Saturday Spotlight – Un-Swipe by Heather Lauren

Title: Un-Swipe
Series: Socially Awkward #1
Author: Heather Lauren
Genre: Enemies to Lovers/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: May 7, 2021
Cover Design: Cover Bunnies


Moving to Silicon Valley is a dream come true for techy nerd girl, Cassidy Parker. She’s grabbed the chance to make millions on the line but the cost was having to agree to the unthinkable, working with Xander James, a man who embodies everything she despises. Dangerous, covered in tattoos under a sleek suit and a mouth to make anyone blush, he’s everything she’s promised to never fall for, again. So, why is it that she can’t stop thinking about that kiss that still rattles her three months later…





“This was a fun and quick story. It’s very light reading. Its very flirty and I loved the hijinks and pranks. If you want a fun and light read well then you enjoy this one.” – Goodreads Review
“I love the world Heather has made, and it’s backed with laughs which I love. I hope there’s more to come from this world.” – Goodreads Review

Alone in a dark closet I continue to pant while my body tingles with the biggest orgasm of my existence. I can’t help the perma-grin plastered on my face. I’m sure I look like a lunatic but I don’t care. Wow. Holy mother of wow. I press my fingertips to my swollen lips remembered how moments earlier Xander was devouring them like they were the best things he had ever tasted. And holy f-ing shit, he totally just fingerbanged me in an office supplies closet. My smile falls. All remainders of my euphoric orgasm have vanished and is now replaced with panic. Someone opened the door and saw us. Well saw him, he completely eclipsed me with his broad sexy shoulders and strong arms. His very large dick pressed into my belly and he was like an unmoving wall of protection. For a moment I felt both orgasmic and completely safe. Like I was his and no one else could see me. Stupid feelings. He took off without a word, it was probably just another game to him. Instead of a vicious prank he changed the tone and in these new sex games I get orgasms. Which are awesome. Seriously so good.

Ok, Xander you want to play games I’ll play, but I don’t lose. I play to win and I’m coming for your orgasms. Payback will be so satisfying.






Heather is a mom of three who enjoys writing steamy contemporary romance from the comfort of her couch in sunny Arizona. She lives off coffee and toddler crumbs and is madly in love with the father of her children. She always guarantees sexy men who fall hard from strong women and happily ever afters.




HOSTED BY:

AuThursday – Tracy Brody

Head shot medium cropped

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was one of those kids who loved to read and loved library day at school. I was also the daydreamer whose mind would wander and create stories. I thought everyone did that. 

However, I went to college and studied business because my dad told me I should so I could get a job when I graduated. Yes, he was a business guy. I worked in banking, got married, had two kids, but was always spinning stories in my head. Usually, they involved me as a character on a TV show opposite my current celebrity crush. 

Then I came up with this story that I couldn’t get out of my head. I finally decided to write it as a movie script. Remember, I was a business major. The longest thing I’d written was a ten-page term paper. But when I’d tell people the story, they’d listen to the whole thing. I had a gift for storytelling, but I had to learn the craft of writing. I did that for script writing but after two friends told me they’d love to see the story as a book, I switched gears to writing novels and had a lot to learn. I joined RWA and my local chapters and spent several years learning and taking classes and entering contests to get feedback.

That original story still lives in the recesses of my mind and a hard copy in a drawer, but it would need a total rewrite. I did a lot of research for the first movie script turned book as the hero was an Army Ranger, and that research got me involved supporting troop and my heroes all tend to be in or have served in the Army.

How do you make time to write?

I’m fortunate not to have an outside job. While my kids were home and in school when I started writing, both have graduated college. My son is married and lives across the country. My daughter is living with us during this fun time known as the CO-VID Pandemic and my husband has been working from home – which has presented some challenges and changes in process this past year, but I typically spend most of my day in my office writing (okay, and playing some games and spending too much time on Facebook) but I also love writing retreats and go on one or two a year from a few days to a week. However, I really miss meeting up with my writer friends at Panera!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe in it, however, I don’t suffer from a lack of ideas. I have a folder of story ideas that pop in my head and may write someday. My problem is focusing and writing fast enough — which is where the retreats come in handy.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I have four books published in my romantic suspense series. It features the Army Bad Karma Special Ops team whose love lives are as dangerous as their missions. It hails back to my start with screenwriting which got me involved in troop support. Many secondary characters are based on military friends I made, however, they rarely tell me mission stories so those are all from my overactive imagination. I love being able to honor our troops with stories of their heroism and give them happily-ever-afters. I also like writing smart, strong, kick-ass heroines with lives far more exciting than my own. 

I’ve just finished my first romantic comedy, FAKING IT WITH THE BACHELOR, which is based on a reality TV dating show. The hero just got out of the Army and is ready to find love, so his sisters nominated him to be on the show. He lost the bet with them and is now cast to be the lead, only tears are his kryptonite and once he realizes what he’s got himself into, he’s having major second thoughts. He’s also crushing on the producer planning the fabulous dates for him and the women battling for his heart. It’s full of drama, snark, villainesses, and more drama.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional, or both)

I indie published my romantic suspense series after parting with my former agent and my second agent sharing how the big traditional publishers were not signing debut romantic suspense authors. I wanted to release the three books I had written fairly quickly and felt I could make more money and enjoy the process more as an indie. I wrote a prequel novella and published the four books in 2020.

I just sent the Rom-com to beta readers and may query agents and possibly traditionally publish it – but only if I’m offered a sweet print deal to get on bookshelves and expand my reach. 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

I’m an extrovert who can talk to strangers and in front of groups. That’s helped me network with other authors and I enjoy interacting with readers and fans. It’s also helped when it comes to research as I made friends with many of the troops I supported, and they are my go-to men and women for military questions – though I still haven’t managed to get a ride in a Black Hawk helicopter. The nice thing is, even with CO-VID and not getting to be around a lot of people, my characters keep me company, so I don’t get lonely. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

If it’s not fun, why do it?

That’s probably why I like having the control of doing it indie. I can keep it fun. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

One person’s opinion is their opinion, however, if two or three people, especially contest judges or critique partners, tell you the same thing, pay attention. Learn. Develop a thick skin. Be patient and persistent. Your first book may be practice and have to be rewritten (like a dozen times) and still not sell but move on to the next book. Don’t give up after five or ten or fifty rejections, because writing is subjective and finding the right agent or editor is like finding a person you want to spend the rest of your life with – and it doesn’t always work out. The dream and affirmation of publishing traditional isn’t as romantic and picture perfect as you might think, so be open to publishing indie, but take the time to learn craft and hire professionals to do the things you are skilled to do or don’t enjoy doing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.amazon.com/Tracy-Brody/e/B083G9NHTL

https://www.facebook.com/tracybrodyauthor

https://www.instagram.com/tracybrodybooks

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tracy-brody

https://www.tracybrody.com/

Series Promo w free novelette

And if you sign up for my author newsletter, https://www.tracybrody.com/newsletter-signup you can get the free novelette, UNDERCOVER ANGEL, which is the backstory or how Sergeant First Class Tony Vincenti met FBI Special Agent Angela Hoffman. 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Of course. Here’s the opening from DEADLY AIM, the first full length in the Bad Karma series.

Series Banner

Colombia, South America

Training mission, my ass.

Kristie Donovan banked her Army Black Hawk to the right and pushed the helicopter to max speed. It wasn’t the time for an I-knew-it moment over her suspicions that there was more to this assignment than being sent to train Colombian Army pilots on the electronic instrument systems in their newer Sikorski UH-60 Black Hawks.

Command radioing new orders to pick up a “package with wounded” had Black Ops written all over it. Especially when the coordinates took them right into the heart of an area known for cocaine production. Army “need to know” at its best.

“How far to the LZ?” she asked her Colombian co-pilot trainee.

Josué checked the GPS. “Thirty klicks. If I am right, this is not what you call ‘landing zone.’”

“Meaning …?” Even with the tropical heat and full uniform, goosebumps erupted over her arms.

“Like sixty-meter clearing.”

“You use it for practice?” She could hope.

“Never.”

“But helicopters use it?”

“Small ones owned by cartel.”

Josué might be a relatively inexperienced pilot, but he knew the players here, and his wide, unblinking stare told her more than she wanted to know about who used this clearing. And for what. Great. Let’s use a drug lord’s landing pad. I’m sure he won’t mind. He might even send a welcoming committee—a well-armed one.

Sixty meters—if the jungle hadn’t encroached. Drops of sweat trickled down her neck the closer in they flew.

She pulled back on the cyclic stick and slowed the helicopter. The blur of the jungle came into focus. She leaned forward, her gaze sweeping left to right through the windscreen at the terrain below. Nothing but trees, trees, and more trees. The thick veil of green hid anything, or anyone, on the ground. 

“Do you see the LZ?” she asked her crew chief and gunner.

“Negative,” they reported from their vantage points on either side of the aircraft.

“We’re not giving anyone extra time to make us a target. Not in daylight.” She keyed the radio mic to hail the package on the ground. “Ghost Rider One-Three to Bad Karma, come in.” Energy drained from her limbs as she envisioned the scenario that would keep them from answering. “Ghost Rider One-Three to Bad Karma, come in.” 

Continued silence saturated the air. No, she wasn’t too late. She refused to believe—

Saturday Spotlight – Jingle Wars by R. Holmes & Veronica Eden

Title: Jingle Wars
Authors: R. Holmes & Veronica Eden
Genre: NA Enemies to Lovers Holiday/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: November 10, 2020 


Two Inn’s, one town, and there’s not enough room for the both of them.

Add in a reindeer-ish donkey, a Christmas competition, and a rivalry to end all rivalries and you’re bound to end up in disaster, right?

Finn Mayberry has enough on his plate trying to keep his Grandparents Inn afloat. The last thing he needed was some California state of mind starlet bulldozing into his town and throwing up a five-star resort right next to his family’s Inn.

But, now she’s here and he can’t get her out of his town or his head.

Freya Anderson took one look at the snowcapped mountains of Hollyridge, and fell in love. She’s finally here and ready to take on the task of proving to her father that she can handle running Alpine.

She never expected to make enemies with the sinfully delicious lumberjack of a man who runs the inn next door. He’s moody, impossible and completely off limits.

There can only be one winner, but you know what they say. All is fair in love and… Jingle Wars?


 



This man is not the charmer he pretended to be when he caught me in his strong arms. Underneath the handsome rugged exterior is a stubborn grouch with enough brittle pinecones shoved so far up his ass you can smell the sickly sweet sap seeping out of his pores.

“Sure you’re not, traitor,” Finn says. “That what they call business savvy back in California board rooms? Because around these parts, it’s called bossy.”

“Well, what you are is called rude.” I hop off the arm of the adirondack chair I was perched on, striding over to the fence line separating my resort’s property from his family inn. “All you’ve done is make assumptions about me, and I’m getting sick of it.”

The corner of Finn’s mouth pulls up to one side in a sardonic curve as he folds both arms over the top of the fence, leaning his weight on the wood. My brows pinch together in annoyance. He’s using his height to undermine me because I’m not tall enough to get in his face to challenge him, but I won’t back down. Curling my fingers over the top of the fence on either side of his folded arms, I push as high as I can on tiptoe to see over the fence. Finn’s gaze bounces between my eyes for a beat, a flash of surprise there and gone in a second before he settles his thick brows back into a sour expression.

“You need to get over yourself,” I say.

“Do I now?” His voice is a low rumble from this close.

It occurs to me how this might look to my staff. Instead of meeting this jerk eye to eye, it could also appear intimate, like we’re about to kiss. Crap. If I lean back, he wins.

The bright glint in his eye and the twitch of his lips has me guessing he’s drawing the same conclusions. I tighten my grip on the wood to stave off the frustration simmering beneath my skin.





Veronica Eden 


R. Holmes




HOSTED BY:

AuThursday – Melinda Curtis

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Prior to writing romance, I was a junior manager for a Fortune 500 company, which meant when I flew on the private jet I was relegated to the jump seat—otherwise known as the potty (yes, it has a seat belt). After grabbing my pen (and a parachute) I made the jump to full-time writer. I’m a hybrid author with over 60 titles published or sold, including 40 works to Harlequin and five to Grand Central Forever, mostly sweet romance and sweet romantic comedy. One of my books – Dandelion Wishes – became a TV movie in 2020. Love in Harmony Valley starred Amber Marshall of Heartland fame. 

How do you make time to write? 

Since I write full-time, “finding time” hasn’t been a problem up until a move and “shut-downs” in 2020. You see, all my kids went to college in Oregon and didn’t return to California. Mr. Curtis and I decided to move before the virus hit – just in time for quarantine. With some restrictions lifted, my kids have been popping by. And since we moved into a fixer-upper, workmen have been dropping by. Instead of big blocks of time, I’m writing in stolen moments – lunch hours for workmen, before or after family dinners, early in the morning. Deadlines must be met!

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I do. But I think some label the inability to write through a draft writer’s block when their problems could be solved by opening their writing craft toolbox. On the other hand, emotional upheaval can steal the words and the joy of writing. I had a hard time writing after my father died. No amount of applied craft could help my sad, racing thoughts.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I went from writing traditional romance for Harlequin to Women’s Fiction to Rom-Coms. I’ve taken the emotional characters I’m used to writing and overlaying those stories with humor. Absolutely love this balance!

A person on a horse

Description automatically generated

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional)

My most recent releases are trad – Montana Welcome, A Very Merry Match. I spent much of 2018-2019 writing to contract, which gave me 8 releases this year in the trad world. I’ve been slowly catching up on my indie series.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work? 

LOL. I think I’m an introvert but maybe that’s because I work at home and like it. But as soon as you get me around people, it’s yackety-yackety-yack!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

You’ve got to want it!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Work on your craft. Feed your soul.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.MelindaCurtis.net

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

This is an excerpt from A Very Merry Match, a small town rom-com that features characters in need of a second chance at love and three matchmaking widows who know that love sometimes needs a gentle nudge…

A close up of a dog

Description automatically generated

The stool next to Kevin listed to one side as Jason Petrie tried to belly up to the bar with his broken leg. A clatter of crutches, a scrape of stool footings, and the blond, blue-eyed cowboy had half his butt on the seat. His casted leg rested gracelessly to the side.

Noah had a beer in front of Jason before the cowboy released a put-upon sigh or had time to glance over his shoulder at his ex-girlfriend Darcy.

“Before you start off with your smarmy metaphors and clichés, Kev.” Jason paused to sample his beer. “Remember that I’m the only guy in town who shows up to drink with you.”

And wasn’t that a sad state of affairs? 

Kevin signaled Noah for another whiskey. He’d been nursing his first for thirty minutes, and he was walking home. “I have no life.”

“Good mayors rarely do.” Jason drank some more beer. “You’re like priests. Nobody trusts priests who get out there and have a life either.”

Kevin scowled at him, annoyed that his opinion mirrored his ex-wife’s, doubly so when he realized they were both right. 

If he was ever going to re-activate his social life, he needed a steady girlfriend, someone as boring as he was, someone who was never the talk of the town, someone who wouldn’t ruin his political chances.

“Excuse me.” Mary Margaret Sneed picked up Jason’s crutches and leaned them against the bar. She wore blue jeans, tall black boots, and a chunky fisherman’s sweater that hinted at her curves. She had a full mane of red hair, a pair of tender blue eyes, and was like the Pied Piper when it came to making children behave. “I hate to interrupt, Jason, but…I heard you might be hiring part-time workers.”

“Yep.” Jason patted his walking cast beyond the fringe where he’d cut off one leg of his blue jeans. “The logistics of bull semen collection, storage, and order fulfillment are not what the doctor ordered for another few weeks.”

“Whereas drinking beer is,” Kevin murmured.

Mary Margaret and Jason both paused to look at him. Kevin stared into his whiskey glass.

“I’m looking for a part-time gig,” Mary Margaret continued in that church-girl voice of hers. “But I can’t work until after school during the week.”

“Ahhh.” Jason gave her another once-over. “Didn’t you know? Iggy is a vampire. He and the bulls do all their best work after happy hour.” While Jason explained the horrors of collecting bull semen, storing it with proper labeling in cryogenic units, and shipping it out, Kevin studied Mary Margaret out of the corner of his eye.

She was the complete opposite of his ex-wife. Soft-spoken. Openly kind. Stable. The type of woman a man who was one step from the priesthood would date. It didn’t hurt that she was beautiful or that she knew how to dress well enough to fit in but not loud enough to stand out. He’d seen her circulate in a crowd and not steal the limelight from anyone. She checked a lot of boxes.

And if he looked at the soft bow of her mouth, he could imagine kissing her. And if he imagined kissing her, he could imagine pressing the length of that long, tall body of hers against his. And if he could imagine that…

Kevin sipped his drink, unused to envisioning getting physical with one of his constituents, especially his son’s kindergarten teacher. 

He snuck another glance at her.

At that thick curtain of red hair, at her creamy skin, at the delicate way her fingers interlocked and squeezed intermittently as she listened to Jason.

Kevin swallowed thickly.

With all this talk of the priesthood, a switch had been flipped inside him. It’d been months since he’d burned the sheets with a woman. He could probably look at any single woman and imagine…

He glanced over his shoulder at Avery. She was single and his age. Unlike Mary Margaret, when she wasn’t wearing her theater uniform, Avery’s clothes showed more skin and clung to her curves. But as much as he stared, he couldn’t imagine getting busy with Avery. 

His attention shifted back to Mary Margaret, to intelligent blue eyes and a soft laugh. She shifted her feet, and then he couldn’t stop thinking about her long legs.

“Noah,” he croaked, a dying man in need of a sanity-leveling drink. He held up his empty glass.

AuThursday – Amalia Theresa

Playing to Win banner4 less negative space FINAL FINAL violet edit

Please welcome Amalia Theresa to The Clog Blog!  Amalia, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

All my life, I’ve wanted to be a writer. Even as early as second grade, I was getting up for show and tell with tiny little “books” I’d written and illustrated on scratch paper and stapled together to share with three classes of kids, and now I’m the author of nearly two dozen novels/novellas and a handful of short stories spanning the genres of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance, building off my degree in Classical Studies and English, both. 

I was raised extremely Catholic in upstate New York but realized Thor had been knocking on my door for maybe the whole of my life sometime in my early twenties, and after writing a sprawling romantic fantasy series to make sense of it all within the context of how I was raised and what I was supposed to believe, I embraced Norse Paganism/Heathenry, and now I continue to write about what it means to be pagan as I continue a spiritual journey I never expected to take. 

Of course, I also just write fun stuff, too, which is why this year I launched a THIRD pen name, Amalia Theresa, for sexy rom coms that don’t fit under my Amalia Dillin (fantasy) or Amalia Carosella (historical fiction/women’s fiction) brands.

How do you make time to write? 

I’m a full-time author so making time both to read and to write is literally my job and has been since 2009! But I find that making sure I start putting down words FIRST THING when I sit down at my laptop makes a big difference to my productivity for the day. And, it’s taken me a long time to realize it, but making time to refill the well with reading and enjoying other story-telling formats and let myself have fallow periods is just as important as the time I spend writing.

What genre are your books & what draws you to this genre?

As Amalia Theresa, I’m writing sexy rom coms for the sheer JOY and DELIGHT of accompanying these characters on their romantic journeys. I’ve always enjoyed reading romance, and I’ve particularly fallen in love with contemporary rom coms in the last five to seven years or so, so while I was in denial for a while, it really isn’t a surprise to find myself writing a few, myself. They’re just FUN, and I needed a little bit more fun, to remember that writing, for me, is about the fun of discovery and spending time with characters I enjoy as much as it is everything else.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

As Amalia Carosella I took part in the History 360 Team’s A SEA OF SORROW: A NOVEL OF ODYSSEUS, which was a collaborative novel comprised of a novella by each contributing author that when read together form a complete narrative (but said novellas can also be read individually as well!) It was a lot of fun to find my way back to the Bronze Age and an interesting challenge to incorporate the perspectives of a handful of other authors alongside my own! 

I also wrote a goofy, just for fun series on my blog with Mia Hayson, called Thor in Zombie Land—it’s comprised of two adventures, Wheels on the Bus and Aesir Legal, both about the girls Amalia and Mia, who get caught up in a lot of trouble thanks to their thundergod and their zombies respectively. We had a BLAST writing it together! (And periodically talk about writing more, someday.)

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Not Writer’s Block, no, but periods in which I am tapped out and need to recharge and refill my well creatively, absolutely. There have also been times when writing a particular story was not something I could emotionally take on because it became too real or too resonant to something that I was experiencing or echoed unfortunately somehow in another respect, but I’ve found each time that there were bigger reasons in addition for why I had to break from that project and work on other things instead—that the project was enriched by the time I spent away from it, writing something else because the lessons I learned in writing those other things meant I was better able to do the story I had to put aside justice. 

For example, one book that I had to step away from and came back to YEARS later and feel I did absolutely right by in doing so, was FROM ASGARD, WITH LOVE. If I had not written DAUGHTER OF A THOUSAND YEARS between starting and finishing FROM ASGARD, I could not have written the book it needed to be—and I’m incredibly proud of how it turned out as a result.

I see you have three pen names, Amalia Dillin, Amalia Carosella, and Amalia Theresa, why do you choose to write under a pen name and why three? 🙂 

To be fair, I’m not sure I really chose my second pen name (Amalia Carosella) so much as it was deemed necessary by the industry in order to launch myself in historical fiction after publishing fantasy as Amalia Dillin (I had published with a micro-press and my sales were not Traditional Publishing Impressive). My Carosella books and my Dillin books, though the former are historical fiction and the latter are fantasy are thematically not SO different from one another—I’m asking and answering a lot of the same big questions about what it means to be a human and engage with myth and the divine, I think, under both names. 

That said, my sexy rom coms were such a huge break from what I had previously been writing that I felt like I did definitely need to distinguish them from the rest of my work, and by using the names we shared (Amalia Theresa) I also wanted to honor my great aunt, who said once that if I wanted to be successful as an author, I needed to learn to write the sex!

In my PLAYING TO WIN rom-com series, I think I can confidently say that I have, in fact, learned how to write the sex! *fans self*

How are you publishing your latest book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional)

Publishing is such a tricky business. 

The Short Answer is: Since PLAYING TO WIN, the first book in the series skewed toward the New Adult end of the romance spectrum and the traditional side of the industry has not quite figured out how best to capture that market, especially not at PLAYING TO WIN’s length, I opted to self-pub/indie-pub my PLAYING TO WIN series. 

The Long Answer involves the ghost of my great aunt and some spiritual experiences that felt as though they were telling me to just get the books out into the world because they mattered, but I think it is probably a lot to get into in this kind of interview! Ha. (I am getting weirder and weirder the longer I live this author life.)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Build time off from writing into your writing discipline/practice. It is JUST as critically important as the time you spend doing the actual writing. Do not fall into the trap of “I should be writing” guilt that sucks all the joy out of any scrap of time you have to enjoy your other hobbies. Yes, show up for your writing time, but make the time you spend NOT writing, refilling the well of your creative self, just as sacred. Burn out isn’t something I’d wish on anyone.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m most active on twitter as @AmaliaTd and @AmaliaTheresa, but you can also join me on Patreon https://www.patreon.com/Amaliad and of course my main website/blog www.amaliadillin.com, and on Facebook, too, at https://www.facebook.com/AmaliaDillin 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Thanks so much for having me and I’d be THRILLED to share a taste of my third rom-com: From PLAYING HOUSE, releasing today! August 13th!

 

Playing House CURLY VI FINAL FRONT FLAT web“Hey, Mom,” Abe said, pressing his phone to his ear and sliding his cereal bowl back onto the table. He’d settled onto one of the stools at the breakfast bar like he belonged there, watching me fish out silverware and dishes as if he were waiting for the pop quiz on where to find things later. Until his phone had started buzzing, anyway.

Now his eyes had locked on mine from across the room, narrowing slightly. “Sel called you?”

I grinned. It had been simple, really. Shoot a couple texts to Sully talking about how spooky the house was at night. How I’d scared myself awake because of some stupid shadow on the ceiling, woken myself up screaming the night before and it had taken me hours to get back to sleep, knowing I was alone, thinking about how if anything happened to me if someone tried to break-in, we were too far from any neighbors for anyone to hear my scream.

Of course, Sully wouldn’t be able to resist. He called Will his fixer, but Sully had the same impulse. Always wanting to help. Ready to lend a hand or do a favor for the people he loved, whether they wanted him intruding or not. Pair my (totally real, for the record) nightmare with what Sully would of course know about his brother’s ambivalence in returning home, and it was a no brainer. He’d call his mom, tell her I needed some extra support and oh, by the way, since Abe was in town maybe he could offer it, and then Dr. O’Sullivan would connect that with what I’d told her over Abe’s phone the night before—and here we were. Abraham O’Sullivan on the phone with his mother, staring at me with something like awe.

“Yeah, we didn’t really talk about it, but I can see that. She was pretty jumpy about keeping the lights on,” he said, then paused, listening for another span. “No, I don’t have any solid plans. But you can’t really think Midge is going to want me hanging around, imposing myself…”

He trailed off, listening again. “Yeah.” He shook his head, his eyes bright with amusement now. “I mean, I can only offer. It’s up to her to say yes.” Silence again. “All right,” he said, pretending doubt. “I’ll leave that up to you, then.” Quiet again. “Love you, too, Mom.” Pause. “Bye.”

“Well?” I asked.

“Should I be afraid of you, Violet?” he asked, his lips twitching. “Because I’m starting to wonder.”

I laughed. “If you needed to be afraid of me the question of whether you should be would never have crossed your mind. Didn’t we go over this last night?”

“Yeah, yeah,” he said. “Don’t let the people you’re trying to dupe cotton on to the fact that you’re duping them. But you also said Sully knows what you’re capable of, and from where I’m sitting, you just worked him and my mom like puppets on strings.”

“Then I guess you’re just going to have to take your chances,” I said, lifting a shoulder. “But either way, a bet is a bet, and I own you for the next two weeks.”

“Not quite, Midgelet. You’ve still got another call from my mother to field,” he said. “Without giving away the game.”

“Pfft.” I waved that away. Dr. O’Sullivan may have been a psychologist but getting her to come up with the plan of having Abe stay was ninety percent of the battle on this one. And even if she thought I might be manipulating her, as long as she didn’t realize it was Abe who was looking for an excuse not to go home, I was still in the clear. “Child’s play.”

“Wouldn’t want you to get cocky, there, Champ,” Abe said, laughing. “Are you sure you’re not some kind of psychopath?”

“Nah,” I said. “I definitely care about people’s feelings. But working in the restaurant business, you really hone your people skills. Learn how to work them so they leave happy, even if their meal or their service wasn’t perfect. Will’s pretty good at it too, when he wants to be, and if you’d ever seen my Gramps in the dining room…” I kissed my fingers and raised them in salute to the genius that was my grandfather’s talent. “The man could have sold fur coats to sunbathers on the hottest day of the year. That Fowler charm was legendary.”

“Seems like you’re not so far behind him,” Abe said. “Little Miss Snake Oil Saleswoman.”

“Are you calling me a conman again, Abraham?” I asked. “Because once again, I must remind you that I’m doing all this for your benefit.”

He shook his head. “I don’t believe that for a second, Midgelet. If I were a betting man—” (Which clearly he was.) “—I’d put money on the fact that you really are getting jumpy alone at night in this house. Did you have some shitty customer give you a hard time after your parents left or something?”

I flushed, spinning on my heel and opening the fridge as if I were looking for something more to eat while my stomach twisted in memory. It was kind of inevitable. There was always one asshole who took doing my job as an invitation of a more personal nature. And once in a very great while, even after I had them thrown out, they might linger in the parking lot around closing. But that could happen to anyone, in any service industry. In any industry at all, really, where you worked with other human beings. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t dealt with before—and I certainly wasn’t going to admit that coming home to an empty house with my skin crawling from a close encounter had turned my resting state of anxiety up a notch. I didn’t really need Will worrying about any of that. He’d probably try to come home if he found out.

“Hey,” Abe said, and suddenly he was behind me, his hand covering mine on the refrigerator door. Closing it and urging me back around. “You know we’ve all got your back, right? If some asshole is creeping on you, just point me in the dude’s direction and it’s done. He won’t even so much as look at you again without his balls trying to climb back up inside his body.”

I made myself laugh. “It’s not anything I can’t handle.”

He ducked his head, catching my eyes. “I’m not questioning your ability to handle it, Midgelet. But if you want a little back-up, there’s no shame in asking for it. Or using me for the purpose while I’m already houseboying, for that matter. If I’m going to be running errands and providing maid service, why not add bodyguard to the mix?”

“I don’t need a bodyguard,” I said firmly, stiffening. “I don’t need help or support, but it would sure be nice if people stopped acting like I can’t handle myself or the problems that come with running a restaurant when I’ve literally been training for it my whole life.”

“All right.” He backed off, holding his hands up. “You don’t need help or support; you’ve got this all by your onesie. I’m sure that’s all true—but it doesn’t mean that a little help or support wouldn’t make it easier. That having a team doesn’t still help, even if you can skate circles around the rest of us.”

I shook my head. “The minute I even so much as think I need help, you know how it’s going to be. My parents and Will all worrying about me, feeling guilty for leaving and immediately making plans to come back. I have to do this, and right now I have to do it alone.”

“Well, if you ask me, that’s bullshit,” he said and when I straightened, opening my mouth to argue, he hurried on. “Bullshit of them to make you feel like you don’t have any other choice but to do it all by yourself, without any kind of support, because otherwise they’ll think you can’t. Everyone needs a hand once in a while, even when they’re pros.”

“So why are you so pissed about having to accept some help of your own?” I asked. “You’re doing everything you can to drag out moving back home.”

“I haven’t turned you down, have I?” he asked. “I’m accepting your offer to stay here instead. At least for a couple of weeks. You help me, I help you—I don’t see what the problem is.”

I didn’t really know, either. Why shouldn’t I accept Abe’s help? It wasn’t like he was going to run home to his mother and spill all my secrets. Clearly they didn’t have that kind of relationship. And even if he did, Dr. O’Sullivan wasn’t going to break his confidence. That wasn’t how she operated, and she’d understand that I wanted to do this without giving my family reason to doubt.

It was just that he was Abe. I didn’t want to get used to having him around. And telling him he could stay here—that had already been a lapse in judgment. As good as he looked, and as ridiculously kind as he’d been (this Midgelet nonsense aside), I was basically asking for heartbreak.

“No one ever finds out,” I said despite myself. “Not that you’re trying to avoid moving back in with your parents, and not that I was nervous about being alone because of one asshole at Fowler’s. The story is that I’m just a little afraid of the dark, and you just happen to have nothing better to do with your time.”

“Suits me just fine,” he said. “Whatever you need to feel safe the next two weeks, I’ve got you.”

“How do you feel about dropping in every evening for a beer or whatever, and then walking me out?” I asked. “That and knowing you’re in the house at night should be all I really need. I don’t think anyone is going to be loitering around the parking lot if they know you’re with me.”

“With you or with you?” he asked.

I shook my head. “No fake relationships. That never ends well for anyone.”

Abe laughed. “All right. Just physically nearby. I can do that.”

“In addition to being my house and errand boy,” I said. “A deal is a deal, after all.”

He grinned down at me, so beautiful I practically melted into the floor. “Assuming you don’t still manage to tip off my mother, of course.”

But I think we both knew that on that score, I’d already won.

Playing House #bookqw wait

 

Cover Reveal – Eligible Receiver by S.R. Grey


Title: Eligible Receiver
Series: A Men of Fall Novel
Author: S.R. Grey
Genre: Sports Romance/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs
Cover Model: Quin Bruce
Cover Photographer: Wander Aguiar Photography



Becca is a runner.She ran from me the first day we met, and she still runs all the time—from us, from what we could be.

She tells me it’s because she doesn’t believe in love.

I tell her “Believe in me.” Because I, Lars Samuels, will rock her world and treat her like a queen.

She says, “Ha, I will never be caught.”

Good thing I’m really good at catching things. I should be. I’m the best wide receiver on the Columbus Comets football team.

I like winning. So I’m going to win her.

Once I catch her, of course.

 

S.R. Grey is a USA Today Bestselling Author of the popular Boys of Winter hockey books and Men of Fall football novels. Both series can be read in any order or as standalones. Other New Adult and Romantic Suspense works of hers include the Judge Me Not books, the Promises series, the Inevitability duology, A Harbour Falls Mystery trilogy, and the Laid Bare series of novellas.
When not writing Ms. Grey can be found reading, traveling, running, and cheering for her hometown sports teams. Sometimes all at the same time!

 

 

 

HOSTED BY:

 

99 cents Sale!

If you are looking for something new to read in Contemporary Romance my publisher, Book Boutiques is offering these titles of mine for 99 cents.

Sexing up the Spy – Caulfield Cowboys Prequel

You can buy these at the following locations

 Amazon|  B&N | Google  KOBO |iBooks |

Cover Reveal – Last Virgin in Vegas

Title: Last Virgin in Vegas

Series:  Starving Artist Book Two

Author: Tina Holland

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy

Release Date:  March 19, 2020

Publisher: Book Boutiques

Cover : Valerie Tibbs

I’m happy to offer you all the next book in the Starving Artist Series – Last Virgin in Vegas. Enjoy this blurb, excerpt and Lovely new Cover by Valerie Tibbs.

Blurb:

Every man dreams of two women in his bed, right?

So why does Lance Lott’s life seem less than perfect, since he and his long-time girlfriend Sydney slept with Gwen McIver?

Lance can’t stop obsessing about Gwen and he’s trying to get a new casino project off the ground. Things wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t have to deal with his former-showgirl turned match-making mother – who is screaming for him to give up his architecture business and become a magician.

What’s an architect to do when all he has designs on is his lover’s best friend?

Excerpt:

Good for nothing bastard! How could he treat Sydney this way?

Gwen fumed, pacing the floor of the spacious hotel suite. She was wearing a pattern in the carpet with her back and forth between the phone and the door. Lance-a-not had decided to be a big no-show. Luckily, Syd was out with some fellow writers at a local jazz club. Hopefully her friend could forget the insensitive jackass masquerading as a man.

Gwen tried to remember what she had seen in him. Oh yeah…his marine-blue eyes, the ebony hair falling over his brow, his sculpted arms and a chest that made her hands itch to feather across it. In her memory, his arms were powerful, his entire frame screaming linebacker.

Gwen felt herself grow damp with anticipation and admitted her own disappointment over his last-minute cancellation. She should be relieved. She didn’t want to watch Lance and Sydney moon over each other, not when she lusted after what she couldn’t have.

She leaned against the wall and crossed her arms, staring out the French doors into the night sky. Lance hadn’t come, and it was for the best. He was a difficult man to ignore. It was a crime to fall for a man who belonged to your best friend, but if he’d been single, she would have pursued him…maybe even ruthlessly.

She’d been unable to stop herself when Sydney propositioned her a year ago with the temptation of joining the two in the bedroom. Lance and Sydney had dated for years, but something about him made Gwen want him for herself. She knew her passion was teetering on the edge of something more, and it wasn’t something she could explain easily. She also knew it wasn’t worth her friendship with Syd. After the ménage a trios, she had left without delay, flying back to Minneapolis, hiding from the lust and guilt, which surfaced far too easily. The memories of their love play were embedded in her mind.

A knock on the door interrupted her musings. Sydney must have forgotten her key—it was too late to be anyone else. But when Gwen opened the door, it was to find her unwanted obsession in the hall.

*

Lance stared, the champagne bottle he’d brought as a peace offering dangling from one hand. He hadn’t expected to find Gwen in Sydney’s room. His eyes raked over her, almost of their own volition.

She wore a long emerald nightgown with skinny straps cut in a deep V with lace barely covering her voluptuous curves. Her beauty was irresistible. The negligee complimented her eyes and cut clear to her hip on one side. Lance ached, wondering if she wore anything underneath.

He found his voice. “What are you doing here?”

“What am I doing here? You called and canceled.”

“I had a change of heart.”

“After you broke Syd’s? Isn’t that convenient.”

God, she was sexy when she was angry. “That still doesn’t explain what you’re doing in her room.”

“Doesn’t it? I moved into her room this morning.”

“Hoping to get lucky?” he goaded, wanting to see fire flash through her eyes. It was masochistic, but he needed it on a level he didn’t quite understand.

“Don’t be crude. Our relationship isn’t like that.”

“What about last year?” Lance was getting hard just thinking about Gwen’s lips around his cock.

“That was different, and you know it.”

“How?”

“It was a one-time thing.”

“So sad.” Lance lowered his head. Gwen didn’t need to see the relief in his eyes. He suspected he wasn’t everything Sydney wanted, but the idea she and Gwen might share the same sexual tastes wasn’t appealing. More than once he’d thought that if the two friends decided to bed down, he would end up alone.

“Arrogant ass,” Gwen said clearly as she walked away. She leaned back on the arm of a nearby brown sofa; unaware that the action lifted the slit of her nightgown higher, revealing she wore nothing beneath it.

“Where is Sydney?”

“Out.”

“For how long?”

“Not sure. She could return at any moment.”

Lance needed to get the man downstairs under control. His attraction to Gwen was intimidating. The reason he felt such overwhelming lust towards a woman he’d not seen in a year unnerved him. “Well, I’m waiting for Syd, so what do you propose we do?” Lance asked.

“How ‘bout a movie?”

“Perfect.” Maybe she’d change to go out; maybe she’d change in front of him. Yeah, it was a pure dude response, but one he couldn’t really squelch. He’d seen her naked, and wanted to see her again.

“I paid for Casablanca.”

“Oh.” He couldn’t help but sound disappointed.

“I think there’s some popcorn in the cupboard next to the fridge.” Gwen pushed away from the chair and walked to the mini-bar. As she walked by him, Lance craned his neck to see if he could catch a glimpse of anything beyond her luscious thigh.

“Okay.” He sighed heavily. He took off his jacket, resigning himself to an evening of a movie and popcorn. It was probably just as well; he wouldn’t want to explain things to Sydney when she arrived. Gwen stood waiting for the popcorn to finish popping, drumming her fingers against the counter. Lance’s cock ached to feel those digits wrapped around his cock. He settled on the sofa, ran his fingers through his hair and exhaled the breath he held.

Gwen strolled leisurely towards him, her hips swaying, before sliding next to him on the couch. She handed him the bowl, and he used it to cover his erection. The television lit up with a movie title: Cock in Bianca. Lance couldn’t help it; he laughed uproariously.

Gwen’s cheeks matched her hair, “Oh, my God.” She stared.

“So this is what you do in your spare time,” he teased.

“No!” Gwen faced him. “I don’t know how this happened.”

“I think you’re trying to provoke me.” He shifted to get more comfortable.

“To do what?” Gwen challenged him and with it he found himself reacting on his most base needs. It was something he’d sworn he would never do, after that night a year ago. Lance accepted that his mind was no longer in control and he gave into his red-haired siren.

“This.” He lifted her stubborn chin upwards, and bent low to kiss her.

Buy Links: AmazonKOBO | iBooks | Nook |

Please remember not to purchase this title from Liquid Silver Books as they are not honoring their contract. ~Tina

Book Boutiques Pre-Order and 99 cents sales

Hello Readers.   I’ve pulled all my old books from Liquid Silver Publishing and republishing them with my new publisher Book Boutiques.  The Pilot and the Pinup has gotten a make-over and I really enjoy it.  Don’t worry if you like the old cover – I’ll be keeping it for the print edition. So without further adieu here is my new cover. 

Pilot-and-Pinup-Mockup3

Title: The Pilot and the Pinup

Series:  Starving Artist, Book 1

Author: Tina Holland

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy

Release Date:  TBA

Cover Art: Valerie Tibbs

Publisher: Book Boutiques

Blurb:

Former pinup model, Sydney Wagner, is about to fulfill her life-long dream of publishing her first novel. Attending a writer’s conference in Kansas City is more play than work. Fate factors in, when her car blows a tire on the way to the conference.

Pilot and entrepreneur, Peter Kane, notices a car on the side of the road and isn’t about to pass up the chance to help a stranded motorist, especially, one as sexy as Sydney Wagner. But can he deal with her hot-then-cool attitude, or her tawdry past?

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | KOBO | iBooks |

 

Drake's-Desire-Mockup1 (1)Title: Drake’s Desire 

Series:  Dealing with the Dead Book One

Author: Tina Holland

Genre: SFFP, Post-Apocalyptic, Erotic Romance

Release Date:  TBA

Publisher: Book Boutiques

Blurb:

Hunky vampire Drake Vermillion is simply looking for a quick snack. What he gets instead will keep you on the edge of your seat as you’re transported to Sin Vegas in Book 1 of Dealing With the Dead. The monsters in the closet are real, but if you look closely you may discover that all is not as it seems. Tina Holland spins an exciting tale of a world hidden in plain sight in her paranormal romance Drake’s Desire.

Buy Links: Amazon| B&NGoogleKOBO | iBooks |

I would ask that you refrain from purchasing from Liquid Silver Books as they are in violation of copyright and not paying royalties.   If you buy a book with the cover above you are good to go and supporting me.  Thanks. ~Tina

 

Book Boutiques is also have a 99¢ sale on Sexing up the Spy and Buckin’ Chastity at the following retailers.

 |  B&N | Google  KOBO |iBooks |

 

AuThursday – Laura Brown

Laura Brown author photoPlease welcome author Laura Brown to the Clog Blog, I’m so happy she could join us.   Laura, your tagline is “Romances full of heart, heat and hearing loss”, can you tell us more about you and your stories? 

As a Hard of Hearing person I grew up without many role models, and felt I was less deserving of love because of my disability. In my stories, I put characters with hearing loss front and center and give them their happy endings! I love stories with complex characters, where the reader roots for them to find love and other ambitions, and I do my best to create characters worthy of this.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

As a mom with a day job, I feel like I steal time to write wherever I can! On my days off while my son’s at school I write, slow moments at the day job I write, weekends at home. I used to write at night but that time is now reserved for unwinding from the day and watching something with my husband.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Titles. Hands down the titles. I always struggle with them and so many of my titles get changed before publication.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

From start to finish, it takes me about three months to write a book. I tend to “word vomit” my first drafts, so they roll out quickly, revising often takes much longer.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Definitely. I hit many walls along the way as I write and revise. Sometimes it’s because I haven’t figured out the right direction the scene needs to go. Other times it works out to be that I know where it needs to go, but I’m fighting with myself because it doesn’t feel like the right direction just yet. I’m working on trusting those ideas more.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any? 

Rejection is part of being a writer. You get rejections from agents, editors, readers, etc. I don’t always have the thickest skin, but I expect to get those rejections. When I was a querying author, I took those agent rejections and turned around and sent out another query. I also find that you can learn things in rejections. My first main character with a hearing loss came from a comment in a rejection letter. For those rejections that sting more than the others, I reach out to my close group of writer friends and they hold my hand through it.

Can you tell us your story of getting “the call” (or e-mail)? 

I’m on my second agent, and it really is just as exciting the second time around! Different, because the experience was not brand new, but a good different. We get conditioned to the rejections, so when I saw the email I thought it was going to be a pass, but it turned out to be a request to chat. I’m super nervous on the phone, and with my hearing loss I have a caption phone to help me understand, so I scheduled some time when I was home to use my caption phone. Connected with my agent right away and then was on cloud nine when it turned into an offer!

Where do you see publishing going in the future?

Good question. Things are shifting more digital in many ways, but die hard book lovers still love the feel of a paper book. I think we’re going to continue seeing digital and paper mixing together.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Connect with other writers. I wrote in my own bubble for years and it wasn’t until I ventured out and met fellow writers that I truly expanded on my craft. That’s where I learned all those little rules and tips and tricks. And where I gained critique partners to help show me where my writing needed to be stronger, and point out where it already worked! I would be nowhere without my fellow writers.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.laurabrownauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LauraBrownAuthor/

https://twitter.com/AuthorLBrown

https://www.instagram.com/a_laurabrown/

https://www.pinterest.com/LauraBrownAuthor/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7829692.Laura_Brown

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Not an excerpt, but I can share my latest blurb:

MatzahBallSurprise_1600Gaby Fineberg just wants to get through Passover Seder without her “well meaning” family playing matchmaker. She needs a date, just for one simple meal—that includes singing, the history of her forefathers, and not one bit of yeast. The hot guy at her gym would be perfect. He probably hates bread, anyway, with a body like that. But when she finally works up the nerve to ask him, he doesn’t hear a word she said…

Levi Miller is Deaf and happily single. He doesn’t know why this beautiful woman is talking to him, but it’s clear she needs help—and suddenly so does he. When his bad-news ex shows up trying to rekindle their romance, pretending Gaby is his new girlfriend is an easy decision. But to return the favor? He has to convince her family they’re the perfect couple, when they can barely communicate without writing every word.

This Passover is starting to feel like the ten plagues might be coming back to haunt them before the weekend is over…one hilarious misstep after the next.