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.
Novel Reaction is excited to welcome author Christine D’Abo as part of her blog tour for Quicksilver Soul, the second book in her The Shadow Guild series. Let’s get to know a little more about Christine first,
Multipublished author Christine d’Abo loves exploring the human condition through a romantic lens. She takes her characters on fantastical journeys that change their hearts and expand their minds. A self-professed sci-fi junkie, Christine can often be found chatting about her favorite shows and movies. When she’s not writing, she can be found chasing after her children, dogs or husband. Christine is published with Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and Berkley. Please visit her at her blog and come chat with her on Twitter @Christine_dAbo.
Christine was kind enough to answer some questions (even I have to admit they are a little random but this what happens when I write interview questions late at night after a day spent wrestling with my six month old):
Novel Reaction: What made you decide to make Nicola Tesla female?
Christine: With the creation of this series, I wanted to pull my characters from people in our history, but I wanted to give them a twist of my own. I created my own mythology with Jack the Ripper in book one, GILDED HEARTS, and wanted to do something similar with QUICKSILVER SOUL. I’ve always loved the history and rivalry between Tesla and Edison. I thought it would be fun to incorporate that into one of my stories. I had my hero already and wanted to pair him up with a heroine who was both independent and smart. Turning Tesla into a woman became the next logical step.
Novel Reaction: If you could have a super power what would it be?
Christine: I’m terrified of heights, so no flying or super jumping for me. If anything, I’d want to be able to be super-fast, like the Flash! Running around to get all my errands done while making lunches for the kids and writing 10k a day…yeah, being super-fast would be amazing. And I’d love to be able to run a marathon, so that would also help.
Novel Reaction: Favorite or least favorite books-to-movie?
Chrinstine: Guh there are so many!! I’m a sucker for a good period piece and even better if it’s based on a book that I love. Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version), Emma (the A&E version), Jane Eyre (the A&E version) are all re-watches for me. I have to say one that I came too late in the game was North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I have to admit to seeing the miniseries before I read the book. The book is great, the miniseries has Richard Armitage. He’s pouty and broody and that smile. Yeah, I’m a HUGE fan of that adaptation.
Thanks Christine for answering my questions. I was also late in the game to North and South, which was great! (If you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it!)
The Shadow Guild Reading Order:
Quicksilver Soul (read my review here)
Nicola Tesla has never needed a man to complete her life. A gifted engineer, she has always had her experiments to keep her company-or she did, before her vile boss stole them. Now she’s working at the Archives in New London, where the memories of the dead are stored. But it isn’t long before Nicola discovers she’s being watched . . . by a most intriguing, sinfully sexy man.
Archivist Emmet Dennison should be busy extracting memories from the dead. Instead he’s been asked to keep an eye on the brazen, strikingly beautiful Nicola Tesla. Soon Emmet and Nicola are shaken by an attraction neither of them wants. Yet when a nefarious man takes them hostage, Nicola and Emmet will need to rely on their attraction, and the growing bond between them, to stop a madman hellbent on destroying New London forever
Novel Reaction is excited to take part in the Blog Blitz for Laura Kaye’s Hard as You Can. First let’s learn a little more about Laura,
New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller Laura Kaye is the author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
Laura is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Maryland Romance Writers.
Laura is represented by Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
Laura was kind enough to answer some questions about Hard as You Can and the Hard Ink series:
Readers can look forward to tons of sexy alpha male goodness, awesome bromance between the Hard Ink men, more antics from the Hard Ink puppy, and another great love story between Shane and Crystal. But readers should also be ready for a book that is darker, more intense, and more emotional. This book pushed me to emotional places that were tough as a writer, and might be tough for readers, too. But I think that just makes the payoff at the end so much sweeter!
Describe Shane and Crystal. What are their best traits? What are their weaknesses?
Shane and Crystal are such an amazing couple to me. They’re each exactly what the other needs. Shane’s best traits are his protectiveness, his fundamental kindness, and his soul-deep loyalty (his southern accent and humor are also right up there!). His biggest weakness for sure is a tragedy from the past for which he blames himself—and it’s something that continues to motivate him in Hard As You Can. Crystal’s best traits are her courage, protectiveness, and selflessness—she’s willing to do anything to keep her younger sister safe. Her biggest weakness is also that selflessness, because the sacrifices she’s required to make are getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
If you could describe your book in a 140 character tweet, what would it be?
When a woman in trouble assists an ex-soldier’s covert mission to regain his team’s stolen honor, he finds a new mission to save her, too
What are you most excited about with this second book release?
I’m really excited to take readers deeper into these awesome characters and into the mystery behind the Hard Ink team’s ambush and discharge!
I’m almost done with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander (yes, I’m very late to the party but OMG JAMIE FRASER!!!). And I’ve recently devoured and loved Juliana Stone’s Offsides and Shelly Thacker’s time-travel historical romance, Forever His.
What can fans of your “Hard Ink” series look forward to next?
There will be two more Hard Ink books in 2014!
Hard to Hold on To – August 2014
Hard to Come By – November 2014
About HARD AS YOU CAN:
Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.
Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed.
Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn’t want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can–and never let go.
Read an Extended Excerpt of Book 1, Hard As It Gets
Thank you Laura, you can read my review of Hard as It Gets here.
Novel Reaction is excited to welcome Elizabeth Boyle as part of her blog tour for If Wishes Were Earls (you can read my review here) telling us a bit more about the necklace that plays such a key role in the novel. First though, a little bit more about Elizabeth:
Elizabeth Boyle is the author of 22 Regency set historical romances. Her love of the Georgian period is woven into her stories, setting lovers amongst the battlefields of Spain, the treachery of the French Revolution and the world of spies and con artists. Read more about her novels and various series at her website, ElizabethBoyle.com.
The real challenge of writing If Wishes Were Earls wasn’t the fact that the two characters were madly in love from page one (which believe me—is truly a challenge) but it turned out to be finding the right sub-plot to explain the villainy being perpetuated against the Earl of Roxley. It had to be something he’d had no hand in and no knowledge of so the discovery of it would take both time and leave him gobsmacked.
It was sort of one of those pace-the-floor and dig-around-in-my-research-books problems. I threw away over 100 pages of one idea. Another 50 of yet another. Nothing seemed to work. That is until I turned to Roxley’s gadabout parents and their penchant for gambling.
If they had been on the Continent when Roxley was young . . . I asked myself. Which led me to Paris, which led me to the scandal of that year: The Affair of the Diamond Necklace.
For those not familiar with the story, The Queen’s Necklace was originally a grand diamond necklace commissioned by the previous French king for his mistress—but before he could give it to his paramour, he died of smallpox and his mistress sent packing. For the jewelers this was a nightmare—because they hadn’t been paid—and no one other than royalty could afford such a costly piece. For years, they sought buyers to this necklace but to no avail. No queens wanted it because it had been designed for a courtesan. They even offered it to Marie Antoinette at a bargain, but she refused.
That was when the Comtessa de la Motte entered the picture. A con artist with very sketchy aristocratic connections she managed to convince the Cardinal Rohan—who had gained the Queen’s disfavor—that a necklace such as that might win back the Queen’s good graces. Further, the kindly comtessa graciously offered to act as the middleman for the cardinal. Of course, once she had the necklace, she and her husband broke it up, her husband taking the bulk of the stones to sell in London.
And that was where I saw my opportunity. What if the Comte de la Motte, like the earl’s parents was a gambler at heart, and what if while trying to lay low as he fled to London, he came upon what looked like an easy game of cards with an Englishman . . . and what if de la Motte lost?
Yes, I had my sub-plot—because a cache of diamonds could be easily hidden, lusted after, and most importantly, be of intense interest for some really deviously evil people who were willing to wait to get their hands on a treasure hoarde.
But it isn’t always easy weaving an actual historical event into a fictional novel. The timeline of events must be to the letter perfect. The fictional story must weave into the actual facts, filling up where there are openings in the historical accounts and allowing the real facts to remain untouched. And since there is no account how de la Motte got to London, there was one hole. What happened to the diamonds once they reached London is yet another. They were sold—but there were speculations and rumors about how many were sold and to whom.
Like my villains, I couldn’t resist the lure of such a literal story gem. And I had to wonder what the Earl of Roxley and his dear Harriet would do once they found these perfect diamonds. I know what I would do…..
Thanks Elizabeth for sharing with us a little more about the mysterious diamond necklace at the center of If Wishes Were Earls. It has always fascinated me that such a cold looking stone (diamonds) have the ability to inspire such passion and desire in the hearts of men (and women), not that I am one to speak because goodness knows I love me some bling. If Wishes Were Earls is the third book in the Rhymes With Love series.
Rhymes with Love Reading Order:
Harriet Hathaway has only ever wanted one man: the Earl of Roxley. After a passionate interlude at a house party, Harriet is convinced Roxley will do the right thing and propose. But when she returns to London, she finds the roguish earl on the verge of proposing to another.
Yet Harriet refuses to believe that her hopes of a happily ever after are completely lost—for she can see the desire still flickering in the earl’s eyes when he looks at her from across the dance floor. And when they are alone…there is one wish neither can deny.
The most extraordinary things can happen.
The Earl of Roxley is in a dangerous fix—and to keep Harriet safe, he must hold her at arm’s length. He won’t entangle her in the murderous mystery that is threatening to destroy his family and his future. But keeping Harriet Hathaway out of his troubles proves as impossible as it was to keep the determined beauty from stealing his heart.