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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

‘Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ by Jill Mansell

DWTMAT JMSTORY: Dexter Yates loves his fun, care-free London life; he has money, looks and girlfriends galore. But everything changes overnight when his sister dies, leaving him in charge of her eight-month-old daughter Delphi. How is he ever going to cope?

Comic-strip artist Molly Hayes lives in the beautiful Cotswold village of Briarwood. When it comes to relationships, she has a history of choosing all the wrong men. Leaving the city behind, Dex moves to Briarwood – a much better place to work on his parenting skills – and he and Molly become neighbours. There’s an undeniable connection between them. But if Dexter’s going to adapt, he first has a lot to learn about Molly, about other people’s secrets…and about himself

REVIEW: Dexter Yates is a handsome, single man with a terrific job and living in London.  He spends his days working hard and his nights enjoying the good life with lots of girlfriends.

Dexter’s sister, Laura, has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl named Delphi.  She is a single Mom who became pregnant after a one-night stand and the father is not involved.  When Dexter sees Delphi for the first time, he is totally smitten by her.  This is a good thing, because sadly, a few months later, Laura suffers a sudden brain hemorrhage and dies.  With no one else to care for Delphi, she is first placed in foster care.  But the guilt of that gets to Dexter and he decides to request custody of her, quit his job and move to the Cotswold.  

Life with an infant needing constant attention is proving to be a huge challenge for Dexter but he wouldn’t change it for anything.  He is happy and getting to know his new town and his neighbors.

Once again, Jill Mansell has created a town full of great characters who seem so real the reader feels as though they have known them forever.  She weaves the lives of the characters together just like one would knit a cozy scarf.  This talent of hers has always been a huge draw for me to her books.

If you’re looking for a warm novel to read that presents you with real people, pick up a copy of this book.  You won’t go wrong.

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by my local Library.

Wayne Tripp stops by b2b…

‘Grim Island’

(Book 1) Legacy of Terror

LighthouseBOOK BLURB: Shrouded in fog, Grim Island used to be shunned and used as a dumping ground by the early American colonists to rid themselves of undesirables. An island home to ghosts, monsters and practitioners of Dark Magic. But now, for school teacher Lacey Rodriguez and her detective boyfriend, Jamie MacLeod, Grim Island is home.

Unfortunately, Jamie seems to be losing interest in their budding romance. Either that, or he loves her so much, he’s keeping away to protect her. Making matters worse, Jamie’s new partner on the island police force, a woman with a dark secret, seems determined to steal Jamie away. Lacey and Jamie have secrets too, but then most of the people stuck on Grim Island do. Secrets that refuse to stay buried and have a bad habit of coming to life in the dark.

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EXCERPT:

“Lacey Rodriguez swatted at the empty air around her as though trying to get rid of a bothersome wasp, and took off like a spooked mare toward the distant entryway, mindless of her hammering heels or her disheveled appearance.

She half expected the door to be locked.  What a humorous image that would be if she hit the door’s panic bar and ricocheted backwards to fall on her ass a dozen yards away.  Funny as hell if she wasn’t so damned frightened.  Miraculously, the door opened easily, virtually dumping her into the winter night.  She recovered her balance and trotted a dozen feet outside, stooping forward with her hands on her knees, her heaving breasts teasingly visible beneath her half-buttoned blouse as she fought to catch her breath.  She straightened as her breath slowed, a sudden wave of dizziness competing with her stomping headache.  She peeked out at a frigid winter night filled with swirling snow.  No Jamie.  Where was he?  She hoped he hadn’t forgotten to pick her up!  She heard a sound behind her then; the door slamming open, and whirled around, ready to scream.

As she looked, her large eyes glanced at the pretentious school sign. The one that read:  Constance Paine Elementary-Junior High School.  She thought of the joke around the school, among the teachers as well as the students. Everyone said that with Gerald Sweetling as principal, they should’ve changed the school’s name to Constant Pain instead.

Suddenly, there was a big man coming straight at her, calling her name.  Defensively, she raised her small fists; then seeing him step into the light, mumbled, “You bastard” into his chest and crumpled into his arms.  Unseen, he dropped the expensive irises he’d brought, suddenly concerned for the tears that racked her trembling body.”

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Wayne R TrippAUTHOR INFO: Wayne Tripp lives in New England and therein lies his passion for writing. “Allure of Siren’s Song” is his first historical adventure novel. In addition to his writing and his long-time avocation as a skilled SCUBA diver, Wayne enjoys spending time with his beloved wife, other family members, and his adorable Siberian Husky.

A strong believer in his childhood notion that love always triumphs, he manages to keep the darkness that threatens to crawl out of his creative closet at bay . . . most of the time.

Once in a while, something wicked finds a method to claw its way out, and those are the stories that Wayne Tripp enjoys telling.

Social Media: Facebook / Goodreads

Donna Cummings stops by b2b…

LRL DC‘Lord Rakehell’s Love’

BOOK BLURB: Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, is attempting to play matchmaker in Regency London. . . only she’s placed a curse on the lovers instead.

He was late to his own wedding…

Simon is known as Lord Rakehell, so any sane woman would be wary of wedding a man of his reputation. He truly loves Georgiana, and is determined to prove it to her, but how can he convince her after his wedding-day blunder?

She was heartbroken by the scandal…

Georgiana knew the dangers of falling instantly in love with a celebrated rake, but even she had not expected him to show up for their nuptials with ladies-of-the-evening in tow. Now she must determine whether Simon’s protestations of love are genuine, or if she is being led astray by the passion he continues to incite in her.

REVIEW: This is a short novella and before you start reading it find a cozy spot in your home, relax with some hot chocolate and get ready to employ your “suspension of disbelief” [meaning: you’re not expected to actually believe the story, in order to enjoy it!] as I did.

Here’s what I liked about it: its humor, witty dialogue, Simon and Georgina’s chemistry. Both were written well and had me glued to my ‘Android’.

Here’s what I had trouble with: the fantasy part of it and Aphrodite were just not my cup of tea, even though those were the parts that made me laugh out loud.

Bottom line: a quick, fun, sensual [oh yeah!] and entertaining fantasy novella that will fill a couple of hours of an evening you’ve decided to spend indoors. The author doesn’t take the characters too seriously therefore letting the readers indulge in the fantasy to their heart’s content, and I can’t argue with that.

Melanie for b2b

*Book provided by publisher through NetGalley.

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Apple / Smashwords

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EXCERPT:

St. George’s Church, Hanover Square

It was the wedding debacle of the century.

Georgiana sniffled, hiding her distress in a weak smile and her lawn handkerchief. The very handkerchief from the evening she had fallen instantly in love with Simon. She had insisted on having it today, for purely sentimental reasons, while she plighted her troth.

Unfortunately, the groom was not present.

Nor was there any indication he was planning on being at the church anytime soon. If he was, surely he would have sent a servant to relay the news, along with a basketful of apologies. She was torn between wishing something dreadful had befallen him, and wishing he would arrive so she could be the one who caused something dreadful to befall him.

It had been such a whirlwind romance. During the past weeks she had become the darling of the gossips, since it was unheard of for a Wallflower Row miss to receive an offer of marriage from a genuine London rake.

Georgiana sniffed again, fighting back tears she refused to let fall. If only she had heeded her mother’s warnings about wedding a notorious rake. Yet how could she have attended Mama’s entreaties to be cautious? She had been swept up into passionate and exciting moments she had never thought to experience.

Perhaps instead of finding the love of her life, she had just committed the grandest mistake of her life.

All at once there was a commotion outside the church, with the sounds of horses whinnying and shouts from an assortment of people. Her heart leapt, much as she chided it for doing so.

In the next instant, Simon was walking toward her, his demeanor sheepish. His clothing was in complete disarray, something she had never seen from him, even after the stolen moments they had shared when chaperones were scarce. His hair was mussed, but not in the careless manner that was so fashionable.

No, it was as if he had just tumbled from bed, and dashed across town to the church.

Georgiana steeled her features into the most disapproving of expressions.

“Georgie!” Simon’s arms were spread wide, as if expecting her to race into them and smother him with kisses.

She had quite a different smothering in mind just then. “My lord.”

His smile vanished at the unwelcoming monotone of her voice. “Georgiana, I can explain.”

“I am eager to hear it.” Her tone grew icier as she considered all of the possibilities.

“Yes, well, I am not at all sure how it happened. Because I have been thinking of nothing else but this night. . . I mean, this day.”

Her cheeks heated, for she had spent a great deal of time pondering this evening too, but she pretended she did not take his meaning. Instead, she lifted her eyebrows, awaiting his explanation.

Every one of the wedding guests leaned forward in the oak pews, unable to hide their interest in what he had to say.

“Georgiana.” Simon moved closer, his voice lowered so only she could hear him. “I know it is unforgivable, but I beg you to forgive me nonetheless. I have no idea how this happened. It was not intentional. I can assure you of that.” His eyes begged her to relent. He leaned in until his lips were at her ear. “I shall spend the entire evening proving my devotion. As well as the next. And every night thereafter.”

She shivered. She had waited a seeming eternity for the moment they could explore the passion that flared between them on a constant basis. She almost fanned her face, but did not want the amassed audience to know how ardently he affected her.

It was not such a terrible slight, was it? She knew without a doubt that he loved her. His eyes sparkled, as if he could see how close she was to capitulating. The devil knew how much she desired him and was using it to his advantage.

Georgiana opened her mouth, ready to upbraid him for causing her such distress, and for handing the gossips additional reasons to chatter about the unlikeliness of their romance. Once she had given Simon a proper chastising, they could continue with the wedding, and the wedding breakfast, and, at last, the wedding night. . .

Another commotion at the entrance to the chapel stole her attention, as well as that of every person in the building. A high-perch phaeton could be seen through the open doorway, and Georgiana was certain she saw Simon’s friend Lord Weyson at the reins, along with—

“Lord Rakehell! Your hat.”

A scantily-clad woman climbed down from the rig and carefully lifted the headgear from her curly red hair. For propriety’s sake, she did her best to stay outside the church, although she was perilously close to falling outside of her bodice. “You forgot your hat!”

“Georgiana,” Simon said again, but this time his shoulders sagged, and his stricken expression made it clear he knew there was no recovering from this catastrophe.

Not when the guests gazed at her with such pity on their faces. After such a public embarrassment, forgiveness was not a gift Georgiana could bestow, no matter how fervently Simon pleaded.

She turned away from him and made it all the way out of the chapel before collapsing into hopeless tears.

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LORD RAKEHELL’S LOVE

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Donna Cummings

AUTHOR INFO: I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

Currently I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.

I can usually be found on Twitter, chatting about writing and coffee, or on Facebook, chatting about coffee and writing. You can always reach me through these Social Media Links:

Website/blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest:

K E Osborn stops by b2b…

TM KEO‘Trust Me?’

BOOK BLURB: Jenifer Taylor is content with her life, dull and boring as it is. Being absent from the dating scene means she doesn’t have to deal with the major trust issues she has with men that stem from a controlling and aggressive ex-boyfriend and an absentee father. She’s happy being alone, sharing her life with her friends and family.

When Jeni starts a typical day in the big city of Mornington Vale, California, it turns from bad to worse when she’s involved in a chain collision on her way to work.

Her world changes forever that day because she meets Aiden O’Connell, the billionaire son of Alistair O’Connell, who owns Mornington Vale’s largest financial corporation. Aiden is an up-and-coming young businessman who’s ready to take on the vice presidency of his father’s company. He is the good son, and it’s imperative to Alistair that Aiden succeed and follow in his footsteps. Life for Aiden involves working hard and not much else.

After the accident, however, Aiden’s world changes as well. He finds Jeni irresistible and instantly pursues her. With some coaxing, she eventually agrees to a date, and the attraction is mutual.

Jeni finds love quickly with Aiden, but trusting him is another issue. When to trust is tested in many different ways but comes to a head when Aiden is investigated for a serious crime. As her trust issues spark, she is forced to go through a journey of self-discovery.

ONLY $2.99 until November 30th 2013

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Smashwords

Book two “Love Me?” is coming November 18th 2013.

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EXCERPT ONE:

I exhale. “I have major trust issues with men. My dad left before I was born. My ex… well, he cheated and left me. I can’t just trust that you are who you say you are. I mean how do I know that you won’t treat me the same way?”

He sighs. “Trust issues, huh? I can work with that.” He smiles, lightening the mood. “Let’s take this one day at a time. I don’t plan on hurting you. I don’t think I ever could. Trust is a big thing. It has to be earned. I’ll do my time until you trust me. I’m not planning on going anywhere. I don’t know about you, but for me, there is something here, and I’m willing to wait and work at it to find out what that is. That’s if you want to?”

I can’t help but smile. “I think there’s something here as well, and with time, I’m sure I’ll trust you.”

“I can live with that.”

“Wow! That got serious real quick,” I say, laughing. He nods in agreement. “Aiden,” I say softly.

“Yes, Jeni?”

“Kiss me!”

EXCERPT TWO:

I run through some paperwork when I hear someone clear their throat to get my attention. I look up angrily to see the man who crashed into me this morning. It’s the idiot who enhanced my bad day.

“Jeni, I presume?” he asks with a quirky smile on his face, which is unexpectedly attractive.

I sit in silence as I stare at him with my mouth slightly open in surprise.

He speaks again. “I’m sorry about this morning. I see you managed to get that stain mostly out of your top. I’d like to pay for some new clothes and the damages to your car, if you’ll let me.”

I squirm in my seat as the attractiveness of this man is suddenly apparent. How did I not notice his gorgeousness this morning? He’s, quite frankly, one of the most attractive guys I’ve ever seen. In spite of his outrageously good looks and cheerful persona, I start to get angry with him all over again.

“No, you don’t need to pay for new clothes or for my car. My manager has told me that they will fix it for me and then charge the insurance company. So, like I said this morning, I don’t want or need your charity, thanks.”

He looks at me in surprise. “That’s no way to talk to a customer.” Again with a mischievous grin.

“Urgh.” I want to slap him in his smart-ass, gorgeous face.

“Sorry,” I say with extreme sarcasm. “Can I have the details of your car please, Mr. O’Connell?”

“If you won’t let me buy you some new clothes or fix your car, how about lunch then?”

There’s that grin again. I quickly gather myself together and reply hastily.

“It’s after two, Mr. O’Connell. I’ve had lunch, thanks.” I’m feeling quite pleased with myself as I stand up. “Now, if you wouldn’t mind, the details of your car?”

He looks at me puzzled.

“I didn’t mean today. I meant tomorrow or the next day or the weekend. Whenever you’re free?”

With that, his gorgeous smile crosses his face again, and I begin to melt. Is it hot in here? I can feel my cheeks burning. I look down, pretending to sort out paperwork on my desk so he can’t see the redness spreading across my face.

“I don’t think I can do lunch. I’m pretty busy you know.”

He looks like he’s thinking hard about what to say next and he tilts his head slightly.

“Dinner then?”

I let out a little laugh but quickly gather myself together.

“I could use the details of your car, Mr. O’Connell?”

He grins again.

“Jeez, you’re a tough one to crack, Jeni.”

I try not to smile.

“Okay, how about this? If you give me the pleasure of having dinner with you on Friday night, I’ll give you the details of my car.” He looks very pleased with himself, grinning from ear to ear.

I sigh, considering his deal.

“Oh, um, I don’t know. I mean you’re a customer. Surely there is some sort of rules about customers and employees dating.”

He laughs; the sound is delightful to my ears.

“I won’t tell if you don’t.”

I stand there in shock, contemplating what to say next. I mean could this amazingly handsome man want to take me out to dinner? Really? I’m not anything like the type of girl I’d imagine he would be into. I try to think of some witty comeback, but before I know what’s happening, I sputter, “Fine! Friday for dinner, if it’ll get you to co-operate. Please tell me the details of your car.”

I take a deep breath and wait for him to reply.

“Great, Friday it is. I have your details from this morning. I’ll call you with the restaurant and time.”

I sit back down on my chair in a dazed shock.

“Is that okay with you?”

I shake my head with disbelief.

“Sure, why not?” is all I can mange.

His smile reappears like he has overcome a huge obstacle and triumphed.

EXCERPT THREE:

I turn to face him; he puts his other arm around me. We are in the same position as before when the last kiss attempt failed. My arms are tight around his neck, his arms around my waist. I look down. He lifts up my chin so I’m lost in his gaze. His hand goes back to my waist. He swallows; I think he’s as nervous as I am. He tilts his head and leans in … I back away quickly.

“What’s wrong?” he asks, looking hurt.

“Oh, no, it’s not you. I think … I might have garlic breath.”

He laughs and pulls me back to him. “So do I.” He pulls me in tighter, and before I know what’s happening, his lips are on mine. I give in and surrender to him completely.

This feels like one of my fantasies, only way, way better. He holds me tight as one hand moves from my waist to caress my cheek, kissing me softly but sensually. My hands move to the back of his head, and I grab a lock of hair in each hand. He moves our bodies so that I’m against the railing at the edge of the deck. He moves his hand from my waist to hold the rail as I still grasp his hair. The kissing becomes feverishly passionate; his tongue against mine as they intertwine with each other. Our breathing becomes faster and erratic. Our kissing becomes more intimate. We are in perfect sync with each other. I pull him closer to me, our whole bodies touching. My heart is pounding fast and hard. His hand moves from my face to the back of my head, pulling me tight. He moves my hair from the side of my neck, breaks our kiss and kisses my neck slowly and seductively. I sigh and breathe in a stuttering motion. I open my eyes to see the waitress standing there, gawking at us. I stiffen as I see her. He pulls back and looks at me. With my eyes, I gesture toward the waitress. He turns, looks, and lets out a little huff. He leans in towards me.

“Now that’s a first kiss,” he whispers as he grabs my hand and leads me over to the table. I can’t help but smile.

***  ***   ***

*One lucky Commenter will end up with this eBook! 

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K E OSBORNAUTHOR INFO: K E Osborn was born in September 1984 and raised in Adelaide South Australia. She had a love of writing throughout High School but went down a different path to Design instead. It wasn’t until she had a vivid dream about a three car pile up that the characters of her first book came to life.

Aiden and Jeni are the amazing couple from the Trust me? Trilogy and they were born into the world through the imagination of K E Osborn in 2012.

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Katherine Garbera stops by b2b…

 

ACFC KG‘A Cowboy for Christmas’

BOOK BLURB: Annie Prudhomme never expected to be back in Marietta, MT and her family is fond of reminding her that she left them and the town behind in search of better things.  A humiliating divorce that cost her everything she’d gained has driven her back home and her family isn’t about to welcome her back into the fold.  She’s in town to rebuild the old home that she inherited and to move on once again. 

Carson Scott never forgot Annie or the way she left.  Now that she’s back in town he’s realizing that the old flame still burns hot but he can’t risk his heart the way he did last time now that he has his son to think about it. 

Being trapped together during a December snowstorm gives them a chance to rekindle their romance but is Annie back for good or is she just looking for a cowboy for Christmas?

EXCERPT:

Marietta, Montana did Christmas in a big way with all the storefronts on Main Street draped in garland and twinkle lights.  The Main Street Diner wasn’t any different with its rustic wreath made with layers of old ropes and decked with red poinsettia leaves and Rocking Around the Christmas Tree playing merrily on the jukebox as Carson Scott opened the door.

No one was exactly sure how the Wednesday night tradition had started, not even Carson, but he knew that his brothers had done it for him.  It had been in the dark time right after Rainey had been killed in a head-on collision out on highway 89 on her way back from Livingston.  He’d sat at home every night with baby Evan drinking too much Red Bull.  His oldest brother Alec had insisted that they all meet in Marietta at the diner for dinner.

Alec had thick blond hair like their momma and piercing blue-gray eyes that Carson had heard more than one girl describe as colder than the glaciers in Glacier Park.  But Sienna, Alec’s wife, had said that she knew how to warm him up.  Which had led to a lot of ribbing by Carson and his other brothers.  Alec needed to be taken down a peg or two at times.

But not on Wednesday nights.  Carson showed up here after he dropped Evan off at his maternal grandparents’ house and ate chili and cornbread with his brothers.  There were five of them all together and sometimes Flo, who ran the grill, gave them a hard time about being carbon copies of their dad, but that didn’t bother any of them.  Their old man cast a long shadow and had a reputation for being honest and hard-working.  There were worse things a man could be known for.

There were only five weeks left until Christmas and Evan was being cagey about what he wanted from Santa this year.  He’d hinted he wanted a mommy that wasn’t in heaven.  And the last thing that Carson was interested in was dating any woman, much less one to become Evan’s new mommy.

“Isn’t that Annie waiting tables?” Alec said as they entered the diner.  The walls were heavy red brick and the floor solid wood.  There was a counter with red leather-covered stools bolted to the floor in front of it, and for as long as Carson could remember beehive-haired Flo was standing at the grill cooking delicious food, trading gossip, and flirting with any man who entered.

“Annie who?” he asked.  He was holding the door open for his younger brother Hudson who had a shopping bag from The Mercantile in one hand and his Stetson in the other.

“Prudhomme.  Is there another Annie you’d care about?” Alec asked.

“I thought she’d left town for good,” Hudson said.

Annie.  Here.  Wow.

Why?

How?

When?

It didn’t make sense.  He ate here every Wednesday with his brothers.  She hadn’t been here last week.  Why was she here now?

Carson craned his neck around his brothers’ shoulders to look at the waitress.  Goddamn it.  She hadn’t changed.  She was still the same slim pretty girl he remembered.  She wasn’t tall but had long legs and dark brown hair that hung to her shoulders and curled slightly at the ends.  He stared at her until she turned and he met those pretty gray eyes that he had thought he’d never see again.

He hardened his heart.  If there was one thing he knew without even talking to her it was that this was a temporary move.  He doubted she was back to stay.  That wasn’t her style and Marietta wasn’t her town.

At eighteen it had felt like he’d never love again when she’d left Marietta – and him – all in the same cloud of dust. But at thirty-three he knew that was a lie.  He had loved again and married and had a chance for real happiness.  But now he wondered –was that another lie he’d told himself to make Annie’s leaving him okay?

“Yup,” he said, answering his brothers as he turned back to the laminated menu, trying to be blasé when inside he wanted to go and talk to her.  Go and find out why she was back and what it meant.  Had life turned that ballsy, sassy girl he’d loved into a bitch or tamed her?

But he kept his head down studying the laminated menu like his sanity depended on it.  It wasn’t as if he didn’t know what he was going to order.

He always got the same thing when he and his brothers came into town to eat on Wednesday nights.  His son was visiting his maternal grandparents at their home on the modest section of Bramble Lane.  Rhett and Lily had moved out to Marietta after Rainey had died to be closer to Evan and they said having Carson around made it hard for them to bond with Evan.

The thing Carson was proudest of was his son and how well he and the six-year-old had grown up together after Rainey died.

“Yup?” Alec asked.

“That girl—” Hudson said.

“I know.  I’m surprised she’s here too,” Carson said trying to play it cool.  But the thing with brothers was they always knew when he was bullshitting them.  “But let’s face it… everyone ends up back here eventually.  You said Pop wanted some help with something?”

FINISH Chapter One EXCERPT here.

***   ***  ***

*One lucky Commenter will end up with this eBook! 

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Katherine GarberaAUTHOR INFO: USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 60 books.

A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.

Visit her on the  Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Time for ‘FALL in Love w/FOREVER’ Giveaway!

Autumn is here and it’s the perfect time to cozy up with a good book. We want you to “FALL in Love with Forever,” so we’re offering, through FOREVER, SIX e-books, featuring:

REDEMPTION by C.J. Barry

R CJBAs a Redeemer, Reya Sinclair offers the soon-to-be-departed one last chance to atone for their sins. It’s a painful job, but it’s her only shot to secure her own salvation.

After his father’s murderer got away, Detective Thane Driscoll began carrying out his own brand of justice, even if it means compromising his soul.

Fate brings them together as they fight to uncover an evil plot. But when the time comes, can Reya sacrifice her own redemption to save Thane?

October 1, 2013;Forever Yours/E-Book; $2.99; 978-1-4555-7749-1

Amazon Barnes & Noble / Bookish / iTunes

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ALONG CAME TROUBLE by Erin Kern

ACT EKWhen Elisa Cardoso’s next photography assignment brings her face to face with sexy restaurant owner Brody McDermott, she can’t deny the delicious effect he has on her.

Getting the sophisticated shutterbug into his bed is on Brody’s menu, but when she starts making her way into his heart—big problem.

Can Brody find the courage to grab on to love before it slips away and Elisa leaves Trouble for good?

November 19, 2013;Forever/Mass Market; $8.00; 978-1-4555-7392-9

Amazon / Barnes & Noble Bookish / iTunes

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ALL FIRED UP by Kate Meader

AFU KMAfter one crazy night in Vegas leaves her hitched to a sexy Irish pastry chef, Cara DeLuca wants nothing more than a way out of her sham marriage.

But she soon finds there’s much more to Shane Doyle beneath his farm boy demeanor. Shane’s one goal has been to connect with the family that doesn’t know he exists, but melting Cara’s icy exterior is a worthy distraction.

As the annulment date nears and long-buried secrets are revealed, Shane will have to fight for the one thing guaranteeing the perfect life he craves…the current Mrs. Shane Doyle.

November 5, 2013; Forever/E-Book; $5.99; 978-1-4555-9962-2

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Bookish / iTunes

~~~   ~~~   ~~~

ENTWINED by Kristen Callihan

E KCEamon Evernight has always lived in his older brother’s shadow. But when his brother has the good fortune to be betrothed to a beautiful stranger, it’s Eamon’s help that he needs.

Eamon agrees to write the noble lady…a generous offer that will forever leave him a changed man.

Lady Luella has no interest in an arranged marriage, but the words her husband-to-be writes leave her aching for his touch. Will her desire run cold when she discovers the true author?

November 5, 2013; Forever Yours/E-Novella; $0.99; 978-1-4555-7777-4

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Bookish / iTunes

~~~   ~~~   ~~~

UNSTOPPABLE by Shannon Richard

U SRMelanie O’Bryan knows former Air Force sergeant Bennett Hart is worth taking a chance on. Despite his heated glances and teasing touches, Mel senses there’s something holding him back.

Bennett’s just looking for peaceful and uncomplicated—until the spunky, sexy teacher turns his life upside down.

With memories of his past threatening to resurface, he’ll have to decide whether to keep playing it safe, or take the biggest risk of all.

December 3, 2013; Forever E-Book; $2.99; 978-1-4555-4473-8

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Bookish / iTunes

~~~   ~~~   ~~~

DELICIOUS by Adrianne Lee

D ALWorkaholic Nick Taziano wasn’t too thrilled to be reunited with promising chef Jane Wilson, but after one taste of her lips, nothing—not even her famous blueberry pie—compares.

Now Nick’s company has been hired to do Big Sky Pie’s marketing. How’s a girl supposed to bake the best pastries in town when he’s a constant reminder of their steamy chemistry?

Jane has no room for a man in her life, yet sometimes the most delicious dishes don’t follow the recipes…

December 3, 2013; Forever E-Book; $2.99; 978-1-4555-7435-3

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Bookish / iTunes

~~~   ~~~   ~~~

*SIX lucky Commenters will end up with an eBook each! 

Giveaway INTERNATIONAL!

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us which book would you like & why? 

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

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

If a follower & FB buddy, just COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’ll be entered.

‘Lessons from a Scandalous Bride’ by Sophie Jordan

LFASB SJSTORY: A life can change in an instant…

No one knows this better than Miss Cleopatra Hadley, who went from poverty to plenty when she discovered one of England’s richest men was her true father who wanted her to share his wealth…if she married into the upper echelons of Society. A high price to pay for someone whose mother taught her just how dangerous a marriage could be.

An imposing yet impoverished Scots nobleman, Lord Logan McKinney knows he must wed some vapid title-hunter with a substantial dowry in order to restore his once-thriving estate. Having the vibrant Cleo nearby, however, makes his task even more unpalatable—for she tempts him like no other woman…just as he’s precisely the sort of man she most fears: exciting, unpredictable, fiercely passionate. But when attraction proves too powerful, they succumb to a kiss that quickly leads to lessons too scandalous for even the darkest nights

REVIEW: Oh my goodness! Talk about a hard luck story! This was such a great rags to riches tale that by the time I finished with it, I could have danced a jig!

One can safely say that Cleopatra Hadley was born under a lucky star but for many years it certainly didn’t feel like it to this wonderful girl. My heart was breaking as much as hers was while she takes yet another stillborn sibling to the undertaker.

As the oldest and one of fourteen living children and many that hadn’t survived, it has always fallen to her to see the ‘wee ones’ berried. She had done this so many times, that she knew for certain, that one day she’ll be burying her own mother next to one of her siblings. Her odious stepfather who only cared for his pleasures never gave a damn for his wife or their many children, and when the opportunity came for him to ‘sell’ his stepdaughter to a father she never knew, he jumped at it.

I liked this story because of its main characters that were operating under their personal miscomprehension of each other.

The hero upon meeting the heroine, thinks her a title grubbing bitch, while she however thinks him a dowry hunting bastard. Naturally, both are wrong, and while they try to dig deeper into each other’s motives, we come to know them for who they really are, just two ordinary people with deep scars that need each other to overcome their fears and problems created by others.

This was a very interesting, entertaining and at times a bit sad story that grabbed my attention because of its plot, and kept me reading because of the wonderful characterization of almost star-crossed lovers.

Highly recommending it!

Melanie for b2b.

*Book provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.

‘Countdown to First Night’ by Jillian Hart, Margaret Daley & Brenda Minton

STORY: Ten, nine, eight, seven…

Winter’s Heart by Jillian Hart

Shelby Craig comes to Snow Falls for a First Night job, but secretly hopes it will be a respite from her grief and a haven for her two young kids. A sympathetic cop becomes the determined widow’s staunchest ally—though helping her may break his heart.

Six, five, four…

Snowbound at New Year by Margaret Daley

This was supposed to be a done deal! Children’s book author Ellie Summers came to the festival to meet her new illustrator. She didn’t expect him to turn down her proposal. And then to find the obstinate man so charming… Is it wrong to hope his matchmaking twin daughters succeed?

Three, two, one…

A Kiss at Midnight by Brenda Minton

Pride is a hard thing to swallow, but Jolie Godwin does her best to ignore her grievances with Jake Wild this one time. The man is graciously letting her exhibit her artwork in his luxury resort for First Night. He seems like a good person and a devoted uncle. If only he’d always been so perfect. Because his kiss is something she can’t forget….

Cue the fireworks!

REVIEW: Well, it’s that time of year again when I venture out and do as much of ‘sampling’ to me new authors as I can, and to do that I turn to any anthology I can get my hands on, especially the Christmas/New Year ones. They are the best in gauging out if I like the author or not.

Here are three that I think you might like…

‘Winter’s Heart’ by Jillian Hart

I just loved this story, and even though it was way too short [HELLO! It IS anthology, right?!] I thought the character of Shelby Craig, a down on her luck widow and mother of two on her way to visit her grandma, was very well written and my heart went out to her.

This story was also very emotional and the scenes between the hero and the heroine were so well executed you could feel the vibrations jump from the pages.

For some of you out there who don’t like kids in your romance books, I can tell you right now, you’re missing out on a lot of fun! I adored the scenes between Ronan and Shelby’s kids.

Jillian Hart penned a sweet, fast paced and all around romantic story that will melt your heart.

‘Snowbound at New Year’ by Margaret Daley

Talk about love at first sight!

Ellie is an author of children’s books, and she’s not so happy about the illustrations for her latest one, so she decides to have a talk with the man and once she gets to his place, she is taken with him and his two girls.

Again, if you’re not a fan of kids in your romances, this one is not gonna float your boat, but seriously, you’ll be missing on a fun story. I just love kids in any story! Another well told, albeit short story that will brighten your holiday season.

Please don’t let some kids scare you away from a sweet romance!

‘A Kiss at Midnight’ by Brenda Minton

This story is another one that I liked a lot and that’s because of the hero, Jake Wild who ends up as a guardian to his sister’s child with special needs.

Jolie Godwin is an artist that is letting Jake display her art at his Lodge but the undercurrent to their story is connected with their pasts where her father played a major role and then there’s a kiss they shared a year before, which our heroine can’t dismiss.

Another heartwarming little story with yet another child in it, and I loved it.

There’s a common thread through all of these stories: First Night and Snow Falls, Colorado.

If you’re a fan of clean contemporary tales, I know you’ll like this collection.

I enjoyed all three equally because; each story was unique, entertaining; well written and developed as well as heartwarming.

If you’re looking for a Christmas/New Year read to make you feel warm all over, this one’s for you.

Mel for b2b

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Cover Reveal for ‘THE ACCIDENTAL MARRIAGE’ by Annette Haws

TAW AH

ABOUT THE BOOK: Nina Rushforth was born with a silver spoon caught in her throat. She and her father have mapped out a future that includes a brilliant legal career, a marriage to an equally stellar attorney or Wall Street whiz kid, and eventually the production of three perfect children. A semester at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, was part of the plan, but falling in love with a handsome missionary was not.

Six months later, after Elliot returns from his mission and after a tumultuous courtship, Nina finds herself teaching at a junior high school, learning to keep house in a minuscule apartment, and living with a man who doesn’t know any more about being married than she does. Intimacy, cooking, laundry, lesson plans, and a tug-of-war with a possessive mother-in-law prove to be more overwhelming than Nina can successfully manage. The newlyweds awaken to realize the head on the adjacent pillow belongs to a stranger.

This novel captures the heartbreak of young love caught in the turbulent social crosscurrents of the 70′s, at a time when brave women struggled to find dignity and equality in the workplace, as well as peace at home.

Publication Date: December 10, 2013

ISBN: 9781462113743

Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing

Buy links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble:

Praise for THE ACCIDENTAL MARRIAGE:

“A thoughtful, heartbreaking, and often laugh-out-loud romp… Annette Haws explores the interesting question: What keeps a marriage together?”

Terrell Dougan, a columnist for the Huffington Post and the author of That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for my Sister

“Haws delivers a story that makes you want to rush to the end to find out what happens and prose that makes you want to slow down and savor it.”

Karey White, author of For What It’s Worth, Gifted, and My Own Mr. Darcy

“If you want a story with plot, character and real, deep meaning that will leave you thinking long after you’re done, this is the book for you.”

Shannon Guymon, author of Do Over

GIVEAWAY: A  $25 PAYPAL  cash [MUST click on-->> a Rafflecopter giveaway].

Annette HawsAUTHOR BIO: Annette Haws’s literary strengths are based upon her experiences in the classroom. She began her teaching career as a junior high teacher in Richmond, Utah and ended it teaching Sophomore English at Murray High School in Salt Lake City. However, her favorite assignment was a five year period at Logan High School teaching English, coaching debate and mock trial, and watching the antics of her own three children who were also students in the same school.

Her first novel, Waiting for the Light to Change, won Best of State in 2009, A Whitney Award for Best Fiction, and the Diamond Quill Award for Best Published Fiction in 2009 from the League of Utah Writers. In July of 2008, the Midwest Book Review selected it as a Top Pick for Community Library Fiction Collections.

Social Media Links: Facebook / Website / Blog / Goodreads / Book on Goodreads