Category Archives: Event

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by C.L. Donley

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 C.L. Donley, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

It took me my entire 35 years to realize that I was a romantic person.

It was the last thing anyone would ever accuse me of being. None of the telltale signs were there. I didn’t particularly enjoy romantic movies, never had any bouts of boy craziness or childhood crushes. Certain love songs made me cringe. I was never particularly girly, didn’t go to dances or prom, hadn’t really been on a proper date really. Certainly I wanted to be in love, like any woman. And when I met my husband it was likely all of these misnomers that caused me to accept much less than I deserved. Anniversaries went uncelebrated; Valentine’s was just another corporate holiday. Even birthdays could sometimes be considered vain, if too much money was spent.

Several years and three kids later, after enduring all this, not to mention infidelity and a host of other problems, I found myself wanting to escape. It’s cliché, I know, but which part? The situation itself or my reaction to it?

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

I knew I couldn’t very well get in the car and leave my family behind. If only there were a way to go somewhere without physically leaving. Instinctively, I reached for romance.

At first it was a concession, a guilty pleasure. Like everyone else, I knew all the stigmas attached to the genre. As an English major and writer, I had to get over my own pretenses and open my first romance novel. I chose a Harlequin, being familiar with the name. And it didn’t take long for me begin a steady diet of romance literature.

Within a week I was coming across some really compelling stories and I realized that like anything else, romance could be done well. One day I remember reading something and just feeling completely alive and happy. I realized that I actually was a romantic person. That romance wasn’t necessarily a certain order of outward gestures or traditions. It was the business of loving and being loved and the fruit of that, because all love bears fruit. I learned that it wasn’t romance I lacked, but sentimentality. It’s this lack of sentimentality that makes my voice unique among romance writers.

It didn’t dawn on me at first that I should write romance. I was a writer in denial, on the run. I never wrote for fun; the idea of writing as a job sounded like the worst torture. I pretty much only wrote for school, which was years ago, and after three small kids all under five, the idea of writing for me was pretty much laughable. Part of me was unsettled, because it was the most prominent talent I had. People that barely knew me would ask me if I was still writing, and I would have to break the news to them. In the back of my mind I felt all kinds of guilt that I wasn’t utilizing my gift.

In the thick of a separation from my husband, I was starting to think about the future, and what, inevitably I would have to do for money. I dusted off my résumé, started looking into childcare prices for my kids. In the midst of that I got a germ of an idea. Not unusual. I got story ideas all the time, all of which I ignored. But this one was a romance, and it gnawed at me all day. The thought of taking pencil to paper was nauseating, so I saved an audio note on my phone. And that was the moment the floodgates opened.

Aaron Burden, Unsplash

The ideas wouldn’t stop. I wrote for twelve hours that day. I had 12,000 words by the end of the weekend. In three weeks I had the whole novel, the initial draft of what eventually became Amara’s Calling.

Romance saved my life. Not only did it connect me to my heart, but to my identity as a writer. It kept me from taking out my frustrations on my family, propped up a marriage that would’ve otherwise crumbled before its time, and was the hope that kept me buoyant after it was over. It showed me that love was not a matter of being attractive or deserving, but a necessary part of being alive, not to mention a necessary part of being a woman. It made me realize that nothing was wrong with me or my sexuality, that my marital issues were less about my personal failures but more about the fact that I was being starved. Without that realization I might still be blaming myself today.

Created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com

I suspect that all women have an infinite capacity to be loved, as in no amount of romance is enough. It sounds like it’s a bad thing, but it isn’t. Do we ever get to the point as humans that we’ve had enough food and we no longer need anymore? No, because it’s not the way the system works. I suspect love is like food in that it can have a variance in quantity and quality, and these variables can positively or negatively affect the health of the individual.

Created by Freepik

Love should be daily, fresh and new in the same way. To me, romance is life itself. And now that I’m waking up every morning, excited to see what more I can create, I’ve never felt more loved than I do now.

Great! Love should improve us in various ways…and like you, I agree that reading and writing romance opens your mind and heart to its possibilities. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, C.L.! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

C.L. Donley is a future New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of multicultural and interracial romance. Armed with an B.A. in English and M.A. in Writing, she is a natural born writer and can’t wait to be done with this bio so she can get back to it. Her writing style is sophisticated yet simple, apologetically escapist and character driven. She likes to write lovable, redeemable and believable characters and place them in equally lovable, romantic and relatable settings and scenarios– removed from reality just enough so that reader can properly escape, and even revisit!
She loves hearing from readers and discussing her favorite parts of her own books, so feel free to indulge her. Check out her website, Facebook page, Twitter page and feel free to email her at cldonleyauthor@gmail.com.

Author Links

Website:  cldonley.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/AmarasCalling

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/C_L_Donley

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/C.L.-Donley/e/B078Z6TSS8/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17605062.C_L_Donley

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

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/bonniebmccune/

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, 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, C.L., for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for a historical romance blog tour feature when author Sofie Darling visits us on April 24th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Book Feature: Aurelius by author Jessika Klide

I am pleased to announce a great book by Jessika Klide, an author I met during my journey! She’s stopping by to tell us about her awesome modern erotic romance, Aurelius, which released back in September!

Woo hoo! It’s always fun to discover new authors and books. 😀

Jessika is allowing us a look at her sexy romance, Aurelius, today.

Hot cover!

This is the blurb for Aurelius, Book 5 of A Scorching Stripper’s Love Story:

It’s my turn. I’m ready. I want the “Golden God.” I choose Aurelius Moore.

F*ck, that’s a sexy name. I’m going to turn my Wild Thang loose on him because I know he can handle her.

When Aurei returns home from his military obligation at the same time Siri has been dropped off by the taxi, she turns up the heat determined to let their chemistry take them on a thunderous ride.
  
I’m going to scorch him, brand him, and make him mine! 
* – _ – * – _ * – _ – * – _ –  * – _ – * – _ * – _ – * – _ – * – _ –
This is a serial romance story that will take you on an unforgettable journey of true love between two soulmates. There is no cheating or deceiving. There are scandals and secrets! Each book is full of heart, humor and scorching heat!
And here is an excerpt to tease you with.

My eyes fall to his round ass and my palm starts to tingle. That is a perfect ass and I can’t wait to squeeze it and feel it in motion. When he stands up, he walks in front of me, and squats down. “Hop on. You can ride me.”

I laugh and think preview, sling my purse over my head and shoulder, push it to the back, and mount him piggyback style, wrapping myself around his neck and his waist. He hooks my legs with his arm and starts toward our building. The feeling of his muscular body moving under me, between my thighs with my pussy hanging just over that perfect fucking muscle, and the bounce of his step, is exquisite. I bury my face in his back enjoying the feel and smell of him, and I purr happily.

Oh my, Golden God! You ooze sex. Everything about you is perfection! 

Then I start to giggle.

“What’s so funny?”

I pull myself up to his neck. “My panty-less ass is hanging out of my dress.” He stops immediately, puts his hand back there and feels under my skirt touching my bare skin as I drop my legs to stand back up, giggling. “Not very ladylike.” As he turns around grinning, I pull the leather back over my booty. “My shoes, please.”

He drops the cooler where he stands, then scoops me off my feet.

Surprised to be lifted, an “Ohhh!” slips out of my mouth as he cradles me in his arms. I laugh, putting them around his neck again. “Is this necessary?”

“No, but you wanted a ride to the front door.”

“Ah, trickery,” I tease, studying his handsome profile as he starts walking again. “Hey, what about the cooler?”

“What about it?”

“Are you going to just leave it there?” I ask, staring over his shoulder.

“Affirmative.” Then he laughs down into my face. “That’s army talk for yep.”

I throw my head back and giggle hard. When I open my eyes again to enjoy his handsome profile, he isn’t watching where we are going. He is watching me and the gentle, but deeply passionate look on his face, wipes the smile off mine. His voice is husky when he says softly, “You are stunning, Siri. Simply stunning.”

My heart melts, but I can’t help but tease him. “Flattery will get you everywhere, Hard-Core.”

His grin is perfect. “Ah, how far will honesty take me then?”

I roll my eyes and look away. “Umm. It’s such a novel concept. Let me think about that.”

“Till the end of time?” The depth of his words aren’t lost on me, and my eyes are drawn to his.

“But time will never end.” I hear my own husky voice thick with passion answer.

His head tilts slightly and a sexy as fuck smile only teases his lips. “That’s the whole idea.”

Sweet Zeus! Try not to swoon, Siri. 

As well as some other teasers!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B075H8G59L

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/aurelius-jessika-klide/1127127757?ean=2940155177708

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Aurelius/Jessika-Klide/9781976154072?id=7205747130327

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/804372

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/aurelius

IndieBound:  https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781976154072

Wow! ♥♥♥ Love the steamy tension. This looks like quite a tale!

And for a limited time, get books one and two for FREE on Amazon! 😉

Awesome! Thank you for telling us about your book, Jessika! I know I can’t wait to read this sexy romance series!

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! 🙂 Or you can add it to Goodreads!

Author Bio

Jessika Klide is my pen name. I’m from LA … Lower Alabama. The Deep South. My mind is extremely sensuous, some call that slutty, so it’s just better to use a pen name. Trust me on this! 😉

I married my high school sweetheart and have been married to him longer than I have lived without him. He is not only my soulmate but my best friend, and what I have learned about love is that not all relationships are a struggle. When you find the right one, it is easy and fun!

“I believe lust and love form perfect unions and the stars do align for true love. Be unstoppable for love!”

If you’re looking for a story that will make you laugh and cry, lust and love, then come take a walk on the wild side and enjoy Siri and Aurei’s thunderous journey; where ultimate seduction and ultimate discipline clash for one hell of an explosive ride!

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Readers, Romance, steamy, Writing

Blog Tour Feature: The Starling by Ellie Masters

¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ NEW RELEASE¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

 

Thief or modern day Robin Hood?

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Ellie Masters, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new romantic suspense 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…

Intriguing cover!

This is the blurb for The Starling:

Thief or modern day Robin Hood? Recruited by the FBI to investigate the theft of a Van Gogh, Vivianne Faulks must work with a man who blurs the lines between the legal and illegal sale of art. As Viv is drawn further into the world of art auctions and international crime, the case threatens to uncover Faulks’ family secrets long buried since World War II. Not to mention, her enigmatic partner might be the very thief she’s been sent to catch. When her life’s put on the line, Viv no longer cares about recovering the stolen Van Gogh. With each twist and turn, she’s simply trying to stay alive.

Ellie is giving us a peek at her modern romantic suspense, The Starling, today.

Book Info:

Genre:  Contemporary Romantic Suspense, No Erotica

Length: 512 pages

Here is an excerpt.

“You want me to pretend to be your lover?”

With a nod, he released her hands and leaned back in the chair. “Mais oui. It’d be assumed you were sharing my bed.”

“Why does that even matter?” Who would care if their relationship was more than business?

“Accept Agent Radcliffe’s offer to consult on the case, and you’ll discover many secrets. You might even uncover some you’ve been hiding from yourself.”

Whatever does that mean?

The impact of his words hit her on a gut level, terrifying because of the allure they held. She cleared her throat. “Monsieur de Gaules, you must know I am engaged.”

“I know your relationship status. That’s what makes this perfect. The rumors will fly. The more attention we have focused on our relationship, the more freedom we’ll have to operate.”

“You place a lot of weight on the power of rumors, but I can’t risk my reputation for you or jeopardize my family name.”

Without warning, he stood, extending his hand.

Viv glanced at it, terrified to take it but more than willing to feel the heat of his skin against hers again. What would be the harm in one last affair? Even if it was pretend. How much loyalty did she hold to a fiancé she hated?

“If I do this…” Her breath fluttered in her lungs, tentative yet excited. “If I do this, that’s all it would be. An act…”

It was vital she established boundaries.

“We maintain a professional relationship between us, regardless of what others believe?”

She’d meant her words to sound confident, but they had come out more like a question.

The corner of his full lips bowed into a smile when she allowed him to take her hand. He flipped her wrist over and leaned down to sweep his lips across the back of her hand.

“But of course.”

A jolt of electricity shot up her arm.

“Strictly professional.”

She hated when men lied.

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

Purchase Links:

Universal reader link:  books2read.com/TheStarling

Wow! Love the tension here. ♥♥♥

What are people saying about this book?

“Imagine The Thomas Crown Affair merged with Entrapment and know that The Starling is an Oscar winner beyond those art heist films. What makes a good heist movie even better? A handsome leading man paired against a hot leading lady and The Starling scores BIG in that category. I am completely in love with the leading characters Vivianne Faulks and Paul de Gaules. The Starling has it all; intrigue, secrets, lies, sexual tension, international espionage, and stunning visual imagery like you wouldn’t believe. I was truly standing in Paris thanks to Ellie Masters’ gorgeous descriptions.” —Kay, Goodreads

The Starling is a total page turner, I couldn’t read it fast enough.” —Katie, Goodreads

“Ellie Masters does a fantastic job describing scenes and feelings. I always can picture exactly what she’s describing because of her vivid details.” —Erika, Goodreads

“I love Vivianne and Paul!! This book is so exciting!! It had me wrapped into the pages from the beginning!!” —Vicki, Goodreads

Captivating! Loved this story! Ellie Masters is truly a MASTER of Wordcraft! The sharp plot twists and turns, the building heat between the characters, the unexpected scenarios… can’t wait for the next book in this series!” —Mary Brannian, Amazon

Wow!!! I haven’t read a FBI book quite like this one in a while. It was an amazing story. I instantly fell in love with this book.” —Paula G, Amazon

Romance thriller with love thrown in! Every book Ellie writes is better than the one before. This spellbinding story is no different. Mystery thriller makes up this part 1 of a 3 part series. Great writing with chemistry;romance and why didn’t I see that plot twist! Sexy as well...” —Angel Lee, Amazon

Thank you for telling us about your new romantic suspense, Ellie! I know I can’t wait to read this riveting novel! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! Or add it to your Goodreads list!

Author Bio

ELLIE MASTERS is the bestselling author of Heart’s Insanity: an Angel Fire Rock Romance. She writes multiple genres, creating the stories she loves to read. These are dark erotic tales. Or maybe sweet contemporary stories. How about a romantic thriller to whet your appetite? Ellie writes it all. Want to read passionate poems and sensual secrets? She does that too. Dip into the eclectic mind of Ellie Masters, spend time exploring the sensual realm where she breathes life into her characters and brings them from her mind to the page and into the heart of her readers every day.

Ellie’s favorite way to spend an evening is curled up on a couch, laptop in place, watching a fire, drinking a good wine, and bringing forth all the characters from her mind to the page and hopefully into the hearts of her readers.

Newsletter Sign-up:  http://eepurl.com/uRvCr

 

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

Thanks again to Ellie and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Mystery, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Thriller/Suspense

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Mason Harding from ARRESTING MASON by Amber Daulton

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 Amber Daulton, who has some things to say about her character.

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

Their chance encounter resulted in a steamy affair, but will his former gang and a parole officer tear them apart?

Mason Harding appeals to me as both a reader and a writer because I love redemption and second chance stories. Just because someone makes a mistake (depending on the mistake, really), I don’t think they should be ostracized from society, especially if they’re trying to make amends and trying to live a better life.

The idea for this character and the book came to me in a dream. In my dreams, however, I’m always the leading lady, and I fell in love with a secretive ex-con with a dangerous past. I couldn’t stop thinking about Mason for days after that, and his seductive voice kept urging me to write about him as I tossed and turned in bed at night, so I finally wrote out a tentative plot.

For Mason, he was 18 years old when he and a few friends robbed a liquor store. Two innocent men were shot as a result, but Mason did what he could to save the men’s lives. He went to prison for it and has regretted that night ever since, but he’s thankful he was arrested since he cleaned up and got his life together in the slammer.

Despite his past mistakes, Mason loves his family and friends, and he’s holding down a respectable job. He’s doing his best to be a responsible adult, but his past always seems closer than he likes. Though most people either think him a criminal when they see his scars and tattoos, he’s self-assured and doesn’t let other people’s judgment bother him.

Mason is a good example of someone turning their lives around for the better. Otherwise, his lady love, Mia Eddison, wouldn’t be with him. According to Mia, and I quote: “Mistakes are a fact of life. It’s how you respond to those mistakes, or how you cope, that defines you as a person.” I think that pretty much sums this up. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who can move on and make a good life for themselves and those they love, in spite of any and all adversity, deserves a pat on the back.

So very true!
This romantic suspense sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀
Here is the blurb for Arresting Mason.

Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life.

That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.

When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

And Amber is giving us a peek at her novel!

They reached her store and he stared at her car parked by the curb. “Harper doesn’t know where you live or anything about you. That means you’re safe for now, but he’ll probably search this area to find us. Stay cautious, okay? Drive your car from now on. Don’t walk anywhere.”

“Why are you avoiding my questions? You can tell me anything.”

“Not this. If you trust me, don’t ask those kinds of questions.” He tightened his fingers around her forearm as she tried to jerk free from his grip. “Listen to me, damn it. You mean a lot to me, but I can’t tell you this. At least not right now. That’s nothing against you. It’s all on me. I just need time to take care of this problem. Okay? I’m fucking stressed, in a shitload of pain, and I don’t need you to hound my ass.” He dropped his hand from her arm and scowled as though he just noticed the dirt and blood on his knuckles. “I’d like to go upstairs to clean up before you take me home. I don’t want Alan to know what happened.”

Mia dug through her purse with shaky hands, so angry she didn’t trust herself to speak.

He took the keys from her before the little pieces of metal slipped between her fingers, and he hugged her despite the grime on his skin and clothes.

Tears clogged her throat. Her mind screamed at her to push away from him, but the strength in his arms enveloped her and stole her will. His heartbeat soothed hers, and she no longer cared about his lies or if filth caked him.

At least not at the moment.

“I never meant for this to happen, Mia. I will fix this.”

“I know, but at what cost?” She pried her face from his chest to stare up at him. “You’re nothing if not determined, but I’m scared and confused. You have answers to my questions, but I won’t hound you for them as you so eloquently stated. I just thought we got past this. I thought you knew I would never insult or condemn you for whatever it is you did.”

“And I thought you knew not to push me too fucking hard.” His deep voice sent shivers of unease down her spine. “I have to keep certain parts of my past to myself.”

“Whatever.” Mia finally pushed against his chest for freedom and stomped to the stairwell door.

Amber is such a tease…here is another promo as well to entice you with!

 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07BHGMQRK

B&N:  https://bit.ly/2uOj90J

iTunes:  https://apple.co/2FVAQMP

Publisher:  http://bit.ly/2FSVvBa

Riveting! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How exciting to learn about your romantic suspense, Amber! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pre-order your copy of Arresting Mason today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

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

Guest Bio

Writing is the fruit of happiness.

Amber Daulton lives her life by that one belief even though she normally isn’t so Zen.

As a fan of contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance novels alike, she can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. Her mind is a wonderland of adventure, laughter, and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. She probably wouldn’t be too sane without her computer and notebooks. After all, what’s a girl to do when people are jabbering away in her head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Goodreads:  www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

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

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368 

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

 

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

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, characters, coming soon, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Writers, Writing

Unique Yet Perfect Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank: a guest post by Dating Connections

Unique Yet Perfect Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

 

You might not have even realized that BBW dating was made for you until you met your perfect plus-size lady who turned out to be everything you’d ever wanted and more.

Renepfister, Pixabay

That being said, with as much baggage as any of us have on our shoulders, dating someone new, trying to impress them and give them the world despite the constraints of everyday life isn’t always the easiest thing to do. However, it’s the thought that counts even if the execution is not as splendid as you’d like. At the same time, there are still things you can do to show not only that your heart is in the right place, but also to go a step further and be creative (say, frugal) in your ways of showing how much you care. Today, we explore several unique date ideas that guarantee a good time, and ensure you don’t break the bank in the process.

#1. Seeing a Local Band

If you and your girl like the same kind of music, catching a live show by a local band instead of a world renowned performer is a very unique option to dating on a budget. She might like heavy metal, and even if that is not your first choice, if you can enjoy that kind of music, getting her two tickets to a local heavy metal gig that takes place at a small venue with cheap beer guarantees she’ll appreciate your effort to be creative as you try to get her to fall even more in love with you.

Created by Photoangel – Freepik.com

If the band happens to kill it, your chances will certainly increase!

#2. Taking a Bus Tour

It’s great when you can get two tickets to Mexico on short notice, and take your lady on a 7-day vacation to a 5-star resort, but when you can’t do that keep in mind there are lots of other ways to get out of town, and spend some time exploring new places.

Created by Onlyyouqj – Freepik.com

For instance, remember buses? Those large vehicles that transport people from one place to the next? Well, buses are pretty affordable and you can get two tickets for a daily tour of a sight that is a few hours away from your hometown. You’ll be doing something special for you both – taking a break from the everyday worries weighing you down, and spending quality time together doing something you don’t get to do that often.

#3. Cooking at Home + Going Out for Dessert

The word ‘date’ usually implies going out, but it doesn’t have to be so.

Created by Freepik

You can stay in and have a wonderful time provided you allocate a certain amount of time to each other only, like you would at a restaurant. What you can do is pretty simple – you can prepare a lovely meal for the two of you that you’ll share over a bottle of wine, and once finished you can go out for a walk and get ice cream! You can go out for dessert, as in go to a patisserie and order a waffle or some pancakes, and merge your at-home dinner with getting sweets downtown or wherever you and your honey like to go.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

You’ll save money and ‘go out’ on a date at the same time.

#4. A Stroll Through the Park

Leah Kelley, Pexels.com

Among the weather permitting options, there is always a stroll through the park especially if you and your date are into art, or say, photography. You can take wonderful photos together of the changing seasons, and create stunning posts that you’ll share with your community, or you can start your own personal collection of how things are changing around you as the two of you remain stronger than ever.

To top it all off, you can make sandwiches and lemonade at home, and have a picnic after the walk tires you out.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

#5. Midnight Bike Ride

Turning a date into a workout session is not only unique, but it’s super healthy, and breaking a sweat together usually means your date ends in the shower. But that aside, going to the gym is not as exciting as staying physically active as you spend quality time together. Enter a midnight bike ride.

Everton Vila, Unsplash

At night, there is virtually no traffic so you can bike through the downtown core, provided it’s not the weekend or you don’t live in a big city because if you do, there is just no escaping traffic. But that aside, you can bike through your neighborhood or go wherever you like, and if this idea is outside of your comfort zone, even better because you’ll feel the rush of adrenaline that will bring you closer to your partner.

Nice! These are some helpful tips for couples who are trying to save money these days. Which, I bet, falls on many of us! As for the last point, definitely wear brighter colors for bike-riding, just in case. Safety is everything…

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/BoyanUlv

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 weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles

Exclusive Interview with author Suzanne Jefferies, plus a look at erotic romance, WATCHED, and giveaway!

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our second official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with the talented author of erotic romance, Watched. Please join me in welcoming Suzanne Jefferies to ILRB! 🙂

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Suzanne. Please have a seat.

Author Suzanne Jefferies:  Hi, Marie! Lovely to meet you.

Marie:  It’s such a pleasure to see you here! I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have any other occupations? Do you believe you’re any good at them? Do you like what you do?

Suzanne:  I’m a copywriter, specializing in corporate marketing collateral, government case studies (South Africa), and personal profiles. I’d like to think I’m very good at it! I love it. I get to work on some really exciting client projects from the comfort of my home. Win/win all round.

Marie:  Nice! 

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Suzanne:  Driven. Chaotic. Next question, please.

Marie:  Oh, I hear you there! 😉

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Suzanne:  We moved a lot, including from the UK to South Africa. My earliest home was my favorite; surrounded by a cobblestone wall, overlooking the cold, grey Atlantic, and four houses from my best friend. We used to go down to the beach in our Wellington boots, dodging stinging nettles and sheep droppings. Every day was an adventure.

Marie:  Great!

Do you have any hobbies, Suzanne? What do you enjoy doing?

Suzanne:  Rolling on the mat at jui jitsu. Running half-marathons with my youngest sister. Drawing stories about the young me adventuring on that cold coast in South Wales.

Marie:  Wow! Such an eclectic blend of pastimes! 😀

So…what is your greatest dream?

Suzanne:  I’m still single. So, I’m wishing and a hoping for true love/the fairytale/someone who I can partner with. Maybe a family.

Marie:  There’s certainly nothing wrong with those dreams…

As I’ve learned, true love has a way of surprising you just when you need it the most. ♥♥♥

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

Suzanne:  I could do with being more extroverted. What’s stopping me is my introvert tendencies. I can do extrovert best when I’m a little drunk – that doesn’t roll so well on a Monday morning!

Marie:  (Laughs.) Very true…

Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Suzanne:  A boy named Gareth, with a lazy green eye who worked at the Pro Shop and smoked Camel filters. Did he break my heart? With a sledgehammer.

Marie: Aww…okay. I sense a big story there. ♥

Let’s try something else now.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Suzanne:  Lots of terrible things happen all the time, and I’ve certainly had more than my fair share. The funny thing, though, about terrible things is that, sometimes, they can lead me on to better, wonderful things. Other times, they’ve led me to the therapist’s door.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Suzanne nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Suzanne:  I wanted to write books. And, yay, that’s what I’m doing.

In a million years, I never dreamt that publishing would be so hard. In my career as a writer I’ve been plagiarized (legal fees nailed that one), had an agent run out on me, had a publisher go bust and close its door weeks before my release, and another publisher used my book as a vehicle to legitimize her self-publishing business. Epic.

For every step forward, another twenty or so back. People think of E.L. James or J.K. Rowling when they think of writers, but they’re outliers. Most writers I know are doing well, but aren’t finding their photo in People magazine.

Marie:  True enough! I don’t think most people realize how difficult it is to make a name for yourself in the publishing world.

So, who is your role model, Suzanne?

Suzanne:  Jane Porter. She moved me to tears with her story, because it was my story too. The difference was, she had the guts to stand up there and share. She’s a writer who never gave up, a successful publisher and a dedicated mom. I think she’s awesome.

Marie:  All right.

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Suzanne:  Yes. I will not be revealing said person’s name to protect the innocent (me).

Marie:  No problem. I respect your privacy!

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Suzanne:  To have a child of my own (looking super unlikely at this point).

Marie:  I know what you mean. The closest I’ve come so far is adopting kitties. 😉

So, tell me something, Suzanne. What is your greatest fear?

Suzanne:  That it will be too late – that all the things I still want to do and experience in my life, will somehow slip away from me into time’s black hole, and it will all be too late.

Marie: Well, I certainly understand your fears that time is a losing battle. But I don’t think it’s ever too late to accomplish what you set out to do.

I want to try something different next, Suzanne… 

Readers, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective on some of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Professor Eve Brown. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Suzanne:  Professor Brown, Evie, is newly divorced and questioning everything about her life. All of the roles and titles that seemed to apply, no longer do. She used to love her job, but she feels her passion slipping away. She’s no longer a wife. She’s no longer young. Everything’s changing.

Marie:  I see.

So, what are your characters’ greatest strengths?

Suzanne:  Resilience. She gets up, gets out there and gets on with what needs to be done.

Marie:  Admirable for sure!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Suzanne:  Young men named Cameron! The tendency to look backwards towards the past. That’s not where she’ll find her answers.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of her favorite foods?

Suzanne:  Sushi, vegetarian lasagna, and steak, mid-to-rare, with fries. And Chardonnay.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Nice!

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Suzanne:  She’s open to change, open to experience, and open to difference. It’s not something she thinks of consciously; it’s part of who she is.

Marie:  Works for me!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Suzanne:  It could be easy to dislike her, considering that she does ‘break the rules’ with Cameron. But it’s part of her breaking her shackles to the past, and the person she was.

Marie: All right.

Well, now that we have a real taste of Evie Brown, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for Watched?

Suzanne:  Trawling through YouTube videos I came across the Christopher Atkins turkey ‘One Night in Heaven’. Something about the teacher/student angle, had me thinking. And then I watched Laura Branigan’s video for ‘Self-Control’ and somehow the two non-related ideas kind of mushed and melded together (Still not sure how this inspiration thing works!).

Marie:  Gotcha! And I hear you. My story ideas come from all over the place.

Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Suzanne:  Pantster all the way! I let the story take me where it wants to go and hang on.  

Marie:  Sounds like quite a ride!

How about another question?

I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Watched or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Suzanne:  Yes, there was a minor challenge. The relationship with Sophie is fluid, a friends with benefits, casual affair. So, it had to be clear that Evie wasn’t cheating on her. However, Sophie is polyamorous, so it’s not that Sophie would mind particularly. I had wanted to explore this more, but publishers were not so keen. Luckily, I reworked parts of the story and Wild Rose Press was happy to publish.

Marie:  Okay.

It was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Watched appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this scorching romance by Suzanne Jefferies, a talented author! :)

Now, let’s learn more about Suzannne’s blog tour going on right now.

Here is the blurb for Watched:

Newly divorced Professor Evie Brown notices her student Cameron Slade and how attentive he seems, so totally unlike her ex-husband. Cameron is also delicious to look at, all taut body, broad shoulders, and hot eyes. He’s forbidden territory, but one late afternoon as she pleasures herself in an empty lecture hall, she looks up to find she’s not alone. He’s there…watching her.

And then there’s Sophie Walker. Ever since Evie met the sensual woman, she’s allowed her inhibitions to unreel, one by one. It’s Sophie who’s been sharing Evie’s erotic awakening, Sophie who she yearns for. Or is it?

Suzanne is also offering us a peek of the book!

I wipe clean the whiteboard, enjoying the push of the felt, swinging from side to side as I move, the squeaking sound it makes as it erases the past three hours’ worth of hard work. An image replays over and over—that unexpected reveal of Cameron’s torso—a handspan of bareness, the grooved shadow of muscle. It was a shock to the sterility of that lecture hall. My mouth waters. Bare, taut skin—that male skin, so much rougher, harsher than a woman’s.

Male.

I replace the lids on the markers and switch off the projector. Alone. Facing late afternoon emptiness.

If Cameron were to give me something I’d like… I’d like him, close to me, all sweet-sandy raw male youth, at my knees. Male.

I swallow back the desire that is starting to slither through me, stroking the space between my neck and collarbone. Cameron. I picture the way he ran his hands through his lightly gelled hair, the bulge in his arms as his hands extended behind his head. The soft curve of his lower lip. That vulnerable stretch of torso that was making my mouth salivate like a beast before its slaughter.

Nice! I’m curious to find out what happens in this book… 🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07B2BR84Z

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/watched-suzanne-jefferies/1128033307?ean=2940159047809

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/watched-19

Plus, Suzanne is giving away some wonderful prizes, two ebooks of Watched, during this tour. Two lucky winners will receive a copy. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember 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/801c221b33/

Let’s offer some kudos to Suzanne’s sponsor as well…

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this erotic romance! ♥ Readers, don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

About Suzanne Jefferies

Suzanne Jefferies loves to write romance. As a member of ROSA (Romance Writers of South Africa), she knows that she’s not the only believer in romantic tension and emotional power smacks to keep the romance reader hooked. A movie fanatic, she spends most of her time as a writer-for-hire. Working in communication, she has done more than her fair share of corporate and investor PR, and now freelances in between editorial jobs for big, glossy company magazines. The Joy of Comfort Eating, her first contemporary romance novel, won the 2016 Imbali Award for excellence in romance writing.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the intriguing Suzanne Jefferies, here are some author links:

Website:  www.suzannejefferies.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/suzannjefferies

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-Jefferies/e/B0076INQUU/

https://amzn.to/2GrvJrQ

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8193878.Suzanne_Jefferies

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/115131914653334849624

Once again, I want to thank Suzanne Jefferies, the brilliant author of this hot novella, for stopping by!  It was a pleasure to have you here! Fans, enter the cool giveaway while you still can!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, characters, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, steamy, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Bonnie McCune

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 Bonnie McCune, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Love at first sight. Many of us, at least the very young and very naïve, believe it happens. But whether love occurs with the speed of lightning or following long and complex efforts at a relationship, most agree romantic love exists.

JD Mason, Unsplash

Being humans, our fascination with romance, our expressions of love take many forms, most of them relatively harmless. We might shower gifts of jewelry on our beloved, share preferences in food and wine, proclaim our feelings on social media. We search for examples of love in films, music, art, and enjoy emotions vicariously.

Recently on opposite sides of the globe, however, authorities are intervening on physical demonstrations of attraction. First up, Vietnam, where the Publishing and Printing Department is cracking down on “clichéd, useless, obscene and offensive” works that are “poisoning” the youth. (This same claim has been used off and on in the U.S. and other regions during various censorship battles.) Furthermore, “government needs to regulate an activity related to culture and people’s way of thinking so that it can benefit people”.

If only. If only all of humanity could agree on a method to truly benefit people. Unfortunately, down through the ages, this activity always seems to include punishing, even destroying those who don’t concur with authorities, like Nazis and various religious fundamentalists.

Created by Freepik

I’m afraid that romance, like hunger, seems to be a basic instinct, and fails to obey rules, laws, even parental decrees. Think of Romeo and Juliet. Heck, think of American teens who not infrequently sneak out windows to meet their crushes. Or the teachers and chaperones who rode herd on necking couples at dances years ago.

Romance often benefits from tangible symbols. Over the years, letter sweaters, going-steady class rings, engagement rings, matching tattoos or nose rings are examples. In Paris, star-struck lovers once attached thousands of locks on bridges and railings as symbols of their relationships.

Pedro Kümmel, Unsplash

Some say Asian tourists started the craze, others that a book and film were responsible. In any case, sections of fencing on bridges were crumbling under the weight, posing a safety risk as well as “degradation of property heritage”, not to mention problems associated with graffiti, pickpockets and street vendors. The city now removes them for auction as mementoes.

Other cities face the problem differently. They don’t remove locks. Instead, in Rome, city officials created official spots—steel posts with chains on the bridge—to eliminate damage to the infrastructure. We haven’t had much luck in the USA catching perpetrators who use graffiti to proclaim their desires. Painting over the results helps but has little effect on carvings.

Created by Freepik

I’m not optimistic any activity can control the interest in and demonstration of romance. Humans are nothing if not creative. We’ve been dodging censors for millennia, and finding creative ways to express emotion even longer. However, the attempts at restraint are ever-changing and as entertaining as the many paths of love.

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

Seems to me the true symbols of love consist of the length of a relationship and the content of it. I’ve never understood how patronizing or abusive actions can be labeled ‘romance’. Romance should be a positive quality. It should enhance the lives of the people involved. External trappings mean little to me.

My final evaluation, whether of a real-life romance or one in books, is…Does this romance bring out the best in the romantic partners? In Never Retreat, my newest novel, there’s no doubt both Raye and Des wind up as better, more caring humans.

That’s what romance means to me.

Nice! Love should improve us in various ways…and I agree that romance cannot be tamed, despite society’s attempts to control it. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Bonnie! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio
Coloradan Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits, doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver’s beautification program. Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world.

Author Links

Website:  www.BonnieMcCune.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune

Twitter:  twitter.com/bonniemccune

Amazon author page:  http://amzn.to/2DE5dW1

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6436876.Bonnie_McCune

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/117106546075845481531

https://plus.google.com/u/0/111883621680717398231

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune

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

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/bonniebmccune/

Publisher:  http://www.imajinbooks.com/bonnie-mccune/

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, 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, Bonnie, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our new exclusive author interview feature when author Suzanne Jefferies visits us on April 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

New Release Feature: Undercover Siren by author Ellen Mint

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Ellen Mint, an author I met during my journey! Her new romantic suspense, Undercover Siren, officially released last month!

Yay! That’s awesome! :) Congrats on your new release!

When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!

Ellen is giving us a look at her romantic suspense, Undercover Siren, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Undercover Siren:

He was only supposed to be a job. Why can’t she walk away?
Colton Davies, an ex-Marine turned cop, stumbles across a damsel in distress while working the beat and rushes to her aid. Unbeknownst to him, Kristen Trevelyan isn’t an old classmate who accidentally locked her keys in the car, but a spy working for a classified agency. She’s tasked with getting close to the police officer, but she never anticipated how close they’d become.
Action, adventure, dangerous gun battles, sizzling romance scenes, tender words of affection, and more await you in Undercover Siren.

Here is an excerpt to entice you with!

Colton snapped off the radio and tumbled back into his seat. From God-awful love songs to burnt corpses, oh and dragging her into a rainstorm. He was a real pro at dating, as she could no doubt tell. Glaring out the windshield, watching the bounce of rain pinging off the rusted hood, Colton kept whipping himself for things beyond his control. He was so far gone, it wasn’t until her hand shifted higher up his arm that he realized Kristen was touching him.

Twisting his head towards her, he found those dazzling eyes burning directly into his. She stared at him as if…as if she couldn’t see anyone else. As if she’d never seen anyone else. Soft pink lips glistened with fresh rain, parting like she yearned for a drink. Colton dove towards her, his mouth puckering up just before it plunged against hers. Warmth erupted down his spine, the woman melting from his kiss. He let go of the arguing in his brain to fall into this moment. Fingers lifted off his arm to thread through his hair, gently guiding him deeper into her trap.

He was greedy to fall into it, their first kiss turning hotter than he’d ever have expected. Kristen tipped her head, her tongue darting up and down his scar before she tugged his bottom lip deep into hers. The nibble was little more than a whisper, but it broke down a wall inside Colton and a moan escaped from his throat.

Sliding back as if to catch her breath, those dazzling eyes darted up to his. The bliss of touching her dilated his pupils so much he had to blink a moment. As she focused into view, her cheeks bright from a flush and cleavage beaded in droplets, there was no denying how badly he wanted to take this further.

How in God’s name did he do that?

“You’re so…” he mumbled, his tongue clogging in his mouth as the words all stuck together, “pradortty.”

“Pradortty?” her eyebrow lifted in surprise, but a smile stretched across her lips. The ones that tasted of hunger and the thrill of the run.

“I, uh…” Colton absently wiped the back of his neck.

“Is that some kind of word only you people in Sky City use?”

“Ye…yes,” he sputtered out. “It means, it means a very beautiful woman.”

The blush burned brighter on her cheeks and she turned to stare at the dashboard. “Oh. Well, you’re handorablesome.”

Colton chuckled at her catching him, but with a grateful nod said, “Thank you.”

Her sparkling eyes darted around the truck, seeming to take in the state of it before landing upon the clutch. “This is a stick? You can drive a stick?”

“Sure,” he shrugged, “I’m from the country. Who couldn’t back in Winterset?”

“Right, right, just…surprised to see one here in the city,” she smiled. “Isn’t it hell on stop and go traffic?”

“Not if you’re good,” Colton said without a thought before wincing. “Did you never learn?” It seemed odd to the man who cut his teeth on tractors, but not everyone was a farmer. There had to be townies in a town after all.

“A little,” Kristen admitted, “but I’m happy with my automatic. When I don’t lock myself out anyway.”

“Until a helpful policeman comes along,” Colton said as if he had nothing to do with it. She smiled sweetly at him, but silence threaded through the cab. Only the bounce of rain thudding into the metal over their heads filled the air. All the unsaid words grew thicker than the humidity, both people staring at each other not knowing what to do next.

He could take her back into the bar. To talk more. Or have another drink. It was getting kinda late. Maybe he should offer to take her home. Or that they wait out the rain here. She could snuggle up next to him and…

“Colton?” Kristen whispered, her eyes darting up to him, “do you want to get coffee?”

“Uh…sure,” he spat out, his brain trying to rack up what place would be open this late aside from a fast food joint.

Her ravenous smile nearly knocked him over, when she shrugged. “I’d say we could go back to my place but I’m all out of filters, and grounds, and a coffee God.” Slowly, her fingers cupped against his knee and worried their way up the wet jeans clinging to his thigh. He blinked at her, his brain-jarring apart as it tried to piece together what she was asking. Or telling him. Saying that she wanted.

Sweet God.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B079QZPN5V

Scorching! Gotta love this sneak peek. ♥♥♥

 

What are people saying about this book?

I am so happy that Ellen Mint wrote this amazing page turner. This book will keep your eyes glued to the pages.” —Penny L, Amazon

This story reads like an action movie, gripping you from the very first page as Kristen tries to get close to Colton. It takes you on this amazing emotional roller coaster ride where you can’t wait for the next thing to happen in the story!” —Merry Jelks, Amazon

The well written story line pulled me in right from the very first page, and the interaction and chemistry between Kristen and Colton kept me totally glued to my kindle until the turn of the very last page!” —Pat W, Amazon

 

Awesome!

Thank you for telling us about your new book! It looks great! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this riveting book! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf!

Author Bio

Ellen Mint adores the adorkable heroes who charm with their shy smiles and heroines that pack a punch. She recently won the Top Ten Handmaid’s Challenge on Wattpad where hers was chosen by Margaret Atwood herself. Along with her husband and black lab, she spends a lot of time with her skeletons — don’t worry, they’re just Halloween props.

Author Links

Website:  http://blablover5.wixsite.com/sezbasnik

http://www.dwarvesinspace.com/

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

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/introvertedwife

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/Ellen-Mint/e/B07B44TK45/

https://www.amazon.com/S.-E.-Zbasnik/e/B00UG9UBOK/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17700737.Ellen_Mint

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8088107.S_E_Zbasnik

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5049373.Sabrina_Zbasnik

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Blog Tour Feature: Love at Solace Lake Series by Jana Richards

✫✶• NEW RELEASE•✫✶

 

No matter how deeply buried, secrets rise to the surface.

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Jana Richards, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new 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 series…

Such great covers!

This is the blurb for Secrets and Solace:

No matter how deeply buried, secrets rise to the surface.

Scarlett Lindquist has agreed to help her sisters rebuild the dilapidated fishing lodge in Minnesota they inherited from their grandparents. Although the lengthy restoration is bringing the three sisters closer together, Scarlett’s support is temporary. Her leave of absence from her job in Chicago is temporary and she has no intention of staying at Solace Lake Lodge, where the lake holds dark secrets. When frightening childhood memories resurface, they are tempered by her fascination with an irritating contractor. If only she could trust her feelings for him. If only he could trust her.

Cameron Hainstock meets Scarlett at his brother’s wedding to her sister and their attraction is instantaneous. But Cam avoids the beautiful marketing executive. All his efforts are aimed at battling for custody of his only child. When the unimaginable happens and Cam faces the biggest challenge of his life, he’s reluctant to accept help to halt his downward spiral. Can they learn to trust each other and fight for a future together, or will they go their separate ways?

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance, small town romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, small town romance, mystery, touch of paranormal, murder

Length: Novel

Heat Level: Spicy, fully described love scenes

Release Date: March 21, 2018

Cover Artist: Angela Waters

Jana is giving us a peek at her modern romance with a touch of paranormal mystery, Secrets and Solace, today.

The shock on Scarlet’s face, the disbelief and grief, made him wish he’d kept his mouth shut. The last thing he wanted was to inflict her with the same hell he was going through. He turned away from her, pushing her hand from his arm. “Go home, Scarlet.”

“I’m not going anywhere.” She grabbed his arm again, preventing him from picking up the axe, the tool he’d used to keep himself from reaching for a bottle. “I won’t leave you alone.”

Ignoring the sweat and dirt, she wrapped her arms around his waist and held him tightly, resting her head against his chest. His body stirred to life at her touch, disgusting him. His world was crumbling around him and all he could think was that he wanted to bury himself inside her until she screamed his name.

“Go,” he said roughly. If she was smart, she’d run away and never look back. He was a bad-tempered, recovering alcoholic with nothing to offer her. He wasn’t worth the risk.

She looked up at him, her blue eyes clear and steady. “No. I won’t leave you.”

He pushed her up against the wall of the workshop, not sure if he was trying scare her away or make her stay. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

She shook her head. “You won’t.”

Cam closed his eyes and groaned. He wrapped his arms around her in a vice-like grip, unable to resist her any longer.

God, he needed her.

He lowered his head and kissed her. There was no subtlety in the kiss, no gentleness or finesse. Only passion and raw need. But she stayed with him, returning his passion, giving solace. He greedily lapped it up, taking everything she had to give.

But he wanted, needed more. He lifted her and she wrapped her long, slender legs around his waist. He buried his face against her soft, sweet-smelling neck, inhaling her clean, floral scent. At the same time, he snaked his hand up her thigh and began to pull down her panties.

“Tell me to stop,” he rasped. “Tell me now while I still can.”

Wow! Fanning myself over here!

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

Purchase Links:

Book 1 – Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B079TDDSY4

Book 2 – Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B079WGSNWD

Book 3 (preorder) – Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B079WFZXV2

 

Love the tension here. ♥♥♥

Let’s learn a little more about the Love at Solace Lake Series…

Love is worth the risk…

When their grandfather dies, the Lindquist sisters, Harper, Scarlet and Maggie, inherit the northern Minnesota fishing lodge that had been in their family for three generations. The inheritance is bittersweet. They were raised at the lodge by their grandparents. The natural beauty of the place hasn’t changed, but the building itself is crumbling and desperately in need of repair. The lodge also reminds them of what they lost. Twenty-two years previously, their parents died there in what was ruled a murder/suicide.

As the sisters struggle to breathe new life into the failing lodge, old fears and questions rise to the surface even as new love presents itself. Why did their father murder their mother? What truths did their grandparents keep from them? The sisters must fight to keep the wounds of the past from putting their futures, and their fledgling relationships, in jeopardy.

 

Plus, Jana is giving away some wonderful prizes during this tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below for your chance win Ebook First and Again, Ebook There Goes the Groom, Ebook A Long Way from Eden, $10 Amazon gift card, or $5 Amazon gift card. Remember, 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/801c221b30/

 

Thank you for telling us about your new steamy romance, Jana! I know I can’t wait to read this sexy series! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! Also, grab book one and pre-order book three of the trilogy!

Author Bio

When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense, Seeing Things, was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with their Pug/Terrier cross Lou and several unnamed goldfish. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website.

Newsletter Sign-up:  http://bit.ly/2DEI8m3

 

Thank you for telling us about your awesome book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this delicious and mysterious romance series!

And don’t forget to enter the cool giveaway!

Thanks again to Jana and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Giveaways, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, giveaway, Mystery, new release, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, small town, steamy

New Release Feature: Never Retreat by author Bonnie McCune

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Bonnie McCune, an author I met during my journey! Her new clean contemporary romance with a touch of suspense, Never Retreat, officially released last week!

Yay! That’s awesome! :) Congrats on your new release!

When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!

Bonnie is giving us a look at her suspenseful, inspirational romance, Never Retreat, today.

Nice cover!

This is the blurb for Never Retreat:

A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.

Years ago, Ramona (‘Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up. Now at thirty-something, she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for a guy Raye should avoid. Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister.

See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple, Raye and Des, face their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their difference to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.

Here is an excerpt to entice you with!

“I won!” Raye’s handful of lottery scratch tickets, fanned out on the staff room table in front of her, glowed in a multitude of bright colors. She plucked the one nearest to her. “Forty dollars!”

Julia failed to respond. “He’s gorgeous. Just gorgeous.” Her unfocused eyes and neglect of the bear claw pastry in one limp hand showed how absorbed she was in telling Raye Soto about the new man striding around corporate headquarters in Denver.

“Didn’t you hear me? My winning ticket must be an omen I’ll get a big prize. You know how much I need it to cover Andy’s college. No student loans! Whoo-ee!”

“Not necessarily. You’ll have better odds at happiness if you notice a male hunk in front of your face. You haven’t even had a date in years.”

“Wouldn’t start with a good-looking guy. He’d be the most dangerous type. Anyway, you’ve never won awards for your taste in men,” Raye teased back. Her quick survey of the modest dining area showed no other people on break, so she geared up her joking. “Wasn’t your last crush the barista over at Java Hut? The one who drew your initial with cream on the top of your cappuccino, then pocketed the change you were due? And the one before rode a motorcycle and crashed at least once a month?”

“You’re one to talk!” Julia returned to consciousness, leaning back in her chair and tapping her index finger, this week manicured in turquoise blue with tiny spangles, on the veneer-topped table. “Your ex-, who hardly qualifies as an ex since he was only around for a few months, partied so hard and so often, he forgot to come home at night.”

“Let’s not get into odious comparisons. I got Andy from the experience, and that’s enough for me.” Raye pushed back her chrome-wire chair, stood, and began wrapping the remains of her meal.

“This guy, his name’s Des Emmett, would be perfect for you. If you’d drop the attitude.”

“How old do you figure he is?” I can’t possibly be considering Julia’s suggestion, can I? Raye thought.

“I’d say thirty-six, thirty-eight. He mentioned eight years in the service, and I know from his resume, which passed through my grubby paws when he transferred here, that he has a solid ten years in the corporate world. Most recently, at the highest levels.”

“And he’s not married?” With her free hand, Raye stuffed the winning lottery ticket in her pocket, then grabbed the remainder in a fistful jumble.

“No.”

“Why not? What’s wrong with him? Is he gay? Abusive?”

“Wait a minute,” Julia said. “You’re thirty-four and not married.”

“But I have been.” She considered the super-sized fruit yogurt she now balanced. The treat wasn’t finished yet, so she covered the container to tote to the staff refrigerator. “I admit he’s good-looking. Those ice-blue eyes, the casual dark curls.” In fact, he’s too good-looking. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him, she thought.

“Those molded lips, the bottom one a little fuller than the upper. The brooding brow.” Julia gathered her snack leavings, then walked to the refrigerator and leaned against the open door next to Raye to continue. “I think you’re ticked off because he treats you like an employee, not a woman. He shouldn’t be snubbed for that.”

“Absolutely wrong! I learned long ago not to trust charm and good looks. Anyway, why are you pushing him on me? Don’t you want to try your luck?”

Julia looked up at the ceiling tiles. “I haven’t told you, but things are getting serious between me and Eric. We’ve been talking about marriage.”

“Eeek!” Raye’s shriek echoed from inside the refrigerator. She pulled her head out. “That’s wonderful.”

“Nothing’s definite yet, so don’t mention it. I’m entertaining the idea because I hate to see a guy as nice as Eric go to waste. Or get picked off by a sneaky man-eater, like Krystle.”

“I remember two years ago when Krystle got tipsy at the holiday party. She kept rubbing her hands all over Eric, then tried to pull him into the hall for a necking session,”

Julia sniggered. “Fortunately he refused to surrender. That’s when I first guessed I could trust him.”

“Yeah, and he’s been hanging around you ever since,” said Raye. “That’s going somewhere permanent?”

“I sure hope so. The huuuge barrier right now to any kind of development is that car loan my folks took out and now can’t pay. Can’t get married, can’t even move in together because I have to help the family out. Anyway, a more cheerful subject, I first saw the new director of security this morning before he even got in the office. I was walking down the sidewalk past the entrance to the parking garage when he buzzed by on a motorcycle, tall and solid as a soldier. . .”

“A motorcycle!” Raye slammed the refrigerator door closed. “You know how much I hate those. You’re not building a case for my becoming besties with Mr. Desmond Emmett with that bit of information. Smelly, noisy, dangerous machines.”

A stricken look passed over Julia’s face. “I’m so sorry. I totally spaced on what happened to your brother.” Wrapping both arms around her friend, Julia hugged hard, and Raye let her. “You still miss him, don’t you?” Julia whispered.

“Like the devil. Every day. Even though it’s been years. Damn his infatuation with motorcycles! I hear about the Broncos winning, and I think, ‘boy, that’ll make Carlos happy,’ then I remember he’s not here. Or the first snow, I want to run in and wake him up so we can walk in the park, until I remember there’ll be no more times like that. He’ll never know his nephew graduated at the top of the class, or that Dad and Mom both have new romances going.” Raye stepped back after a final squeeze. “Thanks for not hesitating to mention him. That helps. Many people act like he never existed.”

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://getBook.at/NeverRetreat

Publisher:  http://www.imajinbooks.com/bonnie-mccune/

Intriguing! Gotta love this sneak peek. ♥♥♥

 

What are people saying about this book?

“A breathtaking page-turner that will leave you exhausted but wanting more!” —Corinne Joy Brown, award-winning author of Hidden Star

“Likable, relatable characters…a real treat!” —Cindi Myers, author of The View from Here

“Intriguing…engaging…A great vacation read for sure!” —Meg Benjamin, author of the Brewing Love Trilogy

“A compelling story about a hard-working single mom who faces adversity head-on, learns from her mistakes, and perseveres.” —Kim McMahill, author of Marked in Mexico

“Few novels operate on such different levels, moving their characters to challenge not just each other, but their own perceptions…McCune provides just the right blend of comic relief, interpersonal encounters, and outside environment changes to make her story a powerful blend.”—Midwest Book Review

Awesome!

Thank you for telling us about your new book! It looks great! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this riveting book! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf!

Author Bio

Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem about rain rushing down the gutter to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits, doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver’s beautification program.

Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers’ and arts’ groups, and children’s literacy. For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Bake Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress.

Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world.

Author Links

Website:  www.BonnieMcCune.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune

Twitter:  twitter.com/bonniemccune

Amazon author page:  http://amzn.to/2DE5dW1

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6436876.Bonnie_McCune

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/117106546075845481531

https://plus.google.com/u/0/111883621680717398231

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune

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

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/bonniebmccune/

Publisher:  http://www.imajinbooks.com/bonnie-mccune/

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, inspirational romance, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Women's Fiction