Sensually Snowbound with Lindsay Evans

Sensually Snowbound with Lindsay Evans

Sex and snow have always seemed to belong together. Not necessarily two or more people rolling around in the cold white stuff (although I’ve written about that before) but being snug and warm behind closed doors with snow falling outside the windows, a fire getting the room nice and hot while an equally hot man tended to fires of an entirely different kind. That image was the catalyst for my latest novel, Snowy Mountain Nights. The story is hot, its hero even hotter, and the heroine overdue for a nice long blast of heat. Intrigued? Come with me on this journey.

9780373863952_SMPSnowy Mountain Nights by Lindsay Evans

On a much-needed ski getaway with her girlfriends, the last person Reyna Allen wants to run into is the lawyer who ruined her life. The tattoo artist’s bitter divorce left her with nothing, and she blames her ex-husband’s attorney, Garrison Richards. Now firelight dinners, winter walks in the Adirondacks, and toe-curling chemistry are daring her to give in to the one man she refuses to ever trust.

Garrison is good at his job—and where Reyna’s concerned, he may have been a little too good. He regrets the role he played in her divorce, and intends to show Reyna that he’s found his moral compass since then. But as their mutual heat thaws her resolve, will doubts put the freeze on their relationship—before he can convince her that they’re the ones meant for happily ever after?

Buy: Snowy Mountain Nights (Harlequin Kimani Romance)

5538_1382030788676096_1777985550_nBio:

Born in Jamaica, Lindsay Evans currently lives and writes in Atlanta, GA. She loves good food and romance and would happily travel to the ends of the earth for both. She writes sensual love stories for Harlequin Kimani. Find out more at www.LindsayEvansWrites.com.

Contact Lindsay at:

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Snowy Mountain Nights Excerpt: 

Garrison stared after the woman while his secretary’s words on the other end of the line fell away from him in a garble of sound. She was the same one he had been watching from before. Now that he’d seen her face, she was breathtaking; an Amazon with a hauntingly beautiful face and body. He drew a quiet breath, hypnotized by the sway of her hips under the green dress as she walked away. Halfway down the train, she sat down with her three friends, never once glancing back at him.

“Garrison, are you still there?”

It took him a few seconds to realize Anthea was trying to get his attention. He mentally shook himself.

“My apologies, Anthea. I’m right here.”

He finished going over the particulars of the Reichman divorce, yet another rich client with children who didn’t want to financially support his offspring, then went back to his seat. He could hear the muted strains of the woman and her friends’ conversation from where he sat. And he wasn’t the only man glancing in their direction. Annoyed with himself for his uncharacteristic fascination, Garrison opened a folder for a case still in arbitration, but couldn’t concentrate on a single word.

The woman’s eyes haunted him. They were black and intense, her gaze as regal and unflinching as a queen. He drew a swift breath of surprise as he abruptly recalled who she was and how he knew her.

Reyna. Reyna Barbieri.

He’d handled her divorce from her actor husband nearly five years before. From the look on her face, she had undoubtedly known who he was on sight. And she hadn’t been happy to see him.

Garrison remembered the first time he saw her. Ian Barbieri, a client of his whose ship had come in the form of a syndicated crime drama, was a few years into the TV show when he filed for divorce. Every fall, his face was up on billboards all over New York City, advertising the new installment of his show.

With his star burning bright through the network TV sky, Barbieri had breezed into Garrison’s office wanting a quick and surgical separation from his wife of nearly nine years. Garrison hadn’t been surprised. Although Ian Barbieri was a relatively small fish in the show business pond in New York, the rumor had been going around for months (with pictures included) that he was cheating on his high school sweetheart. That he left her to keep the home fires burning while he had sex with nearly every wannabe starlet and groupie in the city. What had surprised Garrison was that Barbieri’s wife hadn’t hired a lawyer of her own. Neither had she objected to any of the terms of the divorce that her ex proposed.

Garrison drafted the documents with the stipulations Barbieri wanted and arranged a meeting with the wife thinking that, since the divorce was uncontested, it would be an easy and quick process. Barbieri wanted to keep just about everything he’d made and acquired since the marriage, leaving his wife with nothing but her wedding ring. She hadn’t protested.

Then Reyna Barbieri walked into the conference room. Given Barbieri’s movie star looks, Garrison had been prepared for a similar creature, perfectly quaffed and artificial, the New York version of Hollywood. But Reyna had that wholesome loveliness that came from a life lived apart from show business. The air in his lungs stuttered at her natural, long-legged beauty. And the misery in her face.

Her shoulders were slumped. The floral, summer dress and light sweater were too insubstantial for the fall weather and too big for her body. The wounded and defenseless look of her made him want to protect her. Garrison wanted to pull her into his arms and shelter her from everything that he knew was to come.

His heart thumped viciously at the unusual wave of feeling. He sat in his chair staring at Reyna as if she was the only person in the room. Garrison was surprised that everyone else hadn’t stared at him for his blatantly fatuous and unprofessional behavior.

He realized then that despite her husband’s flagrant cheating, she had not wanted to end the marriage. And that her husband had hurt her in ways that she had never expected and would probably never recover from. Garrison remembered pulling out a chair for Reyna. He also remembered her flinching from him. Her reaction had hurt, twisted him with guilt even though he knew he’d done nothing wrong. At least not technically.

In hindsight, Garrison should have insisted that Barbieri provide for her even though she had pressed for nothing on her own behalf and seemed to be waiting on the man she’d spent nearly half her life with to treat her fairly. Garrison’s inaction, and Reyna’s sadness, had haunted him ever since.

But the Reyna who had confronted him outside the bathrooms was not the same sad woman he’d met five years before. Not at all. This Reyna Barbieri was stunning for a completely different reason.

She wore her confidence like a royal cloak. And her snapping black eyes had challenged him the moment she realized who he was. Her chin-length curls were tight and thick, inviting him to sink his hands into them and pull her closer. And her body. Christ almighty…

The long and tight sweater hugged a figure that came straight from his dreams, a slender but curvaceous body he could easily imagine taking into his arms and making love to all night. Because of her, he was powerfully aware of every masculine part of him, aware that he wanted to be intimately joined to every feminine part of her.

Buy: Snowy Mountain Nights (Harlequin Kimani Romance)

Wedding Belle Blues by Mia Epsilon

Hello, I’m Mia Epsilon, wildly excited about the PRINT release of my book Wedding Belle Blues. I write contemporary romance, love almost every minute of it and also love to read.

How Much is Too Much?

I’ve always wondered just exactly how much detail my writing should contain. I mean, I want it to be believable, sure, so readers don’t feel yanked out of the story or worse, can’t ‘see’ what’s happening. But I also don’t want to gross anyone out or worse, bore them to sleep. Plus, let’s face it, some real life things we don’t want to talk about let alone read in our chosen method of escape. So how ‘real’ should it be and how much is too much detail?

I’ll start with an example from my upcoming print release Wedding Belle Blues. The heroine is planning a wedding and shopping for a wedding gown. I spent hours looking at pictures of wedding gowns and drooling over details. I wanted the readers to be right there with Anna as she struggles to find THE dress. But I didn’t want my readers to give up reading in disgust over numerous discussions and descriptions of sweetheart shaped necklines, A line skirts, and mermaid, trumpet, or ball gown styles. I think the resulting scene is a good compromise of detail to ‘see’ without going so overboard we all get buried in lace and tulle.

As a reader of historical romance, I like to get the jest of what’s being worn without having a history lesson. I finished a book before the holidays where the author described in minute detail each item of clothing the heroine wore. If you’ve never read historical romance, know up front the women didn’t just throw on jeans and a T shirt and head out. They had corsets and stockings and under things, loads and loads of under things. When I read, it’s fine for the author to mention the heroine had petticoats and corset and such. But not every single detail. I actually had to look up a few of the terms because I’d never heard of them before. Needless to say, it yanked me completely from the story and I never really got back into it. It was a great shame and disappointment because the plot and characters had grabbed my attention.

Also, when I read a contemporary romance, I really do not want to read how the heroine deals with, um, how’s the best way to say this, ‘that time of the month’. I really, really don’t. I don’t mind hearing, “Yuck, it’s that time, my stomach has a mac truck driving through it, and damn if I didn’t use the last tampon so now I have to go to the store when I really just want to curl up and feel sorry for myself”. I do NOT want to hear all the details. I read to escape, not to be faced with the crap I’m reading to escape.

When I read future and fantasy, I want enough to make the world seem I’m living in it without so much I fall asleep getting the details. I mean, let’s be honest, I adore the Lord of The Rings movies. But trying the read the book is like slugging through mud wearing one hundred pounds of wet wool clothes with your shoe laces tied together. There’s just so much detail the characters take a backseat to the world. It’s off putting. I want to know what Frodo and friends are doing, not every elven blade of grass they are seeing.

So in short, for my writing, a reader gets enough to describe what’s happening around the characters or what they are experiencing without losing them in the details. At least, I hope they do. What do you feel is too much when you’re reading?

Mia

***

weddingbelleblues_200x300Anna is planning the perfect wedding, but she doesn’t anticipate her future mother-in-law’s offer of help’ which translates into take over. Her groom-to-be avoids her and insists their growing problems are just ‘bridal nerves’. Worst of all, her best friend, Robin, begins to act strange. Everyone around her has his or her own agenda. What’s a girl to do when she begins to realize the perfect life she envisioned is all a lie?

Robin has two great loves in his life: his best friend Anna and his motorcycle. Not one to make a scene, he supports Anna in her plan to marry the wrong man and regrets she can’t accept his ‘dare devil’ lifestyle. But when push comes to shove, he’s more than willing to make the necessary sacrifice and prove he is the man she needs.

As the wedding date nears and plans shift into high gear, Robin and Anna grow closer and not just as friends. Each must decide what the perfect life truly means while trying to negotiate the maze of wedding plans, secrets, and hidden motives. Will someone be left singing the blues?

Buy: Wedding Belle Blues

Author Bio:

Mia Epsilon lives with her ever patient soul mate in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Appalachian Mountains. She’s an avid reader with too many favorite authors to name. Mia is a huge Doctor Who fan and happily suffers a chocolate addiction.

Mia can most often be found at her computer spinning new tales or in a quiet padded nook (a nook, she swears, not a padded room) with her e reader. She’s currently hard at work on her series ‘Weddings by C & C’ and trying to build its reputation from ‘just another wedding story’ to ‘OMG you have GOT to read this book!’

Social Media Links:

Blog

Face Book: MiaEwrites

Twitter: Mia Epsilon @MiaEpsilon

Google+: Mia Epsilon

Goodreads: Mia Epsilon

 

Review: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories by Valeria Kogan

love bitesReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: This is Valeria Kogan’s debut collection of short stories which all centre on love, from heartbreak to redemption, this is what love is all about whether the people in the stories love each other at all, or start out that way and grow apart later on. There are many elements to love and these stories deal with them; secrets, guilt, jealousy, deception and mistrust. As the stories are written in a no nonsense way, this is a collection of shorts for a real modern woman.

Review: In all there are eleven stories where no one knows how a love affair will end. Valeria was born in Russia and has since moved to the UK where she learned to appreciate art and literature. Other than Love Bites, she is working on her new novel, ‘Bi-Pole-Ar’ which is a semi-biographical look at mental health issues and how other people see us. Valeria thinks that by writing a series of short works, she was also writing her first novel and she would be right. Every author has created small tasters to get potential readers use to their style of writing, and Valeria’s style can easily be seen here. Valeria saw the need to create several different narratives with outcomes that could never be predictable. She wanted do see what would happen if she had no pre conceive idea of how the stories would evolve. Love means different things to different people. In Silent, Carla has a husband, evolving around him as a full grown woman who bears children, but calamity strikes the family causing the silence she has come to expect. Nip & Tuck has a man telling his story of how he wanted to change his wife’s looks, her body by using cosmetic surgery as a beautifying tool, eventually coming to regret his decision. Mute is about a woman who was struck dumb when she first met a man and her intoxication with him that urges her to get his name tattooed on her skin. Tonight has a woman who decides that tonight will be the last time she will act as a prostitute, but the fact that she is dreading it tells you something about the person. Matrimony has Tessa wondering what sort of wedding she wants with the man in her life. Each story is matter-of-fact, and honest showing these diverse women and men of what they think love is and the trouble they have getting into the stereotypical woman/man role in society and the result of it.

Good Bits:

  • Silent is beauty stricken with tragedy.
  • Nip & Tuck is a case of never gilding a lily.
  • Mute is part prose, part poetry and all heart!

Summary: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories is an interesting look at the lives of eleven people who are each as different as the rest. They all appreciate men and women in their own way, or have been spurned by them in the past. The stories tell of their partners and lovers with me thing that the best ones were Nip & Tuck, Mute, Tonight and Matrimony. The cover art is of a beautiful woman, bound and with her eyes covered ready to cut the red thread of time with her latex gloved hands. It is a deceptive cover in that it looks like the sort that would grace a slipstream horror novel, and there is nothing horrific about the stories in here.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Love Bites: A Collection of Short Stories

Review: The Love of Marisol by Christos Toulouras

Christos ToulourasReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Leo decides to take a trip to Lima, Peru after his marriage has failed. In leaving for a far off place he has left behind all his pain, loss and depression, yet Leo does not expect to find a new love interest there in Marisol.

Review: The Love of Marisol is separated into four chapters; One Night in Bahia, The Smell of Lima, Nena and The House on White Beach. As Leo had been separated from his wife for nine months ad feels the pain of being apart from her for so long. You get to feel the extent of his depression and differs from the first few pages as he feels how his life has taken a wrong turn he does not feel he can escape from. You share his pain, the loss of his wife he spent ten years with who was his first love. We have all had our first love; the one we want to spend our whole lives with, his other regret is his son who he knows he will miss even though they are getting a divorce. Though he had three affairs with other women, he still misses his ex-wife. He tortures himself for having not been a positive person, believing if he had been, he might not have lost Rafaela. For most of the novel, he spends time with new and old friends in Lima, it is only by the third chapter that we get to meet Marisol, so Christos spends a lot of time keeping us waiting for the moment where he might become happier.

Good Bits:

  • Leo’s puffs of marijuana – naughty boy!
  • The love he has for his son and the fact he misses him so much. The sentiment is truly touching.
  • Marisol is a captivating woman he falls for almost instantly.

Summary: The Love of Marisol is a slow moving story of a man who has lost love, gone through the depression stage of a divorce and decided to change his life by going on holiday only to meet a woman he feels he has fallen for. You can sense how relieved Leo is to have another woman he can relate to and we all hope that we can find the same in our lives.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Love of Marisol

Casting the Spotlight on Liana Brooks

Liana Brooks  Liana Brooks would like to SCUBA dive Europa (that moon around Jupiter), but with the NASA shuttle program shut down she’s resorted to writing science fiction instead. She likes southern beaches, warm weather, sharks, and striped socks. Her superhero romance series started with Evan Villains Fall in Love and continues with Even Villains Go to the Movies. For those who prefer their romance without a side order of spandex she’s written Prime Sensations (part of the Tales From the SFR Brigades anthology) and Fey Lights.

You can find Liana on the web at www.lianabrooks.com, on Twitter as @LianaBrooks, or on Facebook under the same name.

***

EvenVillansMoviesPRfront_200x300When your mother is America’s Superhero Sweetheart and your daddy’s the Number One Super Villain, you grow up feeling a little conflicted.

Angela Smith has superpowers—nothing that will ever make her comic-book famous—but her ability to psychically sense and manipulate the emotions of people around her has drawn unwanted government attention. Forced to choose between her quiet life as a teacher under constant surveillance or the life of a rogue, she chooses the latter. She plans to hide out in sunny Los Angeles where being a blue-eyed blonde won’t make anyone bat a false eyelash.

Silver screen star by day, superhero by night, Arktos is a triple-threat. He can fly, freeze anything, and see glimpses of the future, all of which he needs to keep the city of Los Angeles safe, but which does nothing for his social life. When a frightening vision of an explosion leads him to rescue a damsel in distress, he finds himself trading Shakespearean insults with a rogue.

Angela knows just how dangerous well-intentioned superheroes can be: one tried to kill her family when she was young. Arktos knows he should hand the rogue over to Company justice; it’s not safe for someone like her to be in the middle of a fight.

But they can’t seem to stay apart. And together, they just might be able to melt all the obstacles standing between true love for a hero and a villain.

Buy: Even Villains Go To The Movies (Heroes and Villains Book 2)

***

Angela tossed the red curls of her wig and parked Luiz’s bike in the alley behind the conference center. She hadn’t put on her Rage getup since arriving in L.A., but tonight the mental screams of terror echoing from the center warranted the kind of investigation that would attract questionable attention.

Tight black jeans, a bright red tank top that matched her hair, and a leather duster that was too heavy for the L.A. heat were a start. She’d added a black domino mask that obscured the shape of her nose and cheekbones when she’d moved to New York, because no one needed to see their favorite school teacher beating down the local thugs. The heart and star pendant around her neck— a little invention of her Daddy’s that would shield her from most things—completed the outfit.

The “most” still worried her some days.

Terror radiated from the building, escalating until the headache tearing into her brain was a living fire. Whatever was happening, she would hit back. Hard.

Checking to make sure the alley was empty, Angela sauntered toward the back door and hoped someone inside had been kind enough to leave it open. More often than not the people hired to cater at these places would stick a rock in the door to keep it from locking every time they slipped out for fresh air.

If not she could always pick the lock. Angela sighed. The whole point of moving away from her sisters was to avoid a life filled with crime and superheroes.

Angela reached for the door and someone hit her. A breeze ruffled her wig and she found herself on her back in the alleyway, staring up at a masked man. No hate tainted the aura around him, nothing that suggested that he was dangerous except that he was bigger than her.

She raised an eyebrow. “Hello?”

The man took a deep breath. “Hi.” He smelled like mint.

“I’m new to the area, so I’m not familiar with the protocol when you’re jumped by a masked man in an alleyway. Is there a secret handshake or something?” she asked, sarcastically.

“I’m here to save your life.”

Angela looked around for signs of danger. The man was the only thing in the alley, and he was cradling her, hand cushioning her head, muscular arms suspending him in a pushup so his body weight wasn’t resting on her.

“Right. What danger am I in, exactly?”

“The door is going to explode and kill you,” he said in a very serious tone.

She lifted her head to peer over his shoulder at the door. It was a mistake. The movement meant gyrating under him in his spandex suit, and she caught a whiff of cologne, soap, and clean sweat. His emotions shifted, becoming tinged with desire and arousal.

Angela cleared her throat and lay back down, trying to put space between herself and her captor. “Mm hmm. Tell you what, let me up and I’ll help you find your doctor. I bet someone is very worried about you missing your medicine.”

Buy: Even Villains Go To The Movies (Heroes and Villains Book 2)

Get into Bed with Julia London (Author Interview)

one mad nightKeira: One of the things I liked best about your rivals romance One Mad Night was that the hero and heroine played fair and it was still fun! Was fair play important to you and why was it important to the romance?

Julia London: To a point, yes.  The novella is short, so if the hero did something unfair (and it would be the hero, right?), there is not really enough time to redeem him.  And honestly, I think rivals can play fair.  It’s healthy competition that makes for healthy relationship.  I sound like a psychologist.

Keira: What made you decide they were competing over a car ad?

Julia: I thought that sort of ad would be a good and natural tension, because car ads seem to slanted toward men or women.  I noticed minivan ads are all about mom and the kids, and then the luxury cars are all about hip, handsome men. Figures!

Keira: What is your favorite part about snowed-in / isolated / desert / intimate (this subgenre goes by a lot of names!) romances?

Julia: That no one can escape.  The characters have to deal.  No one can run away and talk to friends or think, or pull any of that.  They are stuck.  Delicious!

Keira: What do you love best about writing historical/contemporary romances? 

Julia: Well, I love to read good love stories.  I love to watch them on the big screen.  So I guess I am naturally drawn to them.  I love establishing the male and female leads and their first real notice of each other.  It’s always fun to see where it will go after that.

Keira: Your characters always have such lovely chemistry with each other. What to you makes two characters rub along and create sparks?

Julia: Thank you!  That’s a wonderful compliment.  In high school, we did this play about a couple on a train.  I can’t remember the name of it, but what I remember is that it was my first conscious comprehension of the emotional differences between men and women.  Men want everything to be uncomplicated and unemotional, and women are incapable of leaving everything black and white.  It’s fun to push and pull those two dynamics.

Keira: How do you define love? How do you recognize your true love? What makes it last in the long run and not fizzle out?

Julia: In books or in real life?  Mutual respect and admiration is love.  What makes it last in the long run is appreciation and listening.  I think men and women can put up with a lot if they feel they are heard and appreciated by the ones they love.

Keira: What makes a steamy and sexy sex scene?

Julia: For me, the anticipation and sexual tension is steamier than the actual sex scene.  It’s a problem for me as a writer.  Some readers really like graphic sex.  I really like the build up to the actual depiction.  I have to straddle those and find a happy medium.

Keira: If not for writing, what would be your dream job? “Big business” job?

Julia: Writing is my dream job!  I’ve had the big business jobs before.  I would love to learn how to write screen plays, but there is only so much time, you know?

Keira: What is the hardest part and the most fun part of writing?

Julia: The hardest part of writing is actually writing.  I want each book to be better than the last, so I keep raising the bar for myself.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  But I have to challenge myself to try new things and execute them well.  The most fun part of writing is meeting fans.  I work alone and I don’t know how my books may or may not speak to a reader.  So when I meet them in person and they are so complimentary and sometimes even moved my meeting me, it makes every moment spent alone with a stinky dog, tossing out everything I wrote the day before and trying again very much worth it!

Keira: What are you working on for us next?

Julia: I have the next two books in my historical Cabot Sisters series (The Devil Takes a Bride and The Scoundrel and the Debutante) coming out in late January and late April, respectively.  The Perfect Homecoming, the third book in my contemporary Pine River series, is coming out in February.  I am currently writing a book about rich summer people and the inevitable conflicts with the year round residents at a lake resort.  I just started it, but you know some worlds are going to collide!

One Mad Night Anthology
By Julia London

Two Romantic Adventures…One Mad Night

Two delightful contemporary romance novellas in one book from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia London.

One winter’s night a blizzard sweeps across the country, demonstrating that fate can change the course of lives in an instant…and fate has got a sense of humor.

One Mad Night

Chelsea Crawford and Ian Rafferty are high profile ad execs in cutthroat competition for a client. When a major winter storm puts New York City on lockdown, the two rivals have to make it through the night together—oh, the many ways in which opposites attract…

The Bridesmaid – Bonus Novella

RITA Award Nominee for Best Romance Novella of 2013

Kate Preston has just moved to New York. Joe Firretti is contemplating a move to Seattle. When the weather wreaks havoc with transportation systems, Kate and Joe meet as they are both trying to rent the last car available… As Kate races to make her best friend’s wedding, and Joe races to a life-altering job interview, it looks like together is the only way they’ll make it at all.

Praise for Julia London:

“London knows how to keep pages turning…winningly fresh and funny.” —Publishers Weekly, on RITA Award nominee The Bridesmaid

Buy: One Mad Night

About the Author

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the Homecoming Ranch contemporary series, the Secrets of Hadley Green historical romance series, and numerous other works. She is a four-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction, and RT Bookclub award recipient for Best Historical Romance.  She lives in Austin, Texas.

Connect with Julia London:

www.julialondon.com  | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Excerpt from One Mad Night by Julia London

It took a moment for Chelsea to notice him, which gave Ian a moment to admire her. He was going to crush her tomorrow, but that didn’t stop him from appreciating a figure that guys like him dreamed about. Chelsea was wearing a skirt today. It hit about mid-thigh and was tight enough to show off all her curves. She looked a bit taller today too. He glanced at her feet and noticed the shoes. Chelsea was walking on stilts, and her legs, good God, her legs. She was smoking hot in that dress and those shoes.

“Hey!” she said sharply, her voice full of accusation.

Ian’s head snapped up. “Hey,” he said con-genially. “Practicing your pitch?” He settled one hip onto the conference table.

“Do you mind?” She gestured to the door in a be-­off-­with-­you way.

“If you want, I could listen and give you some feedback.”

Chelsea’s mouth dropped open. And then her green eyes narrowed into little slits. “You have got to be the most arrogant man I’ve ever met.”

Ian smiled and shrugged.

“You can go, Ian,” she said, marching around the conference table to usher him out. “I think I’ve got it.”

“Suit yourself.”

“I will.”

“So hostile,” he said with a wink as he stood up. “I’m just trying to help. It never hurts for someone to hear the pitch, right? You’ve had someone listen to you go through it, right?”

“Yes, I’ve had—­Hey, hey,” she said, poking him in the chest. “Are you trying to play me?” she demanded. “Because it won’t work. I’m not some junior account person, you know. You can’t intimidate me.”

“Well, obviously,” Ian said and poked her back. “You wouldn’t be pitching at all if you were a junior account person. I know I can’t intimidate you. It wasn’t a declaration of war, you know; it was an offer to help.”

“It wasn’t a let-­me-­help, best-­friends-­forever offer, either. I’m not playing games with you. This account means a lot to me—­”

“Me too.”

“Oh yeah?” she said, shifting closer. “Well, don’t get too attached to the idea. I’ve got seniority, you know.”

“So why are you so afraid to show me what you’ve got?”

“Because it’s none of your business.”

“On the eve of the championship, it’s okay to go out and shoot some hoops with your competitor. It’s not going to affect tomorrow’s big game. It’s not like I can go out and change weeks of work overnight if I see you’ve got something better.”

She laughed. “Good try, Rafferty, but I think maybe the reason you want to see my pitch is because you’re worried about the strength of your pitch. Is it a little rough? Maybe I should listen to you.” She winked, and her green eyes shone with pleasure at her comeback.

“I’m definitely not worried about my pitch.”

“No? Seems to me if you’re presenting three,” she said, holding up three fingers and wiggling them at him, “then you must be uncertain which one is the winner.” Her smile broadened into sheer triumph, as if she thought she’d really zinged him.

She hadn’t zinged him, but Ian did wonder how she knew what he had…Zach. Of course. That rat bastard. “Have you been talking to Zimmerman?” he asked accusingly.

She shrugged and studied her manicure. “Maybe. Does it matter? I thought we were doing the let’s-­help-­each-­other thing. But if we’re not, would you mind toddling off? I have a lot of work I need to do before tomorrow. I plan to hit the ground running with this account on Monday.”

She was amazingly and annoyingly confident. Ian was generally a confident guy, but she was making him a teensy bit nervous. “You really think you’re going to get this, don’t you?”

“I don’t think, I know,” she said, looking up.

He tilted his head to one side to study her. “Isn’t it obvious to you why they brought me in?”

“I don’t know—­I haven’t given it the slightest bit of thought.” She lifted her chin, and Ian realized she lied about as well as she engaged in verbal volleyball. “I’ve been promised that this account is as good as mine. Didn’t they tell you that when they brought you in?”

A bit more of Ian’s confidence leaked out of him. He’d been in New York advertising long enough to know that the industry was full of snakes. He wouldn’t put it past anyone to feed him a bunch of half-­baked promises to get him to commit. “Who told you?”

She grinned. “None of your beeswax.”

“Come on, tell me—­” His phone rang, distracting him momentarily. He fished it out of his pocket and noticed the number was the Grabber-­Paulson main number. That was weird. “Listen, I’ll just say this,” he said, clicking off the phone. “Don’t be so sure of things. People say things they don’t mean, especially in this industry.” He started for the door.

“Uh-­huh, I know. And I would offer you the same advice, Mr. Rafferty,” she said in a singsong voice, and she flashed a dazzling smile, full of straight white teeth.

“Cocky too. I like that about you,” he said. “I’ll keep it in mind when I make partner.” He winked at her, smiled as if he was completely unbothered, and went out of the conference room.

Buy: One Mad Night

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Review: A Vampire’s Passion (A Romance In Central City, Book 3) by Jordan K. Rose

a vampire's passionReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Brandt is aware of homeless going missing and an evil army vowing to take control of the city, but if he has anything to do with it, they won’t get the chance. Brandt has enough trouble on a reconnaissance mission to find out more on Menhadens, a restaurant in Central City. There he meets Rachel a waitress working there who takes his fancy almost in an instant with her amazing blue eyes.

Review: We first meet Brandt when he’s busy scoping Menhadens for the kind of people who enter the establishment. Brandt doesn’t like having a sidekick, and certainly not one he labels as the world’s most irritating vampire, Garrison. After being on Earth for a hundred years, he still can’t get on with people the way he hopes. He always gets ribbed about being anti-social by his sidekick and anyone else who knows him. When he meets Rachel she’s the most stubborn woman he has ever met, but there is something about her he can’t resist, even being a vampire.

He and Garrison are looking into the dangerous and cruel experiments that Panthera Laboratories are getting up to, and he is afraid that Rachel might also be getting caught up in them. Raymond Tyrone is the kingpin and things could get bad if anyone finds out. Rachel might have an attitude that offends the ones who eat at Menhadens, yet out of work she’s a caring person who feeds a street guy affectionately called “Hank.” She remembers growing up poor as a kid, and doesn’t mind sneaking food out of the work’s kitchens if it means saving someone from starving. Brandt begins to question his standing as a vampire when she has the ability to resist him, even though he is more than interested in her being the one for him. Rachel compliments Brandt’s lack of human warmth toward the men he works with, as she is compassionate even if she is stubborn.

Good Bits:

  • The humour that runs through the whole novel.
  • Brandt is a very well thought out character and proves it.
  • A place called Crap Alley and who coined the name.

Summary: This is a vampire cop mystery that will interest those interested in supernatural romance, and though it might seem that Brandt and Rachel aren’t made for each other, it could be said readers might change their minds half way through.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: A Vampire’s Passion: A Romance In Central City, Novella Three

Writing Tips with Franny Armstrong

I’m author Franny Armstrong, ParaNovelGirl. Para stands for paranormal, as in psychic abilities, Novel…well, it speaks for itself. As for Girl, I decided that even though I’m a woman, girl sounds so much better. There, now you know my secret. lol

I’ve learned a TON over the past twelve years as a professional writer. The what DON’T do’s tend to outrank the DO do’s. As in spelling do’s. (NOT a word) Honest.

As a Canadian, I write in the US version of English. Colour becomes color, and about isn’t truly aboot, like Americans think we Canadians sound it out.

The most important thing to remember before submitting your works, is to make sure your grammar and punctuation are perfected. Nothing ticks off an agent/editor more, than finding a plethora of mistakes in a manuscript.

Next, check your plot out as you write. There must be a thrilling beginning, a critically exciting middle, and a smashing end to the happily ever after story. Fun WOW?

The first page has to capture the reader’s attention and hold it. There’s nothing like a hot page turner to keep a reader on the edge of their seat. If they like your ‘hook’, they’ll continue to turn the pages. Setting a nice fast pace is important as well. Too much description of the background or of the room the hero/heroine is in can kill a story before it begins. Give it some spice by adding a few tidbits of information at a time. This will help the reader follow your lead.

One of the critical things to remember is that, even if you receive a rejection letter, don’t be shy about sending a ‘thank you for your time’ email, or a kind email asking what you need to work on to have them accept you. Some editors/agents will give you a second chance. TAKE IT!

There are many more things to remember, but we only have so many things to list in a short blog. Always use your manners, and never cut down the editor/agent online. Words travel fast, and the walls have ears. Once you post your thoughts, they stay on the WWW for all to see.

Best wishes for success, and remember one more critical thing: NEVER GIVE UP! No matter how many times you get rejected. Instead of crying over spilt milk, remember to ask questions to find out why you’re work was refused. Follow up, and always be polite. That’s it in a nutshell. Do you want to be successful? What would you do make this happen?

Sincere thanks for visiting this blog.

Franny Armstrong

www.paranovelgirl.com

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Jinn & Toxic Print Cover 200x300A team that doesn’t exist…

Toxic Tango Troop is an elite team of soldiers who are betrayed by one of their own. Their goal is to prevent shipments of illegal drugs to North America. The team struggles to find the teammates, missing after they scatter to evade capture. The government won’t acknowledge the team, so they’re on their own.

She is a military secret…

Jinn Dennison takes the place of her identical twin sister, Julie, a soldier on the team. They think she’s dead. Jinn shows up to save her sister Julie, whom she knows is alive. She races against time to find her before it’s too late. Using her psychic abilities, she connects with Julie who she hasn’t seen since they were ten years old, but someone is blocking their silent communications.

He believes she’s a traitor…

Tab ‘Toxic’ McIntosh has a special gift that is top secret. He captures Jinn then uses her as bait to stop the Iceman, a notorious drug runner, and unearth the traitor. Tab’s sister, Tara, was kidnapped from a resort, and he wants her back at all costs. Things get complicated when Jinn and Tab fall in love.

Can Jinn and Toxic battle against all odds to win the day, or will they die trying? Time is of the essence in this fast paced adventure where anything can happen.

Buy: Jinn & Toxic (Toxic Tango Troop Book 1)

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Franny Armstrong Author PicFranny Armstrong Bio

Franny Armstrong is a mother of three and a grandmother of four. Her husband supports her imagination and has the patience of a saint. Her characters are well rounded and share her wacky sense of humor.

FACEBOOKhttp://www.facebook.com/pages/franny.armstrong.author

BLOG - http://www.paranovelgirl.blogspot.com