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Archive for January, 2013

KILLING TIME CoverFor the seven years after Operation Slam Dunk went south, Mike Brown got drunk on each anniversary. The eighth year was no different–until he was drugged by a woman and woke up to her questions about what had happened eight years ago in Afghanistan. CIA attorney Eva Salinas has her own theory behind what happened to Mike’s team–which included her husband–in Afghanistan eight years ago, and she’s determined to prove foul play. Though she doesn’t trust him, Mike is the only person she can turn to for help. Under an assumed name, Eva convinces Mike to assemble a new team and go after the traitor who screwed up both their lives. As they track down the rogue who started it all, Eva and Mike discover they can’t live without each other. But can they stay alive while an enemy is still on the loose?

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

10 Things Readers Should Know About The One Eyed Jacks?

#10.  Mike is H.O.T.  HOT!!!

#9.  You won’t see what happens coming!

#8.  Eva is kick ass – possibly the most kick ass heroine I’ve ever written.

#7.  Some of the BOI team members make cameo appearances.

#6.  You’ll meet the heroes from the upcoming books in the series RUNNING BLIND (Jamie – Hondo – Cooper) AND TAKING FIRE (Bobby – Boom-Boom – Taggart)

#5.  Mike and Eva are likes two cats under a blanket – always wrestling with emotions and power and control. And, yeah, maybe they do another kind of wrestling too. :o)

#4.  Get your passports out – we’re going to Peru!

#3. If you’re not a fan of action, adventure and intrigue, or of hot, emotional romance, then do not read this book.  Just sayin’

#2.  KILLING TIME is possibly my favorite book of all the books I’ve written.  Does that make me a bad person?

#1.  Least you didn’t get the message:  MIKE IS HHHHHHOOOOOOOTTTTTTTT!!!

 

Connect with Cindy:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Cindy’s Amazon Page

Bio:

The only thing Cindy had in mind when she started writing her first book was finishing it. The issue of actually selling it came much later. Only after she made that life-altering first sale did she realize that one book would never be enough. Now, over 20 books and numerous awards later, Cindy laughingly admits that she can barely remember life before…well, was there life before writing?

Cindy Gerard PicActually, yes there was, and still is. A professional career woman, Cindy is a trainer for the Iowa Department of Human Services, a position she states is both challenging and rewarding. “Human Services is a front-line, real-life event. Everything about the job is immediate, from serving families in crisis, to assisting staff with difficult situations, to meeting tension-fraught deadlines.”

Cindy’s writing has netted her spots on bestseller lists, numerous RT nominations and awards, the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, a National Reader’s Choice Award and two RITA nominations.

Between writing and working full time you wouldn’t think Cindy would have much time for anything else. And while she does find her work and her writing rewarding, there does have to be more. Cindy has more. Much more. She is happily married to the perfect man. Tom’s a cowboy, ladies!

Both Tom and Cindy enjoy gardening and have recently expanded their annual beds into a perennial garden. Cindy says she can hardly wait for spring and the promise of all that reawakening and the colorful blooms.

In addition to the horses, the Gerards have two dogs, Ellie and Boomer, who pretty much get anything they want. Tom and Cindy have one son, Kyle, who, after years of keeping them in suspense, found Eileen, the perfect woman.

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

For a chance to win a signed copy of the DEADLY PROMISES anthology, just leave a comment below.

US/Canada only.

*Giveaway is sponsored by the author

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The read along continues! Last week, Vivian Arend shared on her blog the first part of a scene where Tad, the hero of Wolf Flight, learns about wolves. We have the second part today! And it involves TJ, my favorite wolfie 😀

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“TJ, why are you hiding by the storage shed?” Tad had wandered the entire camp to find the boy.

“Because I can’t hide in the cabin and if I hide on the dock, well, duh, people will see me.”

Tad shook his head in disbelief. “Are you insane? Are you going out of your way to piss your brother off? I thought you had to make lunch or something.”

TJ leant on the barrels stacked behind him. Large plastic containers with a tight seal to keep bears out of the supplies stood in a neat line along the side wall of the storage shed. “Oh, I already made lunch. It’s on the table.” He took a cautious look around before he confided, “Actually, Mom made lunch at home and I just unwrapped it. Don’t tell Keil, I hope to gain some brownie points here.”

“You’re a menace to yourself, aren’t you?”

“Klutz of the first water, that’s me. Only I do have my redeeming qualities. I’m very well read, I have excellent dental hygiene, and I never fart in public unless I mean it.”

Tad stared around the mountainside with delight as TJ rambled on. What a beautiful place to bring clients to canoe and fish and—

“Shit!”

Tad glanced back to see the boy nudge one of the barrels out of line with its partners.

“Careful, TJ.”

TJ shifted his body weight to the side to avoid the barrel on his right. That put him into contact with the one on the left, and it slid off its base, wiggled a few times and fell in a direct path toward TJ. The entire wall of barrels collapsed in chaotic fashion, coming to land in a haphazard pile, the loud crash echoing through the air.

Frantic with concern, Tad raced to where TJ was buried to pull him out. “Keil, Erik, help!” He spotted TJ’s boot emerging from under the mess. Several of the barrels landed propped on each other, forming a pocket of space. With some luck TJ wouldn’t be crushed beneath the heavy load. “Hang on, TJ, we’ll get you out of there.”

Tad gave a gentle tug on the boot, to see if it might be possible…and then he wasn’t sure what he had planned to do. Because the boot came loose in his hand, a plain white sock clinging to the inside.

“What the—?”

The barrels rocked, and Tad stepped back for a second. Heavy footsteps approached, and he had just turned back to the pile when he heard it.

A long drawn out wolf call that came from under the barrels.

Tad spun as Keil rushed up behind him.

“Where’s TJ, as if I don’t already know the answer?” Tad pointed, and Keil cursed. “Shoot. I guess you’re in for a little surprise.”

Another howl rose on the air, and Tad shivered. “Keil, if we pull the top barrel—”

“It’s okay, Tad, give me a minute here.” Keil stomped around to the backside of the pile and shoved hard. The rest of the pile shifted, and Tad tripped over his own feet in an attempt to reach safety and still keep his gaze on Keil.

A large shape slipped past the barrel beside Keil.

It was a silver-grey timber wolf.

“Holy shit!” In a flash, Tad scrambled to his feet and fled from the wolf to the safety of the shed door.

Keil came toward him, slow and peaceful, hands up, open palms, “Hey, it’s okay, Tad. Relax.”

Tad fumbled with his belt, drew out his hunting blade and held it between them. “Relax? Shit, shit… no fucking way. What the hell is going on, Keil? Where’s TJ?”

“Tad. Put the knife away. TJ’s fine, he’s right there behind the shed.”

Tad flicked a glance sideways then aimed the knife straight at Keil.

“He’s a fucking wolf?”

Keil took a step back and crossed his arms. “Tad, will you put the damn knife away so I can talk to you?”

“Not bloody likely.”

“Tad, I’m warning you.”

“No.”

Keil reached under his padded vest and pulled out a handgun. Without a word he adjusted his stance and aimed it at Tad.

They stood motionless, the sound of spring songbirds obscenely loud in the air around them, until Tad stood down and sheathed his knife.

“Damn American gun laws.”

Keil shrugged as he slipped away his pistol. “I’ve got a permit. I can’t help it if you Canadians are too polite to carry.”

“I have a shotgun in the plane.”

“And I’m sure it’ll come in real handy when the bears try to climb in for a free ride.” He turned back to the storage area. “TJ,” he called, “Get your furry ass out here now!”

The large silver grey wolf slunk around the corner, head dropped. Keil motioned for Tad to join him.

“I’d say all the usual things like he’s not going to hurt you and don’t panic, but saying it won’t make this any easier.” He pointed at the wolf where it sat on its haunches in front of them. “Tad, you’ve met TJ, otherwise known as Mr. Disaster. You may as well get a proper look.

“Shift, TJ.”

Tad swung his head back to stare at, well, it had to be TJ. The wolf regarded him with bright eyes. Tad’s vision blurred, and instead of a large lupine the tall youth sat buck-naked on the ground.

“I don’t suppose you could have waited to ask me to shift until I was somewhere near clean clothes, hmmm?” TJ complained. Keil glared at him, and TJ shut his mouth tight, biting his bottom lip hard. Keil lifted one hand, pointed toward the cabin, and for the second time in an hour TJ sprinted away from them.

Of course, this time he was naked, but Tad was trying real hard not to notice.

“Well, sorry for the sudden introduction to our reality, but… hey, here we are.” Keil said in a calm, quiet voice.

“I’m actually in a coma somewhere, right? This is a dream, and I’ve got some freaky obsession with seeing TJ’s ass.”

Keil snorted. “I hope not. His ass is too young for you, even if you swing that way, which I don’t think you do. Come on, I think you could use a little shot of bracer. We’ll have some lunch, answer your questions, and it’ll work out fine.”

Tad looked back over the lake again. Sun was still shining, sky was still bright. Only in the past five minutes the whole world flipped upside down. Strange how quick life could change.

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Remember, if you want to join the read along and be included for some cool prizes, click the wolfie graphic on our right sidebar. We’ll be back in a few days for a look at Wolf Games, book 3 in the Granite Lake Wolves series by Vivian Arend.

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AllHeEverDreamed

The blurb:

Josh Kowalski is tired of holding down the fort—better known as the Northern Star Lodge—while his siblings are off living their dreams. Now that his oldest brother has returned to Whitford, Maine for good, Josh is free to chase some dreams of his own.

As the daughter of the lodge’s longtime housekeeper, Katie Davis grew up alongside the Kowalski kids. Though she’s always been “one of the guys”, her feelings for Josh are anything but sisterly. And after a hot late-night encounter in the kitchen, it’s clear Josh finally sees her as the woman she is.

Katie’s been waiting years for Josh to notice her, but now that he has, she’s afraid it’s too late. Giving her heart to a man who can’t wait to leave town is one sure way to have it broken. But Josh keeps coming up with excuses not to leave—could it be that everything he’s ever wanted is closer than he could have imagined?

It’s finally Josh Kowalski’s turn. In earlier books, we learned that while the older Kowalski siblings left home to chase their dreams, Josh put his on the back burner to take on the responsibility of running the family lodge. Now the family has come together to find a solution and Josh’s chance to escape is finally in sight. But Josh has noticed that his best friend Katie is definitely not one of the guys and now he doesn’t know if escape is what he wants.

Katie has been in love with a clueless Josh for years but he’s never seen as more than his best buddy. Katie temporarily moving into the lodge and a midnight encounter in the kitchen changes all that. As both give in to the attraction and friendship turns into something more, painful choices have to be made and hearts may be broken.

I loved this one. There were many laugh out loud moments, as I’ve come to expect from Shannon Stacey books, but there was also more than one scene I read with a lump in my throat. None of the choices made by any of the characters were easy ones and the pain, confusion, and love came through clearly. I ached for them all while still cheering on Josh and Katie for not compromising their dreams. I wasn’t sure how a happily ever after was possible for two people that wanted such different things out of life but when it came, it was believable and beautiful. All He Ever Dreamed is my favorite Kowalski book to date and I can’t recommend it enough!

fivestarsNT

Favorite quote:

“Dammit. I need to know what he does for a living.”

“I heard he’s a serial killer.”

“You should go on a date with him.”

Hailey stared at her for a few seconds, her eyes wide. “I’m just going to sit here while you replay that last bit of conversation in your head.”

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 21, 2013
Format: Digital

Preorder:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

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I REGRET NOTHING! - lolcats.com

I’ve been reading romance almost exclusively for over twenty years. It’s my genre of choice, it makes me happy, and it’s never been a “guilty pleasure.”  I love it and I get as excited to talk about romances as I do about reading them. Which makes twitter one of my favorite places. I follow authors, editors, and other readers who share my addiction. While there, I’ve noticed I’m rarely in the majority of tweeters on what’s popular or what are big pet peeves in the genre. This doesn’t bother me because variety is a fabulous thing and the romance genre is big enough that we can all find things we love but a thought occurred to me a few days ago : What if there was an author reading those twitter conversations that wanted to write or had already written a story packed full of what others dislike and decide to ditch it? What if it was a book I would LOVE? And since I’m more than a little selfish, that led to these confessions 😀

1.) I love the alpha billionaire hero. Love him. He can even be an ass but he has to be a redeemable ass. I do think the genre is over saturated with them right now and that makes finding the good ones a little more difficult but when I do, it is oh so sweet. I also like beta heroes. And blue collar heroes. Really, I like them all but the billionaires do hold a special place in my heart.

2.) I like the Mary Sues! Not in every book of course but sometimes they are exactly what I want to read. Lisa Marie Rice is a perfect example. Many times while reading her books, I expect the woodland creatures to materialize beside the heroine, dancing and braiding her hair. But they work for me and I don’t question the things that make me happy.

3.) I am a complete and total whore for the preggo heroine story. I’ve been known to purchase books without reading the blurb just because of the baby bump on the cover. So it will probably come as no surprise that I also like epilogues that have the heroine pregnant.  Before anyone yells at me, no I don’t think that every couple needs a child to be happy or fulfilled but it makes me happy to see the badass hero all mushy over the upcoming addition to the family.

4.) I see a lot of reviewers say they didn’t like a certain book because of how over the top it was. That’s actually a selling point for me. Nothing makes me happier than crazy over-the-topness. We’ve seen this go horribly wrong, like when Mad and I book dished Eye of the Storm by Monette Michaels but that’s a theme I will go back to and try time and again, hoping to find awesomeness.

5.) I hesitated to include this since this has been a lighter post and this is definitely on a more serious note but I felt it should be included. Dear Author has a post titled Realistic Depictions of Rape in Romance that has stuck with me all day. It’s well written and has left me very conflicted about my own opinions on the subject.

I think I’ve read just about every depiction of rape in romance. I read the rapist heroes of the 80s and celebrated when those became an endangered species. I’ve read the “magic penis cures all” and fumed. And I’ve read the ones where the heroine accepted help in her recovery and the hero was a fantastic support system. Some have made me sob and others have infuriated me. But through them all, none have been a trigger for me until I read Fault Lines by Rebecca Rogers Maher in the fall of 2012. I became physically ill while reading this book but I didn’t recognize what my body was telling me. I fell into a depression afterward that lasted for over two weeks and started having panic attacks again for the first time in 10 years. The nightmares lasted for months.

I shared this so I could say, for purely selfish reasons, that this reader doesn’t want that much realism in romance. There is definitely a place and a need for those books in this genre and if it helps even one person through the struggle, then that is fantastic but it’s not for me. I’ll stick with the ones that show the happiness and love that can come later. And now I know I have to be more cautious when reading this theme.

So there are my confessions. What themes or tropes do you love/hate that the majority seems to disagree with? Also, if you are a writer with an over the top alpha hero and a pregnant Mary Sue heroine, hook a girl up please. I will buy that thing so fast, heads will spin 😉

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As I mentioned last week, we are participating in Vivian Arend’s Read along with the Wolfies this month. Today I want to share one of my favorite excerpts from Wolf Signs, book 1 in the series.

This is the morning after Keil and TJ meet Robyn. Keil is trying to figure out a way to tell a deaf Robyn that not only is she a werewolf but that she is also his mate. As usual, TJ makes life a little complicated for his big brother.

book_wolfsigns_2221
EXCERPT –

 

A chuckle from Robyn made them both turn and regard her with amazement.

“You can laugh?” TJ asked.

Her smile fell away and Keil swore inside. She wrote a fast note and disappeared out the door. He checked to make sure she was just headed for the outhouse before reading the message.

I’m deaf, not mute. Lost hearing as a child. Virus. I have an ugly voice. Two sugars, please.

TJ gave a soft whistle. “Man, oh man, is she going to be a handful. I’m glad she’s your mate and not mine. Did you two fuck—?”

Keil hit him. Not hard enough to do permanent damage but hard enough to make his eyes register the shock of it. After picking himself up off the floor, TJ carefully exposed his neck to his brother.

“You will use that brain of yours to remember to be polite when you speak to and of my mate. Understood?” Keil drawled the words as he poured the coffee and prepared Robyn’s cup for her. “Even though it’s none of your damn business if you were thinking straight you’d already know the answer. Use your bloody nose. No, we have not mated yet. Yet for some insane reason she let me kiss her and hold her, and while I’m pleased to report that yes, she’s officially my mate, I have no idea why she doesn’t seem to know a thing about wolves.”

He sat at the table. “So I don’t want you making any stupid remarks until we figure this out. Got it?”

TJ shrugged. “I’ll behave. I figure it might be kinda freaky to be told something like ‘Hey, didn’t you know you’re a werewolf and, oh, by the way, you’re my mate. Oh, and there’s going to be a challenge to the death next weekend for the leadership of our pack and I’m one of the headliners for the match.’ I think telling it all upfront might be the easiest way.” He turned back and flipped the ham. “Besides, there’s nowhere for her to run while we’re here. Gives you two time to work it out.”

For the second time in as many days, the door behind them slammed open and Robyn charged in, her face red and her eyes blazing. She glared back forth between the two of them, her nostrils flaring slightly.

For not knowing she was a wolf, she had the evil-eye thing down pretty good, Keil thought as a shiver ran down his spine. He watched TJ struggle to keep his feet.

She surprised them by speaking. Her voice was gravelly and harsh but very powerful. Keil had heard a few Alphas over the years and she ranked up there with the best of them.

“Who is my mate?”

Like a flash TJ pointed to Keil. “Crap, has she got my number. I hope she doesn’t tell me to go jump off a bridge or something because I—”

Robyn stormed up and grabbed the pad of paper. Keil read over her shoulder as she wrote.

If you don’t want to be overheard don’t talk where a lip reader can see you.

Werewolf?

Mate.

Challenge. To death.

What the HELL are you talking about?

She pulled away from the table but stopped to add, Where is my coffee? And it had better be strong.

~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~

I think Keil may be in trouble 😀  To join in with the read along and be entered in the giveaways, just click the wolfies graphic on our right side bar. We’ll be back in a few days with a look at Wolf Flight, book 2 in the Granite Lake Wolves series. Happy reading!

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Krista

wins UNFORGIVABLE by Joanna Chambers

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Milly

wins RUSH by Maya Banks

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Congrats! To claim your prize, please email mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces). You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.

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We are all familiar with the cover for Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton, right? Gorgeous hockey player with sweat trailing down spectacular abs? Hit the best seller lists? Let’s take another look since it’s never painful to stare at this one.

Taking A Shot

I’m not just posting that for the drool-factor. Really. Mad was on Facebook today and discovered a new cover that left us both speechless.

Taking Shots

Huh. Taking Shots vs Taking a Shot. Shirtless, ripped model with skates tossed carelessly over his shoulder. Similar backgrounds. Even the font is similar. I think we are pushing coincidence a little too far here.

Oh, Loveswept. I am so disappointed and a little angry that you would underestimate the intelligence of romance readers. Is making an attempt at originality that painful and scary?

We’re calling total WTFery on this one.

Updated:

As I was looking at Amazon, I found the original cover for Taking Shots. And then I was sent another cover for it.

Taking Shots 2

Taking Shots 1

This title was originally self published by Toni Aleo with these covers then purchased by Random House/Loveswept. And that is where what appears to be a blatant bait and switch is occurring.

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