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Book Review: Dear Heart by Linda Lingle

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Dear Heart by Linda Lingle.

This is an interesting story laid out as a compilation of diary entries that tell the story of responsibility overcoming true love.

The narrator is married and her love interest is, too. But, when a work relationship becomes so much more – they have to navigate their way through to each other. The idea of cheating on your spouse is distasteful to me, but the story goes on in a way that you can’t help but feel for the pair.

After a whirlwind romance, life takes hold and everything changes.

Will the soul mates reunite? Or will their everyday lives keep them apart?

I really enjoyed the format of this story and how the author was able to bring it to a comfortable close. While adultery might not be a topic that everyone is comfortable with, the love story at the center of it will keep you reading.

This was something that I would definitely suggest! – I give Dear Heart by Linda Lingle 3 HEARTS!

Recommended Read

Book Info:

Deirdre Reid and Hartley Tate feel an immediate attraction when they meet at the office where they will work together and fall in love. There is only one problem: they are married to others and Lee has four daughters to whom he is devoted.

For 15 months Deirdre and Lee carry on a passionate affair. Then Lee’s wife is offered a big promotion across the country. With his heart breaking, Lee leaves Deirdre in San Francisco and moves East with his family so his wife can advance her high-powered career.

Soon, unforeseen circumstances have Deirdre second-guessing her insistence on a clean break. She resists every impulse to fly to Lee’s side, but on the first anniversary of their parting, Deirdre grows increasingly regretful and melancholy. Then she receives a surprising Christmas present which sets in motion a 38-year ritual that, against all odds, keeps alive the love she shared with Lee.

As their destiny unfolds, Deirdre and Lee dream about finding their way back to each other’s arms, and an unlikely guide emerges to light the path of their journey.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/mBrG5D

Here’s a peek at the book…

Dear Heart —

I was so sorry to learn about Jean. I know you must be feeling adrift, as I did after Bill passed, and I wish I could be there with you to let you know that everything will be okay. But, after nearly forty years of suppressing my impulses to abandon everything and fly to your side, I simply cannot give in to them now. What I can do, however, is finally give voice to our most cherished memories which, after all of these years imprisoned, can at last be freed to exist within the light. 

Why now? Because it is safe. There is no one left to be hurt by the knowledge of what we shared for those fifteen short, wonderful months. There’s the children, of course, but they are older now than we were when we met, and unlikely, in this day and age, to be shocked by what we did – especially since, when the time came to decide which road we would take, we opted not to disrupt their lives, nor Jean’s, nor Bill’s. I have never regretted that decision, Dear Heart, though the pain of parting left me shell-shocked for all of these years. 

That is not to say that I haven’t thought about you every day since the heartbreaking morning we said goodbye, or often wished that things were still like they were all of those years ago when, after watching Soldier of Fortune on our first night together, you became my Clark, even though you looked nothing like Clark Gable, except for the mustache, and I became your Susan, even though I looked nothing like Susan Hayward, except for the color of my hair.

But it was never about looks with us, was it? It was a visceral attraction, shockingly strong, and immediately apparent. Seeing you walk by my office on your first day at Cunningham, Miller, Bender, and Schade took my breath away and, somehow in that instant, I knew that I had just glimpsed my soul mate.  And when you shook my hand at the meet-and-greet, and a thrill coursed through me like electricity, and when I saw that you experienced it too, I knew that Fate had brought us together and that we were going to be lovers. It was preposterous, really, because up to that point neither I, during fourteen years with Bill, nor you, during sixteen years with Jean, had ever considered cheating, or even looked at another person with the slightest interest.

But my relationship with Bill was not like ours; with Bill, it had been a practical attraction, not a sexual one. Bill had been drawn to my energy and outgoing personality, and I to his ability to provide stability and security, which I desperately needed after my parents died. We were helpmates, not soul mates, partners journeying through life, not as explorers and adventurers, like we were, Dear Heart, but rather like Eleanor and Franklin after Lucy Mercer. And, although we had a comfortable life, it lacked the vitality that a sexual component brings to a relationship. I did not dream of Bill’s touch, nor imagine the feel of his body on mine every waking moment such that I could think of nothing else. I did not eschew sleep to indulge the fantasies of my restless libido, nor walk through life in a perpetual state of arousal, a phenomenon which I had not experienced until you came into my life.

Oh, Dear Heart, how I’ve longed to hear you call me Susie once more, how I’ve ached for you every night! And, although I highly doubt that I could get this old, arthritic body of mine to ebb and flow like it used to, I yearn for one more afternoon with you, making sheet music in decibels so loud that we surely must have scared the gulls and the fish in the bay.

But time moves on. I have long since stopped dyeing my hair that rich, auburn color you loved so much and I’ve put on a few pounds that I can’t seem to shed no matter how little I eat. And, though you have seen me at my worst and loved me still, thirty-five and full-figured is one thing, but old and plump is another, especially when you throw in grey hair and the probability that the breath required to fund just one more BIG O with you would surely be my last.

Still, after years of putting one foot in front of the other and trying not to dwell on what was, I am finally able to give myself up to the experience without fear that I will die from the pain of wanting you and not being able to have you. I have been through the worst of it and have come out the other side – battered and bloodied, yes, forever changed, certainly, but better for having known you and the rapture that comes when two souls, created from the same wisp of angel’s breath, unite in love, if only for an instant.

As I take these first steps down the road of our experience, I realize that there are those who will see this as a quest for redemption, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, once upon a time we found the Holy Grail of love and fulfillment and were forced to relinquish it, but not because we were unworthy. Our hearts were pure, of this I am certain, but Fate had other plans for us, and sent us on a journey to prove our love was true. It was an arduous trip of longing and desire, sorrow and pain. But there were also respites along the way, of indescribable happiness and unexpected blessings.

Although I may never again know the fire of your embrace, I will experience it nonetheless as I retrace the steps of our story – slowly and with deliberation so that I can savor every morsel of our time together. Call it self-indulgent, or the fanciful undertaking of a silly old fool, but also call it a labor of love, Dear Heart, because most of all, that is what this is.

AUTHOR: Linda Lingle

TITLE: Dear Heart

GENRE: contemporary romance, second chance romance

RELEASE DATE: May 6, 2018

PUBLISHER: Solstice Publishing – Summer Solstice Imprint

ISBN/ASIN: B07CX91BYM

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: Take My Heart by J.J. Sorel

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Filed under Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Contemporary, Event, Readers, Reviews, Romance, score, Second Chances, Writing

Blog Tour Feature: Indigo Knights Series by A.J. Downey

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by A.J. Downey, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your contemporary romance series! :)

When a series is completed, it is both a thrilling and bittersweet time for authors!

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

Let’s hear a little about this MC romance series…

Such great covers!

Let’s learn a little more about the Indigo Knights Series…

This is the blurb for Her Thin Blue Lifeline, book one:

Chrissy Franco has every reason to take one hell of a victory lap around the courtroom. She’s just defended her client to the best of her ability and what’s more? Her client was actually innocent. Oh, she’d killed her husband, baseball legend Skip Maguire, alright; but he’d been about to hit a homerun with Miranda’s head.

His rabid fan base doesn’t agree with the verdict, and they’ve set their sights on Chrissy as the one to blame. One of them is about to set into motion a dangerous game when he publishes poor Chrissy’s address online…

Enter Tony McCormick, a detective with the right kind of attitude and Chrissy’s sort of ex-boyfriend. When he’s called to Chrissy’s apartment, he’s prepared for the worst. He’s a homicide detective after all. When he arrives, it seems that someone might have forgotten to check to see if Chrissy was still alive… now it’s everything he can do to find the man who did this and the other behind it all before it’s really too late.

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, second chance, MC romance, mystery, suspense

Length: Novel

Release Date: June 28, 2017

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

Here are some teasers to entice you with.

Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/3LGDRJ

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38310257-her-thin-blue-lifeline

This is the blurb for His Cold Blue Command, book two:

Assistant District Attorney Damien Parnell leads a double life above and beyond his membership with the Indigo Knights. Driven by dark desires considered shameful by most, he covets the one thing he can’t allow himself to have – a real relationship.

Enter Ally Blaylock, an innocent by Yale’s standards. She’s the sweet and beautiful girl who makes his coffee at the café across the street from his office. She’s done her best to flirt off and on with the high powered attorney and he can’t help but be drawn to her whimsical charm.

When Ally finds her world tipped on its axis, Yale goes against his better judgment and offers her some unlikely help. He knows better than most that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but in this particular case, could it be the opposite? Could Allison Blaylock be the start down the road to his salvation?

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, MC romance

Length: Novel

Heat Level: Steamy, some BDSM

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

Here are some teasers…

Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/38xZQ6

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36380279-his-cold-blue-command

This is the blurb for A Low Blue Flame, book three:

Lillian Banks’ career took off like a house on fire and she’s on top of the world. Great job that she loves, moved to a great city, into an opulent new condo, in one of the world’s premier smart buildings no less; all she was missing was the kind of romance to set her soul aflame. She thought she’d found it but instead, found herself burned.

Backdraft knows what it’s like to get burned and not just by fire. His ex, Torri, did quite the number on him recently by banging one of his firehouse bros behind his back. He’s sworn off love and dating altogether for the time being and is happier for it. He just wishes he could get the time he wasted with that crazy skank back again.

Out of the ashes, an unlikely friendship is formed. Backdraft and Lilli could find themselves rising if only they can get past their hurts and give things a chance. Of course, lasting happiness is no guarantee, no matter how much they might burn for each other. After all, sometimes what was doesn’t want to let go.

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, MC romance

Length: Novel

Release Date: May 22, 2018

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

Some more teasers…

Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bwqvoG

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40015086-a-low-blue-flame

This is the blurb for His Wild Blue Rose, book four:

Alyssa isn’t completely honest when she answers the ad for a roommate online. True, she needs a place to live; true, she’s getting a divorce; true, he’s a cheating jerk. There’s just a little bit more to it than that. So when the ad comes across her screen Indigo City beat cop looking to rent out a fully furnished room… she jumps on it, because what could be safer than living with a cop?

Golden isn’t too keen on living with a chick, but after posting online looking for a roommate, he’s found the pickings are slim. The softly spoken brunette doesn’t seem like she’s much trouble, plus she’s got the cash up front, so what the hell? She’ll just have to get over his bringing home badge bunnies from the 10-13. He’s got a stressful job, and the best way to blow off steam, in his estimation, is hot sex.

It’s a pressure cooker waiting to blow and it turns out the new roomie has moxie, which gets Golden to thinking, which leads to him feeling. This is either going to be a really good or a really bad idea.

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, MC romance

Length: Novel

Release Date: July 17, 2017

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

Quite a few teasers for you to enjoy…

Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/3ygEen

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40390125-his-wild-blue-rose

This is the blurb for Her Pained Blue Silence, book five:

Everleigh has had a wandering spirit since the day she was born. Her boring, small town could barely contain her and at the first opportunity, she fled. It was only natural falling in line with the freedom that MC life brought to her. The allure of never being told what to do a strong one. Sadly, she found herself trading one cage for another. Given the road name Silence, for her shy lack of voice, she’s been a part of a motorcycle gang out of Maryland. A rough and tumble lot believing in sovereignty, running guns and drugs through Indigo City.

Narcos has been undercover with the outlaw MC, the Knights of Crescentia for more than a year. In that time, he’s seen and heard all sorts of things, except for Silence’s voice. She’s the president’s Ol’ Lady and probably knows infinitely more than he does as a prospect to the club. All that is about to change. Narcos is about to be patched in. Unfortunately, patching in means going to an extreme he’d never thought he’d be pushed to and Silence is in the crosshairs.

How will he get through this, through to her, and keep them both alive?

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, MC romance, suspense

Length: Novel

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

More teasers for you…

Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/b6x8O6

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42975298-her-pained-blue-silence

✫✶•Releasing in April•✫✶

 

This is the blurb for A Code Blue Call, book six:

It was a dark night of the soul for Angel, the night she appeared like his namesake. He would have liked to have known her, but she was gone the next morning. Now, more than a year later, he was doing much better, continuing his work in Indigo City’s streets as a paramedic, responding to medical emergencies.

Claire could never forget the medic whose life she saved just by being in the right place at the right time. Still, it wasn’t enough to rescue her from her own dark night of the soul and unlike him, she followed through.

Fate had other ideas for the both of them and for whatever reason, their paths crossed again at exactly the right moment. Both of them were now determined to not let this second chance pass them by, not like the first…

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, second chance, MC romance

Length: Novel

Release Date: April 16, 2019

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

A few teasers…

Pre-order Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mYrpZP

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43563810-a-code-blue-call

Love the tension and the steam in this series. ♥♥♥

 

Plus, A.J. is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card during this tour. Follow the book tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

 

.•°GIVEAWAY LINK°•.

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/indigo-knights-book-tour-and-giveaway

 

Thank you for telling us about your new steamy MC romance, A.J.!

I know I can’t wait to read this sexy series! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of the Indigo Knights Series!

Author Bio

A.J. Downey is a born and raised Seattle, WA native. She finds inspiration from her surroundings, through the people she meets and likely as a byproduct of way too much caffeine.

She has lived many places and done many things though mostly through her own imagination…

An avid reader all of her life, it’s now her turn to try and give back a little, entertaining as she has been entertained. She lives in a small apartment in a quiet neighborhood with a larger than life fiancé and two cats.

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

And don’t forget to enter the cool giveaway!

Thanks again to A.J. and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Book Release, Books, coming soon, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, giveaway, MC and biker romance, Mystery, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Second Chances, steamy, Tour, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Lisa Doughty, plus a look at historical romance, ELLA AND THE EXPERIMENT!

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

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author of historical romance novels. Please join me in welcoming Lisa Doughty to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Lisa Doughty:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, it’s such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

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

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Lisa:  Originally my chosen occupation was in the music industry. I have a degree in Master Engineering – Making records specifically, vinyl records. That probably gives you an indication of how long ago that was. Now they are collector items! In any case, it didn’t matter how good I was at it, there was no money in it. When I met my husband and got married, I was forced to grow up and get a real job. We started our own business together and out of the need to feed myself and a growing family, I settled into the role of CFO. But I never lost my interest in show business. During the years in a job of necessity, I kept one toe in the industry by stage managing at the CMT theatre downtown San Jose and associate produced two indie films “X to Y” directed by Matt Sobel, which won best film at the San Jose film festival, and “Mayra Darnell” starring Lena Olin, which premiered at the SWSX 2017 film festival to great reviews and did well in Europe.

It seemed a natural progression into writing once my kids grew and did not need me anymore. Now partially retired, I can focus on this new career and my new artistic outlet of writing.

Marie:  Great! So, tell us…what is your family like?

Lisa:  I have a wonderful and supportive family. My husband of thirty-two years is encouraging and motivating in this new adventure. He has always gone along with every crazy creative outlet I’ve have indulged in over the course of our marriage with a large amount of enthusiasm. He is especially excited about my writing. He has read my books and feels I have something new to offer. My children think I’m crazy…again, no surprise there. But I love that they see that you should never be scared to follow your dreams, no matter what they morph into over the years.

Marie:  Good point!

Let’s try something else, okay?

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

Lisa:  Hmm, a strange question that I’m not sure how you want answered. Do you mean physically or psychologically? Since I’m sure this is not a psych test, I assume you mean physically.

Imagine your typical 1960’s two story suburban track home – and there you have it.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Lisa:  I love everything and anything artistic. Writing, painting, creating with every possible medium. It’s an OCD thing, can’t settle for just one…

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! The creative monster needs to be feed, right?

So…what is your greatest dream?

Lisa:  To get back into film and theater on the writer/ producer side this time. I am currently working on a series for TV and am halfway through my first play. I’m hoping to produce one of them by the end of 2019.

Marie:  Nice! ♥

Let’s try another question.

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

Lisa:  Okay, now this is really starting to feel like a psych test…

Marie:  (Laughs.) Not a psych test at all. But I know that most readers want to get know authors as people too. 😉

Lisa:  Well, I can tell you honestly that nothing has ever held me back from pursuing what I wished to be. Wherever the wind has taken me over the years, I have boldly jumped in with both feet. Additionally, I am lucky enough to have a great support system to encourage me. They cannot wait to see what I’m going to do next! I am their biggest source of entertainment. In turn, I encourage my children to try everything. To not to be afraid to fail at something.

That is a lesson in itself; we all need to know what we’re not good at so we can find what we are! The true failure is being afraid to try.

Marie:  So true…

Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?

Lisa:  Gary Kibbie, age 7…fell in love with his blonde curls. Broke my heart when he wouldn’t play truth or dare with me. Never forgave him, but married a tall, blond Swedish man that I’m sure is my way of getting over him. Neener, neener!

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Well, I am so glad you got your happily ever after. 😀 (Sighs.) I love romance. ♥

Let’s try something else now.

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

Lisa:  Hands down, my father’s death. I’ll leave it at that.

Marie:  Oh, no! 😥 I’m so sorry you went through that.

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

[Lisa nods.]

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

Lisa:  I had too many to mention. In a nutshell I wanted to try everything, and although the list is long, I have been slowly been working my way through. Some of them weren’t as fun as others so I dropped those. I’m not done, so I would never say I haven’t achieved one, I’d rather say I haven’t focused on trying that one yet.

Marie: All right.

So, who is your role model, Lisa?

Lisa:  No role models to speak of. I never understood why people have one, actually? Why would you want to be like someone else and not forge your own path? They’ve already forged theirs. Why repeat it? Boring!

Marie:  Okay. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Lisa:  Same answer!

Marie:  Gotcha! Your approach is refreshing. 😀

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Lisa:  To live my life to the fullest, eradicate complacency.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

Tell me something, Lisa. What is your greatest fear?

Lisa:  Not to try everything I wanted to. To look back at my life and wish I had put myself out there because I was afraid of what might happen if I did.

Marie:  It would be hard to live with that regret.

So, I want to try something different next, Lisa… 

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Lisa:  Probing question! I need a big island please, preferably in the Caribbean (I hate being cold), because I’m bringing my entire family, a fully stocked Costco, a complete Home Depot including the garden section, my bed, and my laptop.

Oh, I hate cold weather too! Add a long-life battery and magical Wi-Fi to that list, please… (Winks.) I think I would still need a way to do research for my books.

Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.  🙂

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Lady Cordelia Cromwell, Countess of Middleton Park. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

 

Lisa:  Cordelia is a survivor. Scarred by her father’s abandonment and abused by her first husband, she remains resilient. Even though trapped in circumstances out of her control, she finds a way to make her life her own. Unfortunately, that requires that she build a wall of defenses around herself that threaten to hold her back from a truly fulfilling life. She is frightened to let anyone one in that can hurt her again.

Marie:  I guess I can’t blame her there! I found it hard to trust again too after the debacles with my two exes.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Lisa:  Resiliency and charm. Cordelia learns quickly how to use what tools she has left to rebuild her life. After the death of her husband, she is left with mounting debt and a dilapidated estate. Cordelia uses the only things of value her late husband left behind. Her position and her connections. Coupled with her charm and beauty, she becomes a matchmaker to the elite. Her uncanny ability to match couples soon becomes legendary, and she is sought after for her services from the highest ranked members of nobility.

Marie:  Resourceful!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Lisa:  Cordia is afraid of love for herself. Vowing never to be property of a man again, she pushes everyone away because of her fear. This soon becomes her biggest weakness as The Marquess of Roth, Lord Rhys Drayson starts to break through her defenses. As she falls for the charismatic rake, she realizes how lonely her life really is without someone to love and to love her in return. This starts to crack the foundation she has built and threatens to destroy the world she has built for herself.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of her favorite foods?

Lisa:  Cordelia loves cognac. Usually deemed a gentleman’s drink, she loves that no man can prohibit her from drinking it and loves the sweet, yet strong taste.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Nice!

How about another question?

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

Lisa:  Confidence. Cordelia is unaware that her confidence matched with her beauty makes men off balance around her. She is often unaware of the effect she has on men. As she concentrates on keeping them at a distance, she often misses the effect it has. Instead of repelling them, which is her goal, it makes her mysterious, a challenge and gives her an unobtainable air that makes her even more attractive.

Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Lisa:  I hope they will like her! I want them to identify with her fight for independence, her role as a survivor and respect her for it. Although Cordelia is a fighter, she is also scarred. She deserves happiness, yet is afraid it doesn’t exist for her. I want the reader to understand her fears and wish for her to push through them, rally behind her and want the best for her.

Marie:  Works for me!

Now that we have a real taste of Cordelia, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for The Countess?

Lisa:  The Countess is my eleventh book, The Matchmaker Series my fourth series. I have always loved putting unlikely characters together in a love story. After all, romance is about the journey. But with The Matchmaker Series, I wanted to try a completely different approach. Instead of writing their story toggling back and forth between both of the main character’s point of views, I decided to dedicate the first book The Countessbook one to hers and the second The Marquess-book two to his. This way I could go into much more detail about the characters, and give the readers a much deeper understanding of them. It also was a way to show how differently they perceived the situations they shared and their reactions to them. After all, we, especially men versus women, perceive the exact same event differently. It was fun to show this difference and how it shaped the outcome of their story as a whole.

Marie:  Oh, I love how unique your series is! I look forward to reading it sometime. 😉

Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

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

Lisa:  I design my books specifically to be an easy read. No overly flowery sentences, or need to use a dictionary for every other word. Some may call this rudimentary, but I like and want my readers to be lost in the story, an escape from reality while they read. Not feel like they received a history lesson or a lecture on Literary English. I also try to stay away from too many mundane descriptions of landscapes or the surroundings. To me, endless pages describing buffet tables and furniture settings are tedious to read and often stall the story. I try to give just enough so the reader can get a picture of the setting, but still be lost in the character’s story. I am somewhat of a comedian too, can’t help it, but hope I pull a tear or two at times when the story calls for it.

Mostly, I want you as a reader not want to put it down. Feel anticipation of what might happen at their next encounter and be shocked when it didn’t turn out as you predicted. I used to call these red light reads – books you read at every red light when you are forced to deal with real life but you cannot put the book down.

Marie:  Sounds good!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The Countess appears to be. Congratulations on your upcoming release…

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this historical romance by Lisa Doughty, once it comes out! :)

Here is the initial blurb for The Countess:

Lady Cordelia began life abandoned by her father, the Earl of Swanstone, to the Fountain Abbey School for girls after her mother died in childbirth. Cold, detached and heartless, her father never visited his daughter until she became of age, then arranged her marriage, or rather sold her to the Earl of Middleton Park, a man 30 years her senior, infected with the French disease, who was practically destitute thanks to the escapades of his former and now deceased wife. To make matters worse, the earl had very disturbing sexual proclivities. Cordelia, being innocent yet sharp, was forced to endure her circumstances and find a way to survive. However, the encounters with the earl leave her scarred for life, distrusting all men and their treatment of her. When the earl finally succumbs to his illness, she becomes the tenth Countess of Middleton Park at the tender age of twenty-two and vows never to wed or belong to a man ever again.

Left in debt and with a crumbling estate, Cordelia uses the only thing of value left to her by the late earl, her position and her connections. She begins a matchmaking service that caters to nobility, far and near. Clever and shrewd, she joins forces with London’s most sought-after designer Rodrigo, who creates the most exquisite and unique fashions for the debutantes in her service. The transformation of her clients is unbelievable and soon becomes her calling card. That, paired with her uncanny ability to match her clients to the members of the exclusive Ton, soon makes her a lucrative commodity. For the young, beautiful, yet unobtainable Countess this means independence and freedom, and she finally feels as if her life is her own. When she encounters a certain Lord Rhys Drayson, Marquess of Roth, she is taken aback by his handsome face and undeniable charisma. Lord Roth has a well-publicized reputation of being a rake and a womanizer, so Cordelia quickly decides to rid herself of the arrogant lord, who solicits her services at the insistence of his sister Lady Esme Drayson. Unable to escape the Marquess and the undeniable attraction between them, Cordelia soon starts to buckle under the rake’s attentions. As her defenses fall, so does her resolve to never give her heart to a man, until his past follows him to her doorstep and threatens to shatter her heart into a million pieces, despite the undeniable love between them.

Lisa is giving us an exclusive peek at the book! ♥

“Lady Cromwell, Lord Roth, and Lady Drayson,” the butler announced.

Roddy stepped forward immediately. “May I be the first to welcome you, my lord, my lady. I am Rodrigo,” he announced with a flamboyant bow. “And this is Lady Cromwell.”

Cordelia peeked at the couple from behind the brim of her hat.

The lady was lovely indeed, with raven hair and bright green eyes. Lady Drayson was smiling in anticipation, eager to meet her. Cordelia could not see the gentleman’s face. His broad chest and tall stature obscured her view. In a practiced motion, she kept her eyes downcast, watching where she stepped, adjusting her skirt as she turned, and looked at him through her lashes first. Good Lord, Roddy might be right about this one. First, she saw his Hessian boots. No high heels for this one. His black trousers ended inside his boots at the knee, and his muscular thighs strained the material above them. His jacket tails brushed his calves. This gentleman was no dandy, at least not in fashion. When she raised her eyes, they immediately locked with his. Handsome did not describe this man. For the first time her in her life, her heart skipped a beat. He was the male version of his lovely sister, but, where she was soft and feminine, he was rugged and masculine. His green eyes stared in hers with such intensity, it rattled her.

She forced herself to look at his sister and curtsied, bowing her head slightly so the rim of her hat hid her face. She took a shallow breath to compose herself. Roddy was looking at the Marquess longingly. He hadn’t noticed her reaction to the man, thank the Lord! If he had, she would have never lived it down! When she rose, she addressed Lady Drayson directly and did not look at either of the men. Her hat partially obstructed their view, which gave her confidence to speak.

“Lady Drayson, welcome to Middleton Park.”

“Thank you, Lady Cromwell. I have been looking forward to this pleasure for a long time.” Lady Drayson curtsied. “May I present my brother Lord Rhys Drayson, the Marquess of Roth.”

Cordelia smiled demurely and kept her eyes downcast as she curtsied but looked at him as she rose. She had better control of herself this time. She had the same reaction to him, Lord above, this man rattled her nerves. She tried not to stare, although she wanted to. Everything about this man radiated masculinity. His long black hair curled around his collar and forehead. His angular features and strong chin gave him his rugged appearance. But it was his intense green eyes that made her feel naked under his gaze. A thousand needles pricked her skin as he studied her. His eyes drifted to her lips when she spoke.

“My lord, welcome. Thank you for making the trip from London to escort your sister to Middleton Park. It must have been a major inconvenience.”

He stared at her for what seemed like an eternity without answering, his face expressionless. This man was disconcerting. He needed to leave. Luckily, she had already decided not to take Lady Drayson on as a client. Cordelia prayed that once she turned them down in person that they would return to London directly.

“Not at all,” he finally answered. His baritone voice matched his appearance. Cordelia suppressed a shiver as vibrations rolled down her spine. It would be best to get them on their way quickly. As fast as possible!

“Shall we retire to my office and discuss what you require of me?”

“That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it, Rhys?” Lady Drayson bumped her brother with her elbow, since he was still glaring at her.

“Of course,” he said, with a wave and a bow. “Lead the way.”

“Will Rodrigo be joining us?” Lady Drayson asked hopefully.

Cordelia had not noticed that Roddy had excused himself. “If we conclude our business today, you can meet with him first thing tomorrow,” she replied, not willing to dash the lady’s excitement in front of her guests or her brother until they were alone. Let her have a meeting with Roddy. He seemed eager enough to have her as a client. Then she could send them on their way, satisfied.

“You are behind the rest of the guests. They have been here for a few days and are well acquainted with each other already. And, if Rodrigo wishes to change your look, there is not much time for him to do it before the ball.” She chuckled, to take the worry out of her statement, but further planted the seed for refusal. Cordelia threaded her arm through Lady Drayson’s, and started toward the house, giving Lord Drayson no choice but to fall in step behind them.

Intriguing!

Additionally, let’s have a look at Ella and The Experiment, book one of the Ladies of Kent Series.

Here is the blurb:

Lady Ella McHenry is a genius like her father. Following her father’s death, she steps into his role at the University as a problem solver and tutor. Now alone, she must contemplate marriage in order to keep the fortune her father left her as well as her independence. Her Aunt urges her to add physical attraction to her list of logical and intellectual attributes she wants in a husband. Not seeing the point, she decides to test her aunt’s theory by conducting an experiment on the subject. When the handsome rake Lord Dexter St Johns comes to her for help on his artillery project, she makes a bargain with him. She will help him with his project if he will conduct an experiment with her. Little did the analytical Lady Ella know how much of her heart would become entangled in her conclusion and how important attraction can be.

Lord St Johns was in a race to be the first to complete a smaller more efficient weapon against his nemesis Lord Vanderguard. Desperate to keep such a weapon out of the warmonger hands, he is forced to enlist help from the most unlikely source, Lady Ella McHenry. At first glance he didn’t believe the petite and rather severe looking young woman could help his cause. Taking a leap of faith, he hands the top secret plans over for her analysis. To his surprise, she turns out to be the one person to solve his issues. When she asks for a favor in return he could not refuse her and blindly agrees to whatever she needs. To his shock, she wants to conduct an experiment that is beyond scandalous and even more exciting than he could imagine. As Lady Ella knocks him off balance and steals his heart, his project and her involvement in it puts her in mortal danger. Now he must not only save her, but his heart as well.

Lisa is also offering us a teaser from the book!

“There she is!”

“Where?”

“There!”

“Don’t point!” Dex hissed as he pushed Devin’s finger down. “Bloody hell, keep your voice down!” he shushed in a harsh whisper. “We are in a library, after all.”

Dex spied Lady Ella McHenry sitting by the window in a blue wing back chair. It fairly engulfed her, she was so tiny. She was much younger than he had expected. In fact, she looked like a child. If her hair wasn’t piled atop of her head in a mature hairstyle, and wearing a prim and proper dress, he would have thought her one. The glasses perched on her nose should have made her look older, but they didn’t. This couldn’t be the genius that Devin had been going on about.

She was engrossed in a book, her brows furrowed as she read. Then, to his surprise, she turned the book sideways, examining it curiously at the awkward angle. What was she reading?

“That cannot be her, Devin. That is a child.”

“It’s her, I swear. She is small, but I assure you, she is fully grown and a genius, just like her father. My dad thinks her intelligence may even surpass her father’s.”

“If this is some kind of joke, my fist is going to find your nose!”

Devin held his hands up in surrender. “I wouldn’t do that to you, Dex. I know how important this is to you. Besides, I like my nose just the way it is, thank you very much.”

Despite his friend’s assurance, he narrowed his eyes at him in warning. He was not in the mood to be trifled with. “Introduce me then. I have no choice but to trust you at this point,” he said, resigned.

****

Ella’s was actually reading book hidden within a book. She couldn’t very well read the Kama Sutra out in the open, after all, so she had hidden it inside a book on mathematics that she had memorized. From the outside, it looked as though she were studying. If anyone asked her a question about it, she could easily answer without hesitation. She thought the illustrations would have made her blush but, to her surprise, she wasn’t embarrassed at all. The cartoon-like drawings were graphic and anatomically detailed, but they didn’t make her uncomfortable at all, as her friend Gerard had predicted.

Ella was beyond determined to learn about sex and understand what all the fuss was about. She was sick and tired of her aunt and uncle asking if she were attracted to her choice of suitor. She could see no logic in picking a husband purely on the basis of attraction. The choice should be made for practical reasons. He should be intelligent, levelheaded and have a mind for business. Her future husband would be responsible for father’s fortune now that it was hers. That had to be priority number one.

Besides, she would not disillusion herself. She was not a classic English beauty that could attract a handsome lord. She was much too petite and plain to be noticed by that sort of noble gentleman. Small like her mother, with her father’s nondescript chestnut hair and brown eyes, there wasn’t much to catch a man’s eye. That had become evident after her one and only season she had had at her aunt’s insistence. The only suitor who had called on her ran for the hills once he found out she intended to participate in all decisions regarding her fortune. When she tested his business knowledge, he failed miserably. She could see no reason to continue the courtship since he would not agree to her terms. He married another heiress within a month. Good riddance.

Since then she decided to pick her candidates using logic. In the year since her failed season, she had tripled her fortune. In fact, her uncle had come to rely on her expertise about his own investments. It was just mathematics after all, simple percentages, profits and losses. It was not as difficult as all that. What she really needed was a business partner, not a husband. Of course, they would have to have an heir to secure the estate, but besides that, she needed a keen business man.

“Ella, I understand you are protective of your fortune,” her aunt patronized. “But you do have to procreate with the gentleman. Surely, an attraction to each other would be desirable, if not necessary. After all, it isn’t a chore that needs to be done. With the right partner, the act of procreation can be quite enjoyable.”

Ha! Attraction? The only men she was attracted to wouldn’t give her the time of day, no matter how large her fortune might be.

“Excuse us, Lady McHenry. May we have a word?”

When she looked up, there were two gentlemen standing in front of her. It was as if her thoughts had manifested into reality. Two of the Ton’s most handsome lords had materialized right in front of her, Lord Devin Armstrong and Lord Dexter St. Johns. Her mouth fell open. She closed it quickly and snapped her book shut to hide its contents. Shocked, she sucked in her breath and accidentally sucked some spittle down her windpipe in the process. Instantly, she started to choke. Embarrassed, she tried not to cough, but she couldn’t breathe.

“Is she choking?” Dex asked, as he watched her struggle for breath. “She is! She’s turning red!”

Wow! I’m curious to find out what happens next… 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/3nnv8B

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this historical romance! ♥♥♥

About Lisa Doughty

Lisa Doughty has worked in theater and is also a film producer of X to Y and Maya Dardel starring Lena Olin has always had a knack for creative endeavors and storytelling. As an avid romance novel enthusiastic, she eventually became unsatisfied with the plots consistently having women as the damsel in distress. With her frustration of repetition she began writing. Her inspiration stems from the women who break through society’s suppression and stand out in their era, and that is how her incredibly successful book, The Black Star, was born.

Books:

Coming Soon:

 

Available Now:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Lisa Doughty, here are some author links:

Website/Blog:  https://www.lisadoughty.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lisa.doughty.180

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Doughty/e/B07KWS261Z/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16788681.Lisa_Doughty

Once again, I want to thank Lisa Doughty, the brilliant author of these historical romances, for stopping by!  It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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A to Z’s of Romance: a Valentine’s romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

A to Z’s of Romance

 

I launched this blog in 2014. It just occurred to me that I haven’t written a post of my own in a while. Mainly I just share authors’ new releases, interview both authors and characters, we feature guest posts about romance, and we started offering book reviews in the new year. Sure, sometimes I feature love poetry I’ve written, but tackling a new article about romance?

Well…that’s just what ILRB is about, right? So I thought it was apropos to write something that might work for Valentine’s Day. ♥

Without further ado, here is my list of alphabetic advice for romantic relationships:

  1. Affection. By saying ‘I love you’, you can never go wrong. But your partner wants to see proof of your feelings as well.

    Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

    Kiss your girl on the hand or forehead. Hold hands whenever you can. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to show your love. Simple gestures – love notes, for one – that express your affection will make your partner feel appreciated, and he or she will reciprocate in kind.

  2. Be Compassionate. We all have bad days or experience illness at one time or another. Some of us have a jerk for a boss. Listen to your partner and empathize with their problems.
  3. Creativity. If you think your romantic dates are getting stale, or stress is dragging you both down too much, get creative! Think of unique, fun activities to help you connect, and find different ways to appreciate each other.

    Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

  4. Devotion. Stay devoted to your partner, and your relationship will be ‘deliciously dazzling’, and result in something ‘divine’ that you share. Do you see what I just did? 😉
  5. Excitement. When two people stay together in a relationship for a while, things tend to become more relaxed and that initial excitement you experienced evolves into a wiser love. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find some of those butterflies again. Arrange to meet your partner at a bar or other public location. Pretend you’re total strangers, that you’ve just met, and strike up a conversation.

    Created by Freepik

    Or act like it’s a blind date. Flirt a little. Feel free to explore each other all over again. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something new about your lover, and refuel your passion.

  6. Feed Your Partner. Just so you know, guys and gals, cooking a meal once in a while is a great way to show how much you care. You’re taking the time to make something nice that you both can enjoy.

    Created by Freepik

    Plus, as long as you don’t always launch into watching television right away, it can set the stage for a good, intimate conversation.

  7. Go On Dates Together. The origin of the word ‘date’, meaning a romantic liaison, can be traced all the way back to the 1890s and up to 1903 (I am such a word nerd! LOL.). No one is definite on the exact year.

    Created by Freepik

    Anyway…make date night a thing. By doing so, you’ll find ways to reconnect after a busy week and still enjoy yourselves.

  8. Have a Party at Home. How can that be romantic? Let’s find out. Well, you could throw a fun party just for the two of you, even add a theme to make it interesting. Exchange stories about how you fell in love. Share memorable times that made you appreciate your partner more. And heck, go all out with the food and wine. What a night, right?
  9. Identity. Recognize that you’re both unique people. Celebrate your differences and varying interests. For example, if the other person likes action, sci-fi or horror movies, volunteer to watch a film together.

    Created by Freepik

    Even your partner’s favorite one. Listen when they explain why this is their top movie. The experience will bring you closer, and help you understand the other person better.

  10. Just Be Open. Don’t forget to communicate more often. Be honest with each other about anything you’re feeling. Don’t go out of your way to be rude – tact has been tossed out the window these days, even though we should bring it back – but keep the lines of communication open. There’s a difference between texting and sitting down to have a real discussion without the interference of technology. You’ll feel much closer in the process.

    Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

  11. Kissing. A kiss is just a kiss, right? Hmm…not at all! There are different types of kisses. Sexy kisses, platonic kisses, light, affectionate kisses, and the list goes on. But there’s one I call the ‘floaty kiss’, the kiss of love. It’s the kiss where you can tell you’re in love, or at least almost there. How do I describe this? Well, your head spins, you get breathless – except that doesn’t seem to matter much – and the world disappears. All you can do is experience this thrilling, amazing kiss, and keep kissing back until you can no longer breathe. 😀

    JD Mason, Unsplash

    So, explore kissing with your partner. More often than not, this type of kiss happens when you can fully focus on each other. Kiss the one you love, and find a surprise on the journey.

  12. Lovers Rule. You don’t need to schedule your physical intimacy, of course, but if life has gotten in the way recently, try to reconnect in a romantic way. However, a satisfying quickie doesn’t hurt either! 😉

    Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

  13. Memories. Find some way to remember your happy moments together, to bring them to life. Go through pictures you took, or you could even make a collage or scrapbook of your romantic memories.
  14. New Activities. Try something new together. Take a class, go to a new, fancy restaurant, or learn a hobby as a couple. You’ll acclimate to working as a team, and share a new experience in the process.

    Created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com

  15. Observe. Pay attention to the subtle nuances in your partner’s life. Both men and women can feel taken for granted after a while, so help out with daily tasks when you can. Plus, if your partner has obviously been feeling down about something, go out of your way to make a special gesture that shows you notice him or her.
  16. Protect Your Private Time. It’s so easy to let life get in the way. Make an extra effort to spend more time together.
  17. Quietness. Savor your quiet moments together, even if you’re just cuddling and softly speaking. Life can be too hectic, and these times are precious.

    Created by Freepik

  18. Read a Romance Novel. Ha! Didn’t think I’d throw that one in there, did you? Guys, if you’re still calling these books ‘smut’ or ‘fluff’, get a table at Reality Check Diner. There are so many options with sub-genres now, from fantasy to paranormal, sci-fi and dystopian, all the way to romantic suspense and thrillers (here is a full list to make it easier to understand). There’s something for everyone. Or…maybe you’re into erotic romance. We won’t judge! ♥ Anyway, try reading a few romance books, and see if you still don’t have respect for them. Plus, immersing yourself in this type of fiction might let you know what your wife or girlfriend secretly yearns for. And having that knowledge is a good thing… 🙂

    Created by Freepik

  19. Sweetness and Sensuality. Be sweet and thoughtful with your partner. Never demean or make your significant other feel they aren’t worthy of love and attention. As for being sexy? Don’t be afraid to flirt, dress sexier or dance in front of your partner. Even if you feel foolish – and we understand that putting yourself out there causes vulnerability – your efforts won’t go unnoticed.

    Created by javi_indy – Freepik

  20. Talk. Stay interested in your partner’s life. “What are you doing today?” or “How was work?” are great conversation starters, and it’s better than an awkward silence. Even people who have been together for years develop a certain familiarity with each other and pay attention to unspoken cues. So, if you care, you’ll ask your partner what’s wrong when something is up.
  21. Unite. Make big decisions as a couple, instead of one partner going off and doing their own thing. If this will affect everyone, you should have a say too. Respect each other, honor one another’s opinions, and make an informed decision as a unit.
  22. Valued. Always make your partner feel valued. You want your significant other to see that you care, and you like to spend time with them.

    Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

  23. Wedding…Yes or No? Hey, we get that marriage isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve been in a supposedly committed relationship for a long time, and the M word has never come up once, this a RED FLAG. Have a heart-to-heart, and find out if your partner has hang-ups about tying the knot.

    Katherine Hanlon, Unsplash

    Already married? Great! If you’ve been together for years, one idea to celebrate the romance in your relationship is to do it…again. Consider renewing your vows. Wouldn’t that be a fun event? What could be more romantic than remembering why you said yes, and marry your honey all over again?

  24. XOXO. Hugs and kisses are an important way to express how you feel about each other. These gestures can also be therapeutic during rough days. Touch is a big part of a romantic relationship…hey, not just the sexy kind of touching!

    Brooke Winters, Unsplash

  25. Youth Is Overrated. You don’t need to be a teenager or a twenty-something to still want romance in your life. Consider revitalizing your relationship with fun activities. At any age, you can always add in a gesture or two to spice things up.

    Thierry Hardoin, Flickr

  26. Zero. Contributing no effort at all will just cause trouble, at least in the long run. Relationships are hard work, but if you have a strong connection with your partner, none of these ‘little things’ you do for the one you love will ever feel like work.

    Created by Diller – Freepik

    And that’s my take for a prescription to achieve a lasting modern romance…

    So, what do you think? What might you add to this recipe for love? Comment in the thread below, and let’s start a discussion! 🙂 ♥

Host Blogger Bio

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years, and has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.  Since 2010, she has published 24 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 Instagram. Also, feel free to sign up for her monthly newsletter, and follow her on BookBub. 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

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon Author Page:  https://amzn.to/2SMRcRD

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

Publisher:  http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

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

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

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂 And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Created by starline – freepik

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Book Review: Boardroom, Bedroom by Gemma Snow

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Boardroom, Bedroom by Gemma Snow. If you’re looking for a short story with a lot of meat and very little potatoes, this one’s for you!

Geneva is a business woman trying to finalize a deal and Dylan is the hot guy, heir to the company, standing in her way. The story goes by quickly and is filled with plenty of sex (for those of you who are looking for those kind of stories), but be warned – the overarching storyline sets the women’s movement back…way back.

I waited a week to write this review, just to see if my thoughts changed at all – they didn’t.

Geneva is a smart woman, or she is supposed to be. After a particularly trying meeting with Dylan and his father, she decides on a night out with her best friend. The best friend who promptly bails on her at the bar (what kind of friend does that?).

Geneva thinks, “Okay…I’ll have fun on my own.” (You go, girl!) While dancing, she proceeds to let a guy she doesn’t know and even hasn’t looked at, use his hands on her in the dirtiest ways possible…on the dance floor. (I get it, that’s pretty hot.)

Then, still without even looking at him…she agrees to go home with him.

You were supposed to be smart, Geneva!

But, surprise! We already know who the guy was the whole time (Thank goodness it wasn’t that creepy guy who hangs out at every bar, ever.)

Fast forward, after a lot of hot sex…he agrees to the business deal. At this point, I was just thinking, “Kick him in the balls, Geneva!… and don’t forget your clutch on the way out!” (Quid pro sex is not sexy.)

But, no. She was happy about it. 😦

I love romance and always will. But, stories that make women (or men) less than what they should be and what they deserve, are, let’s face it…a boner killer.

I give Boardroom, Bedroom by Gemma Snow 1 HEART.

Book Info:

All Geneva Sterling wants is for Trenton and Sons Investment to sign the contract that could make her career. She’s been after them for nearly a year, and would have been successful too – if it weren’t for Dylan freaking Trenton. He’s hell bent on sinking this deal, and he’ll stop at nothing to get her to back off. But Geneva’s not going down without a fight, even if her opponent in this boardroom boxing match makes her hotter than anyone else ever has.

Dylan Trenton just wants to get his mind off work, and the powerful, infuriating and oh-so-beautiful Geneva Sterling. So when an associate takes him to Club Underground to check out his most recent investment, Dylan decides to go with the flow. After all, there’s a goddess in a slinky silver dress just calling his name. But when he finds out exactly who he’s dancing – and more – with, Dylan learns that hate and desire run a close parallel, and tonight he might just step over the line.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/4AJxro

Gemma’s free option: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/r7rS2

The teaser is way too racy for us to post on ILRB, but you can view it on the author’s site here.

AUTHOR: Gemma Snow

TITLE: Boardroom, Bedroom

GENRE: erotica

RELEASE DATE: October 13, 2017

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN: B076FM75HL

OUR RATING: ♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: Dear Heart by Linda Lingle

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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New Release Feature: Meant to Be Kept by author Amelia Foster

•..•Meant to Be Kept by Amelia Foster•..•

“She’s my wife, and I’ll do anything to keep it that way.”

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Amelia, a debut author I met during my journey! Her new second chance romance, Meant to Be Kept, officially released at the end of January!

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

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

Amelia is giving us a look at her contemporary new adult romance, Meant to Be Kept, today.

What a great cover!

This is the blurb for Meant to Be Kept:

One night. One too many drinks. One mistake. That’s all it took to derail my marriage.

Now, all I can do is beg for a second chance. To try and redeem myself in a bid not to lose the love of my life.

I’m determined to use every second, every moment I have to show my wife how much she means to me—to rebuild the trust I shattered.

But the harder I try, the more I start to realize our marriage had fallen into a routine of complacency and misplaced priorities long before my indiscretion.

Isabelle is a strong, passionate, beautiful woman—a wife who has sacrificed so much for me. I just hope it’s not too late for us, and that I’ll be able to convince her that our love is meant to be kept.

Here is an excerpt to entice you with!

All the air left her body in a whoosh and Izzy blinked a few times, certain she was seeing things. When the telescope and the mountain of blankets and pillows filling the bed of Tanner’s obnoxious yellow truck didn’t disappear, she spun around to face him.

“Tanner.” She breathed his name and lifted her hand to his cheek. So many thoughts ran through her mind, but none forming into coherent words. Instead she wrapped her arms around his neck, feeling closer to him than she had all week. Closer than she had in years.

His deep chuckled vibrated against her and she closed her eyes, reveling in the sensation. “I’m glad you like it, but we haven’t even gotten to the surprise yet, sweetheart.”

She pulled back, but held on to his shoulders. “What do you mean? We’re going to lie under the stars together on a huge pile of pillows, and you even got a telescope which is something we never had before. . . Tanner, what more could there possibly be?”

“Well, I’m glad you asked, sweetheart.” He stepped away from her with a grin and pulled something off the driver’s seat of his truck. When he turned back around her eyes widened at the present wrapped in dark blue paper. “A little something for you.”

Izzy shook her head, not accepting the proffered gift. “It’s not my birthday.” Her brow furrowed. “And it is still, what thirty-six days until our anniversary? So why am I getting a present?”

A brief flash of disappointment flitted across his face and served to only deepen Izzy’s confusion. But just as quickly as it had come, it disappeared. “No, it’s not your birthday or our anniversary or Christmas, even. You’re getting this because you deserve to get something you love simply because you love it, not just because I’m sorry for what I did. Which I am. Extremely.”

She couldn’t help the small smile that tugged at her lips when she finally took the nearly flat rectangle from his grasp. She took a few steps closer to the truck, needing the help of the interior light. Izzy’s breath caught when she pulled the paper away. She looked from the gift she held in her hands to Tanner’s expectant face and back several times before jumping in his arms, still clinging to the picture frame. “Tanner.” She choked his name past the tears clogging her throat.

His grip on her tightened under her thighs, holding her close.

Izzy put her hands on his shoulders and pushed back enough to look in his face, tears streaking down her cheeks. “You bought me a star.” A bubble of laughter escaped past the happy tears. “First you bring the sky inside and now you buy me a star.”

He grinned and carried her around the bed of the truck, setting her down on the tailgate before climbing up beside her. “Come on sweetheart, let’s lay down for a bit. Unless you want to look for your star. I got the telescope to see if we could find it. Or we could look for what-”

She put a finger against his lips silencing the stream of words. A tiny part of her enjoyed seeing always confident and capable Tanner just a little nervous. She slid back on the inflatable mattress and laid down on the pile of pillows. “Being right here sounds perfect.”

Izzy had to bite her lip to stop herself from laughing at how quickly he scrambled up beside her. He stretched out next to her, sliding his hand in hers and intertwining their fingers. “Belle, being anywhere with you is perfect.” He whispered the words, but they had the effect of a powerful windstorm.

“It’s been way too long since we’ve done this.”

Tanner stayed silent for a long time after her comment and part of her wondered if she shouldn’t have said anything. She chewed on her bottom lip and tried to think of anything she could say to ease the sting.

Finally he propped himself up on an elbow. “How long, Belle?”

She turned her head slightly and the earnest look on his face made her scoot closer to his side. “At least three years,” she said softly. “With the kids and work…we were just too busy.”

Tanner leaned down and brushed his lips across hers. “Not we. Me. Dammit, Belle, I’m sorry.”

She reached up to bury her fingers in his hair and pull his mouth more firmly against hers. The taste of him drove her to wiggle her body beneath his. His scent wafted over her and she barely contained a groan. She was finally surrounded by Tanner in every way and she never wanted it to end.

“Belle.” He murmured her name against her lips and began to kiss down her jaw, planting moist kisses along the column of her neck.

Izzy pulled Tanner until he was fully on top of her and her thighs were locked around his waist. When she lifted her hips and pressed against the evidence of his need she felt a gasp against her neck where Tanner had been licking and biting softly.

His hands slid under her shirt, caressing her back and drawing her closer to him. Tanner lifted the shirt over her head and began making a path of hot kisses across her bare chest. She arched into him again, her fingers tugging on his hair to bring his mouth back up to hers.

“Tanner.” She whimpered his name in between kisses, the soft cotton of his shirt rubbing against her skin, teasing every overly sensitized inch.

She’d always loved playing with Tanner’s hair and gave her fingers free reign to get reacquainted with each strand. When his hands skimmed down her sides and flicked the button open on her waistband she couldn’t help but shiver against him.

His mouth curved against hers. “You like that, sweetheart?”

She hadn’t realized until this moment just how much she missed his hands touching her and his lips leaving a scorching trail along her body.

His hands.

His mouth.

And one week ago they had been kissing someone else. Holding someone else. Touching someone else.

Izzy felt like a bucket of ice water had been dumped on her, freezing her movement. She pushed Tanner away and scooted to the far corner of the mattress. She grabbed her shirt and held it against her chest. Why didn’t I put on a bra, she chastised herself.

Even in the darkness she could see his face fall. “Belle, what’s wrong?”

“I can’t.” She sobbed and gripped the shirt tighter against herself. She waved her free hand in a sweeping gesture. “Tanner, this is beautiful and perfect and you gave me the most amazing gift. . . but I can’t stop thinking about her. And you.” Her heart splintered. “And you don’t feel like mine anymore.”

She tugged her shirt on over her head, jumped out of the truck, and ran towards the dimly lit house in the distance as fast as she could.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link: https://books2read.com/u/38xrJw

Publisher: http://www.limitlesspublishing.com/product/meant-to-be-kept/

Nice! Great sexiness and drama. Gotta love this sneak peek. ♥♥♥

So, what are people saying about this book?

A beautiful established romance with an HEA to make you swoon. While we watch Tanner fight for his wife in the present, we also see the sweet evolution of their love from their college-aged POVs. It’s one helluva ride, and one I highly recommend you take for yourself.” – Evie Drae, Amazon

Fantastically emotional debut. This past to present, heart-wrenching, beautifully written story drops us into the action from page one. It took hold of me and had me flipping through the pages to see how Tanner and IF Tanner could rekindle the love that was threaded through. I loved the idea of this story, that we get into the grind of daily life and need to remember to cherish what’s precious.
Izzy is the perfect lead, flawed, a little broken but wonderfully relatable. Tanner, despite his mistake, is swoon worthy. And their chemistry leaps off the page.
This book has everything: The feels that run the scale of tears to joy. Hot sex between a married couple – THANK YOU, Ms. Foster. A believable and deep plot. And two characters who grow and learn on an unstable path.
” – MaritT, Amazon

It’s so rare to read a romance about an established/married couple, which makes this one extra-special. Meant to be Kept is a heartwarming story of a couple who experience a crisis in their marriage and must determine how to move forward, not just to keep their relationship as-is but to strengthen it.” – Michelle O, Amazon

Awesome!

Thank you for telling us about your new book! It sounds fabulous! 🙂

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

Author Bio

Books, coffee, and chocolate make up both the heart and body mass that is better known as Amelia Foster. She has been a lifelong lover of the written word, both as a reader and an author, and completed her first manuscript at the ripe old age of five complete with illustrations. Sadly, her art was a medium that never improved over time, although thankfully her writing has.

From sweet to salacious the only requirement Amelia has in books she reads – and definitely in the ones she crafts – is an excessively satisfying happily ever after… and then a little bit more.

Author Links

Website:  https://ameliafosterauthor.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/amelia.foster.1213986

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/afosterauthor

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/Amelia-Foster/e/B07MG7YBF7/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18784552.Amelia_Foster

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

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

Publisher:  http://www.limitlesspublishing.com/amelia-foster/

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, New Adult, new release, Readers, Romance, Second Chances

Book Review: Valentine in Venice by Kaya Quinsey

As a special Valentine’s Day edition of the weekly I Love Romance Blog review, this week’s selection is Valentine in Venice by Kaya Quinsey.

This is another short story that I wish were longer (What can I say? I love to read!), but if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining story this Valentine’s Day – check this one out.

Valentine remembers when she first visited Venice in high school. Although the sights and sounds are amazing, she definitely remembers her first kiss. Ten years later, she returns to Venice – plus one camera and minus one husband. But, fate isn’t done with her yet and Valentine is about to get her happily ever after…I think.

Though a short story, the author has done a great job of describing Venice.  The way the story was told, I was taken back to my own trips to Italy and strolls down the canals of the ancient city. Considerably less steamy than last week’s selection, but heavier on the romance – this story was definitely enjoyable.

“Happily ever after…I think?”

I know, you’re wondering what that was about. The setup is there for the HEA, but we’re left to imagine it for ourselves. I actually found myself flipping a couple pages ahead to see if there was more story – then, I was a little bereft. What happened to Valentine? Did she move to Venice? Did she go back to Chicago? I’ve certainly answered all those questions for myself and Valentine is doing just fine where she is.

It is well-written and entertaining, but the speedy, cliffhanger ending was jarring – I give Valentine in Venice by Kaya Quinsey 3 HEARTS!

Recommended Read

Book Info:

Valentine Wells returns to Venice. After having visited ten years earlier when she was just sixteen years old, it was where she had impulsively met Lorenzo Dipachio. Her first kiss. Her first love.

Now twenty-six, Valentine is a successful wedding photographer in Chicago. Still impulsive, Valentine is recently divorced after being married for about a minute in Las Vegas. And she doesn’t miss the irony of being a divorced wedding photographer. Also dealing with her mother’s recent diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s, Valentine’s father convinces her that she needs a break.

Now that she is back in Venice, Valentine wants to prove to herself that she’s no longer the impulsive, daring girl who got married (and quickly divorced) in Vegas to a man she barely knew. Now, she is living by a new set of rules: planned, cautious, and carefully executed.

But her plan is challenged when she falls (literally) into the path of her first love, Lorenzo. And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, will Valentine be able to keep herself from making another big mistake?

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3LGKNM

AUTHOR: Kaya Quinsey

TITLE: Valentine in Venice

GENRE: contemporary romance, holiday romance, sweet romance, second chance romance

RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2019

PUBLISHER: Books to Go Now

ISBN/ASIN: B07MPDCLN6

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: Bedroom, Boardroom by Gemma Snow

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Filed under Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Contemporary, Event, new release, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Second Chances, short stories, Stories, sweet romance, Valentine's, Writing

Top Valentine’s Day Traditions around the World: a guest post by Dating Connections

Top Valentine’s Day Traditions around the World

 

To some people, Valentine’s Day is just a ‘Hallmark holiday’, while others take it very seriously.

Created by Freepik

Judging by the traditions discussed below, it’s clear that Valentine’s Day celebrations have been present around the world a lot longer than Hallmark has been in business. Today, we go over some of those traditions and what single women used to do on ‘Lovers’ Day’ to attract the opposite sex in the hopes of marrying. It’s a good thing girls don’t throw mass bonfires in anger due to rejection anymore like they used to do in France and try to find love online in a much more peaceful manner instead! 😉

France

Viewed by many as one of the most romantic countries in the world, it’s no wonder that people have celebrated Valentine’s Day or ‘Lovers’ Day’ for centuries in France. It’s possible that the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while imprisoned at the Tower of London in 1415.

Another rather peculiar French tradition was the ‘loterie d’amour’ or ‘drawing for love’. Men and women would fill houses that faced one another, and then take turns calling out to one another and creating couples. Men who weren’t satisfied with their match could reject it and leave with another woman, and the women who were left without a match would later gather for a bonfire.

During the bonfire, women burned pictures of the men who wronged them and cursed the opposite sex.

Created by alexeyzhilkin – Freepik.com

This tradition became so violent that it was eventually banned by the government.

Paris is the city of love so it’s only natural that it’s had a number of traditions where sweethearts openly confessed their love despite the fact that some of them are now prohibited. The love locks tradition was very popular up until a few years ago and it was characterized by couples in love inscribing their names or initials on a padlock, attaching it to a public structure, usually a bridge, and throwing away the key – permanently sealing their love. The Pont des Arts was everyone’s favorite site for attaching the love locks, but in May 2015 the city council decided to remove all 45 tons of them because they were an eyesore and detrimental to the city’s architecture.

10mosttoday.com

Italy

Much like their French counterparts, Italians have long celebrated Valentine’s Day but originally the celebrations were part of the Spring Festival. In the early days, young people in love would gather in gardens and similar places to enjoy poetry readings and music before going for a walk with their beloved.

Another old Valentine’s Day tradition in Italy was for young, unmarried girls to wake up before dawn to spot their future husbands. The belief was that the first man they saw on Valentine’s Day would become their husband within a year or at least he would strongly resemble their future husband.

Today, Italians in love exchange gifts and romantic dinners. One of the most popular gifts is Baci Perugina, which are small hazelnuts covered in chocolate and wrapped in paper with a romantic quote printed on it in four languages.

Brazil

Given that the carnival takes place in February or March each year, Brazilians skip the February 14th celebrations but don’t skip celebrating ‘Lover’s Day’ or ‘Dia dos Namorados’ on June 12th.

They exchange chocolates, flowers, and cards, and enjoy music festivals and performances held throughout the country. Also, Brazilians exchange gifts with their friends and family as well.

Finally, the following day is Saint Anthony’s Day, which honors St. Anthony, the patron saint of marriage. On this day, single women perform rituals called ‘simpatias’, hoping that St. Anthony would bring them a husband.

The Philippines

People in the Philippines celebrate Valentine’s Day like their Western counterparts, with one bit of difference. A new tradition has developed over the years where many young couples tie the knot on February 14 thus sharing a wedding day, and usually have their ceremonies in public places together.

gettyimages

South Africa

In South Africa, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in a more or less expected way with festivals, flowers, and similar tokens of love. However, women in South Africa will wear their hearts on their sleeves on February 14 by pinning the names of their crushes on their shirtsleeves, revealing who they like.

Uschi, Flickr

This is how men find out about their secret admirers.

Wow! These sound like some fascinating traditions to keep!

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such an illuminating article…just in time to get us in the mood for the upcoming holiday! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

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

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

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

 

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

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

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Gifts, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, sweet romance, Traditions, Valentine's

Book Review: Legends of Lust by Autumn Bardot

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Legends of Lust by Autumn Bardot. If you’re a fan of mythology, history, or ass-kicking women finding true lust (and sometimes love), this one is for you!

This book is a new release that, in fourteen short stories, tell the tales of remarkable women finding the men that match them in their infamy. From all realms of traditional historical fiction, Autumn kicks the heat up and had me clutching my pearls more than once. It is rare to find stories that are an equal mix of romance and erotica, but the author does a great job of blending the two.

As an added bonus, at the end of each story, the author has provided the original story’s information so we know how to find the foundation of each. I don’t think I’m going to be the only one wanting Odysseus’ story to be a full-length novel.

I’m a nitpicky kind of reader, but I’m hard pressed to find anything I didn’t like – definitely add this to your reading list! For shear awesomeness and entertainment – I give Legends of Lust by debut author Autumn Bardot 5 HEARTS!

Recommended Read

Book Info:

Who knew the ancient world could be so downright… arousing?

Like uncovering a sexy diamond in the rough, Legends of Lust reveals the fiery passions lying dormant behind your favorite mythological stories. This adults-only, debut collection of fourteen steamy, erotic short stories by Autumn Bardot is an explosion of sexy, nasty, and romantic retellings that will take your love of myths to a whole new level.

Odysseus, a mere man, becomes a god-like master of the tease in the eyes of the sex-starved and eternally lustful goddess, Calypso. The tale of Amazonian queen, Hippolyta, and Theseus gives “love-at-first-sight” a whole new meaning that will enthrall your senses. The encounter between Vishvamitra and Menaka takes them to explosive new levels of bodily nirvana. And Gilgamesh, the mighty god-king, sends temple prostitute Shamhat to tame a wild man, but instead he teaches her something about man’s most primal instincts… and is not left wanting.

Run wild in your personal Elysian Fields of pleasure with this spicy, irreverent peek into the sensual world of our most beloved gods, heroes, fairies, and shape shifters from every corner of the earth.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/4EMMyA

Scorching, right? Let’s check out the book trailer!

AUTHOR: Autumn Bardot

TITLE: Legends of Lust: Erotic Myths from around the World

GENRE: erotica, some romance, mythology, fantasy, collection

RELEASE DATE: January 8, 2019

PUBLISHER: Cleis Press

ISBN/ASIN: B07H9HLFC1

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: Valentine in Venice by Kaya Quinsey

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Filed under Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Erotica, Event, Fantasy, Historical, new release, Readers, Romance, steamy, Stories, Writing

Book Review: Aloha, Baby! by Ann Omasta

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Aloha, Baby! by Ann Omasta. If you’re looking for a quick, entertaining read – this is the novella for you! ❤

Set in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, Leilani is a resort stakeholder-employee who gives her virginity and heart away to a handsome tourist. But, as the title suggests, it really can happen the first time. After some indecision, Lani sets out to spread the news. Along with her best friends, Honi and Kai, they agree on a baby-raising pact.

When feelings are hurt, jealousy rears its ugly head. But, happily ever after makes a sweet surprise ending.

Well written and enjoyable, but the fast pace and short length leave some holes in the romance – I give Aloha, Baby! by Ann Omasta 3 HEARTS!

Recommended Read

If you read more for the story than the heat, definitely add this to your reading list. 🙂

Book Info:

Alone and pregnant…

Leilani Kehele never thought those words would describe her, yet that is exactly how she finds herself in Aloha, Baby!

Feeling like a huge disappointment to her family, Lani turns to her two handsome and loyal best friends, Kai and Honi, for advice.

In an attempt to arrange the best possible outcome for this challenging situation, the three hatch a plan to give Lani’s baby a father. Will it work? Will Lani and her baby discover their happily-ever-after ending?

This novella is part of The Escape Series, which includes the Kindle Scout winning book, Getting Lei’d, Cruising for Love, Island Hopping, and the sweet short story, Coconutty Christmas. You can read and enjoy these books in any order!

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/bPZJpl

You can get your copy of Aloha, Baby! FREE by signing up for Ann’s mailing list HERE.

Discover the whole series

by Ann!Nice author tagline! We agree! 😉

Readers, be sure to also check out book one of the series, Getting Lei’d! 😀

AUTHOR: Ann Omasta

TITLE: Aloha, Baby! (book four of The Escape Series)

GENRE: romantic comedy

RELEASE DATE: December 17, 2015

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN: B019J9377U

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: NEW RELEASE – Legends of Lust: Erotic Myths from around the World by Autumn Bardot

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Filed under Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Contemporary, Event, free books, Readers, Reviews, Romance, romantic comedy, Writing