Monday, October 31, 2016

Book Review: The Governess's Secret Baby by Janice Preston

The Governess’s Secret Baby
by Janice Preston



Publisher & Release: Harlequin Historical, December 1, 2016

Time and setting:  1811, England

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Length:  288 pages

Heat Level: 1.5 Flames

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

New governess Grace Bertram will do anything to get to know her young daughter, Clara. Even if it means working for Clara's guardian, the reclusive and scarred Nathaniel, Marquess of Ravenwell! 
Nathaniel believes no woman could ever love a monster like him, until Grace seems to look past his scars to the man beneath… But when he discovers Grace is Clara's mother, Nathaniel questions his place in this torn-apart family. Could there be a Christmas happy-ever-after for this beauty and the beast?

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the first book I have read by Janice Preston, and I am glad I accepted The Governess’s Secret Baby for the publisher via Net-Galley in exchange for an honest review. This book has plenty of heart and an adorable two-year-old that stole my heart!

Grace Bertram made a terrible mistake at seventeen and it changed the course of her life. She is desperate to find her daughter and assure herself that she is loved and well-cared for. She travels to the remote Shiverstone Hall to find out, when she learns the adoptive parents were killed in a carriage accident. Now, the Marquess of Ravenwell has custody of his late sister’s adopted daughter.

Nathaniel, the marquess, mistakenly believes Grace is there to interview for the position of governess to his two-year-old niece. While she is younger than he expected and far too lovely, he needs a governess for Clara.

Nathaniel is a recluse because he has terrible scars from a fire nine years ago, so he doesn’t believe any woman could ever want him. When sparks begin to fly, he finds himself asking if he might have found the one woman who can accept him, scars and all, and who will love his niece and place her above her own needs.

The Governess’s Secret Baby is a fast-paced love story between two people who both have reasons for not trusting the opposite sex. This is a well-written story with a unique plot and wonderful characters.

Grace’s character is a true nurturer, and she shows this by the love she has for her daughter and her willingness to put Clara’s needs before her own. She also shows this with Nathaniel by looking beyond the gruff exterior to the kind and loving man underneath. I really felt like I got inside Grace’s head and understood her desires, motivations, and conflict. I love when that happens!

Nathaniel is a tortured soul, my favorite kind of hero. I could feel his raw pain and guilt over what had happened nine years before. He desperately wants to love Grace, but because he has been betrayed in the past, he’s afraid to trust. I love how he works through his emotions and goes about winning Grace’s heart.


If you enjoy an emotionally-charged romance with an unforgettable hero and heroine, including and great cast of secondary characters as well, then you will love The Governess’s Secret Baby as much as I did. While this book is part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone. Happy reading!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Promo Blitz: My Journey by Amalie Coles



My Journey by Amalie Coles
Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 15, 2016
Blitz: October 24 - 28

Choosing the right path has never been easy.



Rebecca O’Connor-Smith is married to the love of her life at twenty-six, but her office career leaves a lot to be desired. A former anthropology major, she secretly misses her university years. When she decides to volunteer for an archaeological dig in Ashkelon, Israel, she doesn’t realize how much it will change her. Rebecca finds herself in a beautiful city surrounded by people who share her infatuation with the ancient world and develops a crush on a handsome Ph.D. student.

Soon enough, political tensions strike the southern region, and her team is forced to seek safer alternatives. Rebecca ends up spending a week at the Albright Institute, a prominent research center in Jerusalem, translating a complicated article. The difficult task makes her feel accomplished for the first time in the longest while.

Rebecca realizes she has always wanted to pursue archaeology professionally. However, following her dream won’t be easy. When she reunites with her husband, Jason, after the dig, nothing is the same anymore. As tensions increase in her marriage, she begins to wonder if she can have the best of both worlds—or if she’ll have to give up everything she’s ever known to have what she’s always wanted.


About the Author




Amalie Coles graduated from the University of Toronto with an M.A. in Near Eastern Civilizations and B.A. in History. Prior to embarking on her writing journey, she worked in a variety of industries, including marketing, publishing, and educational administration. She currently freelances from home, providing editing and indexing services, while raising a family. An avid archaeology enthusiast, Amalie loves writing contemporary romance with a twist of adventure. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a daughter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book Review: The Untouchable Earl by Amy Sandas

The Untouchable Earl by Amy Sandas



Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, November 1, 2016

Time and setting:  1817, England

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Length:  416 pages

Heat Level: 2 Flames

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

He's a reclusive Earl with a painful secret that's kept him from knowing a lover's touch.
She's a sheltered debutante tired of living by society's rules.

But when she's forced from the ballroom to the brothel, Lily discovers the dark thrill of falling from grace...and into the arms of a man who could destroy her as easily as he saved her.

Lily Chadwick has spent her life playing the respectable debutante. But when an unscrupulous moneylender snatches her off the street and puts her up for auction at a pleasure house, she finds herself in the possession of a man who fills her with breathless terror and impossible yearning.

Though the Earl of Harte claimed Lily with the highest bid, he hides a painful secret—one that has kept him from knowing the pleasure of a lover's touch. Even the barest brush of skin brings him physical pain, and he's spent his life keeping the world at arm's length. But there's something about 

Lily that maddens him, bewitches him, compels him...and drives him toward the one woman brave and kind enough to heal his troubled heart.

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Vikki’s Musings

When I received an invitation from the publisher via Net-Galley to read The Untouchable Earl in exchange for an honest review, I immediately accepted. I read the first book in this series and loved it, so I had high hopes for this one as well. Amy Sandas did not disappoint.

The Untouchable Earl grabbed me from the first page and kept me engaged until the last. There was no sagging middle because the story moved at a fast pace. Until I was putting together this review I had no idea it was well over 400 pages. I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

Lily Chadwick is a delightful heroine. She is such a sweet-natured character from the first page. She has such deep love for her sisters, I couldn’t help but fall in love with her. I loved her hidden temptress side and could feel her desire to break out of the staid, proper young lady role. Her desire and understanding of the hero are remarkable.

Avenell Slade, the Earl of Harte is my kind of hero, a tortured soul. He keeps society at arm’s length, literally. How truly tragic to be unable to bear anyone’s touch. He gained my empathy from the start because I have two grandchildren that also struggle with tactile sensitivity.

Ms. Sandas does a brilliant job building sexual tension, an aspect of Regency romance I love so well. Their desire for each other jumps off the page. The agony Avenell experiences whenever he’s touched comes through loud and clear. My heart ached for him. He craved Lily’s touch, but he the pain he believes he will feel keeps him away from her. When they finally bring their love to complete fulfillment it made me misty-eyed.

I highly recommend The Untouchable Earl to anyone who enjoys an emotionally-charged Regency romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can easily give it 5 Gold Crowns. I will be looking for more books by this talented author. Happy reading!


Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review: How to Impress a Marquess by Susanna Ives

How to Impress a Marquess by Susanna Ives



Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, November 1, 2016

Time and setting:  1879, England

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Length:  384 pages

Heat Level: 2 Flames

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

TAKE ONE MARQUESS: Proper, put-upon, dependable, but concealing a sensitive artist's soul.

ADD ONE BOHEMIAN LADY: Creative, boisterous, unruly, but secretly yearning for a steadfast love, home, and family.

STIR in a sensational serialized story that has society ravenous for each installment.

COMBINE with ambitious guests at an ill-fated house party hosted by a treacherous dowager possessing a poison tongue.

SHAKE until a stuffy marquess and rebellious lady make a shocking discovery: the contents of their hearts are just alike.

Take a sip. You'll laugh, you'll swoon, you'll never want this moving Victorian love story to end.

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the first book that I recall reading by Susanna Ives. I received an invitation from the publisher via Net-Galley to read it in exchange for an honest review. Book description appealed to me, so I decided to accept, even though Victorian romances are not my first choice. Fortunately, I enjoyed that aspect of the story.

How to Impress a Marquess has a great ending. I struggled with the first half or more of the book, but I kept reading because I truly liked George, Marquess of Marylewick. Part of the problem was the length of the paragraphs and the same with some of the sentences. This slowed the pacing down and added extra words which made this book longer than it needed to be in my humble estimation.

George is a likable hero. He’s dedicated to his family and takes his responsibilities very seriously. It’s nice to have a hero that is not a rake. This man had the patience of a saint to put up with the antics of Lilith. Not really sure why he fell in love with her.

I found Lilith’s character a trial from the start. She behaved like a bratty teenager for most of the book. She was way too flighty and contrary for my tastes. Ultimately, she does redeem herself toward the end of the story. Her determination to bring out the creative side of George helped turn the tide a bit.


If you like a story with some humor and are looking for one with a intriguing hero, then you may enjoy How to Impress a Marquess. While this book is the third in the Wicked Little Secrets series, it can be read as a standalone. Happy reading!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cover Reveal: Screwing Around by Alexis Wilder

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00030]



Cover Reveal: Screwing Around by Alexis Wilder

Series: Tinseltown Temptress, Book Two

Release Date: November 23rd, 2016

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00030]
The world’s first celebrity sex reporter finds navigating the private lives of Hollywood’s elite more treacherous than titillating. Cassie rallies her seductive forces in time to persuade her editor, Mr. Wilcox to rehire her at TFP, but her troubles are far from over. How lucky can one girl get? Run-ins with her ex, rando drummers, (Scandinavian film star and general loon) MH, and even a gun wielding psycho threaten to derail Cassie’s hunt for professional grade, celebrity level, sexual fulfillment. Her articles as the Tinseltown Temptress have become more popular than ever costing her friends, privacy, and peace of mind. And while her notoriety affords her a certain measure of job security it also makes keeping her secret involvement in the whole scandalous business harder than ever. Between locating her thieving mother and defending her home from interlopers, both foreign and domestic, Cassie is in over her head. Add in the constant pressures of finding suitable film stars to screw and bestie Matt breathing down her neck for his investment capital, and it’s plain why the woman feels so swamped. Clinging to the loose threads of all the lies, Cassie tries to stay afloat while blazing a torpid trail through the ranks of Hollywood’s finest in search of her happy ending.

Buy on Amazon

Also Available: Screw Up Book One

su5x8frontA desperate writer must learn to embrace her inner bombshell when she lands a covert job as the world's first celebrity sex reporter. Cassie has hit hard times. She can't find a job, her mother is prison bound, and her love life jumped a plane and fled to another continent. What’s an ardent fangirl to do? When a handsome new acquaintance offers her a lucrative position writing for his online celebustalk publication, TenFootPole, Cassie jumps at the chance to make some real money doing what she loves. The only catch is the subject matter. She’s assigned the gossip rag’s new beat, the sex desk, and must score with big names and tell all. In graphic detail. Publishing under the Tinseltown Temptress pseudonym is supposed to shield her, but she soon realizes that no amount of anonymity would be enough to protect her from the repercussions of her notorious stories. As her personal life circles the drain, Cassie grasps for handholds in all the wrong laps and struggles to keep her head above the shark infested water. When her investment in a friend’s all male revue is put in jeopardy, she must rally her seductive forces or sink forever under the waves.

Buy on Amazon

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00030]

Screwing Around Excerpt:

James T. Wilcox, Cassie’s boss at TFP.mag, just roused her out of bed early in the afternoon to discuss his plans for her upcoming article. She’s busy making excuses.
***
“An appreciative, philandering movie star is hard to find?” “You should have gone after SEK like I suggested,” Wilcox said. “I love his characters way too much to ruin it with fangirl sex. Plus, he might have turned me down too.” “He would have taken the bait, guaranteed.” “Am I, personally, the bait? Or just my genitalia?” “Don’t read too much into fishing metaphors. It’s a ridiculous hobby to begin with.” “Wait, does he fish or something?” “Who?” “SEK.” “I don’t fucking know. Look,” he took a silver pen out of his pocket and uncapped it. His other hand slowly breached the distance between them and touched her shoulder. He slid his fingers down, lightly brushing the side of Cassie’s breast where it pressed against the inside of her arm. His caress continued down, and now she held her breath. He stopped at Cassie’s wrist, encircling it and drawing her hand up toward him over the counter. She thought he was about to kiss her palm. Instead, he started writing on it, “here’s his phone number. Call him and set up a date.” She let out my breath explosively and jerked her hand away so the last number, an 8, had a long trailer on top. “What the hell do you mean, a date?” “I know him, all right. He wants to meet you.” “Meet me? And go on a date? Let me guess, it was his suggestion that I write an article about him. Which means sex.” “If things go well.” “So now you’re pimping me out to your friends?” “Hardly.” He stood and gulped down the last of his coffee before starting around the island toward her. She backed away, terrified that his nearness would break some barrier she had created and she’d be powerless to resist his attentions. He stopped his advance and shook his head, giving her a knowing, disappointed look before starting for the door. “Fine. Look Sid, do you need a place to crash? You could always use the little townhouse downtown. You remember it right?” The little townhouse that they’d most recently copulated in. “Yes, I remember it.” He just watched her face for a few beats, licked his lower lip. “I’m hardly ever there and it mostly just stores all my stuff that doesn’t ‘go’ with the house. Which is all of my stuff.” “No, thanks. I’ve got it covered.” “I’ll text you the lock code just in case your plans fall through. It sits empty in between vicious bouts of legal separation. Someone should use it.” He stood near the door with his hands in his pockets. “And you should go after SEK. You deserve a nice night out for a change.” “I don’t know. I really love his films.” “That’s why I’m positive he’ll be a better story than RG.” “Take it from a person who occasionally has feelings and emotions, I really like the RG story as is, despite the rejection. I think it’s my favorite so far.” “That two-bit hack was your favorite lay of this whole deal?” “Of course not, we didn’t even consummate, as you’ve so carefully pointed out over and over. He’s been my favorite article of the series and the most satisfactory individual case study on the subject matter at hand.” As they spoke, something invisible seemed to draw them closer and closer. “Which is what if not sex?” “Oh it’s sex, but not how you mean it.” “Fine. Redefine sex. Your satisfaction means the world to me.” He swung her door open and took a few steps away from her. He turned and stood in her doorway looking like a Wall Street Journal centerfold. It took every bit of self-control Cassie possessed not to pull him back in and peel him out of his suit. Instead, she gripped her robe even more forcefully closed and counted backwards in her head. She felt desperate to get the wolf out and the door safely re-locked. “I have a deal for you.” “Are we about to modify my contract, again?” “I’ll publish the RG piece as written, has been, prick, lead singer finale and all. If you’ll try SEK out. When I get your article on him, I’ll pay you out for both at once.” “Should I bother to counter offer?” “Not unless you’re going to invite me back inside.” “Fine. I’ll text him.” “Call him.” “Thanks. I forgot for a second that you’re both so old. I’ll call him.” “Thanks. And fix your hair.” Her hand shot up onto her hair knots while bolting the door, Wilcox safely on the other side, and she inwardly cursed herself for forgetting she still had them in. It was then she remembered she’d wanted to change the end of the article to better obscure the identity of a certain lead singer. Wilcox would demand even more concessions from her for the favor so she decided to forget it and let it lie. Cassie thought of all the strategies she’d cooked up to avoid screwing around with her boss and wondered again why she even bothered. His personality (imagine, waking someone up and then criticizing the state of their hair!) should have been more than enough. Needing another start to her day, Cassie turned on the coffee pot, covered her knots up with a pink shower cap and got into a steamy shower to shave. Remoisturized, she took out her hair and got her part in, leaving the rest loose and bouncy. She wrapped herself up in a seen-better-days beach towel and detoured into the kitchen for a mug to sip on while she got dressed. Cassie splashed in her cream and sipped it once before turning to head back to her bedroom. “Any left for me?” She jumped and spilled some coffee on the hardwood but didn’t scream. She would know that voice anywhere. She spun to see MH sitting relaxed on her couch, all huge, golden and beautiful in jeans and a tee. He was in her apartment. Shit, Lenny’s apartment. She took a deep breath and got a hold of herself. “Of course.” She held onto her towel carefully while reaching up to the second shelf to get him the Darth Vader mug. “Cream?” “However you take it will be fine.” His voice was even, calm. He didn’t sound like a man guilty of breaking and entering. Maybe it was the Nordic accent he let slip into his words. He got up and stepped into the middle of the living room area. A bit closer to her. “I really like your place.” “Thanks. How’d you get in?” She gestured at him with the mug before setting it on the edge of the island. “I climbed up a few patios. Your window was unlocked.” He stood there in her living room, unmoving, but at her unflinching, waiting posture he hung his head. He snorted some air out and admitted, “I followed that ass clown here and waited for him to leave.” The window in question was fifty plus feet off the ground, and inaccessible without a fireman’s ladder as far as she had thought, but she decided not to push the point. “Why?” “Not sure I even know except I had to see you. See if you were really you, like the you I remembered.” MH squinted and screwed up his face, as if to see her better and she wondered if he was a little drunk. “I thought you never wanted to see me again.” “Never, ever. But I changed my mind. You changed my mind.” He walked forward finally to claim his coffee and she retreated a few more steps to give them both some space. “Don’t put this on me. How did you know Mr. Wilcox was coming here?” She absolutely could not wrap her head around the notion of him on a stakeout. “A little birdie told me. Don’t ask any more questions, does it matter?” “I guess not if you’re not going to tell me. How about you enjoy your warm beverage while I throw some clothes on. Then you can tell me what you want.” She turned away and took two steps toward the hall before his front crashed into her back and his ridiculously long arms wrapped her up from behind. “You know what I want as much as I do.” He said it like it hurt him and Cassie’s breath caught in her throat. “Sorry.” His arms loosened until he held her so lightly her towel unbound and began to slip. “Until I saw him leaving here, I just wanted to talk to you. Show you what you’ve done to me, tell you some of the consequences of what happened between us. Knowing he’d been up here with you, it drove me mad and that’s just stupid.” His arms let her go then but his body stayed pressed against her, and Cassie wasn’t sure what to make of his declarations. MH seemed a bit unhinged, and though she didn’t feel the slightest bit afraid she did wonder if she wasn’t erring on the side of lust here. She would have gladly murdered someone to be this close to him again and she found that no matter what the risk, she just didn’t want to fight her physical response to the man. She slowly turned to face him, their bodies millimeters apart. He continued, “Now I feel foolish for hating you and I don’t give one shit about consequences. Are you sleeping with that odious man?” “He’s my boss. I wouldn’t sleep with my boss.” This came out as a breathy whisper. “But you have slept with him in the past?” “And you. But if it made a crucial difference I doubt you would have climbed up my neighbors’ patios and climbed through my window to surprise me fresh out of the shower.” His faced changed while she spoke and when she finished MH’s hand inched forward and grabbed the edge of her towel. She relaxed her grip and let him pull it off of her. His eyelids sank fractionally and his nose flared at her exposed flesh. Cassie leaned away slightly, pushing her shoulders back for her best breast display and she watched as his will to resist her snapped. His hands came around the back of her neck to pull their faces together and his lips sank into hers with a tender warmth she hadn’t expected. He kissed her slowly and deeply like a man without cares or reservations.
***
This is an excerpt from chapter three of Screwing Around, by Alexis Wilder, available November 23, 2016.
sat2

Author Bio:

Alexis Wilder loves living near a lake with her patient husband, their mermaid children, and a deranged dog.
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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Promo Blitz: Swift Move by Marissa Dobson

Swift Move by Marissa Dobson

Series: Crimson Hollow, Book Four

The Crimson Hollow Series is on Kindle Unlimited for a limited time.

Unable to put the past behind her, Swift is overcome by terror and a thirst for revenge. Believing she has nothing to offer the tribe, she leaves behind the only home she’s ever known, but in a world filled with humans, this only makes matters worse. Brett Oaks has just joined the Crimson Hollow Tribe, taking a position in the guard. Things turn out much as he anticipated until he is sent to bring back one of the tribe members and comes face to face with his mate. She reeks of fear, but he also senses something else. She’s tired of living like she is but will she trust him enough to let him help her? There is more to life than what she has experienced. He’s ready to show her, if she’ll only open up her heart to him.

$0.99 on Amazon or Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt:

“You’re in danger out here.” Brett leaned against the dresser, his arms crossed over his chest as he was careful not to knock over the television that sat on the surface. “The longer you stay out here, away from the tribe, the more danger you’re in. None of the other members are close enough to be able to aid you in an emergency.”
“You can’t stay locked in your room all the time. Your beast wants to be let out so it can roam. It won’t be long before someone figures out you’re a shifter. You’ll be in danger. You need to come home,” Noah added.
The men shared a look before Brett stepped away from the dresser and came to squat before her. “Jase sent me with Noah for a reason.”
“You mean because you’re my mate?” Saying it aloud made her chest tighten. Again, she reminded herself she couldn’t deal with a mate and everything that union meant when she found herself in this predicament. “Jase knows who will mate with whom as long as he’s met both of them and he loves to throw them together in an unexpected situation. Like he did with Sin and Garret.”
“I didn’t understand why Sin and Garret stopped by my place right before we left. It seemed out of place for them to show up to tell me how they’d met but when you opened the door, the pieces fell into place. Jase knew we’re to be mates and their story was to show me that if we allowed this to happen naturally, things would work out.”
“You don’t want me. Trust me, I’ve been through some awful shit and I’m messed up. That’s why I can’t go back to Crimson Hollow.” She dragged her hand through her hair, tugging the ruby red strands away from her face. “I think both of you should leave now.”
“Not a chance.” Noah shook his head. “You two have some things to discuss. I’m going to make a run for some food. Anything special you want, Swift?”
“You’re leaving?” She stared up at him, her eyes wide, and her heart beating a little too fast with fear.

 About the Author:

Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Marissa Dobson now resides about an hour from Washington, D.C. She’s a lady who likes to keep busy, and is always busy doing something. With two different college degrees, she believes you are never done learning.
Being the first daughter to an avid reader, this gave her the advantage of learning to read at a young age. Since learning to read she has always had her nose in a book. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she started writing down the stories she came up with.
Marissa is blessed with a wonderful supportive husband, Thomas. He’s her other half and allows her to stay home and pursue her writing. He puts up with all her quirks and listens to her brainstorm in the middle of the night.
Her writing buddy Pup Cameron, a cocker spaniel, is always around to listen to her bounce ideas off him. He might not be able to answer, but they’re helpful in their own ways.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Release Day: When It Holds You by Nicki Elson

whenitholdsyoubanner


Virtual. That’s where she was supposed to stay—only in my online gaming life. I never intended to meet up with her in person. And I certainly hadn’t counted on her being who she is.
Cliff Walsh has dozens of hot, smart, and willing paramours in his video games. Who needs to look further? The twenty-eight year old attorney is done getting his heart smashed by real-life women who fit his perfect-mate checklist. From now on, he vows to keep his romances digital-only…until a certain redheaded gamer twists all his preconceptions and touches a place in his heart he didn’t know existed.
I always thought I knew what love would look like, but sometimes you don’t recognize it until the moment when it holds you. ~Cliff

Buy on Amazon or Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited

whenitholdsyou-sale
Buy Now for only $0.99 or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Excerpt:

Author note: Loinerd is Cliff’s video game character.
We’ll Be Characters
Loinerd and PlanetClaire flew through the moonlit forest until they could no longer hear the yapping of the wolf-like creatures that had given them chase. The creatures had sprung out of nowhere and landed a few choice blows before Loinerd and Claire had outsmarted them and sped out of their reach. They now found themselves in a dark, secluded corner of the woods.
“Over there,” Claire said, gesturing toward the arched form of a fallen tree. The thick, bent trunk had grown over with vines and formed a sort of shelter. They were able to stand underneath the high point where the tree had cracked. “Turn around,” she ordered.
Loinerd obeyed. Silvery moonlight illuminated his nearly bare back. His vest and shirt hung in tatters, revealing deep claw marks.
“We better hope those aren’t poisoned,” Claire said, reaching into her boot and pulling out a vial. She dabbed the contents onto her fingertips and ran her slender fingers along each of the cuts.
Loinerd flinched. “Let me look at your injuries.”
“Let me finish.”
After she’d applied ointment to the last scratch, Loinerd turned and scanned her figure. The black unitard hugged every lean curve, but large gashes caused the fabric to gape open, exposing raw, pink flesh.
“Give me the vial.” Cliff hoped she hadn’t heard the huskiness in his voice that betrayed his sudden arousal.
Claire handed him the medicine and lifted her hands away from her sides. Cliff held his breath while he reached a virtual hand forward to push up the fabric just beneath her left breast. He stretched the hole so he could assess the extent of the damage. Reaching his other hand forward, he applied the ointment with gentle, circular strokes. During the charged silence between them, Cliff’s mind traveled to all sorts of naughty places.
“Tell the truth,” Claire said, breaking into his thoughts. “Have I ever been your masturbation muse?”
“What?” Cliff was knocked off guard by her bluntness, but his avatar kept stroking.
“Lately, Loinerd’s been the go-to guy in my spank bank.”
Cliff choked on his laugh. When he heard Claire giggle, he moved his character’s ministrations to less temptingly placed wounds. Though who was he kidding—every inch of this woman’s animated body was tantalizing.
“Sorry. I didn’t realize you were so shy. Want me to change the subject?” she asked.
“No. I mean, I…uhm…”
PlanetClaire shot a hand out to hold one side of Loinerd’s face and brought her mouth to his. Cliff clicked his controls to return the kiss and take her in his character’s arms. As he watched the avatars make out, he felt slightly stunned. His in-game sex had only ever been with non-player characters. He’d never before connected with another live human in virtual coitus.
With the two characters intimately engaged, the scene played out in autopilot. Cliff and Claire only had to make quick selections on how to proceed. At any time, either one of them could pull out from the embrace, but neither of them did. PlanetClaire moved deeper into the makeshift shelter. Tree limbs and heavy vines angled downward, providing privacy, though she had to kneel to fit under the natural ceiling. She shrugged out of her low-cut top, revealing a pert pair of breasts with dark brown nubs at their centers. Cliff longed to bite them.
Loinerd lowered to his knees and leaned in, his head swiveling as he played out Cliff’s desires. From the screen, PlanetClaire moaned. Through his headphones, Cliff heard her real-life breathing become heavier. He matched his breaths to her rhythm.
Now that they were engaged in full-on intimacy, the screen showed a montage of the characters’ nude forms from various angles, keeping the video adult-rated but not outright pornographic. Claire’s form was all pinks and peaches and browns. The only black remaining on her was a winged dragon tattoo stretching from shoulder blade to shoulder blade. Loinerd licked down the dragon’s tail trailing along her spine.
While Loinerd and PlanetClaire pumped and thrust and writhed against each other, Claire whispered to Cliff in breathy huffs, “Meet me in San Diego. At the convention. Just for one night.”
Cliff panted back, “What about keeping real life separate from gaming?” As much as the idea appealed to him, he didn’t want to make any stupid agreements in the passion of the moment.
“It won’t be real life…cosplay…with masks. We’ll be characters.”
“Oh, God, Claire,” he groaned, no longer trying to hide what he was doing to himself while he watched their characters copulate. “Let’s do it.”

About the Author:

nichelson-10-webNicki Elson writes spicy fiction with a sweet and dreamy center. She does other stuff, too...like obsess over Survivor and The Bachelor (and she's not ashamed to admit it).
Writing fiction wasn't something Nicki set out to do; it just sort of happened when she realized writing reports was by far her favorite part of her investment consulting position. She traded stock allocation and diversification for story arcs and dialogue and now weaves creative writing into her life with her family in the Chicago suburbs.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

The Rogue's Wager (Sinful Brides, Book 1)
by Christi Caldwell



Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, October 25, 2016

Time and setting:  1821, England

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Length:  336 pages

Rating: 4.25 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

London, 1821

Lord Robert Dennington, the Marquess of Westfield, has long reveled in the freedom afforded him as the ducal heir. He knows he must someday do right by the Somerset line, but he’s in no hurry to give up his carefree existence.

Helena Banbury is a bookkeeper in a gentleman’s gambling club, adept at analyzing numbers and accounts but helpless for lack of influence. She’s never belonged among the nobility on the gaming hell floors, but neither does she feel completely herself among the men who run the Hell and Sin Club, despite the fact that they are family. The once-illiterate girl from the streets wants more than the gilded walls her protective cage can offer.

When Robert mistakenly enters her chambers one night, Helena is forced out of her predictable life and thrust into the glittering world of Society. Will the charms of the marquess prove more perilous than any danger she ever knew on the streets?

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Vikki’s Musings

I discovered Christi Caldwell’s books last year, so when I received an invitation from the publisher to read her newest one in exchange for an honest review, I eagerly accepted. I know I can count on a great emotionally-charged regency romance, and The Rogue's Wager did not disappoint.

Bastard daughter of a duke, Helena Banbury, now lives a quiet existence keeping the books for her brother’s gaming hell…until one night a lord stumbles into her bedchamber. That event changes her life beyond anything she ever expects when her father takes her into his home and thrusts her into a London season.

Lord Robert Dennington takes advantage of his status to a ducal title, living a carefree life without a care in the world until his father tells him he has to marry an heiress to save the family fortune.

When Helena and Robert’s worlds collide, can they overcome their different backgrounds or will it drive them apart?

The Rogue Wager is fast-paced and has an intriguing plot. It’s a great start to a new series, and I can’t wait to read her brother’s story. It should be quite interesting. The characters have good depth, and I fell in love with them from the start.

Helena started out as a pampered child until her fifth year, then through machinations of someone–can’t say who, don’t want to have a spoiler–she ended up on the streets until her brother is old enough to protect her. Needless to say, she is wary of men. I loved how she opens up to Robert. I really rooted for them to have their happy ending.

Robert has every reason in the world to mistrust women since his heart was broken at the tender age of seventeen. His grandfather’s deplorable actions destroyed his innocence completely. I could feel his emotional pain over that event and his struggle to come to terms, regarding his growing feelings for Helena.

If you enjoy Regency romance with great descriptive writing and a moving love story, then you will love The Rogue Wager as much as I did. I highly recommend Christi Caldwell’s novels, and this one was definitely a pleasure to read. Happy reading!




Cover Reveal: Saint's Row by Elizabeth Blair

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Saint's Row by Elizabeth Blair
Rich, powerful, and deadly, the Saints serve as guardians for New Orleans, keeping the precarious balance between light and dark. Returning to the city after a self-imposed exile, Cael Saint throws himself into his work to try and drown out the tormented visions in his past. Light magic, dark magic, desperate humans with broken souls...he believed he’d seen it all. Then he met her.
Fiery and untamed, Becca Riley seemed the perfect one night stand to match Cael’s relentless nature. Striding into the local bar, she was confident, passionate, and sexy as hell. But what he took for drunken lust soon spirals into emotional chaos when he realizes she has secrets of her own...secrets that could destroy everything he has sworn to protect.
In a city where magic and humanity intertwine, neither a saint nor a sinner is safe.
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Excerpt:

“Becca, you catch one Saint, you catch us all. Just remember that, okay?”
“What the hell does that even mean?”
He stepped closer, his hand light on my arm. “It means, we don’t share. So don’t make a drunken mistake that ruins your chance to get the Saint you really want.”
“Did you just call me a whore, Ethan?” I laughed. “The more I get to know you-”
“No, Becca. I know you’re hurting. I know you are hiding things from Sarah, and I know it wasn’t just drunk hormones flooding through you when you were in Cael’s arms last night. So just don’t make a mistake you’ll regret.”
“Ever my big brother,” I grumbled. “Thank you for the concern. Now go take care of my sister before she makes a mistake that you’ll regret.”
His eyes flashed to the bar where Sarah was leaning hard on the shoulder of some stranger, her giggling voice echoing. “Damned Riley women will be the death of all of us,” he chuckled then kissed my cheek before setting off to retrieve her.
I turned, slipping a fluted glass off the tray of a passing waiter. Just as I lifted the glass, my eyes found Cael. He was across the room, deep in feigned conversation, and he pursed his lips at me. I sighed and traded the champagne for a bottle of water. I tipped it his direction, and he chuckled. Pride or arrogance...I wasn’t sure what emotion he was emanating, but it caused every tuxedo-clad Saint to turn my direction. Territorial. He was laying claim. A shiver of desire mixed with indignation ran up my spine and I exhaled. It was going to be a long fucking night.
I managed to stay around long enough to seem presentable and not undermine Sarah’s efforts. She was half toasted, but Ethan’s arm was tight around her waist, keeping her in check. He was doting on her, and I had to admit, it was cute. In a nauseating kind of way. He’d managed to slow her alcohol intake and get some food in her before she could end up like the rest of the revelers. Drunk on free liquor and high on whatever being offered in the private back rooms, the guests would never notice my escape but, no matter how long I waited, there was always a sober Saint in my periphery. When an old grandfather clock chimed one a.m., my last bit of patience evaporated and I made a break for the seclusion of the upper decks. Saint bodyguards be damned.
“You’ve stayed sober.”
I didn’t bother to turn but waved my water bottle Cael’s direction. “Sadly, yes.”
He slipped to the railing and traded my bottle for a champagne flute. “Your anxiety is blaring through our brains like bad zydeco music so, please, have a drink before we all go insane.”
I laughed but swallowed the drink. He poured me another, loosening his tie as he watched me finish it as well. “You know this area isn’t safe. It’s off limits until the refurbishment is complete. There are signs everywhere. Chains even.”
“I’ve always found off limits to be a vague term worth investigating.”
“You would.” He refilled my glass once more before putting the bottle aside and leaning against the railing beside me. “You aren’t much for socializing, hm?”
“Not this week. Do I need to worry about Ethan’s newfound fascination with my sister?”
“I don’t think it’s newfound. Her name was on his lips the moment I returned to the city. Do you think you need to worry?”
“Despite the things I don’t know, there are several I do. You aren’t actually related, you all have an uncanny knack for intervening in the worst trouble in the city, and I have watched at least one of you Saint boys crush a man’s larynx with a single hand. So, I repeat, do I need to worry for my sister’s safety?
“I take offense to the term boys, but no, you do not.”
Taking my arm, he slipped it to balance on the railing, his fingers tracing the veins up and down my forearm. I wanted to remain combative, but the move was too silky, too meditative, and I could only manage a soft plea. “Make me believe you.”
“We were all chosen for this job for different reasons, but the one thing in common was that we were all pretty useless human beings. We were guilty of being drug dealers, kiddie porn fans, abusers, sexual deviants or a million other lesser crimes. We were the parts of society people wish they could forget. Ethan is the exception. Ethan was in the seminary, on his way to becoming a priest. Illogically, he fell in love. Then she was viciously attacked on the night he intended to propose. His devastation was all consuming and, had the Saints not taken him when they did, he would have destroyed himself and anyone within a ten block radius. For love, Becca. So, no, there is no one on the planet less likely ever to hurt your sister.”
I stretched over, kissing tense muscle along his neck and staying there seconds longer than required so that I could inhale his scent...sunshine in the dead of night. “Thank you.”
“Were you afraid your sister is getting involved with a murderer?”
“I know she’s getting involved with a murderer. It’s more the drug dealer, kiddie porn, self-gratification thing that gives me pause.”
About the Author:
Elizabeth Blair writes dark, contemporary fiction with a modern twist to create novels where everyone wants to root for the bad guy. In addition to writing, she works as a rural librarian and holds positions in several state and national library associations. On a rare free weekend, she can be found riding the jeep trails near her home in the national forests or playing World of Warcraft with her family. You can keep up with her reading and writing at www.elizabethblairbooks.com
Instagram: @elizabethblairbooks

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Unexpected by KG Fletcher: Cover Reveal

unexpected-cover-reveal
Unexpected by KG Fletcher
Release Date: December 12, 2016
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
img_2319Recently jilted Josephine Davis wasn’t looking for love…. A chance encounter along the sweltering highway with Atlanta’s own millionaire bachelor changed all that. Devastatingly handsome and full of unexpected talents, William Prescott Harrington, III shows beautiful Josie a life that she could have only dreamed of; his excessive wealth and generosity eventually threatening her very existence. Two star-crossed lovers from polar opposite sides of Atlanta navigate their way through a maze of greed and jealousy desperate for only one thing – each other.
Her heart made a wish. Will her dream become reality or will the nightmare destroy them all?

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Excerpt:

He left the flat tire on the pavement and grabbed the spare out of the back, bouncing it to the empty wheel well. He got it on in no time and she held the rim full of nuts for him as he carefully tightened each one back on the tire, flexing his upper body magnificently.
“That didn’t take long now, did it?” He grinned at her again, pushing back the wave on his forehead smearing more black residue on his handsome face. He slowly cranked the jack back down to where the tire was sitting perfectly on the pavement.
“Gosh, that’s a lot of work. I appreciate you coming back and doing this for me. I probably would have had to call Triple-A.” She felt like a wet mop standing on the hot asphalt, sweating profusely watching him hoist the flat tire into the back of the van and shutting the hatch.
“It’s the least I could do,” he said, grabbing his t-shirt off the top of the car. He used his shirt to wipe the sweat from his face, neck, chest, and dirty hands. The shirt was ruined.
“Oh, wow. You just ruined your shirt. Do you have to be anywhere?” she asked with concern. Her eyes were about to pop out of her head watching him.
He ran his hands through his damp hair again, a noticeable habit she was starting to enjoy.
“Nah… I was just heading home by way of Lenox Mall. I can stop by there another day.” He shook his head with disbelief and laughed. “It sure is freakin’ hot out here!” He grinned, rubbing the soiled t-shirt on the back of his neck. “I want to pay you for a new tire, okay?”
She shook her head even though she wasn’t sure how she’d pay for a new one. “No, that’s all right. Thanks though.”
“Okay, but you look hot. Would you like to go for a swim or something?”
Josie held her breath. Did he just ask her to go for a swim? She suddenly felt very dizzy and put her hand on the van to steady herself.

About the Author:

KG Fletcher is the author of the romantic suspense novel, Unexpected released in December, 2016. She is an active member of RWA and the Georgia Romance Writers Association. She was a singer/songwriter in Nashville, TN and a recipient of the “Airplay International Award” for “Best New Artist” showcasing original songs at The Bluebird Café. She earned her BFA in theater at Valdosta State College and has traveled the world professionally as a singer/actress. She currently gets to play rock star as a backup singer in the National Tour, “Remember When Rock Was Young – a Tribute to Elton John.” (www.almosteltonjohn.com)
KG lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Ladd and their three gorgeous sons. She is a hopeless romantic continuing her work on her original cabaret act called, “Love” to help promote her romance novels.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Viscount's Salvation by Vikki Vaught

The Viscount’s Salvation
(Honorable Rogue series, Book 3)
by Vikki Vaught

Coming soon, exclusively available on Amazon and will be free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers! 




Publisher & Release: Enticing Pleasures Romance, November 1, 2016

Time and setting:  1803, England

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Length:  303 pages

Heat Level: 3 Flames

Book Description: 

Vikki Vaught’s Honorable Rogue series started with the award-winning novel, Lady Overton’s Perilous Journey. Book 3, The Viscount’s Salvation, brings you her brother’s love story. A historical romance of high suspense and sensuality. Buy this book now to find out how he survived his ordeal in war-torn France!

Captain Cortland Wallingford returns a broken man. Although he’s reunited with his sister, horrific nightmares plague him. While attending Lady Billingsley’s ball, Cortland meets Lady Mary, the Earl of Melton’s daughter. Her calm demeanor brings him a peace that has evaded him since his imprisonment.

Lady Mary learns of her father’s diabolical plan, one that threatens her life. She’s desperate to find a way out of marriage to a notorious marquess older than her father.
After learning of Mary’s danger, Cortland’s determined to save her regardless the cost and offers her an escape from the earl’s evil intent.

Can his gentle Mary chase away his nightmares, or will the person who wants him dead achieve their goal before she has a chance?

 Excerpt:

Clichy, France
Early October 1803

Hiding in the bushes lining the edge of the footpath, a young lad watched the horror unfolding before his eyes. A huge oak tree stood in the middle of an open field with a British soldier tied to it. He whispered to his sister, “Do not look Aimee. She buried her thin, scared, little face against his chest and whimpered. “Non, ma petite. Do not make a sound.”
The youth watched as the French soldiers taunted the man as one of their comrades brought a whip slashing down upon the poor man. Blood poured from the deep lacerations on the soldier’s back and shoulders. The officer in charge moved around to stand nose to nose with his prisoner. “You will tell us what you know, mon ami. We know you are l'infâme espion, Le Raven.”
“I know nothing!” And the soldier spat in the leader’s face. For his insolence, he received a punishing blow across his face, so hard, his head jerked back. Blood immediately poured from his nose and mouth.
Gerrard watched as another man administered another dozen lashes on the poor man’s mutilated back. Surely the stranger could not withstand much more. The soldiers would surely kill him if this continued. He had to admire this brave man as he continued to defy his captors.
The officer in charge folded his arms across his chest and huffed, “We shall give him more time to contemplate. String him up, but not tight enough to kill him, just tight enough to slowly squeeze his neck. We will leave him hanging from the tree while we meet with the rest of our comrades. I’m sure le général will want to question him further.”
He motioned to his men. They mounted their horses and rode toward the abandoned château close by, leaving their prisoner hanging so his feet barely touched the ground. The British soldier’s head fell forward, and he slumped as he lost consciousness.
Gerrard had to work fast if he was going to help the stranger. Once the soldiers were out of sight, he ran to the man with his sister following on his heels.
“Est-il mort?” Aimee asked while glancing over her shoulder in the direction the men had ridden, then looking back at him, alarm in her blue eyes.
Gerrard met her gaze and shrugged his shoulders. “I shall check, ma petite.” He placed his fingers against the man’s neck, rubbed raw from the rope tied around his throat. An erratic pulse beat, but at least it was a pulse. “Stay back, Aimee. I will cut him down.”
Gerrard pulled his blade from the waistband of his breeches and slipped the knife under the rope wrapped around the poor man’s throat, slicing it in two. Using every bit of strength he possessed in his wiry twelve-year-old body, he caught the man around the chest and eased him to the rain-soaked ground. He knelt beside him and tried to revive the stranger, but to no avail.
He turned to his sister. “We must pull him to our cave before the soldiers return. Grab his feet, and I will wrap my arms around his chest.”
Aimee nodded and did her brother’s bidding. After immense effort from both children, they managed to get the man behind the bushes, then rolled him down the hill and dragged him into their hideout. By the time they had him in the cave, they were both sweating, even though it was a chilly, wet night. Catching his breath, Gerrard left Aimee gathering their meager blankets to wrap around the man, while he arranged the shrubs they used to conceal their hiding place. Once he was satisfied the cave could not be seen, he joined Aimee.
“Mon frère, what shall we do?” Aimee whispered.