Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Blitz: Between You and Me by Lynn Turner plus Giveaway


Between You and Me
Lynn Turner
(The Wild Rose Press)
Publication date: September 20th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Love at first sight strikes Seattle Scientist Finnegan Kane at the worst possible moment, paralyzing him as he’s pitching his cutting-edge idea to powerful New York venture capitalist Emanuela Monroe…
Finn survived the crash that killed his parents when he was sixteen. Twenty years later, his smart devices are about to redefine what it means to be disabled.
Emanuela makes dreams come true for a living, but still longs to fulfill her own. Despite Finn’s stunning secret, she thinks his idea might be worth the risk…and he’s determined to show her that he is, too.
DELETED SCENE:
Christmas Eve
Finn removed the large gift box he’d hidden in Emanuela’s closet and set it on the bed in front of her. He sat at its edge, his obvious anticipation of her opening it almost as great as hers. “Happy Christmas Eve, Emmi.”
She smiled and, at his nod, lifted the lid. “Whoa.”
She reached in, carefully lifting the model house from the box. It was alabaster in color, and the detailing was incredible. She recognized the floor-to-ceiling windows at the south end and gasped, turning it to admire the familiar wrap-around deck. There were grooves indicating the planks of wood the deck was made from, and exterior lighting just like the ones on the house Finn rented in Penn Cove. She fingered the tiny fibers that made up the rigid parts of the house.
Her eyes narrowed. “You printed this?”
He nodded again. She giggled at his body language. He was as still as a log, his ears perky, eyes bright–If he’d had a tail, it would have wagged.
“Finn?”
“Take the roof off. Have a look inside.”
She lifted the ends of the roof and it came completely off. Inside was a perfect replica of the interior, each room complete with removable furnishings and detail equally as stunning as the outside—like the natural granite of the free-standing fireplace in the living space and the logged walls of the bedrooms. Perfect—except there seemed to be extra space.
She frowned. “I don’t remember that being there.”
He grinned, crinkles appearing at the corners of his eyes. “That’s because it isn’t there yet. Turn it again, but this time go slow.”
Her head jerked to the side, but she did as instructed, turning the model until the front of the house faced her again. There, just out front, was a tiny signpost that read “Sold.”
She yelped. “Oh my God! When? I thought he wasn’t selling?” Her voice grew higher and squeakier with each question.
He shrugged. “I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
“Finn!” She smacked him impatiently.
He laughed, lifting his shoulder against her assault. “My offer was more than fair—well above market value. I could tell he wanted to keep it, but after I told him it held sentimental value for me—and that he could buy a house almost anywhere with what I was offering—I convinced him to sell.”
She could have cried. She loved that house, but was resigned to living somewhere else, convincing herself that anywhere with Finn would be home. Maybe it was selfish, but she’d been heartbroken at the prospect of someone else living there, getting to watch the sunrise—their sunrise—every morning.
She pointed to the extra space again, her voice barely above a whisper. “And this?”
“A bigger office, a den, a pool—whatever you want, Emmi.”
She slid the model to the side, enough to clear the space between them, and beckoned him to her with her finger. “I’m so happy,” she whispered against his lips.
“That’s all I want.”


Author Bio:
Lynn Turner inherited her writing gene from her mother, who created fantastic tales about witches, invisible worlds and talking animals, and read them to her children at night. Lynn isn’t as great with the voices as her mother, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
She discovered romance far too young, when a mission to find a young adult fantasy title led her to historical romance. She spent hours skimming those sumptuous pages, drinking in the vivid descriptions of settings and clothes, feisty heroines and looming lords, and poetic language. (She may or may not have enjoyed the PG-13 bits too, tucking a new title beneath her pillow at night).
She enjoys character-driven narratives most, and anything that transports her someplace else. Passionate about food and travel, she features healthy doses of both in the stories she crafts. Above all, she is dedicated to writing inclusive stories that explore what it means to be imperfectly human.
When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling, dreaming of traveling, or watching old Samantha Brown travelogue videos and wishing she had her job. She and her husband share their home in California with their two extraordinary children, and hope to add a little furry one to the family very soon.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top 10 list by Lydia Albano author of Finding You plus Giveaway


 Top 10 Inspirations
by Lydia Albano

Okay, let me see.  Ten things might be really hard!

1. I know next to nothing about the Steampunk genre, but I’ve read a lot of Victorian literature and some combination of the two definitely inspired the setting for Finding You.  Lots of cobblestones and hook-and-eye boots and lace and steam engines.  In my head it felt like something out of a Charles Dickens novel colliding with a video game my brother used to play.

2. It feels really weird to say, but Isla herself was I guess inspired a lot by myself, at least by certain ways I act or think.  In my head she looks like Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (I do not) but her outlook on life, the strength she’s only slowly coming to grasp- those are a lot like me.  It was really cool to grow with her as I wrote.

3. There were a number of movies that either directly or indirectly influenced the pace or the subject matter of Finding You; one of those was definitely Sucker Punch.  I love the questions the movie leaves you with, but also the awesome story that it is of girls in a horrible situation rising up to fight for themselves.  It wasn’t until after I finished the first draft and rewatched it that I realized it had probably inspired me a lot.

4. There’s this quote I saw on pinterest that says, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice” (I later found it it’s attributed to Bob Marley) and I think that sums up Isla’s story really well.

5. Actually, Pinterest in general has just been a game-changer for my writing.  I have a handful of Finding You-related boards on there (they’re all public) and being able to visualize characters, settings, clothes, everything, has been the greatest asset to writing I could imagine.

6. Can David Anders just be his own entry here?  I needed him in a book ever since I saw Alias and then Alistair Swain walked into my head looking just like him.

7. I’d actually tried to write this fantasy set in a place where your station in life was shown by various brands on your arm, and while the story never went anywhere, I think the idea of branding someone to mark them as your property or what have you really stuck with me and obviously ended up playing a part in Finding You.

8. Something that I find extremely inspiring and have been really moved by while writing this is the work that real men and women do to fight human trafficking.  Before writing Finding You, I didn’t know a lot about the industry and the fight against it.  I’d seen Taken and I knew of some organizations involved, but as the story took shape, I got opportunities to talk to friends who volunteer at safe-houses, to read personal testimonies of women who have escaped, and to come to a better understanding of all that goes into that kind of fight, and that was extremely inspiring.

9. Something that inspired me, I guess, in a backwards kind of way, is the number of stories I read growing up where even the most capable-seeming heroine ultimately needed someone else to rescue her, and that didn’t always sit well with me; I love a good rescue, don’t get me wrong, but I want girls like me to read books that tell them they’re strong and brave and can risk their lives for their friends as well as any knight in shining armor can.  It was really important to me that as much as Tam is brave and protective, he’s not what Isla needs to save her.  She’s what she needs, and what the other girls with her need.

10. Lastly, something that inspired me as I wrote (typically, because I don’t outline my books, they take me along for the ride and that’s why I’m struggling to think of ten things that inspired me, when really they just all happened) was the cast of characters.  I really grew to love Isla, and to root for her.  I got my own crush on Tam, and on Des for different reasons; I could fill books with Marion and Phoebe and Valentina’s stories, and the other girls in the cell, the ones who don’t talk as much or whose lives you don’t hear about as much.  I loved that in my head they all felt equally real, no matter how much “screen time” they had.  And that kind of inspired me, in the sense that I had this whole cast of characters with lives of their own, and I was getting to discover pieces of them as I wrote.  In the end, I think I was writing the story more for all of their sakes than for my own.

Finding You
Lydia Albano

Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: September 19th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Taken from home and family, all they have is each other.
Isla is kidnapped from a train platform in broad daylight, and thrust into a nightmare when she is sold to a sadistic aristocrat. Locked in a dungeon with a dozen other girls, Isla’s only comfort is a locket and the memory of the boy she loves. But as days pass and more girls disappear, she realizes that help is not coming… If they’re going to survive, they’ll have to escape on their own.
Swoon Reads is proud to present Lydia Albano’s debut novel, a powerful story of a teen girl finding strength and hope in even the worst circumstances.


Author Bio:
Lydia Albano is a (self-proclaimed) Bunburyist living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she promotes Oxford commas, spends her money on musical theater, and demands the Myers-Briggs letters of everyone she meets. Her debut novel, Finding You, will be released in September, 2017, with SwoonReads/Macmillan.


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Monday, September 18, 2017

New Release: GAME ON is now available




GAME ON, the latest book in Westland University series, is now available. 
I had so much fun writing Olivia and Devon's story. The characters are dear to my heart. 
While GAME ON is the second book in the series, it's a standalone novel. 
I hope you enjoy. 

Here's a sneak peak:


Chapter One
Gamma house was filled with bodies sweating out the gallons of beer and vodka consumed over the last hour. The mood wasn’t jovial. In the last week, the baseball team had lost two of their players to a steroid scandal.
The stench filled my nose, making me want to simultaneously vomit and run. Neither of which I could do. I glanced at the red cup in my hand. The level of beer hadn’t changed since Paige shoved it at me before getting distracted by her boyfriend, Jayce. I was only at this stupid party because of a bet we made last semester. Talk about feeling totally out of place. My fingers tightened around the plastic, spilling warm beer over the rim. She’d brought me to the one frat on campus I hated being around.
Rumors were running rampant that one of the baseball players had been arrested, another rushed to the hospital. I didn’t pay much attention to rumors—or the baseball team, for that matter. And my mood soured more than usual after someone spilled red wine on my new cream shirt less than ten minutes after I’d entered the house. The wine spread like blood across my chest, highlighting my average bust-size even more.
“Wow, be still my heart. The great Olivia Dawson has blessed us with her presence.” Devon Miller glanced into my still-full beer and shook his head. “Seriously, Liv, you need to live a little.”
“Fuck off, Devon.” I shoved the cup toward him. Bet or no bet, I wasn’t staying in this dump any longer.
“Wait,” Devon called behind me during a break in the too loud music. He caught up to me when my hand hit the doorknob. “Just wait. I didn’t mean to piss you off.”
I dropped my head. Pissing me off was one of Devon’s specialties, one he’d been perfecting since freshman year. The last thing I wanted was to spend time with Devon Miller. Two and a half years of having almost every class together was more than enough. That, and the way we met. Despite our mutual indiscretion, I still shuddered at that memory.
“This year hasn’t started off great, and I need to blow off some steam. I seem to recall you had a certain skill at beer pong. But that was a few years ago. I’m sure a freshman could kick your ass now.”
I turned around to stare into his dark hazel eyes. Those same eyes I’d lost myself in once before. The first time I met him at a freshman mixer, I fell for his easy charm and into his bed. Stupid tequila.
“Come on, Olivia. Play one game. What’ve you got to lose?”
“To you? Nothing,” I snapped.
“Losing to me seems to be one of your best skills.”
I huffed and turned away from him.
“You can’t still be pissed at me,” he said before I could step away.
I spun back around. “I should’ve introduced Maggie Fielder for her lecture, not you.”
“Why? Am I not good enough?”
“She’s one of the top female engineers in the country. It should’ve been a woman who introduced her.” Of course I was still pissed. We’d both pitched our reasons for introducing Dr. Fielder, and for some dumbass reason the head of our department, also a man, picked Devon.
“And you beat me out for the Donnell scholarship. I’m not angry about that.”
My arms fell to my sides. He had a valid point. We’d volleyed wins back and forth over the last few years. Still, there was more to it than that.
“So don’t play against me this time. Team up with me so I can finally beat Chuck and Barry. They’ve been wiping the floor with everyone tonight.”
“What’s in it for me?” I asked. Beer pong did sound like fun, and I didn’t want to ring in the new semester studying in my room.
“Besides the pleasure of my company?”
“Try again.” I turned completely around and crossed my arms over my chest. Since our first engineering class together, he’d made it perfectly clear what he thought of me: that I was in the wrong field. It probably didn’t help that I answered the prof’s questions before he could and I got them right. Our first class became a back and forth battle of knowledge. I won. I never thought the word “arch-nemesis” would apply to anyone in my world…
Until I met Devon. 
“Fine, the pleasure of taking Chuck and Barry down.” He leaned in closer. Beer wafted off his breath. “And I’ll put in a good word with Dad.”
My breath caught in my throat. It was no secret that I wanted to interview at JenCar Aerospace for an internship. I’d applied at the beginning of the fall semester, but I didn’t even get a call. Paige and I reworked my resume for two months, and I’d sent it in right before the holiday break. They would be calling potential candidates in the next week or so. I had to be one of them—and Devon’s father was a top engineer at JenCar. A word from him would at least get me in the door. But was it worth selling my soul?
No, I’d get there on my own. I didn’t need Devon’s help. I’d do it on my own, like always.
“Not necessary,” I said. “What else do you have?”
He raised his eyebrows. “Fine.” His gaze drifted toward the ceiling until a smile erupted over his lips. “You’re taking Lit with Dorchester, right?”
I nodded. Dorchester was a notorious hard-ass who didn’t care what your major was and expected every student to be fluent in old English. I’d avoided filling the requirement for as long as possible.
“I took it last fall. And I still have my notes. I’ll give them to you. Deal?”
That was too good to pass up. Dorchester didn’t use the same syllabus, but the notes would be invaluable. I couldn’t afford my GPA to drop even half a point. “You know I hate you, right?” I said for good measure.
“You’ve made that clear. Although I still don’t know why. I’m pretty lovable.” He offered his hand. “What do you say? Partners?”
I slid my fingers across his and squeezed hard. “Partners. But only for this one game.”
Devon laced our fingers together, tugging me behind him as we maneuvered the obstacle course of bodies. I didn’t want to think about his skin against mine. Or how letting myself go for one night had almost ruined me, but the rush of the memory my freshman year filled my head. The challenge, the alcohol, the feeling of his lips against mine, our bodies pressed together. I shook my head, wanting nothing more than to erase that miscalculation. It almost cost me Henry, even if I did lose him in the long run. I wasn’t about to make the same mistake.
I should’ve said no to the game. But the lure of his notes was too much. Besides, Paige was right. I spent too much time on my own. It wasn’t that I didn’t like people; it was just easier to stay focused on my goals without any distractions. I talked to people in my classes, but I didn’t hang out with them outside of class. Not that I had a lot of time. If I wasn’t in class or studying, I was at my job. Paige was the only person I hung out with who had nothing to do with engineering or serving steaks.
Devon let go of my hand as we stepped into the old Victorian’s dining room, where the ping pong table was center stage. Chuck and Barry stood at one end. Two of the guys from the basketball team were at the other. Judging by the empty cups and the way the basketball players swayed, they were losing badly.
“We got next game,” Devon shouted. He leaned down and whispered in my ear. “Chuck and Barry are stone cold sober. Let’s change that.”
I nodded. Why was I doing this? I hated Devon. But taking down Chuck Mathis and Barry Acklin was worth dusting off my beer pong skills. Besides, I’d promised myself more fun, and beer pong definitely qualified. Live a little was my motto for the new semester. I watched and waited, wishing the woo-girl behind me would tone it down a notch—or five. Every single time someone made a shot, she screamed at the top of her lungs.
The game ended with Chuck and Barry on top and only two of their cups drained. Devon and I stepped to the table, and I went into rules mode. I moved around to the end Barry and Chuck had no doubt occupied since the party started.
“Challenger’s choice. We get this end.” I smiled. Unseating them meant getting inside their heads.
Chuck bowed with a grin. “Of course. We don’t need to be on this side to win.”
“Or to lose.” I glanced over my shoulder at Devon.
Chuck slapped Barry on the shoulder and laughed. “Devon, where’d you get this girl?”
“Not a girl, hotshot,” I said, stepping up to him. Why men were never called boys but women were still girls irritated me. One prof learned that the hard way after calling me “little girl” in front of the class. The dean and I had a nice discussion about it, too. “Haven’t been a ‘girl’ for a very long time.”
“Watch it, man. She’ll eat you up and spit you out.” Devon put his arm around my shoulders. It took every ounce of my strength not to shake it off.
“Oh, she’s a ringer?” Barry asked.
Devon squeezed me closer. That was enough to push me over the edge. I elbowed him in the ribs. Chuck and Barry started laughing as they moved toward the other end of the table.
“Don’t do that again,” I whispered at my partner with my back to our opponents. “Keep your hands to yourself and your focus on the game.”
“Like when I’m on the mound,” he said with his hands in the air. 

Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter here for upcoming releases, giveaways, and good times!

Book Blitz: Five by J.A. Huss plus Giveaway


Five
J.A. Huss
(Mister 0.5)
Publication date: September 19th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Five Aston has known Rory Shrike for as long as he can remember. He played with her in the sandbox. He went to every damn horse show just to be supportive. He helped her with her French, walked her home from school, and faked his test scores just to stay with her a little longer and not be sent off to college early.
But eventually he had to move on.
And so did she.
Never has a second chance meant so much to a boy who loves a girl.

A standalone book that is also a spin-off of the Rook & Ronin Series and prequel to the Mister Series. You can read it first, you can read it last. It doesn’t really matter because it’s f*cking Five.
EXCERPT:
“You want a kiss?”
“Mmmhmm,” I say, closing my eyes as I picture it. God, I’ve dreamed of this moment for ages. “I really need one, Five.”
His mouth touches my earlobe. Lips caress the soft skin of my neck. “Like this?” he asks.
“Yes,” I practically moan. “Just… like… that.”
“Do you want more, Princess?” he asks, his voice low now. Growly. Filled with so much promise.
“More, please,” I say, in my sweetest princess voice.
“Then promise me, baby. Just say those two words. ‘I promise.’ And as soon as you do that, I’ll give you everything you want. OK?”
“Five,” I moan. “Just—”
His hands come up suddenly. He cups my face, stares into my eyes with the most sincere expression I’ve ever seen on him. And underneath that sincerity, I see… fear. “Promise me.”
“Five,” I say, unable to stop staring back. This is everything. Everything I’ve always dreamed of. Five pressing me up against a wall. Me, the only thing on his mind. Except I’m not the only thing on his mind, am I? No. Those creeps from the past are back. That’s why he’s here. And even though I’d normally not give in so easy, I know this is not a game. So I say, “I promise. Now stop talking, you stupid genius, and kiss me already.”
He smiles. Leans in. I close my eyes, ready for it. Finally gonna get what I want.
But then he moves his mouth to my ear and nibbles on my lobe. “Good girl,” he coos. “But I’m not sure I believe you, Princess. I can feel those wheels turning inside your head. They’re grinding hard.” He presses his hard cock against my hip when he says that last part. “So I’m gonna hold off on that kiss until I get back tonight. And if you’ve been good, and if you’ve held up your end of the—”
“What?” I say, pushing him back. “You will do no such thing, Five Aston! I want a fucking kiss and I want one right now! I’ve waited six years for this, and denying me is practically emotional abuse. Now stop fucking around and kiss me, goddammit!”
“Who’s the boss of you, Rory?”
I huff out some air. “Me.”
He smiles. It’s a big, genuine, I’m-gonna-teach-you-who’s-boss smile. “Wrong answer.”


Author Bio:
JA Huss is the USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who makes you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.
You can chat with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorJAHuss), Twitter (@jahuss), and her blog, New Adult Addiction (www.jahuss.com).
If you’re interested in getting your hands on an advanced release copy of her upcoming books, sneak peek teasers, or information on her upcoming personal appearances, you can join her newsletter list (http://eepurl.com/JVhAr) and get those details delivered right to your inbox.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Book Blitz: After the Fall by Katy Ames plus Giveaway


After the Fall
Katy Ames
(Seven Winds, #2)
Publication date: September 11th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
If there was one man in the world Grace Fitzgerald never wanted to see again, it was Mark Donovan.
Sinfully handsome, famously flirtatious, unerringly cocky. Paragon of men. Archetype of entitled a**holes. As a guest at her luxury hotel, Mark was impossible.
As the new owner of her hotel, he’s become a nightmare. The kind that wakes Grace in the middle of the night wishing she could forget how right his lips felt against her own, how tempting his fingers were against her skin.
But for all of the challenges that Mark and Grace face working together, nothing can prepare them for the undeniable attraction that flares every time they battle for control. Or the secrets that linger in the luxury of the Seven Winds Villa.
With no way of escaping each other or their pasts, can they possibly survive life on the island after they fall?
A steamy, standalone romance from Katy Ames, author of After the Island.
99¢ for RELEASE WEEK only!
EXCERPT:
“Mr. Donovan. This is Grace Fitzgerald from the Seven Winds Resort,” she shouted through the door, digging out her master key. “Is everything alright, sir?” The only answer was a loud thud. “Sir, I understand you’re having an issue.” Though not one that warranted so much noise, she thought. Steeling herself, Grace continued, “Mr. Donovan, I’m coming in.”
Grace swiped her key and pushed open the door, stepping into the luxuriously understated living room of the Seven Winds Villa. Looking around, Grace confirmed that nothing was glaringly wrong, at least not on the main floor.
Taking a second glance, Grace registered that the villa’s sole occupant had left a wide array of debris scattered across most of the available surfaces. More cups and a few plates of discarded food were stacked on the coffee table bracketed by the living room sofas. A laptop was open, its screen black, abandoned on the corner of a side table. As she made her way over to close its lid, Grace’s foot connected with something on the floor. Whatever it was rolled away, only coming to a halt when it encountered a throw pillow left carelessly near one window.
Grace scowled as she retrieved the bottle from the floor. Glenrothes 1970. The five- thousand-dollar bottle of Scotch was completely empty. Perhaps you should make sure he isn’t in the pool. Face down. On that morbid thought, she raced to the terrace beyond the French doors and checked the infinity pool on the patio below. Empty. Thank God.
At the same time, a loud crack split the air beneath her.
“Shit, shit, shit.” Grace dropped the forgotten bottle and ran down to the lower level. Whatever she’d expected to find on the ground floor of the resort’s most expensive villa, this wasn’t it.
There, sprawled on the ground, eyes closed, lips skewed in an off-kilter smile, wearing nothing more than a wrinkled pair of shorts, was Mark Donovan, co-founder and CEO of D&A International. Sinfully handsome, wildly successful, obscenely wealthy, unerringly cocky, undeniably brilliant, famously flirtatious. And, Grace was horrified to realize, unconscious and sporting a wicked cut above one eyebrow.
“Oh, no, no.” Grace rushed towards him and crouched over Mr. Donovan’s motionless form, her hands fluttering just above his face. Get a grip, Grace. Check to see if he’s breathing, check to make sure nothing is blocking his airways. She focused with a deep breath and shifted her brain to autopilot.
Grace’s pulse calmed substantially when she saw Mr. Donovan’s chest rise in a steady, heavy breath. Definitely not dead. Thank the good Lord. Grace tipped her head back in relief. Skimming her fingers across his forehead, she gingerly checked the cut to make sure nothing was lodged in it. The blood had stopped, a dark red trickle disappearing into the ashy-brown eyebrow that arched defiantly even then. Running an assessing glance across his head and body, Grace confirmed that other than the bruise blossoming beneath the cut, Mark appeared to be perfectly fine. Though unconscious.
An incoherent mumble broke free of his lips, followed by a muffled snore. Grace amended that last part. Not unconscious. Asleep.
Slumping back, Grace rearranged herself so she could sit more comfortably on the floor, her eyes fixed on her unwitting patient. Mark was stretched out and motionless, giving Grace an unparalleled view of his starkly beautiful face and meticulously sculpted body. His eyes were closed and Grace’s gaze wandered across the sharp ridges of his cheekbones and refined slope of his nose, both of which drew her attention down toward his wide, generous mouth, his lips parted, soft puffs of air brushing the strong, supple lines on every exhale.
Determined to ignore her sudden impulse to taste those lips, Grace shifted her eyes away. But she only got as far as the tanned skin of his neck, Mark’s pulse kicking with a regular rhythm at the base, just above the wide stretch of his collarbone. Refusing to stare, Grace attempted to focus on something innocuous. Like her cuticles, or the weave the carpet. Or the inviting water of the pool outside. But a particularly deep inhale dragged her back, this time her attention landing on the long planes of his broad chest, light wisps of blond hair dusting the hard curves that came to an abrupt halt against the repetitive ridges of his abdomen.
Grace, you need to stop staring. Seriously. Stop staring!
But Grace’s eyes had a mind of their own. She could hardly blame them. As Mark breathed, the play of the muscles across his stomach and sides was hypotonic, the slopes and dips elegantly formed, exquisitely defined. Grace’s mouth formed an ‘O’ as she tracked his torso to where it tapered into sharp angles before stretching beneath the waistband of his shorts. Of its own volition, Grace’s tongue slipped across her lower lip as she caught the hint of dark ink dancing across the shadow of one hipbone.
God help her, he was beautiful. Every delicious detail all the more enticing at that precise moment because his eyes weren’t flashing in disdain. And his voice wasn’t dripping with irritation. Mark Donovan, silent and still, was perfect.
Awake and entitled? Not so much.
“Typically, I expect a woman to buy me one drink, at least, before she gets to enjoy such an up-close and personal view.”
Grace squeaked in surprise and tried to scramble back, but Mark anchored one of her wrists in a warm, inflexible grasp.
“You had an accident. I found you on the floor. I was making sure you weren’t injured.”
Confusion, then recollection flashed in the deep indigo of his eyes. Pressing his free hand to the bump on his forehead, he cocked his lips into a crooked grin. “From what I can tell, my injuries are up here. Not”—he nodded in the direction of his crotch—“down there.”


Author Bio:
Katy Ames loves a good story. Whether through blogs, books, or live events, she’s been an avid story teller her entire career.
With a bachelor’s in English Literature, Katy is happiest when curled up on her favorite sofa with a captivating read, whether it’s the Romantic poets or contemporary romance. A good glass of bourbon doesn’t hurt, either.
Katy lives with her husband and son in Washington, D.C. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s very enthusiastic about fancy cheese, late nights & lazy mornings. Only two of which she gets to enjoy on a regular basis.
Katy is a member of both the Romance Writers of America and the Washington Romance Writers.
Sign-up for Katy's newsletter to receive exclusive content & info about new releases: http://eepurl.com/cNWocb

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Writing Inspiration by Lisa Lieberman, author of Burning Cold plus Giveaway



Writing Inspiration by Lisa Lieberman


I write a historical noir mystery series about blacklisted Hollywood people in 1950s Europe, drawing on old movies for characters, plots, and settings. My heroine is a young actress and in the first book, All the Wrong Places, she lands a role in an Italian neorealist film. I imagined a Felliniesque scene where Cara comes upon a group of Roma on a beach in Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot. There she would meet the love of her life. I didnt have a fix on the guy, but I wanted him to have the allure of Rudolph Valentino, who hailed from that part of Italy.

Ive never been to Puglia. One beach was as good as another. I put my finger on the map and landed on Trani, a fishing village that served as a port to the Holy Land during the Crusades. Its beaches are okay, but the towns chief attraction is the magnificent cathedral of Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim.
Trani sunrise with cathedral


Trani was also the site of a DP camp for Polish survivors of the Holocaust. Voilà! Id found my way in. “Valentino” was a Polish Jew whose older sister survived Auschwitz only to die of dysentery in the Trani DP camp. Every year he visits the town to honor her memory. Cara meets him on the beach, with the Roma, and is instantly smitten, not only by his brooding good looks, but because she perceives the sadness within the handsome stranger. She has also known tragedy, as have I. Cara lost her mother to drowning. I lost mine to mental illness. As I probed more deeply into the source of Caras attraction to Valentino, I gained new insight into my feelings about my mothers illness.
I held it against her for a long time, you see, her leaving me so suddenly, and so completely. . . Beneath this loomed another, darker question: Was it my fault that she didnt love me enough to stay in my life?

In my career as a history professor, I got to know several Holocaust survivors. Id invite them to speak to my students and over time we became close. My loss was insignificant when compared to theirs, but the contradictory feelings of abandonment, anger, and guilt over my motherless childhood created a bridge of understanding between us. And we discovered that we shared a dark sense of humor. Readers drawn to noir stories will find something similar, I hope, in my mystery series. 

Burning Cold
Lisa Lieberman

(Cara Walden Mystery, #2)
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery

Budapest: 1956. Newlywed Cara Walden’s brother Zoltán has disappeared in the middle of the Hungarian revolution, harboring a deadly wartime secret. Will Cara or the Soviets find him first?
Cutting short her honeymoon in Paris to rescue a sibling she’s never met was not Cara’s idea, but her husband Jakub has a reckless streak, and she is too much in love to question his judgment. Together with her older brother Gray, they venture behind the Iron Curtain, seeking clues to Zoltán’s whereabouts among his circle of fellow dissidents, all victims of the recently overthrown Communist regime. One of them betrayed him, and Cara realizes that the investigation has put every person they’ve met at risk. Inadvertently, they’ve also unmasked a Russian spy, who is now tailing them in the hope that they will lead him to Zoltán.
The noir film of Graham Greene’s The Third Man inspires Lisa Lieberman’s historical thriller. Burning Cold features a compelling female protagonist who comes to know her own strength in the course of her adventures.


Author Bio:
Lisa Lieberman is the author of the Cara Walden series of historical mysteries featuring blacklisted Hollywood people in exotic European locales. All the Wrong Places and Burning Cold are available from Passport Press in print and e-book.
Trained as a modern European cultural and intellectual historian, Lieberman abandoned a perfectly respectable academic career for the life of a vicarious adventurer through dangerous times and places. She has written extensively on postwar Europe and is the founder of the classic movie blog Deathless Prose. She now directs a nonprofit foundation dedicated to redressing racial and economic inequity in public elementary and secondary schools. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
After dragging their three children all over Europe while they were growing up, Lisa and her husband are happily settled in Amherst, Massachusetts.


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Monday, September 11, 2017

Book Blitz: Three Heart Echo by Keary Taylor plus Giveaway


Three Heart Echo
Keary Taylor

Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Suspense

The demented thing is that this evolved from the most sickly sweet, heart-wrenching love story you’ve ever heard. I went to Sully because I just couldn’t get over Jack’s murder. I couldn’t deal.

Iona came to me for the same reason most did: because there was no closure. A love cut too short. She begged me to open the gate between the living and the dead.
We should have left it shut.

This. This is not a love story. This is a possession story. A story of lies. A story of two faces. This is a story of death and violent echoes from the other side.
And there will be no happy endings.
EXCERPT:
There’s been this look of dread and apprehension in Sully’s eyes since the moment he opened the church doors to find me. It’s been growing into something hard and cold moment by moment. But with my revelation, it solidifies into something heavy as the world.
“Sit down,” he says in something very close to a growl. He points to one of the two chairs set in the middle of the room.
I sit, dread and fear and anticipation climbing in my throat.
Sully closes the door, and locks it.
The huge man stalks around the room, lighting a match to first one candle, then taking it to light the others. The room gradually grows lighter until a dozen of them are lit, and I can finally see more than a foot in front of me.
I rub my hands over my arms, because suddenly I realize that it is freezing in here, despite the roaring fire Sully has kept in the other room.
Deep, slow breathing pulls my attention back to the man.
He stands in one corner, before a solitary, lit candle. His back is turned to me, his hulking shoulders blocking out most of the light, casting him in an eerie glow. His long hair hangs around his face. He breathes, slow, deep. But there’s a quiver to it. Something unsteady.
I want to ask him if he’s okay. To ask what is the matter, because everything in me screams that there is.
But I’m too petrified to open my mouth.
A draft pushes through the edges of the covered window, sending the flames dancing atop the candles. A shiver works its way down my spine.
Sully suddenly steps back from the corner and drops down into the seat across from me. He holds his hands out.
“The watch,” he says nodding to his right hand. “Your hand.” He indicates the left.
I can’t stop shaking. I set the pocket watch in his hand, and trembling, I rest my hand in his other. He closes his fingers around mine, fully engulfing it with his size.
Sully’s eyes slide closed. I watch his face, seeing something come over it. Like he’s slipping underwater, preparing to hold his breath against certain death. His breathing becomes very light and shallow. His entire body becomes very still. The temperature of his hand drops.
The pain in my chest comes to a peak and I realize just how hard my heart is beating. My hands are slick with sweat. I lean forward in my seat, far too close to Sully’s face for comfort.
My breath is held.
“Jack,” Sully says, his voice low and deep. I jump when he speaks, startled, a bent twig on the verge of snapping. “I know you’ve moved on, but I have someone here who wishes to speak to you. If you wish to speak to her, please show yourself.”
Sully is quiet for a long moment afterward that seems to roll into an eternity of anticipation.
“What’s happening?” I whisper, a cloud of breath billowing out from me.
Sully lets out a slow, long shh, his face suddenly going peaceful.
All the blood in my body drops into my feet.
“Iona,” Sully says. There’s something breathy in the way he says my name, something disbelieving and hopeful and so full of everything.
“Jack?” I breathe as tears spring into my eyes.
“Yes,” Sully says, and he suddenly opens his eyes. But they only meet mine for a moment. They shift off to the right, next to the window, by his shoulder.
Goosebumps flash onto my skin as my eyes follow Sully’s.
“Can you see him?” I whisper. I want to shy back, to put some distance between myself and the ghost only he can see. But I’m also dying inside, knowing he is hidden from my eyes.
“Yes.”


Author Bio:
Keary Taylor is the USA TODAY bestselling author of over twenty novels. She grew up along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where she started creating imaginary worlds and daring characters who always fell in love. She now splits her time between a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest and Utah, with her husband and their two children. She continues to have an overactive imagination that frequently keeps her up at night.

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