Novel Reaction is excited to be a part of the Blog Tour for Hope Ramsay’s Last Chance Hero. I have to admit that Ramsay’s fictional town of Last Chance holds a special place in my heart, the first book in the series Welcome to Last Chance (you can read my review here) was the first print book I was quoted in. For a blogger (or at least for this blogger) that was a huge deal. I, of course, immediately bought a copy to keep in my collection and then started getting obnoxious to my family because I was so excited to see my little blurb in print. I have since been quoted in several novels and while I get almost as excited every time I see it, that first one holds a special place in my heart. But I digress.
Last Chance Hero is the thirteenth story in the Last Chance series (if you count all the short stories, which I do) and you can read my review of this entertaining novel here. But don’t take my word for, pick up your own copy and tell me what you think!
From the back of the book:
Ross Gardiner has had his fill of difficult relationships. Returning to Last Chance after a rough divorce, the town’s handsome new fire chief just wants safety and stability-a tall order given his dangerous job and the way he has the attention of all the single women in town. All except Sabina Grey, the girl who stole his heart when they were teenagers. Sabina knows a lot about playing it safe. Always the good girl, she’s now responsible for her antiques store and caring for her sister. But having Ross in town brings back the memory of one carefree summer night when she threw caution to the wind-and almost destroyed her family. Now that they are both older and wiser, will the spark still be there, even though they’ve both been burned?
Last Chance Reading Order:
Small Town Christmas (anthology)
Last Chance Bride (short story)
Last Chance Summer (short story)
Novel Reaction is excited be a part of the Blog Tour for Katharine Ashe’s I Adored a Lord, the second book in the The Prince Catchers series. First let’s get to know a little more about Katherine.
Award-winning, best-selling author KATHARINE ASHE writes intensely lush historical romance, including How To Be a Proper Lady, among Amazon’s 10 Best Books of 2012 in Romance, and eight other acclaimed novels set in the era of the British Empire. With the publication of her debut novel in 2010, she earned a spot among the American Library Association’s “New Stars of Historical Romance.” She was a nominee for the 2013 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Fiction, and in 2011 she won the coveted Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure. Katharine is also a finalist for the 2014 RITA® Award, the highest honor in the romance fiction industry, for How To Marry A Highlander. She lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History at Duke University, Katharine writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve high adventure and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about her books, please visit her at www.KatharineAshe.com.
I thoroughly enjoyed my way through I Adored a Lord (your can read my review here) and am thrilled to be able to share with you an excerpt from it.
He was nearly a head taller than she and certainly the most handsome man she had ever stood so close to, with his shirt of close-woven linen and waistcoat of brocaded silk. The whisker shadow of the night before that had scratched her chin had gone; his cheeks were smooth and high-boned, his jaw firm. “You seem remarkably comfortable with all of this.”
“I was at war, Miss Caulfield. There is little that can discomfit me now.”
But that was not the entire truth. He was not at ease as he seemed to study her features now.
“As you can see, I have knowledge that can help you find the murderer,” she said.
“What suggested to you that I have any intention of pursuing such a course?”
“Of course you have, or you would not have brought the body here and bribed the servants to keep it a secret from everybody else.”
“I did not bribe them.”
“You must have. I would have. After you tell the prince, I suppose he will summon the local law to investigate. When it arrives, let me help.”
“I cannot in good conscience allow that.”
“Then allow it in bad conscience.”
“You must allow me to help.”
“And yet I will not, despite my wish to please you.”
“You don’t wish to please me. You wish to thwart me.”
“You are correct. In this at least.” His gaze slipped to her shoulder, then her arms she was hugging to her waist, passing over her breasts as though they were not there. “Your lips are blue. You must retire to the warmth of your bedchamber. I will instruct Monsieur Brazil to send up a maid to build your fire again.”
“Aren’t you concerned that the murderer might realize we have discovered the body and will know that I know about it, and will come after me?”
That muscle twitched in his jaw again, but she did not know if humor or pique inspired it. “Yes.”
“If you keep me close, he won’t be able to get to me easily.”
“Interesting choice of words from the woman who vowed not two hours ago that she would not in this life come close to me again.”
“To solve the mystery of the murderer,” she said, her tongue abruptly dry, “of course.”
“Ah.” A smile caught at the corner of his mouth, the dent peeking out. “Of course.”
“I have plenty to recommend me to this investigation that the local police will appreciate.”
“An expertise in deaths involving medieval armor, perhaps?”
“A female body.”
That stalled him. Again his gaze dropped but this time it more than grazed over her breasts; it lingered. “I will admit I am not seeing how that makes you an expert investigator to murder.” He lifted his eyes to hers. They were decidedly dark and not entirely focused. The night before, his eyes had looked like this when his body atop hers had become aroused.
“I can speak to the women at this party in a manner in which I suspect you cannot. In regular conversation that seems like gossip I can encourage them to reveal information that could be valuable to discovering why this man was murdered and stuffed into a suit of armor. I will investigate this murder whether you or the local police wish me to or not.”
There was a stillness about his contemplation of her that at once made her breathe more deeply and unnerved her.
“You have me against the wall, it seems,” he finally said.
“The moment I have cause for concern over your safety, I will remove you to the village.”
“You will do no such thing. You haven’t the right. I may not actually be a lady, but I am a guest of the prince—”
“Who will do as I advise.” He seemed entirely confident of this.
Suspicion prickled at Ravenna. “Who is to say you are not the murderer, and now that you know I have useful information you won’t dispatch me too?”
“None but me.”
She glanced into the darkness where the butler had disappeared, then back at the tall, dark man who had subdued her quite effectively in a stable the previous night. “This is the part where you pull out the bloodstained dagger, isn’t it?”
“Why wouldn’t I have done it earlier, before Monsieur Brazil knew of your involvement?”
“No doubt you only thought of it at this moment.”
“It seems I am carelessly shortsighted.”
“You are not the murderer?”
“Go to bed.” He grasped her fingers and tucked them around the lamp handle. For a moment his large, strong hand encompassed hers, and she thought that no man who murdered another could possibly have such a marvelously warm, gentle touch. Then he released her. “The prince will call the party together after breakfast. If you truly intend to assist in this—”
“You must have your wits about you.”
“I always have my wits about me.”
“I think I am coming to see that.”
“You haven’t dispatched me because you know you need my help.”
“Do I?” He took a half step closer. “Or perhaps I have not yet dispatched you because, as depraved as I am, when I look at your lips I can feel your body beneath mine in the straw. If I were to do away with you now, that scenario could never be repeated.” …
I missed reading the first book in The Prince Catchers series but I will definitely be reading the rest of the books in the series.
The Prince Catchers Reading Order:
I Loved a Rogue (February 2015)
Novel Reaction is excited to be a part of the Sweet & Sassy Blog Tour with not one but two romance authors. First let’s learn a little bit more about these lovely ladies and then on to the good stuff….excerpts from their newest releases Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay and Flirting With Disaster by Molly Cannon.
Hope Ramsay grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar.
Hope is here to share with us an excerpt from Inn at Last Chance the latest in her Last Chance series.
Inn at Last Chance (you can read my review here)
Now for the excerpt itself:
Gabe pulled Jenny and Bear across the hall into his bedroom, where he shut the door. With the door closed and the dog safe, Gabe was free to use both arms to draw Jenny tight to his chest. She clutched the lapels of his robe.
“It’s all right,” he whispered into her ear, deeply conscious of the soft brush of her hair against his cheek. She was trembling all over, and he couldn’t decide if she was cold or just scared to death. He choked back his fury and pressed her tighter to his chest. “Hush now. That was aimed at me, not you.” He closed his eyes and inhaled her. She smelled like lavender.
He gave himself permission to hold her for a minute before he pushed her back at arm’s length. Then he shucked out of his robe, leaving him standing there clad only in his boxers. He draped the robe around her shoulders. “Here, take my robe and go sit by the fire, it’s the only heat that seems to work in this room.” He gestured toward the old recliner he’d rescued from the moving men and placed near the hearth.
She didn’t follow his command. Instead, she stood right before him, her gaze traveling up his body, taking in his boxers and naked chest. What the baseboard heating failed to achieve in the back bedroom, Jenny managed just with her look. It seared him. It branded him. He needed to turn away before he embarrassed himself.
But she snared him before he could escape. She grabbed his right hand in both of hers, and her touch was as warm as the room was cold. Her eyes were liquid and kind behind the lenses of her glasses. He wanted to remove those frames and kiss her all over. Truly he had lost his mind.
So when she kissed his palm, his willpower broke. He pulled her closer, his left hand sliding down to the small of her back so he could draw her up along the length of his suddenly aroused body. He lowered his head and kissed her the way he’d been thinking about for days.
She opened for him, like the petals of a sweet flower. Her mouth responsive, her tongue dancing with his in a pattern that seemed familiar, as if she knew what he wanted, just as he instinctively knew how to please her. He devoured her and lost all sense of time and place and urgency, until she snaked her warm hands under the waistband of his boxers and cupped his ass.
That brazen exploration ignited a river of lust, but it also surprised the crap out of him.
This was Jenny. Not some groupie he picked up in some bar. This was sweet, tempting Jenny, who was unworldly and naive and cloistered. He might want to carry her across the room to his bed and lay down with her, but she deserved so much more.
And besides, he couldn’t ignore the warning someone had left in her kitchen.
So he reluctantly lifted his head and set her back at arm’s length. “I’m sorry,” he said in a gruff voice. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
Molly is here to share an excerpt from Flirting With Forever the latest in her Everson, Texas series.
Molly lives a charmed life in Texas with her nearly perfect husband and extremely large cat Nelson. When she’s not writing, she spends her days reading, taking dance classes with the hubby and watching all kinds of sports.
Now for the excerpt itself:
If he was smart he’d follow her suggestion. Get the hell out of here, go home, and take a cold shower. But he’d never been smart about Ree, and it was hot. Summer in Texas hot. And her swimming pool was just sitting there waiting to be of some use. He put his tools away and headed for the bath house. An odd assortment of suits hung from hooks on the wall, and he picked a pair that looked like long plaid walking shorts. They fit just fine, so he grabbed a towel and walked out to the pool.
Ree must have still been in the house, but he didn’t wait for her. He dove into the deep end of the pool, letting the cool water shock his system. He stayed under water, swimming with his eyes open until he reached the shallow end of the pool, and then he turned around without surfacing and swam the other direction. His lungs were burning from a lack of oxygen, so he was finally forced to come up for air. Good God. The sight before him nearly knocked the breath out of him all over again.
Wearing a purple bikini and nothing more, Ree walked out of the back door gliding toward him like a model on one of his fantasy runways.
Irene walked out the door just as Theo was rising from the water like a sleek water god. Neptune’s warrior. Or some mythical creature. His black hair was slicked back from his face. Water cascaded down his bulging arms, across his broad chest, and ran over his flat stomach. He’d gained more muscle since she’d first known him and the result was extraordinary. Unfortunately for her peace of mind, he was gorgeous. Absolutely. Undeniably the epitome of male perfection. A beautiful boy grown into the manliest of men. Damn it all and a box of rocks.
She put her eyeballs back in their sockets and tried to act casual. If she didn’t want to make a fool of herself she’d have to keep things light –act unaffected. Working with him this afternoon had already put her into a state of unbridled ditziness. She kept sneaking peeks at the way the muscles in his arms bunched as he swung the hammer, or the way he used his long legs, lifting the thick boards over his head before putting them in place. The hot Texas sun must have baked her brain because he suddenly seemed even more attractive than usual. She was supposed to be immune. But the way his dark hair artfully curled around the top of his ears seemed designed to make her blood thicken with need. Those eyes. Cool blue and watching her, calculating her responses, but she’d lost track of what he wanted from her years ago, and the time she’d spent with him the last few days had done nothing to clarify anything at all. Especially what and how she felt about this man.
It had taken her way too long to decide what bathing suit to wear. Like it mattered. It wasn’t like she was going on a date, for goodness sakes, but his remark about her not wearing a suit made her self-conscious, and resentful, and turned on all at the same time. She was letting the man screw with her head, and that was the one thing she’d promised she wouldn’t do. First she started to put on a black one piece racing suit that covered as much skin as possible, but it felt like she was being manipulated into wearing it. Like she was ashamed that he’d seen her naked on his arrival into town. Then she grabbed a two piece that had a little skirt. Modest, but showing a little more flesh. She held it up in the mirror and frowned at the polka dot design. It looked like something a clown might wear. To hell with it. She picked up her favorite purple bikini, slipped it on, and marched outside with her head held high.
The impact of seeing him all wet and bare-chested was like taking a shot of tequila on an empty stomach. Hot quivers ran through her veins. Intoxicating. She’d been without a man for much too long if he could make her feel so out of control just by taking his shirt off. It took all of her mighty concentration not to stop and gawk. But she was proud of herself. She made it to the side of the pool, but then stopped having no idea what to do next. Conversation was way beyond her power. As a kid she’d always liked to make a splashy entrance, so she let out a yell and executed the perfect cannon ball, rocking the pool, and hoping he might be gone when she surfaced for air.
Thank you ladies for allowing us a sneak peek at your latest novels.
Robert Frost was born on this day in 1874. One of the most recognized American poets of the twentieth century, his poem “The Road Not Taken” was published in 1916 and is part of the public domain (which is why I have included it here to brighten your day).
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.