Media Blitz! No Regrets by Claire Kent

A dark portrait of a young woman

Title: No Regrets

Author: Claire Kent

Expected Publication: July 22nd, 2014

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About No Regrets:

A dark portrait of a young womanOn my last birthday, I made one vow for the year. Live with no regrets. Eleven months have passed, though, and nothing has changed. I still sleep alone, spend my life working, and never move out of my comfort zone.

Then the loss of my dog throws my whole life out of orbit, and I end up in bed with a very hot and slightly-too-young veterinarian, who has recently made a vow of his own. Live with no strings. Josh is more than happy to help me with the things I’ve been afraid to try. Semi-public sex. Spanking. Anal sex. He’s a willing partner for everything I’ve wondered about, as long as I don’t demand more.

He’s serious about his no-strings philosophy. As serious as I am about living with no regrets. I can’t help but fall for him, even though I know better. So my biggest regret might be a broken heart.



Excerpt:


I couldn’t stay on this park bench forever.

I hadn’t moved yet. I was still staring blindly at the dogs and people on the path when I noticed from the corner of my eye a man slowing down from a run and then jogging toward me.

Glancing over, I expected him to head past me toward the parking lot, but he seemed to be coming directly toward me.

When he got close, I realized it was Dr. Bennett.

He looked different than he had this morning. He wore a t-shirt and gym shorts, both wet with perspiration. His face and short brown hair were wet too. He’d obviously been running hard.

His eyes rested on me as he approached. Obviously, he’d recognized me. Before I’d recognized him.

“Hey,” he said, breathing heavily. “How are you doing?”

“Fine.”

It was a stupid question and a stupid answer, but that’s what people do. It was part of living in a civilized world. You made up nice-sounding lies and you said them to each other, instead of talking about how much the world sucked.

His face was flushed, and he was having trouble catching his breath. Bending at the waist, he rasped, “I better do a lap to cool down. I’ll be right back.”

“Okay.”

I had no idea why he’d bother coming back. We didn’t know each other. We had nothing to say to each other. And I wasn’t really in the mood for talking.

He’d killed my dog that morning, but I could hardly hold it against him.

He took a slow jog around the track and ended up back at the bench with a water bottle in his hand. His breathing was less ragged as he sat down beside me.

He didn’t say anything, and I felt a little strange. I didn’t know exactly what he expected from me. I certainly wasn’t going to cry on his shoulder, if that was what he was thinking.

So I just asked a casual question. “You’re done with your shift for the day?”

“Yeah. I got off at three.”

“Do you always come here to run afterwards?”

“Sometimes.” His vivid blue eyes rested on my face, searching or questioning or something. “It’s on the way home.”

“Have you lived in Lexington long?”

“I grew up here—in Versailles, actually. But I just moved back to the area.”

“Where were you before?”

Vet school.”

“Oh.” I blinked, slightly surprised. I’d landed on his age as younger than me but still in his thirties, but he must be quite a bit younger if he was just out of vet school. “So you just got your degree?”

“Yeah.” As if he could see the surprise in my face, he added, “I started late. I didn’t go right after college.”

That made more sense. The conversation, as casual as it was, managed to distract me from thoughts of Polly, so I pursued it. “What were you doing before you went to vet school.”

He didn’t answer immediately, which prompted my curiosity. To take the edge off the silence, I said, “Bank robber? Computer hacker?”

He gave a low chuckle and smiled at me—not broadly, but it still transformed his face until he was almost unbearably attractive, even as sweaty as he was. “Nothing that exciting. I was in Chad.”

“Chad? In Africa?

“Yeah.”

“Wow.” My eyes widened in surprise. “What were you doing there?”

International aid work. I started right after college and did it through most of my twenties. I was mostly in Chad and Sudan.”

“So what made you decide to be a vet instead?”

He gave a strange little shrug and looked away from me. “I couldn’t do it anymore. And animals…are different.”

I studied him, trying to read his expression, trying to interpret the paradoxically empty bitterness on his face. There was obviously more going on with him, but there was no reason to expect him to tell me.

There was no reason I needed to know.

What do you do?” he asked, obviously trying to change the subject.

“Paralegal.”

“Who do you work for?”

We chatted for almost a half-hour, about my job, about how he was settling back into the area, about running—which I used to do, although not much recently.

Eventually, the perspiration had dried on his skin and his clothes, and we’d both faded into reflective silence.

I felt a little better—like I wasn’t on the verge of tears—but the thought of going home still filled my stomach with dread.

He’d been staring off in the distance, and he said without warning, “This morning was the first time I’ve had to do that.”

I glanced at him in surprise, realizing immediately what he was referring to. “Aren’t you supposed to be professional and distanced about the whole thing?”

“I guess. I thought I’d be able to keep the right perspective with animals, but it was harder than I thought. She seemed like a very sweet dog.”

I took a loud, ragged breath as emotion surged up. “She was.”

“I’m really sorry.”

“Thanks.” I took a few more breaths until I was in control again. “I really don’t want to go home.”

“Do you want to get a drink or something?”

I blinked. “Right now, you mean?”

“Yeah. Why not? I don’t want to go home either.”

I finally landed on an explanation for his mood. He seemed adrift, kind of lost, not emotional but torn in some way.

I wondered what he’d experienced in Chad. What it had done to him. Why he’d decided against working with people anymore.

Even yesterday, I would have said “no” to his invitation. For the last few months, I hadn’t done much of anything except go to work and take care of Polly. I hadn’t liked to leave her in the evenings.

It had been years since I’d had a drink with a guy I didn’t know, and this particular guy was too young for me anyway.

But it was just a drink. Nothing more. He wasn’t coming on to me. He was just being nice. And it would give me something to do with myself, other than go home to an apartment without Polly.

I felt a little better, talking to him. Like the world wasn’t about to pull me into some sort of black hole.

I remembered my vow, eleven months ago, on the day I’d turned thirty-eight.

I was supposed to be living with no regrets, and so far I hadn’t done a good job.

This would be something I wouldn’t have to regret.

“Okay,” I said. “Why not?”

 

About Claire Kent:

claire KentClaire has been writing romance novels since she was twelve years old. She has a PhD in British literature and, when she’s not writing, she teaches English at the university level.

She also writes contemporary romance under the penname Noelle Adams.

Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Goodreads | Website

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The Color of the Wild: An intimate look at life in an untamed land by Gin Getz (Review)

THE COLOR OF THE WILD

AN INTIMATE LOOK AT LIFE IN AN UNTAMED LAND

About the Book     

An original, inspiring work of literary non-fiction; an unconventional memoir of woman and land.  The Color of the Wild is the beautifully told story of one woman’s life, love, family, resolve and determination.  More than a memoir, with stunning stories interspersed and intertwined with powerful poetry, prose, and stunning photographs,  Gin’s captivating tone and intimate view bring to life the drama and trauma of one year on her family’s ranch, scenic and secluded, surrounded by and a part of the wild world around them.

Précis by Harold Rhenisch, poet and author:  Along the Continental Divide, high in the San Juan Mountains where the Rio Grande is born, lies a wilderness as proud and strong-willed as the woman who chose to build a life there.

Here unfolds the story of this woman, her son, horses, and a mountain—and the man who rides with them into a life where no one has lived before. In this country where winters are harsh, wild, and remote, author Gin Getz learns to bend and grow within the trust of shared isolation.

Parallel with the story of living on the mountain is a darker tale of heartbreak that threatens to tear apart their attachment to the wilderness. Gin lives under a dark cloud as her husband’s family disintegrates over issues of pride and ownership; a story rarely told but so common throughout the West.

Image of Gin Getz

 Gin Getz (born Virginia Tone in New Jersey in 1966) is a writer based out of the high mountains in southwestern Colorado where she and her family own and operate a seasonal guest ranch.

After raising her son (now working in the South Pole) and outfitting with her husband, she returned to her passion of writing four years ago. The Color of the Wild is her first full length manuscript, a memoir covering her own wild ride of life and her growing connection with nature and solitude.

She recently completed a second manuscript on the life of another remarkable woman, Virginia Tice Neary Carrithers, and their time together in the wilds of Patagonia.  Gin is now working on book number three, capturing the voice of the wilds around her and speaking for them in this volatile time of devastation from drought, beetle kill, and wild fires.

After living coast to coast and overseas, Gin has settled for now on their remote, off-grid guest ranch away from town, telephones, and traffic.

 

My moods fluctuate with the wind and change just as quickly. I am a kite caught in a whirlwind I cannot control. I seek stability but find none. Not within. Only around me in the solid rocks of the high mountain, the Spruce trees that have endured how many seasons of storms, and the steady flow of the river.

I am not certain like the seasons. I am quick to cry. Slow to heal. I love fiercely. Live passionately. And give all I can to those I love most.  Some say I feel too much.

I am here to seek a balance in a land more passionate and intense than me. I give myself to the mountain, my tears to the river, my rage to the wind, and for a moment, I feel nothing but the ensuing silence for which I have hungered.

Contact Information for Gin Getz and The Color of the WildWeb pages: www.gingetz.comwww.lost-trail.com  ● www.thecolorofthewild.info Email:gingetz@gmail.comPublisher: www.norlightspress.com ● Email: sammie@norlightspress.com  ● Phone: 812-675-8054

My Review:

THE COLOR OF THE WILD is an extraordinary book and Gin Getz’s writing will definitely hold you captive. It was a joy to read this book. I was transported into her world, one of silence, one of glorious white, one of hardships, one of love, one of life. I was transported into her heart and soul.

I love the photo above of the author. Her face holds the secrets of her life. She makes no excuses for who she is or the road she has either chosen or perhaps the one that has chosen her. There’s a story along each laugh line, and each wrinkle has a tale to tell. It is the story of a very independent and strong woman who has, at times, struggled to find her place in the world. She writes with honesty and heart-felt emotion as she tells her story.

In THE COLOR OF THE WILD, the author used not only words, but beautiful photos and poetry to tell the reader about herself and the mountain on which she lives. I could find no fault with the book. I was transported into her life each time I picked the book up and opened it. It was a world I wanted to spend a lot of time in, a world where winter comes and stays for six months at a time. A world of white where every time you walk outside, you blaze a trail. A world where the air is fresh and clean and means only the survival of the fittest or the crazy. I am giving the book five stars, but truly, it deserves so much more.

The following is a favorite quote of mine. These are the words the author used to describe herself. Enjoy.

I can tell you about the place, but how can I tell you about me? What would you want to hear? I have lived in poverty, in my car, my van, in tents, in a mud shack, in one room cabins from coast to coast, without the things might consider essential, like a toilet and sink. I have floundered through parts of life, and struggled through others. I have been homeless, a single mother, depressed, drunk and flat broke. I have had no real career. I took on jobs to make it through: bartender, front desk receptionist, baker and wrangler. I never finished college. I dropped out to raise my son.

Is that what you would like to hear?

See, I’m not one of those who chose to leave it all behind. This is all I have. But this is all mine. I am living life loud. In the quietest way I can.

What would you like to hear? I’m nothing special. I’m settling into middle age, though I feel as if I have not yet grown up. I’m learning to love wrinkles and the first graying hairs. I’m somewhat small, though if I’m angry about injustice or standing up for what I belive in, or feel the need to protect my husband or son or my four-leggeds or the land, you might notice otherwise, and you might tell me that in my face, and chances are I won’t back down.

At best, I’ve been called a free spirit. At worst, a social misfit who never assimilated anywhere else. A woman just looking for a place to belong. Well, I am still looking.

What would you like to hear? Some say I’ve been brave. Others just say I’ve been crazy. I say it’s more likely a precarious balance of both.

This much I can say: I came here to work at a guest ranch. I decided to stay. Now I’m ready to leave.

So for now, enough about me. It is easier to talk about the mountain.

 

Silence is a secret few understand.

 

You can purchase THE COLOR OF THE WILD in these formats:

Kindle
Paperback

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book was provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

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Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour by Donna Huber

donnaphoto SECRETS-to-a-BLOGTOUR-DH

 

 

With so many books being completed each day and our there on the market, how do you make sure your book gets out there to your audience? You arrange a book tour, AND who better to help you out than someone who has been blogging and participating and even arranging virtual book tours! Meet Donna Huber, my friend from Girl Who Blogs.

Donna has written a short book on the secrets to being successful with a blog tour. It is a great book and a very informative one. If you have any questions, please comment and Donna will be back to answer them.

Donna was kind enough to write about blog touring. Thanks Donna!

When to Do a Blog Tour

I am part of several author groups and in all of them I’ve seen authors ask when was the best time to run a blog tour for their book. It is a good question to ask since tours can be very time consuming, particularly in the preparations, and if the author hires a company, it can be costly. In truth, a tour can be scheduled whenever.

My one rule for timing a blog tour – have a buy link available. A lot of book buyers are impulse buyers and tours do get books sold. Also, readers who follow tours are seeing a lot of books. You don’t want to rely on their memory to make sales.

While you can do a tour whenever, the type and duration of the tour may vary depending on the author’s objective. Let’s take a look at some times an author might want to do a tour and what kind of tour would work best.

Book Launch

Blog tours as part of the book’s launch is probably the most popular. For indie authors, the launch is flexible, which is great for the author who is planning their own tour. Getting a book ready for publication is a lot of work and can be stressful. If the author is handling their own formatting and submitting their book to retailers, they may not have the time to plan a tour at the same time.

For my ebook, Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour, I went with a soft launch and then followed up with a tour a month later. It gave me time to get my ebook listed at most retailers and time to write up the guest posts. Also, it gave bloggers the opportunity to read the book and get their reviews ready.

I recommend for a book launch to go big and showy. An author will want to have a great giveaway prize and line up at least a few big bloggers. A 15 – 21 stop tour works best for book launches.todolist

Sale Events and Holidays

Pairing a tour with a holiday or special promotion can boost sales. The tour doesn’t have to be long or overly involved. If the author is short on time, an excerpt tour would be a great idea. It saves time because guest posts and interviews aren’t required, though providing a few “extra goodies” does help. For an example of an excerpt tour, check out the one I organized for Terri Morgan’s Playing the Genetic Lottery (http://www.girl-who-reads.com/2013/02/free-ebook-excerpt-tour.html)

Introducing the Next Book

For authors who write series they often go with cover reveals for introducing the next book coming out. While cover reveals are easy for the author, bloggers and readers are growing tired of them. A new angle needs to be found. I recommend a short tour for the previous books in the series that also reveals the cover of the next book. While picking up a few reviews, the tour should focus on guest posts, interviews, and excerpts. Look for bloggers who have already reviewed the book(s) to take part. A good giveaway for this kind of tour is previous books in the series.

billboardA tour can be a great way to promote a book. A blog tour can be done any time, but authors should take care to allow enough time for proper planning. Also, continually touring, even virtually, grows tiring for both the author and the reader. To avoid tour burnout, reserve blog tours for events. Instead, schedule 2 – 3 blog appearances each month to keep your name in front of readers.

Purchase Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour on Amazon:

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Stephen Downing is Dead by Dan Goss Anderson (Media Blitz)

cover44712-smallFresh out of law school, Owen didn’t expect that his first case in the territory of Arizona would be a murder trial, where he would be called to defend a Mexican national accused of killing a respected townsperson. Nor did he expect to have such intense feelings for the victim’s wife. Owen’s new neighbors in this new town don’t have much love for their Mexican neighbors, so he’s on his own to prove his client’s innocence. Who really did murder Stephen Downing?

Stephen Downing is Dead is a “whodunit” mystery set in 1905, the final days of the wild western frontier, but the national tensions between Anglos and Mexicans in the border areas will feel familiar to readers today. An early reviewer called it “…an engrossing historical fiction set in Arizona territory beginning in the rough and tumble days of the early 1900’s.”

Dan Goss Anderson is a man of the desert. He grew up mostly in the southwest, and completed a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing at the University of Arizona. In his forties, he enrolled in law school and became a public defender. He now lives in southern Arizona, where he writes fiction and practices law. He is available for guest columns and interviews (I’ve included potential topics and questions at the end of the email.)

Peer Publishing is a small, independent press owned by Anderson and distributed through Ingram Book Distributors.

Book Title: Stephen Downing Is Dead

Author: Dan Goss Anderson

Author Bio:

Dan Goss Anderson grew up mostly in the desert southwest. After a stint in the military, he worked odd jobs until finally returning to school to study creative writing. After completing a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing, Dan went on to teach college writing courses while freelancing for various magazines. In his forties, he once again returned to school, this time to study law, and became a public defender. He now lives in southern Arizona, where he divides his time between fiction writing and the practice of law.

Cover copy:

Territorial Court, Arizona, 1905

Fledgling defense attorney Owen Bartlett understands that this murder trial, against a seasoned prosecutor, is way over his head. Having come west to leave his past behind, he planned to build a new life in this wild, open land. But with only a law degree from the Boston YMCA and no courtroom experience, he has been roped into defending a man accused of murder. Now he faces a jury of ranchers, storekeepers, miners—men with little love for Mexicans like Owen’s client, Miguel Cordero. If he fails, Miguel will hang.

Behind Owen is Miguel’s wife, Gabby, her future too in Owen’s hands. In the rear of the courtroom, the widow Eva Downing listens, her heart in her throat with the secret knowledge that the wrong person has been accused of murdering her husband. She does not yet know, or care, that this young defense attorney from Boston has already fallen for her.

Stephen Downing is Dead follows the trajectory of three intertwined lives, each shaped by the killing of Stephen Downing and by the trial of his accused murderer. It’s the story of the search for a redemption that seems always just out of reach, a tale of cowardice, ambition, and real love at the dawn of the modern American west.

Publish Date: February, 2014 (hardcover); June, 2013 (trade paper and ebook)

Publisher: Peer Publishing

Genre:  Historical Mystery/Fiction

Number of pages: 278

Book Price: Trade Paper $14.95, Hardcover $23.99

ISBN: Hardcover 978-0-9892009-2-9, Trade Paper 978-0-9892009-0-5, eBook 978-0-9892009-1-2

Retail links:

http://www.amazon.com/Stephen-Downing-Dead-Goss-Anderson-ebook/dp/B00D3WHDT8

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stephen-downing-is-dead-dan-goss-anderson/1115464997

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780989200929

Web links:

https://www.facebook.com/StephenDowningisDead

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18008393-stephen-downing-is-dead

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/show/id/44712

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Stealing the Groom by Sonya Weiss (Giveaway)

9781622662876Title: Stealing the Groom
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Sonya Weiss
Publisher: Entangled Bliss
Language: English
Format: Ebook

Friends don’t let friends marry the wrong woman…

Chad Walker may be a take-no-chances man with a plan, but there’s no way Amelia Snyder is going to let her best bud marry Mean Girl #1—even if the wedding is solely so he can secure the controlling shares in his family’s company. But free-spirited Amelia’s at-the-altar groomnapping scheme takes a surprising turn when she ends up as the blushing bride instead.

Suddenly, with Amelia living in her handsome husband’s home—in his bedroom, no less—she starts to reconsider their strictly platonic arrangement. But Chad’s always been anti-risk and definitely anti-love, and betting a lifetime of best friendship on the chance at forever might be the biggest gamble of all. 

AMAZON

ABOUT SONYA WEISS

Sonya Weiss publicity photoFrom the time she was a child, Sonya knew she was destined to be a writer. If she didn’t like the ending of a book or movie, she would write her own ending. When her children were young, she often wrote stories to entertain them. At the urging of one of her daughters, she submitted a short story and to her surprise and delight, it sold.

Sonya loves writing all things romance whether it’s writing contemporary adult or teen fiction and still hasn’t lost the wonder that she gets to do what she loves.

She enjoys reading, movies, chocolate, and laughter and credits her daughters as being the sweetest blessings in her life.

TWITTER 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check back because I’ll be reviewing this fun book.

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Claiming Ana by Brynna Curry (Review, Excerpt)

claiminganaA Triple Star Ranch Novel

“I’ll take you, turn you, until I’m the sun that warms you, the moon that calls to you at night.” – Howl Raven

 ISBN: 9781616502874

Release date: Feb. 3, 2014

Series: Triple Star Ranch, #1

Blurb: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…and passion that won’t be denied.

The child of a gypsy and fey, small-town veterinarian Dr. Anastasia Brannon has always hidden her magic for fear of ridicule. A red-hot encounter with the new PI in town makes their attraction impossible to deny. Throwing caution to the wind, she indulges her desires but keeps her secrets close.

A man with a shady past and secrets of his own, Howl Raven uses his feral talents and tracking skills to make a living, doing his best to lay low and hide the curse that haunts him every month. So far, so good…until an uncontrollable shift outside the full moon leaves him the victim of a werewolf hunter.

When she finds the enigmatic investigator wounded in the woods near her cabin during a storm, Ana provides medical care on instinct. She may be the only one who can banish the wolf from Howl’s blood, but at what cost?

Excerpt:

“The pleasure is all mine, Anastasia.” Howl turned, his golden eyes meeting hers.

God, his voice was like the finest whiskey. Rich, dark and damning as it rolled over her name. The air changed at his touch. He didn’t shake her hand, instead held it warm in his just a second longer than was polite. She didn’t miss the frown on Jace’s face. Even old lovers were territorial.

“Ah, yes. Likewise. Well, I hate to run, but I have to get going. Got a full day of appointments scheduled.” Flustered, she tugged her hand out of Howl’s. “Hey, Cade, tell Taylor to call me when she gets in. We need to catch up. Spa day.”

“Yep. Thanks.”

“Any time.” She retreated to the safety of her Jeep, but couldn’t resist a second look toward the door before driving away. He was watching her through the glass. She still felt his touch and ached for more. Howl Raven was a flash fire. And she was a moth to that flame, begging him to consume her.

Backlist Buy Links (print & e-book): 
KOBO     BARNES & NOBLE     AMAZON     ITUNES    OMNI LIT/ALL ROMANCE

Brynna Curry was born south of the Mason-Dixon Line with a full moon overhead on a hot summer night. After moving all over the southern states, she finally landed in North Alabama where she lives with her husband and their three children. Growing up, books fueled her dreams and imagination, ultimately becoming her sanctuary during the hardest times in her life.

Writing is her passion, but she enjoys the fun of sharing those stories with others by reviewing books and working in publicity. When she isn’t writing or promoting, she’s often found haunting the library for new books to read, at the park with her children (when she can wrangle them into it) or just spending a quiet evening at home with Jackie watching old westerns on TV. Although her wizards, shifters and vampires are as real to her as anyone, she insists love is the truest magic and with it every day is another wonderful adventure.

 Website Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads  Linked In   

My Review:

Paranormal is not my one of usual genres to review. In fact, it is actually listed as one I do not review, but that doesn’t mean that every now and then I don’t enjoy one.

Having said that, I really enjoyed this book. It was short, sweet, and full of steamy thoughts and action. What’s not to love? An exceptionally good-looking guy rolls into town, sparks fly from the moment you lay eyes on each other, throw in a little mental telepathy, and let’s say the rest is history.

Sometimes you want a meandering story, and other times, a story that grabs you by the throat and has you running to catch up with the characters. This was one of those stories.

The cover doesn’t do much to draw the reader in, but somehow it is appropriate. It is a fast read, a get in there and get out kind of read. It is well-written and I enjoyed it. I am going to give CLAIMING ANA five stars. For those of you who enjoy paranormal and are looking for a fast read, I think you’ll enjoy this book.

Purchase Claiming Ana (Triple Star Ranch)on Amazon for .99!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I Remember Charlie by Godzilla Jones (1st Chapter Review)

Did you ever want to read a teacher’s diary? What do you think that waitress does after work? Can a cat be a wing man? In this satire of a hungry San Franciscan, you can read what a girl will have to do to make money in this town without having to sell her panties to inmates.

  • File Size: 715 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages

I Remember Charlie …no home, no cat, no man, but sometimes got a job

– Synopsis 1 19 2014

She’s not young.  She’s not beautiful. She’s not old. She’s not even wealthy, but she has something, something that guys like. She’s the 21st century shop girl who needs to make a buck holding down as many jobs as she can in the big city of San Francisco.  Through cosmetic sales, teaching, waitressing and office work, she faces the ubiquitousness of jealousy and competition.

In this fictional memoir of a California shop girl, she struggles to balance her conflicting relationships with her parents and siblings, all the while hoping to shake the dust from the small suburb where she lives with her parents. When both parents pass away, the resonating discourse fractures what was left of the family and a battle ignites.  Broke, lonely and lost without the presence of her best friend Sophia and her great love, Charlie the cat, she works to create a new life in a new city.

This shop girl recounts her dating stories in the urban menagerie while realizing that not all men are men. The man who she’d hoped would be “the one” has a fatal flaw. In this series of vignettes, she philosophized the loss of friendships and family, the meaning of death, the disenchantment of love, and the rebirth of old relationships. Will she ever find a partner? Are all of life’s answers found in old, classic movies? Can your bartender be your best friend? Can your cat be your wing man? Can she make a living without having to sell her worn panties to inmates?

Godzilla Jones  Hello, I’m Godzilla.  I was born and raised in San Francisco, but moved around a bit after leaving high school.  I sometimes lived with family, friends, in my car and cheap motels when I could afford such. I whittled out a life working everything from fast food, to the secretarial pool, to retail sales…anything legal to make a sawbuck. Nothing can inspire you to write like poverty.  At a time when there were no human resource protections, I was tired of being chased around the desk with no recourse.

Yes, I was done…I had scrubbed my share of toilets. I’d picked up enough donuts for the other guys in the office with my same job, I was through being the key operator for all the office machines.  With no pedigree and no money I decided to ride the explosion of on-line learning; I decided to complete my degree and earn a teaching credential. After many years of teaching, I’m semi-retired and living gypsy style.  And no, I’m not angry, I’m just a woman who no longer seeks a relationship because I became the man I sought.  In Godzilla’s world fat is the new black.

First Chapter Review:

I only read the first chapter of this book and what leaped out at me was the writing. It was an interesting beginning the way the author draws you into the story by leading you in. She begins by talking about Charlie, but you have no idea who Charlie is.

Who is Charlie? Is he a pet? A cat? A person? The author describes in such a way, the reader is left unknowing, but not for long. I’m not sure if there is a name for this particular style of writing, but the author did an excellent job at the beginning of the book.

The book is written as diary entries which gives the story a different appeal. I think that book has potential and if this type of book appeals to you, you definitely enjoy it.

 

Purchase on AmazonI Remember Charlie

 

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Instructions for Love by June Shaw (Review)

Image of June Shaw

Rugged plantation owner DANE CANCIENNE knows how to love, but anger now fuels him. He cherished his wife and death took her. Now he’s steeled his heart against letting another woman cause him such anguish. After a fast-talking New Yorker arrives at his doorstep, he determines he must get the beautiful stranger to leave before she softens his heart enough to make him consider taking another chance on love.

LACI WESTLAKE flies down to Louisiana’s bayou country for her beloved Aunt Tilly’s funeral where someone hands her an envelope with a strange request. If Laci follows what her late aunt asks of her, she’ll probably lose everything she has. And if she carries out those wishes, will it happen soon enough to discover she has arrived at the perfect place and located the perfect man for her?

  • File Size: 356 KB
  • Print Length: 178 pages

JUNE SHAW: My debut novel was published some time after I became a widow with five children. My ninth grade English teacher ignited my dream of becoming a writer, but my life was busy, my dream long deferred. How exciting it is to see my lifelong dream come to pass.

My mystery series has been compared to writing by Janet Evanovitch and Agatha Christie. It’s been called suspenseful and fun. It’s certainly been fun for me. Deadly Ink nominated Relative Danger for their David award for Best Mystery of the Year. I’m honored and thrilled–and love to hear from readers.

I’ve also written a book about my amazing mom that can help anyone getting older. And I’ve plunged into writing for children with HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR PET GHOST. I sure hope you’ll explore some of my works. Thanks! June

MY REVIEW:

June Shaw captured the true south in her book INSTRUCTIONS FOR LOVE. While the storyline was more of fairytale like than real, I found the book to be an enjoyable read.

Being from the South, June Shaw accurately captured the Southern slowness of life and the culture where so many others have attempted and failed. The moss swaying in the Oaks, the bayous and canals, the wildlife, the plantation life, the cane fields, the slave quarters, and T-Fred’s Diner (perhaps by another name,) the local seafood joint are all places that exists in Southern Louisiana today.

Where some reviews have criticized  a lack of development in the story line and characters, I felt there was a story between the lines. Love can develop at quick pace when two people are right for each other. I can understand where some readers thought perhaps Dane went from grieving to being in love in a blink of an eye. Had they read at a Southerner‘s pace, they would have seen that Dane was a grieving man ready to move on. And Erin, as with many people thrown into the Southern bayou culture, was a fish out of water.

A culture exists in Southern Louisiana that exists nowhere else. I, myself, was a fish out of water – and still am most of the time – in a culture still deeply embedded in its past and immersed in its Cajun French Culture; something that is difficult for an outsider to understand – “Erin rushed down here and found Louisiana’s southern end flat and its occupants’ accents swelling around her almost as heavy as their air.”

Tilly’s request for Erin to spend four days before heading back to New York may sound a little farfetched at first sight, but Southern mamas always seem to know what their children need. And the trickery? Well, let’s just say it’s not beyond the realm of reality.

June pulled straight from her surroundings. Never is this more evident in this quote, “But you’re a woman.” T-Fred gave her mop of orange hair a toss to the side of her chubby face. “Yep, that’s what they tell me.” “But your name…” Erin’s nose made a cute scrunch. “My dad was Fred. His first kid was gonna be named after him, no matter what. And I don’t think you’re from around here, but lots of people get the T stuck in front to make a nickname, the T meaning little.”

You’d have to experience the culture to know just how true that quote is. I would be hard pressed to name one person down on the bayou that doesn’t have a nickname or a “T” in front of their name. And, everyone knows everyone elses’ business, or they will real soon.

There were a few drawbacks in the book, but not enough to mention. It’s a fast-moving romance at a slow-moving pace (a Southern thing.) The writing was good and I liked that the area and story was depicted accurately without using the Cajun dialect that often makes a book difficult to read. I am giving INSTRUCTIONS FOR LOVE four stars.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Untamed Heart by Catherine Sharp (Review, Fiction)

Shane Cordell, raised by the Cheyenne, is savagely handsome. Women are drawn to him like a moth to a flame, and he’s every bit as dangerous. His heart never gets involved

…until now. Ashley Clayton is beautiful and independent, She was raised without a mother’s touch, having only her father and ranch hands to ease her into womanhood. She is naïve in the ways of etiquette but not in the ways of the flesh, horseflesh mostly. Upon her first encounter with Shane, she feels a strong attraction immediately, but there is a lie…a lie she is sworn to keep. A lie that seems so innocent now bodes heartache for their future. Shane must face his past in a courtroom where he is charged with rape and murder. Just as he’s found not guilty, Ashley’s innocent lie sends him running again, this time into a prostitute’s arms.

  • File Size: 383 KB
  • Print Length: 197 pages

The Author:

Catherine Sharp is a flight attendant with the private airline Flexjet. She is the mother of two grown sons and lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas with her husband and West Highland White Terrier. Determined to contribute a novel of high quality to one of her favorite genres of historical romantic fiction, Untamed Heart is her first book.

Untamed Heart book trailer can be found here http://goo.gl/AyO6ZL. For further information, please visit http://www.catherinesharp.webs.com 

My Review:

“Ashley Clayton is a strong female heroine who has no need to be rescued by any man, a pleasant change from many other romance novels where the woman is often seen as a damsel in distress.”

I thought the cover of Untamed Heart did an excellent job of setting up the story of Shane and Ashley. I cut my teeth on western romances of this era and having Cherokee blood in my heritage, I really enjoyed the story. I found that the author stayed true to the era and the characters were nicely developed.

While I thought the story was well written, information and relationship wise, there were parts of story where the author seemed to get bogged down in the details and it tended to simplify the writing. While this tended to be a distraction for me, the average reader may not notice, and for that reason I am giving the book 4 stars.

Purchase Now!  Untamed Heart (BookStrand Publishing Romance)

I received a copy of Untamed Heart in exchange for an honest review.

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Cocktail Cove by Jennifer Saints (Review)

When life shakes you up and pours you over the rocks…

Socialite Nikita Derringer is hiding from the mob because of a deal her ex made with the devil, that she accidentally did her ex in with her designer heels, is… beside the point.
Guilt ridden developer Ben Harding walked away from his lucrative big city job and is searching for redemption in the quiet solitude of his grandfather’s sacred fishing cove. But fate has something else in mind for them at cocktail cove. Throw in sex therapy for the masses, a bear of a dog, the deep end of passion and you’ve got a potent mix guaranteed to ignite your senses and fill your heart with love and laughter.

Author Jennifer Saints:

Under a barrage of nagging by BFF’s, I’ve been told my bio was boring, not at all a reflection of just who I am beneath the surface, which is a compliment…I think. So, what can I tell you about me?
I don’t play video games or watch horror because I can’t take the heat, but give me a kick-ass thriller every minute of every day and I am there. Be prepared for a Hoover Dam meltdown if you’re with me and the movie is sad. So, to avoid disaster, I love romantic comedies.
Never coffee. Always tea. Never beer. Always champagne. There’s more, but hey, gotta save some secrets until after the first date, right?
I grew up in Miami. Went to nursing school in Georgia, where I now reside. I wrote for nine years before I sold a book, which made me a firm believer that a person should NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE UP ON THEIR DREAMS.
Besides great kids, family, and friends, that perseverance has so far garnered me a USA Today Bestselling tag. I write in a number of genres and have won a number of writing awards, two National Choice Awards, three Maggie Awards, a RT Book Club Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Marlene Award, and the Golden Heart Award to name most of them. I work with several amazing women in a charity to raise money for a shelter that helps abused and homeless women and children and also contributes to the Angels of East Africa. I’ve revived my nursing career after a long hiatus, and currently work in a surgical clinic.
I write romance because I believe that when you take a human being to the very core of his existence, then you will find that what matters more than anything else is to be loved and to give love.

Review:

This is the first book I’ve read by Jennifer Saints, but I assure you that it won’t be the last. It was laugh out loud funny. It had adventure. It had a clumsy, but terribly mean hitman. It had love and twins and more twins, and love on the rocks, and love…well, love everywhere.

Take two proper British lads studying psychology and insert two American twins with mental telepathy and interesting things began to happen. Add in an overly protective brother, a grandmother, two maidenly aunts, and a dog and you’ve got trouble.

The book is well written, including the sex scenes – which by the way, left this Southern gal reaching for a tall glass of sweet iced tea many times. This writer can write and you won’t want to leave the front porch swing until you’ve devoured every page.

I’m giving Cocktail Cove five stars.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase on Amazon: Cocktail Cove: A Southern Steam Novel (Frankly, My Dear)

Letting Go by Belinda Tors (Review)

Margery Arturo has two children and an abusive husband, Tony. Finally, summoning her courage and her meager resources, she leaves her husband of twenty years while he is away on a business trip out of state. With her teenage daughter, Lola, Margery manages to find an apartment and get a job at a women’s shelter as a counselor. Things are starting to look up. But Tony continues to follow her wherever she goes and turns up at their daughter’s school. He makes threats and refuses to give her child support and monies he owes her in a divorce settlement. Margery soon learns that leaving a violent husband has more risks than possibly getting beaten up or killed after she departs. Will Margery be able to make it on her own?

Letting Go is a compelling novel that takes a hard look at the obstacles women face when trying to escape an abusive relationship—and one woman’s determination to break the cycle of abuse once and for all.

About the book:
Letting Go by Belinda Tors
ISBN: 9781478722175
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Date of publish: October 31, 2013
Pages: 234
S.R.P.: $12.95

About the author:
Belinda Tors is a retired social worker and journalist who has published widely in newspapers and literary journals. Under the name Barbara Fifield, she is the author of two women’s novels, Photographs and Memories and Lucifer Rising and a self-illustrated book of poetry, Passion’s Evidence. She is a member of several writing groups, including the Florida Writers’ Association, the Tomoka Poets, and the Ormond Beach Writers’ League. Ms. Tors resides in Port Orange, Florida.

Review:

Parts of the book, particularly the beginning, were difficult at times to follow with the switch back. I found myself reading about one person and then in an instant I was reading about another wondering why the story wasn’t matching up, and then had to re-read. The author did not transition well at these points.

While the book is grammatically sound, I felt the story was shallow. In the beginning, I liked Margery and understood her plight. Then, a pattern of neglecting her children began to take develop, even though it was at times for the greater good. I felt as a social worker, she was too lackadaisical about some of her daughter’s behavior and lacked rules and discipline making skills.

I think the book would have benefited had the author chosen a few key points to delve into, rather than glazing over them. In the end, I was totally blown away when the mother, again a trained social worker, told her boyfriend she didn’t want his kids living with them, rather than opening her heart and trying to be a positive influence in their lives. I really disliked Margery at this point of the book. I lack understanding how a mother can see unwanted children and not feel the need to at least try and give them a stable home, especially the children of the man she claims to love. I, personally, could not reconcile mother and social worker.

The ending was abrupt with a complete turnaround of the ex-husband “letting go” and moving on without sufficient storyline to allow the reader to process the change. I feel the story lacked depth and hesitate to give this book anything higher than 2-3 stars.

I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase on Amazon: Letting Go

The Cats of Savone by David-Michael Harding

Cats Cover FINAL“Most novels begin their lives as short stories.  Writing, much like any gift, skill, habit, or hope, is strengthened through practice, training, and exercise.  The short story is the stretching and dedication to a running regime long before the marathon.  It is the repetition of scales on the piano, years before the recital.” – David-Michael Harding

The Cats of Savone is an exemplary collection of stories from the pen of historical fiction author David-Michael Harding.  Eight short stories and novellas make up his first installment in The Completely Abridged Series – Short Novels for Busy People.  The title story is the PEN International Winner, The Cats of Savone, which follows a pregnant cat beneath a mammoth steel gate into the exercise yard of the Savone Correctional Facility.  The hardened convicts in the maximum security prison adopt the cat as much as she adopts them.  But an accident in the prison leads to murder and a host of tough choices for tough men – inmates and guards.

Black Men in Bright Blue traces the steps of ten-year-old Rachel Justice in 1864 while she explores her father’s plantation in South Carolina.  As she learns of slavery beneath the shadow of the Civil War, her secret knowledge of the underground railroad pushes her family and her young mind into decisions none are ready for.  Eavesdrop on the captain and crew in Forever Beneath the Celtic Sea as the story follows in the cold wake of the World War I German submarine the U-20, and its deadly encounter with the luxury passenger liner Lusitania in 1917.

The History of West Texas According to Henry Brass sits beside the bed of a of a old soldier, trapper, and patriot who is dying from consumption.  He hasn’t lost his sense of humor however as he relates story after story to a young man who cares for him in his last days.  Henry lived under most of the six different flags that flew over Texas and weaves wonderful tales for his caretaker whose own agenda is taken up by the old man.  Then move from West Texas in the 19th Century to another continent and another time in St. Alden’s where a classic fight between good and evil comes to life on a university campus.  An aged Guardian of the campus needs to pass down the secrets of a mysterious silver and the power of goodness to his grandson before night demons put an end to a magical spring and its unique life giving water.

Additional stories provide glimpses into the life of a man who has gone through a lifetime of labels – retarded in the 50’s, handicapped in the 70’s, and now with special needs – Jonny Archer finds himself on an unlikely trip in The Junket.  The Jazz Bridge chronicles the history and anniversary of an ordinary bridge in an ordinary town as something extraordinary happens.  The collection is rounded out by My Boo Radleyand the high school baseball pitcher who learns lessons from an old fan who the world viewed as a monster.

The Author:

David-Michael Harding is a life-long writer whose work has appeared in national publications and has been recognized by the international writing community. He is a collegiate writing instructor and former semi-professional football player. His experiences provide readers with well researched, crushing fast-paced action. Most of his days are spent writing from the cockpit of his sailboat, Pegasus, somewhere off the Nature Coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico.

Review:

Savone is a hard-core prison. The cat comes to live at the prison. Why read a story about a cat that comes to live at a prison? The truth is, a story about a cat and the effect the cat has on hard-core prisoners may not be enough to draw the reader in. What does pull the reader into the story and then weaves a spell around them is the author’s writing. The writing captivates you and all of a sudden the cat and its role have you within its grasp and the story reaches your heart.

David-Michael Harding writes in such a way that the reader becomes enchanted with the story. He uses the cat and the effect that a kind and gentle animal can have on hard-core criminals; murderers. These animals bring out not only fierce tenderness and loyalty, but also the anger and violence that each of these men harbor down inside; and how the death of an innocent little cat can cause deep enough rage to make a man kill in revenge.

The Cats of Savone is a story about a cat in a prison.  There are also more stories in the book and the review, while not mentioning each individual story, is an overall rating of each. The writing is outstanding, and my rating is five stars…

Purchase at Amazon: The Cats of Savone (The Completely Abridged Series)

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Hoppin’ The Boxes! 8 Authors! 8 Sets of books! Win Prizes!

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Welcome to my stop for Hoppin the Boxes Today I’ll be featuring

M.P. McDonald

But -
There are Over 60 stops – with plenty of excerpts, information and a giveaway!
These Eight Authors are presenting their Boxed Sets with Excerpts, Character Bios, and Prizes
Barbara Silkstone with the Wendy Darlin Tomb Raider Boxed Set
Cheryl Bradshaw with the Sloan Monroe Boxed Set
Christy Hayes and the Golden Rule Bundle
Donna Fasano and the Single Daddy Club Boxed Set
Faith Mortimer and the Diana Rivers Mystery Set
M.P. McDonald and the Mark Taylor Omnibus
Melissa F. Miller and the Sasha McCandles Series
Sibel Hodge and the Sibel Hodge Box Set
This tour will run from 11 – 18 November
Giveaways!
Reader drawing is international
Grand Prize Winner : $60 Giftcard to Amazon or Barnes and all eight boxed sets
First Prize Winner: $40 Giftcard and all eight box set
Second Prize winner – 4 (winner’s choice) boxed sets
(see the giveaway tool at the bottom of the post!)

And now.. I present

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Mark Taylor Omnibus Boxed Set ~ Purchase Now: Amazon

This is a collection of all four books in the Mark Taylor Series.

Mark Taylor: Genesis: Prequel
Mark Taylor’s life changes forever when he finds an antique camera in an Afghan bazaar. Back home in Chicago, he discovers that the camera has a strange and unique ability–it produces photographs of tragedies yet to happen. What else can he do but attempt to save lives and thwart catastrophe?

No Good Deed: Book 1
Mark Taylor discovers first hand that no good deed goes unpunished when after the unthinkable happened and everyone ignored his frantic warnings, thousands died. Suddenly, the Feds are pounding on his door and the name they have for Taylor isn’t urban hero. It’s enemy combatant. And, it means they can do anything they want to him. Anything at all.

March Into Hell: Book 2

Mark’s life takes a dark turn when his heroism becomes the subject of a newspaper article. The media attention and a harrowing encounter while saving a young woman, puts him in the sights of the ruthless cult leader who covets the secret to Mark’s power.

Uncomfortable in the public spotlight, Mark suspects he’s being tested by the force behind the camera’s prophetic magic. Battling his own self-doubt, he must maintain the secret or risk certain death.

Deeds of Mercy: Book 3

An unexpected visitor from Mark’s past brings him unwanted attention from the authorities. Unable to decide who is friend and who is foe, Mark becomes a fugitive from the law, but with thousands of lives at stake, he is forced to put aside his fear of capture, and instead, seek help from his pursuers.

About M.P. McDonald

M.P. McDonald grew up the fifth of eight kids–and was the baby for the first eight years of her life until her little sister came along and ruined it all. Okay, she didn’t really ruin it, but M.P. went from being the baby to being a middle child and all that entails.

Always an avid reader, she could be found curled up on the couch or in a chair reading a book because chances were, she wasn’t going to get to watch what she wanted on one of the four channels on TV. The competion was too fierce.

After an average high school career, she went on to study respiratory therapy and still works in the profession more than twenty-seven years later. Last, but never least, she is mother of three wonderful kids–two grown and one just entering the teen years.

Follow M.P. McDonald: Website § Blog § Facebook § Twitter § Pinterest

Mark Taylor: Genesis: Prequel
Purchase Now: Amazon
“Good morning, Mo,” Mark said as his friend waved him into his apartment. “I brought some coffee and donuts.” He raised a bag of donuts and balanced a cardboard tray with the coffee cups and an assortment of creamers in his other hand.
“Thanks. Just set it on the kitchen table. Be careful of the papers and photos though.”
Mark complied, angling his head to see the picture peeking out from beneath the papers. It was the blue color that had caught his eye. It was the color of many of the burqas that the women in Afghanistan had worn. He had seen a few other colors like black or gray, but blue had been the most common color.
He started to reach for the photo, but Mo grabbed his arm. “Hold on. I have them numbered and stuff. I don’t want to mess it up.”
“Sorry.” He tried not to take offense at the reprimand, but there was something about Mo’s tone that bugged him. Taking a coffee from the tray, he shrugged off the annoyance and peeled the plastic tab back on the lid. Ignoring the creamers—they were for Mo, he took a sip. Maybe his own feeling of anxiety about his dream and his irritation with Mo was simply a lack of caffeine.
“So how does this all work?”
Mo shrugged. “I have a few connections. In fact, our trip was paid for by a sponsor.”
“Really?” Mark grinned. It had bothered him that his friend had paid for the tickets and accommodations, such as they were, but he reminded himself that he hadn’t been paid for his work while over there either and he had taken time from his own business to go. “Who’s the sponsor? A women’s organization?” It made sense to him.
Instead of answering, Mo narrowed his eyes. “It doesn’t concern you.”
Taken aback, Mark set his coffee down and spread his hands. “Did I piss you off somehow?”
The hostile look dropped off Mo’s face and although a smile replaced it, it didn’t quite reach his eyes. “No. I just have a lot on my mind.”
“Look, I’ve got a lot on my mind today too, so why don’t we do this another time?”
“But you might forget the details.”
Thinking back to the circumstances surrounding the photos, Mark shook his head. “No way.”
Mo scowled, made a shooing motion and said, “Then go. I know this means nothing to you. I might just throw all your photos away.”
Stunned at the reaction, Mark remained rooted to the kitchen floor for a moment, but then spun for the door ready to slam it on his way out, but instead, he stopped with his hand on the knob and turned to face Mo. “You know, I was honored when you asked me to go to Afghanistan with you. It was an opportunity to do some good and I wanted to be a part of it, but I have to admit that I was also eager to get my photos in your book.” His face heated at the admission as he avoided Mo’s eyes. “Most of my jobs are ads in magazines or catalogs. Basically, my photos sell stuff. That wasn’t how I envisioned my career when I started out. I looked at this as my big chance to make an impression—you know, like those iconic photos in Life or Time.”
He paused and blew out a deep breath as he tried to put into words the frustration he felt, his hand tightening on the knob. “But after seeing that woman beaten, it just seemed like I wasn’t able to do enough—that I won’t ever be able to do enough—but I still gotta try. So, you do whatever you want to do with the photos, but you are dead wrong when you said the book meant nothing to me.”
The anger had eased from Mo’s expression, but he remained silent.
With a firm nod, Mark left, pulling the door closed behind him with a soft click.

No Good Deed: Book 1
Purchase Now: Amazon

“Good morning, Mo,” Mark said as his friend waved him into his apartment. “I brought some coffee and donuts.” He raised a bag of donuts and balanced a cardboard tray with the coffee cups and an assortment of creamers in his other hand.
“Thanks. Just set it on the kitchen table. Be careful of the papers and photos though.”
Mark complied, angling his head to see the picture peeking out from beneath the papers. It was the blue color that had caught his eye. It was the color of many of the burqas that the women in Afghanistan had worn. He had seen a few other colors like black or gray, but blue had been the most common color.
He started to reach for the photo, but Mo grabbed his arm. “Hold on. I have them numbered and stuff. I don’t want to mess it up.”
“Sorry.” He tried not to take offense at the reprimand, but there was something about Mo’s tone that bugged him. Taking a coffee from the tray, he shrugged off the annoyance and peeled the plastic tab back on the lid. Ignoring the creamers—they were for Mo, he took a sip. Maybe his own feeling of anxiety about his dream and his irritation with Mo was simply a lack of caffeine.
“So how does this all work?”
Mo shrugged. “I have a few connections. In fact, our trip was paid for by a sponsor.”
“Really?” Mark grinned. It had bothered him that his friend had paid for the tickets and accommodations, such as they were, but he reminded himself that he hadn’t been paid for his work while over there either and he had taken time from his own business to go. “Who’s the sponsor? A women’s organization?” It made sense to him.
Instead of answering, Mo narrowed his eyes. “It doesn’t concern you.”
Taken aback, Mark set his coffee down and spread his hands. “Did I piss you off somehow?”
The hostile look dropped off Mo’s face and although a smile replaced it, it didn’t quite reach his eyes. “No. I just have a lot on my mind.”
“Look, I’ve got a lot on my mind today too, so why don’t we do this another time?”
“But you might forget the details.”
Thinking back to the circumstances surrounding the photos, Mark shook his head. “No way.”
Mo scowled, made a shooing motion and said, “Then go. I know this means nothing to you. I might just throw all your photos away.”
Stunned at the reaction, Mark remained rooted to the kitchen floor for a moment, but then spun for the door ready to slam it on his way out, but instead, he stopped with his hand on the knob and turned to face Mo. “You know, I was honored when you asked me to go to Afghanistan with you. It was an opportunity to do some good and I wanted to be a part of it, but I have to admit that I was also eager to get my photos in your book.” His face heated at the admission as he avoided Mo’s eyes. “Most of my jobs are ads in magazines or catalogs. Basically, my photos sell stuff. That wasn’t how I envisioned my career when I started out. I looked at this as my big chance to make an impression—you know, like those iconic photos in Life or Time.”
He paused and blew out a deep breath as he tried to put into words the frustration he felt, his hand tightening on the knob. “But after seeing that woman beaten, it just seemed like I wasn’t able to do enough—that I won’t ever be able to do enough—but I still gotta try. So, you do whatever you want to do with the photos, but you are dead wrong when you said the book meant nothing to me.”
The anger had eased from Mo’s expression, but he remained silent.
With a firm nod, Mark left, pulling the door closed behind him with a soft click.

March Into Hell: Book 2
Purchase Now: Amazon § Audible

“Fine. You don’t have to convince me anymore. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Mark gathered his trash and deposited it in the garbage can. Now that he was on his way to his loft, the fatigue that he’d kept at bay by sheer willpower swept through him. Maybe he’d just go straight to bed. He glanced at his watch. It was only seven o’clock, but he was beat. Before he could put the plan into motion, his cell phone rang. He glanced at the number and groaned, wanting to ignore it, but knew he couldn’t. He’d agreed to this arrangement.
“Hello, Jim.”
“Why aren’t you carrying the phone I issued you? I tried calling you earlier.”
Mark entered the loft and kicked his shoes off. “Now you’re starting to sound like my mother. Yeah. I guess I forgot to grab it this morning. I had a lot on my mind.” He refused to apologize — not when he’d never wanted the damn secure phone to begin with.
“Yes, I saw that. All the more reason to keep the other phone handy. You’re supposed to avoid attracting attention. I would hardly call this article as keeping a low profile.”
“I had nothing to do with the article. I spoke briefly to the reporter, but I told her nothing that she didn’t already know.” He eased down on the couch and let out a sigh as he relaxed. His back was still sore from yesterday’s adventure.
“Why didn’t you tell her to forget the story?”
“Listen, Jim, the last time I checked, the press had the right to free speech, or is that is that not true anymore?”
Jim was silent for so long, Mark pulled the cell from his ear and checked to make sure they were still connected. He knew it still rankled Jim that judicial process hadn’t been followed with the enemy combatant thing, but Mark didn’t care. It was nothing compared to the anger he’d been forced to bury away.
“Nobody is talking about taking away any rights. It’s not even about free speech, it’s about maintaining national security. Do you have any idea how valuable your ‘gift’ could be? But that’s beside the point. If you didn’t cooperate, where did she get the photo of you? It’s an old one, so someone had to give it to her.”
Mark stifled a yawn and scrubbed his fingers against his scalp. “I have no idea. It’s kind of funny, actually. The picture is one of the first taken with the camera.”
“You mean the special camera? I thought only you used it.”
“Not long after I came back from Afghanistan, I had the camera sitting on a counter in the studio while I was doing a commercial shoot with a few kids for an ad. One of the kids picked up the camera and caught me off guard. I meant to send that picture to my mom because she complained that I’m a photographer, but she never had pictures of me.” He shrugged even though Jim couldn’t see him. “I never got around to giving it to her though.” He put his feet up on the coffee table, crossing them as he searched for the TV remote in the cushion of the couch.
“So how did the reporter get it?
Damn, Jim was like a dog with a bone. “How the hell should I know? I haven’t seen the picture since I got out. I figured it disappeared with just about every other thing I owned.” He couldn’t resist that last dig.
“Mark, I’m sorry if this is coming off like I think this is your fault. I know it’s not. It just makes me really nervous to have one of my guys in the spotlight.”

Deeds of Mercy: Book 3
Purchase Now: Amazon § Audible

“While you were getting patched up, we combed through every file we had on Mohommad Aziz. According to the records, he was sent back to Afghanistan in December of 2002.”
Mark couldn’t stifle the wave of resentment that rose within him. “He was released before I was?”
Jim’s eyes were unreadable as he tapped his pen against the pad twice before nodding. “Yes. He held dual citizenship, and so his American citizenship was revoked and he was sent back under the condition that he never return. His last known residence was with his uncle in Afghanistan.” He glanced at his notes and continued, “The uncle holds office in Kundunz province and has some political connections, apparently.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” It was ludicrous. Mark had been released only after he had nearly been broken. He’d returned home to nothing. No home, no business, and his personal life in shambles, while Mohommad had no doubt returned to a hero’s welcome from his extended family in Afghanistan. Anger heated a path from his chest to his head, and his face burned. “I guess I didn’t have enough connections to get released sooner.”
Jim bowed his head in acknowledgement. “I’m sorry. I tried.”
Mark pushed out of the chair and paced a few steps. His instinct was to leave–to get away before he exploded with rage. It was as if everything he’d tried to forget, the anger, frustration and resentment that he’d quashed and locked into a vault in his brain, had suddenly sprung free to run amok. It was barreling around inside his head, crashing into the barriers he’d carefully constructed.
He stalked halfway to the couch, halted and faced Jim. “You’ve known this for how long?”
“Since shortly after Mohommad was released. I received a memo.” He tossed the pen on the pad of paper and spread his hands. “What difference does it make? It’s not like I personally set him free. I only questioned the man one time before he was sent to another facility.”
Mark gave his head a little shake, trying to comprehend the last bit of information. “You interrogated him? Were you the one who told him about the camera? For some reason, I thought it was another team. I mean, it wasn’t like he was held in the same brig as I was…or was he?” Mark had to know.
Jim stood and approached Mark. “I can’t discuss this with you, Mark. You know that.”
“Like hell you can’t! It’s not like there’s some kind of interrogator/interrogatee confidentiality clause, is there?” Mark knew he wasn’t being rational, but he couldn’t stop. “Do you all take classes on interrogation ethics?” He flung his arm toward the bookcase, pointing. “In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if you have Torture Methods for Dummies as some of your lighter reading.”
Jim flinched almost imperceptibly. “Settle down.” He put his hand on Mark’s shoulder in a manner meant to calm him.
Mark shrugged the hand off, ready to do more if Jim tried to resist. “Don’t tell me to settle down. I’m pissed off and I think I have a right to be. You kept me locked up for over a year. I can’t get that time back. I came to terms with it, but only because I thought justice had finally won out, but it didn’t, did it? Because if it had, Mo would still be locked up and everyone would be safer.”

Please be sure to check the other tour stops where you will see ….

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Spotlight: Widow, Spy & Lover by Eden Carson

The year is 1864.  The place – the Deep South.  There’s typhoid in the town, soldiers at the door, and a dead husband in the springhouse.  When gun smugglers come calling, Morgan Edgeworth has only one thing to barter – a deadly knowledge of bomb-making no woman should have.

To escape a violent past and protect his brother, Liam Griffin crosses an ocean to America — only to step off the boat into the middle of a deadly war.  The Irishman is forced to join the North – as scout, tactician, and the gun guarding his brother’s back.

When Griffin steps into the Bleu Pig Tavern, he’s looking for information.  What he finds is a woman – An elegant southern lady serving whiskey to thieves and deserters.  She’s beautiful, well-spoken, and entirely out-of-place in a rowdy tavern.  As she circles the room, pausing only for hurried conversations with men in Confederate uniforms, Griffin is forced to look beyond his interest in Morgan as a woman. Could she know something about the black powder making its way up the Mississippi?

When Griffin rescues Morgan from a dangerous situation, he offers his protection in exchange for information.  Can she survive on her own, or should she trust the charming Irishman to keep his word?

WIDOW, SPY & LOVER is an action-packed romance that begins during the Civil War in Union-occupied Louisiana, and ends on the Texas frontier.

It’s about fresh starts.  Love and Redemption.  And the meaning of family.  There’s adventure, humor, romance, and passion.

Eden Carson, Author:

I am a native Californian currently living in San Diego with my wonderful husband and two kids. I’ve tried my hand at several careers over the years, including teaching English in Brazil and Eastern Europe, marketing in environmental engineering, and software development. I started writing romance several years ago and discovered my true passion! Nothing gives me more satisfaction that creating a world and fascinating people to live and love in it. I’ve just self-published my first novel, Untamed Journey, with the hope of being my own boss one day.

If you’d like to hear when my next book is available or just drop me a line, check out my website:

http://www.edencarson.com

or join me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EdenCarsonFans

Recent Awards:

Second Place for Untamed Journey in the 2013 Romance Writers of America Gulf Coast Chapter Silken Sands Self-Published Star Award for Untamed Journey

Quarter Finalist in the 2012 ABNA contest in the romance category.

I’ve been asked, “What have you learned from being a self published author?”

With Untamed Journey, it has been exciting to try out everything. I read and read blogs, suggestions from other authors and try out what seems like it might work. I’m always open to ideas and have been amazed at how generous everyone has been in offering to help.

The most intriguing aspect is that authors can now write whatever they want and get feedback directly from fans on what they would like to read! I’d love to hear from you, so send me an email or join my mailing list (reached via my website http://www.edencarson.com).

EXCERPT:

“You shouldn’t do that,” she said, short of breath.

“Kiss you?” he asked.  “I thought we’d settled my rights back on the train.  Should we negotiate more explicitly?”

“No, that’s not necessary.  I didn’t mean all kissing.  Just not in full view of everyone.  People were watching and cheering.”

“It was a chaste enough kiss, as far as kisses go.  But if you’d prefer closed doors, here we are.  Let’s have a proper tour.”

He opened the door for her and ushered her inside, before she could change her mind.

“It has a bit of charm,” Griffin offered, picking up a broken chair off the floor.

“There’s a hole in the roof.”

“There’s a view of the moon.”

“It’s cold and there’s no stove.”

“You have me now,” he reminded her, hugging her from behind.  “I’ll keep you warm.”

“You’re right,” she said, stepping away and tossing a wicked smile over her shoulder at him.  She bent down, giving him a most distracting view.  When she stood upright, she turned and handed him a hammer, its handle broken off.

“Watch you don’t fall off the roof and kill yourself,” she said.

He smiled into her sparkling green eyes, certain he could make her fall in love with the place.  And him.  “You’d surely miss me,” he warned.

“With a gaping hole in my roof, and no one to warm me, I surely would.”

Purchase links are here:
Ebook and Paperback available on Amazon by clicking book:

I will be reviewing Widow, Spy & Lover in a few days. I invite you to pop in and read my review.

 

Thinking with the heart…

These are not my own words. I received this in an email and felt the need to share. I hope you enjoy and that it makes you think – with your heart, not your head. 

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree.

The last class I had to take was Sociology.

The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with.

Her last project of the term was called, ‘Smile.’

The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake, Literally.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald’s one crisp March morning.

It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.

We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden
everyone around us began to back away, and then Even my husband did.

I did not move an inch… An overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved.

As I turned around I smelled a horrible ‘dirty body’ smell, and there
standing behind me were two poor homeless men.

As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was ‘smiling’

His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God’s Light as he searched f or
acceptance….

He said, ‘Good day’ as he counted the few coins he had been clutching..

The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation.

I held my tears as I stood there with them.

The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted.

He said, ‘Coffee is all Miss’ because that was all they could afford. (If
they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it – the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes..

That is when I noticed all eyes in the Restaurant were set on me, judging My every action.

I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray.

I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman’s cold hand.

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, ‘Thank you.’

I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, ‘I did not do this for you..God is here working through me to give you hope.’

I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son…. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, ‘That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope..’

We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.

We are not church goers, but we are believers.

That day showed me the pure Light of God’s sweet love.

I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in
hand.

I turned in ‘my project’ and the instructor read it.

Then she looked up at me and said, ‘Can I share this?’

I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.

She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed.

In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald’s, my son, the
instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I
spent as a college student.

I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn:

UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE.

Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to

LOVE PEOPLE AND USE THINGS –

NOT LOVE THINGS AND USE PEOPLE.

There is an Angel sent to watch over you.

In order for her to work, you must pass this on to the people you want
watched over.

An Angel wrote:

Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will
leave footprints in your heart

To handle yourself, use your head..

To handle others, use your heart.

God Gives every bird it’s food, but He does not throw it into its nest.

Come A Little Bit Closer, The Sullivans Book 7 by Bella Andre

***Hot New Release***

Movie star Smith Sullivan can’t afford any distractions. He’s staking his entire reputation on his new film…but he can’t stop thinking about Valentina Landon and the fire he sees smoldering just beneath the surface.

Valentina isn’t averse to sensual pleasure, or even to the idea of finding true love, but as a Hollywood business manager she’s watched too many smart women fall for actors…only to be torn apart when the fairytale comes to its inevitable end.

But when intense weeks together on set turn their heated attraction into red-hot flames of passion, Smith knows he has to find a way to convince Valentina to let him get a little bit closer. Close enough to completely steal her heart…the way she’s stolen his from the start.

To read an excerpt and my review, click here:

Come A Little Bit Closer, The Sullivans Book 7

 

Let Me Be The One, The Sullivans Book 6 by Bella Andre

When Vicki Bennett saved Ryan Sullivan’s life as a teenager, 

it was the beginning of a close friendship that never wavered despite her failed marriage to someone else and Ryan’s well-earned reputation as a ladies man. So when she suddenly needs a pretend boyfriend to 

 protect herself and 

her career from a powerful man’s advances, he is the only person she can imagine asking.

 

Ryan will do anything to protect Vicki from harm, but when their “fake” kisses and caresses lead to an incredibly sensual night that neither of them can resist, will he have made the biggest mistake of all by irreparably jeopardizing their friendship? Or is it possible that what they’ve both been looking for has been right there the whole time…and the perfect combination of wicked and sweet, friendship and love, is finally within reach?

Enjoy an excerpt from Let Me Be The One:

Fifteen years ago, Palo Alto High School

 Victoria Bennett couldn’t take her eyes off Ryan Sullivan, who was laughing with some of the guys on his baseball team, as she headed through the high school parking lot toward the art store on University Avenue.

None of the other girls in her tenth-grade class could take their eyes off him, either, so at least she didn’t stick out. Not for that reason, anyway. Her clay-stained fingers and clothes—along with the “new girl” sign she felt like she was wearing during her first few weeks at every new school—did that with no help whatsoever from Ryan…or his ridiculously good looks.

Normally, she could have gotten over his pretty face without much trouble. As an artist, she always worked to look beneath the surface of things, to try to find out what was really at the heart of a painting or sculpture or song. That went for people, too. Especially boys who, as far as she could tell, only ever told a girl what they wanted to hear for one reason.

No, what had her stuck on Ryan Sullivan was the fact that he was always laughing. Somehow, without being the class clown, he had a gift for putting people at ease and making them feel good.

Before she could catch herself, she put her fingers to her lips…and wondered what it would feel like if he kissed her.

She yanked her hand away from her mouth. Not just because dreaming of his kisses was borderline pathetic given the utter unlikelihood of that scenario, but because she needed to stay focused on her art.

She wasn’t just another tenth grader mooning over the hottest boy in school.

She was studying her muse.

Vicki had never been much interested in sculpting formal busts before. Old, dead, overly serious guys in gray didn’t really do it for her. But it had only taken a few minutes near Ryan at lunch her first day on campus to be inspired to capture his laughter in clay. She wished she could get closer to all that easy joy—if only to figure out how to translate it from her mind’s eye to the clay beneath her fingers.

Yes, she thought with a small smile, she was perfectly willing to suffer for her art. Especially if it meant staring at Ryan Sullivan.

The light turned from red to green and she could have picked up her pace and made it across the street. Only, she’d been having such trouble getting the corners of the eyes and mouth just right on her Laughing Boy sculpture. Knowing there wasn’t a chance that Ryan or his friends would notice her, rather than leaving the school grounds, she closed the distance between them in as nonchalant a manner as she could, while surreptitiously watching him from beneath the veil of the bangs that had grown too long over her eyes during the summer.

A few seconds later, his friends high-fived him and walked away. Ryan bent down to finish packing up a long, narrow black bag at his feet, which she guessed held his baseball stuff.

What, she wondered on an appreciative sigh at the way the muscles on his forearms and shoulders flexed as he picked up the bag, would happen if she talked to him? And what would he say if she outright asked him to pose for her?

She was on the verge of laughing out loud at her crazy thoughts when she heard a squeal coming from the parking lot. In a split second she realized an out-of-control car was whipping straight toward Ryan.

There wasn’t time to plan, or to think. Vicki sprinted across the several feet between them and threw herself at him.

“Car!”

Fortunately, Ryan’s natural athleticism kicked in right away. Even though she was the one trying to pull him out of the way, less than a heartbeat later he was lifting her and practically throwing her across the grass before leaping to cover her body with his.

She scrunched her eyes tightly shut as the car careened past, so close that she could feel the hairs on her arms lifting in its wake. Breathing hard, Vicki clung to Ryan. Wetness moved across her cheeks and she belatedly realized tears must have sprung up from landing so hard on the grass.

The seconds ticked by as if in slow motion, one hard, thudding heartbeat after another from Ryan’s chest to hers and then back again from hers to his. He was so strong, so warm, so beautifully real. She wanted to lie like this with him forever, more intimately, closer than she’d ever been with another boy.

Only, voices were rising in pitch all around her, and suddenly, the reality of what had just happened hit.

Oh my God, they’d both almost died!

She was starting to feel faint when he lifted his head and smiled down at her.

“Hi, I’m Ryan.”

The way he said it, as if she didn’t already know who he was, pierced through her shock. He acted like it was normal to be sprawled over a girl. Which, she suddenly realized, it probably was. For him.

Definitely not for her, though.

Her lips were dry and she had to lick them once, twice, before saying, “I’m Victoria.” The words, “But my friends call me Vicki,” slipped out before she could pull them back in.

His smile widened and her heart started beating even faster. Not from shock this time, but from pure, unfettered teenage hormones kicked into overdrive by his beautiful smile.

“Thank you for saving my life, Vicki.” A moment later, his smile disappeared as he took in her tear-streaked cheeks. The eyes that she’d seen filled with laughter so many times during the first two weeks of school grew serious. “I hurt you.”

She would have told him no, and that she was fine, but all breath and words were stolen from her the instant he brushed his fingertips over her cheeks to wipe away her tears.

Somehow, she managed to shake her head, and to get her lips to form the word no, even though no sound followed.

His laughing eyes were dark now, and more intense than she’d ever seen them. “Are you sure? I didn’t mean to land so hard on you.”

“I’m—”

How was she supposed to keep her brain working when he’d begun the slow, shockingly sweet process of running his hands over the back of her skull, and then down to her shoulders and upper arms?

One more word. That was all she needed to get out to answer his question.

“—fine.”

“Good.” His voice was deeper, richer, than any of the other fifteen-year-old boys. “I’m glad.”

But as he stared down at her, his expression continued to grow even more intense and she found herself holding her breath.

Was he going to kiss her now? Had her life just turned into the quintessential after-school-special fantasy, the one where the artsy girl caught the eye of the jock and the whole school was turned upside down by their unlikely but ultimately perfect and inevitable pairing?

“One day, when you need me most, I promise I’ll be there for you, Vicki.”

Oh. She swallowed hard. Oh my.

He hadn’t given her a kiss…but his promise felt more important than a mere kiss would have been.

Before she realized it, he was standing up again and holding out a hand to help her up, too. Instantly missing his heat, the hard muscles pressing into her softer ones, all the lies she’d been trying to tell herself about Ryan simply being a muse scattered out of reach.

“Can I walk you home?”

Surprised that he wanted to spend more time with her, she quickly shook her head.

He looked equally surprised by her response, likely because no girl on earth had ever turned him down.

“No, I can’t walk you home?”

She fumbled to explain. “I’m not going home. I was actually heading over to the art store to pick up some supplies for a new sculpt—”

She barely stopped herself from rambling on about her latest project. Why would Ryan Sullivan care? Besides, she reminded her racing heart with brutal honesty, he probably had some pretty cheerleaders waiting on him. And they wouldn’t need an out-of-control car to get him to lie down on top of them.

Because no matter how tempting it was to believe that she had suddenly been cast in a happy-ever-after fairytale romance, the truth was that getting that close to Ryan had been nothing more than a fluke of fate.

And Vicki remained the star of her artsy, and often lonely, move-to-a-new-town-every-year-with-her-military-family teenage life.

Only, for some strange reason she couldn’t understand, Ryan wasn’t running in the opposite direction yet. Probably because he felt like he owed her after she’d saved his life. After all, hadn’t he just told her that he would be there for her one day when she really needed him?

“What are you getting supplies for?” He asked the question as though he were truly interested, not just acting like it because he felt he should.

“I’m making a—” Wait, she couldn’t tell him what she was making. Because she was sculpting him. “I work with clay. Lately, I’ve been trying to capture specific facial expressions.”

“Which ones?”

Never in a million years did she think she’d ever speak to him, let alone have this long a conversation. But, what shocked her most of all was just how comfortable she felt with him. Even with all of her teenage hormones on high alert, Ryan was, simply, the easiest person she’d ever been around.

And she wanted more time with him than just five stolen minutes on the high school lawn.

Her nerves were starting to back off a bit by the time she told him, “I started with all the usual expressions every artist knows best.” She played it up for him. “Tears. Pain. Suffering. Existential nothingness.”

His laughter made her feel like she could float all the way to the art store and back.

“Sounds fun.”

“Oh yeah,” she joked back, “it’s a riot. Which is why I’m trying something different now.” She took a breath before admitting, “I’m working on laughter.”

“Laughter, huh?” He grinned at her. “I like it. How’s it going?”

Being so close to the full wattage of his smile made her breath catch in her throat. In an effort to cover her all-too-obvious reaction to him, she scrunched up her face. “Put it this way, I think I’ve started to resemble all those other expressions.”

“Even the existential nothingness one?”

As if she were watching the two of them from a distance, Vicki knew she’d always look back to that moment as the one that mattered most. The one where she fell head over heels in love with Ryan Sullivan. And not because of his beautiful outside.

But because he’d listened.

And, even better, because he’d appreciated.

“Especially that one,” she replied.

He picked up her bag from the grass. “Sounds awesome. Mind if I tag along?”

Okay, so maybe the two of them didn’t add up on paper, but Vicki couldn’t deny that they had clicked.

“Sure,” she said, “if you don’t have anywhere else you have to be.”

He slung his equipment bag over his other shoulder and walked beside her. “Nothing more important than hanging out with a new friend.”

This time, she was the one grinning at him. In the two weeks since she’d moved to Palo Alto with her family, she hadn’t done a very good job of making friends at the high school. As an Army brat who moved more years than not, she’d stopped making the effort a long time ago when she realized how hard it was to not only break into fully formed cliques, but also to maintain long-distance friendships once she inevitably left town.

Ryan made everything seem so easy, though, as if the only thing that wouldn’t make sense was their not hanging out.

By the end of their trip to the art store and back, she knew all about his seven siblings, he knew she had two annoying little brothers, he’d told her what he liked about baseball, she’d told him what she loved about sculpting, and she’d been invited to dinner at the Sullivan house.

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The best one she’d ever had.

 

* * *

 

Present day, San Francisco

 

Ryan Sullivan threw his car keys to the valet as he shot past him. The young man’s eyes widened as he realized that he was not only about to drive a Ferrari into the underground parking lot, but that it belonged to one of his sports idols.

“Mr. Sullivan, sir, don’t you need your valet tag?”

Ryan took his responsibilities to the fans seriously and made it a point never to let them down. But tonight the only thing that mattered was Vicki. Even though a half-dozen missed connections over the years had kept them from meeting up again in person after high school, they’d kept in touch through email and phone calls.

Vicki was his friend.

And he wouldn’t let anyone hurt one of his friends.

Ryan pushed through the dark glass doors to the exclusive hotel foyer and made himself stop long enough to do a quick scan of the glittering room. The Pacific Union Club wasn’t his kind of place—it was pretentious as all hell—and he hadn’t thought it would be Vicki’s usual stomping grounds, either.

So why was she here? And why hadn’t she told him she was finally coming back to Northern California after so many years in Europe?

He’d been hanging at his brother Chase’s new baby celebration when her texts had come in.

 

I need your help. Come quick.

 

Ryan had cursed every one of the thirty-five miles into the city from his mother’s house on the Peninsula. He’d texted Vicki again and again to get more information, and to make sure that she was okay, but she hadn’t replied.

He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so worried about anyone…or so ready to do battle. Vicki wasn’t the kind of woman who cried wolf. She wouldn’t have sent him those texts just to try to get his attention. She was the only woman he’d ever known apart from his sisters and mother who had ever been completely real with him, and who didn’t want anything from him besides his friendship.

His large hands were tight fists as he surveyed the cocktail lounge, his jaw clenched tight.

Damn it, where was she?

If anyone had touched Vicki the wrong way, or hurt her even the slightest bit, Ryan would make them pay.

He was famous for being not only the winningest pitcher in the National Baseball League, but also one of the most laid-back. Very few people had a clue about Ryan’s hidden edges, but it wouldn’t take much more to set him off tonight.

He grabbed the first person in uniform, his grip hard enough on the young man’s upper arm that he winced. “Is there a private meeting room?”

The young man stuttered, “Y-yes, sir.”

“Where is it?”

His hand shook as he pointed. “On the back side of the bar, but it’s already reserved toni—”

Ryan hightailed it through the lounge and it shouldn’t have been that hard to get through the crowd, but it seemed that every single person in the room either got up to buy another drink or was trying to get his attention.

When he found a subtly hidden door just to the side of the bar, he nearly knocked it off its hinges in his hurry to open it.

Ryan saw the flash of Vicki’s long blond hair first, her killer curves second.

Thank God, she was here, and in one piece.

But his relief was short-lived when he realized he’d interrupted her and her cocktail companion just as the man’s hand was sliding onto her thigh.

Vicki jumped off her seat as Ryan strode into the room. The terror that had been on her face when the other man touched her leg slowly morphed into relief at his arrival.

Her companion, on the other hand, was clearly surprised to see Ryan…and he wasn’t happy about it, either. The man was probably in his fifties and was obviously loaded. Or at least wanted people to think he was, holding meetings in a place like this, wearing a handmade suit.

Quickly conjuring up an expression of surprise, Vicki said, “What are you doing here so early, honey?”

 

…Excerpt from LET ME BE THE ONE by Bella Andre ©2012.

 

My Review:

 

What are the chances of having eight exceptionally good looking siblings in one family? And, what are the chances that they all find perfectly beautiful mates and live happily ever after? Probably next to none, but then that’s why we read fantasy. And, oh what a wonderful fantasy world Bella Andre has created for us in The Sullivan’s Series. 

There are some books you read, some you find yourself skimming through, and then there are the books you realize that you are hanging onto every word and sometimes find yourself re-reading words and forget you are reading about the character in the book. These books fall into the latter category. 

A Knight in Shining Armor to the rescue. It just makes my heart pitter patter. Book 6 introduces us to pro baseball player Ryan Sullivan and Victoria Bennett, his best friend from high school. Ryan has been waiting for the chance to pay Vicki back for saving his life all those years ago, but by pretending he’s in love with her? Or is it real? You’ll have to read the book, because I’m not telling!

Technically speaking, I thought the book was very easy going and creatively written. The book also had a complete story line that could end with the last page of the book, if that were the only one the reader chose to read. I did like the way the author set up the next sibling’s story at the end of each book, and although they do not need to be read in order, I personally would recommend that this be done. 

 

Fall in Love with the Sullivan’s – One by one!

Click the link to the Rafflecopter to win prizes!

 

 

Stalking my prey


       I, for some strange reason – because I don’t normally explain myself – felt the need to explain myself – stranger things have happened – to someone that I had been surfing around the internet visiting their site and such, because they had requested I review their book. My explanation – needed work because as I explained I do not feel the need to explain myself – came off sounding like a stalker – at least to me. Anyway, the person thought it funny and did not in the least think I was stalking and even friended me on Face book – which by way has punished me again, suspended my friend requesting for a month. I can accept requests, just not send any.

English: Statue of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh

 

 

       So, getting back to the topic on hand, I decided to come clean. I do investigate those sending me requests to review their books. For me, it is part of the process in deciding whether I review a book.

 

       First, and foremost, the book has to be a genre I enjoy reading. Second, if you would read some of the requests I receive, you would do some investigating as well – perhaps even hire Sherlock himself. Just a hint here to any authors or would like to be an author requesting book reviews. A request has a better chance of being accepted or even taken seriously, if you actually take the time to address the person by name and send information rather than just links. A book reviewer’s time is as valuable as yours is. And, you are the one asking for the favor of a review. Think of it this way – would you just walk up to someone and toss a book at them, no explanation about what the book is about, and expect them to catch it and read it? I bet you never thought of it that way.

 

       Back to the subject – not being a rude person and therefore just hitting the delete button – I admit that sometimes I do – I grab my magnifying glass and slap on my Sherlock Holmes hat and surf the net.

 

       I check out the links they may or in lots of cases may not have included. I check Amazon for the book and sometimes read the reviews. I check out their website to see how they are handling the promotion of their book. I also like to read some of their “other” writing. A person’s website tells a lot about a person. I also check out their face book page and other sites that they have indicated they are on to see how they are promoting themselves.

 

       I guess in a way, I do stalk those who request I review their book. Hopefully, they have been “stalking” me as well. After all, I hope they have read my Review Policy along with some of my book reviews to see if my style of reviewing and my blog are compatible with the audience they are trying to reach and if my review will help them sell their product.

 

       What about you? If you are a book reviewer, how do you make your decisions on whether or not to review a book? If you are an author, how to make the decision to contact a reviewer; and once you find a reviewer, what type of letter writer/information giver are you?

 

       There you have it. My name is Donna, and I’m a stalker, and you read it here first.

 

As always, thanks for taking the time to visit today!

Be sure to follow so you don’t miss the adventures!

The Seasons of our Lives

      I attended a bridal shower for a friend on Sunday. We’ve known each other for approximately six years. It seems to me that I am always reading stories about friendship and the length of friendships, and I’ve always wished I had that in my life. I am an introvert and tend to spend most of my time alone, therefore not putting myself out there for friendships. Lack of trust is also an issue.
 Bride-In-Taxi
       Then, as my best friend and I were sitting together watching this same friend open her wonderful gifts and having such a great time, tears came to my eyes because as I looked around the room, I realized that I did have that friendship in my life.
       I have a group of four -now five- women in my book club group that I have been friends with for around six years now. We have seen each other through marriage rifts, boyfriend problems, illness, selling houses, buying houses and moving, looking for Mr. Right, divorce, children, and grandchildren. We have become an integral part of each other’s lives.
       As I sat there and watched my friend open her gifts, I thought back to our first conversation -which we still laugh about. It was actually the second time we met and we were sitting next to each other after having served ourselves dinner. I mentioned that I had been reading a cookbook, and she interrupted me, looking at me as though I were a space alien, to ask, “How do you read a cookbook”. I remember thinking, what a snob. I can either make nice or knock the hell out of her. It was a pivotal moment.
       Needless to say, I made nice and we became fast friends. She has since confessed to reading a cookbook or two herself – but that’s a secret. Oh! And by the way – my answer to, “How do you read a cookbook?” was, I always buy the ones with pictures.
       It is funny how life is sometimes. We have gone from “looking for Mr. Right” to finding him, and now marrying him with our friend. We’ve watched a season end and a new exciting one about to unfold. And, as I look at my wonderful friend, surrounded by opened boxes, crumpledtissue paper, fine china, and delicate crystal, I find myself quietly anticipating the chapters still to come in our shared lives.
       Best Wishes Tara for a wonderful married life, and the next season of your life.
Thank you for visiting today.
I hope you’ll follow my blog and return for more stories.
Donna

Procrastination Saturday

So…what have you procrastinated about this week?

On Monday, I mowed grass and bathed the dogs, instead of writing.

On Tuesday, I put ant killer in the yard, instead of writing. (I later wrote two book reviews and my post on “All Things Southern”.

On Wednesday, I slept late due to a late night on Tuesday, and then sat around and read, instead of writing.

On Thursday, I hopped around with a blog hop and visited, instead of writing. (I later wrote my post for “Thursdays – Where Truth is the Dare”, and wrote and pre-schedule a guest post for when I am on vacation.)


SO…what did you procrastinate about this week?

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Thrusday – Where Truth is the Dare

Question of the Day: Where Truth Is the Dare   [QUES OF THE DAY] [Paperback]

It’s Thursday again – and we all know what that means!

Here is this week’s question.

Truth? or Dare?


Who came through for you at a time when you really, really needed it?

Ummm…thinking. Actually, it’s a no-brainer. First and foremost, my Hubby has been there for me in my darkest moments. Secondly, my best friend. 

 Thank you all for participating.

I had a short story published in honor of Mother’s Day. One of my daughters and I have a broken relationship. She truly has no idea how much she means to me. The story is about her. I invite you to click the link and read my story.

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