Excerpt: Going Against Type by Sharon Black

Sometimes finding the right word is easier than finding the right manBLURB: Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV. Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women. Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is… When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings. When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?’

Buy: Going Against Type

EXCERPT:

Helen clapped her hands delightedly. ‘Oh Charlotte! Derry Cullinane? Don’t tell me you don’t know his by-line. I thought all you journalists knew each other.’

Charlotte looked bemused. ‘How do you know him?’

‘Well I always read his mid-week fashion feature. He’s a terrific writer…what?’

‘You read him, but you never read me?’

Helen smiled a little sheepishly. ‘Hey, nothing personal. Sport just doesn’t do it for me…’

‘Anyway, Fiona was obviously playing matchmaker,’ Charlotte continued, ‘but I’m not sure about him…’
Helen frowned.

‘What’s he like? His picture looks really hot! Oh God, please don’t tell me it’s airbrushed! Is he a troll? Oh wait, is he gay? He does write about fashion…’

Charlotte rolled her eyes. ‘That would make the matchmaking a bit pointless. No, he’s definitely not gay.’

‘So, what…three ex-wives? Does he still live with his mother?’

Charlotte bit her lip thoughtfully. ‘It’s nothing like that. We’re just very different. We have nothing in common.’

Helen nodded sagely. ‘No chemistry?’

‘Um well, no. I think there probably was.’

Helen started to laugh. ‘Charlotte, you’re blushing! Let me get this straight: the guy is gorgeous, available and you’ve got the hots for him.’

Charlotte shrugged. ‘It doesn’t matter. I don’t think I’m his type at all.’

‘So you turned him down?’ Helen looked disappointed.

‘He hasn’t even asked me out.’

‘Not yet.’

Charlotte shook her head. ‘Not ever. He’s Saville Row. I’m Wrangler jeans. He wouldn’t be interested. One of the other women there said he has a new, stunner of a girlfriend every time she meets him.’

‘Yeah, you wouldn’t stand a chance,’ Helen teased.

‘Well seriously, why would he be interested? I spend half my life out on the side of some football pitch or racetrack…’

‘Charlotte Regan, you have an exciting job,’ Helen interrupted sternly.

‘…and in my down time I do the kind of stuff most men prefer to do with their mates. The most expensive thing Iown is a wetsuit. He complimented me on your dress, by the way, he actually recognised the designer! I’d no idea.’ Charlotte paused. ‘How have I reached twenty nine without owning one designer dress?’

‘But there was a spark?’ Helen said, as if Charlotte hadn’t spoken. Charlotte rolled her eyes again.
‘Maybe. So what? This guy won’t stray from his comfort zone: women as deep as their cosmetics!’

SHARON BLACK Biography.

SHARON Black grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and then did post-graduate in journalism at Dublin City University. She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner. She had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition. When she is not writing, she reads, walks and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction and good stand-up comedy. She lives in a coastal village in Dublin, with her husband and their three children.

Buy: Going Against Type

Review: Liar, Liar, Hearts on Fire by Jennifer Zane

liar_liar_hearts_on_fire_72dpi_200x300Reviewed by Cara Lynn

This was a cute and funny book, with a cast of zany and odd-ball characters, including the owner of an adult bookstore who gives out (needed) advice on lovemaking and a bit of meddling. It has a little more story than some books that exist only to tie in the sex scenes.

Mike Ostranski is being stalked in Alaska while on vacation, and he is desperate to come up with something to get the woman off his back. His mother wants grandchildren and had hopes for the stalker and him.

Violet Miller answers the phone at the adult store, instead of her sister, only to hear Mike’s plea for help.

It is complicated by the fact that she has loved him through high school, and they consummated the deal one night, then he went off to become a doctor. She’s never quite got over her love for him or her perceived rejection.


He asks her to fake a relationship with him to get the other woman off his back. And he gives her a gigantic ugly ring.

Of course, you know they will fall in love. (I thought he had orchestrated it, but no.) And you know it will all turn out in the end. But not without a bit of excitement along the way, including Violet being held at gunpoint.

The sex is believable. Their foreplay includes getting to know each other again and a funny fishing scene and…

It was fun, and a whole lot better than the one I read just before this one.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Liar, Liar, Hearts On Fire

Review: Plain Jane (A House for the Season, Book 2) by M.C. Beaton

plain janeReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Number 67 Clarges Street is a House for the Season, and at £80 for the whole year, some will see it as a snip at half the price, though there are those who see the place as unlucky as the ninth duke had offed himself in a most awful manner, the first family who rented the place met high debts at the hands of her gambling son and the last one Mr Roderick Sinclair and his ward, Fiona the servants had hoped that he would marry her, but she instead married the Earl of Harrington, and while on the honeymoon the had disappeared and no one has seen them since. The servants hope some day a luckier person will rent the place again, but as it is considered the worst of luck to rent it, they still live in hope.

Good bits:

  • Rainbird and Lizzie’s comical problem at the start
  • Lady Doyle and Mrs Hart discussing the ton
  • Rainbird cleverly manipulating Jane’s mother into making the purse-strings a little wider
  • The amazing Lord Petersham who has the finest snuff cellar in Europe and once told his valet to put six bottles of sherry beside his bed and call him the day after

Bad bits:

None

Review: Rainbird the butler has a lot of charisma in this story and it isn’t surprising that he has his own story in Rainbird’s Revenge. In Plain Jane, Jane Hart hears all about the eligible men of the ton at her rout. She isn’t prepared for the event so she leaves herself in the capable hands of Lord Tregarthen and Mr Neville. As is normal for M C Beaton’s novels, there is a good level of humour smattered around the story, and some shock revelations about the men of the ton readers would not want to miss.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Plain Jane

Review: Romancing the Dead by Tate Halloway

romancing the deadReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Garnet is planning a wedding with a vampire, but when he goes missing, she is left with Sebastian’s half-vampire / all attitude son, Matyas giving her grief and having to explain what happened.

Review: Garnet can’t believe she was going to marry Sebastian Von Traum – yet she’s going to have all she desires even if she has her reservations as she suspects he has a roving eye for other ghouls, I mean girls, and his apparent attraction to Blythe causes her to think that he might not be taking their marriage seriously enough. It’s not easy running her own shop, Mercury Crossing, and covers where Sebastian helps her out – even though none of them gel with him being an undead blood-sucker.

Good bits:

  • Her friend, William’s reference to the 80’s movie Highlander, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore – ’nuff said.
  • Marge lying to Garnet about the Anubis pendant around her neck – bad idea.

Bad bits:

  • None

Summary: I would say this one would be on my keeper shelf as it’s got several good characters in it, it’s funny and I do like reading comedy vampire novels, stories etc. What gripped me about this one was the other characters reaction to Sebastian’s being a vampire, the one-liners and jokes that came out of the dialogue kept me in hysterics. I would like to read a lot more from this writer as I enjoyed this one.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Romancing the Dead (Garnet Lacey)

Review: Witches Anonymous by Misty Evans

by Susan S., guest reviewer

A Tickle My Fantasy Story

Witches Anonymous novella series: Book one

Summary: Amy Evelyn Atwell, heroine, is adamant about turning over a new cauldron. She’s been an evil witch for far too long; which is one of the reasons she’s joined (WA) Witches Anonymous. Hopefully, she can resist Lucifer and stay on the straight and narrow. WA promises she’ll become a good witch in only 13 steps.

Unfortunately, she’s picked an inconvenient time to be good. Her hostility level is dangerously high. Well, wouldn’t yours be? She just found out her sister’s been sleeping with “her” boyfriend, Lucifer. So much for loving thy sister! Then there are her lustful desires which are setting off more fire alarms than she can count. As if yours wouldn’t! That sexy fireman, Adam Foster, is a hotty. And as an afterthought, a really nice guy.

Will sibling rivalry, the devil’s temptations, and her lustful desires send her back into Luc’s two-timing arms? Or will a higher power help her resist…her witchy side?

Review: Witches Anonymous was a cutesy good vs. evil novella. Ms. Evans presents a wonderful story concept with likeable characters. It was enjoyable to read the contrasts between Adam and Lucifer (the good guy vs. the opposing bad guy).

However, I kept hoping for examples of Amy’s malevolent past (she didn’t come across as evil). I also felt the novella needed just a little more momentum. With only minimal tweaking, this series is sure to grow into a hard-to-resist literary temptation.

Recommendations: Sure to tempt readers who enjoy light paranormal comedies, angels vs. demons stories, good vs. evil plots, and having to choose between a sinfully tempting bad boy vs. the equally appealing nice guy. Note: This novel does not contain sexual scenes. Two characters want to, but they don’t.

Favorite Character: Lucifer He’s sexy as sin! A walking, mouth-watering temptation. Like a Starbuck’s Birthday Cake Pop. Yummy!

Others in the Series: JINGLE HELLS (Witches Anonymous, Step 2) and Wicked Souls (Witches Anonymous, Step 3) are currently available for your reading pleasure.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Witches Anonymous: A Tickle My Fantasy story, Witches Anonymous (UK)

Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Copyright 2009, Paranormal Romantic Comedy, Novella, eBook, Pages 87. ISBN# 978-1-60504-397-5.

Review: Love and Freedom by Sue Moorcroft

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

An American abroad on a boat trip along Brighton’s sunny coast would be great, you would think there was time to make friends and have fun unless you’re the rather unlucky Honor who gets burned by the sun one too many times and ends up feeling worse for wear. Enter a nice doctor to make things better and take away the pain – and once helped out by ibuprofen he lends Honor her brother Martyn to look after her a little more than she should.

Life at home for Honor hasn’t gone as well as she had expected, so she sends a mail back there to say she is staying in England for a while longer, and who can blame her when she has had such a good time, and met a hunky man who can while away her blues for good. Her time back home ended in arguments and a falling out with other people she knows. Her friends want her to patch up her differences with them, but she feels better off not making things worse by explaining – she seems better suited to new beginnings in England away from the problems others have caused, but there is one thing she can never get used to – the English weather being so unpredictable.

Martyn’s got a good sense of humor and loves nothing more than to see Honor in her top, soaking wet and enticing, but the truth is, he would like her whether she was dressed in – or out of.

There are plenty of one liners and comedy in this novel plus some great character interaction that proves to be essential in this particular story. Honor and Martyn would make a good pairing, but there has to be some major work both have to put in to make it work. There is also the problem of them being from different countries – and that is something they will both have to work out in their own good time.

Love & Freedom is a journey into one woman’s decisive jaunt into a strange land she believes has the answers she needs to get away from it all, even if it involves moving away from the US for good. Avid readers of Sue’s work will enjoy the depth of the characters and the more sensual scenes in the novel. It is certainly not to be missed out on.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Love & Freedom

Review: Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog

I’ve just watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog for my second time. I just love the musical numbers in this little 45 minute show. If you haven’t seen it yet, you must. Trust me on this- I’ve even embedded it below for your viewing pleasure. Dr. Horrible was created by Joss Whedon during the writers’ strike by calling in a lot of favors. Part comedy, part romance, this little show brings all the musts to a comic book setting.

Characters:

This first one isn’t a character per say but it is an organization. The ELE or Evil League of Evil, is the most prestigious organization an evil bad guy could hope to belong. If you’re not in the ELE you’re in the league with the Henchmen.

Bad Horse is the biggest baddie. He’s the thoroughbred of sin.

Dr. Horrible wants desperately to join the ELE and has a strong application this year. He’s not so much evil as crazy scientist with ideas to change the way the world runs. As he says, it’s not about making money but taking it away from others.

Penny is the girl Dr. Horrible has a crush on. He sees her twice a week usually at his local laundromat and fantasizes about saying hello to her. If only he had the courage. Penny is a young woman who cares for the homeless and sees the world through rose-colored glasses.

Captain Hammer is the “good guy.” I put this in quotes because from our point of view Dr. Horrible is the good guy. Captain Hammer is vain, self-centered and reminds me a bit of Gaston in Disney’s Beauty And The Beast.

In typical Joss Whendon fashion the love interest is partially realized before being ripped apart like with Buffy/Angel and Wash/Zoe from Firefly/Serenity. Still, despite this romantic hiccup the show is simply phenomenal.

Rating: ★★★★★

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Review: The Werewolf Upstairs by Ashlyn Chase

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

Ashlyn captures her audience once again with her next installment in the paranormal romance series where Roz Wells, an Attorney takes an apartment in a building full of what she considers normal people – apart from one – Konrad Wollfensen, a security salesman with a difference. He’s highly efficient and cares for the people he lives with,but to prove how lousy their own security is, he breaks into their apartments and tells them later hoping he can sell them his own alarms!

Roz finds him desirable once she sets eyes on him but there is another thing she doesn’t know – Mr Wolfensen is actually a werewolf by night.

Ashlyn manages to grab me from the first turn of the page, where I was thrown straight into a comical situation involving Roz looking round a less than desirable building for her new apartment. As soon as she meets the other residents she knows something interesting is about to happen but doesn’t expect Konrad being the man for her. When he recognizes her as Merry’s friend, she’s amazed that he eve noticed her in the first place.

The comedy in this novel is sure to keep you laughing along with Roz constantly hoping that Konrad isn’t gay, but not too bothered about his being a werewolf, and worrying about Merry’s sanity among many others. The dialogue is witty, punchy and never lets up while Ashlyn has created enough of a back story for her characters to make them as life like as possible.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Werewolf Upstairs

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