Posted by Kate Carlisle Dec 9 2013, 12:05 am in harlequin desire, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party, prizes, Romance
Brace yourselves, ladies! With the release of SECOND-CHANCE SEDUCTION, I’ve launched a new series with Harlequin Desire featuring the McLaren brothers of the highlands of Northern California. To honor their heritage, we’re throwing a Scottish-themed launch party today. The Lair is decked out in tartan, the tables are overloaded with legs o’ lamb (plus haggis for the Bravehearts in the bunch), and the cabana boys are dressed in kilts!
Our young, kilted laddies are willing to play a few Scottish games with ye, if ye’ve a mind to… wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
The MacLaren brothers are taking California by storm with their brewing empire, and pity the women who get in their way. Aye, these men have talented tongues, an’ make no mistake. Raise a pint for a traditional toast. (Never mind if you don’t drink. This is fictional beer.)
If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.
So let it be!
And now, a bit about SECOND-CHANCE SEDUCTION…
Connor MacLaren never forgave Maggie Jameson for leaving him. Ten years later, his former sweetheart’s back in their California town, desperate for the Scottish businessman’s help. And he knows just how to get her out of his system once and for all…
Agreeing to temporarily pose as Connor’s girlfriend is déjà vu. After only a few minutes alone with the rugged Highlander, Maggie’s breathless with desire. Of course, this was Connor’s intention…until his plan backfires, leaving them both wanting much more.
Now, lassies, let’s give ourselves not-so-authentic Scots nicknames. Here’s how it works… Take your first name and give it an “-ie” ending. Then add “Mac” to your most notable physical feature, the street where you grew up, or a word related to your job. Today, I shall be Katie MacDeadline!
Post your Scots nickname in the comments below, and I’ll select one of ye at random to receive an autographed copy of SECOND-CHANCE SEDUCTION.
Posted by Christina Brooke Oct 11 2013, 12:15 am in Amy Andrews, Christina Brooke guest, contemporary romance, free books, Giveaway, Holding out for a Hero, Momentum, New Release, Romance
Christina Brooke: It’s my pleasure to bring back to the lair someone who needs no introduction. The fabulous Amy Andrews! Her new book, HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO is out rocking the romance world. Congratulations on the new release, Amy!
Amy Andrews: Thanks to Christina and everyone at the Bandits for having me once again. I feel like it’s been ages since I visited and I’d forgotten what a seriously cool place it is to hang out.
I don’t know about you but whenever I read the words Holding out For A Hero my head fills with the husky, sexy tones of Bonnie Tyler.Thanks also for letting me talk about my new book – Holding Out For A Hero, my first ST contemporary romance. It’s been sitting on my computer for years now and I’m just so thrilled that Jake, Ella and the whole crazy crew are finally getting a chance to shine.
Or maybe I’m just showing my age because when I went on to youtube to find Bonnie’s clip, I discovered there’s a HOFAH for everyone!
There’s this one Or this one
And for the Richard Armitage fans out there there’s this one and this one and, oh my, this one
It seems every movie, every TV series, every period drama has its own version. There’s even one for the W
hovians out there
Or better still – a Doctor v Richard one!!
I hope y’all appreciate how much research I had to do for this blog. How many hours I had to spend on You Tube. How many clips I had to watch. It’s okay, don’t fret, what can I say? I’m a perfectionist – I suffer for my art.
But all this “research” got me thinking about heroes and particularly about Jake, from HOFAH – a very reluctant hero. Jake Prince DOES NOT want to get involved with Ella Lucas’s problems. He’s a retired national footy legend, he’s running a pub, he’s drinking Coronas for a living.
He’s wastin’ away in Margaritaville where it’s always five o’clock.
Life is good. At least on the surface anyway.
He certainly doesn’t want to get involved with a woman from his past. Especially when she’s asking him to step back into a world that held him up high then cut him off at the knees – football.
But then this happens –
“Hi, Cam,” Ella said trying to sound casual and friendly. Cameron grunted at her. “Can you let me know when the footy’s finished? I need to talk to you.”
Cameron rolled his eyes. “Shit, Ella. Nag, nag, nag. That’s all you do,” he said, glaring at her as he grabbed his phone.
“Cam,” she called after him as he turned to go back inside.
“Fuck off,” he threw over his shoulder.
Jake blinked at Cameron’s profanity, shocked by his utter rudeness. He looked at Ella and saw her complexion pale as her knuckles grew white against the back of the chair. Then her cheeks turned pink as everyone at the table sat in uncomfortable silence.
He felt a white-hot welling of anger bubble up inside him. No wonder Ella had looked so strained earlier. Her brother needed a serious attitude adjustment. But amid the heat simmering inside him was a kind of primal recognition.
Cameron Lucas was a product of Huntley. As he had been.
Cameron Lucas was him—before football.
“Okay,” Jake said. He stood to leave. If he stayed he may be tempted to give Cameron the whopping he deserved right now instead of making him pay for it on the field.
“I’ll be there Monday at three o’clock. You got yourself a coach.”
And I think maybe that’s what makes a hero. Or at least one kind of hero, anyway. Someone who does something for somebody else, even when they don’t want to, even when they’re going to be forced to confront their own baggage, because it’s the right thing to do.
And let me tell you, Jake – when he finally steps up to the plate – is one hell of a hero
So, tell me, for a chance to win a digital copy of Holding Out For A Hero, does the reluctant hero do it for you? Or do you prefer for the hero to jump right into it and get the job done? What’s one trait you admire most in a hero? And, btw, you are absolutely allowed to say, a six-pack or buns of steel – no judgement in the lair!
Posted by Cassondra Murray Sep 12 2013, 4:25 am in Cassondra Murray, Cassondra's blogs, Inspiration, Romance, trains
What is it about trains?
A train should be a machine that moves people and stuff from place to place. And it is that.
But from all I’ve been able to discern in my life so far, a train is far more than that.
I first realized this when I was a tiny little thing, listening to my family make music.
When I was a little girl, my two brothers and my sister all played guitar. They were 14, 16 and 18 when I was born. By the time I was four years old, they’d all left home, but during each visit, they’d sit around the gray Formica kitchen table, guitars propped on their knees, singing.
While other kids were learning Can you tell me how to get…how to get to Sesame Street?, I sat quiet and still as a mouse on the old piano stool in the corner of my mom’s small kitchen, watching as my older siblings played and sang It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why babe. It don’t matter anyhow….in three part harmony.
My earliest clear memories of this are from when I was five or six years old. I don’t remember the words to all the songs because I was a generation behind my brothers and sisters, and by the time I became “radio aware” these songs were out of fashion. But I did remember the words to one song in particular.
It was a song about a train.
All three of my siblings had “their” songs–the particular songs where they would sing lead and the others would find the harmony. The train song was my eldest brother’s. To this day I can close my eyes and hear him sing it. The fingerpicking rhythm of the strings ran beneath his deep voice singing the words.
Ridin’ on the City of New Orleans
Illinois Central, Monday mornin’ rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three conductors, twenty five sacks of mail
All along the southbound odyssey the train pulls out at Kankakee and rolls along past houses, farms and fields
Passin’ trains that have no name and freight yards full of old black men
And graveyards of rusted automobiles
Good mornin’ America how are you
Doncha know me? I’m your native son
I’m the train they call the City of New Orleans
I’ll be gone five hundred miles ‘fore your day is done
And that’s when I began to understand that trains are magic.
Arlo Guthrie made that song famous, but when I hear the lyrics, I hear it in my brother’s much more appealing bass voice. (Sorry Arlo.)
I got one “big” gift for Christmas each year. The year I turned eight I asked for an electric train.
The year I turned eleven, I asked for a guitar. I worked hard to learn the first few chords, and I kept learning chords because I had a goal.
I wanted to play The City of New Orleans just like my brothers and sisters could.
If you’ve never heard the song, and you want to experience a bit of history, I found an awesome video of Arlo in his later years as a guest on the Boston Pops, singing this song.
When I first heard The City of New Orleans, even as a toddler, it’s a fair bet that I’d never seen a train since the nearest track was many miles from my home and seldom used. Maybe I’d seen one on tv, but not in real life. But that song was enough to make me feel the magic of trains.
And I’m not the only one who feels it.
My guest this past Monday was Joanne Rock, and she mentioned that when she was growing up on a farm on the Hudson River in New York, she used to sit and watch the trains go by. I read that, and something in my heart went *click* because I also had a fascination with trains. I still do.
If you live in a city, you probably ride trains all the time. Or maybe you live just outside a major city, and you ride a commuter rail. For you, perhaps trains don’t seem like magic at all. But even so, when I think of the movie While You Were Sleeping, I realize that the entire plot setting was centered largely around a metropolitan train system–the Chicago L– and for me there’s still a bit of mystery about the whole thing.
Trains–especially the heavy rail trains, seem to inspire people. Humans build trains, and so I find it odd that humans also make art about trains. They paint pictures of trains. Obviously, they write songs about trains. Other people sing those songs about trains.
I typed “songs about trains” into Google, and immediately got pages to choose from. The City of New Orleans has its own page on Wikipedia.
People devote lifetimes of free hours building model trains, painting them to the exact specifications of real trains. That photo on the left is a wall of nothing but engines. There are huge stores devoted to model trains, each tiny engine or car a replica of some real one that ran the rails either in history, or in current day.
What is it about trains that sparks the muse?
Kittens are ridiculously cute. Can we all agree on that?
A search on Amazon for “books about kittens” yielded 399 results. Not bad.
But a search on Amazon for “books about trains” yields 1763 results.
Seventeen. Hundred. And. Sixty. Three.
Therefore in this ridiculously unscientific study, I must conclude that since trains do not have a longer history than kittens, trains are in fact more popular than kittens.
I find this astonishing.
From what I know, trains are what allowed serious expansion into the American West. When I think of sexy tv heroes I think of James West and Artemus Gordon in the Wild Wild West. They spent a lot of time on trains.
A lot of gospel songs talk about trains to Glory (that’s pronounced Glow-ree. Take my word for it if you’re not from the South) But clearly, the very attractive Josh Turner believes that not all trains lead to good places.
Rod Stewart, on the other hand, was all about finding his love on a train. A downtown one, in particular.
When I met and fell in love with my husband, Steve, his apartment was the upstairs of his mom’s house. It was right across the street from the railroad track. The first three weeks I stayed at his house overnight, I got almost no sleep.
No, not for that reason.
Okay, fine. Maybe there was some of that. But mainly it was because of the trains. At least twice every night a train would roll by, with horn blowing, wheels clack clack clacking, and the inherent prolonged roar of a giant, unstoppable thing moving by.
The first time I ever rode a train, I was in England to study the gardens. I rode all over the UK on trains. I even rode an awesome narrow-gauge rail from the harbor in Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog in Wales. That’s a picture of it on the right, and if you’re ever in Wales, I recommend the ride.
But I realized at that point that in many parts of the world, everybody rides trains. They’re no mystery at all. They’re an everyday thing.
But for some reason they still hold a certain magic for me, and apparently they do for others as well.
Flash forward many years to now. I read a book recently and in it there was a train. There it was, rolling by on the fictional railroad track, boxcars and all. And the main character thought about trying to hop on the train to get away from the bad guy. But she didn’t. She just let the train roll right on by. And I admit that I thought, “you totally missed your opportunity.”
So here I sit, typing my blog at 2 in the morning. The railroad track is two or three miles due south of my house. But just now I heard the faint, high-pitched moan of the train whistle. Not enough to keep me awake, but just enough to make me notice.
I feel the faint melancholy of it. I wonder who is riding the train. Where is it headed? What is is carrying? How many engines are rolling down those rails? How many cars? Though I can’t really hear it, in my mind I see it passing the railroad crossing. I hear the clanging of the bells. I see the flashing lights. I hear the rumble and feel the vibration as it rolls by.
Just the sound of it sparks my muse. It takes me to places I’ve never been. I imagine people I’ve never met. I suppose it’s the writer in me that wonders these things, but what are their stories? Are they happy? Are they sad? Are they running from someone? Running TO someone?
Is it a mail order bride riding to meet her stranger husband-to-be in a mining town in the west? Will the train run through a portal in a tunnel somewhere and end up in another place or time? Is it a man huddled in an empty boxcar, hiding from the mob who would kill him for what he knows? Is it a hero coming home from war, about to set foot in his hometown for the first time? Whose face is he imagining? That of his high school sweetheart? Will she be there waiting on the platform when he arrives?
Yeah, I know all these people would probably be on a plane. It’s faster. It probably even costs less now. But when I picture a romance, I see a train.
What about you, Bandits and Buddies?
What do you think is the source of the mystery and magic that surrounds trains?
Have you ever ridden a train?
Do you regularly ride commuter trains or subways?
What about a long-distance passenger train? Ever been on one of those?
Given the choice, would you jet across the country just to hurry up and be there?
Or would you take it slow and see the countryside as you go?
Did you ever play with a toy train when you were a kid?
Can you hear a train from where you live?
Posted by Christina Brooke Jul 31 2013, 12:00 am in Angie Fox, Cat Devon, Christina Brooke, Christina Brooke guests, Dangerous Curves Ahead, Darynda Jones, Death, Diane Kelly, Donna Grant, Elizabeth Essex, Fifth Grave Past the Light, free books, freebies, Gina Robinson, Giveaways, Jamie Brenner, Kieran Kramer The Earl is Mine, Lauren Willig, Leigh Evans, Lily Everett, Live and Let Love, London's Last True Scoundrel, Manda Collins, Midnight's Kiss, My Big Fat Demonslayer Wedding, Romance, Sanctuary Island, Say Yes to the Duke, Scandal in the Night, Secrets of a Runaway Bride, Sleeping with the Entity, St. Martin's Press, Sugar Davidson, Taxes and a French Manicure, The Gin Lovers, The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, The Trouble with Fate, Valerie Bowman, Why Dukes Say I Do
Today, the St. Martin’s Press authors are storming our fortress to drink our grog, raid our Tim Tams and steal our men! Sven is guarding his chest expander and his cocktail recipes. Ermingarde is protecting our flank with fire. The Romans, cabana boys and hockey hunks are debating whether to put up the good fight or gracefully surrender…
Unbeknownst to the SMP authors, the Banditas have a mole. Christina Brooke fully intends to turn this raid into a party, and the guests of honour are all you lovely Bandita Buddies! Below, you’ll see a list of the fantabulous prizes up for grabs today in the lair. But first, Christina brings you a sneak peek preview of her colleagues’ latest releases…
SNEAK PEEK TIME!
LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL
by Christina Brooke
“This is what I keep telling you,” he said. “I am London’s most notorious scoundrel. As such, it is my job to seduce you. As a virtuous lady bent on establishing her pristine reputation, it is your job to stop me.”
He looked down at her and shook his head. The wicked gleam in his eyes invited her to share the joke. “I should not have to explain these things to you.”
THE THING ABOUT WERES (U.S. publication)
or THE THING ABOUT WOLVES (U.K. publication)
by Leigh Evans
With a sigh, I slid my hand free from my safe cocoon to touch his pelt and said (in what I still maintain to this day was a nice, soft, pacifying whisper), “This would work better if you weren’t a wolf.”
SCANDAL IN THE NIGHT
by Elizabeth Essex
His low voice was full of a strange sort of gentle, exasperated wonder, and he was regarding her through those dangerous, soot-dipped lashes, with such minute attention, as if she looked as strange and foreign as he. As if she were the map of a place he had forgotten he had visited.
by Donna Grant
Charon’s gaze focused on her mouth. Such sweet cries of pleasure had fallen from those amazing lips. He wanted to hear them again. Nay. He needed to hear them again. For so long he had kept himself apart from everyone, but Laura hadn’t let him. She’d brought him into her world whether he had wanted it or not.
FIFTH GRAVE PAST THE LIGHT
by Darynda Jones
The dead guy at the end of the bar kept trying to buy me a drink. Which figured. No one else was even taking a second look and I’d dressed to the nines. Or, at the very least, the eight-and-a-halves.
SAY YES TO THE DUKE
by Kieran Kramer
Lady Janice Sherwood—the one with the gorgeous older sister–had literally waltzed, however inelegantly, through several London Seasons and still hadn’t found a husband.
Everyone knew what a proper young lady did when she wasn’t in demand. She rusticated in the English countryside in the hopes she’d be missed.
THE GIN LOVERS
by Jamie Brenner
The social clout of the family into which she had married was something Charlotte had almost come to take for granted. Certainly, she had not seen it exhibited in such a public way since her lavish wedding four years earlier—an almost overwhelming affair, planned and executed with near-military precision at the strong hand of William’s mother. Charlotte had been so caught up in the excitement of William’s whirlwind courtship, she had willingly gone along for the ride.
DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD
by Sugar Jamison
I ate fifteen boxes of cookies the last time I robbed a Girl Scout. And then I gained three pounds. And then I got arrested and then they forced me to do all that community service and let me tell you, my big ass does not look good in neon orange.
THE PASSION OF THE PURPLE PLUMERIA
by Lauren Willig
The spy wore purple. Only amateurs wore black. Miss Gwendolyn Meadows knew that the true color of a Paris night wasn’t a flat black, but a deep purple, comprised of a hundred shades of shadow.
by Lily Everett
It was as if every other time Ella had been with a man, she’d kept all her clothes on and been half asleep. With Grady, she was wide awake and alarmingly, deliciously naked.
DEATH, TAXES, AND A FRENCH MANICURE
by Diane Kelly
When I was nine, I formed a Silly Putty pecker for my Ken doll, knowing he’d have no chance of fulfilling Barbie’s needs given the permanent state of erectile dysfunction with which the toy designers at Mattel had cursed him.
LICENSE TO LOVE
by Gina Robinson
Disappearing on her husband in the middle of an expensive Vegas magic act would be considered rude. By almost everyone. Especially given that undercover CIA agent Lani Silkwater was performing on stage with her husband of less than a day, premier illusionist Rock Powers.
by Zoe Archer
“Dalton chuckled, and the unexpected sound tumbled over her skin like rough velvet. ‘The bullyboys of the East End would find you damn useful.’
‘Sadly for them,’ she replied, ‘I already have employment. Perhaps it’s your sensibilities that are disturbed, Mr. Dalton, by the thought of undressing in my presence.’
A corner of his mouth turned up. ‘Never dare me, love.”
SLEEPING WITH THE ENTITY
by Cat Devon
“Try one,” Daniella said.
“No thanks,” Nick said. “I don’t like cupcakes.”
She gently shoved them a little closer. “They’re my specialty. Red velvet.”
Nick eyed them. She’d gotten the red color right but the ingredients wrong. There was no blood in these cupcakes.
WHY DUKES SAY I DO
by Manda Collins
“Cold?” Trevor asked, pulling her ever so slightly closer. They were still perfectly respectable, but Isabella was now close enough to inhale the sandalwood and clove scent of him. She could feel the warmth of his skin through the fabric of his hat and gloves, where her hands held on for dear life.
“I just felt a little chill, that’s all,” Isabella said, sounding breathy to her own ears….in that moment she felt all of her cares fall away…none of it mattered but this man, with his strong arms clasping her waist and hand….There was something about this man, this dance, that rang with truth in a way that threatened her very soul.
SECRETS OF A RUNAWAY BRIDE
by Valerie Bowman
Frances could nearly hear his brain working. He was thinking, all right. Thinking about his options. He could either tell her immediately what he’d come here to say, in which case undressing her was out of the question, or he could play along with her little game and perhaps get an eyeful. A gentleman would tell the truth immediately. But an aroused, tempted gentleman? What would he do? She smiled to herself. She was about to find out.
Her answer came when Charlie’s warm, deft fingers began unbuttoning the back of her gown.
MY BIG FAT DEMON SLAYER WEDDING
by Angie Fox
I’d run into many fearsome creatures, but nothing like my mom in full hostess mode.
So here’s what you have to do to win:
1. COMMENT. Today we’re going to make you all sing for your supper! You need to choose one quote above and write the next line. OR tell us how else you’re going to entertain us at our party today. For instance, Christina wanted to sing every verse of American pie while juggling cabana boys and balancing the bandita booty chest on her head. We told Christina not to quit her day job.
2. You must say WHERE we will be mailing the prize if you win (e.g. U.S. or Australia and so on). Some prizes have area restrictions on them so if you don’t specify, you will only be eligible for the international prizes.
Here are the prizes:
Christina Brooke LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL (International)
Leigh Evans THE TROUBLE WITH FATE (US & Canada) CHANGED TO INTERNATIONAL.
Elizabeth Essex SCANDAL IN THE NIGHT (international)
Donna Grant 2 signed copies of MIDNIGHT’S KISS (International)
Darynda Jones Hardcover copy FIFTH GRAVE PAST THE LIGHT (International)
Kieran Kramer THE EARL IS MINE, one copy, (international)
Jamie Brenner THE GIN LOVERS (US & Canada)
Sugar JamisonDANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD (US only)
Lauren Willig THE PASSION OF THE PURPLE PLUMERIA (US and Canada Only)
Lily Everett SANCTUARY ISLAND (U.S. only)
Diane Kelly DEATH, TAXES AND A FRENCH MANICURE print or Nook/Kindle (International)
Gina Robinson LIVE AND LET LOVE (US and Canada only)
Zoe Archer SWEET REVENGE (US and Canada only)
Cat Devon SLEEPING WITH THE ENTITY (US Only)
Angie Fox MY BIG FAT DEMON SLAYER WEDDING (US & Canada)
Manda Collins WHY DUKES SAY I DO print or ebook for U.S. Print only for International
Valerie Bowman SECRETS OF A RUNAWAY BRIDE Kindle, epub or Nook (U.S. and Canada only)
Posted by Nancy Northcott Jul 16 2013, 12:40 am in A Perfect Distraction, Bewitching the Duke, first touch, Guardian, London's Last True Scoundrel, Romance, Second-Chance Seduction, The Trouble with Moonlight
I used to critique with a woman who, in any given scene, would say “But what does it smell like?” This actually was a great service, seeing as I tended not to stop and think what aromas (nice) or odors (not so nice) might infuse my historical setting. Writers know we’re supposed to invoke all fives senses, but some come more easily to us than others. One I’ve been considering a lot lately is touch.
That first moment when the hero and heroine in a romance touch is an important one. The reaction clues the reader in to what’s coming. It helps flag the two characters as destined for each other.
Pondering all this, I looked back at Stefan and Mel’s first encounter in Guardian. She’s an FBI agent working on the murder of a friend, and he’s the consulting doctor. They parted on very bad terms nine years before this meeting.
He gave her a little nod. “Cami. Good to see you again.” He extended his hand. Touching him was the last thing she wanted to do, but she couldn’t refuse.
She pasted her most businesslike smile on her face. “Likewise,” she lied, in a steady voice at odds with her irrational and obviously hormonal pulse. She made herself accept his offered hand but had to clench her jaw against the zing that went up her arm. The slight squinting of his eyes said he’d felt it, too. But he could dream on if she’d admit to feeling the sizzle.
This is from Donna’s wonderful The Trouble With Moonlight. Her heroine turns invisible in moonlight. In order to be completely invisible, she has to be naked. My hero, who doesn’t realize she has this ability, has captured her in a net. They have met before, but this is their first touch.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Miss Havershaw” He moved his hand to the spot he approximated to be her shoulder. Instead of a fabric-bound collarbone, his fingers pressed into a soft warm mound with a fleshy peak that extended between the ropes.
She gasped and instantly stilled. All his senses tuned to the fingertips that circled and explored the pebbling peak. His groin tightened, not needing to see what his fingers instantly recognized.
“Take your hand off my breast, Mr. Langtree.”
Christie’s sent an example from her wonderful Bewitching the Duke. Since Selina, the heroine, is a wise woman the first time she touches Colin is when he sprains his ankle and she has to clinically examine his injury.
A loud cough sounded from the doorway. Selina turned to see Mr. Roberts standing there staring as she appeared to caress the duke’s foot. She stared down at the duke’s ankle as heat crossed her cheeks.
Oh, God, she had been caressing his foot.
Next we have a sneak peek at Anna Sugden’s fabulous forthcoming debut, A Perfect Distraction. Jake, the hero, is reluctantly hosting a party for his new team-mates on the New Jersey Ice Cats, but he plans to slip away to meet with someone from the firm helping with his relocation to Chicago. Unfortunately, she’s in hospital after emergency surgery and so has sent Maggie, the heroine, in her place. Maggie isn’t happy because she doesn’t want to deal with a sports star with his reputation, having just left one like him behind in England.
Jake grinned. “Thanks for coming, Maggie. Hope I haven’t kept you waiting.”
“Not at all.” She shook his hand.
Her accent made her sound cool and polite. Yet the instant their fingers touched, tiny sparks of heat danced across his skin. Desire speared through him, even as she pulled her hand away.
Christina Brooke sent this from her latest terrific release, London’s Last True Scoundrel.
He gripped her around the waist and settled the wet, bedraggled bundle more comfortably across the saddle before him.
“You are freezing,” he said.
She sat as straight as she could under the circumstances, as if she had a poker rammed down the back of her gown.
He chuckled. Really, she was absurd. “Relax. I won’t bite.”
Much as he’d like to.
“I am perfectly relaxed,” she said stiffly.
Finally, we have another sneak peek that’s so far ahead of time, the cover isn’t ready yet. This is from Kate Carlisle’s December 2013 Silhouette Desire, Second-Chance Seduction.
Maggie jabbed her finger in his chest for emphasis. “Just so we’re clear, Connor. I’m not going to have sex with you.”
He looked down at her finger, then up to meet her gaze. “Still negotiating, huh?”
She whipped her hand away and immediately missed the sizzle of heat. She told herself it meant nothing. It had just been a while since she’d touched a man. Like, years. No wonder she was getting a contact high.
And that’s our selection. Is there a first touch or first meeting from a book, movie, or TV show you particularly like? One commenter today will receive NetGalley access to read Guardian for free (The winner must have or be willing to create a NetGalley account, which is free.).
Posted by Joan Kayse Jul 13 2013, 12:39 am in cats, Dreams, Joan Kayse, Romance
No, it was NOT during the last Lair party that got out of hand. Ahem, that was a giraffe and the vet says he’ll be just fine…just a little case of whiplash.
Nope, I thought I’d talk a bit about dreams. I am a vivid dreamer. I dream in color, I feel sensation, emotions. I OFTEN remember what I dream and some of it can be pretty weird. Oh sure, I experience the usual ones: naked, can’t find clothes. Most often that version is I’m shoeless going into work at the hospital, or looking through my closet and finding favorite clothes from my childhood.
I have the loose teeth one that seems to go on forever. It’s like I’m sprouting tons of teeth only to spit! I have a recurring tornado one since we had one when I was in 10th grade. And yes, since I became Cricket and Grayson’s Mom I have a LOT of cat/kitten dreams. If I kept every cat I’d rescued in those dreams? Sheesh, I’d really be a Crazy Cat Lady!
And then there is that one, wonderful dream involving Keith Urban. In that one…….
I wish I were one of those writers who dreams about her stories. Sigh, what I wouldn’t give to have my Irish warriors show up. Instead? I get one where Regis Philbin is my long lost grandfather!
So what about you? Do you dream? What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?
A random dreamer will win a Kindle or Nook download of THE PATRICIAN’S FORTUNE.
Posted by Joan Kayse May 5 2013, 12:21 am in Derby, historical romance, horses, Joan Kayse, Romance
Be calm people…..not here in The Lair although Goddess knows we have some great ones.
You go first. No YOU go first…
NOTE: Would all BB’s please check the Lost and Found closet on your next visit…it’s overflowing and giving Paolo fits. We also found some “interesting” items….Helen? Are you missing a cricket bat painted with Sven’s face? PJ….girl….is the chocolate fondue pot with glitter dipping sticks yours? And who Bedazzled this riding crop?
No, I’m talking right now, in River City aka Louisville. As I write this, a long shot won the Lilies for the Fillies, the Kentucky Oaks. It was preceded by a parade of breast cancer survivors, one of which is my dear BFF. It’s known as “Derby for Louisvillians” because really? The main event is taken up by rich and famous and out of towners.
Don’t I look posh, darling?
Now, I love the races, go a couple of times a year. Yes, I bet on horses based on their names. Today alone, two drew my attention Kittens Dumplings and Admiral Kitten and dang….one called Fear the Kitten ALMOST got to be in the big race tomorrow!!!
The majority of our city folks don’t go through the root deep traditional or the over blown hoohaha of the actual event. But you always know that it’s Derby week:
1. Expressway signs start changing. Traffic cones delivered to exit ramps. Banners at the local strip clubs “Welcome” Derby visitors.
2. Wednesday is Steamboat race. Exaggerated hoopla with “shenanigans” built-in.
3. Pegasus Parade. Tried to watch it on TV only to come to the realization that parades aren’t parades anymore! The bands, the floats, the celebrities on cars all stop to perform for the camera! I’ve noticed this at the Macy’s day parade too. It’s a parade people! Move along, move along!
Also, on this day, you start noticing private jets flying into the airport. By tomorrow, a huge tarmac will be wing to wing with Lears. Among the well heeled are sheiks…very into racing. Sounds like a Harlequin “The Sheik’s Lost Horse Trainer’s Secret Baby”
4. The Goodyear Blimp arrives. This year, painted as a minion from Despicable Me? Next year, expect a Romance Bandits one
5. Right now a local society couple are having their annual bash to benefit Diabetes. It’s held at their modest mansion in the center of a historically posh neighborhood. Celebrities come, locals in formal wear. Several years ago I was among the onlookers. My friend and had a good view from the rear. It was amusing watching glamorous ladies try to use a Porto Potty in full gowns
So most years I’m a bit blasé about all of it. But this year, my friend and I decided we’d go down to Waterfront Park to the Chow Wagon. Nice area right along the Ohio River. It was a nice day, their were ducks and loads of people watching. Ok, I admit it. We went cause I saw a sign on a newscast for “Giant Corn Dogs”. :0 Didn’t realize they’d cost $10!
Here are some pics from our big party day…
So, I tried to get into the spirit. Had almost made it too. Until we went to leave and I got a Derby surprise. Here’s my imitation of Olympian McKayla Maroney
What about you all? Does your community have any annual festivities?
Posted by Donna MacMeans Mar 23 2013, 12:32 am in Attraction, Donna MacMeans, Dr. Helen Fisher, Match.com, Romance
I heard about a survey the other day and wondered if you all had seen it too.
Match.com conducted a survey that included approximately 5,500 single men and women and 1,000 married men and women. The results were both fun and interesting.
For example, to the question “what do singles want?” The answers were:
2. Someone they can trust and confide in
3. Makes me laugh
4. Physically attractive
Now aren’t those pretty much the same qualities that readers cited when asked about the qualities of a hero? Thought this was interesting.
The questionnaire was designed to look at singles’s desires and dating habits. One question was designed to see qualities a man might have that would make him attractive to women, and conversely what qualities a woman should possess to be attractive to a man. The results – at least the first two highest ranked responses – were similar. Women judge men by their teeth (70%) and their grammar (69%). I figure basically women are looking at hygiene and education, although the Phd that ran the survey said good teeth were a measure of fertility. Hmmm….have to ponder that one. The third quality was clothes (58%), I’m thinking that’s a way women can quickly judge economic and cultural status, and fourth was the guy’s car (24%) – definite economic status.
As to what men look for in women, #1 was also good teeth, although by a smaller margin (58%). Grammar was also second – again by a smaller margin (55%). The men looked for good hair (51%) which I could buy as an indication of health and fertility. I wonder, though, what exactly constitutes “good hair”? Is it an attractive cut? Long and bouncy? I’m guessing it’s not long, grey or greying . Is it hair that is multicolored? just curious.
I like this next statistic because it’s such a change from previous years. 90% of the singles open to marriage believe they can stay married to the same person forever. The previous year, 2011, this percentage was only 78% and the year before that 76%. Of the married individuals in the survey, 80% say they would marry the same spouse again (awwww). The only thing married spouses miss is having an independent schedule. Yeah – a spouse and kids will mess with independent everything But isn’t it sweet that it’s no longer assumed that every marriage will end in divorce? That was the mindset when I married back in the 70s. Good to see this changing.
The belief in love at first sight is growing – 56% in 2012, 54% in 2011 versus 41% in 2010. I would say this is the result of romance novels, but I was surprised to learn that more men (61%) than women (51%) believe in love at first sight. In fact, the Phd running the survey mentioned that overall men were more romantic than women. No kidding! If that’s true, I think they keep it well-hidden. I shouldn’t say that. My recent Cancun trip was because the dh wanted to be somewhere warm and romantic on Valentine’s Day. The photo is from our hotel room in Cancun.
Finally, I enjoyed the conclusions drawn by a series of questions that the older one gets, the happier they become. Up until the age of 60, only 20% of the population sample identified themselves as “very happy.” Of the group aged 61-70, 37% said they were very happy. The percentage jumps to 44% for those aged 70+. I have this very encouraging and yeah, I’d place myself in the very happy overall category.
You can read the full results of the survey here: http://blog.match.com/2013/02/11/dr-helen-fishers-singles-in-america-presentation/ After the power point slides, there’s a video clip of the actual presentation of results but it’s a little hard to hear over the sound of a coffee barista at work (or maybe it was a bartender – can’t tell). I’ve just mentioned the highlights I thought most intriguing.
So what do you think? What’s the first thing you notice in a guy (or gal) that interests you? Do you think the laws of attraction have changed ov er the years? Or is this pretty much the same as the past? If you had it to do all over again, would you go about things in the same way? Hey – someone will win a copy of Casanova Code, because that’s what “very happy” people do . Let’s chat
Posted by Nancy Northcott Mar 5 2013, 1:29 am in dark fantasy, mages, Nancy's blogs, paranormal, Protector, Romance, The Protectors
There were a couple of times in my life, before I met the dh, when I was attracted to guys who were seriously wrong for me. Seriously, totally, obviously wrong. Did that stop me from being attracted to them? Of course not, because then life would’ve been too easy.
This is the exact problem Josh Campbell and Edie Lang, the hero and heroine of my just-out-now novella, Protector, have. We’ll get back to them in a minute because I’m launching their story today, but first–Welcome! Give your drink order to Marco over by the bar, sample some of Sven’s canapes, and pull up a chair.
The idea for this novella came from the reading I did about wildland firefighting a couple of years ago. Nora’s Chasing Fire got me interested, and I pursued the subject the way I do all my new interests, which is to say rabidly. Just ask the dh if you don’t believe me.
Anyway, that was the year the Honey Prairie fire burned for months in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp (Those of you who’re regulars knew the swamp was going to come into it, didn’t you?). At left is a burned tree trunk near the water’s edge. The fire raged over much of the swamp before it was done.
That’s actually good for the swamp in the long run. The ranger station at the wildlife refuge sold t-shirts describing it as a “fire-dependent ecosystem,” but the short term damage was extensive.
Here’s a photo of the plants along the Suwanee Canal in May of last year, a little less than a year after the fire was finally out. Everything should be green, but you can see that it isn’t. A lot of the trees, especially the cypresses, recovered, but others had to be taken down.
The ghouls, who’re villains in my series, think they can use the swamp’s energy, so I wondered what might happen if they were working powerful magic there and something went wrong.
Here’s the blurb:
Danger is nothing new to mage firefighter and paramedic Edie Lang, but she’d run cheerfully into a blazing forest rather than face Josh Campbell. The hot-as-hell flyboy is less the one that got away than the one who pushed her away—and Edie will be damned if she’ll go there again. But everything changes when they are connected by an evil that threatens their magic—and their lives.
For Josh, flying his helicopter in and out of fires is nowhere near as nerve wracking as dealing with Edie. She’s more than just another mage, and he hasn’t forgotten a single scorching moment of their brief time together. Now a dark, unseen force is attacking them both. It is draining their power, forcing them to search together for a cure . . . and making them live each moment as if it were their last.
Here’s the opening:
Of all the helicopter pilots who could’ve flown this medevac run, why did Josh Campbell have to be the one who showed up? Edie Lang snatched a sidelong look at him. His tall, broad-shouldered form seemed to take up more than his share of the cockpit space. Or maybe her unwelcome awareness of him caused that crowded sensation.
His headset and tan ball cap hid most of his sun-kissed, light brown hair but emphasized his profile. Josh’s straight nose and strong chin might’ve graced a classical statue. Intently tracking the burning landscape, his eyes were green today, like his flight suit, but an intriguing mix of green and brown when he wore street clothes.
He still looked as sexy and, unfortunately, as aloof as he did three years ago, when they’d last worked together. They’d been part of a helicopter firefighting crew in Wyoming until she’d left.
Not that their history mattered now.
At least he would get her to the injured firefighter in one piece. Josh had his faults, but no one flew wildfire rescue better than he did. Although fire-generated air currents buffeted the chopper, his piloting skills, combined with a bit of magic, kept it steady above the flaming, smoky swamp.
It was his skill at other things that made her edgy.
She suddenly felt self-conscious about her grimy face and the smoke and ash stains on her fire-resistant yellow shirt and green pants, not to mention her hair that probably looked more gray than blond by now. She’d fought the wildfire until she got the injury call and switched her brain to paramedic mode.
So what if she and Josh had almost done the deed once when they worked together? That’d been a freak incident, a mistake he’d realized before they made it worse by going all the way.
It was just her bad luck this fire was so big that her crew from Colorado and his from…wherever had been rotated into Georgia to fight it.
Unfortunately, their one intimate encounter had etched itself into her memory. She knew every warm, sleek contour of the sculpted form under that flight suit. Those hard, smooth shoulders of his flowed into a firm chest and muscular, well-toned arms. The man was good with his hands in ways that had nothing to do with aviation.
Edie shifted in her seat. Best to get her mind off what had so briefly been and never would happen again.
If only his spicy aftershave didn’t remind her.
The magic they shared resonated between them, but Josh projected all the warmth of a steel door in a freezer. He probably hadn’t expected to see her again any more than she’d expected to see him.
Still, his silence was aggravating. One aborted night together didn’t give either of them a claim on the other, but they weren’t strangers. Damned if she’d put up with his attitude any longer.
“So,” she began, “when did you leave Wyoming?”
“Couple of years ago.” His offhand tone signaled boredom.
Tough for him. “Any special reason?”
“Got a better job.”
“And that would be…?”
He glanced at her, green eyes baffled and brows raised. “Does it matter?”
“We worked together for two summers,” she reminded him, trying not to sound as hurt as his reticence made her feel. Had he really blocked off their time as helitack crewmates so thoroughly? “I’m interested.”
He shrugged. “I wanted a change.”
“So what are you doing now?” Besides irritating her with his minimal responses—deliberately, she suspected.
“Jesus! You just don’t give up.” But his glance this time held wry humor and warmth that might’ve been affection.
It made Edie’s heart turn over. Momentarily speechless, she stared at him, and his gaze softened and warmed. His vibe in the magic between them seemed less distant.
Josh wrenched his eyes to the side, barriers rising again. His abrupt withdrawal left Edie feeling bereft. She swallowed hard, waiting for the needy quivers in her gut to settle. It was so not fair that he could make her feel this way after three years of noncommunication.
“I fly combat missions and medevac for the Southeastern Shire Collegium , better known as the Georgia Institute for Paranormal Research,” he said.
The mageborn organized their governing districts by shires, disguising the combined headquarters and government centers they called C ollegiums as Mundane businesses. The deception allowed them to live and work safely amid their Mundane neighbors. She hadn’t visited Georgia before and had never heard the Southeastern Shire Collegium’s cover name.
“So they loaned you and this chopper to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and reconfigured the rear for medevac?”
He shrugged. “The wildlife refuge has a helicopter service contract, but that bird was already working another fire. The Collegium mages like to be good neighbors, and some of us hang out in a little town near here, Wayfarer.”
“Yeah, I stopped there on the way in,” she managed around the lump in her throat. “Nice place.”
She might be better off if he hadn’t shown her that flash of warmth, hadn’t underscored the brief, bittersweet memory.
Wildland firefighters shared a rare camaraderie. For Edie and Josh, being mageborn should’ve created an ever deeper trust, but the man kept her at the same distance he maintained with every other woman on the fire line.
Except for that night at Compadres Gulch, when grief ripped through the firefighters’ encampment because they’d lost three of their own in a deadly burnover. She and Josh had briefly found refuge in each other’s arms, but his pager had interrupted them, summoning him to make an emergency retardant drop. He hadn’t kept his promise to return afterward.
If only she could forget that incident. He clearly had. The next day, he’d treated her with his usual cool courtesy. As though nothing had happened between them.
What an idiot she was, to regret that after so long.
That’s their reunion, and their road gets rockier from here.
There are some familiar faces in the story as well. Griff, Val, Will and Stefan from Renegade are all here, and part of the story takes place at the Collegium. In addition to some magical conflict with the ghouls, there’s a bit about Stefan and the woman he loved and lost, leading up to the release of his book, Guardian, in July.
Protector is being released as an ebook, and there are currently no plans to offer a print edition. Forever Yours did have a few ARCs printed up, though, uncorrected manuscript proofs bound in trade paperback size with the same gorgeous cover as on the ebook–only bigger!
One commenter today will win one of these ARCs, signed, and a Keeper Kase with signed Renegade and Protector cover cards.
Everybody comfortable? Good. What did Marco give you at the bar, and what’s your favorite of Sven’s treats? Did you ever have a crush on someone you knew was totally wrong for you? How did you deal with it? Do you have any questions about Protector or the series in general?
Posted by Joan Kayse Feb 13 2013, 12:30 am in cats, Joan Kayse, Romance
You’ll forgive me if today’s post is a bit on the shorter side. That’s because I’m into week 3 of recovery from a knee replacement.
Dear. God. In. Heaven.
Wow, it has been an eye opener for this 30 plus year orthopaedic nurse. To say I’ve gained unique perspective from the patient point of view is an understatement. Fortunately, I’ve had the best caregivers: Brother, friends bearing chicken noodle/casserole/dumpling dishes and willing to do laundry or slap me around when a pity party threatens.
And then there are the kittes.
Gotta make sure the bed is ready!
Seriously, hanging out with my baby cats 24/7 has been fun and they are doing their part. In fact, I believe their special kind of healing began in the hospital. The 2nd night after my surgery, I kept waking up “sensing” Cricket in my room! Now, we both know I was not at home and she doesn’t drive so she couldn’t have been there, right? Right? RIGHT?
But then I came home. Cricket is the shy one even around me, but this little girl gloamed onto me like a magnet. You’ve seen the one commercial where a guy has his two kitties around his ankles like boots? That is Miss Cricket. She’s lying in my lap, draped over my ankles, following my walker, meowing her little head off. She keeps wanting to lie ON my healing knee.
Grayson is still the inquisitive one. He splays out across my chest, sniffs around the walker, the CPM machine (passive motion machine), a trick that makes me nervous when he gets around the controls! He distracts me with his antics and I’m convinced he’s set the world record for tail chasing.
Wonder what this button does?
Now, back to more kitty therapy!
What about your pets? Do they sense when you aren’t feeling well? What do they do to make you feel better?