly forced its way into her mind. With a soft sob she swayed and pressed her hands into the hard arm of the sofa as she fought to remain on her feet. Oh, God, what was she going to do?

She needed to go after him. No. That was impossible. She’d just rejected him. The last thing Simon Carlton, Viscount Wycombe wanted from her was an apology or explanation. An explanation she wasn’t willing to give. And why should she apologize? He was the one who’d resurrected her past, brought Caroline to London. She flinched at the thought as she remembered the sound of his voice when he’d said he done it to please her.

One hand pressed to her brow, she closed her eyes against the thought and tried to push it out of her mind. Had she been wrong? Did he care for her? The memory of his parting words sent a throbbing ache through her body. No. Simon had made it quite clear that he was her better. Desperate for air to ease the tightness in her chest, she sucked in a sharp breath.

Fresh and clean, the scent of the decorated fir tree in the corner of the room drifted across her senses. She looked at the small tree sitting so prettily on the table in the corner of the salon. It provoked a mixture of happy and painful memories. As a little girl, she remembered her father lifting her up on his shoulders to place the star on the top of their Christmas tree. Her mother laughing at them both. All that had changed when her parents’ ship had been lost at sea.

Christmas Eve. For the first time since she was that little girl watching Caroline’s parents shower her cousin with gifts, Ivy had been looking forward to the holiday. It was supposed to be a happy time because this year was going to be different. Simon would be a part of the holiday. But that hope was shattered.

FINISH the first TWO  chapters EXCERPT here.

***   ***   ***

 * ONE eBook copy of ‘A Bluestocking Christmas’

via a coupon on Smashwords! 

*GIVEAWAY INTERNATIONAL:

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us which ‘Book’ would you like to ‘Push’ and why…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three are required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Grand Giveaway!

 Already a follower & our FB buddy?

All you need do is…COMMENT on this post.

***   ***   ***

Monica BurnsAUTHOR INFO: A bestselling author of spicy historical and paranormal romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today.

Her historical book awards include the 2011 RT BookReviews Reviewers Choice Award and the 2012 Gayle Wilson Heart of Excellence Award for Pleasure Me. She is also the recipient of the prestigious paranormal romance award, the 2011 PRISM Best of the Best award for Assassin’s Heart.

From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.

You can reach Monica at: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter/Info Group:

Five Fun Facts with Máire Claremont!

LIR MC

1. I wrote most of ‘Lady in Red’ while I was living in Ireland in Costa Coffee shops. The joke over there is that Costa coffee costs a lot. :D

2. One of my favorite parts of this whole research process was looking at the fabulous poofy dresses from the period. House of Worth gowns make me swoon. I want a big princess dress!

3. Laudanum which is distilled opium mixed with alcohol was easily available at apothecaries. Ladies were often prescribed it when they were discontented in their lives and had “nerves”.

4. Apparently, uteruses migrated all over a woman’s body in the Victorian period. . . Wait, no, they didn’t.  Actually, in my research I found many accepted theories for women’s moods and unacceptable behavior. Doctors claimed that if a woman’s uterus moved around, she was mentally unstable. I will let you imagine how the lovely exam took place and how frequently to ascertain whether the lady’s uterus was in the proper place.

5. James Stanhope, the Earl of Powers is a secondary character who quite shocked me with his cheekiness. He kept trying to be the hero. I told him he had to wait his turn.

Maire ClaremontAUTHOR BIO: 2011 Golden Heart winner Máire Claremont first fell in love with Mr. Rochester, not Mr. Darcy. Drawn to his dark snark, she longed to find a tortured hero of her own… until she realized the ramifications of Mr. Rochester locking his first wife up in his attic.

Discovering the errors of her ways, Máire now looks for a real-life Darcy and creates deliciously dark heroes on the page. Oh, and she wants everyone to know her name is pronounced Moira. Her parents just had to give her an Irish Gaelic name.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Blog

MClaremont-blogtour200x400BOOK BLURB: The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor…

Lady Mary Darrel should be the envy of London. Instead, all society believes her dead. For Mary holds a secret so dangerous, her father chose to keep her locked away…and have a grave made for her near her mother’s. Driven to the edge of desperation, Mary manages to escape the asylum, only to find that her fate yet again rests in the hands of a man…

Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, longs for some way to escape the torment of his father’s crimes. In Mary’s warrior spirit and haunted gaze—which so mirrors his own—he finally sees his path to redemption. He will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even as she seeks revenge. But will the passion they discover in each other be enough to save them from their demons?

EXCERPT: here.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Books-A-Million / Book Depository

 

Giveaway: 1 commenter – $10 Amazon gift card. * International.

 CLICK the Banner for the tour schedule!

MClaremont-LadyinRedtour