Riding With McKay

Rounding up romance!

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Get Ready for #HappyHolidays With a #99c #Romance from @Kris_Bock

Today on the Happy Holiday tour, I have Kris Bock and her 0.99 cent romance, Whispers In the Dark.

 

Whispers in the Dark:

Young archeologist Kylie Hafford heads to the remote Puebloan ruins of Lost Valley, Colorado, to excavate. Her first exploration of the crumbling ruins ends in a confrontation with a gorgeous, angry man who looks like a warrior from the Pueblo’s ancient past. If only Danesh weren’t so aggravating… and fascinating. Then she literally stumbles across Sean, a charming, playful tourist. His attentions feel safer, until she glimpses secrets he’d rather keep hidden.

The summer heats up as two sexy men pursue her. She finds mysteries – and surprising friendships – among the other campground residents. Could the wide-eyed woman and her silent children be in the kind of danger all too familiar to Kylie?

Mysterious lights, murmuring voices, and equipment gone missing plague her dig. A midnight encounter sends Kylie plummeting into a deep canyon. She’ll need all her strength and wits to survive. Everything becomes clear: if she wants to save the man she’s come to love and see the villains brought to justice, she must face her demons and fight.

Whispers in the Dark is action-packed romantic suspense set in the Four Corners region of the Southwest. This title stands alone and is not part of a series.

“This book kept me turning pages until the end. The plot was full of twists and turns, always keeping the reader rooting for the heroine. Excellent read!” Reader Suzanne Borchers

 Whispers in the Dark is on sale Nov. 19-24 – only 99 cents for the Kindle! Get it now!

 

Chapter 1 Excerpt:

I hit something, bounced, scraped, and finally landed with a thud that rattled my whole body.

What had I gotten myself into?

I closed my eyes. Yes, I was driving, but a moment of distraction seemed safe enough, since I hadn’t seen another car in half an hour. Even the jackrabbits and rattlesnakes were hiding in the shade, leaving the road clear of everything but rocks and ruts.

I was starting an adventure. I had to remind myself of that – an adventure. I wanted to be here. I wanted to get away from the city, the classroom and office, the people. You couldn’t get much farther away than this, a tiny cluster of seven-hundred-year-old ruins in the Four Corners area of the Southwest. I had found the middle of nowhere.

As I had wanted, I reminded myself.

The car bumped into a pothole and my head smacked back on the headrest. Maybe I needed to pay more attention to the road after all. I had almost gotten used to the constant vibration from the rough dirt track, but I still got an occasional surprise from potholes as big as wading pools and ridges the size of speed bumps.

The vast landscape drew my attention, the open space leaving me a bit breathless, a reverse of claustrophobia. At a glance the scene lacked color, a wash of parched tan that spoke of emptiness, drought, death. I clenched the steering wheel and breathed deeply through my nose to filter out the dust pouring through the open window. I’d shut off the air-conditioning hours ago to keep my wreck from overheating.

It wasn’t like I’d have to live in this dusty wasteland forever. I wanted to test myself in unfamiliar terrain, face life head-on, and prove I had healed. Then I could go back to normal life, stronger and ready to face more ordinary challenges. I didn’t have to love it here; I only had to survive.

But my eyes, adapted to New England’s green trees and grass, slowly started to appreciate this different palette. A painter probably could have named a dozen shades of brown, along with the soft reds – gentle shades of pink and orange and rust and purple – from the sandstone mesas. The scant vegetation added muted, dusty green. The rare patch of yellow wildflowers looked shockingly bright. And above it all lay the vast sky, incredibly blue and so bright it hurt my eyes to look up, even with sunglasses.

I gave a low whistle. “You’re not in Boston anymore.”

Get Whispers in the Dark  on sale for 99 cents for the Kindle!

 

 

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page.

Kris lives in New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking, watching the sunset from her patio, and hanging out with her husband and their ferrets. Fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Victoria Holt will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog

Kris Bock Blog: The Southwest Armchair Traveler

Kris Bock’s Amazon page

Kris Bock on GoodReads

Kris Bock on Facebook

Kris Bock on Twitter

#HappyHolidays #TirgearrRomanticSuspense #AuthorKathleenRowland

 

Today I have my spotlight on Unholy Alliance by Kathleen Rowland who says, “Thanks a bunch for hosting me for the Happy Holiday exchange.”

Kathleen loves the process of writing and never rushes it with abandon.  She wants her characters and their stories to resonate and please readers. Unholy Alliance is the second book of the Donahue Cousins Series. A third is in the works.

Blurb:

A decade ago, Tori Rourke, and her cousin, Vivienne, ran from the Irish mob after witnessing a brutal murder. Tori was framed by the mob, and while she served time in prison, she worried that the killer, Seamus McGinn, had kidnapped her missing cousin.

Attorney Grady D. Fletcher, defender of the wrongly condemned, appeals Tori’s case and wins her release. Now, going by Victoria Morningstar, she runs a food truck from a seedy waterfront neighborhood, hoping to find her cousin’s kidnapper.

When Grady agrees to defend a new client, Samuel Peterson, who’s been accused of beating to death the wife of a noted professor, the evidence mounts. The professor is missing, as well as his laptop that contains data dangerous to national security.

And Seamus McGinn is back, and rumors of a massive annihilation is about to begin. As they race to assist the FBI, the bonds between Grady and Tori are about to be tested. It becomes clear Grady and Tori are falling fast for each other, but what to do about it is a different story. He’s a divorced dad who wants more time with his kid. She brings danger to his front door.

Grady has questions of his own; Is Vivienne at the center of the mob’s operation? How much will it cost Tori before she learns the truth? All Grady knows is the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

* * *

“Hey friends, I’m sending this excerpt, a thingy that takes place when Tori invites Grady to visit her food truck, Deep Fried to Taste. Ta! Hope you like him.”

~ Kathleen

Excerpt:

Grady double-arm waved at her. It was as if he were a two-dimensional character in a dream. Handsome. As upstanding as any man could be. Her legs gave way. The figure in the distance did that, and she grabbed the counter. Dizzy and short of breath, she chastised herself for holding on to the romantic notions she fantasized about a hundred times a day. She stuck her head out the window. “I’m coming out.”

Grady met her on the stairs and offered a hand. The closer he got, the harder it was to concentrate on stepping down. His killer smile showed off two sexy dimples when he said, “It’s noon.”

“Good noon to you.” She gulped. Readying herself for conversation, she took his hand, rose on her toes, and sniffed. “Hmmm, what is that? Shaving lotion? Man perfume?”

He chuckled, and a weird electric awareness went off in her chest. In slow motion, it cracked open slowly, sent out sparkly runners to forgotten girl parts, and pulsed there.

She pulled her shoulders back and lifted her chin. Their gazes locked. Her hair loosened from her bandana. “Drat, I’m a chef. Hair is supposed to stay put.” She took it off, placed the center of the bandana on the nape of her neck and tied a knot on the top of her head.

He reached to help tuck the ends under. “You’re so darn cute.”

“Oooo, that scent. Are you going to tell me what it is?”

Eau des Baux Eau.” The warm, deep sound of his voice sent more sensations of want right through her. Behind him, the sun stretched a bit higher and seemed to shine just on him. “You like it?”

“I sure do. Vanilla. You smell like a cookie.” Her heart thudded harder than it should.

“Do you like cookies?” He bent his head for a kiss.

She kissed Mr. Good Noon with the wavy reddish-brown hair and body made to lose sleep over. Her breath hitched, and she took a step back from heartbreak. No reason to set sights on a man way out of her league. The glow dimmed, and the warmth backed off. “Care to look at my menu?” She stepped closer to the blackboard.

“Now you’re speaking my language. I’m starving.” He raised his eyebrows and the corners of his mouth lifted. “Pimento cheeseburger corn dog.”

“That’s my great food mash-up.”

“I can see why. It blends two favorites, the cheeseburger, and the corn dog.

* * *

All purchase links are below:

Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/Unholy-Alliance-Donahue-Cousins-Novel-ebook/dp/B06X9DY642/

Kindle UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06X9DY642

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/706264

For all others, look here: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Rowland_Kathleen/unholy-alliance.htm

 

Meet the author, Kathleen Rowland, and her dark and dangerous world of romantic suspense.

 

 

Award-winning author Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts.  Writing a romantic suspense series for Tirgearr Publishing, Deadly Alliance is followed by Unholy AllianceBittersweet Alliance in the works. Keep an icy drink handy while reading these sizzling romantic thrillers.

Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.   She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji.  Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.

Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors.  While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write.  If you’d enjoy secrets behind books, signup for Kathleen’s newsletter on her website:

http://www.kathleenrowland.com/

https://twitter.com/rowlandkathleen

https://kathleenrowland.wordpress.com/

http://www.kathleenrowland.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/romanticsuspense.kathleenrowland/

#HappyHolidays #HolidayRomance #AuthorRonnieAllen

Today on the Happy Holiday tour, I have Author Ronnie Allen showcasing her book, Scorpio The Sign Behind The Crime Book 3.

This sounds like a great read! Hope you enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Details

Scorpio

The Sign Behind The Crime

Book 3

With a mind as strong as twisted steel, Scorpio obsessed Henry Slater, suave, sophisticated, sexy, intelligent, and wealthy is the perfect man—except to women who tell him what he doesn’t want to hear.

Dr. John Trenton is called back to NYC for a case close to his heart, while NYPD Detective Samantha “Sam” Wright and Dr. Frank Khaos, conflicted about their on-again-off-again relationship, take on another case—a serial killer who’s orchestrated sixteen murders across the United States over a nine-year period. The seventeenth victim is Sam’s best friend, Carrie Baines. When forensic science connects Frank to Slater, Frank is pushed to delve into his past, something he swore never to do. Meanwhile, due to the interstate nature of the crimes the FBI gets involved, convincing Sam to go undercover. But Slater is clever, and Sam is no match for him. Will her psychic skills and police training be enough to survive this close encounter with a killer, or will she end up as his eighteenth victim? And even if she lives, is her relationship with Frank really over?

Excerpt

His reaction took her totally by surprise. How could he do this to her?

“Any more good news?” The sarcasm rolled off his tongue. “That’s not what I’m concerned with.”

“Then what?”

“The way he looked at you.”

“Don’t worry about it. We’re adults here.”

“Exactly.”

“Frank, please. Can’t you deal with this?”

He did a double take. “Know what, Sam? No. I can’t. And I didn’t realize you’re so emotionally disconnected.” He checked the clock and blew out a deep breath. “As soon as it hits daylight, I think it’s best that you go back to your place.” He rolled over onto his left side, his back facing her.

“What are you saying, Frank?”

He barely turned his head. “Use your psychic intuition to figure out what I’m saying.”

“You’re breaking up with me?”

“I think we need to distance ourselves. It’s been too hot and heavy these past eight weeks, anyway. You’re not the woman I thought I knew.”

“How in hell are we supposed to distance ourselves? We work cases together. Every day, if I have to remind you.”

“Keep it formal. I’m now Dr. Khaos from you, and you’re Detective Wright from me.”

“But—”

“No buts. I’m done. We’re done.” His stomach twisted as he uttered those last two words.

 

About Ronnie Allen

Ronnie Allen is a NYC native transplanted to rural Central Florida nine years ago. A teacher in The New York City Department of Education for 33 years, she also obtained a license as NYS School Psychologist. In later education, she added certification as a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, earning a Ph.D. in Parapsychic Sciences. Ronnie uses her expertise in education, the paranormal, and psychic development throughout her novels.  She’s an advocate for children, and their health and well-being. This is evident in the themes of her novels and in the dedications. Scorpio is the third book in The Sign Behind the Crime series.

Readers can find Ronnie at:

Http://www.ronnieallennovel.com

Facebook http://Facebook.com/ronnieanovelist

Twitter http://twitter.com/ronnieanovelist

Instagram http://instagram.com/ronnieanovelist

 

#HappyHolidays #HolidayRomance #AuthorLindaMcLaughlin

Today, on the Happy Holidays tour, I’m pleased to present Linda Mclaughlin and her western romance Lily and The Gambler.

 

My Western romance, Lily and the Gambler, set in the autumn in California Gold Country, specifically Grass Valley, 1868. My husband and I visited the area some years ago and I fell in love with it. Grass Valley was especially interesting to me because of the large Cornish population in the 19th century. This area had deep gold veins that couldn’t be panned. Cornish miners were encouraged to come because of their experience in the tin mines of Cornwall, which were petering out. To this day, the Cornish pasty is a local treat, and the city still celebrates a Cornish Christmas.

~ Linda

 

 Lily & the Gambler

By Linda McLaughlin

Sensual Western Historical Romance

Blurb:

Respectability is in the eye of the beholder. Or so Lily Penhallow hopes when she assumes the guise of the widow Albright. She has learned the price of flaunting convention and is determined to obey society’s rules from now on. After her lover, Nigel Albright, was killed in a duel over a card game, Lily dons widow’s weeds and travels to Grass Valley, California where she plans to marry the man her uncle works for, a respectable mine owner named Hugh Ogilvie. Then, on the riverboat from San Francisco, she meets Creighton ‘King’ Callaway, a professional gambler, just the kind of man she should avoid.

King believes that since life is a gamble, there’s no point in planning for the future. You have to trust Lady Luck. After meeting Lily, King knows he has found his Queen of Hearts. But can he convince her to pass up a sober businessman for a foot-loose card sharp?

Only Lady Luck knows for sure…

(Previously published in a shortened version by Amber Quill Press)

Excerpt:

Lily smiled at him. “That was quite a trick. Do you tell fortunes, too?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. Is the lady interested?”

“Perhaps,” she said, aware he was flirting with her again and annoyed with herself because she was enjoying it. “There should be a deck of cards here somewhere.”

“No cards required. Just let me see your palm.”

Unable to stop herself, Lily stripped off her gloves and let him take her hand. He held it in his left hand, and with his right index finger, traced the lines on her palm. Shivers ran up her arm at each caressing touch. His scent, a mixture of bay rum, male musk, and a faint hint of tobacco, overwhelmed her.

“What do you see?” she asked, her voice suddenly breathless.

“Health and long life.”

“What, no handsome stranger?” she joked.

He raised his head and stared into her eyes. “Oh, yes, I see romance ahead for you. With a dark haired fellow. But he isn’t a stranger.”

For what seemed an age, she stared into his green-gold eyes while her pulse quickened and warmth stole through her veins. It would be so easy to surrender to the feelings he evoked.

“I also see a fork in the road ahead,” he added softly. “You have a decision to make. A very important decision.”

She snatched her hand away, knowing she couldn’t afford to be distracted by him. It wasn’t as if he had made her any promises. “I think you need to practice your fortune-telling skills, Mr. Callaway.”

He chuckled. “There’s something else I’d like to practice.” Cupping her chin, he stared at her, his eyes full of half promises. “Oh, hell, I may get my face slapped for this, but…” His hand moved to the back of her neck as he lowered his head and captured her lips in a kiss that stole her breath away.

For a moment, she closed her eyes and gave herself up to the kiss. Then a door slammed somewhere in the house, reminding her of where they were. She pushed him away. “How dare you?” she hissed.

He gave her a lazy grin. “What’s that old saying? Nothing ventured, nothing gained?”

“I think you’d best be going.”

He paused at front door, turned and held her gaze for a moment, then left.

She sighed and leaned against the doorjamb. What had she been thinking to let him kiss her, however briefly?

 

Excerpt #2:

 At last he pulled the buggy off the road at a small clearing by the stream. He set the break and jumped out to help her from the conveyance. As usual, he held her a little too closely, only this time he didn’t let go when her feet touched the ground.

She stared up into his eyes. “King?”

“I can’t get over how lovely you are,” he said, his voice husky.

“You’re quite good-looking yourself.” She reached up to stroke his cheek, still smooth from his morning shave. Her heart was beating faster than usual. Would he try to kiss her?

He turned his head and pressed a kiss into her palm. He drew her closer and lowered his head. Just then she heard the noise of another horse and drew back.

“Anyone could see us. I have to be careful of my reputation.”

He cursed under his breath, grabbed the picnic basket and a blanket from the buggy and led the way through the woods to a more secluded spot by the stream. “Is this better?”

She peered back the way they had come, but couldn’t see the road. “Yes.” Though she knew it was never safe to be alone with this man, she went willingly. She must have lost her senses.

He spread the blanket on the ground and put the basket down before reaching for her. “Now where were we?”

She smiled. “I think you were about to kiss me.”

“So I was.” He pulled her to him, one arm around her waist and the other hand cupping her head. His lips were warm and searching, demanding she respond in kind. She sighed into the kiss. Goodness, she’d forgotten how blissful the act could be. She wrapped her arms around his waist and gave herself up to the kiss, delighting in the sensations coursing through her. How was she going to resist this man?

At last, he pulled his mouth away with a groan. “I want you, Lily, more than you realize.”

“I know,” she whispered, stepping away to stare at the water in the creek rippling below. “But I’m not ready for more than kisses.” She spoke the lie, knowing he needed no encouragement to take her right there. She wanted him, too, wanted to feel his skin against her own, feel his weight on her, the pleasure he could give her. But she was afraid. Afraid of losing control, of being caught in wanton behavior, of being ostracized from society. He’d made her no promises and his advances promised only ruination. “You want marriage,” he said.

She turned to look at him, not sure whether she should be angry or disappointed. “Ideally, yes. I need some assurances. What are your intentions, sir? Do you think to seduce me once and abandon me?”

He stepped nearer and ran a finger down the side of her face and neck. A shiver passed through her. “I doubt once would be enough.”

 

Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle US: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01MYMEKMD/

BN/Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lily-and-the-gambler-linda-mclaughlin/1125157205

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lily-and-the-gambler

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/728787

Author bio:

Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of books and history, so it’s only natural she prefers writing historical romance. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward. Linda also writes steamy to erotic romance under the name Lyndi Lamont, and is one half of the writing team of Lyn O’Farrell. A native of Pittsburgh, PA. she now lives in Southern California.

 

Connect with Linda online at:

 Follow her Blog (sign up in the footer area): https://lindalyndi.com/reading-room-blog/

Like her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LindaMcLaughlinAuthor

Follow her at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/lindamclaughlin

Follow her at Twitter: @Lyndi Lamont https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont

Links for graphics if needed: Author Photo: http://lindalyndi.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/LindaMcLaughlin2015-1.jpg

 

New Thunderclap Campaign for Lead Me Into Temptation

I have a new thunderclap campaign for my latest release, Lead Me Into Temptation. If I get 100 supporters to support me on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumbler before the 19th then my campaign is sent out to 100,000 people. It’s super easy and any support would be greatly appreciated. All you do is click on the link below and it’ll direct you to another page where you simply click on the red button for Facebook, Twitter, Or Tumbler. That’s it. Easy Peasy. Thanks so much!

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/62763-lead-me-into-temptation#

or

http://sendgrid.thunderclap.it/wf/click?upn=YDBP6RK3mvJEJxxpkIniqKrZyoD86mQKIfeZgPBd6EA-3D_7hLGDzGOGs9qKfYdNXVd1WNxQi-2B499eFESvlBMsmYRcXP7Jtvd-2BQO76N-2FNq5kYlVM6XtCb4HS6LEXNpvk29gox2xqUFCyeqRcEr8-2BNUv5n-2Bp-2F-2BsGMZZiE2Qo5mRlrpz1e8OLDKgxjHOhcBpg7b1PQ0WSCPjj4WoYJbOcKCVYutT80tksYCCMGyZOxFX7BmzXssfu7f4p0f0uhIcc1OOnE-2F9uNH-2BQ-2Bodk6rhMFj9BxlA-3D

 

.99 Historical Romance Super Sale!

Don’t miss this huge .99 cent Historical Romance Super Sale!

Awesome collection! 

 

Image may contain: 2 people

Just click on the link below!

http://www.newwesternromance.com/99historicalromancesupersale/

 

Lead Me Into Temptation Is Here!

I’m super thrilled to announce the debut of my newest release, Lead Me Into Temptation. This historical western romance is the first book in a 3-part series about mail-order brides and can be purchased at Amazon for only .99 cents! Here’s the link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074FW8SD3

Violet Webster is a bride on the run. The last thing she’d wants is to get married, especially to a stranger twice her age. However, agreeing to be a mail-order bride had been her only option and it paid the steep passage to San Francisco so she could locate her father. She’d find him too, if only her betrothed’s son would stay out of her way.

Garrett Sutherlin is on a mission. Delivering the striking, ebony haired beauty to his father’s doorstep not only paid off his debt, the effort would grant him freedom from the man’s condescending hold. As far as he’s concerned, Miss Webster made her own bed.

Unfortunately, his father will be the one to lie beside her.

 

City Boy, Country Heart – With Andrea Downing

Today on my blog, I have the incredible Andrea Downing. She will be discussing her new story, City Boy, Country Heart from the upcoming A Cowboy To Keep Anthology, but first we had a little fun. Andrea was a good sport and answered all kinds of goofy questions.  Her sharp wit will make you laugh out loud.

 

Do you have another job outside of writing?

Yes, that of Mother.

Did you always want to be a writer?

It was interspersed with wanting to be an actress; my first great love is theatre.  I did attend American Academy of Dramatic Arts for a summer but life took me in another direction.

What was your journey to become a writer like?

Bumpy with a lot of flat tires. I get very nervous about showing my work to others so it took me quite a while before I actually sent anything to a publisher.

What do you find to be the most difficult challenges in writing?

Getting my ass on the chair.  I have a Blue Ribbon in Procrastination.

How do you come up with your ideas for a book? What comes first – the plot or the characters?

Generally, the plot and then the characters start talking to me, whispering little sweet somethings.

Most writers have certain quirks or rituals when they write – my must haves are endless cups of coffee, my dog by my feet and complete silence. What are some of yours?

I do like silence but I wrote my first published book, Loveland, while the kitchen was being remodeled so I can’t say it’s an absolute must.  For someone who is basically a quirky person, I haven’t any writing quirks, though I do like a view to daydream by, and I don’t like anyone near me really—so I can’t write on planes or buses or whatever.

What does your writing den look like?

Here at the house, I use my dining table because it has a better view than the desk in the office/tv room. Then there’s the time I’m in Wyoming with a splendid view of the Tetons…if I stretch a bit!

What genre do you prefer? And have you written in any other genres?

I can’t seem to escape the West, though the first book I completed (now in my cupboard at over 600 pages!) was a Georgian romance of the Peninsula War.  Still, since then, it’s been all western romance pretty much, although Dances of the Heart I actually consider Women’s Lit/Romance.

How many stories have you had published?

2 full length novels, 2 novellas, and now City Boy, Country Heart is the 3rd story in an anthology.  I guess that makes 7!

What is one of your favorite stories you’ve written or had published? Please give a brief description of the work.

Oh, come on, that’s like asking which child you prefer! Loveland, my first published work, still makes me happy though I’d like to both re-write it and continue it as a family saga one day.  But Dearest Darling is the story of which I’m most proud—it’s won a ton of awards (to boast!) and I really felt I’d ‘nailed it’ as a mail order bride story.  That’s got quite a twist to it, and Loveland incorporated the British in America as ranchers—which was a bit of history I really had to research thoroughly.

What is your current work in progress about? Or do you have an idea for a future novel?

I’ve semi-started a non-romance book, and have a number of ideas for more western romances.  Let me just get through my daughter’s wedding first please!!!!

Out of all the books you’ve written, published or not, who were your favorite characters and why

I’m in love with all my cowboys.  Who wouldn’t be—not a bad one in the lot!!

How do you come up with your titles?

By imagination!  Loveland had another title I’ll use at some stage but the publisher’s editor rejected; the others just popped into my head, either very quickly like Dearest Darling, or after some consideration, like City Boy, Country Heart.

If one of your books were to be made into a movie who would you cast as your main characters? And why?

Now that is really tough!!  I have a very clear idea of what Jesse in Loveland looks like and no one comes to mind, but I’ll accept Scott Eastwood for almost any of the men characters in my books!

Do you have any words of advice for a new writer?

Don’t be afraid to submit and keep at it—you’ll get there!

What would be something a reader would be surprised to learn about you?

That I lived most of my life in the U.K.?

Do you have any pets? And if so, do they help you write?

No pets, sorry.  We had horses for a while but not now…. Dogs gratefully accepted folks….

Who are a few of your favorite authors? Or the title of the most cherished book you’ve read?

Too many to mention! A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving always come to mind because I think it’s one of the most perfectly rounded novels I’ve ever read.

What are some of the things you enjoy when not writing?

I love traveling, particularly road trips—the open road definitely calls to me—especially if the route takes me west!

When it comes to food or deserts, name at least one of your guilty pleasures.

Chocolate, what else?

Who is your favorite actor or actress?

I really don’t have any, but I’ll see most things with Morgan Freeman in them, as well as Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford.  Yes, I am that old….

What is your most favorite movie?

I’m a sucker for The Blind Side—it just reaffirms my faith in mankind.

City Boy, Country Heart Blurb:

Rodeo star and rancher Chay Ridgway has left Wyoming to follow his girlfriend, K.C. Daniels, to New York. Leaving behind all he knows for a small bite of the Big Apple, Chay discovers the canyons of city streets may be too claustrophobic for this cowboy, especially when the trauma is compounded by the fact K.C.’s parents dislike him, their housemate is a harridan, friends are few, and the only job he can get is rounding up dinner plates.

As K.C. continues her two years of study for her Master’s degree, can she also continue to keep a rein on Chay’s heart? Will this cowboy become a city boy, or will the wide-open spaces of Wyoming call his country heart home?

City Boy, Country Heart Excerpt:

“Chay.” K.C. knew this late at night, the thought of starting a long discussion about anything was not on his cards.

He turned to head for the bathroom.

“Chay,” she repeated. “My parents want us to go for dinner Saturday night, the night you’re off.”

He turned in the bathroom doorway, shirt hanging open, belt undone, his arms up either side of the door frame as if he were supporting it. “Us or you?” he asked before twisting toward the sink. To the silence he repeated, “Us or you, K.C.?” He squeezed some paste on his toothbrush and raised it to his mouth before peering back at her over his shoulder.

She sat still, silent, the papers in her lap.

“They asked you, didn’t they, and you said you’d only go if they had me as well, didn’t you?”

“We’re a couple! They have no right. And it’s time you got used to being part of the family, and they got used to you being a part of me.”

“I don’t have to get used to ‘being a part of the family.’ I’m not going to be a part of your family; we’re not going to be living here. At least I’m not.”

“Chay. If…if we stay together, you…have to see them, have to put up with them, at least on some occasions.” She paused. “You know darn well they’ll visit us in Wyoming.”

Chay ignored her for a bit, the brush at his teeth. Spit hit the sink as if he were ridding his mouth of the taste of K.C.’s parents. He grabbed a towel and gave his face a peremptory wipe before throwing down the toothbrush, stripping off his shirt and confronting her. “We will stay together. I hope. But that doesn’t mean I have to like your parents, and it doesn’t mean you can’t go see them without me. There’s no point in shoving me in their face if they are so antagonistic to the thought of us being a couple. Go see them, K.C., give them my regards.”

She watched for a moment as he stepped out of his jeans and yanked his socks off. “Will you go for Thanksgiving and Christmas?”

He looked at her, a crooked smile just turning up his mouth, his eyes glinting. “Are you going to cook a turkey?”

“Noooo.”

“Then I’ll go. If I’m really, truly invited. I’ll go. Now will you go on your own, on Saturday?”

“I’ll go on my own, but not on Saturday when it’s your day off. I’ll phone her tomorrow and arrange another evening.”

Chay slipped into bed and slid the papers she was holding out of her hands. “That’s my girl,” he whispered as he moved in for a kiss. “That’s my girl.”

Andrea Downing Bio:

A native New Yorker who has spent most of her life drinking tea in the U.K., Andrea Downing now gets her coffee from Zabars in New York or drinks Jackson Hole Coffee in Wyoming. Her background in publishing and English Language teaching has transferred into fiction writing, and her love of horses, ranches, and rodeo is reflected in award-winning and best-selling historical and contemporary western romances.

WEBSITE AND BLOG:  http://andreadowning.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/writerAndreaDowning

Twitter:  @andidowning  https://twitter.com/AndiDowning

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Downing/e/B008MQ0NXS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

 

All In For Love

On my blog today, I’m lucky to have six talented authors debuting their new anthology – All In For Love.

ALL IN FOR LOVE

An Inn Decent Proposal By Sharon Buchbinder

Perfect Odds By Lashanta Charles

A Ghost To Die For By Keta Diablo

Raising Kane By Kat Henry Doran

For Money Or Love By Margo Hoornstra

Take A Chance On Me By M.J. Schiller

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense Anthology

Release Date: June 1, 2017

                                                                                                                                                         B071V94BWM   

ALL IN FOR LOVE

Six award-winning authors bring you six *sweet to sensual* romances filled with suspense, thrills and maybe even a ghost or two—for less than the price of a cup of coffee99 cents!

Welcome to La Bonne Chance Resort & Casino!

With thousands of people passing through the casino’s doors on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that a variety of lives and loves are on the line there. It’s said that you’re more likely to lose your heart at La Bonne Chance than a hand of poker. Whether you are the Director of Casino Operations or the guy who created its software, a jilted bride or a black jack dealer, a past guest’s ghost or a sous chef–when it comes to love, the stakes are high.

Thank goodness what happens at La Bonne Chance, doesn’t always stay at La Bonne Chance….

Ready to roll the dice?

An Inn Decent Proposal, Sharon Buchbinder
Can an hotelier with a past and a chef with a future revive the grand dame in a neglected old inn?

Perfect Odds, Lashanta Charles
When a jilted bride meets the man of her dreams, will she embrace the new plan, or cling stubbornly to the old one?

A Ghost To Die For, Keta Diablo
She didn’t believe in ghosts…until one showed up in her room.

Raising Kane, Kat Henry Doran
Funny how a night in jail will change a woman’s outlook on life.

For Money Or Love, Margo Hoornstra
She’s the one woman he can’t afford to lose.

Take A Chance On Me, M.J. Schiller
Who do you count on when the chips are down?

Giveaway

To add to the fun, we are giving away one gambling themed handmade item to ONE lucky commenter who will be selected by a Random Number Generator.

Links

Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071V94BWM

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/allinforloveanthology/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35052000-all-in-for-love

Webpage http://lucky6authorsblog.blogspot.com/  

Tagline (20 words) What happens at La Bonne Chance, doesn’t always stay at La Bonne Chance. Are you ready to roll the dice?

* * *

Excerpts and Author Fun Facts

Excerpt from An Inn Decent Proposal by Sharon Buchbinder

After the hotel auction, a stunned Jim Rawlings and excited Genie King go to Sips, a local coffee house. Overwhelmed with self-doubts verging on buyer’s remorse, Jim begins to question his sanity. Genie, on the other hand, is bursting with enthusiasm and ideas…

 

“Why did you want this place?”

“The old girl called to me, begged me to save her.” He gave Genie a wistful smile. “Do I sound crazy?”

“You call the Inn ‘she,’ too?”

“Yes, she’s like a grand old dame who’s fallen on hard times.  Remember the parties? The famous people who stayed and played there? Celebrities came to the Inn because they knew their privacy and secrets were safe with us. If those walls could talk!  Every day was new and exciting. I would love to bring back her glory days.”

Genie leaped up, ran around the table and hugged him. “I have the same dream. We can do it.”

He hesitated for a moment, then returned the gesture, his hands unable to resist lingering on her luscious curves just a tad too long. Genie’s inviting cleavage made him wish they were somewhere private. He could scarcely breathe and had to shake his head to dispel naughty images of nuzzling her soft breasts. “We can do what?”

She sat down again, but clung to his hands. “I’ve done the research. The Inn should be in the National Park Service Historic Registry—but it isn’t. If we can get her added to the Registry, there are laws and standards about how we make the rehabilitation. We can bring it up to modern codes, but have to use certain treatments—”

“I hate to burst your bubble, but where will we get the money to do all this?” He wasn’t sure he could afford too many more big gambles like this last one.

Her face flushed and her sapphire blue eyes sparkled. “If we can get her added to the Registry, we’ll qualify for special low interest loans. And for a major tax credit. And we have a million dollars in equity.”

“Pretty, smart—and you say you can cook? If you can do all that, you are a genie.”

She released his hands, pulled her shoulders back, and inadvertently gave him a better glimpse of her bosom. Genie gave him a scalding look. “Are you challenging my cooking, Mr. Rawlings?”

Uh-oh. He never dreamed of Genie having a little temper. He couldn’t resist tweaking her. “I’m sure you’re a solid cook.”

She stood, almost knocking her chair over. “Solid? What the hell does that mean? Average? Good enough to make the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner for the family—but not good enough to cook for guests? Tell you what, Mr. Critic, you come to my house for dinner tomorrow night.” She scribbled her address on a business card and threw it on the table. “My food makes men go weak at the knees.”

Hypnotized by the sway of her voluptuous ass as she stalked out of the nearly empty café, Jim bet it wasn’t just this saucy woman’s cooking that made strong men weak.

 

About Sharon Buchbinder

Sharon Buchbinder and her husband used to breed and show Egyptian Maus and Color Point Persians (formerly called Himalayans). If you’ve ever seen the mockumentary, Best in Show, you have an idea of what life was like 24 out of 52 weekends a year for this wild and crazy couple. When Sharon returned to school for her PhD in 1986, she decided a doctoral program plus a toddler plus a full time job was more than enough and they placed all their cats in good homes—including their own.

* * *

Excerpt from Perfect Odds by Lashanta Charles

Callista is meeting her fiancé at the airport so they can fly out to N.Y. where they’re supposed to get married, but it seems plans have been changed without her knowledge.
“James? Where are you? They’re boarding everyone now,” I say when I answer.

“I’m not coming,” he says.

I pause in making my way to the attendant station. Surely I heard him wrong.

“Hang on a sec, let me ask them how long we have before they can no longer wait. If you’re here already it shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll just need to hurry. Like, sprint through the airport or maybe get one of those guys on the carts to give you a ride somehow.”

The attendant smiles at me and holds her hand out for my boarding pass. I move to give it to her, but hear James speaking again.

“Cali, you’re not listening. I’m not there. I’m not coming,” he says.

Pulling my boarding pass away from the attendant, I force a smile and step away for privacy. “What are you talking about, James? I’m here waiting for you.” As if he doesn’t know that. He helped me load our luggage into the car before I left this morning. Is this some sick joke he’s pulling right now?

“I’m not coming, Cali,” James repeats for the third time.

I stare numbly at the ‘now boarding’ screen above the attendant. I heard him the first two times. It makes as much sense now as it did then – none.

“I don’t understand. You can’t not come. I can see if they’ll schedule us for a different flight. I’m sure it’s not too late. We’re getting there early enough that one day won’t really matter,” I tell him.

He lets out an exasperated sigh. He’s annoyed? We’re two weeks away from our wedding and I’m at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, sans fiancé. I battled an hour and a half of traffic to get here and get us both checked in two hours early, lugged all our suitcases – overweight, I might add – only for him to call when it’s time to board the flight to New York and tell me he’s not coming, yet, he’s the one who’s annoyed?

“I don’t know what else to say, Cali. I’m trying to do right by you here. We both knew this wouldn’t end well.”

I splutter. Try as I might, I can no longer get the words to flow from my mouth to have this conversation. We didn’t know anything of the sort. Do right by me? How is standing me up for our wedding doing right by me? I didn’t ask to marry myself. I didn’t insist on us having a short engagement or me moving in with him. I definitely didn’t count on any of this.

 

About Lashanta Charles

So I don’t really have anything too witty, but I have a 6-year-old with a sharp tongue. One of the things I always tell my kids is that mommy and daddy knows everything. So one day I’m taking my daughter to the store to buy toys with her birthday money. This is how the conversation went:
Her: So, who gave me this birthday money?

Me: Poppy (Grandad)

Her: Oh, I really miss Poppy. I want to go see him.

Me: Well, you have to wait until this summer, when you’re out of school.

Her: Why?

Me: Because you have to learn things in school and if you miss a day, you’ll miss what you need to learn and then you won’t know everything.

Her: Ohhhhh, you mean like you and daddy don’t really know everything even though you say you do?

Me: *speechless*

 

* * *

Excerpt from A Ghost To Die For by Keta Diablo

Rooney encounters a stranger in her hotel room and soon finds out he’s a ghost!

 

Rooney looked at the man through narrowed eyes. “You weren’t at the séance on stage, so what then, were you in the audience?”

No, I was on stage, but kind of hanging around in the background. He put his hands in the air, palms out. I swear, I won’t hurt you, but I been lurking around this hotel for two months now wondering how I was going to get out of this mess. Then you arrived at La Bonne Chance with your sister, you know, the fabulous Fontaine sisters, the crème-dela-crème of psychics, and my prayers were answered.

She snorted. “I’m not a psychic, mister, so if that’s your angle, you picked the wrong sister.”

No, I picked the right sister. Now if only I can get her to hear me out.

“I don’t want to hear you out; I want you to get the hell out of my hotel room. Like now!” When he didn’t comply, she moved the can of hair spray until it loomed inches from his face. “I’m going to count to three. If you aren’t out of that chair and out that door by then, I’m giving you a face full of hair spray.”

Go ahead. Maybe then you’ll realize what I am and listen.

“You asked for it.” She held the nozzle down and let him have it right between the eyes. He didn’t move a muscle, didn’t react at all. Much to her dismay, she didn’t even have the satisfaction of seeing him blink. The drizzle and aroma of hair spray hung heavy in the air but didn’t seem to bother him nearly as much as it did her. Through a series of chokes and chortles she managed to eke out the words. “What are you, some kind of weirdo with inhuman defenses?”

A ghost.

“What!”

You asked me what I am and I’m telling you. I’m a ghost.

Eyes wide, voice in shriek mode, she fell onto the edge of the bed and glared at him. “You can’t be a ghost. I don’t believe in ghosts!”

Understandable. Neither did I until I became one.

She reached out and touched his arm, more to prove him wrong than anything else. A startled scream escaped when her fingers danced through vacant air. Coming to her feet, she paced a small area beside the bed. “This can’t be happening. It isn’t possible.”

That’s exactly what I said when they pushed me off the balcony and I wound up in this state.

She resumed her prior position on the bed. “Someone pushed you off a balcony?”

More like tossed me over, right here at the La Bonne Chance Casino, seventh floor, two months ago.

“Two months ago? You’ve been wandering around here for two months?”

He released an exasperated sigh. I thought you might be a good listener, but I’ve said that twice now. Two months ago I died, and yes I’ve been hanging out here, twiddling my thumbs and trying to figure out what to do next.

“You can’t leave the hotel?”

Not yet, anyway. I’m working on it, but you have no idea how much energy it takes just to project my voice. No one else has been able to hear me, or see me, until you, Rooney, and now I seem to be experiencing a renewed sense of energy.

“Stop saying my name as if we’re besties.”

Well, after that séance and the conversation you had with Violet about your little sister, Vanessa, I kind of feel as if we are.

 

About Keta Diablo

Keta once dressed up as old man on Halloween and picked up her 9th grader at school in costume! Needless to say, he wasn’t pleased. In fact, he refused to get in the car. She followed him out of the parking lot and down the street for two blocks before he’d even look at her. Yes, he finally got in, but didn’t appreciate her humor…at all. Update: He’s in college now and says the “old man” incident is now one of his fondest childhood memories.

 

* * *

Excerpt from Raising Kane by Kat Henry Doran

Lt. Kieran Pollack signs in to work and comes up against the woman of his dreams: Mallory Kane, ace investigative reporter. Unfortunately she’s just spent the night in jail and is in no mood to speak with anyone–particularly a cop.

 

“Anything I need to know before I head upstairs, Sarge?”

“It’s all there.” The night duty man passed him the report from the previous platoon. “The usual pugs, thugs and mugs threw themselves a circus down at The Dirty Dawg last night.”

Kieran scrawled his name on the sign-in roster. “Again? Somebody ought to look into closing down that pest hole.”

“I bet the Mayor is thinkin’ along those same lines. With the Chief on vacation and the Deputy Chief at a meeting out of town, as PIO it’s your job to handle the fallout. Lucky man.”

Fall-out? “What are you talking about?”

A woman with mile-long legs and hair the color of roasting chestnuts strode past the desk, heading in the direction of the revolving door.

“Overnight guest,” the sergeant advised under his breath. “TV Reporter. I was you, I’d head that one off at the pass.”

In addition to a talent for scoping out shapely legs, Kieran possessed the good sense to act on sound advice. After shooting both cuffs and ensuring his tie hung straight, he glided up beside the woman. “Excuse me, miss?”

She stopped, threw back her shoulders, then turned. “Yes?”

In the shimmer of an early morning sun he saw a nasty bruise blossoming across one cheekbone and winced. “Does that hurt as bad as it looks?”

“Who are you and what do you want?”

She possessed a voice designed to make a man think of hot nights and cool sheets. Extending a hand, he launched into his usual PIO song and dance. “Kieran Pollack, Public Information Officer for the Victory PD. What’s a pretty thing such as yourself doing in a joint like this?”

The screech of tires on the street outside obscured any response she might have made. Panel vans bearing the logos of the local TV affiliates disgorged reporters and camera-persons who wasted no time in storming the doors to the Public Safety Building.

Kieran attempted to head her off at the pass with a fast two-step and a faster line of bull. “Look, can you help out this hard working public servant?”

She raised one hand to shield her injured cheek. “Not without my attorney.”

“Aw, now. Why do you want to go and do something like that? We don’t need no lousy lawyers to make things right, do we?”

“I believe it’s somewhere in the Bill of Rights,” she murmured, eluding his out-stretched hand with a fast step to the left.

“Please. Hear me out,” he pressed, one eye on the camera-persons now jockeying for position just inside the doors. “I can make this all disappear―if we could go someplace to talk. It would be to your advantage, I promise.”

A spark flared in those dull, pain-filled eyes. “I’d sooner walk barefoot through a nest of pit vipers than spend one second alone with any member of the Victory Police Department.”

 

About Kat Doran

There was the time I played private duty nurse for my uncle, after he underwent a resection of an aortic aneurysm. Very scary for a number of different reasons. It became my job to ensure Father Joe got sufficient rest which boiled down to playing traffic cop and time-keeper on visitors. On one afternoon, I could see Joe was fatigued and needed a nap. As I rounded up the crowd to send them out the door, one smirked at me. “Who’s Nurse Ratched, Joe?” he asked.

I said, “Who are you, the Pope?”

He said, “Close to it, honey. I’m the Bishop.”

Aw geez.

 

* * *

 

Excerpt from For Money or Love by Margo Hoornstra

Lindsey Carr’s two best friends, Rita and Anne, discuss exactly why she and her mega-millionaire boss, Daniel Montgomery, are no longer romantically involved.
Shooting Lindsey a quickly manufactured smile, she turned her full attention to the eye candy. “No doubt about it. Those are bedroom eyes.” She trailed her fingertips over Daniel’s forehead, down his cheek and onto the outline of his lips.

Lindsey brought both hands to her lap under the table, locked her fingers together and squeezed. It was a four-page spread in Today’s Tech magazine. The picture of Daniel’s forehead, cheek and lips.

An important distinction to remember. If that had been her boss in the flesh he’d be blushing beet red from all the fluttery female attention. Daniel Montgomery was different than most other powerful millionaires. Those she’d heard about anyway. Certainly drop dead gorgeous as had been established. With a mile wide shy streak not many people knew about or even suspected. Hands still clasped, Lindsey leaned away from the display.

Anne slid her glass aside and moved up to fill the void, her critical gaze focused on Daniel’s picture. “I’m never sure what the term ‘bedroom eyes’ means.”

“Not droopy or sleepy.” Rita didn’t bother to look up. “Sexy. There’s no other word for it. Well, maybe erotic would fit. I must say, Lindsey. It amazes me you can work side by side with this man day in and day out and manage to keep your hands to yourself.”

“It’s easy.” She murmured the blatant lie. Very easy. He does the same and then some.

“You and this marvelous specimen.” Rita waited until Lindsey glanced up then met her eye to eye. “As a couple, are old news, right? That’s what you’ve said.”

“Absolutely.” Purposely lowering her voice, she mentally counted to five before she spoke again. “We did the dating thing for a while.” She shrugged one shoulder for effect. “It didn’t work for us.”

Lindsey took a small gulp of wine to avoid having to share more, and was relieved when Rita and Anne went back to hunk browsing. Trying her best to ignore the fact it was Daniel’s hunk they browsed, she gave up to give into her own thoughts about the man.  Bowing to a mutual attraction that became evident soon after they met, Lindsey and Daniel dated for a time. A very short time, consisting of a few casual dinners, a couple of movies.  That one night in….

“Why didn’t it work for you exactly?”

Unsure who asked the question, Lindsey looked up then blinked. “It just didn’t.” She slowly let out a breath. “I don’t think of Daniel Montgomery in that way.” Much anymore.

“Then why are you blushing?” Her sharp gaze unrelenting, Rita leaned considered her from across the table. “Care to share?”

I’ll have no peace around here until I do. Taking her time to indulge in another sip, she completed a long, slow swallow then licked her lips.

 

About Margo Hoornstra

Becoming a coffee connoisseur wasn’t an instant fall head over heels event for Margo Hoornstra. Initial cups were loaded with milk and sugar. When the children arrived, two AM feedings coupled with six AM risings for work necessitated more indispensable caffeine. Flavored, iced, lattes and such, a true coffee aficionado, she covets them all.

 

* * *

Excerpt from Take A Chance On Me by M.J. Schiller

After chasing leads at the station, Cash returns to his home where his partner, Ian, is supposed to be watching over the murder witness, Harper…

 

Cash slowly pulled his keys out of the door, examining the pair. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing. Right, Ian?”

Ian nodded loosely. “Nothing. Like she said.”

Cash closed the door and set his keys on the end table. “Uh-huh.” He stuck his hands in his pockets. “What’s behind your back?”

Ian shot a glance at Harper. “You’re on your own.” He ducked into the kitchen.

“Coward,” she mumbled out of the side of her mouth.

Cash moved forward, and she took a step back. He lunged, catching her, and causing her to scream. He wrestled the bottle from her hand and brought it out where he could see it. Ian ran in, his concerned gaze darting to Harper. He stopped and put a hand over his heart, leaning against the side of the archway between the two rooms.

“Hmm.” Cash took a step back, tilting the bottle. He fought the smile tugging on his lips. “Is this my Jäger?”

Ian and Harper looked at each other with open mouths, but neither spoke.

Cash ambled over to the coffee table and clinked the bottle against the shot glasses as he set it down. “So—and correct me if I’m wrong—it looks like, while I’ve been out working my ass off, the two of you were busy getting snockered.”

“Oh, no.” Harper shook her head. “We were working hard, right, Ian?”

Ian made an attempt to stand straight, but swayed comically. “We were working hard.” He nodded, but turned to Harper. “What were we working hard at again?”

“Looking at the mug shots.”

“Oh. Yeah. That’s right. We were looking at the mug shots.” He faced Cash. “And doing shots.”

“Sh-sh-sh. It’s a secret.” Harper laughed.

Ian chuckled along with her. “Oh, yeah.”

Cash put his hands on his hips. “Well, I hate to tell you, friends, but the cat’s out of the bag now.”

“Cat? What cat?” Harper laughed, seeming to be slightly more sober than her partner in crime, his partner.

“He has a cat?” Ian seemed genuinely confused, looking around for the feline. “You never told me you had a cat.”

Harper sputtered and broke into laughter again.

Cash sat, hiding his chuckle. She was so damned cute. He put his feet on the coffee table, spreading his arms out along the top of the couch. “Whose idea was this anyhow?”

They pointed at each other.

“It was mine?” Harper asked. Ian nodded. “Oh. It was mine.” She smiled and didn’t appear to try to hide her pride.

Cash shook his head, staring at them for a moment. He stood and pulled out his phone. “Okay, Ian. I’m calling you an Uber.” He punched some buttons. “Chrissy’s gonna kick your butt. And the next time she sees me, she’s gonna kick my butt.” He looked at his screen. “Two minutes away.” He came over and put his arm around Ian, steering him to the door.

“I’m leaving?”

Cash grabbed his jacket off a recliner. “Yes, you are. Maybe the night air will sober you up some.”

“I doubt it.”

Cash laughed. “I doubt it, too. And you, little missie—” he swung around to point to her.

She looked about, then put a finger on her chest and mouthed “Me?”

“Yes, you. Don’t think you’re off the hook. I’ll deal with you when I get back.”

 

 

About M.J. Schiller

One day–when M.J.’s triplets were about two, and her eldest four–she was doing laundry and matching up the socks, one of her least favorite chores. She lined them up all along her arms as she hunted for their mates. After a bit of fruitless searching, she glanced at the time and realized she needed to hustle to be on time for a prayer service she was attending at her church.

 

She made it in time, her four children in tow, and removed her coat before kneeling to say a prayer. An half hour later, as she piously prayed along with the congregation, her eldest asked, “Mommy, why do you have a sock on your shoulder?” She had missed removing one of her husband’s long, mateless gym socks!

 

 

 

 

 

Phoenix Heat with Patti Sherry-Crews

IT’S GETTING HOT IN HERE!

Today on my blog I’m interviewing the Amazon bestseller Patti Sherry-Crews.

Patti’s recent release is PHOENIX HEAT, one of seven stories featured in the

A COWBOY TO KEEP Anthology.

https://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Keep-Contemporary-Western-Collection-ebook/dp/B072869SGV

Do you have another job outside of writing?

I had an Irish and British import store for 15 years. I gave it up to be a stay-at-home mom, but I work from home. I cane and rush chair seats, which I learned from my mother when she wanted to stay at home with us! I don’t advertise anymore because I stay busy enough by word of mouth.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I don’t remember thinking I wanted to be a writer when I was young, but looking back I always had a writer’s mind. Like I make up stories to daydream by or put myself to sleep since I was little. And then I was always someone who hoovered around in the background observing the action. I love words too! There is such power in word choice. I did toy with the idea of writing when I was in my twenties, but I finally gave myself permission to write when I turned 50 as a present to myself.

What was your journey to become a writer like?

Once I sat down to write my first novel, the words just poured out. I thought I was writing an important novel, but it was really just a thinly veiled memoir! But, they say, write your own story first.

In the beginning I felt guilty taking the time to write and did it in secret for maybe an hour a day. Then one day I accidentally deleted the whole thing! I had to ask my husband for help retrieving it and so outed myself. He’s been incredibly supportive.

The next important step occurred when I did a NaNoWriMo challenge. I realized I could spend hours a day writing and still have time to take care of business. It was a revelation! People still ate and the laundry got done same as always.

In the early days I had to work at giving myself permission to write. Writing is such an odd thing to do in some ways especially in the beginning when you don’t have the outside validation (or financial reward!). One great thing about being a writer is you can put your fantasies down for others to see. I don’t think of myself as a historical western writer, but I had a storyline in my head for one. I wrote Margarita and the Hired Gun and submitted it to Prairie Rose Publications and they accepted it! Since then I’ve written both historical western and medieval romances for some of their anthologies.

Now I devote most of my day to writing.

What do you find to be the most difficult challenges in writing?

Writing is easy. It’s what comes after writing “The End” that’s hard, starting with the question what next? What is the right path for my book? I have one completed manuscript now I’m spending time writing query letters for, and that’s a lot of work.

Whether you self-publish or get published, much of the promoting is up to you. One reason I like writing for anthologies is that it is a group effort, and I learn from others who are good at promoting.

One challenge I face when writing an historical piece, is that I have to do research. The first time I tackled a medieval story I was petrified! I sat at my keyboard trying to convince myself to plow ahead with the project, wondering if every word I typed was historically inaccurate. I have to check every little detail from the food eaten to the clothes worn hundreds of years ago. It’s also a challenge to keep an authentic voice but still be understood by the modern reader.

How do you come up with your ideas for a book? What comes first – the plot or the characters?

I like this question. I probably have a different answer for every book I’ve written. A couple of times I woke up from vivid dreams and then built a story around the scene in my head.

Other times I’ve had or seen an incident that caught my interest and then worked backward and forward from that. Phoenix Heat in the anthology A Cowboy to Keep is an example of that. Once I thought I was doing a neighbor a favor by letting her dog into her house before a storm, except it wasn’t her dog as it turned out. That dog did some damage.

So I took the wrong dog incident, had the heroine throw the dog into the hero’s house, and then I built the story around that. What brought her to his house? What was their relationship before? After? Who are these people?!

For me the characters come after the plot, and they develop pretty much on their own, and then they take the reins from me, sometimes changing the course of the plot.

Most writers has certain quirks or rituals when they write – my must haves are endless cups of coffee, my dog by my feet and complete silence. What are some of yours?

I don’t know if I’d call it a quirk, but I have a set routine I stick to starting with a long walk in the morning. And I mean a long power walk not less than 5 miles. I write in my head as I walk. When I sit down to write in the afternoon my pump is primed. I write in the late evening now too. Oh, and music is very important! I can’t write without Spotify playing in the background.

What does your writing den look like? 

So, for many years my writing den was my kitchen, which was not ideal. People looking for food pestered me all the time. Now I’ve set up a place on the second floor. It’s a long narrow room that runs the length of our house. I look out at my neighborhood and watch the commuters going to the train or the children walking to school. I live north of Chicago, where we get all four of seasons, so I see them change from my window which looks out over my yard.

What genre do you prefer? And have you written in any other genres?

I love chick lit! That’s what I prefer to read lately. I’ve written a few novels I’d call chick lit because they’re funny and deal with the situations modern women face in life and love. Those have been my favorites to write.

How many stories have you had published?

Three western historical romances for Prairie Rose. One medieval for the same publisher, and I’m currently working on my second. I’ve self-published five contemporary or chick lit novels, and I have two completed manuscripts I have yet to publish. I’ve also been in three Indie author boxed sets, including A Cowboy to Keep.

What is one of your favorite stories you’ve written or had published?

My favorite book is Patrick III, a Quest Tale. It was inspired by a trip I took with two generations of women in my family to Newfoundland to trace our roots. We found our ancestor, Patrick Nugent, escaped an Irish prison ship bound for Australia and ended up in Newfoundland. First of all the idea of taking family dynamics on a road trip interested me. And then, how in the world does someone escape from a prison ship? What did he do to get arrested? I worked all that into the story.

I published the book and after years of searching for the answer to my questions, I found the entry online in Irish prison records: Patrick Nugent, 1800, Dublin, robbery, sentenced to deportation. I found this almost literally after hitting the “publish” button!

I had fun with this one throwing in references to quest tales from the Odyssey to Don Quixote. Everyone in Patrick III is on a quest, though they’re not all on the same quest and the matriarch of the family is on a secret quest.

I also jump back in time twice to tell the stories of a couple of the family’s ancestors (Patrick I and II), exploring at the same time what qualities are valued or dominant that get passed onto future generations.

Oh, yes, there is a romance too! The traveling family frequently cross paths with a mysterious young man on a motorcycle, who is on a quest of his own. Our heroine, Gwen, decides to lose her family and continue her journey on the back of his motorcycle. Loses her family, but she gains the thing she’s been looking. True love.

What is your current work in progress about? Or do you have an idea for a future novel?

Currently working on a medieval romance. It’s for a boxed set for my publisher. A knight has to protect a lady with a secret that could not only get her killed but could even topple the monarchy. He puts her in a nunnery for safe keeping, where she gets herself into more trouble by uncovering yet another secret.

I’m also itching to get back to one of those previously mentioned unpublished manuscripts for a final edit. This is the book I wrote during NaNoWriMo and because I wrote in such a hurry, it was a bit of a mess. I keep going back to it, because there are parts I really like. Chick lit set in Chicago about a young woman who’s feeling stuck. One morning an odd, almost mystical incident prevents her from going to work. Had she been at work she might have been killed when a driver steps on the accelerator instead of the brake and crashes through the window of the salon she manages.

The close brush with death makes our heroine rethink her life. She decides to make a list of all the things she wants to accomplish. Except she watches in frustration as the people around her, inspired by her story, make changes in their lives, while she can’t think of a thing to put on her list. What she almost misses is right under her nose: the handsome contractor there to repair the damage to the salon.  He opens new possibilities to her, but can she open her heart to him?

Out of all the books you’ve written, published or not, who were your favorite characters and why?

I think my favorite character is Des Costello in Love with an Expiration Date set in Dublin. He’s an independent filmmaker who falls for a visiting American professor. He’s funny and charismatic. It was fun to write his dialog lines because he’s such a quick-witted tease. It was also fun to make him lose his temper. At six foot five, he’s larger than life in both appearance and personality. And player that he is, it was satisfying to make him fall in love, and he fell hard…for a woman who would be leaving. He’d be the character I’d most like to spend time with.

How do you come up with your titles?

With a great deal of pain! I hate coming up with titles.

Do you have any words of advice for a new writer?

Just do it. Make time everyday if you can. Don’t question yourself. The first person you have to please is yourself, and if you like what you’ve written, chances are somebody else will too. Also, not everyone will like what you write so don’t get hung up on a negative comment. Read the reviews of your favorite authors to see that you can’t please everyone. Even the most popular writers get bad reviews. Lastly, I’d say establish a routine.

Do you have any pets? And if so, do they help you write?

We have a puggle named Gracie May and a cat named Lucille Ball. They’re both rescue pets and both are characters. They hang out with me while I write.

What are some of the things you enjoy when not writing?

Just tooling around. Walking around aimlessly with or without friends and dogs. Jigsaw puzzles. I like to travel but haven’t done much of that lately between one thing (college tuition) and another (roof blowing off in a high wind and other disasters).

How can readers reach you or find you on online?

Patti Sherry-Crews lives in Evanston, Il with her husband and two young adult children. She writes historical western and medieval romances for Prairie Rose Publications. She also writes contemporary romances.

You can find her at:

https://www.amazon.com/Patti-Sherry-Crews/e/B01C7L8QUU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

http://pattisherrycrews16.wix.com/author-blog

Facebook as Patti Sherry-Crews, author

 

PHOENIX HEAT by Patti Sherry-Crews

Harper Donovan thought she had it all when she turned her dream into a reality—opening a restaurant in New York City. But when the venture fails and her fiancé leaves her, Harper has little choice but to return to her family in Arizona.

When she meets handsome firefighter and cowboy Frank Flynn, she decides it’s time to get in the dating game again. Except Flynn shows no interest and dodges her, but not before claiming they’ve met before. Solving the mystery of the complicated Flynn gets under Harper’s skin, making her even more determined to seduce him.

When the two finally come together, the smoldering passion ignites into a heat that rivals the Phoenix desert. Now that Flynn has opened his heart, can Harper handle this wounded cowboy who’s playing for keeps? And will the romance survive their differences?

 

PHOENIX HEAT Excerpt

She heard the rasping of the curry comb in the background. The sound stopped all of a sudden, followed by a heavy sigh.

She turned to see him standing in the doorway. “Is this an exterior door or an interior door?”

“Exterior.”

“Well, you better let me take a look at it. We can’t leave you unsecured up there. Give me a minute to put my horse back in the stall.” He had a pained expression on his face.

She followed him out. “Is that your horse?”

“Yes, I keep him here.”

“What do you call him? Horse?”

He looked back at her, a small smile threatened to break out on his face. “I put some thought into it. Lucky is his name.”

“You’re pretty good at naming animals. How’s Dog? Did you find his owner yet?”

“Nope. Dog is fine.”

“Did you repair the damage yet?”

“Excuse me,” he said, brushing past her while leading his horse into a stall. He spent a few minutes there, while she stood sweeping the toe of her boot back and forth until he came back. “All right, let’s see about this doorknob. Did you find the right screw?”

“I think so,” she said, holding out her hand.

He reached for the small screw in her palm. When his hand touched hers, she took in a sharp breath, surprised by the currents it sent through her.

He held the screw up to the light. “No, this is too short. It will wriggle free again. Come on.” He led her back into the tack room.

The sight of his broad shoulders and narrow waist bent over the workbench nearly undid her. She stepped in and stood close behind him. Close enough to smell the horse and sweat on him. In her imagination, he spun around and pulled her into an embrace. How his lips would feel on hers….

“You’re blocking the light standing there,” he said, jolting her to attention.

She stepped to the side. From here, she watched his long, tapered fingers flicking through screws. “This will do. Come on. Show me this door,” he said.

“Up the stairs.”

“I figured that much.” He stood back and let her go up the stairs first, much to her embarrassment.

Now he’d get to watch her ass from below. Great. She started up the stairs, picking out a deliberate pace that wasn’t too fast, not too slow—the pace of the unconcerned. About the time she hit step four, she heard his tread hit the steps below her. The dry, hot air enveloped her body sucking the moisture out of her, yet sweat still beaded on her upper lip. She heard him take in a breath, and the soft tapping of his boots on the steps. The railing beneath her hand shook with their movement. All the time all she thought about the view she must be giving him. The ascent seemed interminable. She had the jarring sensation of walking up a down escalator, time and movement out of synch. Her hand slid up the railing, and out of corner of her eye, she saw his hand sliding in step behind hers. Just when the tension was becoming unbearable he broke the silence. “How’s that car working out for you?”

“It’s great, thank you.”

“You don’t have to thank me. It was your daddy who bought the car for you.” There it was again that hint of disapproval in his voice.

“I couldn’t talk him out of it. Here we are.” At last they’d reached the top landing.

Flynn fit the doorknob back into place and took a screwdriver out of his back pocket. She took the moment to admire his tight jeans with her fingers itching to grab his bottom.

“Could you hold this?” She swallowed hard. He handed her his Stetson.

She held the hat by the brim and worked it around in her hands to see the sweat stain running around it. She fought the impulse to put the hat on her head to feel the moist heat on her skin. “Do you lead trail rides?”

“No, I don’t. I do real ranch work. Your Uncle Pete doesn’t think I’m suited to taking out parties. Something about my people skills.” He looked up and winked at her.

“Is that right? I hadn’t noticed your lack of people skills. But I suppose it’s good to know your own strengths and stick at what you’re good at.”

 

 

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