Monthly Archives: August 2016
Dark Flows the River Trilogy
Genre: Young Adult Magical Realism Paranormal
Word count: 71,000
Page Count Print: 326
About the Book:
“You are astral travellers now. Able to project your spirit out of your body at will and enter the realms. You are not the only ones. Some people come here in their dreams without even knowing it. Some purposefully decide to travel here to find answers to questions they can’t find on earth… And some pass over… Die.”
Kezia’s world implodes after her dad dies. She can’t cope any more, and then she discovers the ability to leave her body. She drags her best friend, Ben, with her into other worlds to find her dad, but what she finds along the way, she could never be prepared for…
“Kate Sermon’s writing is truly sublime. She creates characters to care for; whether it is dealing with friendship in our own world or grief in the astral planes, Kezia and Ben remain real people with hopes and flaws. Dark Sleepers is a startlingly imaginative debut.” ~ Dan Metcalf, Children’s Author
Kezia was struggling even more. The memories that threatened to overwhelm her had waned, dispersing like vapour from a boiling kettle. But they had been replaced by a fear that she guessed was not her own, even if it was hard to tell for sure.
She lay down on the dirty sand and closed her eyes. It was an instinctive action and at once she knew that it was a good one. She breathed, as her mum had taught her when she was stressed or worried. She could hear very clearly her mum’s soothing voice say “Darling, just breathe. That’s all you need to do.”
It helped. Her heart rate slowed and a sense of herself began to emerge from the jumble inside her. As she concentrated on her breathing, she began to hear a tiny whispering sound like mice behind skirting boards. It came from deep inside her head. And it definitely wasn’t her own thoughts. It must be the girl’s.
Then it occurred to her – maybe she could talk to this child. Maybe find out something that could help. Just like the day her dad died, she found that words weren’t needed. Her thoughts traced patterns of light through the blackness.
“Who are you?” She asked.
Almost immediately she got a reply. A quivering voice, barely audible, said: “I don’t know. I’m… I’m scared.” It sounded desperate.
“Please don’t worry. I’ve been to this place before, it’s not so bad. I can help you.” She hoped this was true. “What’s your name?”
“I don’t remember… wait, I think it may be Rose. Can you really help me?” The voice brightened. “But he was chasing me. I needed to get away. It all happened too fast.”
“I’m sorry Rose. I don’t understand.”
Confused for a moment… but then a light bulb pinged on. It drenched all the confusion in bright, white light. She suddenly realised she knew what was going on – what this place was and why the children were here.
About the Author:
Kate lives with her family and other animals in Devon halfway between Dartmoor and the sea.
She’s done a bit of journalism; writes a bit of poetry; has published some short stories, teaches creative writing, and is currently ensconced in a MA Creative Writing. Alongside, she’s writing the second book in the series.
As a teenager Kate traipsed the moor imagining herself in some version of Wuthering Heights. Nothing much has changed.
5 Kindle copies Dark Sleepers
You Can See Me
Genre: Gay, Multiple Partners, Erotic Romance
Publisher: All Romance eBooks
Date of Publication: August 1 2016
Number of pages: 358
Word Count: 72000
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill
It takes more than perseverance to recover from tragedy…you also need love.
Following a horrific accident that leaves him blind, renowned chef Prescott Vaughan loses his fiancé and all hope for his career. Recovery and confidence in his skills come slowly, along with feelings he hasn’t experienced in a long time when he meets his new neighbor, Dr. Rickson Edwards.
Unlike Prescott, Ric is open about his attraction to men yet has issues that complicate their relationship. A brief separation threatens his hopes for an eventual reunion when Prescott befriends the handsome aspiring chef Blair McKenzie, who wants more than cooking advice.
Ric doubts Pres can let go of the charming southerner, but after an encounter with the sinfully sexy man, he can’t help his attraction as well. Pres feels he must choose but realizes…does he have to?
Pres didn’t want to think about being lonely anymore. Last night he’d eaten his langoustine lobster alone when his girlfriend never showed up after happy hour. He’d called her a couple times, but it went straight to voice mail.
The next morning he’d done his usual Friday morning workout with his personal trainer and worked on some reviews since he didn’t go into the office. In the afternoon, he did meaningless organization in his kitchen pantry and marinated some pork tenderloin for dinner.
Cooking always made him feel better. He only wished he had someone besides himself to enjoy it, too. He’d even gone as far as giving his neighbors Jeff and Cindy a couple dishes, just to hear a few compliments. How pathetic.
While he waited a few minutes to cook his meat, he sat at the kitchen island and listened to an audiobook his dad had given him. Josey came over and whined at him, laying his heavy head on his knee.
“Sorry, boy. You need to go out, huh?” Pres got up and moved quickly and effortlessly to his bedroom to change into something a little more comfortable. Josey whined some more. “Okay, okay. I’m coming, Josey.”
Pres slid into his Jordan flip-flops and grabbed a plastic doggie-poop bag and the leash from out of his hall closet. He took his keys off the hook, grabbed his long cane, set the alarm, and left his condo. He didn’t need to put Josey’s harness on. They’d walked this path for over three years now, and he knew it well.
As Pres waited for the elevator, he felt a presence next to him. It was a male presence because the scent was spicy with a sweet undertone. Just when Pres prepared to speak, his visitor spoke to him first.
“Hello,” he said in a deep, sultry voice.
“Good evening,” Pres responded.
“Going for a little stroll, huh? He’s a beautiful dog. May I pet him?” asked the good-smelling stranger. His accent was slightly northern but not overly pronounced. Listening to him speak made Pres think about what the man’s mouth might look like. If a person had a strong voice, he immediately pictured a warm, inviting smile covered by full lips.
“Yes, go right ahead. He’s very spoiled. Any attention he can get, he’s more than willing to take.” Pres lifted Josey’s leash, making him rise up off his belly.
“Awww. So handsome. You’re a good boy, aren’t you? Yes, I can tell you’re a good boy,” the stranger crooned to his dog.
Pres could hear the man ruffling Josey’s scruff underneath his collar as he scratched him.
“So do you live on this floor?” Pres figured he’d spark a little conversation since the elevator was taking forever.
“Yep. Actually, just a few doors down from you,” he replied happily.
“You know where I live? Well, now I have to kill ya,” Pres joked, hoping his neighbor had a sense of humor, which he did because he heard him let out a genuinely deep laugh.
With a laugh like that, he definitely has a nice smile.
“Funny guy, huh? My name is Rickson Edwards, but everyone calls me Ric. I’m sorry I haven’t introduced myself sooner, but I’m fairly new to the building, and every time I see you, you’re either just getting on or off of the elevator.”
He felt Ric take his hand that wasn’t holding Josey’s leash and slide his into it during his introduction. Damn, he has a strong handshake.
Pres returned the firm grip. “I’m Prescott Vaughan. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Edwards.”
“How respectful of you, but there is no Mr. Edwards, just Ric…Mr. Vaughan.”
Pres mocked him right back. “How respectful of you, but Mr. Vaughan lives in Richmond with my mother, just Prescott, or Pres, if you like.”
“I do like…I mean the name. I like your name,” Ric stammered.
Pres smiled as he imagined a slight blush creeping up on the man’s face.
At its arrival, they both stepped into the elevator, leaving the introduction awkwardness in the hallway. Neither said another word. There was only the humming of the elevator gears as it descended its way to the lobby.
Pres was overly aware of Ric’s gaze on him, and it made him smile.
“Why are you smiling?” his neighbor asked.
“Why are you staring at me?” Pres retorted.
“Because you’re—” He stopped quickly.
“Because I’m what?” Pres questioned, wondering why Ric didn’t finish his sentence.
“Nothing. Didn’t mean to stare, and I’m not even going to ask how you knew that I was, either.” He laughed.
“It’s within my power,” Pres joked back.
Pres found himself trying to imagine what Ric’s face looked like. If the appearance matched the voice and humor, then he probably had light brown hair and light green or hazel eyes. His cheekbones could probably make a woman envious, and he didn’t breathe heavily, so Pres assumed he didn’t have any weight issues. His voice came from slightly above Pres when he spoke, so the man was taller than him, making Ric probably six-foot-two or three. Being closed in the small compartment had Pres’s sensitive nose filled with Ric’s unique scent. It had him feeling dizzy and a little disoriented. That spicy, sweet combination was like nothing he’d ever smelled before. He liked it…a lot.
That thought did not freak out Pres at all, and liking the man’s smell was an interesting feeling for him. He wasn’t squeamish that a man had given him such a sensual reaction. If he was going to be totally honest with himself, everything he did when he was in his fraternity didn’t scream hetero from the word go, but that was over twelve years ago. Pres had not met a man he was attracted to since…until now.
The elevator doors opened, and Pres extended his hand, telling Ric to go ahead and exit first.
“Thank you, Pres.”
“You’re welcome. It was nice meeting you, Ric. Have a good evening.”
“Likewise,” Ric said.
Pres walked through the lobby having a nagging urge to turn around and look back. But that was fucking pointless…right?
About the Author:
A.E. Via graduated in May of 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Virginia Wesleyan College. She’s a new author to the beautiful gay erotic genre. Her writing embodies everything from spicy to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.
When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, A.E. runs a very successful paralegal-for-hire business and in her spare time, she devotes herself to her family – a husband and four children – her two pets, a Maltese dog and her white Siamese cat, ELynn, named after the late great gay romance author ELynn Harris. While Blue Moon is her first novel, she has plenty more to come…so sit back and grab a cool drink, because the male on male action is just heating up!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aeviaauthor/
3 winners to receive one ARe Books titles, reader’s choice.
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Clan of Dragons
Nancy Lee Badger
Genre: Scottish Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Nancy Lee Badger
Date of Publication: August 4, 2016
Number of pages: 207
Word Count: 64,500
Cover Artist: Nancy Lee Badger
Nancy Lee Badger brings you another story filled with Scottish dragons and shape-shifters. Set on the Scottish Island of Skye, she again fills her paranormal fantasy with romance and danger, and with characters you will remember. Some will tug at your heart. Others will make you wish for their demise. SPARK is the first book in a brand new series, Clan of Dragons.
What can a young dragon do to prove to his older brothers that he is their clan’s best chance to save their species? In the Black Cuillin Hills, Evan heads to the village of Morhban to find a way to interact with humans. To learn their language and customs, and to get close enough to a red-haired beauty to mate with her, the brown-winged purple dragon shifts into a copper-colored horse. When his new hooves protect her from Lord Toal MacMorgan’s inappropriate demands with a well-placed kick, she thanks Evan by brushing his silky coat. Things are looking up.
When an unfamiliar horse kicks Toal into the creek, releasing Vika from his roaming hands, her appreciation turns to horror. A sputtering Toal demands that the animal die. Anger makes Vika agree to a wager. A three day hunt will determine the fate of the horse she names Spark. Failure will mean his death, and the loss of her freedom. Pirates, wolves, a wild boar, and a handsome stranger lead her on a wild ride. She discovers her heart is in as much danger as her life.
“Do you smell smoke?” Vika tugged on Evan’s arm, as she pointed to the horizon. An orange glow filled the darkening sky, an ominous hue rising from the village.
“I fear your village be on fire.” Evan prayed his fire-breathing brothers were not involved. All he could do was race as fast as Vika could follow.
“Dear Lord, ‘tis not the kind of thing to welcome us home. I pray no lives shall be lost.”
They approached the outer gates within moments.
“There should be a guard to block our way. Has the fire pulled him from his post?” Vika said.
The smell of freshly spilled blood pulled Evan to a stop, just inside the fence. He increased his grip on her hand.
“Why stop? We must help the villagers!”
“Someone has been hurt, or killed. Can you not smell it?”
Vika squeezed his hand, and he released her. “Evan, all I smell be smoke. What be you havering about?”
“This.” He pointed to the pair of boots barely visible beneath a mound of straw. He feared the guard was dead.
“Who did this?” she cried.
Evan kneeled beside the straw, and uncovered the man’s face. “Dead. Do you know him?”
“Aye, but not by name. He be a warrior, and must have guarded the village. The elders always post a guard at dusk.”
“We cannot help this man, now, but we must protect the village. I shall block the gates, until the village authorities post another man. Me thinks the fire might have been set by whoever killed this man.”
After pushing the doors closed behind them, Evan rolled several barrels into place, and lifted half a dozen boxes on top to give any further intruders no way to quickly escape.
“How can you lift so much weight?”
“I be stronger than I look. Hurry, lass. We must see if your brother has made it to town. I have a feeling the fire could be another of Toal’s plans to win the wager.”
“Nay! I cannot believe he would be so evil. Besides, he could not have gotten here ahead of us.”
“This means he had men in the village with forewarned plans to create havoc.” Evan growled, and spit at the ground. The air was thick with smoke, and the cries of animals and humans grew louder.
Their kind is dwindling. Evan and his brothers are the last dragons in the area and morning the loss of a mate and the bairn. Humans have hunted them and no females are known. Evan is willing to try and mate with a human female and hopefully get her with child. Little did he know, he would end up doing so much more for her than mating.
Spark was a fun read. I enjoyed reading how Evan would change from one of three shapes for a woman he’s trying to woo. I liked how the author kept the storyline rather light and a good pace. Vikas attitude had me laughing out loud at times and he quick come backs were entertaining. Hoping there’s another book on the horizon for the others who yet are still inmates. I would give this book four stars!
Reviewer for Romance Authors That Rock
About the Author:
Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time.
Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Association of Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy and her family volunteer each fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games surrounded by…kilts!
1 Winner will receive a Scottish Flag Blanket
(brand new, cat not included) as well as Shortbread Scotties,
Purple Jelly beans, a Pirate Pencil, and a Visit Scotland brochure
*international winner will instead receive ebooks from Nancy’s backlist
Giveaway Ends August 21st
As a teen, Dawn ran from a life on the streets straight into the arms of Jimmy “Mad Dog” Sanchez, a biker who promised to be her knight in shining armor. But his love was just another cage. Years later, Dawn’s former life still has its hooks in her and she’ll do whatever it takes to break free. When Cade “Ryder” O’Connor, a member of a rival club, makes her an offer, Dawn finds herself in a different, hotter kind of trouble with one irresistible Sinner…
WILL HE GIVE HER THE RIDE OF HER LIFE?
Cade is an outlaw biker with allegiance to one thing and one thing only: The Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club. But when it comes to the stunningly sexy, fiercely independent Dawn Delgado, Cade finds himself…hungrier for more. Trouble is on Dawn’s heels and he wants to be the answer to her prayers, whether she wants him to be or not. What can’t be denied is the red-hot attraction between them. However, as they fall deeper, the danger rises and Cade may have to sacrifice it all…in Beyond the Cutby New York Times bestselling author Sarah Castille.
Tall, dark, and dangerously handsome, Zane “Tracker” Colter is the strong, silent type of tattooed muscle biker who drives women wild. But as a master of strategy for the outlaw MC club, Sinner’s Tribe, he doesn’t have time to play around with groupies and biker chicks-especially when he can’t stop thinking about Evie, the girl who got away…
Evie’s been in love with Zane ever since they were children-until he broke her heart and disappeared. Now he’s back in her life, bigger and badder than ever. Zane is stunned by how beautiful and confident Evie’s become, using her artistic talent to customize motorcycles. He wants her so bad, he’d ride through fire to win her back. There’s one problem: Evie is dating his deadliest rival-the leader of the Black Jacks-and if Evie and Zane hook up, there’ll be hell to pay… in Sinner’s Steel.
Find her at:
Rosemary A Johns
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Fantasy Rebel Limited
Date of Publication: 14th August 2016
Large Print Edition:
Number of pages: 294
Word Count: 80,000
Cover Artist: JD Smith
There are three people in this affair – and two of them aren’t human…
A hidden paranormal London lies beneath our own. Escape into the supernatural world of the Blood Lifers – where vampires are both predator and prey.
1960s London. Light is a rebel Rocker Blood Lifer with a photographic memory. And a Triton motorbike. Since Victorian times he’s hidden in the shadows. Both predator and prey. His venom is deadly. He feeds on blood. Human, of course. But when he discovers his ruthless family’s horrifying secret experiments, he questions whether he should be slaying or saving the humans he’s always feared.
Ruby is a sexy but savage Elizabethan Blood Lifer. She burns with a destructive love for Light. But he’s keeping something from her. Something that breaks every rule in Blood Life. When she discovers the truth, things take a terrifying turn.
Kathy is a seductive singer. But she’s also human. Light knows his passionate love for her is reckless but he’s enchanted. Yet such a romance is forbidden. When the two worlds collide, it could mean the end. For both species.
What dark revelations will Light reveal at the heart of the experiments? Will he be able to stop them in time? The consequences of failure are unimaginable. Unless Light plays the part of hero, he risks losing everything. Including the two women he loves.
A rebel, a red-haired devil and a Moon Girl battle to save the world – or tear it apart.
About the Author:
ROSEMARY A JOHNS is a traditionally published author of short stories under the name R. A. Johns. Blood Dragons is Rosemary A Johns’ debut novel.
Rosemary A Johns wrote her first fantasy novel at the age of ten, when she discovered the weird worlds inside her head were more exciting than double swimming. Since then she’s studied history at Oxford University, run a theatre company (her critically acclaimed plays have been described as “uncomfortable, unsettling and uneasily true to life”), and worked with disability charities. When Rosemary’s not falling in love with the rebels fighting their way onto the page, she heads the Oxford writing group Dreaming Spires
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Chloe Reed and Nick Grayson couldn’t have more different lives. Where Chloe had a bleak future and was trying to deal with a loss that had left a hole in her heart, Nick was a happy-go-lucky guy, leading a carefree life with a path set.
Until one fateful night, they met and everything changed. The night that gave Chloe hope for the future, left Nick scarred for life. Was their meeting a one-off tryst or was their story just beginning?
This is my first Tara R. read – and it was lovely. She brings us the story of Chloe Reeds – when she she was 16 her life stalled when her brother died, her father left, and her Mom became an alcoholic – while she is spinning out of control, alone with no hope – Nick Grayson drives by as she is about to jump off a bridge. Nick is a bright, handsome and has the perfect life. That chance meeting saved Chloe and her dreams of Nick gave her the strength to live. However, in his rush to get to his family everything changes and Nick has to learn to deal with his own guilt and both his physical and mental scars. The only thing they still have in common is the kismet meeting and how their memories keep returning to each other.
This novella is a bittersweet story of two lost souls that find each other. Tara’s writing is fluid and descriptive. Her characters are strong and well-developed. She deals with mental health issues with compassion. I will warn you that there’s a cliffhanger of an ending. I can’t wait to see what happens for Chloe and Nick.
I am an independent reviewer for Romance Authors that Rock
by Maggie Thom
Is her grandmother guilty of murder?
Kyara finds herself pulled into the past needing to solve a 30-year-old crime to determine if it has anything to do with her mom’s recent attack. Kyara is desperately trying to find the one woman who just might have answers – her convicted and recently released from jail, grandmother. She is elusive but seems to be leading Kyara on a path to right some wrongs. Those responsible though, will go to any lengths to keep their secret buried and silence those who know anything. Kyara finds herself locked in a battle but she’s just not sure who really is the enemy. Is Ryan, who’s not who he says he is, there to help her or to stop her at all costs?
Time is of the essence as the golf course that looks pristine and beautiful… is also deadly.
“That’s all you’ve got? Nothing? No one? And no reason? You’re telling me this is random?” Kyara pushed to her feet knowing this was a waste of time. Before she could move though, the door opened and another police officer came into the room. He nodded at the other one who got up and left. He then closed the door. Kyara’s eyes widened.
“Have a seat please.”
It didn’t sound like a request but an order. Kyara tentatively sat down, never taking her eyes off him. Something had shifted. There was something very ominous about the man, she just wasn’t sure if it was his overly bushy eyebrows, his military cut steel grey hair, his six foot five, two-hundred-and-fifty-pound frame, the rigid way he was holding himself or the hard look on his face. She almost got the feeling they felt she was guilty. Realizing he was talking, she pulled her mind back to the conversation.
“…please tell me about your relationship with Elizabeth Wilson?”
It dawned on her that she’d missed who he was, his rank and what this was about. But that wasn’t something she was about to ask him to repeat. Her stomach felt weighted with rocks. “Uh, she’s my grandmother.” What has she done now?
“And where is she?”
“You know she got out of prison a while ago?”
“Well she hasn’t shown up for her parole meetings for the last month. Any idea where she is?”
“No.” One thing Getty had taught her was to keep your answers short and then they’d never come back to bite her.
“Any idea where she might be?”
“Have you seen her?”
“No.” Kyara clasped her hands tightly into fists.
“If you hear from her, you’ll let us know?”
The policeman stared at her with a look that almost had her diving under the table but she could hear Getty telling her to grow a backbone and not let anyone intimidate her. She felt like a bowl of mush on the inside but sat rigidly looking in his direction just not directly into his eyes. It was another tip her grandmother had given her, as a way of standing up to someone without really intimidating them but not really backing down either. Finally, he stood up, so Kyara followed suit.
“If you hear from Elizabeth, please let us know.”
Kyara nodded, “I will. And you’ll let me know when you’ve caught the person who damn near killed my mom, right?”
This is the first book I’ve read of Maggie Thom’s and the first mystery/thriller I’ve read in a very very long time, and I’m glad I did. It’s written in third POV and takes you on an insane spin- up down and all around. I know this may be an odd comparison, but in a way the story reminds me of a loose version of “Clue”- as in trying to guess what’s going on and who did what or how they may be involved. The only downfall for me was some confusion over a couple parts, but overall the writing flowed pretty well and the author paid attention to detail that didn’t come across as overwhelming or unnecessary. I received a copy of this book from Romance Authors that Rock, in exchange for an honest review and I can easily rate this story with 5 hearts.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Award winning author, Maggie Thom, took the challenge and leapt off, leaving a fulltime, twenty-year career in management, to write full time. She grew up in a house full of books and often made weekly trips to the library to get more. Reading was her go to, when it was too cold outside to play. She started experimenting with writing at a young age, letting her imagination take her away on many adventures. Maggie has written everything from technical writing, to nonfiction, to fiction for children, youth and adults, along with poems and short stories. She finally settled on her love of puzzles, mysteries and roller coaster rides and now writes suspense/thrillers that will take you on one heck of an adventure. Author of The Caspian Wine Series – Captured Lies and Deceitful Truths with Split Seconds to be out late 2016 – and her other published novel, Tainted Waters (2013 Suspense/Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine). Her latest novel, Deadly Ties, published May 17th, 2016.
Her motto: Read to escape… Escape to read…
“Maggie Thom… proves her strength as a master of words, plots and finely chiseled characters… she weaves a brilliant cloth of the many colors of deceit.” Dii – TomeTender
Barnes and Noble
Maggie Thom will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: All Romance eBooks
Date of Publication: August 1 2016
Word Count: 49000
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill
She was broken by darkness and violence…
Jennifer Jones thought she’d left her past behind, but when Maclain Moore crosses her threshold it all comes rushing back. He was to be her roommate, nothing more. Then the leather-clad bad boy reveals something that rocks the very foundation of her structured, fiercely independent life, and the protective wall Jennifer built around herself is shattered.
He had faith in a beautiful future…
Although she vowed she’d never bare her soul or share her secrets, soon Jennifer finds herself opening up to Mac in ways that make it hard to keep him at arm’s length. She almost lost her life to a man before and doesn’t want to risk getting close to this one. As Jennifer’s world spins out of control, she fears their growing passion may become the only tangible thing she can cling to. Can she give in to her feelings for Mac without losing herself?
Mac grabbed a beer from the fridge, opened it, then headed back toward his room. “No, I would forego napkins altogether and have the guests all wipe their mouths on their shirtsleeves, like I do.”
Jennifer rolled her eyes. “Of course.”
He turned around. “Do they really make napkins with recycled content?”
“We’re not buying them.”
“Why not?” he shouted.
She followed him to his room, pausing at the entrance. “They’re yucky looking and they cost more.” She leaned against the doorframe.
He sat his beer on his nightstand before climbing back on the bed. “But they’re better for the environment. Don’t you care about your carbon footprint?” Mac opened a case file and began to read.
“Of course I do.” She held up her water bottle. “I’m recycling, aren’t I?”
“But still buying all those individual little water bottles. Baby steps.”
Jennifer took a minute to look around. The room had been totally transformed in the last two days. Initially it had contained just the dark walnut antique four-poster bed and dresser surrounded by white walls. The first change had been those walls. When Jennifer came home from Rachel and Tom’s on New Year’s Day, she discovered Mac had painted them red. Red.
“You painted the walls red?” she’d asked.
“No. It’s not red. The guy at the paint store said it’s called ‘Rendezvous’.”
“Right, rendezvous!” She laughed and shook her head. “Did he give you a discount?”
“You don’t like it?”
“It’s a bit…red.”
“I think it makes a statement.”
“What kind of a statement?’
“Trust me, I’ve got a vision. It’s going to be great,” he replied, not deterred in the least.
And he was right. After he painted the walls the rich wine color, he had stenciled on the Chinese symbols for peace, love and faith. He’d also positioned a three-by-five jewel-toned oriental rug between the antique dresser and the footboard of the bed. The richness of the colors complemented the dark wooden shades of the hardwood flooring and walnut furnishings. There was even a large tray of sorts resting on top of the dresser that Mac had fashioned out of an old portrait frame and filled with pillar candles.
“You coming in?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah. If it’s all right.”
“Of course, have a seat.”
Jennifer walked around the bed en route to the chair. The bed itself took up most of the room. He’d adorned it with a black chenille duvet cover, trimmed in red Chinese silk not unlike the material her robe was made from. There was a new piece of furniture. He had placed it so it sat between his bedside and the black leather chair he had retrieved from storage and was using it as a combination nightstand and side table. In addition to a clock and his beer, the table held a lamp, about four or five books, and a pair of reading glasses.
“New table and lamp,” she observed, sliding into the chair.
“Found the table this morning over on Adams in one of those little antique stores.” He continued to flip through his case file, scanning the contents.
The overhead light in the room was turned off. The only light came from the candles and the bedside lamp. The room with filled with a warm glow, and interesting shadows danced across the dramatic walls as the flames of the candles flickered.
“Did you have the lamp already?”
“Yeah, I’ve had it for a while.”
“I should let you work.” She started to get up.
He tossed the file aside. “No. I need to stop.” He tilted his head toward the lamp. “I bought it in a store up in L.A., in Chinatown. I don’t remember why I was there, probably killing time. My mum was sick. I was practically living at the hospital. I bought it for her. Everything in that room was so cold, so sterile.”
“I bet she loved it.”
Mac nodded. “We’d sit there together and stare at it. I don’t know what it is. Maybe the way the light gets diffused as it passes through the flax paper but it seems—”
“Yeah.” Mac sighed.
Jennifer leaned back in the chair, kicked off her shoes, and propped her feet up on the edge of his bed. “The place looks great. It feels nice.”
“You look like you’re ready for a nap.”
“Maybe a hot bath.” She closed her eyes. “How do you feel about take-out Chinese for tonight?”
“Can’t join you tonight, blondie.” Mac got up, then drained the rest of the beer. “I’ve got a date,” he told her, setting the bottle back on his nightstand.
Jennifer’s eyes flew open. She quickly sized up his appearance. “You do not have a date.”
Mac pulled his leather coat out of the closet. “Why would you say that?”
“Because you’re not even dressed.”
Mac looked down at his obviously clothed body. “Of course I’m dressed. What are you talking about?” He picked his keys and billfold up off of the dresser.
“You’re not dressed up. You know, so you can make a good first impression.”
“It’s supposed to be casual, pizza and a movie. This is what I normally wear.” Mac stuffed his billfold into the pocket of his jeans.
“That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a little extra effort. You know, put your best foot forward.” Jennifer stood and stretched. “Did you even shower?”
“Course I did! I showered this morning when I came back from my run.”
“That was for work. I meant for your date.”
“Let me guess.” He crossed his arms in front of his chest. “You’re one of these girls who puts on airs, trying to impress so you can reel some unsuspecting bloke in. When, may I ask, are you supposed to start to show your date the real you?”
“You think your date is going to let you see the real her?”
“Don’t know. The truth is I have no control over what she’s going to do. What I do know is if I like what I see and she’s willing to go out with me again it’ll be because she saw something in me she liked. I won’t have to be guessing about whether what she liked about me was the façade.” Mac walked back over toward her and retrieved his empty beer bottle. “Recyclable.”
“You know what I think? I think you’re being a teensy bit disingenuous.”
She gestured toward him. “This is all part of an image.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The black boots, leather coat, rumpled T-shirt that screams ‘I’m a bad boy’
Mac wrapped the arm holding the beer bottle around her waist and in one fluid motion pulled her body flush against his before bending her backward in a low dip. “You don’t think I can be bad?”
Jennifer’s breath hitched.
“Little girl, you have no idea,” he whispered into the shell of her ear, his voice low and seductive. Then he nuzzled her at her neck, breathing her in. “We’re all just a little bit bad.”
“You mean, what you’ve shown me? This great, sensitive guy I’ve been getting to know isn’t the real you?” She was slightly breathless.
Mac lifted his head and looked searchingly into her eyes. He was so close. He smelled so good. He felt so good. Her entire body tightened in anticipation.
“We all have a dark side,” he murmured. “A part lurking within us, longing to live for the moment, to act on wild impulses, to give in to temptation.” Mac licked his lips. She could practically taste them. “Don’t you ever feel that?”
Jennifer’s heart was racing and her mouth was dry. It was as if time had suddenly stopped. As she gazed into his impossibly blue eyes, she realized this was one of those defining moments. One of those times when, with a single action, you could change the course of your life. If only you were willing to take the chance.
“You’re going to be late for your date.”
“Right.” He straightened, bringing her back to an upright position. “I hate to keep a beautiful girl waiting.”
“You should go. Have fun.”
“Right now, I’m sorry I agreed to it.” Mac reached up and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “I’d much rather stay here and order Chinese with you.” Then he turned around and left her. Alone.
This story is very heartfelt. You most assuredly felt empathy and sympathy for the characters and their predicament. At times I was a bit confused if the story took place in England or the United States because of the slang used by the characters but it did not distract from the story itself to much. The love story seemed a bit rushed and could have been drawn out a bit more I felt to help make the story go more in depth especially with the aspects that were covered. Based on content this story is for an mature audience. As an independent reviewer for Romance Authors That Rock I am giving this book 3.5 Hearts.
About the Author:
Samantha Sommersby left what she used to call her “real life” day job in 2007 to pursue writing full-time. Sam’s background in the psychiatric field is apparent in her work and allows her to bring a unique perspective to her characters and stories. She currently lives in southern California with her husband, son, and cocker spaniel, Buck.
Her husband is a social worker who works with abused children. He’s an avid sailor who loves to surf, and you’ll find bits of him in every hero that Sam has ever written. Her son is wonderfully sensitive, with a sarcastic sense of humor. He plays the piano, composes his own music, is a competitive fencer, and worships video games. On the rare occasion when Sam manages to set aside some play time for herself, you’ll most likely find her reading a book, at the movies, or out wine tasting.
Although she’s written a variety of genres, Sam happily spends most work days immersed in the world of the Forbidden, a world where vampires, werewolves, and demons are real, where magic is possible, and where love still conquers all.
3 winners to receive ebook of The Soldier and the Spy by Samantha Sommersby.
About the Book
Title: To Win a Viscount (Daughters of Amhurst #2)
Author: Frances Fowlkes
Genre: Historical Romance
England, 1820. To gain a certain marquess’s notice, Lady Albina Beauchamp aims to win the derby. What she hadn’t planned for is the price handsome Mr. Edmund White asks in payment to train her to race: each lesson for a kiss.
A first place finish isn’t the only thing worth racing for
Lady Albina Beauchamp is in love with the Marquess of Satterfield. Unfortunately, his only interest is in horses, and doesn’t know she exists. But when the marquess confesses he will bestow his undying admiration on the jockey racing the winning horse at Emberton Derby, Albina sets out to win his affections by training to race.
Mr. Edmund White is a master groomsmen for the Earl of Amhurst in line for a viscountcy, should he abandon his passion for horses and become a respectable sheep owner. But horses are his love–until he meets Lady Albina and her silly notions of racing. When she affirms she will enter the derby with or without his assistance, Edmund not only instructs his student in racing, but seduction as well.
For Albina, a first place finish isn’t the only thing at stake. She must decide whether to take her place in society…or follow her heart and love a groom.
4.5 heart-pounding hearts
Albina is not like her sisters, she will not accept others making decisions for her. She has her heart set on the Marquess of Satterwhite and she aims to make him her husband. Unfortunately he seems to still be holding a torch for her older sister, her very married older sister who is married to the current Earl of Amhurst. The Marquess’s only other passion that Albina seems to see would be that of horses. She picks up on a comment that he makes that he would respect the jockey that wins the derby coming up in six weeks. Fortunately for Albina and her father’s love for her passions when he was alive, she was an excellent horsewoman, she just needs practice. She’s sure she can get all the kinks out and perfect her technique as well as convince the Earl to let her race. All she needs is the Marquess to respect her and that can turn to love right? All her plans have huge, gaping holes in them. The groom is tough to get by, but he lets her ride one of the horses and tells her if she beats him, he will plead her case to the Earl. She doesn’t, her pride gets in the way. But something about her has Mr White asking her back to practice and Albina doesn’t know why, but she doesn’t question it too much. She has too much riding on the coaching he’s offering her to question his motives, but who really has the high stakes in this race? In the weeks of practice, Albina is chaning and not just in her form.
***Reviewer for Romance Authors that Rock***
After viewing her all-time favorite love story, “Anne of Green Gables”, at the impressionable age of ten, Frances Fowlkes has been obsessed with affable boy-next door heroes, red-heads, and romance stories with lots of “highfaluting mumbo jumbo” written within their pages. It only seems natural then that she married the boy who used to pull on her curls in her high school English class, had not one, but THREE red-headed boys, and penned multiple love stories with bits of flowery prose.
When not writing, Frances loves spending time with her family, fangirling, and planning her next vacation.
Frances Fowlkes, originally a northern mid-westerner, now lives in the southeast with her ardent hero of a husband, three playful and rambunctious boys, and one spoiled standard poodle.
A self-professed Anglophile and summa cum laude graduate of LeTourneau University, Frances Fowlkes combines her passion for happily-ever-afters with her interests in both American and English histories.
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