Thursday, August 17, 2017

Romance with Heart blog features Once Upon a Lady by Addie Jo Ryleigh





The Soul Mate Tree
Once Upon a Lady
By Addie Jo Ryleigh


My new release, Once Upon a Lady, is book eight of The Soul Mate Tree Series and I couldn’t be prouder to share in a venture that showcases the talents of so many amazing romance authors across a variety of genres. When I was first approached by Char Chaffin asking if I’d be interested in joining the project, my first thought was ‘I’ve never written a novella before.’ **gulp** After convincing myself that I could indeed capture an entire story in the length of a novella, I jumped on board. Taking a break from my debut Regency series, Men of Circumstance, I started to toss around ideas and quickly stumbled upon Kate and Jackson.

Lost in duty, if there was anyone needing the assistance of the mystical Soul Mate Tree, it was Kate. And who better to help her discover her destiny than Jackson, a man equally adrift. As soon as I saw the beautiful cover created by Wren Taylor, I knew I had my story.

Their path, navigated by the poetic legend created by Char and Cheryl Yeko, was filled with plenty of obstacles but once they embraced the gift granted by the tree, not even Kate’s ducal father could stand in their way.

 The Legend of the Soul Mate Tree:

I am old, I am ancient, my purpose is clear
To give those who are needy a treasure so dear.
They who come to my roots, touch my bark, stroke my leaves
Find the soul of their lives if they but believe.
When I call and you listen, your prize will be great
If your heart remains open and you don’t hesitate.
Do you yearn? Be you lonely? Is your time yet at hand?
Reach for me and I’ll give to you. I’m yours to command.
For your trust, for your faith, keep my secrets untold
And I’ll gift you forever, to have and to hold.


The Soul Mate Tree Series Trailer: https://youtu.be/VjxyyD3TVoA

An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

Respectable Lady Katherine Baxton, striving to meet the requirements of her station, has become the ultimate dutiful daughter. And now, the Duke of Blackthorn’s betrothed. Far from a love match, Kate is nevertheless determined to do as expected and marry.
That all changes the night she panics at her impending future and runs, stumbling upon a private grove, a mysterious tree. . . and a half-naked man.
The youngest son of a viscount widely thought to have purchased his title, Jackson Cooper demonstrates his disdain for the aristocracy by affording himself every luxury available—drinking, wenching, and gambling—while eschewing anything representing the ton. Jackson has little care for his reputation and no desire to marry. His escape from London is all but complete.
Until fate—in the form of a beautiful, mysterious lady—interrupts his plans, enticing him with the very thing he never wanted.

Short Excerpt:

Kate felt his approach before she saw him. Which wasn’t all that surprising since her body had remained mindful of his presence. Fighting the impulse proved fruitless.
When his tall frame blocked the sun and cast her in shadow, she knew besides giving him a direct cut, she had no escape. If only she hadn’t ventured from her sister’s side. At the time, abandoning Helena had been her singular option since their slow stroll through the gathering had traveled too close to the very man standing beside her. She’d been delaying the inevitable.
Kate was now alone, as she tried to keep her attention on the lawn activities before her, hoping no one would witness what was about to happen.
“Aren’t sprites confined to the trees?” His deep voice washed over her.
She didn’t turn to acknowledge him. “How nice to see you properly dressed for once.”
His chuckle warmed her. “Are you following me?”
An unladylike snort refused to be repressed. “Hardly. You are rather difficult to overlook, being the only unknown face here.”
“That’s not true. You’ve seen my face . . . as well as other, more interesting parts.”
Kate wished she’d listened to her sister and worn a bonnet. Anything to mask the heat flaring in her cheeks.
Thankfully he remained at her side and hadn’t a clear view of her face. “We have not been introduced. I can’t be seen speaking to you.”
“Then let us go where we can't be seen.”
Her heart raced at his boldness. Why was this man so tempting? She was spoken for, though still unofficially. Proper ladies didn’t follow strange men to private locations, regardless of their marital status. “Absolutely not.”
“Even if I have something of yours?”
Blast! Her ring. Given her luck lately, she would have lost it in the grove of all places. Her aunt would toss in her grave knowing Kate had misplaced her gift.
“A true gentleman would return it.”
            His deep laugh caused her pulse to flutter. “I'm no gentleman. Or haven't you heard?”

Bio:

Addie Jo Ryleigh writes historical regency romances that feature rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines.

Addie Jo has lived in the same cold-winter-hot-summer area of Minnesota her entire life. Sharing in the raising of her three extremely rambunctious boys is her very understanding husband who endured being dubbed “The Duke” by his co-workers. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes (besides her wonderfully loud children) is her yorkipoo, Bella, who is never far from Addie Jo’s side. And recently the newest addition to their family, a black lab named Max.

Addie Jo has always had a love and passion for romance books and became engrossed in historical romance (particularly Regency) soon after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, Addie Jo reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.

Addie Jo has a bachelor degree in accounting and is a financial coordinator when not playing chauffeur for her hockey-playing boys, cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.


Social Media Links:

Friday, August 4, 2017

Romance with Heart blog features mystery crime novel, Mayaki's Doll


Title: Mayaki’s Doll
ISBN: 978-1-62420-357-2
Author: Francis Benedict

Genre: Mystery/Crime
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

TAGLINE

Had they known that the scar on her foot would give them away, they would have set the car ablaze before pushing it over…

BLURB

Mayaki is reportedly dead, with her car having been discovered to have fallen over Tariaah, the sacred hill, and making front-page on the morning daily.
Gloria Reginald rushes to Lohada to verify and arrange for her friend to be brought home for burial but, shockingly, the body in the morgue has a matted face under a roll of bandages and looks nothing like her, raising questions that beg for answers. The police can’t be trusted and the doctors seem suspect. To the natives of Lohada, Mayaki is merely another victim of the anger of the god of the hill.
But when Mayaki’s wooly red doll providentially turns up in the outcrops, Gloria’s intuition quickly leads her closer to uncovering an ingenious plot hidden behind her best friend’s mysterious disappearance. With the conviction that her friend is still alive, Gloria must take charge of matter if she hopes to get to the root of the goings-on.
Soon the puzzle unravels and she finds herself locked in a dire struggle to save her friend from the hold of a dreadful and powerful drug-running organization that demands just one thing that only Gloria can provide in exchange for Mayaki.

EXCERPT

The helicopter blew to smithereens, a huge ball of fire in the sky. The flaming debris cascaded down on the forest in a massive shower of fireworks and the resultant effect of the explosion created a momentary tremor in the earth underneath us that I actually shifted on my feet. Then came a sudden uproar of jubilation; the entire village of Rihuku was agog. A tremendous victory for them.
There wasn't a moment to waste, and Chief Mahiri again began issuing new orders. At his command, the women and children began disappearing back into the huts. I followed him back to the clearing. Able-bodied young men amounting to sixteen in number had assembled themselves before him. Dabilu was evidently the leader of the pack.
Chief Mahiri's voice was fierce as he bellowed words to the men. Like soldiers heading out to war, they listened raptly. When he was through speaking, the men turned and followed Dabilu away from the clearing. Then one after the other, all disappeared through one of the dark crevices between the huts.
"Chief, what are you proposing to do now?" I asked.
He turned his face to me. "I'm leading the men out to Inua's. It has been ordained that he dies today!"
"Are you talking about an ambush—a surprise attack then?"
"If we don't move fast, he will send his men out here to hunt for you. Already the helicopter is late in returning, though unknown to him it has met with a fate far greater than he can ever imagine."
"But Chief," I said, "my friends are there at the villa. They can easily be mistaken for Inua's thugs. They are innocent. If your people should…"
He looked at me innocuously. "It can't be helped, I'm sorry. This is war. In a war, lives are sacrificed. Inua has to be taken out, and to achieve this anything will be compromised."
"Including the lives of my loved ones? Your war is with Inua and not them. Your men are not trained in the requisite military maneuvers required in a situation like this. Look, Chief, it can be helped. You can get Inua, and at the same time save the lives of my friends trapped there. If you order your men to—"
It was hopeless; the chief was inattentive. Mahiri's soldiers were re-emerging, all fully armed with a variety of modern assault weapons: automatic rifles, and a couple with mortar guns. They looked like savages—which was actually what they were at the time. Without pausing for a moment, they walked with heavy feet past us, marching their way into the waiting jungle, and disappearing one after the other through the curtain of tall grasses.
"Chief Mahiri, please!" I pleaded, clutching at his arm. "Please, you must halt this madness!"
In a single jerk of his hand, he loosened himself from my grip. He stared at me, all the sanctity gone from his face. He was now somebody different: a warrior—leading his men out to an unpredictable war.
"Madness, you say?" he spat out in anger. The bulging veins in his neck were budding as though they were being fed compressed air. "I am the chief of this village; it is my duty to look after my people. Already, in whispers they speak that I am weak. Is it madness to avenge the lives of those Inua has killed? My daughter? We have consulted with the oracle, and even now that we go, four from our party will not return. It pleases my heart if I should be the only one. The guilt of my daughter's death weighs heavily on my conscience." Then again turning his face toward the huts he barked, "Kaila!"


Keywords: Mystery, Crime, Drug Runners, Murder

Twitter: @efbenedict9













Thursday, July 27, 2017

Romance with Heart is featuring His Eternal Promise by Sheri Lynn

His Eternal Promise By Sheri Lynn
 
She never imagined that a peculiar encounter with Maxim, followed by a night of extraordinary passion, would result in His Eternal Promise.

BLURB

Carlee put everything into her family and her job over the last couple of years, sacrificing any personal life. After a rare evening out with a few girlfriends, she encounters a captivating man under inexplicable circumstances. Against all rational judgment, they share an evening of the most fulfilling and erotic sex she's ever experienced.

Maxim hasn’t wanted a woman, especially a mortal, in over a century, but he wants Carlee. He intends to keep the truth from her in order to build a relationship first, but a woman from his past complicates things forcing him to reveal the truth. He hopes Carlee chooses to keep him in her life, because he can’t leave, her life is in danger.


Excerpt

He didn't sleep. Carlee breathed deep and steady, so he knew she slept. He should not have followed her. In a whole century, he never interacted with mortals other than business. The desire to be with one, sexually or in any intimate manner, never appealed to him.
Something about this one human reached out and into the dark, lonely places inside him. He couldn't let her go. He knew that. Looking into her eyes, hearing and feeling her blood circulating through her lovely body, he knew he found the exception. For her to accept him, want him, and take him as she did, just reinforced it.
Her light hair spread out inches from his face. Rubbing his nose in it, he breathed in the scent, reveling in the reactions her smell conjured in him. Many women attempted to attract him, entice him, and he always rejected them. After he fled Annika, he lost interest in women. Until Carlee. The need to seduce, cherish, protect, and indulge her consumed him.
How would she see him this morning? She could have regrets. She could obsess over what she saw behind the building. She could decide to end any further interaction with him. There were so many questions, and he needed to decide what he was and wasn't ready to divulge. With all certainty, he knew she belonged with him. She would remain his.
Without any sleep, and enraptured in the beauty of the woman lying beside him, his impatience mounted. Let the spoiling commence. Without disturbing her, he got out of the bed to put some coffee on. She probably drank coffee.
As he entered the kitchen, a coffee pot came into view. Now to find filters and coffee.
"Right upper cabinet, over the sink," informed Carlee. He didn't hear her enter the kitchen, but the sight of her standing there, just waking up, tousled hair, and nude, made him want to reclaim her right then and there. As if she read his thoughts, she grinned, lifting her arms awkwardly to semi-cover her chest.
Approaching her, he took both her wrists and pulled her arms to her sides. "Kotyonok, don't you ever hide from me…especially that exquisite body." Leaning in, he brushed his lips over hers. Her round, hazel eyes never leaving his. "What is it you normally do on a Sunday?"
That produced another grin from her sweet mouth. "I don't do anything before coffee." Scooting around him, she said, "I'll make the coffee." Filling the carafe from the sink, her back to him, the questions began. "So…your accent, is it Russian, or thereabouts?"
An easy one first. Good. "Yes. I grew up in a small village just outside of Saratov." Plagued with an inner turmoil of what truths to expose and what to suppress, he realized a human part of him still existed. He made the decision to hold onto her…build a trust…protect her, and if that meant withholding, that's what he would do. He wouldn't lose her.
Enjoying the sight of her moving about the kitchen invigorated him. These feelings were nonexistent since the change and before he became tainted. He resigned himself to the fact that he lost this forever. Her shoulder length hair swayed with her movements. Her beautiful soft skin with live blood flowing underneath it, her narrow hips, all of which he intended to worship…forever. Her plump rear bore light marks from his belt. The need to take her again, now, challenged his restraint.
Opening his mouth to speak, anything to subdue his yearning, she turned to face him and asked. "Before we take this any further…I need to know what was going on last night."
Not his initial impulse, but he decided to toy with her. He sensed she could handle it, and wouldn't accept it for long before she demanded the answers she really needed. "I had the pleasure of feasting my eyes upon you, Kotyonok. I followed you home, and to my ultimate surprise, you left the key in the door, allowing me access to your home." Placing her hands on her hips, she pursed her lips, but he continued. "You were in bed, in all your naked glory, and I couldn't resist tasting and feeling you from the outside in…and spanking your lovely needy ass."
His recount of their evening altered her breathing, and he heard her pulse quicken. She even paced in front of him before she scolded him. "Maxim…you know damn well that isn't what I'm talking about. Are you a fucking murderer?"
Surprised by her outburst, he answered in a calm, authoritative tone. "Language, Kotyonok, very unbecoming from someone so lovely." He hated lying, and prided himself on only doing so to survive. For now, he must do it out of necessity, necessary to keep her as his. "No. I am not a murderer. That was James. He drinks too much, and never learns. He is killing himself. I would not normally have treated him so shoddily, but I was worried about you." The lie executed, he hoped this won more time with her. He decided he better continue, remove any possible concerns from her mind. "His girlfriend was on his way to take him home. I attempted to have him walk it off a little."
Considering this, her brow furrowed, resulting in a cute crease in her forehead. "To answer your earlier question…on Sundays I go and see my father. Usually, I get him out of the house. Take him to eat."
That let him off the hook. His self-control waned, as thoughts of taking her as his again dominated his mind and body. He must handle this right. Scaring her off was not an option. She was his. Moving in front of her, he placed his right hand in her hair, tilting her face to look at him. "Though I would love nothing more than to spend the day with you, you have plans, and I also have an engagement." Gazing into her beautiful face, it bewildered him how much she affected him, reaching places he believed died in 1917.
He placed his cheek on her forehead. He savored her sweet warmth. Clearing his throat, he pulled back, giving her a quick kiss. "I very much want to pick you up…say around 6:30 this evening and have you attend a small art show at a gallery downtown with me."

Smiling, she nodded. "I would very much like that too."


AUTHOR BIO:

I grew up an Army brat, so my childhood involved moving every three years. However, truly a southern gal, I currently reside in Alabama with my husband, two Chihuahuas, a mean cat, turtle, and a teenage daughter. I have two sons, who live on their own, and a stepson and stepdaughter.

Romance novels have always been my first reading choice. I'm a hopeless romantic, and that trait materializes in every aspect of my life. "Wearing your heart on your sleeve" has been a common phrase repeatedly heard throughout my life. Writing romance and happily ever afters comes naturally.

Whether a result of my childhood, or not, I love to travel. Warm weather and beautiful beaches are always my choice destination.

Buy at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Keywords: Romance, paranormal, vampire, contemporary

Blog URL: https://sherilynnauthor.wordpress.com


Twitter: https://twitter.com/sherilynnauthor


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/sherilynnauthor

Sheri Lynn will give away a digital copy of His Eternal Promise to one randomly drawn commenter.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Romance with Heart Blog featuring Lee Piper and her new release Rock My Body

Thundering drum beats? Check. Swoon-worthy vocals? Check. Panty-obliterating lead guitarist? Check. Looks like you’re all set for Rock My Body, Book Two in the Mondez series by Lee Piper!


Blurb:
Twenty-two year old Riley Sears promises herself never to fall in love unless it is with a guy who is long-term boyfriend material. She is not crazy, her psychologist reassures her of that, but when faced with situations she cannot control… Well. Her anxiety skyrockets.

Enter Dominic Mondez, the hottest creature ever to grace pecs and abs. The notorious playboy propositions Riley with the best sex of her life—his words. However, after learning he never sleeps with the same woman twice, Riley’s decision becomes remarkably simple.

No. Way. In. Hell.

Sadly, traversing the murky waters of friends without benefits is far from simple, especially since Dominic is the lead guitarist of local rock band, Mondez. He is also tempestuous, a womanizer, and—even worse—inexplicably jealous. Dominic is bad for Riley in every possible way. Bad, bad, bad.

If only her body would listen.


Excerpt:
He was watching me, I could feel it. My body sensed him long before my head did and started tingling. Everywhere.
Fuck.
Just the thought of him made my heart pound. Traitorous thing. It merrily rammed against my ribcage as soon as I pictured his tall, muscular body and dishevelled, russet hair. My fingers itched to reach out and delve through the soft strands—they remembered what it felt like to tug down on them as he groaned into my open mouth—but I shifted in my seat and sat on them instead. I wasn’t going down that road again, hell no. I was done.
D.O.N.E.
A low chuckle cut through the muted sounds of heavy rock music emanating from inside, its gravely sound resonating with my downstairs department, causing a deep blush to stain my cheeks.
Clearly, I wasn’t fooling anyone.
What in the name of sweet baby Jesus is he even doing here?
I tried so hard to focus on what Sebastian was saying. Thankfully, he held up his end of the conversation despite my unexpected inability to formulate any words. We’d been sitting together for a while without a single awkward pause so I nodded, smiled, and even laughed when required. To be fair, it was a pretty decent pick-up attempt. Well, until he showed up.
Blue eyes burned my skin.
You don’t own me, you don’t own me, you don’t—
I swallowed, steeled myself and then glanced across at him.
Own me.
Dominic was leaning against the wall, his black, button-down shirt almost bursting at the seams. I blamed those insanely strong pecs and biceps. Honestly, they were huge. And the way his dark blue jeans hung enticingly low off narrow hips… Well. It should be illegal. He was going to give someone—AKA me—a cardiac arrest if he wasn’t careful.
I shook my head. With a bottle of beer in one hand and a buxom blonde in the other— this one looked nastier than most—the guy was the physical embodiment of everything I despised. Truly.
If only my body would listen.
Raising the drink to full, kissable lips, he tipped his head back, piercing gaze still locked on me. He then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, a flicker of emotions I couldn’t identify crossing his face when he noticed my breath catch.
The girl must have registered his distraction too because she started rubbing herself up against him like an overly aroused limpet. Gross. He broke contact with me and looked down at her, a dark smile tugging his lips. After murmuring something in her ear and slapping her on the behind, she giggled. I looked away, that familiar painful knot forming in my stomach once more.
Damn you, Dominic Mondez. Damn you to hell.

Purchase Links:

Readers are raving about the Mondez series! Check this out:
I loved this story. I couldn’t put it down! –Rabid Readers Book Blog on Rock My World

This book captured me from the very first page. –The Book Addict’s Reviews on Rock My World


Lee Piper showed us the strength it takes to love someone who is broken and the mental struggle a person battles to just let it all go and live again. Not an easy task, as a real person or as an author writing about imaginary people. To have a reader actually feel a character’s emotions, feel their pain as your own is a challenging feat BUT Lee conquered this task. –Kameron Brook on Rock My World

I have a feeling that Lee Piper will now be another rock star romance author favorite of mine. –Lisa M. Mandina


Playlist:
The Mile by Dead Letter Circus
Lines by Dead Letter Circus
Disconnect and Apply by Dead Letter Circus
Are We Closer by Dead Letter Circus
This Life Awake by Dead Letter Circus
Alien by Dead Letter Circus

Connect with Lee Piper:

Author Bio
Lee Piper is a lover of books. She often juggles reading seven novels at a time for the sheer joy of it. At the grand old age of five, Lee Piper decided to become an author, however found a limited market for her unicorn stories. So, high school English teacher it was.

At thirty-two, and grieving the loss of her second miscarriage, Lee Piper turned to novels—Kylie Scott, to be precise—to escape the pain. This then inspired her to write Rock My World, the first in a four-part contemporary romance series, and her debut novel became an Evernight Publishing bestseller within the first two weeks of publication. Rock My Body was released on June 3, 2017, much to the delight of her global readership.

Lee Piper lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her drummer husband, cheeky daughters, and one very crazy dog.

Buy Links:

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Romance with Heart Blog. New Release, Before the Dawn by Courtney Rene


Title: Before the Dawn
         A Howl in the Night Book 3
Author: Courtney Rene
ISBN: 978-1-62420-325-1

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Website URL: Www.Courtneyrene.com

Blog URL: www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Shadow-Dancer-and-more-by-Courtney-Rene-164433473646449/

Twitter handle: @ctnyrene


TAGLINE

Darkness continues to haunt Abby since her escape from the Hunterz. Questions continue to circle. Who are they, really? Why do they hate the wolves so much?

BLURB

Seventeen year old Abby can’t shake the darkness that continues to haunt her since her escape from the Hunterz. She can’t let it go. Questions continue to circle. Questions no one will answer. Who are they, really? Why do they hate the wolves so much? The answers could be found in a young boy named, Sam. He may be from the Hunterz, but he smells of wolf. Derek wants to believe her, and tries to help, but Abby still hasn’t learned how to accept help from others. Her relationships with her mother and father continue to deteriorate, but Derek is a puzzle. Some days he’s exactly what she wants and others he is all that she despises. Being a shifter isn’t as simple as she thought it would be. The wolf part is easy. It’s the human side that needs a little work.


EXCERPT

I huddled in the darkness, barely aware of the passing hours and days. The wolf ate when she was hungry. She found mice and rodents to catch and devour. I was barely aware of the chase or the joy she found in the hunt. The wolf drank from streams and creeks along her journey. She slept when she was tired and traveled the rest of it.
I was aware the forest was starting to look familiar, but I didn't care enough to wonder why or where I was. When the big white sprawling house came before us, I realized the wolf had brought us to the only other place she knew to go: Aunt Lilly's.
I didn't leave the safety within the wolf when we arrived at the house. I was aware when we stepped onto the porch and dropped to the cool white washed boards where the wolf curled up and slept, but I stayed safe, hidden deep. The wolf and the instincts that drove her protected us. I was happy to let her lead. I was happy to be carried wherever she decided to go. I slept as the wolf did throughout the rest of the night.
When the wolf woke, I woke with her. We were still curled on the porch, but we were within a pile of dogs that had come to keep us safe and warm and offer company. The wolf was happy for the companions, as I was not able to be one. I was silent and empty and had nothing to give right then. I had nothing left to offer her.
I saw my Aunt come out on the porch, and I saw the moment she recognized me for what I was. "Abby, honey. What are you doing here?"
I shrank back deeper within the wolf, and as the wolf had nothing to say to her in that form, Aunt Lilly was left at a loss. She crouched down before us and ran her hands over my head and down my back. "You look a little worse for wear. Do you want to come in and eat? Maybe get a shower and some clothes?"
I wasn't coming out of the wolf form. I realized that had been my intention the whole time. I simply hadn't been ready to face it. I was obviously not very good as a human, so I would try being a wolf for a bit. I used a little more energy and turned my head away from her and dropped it back down on my front paws.
"Abby? What's wrong?"
I had no answer for her, so I didn't move or acknowledge her question. I didn't know what to tell her. I was still feeling sorry for myself, and I didn't have a plan of how to fix it other than to ignore it. I was happy as a wolf. Why did I have to be a human anyway?
She stayed crouched down next to me for a long time. She tried to talk to me, but I didn't answer. Finally, she gave up and stepped back. Her dog friends stayed with me, protecting me in their own way. She surveyed the pile of us then said, "Well, I guess I'll check on you in a bit."
I closed my eyes and went back to sleep. I spent the next few days hardly moving a muscle. What was the point? Aside from getting up to empty my bladder or get a drink of water, I stayed on the porch, quiet and still. Aunt Lilly stopped trying to talk to me, but she did continue to sit with me and offer what comfort she could by way of gentle caresses or tidbits of food she could tempt me with, or just simple water. The best part was when she sat in the white rocker and just rocked. Her being there was enough. Sometimes when she sat there, I would get up and sit next to her, just to be close to someone who gave a damn about me. Just me. Not what I could do for her, or what I could do for the clan. She just cared about me.
Why was I so unlovable by everyone else? Why didn't my mother want me anymore? Why did my father only see me for what I offered the clan? Why didn't Derek just want me? Why. Why. Why! What was so wrong with just being me?
It was times like those that even in wolf form I was able to cry. When the hurt of the world grew to immense I could not hold it in anymore. I cried the sounds of the wolf, even if it didn't come with the tears of a human. Aunt Lilly wouldn't press or talk, she was simply there with me as I tried to handle the sadness overwhelming me. She'd caress my head and continue to rock.
I don't know how long things went on like that. Maybe a few days, maybe it was an entire week. I do know when it came to an abrupt end. Morning arrived with a definite chill in the air. I didn't notice the cold all that much, thanks to my warm fur, but also because Aunt Lilly's dogs took shifts with what I thought of as protecting me. There were always a handful of them, either lying next to me or with me, or whatever. I was never cold or alone. They knew I was hurting and they in their animal wisdom stayed with me as comfort. Animals are awesome. People…suck.


AUTHOR BIO:

Courtney Rene lives in the State of Ohio with her husband and two children. She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, as well as her young adult novels, A Howl in the Night and the Shadow Dancer series, published through Rogue Phoenix Press. For a complete listing, visit www.ctnyrene.blogspot com or feel free to contact her at ctnyrene@aol.com.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Featured on Romance with Heart blog. New Release from Tamara White. Grayson, Shattered Existence, Book 1



Unable to shake off her past and the destruction colorism played in her childhood, Grayson returns to Lakeland in an attempt to reconcile her past.

BLURB

The Harrow family is a family that has spent generations hiding behind the illusion of perfection and lineage. Grayson thought she had escaped the dysfunction of the Harrow Family until the shock of an unplanned pregnancy forced her to return to Lakeland. Grayson must confront her color struck mother, Vivianna, about her childhood at Lakeland and the real reason why her biological father was never apart of her life. Grayson learns how twisted her mother’s version of love is, and how the truth is more complex than she could have ever imagined. Her husband David is there to support her every step of the way, and when Grayson reconnects with her sister, Gigi, she learns the price Gigi paid for being their mother’s favorite.


EXCERPT

Grayson took a moment to soak up the quietness of the afternoon before they headed inside. The country air tickled her nose. Grayson had forgotten how clean air could smell. The sweet smell of the honeysuckle lingered over the slight breeze and settled her stomach as it occupied her lungs. She enjoyed how the crisp air danced on her skin, and brushed away the city of Boston's lingering aroma. Grayson turned her eyes towards the estate she had grown up in, and saw Lakeland in a way she never had before.
The unusually harsh winters over the past few years had abused the hand-made clay shingles and caused a distinct discoloration. The landscaping was neat, but not kept to the same standard it had been when her grandfather was alive. Grayson knew her grandfather would have never allowed the forsythia bushes to expand and move about the grounds freely. He would have demanded the gardeners control the beautifully bright yellow shrubberies and conform them to the Harrow standard. Wild is for the wilderness, Grayson's grandfather would have said. Grayson smiled at the absence of the ancient oak tree she'd fallen out of when she was ten. The enormous oak tree with the giant knock hole had shaded her bedroom, and helped her sneak out when she was sixteen to Elizabeth Brownsworth's end of the year party. The white washed bricks demanded a thorough cleaning, and the cliché, Gone with the Wind pillars pleaded desperately for a fresh coat of cloud white paint. Lakeland looked miserable. It was as if Lakeland knew her final chapter was already written.
"Lakeland is really showing her years." Grayson stared at the midnight black, heavily ornate front door with the bulky lion head doorknocker, and equally obnoxious doorknob she swore she'd never enter again, every time she walked out. Grayson picked up her laptop bag and started her pilgrimage towards her past.
"Relax," David whispered from behind her. "Everything is going to be fine."
Her mother, Vivianna, opened the front door and stood in the archway like a Grand Duchess impatiently awaiting the arrival of her audience. "Grayson, put the bag down!" she snapped in an egotistical tone. "We don't carry our bags. We have them carried. Has city life caused you to abandon your upbringing? Ladies of means do not carry bags."
Five seconds. That's how long it took Grayson to go from a strong, accounting firm executive, to the shy, chocolate-skinned, frizzy haired, correction-shoe girl of her past.
"Mother," Grayson retorted in the stiff flat tone she reserved for addressing Vivianna. "So nice to see―"
"Never mind all that." Vivianna motioned them towards the front door. "Inside quickly. No need for some of us to get any darker than we already are, darling." Vivianna paused in the foyer to admire her creamy beige skin in the mirror before entering the sitting room. She never passed on an opportunity to admire what she perceived as her greatness. "Grayson, I don't see how you're able to endure. I don't know what I would do if my skin was permanently darkened by the sun." The physical differences in Vivianna and Grayson went beyond skin tone. Vivianna was thin in stature. She never had an issue maintaining a hundred and ten pounds on her five foot three frame. Her nose was narrow, her lips thin, and her eyes were almond shaped. People, mostly women, assumed her green eyes were fake, but they were indeed real. Vivianna was everything a color-complex struck Black man found irresistible. She was their must-have. Grayson, on the other hand, possessed curves for days, full lips, and a round face with a button nose to match her high cheekbones. She had the type of body hip-hop artists paid homage to in their lyrics, minus the chocolate-colored skin.
"Come, Grayson ... sit. I want to know how things are going. Was the flight enjoyable? I hope you flew first class. I've heard people in coach can have an odor to them."
Grayson rolled her eyes behind Vivianna's back. And so it begins...


REVIEW:

Grayson
By Tamar White
5 Stars
Reviewed by G. Lloyd Helm

Grayson is a book about family history, secrets, and rivalries. Families can be complicated enough, but if you mix in race and egotism they become even more so. Grayson explores the connections between mothers and daughters and what daughters don't know about mothers and mothers don't know about daughters. Each character is keeping explosive secrets in this story, from who is whose father and who is actually related to whom and, more interestingly, why the characters are so at odds.

I can't say I enjoyed this book, but I was awed by the Ms. White's ability to make her characters come right off the page. She is a hell of a writer. It was well worth the read for the people in it.




AUTHOR BIO:

Tamara White is married and lives in Illinois with her husband, children and dogs. She enjoys photography and reading.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Release Tank By Erin Bevan

New release Tank

By Erin Bevan



Tyler Wilde moves to Black Widow, Texas, to join the Blue Guardians, a local biker club that helps abused women and children. He's intent on starting his life over, but a small piece of his past collides with his present when he runs into the local waitress, Annie Carter. 
Annie’s the girl of his boyhood dreams, and Tyler can’t wait to get reacquainted with her. Only problem is, Annie’s engaged. But what has Tyler more troubled than the diamond on her finger is the bruise that graces her arm. To make matters worse, Annie’s abuser and intended husband is also the town’s Chief of Police.
Tyler is determined to offer Annie a safe haven, but she refuses his help until her life is hanging by a thread.

Excerpt:

The sun seared Tyler’s back, causing sweat to pour down the length of his spine and his T-shirt to stick to his skin. Nothing like the gulf coast humidity to make a man feel as if he was frying from the inside out.

Rose bushes around the town square bloomed giant Pepto-Bismol pink petals, while a gentleman in blue overalls tended to the flowers like they were his babies. Tossing a wave to the man, he rounded the corner on Holly Drive and parked his bike in front of Sandi’s, the local diner. The undercurrent scent of flowers, bacon, and fried donuts drifted in the air. Man heaven. Except for the flowery part. He’d driven by the diner everyday for two weeks but had yet to pop in. If the food tasted as good as it smelled he might have to make this place a regular hang out.

He pushed through the heavy wooden door as a bell rang overhead. Weaving around customers, all giving him a curious stare, he strolled up to the takeout cash register. Glass cases filled with donuts and the biggest kolaches he’d ever seen stared back at him. His stomach growled.

He eyed the case, his mouth watering, as he waited on a server to notice him.
“Be right there,” a tall, shapely blonde called out from across the restaurant as she handed another table their check. He’d been wrong. To hell with the donuts and bacon. She was man heaven.

A few escaped strands from her ponytail framed her face, and the closer she got to him the darker the black circles under her eyes appeared.

A spark of recognition fired in his brain while an equally hot spark ignited a red flag in his gut. It wasn’t her slightly unkempt hair or her pure look of exhaustion that rubbed him the wrong way. Despite all of that, she was still beautiful.

But her clothes. Her clothes had his head reeling.

She wore long sleeves.

In June.

In Texas.

“What can I get you?” The beauty stared up at him.

He shook off the strange feeling. A bead of sweat dripped down her forehead, fell onto her chest, and into her shirt. Her nametag was positioned right by the tantalizing skin of her chest. Annie.

Mercy.

He glanced down at the donut case. Stare at the food, big guy.

I need two dozen glazed donuts, two dozen chocolate, and a dozen sausage kolaches.”

“Got a lot to feed?” Annie grabbed a box from the counter behind her and placed it on top of the glass case in front of him.

“Yeah, Donut Day, or so I was told. It’s my turn to bring breakfast, and there’s about a dozen mechanics over at Rakes expecting it.”

“Rakes? You must be new,” a redheaded waitress noted as she rounded the corner and filled a customer’s coffee cup. While she was cute, she had a wet-behind-the-ears look to her. He’d stick with Beauty.

He nodded. “I am.”

“I’ve got your table seven covered while you do this, Annie. No big deal.”

“Thanks, Gina.” The blonde smiled at the redhead before returning her attention back to him. “I’ve brought my car to Rakes a few times, and I’ve never seen you.” Beauty grabbed a towel from the counter to wipe the sweat off her forehead, then dabbed her chest near a gold locket that hugged her collarbone.

Shit.

Her tasseled hair seemed sexier the more she dabbed. He’d never been as jealous of a towel in his whole life, the cotton fibers taunting him with their task.

He averted his gaze from the towel and her amazing chest before she labeled him a pervert. Not exactly the reputation he wanted for his new life.

“I’m sad I didn’t get to work on your car.”
God, what a horrible pick-up line. She probably thought he was a giant perv and a complete moron.

She flashed him a half-smile that burned his insides. The diamond on her finger nearly blinded him as she brushed a stray strand from her forehead. The fire inside of him fizzled out like baking soda to a grease fire.

He forced a grin then shot his gaze down to the pastry case.

“Though, I will say…” She tossed the towel aside and stared at him. “Something about your face looks oddly familiar.”

Me? Familiar?

He glanced back up. “Yours does, too, but I don’t really see how.” The spark in his brain burned brighter the more he stared at her.

“Are you from here, or is your family from here?”

“I’m not, but my grandpa was. He lived in a cabin about ten miles outside of town.”

“By Virginia Creek, right? Mr. Wooly.” Her smile grew. “Yeah, you used to come visit him. You guys would go fishing.”

“How’d you know?” He’d never talked to anyone when he came to visit his grandpa. He’d stayed in the woods, hidden and safe. Or at least, that’s how he’d felt.

He stared at her a bit longer. The blue in her eyes reignited a small light of recognition.

Could it be?
“I remember you.” She grabbed a pair of tongs off the counter top. “I used to play out by the water, and I would see you across the creek casting your line. You taught me how to skip rocks one day.”

Moments of his past flashed across his mind. It was her.

The girl across the water.


Bio:

Six years ago and nothing more than a desperate housewife, Erin Bevan began her writing journey.

As a child, reading and writing were her nemeses. It wasn’t until she found herself almost utterly alone, in a different country, that she took up the act of reading for enjoyment. Her passion for writing was born not by reading the old classics, but by reading many new tried and true authors of today: Nora Roberts, Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Tracy Brogan to name a few.

Clinging to books for friends in a land where not many spoke the English language, she found a secret passion she didn’t know existed inside of her. With nothing more than time on her hands, she honed in on the craft of writing until she finally worked up enough courage to let other people read her stories.

She spends most of her time juggling her three little people and trying to keep everyone’s lives flowing as smoothly as possible. When she isn’t using her super powers to wipe sticky goo from her children’s faces, she spends a little time dabbling in her writing career.

Connect with Erin Bevan online.
www.erinbevan.com
 www.facebook.com/erinbevanwrites

Buy Link:


Friday, April 14, 2017

Romance with Heart. New release called June, Many a Moon, Book Two by Alicia Stone

JUNE
 Book Two Many a Moon

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

REVIEW:

June

By Alicia Stone

A review by Jeffrey Ross

5 Stars

This is a world-class piece of literature—a finely crafted book that combines several genres successfully. On one level, June functions as an academic or campus novel—much of the text revolves around the detailed, complicated, scholarly world of Professor Perry’s anthropological research and love affair machinations. It also has robust elements of a detective story when super-sleuth David outs a cheating husband. But June most significantly and boldly illuminates a woman’s “sensual” coming of age (somewhat like Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening) as heroine Cassie begins to unshackle herself from a life of emotional servitude and learns to love again. As a writer, I was humbled by the workmanship and power of this novel. Read June—you will never forget the story.



TAGLINE

Living a lie in a web of deceit, Cassandra finds the courage to challenge her controlling husband.

BLURB

Living a lie in a web of deceit, Cassandra finds the courage to challenge her controlling husband. She sets in motion a tragic chain of events that leads her across Europe from the medieval city of Tallinn to the showboating glamour of Nice. Cast aside and the victim of cruel revenge, Cassandra fights for her future and discovers she is not alone. Her new-found strength is tested to its limits, for where love is concerned there is often a reckoning.


EXCERPT

Women's toilets, a curious place for confidences. Strangers become acquainted in the queue for the loo. Teenage girls discuss conquests as they hog mirrors, applying make-up. Cassandra had once seen a laughing group of Japanese women roll their trousers to their knees, fastidious in their preparation for a Western bathroom experience. She would have given much to understand their chatter. Quite extraordinary what she overheard about people's lives in toilets, but this was gossip, and the gossip was about her. She knew these voices, Malory Jacque and Miranda Pym.
"Of course Cassandra's very nice. Oh, Lord. No paper. For heaven's sake. A hotel of this repute. I shall speak to the manager. Andrew knows him from cricket."
"Hang on. I'll pass some under the door. Lord, this reminds me of school."
Cassandra heard scuffles and giggles.
"She's pleasant…easy-going in that reserved sort of way. Good for dinner parties."
"Thanks. Oh yes. Marvellous. Pop her next to anyone. She's sort of…you know…"
"Neutral? A foil?"
"That's it. Rather beige."
Cassandra froze in her cubicle. The toilets flushed and the voices moved over to the wash-hand basins.
"Oh, no. Would you look at that? They've changed the hand cream. I always liked the wild heather. This won't do."
A blast from the hand driers drowned any further eavesdropping. The door swung open; there was a clack of heels…
"But when you consider the husband…"
The door closed.
Cassandra waited for a moment before waving her hand at the automatic flush and coming out. Standing before the mirror, she remembered what Perry had said at breakfast.
"Sweetheart. Do you think that shade of blue suits you? Book club today isn't it? You've never worn the cashmere I brought you from Cairo. I found it in your closet the other day."
She had poured his coffee, put another round of toast in the retro Italian toaster, and slipped into their bedroom. The unopened duty-free bag stood upright in the bottom of the 'hers' wardrobe. Shrugging off the blouse chosen earlier, she removed the ribbon tag from her gift and pulled the soft jumper over her head, making for the kitchen.
"Pussy-cat, lovely. Want to stroke you." He didn't. Instead, Perry was out of his seat even as she offered more toast.
"Carbs, Cassandra, carbs. Got to look after the waistline." He held his stomach in and blew her a routine kiss, but she was already moving towards the sink.
Would the puff of air reach the cupboard housing the seldom-used twelve-place dinner service, or would the vapour simply dissipate mid kitchen, she wondered.
"Late tonight, some of the faculty…a little do. Back on the Nine o'clock. Have fun with the ladies."
Cassandra had dropped the toast into the bin and stared out of the window. Next-door's cat had emerged from a clump of daisies and shuddered, the tail bolt upright. Cassandra loathed cats, especially when they treated her garden as their personal litter tray. He, for the cat was a Tom, was the same shade of grey as her jumper.
Now she was staring at the reflection in the mirror. Her face lost, framed by the heavy ornate coving and flock-wallpaper of the Victorian hotel. She had often pondered what people would say about her. They might use affable or good-natured if a little shy. What they didn't see was that she was bored; Cassandra was bored to her very core. Not languid though, never that. There was so much that people did not see. Cassandra composed herself, took a breath, and fixed her smile as she hurried to re-join the discussion about a book she had no wish to discuss.

~ * ~

A creature of routine, she went shopping after Book Club. Every trip to the supermarket was at best an exhausting in-your-face reality experience, at worst a sensory assault. From the seductive smell of the in-store baked bread and the sweet blowsy lilies in pretty buy-me cellophane wrappers to the whole gamut of riotous colour, compelling fonts and unashamed branding the weekly shop was a marketing horror to be endured. Enthusiastic staff spoke of must-buys or operational matters over the public address system interrupting the bland music and the periodic wails of infants distressed or seeking attention. Employees wearing uniform fleece offered tiny plastic pots as if shoppers were at some impromptu cocktail party or were institutionalised, standing in line to take their medication before bedtime.
"Can I tempt you to try a French cheese on offer today? Our own-brand mayonnaise has been voted Britain's favourite. Would you like to see if you can taste the difference?"
There were endless choices, from the selection of three types of trolley at the entrance to the alternative methods of checkout at the exit. Early on in their relationship during a trip to the supermarket, Perry asked that Cassandra take on the responsibility.
"Sweetheart, shopping is ghastly. You are so much better at all this pointless busyness than I. Look about you," he glowered. "Eighty percent of the people here are women. You are among your own kind; you know what to do; you have the time. Lucky, lucky girl, whereas poor old me, cash rich; time poor."
Money wasn't a problem. Perry urged her to spend what she liked. They could afford to live well on his salary and his grandfather's trust fund. Bunty and Reg, his parents, bought the couple's house as a wedding gift. Early on in their relationship, Bunty had trumpeted aloud at Cassandra's modest choice of food retailer and her student habit of shopping around for bargains.
"My dear, a housewife is judged by her table. Top end for groceries, always. It's what Perry's used to."
Cassandra did the shopping, coasting in neutral following a set path. Her face assumed a forced smile. She manoeuvred the trolley around slow mannerly pensioners, avoiding the child, skidding to a halt in the detergent aisle. She read labels comparing saturated fat and salt levels, catering for Perry's current preferences and tastes. He was most particular. Cassandra willed herself not to judge the large woman with the trolley stacked high with snack and convenience food or to think too uncharitably of the salad afterthought perched on top of the high-fat, sugar-laden mountain. She rejected the self-checkout points, aware of her need for human interaction, chatting at the till, agreeing that the weather was shocking and that the three-for-two offer on the Imperial Leather soap was excellent value.
"My husband won't try any other. His mother uses the same brand…you know, a family thing." Cassandra despised the words and herself for the weakness that was her norm.
The cashier listened with her head to one side. Was there a fleeting edge of solidarity or sympathy in the amber eyes? Perhaps it was the magnifying effect of the tortoiseshell glasses. Cassandra felt odd and lightheaded but conscious of a moment of female kinship and understanding with a woman she'd never met before.
"Are you alright dear?" The amber was almost orange, owlish, and wild.
Cassandra considered the question as she used her credit card. The first attempt failed as she tapped in the wrong number. Concentrating, she began the process again until she met with success. She stopped in the act of lifting the bag of shopping into her trolley.
"I think…I am."
The cashier reappraised her as she handed over the receipt.
"Changes take time to work their way through, don't you find? The trick is to make the right choices. Take care now."
There was no one behind her in the queue. The adjacent cashier was busy. No one else had overheard. What a curious exchange; not at all the usual bland pleasantries between staff and customers. Cassandra wheeled her trolley away, leaning against the metal frame. Glancing back at the checkout, the grey-haired woman was changing her till roll and did not look up.
Driving home through the rain, Cassandra thought about the book club. Perry had suggested she join. One evening at dinner, he announced that everything was arranged. The wife of Perry's occasional golf partner would introduce her to the club and pick Cassandra up, taking her to the first meeting.
Debbie, in a red sports car with a mane of tawny hair, tanned, wearing a lime green trouser suit, pulled up outside sounding three long beeps. Cassandra rushed out of the house, flustered with a wave of greeting. This went unobserved as Debbie shot into her driveway, executing a three-point-turn, which halted two inches from the next-door's spotless and regimented recycling bins.
"Hop in. Running late. A cul-de-sac in Westmead," she surveyed the immaculate new-builds, "bad luck. My book choice this month so they can't start without me. Got the top down…nice day…about time. Awful summer, you'd never think we lived in the south of England for pity's sake."
Cassandra held out her hand to no avail as the car sped forward.
"Belt up."
The recollection of that first meeting made Cassandra grimace and smile. She couldn't recall the name of the first book, the plot, or the characters, only that awful new girl paralysis, all the other women staring, appraising, and judging. Fighting an overwhelming instinct to run away, she defaulted to a learned behaviour; she smiled, crossed and uncrossed her legs, agreed and disagreed, nodded and listened, wholly intent on blending in. That was three years ago. Members came and went, but the core remained the same. Perry liked to ask her about the group, wives of cronies in his wider circle, so she stayed. Debbie stayed the course too, catching Cassandra's eye at the more outrageous comments, winking with mirth at the absurd.
Perry wanted to know who was bright. Who led the group? Who did most of the talking? That was in the early days. Of late, he had not asked much about the reading group, but Debbie had become a friend. An unlikely pairing perhaps, but, as the first meeting finished and they walked towards the waiting Mercedes, Deborah Gore-Hamilton said,
"I've got your number, Cassy Bishop. If you need an ally, I've got your back."
That was how their friendship started. Cassandra was no longer alone.

REVIEW:

Title: June (Many a Moon Series, Book 2)
Author: Alicia Stone
Rating: 4
Reviewed by: Gillespie Lamb

Cassandra Bishop is an upper-class English woman in her mid-30s who has voluntarily subordinated herself to a controlling husband (and his mother). Why would she volunteer? “I was young,” she sighs. Her pushy best bud brusquely dismisses that as a whiny excuse and lovingly prods her to reassert herself. In reluctant response, an emotionally deconstructed “Cassy” begins to reassemble her natural lively spirit.

Her quicksilver transformation into a strong, independent woman loosens the constraints in her marriage relationship, with liberating and tragic consequences.  

Author Alicia Stone’s forte is creating a believable slice of upper-crust British society within which her characters grow into people we care about. Her illuminating descriptions of the knick-knackery of the gentry lifestyle are fascinating in themselves. Cassandra comes across as an introspective, sensible, and nervy woman. It turns out her husband is multi-dimensional, too.

Testimonial: I am male. This is a woman’s book, PG-rated, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

AUTHOR BIO:

Alicia has recently returned to the UK. She is enjoying the south coast and exploring rural villages using back roads and public footpaths. The great thing about English villages is that they have amazing old churches full of history and stories often with a pub next door. Find out more about Alicia, or contact her on her blog: aliciastoneauthor.blogspot.co.uk

Website URL: N/A

Blog URL: aliciastoneauthor.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook page: N/A

Twitter handle: @Alicia_author