Category Archives: Romance

Cover Reveal Features: Miracle Express Series by authors Rebecca Lovell and Dawn Brower

I am pleased to announce two cover reveals by authors Rebecca Lovell and Dawn Brower! The Miracle Express Series is a group of holiday themed romances by multiple authors that you just can’t miss. Today, we’re getting an advanced glimpse of The Witch’s Christmas Wish and How to Kiss A Debutante! Yay! 🙂

New releases are very exciting for both authors and readers because we get to meet lots of new people! So, check these out if you can!

Let’s have a look at Rebecca and Dawn’s upcoming books today…

 

Nice cover!

This is the blurb for The Witch’s Christmas Wish

Terra Rendon’s first vision of the future was of her twin brother Tommy in a train accident, and as a result she became a mechanical engineer so she could keep him safe.

When she is summoned to Virginia to help investigate a fatal train wreck, she meets Gardner Lewis, the newest detective in the Roanoke Police Department. Handed a case no one else wants, he relies on her instincts but finds himself wondering how she comes by her knowledge. Terra has never told anyone about her power but the more she gets to know Gard the more she wants to confide in him.

When her childhood vision threatens to become a reality, only a miracle will be able to save Terra’s brother and make her Christmas wish come true.

Book Info:

Title:  The Witch’s Christmas Wish

Author:  Rebecca Lovell

Genre:  Holiday Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal

Release Date:  December 5, 2019

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/4DE9xQ

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48219506-the-witch-s-christmas-wish

Ooh! Looks intriguing! 😉

Now, to learn about the author…

A funny thing about my writing career is that I started out writing fan fiction when I was in middle school, and all of it had original characters and romantic entanglements. Over the years I’ve gotten much better at writing and moved on to my own work but the romance has always stayed the same.

I was born and raised in Texas, and have loved learning about history since my first visit to the Fort Worth Stockyards. I enjoy researching and studying new eras, and have also started to enjoy writing contemporary romance. I once was afraid of running out of ideas, but it seems like I’m always coming up with new ones and I occasionally manage to settle down and write.

When I’m not writing, I love running and watching horror movies, and I have a number of vocal and pushy cats that always demand my attention. Take a look at my blog and I’ll tell you about all of it. I also love to talk about my life!

Rebecca can be found at these places:

Twitter:  @becca_el

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

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

Website:  http://www.rebeccalovell.com

Let’s look at the next cover reveal.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for How to Kiss A Debutante

Aletha Dewitt has led a charmed life. At least that is how it appears from the outside looking in. Yes, she has had everything a person could possibly desire—except real respect. Because she was born female, her grandfather doesn’t believe she is capable enough to be a part of the family business. What he doesn’t realize is she has more ideas and ambition than her brother will ever have. She sets out to prove to him she’s more than up to the task. Nothing will stand in her way, not even love.

Rafael, Conte Leone is only in America to attend the wedding of one of his closest friends. He never imagined he’d meet the woman of his dreams on a train, but he fully intends to do everything possible to win her heart. Even help her take the mantle of one of the largest candy suppliers in the country. The problem is convincing the lady that they belong together…

With Christmas around the corner miracles are a very real possibility. Both Rafael and Aletha start to believe they could have it all with the magic of love…

Book Info:

Title:  How to Kiss a Debutante

Author:  Dawn Brower

Genre:  Holiday Romance, Historical Romance

Release Date:  December 5, 2019

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bpE9aJ

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48063806-how-to-kiss-a-debutante

Sounds succulent! 😉

Let’s learn about the author…

USA TODAY Bestselling author, DAWN BROWER writes both historical and contemporary romance.There are always stories inside her head; she just never thought she could make them come to life. That creativity has finally found an outlet.

Growing up she was the only girl out of six children. She is a single mother of two teenage boys; there is never a dull moment in her life. Reading books is her favorite hobby and she loves all genres.

Dawn can be found at these places:

Twitter:  @1DawnBrower

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDawnBrower

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/1DawnBrower/

Website:  http://www.authordawnbrower.com

Thanks for giving us a sneak peek at these titles, ladies! They both look fabulous! 😀

Readers, you can pre-order all ten books in this Christmas series here

Many thanks again to Rebecca Lovell and Dawn Brower! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!   😉  And have a lovely weekend!

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Book Release, Books, Christmas, coming soon, cover reveal, Event, feature, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Holiday, new release, Readers, Romance

Exclusive Interview with author Maggie Blackbird, plus a look at multicultural romance, SANCTIFIED!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our eighteenth 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. Please join me in welcoming Maggie Blackbird to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Maggie Blackbird:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here again!

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…

Maggie:  I am a full-time author. I write contemporary and historical romance about Canada’s Indigenous People. I sure hope I’m good at it! (Laughs.) And yes, I very much enjoy what I’m doing.

Great! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Maggie:  My family is hubby and two Alaskan Malamutes aka our fur babies. We live a quiet life out in the country. Hubby and I are both from the rez, but we love where we live, although most of our families still live on the reservation.

Marie:  Wonderful! I have fur babies too. 😉

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?

Maggie:  My childhood home was a typical rez house. Box-shaped. Three bedrooms. An oil stove. All the houses from this era look the same because that’s how Indian Reserves built homes. I won’t get into the “why” of it because I’d have to give a lengthy explanation on how housing works on-reserve and its challenges. But I can tell you the hero Jude talks about it in Sanctified, book three in the Matawapit Family Series.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Maggie:  I enjoy walking, exercising, golfing, fishing, and boating. As of late, I haven’t done much golfing, fishing, or boating because of my new job.

Marie:  True. Being an author often keeps us busy…

And what is your greatest dream?

Maggie:  To leave this earth, knowing that I tried my best to make this world a better place. Corny?  Yes. But it’s what I strive for.

Marie:  Nice! Sounds like a plan. 🙂

Let’s try another question.

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

Maggie:  The kind of person who makes people walk away feeling better about themselves after they’ve talked to me. There is nothing stopping me. Many times I pull it off, and other times I fail.

Marie:  All right.

So…who was your first love?

Maggie:  You’re asking me to reach waaaay back. He was a local boy from the rez. A very nice boy. I think he’s living in one of the prairie provinces now.

Marie:  Aww! ♥

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

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

Maggie:  Losing my niece.

Marie:  Oh, no! I’m so sorry. 😥

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Maggie 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?

Maggie:  My dream was to play music for a living. I have two right hands (am a leftie) when it comes to music. (Chuckles.) So instead of playing music, I appreciate it in every aspect of my life. I cannot function without music. I love love love it.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! I think I’d be lost without music too. 😉

Well, let’s try something else.

Who is your role model, Maggie?

Maggie:  Mother Theresa.

Marie:  All right.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Maggie:  It’s looking at it from another perspective. There are people out there who probably dislike me and put on a show to pretend they like me. So yes, there are a few people I do dislike, but tolerance and patience are a must. The earth doesn’t revolve around me, I revolve around the earth, so it’s all about how I handle those who aren’t on my favorite list. (Laughs.) It’s a matter of trying to do my best to show them kindness, tolerance, and patience.

Marie:  What an incredibly inspiring outlook to have. How admirable! ♥

Let’s do something different now.

What is your deepest desire?

Maggie:  Burnt popcorn? (Giggles.) What can I say? I love popcorn.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Why not? 😉

And what is your greatest fear?

Maggie:  My fears aren’t what they used to be. As I get older, they’ve lessened. I do sleep with the light off now, but the dark was a biggie for me to conquer. I can’t say that I’m totally over that fear, either.

Marie:  It is odd sometimes to be in the dark, especially when things around you don’t sound quite right…it can freak you out! 😕

Let’s switch gears for a second.

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

Maggie:  Essentials. Hmm. My dogs. My husband. Water. Food. And dog food.

Marie:  😀

Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jude Matawapit. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Maggie:  Jude is thirty-eight. Freshly divorced. A father of two children. And the new principal at the school in Ottertail Lake, his home reserve where his parents and younger brother reside. He’s starting over by taking on a new job and new community since he resided in Thunder Bay his whole life.

Marie:  And what are Jude’s greatest strengths?

Maggie:  Jude is a natural leader. He doesn’t panic, and steps in to take charge if everything goes pear-shaped. He’s not a quitter, but a fighter.

Marie:  Cool! 😉

Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?

Maggie:  Jude is on the bull-headed side, he can be a little too controlling, and he isn’t the greatest of listeners. He could try be a bit more sympathetic to the plight of others.

Marie:  (Nods.) Okay.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jude’s favorite foods?

Maggie:  Jude enjoys prime rib (rare), a stuffed baked potato, and a side of greens. He’s a meat, potatoes, and veggie sort of guy.

Marie:  Gotcha!

How about another question?

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

Maggie:  That he can show sympathy, even empathy. It’s a matter of the right person showing him what lies hidden, such as Raven, his leading lady in the novel.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Maggie:  I think they’ll like Jude. My crit partner really liked him. He called Jude “a really great guy.”  I think they’ll like what a great father he is, how he tried to be a good husband in his doomed marriage, and the understanding he shows Raven when they begin dating. How he doesn’t judge Raven even though her past is very shady, and respects her recovery from drug addiction.

Marie:  Sounds like quite a guy! 😀

Now that we have a real taste of Jude, 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 Sanctified?

Maggie:  It’s part of a series. Jude’s the eldest, followed by Bridget, and then Emery. Sanctified is the third book. Blessed, Emery’s book, started as a short story and expanded into a full novel. Jude makes an appearance in Blessed, and I wanted to expand on his character. He was living a great life:  six-figure job with a great pension and room for promotion, a stunning wife who also has a great job, two beautiful children, active in his community, lots of volunteer work, his dream home. I wanted everything to fall apart for him and see how he’d handle it.

Marie:  Looks like you have a good sense of the series!

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Maggie:  I’m a planster — (laughs) — part panster and part plotter. When I start a story, I always have a logline and blurb. I also know my beginning, middle, and ending, but I don’t outline it. I let the characters lead the story while I’m fast-drafting.

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

Maggie:  I had no problems getting Sanctified published because I already published two books in the series with eXtasy Books. I just finished the fourth book in the series and subbed it to them on Friday, September 13, 2019. And at the time I’m typing this post (Sept. 17th,, by the way), I’m drafting two short stories for eXtasy Books’ Christmas and American Thanksgiving call-outs.

As for doing something different with the series, I’m famous for saying, “It is what it is.”  But I do think I’d try to get at least the first draft for each story done before tackling self-edits. There was a big lag between Blessed’s release (July 2018) and the second book in the series Redeemed (April 2019). I wouldn’t want the releases to be that far apart again.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😀

(Laughs.) We are twins, I swear. My fiance gets annoyed every time I say, “It is what it is.” He thinks I’m such a stoic.

It was a total pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Sanctified appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about the book.

Title: Sanctified (book three of Matawapit Family Series)

Genre: Multicultural Romance

Publication date: September 27, 2019

Here is the blurb:

In the midst of a battle for leadership at their Ojibway community, two enemies of opposing families fall in love…​

After suffering a humiliating divorce, infuriated Catholic Jude Matawapit bolts to his family’s Ojibway community to begin a new job — but finds himself thrown into a battle for chief as his brother-in-law’s campaign manager. The radical Kabatay clan, with their extreme ideas about traditional Ojibway life, will stop at nothing to claim the leadership position and rid the reserve of Western culture and its religion once and for all, which threatens not only the non-traditional people of the community, but Jude’s chance at a brand-new life he’s creating for his children.

Recovering addict Raven Kabatay will do anything to win the respect and trust of her older siblings and mother after falling deep into drug addiction that brought shame and anger to her family. Not only does she have the opportunity to redeem herself by becoming her brother’s campaign manager for chief — if he wins, she’ll have the reserve’s backing to purchase the gold-mine diner where she works, finally making something of herself. But falling in love with the family’s sworn enemy — the deacon’s eldest son, Jude — will not just betray the Kabatay clan. It could destroy everything Raven believes in and has worked so hard for.

Maggie is giving us a peek at the story…

Frost nipped at Raven’s exposed skin, the kind of frost that burned. At least there wasn’t a wind chill, or minus thirty-seven would become minus forty-seven. She scurried from her sister’s truck she’d parked, dashed up the shoveled walkway, and into the school.

All was quiet, classes for the kids having finished for the day. The scent of pine cleaner permeated the squeaky-clean hallway. She hurried to the adult education classroom. Since her vehicle was the lone truck in the lot, she might be the only one here. Even the new principal wasn’t present, unless he’d foolishly walked over.

She entered the classroom to Jude Matawapit sitting at the teacher’s desk, hunched over, writing on some paper.

“I was beginning to wonder if any of my students would arrive.” His strong fingers gripped a pen. His jet-black hair with blue undertones was slicked off his face and tapered to a short-trimmed back. Dark irises richer than a moonless night, so dark his lashes gave the illusion of a generous coating of mascara and liner-rimmed eyes, stared at her.

Not gawked, not ogled, not leered like every other guy did. He simply stared. His plump lips didn’t form into a flirty smile, either.

Jude stood. A white dress shirt hugged his pumped biceps and shoulders that formed into the size of baseballs. A black belt wrapped his ultra-slim waist. And a gold clip kept his line-striped burgundy tie secure. “Have a seat. It looks to be you and me tonight.”

Raven inched up the aisle. Her boldness remained at the door, where she’d probably dropped her tongue. She clutched her books and sat at the desk directly in front of him.

“I’ve been reviewing your file.” He closed the folder, and just like Deacon Matawapit, crossed his strong arms. They even shared the same rich baritone — direct and full of authority. “You were an A-plus student, but as of late you haven’t been handing in assignments. Once you get behind, it’s difficult to catch up. I’ve seen this happen too many times during my years educating others. When a student falls behind, most give up.”

A flame of annoyance flickered in Raven’s stomach. Never mind Jude Matawapit’s handsome white teeth, flawless red-toned brown skin, or run-her-nails-along-his-muscles build. Who was he to talk down to her like a kid? He was worse than her siblings and Mom.

Raven stared up at the white stucco ceiling. “I’ve been extremely busy. Not all of us make big money and do what we please. I’ve been pulling extra shifts at the diner.”

“Did you review your last three assignments, then?” Jude stuck the end of the pen into his mouth.

There was something about the way his red lips and white teeth nibbled on the cap. And she hadn’t witnessed a man in his late thirties gnawing on one like a hungry beaver.

Jude popped the pen cap between his rich lips, as if sucking on a lollipop, and released it. When he rounded the desk, his thick fingers glided across the top. He stopped in the middle, the fingers of his left hand still lingering on the desk’s surface. He rested his buttocks against the edge while crossing his sturdy thighs.

His stance, a get-down-to-business sort of manner, should have intimidated Raven but failed. His brows-bunched-together stare and drawn-in cheeks seemed to coax her to lean in closer and rest her elbow on top of her own desk. She set her chin on her knuckles. “I’m completing them here tonight.”

“Do you have any questions?”

She shook her head, still holding his stare. “I guess I should get comfy, huh?”

“Comfy?”

“Remove my toque and coat.” She sat back, hands brushing the edge of her desk and arms spread wide.

****

Jude shouldn’t care if Raven was about to undress. He’d seen many students remove their outerwear in class. But the down parka on Raven didn’t swallow her ballerina-lithe body like a garbage bag. The coat was the fashionable snug style, silhouetting her supple form. Long strands of black hair lay against her sharper-than-razors cheekbones.

Her perfectly applied winged eyeliner gave her slanted black eyes a mysterious cat-shape appeal. Rich burgundy lipstick, matching the shade of his tie, plumped her lips to a sensual pout, or maybe her mouth naturally retained a pucker. As she stood to drape the parka over the chair, she gave him a nice view of the skinny jeans painted on her slender thighs and gently rounded butt.

She whipped her head around, peeking at him through the fringe of her super-long lashes.

Heat climbed onto Jude’s face. He shoved the pen back into his mouth and chewed on the cap. Adult or not, she was a student — his student. Maintaining a professional distance was a must.

Raven’s moist-looking mouth tugged at the corners. A hint of triumph flashed in her eyes. Well, well, she’d stolen a look purposely, expecting him to check her out. A hot coal flared in Jude’s chest. He rounded his desk, making sure to move slowly, heels clicking one after the other on the floor. She’d get the hint he meant business.

“Why don’t you catch up on your lessons? There’s no point in reviewing the next one until you’ve finished those.” He used his pen to point in her direction. Traditionalist or not, she could suck up his supposed rudeness. In his world, pointing told another a man wasn’t screwing around or willing to play games.

Raven sat. She flipped open her textbook and binder.

“Which lesson are you working on?”

“History. A pity. We are the First People, but it’s all about…those who sailed over here.” Her husky voice, deeper than most women’s, with a light scratch to the tone, was sensual nails grazing Jude’s skin.

He gripped and re-gripped the pen. “At my former school, we were building the curriculum into the current courses.”

“Did you teach high school or elementary? You taught for the Catholic Board of Education, didn’t you?”

“Elementary.”

“I see.” Raven lowered her head. Her black hair veiled her face. Not narrow, like Clayton’s hawkish looks. The hollowed cheeks, delicate long nose, and tapering chin complemented Raven’s smoky eyes and wide mouth. A traditional diamond-shaped face, like the Indigenous people of the old days.

No wonder she’d stolen a glimpse at Jude when she’d removed her parka. Raven was probably used to men gawking at her wherever she went. If the fashion designers ever took a chance on hiring Indigenous women to model, they’d be scrambling to photograph Raven.

Why was he still thinking about her anyway? This was ridiculous.

Jude plopped in the chair. If she didn’t require assistance on her lessons, she should’ve finished her assignments at home. All Raven had done was make him stay late.

Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

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

Publisher link:  https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2663-7-sanctified/

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48160324-sanctified

What are people saying about Sanctified?

 

 

Familial & Communal Drama At Its Finest… Chocked with intense, multilayered plot lines, entrenching enough to hook any reader. From spirituality to taboo relationships, substance abuse to criminal activity, these books detail the raw realities of those living in the Ojibway community. In SANCTIFIED, the third installment of the series, Maggie does not disappoint as she masterfully creates yet another character’s struggle to earn familial redemption, career success, and most importantly, love. Raven Kabaray, the book’s female protagonist, once succumbed to a debilitating drug addiction. Now that she’s recovered, she wants nothing more than to earn back the trust and respect of her family.

Matters grow complicated, however, when Raven unwittingly falls in love with Jude Matawapit, whose family’s Westernized beliefs completely clash with the strict, traditional ideals of the Kabaray family. As these two entities fight for communal leadership in the midst of their opposing political views, a relationship between Raven and Jude (who’s dealing with his own fair share of personal issues and struggles) would be deemed highly forbidden. And therein lies Raven’s dilemma; give up genuine love for the sake of her family and career, give up those things for the sake of love, or figure out a way to find common ground amongst both families in order to have it all…

SANCTIFIED is an emotional, fulfilling, well-rounded saga built on unforgettable characters whose complicated circumstances will leave readers riveted as they discover the life-altering outcomes/consequences each character faces.” – Denise W., Amazon and Goodreads

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

About Maggie Blackbird

An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes.  When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Maggie Blackbird, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Maggie Blackbird, the brilliant author of this multicultural romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Ten Effective Conversation-Starters for Couples: a guest post by Dr. B. Anne Hancock

10 Effective Conversation-Starters for Couples

 

Communication is an essential ingredient in any relationship. For couples, rich conversation makes their relationship delicious. It’s what builds connection and creates intimacy. For couples who’ve been together for a while keeping conversations fresh and interesting can take some effort.

Huy Phan, Unsplash

If you want to keep your conversations fresh and avoid telling each other the same stories, one effective solution is to try conversation-starters. By asking a few new questions, you’ll learn there’s always more to discover in the person you love.

Here are several ideas for opening a dialogue that reignites curiosity, affection and interaction:

  1. What’s your earliest childhood memory?

Rene Bernal, Unsplash

Most couples didn’t get to share childhood together, so there’s a wealth of experience just waiting to be tapped for conversation. Asking your partner about an early memory means you get to find out what left an imprint and why. You also gain insight into a part of his or her world that helped shape who your significant other is today.

  1. What do you remember most from our early days of dating?

Here’s a question that can take you both back to your budding love — that place where your connection began.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Even better, as you listen to your partner recall happy memories, it may surprise you with what’s remembered, not to mention help stir up fresh affection for you both.

Andre Furtado, pexels.com

  1. What’s one of your favorite memories from our wedding day?

Recalling milestones in your relationship is a great way to discuss the happy moments you’ve shared. If you’re married, your wedding day is especially meaningful. Ask your spouse what stands out about that memory and enjoy it from another perspective.

Ivan Cabañas, Unsplash

  1. If you were given the chance to relive one day of your life, what would it be and why?

Maybe your better half would want to revisit a major milestone such as graduation, the birth of a child or your wedding day. Perhaps he or she would like to relive a day with a parent or grandparent who passed away or even an  event from high school or college. You’ll never know until you ask.

Karl Fredrickson, Unsplash

  1. Do you have any dreams you wish you could pursue? Are there ways I could help you try them?

Most adults have abandoned dreams still lurking somewhere inside them. Do you know what dream your partner longs to pursue? It could be something outlandish and surprising and you’ll get to be playful and imagine together. Or, it could be practical, such as taking a class, and you can be the encouraging voice to help your partner get right on it.

30daysreplay (PR & Marketing), Unsplash

  1. When was the last time you felt appreciated?

People don’t always verbalize their feelings unprompted. By asking your partner about what has encouraged and affirmed him or her, you may be surprised at what you hear. You’ll also learn how you can offer up additional support.

Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

  1. When was the last time you felt sad?

Milada Vigerova, Unsplash

Likewise, if your partner lets you in and tells you what’s been hurtful and discouraging, you’ll get a sense of what’s truly important. What prompts tears? What feels significant enough to change a mood? By asking…and listening, you get a chance to learn.

  1. If you could turn back the clock ten years, what would you tell your younger self?

This question offers your significant other a chance to assess and evaluate a decade of life, giving you a window into his or her regrets and wisdom gained. This can also start a conversation about moving forward with new information and insight.

  1. Say you won an all-expense paid trip to anywhere in the world, and you can’t consult me before picking the destination. Where would you go?

Paua May, Unsplash

Find out what travel destinations are on your partner’s dream list. Couples who have spent a long time together will often be so used to asking each other about preferences that it’s easy to miss what each one likes. Let your partner know you care about what he or she wants.

  1. If you had to pick three people, who would you say you most admire?

There’s a lot to be said for admiration. The people you highly regard are often the people you imitate — intentionally or not. Ask your partner who he or she looks up to and why. You’ll discover what qualities he or she values.

Hatham, Unsplash

The 10 ideas listed are merely the beginning for prompting meaningful conversations with your partner. Be curious. Ask questions. Invite discussion and keep learning. Continuing to discover each other is what helps your relationship feel alive and exciting year after year.

Hannah Cook, Unsplash

Wow! These are such great tips!

Thank you, Anne, for this illuminating article… ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Anne Hancock, PsyD, is a prominent relationship therapist and founder of Wellness Counseling Center. A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Hancock specializes in working with couples and families. She has a doctorate in Psychology and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Hancock always works from a wellness-oriented, non-pathologizing point of view — which means no blame, no shame. In addition to couples counseling services, Hancock also conducts personalized two-and-a-half-day couples intensives.

Links

Website:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/

Blog:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/articles/

Professional Background:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/team/anne-hancock/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/banne.hancock

https://www.facebook.com/pages/B-Anne-Hancock-PsyD/436325916561152

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/WellnessCNSLNG

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/annehancockpsyd

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

 

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

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

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Lovers Like Us, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas

Win A Copy of BLUE VISION, and other books!

Hi, readers! Hope everything is going well on your end. I just wanted to jump in here and let you know about a cool giveaway happening this week.

A copy of Blue Vision, my sci-fi romance, is up for grabs today, during the I Heart Romance Week at The TBR Pile site. Yay!

Note: Check the buy link above for more info about this book.

There are lots of other prizes with this event as well! 🙂

Here is the event schedule with some of the giveaways offered, including a bookmark set of mine (Oct. 7th)…

October 1st

 

9am – Introduction to I HEART Romance post.

Prizes:

$20 Amazon gift card

4 Item swag pack by HARLEY WYLDE

 

2pm: JAMES COX Post (m/m)

Prizes:

$5 Evernight gift card,

Book bundle:Bubbly Uncorked by SHEA BALIK

Loved by a werewolf by BRONWYN HEELEY

Prize list book

 

5pm: DANIA VOSS post (m/f)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon card,

Book Bundle: Redemption by APRIL ZYON

Calling All Villains by JAMES COX

Crossing Quinn by GAIL KOGER

 

October 2nd

 

9am; SHEA BALIK post (m/m)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon gift card

Book bundle 1: Bring That For You by BRONWYN HEELEY

Future Broken by JACEY HOLBRAND

The Devil’s Cum in his Eye by JAMES COX

 

2pm: GAIL KOGER post (m/f)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon gift card

Book Bundle 1: Safe in the Hitman’s Arms by KAIT GAMBLE

The Cyborgs Secret Baby by CYNTHIA SAX

A Wolf’s Tale by SUZY SHEARER

Book Bundle 2: Lie to Me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Rescued by the Mountain man by MARIN BLACK

Finding Euphoria by C. BECKER

 

5pm: CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF post (m/f)

Prizes:

Book Bundle 1: Untraceable by BETH D CARTER

The Devil Take You by HK CARLTON

Hothar’s Folly by GAIL KOGER

Book bundle 2: Back to Good Paperback by LAURA BENSON

 

October 3rd

 

9am: ELYZABETH VALEY post (m/f)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon

Book Bundle 1: Calling all Villains by JAMES COX

Breakwater Beach by CAROLE MOLETI

Finding Euphoria by C BECKER

Book Bundle 2: Lie to Me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Watched by SUZANNE JEFFERIES

Valentina’s Miracle by PAIGE WARREN

 

2pm: MAGGIE BLACKBIRD post (m/f)

Prizes:

Book Bundle: Raking The Ashes by KAIT GAMBLE

Blue Vision by MARIE LAVENDER

The Widow’s Walk by CAROLE MOLETI

Book Bundle 2: On The Ropes by DANIA VOSS

Lie to me by CHRSTINE KIRCHOFF

Prize list book

 

5pm: DANIA VOSS post (m/f)

Prizes:

Book Bundle 1: Sassing Saul by GAIL KOGER

Melting her Dom’s Heart by SUZY SHEARER

The Cyborg’s secret baby by CYNTHIA SAX

Book Bundle 2: Lie to Me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Storm Watch by CAROLE MOLETI

Forever in a Moment by CHARLOTTE O’SHAY

 

October 4th

 

9am: JAMES COX post (m/m)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon gift card

Book Bundle: Matching Mates Collection by BRONWYN HEELEY

 

2pm: JACEY HOLBRAND post (m/m)

Prizes:

$5 Evernight gift card

Book Bundle: The Triple Towers series by JAMES COX

 

5pm: KERI KRUSPE post (m/f)

Prizes:

Book Bundle: Daemon’s Are Forever by SUZY SHEARER

The Cyborg’s Secret Baby by CYNTHIA SAX

The Warrior’s Whisper by DANIA VOSS

Book bundle 2: Lie to me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Calling All Villains by JAMES COX

The Cyborgs Secret Baby by CYNTHIA SAX

 

October 5th

 

9am: ANA RAINE post (m/m)

Prizes:

Book Bundle 1: The Triple Towers series by JAMES COX,

Prize 2: Whiskey and Moonshine audio book by ELIZABETH NOBLE 

 

5pm: CYNTHIA SAX post (m/f)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon card

Book Bundle 1: Touched by SUZANNE JEFFERIES

Redeemed by MAGGIE BLACKBIRD

Arresting Mason by AMBER DAULTON

Book Bundle 2: Calling all Villains by JAMES COX

Lie to Me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Prize list book

 

October 6th

 

9am: HK CARLTON post (m/f)

Prizes:

$10 Amazon gift card,

Book Bundle 1: Indian Paintbrush by JOHN HELDT

Rescued by the Cyborg by JESSICA COLTER SMITH

Lie to Me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

Book Bundle 2: Otherworld series by JAMES COX

 

5pm: DANIA VOSS post (m/f)

Prizes:

Book Bundle 1: Grease Monkey by HARLEY WYLDE

Texas Twang by PAIGE WARREN

Her Cyborg Lover by ANNE KANE

Book Bundle 2: An Alien Exchange by KERI KRUSPE

Calling all Villains by JAMES COX

Lie to me by CHRISTINE KIRCHOFF

 

October 7th

 

9am: Closing post

Prizes:

$20 Amazon gift card

Bookmark bundle by MARIE LAVENDER

October 8th – Winners will be announced.

Don’t miss your chance to win a prize! Keep checking back at The TBR Pile during I Heart Romance Week, and go ahead and dive in for today’s events! ♥

Happy reading, and happy autumn! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Books, contest, Event, feature, free books, Gifts, giveaway, Marie Lavender, Readers, Romance, Science Fiction

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by The Smut Report

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on the I Love Romance Blog. In recent years, 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 to the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback.

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to blogger The Smut Report, a female team with a few things to say about the question at hand.

What Does Romance Mean to Us?

 

At The Smut Report, we read a lot of romance novels. Like, a LOT of romance novels. And let’s be real – there’s a stereotype floating around that people who read romance novels have a skewed idea of romance and relationships. Obviously, we must be delusional spinsters or miserable sex-starved moms who expect men to read us poetry and/or fight monsters and/or know exactly what we want at all times.

Romance is also super oversimplified. There are pivotal life events like birth and death that, when addressed in literature, are considered really “deep” and vulnerable and raw. This non-genre fiction is lauded for its thoughtfulness and meaning. There’s a whole sub-genre dedicated to “coming of age” and all the inner turmoil that comes with that — but a genre whose sole purpose is to unpack the delicious, unsettling, sloppy moments leading up to individuals falling in love? That’s for unsatisfied housewives.

freestocks.org, Unsplash

Falling in love transforms individual people into something new, something with overlap and grey area and messiness. And strength. In romance we see people coming together to form a stronger whole, yet we also see how having the support of a loving partner can provide a wellspring of strength to an individual.

Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash

But before that can happen, all the messy feelings and social and personal obstacles must be resolved. There are new debates in the romance community every day about whether it’s romance if there’s no happy ending, if there’s no sex, if there’s this, or that, or the other thing. These arguments reflect this messy, sexy, grey area that exists in our lives when we love. This genre, maybe more than any other genre, asks us to be honest about what a satisfying life looks like. And it acknowledges that the answer is different for different people.

Created by Freepik

Even though the three of us have somewhat divergent tastes (Erin likes heroes who ooze power, Holly prefers her books on the sexy side, Ingrid sometimes skips the sex scenes so she can get back to the witty banter), there are a few things that we all love in a romance novel. Far from creating unrealistic ideas of what romance is, the best romance novels feature satisfying portrayals of emotional connection. It makes us ask what pleasure looks like for YOU, what commitment looks like for YOU. You know, that extra spark that brings out the swooning romantic in the most jaded of us. (That would be Holly, in case you were wondering.)

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

Romance can be just a fun, sexy romp or a swashbuckling adventure, but it can also bring you closer to yourself. It’s a safe way to examine romance in your own life–your likes, your dislikes, what you want to feel and how you want to be loved. You know it when you read it.

Flower photo created by tirachard – http://www.freepik.com

We recently went to an author talk in which Sarah MacLean said she loves the increased use of dirty talk in romance because it’s “ongoing consent”. How amazing is that? That there are authors looking for ways to make love scenes more clear, more unfettered, by making sure the consent is obvious AND beautifully done. This stuff matters.

Romance is a largely inclusive genre – and that’s important. The authors who write these books are constantly bursting open doors and welcoming more people in. It matters to have characters that look like real people and who love like real people do. Race, gender identity, sexual orientation–it’s all discussed in the romance literature written every day. Possibly there are not really people in love with shifters, we acknowledge (if there are, Erin would like to hear from you). But in all seriousness, there are so many different combinations of who loves whom (and how many love together) out in the world that it’s appropriate and necessary for such love to be reflected in our literature.

Created by Ijeab – Freepik.com

And where reality fails us, we have the opportunity to explore the notion of romance in the “other” in paranormal, sci-fi, and other sub-genres of romance. The authors who are opening these doors and windows for us readers are also readers themselves, and we support each other. Romance creates community, even if we never speak directly to one another.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

In short, romance means a lot to us. It’s been a source of comfort and connection for us for decades. It’s made us think about things in different ways. It makes us test ourselves. It’s made us uncomfortable and angry and happy. We have literally cried and literally laughed so loudly that we’ve scared pets and woken sleeping children.

Ben White, Unsplash

Romance brings us joy. It’s as simple as that.

Lovely! I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post! Great to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

The Smut Report is the brainchild of Erin, Holly, and Ingrid, three thirty-somethings who have been swapping smut books for twenty years. They’ve read a lot of smut and love the genre. They want to share their love of smut with people who already love to read romance, but also with people who are curious about the genre, yet are a little bit scared to dive right in. So, in order to further their goal of sharing the wonderful, witty, and downright weird corners of the world of smut with everyone they know, they started a blog, where they can chat about romance novels to their hearts’ content.

Links

Website/Blog:  https://smutreport.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/smutreport

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/91403885-smut-report

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

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we usually get booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a freelance writer or author, or even from a romantic themed organization. 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, The Smut Report, for giving us your take on what romance (and the book genre) has come to mean to you, plus some food for thought. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next guest post when Dr. Anne Hancock visits ILRB on October 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, feature, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Special Feature, Stories, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Chris Ann Yim, plus a look at military romance, LIAISON IN LYUDINOVO!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our seventeenth 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. Please join me in welcoming Chris Ann Yim to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Chris Ann Yim:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, 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…

Chris:  I am a former history teacher turned military romance author. I LOVE writing in this genre. I have to say, the more I write the better I become. Reading and learning from other authors has been tremendously beneficial to me as well.

Marie:  Wow, that’s awesome! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Chris:  I am married to an Army veteran who treats me like a queen. He provides for our family, allowing me to write full-time from home. We were both only children and have an only child cat.

Marie:  Wonderful! I have fur babies too. 😉

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?

Chris:  I grew up in a suburban ranch home with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Dad added a second bathroom when I was in middle school, and we got central air when I was twelve. Harvest gold kitchen from 1969 with knotty pine cabinets. It was full of love, and there was an RV in the backyard. I wouldn’t trade my years there for anything.

Marie:  Nice! 😉

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

Chris:  Writing used to be my hobby. Now that I write full time, photography has become my biggest hobby. I enjoy capturing the essence of Southern American culture, whether it be muggy sunsets, cornbread, or old cemetery headstones.

Marie:  Cool!

And what is your greatest dream?

Chris:  At this point in my life, my greatest dream is to raise a healthy, well-adjusted family with the love of my life.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan. 😀

Let’s try another question.

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

Chris:  The one thing that I haven’t perfected is being patient. However, if I were still in my twenties, I’d tell you that I want to become the person that I am today. My thirties have been extremely enlightening. After finishing school, finding my husband, changing careers, and all of the other tedious steps that I took to get to age 31, I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I just have to hone my craft of writing. I think that comes with time.

Marie:  True. I wish I could be a little more patient as well.

So…who was your first love?

Chris:  My father was my first love. He is a strong man who’s been seasoned by life’s many trials and experiences. He also has a love of muscle cars and America like I do. He has really affected my outlook on life, and I am very thankful.

Marie:  Aww! ♥

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

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

Chris:  When I broke up with my college boyfriend, after three and a half years of dating, I would have told you that it was the most terrible thing that ever happened to me. That was tragedy to my twenty-two year old brain. Two years later, when I got broken up with from my first G.I. Joe, I knew my life was over because he was my dream man. I know now that my life was just beginning.

I’ve lost a best friend. I’ve battled not being able to use a limb after major surgery. I’ve struggled with depression. My husband and I struggled with infertility. But, I feel like every ‘tough’ experience I’ve ever gone through has made me stronger. It’s forged my steel. I’ve gone through some rough times, but nothing screams ‘terrible.’ Thanks to the good Lord, I’m incredibly blessed.

Marie:  Yikes, so many things! 😕

But what an incredibly inspiring outlook to have. How admirable! 😉

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Chris 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?

Chris:  My dream growing up was to be a psychiatrist, but the Lord changed my path in the middle of organic chemistry lab, junior year of college. I know that it was divine intervention. Thinking about it now, I would still be in an incredible amount of debt from medical school, and I have a habit of shouldering people’s problems. My brain would be racked with worry because I honestly care too much.

So, when that didn’t pan out, my next dream was to be a history teacher. Did that. Then, I quit that profession to start a family and write novels. Working on that now. Bette Davis said it best, “Success only breeds a new goal.”

Marie:  So true!

Well, let’s try something else…

Who is your role model, Chris?

Chris:  All praise to my mother. She did it all; school, work, family, cooking, cleaning, helping others. She never cracked, either. At least, not in front of me. She is the strongest woman I know. If I even manage to somehow be half of the woman she is, I will have succeeded. She’s just that amazing.

Marie:  Nice!

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Chris:  I don’t think it’s possible to like everything about everyone. I have people that I completely dislike, but I pray for them…sometimes. I try to be nice. I know some people don’t like me. I don’t even like everything about myself. So, overall, no.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Okay.

Let’s do something different.

What is your deepest desire?

Chris:  Unconditional love. Also, warm summer nights riding around in my Mustang. Drinking a chocolate malt. Listening to Junior Kimbrough with my man by my side. I’m not complicated in my desires. I value my Southland, my family, and my faith more than anything.

Marie:  They sound like great goals to me! 😉

And what is your greatest fear?

Chris:  Losing everything due to something unforeseen or uncontrollable. Losing my family or my home. I just have to keep on believing that won’t happen and be thankful because…I have it all. I truly have it all. And, I don’t mean that in a prideful way. I just know that the Lord has gotten me this far. He’s not going to forsake me now.

Marie:  True…

Let’s switch gears for a second.

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

Chris:  If we can forgo practical things like shelter, showers, and basic food, I would NEED an air conditioner, a bible, a radio, and a full service BBQ restaurant. Sweet tea included…of course.

Marie:  😀

All right, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jackson Lee of Palmer Lake, Colorado. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Chris:  Jackson is an engineering sergeant with the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group. He is a highly trained builder and demolitions expert. He grew up on a horse ranch outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and values the simple things in life like his team and his family.

Marie:  Nice…

And what are Jackson’s greatest strengths?

Chris:  Jackson is great at solving problems and tackling just about anything that comes his way. He is also a good judge of character.

Marie:  Any weaknesses?

Chris:  Jackson gets in his own way sometimes. He lets his mind overthink what his heart needs.

Marie:  (Nods.) I think a lot of people do that.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jackson’s favorite foods?

Chris:  He loves a rare steak and a good beer.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

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

Chris:  Jackson has a way of making those around him feel safe. He is very intelligent, but sees himself as an ordinary guy.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Chris:  Readers will like Jackson more and more as the book progresses. He is a good-looking guy who doesn’t know it, and he gets slightly nervous when a woman takes an interest in him. He is innocently adorable, despite the fact that he works on a team of trained killers.

Marie:  Aww…

Now that we have a real taste of Jackson, 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 Liaison in Lyudinovo?

Chris:  For the basics like espionage and Russia, I looked to television and movies. I took a trip to Russia with my husband, and my Dad also worked there for a brief time when I was a kid.

For the heart of the story, I looked to my personal experiences. I adore Fort Carson, Colorado. I spent a considerable portion of my life there and know it like the back of my hand. That became my secondary setting. After meeting so many soldiers during my life, finding a team of guys to carry out the mission in the story was easy. They are a conglomerate of friends and acquaintances.

My heroine, Sam, was a completely new creation. She shares some qualities with me, but really has a lot of qualities that I’d like to have. It took a bit of research to create her.

Marie:  Cool!

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Chris:  I’m both. I start out as a panster. I get an idea, run with it, and then plot along the way.

Marie:  (Laughs.) That sounds like me! 😉

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

Chris:  I wouldn’t do a thing differently. Writing is a process, and there is not one, single formula that can accurately tell all authors how to go about making their careers successful. Authors are all unique, and success is relative.

Writing the book was the first hurdle. Liaison is the third novel I’ve written. It took the writing of the first two to show me who my characters would be in this novel, now the first in the series. I got attached to the characters in my other novels and had to force myself to create new ones. Once I got rolling, I fell in love with these characters just as much. Point being, you have to write and write…and write some more to be able to find your niche.

Editing was the second hurdle. I can edit my manuscripts all day long, but quickly learned the value of a professional editor. The editing process was incredibly beneficial. It forced me to go back and rethink plotlines, deepen characters, and improve my writing skills.

Publishing was the third hurdle. I’d already pitched my first novel to an agent from L.A. That was only because he was at a writer’s conference that I attended. It’s not like he answered one of my 86 query letters that I sent all over the United States. He told me after one minute of me describing my southern book to him to get out of the south and travel the world. He said I should come back when I had lived more life. WHOO BOY. What he didn’t realize was that I already was a world traveler with three college degrees. I had lived all over the country, not just in the south. I was a woman of thirty years with a bevy of unique experiences under my belt that he couldn’t possibly comprehend. And, the book I was pitching was written about THE SOUTH. So, at first, I was mad. He didn’t know me. How could he say that to me? In my mother-in-law’s words, “Hasn’t he ever read Gone with the Wind or heard of Harper Lee?” Well, I was still bummed. HUGELY BUMMED. Was I missing something? Were my life experiences not adequate enough content for me to consider myself an author? I felt defeated. So, I almost gave up.

I thought traditional publishing was the only way to go because that’s what the agent told me. He quickly shot down mine and other author’s questions about self-publishing. Well, now that I think about it, that makes sense. He was in the traditional publishing world. But, I sat on that glorious, southern novel that I was so proud of, traveled the globe some more, then met some fantastic, supportive writers in my local community. TURNING POINT OF MY CAREER. You have to network and make friends. This is something that can be difficult for introverted writers. Some in the group were self-published authors and some were traditionally published, but they all told me to do what worked for me. So, I quickly realized, SELF-PUBLISHING IS A THING! And, not only that, it’s okay. I had been told my whole writing life that you had to have an agent, you had to have a New York publishing house behind you, and you had to do this ‘writing thing’ a certain way. NOT SO.

So, the moral of this story is, DO NOT get discouraged! The important thing to know as a writer is that you have to keep on writing, keep on reading, and keep on keeping on. True writers don’t write for the fame. They write with their hearts and souls about the things they love. If you hear back from a publisher, FANTASTIC. You’ve beat me at that game. If you don’t hear back, you CAN do it on your own. If you need help, message me, I’ll help you. We have to support each other because our chosen path as writers is quite solitary. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of us. We are just individually out there in our cozy little spaces, pouring our hearts out into stories.

Marie:  Such sound advice! 😀

Indeed, it is tough to navigate the publishing world. But I’m glad you figured it out.

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 Liaison in Lyudinovo appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about the book.

Title: Liaison in Lyudinovo

Genre: Military Romance

Publication date: August 6, 2019

Here is the blurb:

Sam Browning is a feisty and romantically jaded young CIA case officer who has uncovered a problem involving one of the Agency’s own. But she doesn’t have the evidence to expose the man she assumes to be a traitor working for the Russian government.

That was six years ago. Now she has what she needs to take the operative down and a skilled team of unique men working alongside her. Can they bring an end to a deadly operation and two high-value targets in defense of the United States? Then this life of government espionage will be behind her. But not before she discovers an unexpected bond with an untrusting, reserved member of the team.

Will this group of men teach Sam the final lesson of her career? Will the end of this case mean the end of Sam’s life? Just how strong can a bond be between those who defend the land of the free?

Chris is giving us a peek at the story…

 

Excerpt #1:

He smiled. “You okay, killer?”

She darted her eyes back and forth. “Well, I sort of need a little help in here.”

Jackson un-propped himself and went through the partially cracked bedroom door. He put his back to it and shut it behind him, looking at Sam in her dress.

Sam’s eyes trailed up his built, sophisticated form, taking in the wide-eyed expression on his face. He looked different without his beard. Younger.

“Too much?” she asked, looking back over herself.

“Uh.” Jackson shook his head. “Uh…no.” He blinked several times. “No, ma’am.”

“It’s red,” she said, hesitantly.

Jackson nodded, slowly, taking in every inch of her body under that red fabric. “I can see that.”

Excerpt #2:

About a mile from the cabin, Jackson pulled off onto a side road.

“What are you doing?” Sam asked, pushing the cuticles back on her fingernails.

He smiled. “Samantha Browning, have you ever driven a stick shift?”

Sam hesitated and looked away from him at the sky like a spaceship could land at any second. “Why?”

“Because the only reason you didn’t drive today is the car is a manual.”

She continued her fake search of the skies for anything to keep her eyes off him. “How do you know—”

“Come on now, Officer Browning,” he said to her as if he were trying to get a kid to fess up to a lie. “Your V8 Mustang is an automatic. You obviously like power, but you don’t know how to handle it.”

Well, that got her fired up. “Listen, Jackson Lee, I can ​handle power just fine. My Daddy tried to teach me once, but I just…I just…” She clenched her fists.

“You want to know a secret?”

“O…kay?” She shrugged.

“You know that you can try again, right? Some humans do that when they fail at something. Don’t let the secret out, though.”

She rolled her eyes. “Now? You want me to try now?”

“Now,” he repeated as he glared at her. “Do you and the guys have some sort of quilting contest going on back at the cabin, or do you want to learn?”

“Jackson Lee, we are not in a country where we can be distracted from the mission, shooting off on back roads for the enemy to find us. This is not the place to—”

“Do you trust me?” Jackson interrupted her.

She eyed him and shrugged. “This has nothing to do with—”

“Do you trust me?” he asked again, more firmly this time.

She hesitated but nodded. She didn’t like not knowing how to drive a stick shift, but she got frustrated easily with this particular skill.

“Did the Agency not require that you know how?” Jackson asked her.

Sam hem-hawed around at the question. “Well, yes-ish. I took the test.”

Jackson stared into her eyes, waiting on the rest of the story.

“I didn’t really pass the test, but to be fair, I tried. And, I’ve never had trouble since. I’m very thankful for that. And, I know it ​could have gone pretty bad in some situations, but…”

Jackson’s eyes were narrowing in question. “Do I even want to know how any of that went down, the not passing and yet surviving in foreign lands with foreign vehicles?”

Sam rubbed her forehead. “Eh?”

“Fine. Another day,” Jackson said, “but today, you’re learning.”

Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

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

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47551036-liaison-in-lyudinovo

What are people saying about Liaison in Lyudinovo?

 

 

“Spy and romance – what more could you want? This book is amazingly written. You feel you are there. Gets intense and you are right there feeling it. Love this brilliant writer!!!” – Connie King, Amazon

“Romance with military special ops. Author has researched the proper tactics, language and weapons for authenticity. Loved the romance part also.” – Deborah Palmer, Amazon

What a fun, suspenseful read!” – Robert G. Karcher, Amazon

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

About Chris Ann Yim

Chris Ann Yim is a historian and author of the new novel Liaison in Lyudinovo. As the wife of an Army veteran, she holds an appreciation for the relationships between military service members and their families. With a background in the social sciences, she has spent the majority of her life researching military leadership, the psychology of war, and the development of culture in societal groups. Chris is a cat mom who enjoys Blues Rock and Big Band music, drag racing, and photography. She lives and works out of her home on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee, and spends her vacations eating good food and traveling the globe with her husband. Her claim to fame was once being chosen as a contestant on ‘The Price is Right’, and in the future she aspires to go an entire week without tripping over her own feet or spilling a glass of sweet tea down her shirt.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Chris Ann yim, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Chris Ann Yim, the brilliant author of this military romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Military Romance, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, spies, Thriller/Suspense, Writers, Writing, Writing Tips

Exclusive Interview with author Barbara Wallace, plus a look at contemporary romance, ONE NIGHT IN PROVENCE!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our sixteenth 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. Please join me in welcoming Barbara Wallace to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Barbara Wallace:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, 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…

Barbara:  I am primarily a writer, but I also work part-time at Barnes & Noble Bookstores. I took a seasonal job there a few years ago and never left.  Not only does it keep me from being isolated in my little office, but it lets me spend time with readers and books. I’ve discovered a lot of new authors through chatting with customers.

Marie:  Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Barbara:  I like to think of my extended family as a wonderfully diverse and quirky bunch of people representing a variety of religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. Holidays are always entertaining.

As far as my immediate family, my husband and I live with two spoiled cats and a sailboat. (Seriously, my husband thinks of the thing as a child.)  The two of us spend a great deal of spare time reveling in our empty nest status. Our son is grown. He and his wife live a few hours away.

Marie:  That’s wonderful!

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?

Barbara:  I grew up in the CLEANEST home you’d ever see. My mom was a total neat freak. (I’m sure she’s rolling in grave over the state of my house – especially when I’m on deadline.) Our house was a pretty little Cape Cod with a neatly mowed lawn and an above ground swimming pool in a neighborhood full of pretty little Cape Cod houses with neatly mowed lawns and above ground swimming pools.

Marie:  Lovely! And believe me, I’m just as messy while I am focused on a writing project. 😉

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

Barbara:  When I’m not writing – which seems like always these days – I love to read. I’ve got a stack of books on my end table waiting for me. I wish I could tell you I garden or do some kind of craft, but I kill plants and I’m horribly craft-deficient. Although, I am thinking of taking up crochet this winter.

Marie:  And what is your greatest dream?

Barbara:  Well, my greatest dream used to be to become a published author. Clearly, I checked off that box. Now, I would like to have the freedom to control my own schedule. There are so many things I want to explore in this world, both creatively and literally. My dream is to one day have the freedom to do so without having to answer to a deadline or outside job. To be able to answer only to myself (and my husband, of course).

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😀

Let’s try another question.

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

Barbara:  I want to be someone who is comfortable being myself. I spend a lot of time being the person other people want me to be. I want to learn to be authentic, even if that means risking disapproval. Why haven’t I become that person? I’m working on it. It takes a lot of work to shake free of your childhood baggage.

Marie:  I agree. And I’ve noticed we are our own worst critics. I put a lot of pressure on myself to meet certain standards and whenever I don’t reach those goals, it’s a huge disappointment.

But I guess I should go a bit easier on me, huh? 😉

So…who was your first love?

Barbara:  His name was John and he played trumpet in the high school band. I was so in love with him. It broke my heart that he didn’t feel the same.

Marie:  Aww. 😥

In any case, life seems to have worked out well for you! 😀

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

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

Barbara:  One very early morning, when my son was four months old, I was in the kitchen trying to wrap a blanket around his squirming body when he suddenly squirmed straight out of my arms. We rushed him to the hospital where they said he suffered a minor skull fracture. Thankfully he recovered. Even though it was a complete accident, the guilt from that day still rips my insides to shreds.

Marie:  Yikes! 😕

At least he’s okay. I guess I can’t blame you for feeling that way.

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Barbara 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?

Barbara:  I wanted to be a writer as a child. So, yeah – I achieved it. Of course, in my mind back then, a writer meant being rich and famous with a mansion like Jackie Collins. Turns out, being a writer is a lot of hard work. No one told me the words didn’t just “pour out” of you and onto the page!

Marie:  Right? I had big expectations too! (Laughs.)

Well, let’s trying something else…

Who is your role model, Barbara?

Barbara:  I don’t know if I have one specific role model. There are a lot of people in my life with qualities that I seek to emulate. For example, my husband is a wonderfully charitable man who is always helping others. My best friend is amazingly diplomatic and a natural leader. Both of these people are people I strive to be more like.

Marie:  Cool!

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Barbara:  I’ll never tell.  🙂

Marie:  (Chuckles.) No worries, I respect your privacy.

Let’s do something different.

What is your deepest desire?

Barbara:  To be really and truly happy.

Marie:  Sounds like a great goal to me! 😉

And what is your greatest fear?

Barbara:  That I passed on my neuroses and tendency for depression to my son.

Marie:  Oh, no! 😥

Let’s switch gears for a second…

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

Barbara:

  1. A Gallon of Bug Spray
  2. A super large journal with a forever sharp pencil
  3. Cookware
  4. A sleeping bag
  5. Coffee

Marie:  Can’t blame you on the bug spray! Yikes! We have so many bugs in Indiana. 🙄

And yes, a never-ending journal! 🙂

All right, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

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

Barbara:  Jenna Brown is a nurse in a nursing home on Nantucket Island. She moved there from Cambridge, which is just outside of Boston. Jenna’s practical and guarded. That comes from having watched her mother’s heart get broken over and over by her callous father. But there’s a part of her that’s longing for romance. She wants to be loved; she’s simply afraid to open her heart to the opportunity.

Marie:  That’s understandable…

And what are Jenna’s greatest strengths?

Barbara:  Her compassion. She’s dedicated her life to helping people who are dying and unable to care for themselves.

Marie:  How admirable! 😀

Any weaknesses?

Barbara:  Her stubbornness. She is so determined to protect her heart that she doesn’t see the opportunity that’s right in front of her.

Marie:  I see.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jenna’s favorite foods?

Barbara:  Coffee. And fish. She lives in New England, after all.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

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

Barbara:  She has an adventurous streak that I don’t think she’s ever tapped into before. She’s always so practical. This book gives her a chance to have a real adventure.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Barbara:  Hopefully they will really like her and want her to have a happy ending!

Marie: Of course!

Now that we have a real taste of Jenna, 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 One Night in Provence?

Barbara:  It actually came to me during an editorial meeting. The end of our editorial department said they were looking for ‘author-generated’ series. My bestie, Donna, immediately texted me and said, “We need to work together! We dragged in Nina Singh and the Mills & Boon queen Liz Fielding as well. Someone – I’m betting it was Donna Alward – suggested bucket list vacations. I practically screamed over everyone, “I’m doing a castle in Provence!” Largely because I want to take a vacation in a castle in Provence. LOL.

Marie: (Chuckles.) Awesome!

Oh, yes, I’d love to go to France too.

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Barbara:  I am what you would call a plodder. I plot the book in chunks of three or four chapters. I tend to write mind-numbingly slow as well. I want to make sure the characters drive the plot and that their reactions are in keeping with their personalities. There’s nothing that bothers me more than books that have characters doing things simply to facilitate a plot.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Barbara:  Bear in mind that I was already under a multi-book contract with Harlequin when I wrote this book, so getting it published was a forgone conclusion. The challenge was to write – and then rewrite – a book that was both emotional and uplifting, especially as I was writing this during a very sad period in my life. (There’s a reason Jenna’s a nursing home nurse.)  I ended up taking a lot of what happened and incorporating it into the story.

For aspiring writers – I took 15 years to initially publish. That was, of course, before self-publishing. Nowadays, writers don’t have to battle gatekeepers if they don’t choose to. My advice is simple: if you do want to be published traditionally, don’t ever give up. Keep writing and submitting. The key to success is perseverance.

To my independently published friends…always make sure that you are publishing your best work. Put yourself through the same editing and revision paces that you would experience were you traditionally published.

Marie:  Such sound advice! 😀 Indeed, it is tough to navigate the publishing world.

I look forward to learning about the other books in this series as 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 One Night in Provence appears to be… ♥

Title: One Night in Provence

Series: Destination Brides Book Three

Number in series: Third book in a four-book series, can be read as a standalone.

Genre: Romance

‘Spice’ level: Closed door sex

Publication date: August 1st

Publisher: Harlequin (US) / Mills & Boon (UK)

Here is the blurb:

Can an unexpected affair…

…lead to a lifetime of happiness?

In this Destination Brides story, while on vacation in Provence, homebody Jenna Brown embarks on a no-strings affair with a handsome stranger. But there’s more to wealthy playboy Philippe D’Usay than meets the eye. Scarred by loss, Philippe’s committed to being alone. But after their Provençal adventure ends, and Jenna discovers she’s pregnant, they must decide if their short-term connection could become a life together forever.

Here’s a peek at the story…

“Beatrice used to say stuff like that.”

“The woman who left you the money.”

Her smile softened. “She would have liked you. I remember one night we were watching a documentary about some ancient Greek city known for excessive living…”

“Sybaris,” he interrupted.

She looked at him in surprise. “Yes, that’s the one.”

“A lucky guess. I remember the lecture from university.”

“You have a very good memory.”

“It was a very interesting subject,” he said with a shrug.

“Anyway, when the show ended, Beatrice looked at me and said, ‘Those Greeks had the right idea.’”

“My kind of woman.”

“She must have dozed off during the part where the city was destroyed.”

“Yes, but at least they enjoyed themselves on the way out.” Reaching for the champagne, he filled both their glasses. “Vie amoureuse, as they say.”

“She definitely would have liked you.”

“Of course. I am a very likable person. You do not agree?” he asked at her enigmatic smile.

“Oh, I agree.” He watched while she traced the rim of her glass. “You’re extremely likable.”

“And you find that a problem.” A statement, not a question. He’d begun to notice a pattern with his American. Whenever she began to relax and enjoy herself, the wariness would rear its head to cool the enjoyment off. Such as now. Instead of laughing at his silly joke, she responded seriously.

“You do not trust me.” Again, he presented the words as fact.

“You’re a millionaire,” she countered. “Where I come from, millionaires don’t usually take women like me out to dinner.”

“They don’t believe in dating beautiful women?”

“They don’t pull out all the stops unless they have an agenda.”

Before he could reply, they were interrupted by a service. “Pissaladière,” the man announced before lifting the cover to reveal an onion tart, crust browned to perfection.

“I hope you don’t mind,” he said, “but I took the liberty of selecting the menu. Various Provençal dishes I think you would enjoy.”

“Case in point,” she replied.

“If your point is that I am trying to impress you, then I plead guilty as charged.”

“Impress me with the goal of coming back to my room.”

“Again guilty.” Did she expect him to deny human nature? Most women he knew would be swept off their feet by a moonlight dinner. Half of them would be in his arms before the tart arrived. With her, his efforts brought suspicion, despite his openness. It was almost as if she were afraid to enjoy herself.

He would need to rethink his approach.

“You always have the power to say no,” he reminded her.

“So long as we both realize that.” She smiled as she replied, but her eyes were serious.

Ma chère, I never go anywhere I’m not invited. Although I hope you will save your rejection until after the tart.”

He placed a slice on her plate and waited while she took a bite. When her eyes closed, he knew he’d scored his first point. No one could resist well-done French cuisine.

“Amazing,” she replied.

“And that is only the beginning. By the time tonight is over, you’ll have discovered that most things in Provence are amazing. And irresistible.”

Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

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

BAM:  https://www.booksamillion.com/p/One-Night-Provence/Barbara-Wallace/Q393756081?id=7684037147673

Publisher (US):  https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488043819_one-night-in-provence.html

Publisher (UK):  https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/products/hqnsingle-07183501

Publisher (Australia):  https://store.millsandboon.com.au/products/one-night-in-provence

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43891484-one-night-in-provence

https://www.bookbub.com/books/one-night-in-provence-by-barbara-wallace

What are people saying about One Night in Provence?

 

 

One Night in Provence by Barbara Wallace is a Hallmark movie wrapped up in book form. Ms. Wallace did such a great job that I could picture everything happening. I felt so bad for these two every time they seemed to make progress then they’d fall back a couple of steps. This book was excellent, and I loved every minute of reading it.” – Karen (Baroness Book Trove), Goodreads and Amazon

I absolutely loved this book the characters were great! The setting was brilliant! I loved how it turn out. I’m looking forward to more in this series.” – Penney Wilfort, Amazon and Goodreads

“Another home run from Barbara Wallace! Two unlikely people from very different worlds who have given up on love and the hope of having a happily ever after come together for one week in Provence, France, a week that will change their lives forever. Perfect, uplifting beach read! You could almost smell the beautiful flowers that go into making perfume from this magnificent region of the world. ” – Valerie DeAngelis, Goodreads

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this contemporary, vacation romance! ♥♥♥

About Barbara Wallace

My love affair with writing began the day my best friend, Kim, showed me her “novel”, an illustrated tome about her cat. Impressionable eight-year-old that I was, I decided to write a novel of my own.

Needless to say, that novel, The Adventures of Ginger the Cat, failed to hit the bestseller’s lists. Neither did my second effort, The Tame, Tame East, an all-female version of the Robert Conrad TV series. That didn’t matter. I was hooked. In high school, while other kids played Pac-Man, and checked out the Eagles’ latest, I was in my room pounding out stories on my manual typewriter.

Looking back, I see now that romance played a central role in my stories from the beginning. No matter what genre I wrote (and I wrote all of them), I always inserted a happy ending. Heck, even The Adventures of Ginger featured a wedding. To me, there’s nothing more captivating than the anticipation of seduction, and the rush that comes from finding true love.  However, it wasn’t until a co-worker handed me a romance novel that my writing finally found its true home.

For years I limited my dreams to nights, weekends and commuter train trips while working as a communications specialist, PR freelancer and full-time mom.  But then, after years of knocking on doors, I sold to Harlequin Romance. Today, I’ve sold nearly 1 million books world-wide.  And, I couldn’t have done it without you.

A life-long Yankee, I live in New England with my own true love and two spoiled, rescue cats.  They are currently pouting because they’ve been informed neither of them will have a book written about them. Or because they want more food.  It’s a fifty-fifty shot.

 

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Barbara Wallace, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Barbara Wallace, the brilliant author of this modern romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Readers, Romance, vacation romance, Women's Fiction, Writers, Writing, Writing Tips

20 Questions Book Tag

Hi, readers! I hopped on the bandwagon for this one. Thanks to the fascinating C.G. Drews at the Paper Fury blog, I stumbled across this awesome book tag post…

She didn’t officially tag me, just encouraged people to participate. So, I thought, hey, why not? I also missed Read A Book Day and International Literacy Day last week, and this is a great way to honor those unusual holidays. Plus, I love these questions! ♥

Let’s dive in! 😉

20 Questions Book Tag

 

1. How many books are too many for a series?

Is there such a thing? I guess in most cases, it doesn’t bother me. A series is as long as it needs to be. But I have followed J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series for years – I am begging for forgiveness on my knees here, J.R. – and there is a point when I start to wonder…will it ever get wrapped up? I mean, I love a good hottie with fangs as much as the next girl (Wrath, come here, boy!… *whistles and pants). But does it just keep going until Jessica decides she’s done with vamps? (Chuckles.)

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

Oh, god…kill me now! Yep, I end up complaining like a little girl to my nearest and dearest, at least until I can grab a copy of the next book in the series. So, I’m not exactly a fan of cliffhangers.

This is probably why I do my best not to torment readers that way with my books. I just find other ways to torture my characters. 😀

3. Hardcover or paperback?

Either one is cool with me, but paperback is a tad more convenient. I always find the bigger books sliding off my lap or a table or something. (Clumsy Marie!)

4. Favorite book?

HOW DARE YOU!! No, I’m kidding. But, seriously? WHHHYYYYY MAKE ME CHOOSE?

Okay, I’ll answer. As of this moment, I guess I’ll go with Dark Lover by J.R. Ward.

Wrath and I can go make cute little imaginary Marie/Wrath babies in my dreams… 😉

5. Least favorite book?

The World I Made for Her by Thomas Moran. Big buildup, and major emotional letdown. This made me ugly cry, for sure!

6. Love triangles, yes or no?

I don’t usually like them, because it adds wayyy too much drama. I mean, I get enough drama in my own life, thanks!

7. The most recent book you couldn’t finish?

Opening Atlantis by Harry Turtledove. This was a gift from a loved one. For me it was a slow read, but I have hope that I’ll eventually get back to it one day and finish it. At least so I can say, hey, thanks for the good book! (even if the words are a tad late)

8. A book you’re currently reading?

Kurt Seyt & Shura by Nermin Bezmen. This is on my book review schedule for ILRB here.

9. Last book you recommended to someone?

The Chicagoland Vampires Series by Chloe Neill. Seriously, have you not discovered it yet? Merit is the quirkiest badass vamp heroine around…

10. Oldest book you’ve read by publication date?

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson (the first official romance novel). This was published in 1740, but I managed to snag a 1919 copy at an antique store.

11. Newest book you’ve read by publication date?

The Impaler’s Wife by Autumn Bardot, published in April of this year. A gothic romance, with an unusual yet fascinating take on the legend and true history of Dracula.

12. Favorite author?

Damn, so many! J.R. Ward, Chloe Neill, P.C. Cast, Nora Roberts, Kris Tualla, Catherine Coulter, Tessa Dare, and the list just keeps going…

13. Buying books or borrowing books?

I buy a ton of books. I am a book whore, I’ll admit it. But I really need to stop! (Giggles.)

14. A book you dislike that everyone seems to love?

The Great Gatsby. Honestly, I just don’t get it. When I was in high school, I rented it from the library. To this day, I know it’s a classic and all, but I just can’t see why people make a big deal about the novel. And Leo DiCaprio being in the film doesn’t make me go all nuts to Netflix it either.

15. Bookmarks or dog ears?

Yes, I am guilty of dog-earing pages. Mostly, I don’t have a moment to think about grabbing a bookmark while I’m reading (um…where did I put the one I got at that new release party?), so I just mark it the quickest way I know how. When I re-read a book, then I see I enjoyed it because there are slight indentations here and there. Not enough to ruin the reading experience, though! 😉

So, what about you?

16. A book you can always re-read?

The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward.

17. Can you read while listening to music?

More often than not, I can’t multitask if I’m reading. It requires my absolute focus.

There is one other activity I can’t do while I’m listening to music as well, but I won’t go into details. Let’s just say, I get distracted by the music and in the past, I annoyed my boyfriends.

18. One POV or multiple?

I will take either one, just as long as there is no head-hopping. I can tolerate it to a point, but if I can’t figure out which character’s head I’m in, then I am tempted to throw the book across the room!

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

I have done both. If I read it in one sitting (or actually, eyes glued to the pages until sun comes up while I’m in bed), then that’s a great compliment on a writer’s ability to tell a good story. But if I am short on time, I’ll spread it out over a week or two. Maybe longer if I can’t quite immerse myself in the fictional world.

20. Who do you tag?

Tag anyone at all – a friend or just ask your readers to participate. AND YES, please do here on the I Love Romance Blog! 😉 Well, I assume if you dropped by, you’re an avid book reader too…so, enjoy!

 

Lend me your opinions in the comments below! How many books do YOU like in a series? What are your point-of-view preferences? (or tell me what you’re currently reading!)

Here’s a screenshot of my Kindle bookshelf. ♥

As always, everyone, have a great rest of your week and happy reading! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Gothic, Historical, Historical Romance, Interview, Literature, Marie Lavender, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, participants, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

My TOP 6 Dream Wedding Locations: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

My TOP 6 Dream Wedding Locations

 

Ever since I got engaged to my soul mate a few years ago, I’ve thought about the perfect locations for a wedding.

Sweet Ice Cream Photography, Unsplash

My fiancé and I have entertained big and small celebrations, anything from local to international ceremonies. And yes, most options tend to depend on the size of your wedding budget and the number of guests you intend on having.

Now, even though I’m a dreamer by nature, I am also a realist. That must be the Libra in me, weighing both sides! LOL. But in real life, I am much more likely to see the glass as half empty than remotely full. Lately, though, I have begun to see the benefits of taking an optimistic approach with some facets of life. Why not dream a little after all? What could it hurt?

Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash

So if money was no issue, where might I choose for my wedding location? Well, I can’t pick one right now, but I will try to narrow down the regions a bit.

  1. England

My familiarity with British TV shows and movies has always led to a fascination with areas ‘across the pond’, so to speak.

Benjamin Davies, Unsplash

           A. London

  • Museum of the Moon

Located inside the Natural History Museum, this is a very modern event space which is only available from May to September. Looks like a cool place to hold a wedding reception, right? 😉

Natural History Museum – London

  • Sky Garden

With its stunning panoramic views, a wedding there is bound to be an unforgettable event.

  • One Marylbone

If you’re looking for an elegant place for a wedding and reception, this seems like a good choice.

  • Porchester Hall

This modern event space with different rooms is rather versatile, suitable for any type of occasion.

  • The Penthouse – Brick Lane

This private event space at a bowling alley might not seem like a great idea at first, but if you’re set on a casual yet intimate atmosphere, and aim to treat your guests to a lot of fun, it’s just perfect!

For London and its surrounding regions, Canvas Events is a great source for reserving a venue. You can even book Kensington Palace!

Wild, right? 😀

     B. Castles/Manors

I have a weakness for historical romance novels, and I’ve always wanted to visit all the lovely castles in Europe. Let’s look at some fancy venues in England.

  • Hedsor House – a country house with an Italianate style on the Buckingham-Berskshire border, and set amongst 100 acres of historic parkland.
  • Hengrave Hall – a Tudor style mansion complete with great halls and elegant chambers in the Suffolk countryside.
  • Chiceley Hall – a Georgian country mansion, decked out in the Baroque style with 48 rooms, a restaurant and a bar.
  • Clevedon Hall – a huge wedding venue in Somerset, situated on seventeen acres and boasting 25 luxurious bedroom suites.

C. Hotels

  • Dumbleton Hall Hotel – a 19th century Cotswald stone manor house with nineteen acres of gardens and a private lake.
  • The Grand Hotel – located at Tynemouth, close to the beach with a clifftop overlook. It has quite a history, having been originally built as a home for the Duchess of Northumberland.
  • Matfen Hall Hotel – a 19th century country mansion in Northumberland, located on 300 acres of parkland. They recently added a newly refurbished wedding space.
  • The Lodore Falls Hotel – situated on the shores of Derwentwater in Borrowdale, Cumbria in Lake District National Park. The site has 40 acres of tranquil land with a waterfall and a lakeshore.

These are all great choices! Here are some other venues to discover in England.

 

  1. Ireland

I have always been drawn to Irish mythology and Celtic music. So when I found out about two years ago that my great-grandfather was a full-blooded Irishman, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise that Ireland has been one of my top bucket list locations.

Patrick Metzdorf, Unsplash

          A. The Cliffs of Moher

Despite my fear of heights, this vista, which spans about eight miles across the Irish coast, is just too amazing to pass up! So, why wouldn’t it be an interesting locale for a wedding?

Jesse Gardner, Unsplash

  • Hotel Doolin Located in County Clare on the West Coast of Ireland and famous for its traditional Irish music, this contemporary hotel has spacious, modern rooms.

Let’s explore some other great wedding venues in Ireland.

       B. Drenagh Estate a 19th-century house, complete with a tree-lined driveway and richly wooded grounds.


       C. Ballyfin Set at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in the center of Ireland, Ballyfin is an exclusive luxury five star hotel, situated on 614 private acres of parkland with a 28 acre lake.

       D. Dunluce Castle This medieval castle is on a cliff overlooking the sea in Northern Ireland, and is arguably one of the best and most memorable castles in the country, despite its state of ruins. It isn’t surprising that visitors go for the dramatic views, and yes, some choose to have a wedding ceremony there.

       E. Huntington Castle a 17th century house situated on more than 160 acres of gardens, woodland and farmland. And you might even spot the occasional peacock or rooster!


       F. Baily Lighthouse On cliffs extending into Dublin Bay from Howth, this is one of Ireland’s most photographed lighthouses on the eastern coastline. The cliff walk/path appears to be stunning and quite a romantic adventure. It’s no wonder some have chosen to set their wedding locales in clear view of the lighthouse!

       G. Ashford Castle (explore more wedding photos on the site here) A medieval castle which was transformed into a five star luxury hotel, situated on 350 acres of parkland, this castle has always appealed to me. I’ve been getting their brochures for years, and I can’t deny the pull I have to it!


       H. Adare Manor Set on 840 acres, this neo-Gothic architectural masterpiece, once the family seat of the Earls of Dunraven, has been transformed into a five star hotel and golf resort. Such stunning views!


        I. Castlemartyr Resort –The resort consists of a grand 17th century country manor house that sits adjacent to the ruins of an 800 year old castle. The five star hotel includes a 10 treatment room Spa and a luxurious golf course. With open meadows, manicured lawns and formal gardens, as well as a 24,400 square foot wellness, spa and fitness center, guests truly will want for nothing more.


        J. Castle Leslie – One of the finest castle luxury estates in Ireland, set on 1000 private acres of rolling hills, parkland and lakes to explore…why wouldn’t this be an idyllic countryside, just perfect for a dream wedding?

        K. Castle Durrow an 18th century country house in the Irish midlands – just an hour from Dublin – which was transformed into a luxury castle hotel. Looking over the wedding gallery on the site, the location has such picturesque gardens, and it’s easy to see why couples have chosen this site again and again.

Stunning! Here’s hoping that I make it to Ireland someday! Fingers crossed! 😉

Disover this link with more information on wedding locations in Ireland.

 

  1. New Zealand

Ömer Faruk Bekdemir, Unsplash

From bustling cities to dramatic mountainscapes to forests to scenic waterways, this country appears to have it all. At least everything you could want for a destination wedding. Here are some options, just to name a few.

           A. The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs Set on 6000 acres near Matauri Bay, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Situated atop a cliff and overlooking three pristine private beaches, alongside offering the amenities of a serene spa and a golf course, as well as a hotel restaurant, numerous local activities, and spacious suites to stay in, you just can’t go wrong!


           B. Huka Lodge Regarded as one of the top luxury lodges in New Zealand, surrounded by seventeen acres of countryside on the banks of the Waikato River, the Huka Lodge features an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, free airport transportation and a hot tub. It has air-conditioned suites with a private terrace and lovely river views. It’s only a 10-minute walk to the famous Huka Falls. Sounds like a great place to visit!


           C. Blanket Bay Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Wakatipu on a 10,000 acre high country farm with quintessential South Island lake and mountain views, Blanket Bay Lodge offers guests a relaxing hot tub and rooms with stunning views. The staff at this luxury lodge in a majestic mountain setting can arrange mountain bike tours, jet boating and Milford Sound tours. What a perfect wedding or honeymoon retreat, right?

    D. Annandale Coastal Farm Escape and Luxury Villa In one of the world’s most spectacular coastal locations, this is a rare 4000-acre sheep and cattle farm which also offers exclusive use of four multi award winning luxury villas.

Here is a list of other options in New Zealand.

 

  1. Turks and Caicos

With such clear blue beauty, what couldn’t be better than this view during a wedding ceremony? ♥♥♥

tkelly8843496, Pixabay

Here are some locales for a destination wedding. I won’t go into much detail with each site from now on, as I think I’m starting to sound like a travel agent. LOL. I figure you can decide for yourself where you’d like to base your dream wedding, and if any of the pictures appeal to you.

             A. East Bay Resort

            B. Blue Haven Resort and Marina

            C. Beach House

            D. The Regent Palms

 

  1. USA

Why not go for something more local? I have always dreamed of living by the ocean, so I wouldn’t mind a beach wedding in the U.S. either! 😉

Lauren Richmond, Unsplash

Especially if it’s a little easier to get to, here in my homeland. Hmm…let’s see what’s possible.

A. Florida

Jorge Vasconez, Unsplash

These are some venues in this beautiful, sunny locale.

  • Hollywood Beach Marriott
  • Panama City Beach Legacy By the Sea

Barefoot Hide A Way Grill

  • Miramar Beach Sol Mate (vacation rental home which is sometimes used for a wedding venue)

  • Destin Emerald Grande

  • Fort Walton Beach Holiday Inn Resort

For more information on Florida venues, click here.

 

B. California

Maarten van den Heuvel, Unsplash

  • Muir Beach Pelican Inn

  • Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Dream Inn
  • Monterey Monterey Tides Hotel

  • Laguna Beach Surf & Sand

  • Santa Monica Shutters on the Beach

  • Ventura Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

  • Santa Barbara Rincon Beach Club

  • Redondo Beach Chart House

For more California sites, click here.

 

C. Maine

  • Bar Harbor Harborside Hotel

Bar Harbor Inn

French’s Point

For more places in Maine to have your dream wedding, go here

 

D. Hawaii

  • Koloa The Beach House

Sheraton Kauai Resort

  • Lahaina Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

Montage Kapalua Bay

  • Kapolei Paradise Cove

For more places to have a wedding in Hawaii, click here.

 

E. Georgia

1778011, Pixabay

  • St. Simons Island

The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort

The Golden Isles

  • Jekyll Island Villas by the Sea Resort & Conference Center

For more wedding venues in Georgia, click here.

 

F. North Carolina

AJ Gallagher, Unsplash

  • Manteo The Outer Banks of North Carolina

  • Nags Head Jennette’s Pier

  • Ocean Isle Beach Oceanfront Weddings of N.C.

  • Duck Sanderling Resort

  • Wilmington Southern Beach House

  • Havelock Neuse Breeze

  • Kitty Hawk Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks

For more locations in North Carolina, explore this link.

 

G. Massachusetts

skeeze, Pixabay

  • South Yarmouth Red Jacket Beach Resort & Spa

  • Mashpee The Club at New Seabury & The Popponesset Inn 

  • Provincetown The Provincetown Inn

  • Dennisport – The Sea View

Corsair & Cross Rip Oceanfront Resort

  • Hyannis Cape Codder Resort and Spa

  • North Falmouth Sea Crest Beach Hotel

  • Nantucket Galley Beach

Westcliff

Check out some more locations here for Massachusetts venues. And this is a link to additional sites in the U.S.

 

  1. France

Oops, I almost forgot! Can’t overlook France. It’s breathtaking!

Augustin de Montesquiou, Unsplash

So…I’ve always wanted to visit Paris for a vacation, but if I was going for a wedding venue? Nah, I’d probably pick something more natural or unique. Perhaps a villa, castle, a vineyard, or even some lavender fields.

  • Provence Chateau de Tourreau

Château d’Alphéran

Bastide St Mathieu

  • Loire Valley – Chateau de Jalesnes

La Chatellerie

Château de Chissay

Here is a link which includes more options in France.

Wow, lots of choices to go over!

Well, I hope I covered everything. Maybe this post sparked your own ideas for a dream wedding, huh?

Tyler Nix, Unsplash

So after all this, what place have we as a couple chosen for the big day? That will most likely depend on the date of the wedding and our budget for the event. Okay, so maybe I didn’t narrow them down all that much. I like to have some variety! 😉

I just hope this helped you in your own search. I’ll keep you informed of our decision, however…

As always, happy reading, and have a beautiful summer! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian maritime romance/family saga, Heiresses in Love, and 20 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category of the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie 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 writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

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Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
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Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

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

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Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Engagement, Event, Hope, Love, Lovers Like Us, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, travel, Wedding

Book Feature: The Reluctant Husband by author Eliot Grayson

I am pleased to announce a great book by Eliot Grayson, an author I met during my journey! This talented writer is stopping by to tell us about MM historical romance, The Reluctant Husband, which released back in June!

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

Eliot is allowing us a look at a MM alternate history romance set in the Regency era, The Reluctant Husband, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for The Reluctant Husband, book two of Goddess-Blessed Series:

Disowned, disgraced, and with nowhere to turn, Tom Drake is willing to barter anything — even himself — for a reprieve from starvation and despair. Years spent lying to protect his secrets have left him longing for someone to value him, even if it’s only for his body and the blessing of his patron goddess.

Mal Leighton’s cousin and heir is dying. Only a miracle can save him — and if a miracle doesn’t appear, Mal’s damn well going to create one. Marrying Tom for his blessing is his last desperate hope to preserve his family. And if Tom happens to be as irresistibly seductive as he is untrustworthy? Well, Mal can focus on more than one goal at a time.

Tom doesn’t fall in love, and Mal knows better than to believe he’s the exception. But when Tom’s blessing doesn’t provide the quick cure they’d hoped, it’s clear that the goddess expects them to have a marriage in more than name. To save Mal’s family and find their own happiness, they will both need to sacrifice their pride and risk their hearts.

Release Date: June 7, 2019

Genre: M/M historical romance, LGBT, Regency, alternate history

And here is an excerpt to tease you with...

Footsteps on the cobblestones of the square roused him from his fugue, and he pressed himself back into the alcove in panic. A lamp across the square did little to illuminate his corner; he was safe enough from anyone passing by.

Except that it wasn’t just anyone, and he wasn’t just passing by.

Malcolm Leighton stopped in the opening to the square, seeming to sense Tom’s presence; his silhouette, sinister in the mist, sent a shiver down Tom’s spine. But it was unmistakably Leighton, at least to one who’d spent years studying him surreptitiously from across school assemblies. He had a certain way of holding himself, both arrogant and graceful, that had always caught and held Tom’s attention — had made it so bloody difficult for Tom to hide the feelings he had to keep out of sight at all costs. What his father might have done had he discovered Tom’s leanings toward other men hadn’t borne thinking of.

When Leighton turned, his face was in shadow, but Tom could easily imagine his expression: one corner of his mouth raised in cynical amusement, the slight lift of his thick, straight black brows, and the shrewd gleam of his dark eyes.

As he stepped closer Tom’s body tightened, every muscle and tendon quivering with the urge to run, to fight, to take some action. He was cornered and brought to bay, quite literally and in every other way. If Leighton had followed him with violence in mind, he would find that Tom was not quite the easy pickings he had been as a schoolboy. Leighton still had an inch or two of height and the same in the breadth of his shoulders on Tom, but Tom could hold his own.

But when Leighton reached out, he held something in his hands, and his movements were slow and easy. “Your coat, Drake. They said you didn’t have a hat.”

The tension bled out of him as quickly as it had built, leaving him almost shaking from relief, from an odd disappointment, from despair and drink.

“You followed me to return my coat?” Tom’s voice came out all wrong, hoarse and dry. He reached out, took the coat, felt its weight in his hands as something unfamiliar and strange, now that it had been in Leighton’s possession even for a few minutes. “And — how did you know I’d left without it?”

“Half of the city saw you fly out the door as if all of Ingard’s hounds were on your heels,” Leighton drawled. “The gossips will be whispering of Tom Drake’s sudden fit of madness, this time tomorrow.”

“As though it matters,” Tom muttered. He wished it didn’t — wished he could be truly indifferent. He unfolded his coat, hands numb and clumsy, and nearly dropped it.

“Allow me.” Leighton swept the coat away so smoothly that Tom hardly realized it was gone. “Well?” Leighton prompted him impatiently.

Tom left off gaping at him and turned obediently to allow Leighton to help him on with it, a task he accomplished as well as any valet Tom had ever had.

None of Tom’s valets had ever lingered so long on the task of smoothing the fabric down his arms, though, nor stroked their hands over his hips afterward. Tom jerked away and spun to face Leighton.

“What the hell are you playing at?” he snarled. “If you think I’m the kind of man to fumble in an alley —”

“I know you’re that kind of man.” Leighton pushed forward, his chest brushing Tom’s and his face close enough that Tom could feel his breath. It was warm, and sweet with fine brandy, and nearly as intoxicating as the spirits Leighton had clearly imbibed. “But I’m not one to fumble, myself. There’s a place nearby. Rooms to let, short notice and short term. I had thought to take you there.”

“You’re not taking me anywhere.” Leighton’s other meaning belatedly sank in. “And I don’t fumble, in alleys or elsewhere, you arrogant, condescending, conceited arse!”

Leighton’s broad shoulders moved slightly, an arrogant, condescending shrug if ever there was one. “Your rather checkered history says otherwise, Drake.” Amused, Leighton was amused by Tom’s misery, and it was suddenly the outside of enough.

Tom seized Leighton by the shoulders and shoved, knocking the bastard against the rough bricks of the alcove wall, and he followed the shove with his full weight, knocking Leighton back and pinning him. Leighton hit hard and let out an oof of surprise, his hat flying off and landing somewhere on the damp cobblestones of the walkway.

“Don’t.” Tom shook him once, slamming him into the wall. “Don’t you dare speak of my wife as . . . checkered history. I should thrash you for that!”

“I’d like to see you try,” Leighton retorted, as calmly as if they stood in a drawing room discussing the weather.

Tom had been thrashed more often than the reverse, most recently by his own brother, but he’d learned a thing or two on those occasions, most notably that one took what advantage one could and be damned to the rules. He drew back and drove his fist into Leighton’s solar plexus — or would have, if Leighton hadn’t caught his arm, ducked to the side like a damned snake, and used Tom’s own momentum to fling him face-first into the wall.

He landed just hard enough to bruise, his cheek stinging where it scraped against the bricks. Leighton’s full weight landed against his back and knocked the wind out of him. He only registered that Leighton had one arm twisted behind his back when he tried, and failed, to throw him off.

“That’s enough of that,” Leighton said, suddenly not sounding so amused. “A friendly quarrel is one thing. I draw the line at fisticuffs.”

“We’re not friends,” Tom spat. He bucked, cursed, and landed against the wall again, winded and defeated.

Leighton leaned in, slowly pressing the whole length of his tall body against Tom’s. “Certainly not,” he breathed in Tom’s ear, the warmth of it sending a contradictory shiver down his spine. “But the way you’re wriggling your arse feels very friendly indeed.”

Tom stilled abruptly; he had been moving, but surely that was just a continued attempt to loosen Leighton’s hold.

“I didn’t intend for you to stop,” Leighton said, his low, smooth voice curling around the edges of Tom’s confusion, soothing and lulling him, making everything hazy. “You have a delightful arse. It may be the only thing you have to recommend you.”

Tom’s eyes snapped open. The dull ochre of the wall filled his vision; his own rasping breaths filled his ears; all his other senses could feel nothing but Leighton, on and around him, his rich, brandied scent and the heat of his hard form.

A harsh, horrible laugh rose up in his throat, and he forced it down before it could become a sob. His arse, of all things. His one remaining possession, besides a few items of clothing he couldn’t appear before the world without and that he hadn’t thought to sell — and that was all the value Leighton could see in him.

Goddess knew, perhaps that was all the value he had.

He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to fight the spinning of his head and the tingling in his extremities. He had to survive, didn’t he? Everything he’d done had been what he’d had to do — he’d had no choice but to make the decisions he had. They’d all come out badly. His decisions always did, and this one would surely be no different.

But tomorrow he’d be hungry; within a week, he’d be evicted from his rooms. He needed to live. And the hat he’d pawned that morning had been one of Monsieur Favreau’s masterpieces; gentlemen of higher station than Tom waited months for one made by the fellow’s own hands. Really, he probably should have sold his arse first.

A strange calm descended as he made up his mind. “Let me go.” And then, because Leighton seemed the sort to want to be quite sure he’d won, he added, “Please.”

Leighton’s hand around his wrist tightened, just a trifle, and then he released it and stepped away.

Tom took his time; he pushed back from the wall slowly enough to hide the stiffness in his limbs, and he carefully flicked the dust of the bricks from the front of his clothing. His fingers brushed over a snag in the silk of his last remaining waistcoat, and he shoved down the flash of panic at that. Leighton could afford to buy him another. He took a final moment before he turned around, giving himself one deep breath before he put his mask in place.

Bankrupt, disowned, and disheveled he might be, but Tom Drake could seduce anyone.

 

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bQa97e

Woo! ♥♥♥ Love the tension. This sounds like a sizzling read!

So, what are readers saying about this novel?

The Reluctant Husband was a lovely novel, I quickly finished it and it was too soon, I found the MCs interesting and well mixed together, the double POV helped me understand better their stubborn minds and hearts. I devoured every word.” – M Marshall, Amazon

This was so so good!!!! I absolutely love this series, and hope it continues. Everything about it is lovely. Even though it’s a fictional world, you can totally see this taking place in the English countryside. The characters are fully actualized, as is the world around them. You see, smell, and feel it all as it unfolds. 💞Truly romantic in every way! 💞

This is a series I will revisit, and I hope more books come from this world. Thanks Eliot, for another enjoyable escape!💋
5 old-english-romance-infused-stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟” – Sharonica, Amazon

I’ve never seen two people fight the inevitable as much as Tom and Mal. They walked that razor thin line between love and hate and absolutely cut each other to pieces with it. This was such an intriguing storyline, the characters were engaging, and I thoroughly enjoyed following them on the rocky road to their happy ending.” – Joscelyn Smith, Amazon

Thank you for telling us about your book, Eliot! I know I can’t wait to read this MM Regency romance!

Also, check out book one in the series, The Replacement Husband

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

Author Bio

Eliot is an editor by day and a romance writer by night, at least on a good day — more of a procrastinator by day and despairing eater of chocolate by night when inspiration doesn’t flow and the day-job clients are being particularly insane. Go ahead and guess which of these is more common.

A steady childhood diet of pulp science fiction, classic tales of adventure, and romance novels surreptitiously borrowed from Eliot’s grandmother eventually led to a writing career; Eliot picked up an M/M romance a few years ago and has been enjoying the genre as a reader and an author ever since.

Author Links:
Website:  http://eliotgrayson.com/  
Contact:  http://eliotgrayson.com/contact.html
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/eliot.grayson.9
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Eliot-Grayson/e/B07NL54KNF

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17300496.Eliot_Grayson
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/eliot-grayson

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/eliotgrayson/

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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