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Archive for the ‘June 2014’ Category

Ada

wins a digital copy of Up to Me by Christi Barth

*

Martha, Savonna, sgatlantisrulz, Angel Ruess, and Judi L

wins a Kindle copy of When Day Breaks by Maya Banks

*

Christine Houser

wins a print ARC of The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

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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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Grace Burrowes Teaser Tour List

 

“What are your long-term plans, my lady? I ask both as Lucy’s papa and as the husband of your late cousin.”

 

“My plans?” Gilly’s bread and butter turned to sawdust in her mouth when she saw the considering light in His Grace’s eyes.

 

He’d ambushed her, the wretch, out here in the sunshine and beauty of a perfect summer’s day.

 

Next Mercia would explain, politely, that he needed privacy with his daughter, and an extraneous cousin-in-law on the premises must needs be a temporary imposition.

 

Well, damn him. Damn him and his elegant, scarred hands and his beautiful, soft voice and his lovely eyes and his kindness toward the child. Damn him for all of it.

 

And especially for kissing her. Those gentle, nearly chaste kisses had been so…so… Gilly had lost sleep trying to describe Mercia’s kisses. One word kept careening into her awareness, no matter how stoutly she batted it away. Mercia’s kisses had been cherishing, as if Gilly were the reason he lived, the reason he’d bested demons and nightmares to return to her side.

 

Which was balderdash. He’d meandered home from Carlton House through the park, and she was pathetic to make so much of a small late-night lapse between two tired adults.

 

He regarded her now with an expression so far from cherishing that Gilly’s food sat uneasily in her belly.

 

“We’ve only just arrived at Severn, Your Grace. Must we discuss plans and arrangements now?”

 

“We must.” He picked up one of the sections of orange and held it out to her. “Please.”

 

Please eat, or please reveal her hopes and fears, as manifest in the next year’s residential particulars? His blue eyes held an odd light, and Gilly abruptly wished she had the protection of her black silk shawl, for all the afternoon was pleasant. She took the orange section from him and popped it into her mouth.

 

Across from her, the duke screwed up his thin lipped, elegant mouth in a grimace of impatience.

 

“For the near term, you will stay here, my lady. We are agreed on that for the child’s sake. I’d like you to consider making your home with us permanently, though. You are in mourning, and I certainly intend to live quietly. You know this household, and I have no hostess, no lady to see to the maids and the housekeeper.”

 

He had no one to see to him, as far as Gilly could tell, which apparently mattered to him not at all.

 

***

THE CAPTIVE

Author: Grace Burrowes

Release Date: July 1, 2014

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Historical Romance

 TheCaptive

 

He’ll never be free…

 

Captured and tortured by the French, Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia, survives by vowing to take revenge on his tormentors. Before the duke can pursue his version of justice, Gillian, Countess of Greendale, reminds him that his small daughter has suffered much in his absence, and needs her papa desperately.

 

Until he surrenders his heart…
Gilly endured her difficult marriage by avoiding confrontation and keeping peace at any cost. Christian’s devotion to his daughter and his kindness toward Gilly give her hope that she could enjoy a future with him, for surely he of all men shares her loathing for violence in any form. Little does Gilly know, the battle for Christian’s heart is only beginning.

 

Author Biography
graceburrowesNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

 

Social Media Links

 

Website: http://graceburrowes.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-Burrowes/115039058572197

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GraceBurrowes

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4152482.Grace_Burrowes
 

GIVEAWAY

Sourcebooks is giving away a tote filled with Grace Burrowes’ backlist. To enter click HERE and follow the rafflecopter instructions.

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CARINA_0614_-9781426898518_UpToMe (1)Ella Mayhew’s always appreciated the beautiful view of Seneca Lake from the spa window of her family’s hotel. But the view improves dramatically when a hot stranger runs across the grounds—shirtless. He’s the first man to kickstart her hormones in the three years since she lost her parents, and she doesn’t even know his name.

Graydon Locke’s on his umpteenth undercover assignment. The routine’s always the same: assess a business, recommend it for closure, then roll out before anyone discovers his decisions impact hundreds of lives. He’s always believed nothing good comes out of small towns. Why would this one be different? Then he makes two classic rookie mistakes—falling for the sweet, sexy girl who owns the very business he’s on the verge of axing. And letting the town’s residents get involved in both his life, and his relationship with Ella.

Ella’s the best thing to ever happen to Gray, but he’s lied to her from the start. If he pulls the plug on Mayhew Manor, the entire town may crumble. Ella couldn’t save her parents, but it’s up to her to save their hotel. Even if that means turning her back on true love.

 

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The Good, Hard Fun of a Trilogy

I think writers love starting a new book as much as readers do. There’s all that initial rush of excitement over the idea, and all the possibilities and the fun of scrolling through fifteen websites full of hot guys to base your hero on (at least, that’s my process). A million decisions start to crowd your brain, the plot being the least of them. Choosing what sort of houses your characters live in, and the color/design schemes of them, and what does the bedroom look like (super important) and what do their offices look like? Where did they go to college and what year did they graduate, because there will be a single sentence hidden somewhere in 100,000 words that will mention this and your editor will notice and the timeline will be wrong. And coming up with outfits for every character (including the single paragraph walk-ons) in every scene—it’s just like costuming a movie.

But all of that happens with every book. Today I’m chatting about the difference it makes when you’re kicking off a trilogy with that new book. It boils down to two things: planning ahead and keeping track as you go. Because you’re going to write all these awesome personal tidbits into book one…and then maybe go write something else. A Christmas book. A proposal for another series. Or – shock/gasp/double eye blink – you might even take a vacation. Or the most basic reason – when you write a book of 100,000 words, you don’t actually remember all of them.

A trilogy = three main love stories. In all of my books, those revolve around a tightly-knit group of friends. In my new Shore Secrets trilogy, Piper and Ward are the main love story for book 3. Tiny spoiler alert: they dated in high school, had an epic, not-revealed-until-book-3 breakup, but are still friends ten years later, when book 1 begins. Why does that matter? Because from the very start of Up To Me (#1), Piper and Ward snipe at each other. All their friends know to sit in between them at lunch, or to let them snarl it out instead of getting involved. This rubbing each other the wrong way’s got to continue and be somewhat re-introduced in book 2, before rolling out the full story in book 3. Does it matter at all to the main love plot between Ella and Graydon of Up To Me? Heck, no. But I had to plan ahead, and start sowing the seeds, in order to give the reader more of a payoff when I finally get to Piper and Ward’s book. I do it ALL for you guys!

As for keeping track of things, here’s a snippet of an example:

Ward pushed off the couch, gingerly tested his jaw. “‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.’”

Surprise almost tripped him halfway to the door. Not what Gray expected from the small-town, flannel-wearing man with muscles that looked like he could bench press a dump truck. “Did you seriously start the night with a bar fight, and now you’re ending it by quoting Robert Frost?”

“I’m a man of many sides.” Ward stroked his neat beard, a cartoonish impression of an ancient philosopher contemplating the human condition. Then he burst out laughing. “My friend Casey thinks I don’t read enough. She gave me a quote-a-day calendar for Christmas. That’s today’s. No clue if I’ll remember it by next week. Impressed you recognized it, though.”

“In college, I used to memorize lines of poetry to impress women.”

“Did it work?”

“Often enough that I still remember most of them.”

That’s a total throw-away, funny thing I stuck in waaaaay at the beginning of Up To Me. And yep, I forgot about it until I did copy edits on that book. Whereby I promptly made a note to be sure to have Ward spout off at least one more funny quote in book 2, and a whole bunch of ‘em in his book. This will be super fun for me to weave in, and hopefully fun for the readers as well. So while it is definitely more work to connect all the dots throughout a trilogy, the satisfaction on all sides makes it worthwhile.

What’s your favorite part of a trilogy?

 

Excerpt

“Come do yoga with me tomorrow.”

“I’m a guy. We’re all about being hard and stiff, not soft and bendy.”

Ella blinked rapidly to clear the images of a naked, hard-muscled Gray that popped into her mind. And hardness…other places. “Don’t be so close-minded. Didn’t you end up enjoying the massage I gave you?”

“Yes.” He sounded adorably sulky at being forced to acknowledge it. Why was it that men found it so hard to admit when they were wrong? Definitely a topic of discussion for her next margarita night with the girls.

“See? You can’t dismiss something out of hand without at least trying it.”

Gray wrinkled his nose. “Do I have a choice?”

“No.” Ella brought up her other hand to cup his face. “You deserve to be looked after. It’s not much, I know, but let me help you in the only way I can.”

“I’ll do it—”

Ella bounced a little. “Terrific.”

“—on one condition. I’ve just come up with a good plan for stress release. Let’s try my way first.” Gray wove his fingers through the loose knit of her turquoise sweater. In one swift move, he pulled it off over her head and tossed it into the corner. “Come swimming with me. Right now.”

Was he serious? To stall for time while she processed the preposterous suggestion, Ella stammered, “We…we don’t have suits.”

“You said the pool’s still officially closed. No one will interrupt us.” He toyed with the strap of her matching tank. “You’ve got this thing. I’m wearing boxer briefs. We’ll be more covered up than in suits. Unless you don’t think you can control yourself around me?”

That was it in a nutshell. Not that she’d admit it to Gray. Not when he had that sharp eyebrow arched and a smug quirk to his lips. If he was trying to shock her…well, he had, no denying that. But what better way was there to embrace life fully than to embrace a dripping wet, mostly naked Gray? While she’d never work up the courage to tell him, this was the kind of activity Dr. T. would probably applaud. Or at least give her a gold star. He had asked her to email him with progress reports if anything big happened. Unable to resist, she glanced down at Gray’s crotch. Ella expected something very big, indeed, was about to happen.

“Water’s extremely therapeutic,” she said in her most serious, I’m massaging you but not judging your naked body in any way professional voice. “Swimming is a good counterpart to yoga. They use the same long muscles.”

Yup. Her matter-of-fact delivery dropped his eyebrow back to its usual straight line and wiped the smug from his lips. Ella kept the surprises rolling. She stood, unbuttoned her skirt and let it slide the floor into a big blue puddle. Then she reached out, grabbed his wrist, and yanked him sideways into the pool with her.

The simultaneous body flops slapped noise and water all around the room. Ella recovered first, treading water while waiting for Gray to get his bearings and surface. Keeping her head above water was easy. Breathing, however, was not, as she was laughing her head off at catching him off guard. Finally, with much thrashing and churning of the water, Gray popped up near the middle of the pool.

“What the hell?” he yelled, his voice bouncing off the rocks with a hollow echo. “I’m wearing clothes!”

“So take them off,” she yelled back. Geez, it was his idea. Ella had just implemented it without talking it to death first. She’d thought he’d appreciate her spontaneity.

Gray stared at her for a minute, totally unreadable. Then his head disappeared beneath the water again. In fact, he sank straight to the bottom. It worried her. But just until a heavy, sodden pair of jeans landed like a giant blue spitwad in front of her. Laughing, she tossed them over her shoulder in the general direction of their shoes. Then Gray’s shirt appeared, floating near the filter. Something she’d have to remember to retrieve before morning when maintenance would make their final sweep before reopening the pool.

She felt Gray first. His head brushed against her stomach. Using her body like a swim ladder, he climbed it with his hands until just those brilliant blue eyes broke the surface. Blinked at her once. Then he tilted his head back and arced a stream of water from his lips to the dead center of her forehead. Laughing even harder, Ella reached under his shoulders to pull him the rest of the way up.

That’s when the laughter stopped. When buoyancy slammed his oh my God so hard cock right against her. When it was the most natural thing in the world to wrap her legs tight around him to keep him nestled against all her heat and what felt like every freaking nerve ending in her body. And when she twined her arms around his neck just for the thrill of rubbing her breasts across his chest.

With two powerful kicks, Gray propelled them to the wall. He sandwiched Ella against it and hung on to the rocks to keep them both afloat. “I’m on board with your idea. As you can tell.” He ground against her in a way that absolutely proved not only that he was enthusiastic about stripping, but that there was definitely nothing between them other than two thin, skintight layers of cotton. Gray’s impressive length was no longer just an impression or wishful thinking. It was hard and long and she couldn’t wait to impale herself on him. For now, she locked her ankles together and let the water do most of the work of bobbing her up and down in a rhythmic, full-body caress.

Water glistened at the tips of his lashes. Ella kissed it away, then just kept heading south. Over his early-evening stubble. Down past the Adam’s apple that jerked reflexively. She’d always thought them sexy. So uniquely masculine.

A nibble in the hollow of his collarbone. Down till her lips were just underwater, closed around his nipple. Ella flicked it against her teeth. Gray…growled? Whatever the noise was, it came from deep inside him and turned her core body temperature up by about twenty percent.

 

Purchase at * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Carina Press * iBooks

Website | Blog | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page |Facebook

 

Bio: Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.  A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning.  Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance.  Christi is President of the Maryland Romance Writers and lives in Maryland with her husband.

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For the chance to win a digital copy of Up to Me by Christi Barth just leave  a comment below. Good luck!

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TND

It’s official! The Troublemaker Next Door releases today, and I couldn’t be happier.

You have Maddie, a woman having the mother of all bad days—her boss sexually harassed her, and her lukewarm boyfriend decided to ditch their relationship. Just when she thinks life couldn’t get any worse, she meets the poster boy for a man-of-the-month calendar—Flynn McCauley.

Flynn is a plumber. His isn’t a sexy job, but he gets a lot of repeat business due to his work ethic, skill, bright green eyes and sexy grin. He’s one of four brothers, and when not giving the others a hard time about, well, everything, he’s much in demand with the ladies. But not only is Flynn a great guy, he’s a terrific uncle, family man, and hell on wheels between the sheets.

Maddie finds herself drawn to him, but she’ll only settle for a casual relationship—with benefits. Or so she keeps telling herself as she falls deeper under his spell.

Casual works for Flynn. Until it doesn’t work for Flynn, because the feisty redhead is all he wants in a woman. It’ll take some smooth moves to work his way into her heart. That’s if he can get past her wary reserve, and she can realize how much she loves him and let go of the past.

Here’s an excerpt from The Troublemaker Next Door:

***

“Oh man, I’m really sorry.” Abby apologized for the fourth time in as many seconds.

“Hey, don’t worry about it. Sounds like your friend had the mother of all bad days.” Flynn still had a hard time catching his breath.

 

Had Mike said the women were hot? He was out of his celibate mind. Abby had cute down to a science, and that resemblance to Lea which kind of freaked him out. But Maddie? She of the long legs, killer rack, and sultry face? Sultry, a word he’d never used to describe a woman. But damn, it fit. She wasn’t pretty or cute, but with full lips, that flush on her cheeks, and those direct, man-hating eyes so dark they looked like never-ending night, the woman had a knockout punch he still hadn’t recovered from.

 

“Maddie can be a little dramatic, but she had cause.” Abby picked up her friend’s purse and shoes and put them on the desk next to her computer.

 

It suddenly struck Flynn that in all the time he’d been standing there listening to Maddie, he hadn’t noticed that the women had turned his mother’s idea of a sitting room into an office.

 

French doors off the smaller room gave it a bigger feel, and the hardwoods had been covered with a Persian rug in dark red accents. Dark red, reminding him of Maddie’s hair. Man, he had a thing for redheads. All that temper… he could only imagine what she’d be like in bed.

 

“Flynn?”

 

“Sorry. Hey, you want me to go down to her boss’s office and pound some sense into him?”

 

She blinked. “Probably not a good idea unless you want a lawsuit. Fred Hampton has a lot of money.”

 

He shrugged. “That’s okay. I know a lot of people who’d back me up. Heck, my nephew would alibi me with no problem. I’ll go kick this Fred guy’s ass, and we’ll all pretend I was here fixing your sink while Colin watched me the whole time. Kid has the face of angel but can lie like a champ.” Was it bad he sounded like he was bragging? Though the thought of beating the shit out of Maddie’s boss had real appeal. Who the hell treated a woman like that but real scum?

 

“Nice offer. I’ll pass it on to Maddie when she’s in a better mood. Now, about the sink, how much do I owe you for parts or labor or whatever?”

 

He shook his head. “Your landlord should have handled this when the problem first happened.” He made a mental note to talk to his mom and dad after he chewed out Mike.

 

“It’s not their fault. I kind of dragged my feet to get it fixed. Vanessa usually handles the house issues, but she’s been busy at work lately.”

 

“Please tell me she doesn’t work with Maddie.” He liked saying her name. Short for Madison? Madeleine? He’d have to find out.

 

Abby snorted. “No way. Vanessa is an accountant. Very cut and dry. The woman means business when it comes to numbers. You need a good person to do your taxes, you should call her.”

 

“I would if I didn’t make my little brother, I mean, if my little brother hadn’t already offered to take care of them for me.”

 

She laughed and walked with him to the kitchen to grab his tools. “I have two sisters. They can be a handful. At least mine live on the East Coast.”

 

“Lucky you.” Cameron was such a snot. Thought he knew everything when it came to financial planning. From what little Flynn knew, his brother did, but it didn’t help Cam’s already huge ego to point that out. “If you need anything else, let me know.” He fished a business card out of his back pocket.

 

“You really are a plumber.” Her surprise disgruntled him, and she must have seen it, because she blushed. “I know you said you were, but I thought that might have been a little brotherly competition. As in, you’re better at plumbing than he is. And besides, you don’t look anything like our old neighborhood plumber. He was an older man with a big belly and that problem men get with their pants when they bend over.”

 

It took him a minute. “Ah. Crack, the nonaddictive kind. The pants too low for you?”

 

She shuddered. “Way too low.” So much for thinking the woman was shy. “But yours seem okay. Forgive me for making generalizations.”

 

She walked him to the front door.

 

“No problem. But if you want, I could wear my pants really low for you the next time your sink clogs.”

 

She winked. “Sounds good to me.”

 

She shut the door behind him, and he heard her faint chuckle. He decided he liked Abby Dunn. Her roommate, on the other hand… That redhead he had no intention of leaving alone. Now that he thought about it, his mother wasn’t exactly being neighborly by not inviting her new tenants over for a summer barbecue. He’d have to rectify that, but not until he had a few words with Mike. What had he been thinking to leave a houseful of women like that all alone? God knew what Vanessa looked like. Flynn had a sudden image of the three roommates scrapping around in a ring throwing Jell-O at one another, Maddie leading the match, and hustled back to his brother to yell at him.
***

Happy reading!

Marie

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USA Today Bestselling Author

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