Category Archives: Giveaways

Chapter One of Heartbreak in Rio and a Giveaway!

I can’t believe it’s almost time for the release of Heartbreak in Rio! June 1st is right around the corner. The novella is part of an anthology called Endless Summer Nights, and all the stories take place in Rio de Janeiro. I can’t wait for you to meet Sidney and Rodrigo and experience their love story.

What can you expect?

The usual passion and chemistry between the main couple. And being the foodie that I am, you know I had to mention Brazilian dishes in the book. If you want to see some of my pictures of authentic eats in the Brazilian part of Atlanta, check out my Facebook photos. I was doing “research” while writing Second Chances, the first book I wrote with Brazil as the setting. (It was a difficult job, but somebody had to do it.)

About the couple
Sidney is the sales rep for a fashion house called Haute Moderne. Rodrigo is the head of a large clothing retailer in Brazil. What Sidney doesn’t know is…well, let me not spoil it for you. Read the blurb and Chapter One below. Afterward, enter the contest for a chance to win an autographed copy of the anthology.

Cover_Heartbreak in Rio

 

BLURB

Sidney Altman and Rodrigo Serrano once shared a scorching affair before he returned to Brazil to take over his family’s fashion empire. Now she’s in Rio on business—and Rodrigo intends to win her back and prove that his biggest regret was ever letting her go….

Chapter One

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sidney Altman sighed contentedly, taking in the sparkling waters of Copacabana Beach from the terrace of her sixth-floor suite, across the street from where a promenade ran parallel to the water’s edge. The luxurious art deco building where she stayed contained four restaurants, including a piano bar she had visited last night to wind down with drinks after her long flight. After she concluded her business in the next two days, she planned to take full advantage of the hotel spa and the famous beach, where she currently watched with envy as tourists and cariocas sunbathed and frolicked in the waves.

Well-rested, she was now ready to face the buying team in her first meeting with Belo Fashions, a small Brazilian retailer that sold everyday fashions for the average woman.

Hearing her cell phone ring, she went back inside. The room had ceiling-to-floor olive-green drapes that hung over the windows. In the sitting area two chairs covered in a gold-leaf pattern and the matching love seat surrounded a glass table with plastic flowers in vibrant hues of magenta, lemon-yellow and lavender.

She picked up the phone. “Hello?” “How’s it going?” The voice of her mother, Agnes Altman, came through the line.

“Mom, you can’t keep calling me every five minutes,” she chided.

“I’m not. I just know how important this deal is to you. You’ve worked so hard to get where you are.”

Her mother was her biggest cheerleader. “Stop worrying or you’ll make me worry.”

Agnes laughed. “I’ll try not to. I don’t want to jinx you.”

Apparently one of Belo Fashion’s assistant buyers had remembered Sidney from Coterie, an international fashion exhibition in New York, but for the life of her she couldn’t remember meeting any of their buyers from that event. Regardless, the company wanted to work with the Haute Moderne fashion house and had specifically requested Sidney as the sales rep to make the presentation.

Belo Fashions had been very accommodating. They had provided a suite, first-class airfare and a driver as part of the deal to entice Haute Moderne to present next season’s evening wear to their buyers. This type of accommodation was highly unusual, but she took it as a sign that they were very interested.

Their interest couldn’t have come at a better time. After losing a major contract last year, this deal was make-or-break for Haute Moderne, and its success or failure rested squarely on her shoulders.

“I probably won’t have much to tell you even after the meeting,” Sidney said. She slipped on her shoes, a pair of coal-black pumps as comfortable as tennis shoes. “This is a totally different culture from ours. They prefer to take their time and establish a rapport with anyone they do business with. I can’t rush them.”

“They’ll fall in love with you. I’m sure of it.” Agnes paused. “Are you okay?” she asked quietly.

Sidney understood her mother’s concern and a rueful smile touched her features. “Mother, the chances of me running into him are almost nonexistent. We already discussed this, remember?”

“I know, but I wanted to know how you felt about being in his country, knowing he’s there somewhere.” Sidney set her coffee mug on the dresser and swallowed the painful constriction in her throat. The “he” her mother mentioned was Rodrigo Serrano, the CEO of Moda. Moda was owned by the Serrano family and as a much larger retailer than Belo, it dominated the country’s competitive clothing market. It had been a year since she and Rodrigo had parted ways, and still just the thought of his name made her heart ache.

They’d met in New York and their affair had been brief and intense. After an argument, Rodrigo had left in anger and she’d never heard from him again.

She unsnapped her briefcase to double-check the contents. “Mom, I’m fine. What happened between me and…him is in the past.”

She couldn’t even bring herself to say his name. It was still too painful. She could still see his dark eyes and hear his husky male laugh every time she closed her eyes for longer than a second. And because he often invaded her thoughts, he was still very much a part of her life.

“You know I had to ask and make sure you’re fine.” Ever since Sidney’s father had passed away when she was in high school, she and her mother had become even closer and were more like sisters than mother and daughter. “Stop worrying. Anything you want me to bring you back?”

“Bring me back one of those hot Brazilian men.” “Mom!” They shared a laugh. “What am I going to do with you?”

“Sweetie, I know things you know nothing about.” Sidney laughed again. “Don’t have too much fun while I’m away. I can’t bail you out of jail from all the way down here.” She snapped the briefcase shut. “All right, I better get out of here. The driver will be waiting for me.”

“Make sure you have a little bit of fun while you’re down there, okay? You work too hard. Knock ’em dead, baby. Love you.”

Sidney checked her appearance in the mirror one last time before she grabbed her briefcase and took the elevator downstairs. Outside, a black sedan with tinted windows waited. While it was wintertime, cold and snowing in New York, it was summer in Brazil. She lifted her face and embraced the warmth of the sun.

It would be nice to live in a place like this, where the weather didn’t have such extremes, she thought.

“Bom dia, Javier.” She greeted the driver, who’d stepped out of the vehicle and opened the door upon seeing her. She chose to say “good morning,” a simple phrase to show that she’d at least made some effort to learn a few words of Portuguese.

“Bom dia, senhora.” A welcoming smile creased his leathery tan face.

Javier didn’t say much on the short ride to Belo headquarters, which gave Sidney a chance to run through the introductory speech in her head. This morning would be a preliminary meeting with the buying assistants and the senior buyer who oversaw all purchases for the women’s department. Tomorrow would be a follow-up to address any concerns and hopefully close the deal. Her main contact was an assistant by the name of Gilberto Ribeiro, whom she’d been in constant communication with from almost the beginning.

Belo headquarters was located in Centro, the city’s historic and financial center. While there were no views of beaches that tourists could flock to, there was still plenty to see and do in that part of town. Centro was an interesting mélange of churches dating back to the eighteenth century and tall, modern buildings housing banks and other businesses. Javier dropped her off in front of the Belo building and she took the elevator to the top floor. When she stepped into the reception area, a dark-skinned older woman wearing glasses greeted her.

“Senhora Altman, bemvinda. Welcome. My name is Nelza Correia. I will take care of you today.”

“Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.” Sidney gave the woman a warm smile and they shook hands.

“Please have a seat.” Nelza motioned to a row of cushioned chairs along the wall.

Nelza spoke to a young woman behind the reception desk and then came back to Sidney. “Senhor Ribeiro is in a very important meeting with one of our business partners, and it went longer than expected. I will take you to the conference room to wait.” Her expression was apologetic. “May I get you anything to drink? A cafezinho, perhaps?”

Brazilians were known for their potent cups of coffee. But she’d already had her morning fix, so she declined.

Nelza led her down a long hallway, past offices on both sides where employees sat hunched over computers. The conference room itself was at the end of the hall and opened up into a large, bright room with an oak table that seated eight. At the end of the table was a projector and a screen pulled down from the ceiling. In front of the windows, a trio of mannequins wore three different designs from the Haute Moderne evening wear collection in red, black and ivory.

“You should have everything you require in here,” Nelza said. “If you happen to need anything else, you can use the phone over there to dial the front desk and someone will assist you.”

“Thank you, Nelza.” Sidney looked around after she left. The tan-and- brown furniture designs had a soothing effect, for which she was grateful. Her stomach was currently tied up in a series of knots. She always had a bit of nerves right before a major presentation, but once she launched into her speech and hit her stride, it was smooth sailing.

She plugged her flash drive into the computer and made sure the video was ready—a two-minute presentation of models walking down the catwalk, wearing their dresses in a display of flashing colored lights. She froze the frame on the first dress, a little black sleeve- less number, the symbol of their Bonne Soirée line.

She placed catalogs, line sheets and color cards in front of each of the chairs. She then set fabric swatches next to the projector within easy reach, so she could pass them down to the attendees when the time came. Now it was a waiting game.

Sidney helped herself to a glass of lukewarm water from the pitcher sitting on the credenza against the wall. She was about to take a sip when she heard two men talking, their voices coming through the slightly open door. She froze with the glass halfway to her mouth and angled her head to hear better. One of the voices was heart-wrenchingly familiar.

She couldn’t understand the words, but there was no mistaking the tone; a sound she’d never be able to forget for as long as she lived.

It can’t be him, she thought even as her heart hammered a rapid beat under her ribs. Surely her ears were playing tricks on her.

The men continued talking but their footsteps came to a halt somewhere down the hall. With ears perked up and heart thumping wildly, Sidney stood frozen, clutching the slender glass. It had to be some cruel trick of the mind. She simply hadn’t expected to see him. Wasn’t at all prepared to see him.

The men started moving again and they came closer, and closer, until they pushed open the door and her stomach bottomed out. Her fondest dream and worst nightmare stood only a few feet away.

Rodrigo stood by the door talking to Gilberto Ribeiro. Both men were so deeply engaged in their conversation that they didn’t notice her standing by the window. Finally, Rodrigo happened to look in her direction, but still she couldn’t move. Dark eyes nailed her in place and she suddenly stopped breathing.

He had the kind of look that made women swoon and men envious. His swarthy skin, naturally tanned, was even and smooth. With a symmetrical face and prominent nose passed down from his Portuguese ancestors, he looked as though he should be on the covers of magazines.

Slowly, Sidney set her glass on the credenza. “Hello, Rodrigo.” Was that her voice, sounding faint and breathless?

“Sidney…?” His voice echoed the same shock that filled her.

Before she could respond, Gilberto rushed forward. “Ah, Senhora Altman. I apologize for keeping you waiting. But it seems you are good, yes?”

Rodrigo came toward her, his steps measured, his eyes never leaving her face. His movement was graceful, fluid. The type of movement that came not only from his affinity for sports, but from the quiet confidence that whispered of growing up with copious amounts of money at his disposal and all the privileges that came along with it.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded. “Senhora Altman is a sales representative from Haute Moderne, a small New York fashion house,” Gilberto answered, looking confused by their reaction to each other. “They have the line I mentioned we were interested in purchasing.”

“You never told me the fashion house was Haute Moderne.” His words were meant for Gilberto, but he continued to stare at her in disbelief.

He spoke with perfect diction, hinting at his affluent background and years in private schools where he’d learned to speak Spanish, English and French in addition to his native Portuguese. The cadence of his cultured voice sent heat feathering across her skin, and it was all Sidney could do not to close her eyes and indulge in the sound.

Her nose caught a waft of his cologne, a very masculine scent that was a mixture of amber, citrus and sandal wood. You couldn’t get it in the States. You couldn’t get it anywhere, in fact, because it had been specially created for him. That was the kind of life he led, where manufacturers of cologne would create a signature scent for him that no one else could have. Her heart constricted painfully at the familiarity of it. She’d done so well since they’d said goodbye to one another, but her hard-won composure threatened to desert her with his unexpected appearance.

He inspected her from head to toe, the leisurely stroll of his gaze generating heat wherever it lingered. On her waist. On her breasts. On her throat where she swallowed nervously to maintain some level of control over the out-of-control response of her body.

Rodrigo was not the kind of man to hide his appreciation for the female form, and he had a habit of doing just that. It was typical of men of his culture, to offer such a frank appreciation of women. It had always made her feel deliciously feminine, and the same tingly sensations resurfaced in the pit of her stomach.

“You look well,” he said, a grudging note to his voice.

“Thank you. You look well, too.” Her voice softened as she tried to maintain her professionalism. “You do business with Belo?”

“You could say that.” His cryptic answer gave her pause.

Gilberto spoke up. “In the past few weeks, Moda and Belo have become partners. We haven’t made a formal announcement to the media yet, but we feel this is a good marriage. Moda bought all our stores and now, with their high-end fashions and our everyday clothing lines, we are most certainly the largest retailer in Brazil.”

Gilberto’s smiling face indicated that he had no idea of the devastating news he’d just delivered. “You… you’ve been bought by Moda?” She squeaked the words out.

“Yes.” Gilberto nodded vigorously. “We were concentrated in a few key cities in the country, but now Haute Moderne’s clothes have the potential to be in stores all over Latin America!”

His excitement was palpable but not contagious. A wave of panic seized Sidney as she realized what was happening. If Moda had taken over Belo Fashions, that spelled trouble for the deal she was trying to strike with them. There was no way Rodrigo would agree to the sale—not when he knew that she was involved. From the smug look on his face, she knew he’d connected the dots.

Still in disbelief, she had to ask to make sure. “You own Belo now?”

“That’s correct,” Rodrigo said. No, no. This can’t be happening. “I will be sitting in on this presentation,” he continued with deliberate slowness, “and we’ll have to make sure the line is a good fit for the stores before any contracts are signed.”

Sidney felt the deal she’d been so confident about only moments before quickly slip through her grasp.

Preorder your copy at the following links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble All Romance Ebooks | Kobo | iTunes | Amazon.ca | Amazon.uk

***FREE BOOK***

The Temptation of a Good Man is the first book in the Hawthorne Family series. If you haven’t had a chance to sink your teeth into that series yet, now is your chance to get started at $0.00. You can’t beat that price! If you’ve already read it, pass on this info to your book-loving friends.

Below are the links to where you can download the book for free for a limited time. Unfortunately, it’s still not free at Barnes & Noble, and I don’t know if it will be before the free promotion is up. However, if you have a Nook, you can download an epub file from Smashwords or All Romance Ebooks and side load it to your device.

Download your free copy now:  Amazon | All Romance Ebooks | Kobo | Smashwords | iTunes

***CONTEST***

I’m giving away copies of Endless Summer Nights! I know I have a few international readers and you’re often overlooked by us authors because of shipping costs, but I’m including you in this one and have set aside three copies just for you. Here are the details on the contest:

Prizes:  Eight lucky winners will receive an autographed copy of the Endless Summer Nights anthology; 5 copies will be awarded to entrants in the U.S. and 3 awarded to international entrants.

Eligibility: You must be a subscriber to my blog.

How to enter: All you have to do is leave a comment. You can tell me who is your favorite hero from any of my books or anything else you like. International entrants, please include your country of residence in your comment.

Deadline: May 25, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST

Winners will be chosen by random.org. Their names will be posted in the comments and an email sent to notify them. Winners will then have 48 hours to respond with a valid mailing address to receive their book.

Good luck! Or as they say in Portuguese, boa sorte!

Contest and Keeping Secrets by Kiru Taye

Please welcome Kiru Taye to my blog. Her next release is Keeping Secrets. She stopped by to answer some questions and share an excerpt from her latest work, and she’s doing a giveaway. Take it away, Kiru!

Tell us about yourself.

Hiya. My name is Kiru. I’m an author of multicultural romances, entrepreneur of a small run-from-home business, wife to a generous man, mother to 3 wonderful kids, sister to 4 sometimes hilarious siblings, daughter to 2 patient parents and hopefully friend to a few beautiful souls. Okay, I ran out of labels. LOL

I transform my wildly vivid imagination into sensual, atmospheric romance stories with passionate characters.

What do you do for fun?

When I’m not writing or reading, I’m hanging out with family and friends or traveling.

When is your favorite time of the day to make love?

When the kids are in bed. :)

What type of music do you listen to?

I have an eclectic music taste so it depends on my mood. It could be RnB, Rock, Pop, Country, Classical, Gospel, Afro Beats, Hi-life, you name it. :)

What are your favorite types of movies to watch?

It’s got to be an Action/Adventure. Give me a kick ass hero/heroine any day. I was a child of the 80s when spaghetti westerns and Chinese kung fu import movies were all the rage in Nigeria.

Short answer favorites:

Dessert. Anything with ice cream

City. Rome

Season. Autumn. I love the colours.

Type of hero. Kick ass, will protect those he cares about by any means.

Type of heroine. Fights for what she believes

Actor. Chiwetel Ejiofor

Band/solo singer. This changes so often depending on my mood

Color. Red

Cuisine. Nigerian

What flowers would be in your ideal bouquet?

Cliché. Red roses. Had a red rose bouquet for my wedding. Love them.

What is your dream car and why?

Bugatti Veyron. I love sleek fast cars

What is your favorite body part on a man?

I’m always grabbing my husband’s butt. :)

Which TV show(s) can you absolutely not miss every week?

Not big on TV shows at the moment.

What can readers expect from you next?

After the release of Keeping Secrets, The Essien Trilogy book1,  I’m working on Scores, Passion Shields, book 3. After that would be Making Scandal, the next book in The Essien Trilogy.

Tell us about the book.  

BLURB

Have you ever loved someone and didn’t even know it?

That’s the dilemma facing Felix Essien when he wakes from a coma to find he is married to the most beautiful and sensual woman he’s ever known. He cannot remember her or their wedding; he who had sworn never to get married or to give his heart to another. Yet, he feels an intense bond with her that he intends to explore fully.

Ebony can’t believe her good fortune when her paper husband wakes not remembering the temporary marriage arrangement with no intimacies he’d proposed, and is now the adoring husband she’s always dreamt of.

She plans to make the most of the passion blossoming between them. However, would he still feel that way when he regains his memory and realises she’s been keeping secrets and their marriage is not what he thinks it is?

BOOK EXCERPT

On the threshold of the master bedroom, she halted, taking in the space before her. The cream walls and dark wood effect reached here, too. The heavy mahogany frame of the massive bed and headboard has been specially ordered, the design bespoke. She remembered asking for the measurements for the mattress before she ordered luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets.

That had been before disaster struck. Neither one of them had slept in the bed since it arrived.

Blinking back tears, she crossed the floor, her toes curling into the velvety, beige shag-pile rug covering the hard slate.

She walked into the clothes closet and sucked in a sharp breath. Seeing the rows of Felix’s shirts and suits always triggered unhappiness. Today, she should be jumping for joy. Yet, her chest tightened and the back of her throat hurt.

“This isn’t how we planned it, Felix….” Her voice croaked.

She clutched his white shirt, inhaled deeply, and sobbed. Body racking, her legs gave way. She crumpled to the floor, the metal hook from the hanger clattering as it hit hard slate.

Could it be possible to feel intense joy and sadness all at the same time? One minute she wanted to sing her joy with a microphone. The next, she wished she could crawl into a cave and hide.

Worse, she couldn’t shake the boulder of guilt weighing down her body. This was all her fault. She’d doomed her marriage right from the start. How else could she explain that she wore a wedding band, had a marriage certificate to boot, but had never felt the warm arms of her husband around her?

“Aunty, Oga Kola is ready for you.” Bisi’s voice sounded close.

Did I leave the bedroom door open?

Standing, Ebony took one last sniff of Felix’s shirt before tossing it into the laundry basket. Though it had the crisp smell of detergent, it reminded her of the man before the accident.

“I’ll be down in five,” she said and entered the adjoining bathroom, keeping her face averted so the girl couldn’t see her from the entrance. She listened to the receding footsteps as Bisi departed.

At the sink, she stared at her face in the mirror. Her exhaustion showed, twin dark shadows beneath eyes red from lack of sleep and crying.

Cool water from the tap calmed the puffy eyes. A couple of eye drops brightened the whites, and dabs of concealer hid her sullen skin. She applied some lip-gloss and brushed out her hair, letting the tresses hang loose. It helped to cover up her fatigue.

Just like she got good at covering up everything else. She couldn’t reveal that all wasn’t well in paradise.

She slipped on her shoes, grabbed her bag, and headed out to see her husband.

BUY LINKS: http://kirutaye.com/booklist/keeping-secrets

CONTACT LINKS: You reach her via her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest

Follow her blog for latest news and giveaways: http://kirutayewrites.blogspot.com

Read book excerpts and free short stories on her website: http://www.kirutaye.com

Link to her Amazon author page

*****CONTEST*****

PRIZE: To celebrate the release of Keeping Secrets, I’m giving away a goodie pack which includes a $20 Amazon gift card, signed paperback of An Engagement Challenge, Keeping Secrets t-shirt and face cap.

HOW TO ENTER: 1) Tell me the type of music you like to listen to in the comments below 2) Complete the rafflecopter: Rafflecopter link

 

 

Contest and Lonely Heart by MJ Kane

Please welcome MJ Kane and her latest release from the Butterfly Memoirs – Lonely Heart. She’s on her blog tour and giving away a copy of her new release. Take it away, MJ!

Banner

ANTONIO THE HOT LATIN MECHANIC

Have you ever taken your car to the shop to get work done and noticed this one really good looking guy working in the garage? So what he’s got a little grease and grime on him, he’s working! And honestly, sometimes sweat never looked so good. Okay, so I indulged myself on that comment, lol. The truth of the matter is most women love the look of a hard-working man.

Meet the love interest in my latest release, Antonio Rodriguez. Antonio is an American born Puerto Rican who loves his family. The oldest of four siblings, he’s spent the majority of his youth helping his father raise his three younger sisters after his mother’s death. He’s also a Master Mechanic with dreams of one day establishing his own business, but puts them aside to assist his uncle who has trained him since childhood. And when it comes to love, he knows what he wants, but fears ending up like his father –left to raise his children on his own. That fear keeps him from making the commitment of marriage and family to his girlfriend.

So, what is it about Kaitlyn Rodgers, a pregnant white woman that draws him in every time he sees her?

EXCERPT

Autumn landscape“Gina, something’s come up.” A momentary twinge of guilt hit me, but the moment I looked back towards Kaitlyn’s bedroom, it disappeared.

Kaitlyn walked down the hall. Her tank top bore the phrase, ‘Hott Momma’. Where did she find those shirts? Her witty personality showed through every time.

Unable to hide my smile, I faced the sliding glass door again to accept the verbal assault Gina threw at me. After all, I deserved it.

My intention was not to hurt her. I planned on keeping my word when I agreed to see her tonight. Stopping by Kaitlyn’s apartment was a matter of courtesy because I was across the hall. After all, she’d gone out of her way to call and check on me.

Then I found myself on her couch sharing what had bothered me all week.

Kaitlyn listened. Really listened. She didn’t try and understand or offer advice. She let me rant and work through my feelings. She was the epitome of the proverbial shoulder to cry on.

That’s more than what Gina did the entire week. She was by my side at the funeral, held my hand, and cried with me. Yet in the days after, when I needed her support with what bothered me, she half listened, then found a way to make things be about her, us, marriage, and kids. I couldn’t take it anymore. Tonight would be no different. In fact, she’d be more determined to get me in bed thinking it would cure the ache in my heart, especially since I turned her down a few weeks ago.

While I was in serious need of physical intimacy, my heart was no longer in our relationship. Sex would be a meaningless physical release for me while she would expect more. I wouldn’t use Gina that way.

It was time to move on. To whom, I had no clue.

My attention went to Kaitlyn as she lowered herself on the couch and sorted through takeout menus.

“What’s going on, Antonio?”

I forced myself back into the conversation. “Nothing is going on, Gina. Something’s come up. I’ll call–”

“When you have time,” she completed my statement. “You keep saying that, but it seems like you’re turning away from me.”

I keep my sigh internal. “Gina, we have to talk, but this isn’t the time.”

“Whatever. You do whatever it is that’s more important than me and our future. I’ll find someone else to keep me company tonight. Call me when you’re ready to be the man you used to be. ”

The line went dead.

I stared at the phone. Did she just break up with me? More than likely, she was baiting me to call back. Not this time.

If she wanted to break up, fine. No need to turn this into a knockdown, drag out fight. I didn’t have the patience.

I sat next to Kaitlyn on the sofa.

“Is everythin’ alright?” She watched me as if trying to read my mood. Those big, round mesmerizing green eyes pulled me in.

What the hell was I doing?

“Everything’s fine.”

Kaitlyn smirked. “Not that I was bein’ nosey, it was just impossible to ignore the screamin’ from the phone.”

I ran a hand over my temple. “You heard her?”

“Uh…yeah. Did you just blow off a date?”

Unable to keep eye contact, I reached for the menu on top of the stack sitting between us. “Yes.”

A risked glance revealed Kaitlyn’s bewildered gaze. “Why?”

I met her stare full on. “Honestly? We don’t have anything in common anymore.”

“So you got dressed up for nothin’.”

“I’m not dressed up. Besides, I was doing my grandmother a favor.”

She cocked a blond eyebrow. “I’m not your grandmother.”

I laughed. “But…we are friends, aren’t we? That’s what you said last week.”

Kaitlyn studied me with those luminous eyes. I held her gaze.

“Remind me…when exactly did this happen?”

“Good question. Have you changed your mind?”

“No, it’s just…,” she bit her pale pink lip, looked away.

“What?” I prompted.

“Nothin’.” She sifted through several menus, refusing to glance my way again.

“If I’m making you uncomfortable, let me know and I’ll leave.”

“No, it’s just… this whole conversation has thrown me off. But that’s beside the fact. If you hadn’t stopped by, the crib would be in a million pieces right now.”

For the first time in days I let loose and laughed hard, giving in to the happy emotion. There was something about Kaitlyn’s personality that was refreshing. I never felt weighted down or pressured when I was around her.

“How? You’re what, five-foot-two and pregnant?” I teased. “What could you do? Stare at it to death?”

Her eyebrows knitted together while her lips twisted in a smirk. “Okay, more jokes, ha, ha, ha.” She crossed her arms over her belly. “For your information, I’m five-four and it wouldn’t take much to swing a hammer.”

I howled. “While sitting down!”

She rolled her eyes, then laughed. “If it works.”

I studied her profile when her attention went back to the menu in her hand. Large eyes, button nose, full cheeks, the perfect girl next door innocence.

“What are our dinner options?” I forced my attention back to meal planning.

“Pizza, Chinese, Italian, wings. I could go for a Philly Steak myself.” She looked up at me.

I was momentarily mesmerized as she lifted her long, thick braid of blond hair and haphazardly toyed with the end.

Kaitlyn was beyond girl next door cute. The pregnancy seemed to enhance her natural beauty. Without makeup, her skin glowed.

I cleared my throat before saying something stupid. “A Philly sounds good.”

####

 

  Look for the The Butterfly Memoirs Series and the latest release, Lonely Heart!

 Instead of planning her wedding, Kaitlyn Rodgers is facing motherhood alone, the pressures of a new job, and caring for her rebellious younger sister. What should have been the happiest time of her life turns into one stressful event after another.

 After watching his father struggle to raise a family by himself, auto mechanic Antonio Rodriguez refuses to follow his father’s footsteps…even if it means a lifetime of loneliness.

When Kaitlyn’s car breaks down, though, Antonio goes beyond auto repairs to take care of her needs. An unexpected friendship begins, allowing them a glimpse of happiness…until the father of Kaitlyn’s child returns, ready to offer her marriage and a future. But at what cost? 

Amazon     B&N     iTunes     Smashwords     All Romance     5 Prince Publishing

M.J. is giving away an ebook copy of Lonely Heart! Enter the Rafflecopter contest for your chance to win! Contest ends April 1st!

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About the Author:

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free.  Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Website   Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

COVER REVEAL: Love Redeemed by Love Belvin (and a Contest!)

Love Redeemed

Love Redeemed – the conclusion of the of the Love’s Improbable Possibility series:

Life’s complicated…

Life’s not fair

All is fair in love and war…

You ever wonder what events led up to an individual’s inability to trust? Love Lost starts off by peeling back layers of a young girl who experienced the loss of essential, reliable and nurturing love.

Rayna Brimm, hailing from an inner-city in New Jersey, survives a series of betrayal and loss only to forge forward in self-preservation and obtain an education in North Carolina. After receiving her degree, vowing never to return home, she finds herself in California where she tries to build a self-contained life. She made a personal declaration to get through life without further dependence on others in order to avoid yet another heartbreak. Only, fate said otherwise.

Enter Azmir Jacobs, a tall, dark, handsome and very wealthy man, who has street credibility and executive power in the corporate world. Azmir has money, power and beautiful women at his beck and call, but only one woman has caught his eye. The resilient Rayna Brimm, a woman whose dysfunctional upbringing contributes towards her tough skin, issues with trust and a deep-seated fear to love, turns out to be more than he bargained for when he discovered her in his boardroom presenting a leasing proposal.

Rayna isn’t the only one with a checkered past. Can Azmir conceal his convoluted life long enough to prove that he can provide Rayna the stable and reliable love that she clearly needs and deserves? Or will his lofty lifestyle and endless resources scare her away?

Find out in this riveting conclusion how Rayna reconciles her inability to trust and willingness to explore love in ways she thought she wasn’t worthy of. See love redeemed for someone who thought it was not in the cards. Also, experience Azmir’s lessons on love, forgiveness, and acceptance as his world is transformed to include a life partner.

Love Redeemed coming in April…

***GIVEAWAY*** 

Prize(s): 4 entrants will win a $5 Amazon gift card

How to enter: Use the Rafflecopter link:   http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MGUzNjU1MjI0M2ViMGViYzNiOWEwMjY1MjliOGNlOjA=/

Giveaway and Eagle’s Heart by Alyssa Cole

Have you ever read a romance novel with an Albanian hero? Me, either. Please welcome Alyssa Cole! Her novel, Eagle’s Heart, is an interracial romantic suspense with a hero who is an Albanian FBI agent. She’s got an interesting blog post about why she writes multicultural heroes. She’s giving away a copy of her book and a $10 Amazon gift card. Let’s get started!

Tell us about yourself.

My day job is an editor at a science journal, so writing romance is a great escape from reading about diseases and looking at pictures of lab rats. Like most authors, I’ve been in love with reading and writing since I was a child, and I’m really glad that I’m able to do it professionally now. I love learning new things, so my hobbies range from playing soccer to strumming a banjo to drawing comics. Right now, I’m focusing on learning French parce que mon fiancé est français. I’ve also started teaching a romance writing workshop, which is super fun and something I hope to continue in the years to come.

Loving Outside the Box: Why I Write Multicultural Heroes

 Very soon after my first novel, Eagle’s Heart, was released I received a comment on my blog that made me tear up with happiness:

As an Albanian I just want to say thank you for doing research on my people before writing the book, the culture and the history was great. I loved the story and thank you for not only making the bad guy Albanian but also the good guy. Great story. I hope you continue writing more books soon.

Yes, any author likes hearing that her book is good and well-researched and that a reader enjoyed it, but the bolded part (emphasis mine) is what really got me.

The reason I first started scribbling my own fairy tales as a child, and then my own romantic stories as I got older, is that I wanted to read about characters that represented me. Although I loved reading romances about all types of people, I felt that I didn’t even really have the choice to read books about people who looked like me. I still remember the joy of purchasing my first romance with a black heroine (Sandra Kitt’s The Color of Love).

Underrepresentation is a problem for black readers, but the world is a huge place made up of innumerable cultures and identities and it’s a problem for other cultures as well. As someone with friends from all over the world (I grew up in one of the most diverse areas of the US), the homogeneity in romance always nagged at me, as did the “fix” of making the genre, literally, black and white. When I write my novels, I try to incorporate characters from other cultures that have been given short shrift in the romance genre.

In Eagle’s Heart, the heroine is an African-American school teacher and the hero is an Albanian FBI agent. In general, when you learn about Albanians you’re likely to only hear about (a) war, (b) crime, (c) war crimes, or (d) the mafia. I thought it was important to make sure that Julian represented for all the good Albanians out there, who are three-dimensional humans capable of laughter and love and feats of heroism and who deserve to be seen as more than a villain or a victim.

In my erotic short story coming out this week, Sweet to the Taste, the heroine is a black woman (with dreadlocks) and the male protagonist is a hot Indian wedding singer. I’ll leave the heroine’s natural hair situation for another discussion. As for the hero, television and the media have done an excellent job of pigeonholing Indian men. In the national psyche, they can only be Quickie Mart workers or IT guys, and they’re always awkward and inexperienced when it comes to women. In Sweet to the Taste, the hero knows exactly how to please a woman, and takes our heroine on an erotic path to self-discovery. I think it’s important for the hot South Asian men of the world to receive the recognition they so thoroughly deserve.

One of my works in progress features a Korean hero. I won’t list the numerous insulting stereotypes about Asian men, but I’m sure you can think of one or two. Hopefully, stories that resist the predominant narratives help undercut the unfair preconceptions that so many POC face. As so many proponents of diversity in romance have said in one way or another: everyone deserves a happy ending. I hope that readers of all hues enjoy my books, but I do love helping to diversify the happily ever after.

Blurb

Salomeh Jones is a Brooklyn high school teacher whose attempt to aid an abused student ruins her career and puts her life in jeopardy. Julian Tamali is a special agent hot on the trail of the Albanian mafia boss responsible for a slew of crimes, including the death of Julian’s family. When Julian finds a connection between the mafia boss and the disgraced school teacher, he sets into motion a series of events that will change their lives forever.

A night of pleasure throws them into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who has kidnapped Salomeh’s student and is possibly providing weapons to terrorists. Caught in a web of passion, danger, and betrayal, Julian and Salomeh must stop the mafia boss or forfeit their chance at redemption—and their lives.

Excerpt

“Not feeling patriotic?”

“What?” she squeaked, turning to face the man who had somehow crept up next to her while she was preoccupied with mentally flagellating herself.

“I was just observing that you don’t seem very patriotic,” he continued. He stood next to her, arms folded across his chest as he gazed at the fireworks. In the afterglow of the fireworks, all she could make out clearly was a head of shaggy black hair and the profile of a Roman nose and a well-defined jaw. He was tall, much taller than her five-feet-seven inches, and muscled. For a moment, fear coiled in Salomeh’s stomach. Could he be here to hurt her? Did he have something to do with Alexi?

“What are you talking about?” Salomeh snapped, irritated with him for invading her space and at herself for succumbing to distress. The jolt of anxiety segued into anger at the realization that she would have to suspect everyone until she could find Yelena, and hopefully, expose this Bardhyn character.

She took a sip of her gin and tonic and tried to rein in her annoyance, but she was tired of having her privacy invaded. All the people who had harassed her over the past weeks, the reporter with the fake card her neighbor had encountered the day before, the women across the rooftop just moments before, and now this man—all of them seemed to think it was perfectly okay to just barge into her life.

A huge burst of purple and yellow fireworks lit up the night sky, and from other parts of the roof, she could hear people clapping and whistling at the elaborate display. The man turned to her then, and in the glow of the fireworks she could see bright green eyes shining from under the fringe of his hair. His olive complexion provided a contrast that made his eyes seem even more brilliant. A smile touched his full, rosy lips. He was definitely handsome, although that didn’t change that fact that he was a nuisance. A very well-built and overly confident nuisance.

Salomeh watched surreptitiously as he reached up to run a hand through his hair. A thrill went through her at the way his biceps flexed and his pectorals tightened as he moved. His raw power was apparent even in this most casual of motions. Part of her wondered what it would be like to have all that strength concentrated on touching her. That same part, located between her legs, suddenly clenched when he shifted slightly closer to her.

“I’m sorry,” he continued, his accent still unfamiliar to her. It had the melodic but dolorous tone of something not quite European. “It’s just that it’s a beautiful night, the sky is filled with lovely fireworks, it’s the anniversary of your country’s independence, and you seem…unimpressed with it all.”

Salomeh rolled her eyes, although she was fairly certain the action was hidden by the shadow of the water tower. “I wasn’t aware that Homeland Security would be doing patriotism spot checks,” she deadpanned. He stiffened, as if she had offended him somehow. Good, she thought viciously, the scent of elderberry tickling her nose as she took a sip of her drink. “That’s what this is right? I mean, you’re not just some creep who roams the rooftops of Brooklyn, sneaking up on unsuspecting women for no reason, are you? Because that would be kind of weird.”

“You’ve seen through my disguise,” he said with mock severity. “We’re always on the lookout for suspicious characters. A woman lurking in a strategically isolated position such as this during a party merits an investigation. There must be something driving her away from everyone, no?”

He leaned in slightly just as a shower of white light exploded in the sky. Salomeh could see that his eyes were narrowed, his gaze entirely focused on her despite the world-famous light show occurring just above their heads. She had become used to scrutiny since her story had graced the covers of the tabloids. People had looked at her with disgust and disbelief and pity. But the look this man gave her was different. It was teasing and friendly and, most of all, interested.

Buy it now: Amazon | Loose Id

Sweet to the Taste: Available at Amazon on 2/21/2014.

Visit Alyssa  online at www.alyssacole.com. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

CONTEST

Prize: An ebook copy of Eagle’s Heart and a $10 Amazon gift card.
How to enter: Answer the following question in the comments: What was the first romance novel that made you feel a special connection with the hero or heroine? Not only cultural connections count: maybe the heroine was a paleontologist and that was your dream job at the time, or maybe the hero came from your hometown!
Deadline to enter: Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST. Alyssa will announce the winner in the comments and they will be contacted via email.

Note: By participating in this contest, you understand that if you’re the winner, your email address will be shared with Alyssa so you can receive your prize. 

______

It was great to have you on the blog, Alyssa. Best wishes for much success!

Giveaway (one day only!) and The Right Kind of Love by Roxy Wilson

Please welcome Roxy Wilson to my blog! She’s a fellow islander and is here to share details about her new interracial romance, The Right Kind of Love.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m the wife of a wonderfully supportive husband and the mother of three precocious, but precious kids.  As a life-long educator, I’ve taught almost all levels of the educational system, from kindergarten, right up to the department of teacher education.  Perhaps, it was because I was born and bred in the Caribbean, I love tales featuring Brer Anansi, Papa Bois, Soucayant, and La Diablesse, all of whom are characters of West Indian folklore.  What’s more, I enjoy attending plays, which are written and directed by local playwrights.  When I’m not writing stories or poems, I can be found curled up in bed, reading.  Other times, you’ll find me trying out a new recipe with my thirteen year-old daughter, who also enjoys cooking.  And when funds are available, I enjoy visiting the many islands of the Caribbean.

What is the most romantic gesture you’ve ever received?

That would be when my husband arranged to have me whisked away from my classroom, and straight to the airport, so I could meet him in St. Lucia.  We stayed at the same hotel, and in the same room that we did, when we were on our honeymoon.  It’s a birthday I’ll never, ever forget.

What type of music do you listen to?

I have an eclectic taste in music, ranging from calypso, soca, reggae, to R&B from the 80’s, soft rock, and a bit of heavy metal.  During the Christmas season, I love to listen to parang and its variants, soca parang, and chutney soca parang.

What are your favorite types of movies to watch?

As long as there’s action, I’ll watch it.  So, think X-Men, Thor, Spiderman, Superman and G.I. Joe.  From time to time, I’ll watch a romantic comedy or two.

What types of books are on your bookshelf at home?

That runs the full gamut of genres, from romance, Shakespeare, mysteries, drama, poetry and westerns, to autobiographies/biographies, devotionals and Biblical study guides.

What is your favorite body part on a man or woman?

Definitely a man’s shoulders.  I love them wide and square; better to wrap around me, and make me feel safe and warm.

Finish this sentence: You gotta love a man who…

…knows how to make a woman feel as if she’s the only one who rocks his world, the only woman who makes his life complete. 

Short answer choices:

Leather or lace? leather

Long or short hair? Long hair

Fruity drink or strong liquor? Fruity drink with a dash of strong liquor

Heels or flats? flats

Jeans or skirt? skirts

Coffee or tea? Tea, as long as it’s sweet

Glamorous girl or girl next door? Girl next door

Picky eater or adventurous? adventurous

Glamorous makeup or au naturale? It depends on the type of occasion.

Sexy bed-head or sophisticated coif? Sophisticated coif

What inspired you to write your latest release?

A Facebook friend posted an article, An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage, by Ralph Richard Banks.  I read it and was intrigued.  I started conducting searches on YouTube to see if Professor Banks had appeared on any programs. Luck would have it that he was a specially invited guest on many talk shows, as well as on CNN.  Then, I started reading romance stories featuring interracial characters.  I was hooked.  After reading one of Marilyn Lee’s novels, featuring a Native American hero and a black heroine, I figured I could try my hand at writing a romance story, too.  However, I decided that my story would feature a black woman and a white man, who have to overcome the challenges of being an interracial couple.  Within a month, I had penned the Right Kind of Love.

What can readers expect from you next?

I’m working on a novella, featuring two best friends and a baby.  It will be my first attempt at self-publishing.  I’m hoping to have it ready in time for Valentine’s Day.

Blurb

New Yorker Sloane Saunders has just about given up on love. She’s thirty-something and very single. A magazine article jolts her from her malaise and motivates her to do something she’s never tried before: online dating, and firstmeet.com is the website of choice.

Attending his brother’s bachelor party was the wake-up call Blake Morrison needed. Memories of a passionate relationship from his past drive him to return to claim his woman. Sloane. Despite the sizzling chemistry between them, it’s not as easy as he thought. With a family crisis and Sloane’s preconceived notions about love and relationships getting in the way, can Blake convince Sloane they have the right kind of love and that a love like theirs can last?

Excerpt

“Damn, Sloane, if that guy stares any harder at you, he’s going to bore a hole through your back. You know him?”

Sloane didn’t need to look to see whom Noah was referring to, because she knew the exact moment Blake had entered the room. It took all her willpower not to drink him in with her eyes, because he looked so debonair in his suit. She wanted to go across and greet him, but she felt a bit nervous, especially as they hadn’t spoken to each other since their disastrous movie night. A while ago, when Harper wove a story about some mishap she and Malcolm had encountered last Friday night, Sloane had made the decision to go over and say hello to Blake. Then Noah invited her to dance with him. How could she refuse when they were on a date? Their first date as a result of Firstmeet.com. It was hard for her to concentrate on him though, when all her thoughts were focused on Blake. Merely thinking about Blake’s musky, earthy scent, and the way his hands felt while he held her, made her pulse quicken.

Noah whispered something in her ear, but she didn’t pay much attention to what he said. She just chuckled softly and pretended to be having fun, when all her thoughts were focused on Blake. She could tell Noah liked her a lot. He had a great sense of humor, which was a definite plus. When Sloane learned Noah was one of the senior partners in an Albany law firm, she remembered Harper urging her to look for variety in the men she dated.

Still, under other circumstances, Noah would have been a good guy to get to know better, but she wasn’t into him. Sure he was good looking and could probably pass for Shemar Moore who played Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds. But Noah didn’t make her pulse race, or her hands tremble like Blake did.

Oh God…

Blake.

The only man who could make her react this way.

How could she follow through with another date with Noah? It wouldn’t be fair to him. Did it matter? A relationship between her and Blake was doomed to fail, so why give it a chance in the first place? Perhaps, she didn’t need chemistry, only stability and predictability. A relationship with Blake would be far from predictable, especially given the kind of judgmental world they lived in.

“He’s not the kind to do something stupid, is he?” Noah eyed Blake, his lips curled. “I can deal with him if you like.”

Oh my goodness, I never even answered Noah’s first question. Come on, Sloane, keep your head in the game.

“Never mind, him. He’s just one of my friends from high school.”

“Seems to me, he thinks of you as much more than a friend, from the way he’s looking at you.”

“Blake’s just a little protective, is all. Always has been, always will be.”

“Well, if he stares at you any harder I might be tempted to call security.” Noah smiled to show he meant it as a joke.

“Blake’s harmless. I’ll go over to say hi to him after this song is over.”

“Uh, uh. It’s too late. Here comes Frank Farmer.”

If Sloane wasn’t so nervous, she would have chuckled at Noah’s reference to the film, The Body Guard, but her eyes, her body, her mind, her heart were too focused on the man who permeated every thought she’d had for the last few days.

“Do you mind if I cut in?” Blake stood slightly behind Noah and addressed him, but his eyes were only on Sloane.

Noah looked at Sloane as if to make certain she’d be willing to dance with Blake.

“That’s fine, Noah.”

Noah nodded his head imperceptibly, leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on her cheek.

No chemistry.

No heart palpitations.

Nada.

Nothing.

Not like the way she felt just from being a few feet away from Blake.

She and Blake watched Noah until he faded into the crowd.

Blake was the first to speak. “Will you dance with me?”

Buy it now:  Amazon | All Romance Ebooks | Bookstrand

Where can readers find you online?

Website/Blog – http://roxywilson.wordpress.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/roxy.wilson.737

Facebook fan page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Roxy-Wilson/153086841563014?ref=hl

Amazon author page – http://www.amazon.com/Roxy-Wilson/e/B00D0W0C8K/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7094458.Roxy_Wilson

Twitter:  https:  //twitter.com/roxywilson17

****CONTEST****

Prize:  a copy of The Right Kind of Love
How to enter: Leave a comment below. After I pick the winner, Delaney will send your email address so I can forward your prize.
Deadline to enter:  Tonight at 11:59 pm EST.


Thanks for the great contest and visiting my blog, Roxy!

 

Giveaway and Redeeming the Amazon by LV Lewis

Happy New Year! How about starting off the new year with a hot new romance?

Author LV Lewis is here with information about her latest release, Redeeming the Amazon. It’s a 23,000 word erotic novella set in New Orleans. The book is part of the Den of Sin series, four sexy stories released by four different authors. Make sure you enter the contests at the end for a chance to win those prizes!

THE SERIES IN ITS ENTIRETY:

Starting December 6 the authors of the Den of Sin Series invited you to indulge in a new erotica or erotic romance novella each Friday until December 27. Each had a different couple (or trio) and different kinks:

December 6: Forbidden Rendezvous by Mel Blue

Seraphina orchestrates fantasies, but this year she’ll create one of her own. It’s against the rules for an employee to participate in the weekend-long sex-capade but she’s willing to risk it for Luke. The man’s a mystery, but in a sea of CEOs and Fortune 500 billionaires, he stands out. His past and connection to her boss is clouded in intrigue, but she knows what he wants, and she plans to star in one of his voyeuristic fantasies.

December 13: Ménage à Troys by Holley Trent

At the Den of Sin anything goes, so instead of two newlyweds letting down their guards to finally consummate their marriage of convenience, three people desperate to be touched forge bonds. That’s all well and good for the weekend, but what will shake out of their tentative ménage à trois when it’s time to go home?

December 20: Wicked Surrender by Ambrielle Kirk

Kris is tired of spending her nights playing with hard plastic and silicone. She wants a real man for a night, and expects to find him at the Den of Sin. She doesn’t expect to meet one of the World’s Most Eligible Bachelors there, and this isn’t the first time she’s met him. Unfortunately, Travis Brenden doesn’t seem to remember her.

December 27: Redeeming the Amazon by L. V. Lewis

Karen hasn’t made love fully unclothed since her double mastectomy and the subsequent demise of her marriage. Her most significant relationship occurred right after her surgery when she connected with a former Marine, amputee classmate. Paul once left his heart in Baltimore with a beautiful former model, whose crumbling marriage was the only deterrent to his waning honor. A fantasy weekend at his uncle’s hotel may give him a second chance with his contemporary Amazon…if her fear of rejection doesn’t become a barrier to their reconnection.

To learn more about this shared world series and its authors, and to access purchasing information, visit DenofSinSeries.com.

 The Den of Sin series

presents

REDEEMING THE AMAZON

Leave your inhibitions at the door…and turn the page.

New Orleans’s Hotel Beaudelaire isn’t just a critically acclaimed 5-star establishment. For New Year’s Eve, it becomes a Den of Sin, and its owner extends invitations to a few discriminating guests to help make their sexual fantasies come true.

Blurb

Most come to The Beaudelaire Hotel a select few times a year merely to indulge in sexual fantasy, but the stakes are higher for Karen Freeman and Paul Beaudelaire this New Year’s weekend. Karen is nine years post-op from a double mastectomy, and her vain ex-husband hadn’t agreed with her decision to remove her remaining good breast or to eschew reconstruction. In the end, that decision cost her. She lost her marriage, but she’s certain the move has prolonged her life.

Returning to a normal dating and sex life has been difficult. She hasn’t made love fully unclothed since the demise of her marriage, and her most significant relationship occurred right after her surgery. When she was still recuperating, she had an affair of the heart with a Marine amputee who’d also been her Ph.D. classmate.

Paul Beaudelaire once led a charmed life as a ladies’ man who had his pick of women in the upper echelons of New Orleans society. He’d been satisfied to continue in that vein, until a Marine recruiter wooed him from LSU with tales of valor, courage, and commitment. His career in the corps cut short by the loss of his left leg, Paul returned to New Orleans with the best prosthesis Johns Hopkins orthopedics experts could fit him with. The problem was, he’d left his heart in Baltimore with a beautiful former model, whose crippled marriage was the only deterrent to his waning honor. Will this fantasy weekend at his Uncle Henri’s hotel give him a second chance with his contemporary Amazon, or will her fear of rejection be a barrier to their reconnection?

Excerpt

“What just happened? We were in a good place until all of a sudden, we weren’t.”
She shrugged like a gawky, inexperienced teen, afraid to go all the way with the boy she liked she wasn’t sure would still like her in the morning. He hated that the cancer had done this to her. Robbed her of her confidence.
“Karen, I would never hurt you.”
She smiled. He’d been going for intimacy, for sincerity, but apparently his heartfelt declaration struck her as funny.
“You know I won’t take advantage if you let me in,” he said, giving her a glimpse of his own vulnerability. This was as much about him as it was about her. Then he realized this statement was innuendo-laden as well, when her grin broadened.
“Exactly how do I know this?”
He would not let a moment of levity steal the inroads he was determined to make. “Because you know I’ve been where you are, even though on the surface it looks like I’ve dealt with and overcome all my issues with body image. Will you take a chance and go places with me intimately that you haven’t with anyone else?” He hoped like hell she could trust him. She hadn’t backed out when she found out he was her partner for the weekend, so there had to be something to her acceptance.
“How cunning. You knew the one thing—the only thing—that makes living inside our imperfections so difficult. I’m not surprised you get it.”
She smiled that same smile he saw in his fantasies. The one that says more than her words. She squinted, and laugh lines seemed to appear from nowhere. There was no guile or arrogance in it, just the tentative smile of a woman who was once very self-assured and was again trying it on for size.
It was that smile Paul had responded to first, before he’d discovered other interesting things as he’d continued to watch her. The way she walked with such grace, one might believe she was floating. The way she saw through bullshit as if she had a built in meter for it. Even his. The intensity with which she viewed life was even atypical, a study in contradictions for one who’d stared death in the face and made it back down.
“If we do this your way, I’ll have one rule.”
Desperation made him reckless. “Anything.”
“The lights must be off.”
“Except that…” He stood and paced. “Karen, we’re supposed to leave our inhibitions at the door.”
“Okay. Suppose I were to blindfold you instead?”
He stopped in his tracks and smiled involuntarily. “That sounds promising, but if we get any kinkier than that, we might have to change floors.”
“Let’s just get the mechanics down now, shall we?”
“That doesn’t sound particularly sexy.”
Her expression challenged him. “I’m going to make you rue that statement before this weekend is over.”
“Game on,” he said.

Buy it now: Amazon | All Romance Ebooks | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords (Discount Coupon Code YL37F)

***CONTEST 1***

  • Prize 1: Kindle Paperwhite (shipped to US residents)
  • Prize 2: $50 egiftcard to winner’s retailer of choice (Amazon, B&N, or ARE)
  • Prize 3: $25 egiftcard to winner’s retailer of choice (Amazon, B&N, or ARE)
  • Prize 4: Winner’s choice of one ebook from each of the authors’ backlists

How to enter: Click the link and use the Rafflecopter.

***CONTEST 2***

  • Prize 1: $20 giftcard
  • Prize 2: An audiobook of 50 Shades of Jungle Fever ($18 value)
  • Prize 3: An audiobook of Exit Strategy ($18 value)
  • Prize 4: An ebook bundle of Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever and Exit Strategy

How to enter: Click the link and use the Rafflecopter.

Giveaway: Hawthorne Family Series in Print

The Goodreads contest has wrapped up and as promised, I’m doing a giveaway of the print books for my blog followers, too! You have another chance to win autographed copies of Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Hawthorne Family series in print.

Cover-Hawthorne series 1

THE TEMPTATION OF A GOOD MAN

Can true love be found after one night of passion?
Celeste Burton goes out with her girlfriends to celebrate turning thirty and winds up spending an unforgettable night with the man of her dreams. One week later, as a favor, she attends a wedding with a friend as his date and is shocked when she sees Roarke again.
Roarke Hawthorne despises cheating. Cheating tore apart his family years ago. When the physics professor sees the woman he spent the night with show up at his sister’s wedding on the arm of his brother, he knows he should keep his distance. But because of the night they set fire to the sheets in his hotel room, he can’t resist the urge to be close to her–nor can he resist the temptation to have her back in his bed.

A HARD MAN TO LOVE

Hating him is easy. Loving him is hard.
Derrick Hoffman never quite got over not having a relationship with his biological father. The woman he was seeing is pregnant, and there’s no way he’s going to let her raise his child without him–even if it means coercing her into marriage.
Eva Jacob made the mistake of falling in love with Derrick, a man she knows is incapable of love. After their breakup, she discovers she’s pregnant. When she agrees to a loveless marriage, she tries to shield her heart from further pain. But she soon discovers that the heart wants what the heart wants, and her heart wants Derrick’s love.

Available at: Amazon | Createspace

Cover_Hawthorne series 2

HERE COMES TROUBLE

Who doesn’t love a bad boy?
Lorena Vega knows better than to have anything else to do with Matthew Hawthorne. Then he comes to her and asks for her help in writing a proposal for a grant to benefit the community center where he volunteers. She agrees to do the work, but she has her guard up, because having Matthew in her life again is a problem she doesn’t need.
Matthew still carries some guilt from when he hurt Lorena. Seeing her again for the first time in months makes him realize what a huge mistake he made, and he wants another chance to be the kind of man she deserves. He’s determined to win her back and prove he’s not the player he used to be, and nothing will stand in his way.
Not even the new man in her life.

FOR BETTER OR WORSE

Will her actions save her marriage or destroy it?
As a publicist for professional athletes, Antonio Vega is used to solving problems and spinning stories to the benefit of his clients. Yet he can’t seem to convince his wife that he has been and always will be faithful, and her lack of trust tests the limits of his patience.
Cassidy Hawthorne-Vega grew up in a home rocked by infidelity. When she suspects her husband is hiding something from her, she takes drastic steps to uncover the truth. Her actions result in a confrontation that threatens the bond of their marriage. It’s only when she reveals a painful secret from the past that Cassidy learns to accept the love her husband freely gives.

Available at:  Amazon | Createspace

****GIVEAWAY****

Prize: Four readers will receive autographed copies of Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Hawthorne Family series, giftwrapped to your doorstep! (Note: copies may arrive after the holidays.)

Eligibility: You must be a follower of this blog. Open to international entrants.

How to enter: Submit your email address using the form below.

Deadline to enter:  December 14, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST. Winners will be chosen by random.org, announced in the comments and contacted via email.

Giveaway and The Awakening by Shakir Rashaan

Please welcome Shakir Rashaan to my blog. For you BDSM fans, he’s the real deal, and he’s here to tell us about his new book, The Awakening, and share a blog post to give a unique perspective on his polyamorous relationship. Let’s get started!

Tell us about yourself.

There’s not much to tell, kind of LOL. I’m married with two kids, I work in the education system in the Safety & Security department, and a few other things that would make people think I’m “normal” so to speak. I hold three degrees, including a degree in Criminal Justice, and I played college basketball on the Division I level before injuries cut my career short. On the flip side of the coin, I am a Lifestyle Dominant (women love using the term Alpha Male, but I’m that and a whole lot more), my wife and I are what is termed a Dominant Couple within the BDSM community, I’m a flirt, I love to seduce when the opportunity presents itself, and, as I say on the Blog Talk Radio show I co-host: I’m a Hedonist, not a heathen. There’s a difference! :D

Which TV show(s) can you absolutely not miss every week?

Goodness, I can give you a rundown based on the day of the week!

Mondays: Almost Human, The Black List, and Sleepy Hollow; Tuesdays: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Wednesdays: American Horror Story: Coven; Thursdays: Scandal and Elementary; Fridays: Dracula. Thanks to my wife and our submissive, I now have to add Dr. Who to the list, but I can’t remember what day of the week that comes on (thank the gods for DVR).

What is your dream car and why?

I know folks would say a Maserati or a Lamborghini or a Ferrari, but I’m not a small man. I stand 6’6” tall, so my dream cars are going to be American muscle all day long! I want a Cadillac Escalade…if He shows favor and I am able to enjoy some longevity as an author, that’s the first thing I’m getting!

Is there such a thing as too much sex in a romance novel? Explain.

Being an erotica author, I would say everything is usually in moderation, with some extra spice thrown in there. There are those who say there’s no such thing, but for me, if it flows within the story line, I say there’s not too much. Pleasure by Eric Jerome Dickey is proof of the balance between the two, even though some of his fans and readers felt there was too much sex in it. I highly disagree (can I say I love me some Nia Simone Bijou? Whew!).

What is your favorite body part on a woman?

Anyone who has followed me on Instagram or is connected to me on Facebook knows the answer to that question LOL! I’m primarily an ass man, but I also am a sucker for a pretty pair of eyes and a pretty set of suckable lips. 

What can readers expect from you next?

This next year is going to be crazy, to say the least! The Awakening is out now, and Legacy, the second book in the Nubian Underworld series, will be set for release June 10, 2014, and Tempest, the third book in the series, has a December 2014 release. I also signed a three-book deal back in November with my publisher, Strebor Books, for my mystery series Deviant Intent, which is being repackaged as my Kink, P.I. series. The first book in that series will be set for a late 2014/early 2015 release with the first book, OBSESSION. I also will be featured in several anthologies in which I will bring out a variety of characters, from Cougars to Incubi, and a few other things in between.

Blog Post

 I am in a polyamorous relationship with my wife.

Waits for the crickets to stop chirping as people pick their collective jaws up off the floor.

What? Did you think I simply made all that shit up in the books I write? Did you not read my disclaimer in the books? C’mon, son!

Hold on…before you start sending out the pitchforks of “why did you get married in the first place?” allow me to explain a bit.

My wife and I have a submissive, and in “vanilla” terms, she would be our girlfriend. We have another who also is submissive to us, and I guess you would consider her our girlfriend also, should you so choose to. Under more liberal legislation in the United States (yeah right) that would make it permissible to marry more than one, our girlfriends would be wife #2 & #3 without question.

But these United States are not very liberal in some mindsets… especially when it comes to the institution of marriage.

We (those of us within the poly community) are normal, everyday citizens who work, pay taxes, have families and all that good stuff, we just happen to have a more pragmatic approach to the concept of love, more of an agape love that mixes in with romantic love.

The one Bible verse that most anyone would throw up in an argument such as this when Poly unions get tossed up against Monogamous unions is 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4-8, which state:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record or wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Now, let most who are in monogamous relationships tell you, we “deviant poly folk” don’t understand the meaning of that verse. After all, we “dishonor” our mate by getting into romantic entanglements, therefore we don’t “protect” our mate’s state of mind because there is supposedly no stability in a poly union.

Yeah, there’s not much stability in ANY union, to be real, and on both sides of the coin, neither has a very good track record when it comes to success rates.

As my sis, Rae Lamar, phrased in her two book series, Unlike Me/Somewhere in Between (what I affectionately call the Bree series): Love is love…managing it is the problem.

If you take nothing else away from this, it is that no relationship model is perfect: not monogamy, not open relationships, no polyamory or polygamy or polygyny…

If you and your significant other(s) can manage the day-to-day grind that being in a relationship places on you, then you are already ahead of the 50-60% that have already failed in doing what you are willing to work hard at keeping things together.

Now, what, you ask, does this have to do with the upcoming re-release of my novel, The Awakening?

Well, because the central couple in my series is a poly couple…there’s no monogamy involved in this series whatsoever.

But you know me by now…I have to be different, and different and sexy is what sells nowadays, and I plan to sell a lot of before it’s all said and done. IJS!

Where can readers find you online?

Your readers can hook up with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads, too.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shakir.rashaan

FB Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/ShakirRashaanErotica

FB Fan Page (Company): http://www.facebook.com/ShadesofNEBU

Twitter: http://twitter.com/shakirrashaan

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/shakirrashaan

Blurb:

Life seems well within the “Nubian Underworld” of the ATL, as Ramesses, his wife Neferterri, and their submissives are at the center of what can only be described as “paradise” by those who have seen the debauchery within. Amenhotep, Ramesses’ mentor, is on the verge of bringing in his newest slave to reside with him at the Palace, and the entire community has been invited to witness the decadence of the grounds and the libidinous nature of the guests in attendance.

Unfortunately, life is not always a bed of roses… sometimes the thorns must be felt.

All hell breaks loose when Ramesses and Neferterri begin losing their submissives for a variety of reasons, and Amenhotep gets caught up in a sting operation that makes the local news and threatens to blow the lid off of the Atlanta Fetish community that thrives on the anonymity that is enjoyed by all. Despite it all, everyone in the circle is there for one another, no matter the consequences.

Excerpt:

Being in the Fulton County Jail was a bittersweet moment for me.

Before I turned to professional shutterbug I wanted to be a detective, like my father before me. So, being at the jail wasn’t supposed to give me the butterflies in my stomach I felt. It felt like an eternity walking towards the communication area to speak to Amenhotep, but somehow I managed to get there.

Seeing Him on the other side of that window, my heart damn near broke. Here was a man who made me the Dominant I am. Now, here he sat, an accused rapist and kidnapper, eyes completely bloodshot from staying up all night in the holding cell before they moved him to general population. I refused to take pity, though. In my mind He was never guilty in the first place. I was going to move heaven and earth to make sure He comes out of this without much of a scratch on him, mainly because I knew He would do the same for me. Family has to look out for each other.

I picked up the receiver, making eye contact with Him for the first time. He looked human to me, after looking like a god for so long. “How are You holding up?”

“Not good, youngster. I’m not even supposed to be in here,” Amenhotep stated through the receiver.  “Ramesses, I didn’t do it. she said awful things, man. Said I raped her…abused her,

man.”

I sat there and watch helplessly as He was nearly reduced to tears. The first thing on my mind was whether the other slaves were okay.

“paka came down as soon as she found out. The cops took the computers…everything in

the dungeon that wasn’t bolted down.” Amenhotep repeated what paka told him earlier. “All of the girls gave statements to dispute what safi told the cops.”

“Why the hell would she say such things? You have a reputation within the community. she’s got to be aware of that.” My anger was boiling and mounting with each passing moment and with each word I spoke.

“Something spooked her. I know it,” Amenhotep regained his composure. “Either that, or she’s pissed about something. But what was it? I treated her like I treat all My girls.”

Yeah, every one of the girls was treated the same way, except for paka. The green eyed monster was on the loose. Damn.

“I’ve got some tough questions for You, Sir, and I need straight answers,” Ramesses took over inside of me, and it was needed. “How old is safi?”

You know better,” Amenhotep didn’t like my tone, but I really didn’t care at that point.  We were family, yes, but there was no time to look at things with rose-colored glasses. “I taught You, remember that.”

“What…was…her…age?” I commanded. I didn’t back down like I normally did when He asserted Himself and didn’t want to answer questions. Too much was at stake.

“19. Confirmed,” Amenhotep replied. “Next.”

“What was her status?” I stated, moving on to the next point of fact I needed. By status, I wanted to know in what capacity was safi supposed to serve as. In His House there were two

categories: sexual and domestic.

“Sexual and domestic,” Amenhotep again answered in a monotone voice. “Next.”

“Did You corrupt her station?” In asking that question, I meant did she begin to think that she was more than what her station dictated… and more importantly, did He give her the impression she meant more than her station suggested.

“I decline to answer.” Amenhotep shut down, pulling His ear away from the receiver.

“Not good enough, Sir,” I warned. I motioned for him to place His ear to the receiver. “Rumors will run rampant, and I need ammo to combat things until You post bond.”

“How long have we known each other?” Amenhotep asked, pushing His face closer to the glass.

“Sir, You are My mentor, and I love You like a father, but I need and I will get full disclosure.” I was blunt about my intentions, even if the answer would hurt.

Yes, I did!

 Buy it now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

****CONTEST****

Prize: a Kindle copy of The Awakening
How to enter: Leave a comment or question below for Shakir.
Deadline to enter:  Tonight at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced in the comments and contacted via email.


Thanks for visiting my blog, Shakir, and readers, good luck in the contest!

Giveaway and Playing for Love by Tia Kelly

Please welcome Tia Kelly to my blog with her new release, Playing for Love! PLAYING FOR LOVE is the first novel from the Wilkersons in Love series. Tia invites you to come meet the Wilkersons and get ready to fall in love. I’ve got the blurb and an excerpt, and she’s giving away a free Kindle copy of the book to one lucky commenter.

Playing for Love 400x600

Blurb:

Kenneth Wilkerson, baseball’s MVP of breaking hearts isn’t in Craymont looking for complications. With an injury that has him sidelined from the game he loves, and the latest scandal in his wake involving a woman who is very much engaged to someone else, the last thing he needs is to get mixed up with Paige Scott.

Paige Scott, a former party-girl, has a very murky past and even murkier relationship with Kenneth’s best friend Carlos Ortiz. Paige knows Carlos watched her go from it girl to broken and when she finally healed, he made it clear to her that he would not step aside to let another man in just to do it again.

But Kenneth lets nothing stand between him and what he loves.

Love for the game… his family… and her.

Excerpt:

“Open the door, Paige,” Kenneth demanded in between knocks.

He pulled up just in time to see her walk into her front door. His athlete’s reflexes were not enough to make it before she slammed it in his face.

Finally the door swung open. “I need you to leave.”

Kenneth pushed himself inside and reached out to tilt her face upward. He felt the dampness on her skin and felt worse.

“I probably shouldn’t have left, but I didn’t know what to expect after last night.”

Paige pulled back, wrapping her arms around herself. “You didn’t know? Or didn’t care.”

Kenneth leaned against the wall and let his head fall back. “Paige, you were drunk.”

“And that makes this better?”

“No, it doesn’t.”

He looked at her while she took a seat at the bottom of her steps.

“Why did you do that?”

Paige looked away, chewing nervously on her lip while tugging at her shirtsleeve. “I don’t know.”

“I think you do.”

“Is that what you do? Psychoanalyze the women you sleep with the morning after?”

“Paige, I don’t have any regrets about last night except for one.”

She looked up and searched his face to prepare her for what he was about to say. “And that is?”

“That I was the only one that actually wanted to be there.”

Paige pulled back and stared at him. “You make it sound like I used you.”

“Didn’t you?”

Paige huffed. “We have to work together until you’re released back to your team. I can’t have this conversation with you every time we cross paths.”

“And you won’t.” He stared back to her and sat on the staircase next to her. “Look at me, Paige.”

She glanced up, releasing the edge of her sleeve. Her expectancy and uncertainty warned him that whatever he had to say, he needed to be careful in how he delivered it.

“Typically, I don’t care about what happens the morning after, but there’s something in your eyes that tells me last night was more than just a one nighter for you.”

“What makes you think that?”

“Because last night scared me, too.”

Buy it now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Where to find Tia online:

Website: tiawithapen.com

Book list: http://tiawithapen.wordpress.com/books/

Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorTiaKelly

Twitter: twitter.com/TiaWithAPen

****CONTEST****

Prize: a Kindle copy of Playing for Love
How to enter: Leave a comment below telling Tia which professional sport you think has the hottest athletes.
Deadline to enter: Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced in the comments on Friday and contacted via email.

Good luck!!

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