Car Geeks Unite!

TexasTango72webGuest blog by Cynthia D’Alba, author of Texas Tango (Texas Montgomery Mavericks)

Hi All! Cynthia D’Alba here. Thanks so much to the Love Romance Passion gang for having me here today to celebrate the release of the second book in the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series, Texas Tango. I read through what other guest bloggers have written about and wow! Lots of great, insightful posts. Um, then you come to me. I want to talk about cars!

I love cars. I’ve always been a car geek. At my tenth high school reunion, I took my current steady at the time (now my husband.) My college roommate asked him what kind of car he drove. He said, “Corvette.” My roommate (who’d been my friend since seventh grade) started laughing and said, “I knew it! When Cyndi would come in from dates, I’d hear more about the car the guy drove than the guy himself.”

What can I say? I’ve always had a thing for cars. Some people “get” it. Some don’t but then, I don’t get the thing for “kick-ass” shoes. I’m all about comfort when it comes to my feet. J

In Texas Tango, a car actually plays a role. It’s a 1964 white Rolls Royce convertible. It would look something like this…

RollsRoyce Silver Cloud Convertible

Tell me that doesn’t make your mouth water!

Texas Tango is the story of Travis Montgomery, a widower with an interest in expanding his ranch but not another relationship. Caroline Graham is a temporary doctor at the end of her contract with one foot out the door, until a 1964 Rolls Royce bearing a surprise ends up on her doorstep. So how does Caroline feel about her “new” car? I’ll let her show you. From Texas Tango….


Travis held out his hand to Caroline. Caroline stared at it.

“What?” she asked.

“The keys to the Rolls.”

She blew out a short breath. “No way, bucko.”

“Caroline…” Travis was surprised by her response. Hell. He’d been looking forward to driving that car all day.

“I’ve got to warn you, bro,” Noah said. “She don’t let nobody drive the Shadow.”

“Doesn’t let anyone,” Caroline corrected. “She doesn’t let anyone drive the Shadow.”

“Right,” Noah said. “That’s what I said.”

“But, honey—”

“Waste of breath, Travis. Ain’t gonna happen,” Caroline said. She kissed his cheek. “Enjoy being a kept man tonight, honey, because you are not driving my car.”

Travis scowled. “I ought to make us take my truck.”

Want to read more? Click here for the opening of Chapter One.

Curious about Texas Tango? Here’s a blurb to tell you more….

Texas Montgomery Mavericks, Book 2

Dr. Caroline Graham is happy with her nomadic lifestyle fulfilling short-term medical contracts. No emotional commitments, no disappointments. She’s always the one to walk away, never the one left behind. But now her great-uncle is gone and her grandmother is on her deathbed, more concerned about Caroline’s lack of a husband than her own demise. What’s the harm in a little white lie? If a wedding will give her grandmother peace, then a wedding she shall have.

Travis Montgomery has one dream left—to build the ranch he and his wife planned before he lost her to cancer. There’s just one thing standing between him and the last bit of acreage he needs—a last living heir who has one traveling foot out the door…and an unusual request that challenges his determination to never again place his heart at risk. The land he wants in exchange for a faux marriage. Everyone wins. Until things start to snowball…and the hearts they stand to lose are their own.

Warning: This book contains a tortured widower who doesn’t want a wife and an independent doctor who doesn’t want a husband. Hot stuff between the sheets and failed efforts to avoid emotional involvements.

Buy: Texas Tango (Texas Montgomery Mavericks)

First time you’ve run across Cynthia D’Alba? Want to know more about me? I was born and raised in a small Arkansas town. After being gone for a number of years, I’m thrilled to be making my home back in Arkansas living in a vine-covered cottage on the banks of an eight-thousand acre lake. I started writing on a challenge from my husband in 2006 and discovered having imaginary sex with lots of hunky men was fun.

D'Alba RT BooksigningMy first book, Texas Two Step, released in 2012 to outstanding reviews, was a Samhain Publishing best seller. The second book in the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series, Texas Tango, released November 5, 2013, again from Samhain Publishing. In February, 2014, Texas Fandango, a Novella in the Texas Montgomery Series will be released by Samhain Publishing. I am currently at work on book 3 of the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series (Texas Twist).

I love love love to hear from readers and there are lots of ways to find me. Online, you can find me most days at my website or my group blog.

Follow me at Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Goodreads or Pinterest.
or email me at cynthia@cynthiadalba.com

To send me snail mail, write to: Cynthia D’Alba   PO Box 2116   Hot Springs, AR 71914

Now for the fun stuff! :)

I want to know your DREAM car! You have no financial limit. What car do you go buy?

In the spirit of Christmas sneaking up on us, I’ll pick among the comments for someone to take home a western-themed ornament. Here’s just a sample…

Christmas Ornaments

Plus, I doing a jewelry-themed For my TEXAS TANGO Jewelry-Themed Rafflecopter Giveaway. Be sure and look for the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post. Also check out my personal blog for other places you can enter! Here’s the loot you can win…

Prizes

AND I have swag for the asking! But when it’s gone, it’s gone. Pens, jar openers, postcards, bookmarks, trading cards…just go by my contact page and send me a note.

Tour Freebies

Thanks for coming by! Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win one of the Christmas ornaments!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy: Texas Tango (Texas Montgomery Mavericks)

Review: Breaking the Rules by Melinda Dozier

Breaking the Rules by Melinda DozierReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: After an accident keeps Hope Robinson in a cast hobbling around at work, she has time to think about what she has done in her life, and whether she has made the right decisions in the past. She is the sort of woman who keeps to the rules and plays it safe in work matters as she is a middle school principal in Harbor Bay, Florida.

Her reason for being this way is that a previous love affair didn’t go the way she had hoped, and it left her feeling bad about what she had done. She vowed she would never let her heart rule her head, and never let her passions for men come before her work, at least that was before she met Dr. Colin Calaway, a widower and father who wants to be her lover, friend and confidante, but she has to think long and hard on what she is doing, and whether her job is worth the risk.

Review: The story starts where the two of them meet as Colin’s son has been sent for detention for fighting again, and she wonders how it is that someone who is a professional can have such a difficult child, especially when he is such a nice guy. Colin on the other hand wonders why it is that other guys in his profession get all the hot patients as Dr Patel is Hope’s doctor, and wishes she were his.

Though there is a definite chemistry between them, she finds it hard to accept that a principle should never have relations with a parent, but as their son’s misbehaviour is what brought them together, maybe it was fate that decided their life for them.

Good bits:

  • Colin and Hope meet straight away – but under difficult circumstances.
  • They are opposites, but after they get talking, he feels that she is a hotter woman than she first appears.
  • The fact that Hope has fractured or broken her leg ten times – she’s a bit reckless, or clumsy!

Bad bits:

  • The story is good, but only if you are impressed with doctor and patient romances.

Summary: Breaking the Rules isn’t short on comedy, or fun moments, but as the title suggests, Hope breaks the rules as a school principle, and it is up to her to make their loving relationship work even though it does have its ups and downs.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Breaking the Rules

Review: A Passion for Pleasure (Daring Hearts, Book 2) by Nina Rowan

passion for pleasureHero: Sebastian Hall, former rake and musician, is a second son with two options available to him regarding his future. The first has been decreed by his father and the second is a favor for his brother. Since Sebastian refuses to marry and become a patent office clerk, he is now in pursuit of a mechanical device that could help in the war.

Heroine: Clara Whitmore was a former student of Sebastian’s and would have loved a flirtation with the man. Now, she is a widow desperately wishing to be reunited with her son. Sebastian just might be the answer to her prayers. She will give him the papers on the device if he will marry her.

Review: I figured out early on in the story why Clara’s father refused to give her access to her son and he wasn’t very kind to his grandson (huge understatement). Both father figures of the main characters were cold, and Seb’s mother was unnecessary. I loved the musical references and the dialogue between Clara and Seb. My favorite scenes include Clara’s proposal to Sebastian and the piano lessons Sebastian gave Andrew.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: A Passion for Pleasure (A Daring Hearts Novel)

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Review: Darius (Lonely Lords, Book 1) by Grace Burrowes

darius grace burrowesQuick Synopsis: Virgin wife needs to be knocked up in order to keep inheritance when elderly husband dies. Stud in need of money accepts old man’s contract to seduce his wife and get her pregnant. They fall in love.

Hero: Darius Lindsey no longer enjoys being the “male mistress” (closer to gigolo) to the unhappy, bitter, callous women of the ton. He has needed to continue in the role due to finances, his father having cut him off, but Darius doesn’t pursue it because he likes it. So when an elderly Lord William Longstreet asks him to impregnate his wife and pay him handsomely for it, Darius sees it as a way to escape the clutches of a pair of women who are making his life hell. He doesn’t expect to like the man’s wife and then he falls for her…

Heroine: Lady Vivian (Vivie) wants a child, but she never thought she’d get one like this. She also understands her husband’s motives. She gave her husband a list of gentlemen she’d pick and her husband picked Darius from the list. With two people to watch out for in her life – her step-father,Thurgood Ainsworthy – and her husband’s illegitimate son’s wife, Portia – Vivian is going to need strength. Darius teaches her how to find it and makes sure she is ready to protect their child.

Review: Grace Burrowes is a compelling author. I love her books. I loved Darius and I loved the setup of a man purposefully cuckolding himself in order to protect the wife after he died. That was pretty sexy… of course the husband wasn’t in love with the wife (and he was way old, grandpa old) but married her to save her from her step-father’s schemes after his wife died. Still it was admirable. I loved the month interlude between Vivie and Darius, very engaging, quite sexy, and it smoldered. However Darius continuing to service the two jaded bisexual ladies, Lucy and Blanche, after he returned to London at the conclusion of the month with Vivie was not. He was incapable of standing up for himself, which was not at all admirable and it made me question his ability to care for Vivie in the future. He does eventually redeem himself, thank goodness especially because he was adamant Vivie be strong for their child. When he finally took his own advice I was very happy. All-in-all the book is beautiful and emotionally rich.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Darius (Lonely Lords)

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Audio Review: The Lady Most Likely (Lady Most, Book 1) by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway

ladymostlikelyQuick Synopsis: Horse fanatic, Hugh Dunne, the Earl of Briarly, had a recent scare with a horse and decided he needs a wife and heir. To get both, he drafts his sister, Caroline, into throwing a house party and lets her pick the guest list.

Choice 1: Gwendolyn Passmore is the top girl of the season, but she could care less that all the men and their mamas are trying to snag her. She just wants out of London and back to her quiet country life. She is uncomfortable around crowds and people she doesn’t know. Small talk is the worst!

Choice 2: Katherine Peyton has already given her heart to another, but the cad ran off and hasn’t been seen since. Perhaps this outspoken lady is just the ticket to get Hugh out of the stables…

Choice 3: Georgiana Sorrell is a widow. She loved her husband, but he had his flaws. She is not looking to get married again. Georgie is friends with Hugh’s sister and is at the party for moral support… though Caroline might have a match in store for her yet.

Review: Three ladies, three gentlemen, three part story. It’s quick and easy, and different from most anthologies because the three stories are more intricately entwined. It’s important to read in order as events happen and are linked from story to story. My favorite pairing is Gwendolyn and her love match. I like shy heroines and it’s fun to see how that shyness coupled with her popularity in the ton has made one person think her a snob. I also enjoyed the party games, especially the “do you love your neighbor.”

Narrator: Rosalyn Landor is one of my favorite narrators. It’s pretty much a guarantee that if she’s read a romance novel, I’m picking it up.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Lady Most Likely

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Review: Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

safe havenReviewed by Sandra Scholes

There haven’t been many novels released for publication on the 14th February, but this is one of them, and a real romantic love story where Kate comes to Southport and in an instant, she causes a storm. She is a real beauty, yet doesn’t want to get into love affairs with men, not when she has been heartbroken before. She does however get embroiled in two different relationships with men she feels she shouldn’t have, so things don’t go to plan for her.

Kate needs to let her hair down and her barriers to true love, but her past keeps coming back to haunt her with a terrible secret that threatens to destroy any chances of happiness.

Kate to everyone around her is an average girl who works at a restaurant, and minds her own business. She doesn’t take much notice of the people around her, and doesn’t want to get to know anyone in particular. She also has a rule she never breaks; she never dates the men she works with, and that unfortunately applies to Alex, the guy who is most interested in her. Alex spends a little time with her at work, and he begins to feel closeness to her he had not felt since his wife had been alive. Alex has a deep past where he remembers his wife as a caring individual who helped bring up their children and when Kate shows affection toward one of them during an accident, it reminds him of a past where he was content.

It doesn’t take long before readers discover that Kate is an independent woman and likes to think she can leave whenever she wants to. She isn’t one who likes to feel caged in, and the reality of her not being able to do what she wants tends to give her a complex. Jo, her friend thinks she should date Alex as she believes he is a stable man who loves his kids and might be able to give her a good life. Kate pretends not to be interested in Alex but Jo knows full well that she wouldn’t be so chatty with him if she didn’t want to date him. No matter how much she claims otherwise, she’s kidding her self.

Alex is still mourning the loss of his wife, but liked the fact he could rely on someone like Kate even if she refuses to accept that she has a fancy for him. The parts that impressed me about this novel:

  • The pacing is right.
  • The characters are believable – it isn’t a sordid bodice-ripper but a heart felt love story between two people.
  • It’s a case of the irresistible force going against the immovable object where Alex and Kate are concerned.
  • Both of them have had to come to terms with sadness in their lives, and have a lot to overcome so that they can live a normal life together.

There are other interesting parts to this story, Alex used to be in the CID and worked with abused women, and sees something similar in Kate as he saw in other women, but he is not altogether sure of his instincts. She does have a troubled past, but readers don’t get to find out until later on in the novel. Nicholas Sparks, the author of The Notebook, The Best of Me, The Rescue, Message in a Bottle, and The Guardians has written a true love story that is believable from the moment you turn the first page.

Nicholas Spark’s new novel is also a new movie due for release in early February. Staring Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, the trailer can be watched here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj6i_Z1Srsw

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Safe Haven

Review: Ripe for Seduction (League of Second Sons, Book 3) by Isobel Carr

ripe for seductionHeroine: Lady Olivia Carlow is a widow without the protection of widowhood. Her husband was a bigamist, which was revealed upon his death. If finding out her marriage was a sham, having the ton know too is a worse blow. Now she is a social pariah and the men who wooed her in her first season are circling to proposition her this season. When Roland sends her a letter with a scandalous proposal she blackmails him in front of his mother with it to secure a pretend engagement. She will give him back the letter after he squires her around town, fending off the barracudas. Her ultimate goal is complete social ruin, so she can retire to the countryside and avoid the ton for good. Her plan can’t possibly backfire, can it?

Hero: Roland Devere was drunk at the time he sent that letter. Who knew she’d blackmail him with it? However, the pretend engagement will suit his needs very well. Roland entered a bet with his fellow second sons about who would be the first into Lady Olivia’s bed. It’s a bet he plans to win. As he gets to know her though, Roland realizes he wants the engagement to be real.

Review: The side plot, rescuing some girl from her brother’s schemes to give/sell her in marriage to an abusive brute with deep pockets is totally irrelevant to the story. Cut this out and the story would be more concise and less choppy. Additionally, it was weird to have the secondary romance be the heroine’s father with the hero’s sister. Mmm…kay. It also takes up as much page time as the main romance, and in some places outshines the hero and heroine. I did like the boat race and the semi-public tryst that took place there between Roland and Olivia. It was pretty titillating! The rest of good sex scenes were with the sister and dad.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Ripe for Seduction (The League of Second Sons)

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Review: Two Sinful Secrets (The Scandalous St. Claires, Book 2) by Laurel McKee

two sinful secretsHero: Dominic St. Claire and his brothers continue to uphold a feud that started many years ago with the Huntingtons, involving older relatives on both sides. They brothers blame the Huntingtons for the loss of their family fortune. Revenge would be sweet and Lady Sophia would be perfect target. Dominic decides he will elope with her and then dump her at the altar, forever ruining her. What will he do, however, when his treacherous heart gets involved?

Heroine: When Lady Sophia Huntington, now Mrs. Westman, was younger refused to give up a man she thought she loved was banished from her family’s bosom. He wasn’t such a prince after all. Widowed now, Sophia is betting against the house in order to survive and maybe to finally make her way home. But blast it all! She can’t possibly win her family’s forgiveness if she shows up with Dominic St. Claire. Can she?

Review: I could have done without the obsessed stalker hunting the heroine. In my opinion, it was superfluous to the storyline. The revenge plot could have had more oomph. It’s hard to feel for somebody holding onto a grudge that really isn’t his to hold. One of the hottest scenes in the book is the very first chapter. It introduces both characters and a meeting they had prior to the start of the main action. She’s a masked figure gambling in his family’s gaming establishment. Sophia knows who Dominic is, but he does not know her. They share quite a passionate kiss before she breaks it off and runs away. It’s a moment neither party can forget or the reader.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Two Sinful Secrets (The Scandalous St. Claires)

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