Tag Archives: new adult

Exclusive Interview with author Angela Ford, plus a look at new adult sweet western romance series, THE HEALING HEARTS RANCH!

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

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Angela Ford to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Angela Ford:  Hi, Marie!

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

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

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

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

Angela:  Numbers by day…Words by night! I work in Accounting during the day and when evening sets in, words come from my heart. I write romance – happily-ever-afters – sometimes sweet…sometimes spicy…sometimes suspenseful.

Great! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Angela:  Loving…supportive and big…strength in numbers! I have six siblings. I’m the second youngest.

Marie:  Wow, so many!

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?

Angela:  Warm and welcoming. A modest three-bedroom bungalow until Dad finished the basement, with an extra bedroom! But back then it felt bigger…must have been all the love in it!

Marie:  Nice… 😉

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

Angela:  Reading…walking…and chasing that sunset! I love crafts, but it’s not one of my better talents. (Laughs.) I do collect seashells while walking the beach and chasing that sunset! Lately I’ve been autographing those seashells and sending them to my readers as a keepsake…remind me to send you one!

Marie:  Oh, that would be fantastic! Love the beach! 😀

So, what is your greatest dream?

Angela:  I’m living it! Writing from the heart and sharing with my readers 🙂

Marie:  Sounds like a plan. ♥

Let’s try another question.

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

Angela:  I like who I am…a kind soul. My mom taught me to treat others the way I want to be treated. Live simply…love generously.

Marie:  All right.

Who was your first love?

Angela:  My mom. The first to give me warmth and love…the first voice I heard…and the first to show me what love really means.

Marie:  Aww! ♥

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

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

Angela:  I focus on the positives in life…they keep me a strong and kind soul.

Marie:  Okay.

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

[Maggie nods.]

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

Angela:  I’ve always wanted to write…it’s always been in my heart. I have achieved this with over 50 published works and my readers make my heart smile every time we connect.

Marie:  Awesome! 😀

Who is your role model, Angela?

Angela:  I have two! My parents. They’ve loved, taught, guided and supported me through the years. They’re also my ‘fairytale’ couple and inspire the true love in my romance writing.

Marie:  I know what you mean. My parents are a good match, too. 😉

Well, let’s try something else.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Angela:  No, not one soul. There may be some whose behaviors I don’t agree with, but that’s what makes us all individuals and unique.

Marie:  True!

What is your deepest desire?

Angela:  I hope to meet my soul mate in this universe someday and have my own happily-ever-after.

Marie:  (Nods.) And, of course, you deserve it! ♥

Let’s go for a different approach now.

Just curious here, but what is your greatest fear?

Angela:  The time that will, unfortunately, come without my parents.

Marie:  I know. Mine are getting on in age. It is odd sometimes to realize how very short life is.😕

Let’s switch gears for a second.

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

Angela:  Well…if there’s basic food, shelter, safety, and those I love are okay…then I’d pick my laptop (so I can write!), wine, chocolate, music…and Kenny Chesney…a girl can dream!

Marie:  (Chuckles.) 😀

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

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

Angela:  Raine is in her mid-twenties as the story begins. She’s a social worker, living the city-life until she receives news of her grandfather’s passing and returns to the farm she lived on with her Gramps. Coming home brings her peace and helps her find the love in her heart, through the wise words left by her Gramp’s letter.

Marie:  All right.

And what are Raine’s greatest strengths?

Angela:  She’s a strong, caring, gentle soul with self-driven, hard-working ethics.

Marie:  Nice!

Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?

Angela:  Forgetting who she was and the love she has to offer.

Marie:  (Nods.) It is tough to open your heart again once it’s been bruised.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Raine’s favorite foods?

Angela:  She loves and lives for bacon! Also loves pancakes and the dinners Luke makes…he’s the boy-next-door, her childhood best friend and the one who her heart belongs to. At the end of each book, I share a recipe of one of Raine’s favorites..

Marie:  Cool!

And bacon with pancakes…yes, please! 😉

How about another question?

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

Angela:  Once she’s returned home to the farm and reads her Gramps’s letter…she begins to realize the love in her heart is plenty to share and help other’s hearts heal.

Marie:  How admirable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Angela:  They’ll love Raine…she’s a good soul, down-to-earth, caring individual. She’s had her struggles and heartaches to which we can relate to; and her giving, kind heart that keeps us loving her.

Marie:  Happy to hear it! 😀

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

What first gave you the idea for The Letter Left?

Angela:  My daughter requested a YA series…one for her age group. One of the sweet romance genre, and most important…a story based around the love of horses and healing hearts.

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

Let’s try something else.

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

Angela:  I consider myself a planster! I plot to a certain point…then I just write!

Marie:  Me too! 😉

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

Angela:  The Letter Left was my 25th published single title and even with the experience I’ve gained along the way, I continue to challenge myself to improve my writing and my research to make it realistic. A story, we as readers, can relate to as we enjoy the journey. And I will continue to do so with the next story! And to continue to write from my heart, loving what I do!

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 

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

Let’s learn more about this series.

Title: The Letter Left (book one of The Healing Hearts Ranch)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Western, New Adult, Sweet Romance, Family Saga

Publication date: July 29, 2019

Here is the blurb:

A story of remembrance, a gift, and a love rediscovered through healing hearts.
Angela Ford takes a different direction this time to bring you a new adult series. A story centered around family, horses, true love, and finding your way from the wise words left to you.
Jack Willows was a great man. He always put others first. He’d taught his granddaughter to do the same. Raine Willows left her grandfather’s farm at eighteen to find her way in life. Seven years later, his death brings her back to the farm and her first love–the boy next door.
An empowering story of healing through horses. A farm that introduced her to the boy next door–Luke Daniels. The one she could never forget, no matter how many years and miles came between them. Grief reunites them, horses help heal their hearts, and gives them an idea to help others. An idea that had been her grandfather’s dream for her. The letter he left, changed the direction of her life and her heart.

Angela is giving us a peek at the story…

Raine found Luke in the kitchen cleaning up the breakfast he’d prepared for her. A slight touch of guilt for his gesture crossed her. “Hey.”

​Luke kept washing the dishes in the sink. “Just wanted to clean up my mess before I left.”

​His tone pulled at her heartstrings. Guilt set in a little deeper. “I’m sorry, too. I didn’t mean to be unappreciative of your nice gesture of breakfast. I was just – shocked to find you here.”

Luke reached for the dishtowel and turned to face her as he dried his hands. “But making light of the situation only came across as me being an ass.” He chuckled. “For that, I’m really sorry.” He walked closer to her. “Jack didn’t want you to know about the farm because he knew you’d keep him here, give up your job in the city and take care of him.”

Raine nodded. “And that, he clearly didn’t want.” She would have done it. She would have done anything for Jack Willows.

Luke leaned against the counter. “He loved you, Raine. More than anything. He knew you loved him and would have taken care of him.”

Raine stood quiet for a moment. She knew Luke was right. She was as stubborn as her grandfather. “But why didn’t he mention you were here? Why are you here, Luke?”

Luke took a deep breath. “Jack is”—he corrected himself—“was a great man. After my father passed, I came back to save the farm, but my dad had let it go along with himself. Jack heard about it and asked if I’d do him a favor.” Luke smiled at Raine.“Who wouldn’t do a favor for Jack Willows?”

Raine nodded in agreement and Luke continued with the reason he’d been there. “Jack wanted to leave the farm to you, Raine; but he didn’t want you to turn down the offer at the hospital to care for him. He told me he always wanted you to find your own way in life.” Luke paused with a smile, “But he also said the farm was a big part of you, and when the day came, you’d know what to do.”

Luke turned and opened a drawer. He pulled out two envelopes. One he opened and showed it to Raine. A letter in her grandfather’s handwriting, dated almost two years ago. It was an agreement signed by him and it reiterated what Luke had just told her. Raine looked at Luke and then pointed to the other envelope in his hand. “What’s that?”

Luke moved closer and handed her the envelope. “Jack wanted me to give this to you after his death.”

Raine felt the moisture build in her eyes. With trembling fingers, she took it from Luke’s hand. She stood for a moment in silence. She didn’t know if she could read the last words from her grandfather.

Luke pulled a chair out from the table and motioned for Raine to take a seat. “I’ll give you some time to read that in private.”

Raine smiled. “Thank you.”  She appreciated the respect he offered while she read her grandfather’s letter. He nodded and placed the letter opener on the table and made his way up the back staircase.

Raine reached for the opener and let it slide across the sealed letter. Slowly, she opened the neatly folder paper to find her grandfather’s writing. As she read the words he’d left her with, a solemn tear fell down her cheek. The lump in her throat gave her the sensation it would not be a single tear, but she fought hard against the urge to cry. She needed to relax her tangled thoughts to read his words to her.

Intense! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/b6kq6p

Publisher link:  http://bookstogonow.com/books/the-letter-left/

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46643279-the-letter-left

What are people saying about The Letter Left?

 

 

What a beautiful second chance romance, a story with mixed emotions of memories, loss, and new beginnings. It is a story of dreams, healing, and renewed sweet romance. The story is a sweet, clean, heartfelt romance with a great cast of characters and interaction. It is the first of several in this new series, The Healing Hearts Ranch. ‘One day at a time.’” – Redrabbit, Amazon

Family love. Separation. Death. Patience. Dreams. This story has everything, absolutely loved it. Sweet, thoughtful and also a tear jerker. Can’t wait for the next book in the series!” – Melissa, Amazon

I REALLY LOVE THE LETTER LEFT. IT IS A VERY EMOTIONAL AND POWERFUL READ WHICH WILL MAKE YOU CRY AND LAUGH. THIS IS A WELL WRITTEN STORY WITH CHARACTERS THAT FELT VERY REAL IN EXPRESSING THEIR EMOTIONS AND GRIEF. THE STORYLINE IS VERY BELIEVABLE AND SO ARE ALL THE CHARACTERS. I THINK THIS IS SOME OF ANGELA FORD’S BEST WRITING. I ENJOYed THE STORY OF HORSES HELPING PEOPLE HEAL I THINK ALL ANIMALS CAN BRING COMFORT TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY NEED IT. THE LETTER LEFT IS A MUST READ. AUTHOR ANGELA FORD NEVER DISAPPOINTS WITH HER WRITING AND STORIES. SHE IS A MUST READ AUTHOR AND IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES.” – Victoria Zumbrum, Amazon

Looks fantastic! 😉

Let’s switch to the sequel…

Title: Harvest Homecoming (book two of The Healing Hearts Ranch)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Western, New Adult, Sweet Romance, Family Saga

Publication date: September 29, 2019

Here is the blurb:

An empowering story centered around family, horses, love and loss, friendship and betrayal, and finding your way from the wise words left to you. The wholesome family saga continues on a ranch in the Montana mountains in the small town of Crystal Creek.

The lazy-hazy days of summer give way to shorter days and endless views of vibrant colors during the town’s harvest festivities. Crystal Creek High kicks off the season’s opening game while seniors, Cassidy and Kaitlyn prepare for the horse show, a cheating boyfriend, and saddle up for a promposal to the homecoming dance.

Love is in the air as the festivities begin. Equine therapist, Dr. Pam Whitfield, arrives at the ranch on the day of Raine and Luke’s engagement party and meets a local farmer in attendance. Jackson Knox makes an impact and she remembers his name like its been engraved on her heart. With the first guests arriving shortly after the festivities, Trainer Kelly Brannan must deal with a past romantic issue which may affect the opening of the Healing Hearts Ranch and her job.

Angela is giving us a peek at this story as well…

Purchase Links:

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

Publisher link:  http://bookstogonow.com/books/harvest-homecoming/

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48152900-harvest-a-homecoming

What are people saying about Harvest Homecoming?

 

 

“Crystal Creek felt like home. The Healing Hearts Ranch book series are sweet, wholesome stories that could be read by teenagers as well as adults. The story is a sweet, clean, heartfelt romance with a great cast of characters and interaction. They are full of real-life emotions, young love, new beginnings, old friends, town traditions, and friendships. While this is a saga, the story is well-written and could be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend that you read the first book, The Letter Left, that sets up this series.” – Redrabbit, Amazon

“Sweet, clean and delightful! I really enjoyed Angela Ford’s Harvest Homecoming, her second story in ‘The Healing Hearts Ranch’ series. We get to meet new characters that are charming and lovable. It’s a captivating story focused around family, horses, hope and second chance. It’s also sweet, clean and refreshing! If you love horses, you will easily connect with this new series!” – Nicole Laverdure, Amazon

This was a cute fall read that continues from one of this author’s other books. It has a homey, family feel to it and brings all the loves of fall together!” – Cara C., Amazon

Wow, love these book covers!

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this sweet, new adult modern western romance series, with an occasional YA twist! ♥♥♥

Healing Hearts Ranch – An empowering series centered around family, horses, love and loss, friendship and betrayal, and finding your way from the wise words left.

About Angela Ford

Angela resides in Nova Scotia – Canada’s Ocean Playground. Inspired by sunsets, the ocean, her family, and books! She is never without a book, whether she’s reading or writing. Angela is a bestselling and award-winning author who has been in the Amazon top fifty, Readers’ Choice Awards and ScreenCraft. She has over 50 published works in paperback, eBook, audiobook, and foreign translation. An Award of Distinction sparked the idea for her first book Closure, which hit Bestselling Action & Adventure, Women’s fiction. In between mysteries, Angela writes short contemporary romance. She loves to connect with her readers!

Books:

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

 

Once again, I want to thank Angela Ford, the brilliant author of this new adult, sweet contemporary western romance series, with the backdrop of a family saga, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

 

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Recommended Read: Break My Chains by Nicolina Martin

I know Kevin usually does a review per week, but I couldn’t help jumping in here to talk about the book I just finished last night! ♥ Nicolina Martin’s Break My Chains is so spicy, a little dark, and has enough suspense to keep you going. I just couldn’t put this one down…

I literally stumbled across this novel on Amazon. When I read the sample, it just drew me in and I had to buy it!! ❤

With elements of dark romance, some erotica, and enough suspense to keep the storyline moving, you can’t go wrong with this read. Mia and Martin are such fascinating characters, each tough in their own right. It makes them quite a match, and just adds to the steamy tension. Loved this book…and I don’t hand out five stars easily!
I simply devoured this book! 😀
Book Info:
When nothing is what it seems, who can you trust?

Martin Garrett has sworn to die rather than go back to prison. He’ll stop at nothing to reach freedom, but even he can’t win over the forces of nature. When he gets caught in a violent snowstorm, he has no choice but to seek shelter. He can’t know that the young woman opening the door will change his life forever.

Fleeing her troubled past in Arizona, leaving her loved ones behind, Mia Cassidy has found solace in an isolated cabin in the deep woods of Colorado. She’s hesitant to let the tall, hulking, and oddly attractive stranger into her home, but the storm is lethal. She has no way of knowing this chance encounter will rip her from her cocoon and make her question everything she thought she knew.

Trapped together, their unexpected meeting soon turns into a battle of wills and a fight against the irresistible pull between them. When the fragile trust they’ve built is betrayed, everything comes crashing down. Mia must unravel the secrets and find the truth before it’s too late to save either of them.

Publisher’s Note: This steamy contemporary love story is not your typical wine and chocolates romance. It has a dark edge but if you’re up for the ride there is a guaranteed HEA. It contains elements of mystery, suspense, action, adventure, danger, betrayal, and power exchange.

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

Here’s a peek at the book…

Martin Garrett, convicted five years ago almost to the day for committing a heinous series of murders between 2011 and 2013, escaped this morning from Penitentiary Florence High. The details of his escape have not been revealed. Garrett is considered extremely dangerous and caution is recommended. If anyone sees this man…

The whistling from the water kettle drowns out the rest. I’m leaning my elbows on the kitchen counter, staring out the frosted window. A thick layer of snow has covered everything during the night. It’s so white from where I’m standing; I can’t even make out the shapes of the outside world. It’s like someone wrapped a large sheet around my house. I’m not entirely taken by surprise. It’s my second winter here and it gets really cold, and really wintery in Colorado. The difference between Arizona and where I live now couldn’t be greater. Sighing, I move away from the window and take the kettle off the stove. The whistling fades and comes to a stop. They forecasted snow. I don’t think I listened well enough. Pouring the boiling water in the cup, I watch it turn black as the instant coffee dissolves. I stare vacantly at the mug, my thoughts sprawling in every different direction. I need to locate the shovel and find my truck under those masses. I have cans but not a lot of fresh food, so I really need to go into town if I still want bread, milk, eggs, cheese and… I look around me. Fruit. Grimacing, I grab the cup and head off into the living room, which also doubles as office, dining area and hallway. That’d be ‘quadruples as’, I think as I sink down on the chair and set the cup on the table.

As I flip open the lid to my old MacBook it chimes pleasantly, and I realize I forgot to shut it down last night. Again. I yawn, stretch and glance at the clock on the wall. Twenty past nine. The morning passes too quickly and I need to get some work done. I’m helping a local store with some images for marketing, a newspaper ad, some flyers and whatnot. I’ve strayed far, far away from the exhibition at the Etherton Gallery I had when I was twenty-one. When I was young and ‘promising’.

Three years ago.

What happened then was a nightmare I am still trying to wake up from. Pushing the thoughts away, I click on the folder for Farman’s Fishing Lodge. I trekked the woods day in and day out, walking along the river, catching the fine rainbow-colored mist as the water slammed against the rocks in its path downstream. The pictures turned out fantastic. Local flora and fauna, fishermen standing in their yellow pants, the color reflected in the calm surface, sun glittering in tiny ripples. For a few days I was really happy with my choice to move here. The fresh air, the smell of approaching snow, the sometimes near-silence out there.

The tranquility only lasts moments before I return to myself, but I cherish them.

I start sorting the images: by motifs, by colors, by how the sky and the ground harmonize with each other. Choosing a few I intend to show Mr. Waltman, I copy them and begin to toy around with effects.

As I lose myself in work, I don’t register how many hours pass until I notice the corners of the room are darker and that my stomach aches. I study the processed images on the screen. Several of them are everything he asked for, and I hope my client will see it as well. I need the money. Desperately. I stand, straighten my back, and stretch my arms until my hands almost touch the low ceiling, then I close my laptop and head for the kitchen to see if I can find anything that appeals to me.

Armed with canned soup I heated in the microwave, and a bottle of beer, I sink down on the couch and turn the TV back on. I doubt anything interesting has happened in my little corner of the world.

Terrorist attacks in Europe. A gas line leaking in Russia. Price of oil increasing. Some prisoner on the run.

I eat and keep flipping through the channels until I give up and resort to watching a cop show that doesn’t crave my attention. Everything is very dramatic, with shaky camera movements, flashing blue and red lights, men screaming when they’re pushed to the ground, women screaming when their men are pushed to the ground. I study the handiwork of the cameraman. It looks sloppy and haphazard, but he’s really clever in how he switches between objects and with the angles he chooses. I like being surprised by a random TV show.

Dropping the spoon on the table next to the bowl, I lean against the backrest, and stare at the ceiling. It’s made of pine boards, yellowed with age, giving the cabin a dark and moody feel. Then and there I decide to paint it when I get the money from this gig. A soft white should go well with the dark hardwood floor and the cute floral patterns on my couch and armchair. I rub my face and glance out the window. It’s not dark yet and I need to get some of the snow off my porch and make a path to my truck. There’s at least thirty feet to plow to get to the truck, then I have to keep shoveling until I get to where my yard meets the road. I doubt they’ll plow it today, though. Shit. Probably not tomorrow either.

I down the rest of the soup but leave the beer, then I rise. Jack, who’s been sleeping on his rug in the corner, immediately starts panting. He lifts a thick, furry eyebrow and watches me carefully under a heavy, barely open eyelid. Am I going where he thinks I’m going? When I lift a foot to put it in my boot he realizes that yes, I am indeed. Giving off a robust bark, he jumps up with ease, despite his huge body, and trots toward me, his tail wagging eagerly. He puts his snout against the back of my knee and pushes, looking at me pleadingly. I rub him behind an ear as I push my foot into the other boot and tie it.

“Did you think I’d forget you, silly dog?” Grabbing my jacket, I pat my thigh. “Come on!”

Jack doesn’t need to be told twice and lays his paws on the door, reaching up level with my face. He was such a cute little puppy when I took him in, having been abandoned when his former owner died, but Bernese Mountain dogs don’t stay small. He’s my company, my only friend, and my protection. Our long walks every day have healed me somewhat over the year I’ve had him.

As I pull down the handle, he pushes at the door, but is met by resistance. I frown and help him, slowly opening the slit until it is wide enough for us to squeeze through.

With a loud groan I take in the massive cover of snow. It’s gotta be a foot deep. Or more. It’s beautiful. Pure and untouched. But it needs to go.

“Get out there, boy,” I tell Jack and he jumps straight out, giving out a squeal of surprise when the cold white layer hits his belly. I laugh, push the door closed and go in search of the shovel.

After forty minutes there’s a narrow path to the truck, and a visible front window and driver’s door. I’ve had to shove Jack off me over and over, him thinking it’s a game. Panting, and drenched in sweat, I lean on the shovel and study my handiwork, then I lift my gaze to the prematurely darkening sky. The clouds are a heavy dark blue. Menacing. More snow is on the way. Much more. Fuck. I clutch at my burning chest. I’m exhausted, in need of a shower, a good book in front of the fireplace, and then sleep. I pray my hard work won’t be undone come morning.

I call for Jack who is happily jumping around at the edge of the forest and go inside. Pulling the door shut throws us into semi-darkness. Before I head for the bathroom I start a fire. Crumpling pages of old newspapers into little balls, I push them between perfectly dry logs and light them up. Soon orange flames lick the wood, charring it, creating beautiful gleaming serpentines around the edges. I put the cast iron mesh in front of the fireplace, and head for my well-deserved shower.

When I get back out Jack is restless and whining. He paces the room, and starts circling me as soon as he spots me. I have a towel wrapped around my body and dab my hair with another.

“What is it, sweetie?” I crouch in front of him, rub the thick fur on his neck and look around, but nothing seems out of the ordinary. The room has that good, dry warmth that only comes from a lit fireplace. Despite that, a shiver runs through me, and I quickly put on a pair of sweatpants and a flannel shirt. I postpone my own pleasure a little longer and go to give Jack some fresh food. It seems to calm him and soon he guzzles down the canned meat with his usual sloppiness, tail wagging. I give him a pat and, finally, I can sit down again with the intent to do absolutely nothing for the rest of the night. I turn the TV back on and flip through the channels, but then I just mute it and look at the fire instead, drinking my lukewarm beer.

I nearly fly through the roof when Jack suddenly howls, barks, then howls again. He runs to the front door, then back, then in circles. I stand, the hair rising on the back of my neck.

“Jack, boy, what is it?”

He looks at me and whines, crouching, his tail between his legs. Then he jumps up again and runs toward the door, barking.

“Enough!” I go to him and grab the loose skin at his neck, crouching before him as I glance at the silent door. “Shh!”

He’s quiet, but on high alert. I’m quiet too, also on high alert. Holding my breath, I listen intently but hear nothing. I rise and that’s when a loud rap on the door pierces the silence, quickly followed by two more.

Three heavy, ominous knocks.

My heart instantly jumps up in my throat and nearly suffocates me with its wild pounding. No one comes here. Not normally, and most certainly not when the snow is so thick you can’t come unless you are in a tracked vehicle, and they only do that if there’s a medical emergency. If you’re snowed in, you’re snowed in.

Who is out there? I swallow nervously and take a step toward the door when three new loud knocks make me jump. I shake my head at my own suspiciousness. Whoever it is, it must be someone who needs help. Covering the remaining distance, I then press down on the handle and try to push the door open, but it’s jammed again. I manage a couple of inches, then a hand grips the edge and suddenly the door flies wide open.

I stare at the vision before me. It’s a man: tall, wide, covered in snow from top to toe, and with clothes that are way too thin. Even in the faint light I see how blue his lips are. I open my mouth to ask, I don’t know, maybe what he wants, but then I change my mind. Whoever he is, he is clearly in some kind of emergency. Looking out at the wintery night, then back at the yeti before me, I shake my head in disbelief.

“Good God. Come inside!”

He doesn’t need to be told twice and takes a step forward, past the threshold. Towering over me, his hulking appearance dominates the room. I swallow hard and reach past him to close the door. The wind fights me and snowflakes whip in my face. I hadn’t realized it had started snowing again, and blowing. Behind me Jack is letting out a high-pitched noise.

The door slams closed and I turn back to the man. The top of my head reaches to his shoulder. He is gigantic. He has a big, dirty-blond beard, covered in snow. The snow in his eyelashes has started to melt. I have to crane my neck to meet his eyes. He’s frowning, looking down at me with an unreadable expression as he rakes a hand through his hair and shudders.

“Thanks.”

His voice is hoarse, a deep baritone that challenges the sudden silence in the house. I still don’t move, cornered in the narrow space between him and the door. A girl alone letting in a stranger is not a clever move, but what choice did I have? Let him freeze to death?

AUTHOR: Nicolina Martin

TITLE: Break My Chains

GENRE: New Adult Romantic Suspense, Some Erotica, Dark Romance

RELEASE DATE: February 6, 2019

PUBLISHER: Blushing Books Publications

ISBN/ASIN: B07NGQT8LB

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Marie Lavender

Anyway, just wanted to give you my thoughts on this fantastic read! Grab a copy of this new release! 😉

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a great cover!

This is the blurb for Meant to Be Kept:

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

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

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

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

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

Here is an excerpt to entice you with!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His hands.

His mouth.

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links:

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

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

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

So, what are people saying about this book?

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

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

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

Awesome!

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

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

Author Bio

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

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

Author Links

Website:  https://ameliafosterauthor.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/afosterauthor

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Pre-order Release Feature: Captive by author Jenny Lynn

I am pleased to announce a great new release by Jenny Lynn, an author I met during my journey! Her new adult romantic suspense, Captive, officially went up for pre-order and will be released on March 13th!

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

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

Jenny is giving us a look at her intriguing new adult romantic suspense, Captive, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Captive:

In the city of sin, who will be saved?

Beckett Carter is the last of his family; the head of Carter Enterprises and a reclusive billionaire living in a luxurious Las Vegas penthouse. Since his parents’ murder, his obsession with justice has steadily grown stronger, leading him to become the masked vigilante known to criminals as the Phantom. When he’s not out playing the part of a filthy rich playboy he trains his body hard, and in his disguise, he brings the criminal underworld to its knees.

Crime reporter Ella James keeps everyone at arm’s length, throwing herself into her work and her quest to find out what happened to her missing sister. She doesn’t let anyone get close enough to her to see how damaged she really is and afraid to trust anyone fully; she has never let a man touch her. While going undercover she puts her life in danger and discovers the secret identity of the Phantom as he ruthlessly eliminates a room full of criminals. This one night sets off a chain of events neither of them expected.

Faced with the threat of being exposed, Beckett is left with only one choice. He takes Ella captive, keeping her in a secret room until he can complete his mission. In Ella, Beckett finds an opponent unlike any he’s met before – she’s smart, resourceful, and worst of all, innocent. The untouched woman locked away in his penthouse is the greatest temptation he has ever faced.

A tense rivalry between the two grows into something so much more than either could have imagined. When Beckett gives in and shows Ella how dark he can be, can she succeed and show him the light?

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

Book Info:

Genre:  Contemporary, New Adult, Romantic Suspense

Release Date:  March 13, 2018

Pre-order Purchase Link:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07B3WN26F

Wow! So steamy. ♥♥♥ This looks like an intriguing read!😉

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

 

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

 Author Bio

I’m a contemporary romance writer who creates complex characters, exciting plot twists, true love and steamy scenes that keep readers up and night wanting to turn the page. When I’m not writing I’m playing with my toddler son, going on dates with my husband, petting my cat or I’m in a dimly lit lounge sipping wine while I daydream about my next story idea. I have a background in creative writing and have had short stories published in multiple literary magazines.

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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New Release Feature: Saving Him by author Bry Ann

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Bry Ann, an author I met during my journey! Her new adult romantic suspense, Saving Him, officially releases tomorrow!

Yay! That’s awesome! :) Congrats on your new release! And it’s just in time for Valentine’s Day! 😉

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

Bry Ann is giving us a look at her suspenseful romance, Saving Him, today.

Intriguing cover!

This is the blurb for Saving Him:

Gunner:

All I’ve seen my entire life is their cold, dead lifeless eyes. It’s made me who I am.
Ruthless. Heartless. Business.
Until her.
It’s time I sought revenge on the men who haunt my nightmares.
Then a sweet girl with blonde hair and enough scars to rival my own decides she’s in love with me.
I’d break her.
… but it turns out she’s going to break me first.
And revenge isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Dana:
I’m worthless.
My brother’s famous.
His girlfriend, my best friend, is a badass who risked her life to save mine.
I’m a treatment junkie.
Not that you’d know by looking at me. I keep my body covered and my thoughts to myself.
Until him.
A drug dealer. A crime lord.
He’s one of the bad guys.
… but his scars draw me in. I fall. Hard.
Until the day his past comes back to haunt him and I decide I’m gonna save him.
Why’s the guy always gotta be the hero?

Trigger Warning: Disturbing Scenarios and Sexual Content

Here is an excerpt to entice you with!

As I sat in the waiting room right by Sam’s mom’s room, I saw a large man head for her door. I immediately hopped up. It couldn’t be him. No fucking way. I sprinted down the hall and slid, blocking the door before he could enter. He cocked an eyebrow at me and crossed his arms over his chest. He was wearing a burgundy shirt and tan cargo pants that fit him well.

“You need to move, little girl.”

“No! You are not going near Sam’s mom!” I snapped. “Leave her alone.”

He smirked. “Are you her bodyguard or something?”

Then his face hardened. “Move. Now.”

I don’t know what the hell came over me, but I lifted my hand and slapped him square across the face. Hard. He looked absolutely shocked. “You move.”

He busted out laughing and took a step back and lifted his hands in surrender. “I’ll just wait here then,” he laughed.

I stared at him for a second.

“I’ll text Sam.”

I whipped out my phone, staying in the doorway, and let Sam know he was here.

“She’s on her way,” I said, turning to him.

He nodded and stayed quiet. I couldn’t. I wanted to understand this man, and why I was so brave around him.

“So, are you like a drug dealer or something?” I whispered.

He laughed to himself. “Why would I tell you that?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know, to fulfill my curiosity.”

“You’re curious about me?” he teased.

“Honestly. Yeah.”

He stared at me for a second.

“Yeah, something like that. It’s good money.”

“Why? There are other ways to make money.”

He just shrugged. “What do you do? You seem like an interesting person to have around.”

My cheeks immediately turned red. Oh yeah, big hot drug dealer, I’m just a treatment junkie. I do nothing, and I am nothing other than Logan Prescott’s fucked up little sister.

“Just stuff,” I mumbled. He narrowed his eyes and then I heard footsteps. “Here comes Sam.”

“I still want to know what you do.”

“No time,” I said quickly.

Then he forcefully grabbed my hand and stuck a card in it. “Then we make time. Text me.”

I was so confused as Sam whipped around the corner. Both Gunner and I did everything we could to act nonchalant, but Sam knew something was up. She just didn’t know what it was yet. Neither did I. It was the beginning of a very long, very intense friendship that I later found out I would be willing to die for and, worse, willingly hand over my already broken heart.

When I knew it would only be broken again…

Purchase Link:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B078VCKWXY

Whoa! Love the tension. Gotta love this sneak peek. ♥♥♥

Nice!

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

Bry Ann is a psychology student at Arizona State University. She currently lives up in the Rocky Mountains in Granby, Colorado. She spends most of her free time reading dark romance books, writing anytime she can get her hands on a computer and doing homework anytime she can squeeze it in. Bry Ann has been writing for as long as she can remember. Even from the youngest of ages, she was writing about characters with dark pasts and shady stories. As she got older, she decided everyone should get a love story so soon her dark stories got happy endings. She loves to hear from her readers and talk all things books, so feel free to contact her on any of her social media pages.

Author Links

Website:  www.authorbryann.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/authorbryann

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

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/Bry-Ann/e/B077MHVFDF/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17095210.Bry_Ann

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/109937895438594736337

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/authorbryann

Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/authorbryann

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Aaron Betts from FULL COUNT by Lynn Stevens

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

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

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

 

Nice Guys Don’t Always Finish Last

Everyone knows the cliché ‘Nice guys finish last’.

It’s ingrained in our brains. It’s an excuse for all the nice guys who lose out on the job or on the girl. And it’s an excuse for nice guys to do bad things.

Aaron Betts is a nice guy. He’s a good ole country boy with a heart of gold, dedication to his family, and respect for others. In a literary world full of alpha males and bad boys, he breaks free of that mold.

FULL COUNT began as a NaNoWriMo project. I started it because there weren’t enough guys like Aaron Betts out there. Don’t get me wrong, he’s far from perfect. He makes mistakes, some of which are catastrophic. To quote Aaron, “I’m bound to do something stupid. I’m a guy.”

I failed miserably, stopping around 34,000 words after three weeks. About eight months after I gave up, Aaron Betts was still in my head, still whispering at me to tell his story. To finish what I’d started. I picked up where I left off and completed the first draft. As I was adding words, I realized how important his story was. Aaron’s got more to offer than just nailing every girl he sees. He’s got more integrity than thinking life is just sex, sex, sex. Not all guys are like that. Not all guys want to be like that. Aaron’s a one-woman man from the get go. I found that refreshing and honest. He didn’t want to sleep around. He wanted someone to love long term. He wanted to be loved long term. Definitely not the typical alpha male who changes his ways for the right woman.

Another one of my favorite things about this character is his loyalty to his sister. Chelsea and Aaron have a special bond that warmed my heart. They would do anything for each other, and they clearly love each other. His parents are loving too, even when they are at odds with their son. It’s a family not devoid of drama, but one that doesn’t thrive on it either. A true All-American family.

And Aaron’s pure of heart, even pure of intention. He’s deep and shallow, hard and soft. He’s the polar opposite of himself at times. Much like we all are. He has to work to get what he wants. He has to pay the price for his mistakes.

He has to live.

There is no cheating, no insta-anything with Aaron. He puts himself through the ringer and he has to pull himself out the other side.

We all make our choices. We have to live with consequences. That’s the way life is. And that’s why Aaron’s story was so important for me to write. His choices, his consequences, they needed to be shared. Nice guys don’t always finish last. Some of them don’t even finish. And a lot of them just don’t finish where they think they will.

 

Fascinating, Lynn! And seriously, gentlemen are my weakness. For all that people appear to like bad boys, the bad ones in my life only made me miserable.
Anyway, this book sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we? 😉
Here is the blurb for Full Count.
Anyone who says they’re having the worst day hasn’t met me. My girlfriend cheated, I blew out my knee, and probably trashed my chance of going pro. All in one day. Then my jerk professor tells I’m almost on academic probation.
Awesome. Now I get to find a tutor.
Enter Mallory Fine, quiet, a little intense, and my kind of gorgeous. Who also happens to hate baseball and any guy who plays it.
Hello, curiosity.
I tell myself this will be nothing more than a tutoring relationship. I’m a liar. I want this girl. How hard can her secrets be to unravel? It might be a challenge, but so is getting back on the ball field and I’m determined to make that happen—no matter the cost.
And Lynn is giving us a peek at her novel!

We’d only been playing about five minutes when I went down. The rookies kicked the soccer ball right at Chuck, who caught it against his chest. I broke down the field as he flung the ball toward me. The throw was perfect, hitting the grass in front of my feet. I deked left to fake out Rosenthal, a freshman pitcher who could clock ninety-nine on the gun. He was also tall and a bit of a klutz. He raced my buddy Seth, who blocked for me. Seth was fast, but the lanky freshman’s stride was too much. Rosie’s long pipe cleaner of a leg caught my calf as I fell. My knee bent in a way God never intended, and I hit the dying grass with a thud.

I think I screamed. I think I cried. I know I passed out, because I woke up in the hospital.

Fluorescent lights flashed over my head as the EMT rolled me down the hallway. My eyes burned at the glare. We weren’t in any hurry. The guy grunted and turned the gurney right. The room was small—no window, just a bunch of machines, a bed, and a small TV high on the wall without any sound.

“All right, Mr. Betts, let’s get you on this bed,” the EMT said, blowing his coffee-scented breath over my face.

I held him off, using my own strength to get from the gurney and onto the bed. It felt like someone stuck my knee into a blazing fire and decided to stoke it with a sharp poker. My teeth ground together as I tried not to let the EMT see how much it hurt.

My father always told me, “Never let them see you flinch.” It was a lot harder than it sounded.

“You okay, Mr. Betts?” he asked.

Was I okay? Fuck if I knew. Why did I play that pickup game? If Chuck hadn’t insisted it was my responsibility as co-captain to haze the rookies, I wouldn’t have bothered. I hated soccer.

Baseball was my game. And I was damn good at it.

The EMT glanced around the too-bright room for a moment before grinning down at me. “Saw you play last year against Stilton. Took my boy over to the game and watched you hit for the cycle.” He chuckled at the memory. “When you smashed that 3-0 count over the right field wall, Malcolm about lost his voice from screaming. Had to buy him a Hawks shirt. He wears it almost every day now. Wants to play for Westland, too.”

Despite my pain, I smiled at his excitement. That had been one of the best games I’d ever been a part of.

“Can I ask you something?” He paused and waited for my consent. Most people usually just asked away. “Heard you got drafted out of high school. Why’d you turn it down?”

I snorted. It wasn’t the first time someone asked me. The minute I stepped into our team meeting at Westland my freshman year, five guys asked me in five minutes. “I can do better than the thirtieth round.”

“Then why didn’t you go to a Division 1 school? I heard Texas and Iowa wanted you.”

Texas and Iowa did want me, but they offered partials. Westland offered a full ride. Besides, I’d dreamed of playing baseball at the same college my father played. My parents only had to shell out the cash for food and a room. Everybody understood the money, but nobody understood the sentiment.

Trish had her heart set on Westland, too.

I shrugged with a grin. “Why do men always screw up their lives? For a girl.”

That sent him into a belly laugh. “Ain’t that the truth.” He clasped my shoulder and squeezed. “You take care, Mr. Betts. Hopefully we’ll see you on the field this spring.”

The little drip of happiness our conversation gave me dried up. That had been my first thought as soon as my knee turned into scrambled eggs. The way it bent before separating and snapping back together, the fact that my kneecap wasn’t in the right place anymore…I doubted I’d be out in centerfield this spring. But maybe I was wrong. I had to be. The draft was in June, and I was eligible again. Not playing would drop me out of the first round, probably even the second, if not completely. Every day I wasn’t on the field lessened my chances.

Sighing, I glanced at the bandage holding the ice pack to the bowling ball that was now my knee. There wasn’t anything I could do to change what had happened. Any of it.

That’s the shitty thing about “the past.” It’s unchangeable.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B071J7CGTT

B&N:  https://goo.gl/79zZej

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Full-Count/Lynn-Stevens/Q472301342?id=6842447479054

Kobo:  https://goo.gl/Ddf8rc

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7209956

Publisher:  https://entangledpublishing.com/full-count.html

Ouch! But intriguing! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How exciting to learn about your new adult sports romance, Lynn! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Full Count!

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

Guest Bio

Lynn Stevens flunked out of college writing her first novel. Yes, she still has it and no, you can’t read it. Surprisingly, she graduated with honors at her third school. A former farm girl turned city slicker, Lynn lives in the Midwest where she drinks coffee she can’t pronounce and sips tea when she’s out of coffee. When she’s out of both, just stay away.

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

Author Links

Website:  www.lstevensbooks.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LStevensAuthor

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Stevens/e/B072C947B9/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16771319.Lynn_Stevens

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

Tumblr:  http://lynnstevensauthor.tumblr.com

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

Publisher:  https://entangledpublishing.com/author/lynn-stevens

 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author D.E. Haggerty visits us on October 17th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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

Blog Tour Feature: Bella Jeanisse’s Shredding Dreams Tour presented via Words Turn Me On

✫✶• NEW RELEASE•✫✶

The battle for love is never easy…

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Words Turn Me On and Bella Jeanisse, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new steamy, rockstar romance release, Bella! :)

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

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

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Such an awesome cover!

This is the blurb for Shredding Dreams:

Lead guitarist, Ian Tate, loves his wife with all his heart. It kills him that she is not ready to end their separation. After two years, he is willing to do whatever it takes. The problem is, he doesn’t understand what went wrong. Since she won’t tell him what he did to destroy their bond, he stays close to figure it out.

Sherry Tate hates that her rocker husband is hurt by their time apart. However, she can’t take him back until he changes. The emotional rift between them continues to grow, but she needs him to see for himself what he has done to her. She just hopes he does it soon.

Will Ian discover why Sherry threw him out? Does Sherry still hold a place in her heart for Ian? Can they start over after all they have put each other through? That and more in the second Rock Star Romance of the Velocity series.

Warning: For those 18 and over only. May not be suitable for all readers. Be prepared to laugh, cry, scream and squirm in your chair.

 Bella is giving us a peek at her erotic rockstar romance, Shredded Dreams, today. Here are some teasers to entice you with.

 

What people are saying about this book:

This may be my favorite book by Bella Jeanisse yet, and since I love some of her others, that is saying something.This book is ALL heart and love – but don’t worry – Bella’s trademark hotness is evident as well. Well done!!” ~ Kara’s Books blog

Bella does it again with an excellent emotional story. Tugs at your heart strings & keeps you glued to the story at the same time.” ~ Michelle M.R.

The first thing I have to say is wow! What a truly amazing story! Although this is the second book in the series, I have not yet read the first, but I think it’s safe to say that enough detail is given to allow it to be read as a standalone. However, I will definitely be reading the first book.” ~ Sarah G

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B074S7K5P8

B&N:  https://goo.gl/1JazJ7

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/742142

Kobo:  https://goo.gl/TMp8LY

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shredding-dreams-velocity-book-2/id1271308708?mt=11

Wow! Love the tension here. ♥♥♥

 

Plus, Rockin’ Rhythm, book one, is on sale for 99 cents for a limited time!

.•°ROCKIN’ RHYTHM °•.

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B01LXH4UMH

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rockin-rhythm-bella-jeanisse/1124593470?ean=2940153727943

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/664925

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/rockin-rhythm-velocity-book-1

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/rockin-rhythm/id1153912098?mt=11

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6573626

Let’s also give Kudos to Bella’s sponsor:

#WORDSTURNMEONBJSD

Thank you for telling us about your new adult sexy rockstar romance, Bella! I know I can’t wait to read this riveting book! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome novel, which is book two of the Velocity Series!

Author Bio

Bella Jeanisse lives for rock music. Addicted to concerts, Avenged Sevenfold, fictional rockers, and blasting music in the car, she can’t get enough. After her father turned her on to Queen, there was no going back. Of course, it didn’t stop there. Playing guitar became a pastime, which didn’t turn into a career… until she started to pen her fantasies and publish them.

Originally from Brooklyn, New York City, she grew up with access to clubs like L’Amour and CBGBs, hung out in Greenwich Village, as well as had plenty of friends in bands. No wonder rockers stayed on her mind. Bringing her ideas to life was a long time coming.

She is now living near Tampa, FL with three kids and two grandkids, as a single mom. Her family supports her writing even when it seems to take up more time than they feel is necessary. Can’t stop the muse, ya know!
Besides erotic rock star romances, Bella also writes about wild bikers, hot college men and more.

Wattpad:  http://www.wattpad.com/user/BellaJeanisse

Thank you for telling us about your awesome book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of it! 😀 Visit Words Turn Me On and their Facebook page to see what else they’re up to these days.

Thanks again to Bella and Words Turn Me On! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, New Adult, new release, Readers, rockstar, Romance, Writing

New Release Feature: Directions of the Heart by Marie Lavender

I am pleased to announce a great book release by well, yours truly! My modern romantic drama collection, Directions of the Heart, officially released this week!

Yay! Awesome! :)

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

I am thrilled to show Directions of the Heart to readers today. ♥

This is the blurb for Directions of the Heart:

Embark on a remarkable journey of drama, romance, and passion…

In all of these amazing stories, there’s one burning question…is love worth the risk?

Without You

Reece and Jenna are two childhood friends separated by time and distance. Can they find a way to heal their bond, or perhaps forge a new one?

Strange Heat

Spurred by her friend’s close call, Victoria decides to take a risk and prove the lifestyle she led was her downfall. But as Tory sinks deeper into the tumultuous abyss of desire with the mysterious Rick, can she climb back out before it’s too late? Or does she even want to?

Memories

Struggling to run her family’s farm on her own, Sadie takes on a hired hand, Matt. As they grow closer, so does the danger. Someone wants her legacy. Can they combat this new threat, as well as the demons of the past, before Sadie loses everything, including her life?

A Touch of Dawn

Caitlyn thought she’d be in the dark forever. But with the light came Jack, the police consultant who found her. Can they take a journey of healing together, or will Caitlyn retreat into the darkness of her mind, where she lived for so long?

(CONTENT WARNING: With an abuse awareness theme in this collection, there may be triggers here for past trauma sufferers. However, HEAs are guaranteed.)

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

Here’s the book trailer:

What people are saying about this book:

There were family and friends but also some depraved people in the stories, heartache, fear, sadness, tears, anger, hate, hope, a chance for happiness, healing and peace. There was a nice flow to each of the stories and the characters were multifaceted. What you saw wasn’t always what you got and you had to delve deeper under the surface. All the stories had nice closure and I felt the endings were realistic.” – JoAnne on Goodreads

“Your theme and storytelling are very eloquently tied. I know you put warning labels upfront, but I love your writing, knew you had a happy ending if I would just be brave enough to try to get there despite the scary feels, and I was well rewarded. Your best story ever, hands down!!!” – Belinda, beta reader

“Sensitive issues tactfully interwoven into beautiful stories…I really believe that honest writing puts us in touch with who we really are. As humans, one of our flaws is that we prefer to live in denial about our dark side. But everyone has one and I don’t have the words to express how much I loved reading this unrestrained book. ” – Vivienne, early reviewer

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B071WVZZPV

myBook.to/DoH

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/directions-of-the-heart-marie-lavender/1126548251

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/729271

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/directions-of-the-heart-a-romantic-drama-collection

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7239124

 

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

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Directions of the Heart!

Author Bio

 

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

Author Links

Website:  http://marielavender.com/

Blogs:  http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/marielavender1

Amazon Author Page:  Author.to/MarieLavender

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

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

 

Happy reading, everyone! 😉

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Drama, Event, Fiction, Marie Lavender, New Adult, new release, Readers, Romance, Stories, western, Writing

FREE Book: The Missing Piece by yours truly

I am pleased to announce a cool book offer by, that’s right…me! A new adult romance, The Missing Piece, is FREE via a short Q&A contest on The Romance Reviews only today! How exciting! 🙂

These free offers are awesome for both authors and readers because we get to meet lots of new people! The contest was scheduled from midnight last night to 11:59 PM EST today. You’ll find the contest by scrolling down the page for this book title. So, don’t miss your chance! Swing by and check it out if you can!

I’m giving you a look at my new adult romance story today…

This is the blurb for The Missing Piece:

When Alyssa wakes up on the lawn of a local fraternity, she can’t remember what happened the previous night. A new friend and frat guy, Justin, offers to help her out. As she makes discoveries that force her to accept a different reality, she finds herself drawn to Justin for a number of reasons.

Can the biggest mistake of Aly’s life turn into the promise of new love?

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

Nausea rose in her throat and she felt as if she’d lose her breakfast at any minute. She didn’t even dance. To think she had been all over some guy she didn’t even know, it was so unreal. “I, I’m sorry. I can’t—”

She turned away and left the house. On the lawn, she tried to breathe slowly to prevent the knot from rising any further.

“Hey, you all right?” Justin was at her side in what seemed like seconds.

She shook her head.

“Can you breathe?” At her gasp, he touched her shoulder then moved a hand to her back. “Just focus on breathing. Don’t think about anything else.” After her breathing slowed, he said, “You panicked, that’s all.”

“Really. You’re a genius.”

He frowned.

She shrugged. “What if I did do that with him? Everything he said… none of that is like me. It doesn’t make sense.”

“Maybe you liked Brendan. You talked for a while.”

“I wouldn’t act like that.”

“How do you know how you would act in that situation? If you were really into someone?”

“I don’t. But I’m usually smarter. I wouldn’t just do that with anyone, someone I don’t know.”

“That makes sense, but maybe it wasn’t as bad as you think.”

“What are you saying?”

“I don’t see the problem.”

“You wouldn’t understand. You’re used to that kind of life, sleeping with utter strangers and all. Taking risks.”

He lifted a brow. “Alyssa, I only mean that I don’t understand why you’re upset. Brendan can be trusted. And he’s not the type you’re talking about. He hasn’t been with many women.”

“How can you know that?”

“He’s my friend.”

“And you’re ridiculously loyal!” When she turned away, he grabbed her arm so that she faced him. He was very close now, too close for comfort. She shivered, an odd response, but she knew it wasn’t due to fear.

“I’m not taking sides,” he said softly. “I just know him. That’s the only reason I can give to keep you from freaking out. I can assure you he’s a good guy. I can’t prove it. I just know.”

“It’s hard to know someone that well. People are surprising sometimes…”

“Maybe, but I’ve known him for a long time. He can be trusted.”

“If so, then why isn’t he here? How did I end up outside? Why can’t I remember it, or him?” She swallowed hard, fighting the power of uncertainty.

He gently cupped her face with his hands. “I don’t know. But I promise we’ll figure it out… together. Okay?”

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/MissingPiece

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/the-missing-piece/

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6933779

 

Readers, don’t forget to enter the contest to get a FREE copy of this new adult romance today! Also, you have a chance to win other great romance books this month with the same event! Cool, right? 😉

 

Author Bio

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

Author Links

Website:  http://marielavender.com/

Blogs:  http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/marielavender1

Amazon Author Page:  Author.to/MarieLavender

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

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

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/marie-lavender/

 

Books:

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Filed under Authors, Book Giveaways, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Marie Lavender, New Adult, Readers, Romance, short stories, Stories

Double Reviews for THE MISSING PIECE!

As most of you know, I released this new adult romance short story in February. It originally appeared in the Valentine’s anthology, Cupid’s Arrow, for Solstice Publishing, but the publisher decided to release it on its own as well. Here are two great recent reviews:

Kiss of Love, June 4, 2017
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Missing Piece (Kindle Edition)
“By the time I reached the last page, l was encouraged. I am still smiling. I really enjoyed this story. For sure we need to be reminded, love is a many splendid thing. Excellent writing style for readers seeking a heartwarming experience. Great job!”

 

 The Missing Piece by Marie Lavender #mf #review @marielavender1


addtogoodreads_zps55cd15da14Kim Talks TomesTAG“The Missing Piece is a uniquely done love story where unexpected things happen to a college aged girl. She wakes up on the front lawn of a fraternity not knowing what happened the night before. A boy from the party offers to help her piece together what happened and they end up bonding and sharing a kiss. She begins to feel things she never felt before, until the boy she spent the forgotten night with shows up at her door. Just when you think you know what is going to happen, the author takes a sharp turn and offers up suspense and intrigue. This sweet story is well written and a definitely attention grabber! While I wasn’t immediately wowed by the subject of the story (college kids partying too hard and blacking out), I couldn’t put this book down! Luckily it’s not long and I absorbed it in one night.I highly recommend this book to anyone!”

Woo hoo! Thank you, Linda and Kim, for your kind commentary! ♥

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Filed under anthology, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Marie Lavender, New Adult, Readers, Reviews, Romance, short stories, Stories, Writing