Welcome Guest Blogger Judi Lynn with Cooking Up Trouble

Happy Thursday, Friends! I’ve got a new writer to introduce to you today. Judi Lynn and I are sister authors with Kensington Publishing. We’re also blogging and Twitter friends so naturally when she announced a new release, I was more than happy to roll out the red carpet and invite her to my blog. I hope you’ll do the same by welcoming her.

I’ve already got her new release COOKING UP TROUBLE downloaded to my Kindle, awaiting my reading pleasure. And (psst!) I’ll let you in on a little secret…Judi writers in another genre as well, but I’ll let her explain that—and how she came to develop the characters who populate Mill Pond.

~ooOOoo~

Thank you, Mae, for inviting me to your blog.

I know from reading your posts that you love folklore, legend, and cryptozoology.  (I had to look that up).  We have similar tastes. I love Greek and Norse myths, along with witches, vampires, shifters, and succubi. That’s why I write urban fantasy under my real name—Judith Post.  It’s fun to think about “others” with special powers, powers that make their lives more complex instead of easier. I like the struggles and battles, the good vs. bad.

Imagine my surprise, then, when my agent asked me to try my hand at romance.  “No paranormal, no magic, just boy meets girl and eventually an HEA.”  No magic?  No supernaturals?  I panicked. How do you build a plot like that?  I spent the next four months treading my plot across emotional ups and downs, misunderstandings, and unspoken desires.  It felt like hiking across a soufflé that you didn’t want to fall.  Fitting—because I love to put cooking and food in my stories.  But I discovered that I like writing romance, too.   Romances focus on feelings and character studies, innuendos and inner battles.  When I finished COOKING UP TROUBLE, I wanted to stay in Mill Pond for a long time.  I wanted to bump elbows with the people who live there.  I used the pen name Judi Lynn, so that readers who followed my urban fantasy would know Mill Pond only houses mortals.  I’m working on my fourth Mill Pond romance now, and I hope people enjoy these stories as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

Book cover for Cooking Up Trouble by author Judi Lynn shows an attractive young couple facing each other in front of an open doorway

BLURB:

It’s impossible not to notice when someone new shows up in Mill Pond. Especially someone as obviously out-of-place as Ian McGregor. His stylish suit and fancy car scream “city slicker.” And when Tessa Lawrence discovers he can’t even change a tire, she has no choice but to help. That’s just what the locals do. And when she finds out Ian’s her new neighbor, of course she’s obliged to invite him to dinner too…

Turns out Ian’s come from New York to open a luxury resort on the property next door to Tessa’s farm, where she grows berries and sells her famous jams and delectable baked goods. But despite their quickly growing friendship and temptingly close proximity, Tessa plans to keep things with Ian strictly neighborly. For one thing, Ian’s got a fiancée who, unlike Tessa, doesn’t have dirt under her nails. Plus, Tessa knows from bitter experience that a guy this gorgeous is all too likely to break a simple country girl’s heart. Even if he’s as sweet as one of her cinnamon buns—and equally hard to resist…

Purchase From:
Kensington Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iTunes 
Google 
Kobo

Connect with Judi at the following haunts:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter @judypost 

Romance, Horses, and Wishes Fulfilled with Jayne Nichols #RRBC Author

Hey, blogging buddies and readers. I have a brand new author to introduce to you today. Jayne Nichols is a sister Rave Reviews Book Club author who I am delighted to host. We met as newbies to RRBC when we did a Blog Talk Radio show together.

Since then, I have come to recognize what a stellar author Jayne is through her release, ONCE IN A LIFETIME. This is just the first book in what appears to be a thoroughly engaging series. I positively loved it! From the Irish setting, to the engaging characters and inclusion of a thoroughbred race horse, I was hooked. You can find my 5-star review on Amazon.

Please check out the lovely cover and book blurb:

Cover for ONCE IN A LIFETIME, a romance novel by Jayne Nichols, shows horse in foreground, locket, couple embracing in background

 

BLURB
Is it possible for a poor hash-house waitress to find love with a wealthy Irish horse breeder?  Not as long as he thinks she conned his father into leaving her his cottage on the island of Inish Mor in the Aran Islands.  To prove his assumption false, Samantha St. John sells her new inheritance to Kieran McDade for one Euro, receives his thank-you kiss on her cheek, and bids him farewell.

Never expecting to see him again, she is surprised to receive his invitation and a plane ticket to Ireland.  He’s had second thoughts and offers Samantha a holiday at his home on FastTrack Farm where she charms not only his race horse, but Kieran himself.  For Samantha, it is like a fairy tale, complete with a wicked witch, an elegant ball, and a horse race that could decide whether her Cinderella story will have a happy ending.

Purchase ONCE IN A LIFETIME from Amazon 

~ooOOoo~

Sounds grand, doesn’t it? Trust me, it is!

If you’d like to know more about Jayne, you can connect with her at the following haunts:

Website
Twitter @jaynenichols84
Facebook
Facebook Fan Page
Goodreads
Pinterest

Author, Jayne NicholsAUTHOR BIO
Growing up, I wrote a few things for school—reports and a few creative writing projects for English class—but never really thought about writing novels until after I married my David.  Even then, what little writing I did leaned toward Mystery.  I didn’t discover Romance until my husband and I traveled to Greece.  It was hot—I mean really hot—and we ducked inside the Athens Hilton to bask in their air conditioned gift shop.  I was looking at a rack of paperback books and picked up one entitled Born in Fire by someone named Sarah Hardesty.  I stayed in our air-conditioned hotel room for two days reading that novel nearly non-stop and decided then and there what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  I wanted to write Romance.  It wasn’t until I was back home and hunting through a Barnes and Noble for more books by Sarah Hardesty that I learned the author was actually Nora Roberts.  Truthfully, I had never heard of her.  I know who she is now.  And who knows, maybe someday, she will have heard of me.

As Jayne Nichols, I write contemporary romance (Wish Fulfilled Series) and romantic suspense (Madrona Point Series), and I love every minute of it.

Purchase ONCE IN A LIFETIME from Amazon 

Mae Clair Presents: Caribbean Christmas by Tammy Tate

My friend, Tammy Tate, is back today with her latest release, a romance set in a warm tropical location. I like the fact that CARIBBEAN CHRISTMAS has a twist of the paranormal in the mix. You can get the full scope of the story by watching Tammy’s book trailer below.

Take it away, Tammy …

~ooOOoo~

Caribbean Christmas is about the festive holiday we all love so much, romance, a tropical paradise and a sprinkle of mystery…

The closest I’ve ever been to spending Christmas in a tropical paradise was growing up in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Normally in December, I was still swimming.  I know it should be a mortal sin. Right? Since, I only had about two months (if that) of what could be considered brisk weather, I sported a golden brown tan all year around. Of course, that was when tans were healthy! Or, so they thought.

Since I adore rolling waves, white sandy beaches and crystal blue water, it only stands to reason why I would write a book about a girl who lives in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands during the Christmas holidays. After doing research, I have added “Vacation in the Virgin Islands” to my bucket list. (Pssst…that’s a secret. I haven’t told my husband yet).

Feel free to treat yourself to a sneak peek of the book trailer!

A short blurb/excerpt…

“I know what you’re thinking.” His voice pulled her back into reality.

“Trust me. You don’t—,” she mumbled as his thumb rubbed the back of her hand.

“You must wonder why we haven’t spoken until today.”

Her head shot up. The wind blew her hair and she trapped it behind one ear.

Phew. That was close.

“Guilty as charged,” She chuckled, glad that he wasn’t a mind reader.

“I wasn’t sure if you had someone special in your life.” He shrugged. ‘I didn’t want to… complicate things.”

Was he fishing to see if she had a boyfriend?

She pulled free. “I assure you, my life isn’t as complex as you might think.”

Book cover for Carribean Christmas by Tammy Tate features young couple on a covered porch in a tropical locationAs he leaned forward, warm puffs of air caressed her face. He removed another whisk of hair from her cheek. Trembling, she stepped back. Her heart soared and the crevice between her thighs tingled. That made him dangerous. Even in college when hormone levels rose higher than she could count, she refused to be someone’s one-night stand.

Eager to get inside, she fumbled with her deadbolt. The key slipped from her fingers, pinged off the wall and bounced close to the edge. She wasn’t sure how much damage the metal projectile could do six floors down, but she didn’t care to find out. She released a big sigh of relief when he trapped it with his shoe.

One edge of his mouth lifted slightly. “That was close—”

“Oh… you have no idea,” she chuckled aware of the schoolgirl flutter in her stomach that he seemed oblivious to.

Throw a haunted house and a ghost into the mix and fasten your seatbelt!

*****

About Tammy

Author Tammy Tate Tammy Tate was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida but has lived most of her adult life in Texas. Her passion to write began in high school. It follows her everywhere she goes…creating a world where anything is possible. She’s been married to the same wonderful man for over thirty years. Her secret to a long marriage? It’s easy when you marry your best friend. In her world, Friday night is still date night.

Before she became a full-time author, she was an Executive Secretary, a Computer Consultant/Technician, and a Communications Officer (Police Dispatcher). She doesn’t mind a challenge which has allowed her to race a late-model in a women’s powder puff race, run barrels and poles in a play-day rodeo and drive an 18-wheeler. Somewhere in between, she and her husband raised three wonderful children. When she’s not breathing life into her characters or jotting down ideas for a new book, she and her husband are exploring country roads on their Honda Gold Wing.

Since she believes reading is the next best thing to writing, she enjoys romance, fantasy, science fiction and thrillers. In December of 2013, she signed her first book contract with a traditional publisher. Her books have made Amazon’s Best Seller list.

Above all, she loves to hear from you…

Here are ways to connect:

Email: authortammytate@aol.com

Fan Page: www.facebook.com/tammytateauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authortammytate

Blog: http://authortammytate.blogspot.com

Guest Blogger Staci Troilo on Alchemy, Michelangelo, and the Protectorate

I’ve got a super fun treat for you today with guest blogger Staci Troilo. We originally connected through Twitter and realized we had a lot in common: We’re both Pennsylvania girls and we both come from a strong Italian background. And, of course, we both love to write–and read. Staci’s latest release, BLEEDING HEART, is a fabulous 5-Star mix of supernatural and contemporary, political intrigue, history, familial bonds, mystery and more. She’s written a really cool post about the basis behind it, which I think you’ll enjoy. She’s also got a fun question for you at the end.

Please welcome Staci Troilo!

~ooOOoo~

Thank you, Mae, for inviting me to talk to your readers today. I’m excited to be here.

Hi, everyone. I was so excited when Mae told me you guys are fans of the paranormal. I write many genres, but paranormal is one of my favorites.

The paranormal genre covers a wide range of topics—everything from witches to werewolves, vampires to Valkyries. I seem to like it all. But for one of my current series, I decided to combine my love of the supernatural with my heritage. I’m Italian, and probably obnoxiously proud of it. So when I think “Italy” and “supernatural,” I naturally came to one conclusion.

open book with candle and alchemy pestleAlchemy.

The Renaissance always fascinated me. The art, the architecture, the culture… absolutely captivating. So after a little bit of research and a lot of imagination (or maybe the other way around), the mythology of the Medici Protectorate series took shape.

I never really wanted to write historical novels, so I’ve based this story in the present, but with a heavy focus on the past. Without giving too many spoilers away, I’ll say that in this world, the Medici didn’t die out, despite what people believe. Generation after generation, they are watched over by a secret society. Until the day when Michelangelo’s prophecy comes to fruition and they are poised to rise again to rule Italy.

Sounds pretty realistic—prophecy aside, anyway. So where does the alchemy come into play?

The Protectorate who protects this line? They’ve been given marble daggers that Michelangelo created from his personal quarry, daggers that have been sculpted by the artist himself and forged in alchemical rituals to provide their wielders with specific powers.

Yep, that’s right. In this world, Michelangelo was an alchemist. Quite a successful one, at that. He achieved an alchemist’s ultimate goals—mutating metals and conquering aging. Can you imagine what that means in this world?

It means the man is still alive. Centuries later. And he has untold wealth, experience, and knowledge. Seems that would make him a formidable opponent. Unbeatable, even.

Wait until you see who rises to oppose him, though. It’s not going to be easy for the Protectorate.

The first book of the series, Bleeding Heart, just scratches the surface of the prophecy and the history. Here’s a description of the novel:

Cover of Bleeding Heart, a novel by Staci TroiloIn the heart of Pittsburgh awaits a secret half a millennium in the making.

After her father’s brutal murder, Franki discovers she and her three sisters are the only surviving, secret legacy of the Medici. The same people who brutally murdered her father now target her and her family for assassination. Unprepared to battle an unknown enemy, she finds her safety depends on the Medici Protectorate, the warriors who guarded her bloodline for centuries, but who failed to protect her father.

Gianni, Franki’s protector, blows his first meeting with her, but knows he must garner the trust of not only Franki, but also her sisters. Without that, he fails too, and that is unacceptable—not only to him, but also to the Medici Protectorate. His troubles grow larger, for as he assumes his new role, he also undergoes inexplicable, explosive physical changes… transformations he can’t control. One of those is his uncontainable desire for Franki.

Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and Franki struggles to trust Gianni. When her life is on the line, Gianni will have to conquer both her fears and his own personal demons to rescue her in time.

Shot of Pittsburgh with riverThe story takes place in Western Pennsylvania, where I was born and raised. It’s chock full of Italian traditions and familial relationships based on the culture I grew up in. Honestly, there’s something for almost everyone in there—good food, family bonds, steamy romance, political intrigue, secret societies, alchemical rituals, historical research, supernatural powers. Here’s an excerpt for you to check it out:

“Outside,” Coz was saying to Gianni, tentatively taking his arm. “I think we should get you outside.”

“No,” Vinnie said. He crossed the room quickly and everyone turned to look at him. He grabbed Franki’s hand and dragged her over to Gianni, throwing her into his arms. “Kiss her.”

“What?” Gianni shook violently, tried to back away, but couldn’t. He seemed somehow rooted to the spot. “Are you crazy, V? I’m losing it, here. I can’t be near anyone, let alone…” He looked at Franki and pain seized him.

“Trust me. It will settle you.”

“We need some help in here,” Toni called from the kitchen.

“Please! The bleeding won’t stop!” Donni cried.

“Go ahead, Francesca. He will not harm you, and he needs your help.”

“Who the hell said that?” Jo shrieked.

Gianni knew where that voice came from, and who it belonged to, but he was far from willing to trust it. Franki seemed hell-bent on listening, however. He shook his head, but she took his face in her hands and pulled his mouth to hers. Then something inside Gianni exploded. 

Yeah. As the description said, Gianni is struggling to get a grip on his new powers. And as you might have guessed, when the sisters and the Protectorate get together, there’s often a little tension and a lot of action. The word “chaotic” comes to mind. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The second book, Mind Control, is in final revision now, and picks up where Bleeding Heart ends—with the sisters’ being hunted and the Protectorate still coming into their powers. It will be available in the spring.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at the Medici Protectorate world. Clearly, the Italian culture and potential of alchemical rituals fascinate me. But now I’m curious. What are your favorite supernatural creatures or powers to read about? Leave a comment; I’d love to talk about it.

Thanks again for letting me visit today. It’s been a blast!

Author Staci TroiloAbout Staci:
Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was little. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com, join her private Facebook group (Staci Troilo’s Novel Idea), subscribe to her newsletter, or connect with her on social media.

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google + | LinkedIn | Amazon | Goodreads

Mae Clair Presents: A Friendly Engagement by Christine Warner #NovelBookTour

Today, I’m happy to share a fun new release from Christine Warner. As part of her blog tour for A FRIENDLY ENGAGEMENT, she’s got a great giveaway going on, so be sure to check out the deets on this breezy romance!

Blog tour banner for A Friendly Engagemen, a romance novelt by Christine Warner

A Friendly Engagement (A Friends First Novel)
by Christine Warner
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance | Kobo Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Length: 233 Pages

What’s a little engagement between friends?

Omar Esterly is married to his job. But when Omar sets his sights on a potential, family-oriented client, his confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem. Fortunately, his friend and employee, Devi Boss, has the perfect plan…

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly Devi’s plan to become her friend’s fake fiancée. Lies aren’t her style. However, Omar offers her a big, beautiful raise – enough to track down the missing father she’s never known – and Devi reluctantly agrees to the whole engagement hoax…

This was supposed to be a no-strings-attached win-win for both Devi and Omar, but when they cross the line between friendship and…well, something more, Devi realizes she’s made a huge mistake that just might cost her both job and friend – falling for her fiancé.

EXCERPT:
“You’re game for anything, right?”

Devi compressed her lips and studied Omar through a narrow gaze, taking in the way his overly bright eyes concentrated on her face as if memorizing every pore. Her gaze traveled south to the non-existent rise and fall of his chest and how he pushed his suit jacket aside as he placed his hands low on his hips. He’d stopped breathing while he waited for her reply. That made her more nervous than anything. “Normally I am game for anything, but considering the man asking the question, I’m a little nervous.” She licked her lips.

Book cover for A Friendly Engagement, a romance novel by Christine WarnerOmar shook his head, swallowing her hands in the warmth of his. “No. This is a great idea. I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.”

“I’ll hold back on saying I’m glad I could help until I know what you’ve got pinging around your brain.” She tried to pull free of his grip, but he only grasped her fingers tighter. Her inner voice told her whatever plan he’d cooked up included her and she wouldn’t be thrilled with the role.

“Bartow wants a family-first firm. He wants a planner who is married, blah, blah blah.” He dismissed his unfinished words with the thrust of his chin.

Devi nodded, her mouth going dry. Was he planning to hire a wife, or about to propose?

“I might not be married, but what if I were engaged?”

She didn’t want to jump to conclusions about the proposal so she pasted on a tight smile. “Do you have a serious girlfriend hidden away I don’t know about?” The thought unsettled her, but she pushed aside the heaviness in her gut. Omar and relationships mixed like fire and ice. Not that women didn’t find him attractive and vice versa, but his true love would always be work. Most sane women wanted something more than a workaholic commitment-phobe.

He shook his head a bit too vigorously. “No. No.” His grip tightened, and she flexed her fingers so he’d loosen his hold. “Hear me out before you shoot me down.”

“I’m more curious than ever.” Again, she threw sand over that niggling feeling in her belly. She never jumped to conclusions. Living by the seat of your pants didn’t allow it, but…

Why start now? She rolled her shoulders in an effort to relax. Omar pulled her off to the side and out of the crowd moving past them on the sidewalk. His hands shook with excitement, and he swallowed hard before clearing his throat. Always calm and collected, his buildup unsettled Devi, and she tugged one hand from his grip and pressed it against the gurgle growing in her stomach.

“How about we announce our engagement? I could pull in some favors and have it in the press Monday morning. That’d still give Bartow enough time to invite us to the meet and greet. And—”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Devi’s stomach did a nosedive, and she yanked her other hand from his death grip and stepped back. She twisted one of the bangle bracelets on her wrist. “Our engagement? First off, I didn’t even know we were dating. And second, I am not going to help you get ahead by lying.”

Purchase From:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble
All Romance
Kobo

Candid photo on Author, Christine WarnerAbout Christine Warner:
Besides laughing and a good round of humor, Christine enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmitic.  A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities.  She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines.

A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, Christine enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on Facebook, Twitter and her website.

Connect with Christine at the following haunts:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter | Street Team | Amazon Author Page

THE GIVEAWAY: $15 AMAZON GIFT CARD (International winner) or SPIDERMAN DVD, POPCORN, SLIPPERS, AND MUG (Continental U.S. Winner)

Photo of a Spiderman DVD, with a coffee mug and popcorn packENTER GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Eclipse Lake Book Tour Continues with Mae Clair

It’s Wednesday and it’s March, so that means another blog stop on my ECLIPSE LAKE blog tour. Today, I’m visiting Booklover Sue who devised a series of interview questions for me to answer. If you get a chance while you’re roaming around the blogopshere, drop over and say hello. I’d love to have you visit! 🙂

Tour banner for Eclipse Lake, a novel by Mae Clair, depicts a serene lake setting

Mae Clair Presents: The Best I Never Had by Loni Flowers, Cover Reveal

My friend, Loni Flowers, is launching an intriguing new contemporary romance series. Today, I have the pleasure of splashing the cover for THE BEST I NEVER HAD,
book #1 in the DeVine Winery series on my blog. Just take a look:

THE BEST I NEVER HAD (DeVine Winery #1)
Contemporary Romance
Releases May 5th 2015
Add to Goodreads here

bestineverhad_500x750

Isn’t it gorgeous? If that isn’t enough to make you mark your calendar for May 5th, check out the blurb:

BLURB:
New job, new town, new people— new life.

That’s what Olivia Langston needed. At twenty eight, she was given a rare opportunity at an internship in the rolling valleys of Crystal Falls in California wine country, far away from her small town roots in North Carolina. It was an unexpected journey she desperately needed after her ex-husband crushed her.

At DeVine Winery, she expected a fresh start in a new environment to help let go of her past. Instead, she found Daniel Black and a hell of a lot of sexual tension she wasn’t prepared for. He was gorgeous, modestly wealthy, irresistible, and just happened to be part owner of DeVine, one of the largest vineyards in the country.

If only she knew that before she kissed him her first night in town.

~ooOOoo~

While you’re waiting for this awesome new novel to release, don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list, and be sure to connect with Loni at the following haunts:

Facebook
Twitter:  @loniflowers
Website

Mae Clair Presents: Twice in a Blue Moon by Cate Masters

Don’t you love that title? 🙂

Today, I’m happy to share in the  excitement over Cate Master’s latest novella, a contemporary release from Kensington Publishing. Check it out!

Twice In A Blue Moon
by Cate Masters

TwiceInABlueMoon-MD

Contemporary romance novella
Publish Date: 1/19/2015
About 48,000 words
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kensington

Blurb
Can true love strike twice?

After the death of her first love, Melanie Michaels buries her grief in the risky demands of a reality show, where her extreme stunts leave her teetering on the edge of danger. That’s exactly where she wants to be—until she arranges for her crew to traverse the Swedish Lapland in the dead of winter. It’s the one place she shouldn’t go, on the one day she should avoid—her would-be wedding anniversary.

Instead of romantic nights spent in the Ice Hotel or under the Northern Lights, Melanie is stuck with Joe “Buck” Wright, a snarky loner tour guide who loves his sled dogs and nothing and no one else. But Buck is also trying to numb a painful past. Can two people skilled at pushing others away find warmth at the edge of the Arctic?

About the Author
Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Connect with Cate at the following haunts:
Website 

Email: cate.masters@gmail.com 
Facebook 
Twitter: @CateMasters 

Book video

Advance reviews for TWICE IN A BLUE MOON

“…a great read. It is fun, it is romantic, it is moving.” – Dan Curnett, 5 stars

“…a quick romance read that will undoubtedly leave them wanting more” – Maria, 4 stars

“… a satisfying and enjoyable read” – Jennifer Schultheis, 4 stars

“I really liked this book! It had a unique setting and a hero with a lot of baggage” – JoMarie DeGioia, 4 stars

Excerpt
Buck tried not to drool. “Perfect.” He loved making new friends, especially of the female variety. So long as they didn’t complain about his modus operandus: all fun, zero ties. Repeats happened if the girl abided the rules. And if he didn’t get too attached. Such foolishness led to all manner of drama and heartache. He’d had enough of both. His life had become about survival, and he’d taught himself not to let anyone get close. Not to make himself vulnerable to pain. To live alone and like it.

Klaus set two mugs in front of them and deftly removed a bill from the stack Buck had left on the bar.

Something made him glance up at the television. Maybe Kenny had implanted a subliminal suggestion during their conversation. Damn if the name at the bottom of the screen didn’t read Melanie Michaels. A man spoke into a microphone, then stepped closer to hold it near her.

“No way. That’s her?” He waved at the bartender. “Turn up the volume, will you please, Klaus?”

The camera zoomed in on her face. Features delicate but strong, beautiful but serious. God, that mouth—lips full and wide, and the way they moved as she spoke, he could hardly tear away his gaze. Her large eyes, dark and luminous in the way that had always struck him to the bone. Just like Poppy. She’d turned out to be anything but sweet. More like poisonous, the opium behind the flowery facade an instant addiction that took him years to overcome. He still carried the scars from her acid nectar. Anything and anyone reminding him of his former lover ranked the lowest of low on his shit list.

Melanie Michaels just claimed that spot.

And now he’d have to deal with her every day for almost a week. “Oh man, it’s going to be a grueling six days.” Five, technically. Tomorrow’s meet-and-greet was strictly a formality, though the preliminaries helped him size up his guests so he could better prepare.

Klaus glanced from Buck to the screen and back again. “She’s taking your tour? You lucky bastard.”

Lucky? No. Bastard? Yes, according to some. “Oh yeah. Skol.” He raised his mug and gulped. And gulped.

The blonde assessed him. “You’re a wilderness guide? For which company?”

He tried to sound proud and manly as he said, “Arctic Adventures.”

“I’ve heard about them.” An arch of her brows, and her demeanor turned glacier-cold.

He could only imagine what, exactly, she’d heard. Kenny insisted they stretch their expenses as far as possible. Translation: second-rate accommodations. And hey, it wasn’t his fault if the sled dogs took a dislike to certain clients. They should know better than to leave unpackaged foods unprotected and stow their backpacks away from the team. The dogs had few enough trees upon which to relieve themselves, and he didn’t blame them one bit.

Klaus shot the blonde a dubious, don’t-make-trouble look.

“What? They’ll be famous.” She hid a laugh behind her hand. “No Boundaries will make you a star in America.”

“America.” Ah, hell. Why hadn’t it occurred to him? His family would see him, the friends he’d left behind. And Poppy. Shit. Short of them traveling to Sweden, there’d been no way for any of them to bust him on the lie he’d told. Now they’d know he didn’t work for the prestigious National Geographic tours, but a crap company based in Kiruna. In his last email, he’d boasted of almost having saved enough money to build a log resort better than the world-famous Wilderness Lodge. Fat chance, on his salary.

Me, a star? More like an outcast. Buck heaved a sigh. “I’ve suddenly lost my appetite.” For drinking or anything else.

He grabbed the cash from the bar, left a generous tip, and nodded goodbye to Klaus. He strode to the exit, ignoring the blonde’s taunting calls to come back. The laughter in her lilting tone churned his gut.

Whether he returned to the job at all depended on how badly Melanie Michaels and crew shamed him on video. He’d spend the next six days avoiding the camera, and afterward, crawl into some isolated igloo a dismal failure. He might stay there until global warming melted away the polar ice cap.

Purchase TWICE IN A BLUE MOON from:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kensington

Mae Clair Presents: COLE IN MY STOCKING by Jessi Gage #HolidayRomance

Jessi Gage is back with a “cool” new release!  ‘Tis the season for holidays and romance, so you won’t want to miss COLE IN MY STOCKING, Jessi’s delightful holiday story.

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Blurb:
Mandy never planned to return to Newburgh, New Hampshire, the hometown that unfairly branded her a slut, but she has no choice. Her father has died, and she’ll be spending Christmas settling his affairs. She hopes to get in and out of town without attracting the looks of disgust that drove her away, but when a certain Oakley-wearing, Harley-riding cop starts hanging around, an old crush is revived and the rumor mill restarts with a vengeance.

Cole has always been attracted to Mandy, but he has never acted on it. Besides being sixteen years older than her, he was friends with her father. The rumors people in town spread about her were bad enough without an inappropriate relationship adding fuel to the fire. But when Mandy returns to Newburgh fully adult and looking more gorgeous than ever, he can’t keep his distance, especially when an old secret of her father’s surfaces and puts her in danger. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, but convincing her to stay in Newburgh, with him, will take a Christmas miracle.

Reader Advisory: Contains references to a past sexual assault

Excerpt:
Lamenting my lack of AAA membership, I trudged back to the driver’s side door and climbed in. My best friend Heather had given me a heated seat pad for the trip. I nestled into the welcoming warmth and fished my insurance card out of my wallet. I was pretty sure my insurance company provided roadside assistance. But would it make my rates go up if I used it? Surely not. I hadn’t gotten in an accident. It was just a stupid flat. Living in down-town Philly on a social worker’s salary, I could barely afford to keep the beast in Valvoline oil and low-grade gasoline. Higher insurance rates were out of the question.

Hoping for the best, I dialed the 800 number. A sharp knock on the window made me yelp.

My phone clattered into the inaccessible abyss between my seat and the console. I’d lost countless spare change, Chap-Sticks and morsels of Chex Mix to that abyss. If anyone ever plumbed its depths, they’d be sure to find fossilized remains of lost species of gas station foods and thriving colonies of automotive dust bunnies.

And my cell phone. Crap.

I turned the full force of my scowl on the perpetrator, forgetting to be fearful until the height and breadth of the person registered.

A man. Crowding my window and blotting out the light of a faraway streetlamp. Panic made a fist around my heart.

I slammed down the door lock with one hand while feeling for my cell phone with the other. Duh. Empty cup holder. Nine-one-one was not an option.

Meanwhile, my eyeballs strained to make out the man’s face, and I realized why it was so difficult. The wide brim of a tan state trooper hat left all but the man’s square chin and firm mouth, which was surrounded by five-o’clock-plus-two-extra-days stubble, in shadow. That mouth was as unforgiving as rebar. When it moved with a glass-muffled “Everything all right?” it offered a glimpse of slightly crooked lower teeth.

I knew those teeth. That mouth. That chin with the faintest of dimples in the center.

It had been so long.

The knot of panic in my chest simultaneously unwound and morphed into mortification. Of all the people I’d planned to avoid on this trip, Cole Plankitt topped the list.

Purchase COLE IN MY STOCKING from:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | All Romance | Goodreads

zz_Jessi Gage headshot2Jessi Gage bio
Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. She’s a passionate reader of all genres of romance, especially anything involving the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, weres, faeries…you name it, she’ll read it. As for writing, she’s sticking to Highlanders and contemporaries with a paranormal twist (for now). The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.

Connect with Jessi Gage at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Facebook Fan Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter