• Leslie P. Garcia-Author

This Writer’s Road: Lola Karns Introduces A Bad Traveler

Bad-Traveler300x450    I am delighted to welcome Lola Karns to share a little of her writing journey. Her new release, Bad Traveler–look at that cover!–features a remarkable story from small town America. She also shares a recipe that made me laugh, even after I spent a 13 hour stretch at the day job. Be sure you read all the way through to the most useful cookies you might ever find! Let’s get a little bit of Lola’s perspective on this new romance and the writing life in general.

 Lola, you have a new release, Bad Traveler, coming out on August 22nd. Before we talk about the newest release, what would you like us to know about your work up to the moment?

Bad Traveler marks my debut as a multi-published author. My first book, Winter Fairy, came out in 2012.

 I grew up in a small town, and love small towns as setting—and really sometimes, as characters—in stories. Tell me a little about the town and residents we’ll meet in Bad Traveler?

I created a college town, the sort of place dominated by bars, cheap eats and a seasonal population of students. The idea of placing my hero and heroine in this sort of place appealed. They met at the college, but are in different stages of life when they independently return. So far as residents, Gwen’s parents are both academics. Kyle works for the college, but Gwen’s sister, Keira, serves as voice for the year round residents. She’s fun. She might deserve her own story.

 You know what’s better than a single title small town romance? A series! Hint, hint.Your heroine and maybe especially your hero caught my attention—their problems are so current and so difficult to resolve. How did Gwen and Kyle come about?

Gwen developed in part through conversations with other women who expressed the fantasy of owning their own bakery and in part through my own parenting moments where I thought “I need help.” I’m fortunate that my husband is involved with my children’s lives. Single parents have a difficult road. Kyle evolved from my experience living near Virginia Beach and Norfolk VA. With a large military presence, I became acquainted with a number of active duty members of the military who were thinking about what happens after retirement. The local newspaper, the Virginian-Pilot, ran a series of articles about wounded warriors, who face unique challenges in adapting to civilian life. The range of responses discussed in the paper inspired me to think more about the reintegration of these brave individuals into civilian society.

 Miranda Lambert wrote a song called “Everybody Dies Famous in a Small Town.” What would Gwen and Kyle be proudest and most ashamed of in their town?

Kyle is most proud of Gwen and how she opened her own business. She is proud of her business too, but her daughter Chloe, always comes first. So far as what would shame them most, no doubt, gossip.

Small town gossip is both the best and the worst. Depends a lot on the situation! What do you want readers to take away from Bad Traveler, or any Lola Karns story?

I hope that readers find something that makes them smile, something that offers food for thought and something that makes them want a cold shower.

 What didn’t I ask that I should have—something important, silly, funny, strange—just something you want to add?

I asked Gwen for her brownie recipe, but she refused to share. Instead she offered this recipe for Aggression Cookies used in a pivotal scene.

From the kitchen of Gwen Jones

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 cup chocolate chips (I also like a blend with butterscotch)

Dump all ingredients into a large bowl. Mash, squish, pound, punch until thoroughly mixed and you’ve mostly forgotten why you were mad in the first place.

Roll into 1 ½ inch sized balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. If you’re still mad, you can smash them into place with the side of your palm dipped into sugar.

Bake 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven

A warm cookie and a glass of milk will ease any left-over hostility.

BIO

Having worked as a bartender, shipping clerk, concierge, document translator, European history doctoral candidate, and more as she moved through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, Georgia, and Virginia, Lola decided she needed a more portable career. Writing fit the bill.

Lola currently resides in Minnesota with her husband, two children, two hairless cats and a fluffy ex-stray cat. When not writing, she enjoys baking, reading and drinking coffee.

 

Media links:

Website/blog    www.lolakarns.com

Twitter                                 @lolakarns

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

Goodreads         https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6451976.Lola_Karns

Google+               https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LolaKarns/about/p/pub

Pinterest             http://www.pinterest.com/lolakarns/

 

 

 

Presenting Summer Heat from Crimson Romance

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Suffering from the summer doldrums? Has the weather been a little cool, or the sizzle a little short-lived? Rescue is at hand! Find out about an extraordinary bundle of hot books to end your summer with a bang. Here’s what you need to know:

Summer Heat – 10 Sizzling Romances for 99 Cents

 

Do you like it hot?  Crimson Romance just released a new 10-book box set of their steamiest titles for only $0.99.  You heard right!  These aren’t short stories or novellas but ten full-length romances all in one big bundle for less than a dollar. Bought separately, you would pay over $40 for these same books.  This collection will be available for a limited time , so don’t miss out!

 

On an even tighter budget? Kindle Unlimited subscribers can borrow all the individual titles FREE as part of their subscription. Just click the Free on Kindle Unlimited links under each title below to download.

 

Blurb:

When the summer sun beats down on the beach, Crimson Romance turns up the sizzle between the pages. From hot bikers to powerful venture capitalists and those oh-so-sexy military men in—and out—of uniform, these ten books put the spotlight on the heroes who make us melt.

 

Where to Buy:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Crimson Romance | Amazon.uk | Amazon Canada

 

 

Summer Heat includes all 10 of the following titles:

 

The Wicked Bad by Karyn Gerrard

Is Veronica a good girl who longs to rub against…The Wicked Bad?

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Infamous by Irene Preston

Hollywood’s favorite wild child moves to the ‘burbs in this heart-warming romance that reviewers call fun, flirty, and 10 kinds of hot.

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Prelude to a Seduction by Lotchie Burton

Can an unexpected romance develop between an over-confident, on-the-prowl playboy and his unsuspecting and uncompromising prey?

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Inventing Sin by Alicia Thorne

Dumped by her ho-hum boyfriend, English professor Gabriella Kurtz invents the perfect imaginary man to replace him . . . and gets the surprise of her lifetime when a real flesh-and-blood hero takes advantage of her little white lie.

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

His Fantasy Maid by Susan Blexrud

Dr. Amy Maitland is a first year resident physician, but she leads a double life…as a fantasy maid.

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Island Pursuits by Heather Rodney-Diaz

Adrian and Cory begin a sizzling affair in their island paradisebut what they both discover about the past threatens to destroy any chance of a happily ever after.

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Dangerous Love by Lilou DuPont

In Prague, Laura explores her sexuality by embarking on an erotic love affair that challenges her deeply held beliefs.

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Her New Worst Enemy by Christy McKellen

Ellie’s no-strings weekend fling with her brother’s best friend should be the easiest thing in the world to walk away from, so why is she finding it so difficult?

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Blitzkrieg Love by Livia Olteano

Ellie’s no-strings weekend fling with her brother’s best friend should be the easiest thing in the world to walk away from, so why is she finding it so difficult?

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

As If You Never Left Me by Katriena Knights

Rey wants Joely back, But will his carefully laid plans disintegrate when she finds out what really brought him home to Colorado?

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Still not sure? Here are a few excerpts to help you make up your mind!

 

 

The Wicked Bad by Karyn Gerrard

 

Blurb:

Dark and brooding, Nick Crocetti is a bad boy in looks and demeanor. Veronica Barnes needs a new start, and Nick is a complication she doesn’t need.

Can they break down the barriers of past heartbreak, or is Veronica just a good girl who longs to rub against “the wicked bad”?

 

Excerpt:

She followed him toward the beach. The shoreline wasn’t very big, but private, as you couldn’t see the road or much else from their vantage point. Wonder how many other women he brought here, she thought cynically.

 

He spread the blanket and assisted her in sitting down. Again, the touch of his hand made her face flush as well as parts further south. Nick sat next to her with one leg bent and he rested his arm on the top of his knee. They sat quietly and gazed out over the water. The waves caressed the sand with a serene almost hypnotic sound.

 

“I saw you talking to that wuss, Jake Spooner, as I left the other day. I can imagine what he said about me,” Nick said in a voice so soft, she hardly recognized it as his.

 

Veronica cleared her throat uncomfortably.

 

Nick laughed. “I see. Go on, amuse me, what did he say?”

 

“Um, he said you were in prison—” she began.

 

“Jail. Not prison,” he retorted.

 

“There’s a difference?”

 

“You’ve got the cop for a brother, you tell me,” Nick snapped. He shook his head, more gently he said, “Sorry. It’s a touchy subject. City jail, for assault and destruction of property. Prison usually means a state or federal beef. Mine was local and a long time ago. I did my time and it’s over. I don’t like talking about it.”

“He called you a thug and said you deal drugs among other things.” She shouldn’t be telling him this, but the words tumbled out of her.

 

“Really? And still you went out with me? Are you some thrill seeker, one of those good girls eager to rub up against some wicked bad? Is that why you’re here? I’ll be as bad as you want, just say the word.”

His voice grew tight and edgy. Barely restrained anger simmered below the surface, she could hear it.

 

“I’m just telling you what Jake said, you asked.”

 

Nick stared at her for several moments. “Yeah. I did. Sorry. I haven’t been out on a date in awhile.”

 

“You haven’t been with any women…”

 

“Oh, I didn’t say I haven’t been with women, just haven’t been on a date.” The right corner of his mouth twitched in what Veronica supposed was amusement.

 

About Karyn:

Karyn lives in a small town in the western corner of Ontario, Canada. She wiles away her spare time writing and reading romance while drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea. Tortured heroes are a must. A multi-published author with a few best-sellers under her belt, Karyn loves to write in different genres and time periods, though historicals are her favorite. As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose in her wilderness paradise she assumes everything is golden.

 

Karyn’s been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement keeps her moving forward.

http://www.karyngerrard.com/

 

 

 

Infamous by Irene Preston

 

Blurb:

Jessica Sinclair is Hollywood’s favorite wild-child, so what’s she doing burning cookies and playing house in the ‘burbs?  Conservative soccer dad Morgan Riley can’t figure it out but he’s happy to have her home and heating things up in his bed.  Then Jessica finds herself back in the tabloids…with Morgan’s teenage daughter right next to her.

 

Excerpt:

In the elevator, he fumbled for the room key that would allow them access to the suites on the top floors. His hands felt big and awkward as they swiped the key through the reader. If you stripped me naked on the hors d’oeuvres table. . . .Christ. She always had a way of knocking him off balance, of peeling away every last bit of self control. She had thrown the words out so casually, and as soon as she said them he had pictured doing just that—imagined shoving aside the crudités and shrimp cocktail and spreading her out like his own personal feast.

 

The doors closed and she was in his arms. He pushed her against the elevator wall, his tongue thrusting urgently into her mouth. She wound around him, humming incoherent words of encouragement. They weren’t nearly close enough. She tilted her head back, inviting his tongue deeper. He was drowning in the taste of her when he felt her hands slide down between them. His body jerked.

 

They were still in the elevator. He was damned if he was going to make love in a public elevator. He managed to wrest her hands away from him and anchored them above her head with one of his own.

 

Not here.” Could she hear the desperation in his voice?

 

About Irene

http://www.irenepreston.com/

Irene Preston has to write romances-after all, she’s living one! As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

 

 

His Fantasy Maid  by Susan Blexrud

 

Blurb:

On the eve of Jake Sinclair’s bachelor party, his best man surprises him with a fantasy maid named Amy. Clad in a bikini, she cleans his house and jump starts his heart. She’s beautiful, smart, and compassionate. Why is a woman like this working as a fantasy maid? A few days later, with thoughts still distracted by the enigmatic Amy, Jake crashes his car and wakes in the hospital emergency room where his fantasy maid is now wearing scrubs and wielding a stethoscope. Is she an hallucination, or is his fantasy maid a doctor?

 

Excerpt:

If I believed the adage, “you are what you do,” my self-concept would be in the toilet, so to speak.  I clean houses in a bikini or French maid get-up, client’s choice, which contributes little to making the world a better place.  As a result, my adage is, “you are what you become,” because I’m becoming a doctor.

 

But today, I’m Amy Maitland, fantasy maid.

 

My best friend and fellow medical resident, Ellen, knows about my undercover life working for Fantasy Maids, but she’s the only one.  If word got out at the College of Medicine,

I’d be the laughingstock of the University of Central Florida.  My five brothers know I work as a housemaid, which they respect as good, honest labor, but they don’t know the fantasy aspect.  Protective (and controlling) men that they are, they’d lock me up.

 

That being said, it’s not the worst job in the world.  I’ve been a fantasy maid for almost two years, and so far, none of my clients has tried to assault me. But it’s always a possibility, considering Florida’s propensity for perverts.  The company (i.e. Rex, the owner, and a part-time secretary) arms us with pepper spray and an emergency hotline number (Rex’s cell phone), and they screen the customers to make sure no one’s a registered sex offender.  They also arrange our appointments, and Rex is good about following up…within four or five days…to make sure we survived the gig.

 

About Susan:

http://susanblexrud.com/

 

Susan Blexrud hails from Orlando but currently lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, where she quilts, watches birds, leads a monthly romance book club, and conjures her next romance novel.

 

 

Dangerous Love  by Lilou DuPont

 

Blurb:

In Prague, Laura feels that she has met her soulmate. Yet how can her soul merge with the son of a Nazi? After being passed over for a promotion at a Chicago advertising agency, Laura cashes in her stock options, quits her job, and moves to Prague. There, she begins an erotic romance with Byron, only to discover that he is German and his father was in the Hitler Youth. As an observant Jew, Laura has deep misgivings about becoming involved with the son of a Nazi, but the attraction between them is so strong that she cannot resist.

 

Excerpt:

“Oh!” Laura cried out. There were other passengers in the railcar, but Byron did not seem to care. Presumably, he knew what they could (or could not) get away with on a train in Europe. He glided his hand past her panties and went right for her gash.

 

“Oh!” she cried out again. Their railcar entered a tunnel while another train blasted by them, gusting in the opposite direction. They were engulfed by a deep rumble and darkness. Byron sheltered her in his arms, protecting her from any danger. When they emerged from the tunnel, they were overwhelmed by sunlight.

 

He covered her eyes with his hands, as if blindfolding her. Finally, he kissed her on the mouth. His fingers separated, allowing in a burst of white light. It was ordinary daylight and she was on a midday train, somewhere in Bohemia. Yet it was more like being on Space Mountain at Disney World. Would Byron get the reference?

 

The tip of his tongue entered her mouth and teased her. She wanted it down her throat. From the tacky seat, she lifted up her buttocks, struggling to be as close to him as possible.

 

He reached inside the low, scooped out neckline of her peasant dress. He attacked her nipples, brushing them back and forth. Laura was so stimulated she wanted to scream. He restrained her by kissing her again. Now his tongue aggressively explored her. She sucked on it, wanting much, much more.

 

About Lilou:

Lilou DuPont graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in Philosophy and studied Erotic Writing at The New School in New York City. She lives in Washington, DC where she enjoys a successful advertising career and a large circle of friends. Dangerous Love is her first novel. She is at work on her second book, a spy romance set in Bucharest, Romania. Vampires? No. Gypsies? Yes.

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Her New Worst Enemy  by Christy McKellen

 

Blurb:

Six months ago Ellie Holdsworthy’s life was all planned out – kids, wedding, happy ever after – until her boyfriend dumped her for another woman. Now her best friend, Penny – an heiress to a small fortune – looks set to run off with a gold-digger and Ellie is determined to save her from certain doom. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is the one person she’d rather not ask…

 

Little does Ellie know, persuading her brother’s best friend – commitment phobic, playboy businessman, Gideon DeLancy- to hold an intervention at his beautiful Georgian manor would be the easy part. Keeping her hands off him is a whole other matter.

 

Excerpt:

Gideon grasped her wrists and pulled them behind her body, pushing her breasts forwards even more. He held both wrists captive with one hand and pressed his body closer to her, trapping them. She gasped as his erection pushed against the top of her buttocks.

 

“See how much you turn me on,” he whispered again into her ear, his eyes not leaving hers in the reflection.

 

Blood pounded between her legs causing a hard ache of need, and she pushed her buttocks against him, loving the feeling of his obvious arousal for her.

 

As she stared back at the mirror she was amazed to see how different she looked now. Her breasts were high and full pushed forward and with her pelvis tipped back, her stomach seemed flatter and tighter. For the first time in a very long time she looked at her body, really looked at it, and liked what she saw.

 

“You see,” he said, kissing along the top of her shoulder. “Gorgeous.”

 

He released his hold on her captured wrists and ran his fingers across where her collar bones pushed against her flesh, to the dip of her neck, then skimmed down over her breasts, down her stomach to the top of her jeans.

 

He pulled the buttons roughly open and slipped his hands inside, under her panties, before pushing them down over her legs.

 

“Step out of them,” he murmured, and she did as she was told. She was now standing naked in front of a mirror. In front of Gideon.

 

“Bend forward and put your hands against the mirror,” he said.

 

“What?” Her voice was shaky and light with arousal.

 

“Just do it, Ellie,” he said, kicking her clothes away from them.

 

About Christy:

B.K. (Before Kids) Christy worked as a Video and Radio Producer in London and Nottingham. After a decade of dealing with nappies, tantrums and endless questions from toddlers, she’s come out the other side and moved into the wonderful world of literature. She now spends her time writing flirty, sexy romance with a kick (her dream job!).

 

 

Blitzkreig Love  by Olivia Olteano

 

Blurb:

“Don’t try to be my hero. Don’t care about me. Don’t let go.”

 

Twenty-two-year-old Beatrice Stevens lives to dance. Two years ago she walked in on the picture of horror: after stabbing her mom 34 times, her father killed himself. She found his corpse still clutching at her mom’s, determined not to let go of her even in death. Now Beatrice freaks out if she’s hugged, loomed over or receives attention from daddy-type guys. Unless she’s dancing—the one thing that feeds her soul and saves her time after time.

 

Anthony Gowl wants Beatrice from the moment she bumps her adorable nose into his chest. That desire turns into a burning need after he sees her dance. But he’s the overprotective type—he can’t help it, it’s part of him ever since his sister ODed seven years ago. His savior complex makes him the perfect opposite of what Beatrice needs.

 

But she can’t seem to shake him. He’s both scary and exciting, even when he kneels at her feet. And the closer he gets, the more that toxic waste in her soul threatens to explode.

 

Excerpt:

“Jesus freaking Christ, yes! I’m comin — ”

 

I froze there. Right before me stood tall, gorgeous, and annoying Anthony Gowl. And he was grinning.

 

“Is this a nightmare?” I muttered under my breath.

 

“Judging by your sleepwear, more of a fantasy. But I’m awake, so I don’t know what that makes this.”

 

I frowned and looked down. My sleepwear was a pair of shorts and a top. Well, not showing more skin than the costumes. “What’s wrong with my sleepwear?”

 

“Not a thing. But it looks so … intimate. I like your morning look. Truly beautiful women are beautiful right when they wake up.”

 

I snorted. “Whatever. You clearly know nothing of women if you think that. Now what are you doing here?”

 

“Will you let me in, or are we talking on the hall?”

 

I thought about it. The only other person living here was Doug, so I was sort of okay talking in the door like that. But he just looked so hopeful, like a puppy. I almost felt bad to keep him there. So I shrugged and turned around, heading for the kitchen. “I’m making coffee. Want some?”

 

The door clicked closed behind him. “Sure, thanks.”

 

“Sit down or whatever,” I called over my shoulder.

 

Once the coffee was all done, I poured two mugs of it and brought them into the living room. He’d settled down on the couch, coat shrugged off. He wore chocolate brown pants and a lovely, crisp, white shirt. Not clean-shaven like he’d been the night before, and I sort of liked this look better. There was something about men with a maximum of three days’ growth that was incredibly sexy. I left his mug on the coffee table and walked into the bedroom, put on a pair of sweats. Sitting with him on my couch, him in a suit and me in shorts just seemed wrong on so many levels.

 

“Don’t dress up on my account. I liked your earlier outfit — ”

 

I held up my hand and took a few gulps of coffee. The nectar of the gods slid down my throat and made me incredibly happy. I truly woke up then, my brain getting its gears in motion.

 

I sighed with delight then fixed my eyes on him. “Okay, now I’m ready to begin the day. What the hell are you doing here?”

 

“I think I liked you better before the coffee. You were so soft and pliable … ”

 

I squinted my eyes and took another gulp. “Start talking or I’m calling Doug to throw you out.”

 

About Olivia:

Livia Olteano is a loud and proud coffee addict, lover of all things beautiful and incurable romantic.

 

She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?

 

Stop by www.liviaolteano.com or the blog for the latest news and rants of glory.

 

Presenting Crimson Romance’s Modern Love Bundle!

Modern love logo

 

Ten authors.  Ten books.  One unbelievably low price for a summer reading bundle that celebrates the many faces of modern love.

Find out more below–the authors, a few excerpts to whet your appetite–and the unbelievably low price for this spectacular summer deal! And on a personal note–I had a terrible time choosing just three of the excerpts!  I can tell you, each of these ten full-length works is one of Crimson Romance’s best-selling, most compelling stories of modern love.  Get yours now!

Amazon

Modern-Love-Sale

Bundle Blurb

When love calls, it’s rarely easy but always memorable, and definitely worth turning the pages. Recapture the thrill, the delicious anticipation of finding your happily ever after in these 10 unforgettable, hot stories by some of today’s brightest names:

Her Knight in Black Leather – J.M. Stewart

Destination Wedding – Robyn Neeley

Drawn to Jonah – Jennifer DeCuir

On the Fly – Katie Kenyhercz

Wildly – Debra Kayn

Falling for You – Heather Thurmeier

Beginning Again – Peggy Bird

Spiraling – Rachel Cross

Save My Soul – Elley Arden

Sweet Gone South – Alicia Hunter Pace

 

 Excerpt One:

Falling for You by Heather Thurmeier

 

“Stay still, Corona,” she pleaded, patting the horse on the shoulder. She swung her leg over the horse, determined to successfully complete one dismount before the challenge ended.

Her arms shook as she lowered herself carefully from the saddle, finally giving up their fight part way down. Gravity took her the last few feet and she hit the ground with both feet, stumbling backward a step before bumping into something solid.

“How, Cassidy? How do you always end up in my arms?” Evan’s voice rumbled in her ear, his warm breath on her earlobe making her girly bits tingle.

She found her footing and turned in his arms. She could see the dust and dirt clinging to his five o’clock shadow, his brow beaded with sweat. He desperately needed a shower and there was nothing she could have fantasized about more than being in one with him. Instead, she pushed herself back from him and swallowed her urge to climb him like a jungle gym.

“What can I say? I guess I just keep falling for you,” she said, before her brain caught up to her mouth and she was able to censor herself.

 

About Heather

Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders, and a reality TV junkie. Her passion is contemporary romance—writing stories filled with laugh out loud moments, uber-hunky heroes, feisty heroines, and always a happily ever after.

 

Excerpt Two:

Drawn to Jonah by Jennifer DeCuir

Jonah was standing at the sink with his back to Quinn. Or rather, with his backside to Quinn. She paused for a moment, enjoying the view. Until she realized that Jonah was looking at her reflection in the kitchen window. If she weren’t so mortified, having been caught checking out the handyman’s butt, she might have noticed the fact that he seemed to enjoy the attention.

“Um,” she gestured at the gurgling coffeemaker.

“Yeah, I’d like some. Thanks.” Jonah grinned.

He peeked in on Lily, who was curled up on the couch, wrapped in Nanny’s crazy colored afghan. They sat down at the table, the silence awkward. Jonah looked agitated.

“There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you,” he blurted.

There it was. Her instincts were spot on. She nodded.

“I’ve been trying to come up with the right way to ask this.” Jonah drummed his fingers on the tabletop, his expression sheepish.

He was going to ask her out! She had to tell him no. It wouldn’t work. But he was so good looking, such a loving father. He made her feel things she had no business feeling. Oh, what the hell—she’d go out with him. Just this once.

“Okay, here’s the deal.” He breathed deep and leaned in close. “I was hoping that you would…teach me to read.”

Wow, it must have been the paint fumes coming off his speckled T-shirt, because Quinn could have sworn that Jonah just asked her to teach him to read.

 

About Jennifer

Jennifer DeCuir is a busy mom still trying to figure out how to balance carpooling, volunteering and homework with writing time. Coffee helps … a lot.

Excerpt Three:

 

Destination Wedding by Robyn Neeley

 

“Kate, I was expecting you.” He chuckled and pointed to her side. “Do you need some help with that?”

Kate looked down in horror. She had forgotten to zip up her dress! Her lacy blue bra and matching thong strap were visible. She yanked up the side zipper. “You have something of mine,” she said icily.

“Your dress from last night. Here it is.” He pulled back the closet door and handed it to her. “Looks like they were able to get the tomato juice stain out. Good as new.”

“Thank you.” She clutched the dress and turned to leave. On impulse, she spun back around. “You know. You’re an ass.”

He smiled down at her. His smile was just as warm as it had been last night. “I’ve been called worse. Listen, Kate, we need to talk. Let me get dressed real quick. Why don’t you come in and have some champagne.”

Kate peered in. Next to him was a bottle of champagne chilling in an ice bucket and a glass plate of chocolate covered strawberries.

“I sent those to you and Lauren. There’s nothing to say. You, Drew Cannon, are my client. I don’t know what last night was about, but we will not be clinging champagne flutes unless it’s at your wedding!”

“Kate, you’ve got this all wrong. This isn’t what you think.”

“You commandeering my dress and posing as my boyfriend isn’t what happened?”

“Well, yes, but come in. I’ll explain everything. I think you’ll find it quite amusing.”

“There is nothing funny about my client being a lying, cheating schmuck.” She turned and headed back to her room.

The door slammed behind her.

“Kate, please stop. If you would just listen—”

She put her hand up to block his words. “Don’t follow me. I am only going to pretend to be nice to you because you are my client, and your wedding is going to catapult me to partner. I need this wedding to go off without a hitch.”

He swore under his breath.

“You don’t have to get nasty.” She pushed her keycard in and unlocked her door.

“No, it’s not you. I locked myself out.”

“Not my problem.” Kate entered her room and slammed the door.

“Kate. Come on,” he pleaded from the hallway. “At least let me borrow your phone to call housekeeping. You can’t leave me out here in a towel.”

“Consider it payback!” she yelled and peered out of the peephole. He had turned around. His beautifully sculpted backside was exactly as she had imagined. No tattoos, no scars. Pure perfection. Her nails would have a heyday…

Frustrated, she turned around and leaned against the door. So he has to go to the lobby in a towel to fetch a new key. He’d probably get some suggestive looks from women anxious to find out what was underneath it. That’s not payback. Her lips turned up in a devilish smirk. “But this is.” She gripped the door handle and flung it open.

“Thank you, Kate.” He started to enter. “I knew you wouldn’t leave me out here. I’ll only be a minute.”

“Not so fast.” She rested one hand on his chest and yanked off his towel with the other, leaving him naked. “I’ll just have this dry cleaned for you.”

She slammed the door and rolled up the towel, shoving it in the wastepaper basket. Now that was payback.

 

About Robyn

Robyn Neeley is an East Coaster who loves to explore new places; watches way more reality TV than she cares to admit; can’t live without Dunkin Donuts coffee and has never met a cookie she didn’t like. If you have a must read romance suggestion or a fabulous cookie recipe, she wants to know. Visit her at robynneeley.com.

 

Modern-Love-Sale

Amazon

New Release: Tara Mills’ Dark Storms

TaraMils Dark storms

 

Today Return to Rio is proud to highlight Tara Mills brand new release Dark Storms!  To celebrate, Tara  provided us with a blurb and excerpts to share with you–so dig in and enjoy.  Check back here or on Tara’s site (following excerpts) for information on any upcoming blog tours or giveaways!

 

Blurb:

Fresh out of the Navy, Gabriel Nadeau is more than ready to settle down when he accepts a job on Pelican Cay. He craves peace and serenity—and lands in a tempestuous paradise instead. Barely unpacked, he finds himself entangled with the enchanting free spirit, Adriana Hernandez, marked by a jealous rival, and uncovering an ongoing crime. As the residents prepare for the storm of the century bearing down on them, Gabe discovers the hurricane is the least of his worries and he and Adriana are both in more danger than either realized.

Excerpt 1:

Gabe was sprawled face down on his bed, the twisted sheet draped loosely over one leg and pinned beneath the other, when he was roused by a rap on his door.

He shook himself awake as another knock sounded. The digital clock on the bedside table told him it was nearly two in the afternoon.

Grunting and groaning, he rolled to his side and rubbed his eyes. “Hang on. I’m coming.”

He swung his legs off the bed, grabbed the untucked sheet, and wrapped it around his waist as he shuffled to the door. Still a little drowsy, he tried and failed to manage the chain stop and gave up, pulling the door open without it.

Adriana was on the other side. Her eyebrows shot up and she gave him a wicked grin. “Good afternoon. I brought coffee from the lobby.” She looked him over, very carefully, and her smile widened. “Why don’t you get dressed and meet me on your little patio?”

“Ah…” He followed her eyes down his bare torso to the loose bed sheet and rubbed the back of his neck. “Sure. Be right with you.”

“Good.”

She put a little extra wiggle in her walk as she wandered off. Grateful and grinning now himself, he closed the door. Whatever was on top in the bureau drawers is what he grabbed and took into the bathroom.

Adriana was relaxing in one of his two patio chairs when he joined her. She took in his lightweight track pants and Navy t-shirt and gave a sad little sigh. “Gone, but not forgotten.” Before he could respond, she picked up a thermal mug from the little table next to her and offered it to him.

“Thanks.” The mug was brand new and stamped on the outside with the resort’s logo.

“I didn’t know what you like, so I just went with our special Pelican Cay roast and two amaretto creamers.”

He leaned against the railing and took a taste. “Mmm, works for me. Thanks again.”

“Did you get enough sleep?”

“Plenty. I usually only need about six hours a night.”

She frowned. “So you didn’t go to bed right away?”

“I needed to wind down first.”

“Hmm.” She seemed to mull that over for a moment then shook herself and looked up at him, brows arched. “I noticed you don’t have a shift until tomorrow morning. Would you like me to show you around? I’ll give you a tour of the island.”

“Aren’t you working?”

“It’s slow. I asked if I could leave early.” She winked at him. “I have an in with the boss.”

He took another pleasurable swallow, finally waking up. “Lucky. Sure, I’d love a tour.”

“Bring your trunks. Who knows, we might find time to take in a little swim.” She stood up and tipped back her own cup, draining it. “I have a couple of things to finish. Why don’t you meet me at the front desk? I’ll introduce you to Rosa. After that, I’m all yours.”

It was hard to mistake her invitation when it came coupled with a flirty little smile. Not only were they on the same wavelength, but he was receptive to the idea. “Sounds good. I’ll catch up with you.”

She left him there and Gabe ran back into his quarters to brush his teeth, find his trunks, and grab his wraparound sunglasses. Working his feet into his leather sandals, he looked around, wondering how he was supposed to carry his damn trunks. He didn’t have a bag small enough. Ah, screw it. He wadded them in his hand, slid his wallet into his back pocket and plucked his keys off the bedside table. Out of habit, he tested the door once it closed to be sure it locked properly.

The grounds crew was busy. He could hear the buzz of trimmers being used around beds and borders. At least one riding mower passed nearby, making curving patterns in the grass on its way back between the buildings.

Skipping up the two steps and into the airy lobby, he met Adriana’s gaze over the counter and they both smiled. His heart beat just a little faster at seeing her again. It was ridiculous. She’d just left him five minutes ago. Yet, he couldn’t stop his blazing grin from flaring to life when she looked at him.

“Hey,” he greeted her. “Almost ready?”

“Just about. I have to put the paychecks into the boxes then I’m done. Hang on.” She turned and called, “Mom? Gabe’s here.”

An attractive woman stepped out of the office. She was a little shorter, a bit thicker through the body, but clearly Adriana’s mother. Smiling, she approached the tall counter, giving him a friendly onceover. The women’s smiles were identical. Where they differed was the eyes, or rather the expression in the eyes. Adriana looked at him with familiarity, intimacy, and open amusement.

“Gabe? I’m Rosa. It’s nice to have you here with us. Are you settling in okay? Have any questions or concerns?”

Startled, his eyes cut to Adriana and he shook his head. “Um, no. Your daughter was very helpful.”

Rosa patted Adriana on the back. “I’m glad to hear it. Honey, I’ll take those checks. Don’t make him stand around waiting for you.”

“Thanks.” Handing them over, Adriana gave her mom a quick kiss on the cheek. “I guess we’re out of here. I’ve got my phone if you need to reach me.”

Rosa turned her around and with hands on both shoulders, walked Adriana out from behind the counter.

Summarily dismissed, Adriana spun around. “Wait, I need my bag.”

Gabe was snickering when she came back out of the office swinging a canvas bag by the straps.

“Here.” She opened the top of the bag and thrust it at him. “Drop your drawers.”

 

Excerpt 2:

Adriana gave him a big smile. “There you are. I thought I was going to have to send a search party.”

“Unnecessary.” He looked her up and down and slowly shook his head. “That’s some suit.” His deep wolf whistle made her laugh.

She turned to show him the back, tossing a saucy look over her shoulder. “It’s new. Do you like it?”

“Very much. Should I read this as an invitation?”

The minx gave him an intriguing little smile. “More like a challenge.”

“A challenge?” He snorted at that. “How so?”

She started backing toward the water, grinning as if they were playing a game, only he didn’t have a clue what the rules were yet.

“Nothing worth having should come too easily. You have to catch me.” With that, she spun around and took off, racing for the waves.

Jolted by her unanticipated move, spurred on by her beckoning laugh, and still raring to go, he dropped his clothes and bounded after her. Adriana took a running dive into the water and swam away from him. He hit the water hard. The splash made her look back and shriek. Her arms dug in faster than ever, and she submerged making him wonder if she’d changed course. Then she resurfaced where he thought she would be and he gave chase, heading right for her.

She was a good swimmer, sleek and powerful, surprising because she was a slim little thing. He felt like a lumbering giant behind her, though he wasn’t a bad swimmer either. Slowly, steadily he closed the distance. Plunging under the waves he saw her bare feet and safely caught her right ankle without getting kicked. He hauled her back to him and she spun and sputtered as they both broke the surface and gasped for air.

Adriana smoothed her wet hair back and blinked at him. Her lashes were long, black and spiked. Paired with those deep brown eyes, it was a good look for her. She bit her lower lip and her expression turned coy. Not expecting that, he caught her around the waist before releasing her foot. He wasn’t entirely sure she wouldn’t swim off again once she was free and he didn’t want to risk it. She surprised him by moving closer instead. Their bodies bumped and slid together. Her arm went around his shoulders and she pressed her chest more firmly into his.

“I’ve got you now,” he told her.

“And I’ve got you. What happens next?”

He wanted to touch her, let his hands and lips explore every slippery inch of her, but they were too far out and he couldn’t touch bottom here. But he could kiss her, and that’s exactly what he did.

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Storms-Pelican-Cay-Book-ebook/dp/B00LGZKU76

About the Author

I’m a contemporary romance writer, wife, mom, new nana, and dog owner. I can be serious and silly. Thoughtful and thoughtless. I fear math and technology, but give me a box of Crayolas or a book and I’m a happy camper. Escape with me into books.

If you like fun and flirty, saucy and sexy, exciting thrills and suspense, or simply a feel good story, I’ve got a title for you. Romance with a heartbeat.

Please visit my website, Tara Mills Romance, for more information on my titles, sneak peeks, and my quirky blog. I’m also on Facebook.

 

 

This Writer’s (Well-traveled) Road: Cait O’Sullivan

taming-001 Today I’m honored to have author Cait O’Sullivan visiting us from her home in London.  Cait will fill us in on her world travels, set me straight on whether or not she’s madly in love with the sea and it’s pirate lore.  Glad you could join us today, Cait!

Hi Leslie, thanks so very much for having me on your blog today!! I’m thrilled to be here.

Before we go too far, Cait, how about telling us a little about yourself–a bit of a biography.

I’m a divorced mum of two beautiful girls and live in London. As a child I used to climb a big apple tree in the garden (in Limerick, Ireland) at 6am and sit and read my books as the sun came up. I never thought I’d be the one writing the books when I grew up and feel immensely grateful that I am. Writing has become a bit of an obsession with me, if I don’t get my fix (as in school holidays and the like) look out world. You know sexual frustration? I get creating frustration!!

You were born in Ireland, live in England, but you’ve traveled a lot?  Where haven’t you gone you really want or need to go—personally, or as a writer?

Well, currently I’m doing draft III of the first fantasy novel in a trilogy – yup I know, a big departure from writing romance. And that’s really where I needed to go as a writer. Personally? Heck there are a whole heap of places I need to go. Africa, India, Canada as new places, but also want to revisit New Zealand and North America. New York I want to see. I could go on, you know…

Cait, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought when I first started seeing you on blogs that you might have a fascination with the sea. Do I notice a bit of pirate dialect creeping into some of your blog conversations, or is that your native Irish lilt creeping into your conversations?

Native Irish lilt, I can’t help it I’m afeared :). I don’t realize it, it’s only afterwards that I notice it’s phrased in a different way. Interestingly enough, it is generally backwards, such as ‘the sea, why do you want to ask me about that?’ as opposed to ‘why do you want to ask me about the sea?’ and I recently found out that it is because Gaelic scans like that. So it’s in my blood. Hence I can’t change it. I like to introduce early enough that there is some Irish blood somewhere, just in case someone is perceptive (like you Leslie!) enough to pick it up!! As regards your question about the sea, nope, I haven’t written about it, but simply because I don’t think I’m worthy enough to do so. A quote I love from PB Shelley:

‘I see the Deep’s untrampeled floor,

With green and purple seaweed strown;

I see the waves upon the shore,

Like light dissolved in star-showers, thrown.

I just so love that last line!! Anyway, with beautiful verses like that out there about The Sea, The Sea, how could I possibly do it justice?

Hope I didn’t put you on the spot, Cait.  I know you wrote Romancing the Sea, and I heard a few ‘mateys’ and ‘arghs’ here and there in interviews, so I thought you might share my love of the sea–which is why I live in dry, landlocked south Texas.  And if I can tell a quick story about Irish lilt–my father had an Irish friend, Bog Gogarty–not really a handsome man, but leprechaun cute–and my sister and I had huge crushes because of his lilt!  And the funny thing–he had a gorgeous, too young English wife named Lesley, and we thought she hung the moon when we weren’t being jealous teenagers. Technically, she was a teenager, too–19–but she was older than us!  But I’m sorry–I digress. 

 Your next release, Taming the Tango Champion, promises to be a sultry reunion between Londoner Ava Whittaker and tango champ turned dance show judge Matthias de Romero of Argentina.  What intrigued you most about this relationship, this story?

The whole cross continent relationship, really. When I traveled, I was very protective of my heart because to be honest, I didn’t want to fall in love with someone who lived continents apart from me. Having said that, I don’t think it gets any more romantic than love across oceans. So that was what I wanted to explore a bit more deeply. The single mum story too was very close to my heart as I know how it feels and so wanted to write something meaningful to me. You’ll spot the parts that were written when I had had that particular experience, the scene with the risotto for example. Taming the Tango Champion started as my second book, then put away whilst I write book 3 & 4, then dusted down, edited, finished and edited. So parts are written from different times of my life. I can see them all played out.

 What’s ahead down the road?  Are any particular projects demanding your attention?

Fantasy fantasy fantasy. I’m so very excited that I’ve written my first one and am now trying to do the story justice by telling it the best way I can.

How difficult has the road to publication been to this point, and what has surprised you most by where you are and how you got here?

It wasn’t that tough so far, although I had shelved Romancing the Seas—the first book I wrote—thinking there was no point in trying to sell it. But a lovely and dear friend of mine sent me the link to a publisher and then hey presto, they liked it. What surprised me most was the wonderful support, motivation and encouragement I received from anyone in the writing world, whether it be critique partners or writing groups, or groups of writers belonging to publishers, the energy has been wonderful and I feel really privileged to be a part of it. Thanks all!

 What do you hope readers who have read Taming the Tango Champion—or any of your books—will look for in your future works?

A certain sense of style in the way I write. I don’t know what it is, so I can’t tell you!!! I’d like to think there’s humour in my writing, along with the occasional truth that gets people thinking. Maybe J I can hope hey!!

Tell us something I forgot or didn’t know to ask you—something deep, or silly, or funny—just something you want us to know about Cait O’Sullivan that we don’t know.

I’ve just fallen in love with the most amazing man on the planet J. How zat to finish off a romance interview!!

Pretty perfect, if you ask me!  Cait, thanks so much for coming by, and I hope Taming the Tango Champion is a huge success!  Good luck with your fantasy series–we’ll be looking forward to those, too.

 

BLURB:

One dance is never enough.

London TV presenter, Ava Whittaker, has a baby by twice-former Argentine Tango Champion Matthias de Romero. The problem? He doesn’t know. Fast forward two years and Matthias is the judge on a new dance show where Ava is a contestant. But time hasn’t healed the wound of discovering he was engaged during their tryst whilst on holiday in the Andes, and although she’s still in love with Matthias, she carefully guards her secret…and her heart.

Still in search of answers on why Ava walked out on him while staying at his ranch two years ago, Matthias takes a place as a judge on To Dance or Not to Dance. But seeking answers only creates more questions for Matthias.

Will the glitterball–and her secret–cause their intense feelings to burn out or fan further the flames of desire?

 

Amazon UK                Amazon.com

 

 

cait-001

 

 

Author biography

 

Cait O’Sullivan has a deep love of words, music and magic, having had the good fortune to grow up in Ireland. The wanderlust in her blood sent her out to travel the world and now, residing in a leafy suburb of London, it is her thoughts and memories that journey far and wide in order to create her stories.

Cait’s Place                             Facebook                                 Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

This Writer’s (Amazing) Road: Teresa Blue

TB_ManOfHerDreams_front_500x750 (1) Today I am truly excited to have author Teresa Blue here at Return to Rio.  Teresa has intriguing answers to questions I asked, named a heroine after me (well, okay, maybe that part is coincidental) and offers her mini-lesson on creating tension.  Enjoy the summer sizzle here along the Rio Grande, and let’s get Teresa to jump right in by telling us a little background information.  Biographical, how long you’ve been writing—anything to know you better.

Well, I have a pretty boring life actually and probably that’s  why I stated writing somewhere right after my last child was born…cough, cough, some 20 years ago. At first it was children’s stories. I enrolled in the Institute of Children’s Literature and completed several children’s books. I took a few more writing classes at our local college and broadened my scope to include short stories- even sold a few to various women’s magazines. Since then, I’ve changed genres, but haven’t stopped writing. Although I don’t get nearly as much writing done as I did before the internet.

I hit a slippery patch early on after having just joined RWA in 1999 – went to a writers retreat and came home to find my house a pile of ash. Fire! Every file…every manuscript, my computer was gone! I no longer had a computer, floppy disk or hard drive. I didn’t even have a house! For eight months we lived in an RV in the yard while our new place was being built.

I didn’t dawdle though; I bought a used laptop and started writing something new and totally different than anything I’d written before. Between going to work and purchasing the necessities required to make a house a home, I still had a son in middle school, I poured out my frustration through my writing. Although I’m not skittish, maybe the experience of living so close with nature and things that go bump in the night rattled loose the idea because Letters From Inside- a romantic suspense- was finished by the time we moved in.

 We’re here to talk about your new release, Man of Her Dreams, and your upcoming release, Letters from Inside, but the blurb for your novella, Nightbird, really caught my attention.  I love the idea of love that carries on even after death, through time and place. A fortune teller reads your heroine’s tarot cards in Man of Her Dreams—really a good piece of writing, by the way.  How much does an other-worldly or spiritual interest affect your writing?                                                                                                   

Thank you! I’m glad you like the excerpt. I grew up living within walking distance to my favorite aunt and ten cousins. She and my mom were sisters and nearly every Sunday they’d get together for dinner and the talk always turned to the ‘passing on’ or poor ‘Mrs. whoever rolling over in her grave…and the final ‘here after.” There was never a dull conversation between the two which naturally started my imagination spinning.

The real clincher came years later, at my father’s funeral after everyone had gone outside for that long ride to the cemetery. It hit me that I would never really see him again. Panicked, I rushed back inside for one more moment alone with him. As I hurried up to where he lay, he smiled. No words…just a smile as if to say he knew I’d be the one running in for one last goodbye. I never told anyone about what I’d seen, just figured it was my way of dealing with the loss. So later that week when my little girl- who was five at the time- said “Don’t be sad, Mama. Grandpa’s okay now. He smiled at you.” I was flabbergasted! Turns out she’d been in the foyer and saw the same thing. I’m totally convinced that death is not the end but rather the beginning of whole new journey!

I used that belief in the novella Night Bird. An untimely death, a traitorous business partner and havoc certain to follow unless steps are taken. My sea captain only has a few hours to make things right…

 Okay, who else just got cold to the bone and looked around the room a little?  Be honest.  I actually agree, though, Teresa, because there are so many reports of incidents like that.  I just found yours especially unsettling. 

  Before we talk in depth about Man of Her Dreams, I have to tell you that your heroine’s name is inspired.  There just aren’t enough heroic Leslies out there—maybe just me and Leslie Stone. If we were on line and not talking face to face (winking), I’d probably say ‘lol.”  Anyway, betrayal and a sense of self-determination seem to me to be a part of Man of Her Dreams.  Where do your best ideas for stories come from, and what do you want readers to take away from your writing?

Leslie is a beautiful name and fit my spunky heroine perfectly. I agree, there aren’t nearly enough Leslies in the world! My character is one of three very strong, determined women you’ll meet in Man of Her Dreams. A double betrayal from her fiancé’ and bridesmaid sends Leslie on the road to self-discovery where she’ll learn there isn’t any ‘one’ particular person whose job is to make you happy– that happiness must come from within. ‘We make ourselves  happy’ says Madame Luella- a pistol packing mama, who for all her tarot card knowledge, faces a few uncertainties of her own as she gathers the courage to return home to the son she abandoned at a carnival fifteen years prior. And there’s Sally, who can drink shooters like Kool-aid and still walk a straight line to make it home in time to watch Leno with her eighty-year old mother-in-law. Sally’s motto, ‘You gotta have a bloodline you can grab in a tight spot.’ Oops…I almost forgot to mention Mr. Jingles, the rag-doll who has a knack of making a sad situation better.

 We’ll put up the blurb and an excerpt from Man of Her Dreams, and those will speak for themselves, so let me ask you, besides writing, what other creative outlets attract you?

Some might argue cleaning isn’t creative, but for me, there’s nothing more challenging than a stubborn rust ring in the bathroom or ketchup stain on a tee-shirt. And I love the smell of lemony-fresh mopped floor. I find the sparkle of clean glass on the porch windows very satisfying. It’s a terrible distraction when I’m writing along and suddenly get the urge to scrub the tile grout. Seriously! But I also love gardening and preserving the food…listening for the ‘ping’ of a successful sealed jar. I love collecting antiques, too and have a blog http://tereasa-thingfinder.blogspot.com/ to showcase a collection of ‘things’ from days gone by. My writer’s mind gets caught up wondering who was the first person to own this particular item? How was it used? Where are they now? Why did they part with it? And so on. It can be like plotting a novel…you just need to ask yourself ‘what if?’

You know, Teresa, my house could use a good dose of your creativity.  Your welcome any time. Could you share a few of your favorite lines from Man of Her Dreams? And my first graders know there’s a second part to every question-why?

This is from a secondary character named Sally whose comments always make me laugh! Being around Sally is like hanging out with a best friend. Definitely shakes things up.

When asked if she’d like to go for a tarot card reading, Sally responds: “Honey, I’d go to the moon with that rich Russian if he had an extra ticket. Anything beats staying in this hot-ass trailer with Loose-wheel.”

And Leslie:

“Oh, and I should warn you…my family’s here.”

“Of course they are. Family…they’re like roaches, crawling out from all over when you least expect them and embarrassing as hell.”

What I like best about those passages is that both women are dealing with common issues- family. Leslie, because she expected to have the cabin to herself for a few days until her mom, dad and brother show up. And Sally, who, despite being dumped by a cheating husband, continues to stay in the tiny house trailer on the edge of town and care for his elderly mother. What’s typical of any household is that life comes at you with things you can’t choose. All you can do is grab a rope and hang on.

You have an upcoming release, Letters from Inside—romantic suspense, I believe?  I know Burroughs is the publisher.  Is there a definite date yet?

Not yet. I’ve been told we’ll start the editing on it in the fall so I hope it will be available early next year. I love this story and am thrilled to have contracted it. Early on I got lots of requests from many of the traditional publishers but because it’s not the typical romance it was harder to find a slot for it. Boroughs Publishing Group encourages creative freedom that delivers an emotional punch readers crave. Letters From Inside is told not only from the hero and heroine’s perspective, but the villain is up front quite often revealing his character and how he came to be the way he is. Because people aren’t born bad…life happens and its how we deal with it that shapes us.

What snared me is the sense of understated malice that ends the excerpt I read.  As a reader, I often find subtle tension affects me more than the in-your-face dead body kind of stuff, and the final line in the excerpt had me rubbing my arms.  Are there any specific ideas you have on how to build tension?  That some of us could stea—I mean borrow?

I love to be creeped out, biting fingernails during a movie, waiting for the girl to turn around and see the danger behind her. I think it’s neat to take a regular hum-drum situation and let the reader fill in the blanks. Because what theyfind most disturbing is certain to have a more lasting effect than anything I could dream up. I may give a character a scar that runs across his brow, but the reader might see him with zits and a thick wrinkled forehead; his mouth may have a cigarette hanging from the corner, one eye squinting against the smoke.

A simple everyday occurrence has so many possibilities.

Example: A young girl pulls up alongside a man on a deserted street and asks for directions.

“It’s a just a few blocks,” he says. “Kind of hard to explain but real easy if I show’d you.” Without warning, the man hops into her car.

You can see how this is a bad situation waiting to happen. Immediately our imagination kicks into overdrive.

 

Or… Bad marriage, battered wife pushed to the limit. “Honey…do you think this needs more sugar?”

Gulp!! I don’t even have to tell you about the box of rat poison sitting on the window ledge because you know it’s there! Your reader’s imagination can see it clearly.

Two more questions, Teresa.  I just have so much I find I want to know, and I know Rio visitors are enjoying your visit as much as I am!

 Writers work for readers.  What do you want your readers to look for first in any Teresa Blue story?

I would love for readers to pick up my stories in hopes of meeting interesting characters. I’m a people person and even those made up become real when we give them a history. And back story almost always involves family. Issues from the past that helped to create the character. I hope the reader will identify with the common theme- family- that runs through all my writing.

 Finally, my one always-asked question: Tell us something I should have asked and didn’t.  Anything strange, important, funny, gripping—anything you just think we should know and don’t.

Years ago I entered a contest given by country singer Laurie Morgan, looking for poetic verse. I didn’t realize at the time it was a way to stimulate songwriters. I won an autographed copy of her book, Forever Yours…Faithfully and cd. I signed the rights to my poem over and forgot about it until the following year when her voice came over the radio and I heard the familiar lyrics of verse I’d penned.

If my heart had windows,

You could see,

The love that’s still inside of me.

Or something along those lines. I only heard it once, don’t know the title and sometimes wonder if I imagined it. It’s possible, I guess…after all, that’s what writers do.

Wow! If you knew how much I love country music–I have her “Good as I Was to You” on my all-woman “Leaving” playlist!  I’ll have to go look up yours and brag about knowing one of her songwriting partners!  Teresa, you’ve been a wonderful guest, and I wish you the very best going down This Writer’s Road.  And remember–if the muse ever deserts you, my house is probably holding it captive!

 Thanks so much, Leslie, for having me on your blog. It’s been so much fun!

authorpick

Man of her Dreams Blurb:

Jay grabbed the new alternator and ducked his head back under the hood. “Harvey asked me to get it running. Sold it to some retiree planning a road trip.”

With Jay’s face buried beneath the hood, she felt bolder and decided to badger him some more. “You know you never answered me the other night.”

“About?” his head still hidden beneath the hood of her car.

“How you came to be here? What made you pick this sleepy little town?” He didn’t answer so she continued. “You said so yourself, there are not many ‘hot’ girls around.” She paused, and then continued, babbling non-stop. “So why do you stay? People… talk, you know?” She felt her face flush at the delicate topic. “I mean… doesn’t it bother you to be subject of such rumors?”

“How do you know it’s only a rumor?” he said, peeking at her from beneath the hood. His gaze pinned her as pulled a grease rag from his pocket and began to wipe off the wrench.

Her throat clogged and she stammered. How did she know? Did he even have to ask? She could feel it, that’s how. Deep down when he kissed her, damn it. His refusal to acknowledge the small moment of intimacy they’d shared irritated her and she started rocking in place as she sat hunched on the crate. Jay’s kisses had been so hot her breath practically steamed, warping all reasoning from her mind. Granted, nothing actually happened stretched out across his bed, thank-you Ben, but Jay’s heated response convinced her of one thing… he was attracted to her.

“I can tell, okay? But you go out of your way not to avoid people. Why is that? Don’t you ever get… lonesome?”

A flicker of emotions crossed his face before a mask of indifference fell into place. His eyes hardened with the same coldness he’d demonstrated at the bar with Spike. The one he used to keep people like her at a disadvantage.

Her breath caught awkwardly. She’d touched a nerve and her conscience crawled. She was no different than the rest of the people in town. Prying and judgmental. A knot formed in her chest like a wad of bread wedged, unable to go down.

He didn’t answer, just plunged beneath the hood of the car. A lengthy silence followed an occasional muttered curse lost beneath the hood. When Jay finally stepped back, his cheek had a black smudge below the eye and as he lifted his hand to wipe his forehead, another smear appeared.

He leaned against the fender. “You want to know why I came here? Easy. I’ve been up and down the road for years. This town is as good as any I’ve seen. And… despite what you may believe, I have friends here.”

Jay slid the wrench he’d been holding into the hip pocket of his lanky coveralls and walked over to stand dangerously close to her. She squirmed beneath his cutting gaze.

“Do I ever get lonely?” He fingered a stray curl beside her cheek then notched her chin up to look at him. “Let’s just say I haven’t gone without in that department either.”

 

If you’re looking for a bigger sample or to purchase Man of her Dreams: http://www.amazon.com/Man-Dreams-Daydream-Believers-Book-ebook/dp/B00LBKD5U0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404268020&sr=1-1&keywords=Teresa+Blue

 

Follow Teresa on Twitter@teab123Blue

Or like her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/looking4heros?ref_type=bookmark

Visit my website: www.teresablue.com/

And my collectible blog-site http://tereasa-thingfinder.blogspot.com/

I’m also on LinkedIn and Goodreads. I’d love to connect with you!

 

 

The Cavanaugh House Awaits You…

THC BookCoverPreview (2)                          Elizabeth Meyette

Today I’m truly excited to have Elizabeth Meyette here at Return to Rio, talking about her brand new release, The Cavanaugh House. Elizabeth also writes historical fiction and promised to give readers some insight into her personal journey along This Writer’s Road.

Elizabeth, before we talk about your books and your new release, The Cavanaugh House, please tell us a little about yourself:

Leslie, it’s so nice to visit with you and your readers today. My husband, Rich, and our kids are very supportive of my quirky writerly ways. The kids are on their own now, but Rich puts up with my dazed condition on writing days when all brain power is focused on my work. When I retired from teaching a few years early to pursue my writing career, I dusted off my manuscript for Love’s Destiny which had languished on my closet shelf for all those years.  Crimson Romance picked it up and published it to my delight! I had written it as a stand-alone, but my readers clamored for more, so I wrote Love’s Spirit and have plans for a another book in the series. I have just published my third book, The Cavanaugh House, which is a cozy mystery with a strong romantic element.

When I was checking out Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit, two things came to mind—I have to read them, because I love the Revolutionary period, and they’re epic.  How important is history to you, and how do you research particular time periods?

I’m so glad that you’re going to read them! I love history, and the Revolutionary period is my favorite. My research is very thorough—I’m a bit of a perfectionist (did I just hear Rich chuckle in the background??) Research for Love’s Destiny was pre-Google; that’s right I actually went to the library and pored over books and primary documents! I read an entire book on ships to make sure my description of Jonathon’s ship, the Destiny, was accurate. Having the Internet at my fingertips as I was revising it was so wonderful! Love’s Spirit was much easier since I could access great websites such as the Colonial Williamsburg website and find remarkable resources. One of my favorite compliments was from my big brother, a career Army man, who said my history was “spot on.”

 

I know that The Cavanaugh House is not, in your words, “purely romance.”  The cover strikes me as intriguing and a little brooding—maybe a little dark. Tell me about the tone of The Cavanaugh House, and maybe what inspired it.

I’m so pleased to hear you say that the cover struck you that way. Yes, the story is dark; my protagonist, Jesse, is recovering from a very public broken engagement and wants anonymity and peace. What she ends up with is the opposite when she moves into the Cavanaugh House in a small town. This house that she inherited from an aunt she never knew becomes a place of danger rather than a safe haven. But her BFF Maggie (aka Sister Angelina), Officer Marty D’Amato and Joe Riley support her and her risky investigation of her aunt’s death. Sparks fly between Joe and Jesse, but stung by her recent breakup, she fights their mutual attraction. My characters’ interactions and dialogue provide comic relief as well, and I enjoy their banter.

The cover of The Cavanaugh House is a photo that my husband Rich took. When the inspiration for the story came to me, a very distinct image of the house came to me. We were visiting family out of state and as we travelled a two-lane state road, we came upon an abandoned old house that was the house in my mind. I couldn’t believe it. I yelled, “Rich, that’s my house!” So we stopped and took a bunch of photos. Other pieces of the story fell together in a rather supernatural way (I discuss these on my blog Meyette’s Musings – “The Cavanaugh House Has Arrived!) and voila, my book was born.

It’s amazing to me that you should find the cover shot in such a chance encounter–and fascinating.  Elizabeth,  Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit capture the story of Emily Wentworth and Jonathan Brentwood, and their fight to love each other in spite of conflicting allegiances and the horrors of war.  Which characters in The Cavanaugh House are most like Emily and Jonathan, and will we see any characters from The Cavanaugh House in future works?

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What an insightful question, Leslie. You must be an author! A friend just told me she likes that my female characters are strong, and yes, Jesse is another strong female protagonist. I see many similarities between Jesse and Emily, but I think Jesse is more independent. That could be the influence of society at the times of each book. While Emily has broken through some of the restrictions colonial America has placed on her, Jesse is riding the wave of the new Women’s Liberation movement. Joe and Jonathon are quite different though. Joe is laid back and unthreatened by Jesse’s quest for equality; Jonathon is used to shaping his world and those around him. Both, however, deeply love and support their women.

Yes, my Cavanaugh House characters are still talking to me, and a sequel will very likely appear.

I love the differences you see among your characters.  And I’m not surprised there may be a sequel–characters we love are just hard to let go.  On another note, I read that your husband is really and truly supportive—even prohibiting you from cooking on ‘writing’ days, which I imagine must be most days.  How important is it to have that kind of support, and could you give advice to writers who lack that honest and enthusiastic support?

Rich is amazing! I am very blessed to have the love and support of my family, and my heart breaks when I hear of writers who are not as lucky. At first it was hard for me to identify myself as a writer, because as all of us know, people don’t always take that seriously. But the more I said it, the more I convinced myself it was true. And then the challenge was to carve time out of my other responsibilities to make time for writing. I actually put my writing time on my calendar as I would any other important meeting, appointment or activity. Then I make it sacrosanct—nothing else trumps it. I think the major thing for all writers is to take themselves seriously or no one else will. Whether you have another full-time job, small children, aging parents or other important responsibilities, you are important, too. I think of the advice we always get when we fly: put your own oxygen mask on first or you’ll be no good to anyone else. I don’t think of this as selfish—I think of it as self-ful.

 Wow, Elizabeth–as a writer who doesn’t always manage time wisely, your advice gave me goose bumps.  Especially the analogy to the flight instructions! What can readers look for as The Cavanaugh House launches?  Do you have blog visits you’d like to mention, or other opportunities for readers to learn more about you and your books?

My original launch date was April, but my husband had unexpected, and very serious, surgery in April, so I put my book off so I could focus only on Rich. He is recuperating well, so I am gearing up for some blog visits and I am talking about the Cavanaugh House on my blog, Meyette’s Musings http://elizabethmeyette.blogspot.com/ I have a book signing, class at a local university and keynote & workshop at a writers’ conference coming up in the near future. Keep an eye out for a Goodreads giveaway in the near future.

Finally, tell me something you want readers to know—funny, outrageous, serious—just something you’d like to say that I didn’t ask.

I discovered a secret sales weapon at one of my first book signings. Soon after I published Love’s Destiny, Rich was helping me at the author table at a woman’s expo where vendors had all sorts of products including wine. He had listened to me engage people as they walked by and talk to them about my book throughout the afternoon. I left for a few minutes to use the restroom, and when I returned Rich was laughing and talking with two ladies who were standing at the table enjoying their wine. It looked like a cocktail party. When I approached, he introduced me as his wife and the author, and we chatted for a while. They were delightful and one bought my book. When they sauntered off to visit other tables, Rich said, “They were walking by, and I said, ‘Hey, ladies, want a little romance in your life?’” He beamed. “They came right over!” “No doubt!” I laughed. I bring him to all of my events now—my secret sales weapon!

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Leslie.roses2

You’re welcome, Elizabeth!  Good luck to you and hang on to Rich–a lot of writers are likely to be jealous of that secret weapon of yours.  You can find Elizabeth Meyette and her works here:

The Cavanaugh House is available at Amazon.

Visit Elizabeth at

www.elizabethmeyette.com

http://elizabethmeyette.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/elizabethfmeyette

https://twitter.com/efmeyette

http://www.pinterest.com/bettymeyette/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start in Rose Creek: Wildflower Redemption

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His Temporary Wife is Book Two in my Texas Heart & Soul Series, and sure–you can read it first, then read Book One, Wildflower Redemption, later.

Just to play devil’s advocate, though–why not read Wildflower Redemption now, and His Temporary Wife tomorrow?

Wildlife Redemption features odd animals, Texas spring, aka bluebonnets, a RONE Award nomination, a USA Today co-favorite book of 2013 by columnist and author Deborah O’Neill (whose co-favorite was my first Crimson Romance title, Unattainable) and a heart-warming romance between Aaron Estes and Luz Wilkinson.

Then–move up I 35 from Rose Creek to tiny Truth, Texas, and dive into summer in the Hill Country with Esmeralda Salinas and Rafael Benton, country music, and more unforgettable characters demanding that their stories be told, too.

 

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Cover Reveal: Rock Me, Gently

Talented, multi-published author MJ Schilling scores again with another rocking romance, Rock Me, Gently.   Look for Rock Me, Gently to debut Thursday, May 1st!

 

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BLURB:

Like so many others, their romance started in Las Vegas…

 

He’s a rock star. She’s an ad exec. After almost having a one night affair in Sin City, Josh can’t get Cassie out of his mind. Why had she run out on him?

 

Like so many others, their romance started with a shot of tequila…

 

When the Josh Dunningham of Money Back Guaranteed tries to seduce her, Cassie is taken aback. Sure, he’s hot. And he could definitely rock her world. But can she have a fling with a man she doesn’t even know?

 

Like so many others, their romance turned rocky…

 

When Cassie returns to Chicago and finds a ten-foot tall Josh Dunningham on a radio station’s banner across from her office, she is tortured by memories of their short time together. When they meet again, things explode—in a bad way—and Josh has to prove himself to Cassie to earn her trust. But will he succeed when outside forces also want to tear them apart? When Cassie receives threatening letters and is attacked in her home, Josh is determined to find out who is behind it. But will the stalker’s encore performance bring an end to their show once and for all?

 

ROCK ME, GENTLY ~ COMING MAY 1ST!

 

To enter to win a free e-copy go to www.mjschillerauthor.blogspot.com! Drawing on Saturday, May 3rd.

And an enticing Excerpt:

 

Josh steered Cassie toward an exit, hoping fresh air would help to sober her up.  They ended up at the outdoor pool, a monstrosity complete with overhanging palm trees. Not a soul was in sight, unusual, even at this time of night.

Away from the casino hubbub, it was easier to talk. She eyed him. “Tell me about the band.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Well, as an advertising person, I’m interested in the gimmick, Money Back Guaranteed. Did you ever have to back up that promise?”

Josh took a couple of seconds to think about that. “Yeah. A few times. Once, when an elderly couple came with their granddaughter. They didn’t like the show at all.”  Remembering their reaction, he grimaced. “And once, when a girl caught her fiancé in the hall with another girl. Hardly our fault, but, she didn’t enjoy the concert, and that’s our promise, so…” He shrugged.

“Interesting. Interesting.” She lifted a leg, grabbing his shoulder for balance, and tugged on the heel of her boot.

“Uhh…what are you doing?”

“My feet are killing me. You’re so lucky you are a guy and don’t have to wear heels.”

“Yes. I was just mentioning that to my friend, Ryan, the other day.”

She didn’t look up. Having successfully removed one boot, she switched legs to work on the other. “Really?”

He smiled. “No. Go on.”

Yanking the other boot off, she nearly toppled over, though still holding on to him. She squeezed his arm. “You’re built.”

He nearly laughed at her frank statement. “Thank you.”

Holding her boots in one hand, her brow furrowed as she concentrated on her next question. She began to balance on the edge of the pool, which was deserted, and scoop stepped, trailing one leg in the water, not seeming to mind at all that her jeans were getting wet.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” he warned, taking her arm to steady her.

“I’m fine,” she assured him, breaking away for an instant to do a pirouette in the pool’s gutter to demonstrate.

“Okay, okay,” he muttered, grabbing her arm again. “No need to show off. So why are you in the advertising game?”

“I like the creative aspect of it. And, I can be very persuasive,” she said, smiling at him. As if he somehow silently challenged her, she stopped with a jerk and turned toward him, lifting up on her toes to kiss him. The taste of her was just as intoxicating as the booze had been, and left him equally dizzy. The flavor of sweet lime and midnight rolled across his tongue and sank into him unbidden. Someone in the hotel rooms surrounding the pool above them slammed a door, startling Cassie, the sharp sound almost like gunfire. She jumped away from him like she had been shot herself and started to lose her balance. He reached to save her, but too late, she fell into the pool, dragging him in after her.

 

Profile ala pic monk 

MJ is a lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh, can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has a nineteen-year-old (how did that happen?) and seventeen year old triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.

 

Folks, don’t forget–watch for Rock Me, Gently this coming Thursday, May 1st, and go to MJ’s website for a chance to win a free copy. And because I promised a small but interesting secret–MJ is my karaoke guru, since I am notoriously unable to sing, dance, or move rhythmically.  I’m extremely grateful for her help on my hill country romance, His Temporary Wife.

 

 

His Temporary Wife–Available Everywhere!

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Love country music?  Love bad girls who might be good girls, or vice versa?  His Temporary Wife is Esmeralda Salinas’s journey from tiny Rose Creek, Texas to tinier Truth, Texas.

His Temporary Wife will be released March 31st.  Watch for pre-order info coming soon!

Some of the songs that helped…provoke Esme’s transformation?  Lady Antebellum’s “All We’d Ever Need,” Trace Adkin’s, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” Toby Keith’s recent discovery (to me) “Too Drunk to Karaoke,” Whitney Houston’s cover of that Dolly Parton classic, “I Will Always Love You,”  and so many more–gotta love the variety of country artists and their wares.

Meanwhile, why  not check out Book One of the Texas Heart & Soul, Wildflower Redemption,  the story of Luz and Aaron and the love Esme wants for herself?

An excerpt will follow here soon!

Cover WR

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GM304PA     

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