Verified
Elizabeth Harmon's Ramblings of a Writer-girl

Elizabeth Harmon's Ramblings of a Writer-girl

 I write and love to read romance novels with a dash of different!

Learn more about me and my books at www.romancewriter-girl.com

July and August #TBR Challenges

 

It’s time to double up on my TBR Challenge. While I’ve been keeping up with the reading, I can’t say the same for the posts. Between conferences, finishing one project and starting a new one, I’ve fallen a bit behind. But I’ve genuinely enjoyed the books I read, without further ado, here are my #TBRChallenge reads for July and August.

 

July #TBR RITA Finalist/Winner

Fire Me Up- Kimberly Kincaid

 

I chose this book because I met Kimberly Kincaid at the 2016 Barbara Vey Reader Weekend and Fire Me Up is a 2016 RITA Finalist for Best Long Contemporary.

 

I was drawn to the story mostly because of the bad boy chef hero.Despite the cover, the book has little to do with motorcycles, beyond the initial crash that brings together hero Adrian Holt, and EMT heroine Teagan O’Malley, and sidelines Adrian with a broken collarbone.

For Adrian, being unable to work is more than an inconvenience. An ex-convict now on parole, he moved to Pine Mountain to work in the local resort’s fine dining restaurant, and avoid any trouble that could make his hateful parole officer send him back to the big house. But the kitchen is the only place where Adrian knows control and stability, and eight weeks away from it feels one step closer to his old, chaotic life. At loose ends, he ends up a local pub one night, only to discover that the incompetent short-order cook fumbling her way through backed-up orders is Teagan.

Teagan despises the kitchen but has taken over running her father’s bar and grill after he suffers a stroke. Adrian offers his assistance that first night, and returns the next night, drawn by both Teagan and the heat of the…um…kitchen. He offers to help Teagan run the Double Shot while he’s recuperating, provided everything is on the up and up. Teagan assures him it is, only to discover that her dad is in debt to a local shark to the tune of $15,000.

Adrian and Teagan have hot chemistry, and for a bad-boy, there’s a sweet, tender side to Adrian that I loved. He’s also the first hero I think I’ve ever read with platinum hair. Teagan is the classic caretaker who has devoted her life to watching over her father, but she’s not a sheltered pushover. In fact, she’s the decision-maker everyone turns to in a crisis.  She’s tough—not in a kiss-ass sense, but in a capable sense. But occasionally, she tires of all the responsibility and watching Adrian support and care for her was one of my favorite parts of the story.

Something else I loved about Fire Me Up, was that the story and central problem—how to raise $15K pronto, felt very real.  There’s not a lot of glamour in Teagan and Adrian’s world, but there’s a love for family, community, a life’s business, and of course food. Fans of small-town romance, open to characters that are bit of a departure from the typical firefighter hero/sweetshop-owner heroine, should give Fire Me Up a read.

 

August #TBR- Kickin’ It Old School

Only In Your Arms by Tracy Cozzens

 

Published in 2000, this book fit the criteria for the August challenge, which was to read a book more than ten years old.  I discovered it through a recent Retro Review on Super Librarian Wendy’s website and ordered a 50-cent copy of the long-out of print historical from Thriftbooks.

 

While I was initially wary of the mullet-ed hero on the cover, I loved Only In Your Arms.

Set in the early 1600s, this cross-class romance turns the trope upside down, as well-born Lady Judith Ashton falls for poor Shakespearean actor, Marcus Sinclair.

 

I won’t go into all the plot twists and turns, other than to say that there many, and they give the story something of a swashbuckling feel. While some of the dialogue sounds jarringly modern (was “okay” used in 1602?), there’s a lot of interesting historical detail in this story. Cozzens provides insight into the life of an actor, puts us in the audience at the Globe Theater.  There’s even a cameo by the Bard himself.

 

But what’s best about this book are its vivid characters.  Some are despicable, others redeemable, and three I loved from the get-go; Marcus, Judith and Judith’s gutsy ladies maid, Audrey.

 

Low born Marcus is kind, handsome and noble. And though he’s viewed with disdain by the nobility, his love and sacrifice for Judith prove his sterling character. Wealthy Judith knows she must honor her father’s wishes and preserve her family’s name and legacy. Though they yearn for each other, both know that a match between a noblewoman and an actor is unthinkable. Audrey is protective, brave, and willing to stand up to an earl’s son’s advances, only to fall for him—as he falls for her.

 

It’s through this secondary romance that Cozzens effectively shows how in this world, well-born men had all the advantages. While Lord Richard’s match with a maid leaves his snobbish mother aghast, the men in his family applaud his choice of saucy, pretty Audrey.  On the other hand, loving outside her class gets Judith slapped, subjected to a humiliating physical exam to determine if her virginity is intact, and locked away in a tower. Marcus is brutally beaten on the street, only to end up in Newgate Prison.  I've read few Black Moments as black as this one.

 

Marcus and Judith get their HEA, but not because of a plot twist that reveals him as a long-lost prince in disguise.  Marcus’s station doesn’t change, but other characters do, and to me this was much more satisfying than a contrived “fairy tale” ending.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and thanks Wendy, for bringing it to my attention!

 

This week at Rosedale Cottage…#RomanticIdeas from author Linda McLaughlin

 

We do love a summer picnic here at Rosedale Cottage. Here’s a photo of a recent one. See how smooth and tidy our blanket is? And those two pieces of unidentifiable fruit in the middle? That’s all we’re having because we’re so smiley slender and health-conscious. Oh yes, and hungry.

Actually our picnics look nothing like this. Where are the ants, the mosquitoes, the jumbo bag of Cheetoes? And who wears socks with their strappy sandals or a jaunty little pom-pom hat in late July?

No one at the Cottage, I assure you. 

Just ask this week’s guest Linda McLaughlin, here to share her favorite summertime  #RomanticIdea.

Take it away Linda…

“A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou” - The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

I love that quote, and it makes me think of romantic summer picnics—at the beach, by a lake, in the mountains or a park—whatever location works best where you live or vacation. But what to pack? Wine, bread, meat and cheese are a given, but don’t forget the summer fruit—ripe red strawberries, lush juicy peaches or crisp apples. There’s nothing like a taste of fruit to sweeten a kiss.

 

That sounds great Linda….maybe I’ll rethink the Cheetoes. Would you like to share a little bit about your sweet Regency romance, Lady Elinor's Escape?

I’d love to!

Lady Elinor Ashworth always longed for adventure, but when she runs away from her abusive aunt, she finds more than she bargained for. Elinor fears her aunt who is irrational and dangerous, threatening Elinor and anyone she associates with. When she encounters an inquisitive gentleman, she accepts his help, but fearing for his safety, hides her identity by pretending to be a seamstress. She resists his every attempt to draw her out, all the while fighting her attraction to him

There are too many women in barrister Stephen Chaplin's life, but he has never been able to turn his back on a damsel in distress. The younger son of a baronet is a rescuer of troubled females, an unusual vocation fueled guilt over his failure to save the woman he loved from her brutal husband. He cannot help falling in love with his secretive seamstress, but to his dismay, the truth of her background reveals Stephen as the ineligible party.

 

Can we read an excerpt?

Absolutely. In fact, it’s all about a picnic.

 

 

 

Elinor looked around her. “Where shall we have our picnic?”

“I have a particular place in mind.”

A few minutes later, he reined in the horses near a small pond with a few ducks paddling on the surface. He put his hands on her waist and swung her down from the curricle. His hands lingered for a moment longer than necessary as he stared into her eyes. His were a dark liquid amber, like honey, and the warmth in his expression set her heart to racing.

Alarmed by her reaction, she stepped away from him. Oh my, this very private picnic might not have been a wise idea at all.

After tethering the horses, he spread a blanket under a nearby oak, and then produced a picnic basket. While Elinor lowered herself onto the blanket, removed her gloves and bonnet, he dug into the basket. The picnic turned out to be a hearty repast of cold chicken, cheese, bread and butter, cider and sweet, fresh strawberries.

Elinor did not realize how hungry she was until she took the first bite of chicken. Before she knew it, she had devoured a bit of everything, aware of Stephen watching her the entire time.

“I did not mean to eat so much,” she said, feeling a bit embarrassed.

“As you are so slender, I had not expected you to have such a hearty appetite,” he remarked with a smile. “I approve.”

“Everything was delicious.”

“I’ll pass your compliments on to Mother’s cook. She kindly provided the food.”

“You mean you cajoled her into it,” Elinor teased him.

He flashed her a boyish grin. “Cook always did have a soft spot in her heart for a hungry boy.”

“You must have had a wonderful childhood.”

He shrugged his shoulders. “Fairly typical, I should imagine, except for my habit of bringing home stray and injured animals. I was the despair of my mother.”

Elinor laughed softly. “Then you have not changed much, only now you collect stray females. What does your mother think of that?”

Again he shrugged. “If only I were to marry one of them, she would not object at all, or so she says.”

“I see.” So he was under familial pressure to marry. But he could hardly consider a liaison with a seamstress. Was he pursuing her as one last fling before getting married?

“There is one strawberry left.” He held it out to her.

She leaned toward him and bit into the sweet pulp. A trickle of juice ran down her chin. With one finger, he captured the moisture, and then licked it off, all the while holding her gaze. Her eyes widened at the intimacy of the gesture as heat rose to her cheeks. She was in over her head here.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00CHSNEII

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/lady-elinors-escape/id645217449

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lady-elinors-escape-linda-mclaughlin/1100559263

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lady-elinor-s-escape

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/312406

 

Author bio:

 

Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of books and history, so it's only natural she prefers writing historical romance. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward. Linda also writes steamy to erotic romance under the name Lyndi Lamont, and is one half of the writing team of Lyn O'Farrell.

You can find her online at:

Website: http://lindalyndi.com

Blog: http://lindalyndi.com/reading-room-blog/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LindaMcLaughlinAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/lindamclaughlin

Twitter: @Lyndi Lamont https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont

This week at Rosedale Cottage…#RomanticIdeas from author Tina Gayle

 

 

 

It's a hot one at Rosedale Cottage, the perfect time to kick back on the porch, sip a cold adult beverage and chat with this week's guest, contemporary romance author Tina Gayle.

 

Tina is delighted to share one of her favorite #RomanticIdeas:

 

 

Young or old, we all enjoy a night out.

Instead of going to the same old place, try some place new. Maybe a place with music for dancing or a winery for a tasting.

There are all sorts of new things to try. Do it with your lover and make a new memory.

 

 

Tina’s latest release is CFO’s Affair, the third book in her Executive Wives Club series….

Sylvia Donovan is emotionally wounded from the unexpected death of her husband and still haunted by their last conversation: his request for a divorce and his confession of love for another woman. Her husband gone, her only daughter off to college, Sylvia faces the challenges of learning to live alone and move on with her life.

Vince Wilshire, enchanted with Sylvia, is more than willing to do what it takes to capture the heart of the hurting and untrusting Sylvia.

Can he help her forget the past and make her believe in love again?

Enjoy an excerpt:

A knock sounded on the window beside her and she jumped. Her head swiveled around and she stared at the man looking at her through the window.

            Vince Wilshire's handsome face could make any woman melt with desire. With it so close to hers—the glass being the only thing separating them—a rush of adrenaline swept into her system. She leaned sideways in her seat and knocked her hand against the steering wheel. The horn beeped and she muttered, "Damn it, Knox, why did you..."

            The sound of his laughter sent anger flooding through her, the muscles in her arms tightening with the need to strike out. She lowered the phone and clicked the disconnect button in retaliation to his attempt to manipulate her.

            Vince opened the driver's side door and cold air rushed into the car. "Hey, beautiful, are you heading inside?"

            "What is this? Are you guys ganging up on me?" Sylvia ignored the man beside her and glanced in the rear view mirror, checking to make sure her tears hadn't caused any lasting effect.

            A warm hand landed on her shoulder and Vince toyed with her hair. "Not at all, I like the idea of entering the building with a gorgeous woman on my arm."

            "Right," she protested and stuffed her phone into her purse before turning to stare into his bedroom-brown eyes. The spark in their depths had her reevaluating her impression of the man. Yes, he had the face and body to rival every other Casanova in the world, but he also had a sense of humor. That alone sent a shiver of awareness through her.

            She fought the desire gathering in her stomach and waved her hand at him so he'd move out of the way, letting her exit the car. "Did Knox make you wait out here in the parking lot to make sure I would come inside?"

            Vince grinned and held her door open while she stepped onto the asphalt. His gaze fell to her legs.

            She stared at her new, high-heel, red pumps and silently prayed she wouldn't land face first in the dirt when she tried to walk across the pitted parking lot in them.

           A low whistled sounded beside her. "Man, are you ever hot."

            She ignored the comment and didn't turn until she heard the car door slamming closed. "And there's not a woman you've ever met you haven't wanted."

 

Read 1st chapter at http://www.tinagayle.net/CFO'sAffairChpt.html

Purchase your copy of CFOs Affair at http://bit.ly/CFOaffair

 

Tina Gayle grew up a dreamer and loved to escape into the world of books. After years of working in the business world doing a variety of jobs, she decided to try her hand at writing. Her books touch the heart and show the true joy of being a woman. Read the first chapter of any of her books by visiting her website, and find her everywhere

Home - www.tinagayle.net

Blog - www.tinagayle.blogspot.com

Twitter - https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorTinaGayle

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/tina.gayle

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Tina-Gayle/e/B002BM9GR8

Google + - https://plus.google.com

Linkin - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/tina-gayle/11/689/759

 

This week at Rosedale Cottage…#RomanticIdeas from author Mari Manning

Ahhh, beach life. One of summer’s joys. Sun, sand…bare-chested men….ahem, but I digress. I was merely distracted by the cover of Mari Manning’s new romantic suspense release! We can’t wait to hear all about it, but since Mari is this week’s guest at Rosedale Cottage, she first must share her summertime #RomanticIdea.

Here is a #romanticidea ripped from the headlines…of a small town newspaper. Have a slice of watermelon for dessert. Here’s how to make it romantic. After dinner, cut a generous slice from a huge, seedy watermelon. You must settle yourself on your door step or deck or porch to consume it. Spit out the seeds. In fact, spit them as far as you can. The best spitter gets to watch the loser do the dinner dishes.

 

Watermelon and a hammock? I don’t think those dinner dishes are going to get done anytime soon. Maybe paper plates are a better idea, especially where there’s a good book to read. Mari, tell us about your newest release, Stranger In My House.

 

When Officer Kirby Swallow’s half-sister is threatened, Kirby assumes her sister’s identity and journeys to the remote Texas ranch her sister calls home to catch a killer. Kirby confronts a growing list of suspects and a rising body count, not to mention the ranch manager, Seth Maguire, who sees past the charade to the warm, generous girl beneath. But can Kirby trust a man who rejects the one thing she holds dear: family? Her love dares all, but as the killer closes in, will it also be blind?

Self-reliant Seth Maguire is manager of the struggling Shaw Valley Ranch. His future appears empty until the ranch’s wild, unpredictable heiress suddenly morphs into a very hot lady cop. What starts out as just another seduction turns into something deep and, for him, frightening. Then the killer is revealed and Seth is faced with an impossible choice. Will his fragile, uncertain love be enough to save Kirby?

 

This sounds like the perfect steamy read for a steamy summer night. And that cover! Did I mention that I really like it? Oh yeah… I guess I did.

 

Anyway…can you share an excerpt?

 The aroma of fresh coffee drifted past Kirby’s nose. A man’s raspy breath sawed the air. A wool blanket tickled her neck. Her eyelids drifted open. Planks of varnished redwood stretched across the ceiling.

Where am I?

“Thought you might sleep all morning.”

Kirby bolted up. She was in a strange bed in a strange room in a strange house. Maguire slouched against the doorjamb, slurping coffee and studying her. Rumpled curls, muscular chest, vee of dark hair running down his belly, sweatpants hanging on narrow hips.

Alarm jolted through her. He looked satisfied and sexy. What happened last night? Had he… Had she? Lord Almighty! Had she slept with Maguire? A searing pain drove through her head, and she fell back against the pillows.

“What…am…I…doing…here?” Her mouth was dry, her tongue thick. As if she’d been on a bender.

Maguire pulled up a chair. The scrape of chair legs against wood vibrated inside her head like thunder. “Found you wandering around last night,” he said.

“Last night?” She remembered the sudden crush of exhaustion, of feeling too tired to hold up her head. Then nothing. Not putting on her T-shirt or brushing her teeth or turning down the bed. Speaking of T-shirts, what was she wearing, if anything? She brushed her fingers over her hips. The Rangers jersey twisted securely around her.

“Just after midnight. You were banging on the barn.”

“I don’t remember.” Her emotions swung between sheer embarrassment and sheer terror at being discovered. Either way, she couldn’t bear to look at him. “Was I, uh—I mean, did I, uh, do anything?”

“After the striptease?”

Shocked, she whipped her head around.

Where can we buy a copy of “Stranger In My House?”

Buy links to all the major electronic sites are here: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/stranger-in-my-house/

 

 

Let’s start with the fun stuff. I love small towns, mysteries, quiet men, laughter, old-fashioned spaghetti dinners. I love boots and shopping and jokes and Hershey’s dark chocolate and white wine. I love lots of things. But my first love is reading.

I love to read. Just about anything, but it has to be well-written. I go through periods where I am into historical novels or romance or mystery or history or biography. I never know when my desires will suddenly change.

Now for the writer-ish, official stuff: Mari Manning is the author of several contemporary romances and three romantic suspense novels set in the Texas Hill Country. Stranger at My Door is the first in her A Murder in Teas series. The second, Stranger in My House will be released by Entangled on June 13. The third book in the series is Stranger in My Bed. Currently Mari is working on a series of cozy mysteries.

She and her husband live in Chicago.

Social Media:

Contact Mari at manningillinois@gmail.com

Visit my website at www.marimanning.com

This week at Rosedale Cottage…#RomanticIdeas from author Mari Manning

Ahhh, beach life. One of summer’s joys. Sun, sand…bare-chested men….ahem, but I digress. I was merely distracted by the cover of Mari Manning’s new romantic suspense release! We can’t wait to hear all about it, but since Mari is this week’s guest at Rosedale Cottage, she first must share her summertime #RomanticIdea.

Here is a #romanticidea ripped from the headlines…of a small town newspaper. Have a slice of watermelon for dessert. Here’s how to make it romantic. After dinner, cut a generous slice from a huge, seedy watermelon. You must settle yourself on your door step or deck or porch to consume it. Spit out the seeds. In fact, spit them as far as you can. The best spitter gets to watch the loser do the dinner dishes.

 

Watermelon and a hammock? I don’t think those dinner dishes are going to get done anytime soon. Maybe paper plates are a better idea, especially where there’s a good book to read. Mari, tell us about your newest release, Stranger In My House.

 

When Officer Kirby Swallow’s half-sister is threatened, Kirby assumes her sister’s identity and journeys to the remote Texas ranch her sister calls home to catch a killer. Kirby confronts a growing list of suspects and a rising body count, not to mention the ranch manager, Seth Maguire, who sees past the charade to the warm, generous girl beneath. But can Kirby trust a man who rejects the one thing she holds dear: family? Her love dares all, but as the killer closes in, will it also be blind?

Self-reliant Seth Maguire is manager of the struggling Shaw Valley Ranch. His future appears empty until the ranch’s wild, unpredictable heiress suddenly morphs into a very hot lady cop. What starts out as just another seduction turns into something deep and, for him, frightening. Then the killer is revealed and Seth is faced with an impossible choice. Will his fragile, uncertain love be enough to save Kirby?

 

This sounds like the perfect steamy read for a steamy summer night. And that cover! Did I mention that I really like it? Oh yeah… I guess I did.

 

Anyway…can you share an excerpt?

 The aroma of fresh coffee drifted past Kirby’s nose. A man’s raspy breath sawed the air. A wool blanket tickled her neck. Her eyelids drifted open. Planks of varnished redwood stretched across the ceiling.

Where am I?

“Thought you might sleep all morning.”

Kirby bolted up. She was in a strange bed in a strange room in a strange house. Maguire slouched against the doorjamb, slurping coffee and studying her. Rumpled curls, muscular chest, vee of dark hair running down his belly, sweatpants hanging on narrow hips.

Alarm jolted through her. He looked satisfied and sexy. What happened last night? Had he… Had she? Lord Almighty! Had she slept with Maguire? A searing pain drove through her head, and she fell back against the pillows.

“What…am…I…doing…here?” Her mouth was dry, her tongue thick. As if she’d been on a bender.

Maguire pulled up a chair. The scrape of chair legs against wood vibrated inside her head like thunder. “Found you wandering around last night,” he said.

“Last night?” She remembered the sudden crush of exhaustion, of feeling too tired to hold up her head. Then nothing. Not putting on her T-shirt or brushing her teeth or turning down the bed. Speaking of T-shirts, what was she wearing, if anything? She brushed her fingers over her hips. The Rangers jersey twisted securely around her.

“Just after midnight. You were banging on the barn.”

“I don’t remember.” Her emotions swung between sheer embarrassment and sheer terror at being discovered. Either way, she couldn’t bear to look at him. “Was I, uh—I mean, did I, uh, do anything?”

“After the striptease?”

Shocked, she whipped her head around.

Where can we buy a copy of “Stranger In My House?”

Buy links to all the major electronic sites are here: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/stranger-in-my-house/

 

 

Let’s start with the fun stuff. I love small towns, mysteries, quiet men, laughter, old-fashioned spaghetti dinners. I love boots and shopping and jokes and Hershey’s dark chocolate and white wine. I love lots of things. But my first love is reading.

I love to read. Just about anything, but it has to be well-written. I go through periods where I am into historical novels or romance or mystery or history or biography. I never know when my desires will suddenly change.

Now for the writer-ish, official stuff: Mari Manning is the author of several contemporary romances and three romantic suspense novels set in the Texas Hill Country. Stranger at My Door is the first in her A Murder in Teas series. The second, Stranger in My House will be released by Entangled on June 13. The third book in the series is Stranger in My Bed. Currently Mari is working on a series of cozy mysteries.

She and her husband live in Chicago.

Social Media:

Contact Mari at manningillinois@gmail.com

Visit my website at www.marimanning.com

Give a listen!

No, the Red Hot Russians aren't out on audio book (yet!) but if listening's your thing, be sure to check out my podcast interview with Shelf Addiction's Tamara Ford. Tamara is a blogger, reviewer and podcaster who will be taking part in the upcoming #RustCity16 Book Con in Troy Michigan, August 12-14.

 

Give it a listen here.

 

Tamara loved hearing that each Red Hot Russians book has a soundtrack, free for the listening on Spotify. Click on the book covers to link to each story's soundtrack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Listening...and Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

June #TBR Challenge- Favorite Trope

Sleeping With The Enemy- Tracy Solheim

 

 

It’s June for another hour, so I still have time to post this month’s TBR challenge book- favorite trope. I chose Tracy Solheim’s Sleeping With The Enemy because I had the pleasure of meeting her at this year’s Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation weekend. For a Packers fan, she was lovely. (just kidding, she was lovely anyway)  I purchased one of her books, and when I pulled it off the top of my TBR pile, I was delighted to find it combines sports romance with one of my favorite tropes, reunited lovers. Oddly, it also combines two of my least favorite subgenres and tropes: Billionaire romance and enemies to lovers.

So which won? I’m glad to say that the elements I liked in this book far outweighed the things I didn’t.

Bridgett and Jay met in Italy as summer interns during college, fell in love, and then had their lives turn upside down in a matter of weeks, as Jay’s wealthy stepfather died, and Bridgett discovered she was pregnant. Through a series of misunderstandings, and the devious  actions of Jay’s vindictive ex-roommate, each believed they had been dumped by the other. Thirteen years later, Jay is a dot-com billionaire and owner of the Balitmore Blaze football team. Bridgett is hired as his attorney when the team and Jay are sued by a disgruntled cheerleader, and hounded by a mysterious blogger.

I won’t go into a detailed explanation of the plot, because it’s twisty and there’s only an hour left in June.  Suffice to say, while it contains a few lucky coincidences, for the most part, it makes sense. I liked that the action played out over a week and culminated at a football game, though much of the action took place away from the field.

I liked Bridgett, who was strong but vulnerable, after losing both Jay and their baby. Jay has dealt with his pain by focusing everything on business, and approaches every facet of his life (Bridgett included) as a deal he must close. While this was kind of off-putting, Bridgett’s reaction to him now, versus the man she once knew, as well as Jay’s gruff tenderness toward his wild-child younger sister, showed he was more than a young Donald Trump clone with good hair.  By the end of the book, I wanted this couple together and was satisfied that their HEA was the real deal.

I’m glad I gave Sleeping With The Enemy a read, and will look forward to reading more of Tracy’s books.

#RomanticIdeas from Author Victoria Pinder

This week’s guest at Rosedale Cottage is contemporary romance author Victoria Pinder!

 

Victoria will share a few of her favorite #RomanticIdeas for an unforgettable summer with your favorite guy!

 

  1. Visit an art museum
  2. Walk on the beach (I know cheesy but it’s what my husband likes to do when we’re bored)
  3. Go food shopping together and pick out something for each other to add to the cart
  4. Plan a vacation or a cruise for a year away and talk about what you want to see or do (sometimes the planning is the fun part.)
  5. Watch a movie together while snuggling
  6. Take a dance class and use a groupon coupon
  7. Visit a winery or local agriculture (perhaps apple picking)
  8. Rent a boat or a canoe or kayak and hit the water (Or water ski if you’re adventurous)
  9. Picnic in a local park somewhere
  10. Go online to one of those places where you get coupons, like groupon, and pick something together that you’ve both never done… helicopter rides, hot air balloons? The sky’s the limit!

Victoria’s Contemporary/New Adult romance “Favorite Coffee, Favorite Crush,” is a second-chance romance set in steamy Miami…

Penny moves back to Miami to start her new job. She must start on Monday, so she has a list of things to accomplish.

A: Find a place to live.

B: Avoid her mother.

C: Reconnect with old high school friends. There was her best friend, Sandra, the dramatic Eva, the dark Michael, her half-brother Wyatt, and her old high school crush Jay.

Jay had never looked twice at her except as a partner in math league, but at least these people respected her.

Jay spots Penny immediately and sets a plan in action. He needs her to pretend to be his date this week. She’s practical minded and stable, which is what he needs his investors to see in him.

Penny’s caught in a whirlwind of plots. Her gold digging mother, Jay’s, Jay’s mother whose out to stop him, and her own plans are being thrown off course. Worst of it is that she’s falling for Jay, all over again.

 

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Home, sweet, err…coffee.”

Getting out of her car, Penelope brushed her worn jeans to get out a small wrinkle. Not that it mattered. She smelled the coffee drawing her to the door. The delicious aroma of freshly brewed java that could wake her up waited inside. Gainesville had coffee shops, but nothing that held her heart like this place. In high school, this place was her mecca. Her stomach grumbled for the familiar drink.

The coffee shop looked almost the same as it had years ago, except for the aluminum tables and wooden chairs with red cushions. She remembered the plaid chairs and brown tables, but the place still calmed her, like she was coming home.

She stepped up to the counter. “I’ll have a cinnamon dulce nonfat latte, please.”

Leaving Gainesville after college had always been the plan. Just never back to Miami, but she’d changed. She could live here now.

She checked her lip gloss while she waited for the latte at the counter.

When she accepted the promotion from part-time to full-time, she knew she would have to face her mother and the catch of the month, Lars, her mother’s plastic surgeon. What that woman would do for a free tummy tuck.

The job she’d accepted had offered to triple her salary, provided she moved to the Coral Gables office. Somehow, she’d avoid her mother until necessary. What was the man’s name with money this week? Penny ignored that last call, knowing the man with the largest wallet always took precedence over whatever Penelope needed. She watched the barista get the nonfat milk and finish her latte. She’d succeed here, now. She had to.

She’d call Sandra, Eva, John, and Michael later. Wyatt, her half-brother, was stationed overseas, so she’d wait for his weekly call. These people were her real family.

The man handed her the latte. The first sip gave her the strength to do this. The tightness of the ride dissipated while she tasted her liquid savior. Sighing, she tasted heaven, the wake-up to her day.

“Penelope.”

Though the unmistakable voice was deeper, she knew who it was without even turning. Her high school crush, who never noticed her beyond her brain. Pulling at her pink tank top, she wished she’d worn better clothes. “John Jay.”

His steely blue eyes and sandy blond hair were the same color, but his build had grown more muscular. The leanness of his youth had given way to broad shoulders and hard, muscular arms. He had a straight, faded scar on his left cheek that was new—probably a bar fight. Rich boy wore his fancy, perfectly fitted polo and jeans, and was definitely hotter with age. His million-dollar smile and devastating dimples sparked a warm flush that sped through her all the way to the tips of her toes.

“I’m going by Jay these days. It’s less formal.” He winked at her, turning off his tablet and pointing her to his table.

“It’s a good name, but I still prefer Dimples,” she teased. “It’s what I called you on online whenever I needed you.”

His rich, deep laugh sent that familiar spark through her.

Damn. Rich boy knew his effect on women, including her. He could manipulate her when she went quiet, but she’d learned a lot in college. She’d not let him weaken her.

 

PurchaseFavorite Coffee, Favorite Crush

Download Victoria’s FREE novella, Returning for Valentine’s, by clicking here:

 

Victoria Pinder grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, after passing many tests proving how easy Math came to her. Then hating her life at the age of twenty four, she decided to go to law school. Four years later, after passing the bar and practicing very little, she realized that she hates the practice of law. She refused to one day turn 50 and realize she had nothing but her career and hours at a desk. After realizing she needed change, she became a high school teacher. Teaching is rewarding, but writing is a passion.

During all this time, she always wrote stories to entertain herself or calm down. Her parents are practical minded people demanding a job, and Victoria spent too many years living other people’s dreams, but when she sat down to see what skill she had that matched what she enjoyed doing, writing became so obvious. The middle school year book when someone wrote in it that one day she’d be a writer made sense when she turned thirty.

She’s always been determined. She is amazing, adventurous and assured on a regular basis. Member of Florida Romance Writers, Contemporary Romance, Celtic Hearts and Savvy Authors.

Connect:

Website:

Facebook:

Twitter:

This week at Rosedale Cottage…#RomanticIdeas from author Stacy Juba

Welcome back to Rosedale Cottage where I’m kicking back and talking books with this week’s guest Stacy Juba.

 

Glad you found the cottage, Stacy. We’re kind of out of the way, but I can’t think of a better place to spend the summer. The strawberries and rhubarb from our garden are still in season, so I hope you’ll enjoy a slice of my homemade cheesecake, topped with rhubarb glaze and hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries. Yes, I made the glaze and dipped the strawberries myself, and no, I don’t give out the cheesecake recipe. Besides, it takes two days to make, and who has time for that when there’s #RomanticIdeas to enjoy?

Care to share yours?

Nothing screams summer quite like a theme park, and they’re actually very romantic. So head to your favorite park and try these #RomanticIdeas:

 

  1. Snuggle up on slow rides such as the train.
  2. Kiss at the top of the Ferris Wheel at night.
  3. Share a box of popcorn during a show.
  4. Get to a show early and relax in the back of the air-conditioned theater.
  5. Kiss for the ride pictures.
  6. Enjoy a picnic lunch.
  7. Go to the park’s nicest restaurant for dinner.
  8. Have your significant other play games to win you a prize.
  9. Hold hands while strolling through the park.
  10. Snuggle up during the fireworks.

Those are great, Stacy! Do you have a favorite theme park? I’m guessing it’s a Disney park, because it sounds like you and your husband shared a few romantic moments at Epcot and Disneyland.

 

A few years ago, we went to Kings Island, which is known for its roller coasters, and is located on Lake Erie. While my husband and sons hit the coasters, I hit the sand with a comfy chair and a romance novel! Relaxing with a good book is a great way to experience romance, even if you’re by yourself.  And speaking of good books, your release “Fooling Around With Cinderella” sounds like a perfect beach read. Even better, it’s set in a theme park!

What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella's toes? When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom. First in the Storybook Valley series, a blend of sweet romance, chick lit, and fairy tale fun. 

How about an excerpt?

Dylan scrutinized Jaine, arms folded across his royal blue shirt with the Storybook Valley logo stamped over the left in white block letters. “Do you wear contacts?”

“I have plenty of media contacts. Wait. Did you say wear contacts? You mean instead of these?” Jaine fingered the earpiece of her gold-rimmed glasses.

“Right. Contact lenses.”

She gave a nervous chuckle. “I scheduled a consultation in college, but was too squeamish to insert the lens. I was more comfortable in glasses.”

Was she really justifying her vision enhancement choices to her prospective new boss? Maybe he intended to discuss medical benefits. Or did he think she looked nerdy? What was the saying? Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses? Not that she wanted him to make a pass even if he was hot.

“How blind are you without glasses?” Dylan persisted.

“You wouldn’t want to drive with me.”

“How about if you’re walking around a building? Are you in danger of hurting yourself?”

This interview had taken the Mad Hatter Freeway from Fairy Tale Land into Wonderland where nothing made a damn bit of sense. Did this guy have a glasses fetish, like those weirdoes with shoe fetishes?

“I should be okay. I take them off for special occasions.” In fact, Jaine’s older sister Bree, who was getting married in August, remarked just last week, “You are losing the glasses for my wedding pictures, right?”

What the hell. She’d be a good sport and hope Dylan would be so grateful to pick the brain of a real, flesh and blood, bespectacled person that he would appoint her marketing director. Jaine removed her glasses and the fine details of her surroundings fuzzed. She nodded toward the framed print hanging on a side wall, the picture a wash of symbols and colors. “I can tell that’s a park map, but the words and images smear together.”

And that was myopia in a nutshell. Jaine adjusted her glasses back into place so she could see his reaction. Dylan examined her with such intensity that a blush stained her cheeks. She patted her French braid, in case stray strands were straggling out.

“Here’s the situation,” Dylan said. “I took over the general manager position a few months ago. I’m evaluating possible changes and researching how other theme parks run. My grandfather and father have worked with a marketing firm for years to create our brochures, billboards, print, and radio ads.”

Jaine’s shoulders caved, imperceptible to him, but it felt as if her whole body was sinking.

No fairy tale job ending for her.

Where to find the book

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XpaJ5t

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fooling-around-with-cinderella-stacy-juba/1122680940?ean=2940152324976

 

Kobo: http://ow.ly/SFUsk

 

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1042194826

 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=BdrNCgAAQBAJ

 

Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers), or writing about them, Stacy helps authors to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service. She is currently writing the next book in the Storybook Valley Series, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty.

 

Connect:

Social Media:

Website and blog: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Juba/100155471301

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stacyjuba

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Stacy-Juba/e/B002OXLSDE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Newsletter subscription: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/newsletter-subscription/

 

 

This week at Rosedale Cottage…#RomanticIdeas from author Rachael Kosinski

No, climate change hasn’t hit Rosedale Cottage THIS hard, but this photo of our neighbor’s 12-foot snowman is a perfect way to introduce our newest guest, historical romance author Rachael Kosinski, who is going to share her winter-themed release with us. But first, a summertime #RomanticIdea. Rachael, what’s yours?

“I find anything lake-oriented can be really, very cute. Walk along the shore, go swimming, have a lakeside picnic—go jet skiing, or boating or both! I live right next to a lake, and on weekends my family will explore this little town that everyone flocks to during the summer; it’s the perfect place to grab some ice cream and just wander as the sun sets. Have you ever seen the sun set across a lake, dappling the surface? Pretty romantic, if you ask me. It’s a thing you can watch for a long time. Then you can just hold hands and meander around all the little shops, or plunge off into the foliage if your lake of choice has parkland right next to it like mine does. Nothing feels more adventurous than anchoring the boat and swimming to shore, then wandering the quiet forest down a worn dirt path until you dry off. I’ve never actually done this date-wise, but it’s on my list!”

I love this idea Rachael. I live near a lake too, and love heading over there late afternoons when my workday’s done. It’s a great way to come up with story ideas. Speaking of… tell us a little about your latest release, The Christmas Lights.

 

“This is a short book, half a book, really. A novella. But please, don't let that make you shy away. Short can be good! Short can have you straining your eyes against your Kindle, Nook, iPod or laptop (it's only in electronic form as of now) because some serious plot conflict is afoot. Short can mean cuddling up on a couch with a mug of coffee and having a book snuggle. And who doesn't like book snuggles? If you like intense deadlines, the nooks and crannies of European cities, eccentric artists, nearly blind fiancés, London factory boys, Faberge eggs, the power of love and its ability to withstand literally ALL obstacles, and if you've ever been even the teensiest bit curious as to why we hang colored lights from our houses during the winter, I strongly suggest you give ‘The Christmas Lights’ a try.”

OMG, you had me at eccentric artists and London factory boys! I’m definitely intrigued by your description. Care to share an excerpt?

“Because your father requires…a dowry, of sorts. A guarantee you’ll be well taken care of.” 

Emmy’s hand turned sweaty. “Oh, Louis. What does that mean?” 

I swallowed the sour taste at the back of my mouth, nerves trembling in my fingers. “Our engagement lasts until December twenty-fifth. If by that time I’ve not returned—” 

“Returned?” Emmy’s gaze burned me. “Louis, where are you going? Won’t my father give you a job?” 

I didn’t move and barely opened my mouth to let the words escape. “He’s got me a job.” 

“What?” 

I loosened my shoulders and shrugged. “Marks Brothers pays their floor workers very well.” 

“Who?” 

“I’d stack inventory outside, in the clean air, and I’d work with a few fellows who’d watch out for me…” “Louis!” 

“…I hear factories in London are much safer than here.” 

“London! Louis, Louis, what are you talking about?” Emmy grabbed my face. 

I squinted at two sparkling brown orbs. Was she crying? 

“No.” Emmy covered her mouth with a hand. “No, you aren’t going to London. How could you? No one loves you there. No one knows you there…”

Your father seems to think it is my home country. 

“Emmy. Emmy Emmy Emmy.” I held her close, stroking her hair. “I don’t plan to work there.” 

She sat back. “What?” 

“I’ve heard Mr. Godfrey talk about them. A London factory is the last place I should work. Your father means well, but I can’t do that. They wouldn’t take a blind boy.” 

“Wh-where will you go, then? How on earth will you make money?” 

“I have family in Paris. Mother says they have wine vineyards. I’ll work for them.” 

“That…” Emmy’s fingers traced the veins on the back of my hand. “That’s much safer.” She was silent for the longest time. “You’ll be safe? And come home quickly?” 

I pulled her hands away and stood, playing with the ring on her finger. “I will. I love you.” 

“Louis…” 

“Emmy. I don’t have a choice. You want to marry me, don’t you?” 

“Of course I do. But, Louis…” 

“Yes, love?” 

“How long will you be gone?” How long? How long to board a ship, to find a place I’d only heard about, to earn and save an impossible amount of money? How long, indeed. 

I set my expression. “I’ll be home by Christmas.”

Hey, we’re half-way to Christmas. Why not indulge in a little holiday cheer? Where can we buy a copy of “The Christmas Lights?”

Where to find the book

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OMFS0S8

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-christmas-lights-rachael-kosinski/1120609560?ean=2940046293258

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/the-christmas-lights/atAzy8BDVUOzqfSxguMmlg?MixID=atAzy8BDVUOzqfSxguMmlg&PageNumber=1

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/museitup/romance/historical-romance/the-christmas-lights-detail

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/486267

 

When she was little, Rachael Kosinski wanted to be a paleontologist, an astronaut, a nature photographer, a writer for National Geographic, an Egyptologist, and the next Jane Goodall. Instead of being a new link between man and chimp, or discovering a planet suitable for sustained human life, or maybe even winning renowned fame by stumbling across an undiscovered dinosaur, Rachael finally decided that, if she never became a writer, she would simply die. Nine years later, she now possesses a quirky knowledge of world mythology, an addiction to coffee, and a penchant for making over-expressive faces at her laptop.

Connect:

Social Media:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9856335.Rachael_Kosinski

Website: http://the-girl-who-draws-with-words.tumblr.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rachael-Kosinski/e/B0151WRFMC

 

This week at Rosedale Cottage…#RomanticIdeas from author Linda O’Connor

This week’s guest at Rosedale Cottage is contemporary romance author Linda O’Connor, a busy author and physician, who is taking a much deserved vacation and has dropped in to share her #RomanticIdea, and a little bit about her newest release, Perfectly Honest. Thanks for stopping by the cottage, Linda, and tell us a little about your perfect summertime #RomanticIdea.

I’d love to. My #RomanticIdea is to spend time together. A canoe ride with a stop for a picnic lunch on a warm summer day would be my ideal romantic date. 

That’s a great idea, Linda. My husband and I went canoeing a few times when we were dating. We’re more into biking these days, but both are great ways to spend time together outdoors, and get some exercise too. Of course exercise is always a lot more fun when there’s something cold and tasty to drink at the end. On that note, why don’t I freshen up your wine while you tell us about “Perfectly Honest.”

What’s it about?

When Mikaela Finn agreed to be Sam’s ‘fiancée’ for a weekend, she probably should have told him that she’s a doctor. Sam O’Brien, aka ‘Dr. Eye Candy’, is trying to shed his playboy reputation and convince a small town hospital that he’s ready to settle down.  But when his ‘fiancée’ helps deliver a baby in the middle of the meet and greet, it’s a bit of a shock. If he’d known the whole truth, he might have done things a little differently because somehow his ‘fiancée’ ends up stealing his job and his heart. Not exactly the change he wanted. Lies and deceit – it’s a match made in heaven!

Lies and deceit…in a book called Perfectly Honest! Sounds like a fun read. How about an excerpt?

Mikaela woke with a start to the sound of voices. Disoriented, in unfamiliar surroundings, she looked down at her short shorts and loose shirt covered with spatters of paint. Painting, of course. She must have fallen asleep in the chair, and checking her watch, she saw that it was two o’clock in the morning. Shit. She rubbed her eyes and yawned. Pulling herself out of the chair, she listened to the voices. One voice was female, sounding impatient and unhappy and one male, sounding apologetic and resigned.

“I know it’s not ideal, Sophia, but it’s what I want. I’m tired of the large city, the tertiary care center, and all the politics. I’m tired of all the meetings and all the committees. I want a smaller hospital in a smaller city. I want a life.”

“Nonsense, Sam,” the woman shot back. “You don’t know what you want or what’s good for you. You need to pay your dues now to reap the benefits later.”

“Look, I don’t expect you to understand. I’m grateful you’ve agreed to help me out, but . . . ”

Mikaela wandered into the hallway and stopped when she saw the two of them at the front door. The woman had unbuttoned her coat, and as she put her hands on her hips, there was a flash of the red cocktail dress she wore underneath. The man was a foot taller and wearing a suit. A very nice fitting suit, Mikaela mused, as she came up behind him.

The woman noticed Mikaela first, and her startled gasp had the man looking over his shoulder. Mikaela wasn’t sure who looked more shocked, the man, who moved to shield the woman, or the woman, who raked her gaze over Mikaela from head to toe. As Mikaela fought the urge to straighten her shirt and fix her hair, she decided, definitely, the woman.

The woman’s eyes narrowed, the hands on her hips became clenched at her sides, and her face flushed red. Mikaela held her breath.

The woman pushed at the man’s shoulder and spun him around to face her. “Why you! You! 'I can’t invite you in, the house is being painted,'” she mimicked. “Is that the new code word for 'mistress?' You could have just told me we were through. Well, I’m done. This is the last straw. You pig!” The woman spun on her heel and wrenched the door open.

“Sophia, wait!”

“No, wait,” Mikaela added. She lurched forward, now wide-awake.

The woman stormed out and slammed the door.
The man turned to Mikaela. “Who the hell are you?”

 

Where to find the book

Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/Perfectly-Honest-Linda-OConnor-ebook/dp/B00S77IW9O

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/perfectly-honest-linda-oconnor/1121133809

http://www.lindaoconnor.net/perfectly/

 

Linda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at HomeSense. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories :D ). She hangs out at www.lindaoconnor.net.

Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Connect:

Social Media:

Website:  http://www.lindaoconnor.net

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LindaOConnorAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lindaoconnor98

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Linda-OConnor/e/B00S7CNLEA

 

This week at Rosedale Cottage…#RomanticIdeas from author Barbara White Daille

 

Welcome to Rosedale Cottage, where we'll be talking about great summer reads all summer long and sharing #RomanticIdeas to make this summer special.

This week’s guest is contemporary romance author Barbara White Daille, who will share a tunefully #RomanticIdea, and a little bit about her newest release. Thanks for stopping by the cottage, Barbara!

Glad to be here. My #RomanticIdea?

Check your area for summer music festivals.

They’re sometimes held in local parks, which gives you fresh air, beautiful surroundings, and of course, some great music. (As a bonus, they’re often offered at no charge.)

That’s a great suggestion, Barbara. I’m a big fan of outdoor music, and of free! Put the two together and it’s a winner.

Tell us a little about your new release, A Rancher’s Pride.

Sam Robertson's life just changed. In one short day, he found out that he's a daddy; that his beautiful little girl, Becky, is deaf; and that her aunt, sign language teacher Kayla Ward, intends to fight him for custody.

There are plenty of reasons Sam shouldn't fall for Kayla. A city girl like her has no place on his ranch, particularly when she's his ex-wife's gorgeous sister. But thanks to the judge's orders, Sam's spending a lot of time with Kayla, trying to give Becky the stable home she's never known.

Despite their ongoing custody battle, Sam and Kayla's love for Becky brings them closer than they ever expected, and Sam knows that no matter who wins in court, he could still lose—Kayla or his daughter.

 

In this excerpt, Kayla believes she can convince Sam to learn American Sign Language, but her student is having trouble staying on task…

 

 

“N-no fair,” She protested. “You’re not holding a blue crayon.”

 

“I was talking about your eyes. They’re blue. Very blue. And your cheeks are bright pink all of a sudden.” He smiled and leaned closer. “I can learn all my colors,” he murmured, “just by looking at you.”

 

Her heart thumped heavily. She wanted to lean back but couldn’t. She should get up and walk away. Somehow, she couldn’t do that, either. “There are more signs than just colors, you know.” Her voice cracked on the last word.

 

He smiled. He knew just what he was doing to her. And darn him, he was enjoying it.

 

“True.” He nodded. “How do you say ‘I’?”

 

She pointed her index finger at herself.

 

“And how do you say ‘want?’”

 

“You...do this.” She held both palms up and crooked all her fingers as she pulled her hands toward her body.

 

He leaned even closer. “And how do you say ‘a kiss?’” he whispered.

 

“Uhh...” She paused. “I forget.”  She had to draw the line somewhere.

 

Didn’t she?

 

Chuckling, he shook his head. “Well, maybe this will help your memory.” He slid his arm around her waist and held her close.

 

Before she could react, could close her eyes or even take a breath, Becky’s high-pitched laughter rang out. She stood in the kitchen doorway, her shoulders hiked up near her ears and her hands trying to cover the huge grin splitting her face.

 

A gesture that could probably be understood in any language.

 

Then she put the fingertips of each hand together and pursed her lips.

 

“Saved,” Kayla said, gently pushing Sam away. “You’ve just seen the sign for ‘kiss.’”

 

 

Where to find the book

Larger Print re-issue

Publisher: Harlequin http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=64731    

Original e-book version

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Ranchers-Pride-Barbara-White-Daille-ebook/dp/B004U73TFC

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ranchers-pride-barbara-white-daille/1100382659?ean=9781459202337

Books-A-Million http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Ranchers-Pride/Barbara-White-Daille/Q805260264?id=6631563407959

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-rancher-s-pride 

 

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom.

The first of her Flagman’s Folly stories, A Rancher’s Pride, is available in Larger Print from Harlequin. You can also find the original version at most major e-tailers.

The next book in Barbara’s popular The Hitching Post Hotel series, Cowboy in Charge, releases July 2016, with other books in the series to follow. In November 2016, she begins a new sweet romance series for Entangled Bliss.

 

Connect:

Website  http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com Blog  http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com/blog Twitter  https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/barbarawhitedaille Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002J6B0QQ

#RomanticIdeas This Summer at Rosedale Cottage

 

Summer and reading go together!

Blame it on the Bookmobile, which used to park a block from my house when I was a kid, but when the temperatures soar, that's my favorite time to read.

Though I'm grown-up and the Bookmobile is long gone, I even moved to a house with a reading-friendly front porch, that's just a short walk from the library.

To celebrate the best reading season of all, I'll be transforming my blog into a virtual summer cottage and welcoming some writer friends to share a little about their newest releases as well as a favorite #RomanticIdea to enjoy this summer.

I'll also share photos of a few of my favorite places to kick back with a cold drink and a hot romance...the perfect summer combo.

See you at the Cottage!

May #TBR Challenge- Something Different

 

Kick Start My Heart- Autumn Jones Lake

 

 

May’s reading didn’t go quite as planned. I had a different book in mind, but because I’m taking a class on novellas, and because that book wasn’t a novella, I had to switch things around.  I chose something from this anthology, which I’ve been using as a textbook of sorts for the class.

‘80s Mix Tape is definitely the most fun textbook ever! A collection of seven New Adult stories set during the 1980s, each uses an eighties song as its title. When I saw that one story was a motorcycle club romance, it was a perfect choice.  While the subgenre is hugely popular it’s not one I’ve read, so in the spirit of Something Different month, I decided to give it a try.

“Kick Start My Heart” turned out to be a mixed bag, but not for the reasons I expected.

In 1987 Los Angeles, Chaser, whose father heads an outlaw motorcycle club, is a guitarist in an up-and-coming metal band. Aspiring actress Mallory is hired to play the sexy girl in the band’s video, and Chaser catches her eye.

I’ll start with what I loved about this story: Chaser. He’s a decent, honorable guy from a rough and tumble environment, who’s left it behind, at least temporarily, to pursue his true passion, music. But he knows he’ll have to return to it someday, and doubts virginal Mallory—who doesn’t even realize her best girlfriend is a hooker, would ever fit in. Chaser has no clue that Mallory is really the on-the-run daughter of an imprisoned Russian mobster. No sooner was Papa sentenced, then Mallory emptied the family safe and headed for Hollywood.

For me, this is where things fell apart.

For a frightened girl trying to escape her old life, working as a highly-visible model on MTV seems like really a bad idea. When Mallory is inevitably found, Chaser has to intervene, but she offers no explanation who the baddie is, beyond admitting she knows him. Nor does Chaser ask. Instead, he takes her on a three-day ride to hide out with the motorcycle club. But Chaser’s dad knows all about the runaway Mafia Princess, and isn’t happy to have her under his roof.  After all, the club has spent “the last ten years” trying to avoid deals with the Russians.

While I could be wrong, the Russian mob seems much more of a 1990s/2000s thing. The eighties were still the Cold War, and unless the MC was selling military secrets or steroids for teenage gymnasts, I can’t imagine what Russian deals they were avoiding the previous ten years. Finally, the heroine’s name, Mallory, didn’t ring true for someone from her ultra-traditional Russian background.

I couldn’t shake the feeling I was reading a contemporary story retro-fitted to the 1980s. It wasn’t bad, but too many off-kilter details kept pulling me out. Still, I found a motorcycle romance with a hero I liked, so I may have to give another of Autumn Jones Lake’s books a try.

 

April #TBR Challenge- Contemporary

 

Party Lines/The Easy Part #3- Emma Barry

I’ve been saving the third book in Barry’s The Easy Part political series for just the right time. And what better time for a romance about two political aides working for competing presidential candidates, than primary election season?

While the primary in Party Lines is nowhere near as strange as the 2016 edition, I couldn’t help but substitute real-life players for the book’s candidates.  Republican Scott Stafford is a Jeb Bush-like moderate, whose main appeal is that he’s less crazy than the other GOP front runner.

Democrat James Randall is a charismatic governor with a reputation as a womanizer, and a politically savvy wife. No word on whether Mrs. Randall has presidential ambitions of her own.

But the real drama is behind the scenes, where political aides dig up dirt on opposing candidates, then stay up all night watching CNN and Fox as they wait for the scandal to break. 

Democrat Michael Picetti and Republican Lydia Reales meet while flying to Iowa for the January caucuses. The attraction is instant, and for Lydia, so is the hostility. Michael wrongly assumes the brainy young Latina is a fellow liberal, and though she’s socially moderate, Lydia is a true believer in the Republican hard-work-creates-opportunity ideal. Too bad her boss sees her only as the campaign’s token person of color, and overlooks her contributions.

Michael’s idealism has been crushed beneath the grind of running a campaign and mitigating routine disasters, such as when his candidate’s affair with a TV reporter goes public. His job is to put a Democrat in the White House, and he’s long since stopped caring whether Randall is the best man for the job.

With goals that couldn’t be more opposed, Michael and Lydia don’t see any possibility for a relationship. But an emotional bond grows between them, fueled by hot sex, and fiercely intelligent banter.  In a nice change-up from typical romance tropes, it’s sexy, sensitive Michael who finds himself longing for something deeper, while smart ambitious Lydia seems content to keep things casual.

Barry portrays both campaigns with an even hand, giving us sympathetic and unlikable characters on both sides. The nitty-gritty details of how a campaign works were fascinating, and I loved how she was able to create sizzling romance in such mundane settings as a hotel gym and an Applebee’s parking lot.

If you’re looking for a different kind of read that’s not only sexy, but gives a taste of what life is like on “the trail,” during “the cycle” don’t miss Party Lines.

 

Review
4.5 Stars
March #TBRChallenge- Recommended

 

The Arrangement/Survivors Club #2- Mary Balogh

 

Yes, I know I’m two weeks late posting this, but it’s still March! At least in the part of the world I occupy…my apologies to any Aussies who are already playing April Fool’s Day pranks—if you do that down under.

 

But I digress. I’m here to talk about my March #TBRChallenge, which is a book or author that’s been recommended. Two of my CPs are big Mary Balogh fans and a couple of years ago; I met her at a conference. Lovely woman, and Tory and Susie have often said that her writing is lovely as well. So when I saw March’s challenge, I thought of reading Mary Balogh. When I discovered this book in my TBR pile…it was fate!

 

The Arrangement is the second book in her Survivors Club series, which centers on a group of friends who served in the British Army, and have all been wounded in some way. The Arrangement’s hero, Vincent, Viscount Darleigh, was blinded in battle. Back  home, he’s feeling smothered by his loving, but meddling family, who have decided that he needs a wife/caregiver.  After one more botched attempt by Vincent’s mother to find a suitable bride, the handsome young viscount and his valet escape to his country home.

 

Miss Sophia Fry, poor relation to a neighboring family, has scars of her own. She’s insecure about her looks, and about the scandalous demise of her baron father, a gambler who was killed in a duel. Sophie, an artist, sees herself as a mouse who watches from a corner as others live their lives. Honest to a fault, she foils her cousin’s plot to trick Vincent into marriage, and ends up cast out. Grateful to Sophie and feeling responsible for her predicament, Vincent marries her.

 

My friends told me that Balogh writes wonderful beta heroes, which she does. Not only is Vincent rich and handsome, he’s a kind, courageous man, who is determined to live a full life without sight. The gentle way he brings Sophie out of her shell, and the ways Sophie’s bright mind helps Vincent recover his independence, were my favorite parts of the book. There’s a wonderful chemistry between them which brought a smile many times. Balogh’s writing is beautiful, and the story unfolds at an unhurried pace. 

 

While the book can be read as a stand-alone, the scenes with all the members of the Survivors Club were a bit confusing, and it would have been nice to have a bit more background. But those scenes are not a large part of the story, and I found the rest easy to follow. There are no big dramatic moments in The Arrangement, just good people trying to find love, forgiveness and a place to belong.

Good call, Tory and Susie! Now I’ll be recommending Mary Balogh!