Excerpt: Tail Lights by Connie L. Smith

BookCoverPreviewBlurb: Preston and Nick endured the breakup of all breakups when Nick accused her of cheating on him. He insisted, and she denied while the rain pounded against her driveway and thunder roared in the distance. Then they both ran – Preston to a life of Rock and Roll, and Nick to a career in the Army.

Over four years later, they’re damaged and broken almost beyond repair. He’s carrying baggage from his military days, and she bears the scars of living a lifestyle she’s grown to hate.

When Preston’s label forces her to take time away from music, their paths cross in a parking lot not twenty-four hours after her hometown return, anger and sparks flying in a confusing blend. But regardless of the feelings neither has been able to shake, too many lies and secrets stand in the way of the one thing they need in order to recover.

Each other.

Buy: Tail Lights (Lyric Series Book 1)

Excerpt:

Surprisingly, he was leaving his apartment when I reached his floor, and he smiled at me like no animosity existed between us. “Hey, Preston.”

Hey, Preston,” I mocked, then held up the figurine and fastened a glare on him. “Take it back.”

He had the nerve to smirk. “How do you know I gave that to you?”

“Who else would leave a dolphin on my doorstep besides the guy who knows I love dolphins and wants to suddenly fix four years’ worth of betrayal?” His smirk disappeared, and I shoved the object closer to him. “Take it back.”

He shook his head. “I don’t want it back.”

“Well, I don’t want it ether.” When he arched a brow, I rolled my eyes. “Okay, it’s cute. It’s absolutely adorable, and it would look fantastic on my end table, but I can’t take this.”

“Why not?”

“Because I know what it means! You made a mistake, and you’re trying to make up for it. But it’s too late, Nick. And if I take this, it’s like saying that you have a chance to make things right, and you don’t.”

His brow again lifted. “You sure about that?”

I frowned. “Which part?”

With a grin, he shrugged in an almost casual manner, far too comfortable in a conversation that made me anxious. Evidently he’d meant what he said about mending things between us, and he wasn’t about to let my reservations ruin his determination. “You’re absolutely right about what the dolphin means, but are you sure I can’t make things right?”

“I’m so far beyond sure that sure isn’t even in my line of sight anymore.” I held the dolphin farther out, hoping that he’d take it. “I can’t keep clinging to things that weren’t good for me in the first place if I want my next four years to be any better than the last four years.”

Then he scowled. “And you think I wasn’t good for you in the first place?”

“I know you weren’t. If you were, you wouldn’t have believed Dad and dumped me, and…” Sighing, I waved the figurine in his direction. “Take it.”

“Your sentence trailed off,” he pointed out, a small smile forming on his lips. “That’s a good sign for me.” Eyes on me, he stepped closer, completely invading my personal space and causing the hand holding the dolphin to fall back against my stomach. After a moment of silently looking at me, so intense and needing, he pointed a finger at my face.

“That’s exactly why I can’t take it back,” he whispered. His finger moved to brush my hair behind my ear, trailing along my jaw before tracing my lips. I knew I should move, slap his hand away, something. But I couldn’t. I just stared, my mouth gaping in shock, my mind consumed with Nick and his caresses. “That was the biggest mistake of my life. And you are my life.”

His index finger exchanged for his thumb, outlining my bottom lip over and over. “I should’ve fought for this, and I’m not making the same mistake twice. I’m getting my life back.” Then he stepped away, gesturing at the dolphin. “That’s only the first step.” Turning, he walked to the stairway entrance at the other end of the hall, leaving me standing – still gawking where he’d been and suddenly holding the dolphin figure much tighter.

Buy: Tail Lights (Lyric Series Book 1)

Untitled2Author Bio:

Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Her music of choice is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and is currently working on her MA.

Links:

Main Site/Blog: http://clsmithbooks.blogspot.com

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7257320.Connie_L_Smith

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/conniel0194/

Readwave: http://www.readwave.com/connie.l.smith/

Spotlight: Sins of an Angel by Ishabelle Torry

Sins of an Angel_140x210Blurb:

Seven Deadly Sins… One tempted angel…

As an Angel of Mercy, Nayla’s duty is to collect the souls of the mortals who’ve given up on life and return them to the Guff for rebirth. But her loyalty to duty is challenged when she’s sent to destroy the essence of Grant Farris. Calling upon the Archangel Michael, she begs for leniency. After all, how can one be happy when all one has known is pain?

Grant has no idea that his eternal soul is facing total annihilation. As far as he’s concerned, this life can go straight to hell…which is exactly what Lucifer intends. But when the angel Nayla interferes and is granted mortality to aid in Grant’s redemption, Lucifer realizes an even better opportunity. He could have his very own Angel of Mercy!

Can Nayla save Grant’s soul without losing her own to temptation?

Buy: Sins of an Angel

Excerpt:

The smell of cinnamon teased Nayla’s nose. She licked her lips. “I didn’t see it set out earlier. Perhaps just a small bite then?”

The server scooped a chunk onto her plate with a smile. “Bon appetite.” She winked.

Nayla plopped down into her seat across from Grant and anxiously dipped her spoon into the steaming apple dessert. She closed her eyes as the warmth of the fruit and spices melted on her palate. She scooped a bigger piece up and shoved it into her watering mouth, licking the spoon clean.

“Is that good?” Grant sniggered. “You seem to be enjoying it”—his gaze dropped to the newly clean utensil still pressed to her lips—”a lot.”

Heat spread across her cheeks and down her neck. “I must confess, this is the most delicious thing I can recall ever eating. What is it named again?”

“Apple pie. A good ol’ American favorite.”

“Oh. I love it! Do you like to eat pie?”

Grant grunted, his dark eyes darting back to his own plate with a grin. “Oh man, do I love…pie.”

She scraped up another bite. Excited over sharing something in common, she held her spoon out across the table. “I insist you eat a piece of my pie then! It is marvelous.”

Grant’s fork clattered to the table. He sat back, running a hand through his tousled hair. “I think I’m going to skip dessert today.”

Nayla leaned over the table, swaying the apple pie before him. “Just one bite…one lick? I dare say you won’t regret it.” Her Slavic accent rolled the “r” in regret.

His mouth clamped down on the spoon, pulling it away from her hand. He swallowed the bite without really chewing, tossing the silverware on his plate. “Eat the muffin, Nayla. We have to leave soon.”

Buy: Sins of an Angel

About the Author:

At the age of fourteen, Ishabelle Torry stole her first romance novel, Warrior’s Lady by Madeline Baker, from her mother’s glass “no-no” cabinet. It was then Ishabelle fell in love with the idea of new worlds, love conquers all, and the ability to forget the real world as she took on the lives of characters that were just as real as the people she interacted with every day. It wasn’t long before her fixation with romance novels landed her in the high school office to collect the books confiscated during the previous week. Ishabelle swore one day she’d write the kind of book that would keep readers so enthralled, they’d too risk confiscation to keep turning the pages!

https://www.facebook.com/IshabelleTorry/info

Follow on Twitter @IshabelleTorry

Blog: http://authorishabelletorry.wordpress.com

Top 10 Fun Facts About Angel’s Keeping

BedtimeKyrieGuest blog by Brantwijn Serrah, author of Angel’s Keeping

  1. “Raschael” is pronounced like “Raphael”
  2. The characters in Angel’s Keeping are mostly incubi and succubae. The “familiar” name for these demons is exsul, or “outcasts”. They descend from the original fallen angels and are the oldest race of demons.
  3. All demons in the Blood and Fire series have fangs (even the witches).
  4. Three characters in Angel’s Keeping have appeared before in my short stories: Raschael and Father Gabriel appear in The Wages of Sin in the Ravaged, Volume 2 anthology; Malael appears in Bad Dreams, my recently released “hentai” short.
  5. I Won’t Be Home For Christmas, by Blink-182, plays at the strip club Raschael visits. The whole strip-club scene came about so that I could work the song into the story; it’s one of my husband’s favorite holiday songs.
  6. In Angel’s Keeping it is revealed that a group or family of exsul is called a horde. From other Blood and Fire books, we know a group of witches is called a coven; a group of weverwolves is a pack; a group of shadow-walkers is a prowl; and a group of vampires is a colony or brood.
  7. In the Blood and Fire series, roughly 99% of all exsul are pansexual. The ones who aren’t are called tavari: the “unfortunate”.
  8. Though I’ve had stories in mind for the Blood and Fire series for more than 10 years, Raschael and Kyriel are some of my newest characters. I only really discovered them about a year ago.
  9. Angel’s Keeping was written in less than 10 days.
  10. Fans of Lotus Petals might be excited to know that Raschael and Rhiannon (my vampire leading lady) do cross paths at some point…

AngelsKeeping_600x900Book cover and blurb

As a succubus, preying on humans is Raschael’s business, and mortal holidays are a frivolous waste of time. So maybe her king meant to punish her when he sent her out to hunt on Christmas Eve. Or maybe he just wanted her far, far away, so he could banish Raschael’s one trusted friend.

Now Raschael must track down a missing fallen angel, and she doesn’t have a clue where to start. Bigger predators are closing in, and Rasche’s only lead is a Christmas stripper named Noelle.

Buy: Angel’s Keeping: A Blood and Fire Novella

Book excerpt

The waitress ditched her tray of drinks and took Rasche by the hand, leading her into one of the back rooms. The Christmas theme survived even in the private show quarters, though with a more generous degree of triple-X action. The small space Raschael’s escort chose had been decorated with garlands and wreaths, and a stocking hung by the door, but on top of the holiday trimmings there were also striking boudoir pictures. They all contained the same sweet, golden angel, but in much less “angelic” form.

Raschael spun to address the woman personally. “Who are you?”

By way of answer, the woman nodded her head at the bright red stocking. Noelle, it read in sapphire blue, glittery letters across the trim.

“Noelle?” Rasche asked. “Really?”

“Yes, really,” Noelle replied with a brilliant smile. “It really is my God-given name. Honest.”

“All right, Noelle, then about Kyrie-”

“Oh, now, now.”

Noelle took Rasche’s hand again, stroking her fingers, and led her to the soft red leather seat stationed in the center of the room. She gestured for Raschael to sit and, before Raschael could stop her, climbed expertly up into the succubae’s lap.

“First thing’s first, gorgeous. How about we get a little more…intimate?

She raised a hand and snapped her fingers. The faded strains of Blink 182 from the main room became inaudible, as Lady Gaga’s “Speechless” flowed into the room’s own speakers. Noelle lowered herself over Raschael’s body, rocking in time with the sultry piano, wrapping arms around the fallen one’s neck.

Forgetting herself for the briefest of moments, Raschael closed her eyes and let the first swell of carnal desire stir to life in her loins and chest. The dancer didn’t stop her when she lifted up her hands and cupped them over warm, soft buttocks.

Noelle smelled of warm vanilla. She had a luscious body, petite with classic curves, Renaissance in a way…but with eyes closed, Raschael’s mind made her Kyriel, little and lithe and naughty. Under her hands, Noelle’s plump hindquarters might have been Kyrie’s slim, boyish ass instead, and the sweet scent of heather rose up with the remembered sounds of Kyrie’s intoxicated desire, from earlier in the evening. Rasche lowered her face to nuzzle against a plentiful swell of tender breasts, and she sighed before she could stop herself, moving her body against the other woman’s with yearning.

“Why don’t you tell me about your friend,” Noelle whispered against her ear, gyrating ever-so-delightfully against Raschael’s body. “Why are you out searching for her on Christmas Eve, hm?”

“She ran away,” Raschael said. Her palms caressed the dancer’s ass greedily. “And I’m responsible for bringing her back before she gets in trouble.”

Noelle tsk’d her. “Now, now, Raschael. You make her out to be some sort of bad puppy.”

The dancer extended a leg and swung herself neatly around, facing away now to grind her pert little rear down on the succubae’s lap instead. Noelle’s hands stole to hers and guided them up to stroke tits through gauzy white fabric. Raschael’s fingertips found stiffened nipples, and she teased them through the thin material.

“Who told you my name?” she asked. “Kyrie?”

Mm, could be…”

Noelle’s hands closed, warm, over Rasche’s own, as the dancer welcomed her to knead, stroke, and caress. Rasche inclined her head to breathe in deep, relishing the scent of beautiful blonde hair.

“Listen, honey,” she whispered. “I’m sure as hell enjoying this, and if I had the time to spare I’d be all over you in ways you can’t even conceive.”

“Mm-hm,” Noelle replied. Her hips rolled in languid, mesmerizing rhythm, and Rasche let out a little growl as she returned the motion in kind.

“Oh, sweetness, I’d fuck you until you couldn’t stand,” she said. “But not now. You’re going to tell me if you’ve seen my girl, and where she is, and then we’ll see about making it up to you. Sound good?”

Buy: Angel’s Keeping: A Blood and Fire Novella

1 - Author Pic SiggyAuthor bio

When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She’s also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on.  She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.

Social and buy links

Brantwijn’s Facebook Page: http://tinyurl.com/qf2bzwk

Foreplay and Fangs on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/q2cmnep

Say hi to her on Twitter

Giveaway: Harlequin’s Sexy Christmas Romances!

beaumont christmas wedding Naughty & Nice…: Public relations whiz Matthew Beaumont won’t let scandal ruin his brother’s Christmas wedding. Yet scandal is Whitney Maddox’s middle name. He grudgingly allows the outrageous child star turned horse trainer to stay in the wedding party…as long as she behaves herself. But soon he’s the one misbehaving with this irresistible maid of honor.

Buy: A Beaumont Christmas Wedding (The Beaumont Heirs Series Book 3)

a virgin for his prize Her awakening: San Francisco heiress Romi Grayson has only had a taste of Maxwell Black’s addictive brand of seduction and knows she should stay away…especially having discovered just how determined he is to possess her!

His proposal: Max prides himself on always being in control, yet somehow Romi sneaked under his cast-iron defenses, then walked away. Now he is driven to finish what they started….

The ultimate prize! This Russian tycoon will stop at nothing, even blackmail, to have Romi warm and willing in his bed. And her innocence will make his long-awaited possession all the sweeter….

Buy: A Virgin for His Prize (Ruthless Russians Book 2)

christmas with a seal Subject: Navy SEAL Lieutenant Phillip Banks

Mission: Resist one saucy redhead’s attempts to de-Scrooge him…and seduce him!

Silversmith Frankie Silvera has lost her creative mojo. And she knows how to get it back—by getting her sexy on with a certain hot sailor. Just the thought of Phillip’s hard, Navy-trained body against her, and everything goes molten. He’s the “inspiration” Frankie needs for the holidays!

Navy SEAL Phillip Banks is the prince of protocol. But after his last mission went horribly off-course, all of that control has dissipated. Now he’s at the mercy of one very determined female who is pulling out all the stops on Operation Christmas—including red-hot lingerie and the promise of oh-so-wicked delights… But does giving in mean giving up everything he’s worked for?

Buy: Christmas with a SEAL (Uniformly Hot!)

sexychristmas

Giveaway: One reader in North America will win a copy of each of the above books. Enter by leaving a comment about why you love holiday romances. Contest ends: 11/22/14.

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National Month of Exquisite Pain

That Night 600x900Hello all you fun and reading type people! I’m Mia Epsilon and I’m a writer. Don’t you just love saying that? I’m a writer. It’s the hardest job in the world (and I know, since I’m both a mom and a teacher). How many of you are participating in the National Month of Exquisite Pain? (okay, okay, it’s formally called NaNo). I am and here’s a short little section of my work in process just for all my fellow ‘write 50,000 words in 30 days because I’m insane and love to write’ sufferers. Best of luck with your own!

He leaned closer, trapped her body between his and the wall of the plane as he whispered with his warm lips directly over her ear, “And will I see you in bed tonight, oh fair lass? Your hair spread in shinning red waves across my pillow and your arms around my neck?”

She shivered despite herself and swallowed. “I said dinner, Sir. I can’t imagine trying to eat while lying down.”

His soft laugh raised goose flesh along her arms. “I can imagine eating while you are lying down. Just not. . .  food.”

“So what am I, your Hawaiian diversion, one of a crowd, or a flirting partner?” This conversation was as volatile and unpredictable as the famed volcanoes which had created these Islands. Damn if he’d think her such an easy conquest. She lifted her other hand to push against his damp chest. When her fingers touched the silk of his shirt which clung like a second skin to the deep muscles of his chest, instead of pushing away, she clung. Her fingernails dug into his skin as she wrapped her hand around the material and tugged his body closer to hers. Some demon entered her and made her say, “Because, Sir, you may find me more than you can handle.”

So, what do you think of Tom and Kirsten? Let me know in the comments below. :)

Blurb:

What do you get when you have two best friends who happen to be roommates stewing in sexual tension? A night they will never forget.

Anna and Robin are college roommates and best friends. Even though the chemistry sizzles between them, they have remained platonic for over three years. One night will change everything.

Robin has struggled to repress his feelings for Anna. He seeks out brief and meaningless relationships with the women on campus, who flock to his charm, flashing blue eyes, and bad-boy appearance. But Robin can’t get Anna off his mind or out of his heart.

Anna has watched Robin move from one woman to the next, never settling for any. She keeps up the pretense of friends-only while secretly longing to be the woman to tame him. The combination of college demands, a failed date, and simmering sexual frustration explodes into a night of passionate need. But when it’s over…what happens then?

Buy: That Night

 Excerpt:

Why do I keep putting myself through this? Robin Bates paused in the stairwell to tap his head on the wall. What kind of an idiot kept up this charade for so long? He should just tell her. Why couldn’t he just tell her? It was simple, really. He stomped up the last flight of steps and down the hall to their room. All he had to do was say the words and accept the fall out. He opened the door, took a deep breath, and spoke. “Anna, there’s something I need to tell you.”

The small lamp on the bedside table glowed in the semi darkness. Books and crumpled papers lay tossed around her on the tangled sheet and blanket of the bed. Her lap top perched at an angle, half on and half off the pillows. Stats, Robin saw, her least favorite subject and the only one she struggled to master. He had made a promise to help Anna with the latest assignment and had gone on the disaster date from hell instead. His gaze followed the line of her bare legs. She said they weren’t perfect; he said they were. Sure, they didn’t look like they went on forever. Who wanted legs up to a woman’s neck anyway when there were so many other good things in between? Anna’s legs, long, lean, strong, and just a bit golden from their recent holiday trip to visit her folks in Hawaii made his mouth water.

Robin groaned as his gaze trailed higher. She wore the same blue nightshirt he’d seen her wear a thousand times. Thin from numerous washings, all but transparent, it rode high on thighs he’d give his right arm to caress, which made no sense, because without his arm he’d never be able to— Anna whispered something and shifted a bit, her thighs parting slightly. He felt actual pain as the cotton rode a bit higher and all the blood surged to one particular part of his body. Did she have on those cute little smiley face panties? Or did she wear the ones with the little bows? She usually only chose her silk ones for special occasions like parties.

“Jesus, get a grip on yourself.” Robin ran a hand through his hair. “I’ve not perving my best friend while she sleeps. I’m not so desperate. Yet.”

Buy: That Night

CONNECT WITH MIA:

Blog: Authors, Books & Chocolate: The True ABC’s of Life  miaepsilon.blogspot.com

Face Book: MiaEwrites (Mia Epsilon Author)

Twitter: Mia Epsilon @MiaEpsilon

Spotlight and Giveaway: Not Quite Forever by Catherine Bybee

NQF Cover ArtNOT QUITE FOREVER

The Not Quite Series, Book Four

Montlake Romance, Contemporary

The touching and heartwarming fourth novel in the wildly popular Not Quite series from New York Times bestselling author Catherine Bybee.

Romance author Dakota Laurens believes that happily-ever-afters exist only between the covers of her sexy novels. But to her surprise, she finds a real-life hero when she meets a handsome emergency room doctor. The outspoken author feels an instant and intense attraction to Dr. Walt Eddy, and the feeling is mutual. When the globetrotting doctor pulls a disappearing act on Dakota, she’s prepared to write him off…until fate brings a blindsiding twist to her story.

Still scarred from a past tragedy, Walt may have disappeared on Dakota, but now he’s determined to win her back. For the first time in years, he knows he’s ready for a new chance at love. Yet between Dakota’s doubts and two sets of meddling parents, can the once-blissful couple finally create the bright, loving future they desperately want?

Buy: Not Quite Forever (Not Quite series)

PRAISE FOR NOT QUITE FOREVER

“Bybee’s magnetic fourth Not Quite contemporary proves that romance can happen in the most unlikely places… The love scenes are sizzling and the multi-dimensional characters make this a page-turner. Readers will look for earlier installments and eagerly anticipate new ones.”

–Publishers Weekly

“Not Quite Forever is Catherine Bybee at her finest: true-to-life characters on a wild and wonderful path toward their happily ever after.”

–Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Tracy Brogan

Excerpt:

“You find this amusing Miss…”

Her eyes met his and she leaned over the table, planting both hands firmly in place. “Laurens. And yeah, I do.”

The blonde rapped her knuckles on her friends arm. “Dakota!”

Dakota…snazzy, a landmark more than a name…a beautiful woman full of life. Yeah, the name suited her.

“What?”

“Maybe we should move to another room.” The blonde was in a much more agreeable state than Miss Laurens.

“I’m guessing there are more women out there here to listen to me than professionals here to listen to the good doctor.”

Walt envisioned the women standing in line, knew without a doubt Dakota was right.

In any other situation, Walt would have simply smiled and left the room, but something about Dakota Laurens sparked inside and made him want to get under her skin. Something made him want her to stop laughing and to take notice…of him.

Robert turned away from them when the phone in his hand buzzed and he talked in hushed tones.

“You’re part of the romance convention?” Walt asked, already knowing she was.

Dakota removed a stack of papers from her bag and tapped the edges together to align them. “You say romance convention as if it’s a disease, Dr…Eddy is it?”

“Walt. And I didn’t know they had conventions based on bodice-ripping novels.”

The blonde’s agreeable grin slid and Dakota blew out a sigh. Her lips kept her snarky grin, but Walt knew his words dug deep. His own mother wore that look whenever his father said something just to piss Mom off.

“What are you presenting today, Dr. Eddy?” Dakota stood tall, her shoulders back with a chin out in defiance.

“I’m sharing the art of improvising medical tools and equipment when all you have is dental floss and a toothpick. What about you?”

Her eyes would be classified as brown, but damn they looked nearly black when she was ticked. And although Walt didn’t know her well… he knew enough to know she didn’t look happy. In a second, those eyes took on a softer shade, almost liquid chocolate mixed with honey. A wicked smile tilted one side of her lips.

Walt had to remind himself not to lick his own in response.

“The art of crafting a gratifying sexual love scene.”

Walt did lick his lips…blinked twice, and drew his brows together. “Excuse me?” He pulled on his collar, knew the room wasn’t warm.

Dakota leaned a hip against the table that separated them and leaned in just enough for him to see the depth of her cleavage.

“I write bodice rippers as you so eloquently labeled them, Dr. Eddy. Safe to say there are a couple of satisfying ripping of bodices in them…don’t you think?”

Buy: Not Quite Forever (Not Quite series)

Bybee Author PhotoBIO:

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her husband and two teenage sons in Southern California.

 CONTACT LINKS:

www.catherinebybe.com

catherinebybee.blogspot.com

twitter.com/catherinebybee

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Venice – It Surprised Me

XmasAtTiffanysGuest Blog by Karen Swan, author of Christmas at Tiffany’s

When I think of this book, it’s this scene in Venice that I tend to think of. The sequence in Venice had come as a bit of a surprise to me when I was writing, to be honest, as the book is firmly and clearly set in three cities: London, Paris and New York. However, I had realized I needed somewhere where both Cassie and Henry went off-plan, free-range- if you like, from the lists and Venice had such a different vibe to the other cities – it’s not at all urban in the way that the others are, it’s a city for people walking hand in hand down the lanes and across the piazzas, drifting in gondolas along the canals – and it felt absolutely right for Cassie and Henry to be there as they begin to transition from being old friends to the first inklings of something more. In this scene particularly, Cassie has so much fear of getting it wrong, there’s confusion and crossed wires about what is really going on between them and beating beneath it all, is this powerful, pent-up sexual tension. For me, this is the scene upon which the entire love story pivots.

‘…The clock read 3.43am when she felt the mattress dip behind her and Henry’s body heat gradually emanated across the white-sheeted expanse to her side of the bed. She had slept fitfully, dreaming too vividly, her brain feverish and revving too hard. She had got up at midnight to get a glass of water and had seen his side of the vast bed was still cold and smooth. Where was he?

He wriggled into a comfortable position and she felt her heart punching against her ribs at his closeness, and she wondered whether he could feel it through the mattress, vibrating through the coils to where he lay.

‘Cass?’ His voice was quiet and low – but even in that one word she could hear the slur or sambucas – and she heard his hair rustle against the pillow as he turned his head.

She froze. She knew he was going to apologize to her, he was that kind of man: it had been ungentlemanly to slam a door in her face, to leave her abandoned in a foreign city, to have advanced upon her like a lover when she was just an old friend, to have made her want him and then left her hanging…

His apology would cover all those things, she knew, though they’d both leave the specifics unsaid. But she didn’t want it now. Not here, lying in the dark together, the smell of him covering her though his hands wouldn’t.

He turned over fully and she could literally feel the weight of his stare. She wondered whether he could tell she was feigning sleep. She struggled to keep her breathing slow and steady but it was tricky with her heart pounding like a jackhammer. A deafening silence contracted between them in the blackness. She heard his hand rest on the sheet behind her, and she could feel it glowing like an ember between them….’

 

About the Book

In the wake of a heartbreaking betrayal, a young woman leaves the Scottish countryside to find her destiny in three of the most exciting cities in the world—New York, Paris, and London—in this funny and triumphant tale of fulfillment, friendship, and love.

Ten years ago, a young and naïve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now, her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn’t giving up. She’s going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be.

Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she’s meant to have . . . and the man she’s meant to love.

Buy: Christmas at Tiffany’s

Biography

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and an ADHD puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her first novel, Players, was published in 2010, followed by Prima Donna and Christmas at Tiffany’s in 2011.

http://karenswan.wix.com/karenswan

Twitter: @KarenSwan1

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Five Fun Exchanges Between James and Olivia

Barton_ScandalousSummerNights_MMGuest blog by Anne Barton, author of Scandalous Summer Nights

1)

With a boldness that was shocking, even for her, she placed her hand on his leg. More precisely, his very hard, muscular thigh. “I haven’t told you everything.”

His gaze flew to her hand and remained there as he said, “I’m not certain we have time for the entire story. We’ve been out here a quarter of an hour and you’re still in 1807.”

2)

James caressed her arm. “I will tell you this: if I must be stranded in a coach in the middle of a storm, there’s no one I’d rather be stranded with.”

She turned her face up to his and slowly blinked her beautiful brown eyes.  “Truly?”

Damn it. He was going to kiss her.

It would have been impossible not to.

3)

After their first kiss…

Abruptly, James pulled away and stood. “We shouldn’t have… I shouldn’t have.”

A languorous, sated glow lit her face. “I’m glad we did. And do you want to know something else? I can’t wait till we do it again.”

4)

James scratched his chin. “You cannot walk on your ankle.”

“I did earlier.”

“And how did that feel?”

Like a blacksmith had laid her foot on an anvil and lowered his hammer on it. “Fine.”

He arched a brow.

“I managed.”

“Yes, you always do,” he said. “But you might try leaning on others once in a while.”

5)

During a sultry summer afternoon by the river…

Olivia dug through her bag for her fan and waved it. Vigorously. “I think you are confused. This is not your dressing room, and I am not your valet.”

He chuckled. “Thank the Lord for that.” He mopped his chest with his wadded shirt and tossed it onto the riverbank.

She fanned herself harder. “What, precisely, are you doing?”

In one easy motion, he pulled off a boot. “Going for a swim.” He took off the other boot and grinned. “You should join me.”

About SCANDALOUS SUMMER NIGHTS

Lady Olivia Sherbourne isn’t shy about speaking her mind, except when it comes to James Averill. For ten long years he has been her brother’s best friend and her heart’s only desire. But when Olivia hears James will soon set sail for an expedition to Egypt, she knows the time has come to make her move. It’s now or never . . .

James has always found Olivia bewitchingly attractive, but what kind of gentleman takes up with his best friend’s sister? Not that he’s thinking particularly gentlemanly thoughts when she appears on his exploratory trip-three hundred miles from home!-and incites a tavern fight. No matter what the devil she’s doing there, it’s his duty to see her safely back to her family. But how safe will she be when every starlitnight brings wicked temptation . . . ?

Buy: Scandalous Summer Nights (A Honeycote Novel)

About Anne Barton

Anne Barton began swiping romance novels off her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager, so when she had the chance to spend a semester in London-home to her favorite heroes-she packed her bags and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anne found her way back to writing the stories she loves and in 2011 won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband (who, sadly, is not a peer of the realm-but a great guy nonetheless) and her three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute-but-impractical shoes, and caffeinated beverages of all kinds.

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