Category Archives: Blogging

Chivalry Doesn’t Have to Be Dead: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

Chivalry Doesn’t Have to Be Dead

 

It isn’t a reach to suppose that many romance readers spent part of their childhoods dreaming of sweeping fairytale relationships, comprised of a white knight on a steed coming to a maiden’s rescue after slaying a dragon for her.

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Or, for a feminist type, perhaps she was indeed the one saving her chosen male. Why not? Such individuals not only still savor a great romantic tale, but also most likely continue to admire happy couples around them. We’re looking for that elusive ‘soul mate’. Some of us, myself included, took it a step further, and now write those sweeping romance stories that might capture readers’ hearts.

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I always dreamt of a love that would stand the test of time, a true romance like my parents had. Not an easy love, by any means. Even in romance novels, the journey includes ups and downs, as in life. But I hoped – and yes, even prayed – to find my soul mate, someone who understood me, accepted my dreams, weathered the storms of existence with me. And I would do the same for him. I poured that yearning into my stories, telling complex tales of imperfect people who found each other despite the obstacles thrown in their direction. For it’s true that real people are flawed. We live, love, hurt, and keep repeating the cycle. That’s life. I guess it’s one reason I launched the I Love Romance Blog – to not only discover new romance novels and the talented authors who wrote them, but also to learn how other people view romance. What were their romantic adventures? What advice might they offer up to readers?

I believe that within us thrives a light, a little hope for a companion to stand up and support us during our greatest accomplishments, as well as when life just gets too crazy. A partner, so to speak.

Yet, the perfect partner isn’t a perfect person. He or she has probably done something foolish before, and they might have a few regrets. There will be similar interests, but you’ll have a few differences as well.

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It’s true that I am fortunate. I found my soul mate. We’re creative people, and I love that I’ll never have to explain the intricacies of the muse to the man I love. But, there are occasional days when we disagree, when one of us tries to needle the other. I like to make plans, and my fiancé is definitely more casual about life. Though that might seem like a nutty match, it actually works because our differences make us stronger. Those little things complement each other.

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As partners, we challenge one another, and thereby put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. We’re both Libras too; so that makes for an interesting decision-making process when it comes to trivialities such as what to eat for dinner or which film to watch for the evening. We agree on so much, and yet there are traits that make us entirely unique. Still, at the end of the day, we have treasured moments of peace, cuddling and finding comfort together when words are no longer necessary.

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My point here is that whoever you imagine will be your soul mate might not be the person who ends up as the one tailor-made for you. It’s okay to be surprised. Life is unpredictable. Keep an open mind on the journey. Don’t close the door to new experiences. You just might find that your destiny turns out even better than you planned or imagined.

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Be your own white knight. Open yourself to the world, and enter it with a kinder heart. And this suggestion isn’t merely because Christmastime, the season of giving, is upon us. This is a year-round request. Do something nice for your neighbor, or the next person you see on the street. Of course, you can do that without seeming like a stalker. Just be kind. Open a door for someone, offer a smile. Give that person a rose from Roses Only.

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You never know how that small kindness will impact another soul, how many ways it might inspire. Perhaps by doing so, you’ve given them a small slice of hope, and it just might be enough to jumpstart them on their own new journey.

Someone out there is your perfect match, not because he or she is, in fact, perfect (no one is), but rather because that individual was made for you. When you’re both ready, at a precise moment in time, you will find the one. In the meantime, keep everyone else open to it too.

 

Romance is a dream we hold tight inside our hearts. But it’s not fictional at all. Romance can be a mere thought, a word, or an act. Something as simple as holding a person’s hand is a tactile gesture that can change your entire perspective. As reading can open new worlds us, so can our own dreams of romance. Think about the traits you might like in a mate. Someone trustworthy, dependable…perhaps inventive? Jot them all down, if you prefer. Remember not to limit your imagination, but don’t get tied down to appearances either. There are those who prefer blondes or dark-haired individuals. In reality, it’s superficial. Though it’s possible the person meant for you might have one of those specific traits, in all likelihood they may not.

Let me explain. In the dictionary, a soul mate is defined as “a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs”. Sure, that makes sense. You’d want to have similar values if you were dating someone. The earliest known use of the word soul mate was when Samuel Taylor Coleridge implemented the term in a letter to a young lady, claiming that a person shouldn’t “settle, but rather [choose someone] whose character and sensibilities [are of] a nature suitable to [their] own”. It’s not about looks, but rather about two souls connecting.

That’s a better way of saying it, right? Opt instead for the person who is the perfect accompaniment to your own unique tune, and together you’ll create the best symphony in the world.

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Anyway, that’s my take on it! ♥♥♥

Host Blogger Bio

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She is also the moderator of three blogs…the I Love Romance Blog, Marie Lavender’s Books!, and Writing in the Modern Age. She’s the proud recipient of several blogging awards and book awards. Follow Marie via her author website, varied blogs, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Her books can be located at most online booksellers.

Links

Website:  http://marielavender.com/

Blogs:  http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/marielavender1

Amazon Author Page:  Author.to/MarieLavender

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

AllAuthor:  http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

Youtube/Book Trailers:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday season!

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I’ll check back in for our end of the year post. 😉

 

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Dating Tips, Faith, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

Blog Tour Feature: Jackson by Tracie Podger

✫✶• NEW RELEASE•✫✶

 

Can two broken people have the love they both desire? Or will dangerous, harmful outlets and loss forever consume them?

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Tracie Podger, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new angsty, contemporary romance release! :)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for authors!

Plus, here at the I Love Romance Blog, we love discovering new romance novels!

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Such a nice cover!

This is the blurb for Jackson:

Jackson

“It’s time to get my shit together. Time to tell her that I love her. Time to right wrongs and put the past behind me. But I have an addiction, one that haunts me, that takes over my body and mind. One that leaves scars.”

Summer

“It’s time to get my shit together. Time to tell him that I love him. Time to move on from my past. But he has an addiction, one that scares me, one that I don’t feel capable of dealing with.”

 

Jackson – Son of a wealthy, abusive man finds peace in art. Whether that art be on his body or walls, it gives him an outlet.

Summer – A woman in mourning, finds peace in the arms of her friend.

Together they can fight their demons, they can put the past behind them – or can they?

Can two broken people have the love they both desire? Or will dangerous, harmful outlets and loss forever consume them?

 

More info: Angsty romance for those over 18. This novel contains scenes that could be a trigger for some. Please feel free to contact the author or refer to the Trigger Warning section on the author’s website.

Tracie is giving us a peek at her complicated modern romance with a touch of suspense, Jackson, today.

Here is an excerpt.

Her sobs had quietened as the room darkened. We were lying on her bed, and although it had been six months, her grief and anger still overwhelmed her. With every sob I’d listened to, my heart had broken just a little more. I had her wrapped in my arms; her head was resting on my shoulder and my t-shirt was sodden with her tears. Her breathing had deepened and I knew she had finally dropped off to sleep. Each night I’d lain with her, each day I’d sat with her. She was my best friend, but one I was in love with.

I breathed in deep the scent of her hair, the saltiness of her tears, and the pain she was going through. I wanted to turn back the clock; I wanted to absorb all her hurt but I couldn’t. Each day, it was getting harder and harder to conceal my feelings from her. As she turned in my arms to place her back against my chest, I curled into her. I wouldn’t sleep, I couldn’t. The feelings coursing through my body, hatred for her situation, love for her, and an overwhelming desire to fuck her, had my nerves on edge and my skin itching. For months, I’d been able to control my needs, but it was becoming more difficult. I had to make a choice, a very difficult one. I had to leave her, and that decision would destroy me.

I’d never loved a woman before; I thought I was incapable of that. The emotion needed to love had been taken away from me at a very early age. But the feelings she produced, feelings she was completely unaware of, were fucking with my brain, and I was getting dangerously close to revealing who I really was: one fucked up individual. One fucked up individual, who was about to get worse after receiving a text from someone I’d been hiding from.

I gently slid my arm from under her neck and rolled to the edge of the bed. Her alarm clock showed it to be early morning already. As I stood and looked down at her, I heard her murmur my name and a tear rolled down my cheek.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered.

No matter that my brain was telling my legs to move, for a moment my heart was keeping them still. Was I doing the right thing? I crept to the bedroom door and hesitated, taking one last look at her before I left. In my mind it wasn’t forever, I just needed to get my shit together. I needed to be honest with her and tell her how I felt, but I was scared it was too soon. I was terrified of her rejection and of tarnishing our friendship. If I couldn’t have her, the way I wanted, I’d take whatever she offered, but right at that moment, I was about to combust.

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

What people are saying about this novel:

“Loved this book!!! Another hit from Tracie. So very well written, Tracie has a way of drawing you into the story and her brilliant characters that she writes. Emotional, heartbreaking, beautiful, consuming, tragic and sad but so worthy of your time to devour.” ~ Tes T., Amazon

“Another fantastic book by this author. Is there anything she cannot write…? Jackson is such a great story, heartbreaking too. I love Tracie’s writing; she draws you into the book and does not let go until the last page. I went to bed last night and kept thinking I need to read more. I adored every minute of this book. This story will pull at your heartstrings so have some tissues handy. Enjoy this beautiful story.” ~ Charlie, Amazon

Jackson was an incredible and gripping read. You never know what Tracie will write next and that’s part of her charm. I love getting engrossed in one of her books and not knowing where the road will take me.” ~ Stefanie, Amazon

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B075RGLL83

mybook.to/JacksonbyTraciePodger

B&N:  http://bit.ly/JacksonNook

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/JacksonKobo

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1272946259

Wow! Love the emotions here. ♥♥♥

 

Plus, Tracie is giving away some goodies, a Kindle copy of Jackson and a $10 Amazon voucher, with this tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Help us out and visit the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

.•°☆ RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY °•.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cf62282d5/

 

Thank you for telling us about your new contemporary romance, Tracie! I know I can’t wait to read this riveting novel! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book!

Author Bio

Tracie Podger currently lives in Kent, UK with her husband and a rather obnoxious cat called George. She’s a Padi Scuba Diving Instructor with a passion for writing. Tracie has been fortunate to have dived some of the wonderful oceans of the world where she can indulge in another hobby, underwater photography. She likes getting up close and personal with sharks.

Tracie likes to write in different genres. Her Fallen Angel series and its accompanying books are mafia romance and full of suspense. A Virtual Affair is contemporary romance, and Gabriel and A Deadly Sin are thriller/suspense. The Facilitator is erotic romance.

Newsletter Sign-up:  http://www.traciepodger.com/newsletter

 

Thank you for telling us about your awesome book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this angsty, suspenseful romance!

And don’t forget to enter the cool giveaway!

Thanks again to Tracie and her blog tour sponsor! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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Filed under Angsty, Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, giveaway, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense

How to Survive Holiday Stress With Your Sweetie: a guest post by Dating Connections

How to Survive Holiday Stress with Your Sweetie

 

The Christmas craze is upon us and as much as ladies love to shop till they drop with the greatest excuse of them all (it’s Christmas!), their partners are usually the ones getting the short end of the stick as a gift. Between bringing home half of Pottery Barn’s Christmas collection to capture the holiday spirit, not leaving an ounce of it for anyone else on the planet, and going all out this year in terms of gifts for family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, and various charity organizations, it’s no wonder your partner can feel left out as you two face the stress of the holiday season.

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Let’s take a moment to reflect on an extremely important fact of life here – men don’t care for gifts.

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They want to have a nice dinner with their ladies over a bottle of wine and some Star Trek (choice of movie optional). They don’t care for shopping, home decor, expensive wrapping paper or Christmas cards, no matter how cute, inspirational or uplifting you may find the latest celebrity snapchats – the holiday edition! With this painful truth in mind, we present the top ways to give your man what he really wants this Christmas season without having to spend a cent on stress relief programs for yourself.

Shower Him with Affection

Your man wants you all year long, and doesn’t care what season it is. Although you’d rather go see that latest museum exhibit only in town until mid-December between picking your company Christmas party dress and getting your hair done before the actual holiday craze even begins, he’d rather lounge around the house with you and lay low until it all passes.

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Keep that in mind the next time you are faced with a tough decision whether to get him that sweater in navy blue or brown. Also, you can use these simple expectations to loosen up and relax with your man after an action-packed day, and get the best of both worlds.

Lingerie As A Gift For Him

If you absolutely must shop, buy yourself sexy new lingerie. He already has a closet full of dress shirts you keep buying that he never wears. But if you surprise him with a cute little hot pink number you’ll find yourself in a win-win kind of situation – you get to shop, and he gets to enjoy it.

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When picking new bras, busties, thongs, or babydolls, keep in mind the things he likes in terms of color, shape, and size. Surprise him by showing how much you’re thinking about his needs and desires, not by getting him tickets to the Christmas ballet show. Following your successful choice of sexy lingerie that he’ll absolutely love, you won’t feel guilty about scheduling that pricey yet much needed appointment at your favorite salon that will ensure you get a stress-free and fulfilling holiday season, too.

Stay Active Throughout The Holiday Season

Regular exercise not only reduces the risk of various physical health problems, but it also puts your mind at ease by reducing the effects of depression, anxiety, stress, and a host of other mental health issues.

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Find the time to decompress at the gym at least 3 times a week as this will help you unwind, lower your stress levels, and spend actual quality time with your partner later in the day. Stretching at home or during your lunch break can also boost your “happy hormones”, and increase your productivity so that you are free to go catch a movie or go for a walk with him, and forget all about the holiday stress.

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Don’t Make Him Get Involved

If a man can’t get what he wants, the second best thing that could happen is for him to be left alone. Don’t make him go with you to pick your mom’s present or ask his opinion on every little thing you bring into the house because that is just completely pointless. He doesn’t have an opinion on it, and even if he did, it would be a man’s opinion, which in all likelihood would be contrary to yours. Show you love him by letting him be, and he will be eternally grateful.

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While you’re at it, enlist the help of your friends, and have yourself a great girl’s night out to talk about all things Christmas and men over some wine and great music. You’ll feel amazing afterwards, and your partner will be happy for you both.

Definitely some food for thought here. These are great tips for staying connected with our partners, and keeping the Christmas hustle and bustle from driving us crazy.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/datingconnections/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉 Have a great rest of your week!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Guest Writer, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Jenny Lynn

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Jenny Lynn, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Romance is a moment that we can all feel building up inside us. It can exist when we make fleeting eye contact with an attractive stranger across a room. It can exist in a first kiss that rips through our entire bodies like a forest fire, completely consuming us.

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Or it can exist holding hands during an evening stroll with the person we have loved for years, decades even.

Romance exists all around us, every second of every day. I love to search for it, to observe it, and through my stories – to give it a voice.

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I’ve always been a daydreamer, ever since I was a little girl. I loved romantic stories starting with Disney movies then I eventually discovered my mother’s romance novels and I was hooked. I liked that the stories were never straightforward, that there was always a point when these two people could stop and say, “It’s too hard; we can’t do this.” Of course, they never did. That’s the very essence of true love – believing that what you have is worth fighting for even when the world seems to be against you.

I dated throughout my teens and twenties, enjoying the blossoming excitement of first love and the crushing defeat of heartbreak. I learned who I was and what I wanted. I was so sure of myself. Then I met a man who broke all the rules I thought I had. As much as it sounds like I ripped this from the plot of one of my stories, I moved from a small town to the big city and met a tall, gorgeous tattooed musician who swept me off my feet. I fell hard and fast, and we had an exhilarating courtship that resulted in him proposing outside of an art gallery one evening.

It’s been almost a decade and I am still head over heels for my husband; we have added a cat and a toddler to the busy life we now live. It was with his encouragement that I started writing romance, and it is because of him that I am able to write about love.

My imagination is something that still drives my stories. I like to ask myself, “what if?” I do a lot of self-reflection on the types of fantasies I have, the type of men I find irresistible (mainly confident, somewhat cocky alpha males) and then I bring them to life. My characters tell me what they want to say, how they want to behave, but I tell them how they’re going to meet and how they’re going to fall in love.

In my first set of novels, a duet, I wove a thread of family intrigue and suspense into a billionaire romance first in Falling for the Heir, followed by The Abducted Fiancée.

My new standalone novel, Delicious, comes out December 1st and is a contemporary romance about a cocky New York chef who is hiding his lineage.

My characters come alive for me, and I always feel a sense of responsibility to do their stories justice.

I am in awe of the incredibly talented romance writers I have met while I’m starting out. They have given me so much support and advice, not to mention the readers whose wonderful feedback keeps me writing. Being a part of this world gives me a chance to create happy endings over, and over again. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Nice! I know exactly what you mean… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Jenny! A pleasure to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

I’m a contemporary romance writer who creates complex characters, exciting plot twists, true love and steamy scenes that keep readers up and night wanting to turn the page. When I’m not writing I’m playing with my toddler son, going on dates with my husband, petting my cat or I’m in a dimly lit lounge sipping wine while I daydream about my next story idea. I have a background in creative writing and have had short stories published in multiple literary magazines.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, as the host, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

Thanks again, Jenny, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for  a great guest post by Dating Connections, which details some tips on how to better connect with your partner over the hectic holidays, when the company Dating Connections visits us on December 1st! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

How to Meet Your Soul Mate in This High-Tech World: a guest post by Dating Connections

Innovative Yet Safe Ways to Meet Your Soul Mate in This High-Tech World

 

We cannot escape the fact that we’re living in the world where basically everything happens online, regardless of whether we’re talking about something as trivial as food ordering or stalking our favorite celebrities on Snapchat.

Still, we can’t help but wonder how does it actually affect our own mission of finding and meeting a soul mate? Is it still mission possible in this high-tech world? Do we actually have more possibilities than before? Well, we’ll try to provide answers to some of these questions in the following paragraphs.

The Rule of Online Dating Sites

According to various findings from Gottman Relationship blog – which tackled the issue of compatibility between the partners amongst many others – some of the most popular dating sites at the moment, such as OKCupid and chemistry.com have come up with some pretty detailed personality tests that every member of the site can take in order to get matched with someone enjoying the same activities and sharing the same values as them. On the other hand, the question that inevitably poses itself is the following: does having the same views on life represent the most important factor in predicting a relationship’s success? Everything indicates it’s far more complicated than that.

Namely, the definition of “soul mate” extends beyond mere compatibility –  this is hypothetically a person who’s looking up to us and admiring us on a daily basis, but is also capable of recognizing our uniqueness, which altogether leads to increased levels of love and affection with the passage of time.

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The Necessity of Excessive Self-Preparations for Meeting a Soul Mate

Believe it or not, this is crucial. The intention behind OKCupid and chemistry.com’s efforts certainly is great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will lead to an instant success. This could happen due to various reasons but the most important one, in our humble opinion, is definitely the one regarding the individual’s readiness to meet their soul mate. Sure, we’re always positively envious on the very notion of some couple’s happiness and properly seduced (especially the ladies) by the romanticized soul mate myth that we often see in movies and TV, but this doesn’t mean that we are actually ready to meet that special someone and thus, we send the wrong signals to the wrong people – which can potentially lead us to more unwanted emotional failures.

What to do?

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  • It is our legitimate right to turn to all high-tech means, meaning the various dating sites and nifty mobile apps in order to try and find our soul mate. Still, we need to be completely honest with ourselves in terms of our own desires. Sure, it’s always great to be optimistic and frank when responding to test questions, but we shouldn’t leave it all to the case, since meeting a soul mate is actually an active process – we’re not just passive participants.

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  • If we decide to pursue our soul mate online, we should definitely take some precautionary measures regarding our personal safety. After all, it’s not unusual for people to lie about themselves online. Sometimes, these are just white lies because we want to feel good about ourselves and the Internet provides us a chance to distort the reality a bit and thus create better and more appealing versions of ourselves.

Still, the existence of actual scammers is part of the same reality, meaning we should never share our personal data such as a credit card number or physical address to anyone prior to meeting them in person. Furthermore, it’s highly recommended to arrange a meeting in public with your online date first and then go slowly from there – and if the other side is genuinely interested in us, then they certainly won’t have anything against the idea.

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After all, there’s no need to rush anything.

  • We should not be ashamed of our true desires and aspirations. It’s perfectly okay, for instance, to seek a partner who will put us in front of everything else because we believe we deserve it. Moreover, it’s highly recommended to stick to more of these positive statements and let the universe take care of the rest.

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  • Getting rid of all negative thoughts from the past and solving various emotional conflicts that keep us from thriving romantically is also a must. Only then shall we be ready to start fresh with a great new person that has just entered our lives, regardless if it’s someone we met at a friend’s party or on some random dating site.
  • One of the keys to success is having faith in the laws of attraction because when we believe in ourselves, we consequently radiate good vibes.

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And it’s one of those universal truths that everyone enjoys the company of positive people who love themselves and are self-conscious about their virtues but are not their biggest critics when it comes to their flaws.

  • Don’t wait for the future to happen to be the best version of yourself – instead, you can start doing it now. You should also have a clear image of your potential soul mate before your eyes in every moment. If you, for instance, would like to find a girl who is an outdoor person, loves dogs and reading, then you should definitely hit dog parks, take regular strolls and go to bookstores and libraries. Don’t just get lost in your fantasies while sitting on a couch; there’s a lot that depends on you.

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So, what do you think about these tips? Have you already found that special someone? Tell us all about it in the comment section below!

Definitely some food for thought here, and these are great dating tips for the modern crowd.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice on romantic relationships! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/datingconnections/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉 And have a great weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Technology

Blog Tour Feature: Sultry Nights Romance Anthology Tour plus Madison Michael’s Bedeviled presented via Reviews by Crystal

✫✶• NEW RELEASE•✫✶

Love, passion, romance and desire…this set of 22 hot and sexy reads has just what you need…

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Reviews by Crystal and Madison Michael, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new steamy romance anthology release! :)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for authors!

Plus, here at the I Love Romance Blog, we love discovering new romance novels!

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Such an awesome cover!

This is the blurb for Sultry Nights:

A Limited Edition Romance Collection

Containing Stories from: Nicole Morgan, Jocelyn Dex, Alison Foster, Kate Richards, Linda O’Connor, Samantha Holt, Jerrie Alexander, Whitley Cox, Krista Ames, Ursula Sinclair, Measha Stone, Tuesday Embers, Siera London,  Rachel Shane, Bonnie Phelps, Misha Elliott, Alyson Reynolds, Jenna Bayley-Burke,  Madison Michael, Pepper Goodrich, Marcia James, and Destiny Blaine.

Love, passion, romance and desire… No matter what your preference, this set of 22 hot and sexy reads has just what you need. From surprise love affairs to bad boys that we can’t help but fall for, and couples that were meant to be, this compilation from Romance Collections is sure to please your every single need.

Featuring:

Bedeviled

Beguiling Bachelors

Book 3

by Madison Michael

 Blurb:

Can a love be built on lies?

Charlotte Roche is escaping a menacing threat in Boston when she moves to Chicago for a new job and a new man. Alex is smart, sexy and quickly getting under Charlotte’s skin. A shared love of running gives the sassy beauty an excuse to be near her heart’s desire, but can Charlotte run Alex from the track to the bedroom without divulging her past and risking everything?

Alex Gaines, wealthy banker and philanthropist, has held women at arm’s length all his life to protect long-held secrets of his own. Now he is torn between loving the alluring Charlotte and protecting his dual lives. Can Alex trust Charlotte with the truth or is risking his fortune and family to pursue her? Can the two fall in love when they are bedeviled by lies and half-truths?

When danger follows Charlotte to Chicago, threatening her safety and their futures, Charlotte and Alex a forced to make a hard decision – choose the secrets of their past or a future together.

Bedeviled is the third novel in the Beguiling Bachelor series, a trio of steamy contemporary romances set amidst the luxury of Chicago’s elite society.

Madison is giving us a peek at her sexy modern romance, Bedeviled, book three of the Beguiling Bachelor Series, today.

Here is an excerpt.

“You look so beautiful,” he told her in a husky voice. “I have been wanting to do this all night.”

His head lowered to hers, pulling her close against him as he leaned back until all her weight was leaning on his and she had no choice but to twine her arms behind his head or the tree trunk. His lips captured her slowly, softly pressing against hers. One hand rested low, on the curve between her back and her behind. The other came up to tangle in her short hair, holding her head still as he deepened the kiss. His lips demanded response, plundering her mouth with his tongue. He tasted of expensive wine and Alex as his tongue explored the recesses of her mouth, hot and insistent. Her breasts were flattened against his rock-hard chest, her hips tight against his as he held her to him.

When he lifted his head, shadowed by moonlight behind him, Charlotte was unable to read his expression. Unsure and unsteady, she waited, catching her breath. Blood was coursing through her veins, hot and urgent. Her heart was pounding from just one kiss.

“God, I want you,” he rasped, the words torn from him, raw and insistent before he dipped his head to kiss her again. She returned the kiss, opening her lips to his insistent ones, entwining her tongue with his, increasing the pressure against his mouth as she ran her hands up into his hair. She held fast to him, feeling his hand move from her hair to the nape of her neck, down along her bare arms, tracing a pattern there with his fingers. The feel of his hands on her skin was warm, strong and sure. She had longed for his touch and now desired it everywhere.

Alex lifted his head reluctantly. “If we don’t get back in that car now,” he told her, his voice hoarse with longing, “I will not be responsible for my actions.”

He lifted her away from his body, steadied her and then hefted himself from the tree and wrapped his arm around her shoulders to lead her back to the car.

She felt bereft without the solid warmth of him hard against her. Neither of them said a word until he opened her car door and closed it again, without allowing her inside. Instead, he pushed her gently against it.

“Sorry, I can’t make it home without one more.” Alex took Charlotte’s mouth in a searing kiss that took her breath away, sucking her lower lip into his mouth then sliding his tongue over it and into the moistness of her mouth. He kissed her senseless until she would have happily made love there in the sand, and the world be damned. She wanted this man as she had never wanted anything before.

Charlotte kissed him passionately, running her hands up and down his muscular back as she tightened her hold on him, wanting to get closer, to feel his bare skin, until finally they mutually agreed to some restraint and dragged apart from one another. He kept his fingers touching her lightly until she got in the car and he closed the door behind her.

“Jeez,” he stated with a rough chuckle as he folded himself into the bucket seat, “I hope there are no cops out, cause I am planning to break speed records getting you home.”

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

What people are saying about this anthology:

“A superb anthology from some great authors! There is a great mix of action/adventure and suspense with liberal doses of smoking hot bedroom action! The action is fast paced but not at the expense of feeling rushed or not thought out. The characters are fully formed and all of their own little foibles! I also love the fact that the characters aren’t in their twenties – nice to see some slightly older characters in a romantic suspense who have history and experience rather than “fresh out the wrapper” twenty somethings!!” ~ Nikki Brooks, Amazon

What a hot and steamy book!! I have only read two books in this collection but if the rest are as good as these, then Amazing isn’t good enough description for this box set. ❤️” ~ Nerdy Despina, Amazon

This is a brilliant collection of books in this box set. It has something for everyone. I especially enjoyed Siera London’s book ‘Forbidden Distraction’. It’s a really enjoyable story with Well Written characters and very entertaining. I would recommend this Box Set to anyone.” ~ Karen Galloway, Amazon

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B074RM9HFB

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sultry-nights-nicole-morgan/1126974023?ean=9781537860725

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/sultry-nights-3

Scorching! Love the sexy tension here. ♥♥♥

Plus, the authors are giving away lots of goodies with this tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Don’t forget you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

.•°☆ RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY °•.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/801c221b16/

 

Let’s also give Kudos to Madison’s sponsor:

Thank you for telling us about your new sexy romance book collection, Madison! I know I can’t wait to read this riveting set! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome anthology!

Author Bio

Madison Michael traded 28 years in Fortune 500 tech and management positions for a chance to spend her days with sassy heroines, sexy, rich heroes and nothing but happy endings. Growing up the daughter of a librarian, she learned to love books, especially classics and romances, and spent winters cuddled under blankets losing herself in books.

Madison is the author of three novels in the Beguiling Bachelor series, as well as several short stories. She is a member of Romance Writers of America.

After living in the northeast, southeast and the west, Maddy returned to her Midwest roots. She lives in Evanston, IL with two feline editorial assistants and great views of Chicago’s famous skyline.

Maddy’s Romance Madness:  https://www.madisonmichael.net/category/mrm/

Thank you for telling us about your awesome book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this anthology! 😀 Visit Reviews by Crystal to see what else they’re up to these days.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Thanks again to Madison and Reviews by Crystal! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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Filed under anthology, Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, giveaway, new release, Readers, Romance, romantic comedy, Romantic Suspense, Sale, steamy

Back to Christmas Town: a guest post by romance author Anna Adams

Back to Christmas Town!

by Anna Adams

 

Here we go again, and I am dancing! Every year, a group of Harlequin Heartwarming authors moves to Christmas Town, Maine. We build families and businesses and homes. We visit with all the friends we haven’t seen since last year. And the traditions—Santa comes back to the green, the whole town decorates together, and everyone puts on a Christmas pageant. Most of all, a kiss in the gazebo before midnight on Christmas Eve means a wedding in the new year.

Back in June, I started planning my Christmas Town holiday beneath a blue sky that didn’t seem to threaten with snow. As I dreamed of scenes between my injured soldier and the woman he’d loved and once left behind, the world looked more like this.

I had to take steps, so I turned to my favorite streaming station, Swingin’ Christmas Radio. I have a secret to share—when you’re living in a snowy landscape, surrounded by the sound of your favorite carols, the summer world can turn a little wintry.

I hope you’ll enjoy Santa’s Secret Heart. My hero, Mason Alexander, had no interest in the holidays, so naturally, I thought he needed to learn from inside Santa’s suit.

Mason Alexander has one goal—to get back to his unit on deployment, but Emma Rycroft and her son distract Christmas Town’s newest and most unwilling Santa. When Mason and Emma join forces to restore a child’s faith in the holiday, they also find the love they once lost.

 

Wow! Thank you, Anna, for giving us a peek into your writing world and getting us into the holiday spirit.

What a beautiful cover! 😀

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at this lovely Christmas anthology? Sounds like a plan!:)

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Heartwarming Holiday Wishes:

Your favorite Harlequin Heartwarming authors are back with ten all new Christmas stories set in charming Christmas Town, Maine. This year, a stocking brings a special holiday wish to each story.

Save on your next Heartwarming purchase. Details inside the book.

This holiday season, warm your heart with 10 connected sweet, clean & wholesome holiday romances set in Christmas Town from 10 Harlequin Heartwarming authors who are USA Today bestselling authors.

This collection of PG-rated holiday romances are all set in Christmas Town, Maine, a location introduced in the 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release, Christmas, Actually.

Heartwarming Holiday Wishes will bring you laughter, tears, and happily-ever-afters (no cliffhangers), for more than 1000 pages.

Santa’s Secret Heart by Anna Adams
Merry Christmas Carol by Melinda Curtis
Miracle on Joyful Street by Liz Flaherty
Finding His Fiancée by Christmas by Cheryl Harper
The Christmas Window by Tara Randel
Mistletoe and Holly by Leigh Riker
Gingerbread Girl by Carol Ross
The Christmas List by Anna J Stewart
A Case for Christmas Magic by Amy Vastine
Jingle Bell Love by Cari Lynn Webb

Check out the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature for a great excerpt!

What people are saying about this holiday anthology:

I do so love it when the holiday books arrive! I enjoy reading them all year long but when fall hits, there is nothing better than a whole box set. I’ve read them all and enjoyed my yearly visit to Christmas Town. I only have one word to describe them all: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” —gds, Amazon

“Loved it! I was torn between reading it quickly because it was so good and reading it slowly to savor it.” —Rachael B., Amazon

I love visiting Christmas Town, Maine. Heartwarming Holiday Wishes lets me enjoy this wonderful town. The love and magic I found here took me to my happy place.” —Rosemary, Amazon

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B073ZMMYL2

B&N:  http://bit.ly/2u6UHFb

Google Play:  http://bit.ly/2tcPSY8

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/heartwarming-holiday-wishes/id1261084826?mt=11

♥♥♥ Interesting! It looks like special romantic read for the season! 

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Anna! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Anna Adams is a USA Today Bestseller, who has written for Harlequin Heartwarming and Harlequin Superromance. She’s working on new contemporary romance stories, and she’s excited about returning to Christmas Town, Maine, where the holidays are always sweet with her Heartwarming friends. You can find her at www.annaadams.net.

Author Links

Website:  http://annaadams.net/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AnnaAdams

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Adams/e/B001HD1C2O/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21942.Anna_Adams

 

Thanks again, Anna! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Guest Writer, Holiday, Love, Message, Readers, Romance, Writing

Guide to Lesbian Dating: a guest post by Dating Connections

Guide to Lesbian Dating For the Newly Out Lesbian

 

It’s tough being the new lez on the block. Not only is this still a man’s world, but it’s also powered by heterosexual societal norms that are difficult to break. Luckily, every single one of us was fresh out of the closet at some point, lost in the sea of blurred choices and possibilities that somehow always seemed to elude us.

Created by Asier_relampagoestudio – Freepik.com

Fear not because you’re in good hands. Not that long ago I was a lez newbie myself, and have first-hand information on what goes on behind the closed doors you so desperately want a key for. And I have tips for you to get it!

First off, let me say I want to focus on local dating because you need to feel comfortable on your home turf first before you embark on a journey of conquering someone else’s territory. Not that gay women are as territorial as cats, but you know, you should have your ‘hood in the palm of your hand first, a place where you’ll feel the most like yourself. A safe haven, if you will, and here are my tips on how to get there.

#1: Befriend A Lesbian

Gay or straight, women like to be pursued, and love a challenge. If it’s too easy, something’s wrong with it. If it’s secret, hidden deep in the underworld, and available only to those “in the know”, then that’s what we want! And yes, that’s what the lez dating scene is like, too. Therefore, your first step towards getting your foot through the door of those oh-so-super-exclusive-because-we’re-so-special lesbian bars and clubs is getting yourself a gay wingwoman “in the know”!

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Now is the time to talk to that weird dyke cousin of yours who’s been openly gay since high school, and knows all the nooks and crannies of the lesbian underworld. She or someone like her could introduce you to the local lesbian dating scene where you’ll take your first baby lesbian steps.

#2: Start Dating As Yourself

Your next step is to start going out on dates as yourself. This doesn’t just mean as a person who’s finally free from the constraints of a dark and dusty closet, but it also means as the person you truly are.

Created by Javi_indy – Freepik.com

If a button down shirt is your go-to piece for a night out, make sure you wear it on a date. If you’d rather be feminine and sensual, go as a lipstick lesbian. The choice is yours; just keep in mind that women love authenticity, and the more original you are, the better, as long as you allow your true self to shine.

#3: Girl-on-Girl Sex is Easy!

Boys are super easy to seduce, while trying to keep one is a whole different ball game. You feel the chemistry, the heat is there, and everything feels right, and you go and sleep with him too soon, and bam – out the door he goes…never to return.

lesbian heart – Flickr

With girls, however, things are much easier in that department. Lesbians will never slut-shame you for sleeping with them on the first date because what would that make them?! If you feel the butterflies in your stomach and you want to go for it, do it! And forget about worrying whether she’d call the next day or think you were too easy. So was she!

Trust your intuition, and let it take you places you’ve never gone before.

Created by Nensuria – Freepik.com

Awesome! Definitely some food for thought here, and these are perfect dating tips for the LGBT crowd.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for this great advice on lesbian romantic relationships! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/datingconnections/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Guest Writer, LGBT, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Josh from FAT GIRL BEGONE! by D.E. Haggerty

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author D.E. Haggerty, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, D.E! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

 

How Josh – the big ‘ol jerk – Came Into Being


Josh is a Big. Fat. Jerk.

Seriously, I can’t emphasize that enough. The first time we meet the man he’s dumping our home girl, Everly, because she diets too much. That’s right. He dumps her because he’s tired of her dieting. Everly is not actually fat. Sure, at five-feet-four-inches and 160 pounds, she’s a little on the chubby side, but she’s not Fat. What she is, is a yo-yo dieter. Something I know more than I little about.

I’ve spent most of my life yo-yo dieting with the best of them. You could call me an expert – I certainly do! Most yo-yo dieters consider yo-yo dieting a way of life, but is it possible to break the habit? And what would it take for a person to end their yo-yo dieting ways? Would a break-up be enough? Hmm… sounds like a book idea.

So, I knew when I invented Josh’s character that our first glimpse of the man would be him dumping the heroine. I didn’t want Josh to leave Everly because she was fat, though. Not only is that a bit cliché (and yes, I realize making a slight tweak doesn’t completely take away the cliché), but it also didn’t seem like enough motivation to force a yo-yo dieter out of her yo-yo dieting ways. Oh, sure, I could have her lose a ton of weight and then she rides off into the sunset with some guy, but what happens after that? Does she go back to her yo-yo dieting ways? Losing weight because a guy dumps you doesn’t end the cycle of yo-yo dieting. Nope. It’s just another reason to hit a low on your scale before the yo-yo rotates and starts climbing again.

I needed more of a reason for Everly to give up her yo-yo dieting ways. But what?

That’s when I realized I had a perfectly good example to follow – my hubby. My husband is one of those annoying people who doesn’t seem to gain weight and stays in good shape. Sure, he puts effort into it, but it seems effortless – if that makes any sense. But what does this type of man – the type for which slim fit clothes were invented – think of having a wife who yo-yo diets? He isn’t bothered. Naturally, he’s proud of me when I lose weight, but when I gain some of those kilograms back, he’s not disappointed with me. If I’m upset, he’s upset on my behalf, but he doesn’t really care about how much I weigh. He loves me just as I am.

There is one thing that does bother my husband, though. He doesn’t like how I let my weight affect my life. When I was younger, I could be quite emotional about the ups and downs my scale experienced. That bothered him. He’d often tell me to just accept the higher number and let all the emotional baggage go. I didn’t take that advice – who listens to advice from a man about weight? – but I did learn to be less emotionally invested in the number on the scale.

Thinking about the hubby and how he deals with his wife’s yo-yo dieting, I came up with the idea of Josh leaving Everly because of her dieting instead of her actual weight. I thought this could be a good impetus for Everly to learn to deal with her dieting and weight instead of just losing a bunch of weight. It also opened the door for a possible return of Josh when Everly loses some weight, but that’s a different story.

It sounds a bit strange to say that the ‘bad’ guy in my novel was inspired by my husband of twenty-one years, but it’s the truth.

 

Fascinating, D.E.! Isn’t it bizarre how the muse works? 😉
Anyway, this romantic comedy sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀


Here is the blurb for Fat Girl Begone!.

I’m a total mess. My boyfriend dumped me – get this – because I diet too much. Not because I’m fat, mind you. Of course, this spurs me into the diet-fitness-revenge-plan of the century, which leads me to the gym and a scorching hot personal trainer. I even manage to make some cool new friends, including a millionaire if you can believe it. Things are looking up! Naturally, that’s the moment my ex decides he wants me back, the personal trainer asks me out, and my millionaire male buddy decides to throw his hat in the ring. But that’s not enough drama. No, not for me. Because I’ve also lost my job and decided to start my own business. Just call me Ms. Drama.

Warning: Bad language, bumpy roads, and embarrassing moments ahead. But there’s also more than a bit of romance and even, if we’re lucky, love. Fingers crossed.

Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.

And D.E. is giving us a peek at her novel!

After twenty minutes on the bike, I’m ready to go home. I know I’m supposed to do that circuit thingy with the machines, but I can skip it for this once. No one needs to know. I slowly sneak my way to the women’s locker room.

“Hey, Everly.”

Crap. Gabe’s standing right in front of the door to my freedom. I wave. Yep, I’m a total dork.  “Hi.”

“I saw you out there on the bike. Looking good.” He winks. Damn, he looks absolutely scrumptious standing there with his arms crossed over his chest. Trust me, it’s an impressive show of muscles. Not huge like a body builder but big enough to grab onto. “Looking for your clipboard?”

And there goes any chance I have of sneaking out of the gym. “Just refilling my water bottle before moving onto the weights.” I hold up my obviously full water bottle and try not to cringe.

“Sure, babe, but make sure you get your weight training done as well. A woman with muscles is hot.” With another wink, he takes off.

Did he seriously wink at me? Is this part of the personal trainer service? Flirt with the customers to ensure they want to do your bidding? Even in my head that sounded crazy. That hot man of muscles would never want me and my jiggly bits. I shake my head and force my legs to the personal trainers’ section to grab my clipboard.

If I thought the bike was boring, I was wrong. Doing a circuit of weight machines is what’s boring. I should download some podcasts or something. Or maybe some books on tape? Do they hire men with scorching hot voices to read the male parts in romance novels? Definitely need to do some research.

I quickly towel off the last machine and grab my water bottle. I stand from picking up my clipboard and nearly run straight into someone. “Shit! I didn’t realize anyone was standing there. Did you want this machine?”

“Nah.” He shakes his head. “How are you doing, Everly?”

It’s the guy I ran into on Wednesday. Shoot – what was his name again? “Um, hi.” If that’s not embarrassing enough, I do a little wave but the clipboard is still in my hand and I end up smacking him in the stomach. Thank goodness, I missed any important bits. “Shit. Sorry.”

He laughs and grabs the clipboard from my hand, presumably before I can do any more damage. “It’s Carter. Do you want to grab a smoothie?” My face scrunches up at the thought of a smoothie. He chuckles. “Or a coffee or something?”

“Um. I was going to head home like this.” With my now free hand, I indicate my ratty gym clothes.

Carter shrugs. “That’s okay. We can get a quick drink at the bar here.”

I can’t exactly say no after I ran into the guy and then hit him. “Okay, let me grab my stuff.”

He smiles and nods. I rush off with my thoughts whirling. Is he just being nice? Friendly? Or is this like a date thing? I’m not ready to date. Do I tell him that? Crap. It’s only a coffee. It doesn’t have to mean anything. But what if it does mean something? Can I give myself a concussion from thinking in circles?

D.E. is such a tease…here are some promos as well to entice you with!

Purchase Links:

How exciting to learn about your romantic comedy, D.E.! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Fat Girl Begone! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, D.E.! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear.

After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before deciding to follow the husband to Istanbul, where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go.

But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague, where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Fat girl Begone! is my eleventh book.

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, Readers, Romance, romantic comedy, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Aaron Betts from FULL COUNT by Lynn Stevens

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Lynn Stevens, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, Lynn! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

 

Nice Guys Don’t Always Finish Last

Everyone knows the cliché ‘Nice guys finish last’.

It’s ingrained in our brains. It’s an excuse for all the nice guys who lose out on the job or on the girl. And it’s an excuse for nice guys to do bad things.

Aaron Betts is a nice guy. He’s a good ole country boy with a heart of gold, dedication to his family, and respect for others. In a literary world full of alpha males and bad boys, he breaks free of that mold.

FULL COUNT began as a NaNoWriMo project. I started it because there weren’t enough guys like Aaron Betts out there. Don’t get me wrong, he’s far from perfect. He makes mistakes, some of which are catastrophic. To quote Aaron, “I’m bound to do something stupid. I’m a guy.”

I failed miserably, stopping around 34,000 words after three weeks. About eight months after I gave up, Aaron Betts was still in my head, still whispering at me to tell his story. To finish what I’d started. I picked up where I left off and completed the first draft. As I was adding words, I realized how important his story was. Aaron’s got more to offer than just nailing every girl he sees. He’s got more integrity than thinking life is just sex, sex, sex. Not all guys are like that. Not all guys want to be like that. Aaron’s a one-woman man from the get go. I found that refreshing and honest. He didn’t want to sleep around. He wanted someone to love long term. He wanted to be loved long term. Definitely not the typical alpha male who changes his ways for the right woman.

Another one of my favorite things about this character is his loyalty to his sister. Chelsea and Aaron have a special bond that warmed my heart. They would do anything for each other, and they clearly love each other. His parents are loving too, even when they are at odds with their son. It’s a family not devoid of drama, but one that doesn’t thrive on it either. A true All-American family.

And Aaron’s pure of heart, even pure of intention. He’s deep and shallow, hard and soft. He’s the polar opposite of himself at times. Much like we all are. He has to work to get what he wants. He has to pay the price for his mistakes.

He has to live.

There is no cheating, no insta-anything with Aaron. He puts himself through the ringer and he has to pull himself out the other side.

We all make our choices. We have to live with consequences. That’s the way life is. And that’s why Aaron’s story was so important for me to write. His choices, his consequences, they needed to be shared. Nice guys don’t always finish last. Some of them don’t even finish. And a lot of them just don’t finish where they think they will.

 

Fascinating, Lynn! And seriously, gentlemen are my weakness. For all that people appear to like bad boys, the bad ones in my life only made me miserable.
Anyway, this book sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we? 😉
Here is the blurb for Full Count.
Anyone who says they’re having the worst day hasn’t met me. My girlfriend cheated, I blew out my knee, and probably trashed my chance of going pro. All in one day. Then my jerk professor tells I’m almost on academic probation.
Awesome. Now I get to find a tutor.
Enter Mallory Fine, quiet, a little intense, and my kind of gorgeous. Who also happens to hate baseball and any guy who plays it.
Hello, curiosity.
I tell myself this will be nothing more than a tutoring relationship. I’m a liar. I want this girl. How hard can her secrets be to unravel? It might be a challenge, but so is getting back on the ball field and I’m determined to make that happen—no matter the cost.
And Lynn is giving us a peek at her novel!

We’d only been playing about five minutes when I went down. The rookies kicked the soccer ball right at Chuck, who caught it against his chest. I broke down the field as he flung the ball toward me. The throw was perfect, hitting the grass in front of my feet. I deked left to fake out Rosenthal, a freshman pitcher who could clock ninety-nine on the gun. He was also tall and a bit of a klutz. He raced my buddy Seth, who blocked for me. Seth was fast, but the lanky freshman’s stride was too much. Rosie’s long pipe cleaner of a leg caught my calf as I fell. My knee bent in a way God never intended, and I hit the dying grass with a thud.

I think I screamed. I think I cried. I know I passed out, because I woke up in the hospital.

Fluorescent lights flashed over my head as the EMT rolled me down the hallway. My eyes burned at the glare. We weren’t in any hurry. The guy grunted and turned the gurney right. The room was small—no window, just a bunch of machines, a bed, and a small TV high on the wall without any sound.

“All right, Mr. Betts, let’s get you on this bed,” the EMT said, blowing his coffee-scented breath over my face.

I held him off, using my own strength to get from the gurney and onto the bed. It felt like someone stuck my knee into a blazing fire and decided to stoke it with a sharp poker. My teeth ground together as I tried not to let the EMT see how much it hurt.

My father always told me, “Never let them see you flinch.” It was a lot harder than it sounded.

“You okay, Mr. Betts?” he asked.

Was I okay? Fuck if I knew. Why did I play that pickup game? If Chuck hadn’t insisted it was my responsibility as co-captain to haze the rookies, I wouldn’t have bothered. I hated soccer.

Baseball was my game. And I was damn good at it.

The EMT glanced around the too-bright room for a moment before grinning down at me. “Saw you play last year against Stilton. Took my boy over to the game and watched you hit for the cycle.” He chuckled at the memory. “When you smashed that 3-0 count over the right field wall, Malcolm about lost his voice from screaming. Had to buy him a Hawks shirt. He wears it almost every day now. Wants to play for Westland, too.”

Despite my pain, I smiled at his excitement. That had been one of the best games I’d ever been a part of.

“Can I ask you something?” He paused and waited for my consent. Most people usually just asked away. “Heard you got drafted out of high school. Why’d you turn it down?”

I snorted. It wasn’t the first time someone asked me. The minute I stepped into our team meeting at Westland my freshman year, five guys asked me in five minutes. “I can do better than the thirtieth round.”

“Then why didn’t you go to a Division 1 school? I heard Texas and Iowa wanted you.”

Texas and Iowa did want me, but they offered partials. Westland offered a full ride. Besides, I’d dreamed of playing baseball at the same college my father played. My parents only had to shell out the cash for food and a room. Everybody understood the money, but nobody understood the sentiment.

Trish had her heart set on Westland, too.

I shrugged with a grin. “Why do men always screw up their lives? For a girl.”

That sent him into a belly laugh. “Ain’t that the truth.” He clasped my shoulder and squeezed. “You take care, Mr. Betts. Hopefully we’ll see you on the field this spring.”

The little drip of happiness our conversation gave me dried up. That had been my first thought as soon as my knee turned into scrambled eggs. The way it bent before separating and snapping back together, the fact that my kneecap wasn’t in the right place anymore…I doubted I’d be out in centerfield this spring. But maybe I was wrong. I had to be. The draft was in June, and I was eligible again. Not playing would drop me out of the first round, probably even the second, if not completely. Every day I wasn’t on the field lessened my chances.

Sighing, I glanced at the bandage holding the ice pack to the bowling ball that was now my knee. There wasn’t anything I could do to change what had happened. Any of it.

That’s the shitty thing about “the past.” It’s unchangeable.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B071J7CGTT

B&N:  https://goo.gl/79zZej

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Full-Count/Lynn-Stevens/Q472301342?id=6842447479054

Kobo:  https://goo.gl/Ddf8rc

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7209956

Publisher:  https://entangledpublishing.com/full-count.html

Ouch! But intriguing! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How exciting to learn about your new adult sports romance, Lynn! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Full Count!

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Lynn! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Lynn Stevens flunked out of college writing her first novel. Yes, she still has it and no, you can’t read it. Surprisingly, she graduated with honors at her third school. A former farm girl turned city slicker, Lynn lives in the Midwest where she drinks coffee she can’t pronounce and sips tea when she’s out of coffee. When she’s out of both, just stay away.

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Author Links

Website:  www.lstevensbooks.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LynnStevensAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LStevensAuthor

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Stevens/e/B072C947B9/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16771319.Lynn_Stevens

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Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/lstevensauthor/

Publisher:  https://entangledpublishing.com/author/lynn-stevens

 

Thanks again, Lynn, for giving us a peek into the world of your character. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author D.E. Haggerty visits us on October 17th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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