...that's just me, talking to myself.
How does a writer suck at blogging?
Enjoy a little teaser of Book Two, coming out next week.
...that's just me, talking to myself.
How does a writer suck at blogging?
Enjoy a little teaser of Book Two, coming out next week.
Book Three of the Anyone but You series is in our hungry hands. And once again, Jennifer Shirk has delivered a fun, sassy, heartbreaking--and then warming back up--Story that will make you laugh and swoon and maybe even blink back a few tears. Her story will set you smack in the middle of some serious Christmas Spirit.
I'm going to introduce the book and then share a review and an excerpt. There's a Rafflecopter Giveaway going on throughout the entire tour, so don't miss it [below my review]. On top of that, I'll give away a copy from this blog, so LEAVE A COMMENT, and tell me one thing you LOVE about Christmas. And then, don't miss the rest of the tour... LINK TO TOUR.
Matchmaking guru Kennedy Pepperdine’s life is perfect. Perfect job. Perfect friends. Perfect boyfriend. Except...when she gets trapped in an elevator with a handsome stranger, she accidentally confesses a secret: maybe her perfect boyfriend, Justin, isn’t so perfect for her after all. But a matchmaker should be able to successfully match herself, right? Thankfully, she’ll never see the handsome stranger again. Until she heads home with Justin for the holidays and learns that the sexy stranger is none other than Justin’s older brother, Matt.
Matt Ellis is trying to be on his best behavior for his mother—it is Christmas, after all. But when he recognizes the beautiful woman from the elevator—the one he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about for months—his best behavior is being held by a thread. Matt’s always sacrificed for his family, and nothing is more important than their happiness, but the more time he spends around Kennedy, the more he wonders if her supposed "right match" might just be the wrong brother.
Wrong Brother, Right Match was a wonderful mix of While You Were Sleeping [this one is obvious] and Sleepless in Seattle [the way Annie was so determined to ignore what was right in front of her face! and let's be honest. Justin is a slightly more alpha male Walter]. Two of my ALL-TIME favorite movies.
Kennedy is sweet yet determined. And also a little stubborn with her business; she's like Justin that way. She had a hard time seeing what was right in front of her face! I really loved that about her, though. She made me ache a little as the story progressed. Her fiance, Justin, was a good guy. I wanted to hate him, because he really was ridiculously neglectful, but I couldn't because he was just...being who he always had been--corporate alpha male [really, when will we get his story? Hmm?]
And then there is Matt, Justin's brother. The one who is always there for the family. The one who gave up on his own dreams in order to run the family business. The one who was there was their dad died. And the one who "took care" of his brother's fiance when his brother had to take care of business. He ties knots, saves loose ends. He's a bit more laid back, but at the same time, he's very serious about doing the right thing. I absolutely loved his sense of humor. The way he'd talk under his breath. The way he'd hold his temper... He was attracted to his brother's fiance, but he fought it.
I loved being on their island and spending time in the winery. I think I would like to just move there and spend Christmas!! This book gets 5 stars from me. And I do hope we get to see these characters again in another episode!!
Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.
She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Avalon Books/Montlake Romance and now Entangled Publishing. She won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC's Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her first book, THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME. Recently, her novel SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM won the 2013 Golden Quill Published Authors Contest for Best Traditional Romance.
Lately she's been on a serious exercise kick. But don't hold that against her.
Matt looked at his sister. “What do you think?”
“We can let her in on the secret,” Caitlyn said with a huge grin. “She’s definitely one of us.”
Matt hesitated. “Okay. The truth is…we all hate the fruitcake.”
“I knew it!” she exclaimed then frowned. “But I don’t understand. Why pretend to like it, then?”
“Honestly? Because none of us has the heart to tell her the truth. It makes her so happy. She’s one of the two percent who actually enjoys it.”
“And your dad,” she added. “He liked it, too. Your mom said so.”
Matt shook his head gravely. “No, he hated it the most.”
Kennedy blinked then looked to Caitlyn. “He did?”
“Yup.” Caitlyn shrugged. “Like Matt said, we didn’t have the heart to make her feel bad on Christmas. At least this time she didn’t put any figs or dried pineapple in it. That was a particularly bad year. Although Justin tolerated it the best out of all of us.”
Kennedy cracked a smile. “So your mom goes through all this trouble of making a fruitcake every Christmas and she’s the only one who eats it?”
“Oh, no,” Matt assured her. “We’ll all choke down a slice. You, too, since you’ll soon be part of the family. And we’ll all tell her how great it is. It’s tradition.”
“Tradition,” Caitlyn echoed firmly.
Kennedy laughed. Oh my, if she didn’t already love this family, this aspect of it only endeared them to her more. “Well, your secret is safe with me. I love traditions myself.”
“That’s good,” Caitlyn said, cracking herself up, “because you and Matt are standing under the mistletoe.”
Kennedy cautiously looked up as if to find the Sword of Damocles dangling over her, but instead found a small green ball of mistletoe tied up with ribbon. Crap! Her gaze dropped to Matt, who held a gleam of interest in his eyes, and her cheeks caught fire.
“Oh, well, that’s a silly tradition,” she said hurriedly, “I mean, we don’t have to do that.” Do we?
Barbara walked back into the room. “What don’t you have to do?”
Caitlyn pointed to the ball. “Matt and Kennedy are under the mistletoe.”
“Oh, how nice,” Barbara said, clasping her hands. “Kiss her, Matt. It’s Christmas after all.”
Matt glanced at Kennedy and stiffened, but without further argument leaned in to her. Her heart fluttered like a hummingbird in anticipation. She caught the pleasant scent of pine and soap on his skin as he brushed his lips against her cheek, hovering for just a few brief seconds before he was once again at a safe distance from her. Such a simple kiss, yet her emotions whirled and skidded.
“I’d better get going,” Matt murmured, backing into the door.
His mom frowned. “Are you okay, dear? Maybe you should sit down a bit first.”
“No, I need to get kissing—er, going. I need to go.” His gaze reluctantly returned to hers, and his voice dipped. “I’ll see you tomorrow night?”
She nodded, not trusting her voice. Then he was out the door as if suddenly spooked.
Unfortunately, she knew exactly how he felt.
~~ That was not on purpose ~~
12. Cold Weather
If you're here today because you found my Rafflecopter Giveaway, THANKS FOR STOPPING IN [and don't forget to leave a comment]!
Yesterday, my good friend, Cindy Skaggs, released her Christmas Novella, An Untouchable Christmas. If you haven't tried her Untouchables series, YOU MUST. Mob gangsters, FBI heroes and heroines...and suspense. White knuckle Suspense! My favorite.
And today marks another great day in publishing because I'm releasing book one of my Hawk Elite Security Series--Strike Back. Enemies from the past. Kidnapping. Edge of your seat uncertainty.
Both of these books are amazingly priced as once-click wonders--only $1.99 and $0.99. So pick up your copies today.
****And before you leave, comment! Tell me about your favorite Romantic Suspense Author and what it is that makes you keep coming back for more.****
If you'd like to hear more about all of our books or you just want get to know us a little better [as people and all], swing on by Facebook tonight [11/15] and catch us at Claudia's Bookalicious Babes at 5pm EST.
Love you all,
Sofia Capri survived life as a mob wife, but living with drop-dead gorgeous FBI agent Logan Stone has its own challenges. Step one? Host his family for Christmas dinner.
Rescuing Sofia from her former mob life and saving her kidnapped son was enough to earn Logan a place in her life, but a mysterious phone call before dinner threatens the security he'd give anything to provide.
When Sofia's son and Logan's nieces disappear from the festivities, the illusion of a normal Christmas shatters, hurling Sofia back into her nightmares.
Each book in the Untouchables series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 - Untouchable
Book #2 - An Untouchable Christmas, novella
Book #3 - Unforgettable
He would let her go if it would keep her safe…
Strong, self-reliant Nathan Hawkins—owner of Hawk Elite Security—can’t fathom a world in which he can’t protect the ones he loves. But the ticking time bomb of scar tissue in his head threatens to end his career and his marriage, even his life. But the scar tissue is nothing compared to the twisted enemy from Nathan’s past who returns, wanting Nathan to pay for his transgressions, pay with his wife.
As the bonds of her once rock-solid marriage disintegrate, Stacy Hawkins is ready to strangle her distant husband if that's what it takes to break down the barriers. Then she meets a man who makes her feel special again, one who makes her long for what she’s lost with Nathan.
…she would give anything to reach him.
A vacation to their favorite spot in Belize isn’t enough to draw Hawk away from the team, especially when it seems that each mission in the past six months is rife with misfortune. And when Stacy becomes the target of a deranged killer out to punish Nathan, they must confront their own personal demons before they can triumph over the evil intent on leaving them dead.
There are two things Max “Deke” Deacon can always count on: his old high school teammates and Fitz Hawkins. But no matter how much Deke might secretly fantasize otherwise, a relationship with one of his best friends is off limits. Until one unexpectedly smoldering encounter has Deke and Fitz looking at each other in a whole new way.
Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins knows for a fact that it is not better to have loved and lost. After losing her parents, she’d rather lock up her heart and throw away the key than endure that kind of pain again. If that means giving up any hope of a lasting relationship, then so be it.
With Deke, Fitz finally feels like she's back in the land of the living. But she won’t risk another broken heart—even if it means saying good-bye to Deke for good. It’s up to Deke to convince her that the safest place she could ever be is right here with him.
A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. Jen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the New England, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance Writer chapters of RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”).
I’d been looking for something new, someone new, to read all summer. But because I was so busy, it was easy to pick up my favorites or new books from favorite authors. But, finally Called Up popped up on my radar. Cute cover. Check. Small Town. Check. Sports and bar theme. Check. Friends to lovers. Check.
I was ready to give it a try.
At first, in Called Up, we're thrown into family. That was my first impression. Lots of people, friendly and familial. There is a comradery through that first chapter, one that probably takes the seasoned reader [of the series] back into the lives of the secondary characters. We meet our main characters, Angelica ‘Fitz’ Hawkins and Max Deacon ‘Deke’ [Deacon, a favorite name of mine, btw…well, for a first name :D ]. One is the town barkeep [it’s a family thing] and one is the town’s orphan [daughter to the man who had a wife and then ran away with the woman who would become her mother]. I like the history they have. We get to watch these two go from supposed friends [but maybe not as close as they thought] to strangers and back to friends before on to being lovers.
I really liked this book. I did have a hard time getting into it at first, probably because I hadn’t read book one. But, that wasn’t a story issue, more of a characters issue…like being confused by who went with whom, who was related, and who were ‘just friends’. Once I had all that figured out, I enjoyed the tug of war within the story. Fitz’s conflict of who she could trust, and how anyone could really love her. And then Deke’s protective streak towards her, and how she goes from a best friend’s sister to someone he wants to be with. I really loved that the author didn’t create perfection within the hero. He’d been with a good number of women in town. He didn’t apologize for it, but didn’t flaunt it either, especially as his relationship with Fitz deepened. There was even a bit of regret, which is nice to see, too.
I think the only thing that bogged the story down was Fitz’s secret keeping along with some parts of her past. Part of me just wanted her to ‘get over it’. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling while reading some of the tropes in the romance genre. And though she seemed to work through that conflict that involved her past, it felt a little too trite to me… the meeting with her foster/adoptive mother who is the first wife of her father. I don’t know. Sometimes you just read something and you think you’re not sure about it. That’s how it was for me. On the other side of the fence from that, though, I did love Fitz’s grand gesture. She’d kept a very big secret from Deke for the entire book, and her making up for that was spot on. It’s very rare that we see the heroine make the grand gesture in romance. So, kudos to Jen Doyle for pulling that off.
A great book I don’t mind recommending to all my Friends.to.Lovers-loving readers.
Summer is a great time to read. It's notorious for flings and for romance. But sometimes, when summer ends, the heartache begins...
They closed Quinn’s, playing pool, knocking balls into corner and side pockets. They talked, like they’d known each other their whole lives. When he was near enough to her, her breath shortened and her heart pounded.
The small cove at the back of the bar seemed to have been made for couples, tucked in the corner, no view of the seating area. David’s grin held charm—she’d forgotten—and he turned to sink the eight ball.
Her eyes drank in the sight of his butt. Clearing her throat, she quickly looked away as he turned back to her. “Game.”
She lifted her brow at him.
The pulse in her neck made her lightheaded. She couldn’t look away.
Maria stepped up to him and placed her hands on his waist. Was he the winner?
Call her crazy but…
She rose to her toes and placed her lips against his. He gently accepted, and his hand cupped the side of her neck. His thumb came to rest at the pulse point. Her ache grew, and she gripped his shirt, wanting more, wanting—his tongue claimed her mouth—yes.
…she was pretty sure she was the one who’d won.
This topic has been on my mind for about four years now--almost five. See, sometimes when I meet new military wives, we chit and chat and it's inevitable that some discussion on how long and what does he do will come up. And it's not like some of the crazy wives believe in which there's a rank competition going on. Sometimes it really is just curiosity.
But the truth is, when the women are perfect strangers, and this is the equivalent of small talk, it's easy to wave off the catch phrases, the cliches. And many times, as I've explained that my husband was an accountant--a CPA--turned soldier, a new acquaintance will smile and say, "Ahh, just looking for a little adventure?"
And, I just laugh with a wave of my hand... yeah, yeah.
But no. I think the next time this happens, I will say, "No." I may even frown a little. Because despite the fact that these women mean no harm, at all. It makes me feel like I'm betraying the truth or my husband's trust.
My husband wanted to join the military when he was 17. His parents wouldn't sign the forms and told him, "Go to college." So he did. Which then started a different journey for him, one that included me. And eventually 5 kids. And he definitely kept looking for that opportunity to fulfill a dream. At every turning point in our life, he would take time to see what his options were for the military. But it wasn't until 2010 that he could make that a reality. And it wasn't 'adventure' or the need to 'escape' or find 'fulfillment.' No, let's be honest about an accountant husband, who quit smoking because 'it was too expensive now.' He wanted someone to pay of his substantial college loans. Yup. He might have wanted this at 17, but it was the undergraduate and post graduate loans that really pushed him into making this happen. [sorry, honey, if I'm revealing your secrets]
My husband has found adventure at every point in his life. He has made new friends. Learned new things. Answered 'The Call of the Wild'. Taken setbacks. And grown in leaps and bounds.
And let's talk about what adventure means anyway.
Kay. We'll do it a very simple compare and contrast kind of way so everyone understands. Ready? Here we go...
1. Travelling to distant countries to stand between your loved ones and enemy fire?
2. An African Safari?
3. Separation from your loved ones for months at a time?
4. Hiking the Denali with your lover?
5. 14 hour days of dealing with training, classes, people?
6. 14 hours on a lake in Lavonia, Georgia with your family?
See what I'm doing there?
Let's not forget why our soldiers fight.
Duty. Honor. Loyalty.
Love of country.
Love of family.
Love of Freedom.
To be very clear. I am not and have never been offended by the assumption that my husband was "looking for adventure". If you've ever said this to me, I'm not calling you out or want to stomp on your goodwill. :) The last woman who did it just happened to be the one that caught my attention and turned the tides--no hard feelings at all. And I never would have thought anything of her response if half of a dozen people before her hadn't said the very same thing.
But this time...I stand true to my soldier instead of letting his sacrifice seem menial.
Let's be honest!!
If he'd joined at 17, I would have accused him of giving in to the proverbial "Call to Adventure!"
Welcome, Kinsey Corwin!!!
I'm so excited to reveal your latest cover, Riptide. Not only does the story sound amazing, but the cover is sweeeet. <3
I'll be doing a giveaway for anyone who comments or shares--twitter, facebook, or pinterest [cuz those are my spots!]. A copy of Riptide on RELEASE DAY!
One moment can impact the future.
Only two things in the world brought Hunter Sullivan a sense of peace—surfing and his relationship with Phoenix Nash. All it took was losing his best friend in a tragic surfing accident at one of the world’s greatest surf spots, to send Hunter’s world crumbling down around him. Now, unable to get out on the waves without the memory of Maverick haunting him, he’s at risk of destroying his career and the one person he’s used to turning to when life sucks him under.
Phoenix Nash lived by a set of rules forged after watching her father claw his way out of the depths of depression when her mom left. Do not get involved with her father's clients. Protect your heart always. Dad and the company come first. Rules that slowly started eroding the moment she first fell into bed with up and coming surfer, Hunter Sullivan. When her dad asks for her help getting the face of his surfing division back on the waves, Phoenix is put in a position to choose between the only two men in her life she's ever cared about.
UP FOR PRE-ORDER ON IBOOKS!
Things are settling down on the homefront. My soldier is knee deep in studies for this round of schooling so he's a hit or miss figure for the family. But when we hit, it's such a nice thing! :D
Today, in my effort to get out of the house and write, I jumped into the chore of moving all the "garage sale" items from the kitchen table to the garage. I think I'd been hoping we'd have that garage sale a lot sooner. But, who knows when it will happen, and I really needed my kitchen table!! The clutter was making me crazy. And there was this...funny vibe. That cranky, unsettled vibe that goes around when people are out-of-sorts.
It's the kind of vibe that can lead to out-right bitchiness or assholery.
So, yeah...even though out-of-sight, out-of-mind might be the bigger hurdle to getting our garage sale done, I think removing the things that are keeping us from truly settling down is a better idea right now. :)
In writing news, I'm well on the way to getting this revision of Strike Zone completed. I have a deadline of August 22nd when my editor expects the manuscript on her desk. Ack! Back to work!
In reading news, I'm so fulled up with some great reads. I've got a book i'm going to review in September [watch for it!], and this morning Gone Too Deep was delivered to my Kindle! Wheee. So excited for Book Three of the Colorado Search and Rescue series. You must catch this one, with its Hero named George.
The Military Life
We've been lucky...blessed. Our first duty station was a four year stay. That's pretty unusual. Two years, three years tops, is normal. So, we've been blessed.
But we've also grown roots. Four years is definitely a long time, knowing a move is imminent. Too long to avoid deep friendships. Not that we do that... but let's be honest, I'm an introvert, so holing up for a couple years is not a problem for me. I like things quiet.
It's really hard to leave Colorado Springs, though.
Because Cindy and Jennie.
Dang! Not fair! How did this happen? What will I do? Who will satisfy the minimal socializing I can handle? Who will laugh with me as we sit in Panera? Who will investigate and speculate on the guy who comes in too often--every time with a different woman, every time as if he's doing an interview?? Is it a ploy? Is he a criminal?
Who will I make eyes at over my laptop???
I don't know...
All I know is that it's very hard to leave. Because even with Sprint 2.0 on Messenger, it will not be the same again. Not until I can get back to this place I've called home for 4 years. A place that has become home because of the people I've met.
I don't know what I'll do without Starbucks (wine and beer included) and Panera (preachers and cons included). There will be a great void for a while as I fumble around and figure out what the freak to do with myself. :(
By: Laura Griffin
Releasing May 24, 2016
A gripping new romantic thriller from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Griffin...
The moment detective Reed Novak steps onto the crime scene, he knows the case is going to rock his world. A beautiful young woman murdered at home. No sign of forced entry. No motive. She’s obviously not the killer’s first victim, and Reed’s instincts tell him she won’t be his last. Reed’s first clue comes via a mysterious text that links to a dating profile, but even more intriguing than the clue is the person who sent it.
As a white-hat hacker in the Delphi Center’s cyber investigation unit, Laney Knox sneaks into some of the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet looking for predators. Laney would prefer to stay away from Austin PD’s most recent murder case, but she can’t ignore the chilling similarities between that crime and her own brutal attack years ago. Laney offers to help the sexy lead detective, but he wants more from her than just a promising tip—Reed wants her trust. Laney resists, but as their relationship deepens she’s tempted to reveal the closely guarded secrets that could make her a key witness…or the killer’s next victim
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award. Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.
Reed watched her, and she had that frustrated look in her eyes again. Every time she started to open up to him, he did something to tick her off. She shook her head and glanced away.
“I’m a detective. It’s my job to ask questions. To push.”
She looked at him again and her expression softened. “No, you’re right.” She glanced down at her beer bottle and picked at the label. “I’m glad she has you.”
“Who has me?”
“April. You seem--” She paused, like she was searching for the right word. “--committed.”
He didn’t answer. It wasn’t really a question, but the way she looked at him gave him the feeling she wanted a response.
She drained her beer and plunked down the bottle. “I should get home.” She stood up.
Reed stood, too. He left a tip on the table and followed her through the throng of people. The bar was packed, and the music had gotten louder since they’d first walked in.
They stepped into the warm, muggy air. It was dusk now, and a neon Lone Star Light sign cast a blue-and-red glow over the sidewalk. As they walked in silence, he thought of what she’d said about her job being meaningful. It was refreshing. Maybe he’d been a cop too long, but he didn’t know anyone who talked about things being meaningful anymore. If they thought about work in those terms, they kept it to themselves.
Maybe he was jaded.
No, he definitely was jaded. But it had more to do with his failed marriage than anything he’d seen on the job.
Reed spotted her little white car and felt a twinge of regret. He’d enjoyed talking to her, enjoyed being near her. And he couldn’t remember the last time that had happened with a woman. Having a beer with Laney had been the highlight of his crap week. Hell, the highlight of his month.
She looked around. “Where are you parked?”
She gazed up at him. He couldn’t read her expression.
“Thanks for the drink,” she said.
“You bought it.”
He couldn’t read her tone either. The thrum of music seeped through the thin walls of the bar as they stood there in the light of the beer sign.
She stepped closer, and a jolt of heat went through him. She looked up at him with those bottomless brown eyes, and he knew he was in trouble. It was a bad idea to involve this girl in his investigation. Whatever useful info she might have was outweighed by the fact that she was young, and edgy, and he wanted her. And she must have seen something in his face because her eyes sparked.
She went up on tiptoes and kissed him.
Copyright 2016 Laura Griffin
The countdown is on to the Wedding of the Year, New Zealand!
It’s seven days until Shaye Harland and Del Westlake finally tie the knot—and it’ll be the most awesomesauce wedding Stewart Island has ever seen if Shaye has anything to do with it. Her All Things Nuptial journal has the big day planned to perfection, but not everything runs like clockwork. While marrying the man of her dreams beats chocolate as an Easter treat, a few mini-catastrophes like Boris the obstinate sea lion threaten to ruin their special day.
WARNING: If you’re new to the Due South world, this fun and sexy short story of Del & Shaye’s wedding isn’t the book to start with. Lots of favorite characters join in the wedding craziness—and if you haven’t read the earlier Due South books it’ll just be crazy-confusing.
Another week of reading left to wrap up this months's Indie Reading Challenge sponsored by The Book Enthusiast. Get over, pick a book, read a book, and write a review. There are some GREAT NOVELS to choose from!! And you can find them here:
Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Paranormal... all you could one under one roof. Benefits and bonuses for everyone. Join the fun and finish May on a reading note.
When school is out and the days are warmer. And it seems like summer. But the nights are still cool! And coffee is the first thing I think of when 6pm rolls around. I love this time of year.