Carol Presents: Nancy Weeks … In the Shadow of Pride

This time I have Nancy Weeks on my Carol Presents Series.  Hello, Nancy. Thank you for agreeing to be my guest today.

Hello Carol, I’m so pleased to be visiting with you today to share the news about my latest novel, In the Shadow of Pride. Pride is the fourth book in my In the Shadows series and I am so very happy with the way everything turned out.

How exciting it must be to have written your fourth in a series. Good for you! And I understand it was released only one week ago and is being well received. That doesn’t surprise me, you’re a talented writer!

Okay, readers, I know you want to know more about Nancy’s story, but please read Nancy’s short yet sweet bio first.

Nancy C Weeks profile pictureNancy C. Weeks lives in suburban Maryland with her husband of more than thirty years. With her two grown children out of the nest, she loves spending her days on her deck writing as the local bird population keeps her company.

 

 

Would you tell us a little about In the Shadow of Pride?

In this story, you will meet the third McNeil brother, Luke ‘Mac’ McNeil. Mac has a tough job as a FBI Special-Agent-In-Charge. One of the most heart wrenching experiences he had to live through was losing his best friend and fellow agent, Rico Trevena. Rico was on an undercover operation and Mac was his handler. The unthinkable happens and Rico gives his life to save Mac’s younger brother, Jason [from In the Shadow of Greed]. Rico’s last words to Mac, “Promise me you’ll take care of Lexie!”

Rico’s wife, Lexie Trevena has made that promise almost impossible to keep because she hates everything about the FBI and despises Mac. When Lexie’s life is ripped out from under her once again, she has a choice to make; accept Mac’s help or lose everything, including her two year old son, Gabriel.

Sounds like a great story. I enjoy reading romantic suspenseWas it difficult to write?

From the very beginning of this story, Pride captured my mind, my heart, and wouldn’t let go. It was joy to write. If you would like to see who I envisioned while writing this story, please drop by my WEBSITE. While you are there, check out the three free chapters: In the Shadow of Pride Google Preview.

Ooh,  free reads are always good! I’ll check it out.

So…have questions? I would love to answer them. Feel free to ask me anything. Here is a question to help get you started. Have you ever disliked someone, but over time, began to see this person in a different light? Did you ever become friends? I would love to give away a free digital copy to one lucky commenter so please leave an email with your answer. Carol, you get to do the drawing.

I can do the draw, no problem. But I want to be the first to leave an answer. (Don’t worry. I won’t be in the draw.)

I left a blurb and a short excerpt.

Wonderful!

I hope you enjoy In the Shadow of Pride as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you for hosting me. ((Hugs to all))

You are most welcome, Nancy. Good luck with your release! And congratulations!

9781440580321Now, here’s the blurb for In the Shadow of Pride: 

Lexie Trevena buried her murdered husband, discovered he had cheated on her, and signed to adopt his newborn son—all before noon. Now she just wants to raise her child in the loving, supportive home she never had. The last thing she needs is another man to complicate her life, but her best friends feel differently. Their matchmaking meddling accidentally places Lexie smack in the path of a terrorist who intends to use her as his pawn.

The only person who can help her is the FBI agent she holds responsible for her husband’s death.

Special-Agent-In-Charge Luke “Mac” McNeil watched his best friend and partner marry a woman he knew was too good for him, but he did nothing to stop the wedding. He stood by as Lexie adopted the cheating jerk’s son. But when someone goes to great lengths to make it appear that Lexie is responsible for launching a drone into the home of a prominent Texas senator, Mac’s conscience finally speaks up, and he fights for Lexie’s freedom … even though all the evidence leads to her door, and she has never given him a reason to trust her.

Can Lexie and Mac find the courage to forgive and trust, or will their pride stand in the way of love, allowing terrorists to bring another devastating attack onto United States soil?     Sensuality Level: Sensual

And the excerpt of In the Shadow of Pride: 

Lexie leaned her back against the cool stone and made herself release Mac’s hand. She then took a breath of fresh, clean air and tried to hide the shakiness in her voice. “Now what?”

“I’m going to drop down to the roof. You will kneel on the ledge and, using the window to balance, turn so your legs hang over the edge. Let go of the ledge, and I’ll catch you.”

“Are you crazy? I can’t—”

“Lexie, look behind you.”

She turned her head slowly toward the open window. Flames appeared under the door and the small office was completely filled with smoke. One word escaped her lips. “Trapped.”

“Once we get down onto the roof, there’s a fire escape ladder to the street.” He reached for her hand. “Gabriel needs you. We can do this together.”

Finding her voice, she whispered, “Not fair using Gabriel.” She bit down on her lower lip and dredged up an ounce of courage. “Mac, do what you have to do.”

With the grace of a trained athlete, he lowered himself over the side until only the tips of his fingers were on the ledge. An instant later, he dropped, landing on his feet.

“Tag, you’re it, Lexie. Just drop and I’ll catch you. Trust me.”

Lexie’s heart pounded like she had just run the 100-yard dash. After a quick glance into the office, she knelt, and holding onto the window, rolled onto her stomach.

“That’s it. Now just ease your legs over the ledge.”

The instant her feet hit empty space, panic ripped through her and she swung a leg back onto the ledge as her fingers dug into the window frame. God, she couldn’t do this. It was freaking crazy.

“You have to let go of the window frame. I’m right under you.”

“This isn’t the time to be nice to me, Mac.”

“Okay, then how’s this? I’m loving the view of the sexiest red panties I have ever seen that barely cover an ass that will live in my dreams for years to―”

Lexie dropped. Before she could get out the ear-piercing, girly scream that roared in her head, she landed in Mac’s arms. The impact crushed the air from her lungs.

“You’re okay,” he whispered. “I’ve got you.”

Wrapping her arms around his neck, she allowed his strength and his herbal all-male scent to soothe her. He eased her legs back on solid ground, but she didn’t let go. She couldn’t remember a time in her life when she felt so safe, protected.

She raised her chin and met his amused stare. Of all stupid days to wear a skirt to work. As soon as she got out of this mess, it was going to Goodwill.

Heat spread up her neck and her chest tightened. “This one time, I’m going to let that go.”

“Let what go, Lexie?” Mac’s hand moved slowly down her back to her waist and pressed her tightly against him.

His touch sent a flash of need that had been dormant for too long into her gut. Lexie swallowed but couldn’t look him in the face. “That wasn’t my best moment on that ledge. You shouldn’t have looked.”

“You told me not to be nice. I was saving your life.”

 All right!  What a fantastic excerpt! In the Shadow of Pride is going onto my to-read shelf right away!

Everyone, you can find Nancy at: 

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

GOODREADS

PINTEREST

Look for In the Shadow of Pride at: Crimson Romance ebooks | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | BAM

 AND…The first book In the Shadow series, In the Shadow of Greed is available only for a brief time in a bundle of wonderful authors.

Racing Hearts Romantic Suspense bundle 9781440583247RACING HEARTS: 10 THRILLING ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVELSONLY 99 CENTS!!!

The thrills—both in and out of the bedroom—never stop coming between these pages. Crank up your adrenaline while running from danger, standing strong in the face of evil, and staying one step ahead of the bad guys in these 10 fast-paced suspense stories by rising stars.

 

Amazon  | Kobo | Google Play

 

 

Carol Presents: Susanne Mathews … Echos of the Past

Today on Carol Presents we’ve switched things up a bit. Susanne Mathews kindly answers the question (one that most authors get asked sometime in their career) … where did you get your idea for this story? But first let’s learn a little bit more about my guest, Susanne.

me

Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. As a retired educator, she gets to spend her time writing, so she can share new adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

 

 

 

Let’s see what prompted Ms Mathews to write her story.

Echoes of the Past: Where Do Story Ideas Come From?

People often ask me where I get the ideas for new stories. Well, they come from hundreds of different places. The idea for my newest book, Echoes of the Past came to me when I visited The Lake of the Mountain Resort in Prince Edward County, Ontario, last September. The lake is a geological conundrum, a source of fresh water, seemingly bottomless in the center, constantly emptying via a small waterfall that tumbles almost 200 feet into Lake Ontario, but the lake’s water level never changes, and no one can figure exactly where the water in it comes from.

While I found that interesting, the legends associated with the lake sparked my interest. There are two. The first talks about a monster of the Loch Ness variety—interesting but probably nothing more than a large sturgeon. The second touched my soul. It was a Mohawk legend, a tragic story of lovers, forced apart by hatred and doomed to be kept apart in death until the Mohawk spirits felt sorry for them. That’s the story I used as the underlying love story for Echoes of the Past.

Before I left, I got permission from the owners to set my novel there. I brought in a new component as well when I crafted my heroine after my daughter’s best friend. Amazingly enough, the cover created by the publisher, Secret Cravings Publishing actually looks like the real Michelle.

***

So there we have it, the story behind the beginning of this story, Echoes of the Past. For writers, inspiration can happen anywhere, anytime. The key is to pay attention. That’s what Susanne did.

Here’s her book blurb:

EchoesofthePast_MEDBorn Mohawk, raised white, forensic pathologist, Michelle Thomas is trapped between two worlds—this one and the spirit world where the ghosts of those who’ve drowned speak to her. Haunted by crippling nightmares of her own drowning death and erotic dreams of a phantom lover, she strives to make sense of her life. When two suspicious deaths occur at the Lake of the Mountain Resort, she’s sent to investigate. She’ll face the greatest challenge of her career when her past and her present collide. One of these men is her future, but which one—the rich and powerful Mayor Ron Davies, or Tony Steele, the hydrology professor who may be responsible for his students’ deaths? Charged by the spirits of her Mohawk ancestors to atone for her previous sins by protecting Lake of the Gods, can Michelle solve the murders, save the sacred waters, and fulfil her destiny?

 

And the excerpt:

Tony wandered out onto the screened-in porch and looked out at the lake. The strong night winds whipped it into a frenzy as if the water boiled with anger. He checked his watch. Two in the morning again. He needed to break this habit. These unusually vivid dreams had started the first night he’d arrived at the resort. Most of them, exquisite, erotic fantasies, left him dissatisfied, but tonight’s dream had transitioned into a flight for his life. From personal research, he knew a dream’s meaning rarely had anything to do with its contents. This research project into the source of the water in the lake meant everything to him personally and professionally. He was afraid something would happen to ruin it. That explained being chased, but it didn’t explain the sexual fantasies. Those he understood easily enough.

He recognized the woman in his dreams as the shawl-wrapped stranger who walked along the beach every now and then. Beautiful and exotic, something about her called to his soul. He preferred women who didn’t look like carbon copies of others, and this one intrigued him. He thought about her now.

He’d noticed her the night he’d arrived. He never slept well in a new bed. Unable to settle, he’d stepped out onto the porch and noticed someone else apparently suffering from insomnia. A woman, a blanket wrapped around herself, her hair in a long braid down her back, strolled along the edge of the sandy beach. She’d moved southeast toward the edge of the lookout. He’d stepped outside to get a better look at her, but she’d vanished.

The next night, his imagination and libido had taken over, and in his dreams, she’d entered his leafy grotto, and they’d had mind-blowing sex. The things they’d done to one another. Thank God he’d awakened before his body had finished responding to his fantasy.

He’d gotten up, frustrated as old hell, and had gone downstairs. Standing in the screened-in porch, he’d looked out at the lake. Unlike tonight, the water had resembled a mirror reflecting the stars on its surface, and he’d been suspended between the water and the sky—everything brighter, crisper, and clearer than he’d expected. Animals scurried in the brush nearby. Bats swooped overhead. An owl hooted, and he’d shivered. Didn’t some of the Native American tribes believe death followed the cries of an owl?

He’d turned to go back inside when he’d glimpsed his mystery woman coming along the beach from the marshy area to the north. He’d called out to her. She’d turned at the sound of his voice and stopped. In the moonlight, he’d seen the sparkle of silver tears on her cheeks. Naked, he’d hurried into the kitchen, grabbed his damp swimsuit off the drying rack, and rushed out, but she’d disappeared.

He blinked, and the memory passed. He’d never seen a storm as vicious as tonight’s. The rain came down in sheets. Thank God the kids had made it back safely. He turned to go inside when a flash of lightning, the first he’d noticed tonight, illuminated the beach.

What the hell?

The woman, wrapped in her blanket, walked along the beach as if all hell wasn’t breaking loose around her. He ran to the door and raced across the short expanse of grass. He stopped at the edge of the water. Where had she gone? As she’d done every time he’d tried to catch her, she’d vanished. Wet through, he hurried back inside. He saw the light go out in Jackson’s room.

Tony entered the cabin, stripped off his wet clothes, and tossed them in the kitchen sink. Naked and shivering, he climbed the stairs and went into the bathroom. He took a hot shower and then dried his shoulder-length hair. He needed to get it cut. He grabbed a clean t-shirt and a pair of boxers out of the drawer. Exhausted, he fell into bed hoping for sleep.

***

Okay, you’ve got my attention. I’m hoping that Tony gets a chance to live out this dream with the mysterious woman. And since this is a romance, the chances are good. A sexy romance and a mystery. Yum!  Thanks, Susanne for being my guest.

Thank you, Carol for having me on today. I appreciate this opportunity to reach a new audience and make new friends.

You can find out where to purchase Echoes of the Past by visiting http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/

Follow Susanne on her: Website   Blog    Facebook page   Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page   and   Goodreads author page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carol Presents… Kelly Ann Jacobson … Dreamweaver Road

 

1469948_10152525757833383_3501563226682596871_nAllow me to introduce you to Kelly Ann Jacobson. She is a fiction writer and poet who lives in Falls Church, Virginia. She recently received her MA in Fiction at Johns Hopkins University, and she is the Poetry Editor for Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine. Kelly is the author of the literary fiction novel Cairo in White and the young adult trilogy The Zaniyah Trilogy, as well as the editor of the book of essays Answers I’ll Accept. Her work, including her published poems, fiction, and nonfiction, can be found at www.kellyannjacobson.com.

 

Yes, indeed, those are some impressive credentials, but what always impresses me is the imaginations of fantasy authors. Kelly’s book, Dreamweaver Road, is chock full of wizardry, witchcraft and other things that go bump in the night!

 

 

Here’s the blurb for Dreamweaver Road:

Though Zoey, a sixteen year old farm girl with magical powers, does not know the extent of her abilities or how she got them, when her best friend is kidnapped by a wizard named Danger, she runs away from home and begins a quest to find him. On the way, she meets Angela, a witch who can see the future through dreams; Mother Shipton, her loyal cat sidekick; Will, a man who claims to be immortal; and Red, a dragon with a grudge. Zoey’s friends help her discover the rest of her powers, as well as the forgotten past that earned her such a dangerous enemy.

DreamweaverRoad 500x750***

And here’s the excerpt of Dreamweaver Road:

“You’re playing with fire, Zoey, and if you go after Danger, you’ll get burned.”

“Burned like this?” I ask, then put my right palm face up on the table and tap the center with my left middle finger. A strand of fire emerges from the place where I tapped, sticky like honey between my hands, and I stretch the flame up like a magician pulling a scarf from his sleeve. Both Angela and Mother Shipton watch, mesmerized, as I solidify the fire in a pillar and then use both of my hands to spin it like turning an hour glass upside-down.

A few years ago my pa took the whole family to the circus, a rare treat for a family who never left the farm, and we watched a beautiful young fire-breather turn a stick with flames on either side in the same way until the flames became a blur against the blackening sky. The fire reflected in their eyes looks the same way now, pinpricks of orange and red that turn to blue as I twist and twist, and when I can no longer tell the individual flame from the rave, I pull my hands apart and the whole sphere disappears.

 ***
Wow! This sounds like such a cool book! I believe this is written for middle school readers, but I have a feeling everyone will get a charge out of it.

I want to thank you, Kelly, for guest posting on Carol Presents! Best wishes with your writing career!

www.kellyannjacobson.com

www.twitter.com/KAnnJacobson

www.facebook.com/WriterKellyAnnJacobson

 

 

Carol Presents: Jackie Marilla …Love Those Hula Hips

This time on Carol Presents is the lovely Jackie Marilla. I had the opportunity to read her Love Those Hula Hips and I quite enjoyed it. Not only do you get a great romance set in the beautiful Kona, you also get a taste of the local history and lifestyle.

jackie marillaHere’s her Bio:

Jackie Marilla lives on a macadamia nut farm in Hawai’i with her supportive husband, several feral cats and a flock of hodgepodge chickens. She writes contemporary romance set on the Big Island and places beyond.

When she’s not at her desk writing, Jackie loves to visit family in the Pacific Northwest, read, sew, and make lamp work glass beads. In a past life, she was an elementary school teacher.

Jackie is a member of the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America and the Contemporary Romance Writers.

 

 

 

Book Blurb, Love Those Hula Hips:

With the imminent threat of foreclosure of their beloved Kona Breezeway Inn, the Kawelu family is forced to take on an investor. In exchange, mainlander James Westerman takes control of the daily operations.

James craves one thing—a lucrative investment property that affords him the opportunity to earn his father’s respect. When he invests in the Kona Breezeway Inn, he is confident that as the general manager he will turn a profit within three years. His plans quickly start to unravel when he falls for Hokulani Kawelu, the owner’s hula dancing daughter.

Hokulani is committed to her family’s legacy to preserve and share the Hawaiian culture. She is determined to maintain the spirit of aloha at the Breezeway, despite James’s mainland business approach and his emphasis on the bottom-line.

James is certain that his fascination with Hokulani will not distract him from his business goals. He soon discovers that the bottom-line is a choice between business, as he knows it, and love.

Love those Hula HipsExcerpt from Love Those Hula Hips:

The music slowed and the emcee crooned, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, a tribute to all those in love, performed by our very own Ho-ku-lani.”

At first, James thought he was seeing things. The woman from the lobby moved across the stage in such a fluid motion, he thought she might be an apparition. She positioned herself not more than six feet from him. He leaned back in his chair and stared at this dark-haired beauty. She seemed to acknowledge his gaze with a slight nod and a sly smile, and then began her dance. “Ho-ku-lani,” he repeated to himself.

Mesmerized by Hokulani’s onyx hair and matching dark eyes, he tracked her flowing mane to her undulating hips and gaped when she stood in front of him. Her smile was magnetic and her hands delicate, but the way she moved her hips captivated her the most. He needed to know more about her.

 

****

Now doesn’t that make you want to see what James does to catch Hokulani’s attention? I know what he does, but I don’t do spoilers!

I want to thank Jackie for being my guest on Carol Presents. It’s been a pleasure having you.

Links:

jackiemarilla.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/jackiemarilla

http://www.amazon.com/Jackie-Marilla/e/B00J2N46VU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1403504889&sr=8-1

 

Carol Presents: R.A. Donnelly … Evelina and the Reef Hag

One thing I love about authors is their imaginations. I’m thrilled to have Ms R.A. Donnelly on my blog today because she has an imagination extraordinaire. Just reading her excerpt tells you this book is going to keep you highly entertained.

I requested she send me a brief bio and she took me literally: R.A. Donnelly is a Golden Heart and Golden Pen finalist. She lives in Canada with her husband, two children, and a crazy cat.

You’ve got to love an author who knows what ‘short’ means! Haha.

Reef-Hag-CoverHere’s the book blurb followed by the excerpt:

Evelina Crimm has to stop the Swamp Hogs from winning the Glaring, but a Reef Hag is killing off the competition.

Her powers are limited as a novice Water Witch, but she’ll fight the dark forces that conjured the Reef Hag to the bitter end. She’ll do what she has to to catch her parents’ killer, even if it means risking expulsion. Falling in love with a Time Keeper is just as forbidden, but it’s difficult to stay away from Frankie Holler, even when he keeps breaking her heart.

Frankie Holler is a Time Keeper on a mission. Like other Warlocks, he wants his tribe to win. But he’ll sacrifice glory and do what he has to, to save the future of the Water Witches, including breaking a few rules, to help Evelina Crimm.

CHAPTER ONE

“You’re dead, Crimm!” Henrietta Ledbetter leered across the aisle, jowls quivering, black eyes narrowed to slits in her big melon head.

“Evelina Crimm!” Sister Mary Rosalina, or Sister Mary Elephant as everyone called her, swung round from the blackboard, like a Smart car pulling a U-ie. The scent of shoe polish and mothballs swirled around her in a noxious tornado. The chalk in her hand slid away from the half drawn quarter note. “Eyes on the board!”

Evelina came upright in her seat.

Every hair sprang to life from the stubble on her legs to the tip of her ponytail.

She’d been thinking about Frankie Holler again. Whenever that happened her brain left the building.

Everyone turned to stare—sliding in their seats toward her, like water to a drain.

Her heart tapped louder.

The last thing she needed was another detention—one more and she’d be pulling garbage duty, or scraping gum off chairs.

She stared straight ahead, ignoring Henrietta’s hot glare, wondering what she’d done this time to incite her wrath? Not that it took much. She was a freak show.

Maybe it was that goose in her bed. Maybe not the goose so much, but what it left behind. Having just learned she was a Water Witch, Evelina didn’t have much control over her powers. Nights were cold at St. Cecelia’s in December. She’d only been trying to conjure a nice warm duvet. But things got a little out of hand—okay, a lot out of hand, especially when the goose escaped.

But who knew that was going to happen?

Not that she was ever far out of Henrietta’s beady sights. But right now Henrietta was relishing her power. Every day since her cousin, Sister Bellona became their new Phys. Ed. instructor, Henrietta had grown meaner.

She seemed to feed off the fear Sister Bellona incited. One gym class was enough to discover why. After two broken noses and a near fatal asthma attack, the school was on high alert. Bellona was out for blood.

A shiver ran up Evelina’s back.

Sometimes she hated school. Hate was a strong word, one you should never use, according to Grammy Crimm, but, today it seemed appropriate. Oh, she enjoyed the learning part, especially music, when the flute trilled in her hands like a spring robin. But all that theory she could do without.

And classmates like Henrietta. She took the prize for evil. It oozed out of every pore, dripping in foamy bubbles from the side of her mouth whenever she went ballistic.

Like right now.

She looked like a bull ready to charge.

Henrietta sprang from her seat, snatching the piece of paper from Evelina’s hand.

Henrietta held it high over her head like a trophy. “Lookee here! Whatcha got, Orph?” She slashed Evelina a look of poison. “Doesn’t look much like a treble clef!”

The entire music class roared with laughter.

A few clapped.

Molly Nuttle, Henrietta’s best friend, howled like a hyena, sending her greasy blonde hair swinging past her ears.

The caricature of Sister Mary Elephant with her pointer shaped like a claw floated above Evelina’s head like the angel of death. She hardly remembered drawing it. She was always drawing something.

Actually, it was a pretty good likeness.

“Oh, no!” Lily Huckabone, Evelina’s best friend, groaned, slinking down in the desk beside her. “Not good.”

She was right.

From the look on Sister Mary Elephant’s face, retribution was at hand.

“SILENCE!!!” She snatched the claw from the corner of her oak desk. The image was so similar to Evelina’s picture a few students snickered. “You think that’s funny, do you, Crimm?”

“No, Sister.”

Sister Mary Elephant’s pale blue eyes narrowed behind her black horn-rimmed glasses. “On your feet when I’m talking to you!”

Evelina scrambled out of her seat, taking the opportunity to snatch the picture from Henrietta’s meaty fist.

Henrietta gnashed her bulldog canines in a snarl.

Evelina leveled a fierce glare on her. For once Evelina was grateful for her height. She might be a feather weight, but at least she could look Henrietta straight in the eye.

Henrietta backed up, wedging her bulbous butt into her seat with a satisfied sneer creasing her face.

“Evelina Crimm!”

Evelina spun round.

Sister Mary Elephant’s pinched features constricted. “Go to Sister Juliana’s office at once!”

Evelina glanced back at Lily, who sat clutching her sandy braid like a rip cord, chocolate eyes as wide as cupcakes behind her wire-rimmed specks.

Being sent to the Mother Superior’s office was no small matter. Inevitably consequences followed, not usually of the pleasant kind. Sister Juliana meant well. But her discipline bordered on medieval, adhering to the ‘no pain, no gain’ philosophy.

Evelina strode from the room with a straight back.

But the hollow bang of the door closing chilled her blood.

***

Okay, you tell me. Wasn’t that the most engaging excerpt you’ve read in a long time? I’ve got a feeling that this book will keep you highly entertained with heaps of humor and many fun twists and turns. Eveline and the Reef Hag is the latest release for Ms Donnelly. Congratulations!

You might want to check out her links to see what else she is up to. And thank you, Rachel for being my guest. I can hardly wait to read Evelina and the Reef Hag!

http://author-racheldonnelly.blogspot.ca/

http://www.amazon.com/R.A.-Donnelly/e/B00KK0S2O6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Carol Presents: Alexia Adams … An Inconvenient Love

I feel very fortunate to have Alexia Adams and her brand new book,  An Inconvenient Love, which released June 23, featured on my blog today.

Here’s her short bio:
Alexia once traveled the world, meeting new people, experiencing new sights and tastes. She’s lived in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, and France, as well as spent time in Panama and Russia. When life demanded that she stay rooted in one place, she took to vicarious voyages through the characters she created in her romance novels. Her stories reflect her love of travel and feature locations as diverse as the wind-swept prairies of Canada to hot and humid cities in Asia.

*****

Right about now there are a bunch of readers who are envious of your travels, including me, Alexia. At least we can visit those wonderful places in you stories.

*****

Now here is her book info for: An Inconvenient Love
An Inconvenient Love CoverBlurb:
Neither wanted love in their marriage. But you don’t always get what you want.
Sophia Stevens is tired of struggling to pay the rent and help her brother through college. After seven years on her own, she is no farther ahead than the day she walked out on her old life and started again. So when super-sexy Italian property developer Luca Castellioni proposes a marriage of convenience, she’s intrigued. Financial security and life in a beautiful Italian villa in exchange for attending a few business functions and typing some letters seems very convenient. Until she breaks the most definite term of their arrangement: she falls in love with her husband.
Luca Castellioni lives for his job restoring beautiful buildings to their former glory. When his business expansion plans are hampered by the need for an English-speaking secretary and a wife, he does what any efficient businessman would do—he combines his requirements and selects and English administrative assistant as his bride. But when his fascination with his wife distracts him from business, he wishes there was more marriage and not so much convenience in their agreement. Too bad his wife has reconstructed her own life, without him.
When their respective lives pull them in opposite directions, they must decide: will they continue to put their businesses first, or allow love to overcome the obstacles between them?

And now the excerpt:
The following scene takes place in St. James’s Park in London, England. It’s the third meeting between the hero, Luca and the heroine, Sophia. She thinks he’s about to offer her a job. Listen in…

“I am pleased to see you again.” Perhaps it was her imagination, but his accent seemed thicker today.
He was immaculate, not a hair out of place, his suit undoubtedly costing more than she made all month. He was way beyond her league. What else could he want except a receptionist?

“You said you had a job opportunity to discuss with me.” She moved her arm away so they no longer touched. What was he playing at? Did he think because she’d slipped her hand into his at the party that she was available for an affair? Well, if so, he’d find out soon enough she wasn’t going to sleep with him just because he was rich, and powerful, and gorgeous.

“An opportunity, yes. As you know, I own a property development and restoration company in the north of Italy, based in Milan.” His low voice, so close, sounded like they were sharing an illicit secret. “I am now in a position to sign some large contracts with British and American companies, like Chet Wilkins. However, my secretary, who is very good, does not speak fluent English. I cannot afford to have misunderstandings.”

Excitement raced through her. It was a job offer. And from the sound of it, based in Italy. She was tired of London. Tired of working two, sometimes three, jobs just to make ends meet, never getting ahead. A move to Italy would be the change she longed for, a chance to escape the constant reminders of her horrific past. Before she could respond however, he continued.

“I need more than just an English-speaking secretary. I have reached a point in my life where all my business associates are married, and new clients are always asking about my personal life. It seems to disconcert them when I say I am unmarried, and it is becoming a hindrance to my success. Family is very important in Italy. It is seen as a sign of stability. However, my entire focus at the moment is on building my business. I do not have the time now, or in the foreseeable future, to romance a woman. Besides, a wife who loved me would expect me to be home every night and probably feel neglected with the amount of time I spend working.”

Sophia struggled to keep her face neutral and not let her puzzlement show. Why was he talking about his need for a wife?

“Last night at the party you proved to me you are able to read a situation and act appropriately. I also believe you are good at your job. Walter is an astute man; he would not have kept you employed if you were not a hard worker.” He leaned toward her. His voice had dropped even more, and she wondered where he was going with this so-called opportunity.

“I think, therefore, that I should align my requirements and seek an English wife. One who would be able to assist me in my business, and also provide the home life expected of a man in my position. Are you interested?” He turned to her, his eyes sweeping over her face, awaiting her response. His smile held a hint of warmth, but his eyes were guarded, as though there was something he wasn’t telling. Something that prompted him to ask her, of all people.

This was it. She’d finally snapped. Her brain had imploded from worry and boredom, and as a result she was fantasizing about marriage proposals and being swept away to live in a castle in Italy. At this point she should reach into her pocket and pull out the other glass slipper. Except the only thing in her pocket was lint. And the only romance in her life was in the books she read. Maybe Luca was the one having a meltdown? She searched his face for some sign of insanity.

He looked serious.

What would you do in Sophia’s shoes?

 

*****

Good question, Alexia. That was quite the job offer she received. I’m anxious to learn what Sophia does. Thanks so much for joining me on Carol Presents.

And thank you, Carol, for hosting me on your blog today.

You’re very welcome. Best wishes with your writing career!

*****

Social Media Links:
Website: http://alexia-adams.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexiaAdamsAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexiaAdamsAuth
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/alexiaadamsauth/
Tumblr: http://alexia-adams-author.tumblr.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7068526.Alexia_Adams?from_search=true

An Inconvenient Love is available from:
Crimson Romance: http://www.crimsonromance.com/?s=An+Inconvenient+Love&submit=
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Inconvenient-Love-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00KI2EYHK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1402283152&sr=8-3&keywords=an+inconvenient+love
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Inconvenient-Love-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00KI2EYHK/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1402283264&sr=8-8&keywords=an+inconvenient+love
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/Inconvenient-Love-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00KI2EYHK/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1402283264&sr=8-8&keywords=an+inconvenient+love
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Inconvenient-Love-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00KI2EYHK/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1402283264&sr=8-8&keywords=an+inconvenient+love
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnobel.com/w/an-inconvenient-love-alexia-adams/1119589486?ean=9781440583315
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/an-inconvenient-love/id881624938?mt=11
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/an-inconvenient-loveGoogle Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Alexia_Adams_An_Inconvenient_Love?id=726fAwAAQBAJ

 

Carol Presents: Lexie Stewart–Too Many Suitors

Today on Carol Presents, I am showcasing Lexie Stewart and her short story, Too Many Suitors. If you’re looking for a fun, fast read, this may be the short story for you.

Here’s Lexie’s bio:

Ever since I learned to read, I could always be found with my nose in a book–even when I was supposed to be doing something else!
I love the magic of stories, love following the twists and turns, love getting to know the strange and wonderful characters and experiencing their stories with them.
I remember a poster stuck to my bedroom wall when I was a kid. A wizard in splendid, purple robes was summoning a dragon in an explosion of red and gold flames. In a way, writers are wizards, summoning stories and souls from the wilderness of their imagination.
I live in Australia where I write and read and marvel at the blueness of the sky.

Too Many Suitors cover

Here’s the blurb:
Jessica finds herself trying to choose between three men. She’s an up front, pro-active sort of woman. So instead of staying home alone or attempting to see each of her suitors behind the backs of the other two, she invites out the three men. Gym-junkie Brad, workaholic Saul and BFF Jimmy. She explains the problem of her conflicted heart and she tells them what her solution is.
She’ll date all three!

And here’s an excerpt of TOO MANY SUITORS.

He held hand out to me. “May I have this dance?” he asked.
Cheek to cheek with Saul on the dance floor I forgot all about my problems. All I knew was the bliss of swaying slowly in the arms of the man I–
The shrill cry of a mobile phone split through the music like a lightning bolt.
The sound was coming from our table. It was Saul’s phone, of course.
I groaned. I couldn’t help it.
“I’m, I’m sorry, Jessica,” Saul stammered and hurried to his phone like a servant hurrying to their master.
The phone call turned out to be quite a long one and I was left standing there alone on the dance floor with couples dancing around me until embarrassment drove me back to my chair.
When Saul finally returned to the table we settled into conversation.
I pretended not to notice how often he checked his watch or did something with his mobile phone. He was like an alcoholic hiding a bottle of brandy under the table and taking quick sips when he thought no one was watching.
My poor father has high blood pressure and despite the doctors warnings he doesn’t do much
towards improving his health. It’s been a great strain on the rest of the family trying to get him to change his diet and cut down on stress.
I started to tell Saul about this- he had asked after all- and I felt my voice going croaky with emotion.
Saul rubbed my hands and nodded as I poured my heart out to him.
And then his phone rang.
A look of pain came to Saul’s face.
We stared at each other.
The phone kept ringing.
“I have to get this. I’m sorry,” said Saul.
I felt a flush of anger burning my face. I felt so foolish! I’d just been opening up to this man, sharing my life with him and leaving myself vulnerable and the simple truth of it was that Saul’s work was more important to him.
I glared, not at Saul, but at the phone held to his ear. I think I was jealous of it.
I sat patiently as the phone call stretched to the five minute mark. And then I snapped.
In one sudden movement I grabbed the phone out of Saul’s hand and dropped it in a bowl of soup on the table next to ours.
“Jessica,” gasped Saul. “What’s wrong with you?”
“What’s wrong with me?” I nearly yelled. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Jessica, lower your voice. People are staring.”
“I swear you’ve spent more time speaking to that lump of plastic than you have to me!”
“I’m sorry, it’s work-”
“And work comes first! I get it.” I couldn’t stop now. Everything that had been bottled up came bursting to the surface, like corked champagne. “I don’t know why I’m wasting my time on you! There’s no room in your life for a relationship. No woman could be anything other than a mistress to you because you’re already married to the job!”
“Jessica, this isn’t fair! Why can’t you understand that I’m just trying to make something of myself?”
“What are you trying to make? A robot? Mission accomplished!”

****

So will Jessica choose Saul or will it be Brad or Jimmy? Sorry, I don’t want to spoil the surprise. You’ll have to read the story to find out.
And here’s where you can buy an eBook version:

Too Many Suitors

Too Many Suitors

Buy from Amazon

Thanks, Lexie, for being a guest on Carol Presents! I look forward to reading your next short story!

Carol Presents: Peggy Bird … Sparked by Love

I am very pleased to introduce you to another excellent author, Peggy Bird, author of Sparked by Love, plus many other wonderful books. I’ll let Peggy tell you a little about herself.

Born in Philadelphia, I’ve spent most of my adult life in the Pacific Northwest where I have happily grown webs between my toes and moss behind my ears. Over my adult life, I pursued a number of careers—nurse, legislative staffer, lobbyist, public affairs consultant, non-profit association executive, workshop teacher, oh, and mother and wife—before deciding to leave it all for what I’ve loved through every stage of life—writing.

But instead of the intricately plotted mysteries and deeply moving memoir pieces I assumed I’d write, the characters in every piece of fiction I started wanted their love stories told. Even when I had many of them hanging around questionable people or involved in murder, intrigue and general mayhem.

That’s how my Crimson Romances were born. All the stories are set in some of my favorite places in the country—Portland, Oregon, the Puget Sound, Philadelphia. My second series, A Holiday For Romance, will be released beginning in June of 2014 and will focus on some of my favorite times of the year—Independence Day, Halloween, New Year’s Eve and a few more.

Still not mysteries but I’m working on it. I’m working on it.

Sparked by Love cover
Blurb:
Artist Leo Wilson has been awarded a grant to install glass fireworks at the Fourth of July celebration at Fort Vancouver, Washington where thousands of people will see his work. It’s the chance of a lifetime for him. All he has to do is get a few permits from the city and he’ll be set. But the crabby bureaucrat who answers his phone calls is making it impossible for him to get what he needs.

Shannon Morgan is responsible for organizing the huge annual celebration of Independence Day on the grounds of the Historic Reserve, one of the most significant pieces of real estate in the region. The only part of the job she hates is dealing with some fussy artist who thinks it’s all about him. He’s just like a couple of other men she’s known—her mostly absent father, her disappearing ex-boyfriend—who cared more about themselves than they did about her.

When Leo decides to confront the cause of his trouble in person he discovers a beautiful young woman who is as surprised by him as he is by her. A walk through the parade grounds where the event will take place settles their differences and sparks a mutual interest between them. Dinner, a movie and a few torrid kisses take it from spark to flame.

But then the father she has always wanted in her life appears—with her ex-boyfriend. Shannon faces a dilemma—how far is she willing to go to have her father around? And why is he hanging out with her ex? Are they hiding something from her? A lot rides on Shannon finding the answers to those questions.

If she makes the right decisions, she and Leo will create fireworks that rival the pyrotechnics that light up the sky on July Fourth. Privately.

Excerpt:
About fifteen minutes later, Leo returned, barefoot with his shirtsleeves rolled up and a necktie in his hand. “Ready?”

“Sure. Where’re we going?”


“I’m going to put this over your eyes so you can’t see and … ”


“Is the surprise some kinky sex thing?”


“Damn. I never thought about a kinky sex thing. I’ll have to remember that for another time. You’ll have to settle for what I put together tonight.” He motioned for her to stand. “Close your eyes.” He tied the tie around her head so her eyes were mostly covered. “Too tight? Or uncomfortable?”

“No, it’s fine. Now what?”

“Now I’m going to take you to the surprise.” From behind, he gently guided her in the direction he wanted her to go. When he stopped, she smelled something flowery, sweet. And she could hear soft instrumental music, the kind played in spas or as background for meditation.

He slipped the tie down around her neck and said, “Voila.”

While he undid the knot and removed the tie, she blinked so she could focus. He’d led her to the bathroom, not the bedroom. The overhead light was off. In the huge claw foot tub she’d never used, opting for the stall shower, he had drawn a bath and filled it with bubbles. Around the room, on the shelf above the sink and the windowsill, on the radiator and the back of the toilet, were candles—maybe a dozen of them—each one in a glass vessel, cup or vase of some sort so the light from the candles glowed through the glass in jewel-like colors. Looking more closely at several vessels, Shannon could see the candles didn’t quite match the elegance of the candleholders but it hardly mattered.

“Oh, Leo, it’s beautiful.”

***
Wonderful excerpt, Peggy! I gotta say I love romantic guys like Leo. How sweet of him to prepare such a luxurious bath for her… or maybe it’s for the both of them. Hmm, the possiblities!
Thank you so much for letting us get to know you a bit better, Peggy, and of course for sharing a snippet of SPARKED BY LOVE. I look forward to reading it!

Buy links: http://www.amazon.com/Sparked-Love-Holiday-Romance-Crimson-ebook/dp/B00KI2EYHA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400910345&sr=1-1&keywords=Sparked+by+Love

http://www.crimsonromance.com/crimson-romance-ebooks/crimson-romance-book-genres/contemporary-romance-novels/sparked-by-love/

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?Query=Sparked+By+Love+by+Peggy+Bird

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sparked-by-love-peggy-bird/1119589485?ean=9781440570391

Carol Presents: Ellen Parker … “Hiding Places”

One of the perks of being published is getting to meet other authors. There are so many talented writers out there, but if they are new to the publishing world, it’s so difficult to be noticed.
Thus I am creating the Carol Presents Series where I will showcase authors and their books.

So, first up in the series is Ellen Parker. Ellen grew up on a small dairy farm near a small western Wisconsin village. Currently living in St. Louis she includes portions of her rural roots in her writing. She enjoys writing the type of story that appeals to more than one generation and encourages readers to share her work with mother or daughter – or both. When not guiding characters to their “happily ever after” you can find her reading, tending her postage stamp garden, or walking in the neighborhood. You can contact her at: http://www.ellenparkerwrites.wordpress.com or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/ellenparkerwrites

9781440571596

Here’s her back cover blurb:

Mona Smith’s plans to finish her culinary education are on hold and replaced with the need to economize and work hard. A warning from her brother — a local drug kingpin intends to collect money she doesn’t have — prompts her to flee Minneapolis with only the possessions she can fit into a backpack. At the airport baggage claim she begs a ride with a stranger, willing to risk time with an outsider over the drug dealer’s certain reputation.
Yesterday, Linc Dray was rejected by the final prospect on his list. Unless he’s legally married within thirteen days, he can’t inherit his grandfather’s farm. Years of work and dreams, including expanding a tiny apple orchard to commercial size, will be lost. When Mona sprints into his life pleading for protection and transportation, he hesitates. Is she a clever con artist or the solution to his dilemma?
Mona sees how Linc’s location and occupation offer her advantages … if only they didn’t come with a marriage proposal. A public marriage, he insists, for legalities and show. She requests two days to consider the deal.
The budding trust between Mona and Linc is tested when a renter on the farm is murdered. The obvious clues point to Linc. Can they prove the real killer framed him? And what are they going to do about the inconvenient emotions invading the marriage of convenience?

And now the excerpt!
Chapter One
“He’s coming after you, sis.”
Mona Smith tensed and straightened her spine to parallel the gray metal chair. Matt’s voice grated harsh on her ears as he slowed his words through a split lip. Who beat you? She focused on her brother’s face, remembering him without a black eye and dark bruises against prison orange clothing.
The clink of metal against metal caused her to glance around the plain gray room. Three other tables of inmates, confined with shackles, and their visitors talked under the watchful gaze of a uniformed Minnesota Department of Corrections officer near the door. She made a quick comparison to last week’s visit at the county jail and didn’t like the difference. She breathed in a little courage. If Matt could live here for two years, she would visit. After all, she was the dependable child, the big sister attempting to keep little brother out of trouble.
“Who?” She rested her palms on the table, careful not to touch her brother.
“Basil. My boss. You’ve met him.”
She nodded as a cold shiver crossed her shoulders. Basil Berg embodied pure trouble. Matt had pointed him out months ago with a warning not to get involved. From what Mona picked up from stray bits of conversation, Basil’s primary revenue source was party drugs. Prostitution and burglary rounded out his business. “He came into the diner twice last week.”
“Not good, sis.”
He behaves as a customer. No reason to refuse service.” He also drank iced tea with a full breakfast at three in the morning and stared at her past polite intervals. She felt like a mouse dropped into a snake’s cage when he looked her direction. “Why is he coming after me?”
Matt glanced toward the guard before dropping his voice even lower. “Money. Twenty-five grand.”
“That’s a year’s wages. I don’t have that sort of cash.” Cool moisture gathered on Mona’s neck. She separated her hands to reach for a tissue before realizing her pockets were empty. The only possession the officials let her bring into this room was a bright orange key to the locker in the reception area. “If I did—”

Hmm, I’d hate to be in Mona’s predicament. First the drug lord and then a marriage to someone she just met. HIDING PLACES is a romantic suspense, one of my favorite genres.

If this book intrigues you, watch for it on Amazon. HIDING PLACES releases June 9th on Amazon. Wouldn’t you love to buy a book on its release day?

Thank you, Ellen, for being my first guest on “Carol Presents”. I wish you the best of luck with this book and your writing career.

A “Hearts Racing” Teaser

Hearts Racing 3I was away for an extended weekend retreat to work on my other creative passion, polymer clay. It was refreshing to take a break from writing, but I have to admit I missed my computer and the internet immensely. It was especially difficult because my second novel, Hearts Racing, was released on the first day of my retreat. So I’m back and ready to return to the work/fun of writing books.

Since my latest novel is brand new, I thought maybe I’d introduce you to it. Here’s the premise: Lexi Craig is sent to Travis Strong’s ranch to hide out until the police recapture an escaped convict who wants to kill her. This scene is very early in the story. Travis speaks to Lexi, while his housekeeper, Hilda, quietly listens to the conversation.

“Don’t tell Charley, but I thought I’d give her the filly for her birthday. She’s been pestering me for a horse for nearly a year.”
“Will she take riding lessons when the time comes?”
“What do you mean when? She’s been riding by herself since she was six.” Travis gave her a puzzled look as if to say every kid learned to ride at that age, and didn’t she know that. “What about you?” he asked. “Do you ride?”
“Oh, sure. Bikes, cars, buses, the subway. I’ve even been known to ride around on someone’s coattails. But a horse? There’s not much need for horseback riding in Edmonton, so I never learned.”
“Well, Miss City Slicker, no time like the present. As soon as we’re done with lunch, I’ll give you your first lesson.”
“Oh, no. You’re not getting me on a horse unless it’s made of wood and goes ’round and ’round in a carousel.”
Hilda tittered in amusement.
Travis raised an eyebrow. “I thought you told me you wanted to earn your keep while you were here?”

That’s all you get for now. I hope it piques your interest. There may be more excerpts to come later. It all depends on the feedback I receive. ;)

Of course, if you’d like to purchase it to read, here’s the URL: http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Racing-Carol-Ritten-Smith/dp/1499215657/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399043299&sr=1-3&keywords=Hearts+Racing

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