Category Archives: Message

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

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

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.

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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”!

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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.

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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.

Sign up for Lynn’s newsletter for news on upcoming releases and monthly giveaways.

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

Newsletter:  http://lstevensbooks.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9a853c02e8bcbb7b82724c274&id=690e626c95

Tumblr:  http://lynnstevensauthor.tumblr.com

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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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, New Adult, Readers, Romance, sports romance, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Lily Bastien from LILY’S MIRAGE, a HELL YEAH! book by Sable Hunter

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 Sable Hunter, who has some things to say about her character.

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

 

Meet Lily

Writers are totally at the mercy of inspiration. Without it, there would be no stories, or if there were, they’d be flat and formulistic, cookie-cutter pieces of cardboard, empty of soul and life. My hope is to never be guilty of such a tragedy.

As a writer, I’m prone to flights of fancy. I fantasize. I dream. My greatest joy is taking a single image from a movie or ten words from a song and transforming that small whisper into an eighty-thousand word confession of the soul. Sometimes that whisper of an idea will haunt me, coloring my dreams and fueling my thoughts.

As a chronic insomniac, I have many hours of solitude. The time between dusk and dawn can seem like an eternity. When I’m lucky, I can use that endless night to give birth to a character, a conflict, a climax – a seed, that if I’m lucky, will grow and bloom into a portrait of love.

This is what happened with Lily. The idea of her story glimmered to life on one of my dark nights. I could see her face. I could hear her voice. At the time we were first introduced, in LOVE FOUND A WAY – another of my vision children – I didn’t know much about her. All I did know was that she fascinated me. In the scene where she was introduced, as Glory Bee Hudson’s childhood friend, we find out that Lily is dying.

Okay, maybe I’m more than a little preoccupied with death. Even though I write romance novels, ALL with an HEA (happily-ever-after), I still manage to work in my own phobias and concerns in a somewhat cathartic fashion. I’ve often congratulated myself that I have the privilege of making a living with the same tool that I use to battle my demons. For example, in HEAD OVER SPURS, I addressed the problem that has reoccurred in my life now, an inability to shut my eyes and surrender to sleep.

I digress.

We learn that Lily is dying, she has a glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. She’s already endured treatment and been granted the godly version of three wishes in the form of three remissions. Lily has been told there will be no more.

I complicated the situation by making Lily the owner of Charlotte’s Art Gallery in New Orleans. Charlotte was a beloved character in one of my historical novels and it excited me for her story to continue into the present day. This plot twist presented a wealth of opportunity, for Charlotte was a marvel, a woman ahead of her time, a brave soul who stood up for what was right and risked her life to protect a talented artist, a freed slave, during a time when doing so broke laws and infuriated those who did not believe in the equality of the races. Even though Lily possesses Charlotte’s diary and many of the paintings that made up her original collection, there is so much about her that Lily doesn’t know. To spice things up even further, the gallery is located next to a mysterious shop, owned by a hoodoo practicing descendant of Charlotte’s, by the name of Bliss. As Lily lives and works where Charlotte once lived, she begins to feel a kinship with the long-dead woman, even seeing her ghost at times.

At least Lily thinks she’s seeing Charlotte’s ghost. Flora, Lily’s sister, is convinced Lily is having hallucinations as a result of her brain tumor.

Lily is extremely frustrated because her sister doesn’t believe her.

At the time I created the character of Lily, I had no plans to save her. Hell, it would take a miracle. I can write miracles, but I insist a grain of truth be present to substantiate the surprising occurrence. Yes, I see you out there – those of you who have read HER MAGIC TOUCH, but I will defend that work by saying that I have met a traiteur (Cajun faith healer) and that my Mama and two decades of attending a Southern Baptist church assures me that I have a guardian angel. I’m sure my personal GA is beyond frustrated, but I hope he keeps up the good work.

ANYWAY, Lily’s predicament, who she was and what would happen to her began to gnaw at me. The pivotal scene was born: a woman, about to undergo risky surgery for a brain tumor, is convinced by her family that the man she’s been telling them about, the man she’s in love with, is a mirage. There’s no use waiting for him to come as he promised to be by her bedside, because he isn’t real. He’s just a product of the cancer destroying her brain cells. Wow.

I tried to imagine her heartbreak when he doesn’t show, although she can remember every kiss – every touch – every word of love.

Now, as an author, this was my dilemma. Here, I have this super interesting character that I’ve created with an obvious expiration date.

I didn’t like it, but who could I blame? I did it to myself.

Still, I couldn’t let Lily’s story go.

In the midnight hours, when I rocked on my porch and watched the stars twinkle in the sky, unable to shut my eyes for fear I’d get sucked down into a well of forgetfulness, I dwelt on Lily. I began to see a story, a glimpse at a possibility, a mirage of what if’s.

What if Lily decided she needed to get away, to come to terms with her dwindling days?

What if she escaped to a remote barrier island, haunted by lost love?

What if she met someone? What if she fell in love?

What if she hid her fate from him, because there was no future for her – only the here and now?

Whoa! I would throw up my hands – because I refused to write a book where the main character dies. I hate those books! And I would not contribute to a trope that celebrates a nasty reality – no one gets out of this effing life alive, dammit. When I read, I want to be entertained, not reminded of my mortality – – that’s what keeps me awake nights anyway!

So…Lily languished in my TBW (to be written) notes…until I saw a 60 Minute episode on television that seemed to be the answer to my problem. To my amazement, a miracle was occurring; Duke University was conducting clinical tests to cure people with incurable glioblastomas by injecting their cancers with polio virus. Can you imagine? Well, it’s true. And it’s working in some cases – – and if I had my way, it would work in Lily’s.

Of all my books, this one is a bit unusual because the dominant role is the woman. Usually, I’m more focused on the male character. I’ve used the heroines more as mirrors to reflect the reader, so they can more easily fantasize themselves into the role as the story unfolds. But not this time. Lily is a force to be reckoned with.

Her strength does not discount the hero of the book, however. Blade Jensen is every woman’s dream – a handsome actor who grew up on a ranch in Texas, named Sexiest Man Alive, a man with the ability to love completely and forever. A true hero. He also has his own cross to bear, having lost a child to an obsessed fan. When he learns of Lily’s fate, he is determined to be there for her – no matter what.

Hey, for a romance writer, I’m ambitious. I tackle the meaning of life, the hope of an afterlife – exploring everything from spirits to reincarnations. Most importantly, I work hard to construct stories that will make people believe in the power of love. I want you to know that I stayed up nights – ha! – working this out.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

So…there I was with all these pieces, these problems, two strong three-dimensional characters who deserved a lifetime of happiness. Throw in a hint of the supernatural, a mysterious painting that seems to link the past with the present. Pepper the pages with secondary characters and settings plucked straight from unique New Orleans and a romantic remote island – and there you have it. A story I wanted to tell. A story that has stuck with me and hopefully one my readers will enjoy.

So far, so good.

 

Wow! Fascinating, Sable! Isn’t great how the muse works?
This sounds like quite a read!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we? 😉
Here is the blurb for Lily’s Mirage.

Lily Bastien comes to mysterious St. Phillips Island for a last fling with life. She knows her future is uncertain and love is not in her stars. Here, in a cottage haunted by lost love, she will discover a secret that will rock her world. A ghost from the past is not the only unexpected visitor to her private sanctuary. Imagine her surprise when she finds Sexiest Man Alive, Blade Jensen, naked in her bedroom. They clash, at first, but soon they can’t fight the attraction they feel for one another. Sparks begin to fly and the passion they share changes everything. Lily can only dream of forever, but Blade is determined to make her dreams come true. To protect the man she loves, she tries to hide the painful truth from him. But fate finds a way and Blade and Lily learn that sometimes a love is so great, one lifetime together could never be enough.

And Sable is giving us a peek at her novel!

“You’ll love it here. The island is self-sufficient with its own water and power supply. There’s a natural maritime forest and a long white sandy beach. All in all, St. Philip’s has about 5000 acres, including the marshland and the creeks.”

“Sounds great.” Lily was excited. “Is there a downside?”

“It’s haunted,” the boy said flatly, looking off into the distance.

“Oh, really?” She wanted to ask more questions, but the dock loomed ahead and her eyes widened at the natural beauty. “Oh, wow,” was her awed exclamation as they tied off and began unloading her things from the boat to the bed of the four-wheeler. “This place looks amazing.”

“If you go swimming, stay on the beach side, there’s alligators in the marsh to the north.”

“Thanks for the information and the help.” Lily tipped Seba and he continued on his way. She hadn’t driven a four-wheeler before, but she figured it couldn’t be much different than a golf cart.

The trail from the dock to the house was bordered by mammoth oaks with branches that spread wide, some hanging low enough to the ground to sit on. Spanish moss hung liberally from the trees, giving the whole place an eerie, Southern Gothic feel. As she topped the slight incline, Lily could see a beautiful two-story house nestled among a grove of large magnolias. A wide verandah wrapped around the house, deep enough to provide cool shade in the summer heat. A portion of the porch was screened and Lily hoped a bed awaited her there. Painted white with blue shutters, the house looked like a jewel, nestled on a bed of velvet jade. While the back faced the narrow bay and marshes, the front boasted a fabulous view of the Atlantic Ocean. Once she parked, Lily couldn’t resist running the last few feet of the way, more than excited to see what else the magnificent home had to offer.

The staircase leading up to the porch was wide and she was surprised to find the door and ceiling painted a light, smoky blue with large mirrors flanking either side of the entrance. There was even a bottle tree in the front yard, each limb decorated with a cobalt blue or sea green glass bottle. Remembering what Seba had told her, she shivered at what she’d discovered. “Oh, someone is superstitious as heck around here.”

Taking the key from her pocket, she let herself in and set out to explore the interior of the beautiful home before unloading her supplies. The layout and décor were straight out of Costal Living and the kitchen was a cook’s dream, with white cabinets, hardwood floors, and stainless-steel appliances. There were three bedrooms and three baths, one of the bedrooms was an impressive master with an en suite bath boasting a huge marble shower and all the amenities one would expect in a luxurious spa. As she continued to explore, Lily located the bedroom she wanted to use. At first, she thought it was just a sunroom, but after she entered, she saw it opened to the screened porch she’d seen from outside, featuring a breathtaking view and a magical canopy bed wrapped in filmy swaths of sheer material. The closest bath was a couple doors away, but Lily didn’t mind; a few extra steps wouldn’t matter to her.

Making herself at home, she unpacked her clothing, then adjourned to the kitchen. As soon as the groceries were put away, Lily prepared a quick salad for supper, choosing to eat on the verandah. Through the trees, she could see the waves pounding the white sand. Unable to resist, she placed her empty plate on a small wrought iron table and went for a stroll on the beach. The sun was just beginning to sink into the ocean, painting the sky with a blaze of red and orange.

With a contented sigh, she held her hands above her head, relishing the feel of the wind in her hair. She felt as if she could capture the breeze in the fingertips, claim glimpses of the faraway places the zephyr had traveled, places she’d never see.

Wanting the full experience, Lily removed her shoes and waded in the surf. Yet try as she might, she found it difficult to rid her mind of problems. She didn’t have to wonder where the future would take her; she knew. The doctor had been straightforward, telling Lily how it would end for her. The deterioration, the loss of faculties, and finally a coma. This revelation was nothing new. She’d lived with the knowledge of the unwelcome invader in her body for most of her life.

Oh, she’d long since gone through the seven stages of grief. Lily had lived far longer than most with a glioblastoma, she’d even gone through remission a couple of times. There would be no third time, however. No charm. Her Wish Book would never come true. She was nearing the end of a hard-fought battle.

What really angered Lily was that she didn’t look sick, she didn’t feel sick. To look at her, one wouldn’t think she had so little time left on this earth. Yet, she had a ticking time bomb in her head.

But she wasn’t planning to go peacefully into that good night. No, she wanted to fight this whole ugly thing tooth and nail.

She just didn’t know how…

What she needed was a distraction, a sexy distraction.

Her mind went to the handsome hunk she’d seen at the gas station. He’d said he was someone famous and Lily couldn’t argue; she didn’t keep up with such things. Yet even if he weren’t, she understood that women like her didn’t attract men who looked like him. Oh, she wasn’t ugly, she just wasn’t anything special.

No, she took that back.

She was special in her own way and if things were different, she’d have plenty to offer the right guy. Their encounter wasn’t a total loss, she could use her memory of him the next time she played with her toys.

After she’d strolled on the beach for a half hour, Lily turned around and began to make her way back to the house. The rhythm of the waves and the beauty of her surroundings went a long way to giving her a sense of peace. Hopefully, she’d be able to sleep.

As Lily prepared for bed, she wondered what the next day held in store. Before lying down, she cracked a window open. Sure enough, she could hear the ocean. With a contented sigh, she crawled beneath the covers and pulled them up under her chin.

Sleep wasn’t long in coming.

Bang! Crash!

Lily sprung straight up in the bed. She froze, scared to breathe. Was someone in the house with her? Did she have an intruder? After hearing more muffled noises, she grabbed her phone, only to find there was no cell service. Dammit! She hadn’t noticed where the landlines were. Rising, she glanced around. What she needed was a weapon. By the light of the moon, she could see the two-foot statue of the sandpiper sitting on the bedside table. Very carefully, Lily picked up the piece, weighing it her hands. Yes, she could wield it like a baseball bat, if the need arose.

Moving slowly, she tiptoed from the sunroom. Noises were still emanating from deeper in the house. After turning a corner, Lily could see that there was a light on in the master suite. There was an intruder in the house! She assumed there was plenty in the home to steal, everything from artwork to electronics. Dang it; she just hated a thief.

Rounding a corner, Lily almost dropped her makeshift club. Her eyes bugged wide and her jaw dropped. Standing in front of the open French doors was a naked man. His back was to her, but she could see wide-wide shoulders, a wedge-shaped torso, and wait…she recognized that curly hair. “You?” she growled her under her breath. Taking the few last steps, Lily used the bill of the bird to poke in his ribs, doing her best to ignore his delectable ass. “Put your hands up. You’re trespassing, cowboy.”

The man did as she asked, but in the next second, he stepped smoothly back, took the weapon from her with one hand and scooped her up with the other, tossing Lily gently to the mattress. After taking a good look at the pretty brunette sprawled on his bed, he grinned. “Well, if it isn’t Miss Pink Panties. This is my lucky day!”

Fighting to catch her breath, she huffed, “When did you see my panties?”

“When you kicked the football to that kid. For my benefit, right?” Blade tried to keep his focus, tried to ignore the way she chewed on her lower lip as she processed the most recent development, tried to ignore the two mounds of sweet tits quivering beneath the thinnest of sleep shirts, and two sweet thighs open just enough…but it was impossible. A fog of arousal enveloped his brain.

It had been way too long since he’d gotten laid.

Lily rolled off the bed on the far side. “No! There’s that monstrous size ego again! For your information, I would never do such a thing for your benefit! What are you doing in my house? And why are you grinning at me?” She pulled on the hem of her too short sleep shirt. Noticing the phone on the bedside table, she made a grab for it. “You need to leave! I’m calling 9-1-1!” As she pressed the numbers, she glanced at him; it was hard not to notice that his front was even nicer than his back. Washboard abs, full pecs, and…God, the man was hung!

“Good, tell them I have a sexy stalker.” Blade was enjoying their banter. Usually by this time, most women would be plastered all over him, not standing up to him like a spitting kitten.

“I’m not a stalker, I was here first!” she yelled, unable to ignore that he’d called her sexy.

“I figured you for an overzealous fan when you ran up to me in the parking lot.”

Lily tossed a pillow at him. “I was returning your phone, you big…dickhead. Hold that pillow over yourself.”

Cowboy snorted, catching the pillow, and holding it waist high. He was still trying to ignore her jiggling breasts. “Nice of you to notice. Why are you frowning?”

“There’s no dang dial tone,” she muttered, throwing down the cordless phone. “Don’t come any closer!” Lily held up her hand when she noticed the big man moving nearer.

“Settle down, kitten. I’m reaching for my jeans.”

He turned his back on Lily to slip on his pants and she hid her eyes, peeking through her fingers. “Look, whoever you are, if you’ll leave quietly, I won’t press charges for breaking and entering.”

“I didn’t have to break in.” He reached in his pocket and pulled out a fob to dangle in front of her, wincing as his cock chafed inside the denim of his jeans. He should’ve brought underwear. “I have a key.”

“Well, so do I!” She pointed toward the sunroom. “In my purse, in my room. I am a guest! Bliss Renaud is my friend. She invited me to stay here.”

“So, you’re not the caretaker? I was about to ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement.” He paused to think. “Perhaps I should get you to sign one anyway. I don’t want anyone to know I’m here.”

“So, don’t be here! Leave! Who invited you anyway?” Lily was trying not to notice his abs…or the happy trail of fur leading from his abdomen all the way to what she’d had her eyes glued on earlier. The man was a sheer wonderland of tactile, erotic delights.

“My agent arranged this whole thing. The owner used to be my stunt double, I’m not going anywhere,” Cowboy said slowly, as if speaking to someone with a learning disability. “Look, if I give you an autographed picture, would you settle down?”

Lily stomped from his room, taking her crane with her. “For the last time, I don’t know who you are! Why would I want an autographed picture?”

Cowboy followed her. “Don’t give me that, everybody knows who I am. Women throw themselves at me all the time.”

“Yea, I’m sure the bodies just pile up around you.” Lily stopped and faced him with one hand on her hip, looking him up and down. “You could be a vacuum cleaner salesman for all I know.”

“Are you serious?” he said, staring at her as if she’d grown two heads. “Where do you live, under a rock?”

“Are you a singer? A football player? A serial killer?” she said, then backtracked. “Oh, don’t be a serial killer, forget I said that.”

God, she was cute. “I’m an actor. I played Jake Dominic in the Draco series.”

“Sorry, I don’t own a television.”

When he saw the blank expression on her face, he began to believe she didn’t know who he was…or she deserved an Oscar for her performance. “Who doesn’t own a television?” He stalked through the house, flipping on lights. “I came here for some privacy and a long overdue rest. I don’t intend to share my space with a desperate fan.”

Lily was fast losing her patience. “For the last time, I’m not a fan! I don’t know you and I don’t want to know you. And for your information, I’m not desperate!” She followed him through the house, ending up in the kitchen. “If I were desperate, you’d be the last man on earth I’d want, you’re too full of yourself!”

He opened the refrigerator and pulled out a bottled water. “There’s plenty of resorts up and down the Carolina coast. You can find somewhere else to stay.”

“Why don’t you? If you’re a famous actor like you say you are, you’ll be welcome anywhere.” She leaned on the counter, hiding most of her body from his eyes, suddenly conscious of her state of undress.

Cowboy chugged the water, walked to the bar, and took a satchel from a chair. Slamming it on top of the counter, he took something out and pitched it on the granite surface in front of her.

Lily didn’t have to look too closely. His handsome face covered the front of the magazine. “Blade Jensen, Sexiest Man Alive,” she mumbled. “Seems like I might’ve heard that name before.” Lily exhaled a long breath, tired of their argument. “Fine.” She threw up her hands. “You’re famous. I’ll go pack and you can take me back to the island. I’ll find someplace else to stay. My life’s too short to spend time arguing with you and I’ll sign whatever document you want me to, although I certainly won’t be doing any bragging about our time together.” With that dry observation, she gathered up the sand piper and headed back to her bedroom.

Blade watched her go, entranced as much by the length of her long, shapely legs as he was by the fact that she didn’t know who he was – and didn’t seem to care. Her long dark hair hung down to a delectable ass and if she swayed a certain way, he could see a little sliver of black satin peeping out from beneath the T-shirt she wore. “Hey, what’s your name, kitten?”

Lily stopped, but she didn’t turn around. She was tired and frustrated. Finding a place to stay at this time of night was going to be a pain. Maybe she’d just sleep in her rental car. “Lily Bastien from New Orleans.”

“All right, Lily Bastien from New Orleans, why don’t we just make the best of a bad situation…for now?” He took a few steps toward her.

Slowly turning to face him, she hated that he made her heart skip a beat. She wasn’t afraid of him, not really. Where Blade Jensen was concerned, she was more afraid of herself. “What do you mean?”

The big man shrugged and his muscles rippled. “Stay the night. Leaving at this hour could be dangerous.”

Lily felt her nipples bead; she couldn’t remember ever reacting this way to a man before. His fame was not a factor, she was just drawn to him. “I don’t know, staying might be even more dangerous.”

“A little danger makes everything more exciting.” Giving her a wicked grin, Blade saluted her with the bottle. “Besides, I don’t have a boat. Looks like we’re marooned. Together.”

“Great.” With a huff, Lily started for her room. “You just make sure you stay on your side of the house.”

Blade chuckled. “In case you get any ideas, kitten, my bedroom door will be locked.”

She never looked back, the only reaction his announcement got from her was a hand in the air with a raised middle finger.

Blade’s chuckle rose into a full laugh. The first good one he’d had in years. This woman wasn’t impressed with his fame. She had no idea how attractive that made her to him. Couple her spunky attitude with her drop-dead gorgeous body and his heart was stuttering in his chest.

Well, he guessed he wasn’t dead inside after all.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B074L4YG4F

Nice! I love the tension between them! ♥♥♥

How exciting to learn about your sexy, contemporary romance with a touch of the paranormal, Sable! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Lily’s Mirage!

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

Guest Bio
Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 60 books in 9 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream.

Author Links

Website:  http://sablehunter.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/huntersable

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2wVn9N

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4419823.Sable_Hunter

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/qRvyn

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

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

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sable-hunter

 

Thanks again, Sable, 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 Lynn Stevens visits us on October 11th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Herod D’Argyl, Anti-hero from THE CYNN CRUORS BLOODLINE SERIES by Isobelle Cate

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 first post in this series.

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

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

Who is Herod?

 

When I started writing my paranormal series, The Cynn Cruors Bloodline, Herod was just one of the secondary characters in my stories about vampire/werewolf hybrids. I really had no intention of truly developing him into someone that made my heart squeeze. It just came as a ‘eureka’ moment and since then, Herod became someone who had a deeper connection to the main characters of the series.

Just like my heroes, Herod was also infused with the same DNA as the Cynn Cruors. The difference was that he was batting for the other side. He was a Scatha Cruor. But the complexity of how he came to be the epitome of the evil the Cynn Cruors were battling against is deeper than what the first five books in the series have shown. In the 6th book, Midnight’s Paradox, Herod’s identity is revealed. Naturally, I made sure there was a foreshadowing of things to come from the very start.

Herod’s evolution did not come overnight. I spent several nights in the course of writing the series that I’d just be in bed, stare at the ceiling and see Herod’s life unfold before me. There were flashes of inspiration that I had to write down immediately lest the impact of the words disappeared from memory. And with every unfolding of Herod’s story, I couldn’t stop the sorrow I felt for him. I remember the time I wrote his dialogue and the scene with another character and I couldn’t stop crying. Using words to describe him, to give him form, he became a living, breathing character.

He became real.

Characters take time to develop. Sometimes, an author may have already given a character his/her attributes, then suddenly adds further traits to make the character multi-faceted or multi-dimensional. Herod was one such character. His actions affected everyone in the series. Directly or indirectly, he became part of their collective memories.

Collective memories…maybe I might just write a book about Herod and why he made the choices he did that led him down a slippery slope.

If you want to read about immortal highlanders with vampire/werewolf DNA, why not read the Cynn Cruors Bloodline series?

Yes, why not? 
Let’s find out more about the novel, shall we? 😉

This is the blurb for Midnight’s Paradox, book six of The Cynn Cruors Bloodline Series:

IT BEGINS IN AN ANCIENT CASTLE, WITH IMPULSIVE HOT STRANGER SEX –AND IT LEADS TO WORLDS SHE’S NEVER DREAMED OF…

In Isobelle Cate’s SIXTH erotic paranormal romance, it’s been hundreds of years since immortal Cynn Cruor warrior Blake Strachen buried what little was left of his family. And it’s been three years since his last unsuccessful raid on his nemesis Dac Valerian. Enemies are still at large. Too much is left unfinished.

Restless, Blake is wandering through the deserted streets of Edinburgh in the early morning hours when he encounters the ghost of a woman, a witch hung centuries ago, who speaks cryptically of “the sins of the father”. But before he can ask her what she means, she disappears with the first light of dawn. Dawn means that Blake–a vampire-werewolf-human hybrid–must find shelter, and he stumbles into the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle before visitor hours. But he’s not alone…

Phoebe Ruth has come into work early at the old castle when she notices the dark shadow of a man handling a relic sword with surprising ease. A powerful and disturbingly attractive man. Sparks ignite immediately, the two strangers wordlessly embracing with an uncontrollable passion neither of them understands… But just like that, Blake disappears.

All day, like a stereo needle skipping over a vinyl scratch, Phoebe replays the steamy sexual encounter of the early morning–the hunger that threatened to devour her. Was it just an arousing dream? But when Blake rescues Phoebe from an assault by thugs in the cemetery, each becomes enraptured by the other. Forever.

Phoebe has read of the Cynn Cruors in her father’s journal and believes they’re only the ravings of a grief-stricken man after losing his wife. But after several chance encounters, she begins to realize that the Cynn Cruors’ world is as real as the dark stranger’s bonfire of burning kisses. Both Phoebe and Blake have sordid pasts to sort through. And these chance encounters inexplicably link the two lovers together in more ways than one…

This haunting love story will appeal to romance readers who love a hot steamy erotica series with a paranormal element– supernatural shifters, werewolf romance, and vampire romance (it’s got all of that!) –and plenty of explicit sex.

***CONTENT WARNING: This story contains adult language and sexual situations and is intended for audiences 18+ ONLY. ***

And here is an excerpt.

Herod looked at himself in the mirror, his reflection blurry at best. It was as though the mirror had fogged after someone had taken a long hot shower. But there was no shower to blame since the mirror was in the corner of his room, in his own manor. The room was stone cold, with its vaulted ceiling and tall windows that overlooked the expanse of a dark loch intermittently covered with black ice. His bed had hardly been slept on, not for lack of want. He’d been at Dac’s beck and call nearly twenty-four seven. He hadn’t raped a woman in several days nor killed someone to feed the debauched, altered Kinaré gene inside him. It didn’t matter that Herod didn’t feel the cold or he hadn’t had a good fuck. What annoyed him was that he couldn’t bloody see clearly. Dac came in the night before and smashed the special mirror he had, and with everything that was going on, vanity wasn’t on Herod’s list of priorities for the time being.

He squinted, trying to catch a sharper glimpse of his wound but not even the Cruor’s razor sight could pierce the ordinary looking glass. The only thing Herod could do was to feel the flesh around his wound. A three inch slit where The Hamilton’s silver laced claymore gored him. Any other blade without silver wouldn’t have left a scar. Herod remembered the pain of the silver cutting through his bloodstream and the white hot influx of the adriserum The Hamilton jammed into him to alleviate the damage the metal inflicted on him.

Herod closed his eyes. For as long as he could remember, he thrived on pain. He loved receiving, giving it. Even in battle, he had a perverse pleasure of feeling the metal singe his skin though only to a point. He was still too obsessed with living for the pain to be the harbinger of his last breath. He loved to hear the tortured cries of Scatha victims and the mournful wails of the sex slaves as they were auctioned to the highest debauched bidder. He watched and joined in the hedonism when the winning bidder sampled the merchandise in front of a lascivious crowd. Sometimes he participated, sampling the quality paid for. The pain was different when it came to silver, not only since it was the bane of all Cruors – Cynn and Scatha. It was because the pain reminded him of what it was like to be human.

Weak and fallible.

Herod twisted his torso so he could try and see the exit wound. His brow furrowed in concentration as he felt his skin stretch taut against his back, the sensation around the healing wound similar to the tiny feet of ants crawling over and around it. He whipped around, his eyes narrowing when the door to his room opened and Dac sauntered in.

“Nasty wound,” he remarked.

Herod grunted, reaching out for his muscle shirt draped over the nearby wingback chair.

“It’s healing.” The shirt covered his body. A warning tingle skittered around in a circle on Herod’s nape. Dac was on to something and Herod wasn’t sure what it was. Instinctively, he brought his mind barrier up. He hardly had any need for it except when Dac had his over suspicious moods. He tracked his liege lord across the room as Dac perused his wide collection of music CDs that surrounded his state of the art audio system, an Infinite Grand. Herod loved listening to Chopin, the only composer who made him feel any semblance of peace. This was what was left of his immense collection when most of it had been razed to the ground in the Isle of Man’s siege. Centuries ago, he’d had the immense pleasure of listening to the virtuoso play several of his compositions when Chopin performed in one of the many grand salons of Europe.

Dac’s fingers ran across the roughly hewn stone wall blunted by time, his gaze taking in the huge four poster bed sans the overhead damask curtains which Herod abhorred because it made him claustrophobic. Instead, above the bed, framed on the wall was the D’Argyl tartan of forest green, black, and brown. It resembled a bedraggled and tattered piece of cloth that Herod had returned for after his confrontation with Deanna.

It was the only thing left to tie him to who he was, the only symbolic piece of humanity to tie himself to.

Herod sucked in a harsh breath.

Fucking conscience.

Why did he have to return to get it? He should have left it in the fortress to be a sacrifice to feed the fires. But no, he had to drag his sorry arse to rush like the wind to the fortress before the sun burned him alive. He hid in the tunnels and picked his way along the corridors that swarmed with Cynn Cruors, entered his room to take his birthright from the wall and leave through the forest. He knew all along Deanna would eventually find the hidden trapdoor in the forest that led to his room.

He kept this knowledge a secret.

Herod watched Dac peruse his clan’s colours and braced himself. As he suspected, Dac started to invade his mind and when the Scatha Cruor leader made a gesture to touch it, a small growl rose from his throat.

“Touchy,” Dac laughed, amused.

“You know I don’t like you or anyone touching what is mine.”

“We share women,” Dac feigned confusion. “You take her hole, I take her ass or mouth. We rape them together, kill, and share the spoils. And you don’t want me to touch a measly rag?”

Herod’s eyes heated and he knew his eyes were about to change. His hands fisted, and his jaw clenched to tamp down his fury.

“You don’t share my family history or my clan, Valerian. That alone is mine. You were Roman, I was Gaelic. I will not warn you again.”

“You forget yourself, D’Argyl.” Dac’s grin waned.

Herod expelled a breath and sat down on the chair, to put on his steel toed boots.

“So do you, my liege.” Herod’s muscles flexed and slid under his skin as he tied the laces. “You wouldn’t be the Scatha Cruor leader if I didn’t save your life.” He stood, a small smile shadowing his mouth at Dac’s annoyance.

“That’s about to change.” Dac glared.

Unprepared, Herod fell to his knees, grunting at the pain that exploded inside his head. It snaked through every nerve ending of his brain and to his horror, the Scatha Cruor leader suddenly flipped the lock of his memories. Racing against the onslaught, Herod allowed the pain to blind him, darkness clouding his vision while his mind galvanized every barrier and protection from the attack.

In a second, Dac withdrew, the agony that ripped through Herod disappearing like it never happened. Herod fell on all fours, his heart beating so loud in his chest it might as well have been the waves coming from a nuclear blast. Dac’s boots appeared in front of Herod before he crouched.

“What are you hiding, D’Argyl?” he asked, his voice soft hardly threatening. “I often sensed you hiding something from me soon after we escaped the Ancients.”

In retaliation, Herod slammed into Dac’s mind. Dac howled, staggering and falling on his ass. Herod pushed, straining against the powerful walls of Valerian’s brain. Hell, Dac had been there when Hadrian’s Wall had been built. He probably had a convo with Shih Wang Ti to build the Great Wall to hide his own memories.

There!

He found something but his concentration broke when Dac roared once more before swiping his claw against Herod’s face. Herod reeled from the force of the attack when he felt the claws swipe through his skin and jaw bone. He catapulted into the air landing in a defensive growl, his lips pulling away from his teeth in a snarl. His vision turned green waiting for Dac to attack once more. Herod’s fangs elongated, his jaw breaking to accommodate the teeth that began to crowd inside his mouth.

Dac didn’t attack. He stood looking down at Herod whose green blood still trickled from his jaw on to the stone floor. His eyes, completely black, gradually turned to its normal color. Without a word, he stormed out of Herod’s room. The door crashed against the stone wall and when it did, a fissure ran through the wood causing slivers to fall softly to the floor. Herod leaned back, his chest heaving from the exertion of shielding his mind but it was enough for him to catch a glimpse of an image before Dac broke his concentration.

The key that could bring Dac Valerian’s downfall.

A sarcastic chuckle broke out from his still bleeding mouth.

After all this millennia, he could finally go home. A groundswell of emotion nearly drowned him.

“No,” he roared. He shut his eyes, forcing the emotions back. Sentiments had no room in his world anymore. Memories, no longer a part of his life.

It was already too late.

Herod stood, a bit unsteady on his feet after Dac’s attack and the needling of his persistent and awakening conscience. He left his room and made his way to his castle’s great hall when he stopped and sniffed. A rumble fizzed up his throat. What the fuck was a Cynn Cruor doing in his manor? Did they find out where he lived? Fuck! Frustration and fury formed a thunderous vee on his forehead. The Keep was the only thing he had left he could call his own and Dac had to bring complications to his doorstep.

Whizzing up to the gallery so he could determine his mode of attack, Herod eased himself above the great hall. He could feel his eyes transforming at the sight of the Cynn Cruor taking liberties with his extensive collection of cognac. His gut soured and his claws fisted until he drew blood that dripped to the floor. Shit, by the time Dac was through and he moved on to another abode, Herod would probably have baptised most of his castle in his own blood. He listened carefully, his sharp teeth starting to fill his jaw, eager to sink his claws into the Cynn Cruor. He didn’t know the immortal, wasn’t one of those he paid for betraying the Ancients’ trust.

Dac roared, his pupils dilating to a dark greenish black that held dark flecks so deep that any human would not be able to turn away. The last time Herod saw Dac transform was shortly after Dac’s attempt on the life of the Ancient Eald. Herod had also gone through the same transformation, the corruption of the Kinaré solidifying the more evil they perpetrated.

“Give me something I can use against the Cynn Cruors, traitor, or not only will you not get your money, I will have also have your head.”

The need to transform disappeared as Herod listened to what the traitor had to say.

“Here we go again,” he muttered before leaving the gallery and joining Dac in the Great Hall.

Intriguing! I hope you all get a chance to read this steamy paranormal romance! 🙂

Or discover the full series at the links below…

Rapture at Midnight             https://books2read.com/u/mYgg7d

Forever at Midnight              https://books2read.com/u/mZ5NeR

Midnight’s Atonement           https://books2read.com/u/bMrRXX

Midnight’s Fate                       https://books2read.com/u/3k0ve8

My Haven, My Midnight      https://books2read.com/u/3k00WR

Midnight’s Paradox               https://books2read.com/u/bMrrPk

Midnight’s Yule                       https://books2read.com/u/ml5rAW

How exciting to learn about your erotic paranormal romance, Isobelle! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Midnight’s Paradox!

Readers, don’t forget to check out the whole series! It looks fantastic!

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

Guest Bio

Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks. Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist. Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations:  the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins. Her vision and passion are fueled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend. Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.

Author Links

Website:  www.isobellecate.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Isobelle_Cate

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Isobelle-Cate/e/B00E5OD27K

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191925.Isobelle_Cate

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/isobelle-cate

 

Thanks again, Isobelle, for giving us a peek into the world of your characters. Exciting! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Sable Hunter visits us on September 28th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

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