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Pre-order Release Feature: Lara’s Story by author Diane Merrill Wigginton

I am pleased to announce a great new release by Diane Merrill Wigginton, an author I met during my journey! Her young adult sweet historical romance, Lara’s Story, officially went up for pre-order and will be released on January 4th!

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

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

Diane is giving us a look at her sweet YA historical romance, Lara’s Story, today.Great cover!

This is the blurb for Lara’s Story:

SHATTERED BY HEARTBREAK
“When a heart breaks, it does not break evenly, cleaving in half exactly down the middle.”

Surrounded by her large, boisterous family in 1840s Ireland, Lara Flannigan has never known anything but love and belonging—until the day tragedy strikes, leaving her abandoned and forced into indentured servitude.

REMADE IN A NEW WORLD.

Just when all hope seems lost, Lara is discovered by a childless American couple, visiting Ireland to aid in the famine-relief effort. With barely a chance to look back, she’s swept away to a bustling new continent—and a dizzying new reality. One of petticoats, opulent townhouses, and the cold reaches of Philadelphia high society. Desperate for a future, Lara works tirelessly to fit into her new life… while still haunted by a past that won’t let her go.

Set in a fascinating historical period, Lara’s Story is a gripping young adult novel that explores the strength of the human spirit and the power of forgiveness to heal a broken heart.

And here is an excerpt to entice you with.

April 27, 1854

Philadelphia Wharf

 

EVERY QUESTION BEGINS WITH a quest for answers, and every testimony of what is true begins with a test of our resolve. I am reminded of this simple formula as I stand here on this boardwalk, looking out to sea. Each life is a journey, defined by turns we take or the roads we choose or those which fate chooses for us. Some of us move from one place to another, along a well-worn path or the path less taken; it really doesn’t matter much as long as it leads you home again.

Memories of my home involuntarily flash through my mind as Mama’s words come back to me like a sounding board that has followed me my entire life. She would often tell my sisters and me, “Don’t ever make yerself smaller to satisfy the needs of another.” Mama was always insightful and perceptive when it came to her children.

Oh, how I still miss her so, even to this day. I smile to myself, wishing my ears could hear that beautiful, rhythmic sound of Mama’s voice again, just one more time as a terrible memory of the last day I saw her alive flashes through my mind and I vigorously shake my head to dispel the thought.

When a heart breaks it does not break evenly – cleaving in half exactly down the middle. It breaks, jagged and rough, cutting one to the very core of their soul. And while things may appear perfectly normal to the naked eye, beneath the surface lies the real tragedy, fragmented and splintered beyond reconciliation. Heartbreak is not an innocuous pain, easily excused like a stomach ache. It is more insidious, spreading throughout ones’ system, like an infection. Merely closing my eyes to the pain does not eliminate it in the least.

Just breathe in, then breathe out and move forward, I remind myself. This simple little mantra is something I taught myself so many years ago, and it has gotten me through more than a few dire situations.

I was born Lara Flannigan, on the twenty-first day of April, in the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and thirty-three. Mama liked to tell me it was a beautiful spring morn, the day I was born, which would have been an unusual occurrence for that time of year.

Mama also said, “I knew ye were special and destined for greatness the moment ye took yer first breath, don’t ye know. Cause the sun poked out from behind the clouds with yer first breath of life. Why twere’ like the Heavens above truly recognized that an angel had been born to me,” she teased.

If truth be told, I believe mama told this exact story to each of her six children. But I loved hearing it nonetheless.

I was the sixth child of the seven children born to Rory and Laurel Flannigan, and I was named for my Da’s mother. Our days were long and our lives were hard, but our nights belonged to us. I never knew life could be anything other than what I had experienced. My world was very small in those days, so I never missed the things I didn’t have.

I am an Irish immigrant and I came to America at the tender age of thirteen, a disillusioned child, harshly mistreated by the very people entrusted with my care. I tell you this not to solicit your sympathies but to impart knowledge and gain your understanding, for I was a pitiful, angry child who was unaware of how many things in my life were about to change. People meeting me today might say that I was more fortunate than most. Yet they would never have heard my story nor known that I suffered in silence. I did not wear my pain, like a badge of honor, but kept it deep inside of me, hidden away from the prying eyes of others.

Fear has made me keep my story to myself. I was afraid of the repercussions from the actions I took in the name of survival, when my whole world fell apart. Furthermore, I feared the behavior of peers, those who would use the circumstance of my birthplace and subsequent difficulties to hold me back or bludgeon me with my story like a weapon.

For many years I have pushed from my thoughts memories of home and all that happened there. And yet, every now and again I indulge myself with less painful memories of the past, that push their way to the surface, and I give myself permission to embrace them, loving, bold, nostalgic memories that are impossible to forget. This is especially true today as I find myself waiting, yet another day, for a ship to come in, one that I thought would never arrive upon these great American shores.

Oh, I have everything a person could ever desire. Enough food to ward off hunger for a lifetime. Good health, a beautiful home, fashionable clothes, and the love of my family. I truly have every comfort one could want at my disposal, yet still, I long to recover the missing pieces of myself torn from me the day I left my native land of Ireland. A loss that can still be keenly felt whenever I lay my head down upon my pillow at night. And even though I am far from familiar old haunts, I swear I hear the land beckoning to me in my dreams, calling from across the ocean, summoning me home to the cliffs of Dunmore Head on the westernmost shores of Ireland. Closing my eyes now, I can still recall the smell and taste of the breeze on my tongue and the tangy feel of her salty sea air as it mixes with the sweet scents of wildflowers growing on her craggy cliffs.

The memories grab hold of my soul, leaving me longing for home, even more this day.

“Ireland,” I whisper, as it all comes flooding back to me — the green grassy moors waving in the gentle breeze like waves on the ocean. I can still feel the way the grass tickled my bare feet when I walked upon it.

In my mind’s eye I can see the ancient moss-covered rocks and hills that seem to roll on forever, and the overwhelmingly familiar smells of home assault my senses and kindle even more longing inside me. Peat moss burning in the hearth, the earthy smells of fresh mud coming from our simple thatched roofed dwelling, built from wattle and daub that plastered the rocks and boulders in place to form walls. The rain that often leaked upon my head in the middle of the night whenever a storm blew in just right. The way the sweet earthy tones mingled with the bitter as they played across my tongue whenever I chewed on a blade of grass.

Vivid, sweet memories wash over me, transporting me back in time as I see myself as a little girl, sitting in the middle of a field of tall grass, watching with fascination as the wind blew the grass to-and-fro. Then I see myself laughing and playing among the cliffs again with my best friend, Jamie. There are so many precious and sweet memories that I had denied myself for so long.

I swallow hard to push down the lump that forms in my throat. I can recall every ridge, crag, twig, and moss-covered rock that littered our unyielding plot of land.

There were so many afternoons spent upon those cliffs, basking in the glorious sun after bathing in the ocean with Mama and my two sisters. Alana loved tickling me just to hear me laugh while I lay upon the warm cliffs, soaking up the last glorious rays of sunlight. A cool breeze would kick up, washing over my skin, and chilling my flesh with her gentle touch. Those were the days I thought would never end, and it is those same sweet memories that now make me mourn the loss of them all the more.

I shake my head quickly, dispelling any more memories of the past as I hold back more tears, attempting to keep them from escaping. Swiping at the unfortunate few that trickle down my cheeks, I feel anxious and frustrated all at the same time.

Please do not mistake my tears for weakness, for they convey more than mere words are able and can express so many different emotions.

One should never assume that there is only one reason to shed them. There are tears caused by overwhelming grief and pain and tears of contrition. There are tears of joy and love, or tears of annoyance caused by situations that are beyond your control. Yet my tears today are a culmination of so many different emotions that are simply hard for me to put into words.

Book Info:

Genre:  Historical Romance, Young Adult, Sweet Historical

Release Date:  January 4, 2019

Pre-order Purchase Link:

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

Wow! ♥♥♥ This looks like quite an emotional read!😉

The story should appeal to Christians, young adults, and any readers who enjoy sweet romance tales…

Thank you for telling us about your new book, Diane! I know we all can’t wait to read this YA romance! 🙂

 

Readers, don’t forget to pre-order a copy of this sweet historical tale!

Author Bio

Diane Merrill Wigginton was born in Riverside, California in 1963. Her family moved to San Diego near the end of 1970, where she grew up in the newly developed community of Mira Mesa. Spending portions of her summers each year in Burly, Idaho with her mother’s parents, Florence and Orval Merrill, Diane developed a love of animals and a respect for the land. It was during this time on the farm riding horses, herding cattle and taming wild kittens that Diane also developed a love of storytelling. She dreamed that one day she would become a published author and tell her stories to the world. Having spent her entire life in California, Diane and her husband made the move from Sacramento, California to Kalispell, Montana to retire in February 2018. Now she is able to pursue her passion of writing books full-time.

“I am thrilled and elated to be doing what I love.”

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Book Release, Books, coming soon, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, new release, Readers, Romance, sweet romance, Young Adult

Blog Tour Feature: Moonlight & Moet by Madison Michael

.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ NEW RELEASE¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

Can the hottest man around melt this ice queen’s heart?

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

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

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

Let’s hear a little about this great book…Nice!

This is the blurb for Moonlight & Moet, B&B Billionaire Romance Series, Book 2:

Can the hottest man around melt this ice queen’s heart?

When her husband publicly cheats on her, Leigh Dobbs trades her humiliating reputation as an ice queen and a hometown that shuns her for the unknown of rural North Carolina. Taking over a small bed and breakfast, Leigh sets out to restore it, her dignity and her life. Excited at the prospect of adding more rooms and a full-service restaurant, Leigh’s big plans encounter the brick wall that is Caleb Rausch. Sparks fly even as Caleb votes no on the planning commission, crushing Leigh’s dreams.

Handsome powerhouse Caleb Rausch is a man on a mission, expanding his huge corporation without encroaching on the small town where it resides. His commitment to his products, employees and historic preservation are unwavering. What’s lacking is his commitment to one woman. Caleb is the most eligible bachelor in three states, dating celebrities and models, but never settling down. Until now.

Even as Caleb forces Leigh’s expansion plans on hold, the couple moves full-steam-ahead on their relationship, unable to resist the mutual attraction. So why, after a steamy night together, does Caleb disappear for weeks? Has Leigh put her heart out there again, just to be played?

Will the magic of a moonlit night be enough to kindle their love or will Caleb’s constant disappearing act prevent him from melting this ice queen’s heart?

Madison is giving us a peek at her hot contemporary romance, Moonlight & Moet, today.

Great cover!

Book Info:

Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance

Release Date:  November 14, 2018

Here is an excerpt.

Exhausted and anxious to return home, Leigh wasn’t paying attention as she stepped out the door of the small law office at the end of the row of storefronts. Leigh went down hard on the cement, her skirt flying up, her brochures flying. A shook-up Leigh assessed the damage and caught her breath. Her dignity was beyond repair.

Leigh was brushing the dirt from her palms, scraped from trying to break her fall when a shadow blocked the sun, and a large, dirty hand, attached to a long, strong arm reached down to assist her. Leigh’s gaze followed the flannel covered forearm up over a muscled bicep and continued until her scrutiny was arrested by a pair of coffee-colored eyes surrounded by the deep laugh lines of an outdoorsman. He was staring past the expanse of creamy thigh and more than a hint of her magenta panties. His expression told Leigh that he liked what he saw.

Leigh clumsily scrambled to lower her dress, gather the brochures fluttering in the breeze, and take the proffered hand all at once. Several pamphlets escaped down the sidewalk, but she quickly forgot them as she was lifted like a feather against the mountain’s chest and too swiftly placed gently on her feet. She winced when the blisters made contact with the hard surface beneath them and the lumberjack buried behind a grizzly bear beard reacted.

“Injured, little lady?” he asked with concern. “Let me help you get you to urgent care.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Leigh responded, smoothing her dress to cover her embarrassment and interest.

“Then at least let me help you to your destination.”

“I was just heading to my car, down the way,” Leigh tried to gesture with the arm the man still held. “But, I’m fine. Really. I can take it from here.”

“Fine, indeed,” Grizzly Adams replied in a sarcastic, deep baritone.

He was tall, covered in a subtle sheen of dirt and sweat, but Leigh quickly realized the shirt under her fingertips was the finest wool and his boots, caked in an inch of dried mud, were Scarpa Phantom 8000’s. He was a very wealthy Grizzly Adams, and a dedicated hiker too. Those boots were featured in the mountaineering store up the road for over $1000, way too rich for Leigh’s blood.

He stood still, his smile twitching as he caught Leigh checking him out. Then, without warning, he swept her into his arms, carefully adjusted her dress to modestly cover her behind while managing to slide his hand all along them. The man was a pro. Leigh couldn’t fault his effort, even as she realized he was copping a feel. Carrying her easily, he began taking long strides in the direction she had pointed.

“This is completely unnecessary,” Leigh repeated more than once, interspersed with “put me down, please” and “Really, I can walk.” He ignored them all, speaking right over her repeated and flustered objections.

“You took a nasty fall there. People are always missing that last step.” His face was too close and too handsome. He smelled of the outdoors – pine, sweat and sunshine. It was intoxicating.

“Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer I took you over to the doc’s office or the urgent care?”

“Just to my car, thanks,” Leigh requested, done trying to argue with the hard-muscled man. Who was she kidding? It felt incredible to rest against his broad chest, his arms holding her securely and his minty breath blowing on her face. He may have been filthy, a bearded mountain man who was certainly not her type, but he was sexy as hell. Leigh wished her car was miles away.

“Will you be okay to drive, Miss…”

“Leigh.”

“Miss Leigh,” he repeated, caressing her name. “Are you sure you’ll be alright to drive?”

Leigh bobbed her head in the affirmative. She loved resting her head against the power of this man’s chest, secure in his firm grip. Leigh looked up at him from under her eyelashes, admiring what she saw. She could tell that under the caked on mud and scruff, he was handsome, with a cocky smile and those laughing eyes. She wished she could see more.

“This is my car,” she finally motioned. “Thank you, Mr…”

“You’re certain you can drive?” he asked in his slow, smooth drawl, ignoring her question.

“I’m not going far,” Leigh reassured him. “I’ll be fine.”

The mountain man placed Leigh on her feet, holding her by the waist as if waiting for reassurance that she was solidly standing. Leigh looked down as if to assure herself both feet were there and with a deep breath made eye contact. The man was a head taller, broad and powerful, and staring at her as if he wanted to devour her. A hot flush filled Leigh’s cheeks, and she extended a hand to shake his.

“Well, thank you again. You certainly turned out to be my knight in shining armor today,” she jested.

“Well, Miss Leigh, then I guess I get my knight’s favor,” the man responded with a devilish grin. Leigh was still registering his warning when he lowered his head to hers and placed his warm lips upon her cooler ones.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07KKFCGGK

OMG! Love it. ♥♥♥

Ooh…what a sexy tale!😉

Madison is giving away a cool prize package worth $75. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Please use the link below to enter. Don’t forget you have a chance to enter every day, so be sure to visit all the stops on this tour. You may find those locations here.

Giveaway Link:  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/801c221b81/

Thank you for telling us about your new erotic romance, Madison! I know I can’t wait to read this hot novel! 🙂

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

And catch the other book in the series!

Will Love Seal Their Deal?

These look great! ♥ We’ll be sure to check them all out! Don’t miss the giveaway!

Author Bio

Madison Michael is an indie publisher, blogger and the author of the Beguiling Bachelor Series as well as the novella Desire & Dessert, from her sizzling B&B Billionaire Bachelor series.

A Chicago native and hopeless romantic, Maddy was raised on Chicago culture, fairy tales, great literature and swashbuckling movies. Maddy employs that history, writing steamy contemporary romance novels set against the sumptuous backdrop of Chicago’s elite society.

After receiving a BA in Journalism from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago, Madison abandoned her writing to find her way in the corporate business world. Daughter of a librarian, it was inevitable that she would return to the world of books.

Maddy writes from high above Chicago where she can stare at its gorgeous skyline or the shores of Lake Michigan surrounded by feline assistants. When she is not writing, Maddy can be found lost in a book, fighting for the rights of the mentally iil or dining on Chicago’s famous cuisine. Hot dogs and pizza, anyone?

Author Links

Website:  https://www.madisonmichael.net/

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

Maddy’s Tours and Treats:  https://www.madisonmichael.net/category/tours-and-treats/

Blog:  https://www.madisonmichael.net/category/maddys-blog

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

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/madisonmichael_

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Madison-Michael/e/B01EVUGG6G/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15221601.Madison_Michael

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/madison-michael

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/114505272634052451507

 

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

Thanks again to Madison and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥ Have a great weekend! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Gifts, giveaway, new release, Readers, Romance, steamy, Writing

Blog Tour Feature: One of a Kind Christmas by Lexi Post

.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ NEW RELEASE¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

The price they must pay for their chance at forever…just might be too high.

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Lexi Post, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new, steamy holiday paranormal romance! :)

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

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

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Nice!

This is the blurb for One of a Kind Christmas, A Christmas Carol Series, Book 4:

For her to love him, he must face a spirit, an archangel…and himself.

The spirit of Cameron Douglas has totally screwed-up…again. Now, he has to fix his mess in one night with the help of his best friend and somehow encourage his widow to move on.

Holly Douglas is anguished that this is the last Christmas she’ll be visited by her late husband, Cameron. For three years he’s sent her the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and they‘ve helped her cope with her loss. But now all that ends, and she doesn’t understand why he must push her away.

Ethan Stewart has been in love with Holly since Cameron’s death, but she isolated herself from everyone, including him. Then something changed, and he was welcomed back as her friend. But he wants more— to love her openly, and most of all to make her happy again. Though he loved his best friend like a brother and will do anything for Holly, as he’s pulled into the spirit world, he discovers the price they must pay for their chance at forever…and it just might be too high.

Lexi is giving us a peek at her hot Christmas-themed paranormal romance, One of a Kind Christmas, today.

Great cover!

Book Info:

Genre:  Holiday Romance, Steamy Paranormal Romance

Release Date:  December 5, 2018

Here is an excerpt.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before opening them. “I miss Cam. It was as if we were two parts of the same soul. I lived vicariously through him even while I worried constantly about him. It was one of the reasons I was constantly warning him to be careful. I was afraid to lose him.”

Ethan looked away and rubbed the back of his neck. “And then I did.”

She felt as if her heart were breaking all over again, not for her but for Ethan. He was so good to her. He even loved her. And she…

“Ethan, I understand.”

His gaze returned to hers. Though she couldn’t see his face clearly, the limited light reflected off the sheen in his eyes.

She placed her hand on his cheek and rising on her toes brushed her lips across his in a feather-light kiss. She only meant to give comfort, but a spark of something else hit her heart.

She remained there, her lips close to his but not touching, wanting more but afraid to ask.

Ethan remained absolutely still, his breath mixing with her own.

He loved her but would never push her. It wasn’t his nature. She could walk away right now, but to what?

Nothing.

She stared at his mouth in the dim light. She wanted to live again. She wanted to feel again. Tilting her head, she pressed her lips more firmly against his, moving her hand down his stubbled jaw and behind his neck to pull him closer.

Ethan’s lips opened, and she slipped her tongue between them.

As his arms came around her, it was like waking from a dream. A slow burn flowed through her veins as he took control of the kiss and explored her mouth with his tongue. It was an unhurried exploration and heat built in her belly. When he pulled back to lick the underside of her top lip, she took her first deep breath. As she exhaled, tingles spread throughout her body.

He kissed the corners of her mouth before leaning his forehead against her own. “Ye catch my blood on fire, lass.”

Purchase Links:

Universal reader link:   https://books2read.com/u/mvKdGj

OMG! Love it. ♥♥♥

Ooh…it sounds like a sexy, seasonal tale with a touch of paranormal! Right up my alley!😉

Lexi is giving away a $25 gift card. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Please use the link below to enter. Don’t forget you have a chance to enter every day, so be sure to visit all the stops on this tour. You may find those locations here.

Giveaway Link:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/801c221b84/

Thank you for telling us about your new paranormal holiday romance, Lexi! I know I can’t wait to read this hot novel! 🙂

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

And catch the other books in the series! For example, book one, Pleasures of Christmas Past, is on sale for just 99 cents!

Jessica is assigned a hot, Scottish mentor who confuses her heart. But will he protect her soul?

Woo hoo! 😀 Fanning myself over here.

Oh, don’t forget books two and three…

Desires of Christmas Present

Sometimes not knowing is better…for everyone.


Temptations of Christmas Future

He set out to prove the future was far worse than she imagined. Now he wished it wasn’t.

These look great! ♥ We’ll be sure to check them all out! Don’t miss the giveaway!

Author Bio

Lexi Post is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of romance inspired by the classics. She spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about the classical literature she loved. From Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, she’s read, studied, and taught wonderful classics.

But Lexi’s first love is romance novels so she married her two first loves, romance and the classics. From hot paranormals to sizzling cowboys to hunks from out of this world, Lexi provides a sensuous experience with a “whole lotta story.”
Lexi is living her own happily ever after with her husband and her cat in Florida. She makes her own ice cream every weekend, loves bright colors, and you will never see her without a hat.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.lexipostbooks.com/

Newsletter:  https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/c1w1g3

Blog:  http://www.happilyeverafterthoughts.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LexiPost

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/1IEL2cc

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6915542.Lexi_Post

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

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lexipost77/

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lexi-post

Don’t miss new releases:  https://books2read.com/author/lexi-post/subscribe/1/16171/

 

Thank you for telling us about your great book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this sizzling holiday-themed paranormal romance!

Thanks again to Lexi and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, coming soon, Event, Fiction, giveaway, Holiday, new release, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Sale, steamy, Time Travel, Tour, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Karina Bartow, plus a look at contemporary romance, FORGETTING MY WAY BACK TO YOU!

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

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with the talented author of contemporary romance, Forgetting My Way Back to You. Please join me in welcoming Karina Bartow to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Karina Bartow:  Hi, Marie! I really enjoy your blog and your love of romance.

Marie:  Aww, thanks! It’s such a pleasure to see you here!

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

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have 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…

Karina:  I’m a full-time author, and I write love stories and mysteries. I enjoy it very much, but you’ll have to ask my readers if I’m good at it!

Marie:  (Laughs.) I’m sure your books are great, at least judging by what I’ve noticed so far. 😉

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Karina:  My parents have been married for forty-five years, and I have an older sister. She and her husband have an eleven-year-old son, so I enjoy being an aunt.

Marie:  Nice!

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?

Karina:  It was a simple ranch when I was born, but we added a second story and turned it into a Cape Cod style. We live in the country with an acre of land, which gives me good space to drive my prized possession, my golf cart.

Marie:  Awesome!

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

Karina:  Like any girl, I love to shop, but I have a sporty side, too, and I’m a big baseball fan. I also really enjoy listening to music and reading.

Marie:  Wow! Such an eclectic blend of pastimes!

Shopping is my Achilles heel. If I have any spare money, I can get myself into trouble 😉

So…what is your greatest dream?

Karina:  To have a family of my own.

Marie:  Oh, me too! I can’t have biological children, so when my fiancé and I get married, we’ll have to get a little creative.

The closest I’ve come so far is adopting kitties. 😛

But I think life has a way of surprising you just when you need it the most. ♥

Let’s try another question.

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

Karina:  I wish I could be someone who, as they say, doesn’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t know what holds me back. Probably age and circumstances.

Marie:  I know what you mean…I wish I could be a bit more casual about everything. I can get too serious about the stuff going on in my life.

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

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

Karina:  Dean Cain in his Lois & Clark days. Needless to say, it was unrequited!

Marie:  (Laughs.) OMG, how did I forget that? I was nuts about him when I watched that show. Those dimples were to die for! 😉

Let’s try something else now.

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

Karina:  Frankly, my disability. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and have tried to make the most of my life, but it affects every part of it. I don’t wallow in that, but I can’t say I’m thankful for it, either.

Marie:  Oh, no! 😥 I’m so sorry you have to deal with that, and I can’t blame you for getting discouraged. I have epilepsy, and I’ve definitely had to shape my life around that disability.

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

[Karina 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?

Karina:  To be a published author, and of course, I did achieve it!  It hasn’t been what I expected in that it’s not as glamorous as Hollywood makes it look. Unless you’re well-known, you don’t get a nationwide book tour or a call from Oprah. Authors have to put in a lot of time marketing their work, but I’ve come to enjoy that.Marie:  True enough! I don’t think most people realize how difficult it is to make a name for yourself in the publishing world.

So, who is your role model, Karina?

Karina:  My parents.

Marie:  Lovely! I know my folks were definitely an influence on my outlook with regards to how ‘love’ should be, and I can blame them for my interest in writing romance. At least a little. (Chuckles.)

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Karina:  Nobody truly likes everyone they meet, but I try to be polite, regardless. Some test that, though!

Marie:  For sure! But I like your attitude…we need more of that in the world these days. 😀

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Karina:  To be faithful to God.

Marie:  All right.

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

Karina:  Clowns!

Marie: 😯 Wow, I didn’t see that one coming! Though I guess they are a bit freaky.

I want to try something different next, Karina… 

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

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

Karina:  Charlee works as a physical therapist at a senior center, where her dad lives. She moonlights as a trainer for her alma mater’s football team. At age 29, she’s still single, quietly holding a torch for her high school sweetheart.

Marie:  Nice! I love second chance stories!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Karina:  She’s loyal and devoted to her family.

Marie:  Commendable, of course!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Karina:  She can act in haste, which sometimes leads to disaster.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of her favorite foods?

Karina:  Brownies, coffee, and ice cream—anything sweet!

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Oh, I definitely have a sweet tooth too!

How about another question?

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

Karina:  She’s open-minded and trusts people, often giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Marie:  Not such a bad trait!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Karina:  I hope they’ll like her because of her mix of innocence, tenacity, and caring nature.

Marie:  Works for me!

Now that we have a real taste of Charlee, 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 Forgetting My Way Back to You?

Karina:  Forgetting My Way Back to You is comprised of parts of my first book, which was about a woman who developed selective amnesia after a head trauma. As young as I was—eighteen—when I started, I’d already experienced some events I wouldn’t have minded forgetting, just to be free of that baggage. Thus, like many stories, it began with the elusive ‘What if?’.

Marie:  Gotcha! Many of my stories launched that way.

Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

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

Karina:  Pantster all the way! I enjoyed improv in high school drama class, and that’s how I write. It’s all extemporaneous. I think on where I am in the story throughout my day and sit down with a generic idea of where I want to go, but I never know the details until I’m in the moment.

Marie:  Sounds like quite a ride!

How about another question?

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

Karina:  It took me nine years from the time I started it to when I signed the contract, so it was a long process. As far as writing it went, I couldn’t find satisfaction in it for a good while, and I think my maturity level played into that. I didn’t have enough experience to write good conflict, so it kept coming out as pretty childish. All in all, though, I wouldn’t change it because I learned a lot about myself and my craft.

Marie:  I know what you mean. My first historical romance took me nine years to write too, and I definitely matured as a woman throughout the experience. 

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 Forgetting My Way Back to You appears to be. Congratulations on your new release, since it just came out in mid-October!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this modern romance by Karina Bartow, a talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Forgetting My Way Back to You:

When Charlee Stoll loses all memory of him, Hunter Jett knows his mistakes led to this moment. Though tempted to give up on their future together, he’s determined to use the twist to right his wrongs.

Through charm and deception, can he win back her love…before she discovers the truth?

Karina is also offering us a peek of the book!

After finishing off the Tuscan chicken and other treats from the buffet table, Hunter and Charlee wandered outside to look at the estate’s breathtaking gardens. In the last seconds of daylight, the colorful flowers’ bright petals stood out under the darkening sky. The staff members around them were busy deconstructing the sites where the two ceremonies had taken place and didn’t notice them at all. A few other guests strolled the grounds, too, but on such a large property, they crossed paths just once with each of them, leaving them alone for the most part.

They came upon a stone bridge, which no doubt had played a part in many weddings and photos over the years, and the two stopped to observe the scene. With the sun dipping out of sight, the stars came out in full display. The lit-up mansion softened the aura of everything that much more, showcasing the late Pennsylvania summer at its best.

“I didn’t think it could look any more beautiful,” Charlee mused aloud.

Hunter wanted to tell her that he thought the same every time he saw her, but he feared it would intimidate her.

“How’d you know about this place, anyways?”

He contemplated his reply, again worrying his honest answer would force her away, but he took the chance. “My grandfather took my grandma here on their first date, and because he’d heard the story of how it swept her off her feet, my dad gave it a try with Mom. Considering that my grandparents stayed together for over sixty years and my folks just celebrated their thirtieth, I figured it’d be a good choice. It beats taking you to a dance where everyone’s pushing us apart, at least.”

“Yes, that’s where we went wrong,” she joked. “But can crashing a wedding set us up much better?”

Hunter chuckled and shrugged his shoulders. “Well, if my family’s tradition doesn’t work out, maybe your dad’s motto will come true: ‘It isn’t about the way you started…’”

“‘It’s the way you finish that matters.’” She completed the proverb her dad had drilled into her head since her days of learning to walk.

He gave her a considering look, trying to discern how far he should take the romancing, before he extended his hand. “Speaking of which…”

She’d resisted taking his hand the whole evening, but she relented, letting him lead her back towards the carriage house. He veered off to the side instead of going into the building, where they could hear the opening words of ‘Wonderful Tonight’ playing inside. He took hold of her, and they danced under the moon the way they had years earlier.

“Was any of this an accident?”

“I may have made a request to the deejay,” he remarked with a grin. “Other than that, though, I could only hope you’d agree to come here with me. That said, I don’t think you and I being together can ever be called an accident.”

History repeated itself once more when he leaned in to kiss her. The same sparks flew, but this time, they glowed brighter.

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

Purchase Links:

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

Publisher:  https://www.vinspirepublishing.com/forgettingmywabacktoyou

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

About Karina Bartow

Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio. Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her. Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters that have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want. Her debut novel, Husband in Hiding, was released in 2015 and was well-received by readers. She’s excited about her new love story, Forgetting My Way Back to You, available now from Vinspire Publishing. She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!

Books:

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

Website:  http://www.karinabartow.com/

Blog:  https://karinabartow.wordpress.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KarinaBartow

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Karina-Bartow/e/B076L4FCGV/

https://amzn.to/2RyZIz9

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15045283.Karina_Bartow

Google+:   https://plus.google.com/117505120642906778021

Once again, I want to thank Karina Bartow, the brilliant author of this 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 Release, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, Second Chances, small town, Writing

New Release Feature: Even At Your Darkest by author AJ Love

•..•Even At Your Darkest by AJ Love Release Day•..•

AJ Love brings you a contemporary romance with a dark twist. This shady romance will take you on a rollercoaster as Layton and Kane fight their way through the bad, the tragedy, to find each other as well as their own peace.

Check out the info below and get that one clicking finger ready!

I am pleased to announce a great book release by AJ Love, an author I met during my journey! Her new dark romance, Even At Your Darkest, officially released today!

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

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

AJ is giving us a look at her modern romance with a dark angle, Even At Your Darkest, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Even At Your Darkest:

Life being Layton Parks isn’t easy. Everything she touches seems to just fall apart at her fingertips – the air conditioning, the coffee maker, her ability to say no. A pushover at heart, Layton does what she’s told, when she’s told. With two jobs bleeding her dry, she barely has time to register the rut she seems to have fallen in. Despite this, she’s okay with her life. It’s simple and uncomplicated.

Until it isn’t. Kane Thatcher doesn’t need any help in being broken because he’s already a walking mass of shattered shards. Unlike Layton, Kane is no one’s Yes Man. After a split decision three years previous turned his world upside down, he’s finally living independent, with no one to worry about but himself. Until he isn’t. He’s curious about her, and determined to make her stand up for herself and be who she wants to be. She’s a little scared of him, yet knows there’s a softer side of him hiding behind all the hate. Will they bring out the best in each other, or will outside obstacles force out the worst? Will hate win over love, or will they be able to navigate their way through it together?

Here are some teasers to entice you with!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://mybook.to/EAYDarkest

Nice! Gotta love this sneak peek. ♥♥♥So, what are people saying about this book?

 

Head on over to AJ’s Facebook page to enter her giveaway for a chance to win a $10/£10 Amazon Gift Card.  She’s also hosting a release party with some fabulous authors and incredible prizes – https://www.facebook.com/events/2171112543130639/?ti=ia

Awesome!

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

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

Author Bio

AJ Love has been writing since she was a little girl, never leaving the house without a notebook. She spends all of her free time reading, writing and drinking too much coffee (wine). Annie has a strong passion for the literary world and before writing a book, spent all of her time reviewing others. She also enjoys talking with all that read her book(s), her philosophy being that readers and authors are all part of the same world – a world where they are all enthusiastic about words.

Annie is a single mum, full time working author from a small town in the North West of England. When she’s not busy with mum chores or writing, she can be found curled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and a book. She likes to read from any genre, her favorite being YA or crime stories. She eats too much Chinese food and has an extremely unhealthy addiction to Shemar Moore.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.andiemlongwriter.com/

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

https://www.facebook.com/andiemlongwriter/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AnnieBean_xo

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/AJ-Love/e/B079T5BHZM/

https://www.amazon.com/Annie-Hughes/e/B00MUHI896/

https://www.amazon.com/Andie-M-Long/e/B00HP5D2NK/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7111673.A_J_Love

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/anniebean91/

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, dark romance, Event, Fiction, new release, Readers, Romance

Blog Tour Feature: Besotted by Madison Michael

.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ NEW RELEASE¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

Time is Running Out…For Both of Them

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Madison Michael, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new, sexy romantic suspense! :)

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

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

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Very nice!

This is the blurb for Besotted, Beguiling Bachelors Series, Book 4:

Time is Running Out…For Both of Them

Regan Howe won her coveted CEO position through hard work and a willingness to buck family tradition. Now, Brandon Hockney, a handsome US Senator with his eye on the White House, wants her to give it up, along with her home, friends and family for a move to DC and marriage to him.

Regan wants marriage and family but this choice will require she leave everything she loves, including the alluring Tyler Winthrop. Regan has waited twenty years for Tyler to commit. He once promised her forever, then destroyed her trust and her hopes for a future together. Still, she cannot break the ties between them. Regan is besotted.

Tyler’s moment to win Regan is slipping through his fingers. He has remained on the outskirts of Regan’s life, reluctant to reveal his true past and expose her to danger. Despite their obvious attraction, Tyler has remained her friend and protector, keeping Regan at arm’s length for her own safety, When Regan tests the waters with Brandon, Tyler is tapped as acting CEO, throwing the pair together for one last chance at love.

Can Tyler shake off the thugs threatening to expose his past mistakes? Can he earn Regan’s trust and woo her away from Washington? Battling overwhelming odds and a racing clock, will Tyler be forced to release his one true love to find happiness with another man? How can he when he’s besotted?

Join Tyler and Regan as they seek their happily ever after in the conclusion of the steamy, contemporary Beguiling Bachelor romance series.

Madison is giving us a peek at her hot romantic suspense, Besotted, today.

Great cover!

Book Info:

Genre:  Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense

Release Date: July 31, 2018

Here is an excerpt.

Regan was just too damn alluring in that dress for him to accept that he couldn’t have her if he wanted her.

He was an idiot. He should have told her years ago. He should have told everyone. Despite the tongue-lashing he was silently giving himself, Tyler was certainly no fool. “The professor” to his friends, he was generally serious and professional. He had the smarts necessary to obtain both an MBA and a law degree, and he was now CEO of LHRE and on hiatus from one of the fastest growing tech companies in the country. He kept his cool in general, but again and again he behaved like an idiot around Regan.

Since that damn frog almost thirty years ago, he had loved no one but Regan. Sometimes they made it work together, like in high school, but most times not. His feelings were unchanged, but something always stopped him from declaring his love and asking her to do the same. This time it was something insurmountable.

And yet Tyler couldn’t stay away. He was the proverbial moth to the flame, flirting with disaster every time he flirted with her. He had promised to stay away, to keep her safe, but the attraction was undeniable. Yep, prize idiot.

Returning to the ballroom after the latest threats, Tyler briefly considered sharing the conversation, coming clean with Regan and perhaps moving their relationship forward. He was at a fork in the road but remained silent, Tyler knew he was on the wrong path but couldn’t summon the will to fix it. Not only were his problems unsolvable, she was involved with Brandon. Tyler felt hopeless.

He was preoccupied just as Regan accused, but Tyler tried to give Regan the attention she deserved. He failed miserably until Regan suggested they just leave. That got his attention. Who knew when he would hold her in his arms again?

“Come dance with me again. It would be a crime to waste that dress.”

Encircling Regan in his arms, his body responded to her nearness, even as his mind worried over the earlier texts. He was unaware of his hand stroking her back, fingers lightly skimming over her bare skin. He wasn’t thinking clearly when he pulled her close or when he dropped kisses on her hair. He wasn’t paying attention, just acting on instinct. Regan was responding, her breath growing uneven, her hands clinging to his shoulders.

Purchase Links:

Universal reader link:   https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07F9XMXMM

Scorching! Love it. ♥♥♥

Ooh…it sounds like a sexy, suspenseful tale! 😉

Madison is giving away a great package, complete with a full ebook set of this awesome series. The winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Please use the RaffleCopter link below to enter. Don’t forget you have a chance to enter every day, so be sure to visit all the stops on this tour. You may find those locations here.

Tour Link:  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/801c221b75/

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

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

And catch the other books in the series!

Bedazzled (Book 1)

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2K3OL4D

Beholden (Book 2)

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2AjMtPg

Bedeviled (Book 3)

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2uUHsYu

BeWildered (Prequel)

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2uXZXeu

Author Bio

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

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

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

Author Links

Website:  http://madisonmichael.net/

Blog:  http://madisonmichael.net/category/maddys-blog

Maddie’s Romance Madness:  http://madisonmichael.net/category/mrm/

Maddie’s Tours and Treats:  http://madisonmichael.net/category/tours-and-treats/

Facebook:  https://facebook.com/madisonmichaelromance

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/madisonmichael_

Amazon Author Page:  amazon.com/Madison-Michael/e/B01EVUGG6G/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15221601.Madison_Michael

 

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

Thanks again to Madison and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Giveaways, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, giveaway, new release, Romance, Romantic Suspense, steamy, Tour, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Kieran Blackmore from CAPTIVATING MELODY by Katherine McIntyre

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

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

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

 

Writing A Paranormal Rockstar

 

When I sat down to write my Discord’s Desire Series, I wanted to offer a fresh spin on the rockstar romance trope—so I combined it with the paranormal. Writing a band made up of different types of fae let me play around with a whole different reason for the rockstar lifestyle, as well as an entirely new world as I meshed elements of fairy with the contemporary setting of San Francisco.

Thus Kieran Blackmore was born, the lead singer of Discord’s Desire.

File.Army

Charisma tends to run rampant when it comes to the lead singers of bands, and Kieran’s no exemption. However, what sets him apart is the fact that he’s an incubus, a fae who has the power to evoke desire in men and women alike. With a power like that, he could get any woman he wants, which made for a fascinating dichotomy in his character to explore.

Kieran can get anyone he wants with a simple touch, but all he really wants is for someone to want him separate from his abilities. Which of course led to the initial attraction he has for the heroine, Liz. She appears human, but she’s different—immune to his charms, which intrigues him from the get-go. However, the more he gets to know her, how she’s patient where he’s impulsive, how she’s logical where he reacts on emotion, then he ends up falling hard.

The other members of the band are just as fascinating and flawed, shouldering past scars from the complex politics of growing up amidst their kind. Whether it’s the slick siren bassist who always wears a mask, or the banshee guitarist who suffered years under living as a slave, the boys of Discord’s Desire ended up being a fun blend of realistic issues and the paranormal to explore. Each of the boys in the band have their own share of scars, but there’s a very human aspect to the family they’ve created for themselves on the road.

Edward Cisneros, Unsplash

In the first book, Kieran’s past damage is the focal point. He grew up an outcast in his own family who only ever cared about their station in the fae Courts. He’s impulsive and emotional, getting himself in trouble just as often as trouble from his past follows him. While he displays a lot of confidence and charisma, he’s also balanced by a vulnerability Liz is unwilling to offer at first, as she’s spent a life closed off from others.

At the end of the day though, what really drew me in with Kieran’s character was his loneliness and the fear that no one can ever love him as he truly is. He offers his love so freely to everyone around him and will defend his bandmates and Liz with his life, but he’s used to the false desire that comes with being an incubus. The real affection that grows between Kieran and Liz is brand new and thrilling to explore.

The most important thing in writing Kieran Blackmore, even more than his alluring incubus nature or the wild glitz of being the lead singer in their up and coming band, was his human flaws and aspirations as he struggled through the book. As different as the fae and their society in the series can be from real life, readers latch onto those struggles and dreams. Paranormal or not, what makes a hero resonate is the story they tell.

Too right, Katherine! And I adore paranormal heroes.
This book sounds awesome!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀
Here is the blurb for Captivating Melody.

Cross a satyr, a siren, and an incubus with rock and roll, and you get Discord’s Desire, a band of panty-dropping hellions whose live shows incite orgies. As booking manager, Liz O’Brien has the monumental task of keeping the boys in line. She’s resistant to glamour of the fae and fame variety, which only makes her more tempting to lead singer, Kieran Blackmore. With his incubus charms, he could have any girl he wants—except Liz, who’s determined to stay professional.

However, when Kieran’s brother sends hitmen after the band, Liz discovers hunters with her abilities who are mortal enemies of the fae. Mercenaries might attack post-show, but Liz has her Beretta to handle that. What terrifies her more than any monster is how she’s falling for Kieran, which triggers every ‘run-away’ sensor in her foster kid handbook. With war brewing between the hunters and the fae, their love can only end in heartbreak.

And Katherine is giving us a peek at her novel!
EXCERPT #1
To her relief, the lights dimmed even more, and the spotlights circled to the front and center stage, casting a hush through the crowd. A smile curled her lips once Kieran’s sultry voice came over the speakers, the effects dropping like a pheromone bomb onto the audience. A visible ripple didn’t cascade through the air, but once his voice reached a familiar intensity and the rest of the band began playing, a huge scream resounded through the crowd.
Even without the incubus abilities at work, she had to admit, the man possessed a toe-curlingly sexy voice. As she scanned over the crowd, the beginnings of the orgy broke out, where strangers locked lips and deepened their kisses. A pair in front of her started getting handsy, and all of a sudden shirts were coming off. They weren’t even finished the first song, and the scent of sex laced through the room.
Liz let out a sigh. This was why she stayed backstage during the shows. Her glamour-resistance turned her into the one sober person at this lust inspired rager. Her dry spell would have to continue for now, since she refused to hook up with the tool next to her and didn’t mainline the swell of sexuality like everyone else. Plus, with Mr. Fae Bartender behind her, she needed to act with extra caution. Bolting from fae sent the same message as a red flag to a bull—pretty please, come chase me.
On stage, Trevor thrummed away at the guitar, his fingers plucking over the strings with the skillful focus he always employed. He leaned up to the mic in front of him to add in the background vocals, the sensual tenor blending with Ky’s baritone. Renn’s hair flew as he thrashed away at the drums, his hands moving lightning fast and his hooves tapping the pedals. Meanwhile Jett romanced the length of his bass, providing the deep undercurrent the siren always did as those notes came out soul-wrenching.
Kieran’s voice reached a crescendo, drawing her attention front and forward. Normally when he sang, his gaze cast far and wide over the audience, as if he were romancing the crowd as a whole, but tonight, his eyes were locked on one person alone. She tried to swallow, but her throat grew dry.
Long strands of his dark hair drifted across his eyes as he clutched the microphone and rocked back and forth with it, the intensity projecting in his voice. He’d tossed his patched leather to the floor, stripped to a black wifebeater that clung to him like a second skin and revealed the intricate phoenix tattoo coiling down his arm. His hips shifted while he moved to the beat of the music, his grey jeans clinging to those powerful thighs. Yet nothing snared her as much as his amber eyes focused straight on her the entire time.
Heat flushed through her at his undivided attention, and while she’d like to blame it on all the bump and grind going on around her, Kieran got her hot and bothered. However, she wasn’t one to sit back and melt. Liz met his eyes and winked with a smirk. She caught the hint of a smile by the crinkle in his eyes as he crooned away.
EXCERPT #2

“Come here often, beautiful?” a smooth, sexy voice drawled from behind her.

Liz folded her arms over her chest before turning around and fixing Kieran with a look. The man, given the chance, would flirt with himself, so she didn’t ever take him seriously. His lips curved in a cocky smile made even more dangerous by the pointed fangs peeking out. He wore his stage clothes from the show—ripped jeans, a gray wifebeater, and a patched leather that had seen better days. Yet combined with the studs in ears, the streaked guyliner, and the labret piercing, the man oozed sex.

“Cool it, rockstar.” She smirked, meeting his teasing eyes. “You’ve got a whole cavalcade of women who’d throw themselves at you in a heartbeat, already fallen under your spell. I’m immune to your hinky fae magic.”

His fingers snuck up faster than she could follow to trail down the column of her throat. “Isn’t that what makes it all the more interesting?”

Liz shivered under his silken touch, ignoring the hoarseness in his voice and the quickened pulse that followed in the wake. The incubus didn’t need any powers to lure women. His voice alone would send them flocking, and with the attractive package it came in—well, he proved damn near irresistible.

Purchase Links:
Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mVBeWZ

 

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

How fun to learn about your paranormal romance, Katherine! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pick up your copy of Captivating Melody today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

Thank you for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Katherine! Lovely to have you here! ♥
 
Guest Bio

Strong women. Strong words.

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes–high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women. Easily distracted by cats and sugar.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1816179461992109/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/pixierants

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00J8U4VNU

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/103953984130384189045

Newsletter Sign-Up:  http://eepurl.com/duIScb

Publisher:  https://bit.ly/2B6QKGa

 

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, rockstar, Romance, Writers, Writing

Book Feature: The Milanese Stars by author Pamela Q. Fernandes

I am pleased to announce a great book by Pamela Q. Fernandes, an author I met during my journey! She’s stopping by to tell us about her thrilling romantic suspense, The Milanese Stars, which released back in June!

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

Pamela is allowing us a look at her mysterious, suspenseful romance, The Milanese Stars, today.

Intriguing cover!

This is the blurb for The Milanese Stars:

The heist of the decade and yet, no one would have guessed… it was her.
The Milanese Stars are missing from the famous Buccatino boutique. When American insurance investigator, Samuel Keane is called in to liaise with the polizia, he finds the whole heist odd. Not only are the Milanese Stars, a set of five pink diamonds, not listed in the inventory of stolen items, worse, none of the surrounding owners witnessed a thing.
Samuel is anxious to solve the case and partners with local café owner, Vita, who has a very good vantage point to watch Buccatino.
As Samuel digs further into the history of the stars, he discovers Vita’s friends and her physically challenged sister are all connected to them.
The more Samuel investigates, the more dangers he and Vita face.
What will he do when he learns the heist of the decade isn’t about stealing pink diamonds… it’s about settling the score!

And here is an excerpt to tease you with.

Vita laid out the glossy brioches and colorful macaroons at the Café Milano, located on Via Rosa street, in time for the swarming tourists of Milan. The summer months proved good for business in Italy, but more so in Milan, when the music festivals, exhibitions, and the seas beckoned people from all over the world. Their exploration of this historical city fueled by food and drink from her café meant more money in the till. Hearing it ring made her heart skip.

These days another kind of tourist swarmed the area—Polizia. Hundreds of them. Ever since the renowned Buccatino store had been pinched last week, the place teemed with them. Pinched was an understatement, since the Carabinieri marched up and down the street too, flashing their badges and lights.

The door chimed. Vita looked up from the display counter and put a cup under the espresso machine. Half expecting her regular customers, she stood stunned when she saw the tall man in his tailored suit and polished leather shoes walking toward the counter. There was something different about him. He had an air of confidence as if he was used to being in command. His black suit fit snugly across his broad shoulders. The scent of his cologne hit her hard, a combination of pine forest and mandarin. He belonged to a different set. His kind of crowd didn’t come to her café for their morning cuppa.

Vita said the first thing that came to her mind. “Bon Giorno.” She took in the etched cheekbones, the strong nose, and the cleft in his jaw. His hair was a dark chestnut brown, combed to the left, and his eyes were whirlpools of gray with flecks of black.

He smiled. “Good morning, Madam. Can I get a cappuccino?” he asked, bending down to observe the display. “You got lots of delicious things here, but what’s the sweetest thing you have?” She noticed his eyes drift to her lips.

“It depends entirely on your taste,” she said, flashing her dimples at him. He was cute, she had to admit. He’d dressed in an exquisitely cut suit over a snowy white shirt and a thin blue satin tie. He was tall and lean. As he tapped his long fingers on the display, she couldn’t help noticing his engraved cuff links. And he didn’t have a ring on his left hand. Christmas had come early. She boxed in her excitement. He stepped closer to the counter and his scent filtered to her; she could almost taste him. If she were a dog, she would have drooled all over him. But she was Vita. Goofy, silly Vita.

“How about the salted caramel macaroon. I love sweet stuff.”

“Good choice,” she said, quickly regaining her senses, although her heart galloped with the mild flirtation. Heat suffused her. Did she just flirt back with him? Her? Maybe it was his cologne. Gosh, it drove her crazy.

“Would you like to have it here or take away?”

“Takeaway, please. I’m in a bit of a rush.” His eyes glanced over her café.

His deep, timbered voice, caused goose pimples to flare all over her. She observed him from the corner of her eye. He wasn’t a tourist, but he wasn’t Italian. His twangy accent revealed he was an American, but he wasn’t sightseeing.

Fear seized her. Could he be with the police? They didn’t dress like him though. They couldn’t afford to, and if they could, they wouldn’t flaunt it in public. Curiosity got the better of her, but she went with her gut, and her gut told her to keep her mouth shut.

“There you go,” she said. His fingers brushed against hers as he handed her three euros. She held her gasp and made a receipt. She itched to ask him who he was and what he was doing here. A million questions raced through her mind, the most important one being, ‘Do you have a girlfriend or do you even like women?’

She exercised restraint, biting her lip.

“That’s your receipt, and have a nice day, Sir.”

“I will. Thank you.” He paused. “Do you serve meals?”

“Yes, after eleven thirty, when the lunch hour crowd comes in.”

“I’ll be seeing more of you then,” he said and left. She watched him march out of the café onto the road. Women were turning their heads. Men nodded at him. Even old women smiled at him. She took two steps to the window and saw him walk to Buccatino’s—Don Giovanni’s diamond store. It sat diagonally opposite her café, across the junction.

Warning bells clanged in her mind. So, the handsome hunk had something to do with the store. The less she saw of him, the better. Because if he was here to catch the thief, he didn’t have to look too far.

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mBP5AO

Publisher:  https://touchpointpress.ecwid.com/The-Milanese-Stars-p105503897

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

Awesome! Thank you for telling us about your book, Pamela! I know I can’t wait to read this romantic suspense!

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

Author Bio

Pamela Q. Fernandes is an author, doctor and medical writer. She writes romantic suspense, contemporary romance, women’s fiction, Christian non-fiction and speculative fiction. She also hosts the Christian Circle Podcast.

Pamela is the author of Seoul-Mates, Cinders of Castlerea, The Milanese Stars, Under A Scottish Sky, and Ten Reminders for the Single Christian Woman. She loves to practice the keyboard and bake brownies. In her free time, she binges on British crime shows and Hallyu dramas. You can find out more about her at her website.

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Mystery, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Avery Bell from FINDER KEEPER OF MY HEART by Vina Arno

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

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

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

 

3 Reasons to Love A Beta Romantic Hero

 

Romance books and movies are full of swaggering alpha heroes who are larger than life. They are easy to fall for and hard to ignore. And, guess what else? They’re too common. If you’re like me, you probably want the quiet, smart, and sweet beta romantic hero for a change.

Created by Luis_molinero – Freepik.com

Welcome to the club!

When I wrote my second romance novel, Finder Keeper of My Heart, I chose a beta hero named Avery Bell. He’s a loner, a sensitive soul. He’s also a brilliant, MIT-educated software engineer who’s working on a super drone. Unlike the typical alpha jock, he’s got the lean-but-strong build of a triathlete.

Hotlanta Voyeur, Visual Hunt

Let’s take a look at the top three qualities and reasons why the beta male is irresistible—in Finder Keeper of My Heart and in real life.

Top Three Traits

#1. He’s quiet and mysterious. The beta hero is swathed with layers upon layers of mystery. He’s the opposite of the temperamental alpha male. Avery Bell likes to go camping by himself in Hawaii and read Thoreau. As fate would have it, Emma Munroe gets lost in the jungle and he saves her. Emma gets to know him in the course of her Hawaiian vacation.

Created by Freepik

Here’s a passage describing his quiet demeanor:

As the conversation downstairs grew louder, the more attentive he became, like they were the only two people in the world. She loved his ability to focus, on top of his other fine qualities.

#2. Nice guys don’t finish last. Women who are crazy for bad boys haven’t met an honest-to-goodness nice guy who’s also a winner. In Finder Keeper, the beta hero is a young, high-tech whiz who’s working on a super drone designed to provide help during disasters. He’s also a triathlete training for his first Half Ironman race. If you read this novel, you’ll see that whoever said nice guys always finish last is simply wrong.

Created by Kues1 – Freepik.com

#3. He’s more realistic and closer to what most women want in real life. It’s okay to fantasize about the sexy, badass guy who breaks our hearts. But, in real life, most of us just want a guy who will give us a kiss before leaving the house, open the door for us, and cuddle with us on the couch during Movie Night.

Created by Freepik

The beta hero does all of these things and then some. Here’s how Emma describes him: “Avery was male in the best sense, without touting it or taking advantage of it—solid, reliable, efficient, intelligent, and too damn hot.”

If you’ve been reading about alpha heroes all along, get to know a beta hero, and share your thoughts with us!

Fascinating, Vina! And I have to admit, I have a soft spot for a total gentleman. In fact, most of the male characters I write about are really good guys. 😉
Anyway, this contemporary romance sounds awesome!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀
Here is the blurb for Finder Keeper of My Heart.

Emma Munroe, a Juilliard senior, snags a plum role on Broadway a few weeks before her twenty-first birthday. She travels to Hawaii with her best friends to celebrate. When she gets lost in a jungle during an impromptu hike, she happens upon a waterfall—and a naked hunk bathing underneath it.

When she finds out his name is Avery Bell, she’s dumbstruck. She believes she’s meant to love someone named Avery. It all goes back to a message in a bottle she found when she was nine, a letter written by a soldier called Avery to his sweetheart named Emma. He’d written it in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack during World War II. Since then, Emma has been searching (and saving her virginity) for her own Avery.

But Avery Bell is as mysterious as he is irresistible. Emma learns about his family secrets and bitterness. In the course of this vacation, an accident and a tragic death will shake both of them to the core. Her singular faith in him—her unwavering belief in love and destiny—proves to be his saving grace.

And Vina is giving us a peek at her novel!

Emma jogged for the next few minutes. Another brook, then a dry creek, before she faced a second switchback. Shit, she was lost! She slogged along, her legs now aching. Then a faint sound of water. Late July in Hawaii was hot and humid, but the temperature had turned cooler the closer she got to the source of the rumbling water.

It turned out to be a waterfall, partly blocked by overgrown grasses. She descended to the swimming hole and parted the tall weeds with both hands to get a full view.

Omigod! A naked man stood underneath the waterfall, his back to her.

Well, hellooo, hottie. She stood across from him, frozen and mesmerized by his beautiful body—tall build, broad shoulders, toned arms and legs. He braced himself against the water crashing on his face by gripping a boulder with each hand.

All of a sudden, he turned around, his eyes shut. Before she could hide, he stepped out of the cascading water. When he opened his eyes, his gaze shot straight to her. He cupped both hands over his groin.

“I’m sorry!” She swung around. “I’m lost. I need your help.”

He didn’t respond, and she didn’t dare look. Two, maybe three minutes passed.

“Hello? Are you still there?” she shouted without glancing.

“You can look now.” He stood several feet away, dressed in khaki cargo pants and a burgundy T-shirt marked MIT. He carried his hiking boots, socks, and a backpack.

“I’ve been lost forever.” She puffed out her cheeks and blew a gust of air. “You have no idea how happy I am to see you. I didn’t mean to intrude.”

He was probably a few years older than her. He didn’t appear embarrassed after getting caught buck naked, only annoyed.

“And your name is?” he snapped.

Okay, definitely pissed. “Emma Munroe—like Marilyn Monroe, but with a u.” She wanted to shake his hand, but didn’t get a chance since he perched on a big rock and proceeded to put on his socks and boots. When he rose, his dark eyes bored right through her.

He extended his hand. “I’m Avery Bell.”

“Avery?” She shook his hand, dumbstruck. Omigod! She had waited half of her life to meet someone named Avery—ever since she’d picked up a message in a bottle bearing that name.

He gave her a quizzical look.

She cleared her throat, composing herself. “Avery. I love that name.” My soul mate’s name is Avery. Could he be the one she’d been looking for?

He arched an eyebrow, like, really? He hauled his backpack over both shoulders. “How can I help you?”

“I need to get out of here.”

“How did you get here in the first place?”

“How did I get here?” she echoed like an idiot. Her self-confidence withered fast. She described the picnic on the beach and the hike up to the trail’s entrance. “I should have stayed put to wait for my friends, but my curiosity got the better of me. I chased the roosters and turkeys, plus I might have zoned out a little bit. I thought I was retracing my steps. I honestly don’t know how I got here.”

He nodded. “You’ve walked about four miles on the trail. Actually, you were probably not on the Muliwai Trail. You probably followed a fake trail. We’re a couple of miles away from Waimanu Valley.”

“You mean Waipio Valley?”

“I mean Waimanu Valley.”

She’d never heard of the place before. He walked up the weedy slope toward the trail.

She followed him. “Can you help me get out of here?”

He stopped, so she paused, too.

He turned his face to her. “I can take you to Waimanu Valley. I’m camping there.”

“Really?” Hope surged in her chest. He’s got to be the one.

Purchase Links:
Universal Reader link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07BHGMQRK

 

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

How fun to learn about your new adult romance, Vina! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pick up your copy of Finder Keeper of My Heart today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

Thank you for stopping by with your informative guest post, Vina! Lovely to have you here! ♥
 
Guest Bio

Vina Arno is the pen name of Cindy Fazzi, a Filipino-American writer and former Associated Press reporter. Finder Keeper of My Heart, published by Painted Hearts Publishing, is her second romance book. Her romance debut, In His Corner, was published by Lyrical Press in 2015.  Her first literary novel, My MacArthur, will be published by the Sand Hill Review Press in 2018.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.cindyfazzi.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Fazzi-779654065440439/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CindyFazzi

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Vina-Arno/e/B00R1RYE8E/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9800535.Vina_Arno

Google+:  https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Fazzi-779654065440439/

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

Publisher:  http://www.paintedheartspublishing.com/vinaarno

http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/31649

 

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

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

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

Blog Tour Feature: Wolf Around the Corner by Aidee Ladnier

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

Giving into his wolf’s need for love could risk the quiet life Frank has created for himself—and his heart…

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Aidee Ladnier, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new MM paranormal romance! :)

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

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

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Very nice!

This is the blurb for Wolf Around the Corner:

Frank’s family taught him that his wolf was dangerous, unwanted. Now his best friend’s brother wants him in bed and on stage. But giving into his wolf’s need for love could risk the quiet life Frank has created for himself—and his heart.

Settled in the small town of Waycroft Falls, Frank is content to be a lone wolf among the white picket fences and dollar book bins until he finds himself sniffing his best friend’s brother. Tom smells like hot apple pie and his Broadway smile has Frank lolling his tongue. But when the visiting actor learns Frank’s secret and plies him with hot kisses to get him to star in his play, Frank can’t help but wonder if Tom is only acting.

Tom ran away from family obligations to be a Broadway star. If he could make it there, he could make it anywhere…but he didn’t. Trudging home to Waycroft Falls to open his sister’s new performance space brings him face to face with a werewolf—a werewolf that would be perfect for Tom’s shoestring production of Beauty and the Beast. Staying in Tiny Town USA would be worth it if he can somehow convince the sexy wolf to expose his furry condition on stage and howl privately in Tom’s bed.

Wolf Around The Corner, a paranormal semi-finalist in Passionate Ink’s 2017 Sexy Scribbles Contest, is a full-length fairytale romance with a side of wolf shifter. If you like your romance with gorgeous men, humor, and small town magic, you’ll love Wolf Around the Corner! Buy your copy now and settle in to watch the drama unfold!

Ann is giving us a peek at her LGBT paranormal shifter romance, Wolf Around the Corner, today.

Great cover!

Book Info:

Genre:  Paranormal Romance, MM Romance, Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 3, 2018

Here is an excerpt.

The first thing he always did was take a large lungful of air. It reoriented him to the outside. His animal cataloged the smells—car exhaust, grass, tree pollen, and wait, a mouse skittering in the Dumpster out back. Frank’s urge to run built. He circled the apartments, looking for the storm drain near the landscaping wall. Inside him, his animal wiggled in excitement at the prospect of being freed. Frank shucked his clothes behind the wall and tucked them into the shelter of the pipe, out of view. Then he shifted, his hands lengthening, hair sprouting, and muzzle growing. His point of view shortened, now three feet from the ground as he blinked through the eyes of his wolf-like animal. Frank couldn’t stand still any longer. He sprang into the woods.

Frank ran, crashing through the underbrush and into the darkening shelter of the trees. He leaped over a shrub, felt the give of a sapling as he plowed through the brushwood. The animals and birds quieted at his loud, headlong dash, knowing he wasn’t of the forest, only disguised and playing at being a creature of the wood.

His paws skidded on a pile of old leaves. Frank almost lost his balance as he skipped up and over a fallen log. Around him, the scents of the forest all pushed in on him. Here a whiff of mold, there an astringent sniff of decay, everywhere the menthol of evergreen sap and wild herbs growing scattered on the forest floor.

Dry twigs snapped beneath his paws. His tongue lolled from his mouth, the fresh taste of the woods painting the back of his throat. The sun dipped below the horizon, the sky inking the tops of the trees. And Frank ran on until his limbs stopped, shaky and trembling. He collapsed onto a blanket of pine needles and leaves, moss and fungi cradling him as he panted.

As he caught his breath, the sounds of the woods lapped back around him. Insects and birds first. A harsh caw from a crow shrieked a hundred yards to his right. The chirp of a cricket sawed a few feet away. The rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker echoed above. And the still of twilight calmed him.

When he’d rested enough that his legs would support him again, Frank began the slow jog back to the apartments, letting his nose guide him through the darkening visibility of the woods. He could smell Mrs. Reynolds’s nighttime cocoa, and Mr. Reynolds’s liniment that stank of capsaicin. The lighted windows of the apartment building led him the last few feet, and he scurried up to the storm drain.

But his clothes weren’t there.

The sky darkened into night.

Frank knew Mrs. Anderson was out, but he could try to get the elderly Reynolds couple to buzz him inside. And hope they didn’t ask why he was naked trotting up the stairs.

Or he could stay in wolf form without a tag, which meant a night outside running from animal control and/or dodging every human that would mistake him for a stray dog.

Or wait, a third option. There was an oak that almost reached the ledge of his apartment window on the second floor. He never bothered to lock the window. Frank shifted back to human and sprinted across the yard.

He leaped for the lower boughs of the tree, grunting as the bark dug into the flesh of his palms. Frank swung himself up to straddle a branch, regretting it as the rough wood scraped his thighs. He crouched in the tree, awkwardly trying to shield his more delicate parts from the smaller whiplike twigs. He skirted around the trunk, grimacing as a low branch brushed a little too close to his groin. There. He was now on the side that faced the apartment house.

Frank balanced upright, his arms pinwheeling until he caught another branch higher up to steady himself. The leaves around him shivered on their stalks, the rustling loud. Please don’t let Mrs. Reynolds look out her window.

Using the taller branch as a guide, Frank placed one bare foot in front of the other and inched away from the security of the trunk. The limb beneath his feet shook as his weight tested its strength. He slid a foot farther out on the branch. It dipped, the leaves at the tip brushing against the side of his window. Just a few feet more.

An ominous crack sounded beneath him, and Frank froze. The branch popped again. It wouldn’t hold. He could make a jump for it. Frank swallowed hard. He should make a jump for it.

Frank jumped. And missed the house, falling into the azalea bushes.

Just as his hunky new neighbor from across the hall walked out of the apartment building and down the front steps.

Frank had seen Tom in the hall that morning, carrying boxes. Trying to be neighborly, Frank had introduced himself and offered to help. Tom had turned Frank down but flashed the whitest, most even teeth at him. Frank had seen nothing whiter outside of a movie theater big screen. They’d exchanged pleasantries, commented on the weather, and then gone their separate ways. Or rather, that was what Frank wished had happened. What went down was:

“Need help?” Frank barely got the words out when his new neighbor turned in the doorway. Frank froze. God, the man was gorgeous.

“Naw, man. I got it.” Tom shifted the box in his arms to hold out his hand. “I’m Tom Davidson.”

Frank wiped a clammy hand on his jeans and shook Tom’s hand. “Hot.” And Frank knew his mouth had disclosed the exact thing his brain was thinking. Idiot. Who said that to a guy he’d just met? A guy like Tom already knew he was hot.

Tom tilted his head as if he hadn’t heard Frank right. “Yeah. The temperatures are a little warm for this time of year.”

Frank didn’t dare correct him and kept his mouth shut, afraid he’d say something worse.

“Okay, well then, see you around, Frank.” Tom chuckled and continued into his apartment.

Meanwhile Frank beat it down the stairs, unsure how he managed not to walk into traffic as his mind ran over the exchange fail again and again.

So yeah. That was the less than stellar first impression he’d given Tom this morning. And now Frank followed that up by hunkering down naked in the azalea bushes.

“Are you okay?” The gleam from the safety light caught Tom’s dark gold hair as he tilted his head to peer over the shrubs. The shadows sank into his chiseled cheekbones. He looked like a brooding movie star ready to sweep a celluloid damsel off her feet.

Too bad Frank was a naked man trying to keep from exposing himself. Frank crouched down farther, making himself as small as possible, hoping the azalea’s pink blooms would distract Tom from looking at his hairy backside.

“I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?” Tom leaned closer. “Are you… Do you have any clothes on?”

Frank racked his brain for some reason he’d be naked and hiding in the bushes. “Um, I, uh, just got out of the shower, and I leaned too far out my window.”

“Oh my God. Did you fall from that height?” Tom glanced up to the second floor, to Frank’s closed window and then back down. “Do you need an ambulance?”

Frank sighed. This conversation was only getting worse. Cupping his hands over his privates, Frank rose from behind the bushes.

“I’m okay. Just need to get back inside. I have a hidden key if you can get me past the front security door.”

Tom’s eyes widened when Frank stood. Frank winced, sure he looked like one long scrape covered in leaves. He blew at the hair in his eyes. A twig dangled, caught in an auburn strand, but Frank was unwilling to expose himself to yank it out.

“Sure. Sure.” Tom fumbled for his key and opened the door. Frank half hopped over the acorns and chestnut burrs to slide past Tom. Tom wrinkled his nose as Frank passed. Good old wet dog smell. It always clung to him after a run in the woods.

Frank took the stairs two at a time to escape.

After a shower and shave—why did going furry always lead to needing a shave? The rest of his hair receded. Why didn’t his beard?—Frank spent thirty minutes in front of his bathroom mirror, trying to psych himself up to knock on Tom’s door and invite him over the next day for coffee or to watch football. He scratched behind an ear, feeling the healing scab from a graze he’d gotten when he’d fallen into the azalea bushes. Staring at his reflection, he tried to look earnest and approachable. He could do this. He had game.

“Hey, I know you don’t know many people in town, and I’m a loser, but would you like to spend time with me?” Frank made a face at himself. Probably shouldn’t label yourself as a loser.

“Yo, you want to watch football? No, how about basketball? Baseball? No? What about Mexican wrestlers?” Oh God, what if Tom doesn’t like sports?

“I ordered two large pizzas by mistake tonight, and I could use some help, or I’ll be gorging on pepperoni for a week.”

Lame. Frank’s own gaunt features stared back at him from the mirror. Who was he kidding? He’d always be the guy who lost the genetic lottery and ended up with the family curse.

Galen’s syndrome was rare, only affecting about one in 2,000, but well-known enough that most people had at least heard of it. The Greek surgeon Galen had coined the word lycanthropy to explain the shape-shifting curse that traveled down through a family tree. Like most recessive gene disorders, it only manifested when two genes were passed down to a child, leading early scholars to think the afflicted had been re-cursed or spared for a generation due to divine providence. It was only with modern medicine that curses were found to be attached to DNA, breaking and molding chromosomes like magical radiation. But despite better understanding of the disorder, the stigma remained, not helped by the occasional local television feature linking the disorder to werewolf mythology.

All Frank knew was the recessive curse gene made him even more different from his family. He’d already been pushing it when he came out as gay. Turning into a wolf at sixteen had been…well, more than his father and stepmother could handle. She wanted to protect the kids, she told him. He loved his half siblings, didn’t he? It wasn’t safe to have a wild animal around children.

It had gutted him. They turned him out of his own home. He’d been angry. He’d done something stupid, lashing out, snapping at his sister Robbie. It still hurt, remembering the tears on his baby sister’s face, her eyes wide and scared. Of him. It was then he knew his stepmother had been right. Dangerous animals didn’t belong in a family. So he’d left, traveling all the way across the state until he landed in Waycroft Falls. It had been hard that first year. There were a lot of adult things he still hadn’t figured out.

Like how to ask out a guy who he hadn’t known his whole life. Moving from one small town to another had been a bad idea. Frank bonked his head against the mirror, gazing down into the white porcelain sink. He rubbed at a stray hair that clung to the side.

But on the plus side, small towns meant he rarely needed a car. And he could shift and run if he needed. He should take his clothes with him.

Purchase Links:

Universal reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/4DlgQ7

Wow! Love it. ♥♥♥

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Aidee Ladnier, who has some things to say about the book at hand.
Hi, Aidee! ♥ A pleasure you could drop in for a brief chat.
Wolf shifters are very popular. In fact, there are thousands of books out there in this genre. Inquiring minds want to know…
How do you write a shifter story that stands out as distinctive and original? What will readers find in Wolf Around the Corner that’s new and exciting?
Aidee:  Hi! And thanks for having me on your blog. 🙂

This is a great question! Actually, the shifter book saturation issue is why I never thought I’d write a werewolf protagonist. I’ve read a lot of werewolf books and most of the shifter tropes like alpha males, the wolf pack in danger, and fated mates never appealed to me as an author.

But then I imagined a world where lycanthropy was treated more like a very rare medical condition. I renamed the malady Galen’s Syndrome, using the medical convention of naming a disease after the first person to describe it. In late antiquity, the Greek physician Galen described a patient with a ravenous appetite and other qualities of a wolf. If I made Galen’s Syndrome a condition that appeared in less than 1 in 2,000 individuals, it would classify it as a rare disorder and 80% of rare disorders have a genetic component. So I could keep a bit of the magic of werewolves; I made my shifter the possessor of a genetic curse. In other words, if someone is cursed with lycanthropy, the curse becomes a mutation passed down as a recessive gene. Therefore, although individuals could become carriers of the curse and still be normal, if someone gets the recessive cursed gene from each parent, they’ll be able to shift into a wolf.

So I have my werewolf, but I’m still not fond of the shifter tropes. Just to be contrary, I set out to make his story the opposite of all the shifter romance conventions. My shifter, Frank Braden, is insecure and awkward—the opposite of an alpha. He also doesn’t have a pack. In fact, he doesn’t have any friends with the same disorder and he’s even been asked to leave his family home because his father and stepmother are afraid he’ll be a danger to his half-siblings. He’s essentially, a lone wolf. And there are no fated mates in this universe. I love the idea of a fated mate, but if I personally have to go through the embarrassing and excruciating dating dance, I’m going to make sure my characters do too. I won’t give my protagonists any shortcuts to love.

I also made my werewolf the lead actor in a theatrical version of Beauty and the Beast. I’ve known several actors and the transformation scene for this particular fable has always been either to use a mask or a double to allow the main character to run off stage and take off their makeup. I thought a director might faint with joy at having a real life werewolf shift onstage during the transformation scene. Who wouldn’t buy a ticket to see that? Especially in a world where many people think werewolves are folktales. The play would be part sideshow and part theater. Which leads to a built-in conflict—because there’s a person behind that transformation, not just a spectacle to gawk at. I wanted to raise the moral question of how a director could both have an actor use a special trait without making them feel used. Where do you draw the line at exploitation and performance?

But, the book is still very light-hearted and sweet. I grew up in a small town and tried to put my favorite things about small towns in the fictional Waycroft Falls. From niche bookstores, to strange statues, and Founder’s Day bed races. Frank and Tom’s romance doesn’t run smooth, but it does skip along awkwardly to a hopeful beat.

Ooh…it sounds like a sexy, fun tale!

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into the writing experience of Wolf Around the Corner. 😉

Aidee is giving away a $5 Amazon GC, $10 Amazon GC, Ebooks from her backlist, and print books from her backlist. The winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Please use the RaffleCopter link below to enter. Don’t forget you have a chance to enter every day, so be sure to visit all the stops on this tour. You may find those locations here.

Link:  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/801c221b56/

Thank you for telling us about your new MM paranormal contemporary romance, Aidee! I know I can’t wait to read this wonderful novel! 🙂

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

Author Bio

Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, believes that adventure is around every corner. In pursuit of new experiences she’s worked as a magician’s assistant, been a beauty pageant contestant, ridden in hot air balloons, produced independent movies, hiked up a volcano, and is a proud citizen scientist. A lover of genre fiction, Aidee’s perfect romance has a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.aideeladnier.com/

Blog:  https://www.aideeladnier.com/blog/

Tumblr:  http://aideemoi.tumblr.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AideeLadnier

Amazon Author Page:  amazon.com/author/aideeladnier

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6570769.Aidee_Ladnier

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/aideelad/

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/aideelad/

 

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

Thanks again to Aidee and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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