Tag Archives: romantic suspense

Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels

 

If you’re a fan of romance, then you’ve probably heard an insult or two regarding your favorite genre. And for those who don’t often gravitate towards romance for various reasons, now is the time to listen up and take this into consideration. You might be wrong about your assumptions! 😉 So, read on and learn more here…

I’ll list some myths that I’ve heard and read before.

  1. “It’s all smut.”

    freestocks.org, Unsplash

    Uggh…this word can annoy an avid romance reader. Some might think this myth is outdated, but there are people who still believe romance novels are smut, or trashy reads.

Bodice rippers went out of style by the mid-80s. The genre, as well as authors and readers, have evolved considerably. Erotica is a different subject matter entirely. Plus, bodice rippers promote rape culture, and most romance novels nowadays don’t even touch on that topic in a romantic relationship. With good reason, of course. Both sexual partners should be willing.

‘Mommy porn’ is also a derogative term which is used by certain parties in reference to romance books. Come on, not every romance author writes Fifty Shades-esque material, and readers are certainly not just mothers. Some are single, professional women. Romance readers are intelligent, capable people just as they are, and they’re not reading ‘smut’ or even ‘fluff’. It takes a lot of effort and smarts to digest a full romance novel (historical romance is heavy on time period description) – or in the case of fantasy and sci-fi romance, lots of world-building – in one sitting, and keep coming back for more.

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

And no, we don’t just skip to the good parts! 🙄

  1. “Gross! I’m a guy. Men don’t read or write romance.”

Geez…get with the times! Men like to read romance too. ♥ For God’s sake, my reviewer for this blog is a guy. He adores reading romance books! And yes, he’s also a romance writer. I’ve also met a handful of other male authors who sometimes write in the romance genre.

There’s nothing wrong at all with dudes getting into romance reads, as writers or readers. More power to them! 😀

  1. “These books are so simple. 1+1 = 2, right? It’s not that difficult to understand.”

Actually, romance stories are complicated. It takes a hell of a lot more than just throwing two unique people next to each other, and then expecting fireworks. Life is full of ups and downs, a roller coaster journey, so to speak. Why wouldn’t a romance read have the same drama and tension?

Created by bearfotos- freepik.com

Authenticity is everything. Readers won’t care about characters or a story which isn’t relatable, or read something that couldn’t feasibly occur in reality. Even if the tale has fantastical elements, we have to believe in what’s happening, and see the reason why these characters are compatible.

Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

  1. “Romance books are standard, or boring! Not for me…I need something that holds my attention.”

Really? With the constant evolution of multiple themes and sub-genres of romance, we’re not likely to run out of new ideas, nor are readers liable to call it quits any time soon. It’s one of the most popular book categories for a reason! 🙂

If you like shapeshifters, there’s always paranormal romance. Who doesn’t like vampires, werewolves or witches?

Favor a good spy tale or mystery/thriller? Try romantic suspense or a romantic thriller for some heart-pounding action.

Do you crave stories that are…a tad darker? There’s a type called dark romance, and even unique themes such as mafia romance or MC (biker) romances are available.

Prefer adventure tales? Maybe fantasy romance or romantic adventure is more your style.

You could be a science fiction fan, but might be willing to try something with a romantic storyline. As you know, many of the most popular sci-fi films usually have a romance angle to appeal to audiences. Why not go for science fiction romance, dystopian romance or even a good time travel tale?

 

Maybe you like stories about war veterans. Well, we have military romance

In other words, this genre has sooooo many options! ♥

  1. “I don’t believe in love at first sight. I can’t get into romance novels.”

Even as someone who has read tons of romance novels in some capacity since the age of thirteen, I can’t say I go for love at first sight either. However, I do believe that two people can connect right away. Lust also happens pretty fast too, but that’s beside the point. With these two facts, I know it still takes time to build a good relationship. I’ve read plenty of novels that don’t fall into the trap of the love at first sight ideal. I think it’s why the ‘Happy for Now’ ending works so well; most novelists get that this is more realistic on some level. I think that a lot of writers these days are doing their best to show that it’s not really love at first sight – rather it’s more about chemistry and an instant connection evolving quickly into something substantial. And this isn’t unheard of in real life.

But we don’t have 1,000 pages to explain the whole courtship/dating period; therefore it falls on the writer to try to make it a believable story in a short amount of time.

As a writer of romance as well, with twenty-four published books and 125+ works-in-progress, I usually do my best to avoid the idea of immediate love. Chemistry is easy, though.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

It’s everything else that complicates the story. Even in my shorter romantic fiction, I try to explain that enough time – even though I don’t always go into the normal life details – has passed for these two people to actually develop feelings.

With The Missing Piece, a story that was part of a holiday romance anthology and was then made into a single ebook (new adult romance), I was careful to simply show the stirrings of romantic interest in such a short time.

For me, I see insta-love as a notion that often works well for supernatural creatures in fiction, simply because their primal, possessive instincts are winning out over logic. This can merge into affection rather quickly because all of their senses are more heightened than usual. Everything is so vivid that it must be love.

  1. “Romance novels are too sexy. I can’t handle all that heat.”

So steam isn’t for you. We totally respect your preferences! If you find that most romance reads are rife with heated or even graphic content, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Try inspirational romance. Have you seen Amish romance in bookstores? Yeah, that’s one type, among so many others.

But let’s say you’re open to looking outside spiritual reads. Also available on the market are clean romance and sweet romance. Plus, cozy mysteries typically lack sexual content, and amid all the other events in the books, there’s sometimes a romance angle.

In any case, the authors of these clean reads subscribe to the notion of a sweet romance, or at least closed door romance. We’re all adults here, right? But at least if sexual content bothers you in any fashion, you can rest assured that with these types of books, it usually won’t go beyond kissing. And even if it does, what happens is implied and never vividly described. Cut to the next scene!

Anyway, if you believe you can’t read romance because it’s just too hot for your taste, that no longer has to be the case.

  1. “Please…romance novels aren’t even real fiction!”

Hmm…ouch. 😥 Still, this myth is just wrong.

Let’s look at the basic formula for fiction.

The character is introduced. There is some action happening, a type of conflict. Something prevents him from getting what he really wants (usually the antagonist, which can be a person, place, thing, or even a concept). By the end of the story, this character must change in some capacity, internally or externally. The tale reaches its conclusion, however satisfying – or unsatisfying – it may be for readers.

These are the principles of fiction, of course. And you have interactions with secondary characters, dialogue and tension that help shape the story and your idea of who this person is. There’s also the climax of the tale, that pivotal movement when things get really tense for the character – the reader too – and he or she is close to losing everything. But I digress.

Every romance meets the requirements of fiction as well. It’s a lot more than two people being brought together like magnets. Chemistry is just a small part of it. The question becomes…how do we realistically connect these individuals? They have to fit somehow.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Numerous elements go into making that happen. There’s a specific plot, as well as subplots. The character must want something, have a goal in mind. The story isn’t always just about romance, but also the way characters come to believe new truths about themselves. They’re not only capable of love. Maybe the main character wants a promotion. But to do that, she’ll have to step outside her comfort zone to impress her boss. In any case, an HEA (Happily Ever After) or HFN (Happy for Now) is only possible if the character reaches the proper mindset to have a real romantic relationship. Without that, it’s just attraction – then it becomes erotica alone, which is something else altogether.

For example, being with an emotionally unavailable person is like hitting your head against the wall. In the end, it’s just pointless. For this type of relationship to qualify as a real romance, the characters must change – events might happen in their lives to help adjust their worldview – and they can reach a certain level of happiness. But it’s going to be a hard journey to get there. Romance stories aren’t all hearts, flowers, and butterflies.

Frank McKenna, Unsplash

True fiction is housed in every romance tale. The character still goes through a range of emotions to achieve what he/she wants. As aforementioned, often there is an antagonist preventing the couple from being together, whether it’s a person, a misconceived notion, or another external force that keeps them apart.

Sometimes it’s more than one antagonist. It’s never easy right away. Eventually, the characters must find a way around the barrier. Every relationship in real life takes effort, and these stories are no different.

Oh, wait!

Pixabay, pexels.com

The character wanted something, had a goal in mind. To reach that aspiration, he took action, and then the events that occurred reshaped his way of thinking. But at least he found what he was looking for. And he changed on some level, right? Yep…sounds like fiction to me! 😉

  1. “These books are useless drivel, and they create unrealistic expectations for people.”

To me, that sounds like it’s coming from someone who is afraid of the power of genuine emotion. But, let’s explore the aforesaid theory.

Relationships are hard work, and those in romance novels take just as much effort. If a writer is doing his or her job correctly, this will come out on the page.

Unrealistic? Hmm…if anything, I think the romance reader will see reality for what it is. No, finding happiness is never easy, but it’s worth the journey.

To illustrate this point, I’ll reference the trope often seen in historical romances…Marrying for Convenience versus Marrying for Love.

The truth is that even modern readers understand the benefits of a marriage of convenience. With financial and social stability, it’s a match that makes sense. But more often than not, we’ll root for the opposite outcome.

Why? Are we silly dreamers?

Not at all. It’s just that deep down, we all want to be happy. This is in our nature as human beings. We’re conditioned to know that events should play out a certain way – getting married and having kids is usually expected – but our instincts tell us there’s more to the story. Of course, those eventualities don’t work for every person. Still, why wouldn’t we want happiness for the characters we’ve come to care about?

Inna Lesyk, pexels.com

So, is it unrealistic to crave love? I don’t think so. At least in my opinion, romance novels have the power to teach us what we want in life. And who couldn’t use a little more self-awareness? I know I’d rather be in a relationship that works well, which helps me evolve as a person, rather than one that might look okay on paper, yet will only serve to hurt me in the long run.

Plenty of people are unhappy because they made the wrong choices. Maybe they feel trapped, but in the end, they have to figure a way out on their own. Some will settle, others won’t. That’s the thing about life, though. If you make a mistake, the best you can do is try to repair it. And if that’s not possible, you get creative and find a new route to achieve your goal.

Being logical is one way of thinking. Listening to your heart, really opening yourself up to what will make you happy? That takes courage.

I believe romance novels can teach us a lot about ourselves, and help us to understand the motivations of other people too.

Is this realistic? Probably not. But it can prevent someone from making a rash decision, to use their heart and instincts to discover what they want, and determine the best solution for them. How admirable, right? Outsiders can judge all they want, and it won’t matter as long as that person is satisfied with what they’ve chosen.

At any rate, romance novels are lot more complex than they may seem at first glance. Reading these books can offer many benefits – numerous insights and a source of entertainment, just to name a couple! If you’re interested in learning more, you can view a full list of sub-genres and romance tropes below.

https://marielavender.blogspot.com/2016/03/understanding-romance-genre-by-marie-lavender-plus-giveaway.html

https://www.mindyklasky.com/index.php/for-writers/romance-tropes/

I hope I’ve reaffirmed some aspects for loyal fans, and offered advice worth considering for people who are new to the romance genre. If you know of anyone who still believes these myths are valid, please refer them to this article. 😉

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy made the TOP 10 on the Anthology category on the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll, and BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy and DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART both reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

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Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2SMRcRD
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Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

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

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Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

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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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A Character Interview with Dylan from LYRICAL EMBRACE plus a conversation with author Amber Daulton!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Annabelle Anders’ character last week, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Amber Daulton, the author of Lyrical Embrace, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Dylan Haynes, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Amber in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Dylan!

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

Character Dylan Haynes:  Thank you for the invite, Marie.

Marie:  It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Dylan:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Dylan:  I’m an ex-professional drummer for an indie rock band, and now I’m a teacher at my parents’ music school, Haynes Music Academy, in Willow Springs, Vermont. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m an excellent drummer. I love teaching kids how to play instruments, and I feel pride in their success.

I’m also a volunteer fireman. After so many years of partying and having fun, I wanted to do something good and give back to the community where I’d come from. Being a fireman and EMT helps me accomplish that goal.

Marie:  Nice! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Dylan:  My parents are great, as are my older brother and sister. I’m the baby in the family, but they’ve all learned that I’ve grown up and I expect to be treated like an adult. I’ve made some mistakes, true, but they’re supportive and always in my corner.

Marie:  Great!

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

Dylan:  My parents had bought and renovated a rundown two-story Victorian house, founded the school, and lived upstairs. For most of my childhood, I grew up in the apartment above the music school. I loved it since I was able to play the drums and other instruments whenever I wanted. After my grandparents died, we moved across town to their house and rented out the apartment. I hated that at first, but I eventually got used to having my own room away from Birley, my brother.

Marie:  All right.

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

Dylan:  As I said before, I’m a helluva drummer, but I also play several other instruments. Playing any kind of instrument is a great way to relax and let off some steam. Besides that, I like to hike in the Green Mountain National Forest. Erica and I sometimes do that together. I also fish with my dad and brother.

Marie:  Okay.

So, what is your greatest dream?

Dylan:  I’d always wanted to become a famous musician, but my dreams changed when I was on that path of making it come true. I didn’t like the person I was turning into when I was touring and performing with Fortune’s Glory, my band. The drugs, alcohol, and groupies distracted me from the music, so I quit before I ever got close to reaching stardom.

My greatest dream now is simple, and I already have it. I have a good, clean job and a loving woman at my side. Life couldn’t be better.

Marie:  I see…

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

Who was your first love?

Dylan:  Erica. She’s everything to me. Yeah, I had some girlfriends in high school and I slept with the groupies I met in clubs, but I never fell hard for any of them. None of them ever knew the real me, who I was inside. Erica was different. She called me out on my bullshit and drew me in. I’m lucky I found her.

Marie: (Sighs.) I love romance…♥

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

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

Dylan:  One of my former band mates, Jackie, was heavy into drugs. I tried to convince him to get help, but he refused and always got so pissed at me when I mentioned it. After I quit Fortune’s Glory, which contributed to the band’s later breakup, Jackie overdosed on heroin and died. My band mates blamed me for his death since I left the band. I know I’m not at fault for Jackie’s actions, but I wish I had done more to help him. It’s one of my biggest regrets.

Marie:  😥 Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that about your friend. That’s rough…

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

[Dylan nods.]

So, who is your role model, Dylan?

Dylan:  Don’t have one. There are lots of bands and musicians I like and respect, but I don’t strive to be like any of them, not anymore.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Dylan:  No, not really. I teach a great group of kids at the academy, and the men and women I work with at the fire department are brave, levelheaded people.

Marie:  Awesome!

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Dylan:  To protect Erica. She’s been through some physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, and I want to make sure nothing like that ever happens to her again.

Marie: Oh, no…how awful! 😥 

And your greatest fear?

Dylan:  Erica’s ex is now serving time behind bars, but I worry he’ll come after her when or if he gets out of prison. He already tried to kidnap her, and I’m afraid he’ll succeed next time around. No matter what happens in the future, I’m going to be with Erica and will do what I can to keep her safe.

Marie: It’s understandable for you to feel that way.

I’m glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Dylan. It was so interesting getting to know you!  🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Amber Daulton on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Amber!

Author Amber Daulton:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a male character from your story, Dylan Haynes. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us about him?

Amber:  Dylan is a fun guy. He’s down-to-earth, levelheaded, and genuine. He’s made some mistakes, sure, but who hasn’t? Unlike a lot of people, he’s learned from those mistakes and wants to live a better life.

Marie:  Nice!

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

Amber:  His ability to care about someone. Dylan volunteers as a firefighter because he wants to help people. It doesn’t matter to him if you’re a friend or a stranger. If you’re in trouble, he’ll be there.

Marie:  How admirable!

And your character’s greatest weakness?

Amber:  Erica. He’s a sucker for her.

Marie:  Lovely to hear… ♥

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Dylan’s favorite foods?

Amber:  He loves his mom’s creamy vegetarian penne casserole, and he made sure I added the recipe to the end of his book.

Marie:  Yummy! 🙂

How about another question?

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Amber:  Dylan felt like an object when he was drinking and partying with the band, but he feels more human back in the real world. I think readers will be able to sympathize with that. His job, his dream really, had changed him, and he became what other people wanted him to be. It took a lot of courage for him to break out of that dangerous cycle. A lot of readers have probably experienced something like that in their own lives, so hopefully they’ll like and understand Dylan.

Marie:  I’m sure they will!

Now that we have a real taste of Dylan, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Lyrical Embrace?

Amber:  I love small town romances, especially ones with an edge and a little bit of danger weaved in. When plotting this story, I first pictured a young woman running away from the big city to escape her abusive boyfriend. I mostly write contemporary and romantic suspense, so this idea worked.

I also love stories about music and rock stars, but I don’t like the cheating and drugs that go along with the lifestyle. I haven’t published a story featuring a musician yet, so I figured I should get on the ball and do it.

Despite the dark undertones, this story is fun, uplifting, and hot. The characters are real and flawed. I really enjoyed writing it, and I hope readers will love it.

Marie:  Isn’t it fascinating how the muse works? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Amber:  I always plot out each chapter and scene before I start writing, but sometimes the characters take over and derail my plan. When that happens, I usually go with the flow and let it take me wherever, but eventually I have to whip the characters back into gear and force them to follow the plot I’ve established.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Aww…what’s the fun in that? I think sometimes the characters know best. 😉

How about another question?

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

Amber:  Lyrical Embrace is book four in the Deerbourne Inn series, a multi-author collaboration of stories from The Wild Rose Press. The biggest challenge in writing this story was hammering out the details with the series coordinators and with the other authors writing for the series. Everyone has their own ideas, so we had to work together and tweak descriptions or names to make sure everything flows from one story to the next. The only thing I would do differently next time is be more direct when asking questions in the series forum.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

Congrats on your latest release! ♥

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 Lyrical Embrace appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this romantic suspense by Amber Daulton, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Lyrical Embrace, book four of the Deerbourne Inn Series:

Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band. Maybe, just maybe, her run of bad luck is finally turning around.

Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.

Will Erica listen to the music in her heart and trust Dylan, or will her past always threaten her future?

Amber is also offering us a little excerpt from the book!

Dylan deepened the kiss and lightly tugged on her bottom lip. Tears streaked his flushed cheeks as he smiled at her. “I’m so grateful I found you, baby. I heard you screaming. When I saw that bastard press a gun to your head, my heart nearly exploded. I thought I might lose you. I promise you, Erica, I will never control you as Phil did. You will always have the ability to choose. I just want to make you happy.”

She gripped his hand and brushed her lips across his calloused knuckles. “I know. You do make me happy. You took a bullet for me.” A sob constricted her throat, but she pushed it down.

A blast of noise rent the air. Fireworks filled the sky, visible in the alley from the narrow stretch of space between the buildings.

Erica loved the bright colors and designs, but hardly cared about watching the spectacle. She dropped her gaze back to Dylan.

A grin spread across his face. “It’s been one wild Fourth of July. Why don’t we do something more low-key next year? How about no guns and crazy exes? Just us, the creek, and a bottle of wine. Clothing optional.”

She laughed softly, amazed he could make light of the situation. “That sounds perfect. Absolutely perfect.”

And a teaser!

Ohh! ♥♥♥ Love it! Can’t wait to read this book and find out what happens…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/m2xRlj

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6484-lyrical-embrace.html

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43225610-lyrical-embrace

Link to the series on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2NEtkdS

What are people saying about Lady Saves the Duke?

I REALLY LOVED LYRICAL EMBRACE. I AM A BIG FAN OF SMALL TOWN STORIES. THEY FEEL MORE REAL AND BELIEVABLE AND I LOVE HOW THE TOWNSPEOPLE LOOK OUT FOR ONE ANOTHER. LYRICAL EMBRACE WAS SUCH AN EMOTIONAL AND SWEET ROMANTIC READ. AMBER DID AN EXCELLENT JOB SHOWING WHAT AN ABUSED WOMAN GOES THROUGH AND FEELS. I LOVE THE CONNECTION THAT ERICA AND DYLAN HAVE. IT WAS INSTANT CHEMISTRY AND ATTRACTION.” – Victoria Zumbrum, Amazon

Ms. Daulton has crafted a well thought out story of two people who need one another to heal the hurts of their pasts. Physical and emotional abuse isn’t something often tackled in light contemporary romance stories, but Daulton has done an excellent job of showing the power of love to heal wounds and scars that often in time don’t heal. I highly recommend this book. It’s a wonderful addition to the series.” – Margaret-Mary Jaeger, Amazon

Heartwarming, touching and brilliantly crafted! Lyrical Embrace is an absorbing, character-driven novel that immerses you in a beautifully written tale about letting go of the past, forgiving one’s self, surviving, taking chances and moving on.
The writing is vivid and eloquent. The characters are flawed, supportive, lovable and real. And the story is the perfect mix of hope, heart, drama and steamy hot moments.
Overall, I found this to be an engrossing story that reminds us that life is often a messy journey complete with pain, tears, smiles and happiness.
” – Meredith W., Amazon

 

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this small town romantic suspense! ♥

About Amber Daulton

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Amber Daulton, here are some author links:

Blog/Website:  http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

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

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Goodreads:  www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amber-daulton

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368

Book Gorilla:  https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B00ALQITWY/amber-daulton/kcc

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

 

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Dylan, a male character from Lyrical Embrace, and Amber Daulton, the brilliant author of the book, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Exclusive Interview with author Scarlett Holloway, plus a look at MC romantic suspense, POLICY OF TRUTH!

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

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

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

Author Scarlett Holloway:  Hi, Marie!

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

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

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

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

Scarlett:  I am a superhero by day. No, really. I swear. At least that is what my clients tell me. I am a massage therapist that specializes in aromatherapy and Eastern Chinese Medicine. I also focus on prenatal massages. I love it and honestly wouldn’t change my career for anything. And I like to pretend that I am an author at night. LOL.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) So, tell us…what is your family like?

Scarlett:  Crazy. LOL.  Am I allowed to say that? 😛 Honestly, I have an amazing family. My husband is my Superman. He’s a stay at home Dad that helps me with my massage business and pushes me to write, while maintaining the home life, and let me tell you, he can cook some mean bacon!

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?

Scarlett:  Which one? I moved around A LOT. My father was in the military, so we didn’t stay in one place for very long. When we did stop for a bit, I lived with my grandmother. It was a quaint house with a HUGE backyard that my twin and I played in with my cousins.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Scarlett:  Sad to say, I really don’t. I mean, I make my own bath salts, scrubs, et cetera. That is kind of a hobby, even if it directly relates to work. I race my car when I get in the mood to compete. Otherwise, I’m pretty boring. I write, massage, watch Maury & Jerry and movies. LOL.

Marie:  Doesn’t sound all that boring to me!

So…what is your greatest dream?

Scarlett:  I want to be a NYTBS author and I would love to see one of my works on the silver screen. That, to me, is the biggest dream/goal that I could ever achieve.

Marie:  I’m with you there! ♥ Having a film based on one of my books would be awesome. I think that’s pretty normal for a writer, though. We imagine these scenes in our heads, and would like to see them come to life. 😉

Let’s try another question.

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

Scarlett:  I am happy with who I am. I’m a mom, a healer, an author, a friend, wife…I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Marie:  Great!

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

Scarlett:  It’d be a toss-up between Shaun Cassidy or Donny Osmond. I grew up in the 70’s and I had so many posters and records of them, it was crazy.

Marie:  All right.

Let’s try something else now.

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

Scarlett:  I had a massive heart attack at 42 years young and died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. I was in emergency surgery a week later and woke up in the middle of it. I was a paramedic for 20 years, so seeing my heart on the monitor freaked me out at first, but when I woke back up, it was interesting in a medical sense.

Marie:  Yikes! 😥 I’m so sorry you went through all of that. But I am glad you survived it.

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

[Scarlett 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?

Scarlett:  I have not yet achieved it. Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to write for Harlequin Romance. My grandmother’s nose was ALWAYS stuck in one of their books and it made me want to be a part of that world. Then she gave me her old books, which I literally swallowed whole, and solidified that dream even more. I don’t write in the right genre to be a part of the HQR world, but one day, you never know.

Marie: True! 😀

(Sighs.) Like you, I just love romance… ♥

So, who is your role model, Scarlett?

Scarlett:  Hmm…good question, really. It would have to be someone like Lynda Carter, Elizabeth Taylor, and Lucille Ball. Very classy women who struggled in life until they became great and remained so humble and sweet.

Marie:  Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Scarlett:  I think there is a person in everyone’s life that we end up feeling that way about. Sometimes it is just better to keep our mouths shut and smile for the better of it all.

Marie:  Good point…

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Scarlett:  There are a lot of things that I’d love to have, but being an author, desire has an almost evil connotation. People will do almost anything for what they desire and it can cause damage, so I tend to try and stay away from that.

Marie:  Understandable.

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

Scarlett:  Failure. It’s not an option. I cannot handle the thought of failure; it will put me into a deep depression and even near an anxiety level.

Marie:  I think we all fear that on some level.

So, I want to try something different next… 

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

Scarlett:  Music would be one. I cannot live without that. Coffee, it’s a must have for me to survive. My laptop with a solar battery because I’ll get bored and need to write. A tent and bedding. I CANNOT stand getting wet or cold. A stuffie to talk to and have keep me company.

(Laughs.) I would need to write too!  😀

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, Tamra ‘Durty’ Simons. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Scarlett:  Durty is from a very prominent family in Shadow Falls, California. Her grandfather founded the town with another gentleman, so she is held at a higher expectation with her father. She fails to meet that, and is all but disowned from the family. She ends up in a relationship that is abusive and murderous. Lace, the president of an all-female motorcycle club, saves her and sets her back on her feet.

Marie:  Wow! 😥 What a rough journey…

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

Scarlett: She is very organized and can be diplomatic, when she wants to be. She tends to be careful with things she does, unless she is pushed too far.

Marie:  All right.

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Scarlett:  She won’t let go of past mistakes. She has a temper and it can bite her in the butt.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of her favorite foods?

Scarlett:  She likes meat and potatoes. She might be upper classed, but has down home tastes.

Marie:  Can’t blame her there! 😉

How about another question?

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

Scarlett:  Quick thinking. Even if it is right or wrong, she is quick to think on her feet.

Marie:  Cool!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Scarlett:  They will love her, and it’s because of the things she must overcome and endure to do it.

Marie:  Great!

Now that we have a real taste of Durty, 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 Policy of Truth?

Scarlett:  I wanted a book that showcased beautiful, real and strong women. There aren’t enough books out there that give this quality to REAL women. Every character is someone I know, so it will showcase them in a positive manner.

Marie:  Nice!

Interesting how the muse works, huh? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Scarlett:  I have a very raw writing style. I write like we talk, if that makes sense. I HAVE to plot. I cannot sit at a computer with no idea what I am doing. I give props to pantsers.

Marie:  I know, right?

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

Scarlett:  I walked away from Policy for over a year. I couldn’t feel it, didn’t want to touch it. IF someone does not feel a book, step away from it, write something else, but remain productive. When it is time, walk back to it. You don’t want to force a story because the readers will be able to tell. You won’t regret it, trust me.

Marie:  True enough!

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 Policy of Truth appears to be. Congratulations on your latest release… ♥

Here is the blurb:

Five years ago, Tamra “Durty” Simon’s life was falling apart, and she had a one-way ticket to six-feet under. And if it hadn’t been for the Death’s Angels Motorcycle Club swooping in, dusting her off, and transforming her into the badass biker she is today, she’d be taking a dirt nap. Now, she has everything she ever wanted–or so she thought.

Brett “Sting” Jackson is on a mission, and nothing is going to stop him–not even the sexy, enticing female biker who makes him hard with a single look. Too bad he’s lying and keeping secrets from her. But the alternative could get her killed, and that’s not a risk he’s willing to take.

It took Sting crashing into her life to make Durty realize there’s something else in this world she wants to ride as hard as her bike–too bad fate has other plans for them. When a rival club makes a move against the Angels, all hell breaks loose. Lives will be lost, secrets will be revealed, and lies will be exposed. Because in the motorcycle world, lies may get you hurt, but the truth can get you killed.

Scarlett is also offering us a teaser from the book!

“Choke-a-hoe.”

“You into strangling prostitutes now, Viper?” Lace glanced sidelong at the female sitting next to her, the corner of her lip curling enough to mimic a slight smile.

“No,  smartass. I’m about to create a new Navajo Tribe if this bitch doesn’t get here soon,” Viper said.

Lace turned to look at Viper, her black brow cocked as she gazed out from under her pink and purple bangs. The two had known each other for several years,  so it was easy to see the irritation growing in her friend. That’d be a new one for the history books. Lace chuckled inwardly. Chokahoe. Good Lord. “She’ll be here. No strangling today, Boston.”

“Boston?” Viper crinkled up her nose in confusion.

“Yeah, the Boston Stran—nevermind.”

Viper blew a strand of copper hair out of her two-toned eyes, sticking out her tongue as she turned her head to bat her lashes at Lace.

“It’s too fucking hot to be sitting in this damn Jeep, waiting for what?” Flames sucked down more of her slushie, the slurp reverberating through the space.

Movement caught Lace’s attention from outside the vehicle, forcing her to look up. “There she is.” She pointed with the uplift of her chin as she fumbled with the door handle.

The girl making her way toward them wasn’t what Lace expected. She’d done her research into Tamra Simons of Simons Realty, and her picture did no justice. Tamra was five foot five inches—five foot eight in her heels.

Medium length, wispy auburn hair with dark red highlights, hid the round face from view, as did the aviators covering her eyes. She wasn’t too skinny, but healthy and had an infectious glow about her. A pale pink suit skirt showed off short, shapely legs, and a white silken blouse with a light cotton blazer completed the ensemble.

“Tamra?” Lace leaned her jean clad hip against the hood of the Jeep, crossing her arms over her chest.

“That’d be me, Ms. Beck.” Tamra stuck out her hand.

“Lace, please.” She shook the realtor’s hand and motioned toward the building. “I’m ready if you are.”

Viper swung open the passenger door, almost falling as she rolled out of the cab. “Oh my god. It’s about damn time. We were about to roast in there.”

Flames followed, hopping out of the back, smoothing down the front of her shorts. “You ought to know by now, chica, wear shorts when you know we’re going somewhere with Lace.”

Lace glanced over her shoulder at the two, rolling her eyes. “Suck it up, ladies. We have a building to look at.”

Following Tamra to the warehouse, Lace studied her silently. There was something off about her.

“This location is about ten thousand square feet.” Tamra glanced at the trio, and then unlocked one of the splintered wooden doors, swinging it open as it groaned loudly in protest, and motioned them inside. “It’ll work out perfectly for a quaint little bistro.”

Lace chuckled as she stepped past the realtor, cringing as her boots crunched on broken glass when she passed through the doorway, the sound echoing through the empty building. She waved a hand in front of her face as a foul, dank smell assaulted her nose. “This won’t be a quaint bistro.”

Viper snickered as she hip bumped Lace, placing a Blow-Pop into her mouth. “This is a fucking dump. We really had to drive over thirty minutes and wait an hour in the blistering heat, when there were plenty of abandoned shit holes closer to town? I mean, seriously?”

Leave it to Viper not to beat around the bush.

The inside of the building looked like it was ransacked by a group of ferocious rioters that belonged to the spray paint club of the year—or like it was gang banged by a box of crayons. Tables were broken—some looking as if someone was pile-drived into the middle of them; mirrors shattered, the tattered pieces strewn about the warped floorboards, which appeared to have taken on the Biblical flood. The bar looked like it’d been lit on fire, charred and split apart in several places. The trailer park paneled walls were scrawled on with various obscenities and the roof needed help as well.

Lace thought it was perfect.

Flames groaned.

Clicking her tongue ring against her teeth, Lace settled her hands on her hips as a slow smirk formed on her lips. She had no clue what Flames was groaning about, this place was abso-fucking-lutely perfect, and no, it wasn’t quaint—at all.

“Shit.” Flames nudged Viper. “She’s doing that clicking thing. We’re fucked.”

Viper snorted and tossed her hair over her shoulder, raising a single brow to Lace. “Yup. I can see the wheels turning. We’re screwed worse than an altar boy at confession.”

Lace came close to bursting out in laughter when Tamra’s jaw dropped. Sighing, she frowned, turning toward Tamra. “You answer a question truthfully, and I’ll buy this place.”

“Ex-excuse me?” Tamra said. Clearly, she wasn’t used to dealing with clients like Lace. “We haven’t even discussed a price. Or what you want to do with the place. I thought you wanted a bistro.”

Lace waved her hand dismissively. “Something like tha—”

“Money isn’t shit when it’s something Lace wants,” Viper said. “So, answer the question already. Oh, shit! I think I just saw a fucking roach wielding a machete.”

“Deal?” Lace stared expectantly at the realtor.

Tamra nodded, rolling her bottom lip between her teeth.

She hadn’t taken off her sunglasses but even without eye contact, Lace could read the woman’s face. “So, how long has he been hitting you?”

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

Purchase Links:

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

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this MC romantic suspense! ♥♥♥

About Scarlett Holloway

Growing up on the Central Coast, Scarlett Holloway always dreamed of seeing her name on the cover of a book and on the New York Times Best Seller List. What better way than to bring part of her past onto the pages of a novel, as well as writing about issues that women face on a daily basis? When she is not in her bunny hole writing, she is a massage therapist, trying to help people through therapeutic healing. Scarlett is hopelessly devoted to her husband, who she lovingly calls her plot bunny, and is active in her teenage son’s life.

Books:

Coming Soon:

Available Now:

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

 

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

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Book Review: Undercover Siren by Ellen Mint

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Undercover Siren By Ellen Mint. This book has a little of everything that I know you’ll love. Definitely add this one to your reading list. 🙂

This is another one of those stories that I love. The reversal of roles between Kristen and Colton is fun to experience as you read through. Don’t get me wrong, though – Colton is more than able to hold up on his own.

All I’m saying is, if you’re skeptical, read the first chapter…get to the part about the pen – and you’ll be hooked just like I was.

As I said, this book has a little bit for everyone, clandestine spies and intrigue, hot cops, sci-fi and fantasy, romance and hot sex, and lastly – a bat-shit crazy person in the background motivating the plot. What more would we need?

I’d have to put on my copy editor “hat” to find anything I’d suggest about the text, but the story, places, and characters are all fully realized and engaging – I give Undercover Siren By Ellen Mint 5 HEARTS!

Book Info:

He was only supposed to be a job. Why can’t she walk away?

Colton Davies, an ex-Marine turned cop, stumbles across a damsel in distress while working the beat and rushes to her aid. Unbeknownst to him, Kristen Trevelyan isn’t an old classmate who accidentally locked her keys in the car, but a spy working for a classified agency. She’s tasked with getting close to the police officer, but she never anticipated how close they’d become.

Action, adventure, dangerous gun battles, sizzling romance scenes, tender words of affection, and more await you in Undercover Siren.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/bPZy1A

Here’s a peek at the book…

Colton snapped off the radio and tumbled back into his seat. From God-awful love songs to burnt corpses, oh and dragging her into a rainstorm. He was a real pro at dating, as she could no doubt tell. Glaring out the windshield, watching the bounce of rain pinging off the rusted hood, Colton kept whipping himself for things beyond his control. He was so far gone, it wasn’t until her hand shifted higher up his arm that he realized Kristen was touching him.

Twisting his head towards her, he found those dazzling eyes burning directly into his. She stared at him as if…as if she couldn’t see anyone else. As if she’d never seen anyone else. Soft pink lips glistened with fresh rain, parting like she yearned for a drink. Colton dove towards her, his mouth puckering up just before it plunged against hers. Warmth erupted down his spine, the woman melting from his kiss. He let go of the arguing in his brain to fall into this moment. Fingers lifted off his arm to thread through his hair, gently guiding him deeper into her trap.

He was greedy to fall into it, their first kiss turning hotter than he’d ever have expected. Kristen tipped her head, her tongue darting up and down his scar before she tugged his bottom lip deep into hers. The nibble was little more than a whisper, but it broke down a wall inside Colton and a moan escaped from his throat.

Sliding back as if to catch her breath, those dazzling eyes darted up to his. The bliss of touching her dilated his pupils so much he had to blink a moment. As she focused into view, her cheeks bright from a flush and cleavage beaded in droplets, there was no denying how badly he wanted to take this further.

How in God’s name did he do that?

“You’re so…” he mumbled, his tongue clogging in his mouth as the words all stuck together, “pradortty.”

“Pradortty?” her eyebrow lifted in surprise, but a smile stretched across her lips. The ones that tasted of hunger and the thrill of the run.

“I, uh…” Colton absently wiped the back of his neck.

“Is that some kind of word only you people in Sky City use?”

“Ye…yes,” he sputtered out. “It means, it means a very beautiful woman.”

The blush burned brighter on her cheeks and she turned to stare at the dashboard. “Oh. Well, you’re handorablesome.”

Colton chuckled at her catching him, but with a grateful nod said, “Thank you.”

Her sparkling eyes darted around the truck, seeming to take in the state of it before landing upon the clutch. “This is a stick? You can drive a stick?”

“Sure,” he shrugged, “I’m from the country. Who couldn’t back in Winterset?”

“Right, right, just…surprised to see one here in the city,” she smiled. “Isn’t it hell on stop and go traffic?”

“Not if you’re good,” Colton said without a thought before wincing. “Did you never learn?” It seemed odd to the man who cut his teeth on tractors, but not everyone was a farmer. There had to be townies in a town after all.

“A little,” Kristen admitted, “but I’m happy with my automatic. When I don’t lock myself out anyway.”

“Until a helpful policeman comes along,” Colton said as if he had nothing to do with it. She smiled sweetly at him, but silence threaded through the cab. Only the bounce of rain thudding into the metal over their heads filled the air. All the unsaid words grew thicker than the humidity, both people staring at each other not knowing what to do next.

He could take her back into the bar. To talk more. Or have another drink. It was getting kinda late. Maybe he should offer to take her home. Or that they wait out the rain here. She could snuggle up next to him and…

“Colton?” Kristen whispered, her eyes darting up to him, “do you want to get coffee?”

“Uh…sure,” he spat out, his brain trying to rack up what place would be open this late aside from a fast food joint.

Her ravenous smile nearly knocked him over, when she shrugged. “I’d say we could go back to my place but I’m all out of filters, and grounds, and a coffee God.” Slowly, her fingers cupped against his knee and worried their way up the wet jeans clinging to his thigh. He blinked at her, his brain-jarring apart as it tried to piece together what she was asking. Or telling him. Saying that she wanted.

Sweet God.

AUTHOR: Ellen Mint

TITLE: Undercover Siren (book one of the Inquisition Series)

GENRE: Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fi, Police Procedural

RELEASE DATE: February 10, 2018

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN: B079QZPN5V

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Read for free with Kindle Unlimited and don’t forget to check out Marie’s feature of the author’s New Release in 2018 here. Ellen also writes sci-fi and fantasy under the pen name S.E. Zbasnik.

Up Next Week: Jake’s Redemption by Jamie Schultz

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Erica Timberly from LYRICAL EMBRACE by Amber Daulton

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 Amber Daulton, who has some things to say about her character.

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

 

I love small town romance books, especially ones with an edge and a little bit of danger weaved in. When plotting this story, I first pictured a young woman running away from the big city to escape her abusive boyfriend. I mostly write contemporary and romantic suspense, so this idea worked. I think a lot of readers can sympathize with such a situation, especially those who have experienced neglect.

Erica Timberly is a compelling character because she’s a normal, everyday woman. She could be any one of us, just passing us by on the sidewalk. Countless women, and men too, are involved in toxic relationships with people claiming to love and care for them. They often feel trapped or believe they don’t deserve anything better in their lives. I wrote this story because abuse is a fact of life for so many people, and I hope, if they read it, they will find some hope and encouragement.

For Erica, her mother died when she was a teenager, so she had to live with her father and his new family. She still harbored resentment toward him for ruining her parents’ marriage, so she never felt as though she belonged in his household, surrounded by his new wife and kids.

After she left home for college and found a job, she met a man and fell in love with him. Little did she know, he was all show and no substance, and she soon found herself stuck in a bad relationship. Despite the hitting and name-calling, Erica still possessed an inner fire, but it was growing weaker day by day. Believing her boyfriend would eventually snap and kill her, she broke free before it was too late. It took courage to just pack up her car and hit the road, not knowing where she was going and with no one to turn to. Desperate for a fresh start, she wound up stranded in the little town of Willow Springs, Vermont. Luckily for her, the townsfolk welcomed her with open arms, and she finally found a man worthy of her.

Everyone deserves a happy ending and a chance to heal, whether that means breaking a dangerous cycle of wrong choices, reuniting with loved ones, or moving on from past hurts. You may have a bumpy road ahead, but all you can do is try.

Too right, Amber! I was once in a nightmare relationship, so I know the hell of trying to climb out of it. 😥
Well, let’s learn more about the novella, shall we, readers?
Here is the blurb for Lyrical Embrace, book four of the Deerbourne Inn Series.

Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band. Maybe, just maybe, her run of bad luck is finally turning around.

Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.

Will Erica listen to the music in her heart and trust Dylan, or will her past always threaten her future?

And Amber is giving us a peek at her novel!

Dylan deepened the kiss and lightly tugged on her bottom lip. Tears streaked his flushed cheeks as he smiled at her. “I’m so grateful I found you, baby. I heard you screaming. When I saw that bastard press a gun to your head, my heart nearly exploded. I thought I might lose you. I promise you, Erica, I will never control you as Phil did. You will always have the ability to choose. I just want to make you happy.”

She gripped his hand and brushed her lips across his calloused knuckles. “I know. You do make me happy. You took a bullet for me.” A sob constricted her throat, but she pushed it down.

A blast of noise rent the air. Fireworks filled the sky, visible in the alley from the narrow stretch of space between the buildings.

Erica loved the bright colors and designs, but hardly cared about watching the spectacle. She dropped her gaze back to Dylan.

A grin spread across his face. “It’s been one wild Fourth of July. Why don’t we do something more low-key next year? How about no guns and crazy exes? Just us, the creek, and a bottle of wine. Clothing optional.”

She laughed softly, amazed he could make light of the situation. “That sounds perfect. Absolutely perfect.”

Purchase Links:
Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/m2xRlj
The Deerbourne Inn Series:  https://amzn.to/2NEtkdS

 

Wow! I definitely want to know what else happens in this book! ♥♥♥

How fun to learn about your romantic suspense, Amber! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pick up your copy of Lyrical Embrace today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

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

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at her website.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

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

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

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amber-daulton

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368

Book Gorilla:  https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B00ALQITWY/amber-daulton/kcc

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

 

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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A Character Interview with Josh from THINK OF ME plus a conversation with author Kat Schuessler!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Maggie Blackbird’s character back on November 1st in 2018, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Kat Schuessler, the author of Think of Me, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Josh Hartnell, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Kat in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Josh!

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

Character Josh Hartnell:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Josh:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Josh:  I am a police officer on the Cuyahoga Falls police force. I like to think I’m good at it, and I’m learning more every day because my partner is a sergeant. And to answer the last question, I love my job.

Marie:  Great!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Josh:  I have no siblings but my parents are the best in the world. I also have a four year old daughter, Sammy.

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

Josh:  It was pretty normal. Three bedroom, two story house, crocheted blankets on every couch and chair, swing set in the yard. We also had a piano in the living room because my mom plays. She tried to teach me but I lack any sense of rhythm, so that lasted about a week.

Marie:  (Chuckles.)

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

Josh:  I love to listen to music and watch movies. I have an entire wall of shelves filled with movies. I especially love classic movies with powerhouse women in them. I admire their strength and their ability to move on after horrible things happen to them.

Marie: Nice!

So, what is your greatest dream?

Josh:  My greatest dream isn’t really about me; it’s that Sammy is able to grow up and succeed in whatever she wants to do.

Marie:  (Nods.) I see…

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

Josh:  I’m actually very happy with who I am right now. I lived through something terrible and managed to keep my sanity. Hell, I saved my daughter’s life. That makes me proud to be who I am.

Marie: Admirable!

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

Who was your first love?

Josh:  My first love was Vivien Leigh. Her portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara made me fall hard when I was nine years old. Oh, you meant someone who I’ve actually met? I guess that would be my freshman girlfriend, Julie Hammond. We dated for a few years but things just didn’t work out.

Marie: All right.

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

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

Josh:  My ex-wife attacked Sammy and myself when Sammy was two. I won’t go deep into details, you’ll get those when you read the book, but basically she thought I was cheating and lost her fucking mind.

Marie:  Yikes! :/ Sorry to hear that…

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

[Josh 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?

Josh:  My dream was always to be in the criminal justice system, either as a cop or a lawyer, but mostly as a cop. Obviously, I achieved that dream, and it’s not at all like I thought it would be. As a kid, I guess I thought cops were allowed to do whatever they wanted, which is clearly not true, but it’s not like I want to do a lot of illegal stuff so I’m okay with the limitations.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) So, who is your role model, Josh?

Josh:  My role model is my partner and lieutenant, Jason James. He has been there for me relentlessly for years and has dealt with his own heartbreak over the years.

Marie: Okay.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Josh:  Besides a couple of my mom’s annoying friends, not really. I’m fairly accepting of most people so unless they’re a complete ass, I don’t have a problem.

Marie:  Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Josh:  My deepest desire is to have a normal, risk-free life – well, as risk-free as a cop’s life can be. I just don’t want my family’s lives to be in danger ever again. I also want things with Rita to go further than it is.

Marie:  Hmm…I wondered if there was a new love interest. 😉

(Sighs.) I love romance. ♥

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

Josh:  My greatest fear is Sammy’s life ever being endangered again. I know that if I lose her, I’ll lose everything. Even thinking about it panics me.

Marie: That’s understandable.

I’m glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Josh. It was so interesting getting to know you!  🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Kat Schuessler on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Kat!

Author Kat Schuessler:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a male character from your story, Josh Hartnell. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us about him?

Kat:  Josh is a sexy police officer who has had to live with the memory of his ex-wife’s attack. He still has PTSD from the incident, but he’s working through it.

Marie:  Okay.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Kat:  His greatest strength is his resilience. He has powered through the hardest times of his life without letting it affect Sammy, which is basically a miracle. He’s also an amazing dad who will do anything for his daughter, including risking his own life.

Marie:  Lovely!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Kat:  His greatest weakness isn’t even really a weakness, just a symptom of his past. He suffers from severe PTSD and tends to panic whenever Sammy spends more than a few hours away from him. I can’t even imagine what will happen when she goes to school, but hopefully Rita will be able to help him get through it.

Marie:  True enough!

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Josh’s favorite foods?

Kat:  He loves pretty much any international food; Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, et cetera. The only exception is Mexican food. He also likes burgers.

Marie:  Sounds delicious!

How about another question?

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

Kat:  Though he’s been told by many people, he doesn’t see how charming and gentlemanly he is. He thinks he’s just being polite, but his charm attracts a lot of women and a fair amount of men.

Marie:  (Laughs.) All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Kat:  I hope they’ll like him. I think they will because of his charm and willingness to put his life on the line for the people he cares about. Not to mention the fact that he’s a total hottie.

Marie: (Fans herself.) He’s got my vote! 😀

Now that we have a real taste of Josh, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Think of Me?

Kat:  I was actually reading On Writing by Stephen King, and a writing exercise that was in the book was vaguely similar to part of the plot. I originally started it as a short story, which then grew into a novel.

Marie:  Awesome! Isn’t it fascinating how the muse works? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Kat:  I am a pantser, absolutely. I try to keep a timeline and do character outlines, but as for the minor details I basically let the book write itself.

Marie:  Me too!

How about another question?

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

Kat:  Well, the biggest challenge was the fact that my original publishing company went out of business as soon as Think of Me was ready to go to them. I obviously looked for another publisher, but I was rejected by all of the companies I reached out to. That led to several years of writer’s block, because I felt like there was no point in writing if I couldn’t find a publisher. Finally, I reached out to my contacts from my old publisher and they helped me learn how to self-publish without spending all of my money. I should’ve reached out sooner, but once the writer’s block set in it was hard to get out of that rut.

Marie:  Can’t blame you! There are definitely some discouraging parts of the publishing journey!

Congrats on your new release! ♥

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 Think of Me appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this erotic romantic suspense by Kat Schuessler, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Think of Me, book one of the Point of No Return Series:

When Detective Josh Hartnell’s wife had a psychotic break, he needed to figure out how to raise their daughter on his own. Two years later, when his friend and partner decides to set him up with a woman, he doubts that anything will come of it.

Rita Morgan is a law student at Kent State University. After her disappointing relationship with a professor ends, her friends insist on setting her up with a single dad. Although Josh is sweet and incredibly sexy, he comes with some baggage — in the shape of a little girl.

When Rita’s life is unexpectedly put at risk and her heart on the line, she needs to decide if their relationship is worth the risk, or if they should end it before the price gets too high.

Kat is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Rita was enjoying this bantering between them, and when she casually glanced down at their hands, she noticed that Josh had gotten slightly closer to her. When she subtly moved her hand closer to his on the banister, he covered it with his own. Rita felt a rush of heat at the contact, and when she looked up at him, he was already gazing at her, his eyes practically shining with desire. Her face flushed from his gaze, and she found herself staring at his lips, wanting to taste them.  She told herself it was too soon to be thinking this way, but her sudden spike of lust shut her up – she wanted to kiss him as she ran her hands up his arms, feeling the muscles there.

Her eyes met his again and she swore she could see into his mind, and what she saw was the same desire she had. As if they shared one mind, they simultaneously angled their heads toward each other and kissed. There was no tentative brushing of lips or shy pecks, but crazed kissing and languid sweeping of tongues as they pressed their bodies together. Josh reached up and took her hair out of the bun, and it flowed past her shoulders in waves. He groaned and plunged his hands into it, kissing her more furiously. Rita took this opportunity to touch the muscles in his arms and across his chest, feeling them ripple under her fingertips. When she felt his erection pressing against her, she moaned and lost herself in his kiss.

Sizzling! ♥♥♥ Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/38xM1V

http://bit.ly/TOMbook

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43798777-think-of-me

Link to book one:  http://bit.ly/NoBackwardGlances

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this hot romantic suspense! ♥

About Kat Schuessler

When I was eight years old, I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and ten years old when I decided I wanted to be an author.

From that moment on, I wrote all the time – short stories, poems, essays, and news articles for my high school paper. I tried writing horror, fantasy, and sci-fi, but I couldn’t get my footing in any of those genres. They just didn’t call to me.

Then I read A Hunger Like No Other, a paranormal romance by Kresley Cole.

I realized that I never tried to write romance. I sat down to write an erotic short story, and the words just flowed out of me. Suddenly, everything clicked. I immediately started working on No Backward Glances, convinced that this would be my first published book. I was determined to finish this novel and to see it on Amazon one day.

Seven years later, here I am; still writing, a mother to a beautiful daughter, a contestant on Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America,” and just doing my best to get more books on the shelves.

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Kat Schuessler, here are some author links:

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/zanystarr

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Kat-Schuessler/e/B00WTCQPZQ/

Goodreads:  https://www.amazon.com/Kat-Schuessler/e/B00WTCQPZQ/

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

 

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Josh, a male character from Think of Me, and Kat Schuessler, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Book Release, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, steamy, Writers, Writing

Book Review: Take My Heart by J.J. Sorel

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Take My Heart by J.J. Sorel. Give me a book set in NYC with a relatable main character, a sexy bad boy, and a delightfully devious old woman any day.

Ava and Cassie start out this full-length novel and I was a fan of Ava from the start. Money is certainly a regular topic in the story, but whoever complained about having too much money? When Ava meets her boyfriend’s bad-boy brother for the first time, the heat in the room rises a few degrees at least.

While most (if not all) romances include a leading lady who is looking for an earth-shattering romance, none that I’ve read before had a foul mouthed, sophisticated older woman pulling the strings.

With a bad boy we can all fall in love with and extensive descriptions that leave little to the imagination, Bronson will surely be in my dreams for days.

For its well-written, fully realized characters, a great storyline and steamy hot romance – I give Take My Heart By J.J. Sorel 4 HEARTS!

Read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Recommended Read

Book Info:

AVA – I’ve never been in love. Never felt that fire or been so desperate for a man’s touch that he’s all I can think about.
Then Bronson Lockhart walks into the party I’m at with my boyfriend, Justin.  Everyone notices him. How could they not? He’s ridiculously good looking with that dark, brooding masculinity that inspires dirty thoughts of the sweetest kind…

Too bad he’s also Justin’s adopted brother.

And they clearly hate each other. Yet I can’t help but notice the way Bronson looks at me that sets my pulse thrumming.  I can’t help wondering how his lips would feel on mine…  My new boss: a wealthy, eccentric old woman hidden away in her opulent penthouse with only her secrets and me to keep her company, tells me to follow my heart by surrendering to my deepest desires rather than act sensibly.
But I barely know Bronson, even though he seems determined to change that.

As I submit to desire and fall into his buff arms, a battle brews between my head and heart: are those hungry kisses and caresses a con?

BRONSON – Locked up for a crime I didn’t commit, I vowed to do two things when I got out–find my birth parents and make my brother pay for setting me up.  Now I’m out of jail and ready to set my plan for revenge in motion, starting with seducing his girlfriend. Not that it will be a chore.
Ava’s beauty stole my breath the moment I laid eyes on her. Sassy, intelligent, and sexy as hell, she’s got curves that fuel my darkest desires.
But what starts as revenge soon turns into something more. I want her…crave the sweet taste of her. Hell, who am I kidding? I’m falling for her. But as secrets about my adoption start to unravel, I discover a startling connection to Ava’s boss.
Was my meeting Ava a setup… or destiny?

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

Here’s a peek at the book…

I enjoyed sitting out in the open air surrounded by trees and earthy, floral aromas. It was a clear night with a pearly moon that beamed a ripple onto the swimming pool.

Fanning away smoke that suddenly blew in my direction, I looked up and noticed Bronson, his back to me, puffing on a cigarette. He turned and, noticing me there, distanced himself.

My eyes were drawn to him in a way I wished they weren’t. Under the moonlight, he seemed like an almost mystical being bathed in shadow, especially when the smoke formed a halo around him.

He turned again and said, “Is the smoke annoying you?”

I put my fork down and ran my tongue around my lips to wash away the chocolate. “Um… no. It’s okay. I’m kind of used to it, anyway.”

A slight shift of the brow was his only response, and then he went back to smoking while looking up at the sky.

“I work for a lady who smokes a lot.”

He turned and faced me again. I wasn’t sure if he wanted to be left alone. He didn’t exactly give anything away with that remote stare.

“She makes sure she’s on the balcony, though.” As I babbled, a little voice within told me to stop, because he wasn’t exactly encouraging me with that gaze that bordered on blank, even though I detected a whisper of depth in there somewhere. He just kept sucking on his cigarette as if his life depended on it.

Perhaps it was the champagne and the sugar hit because I kept talking anyway. “I read for her, you see. She also makes me mix martinis.”

After a moment and one more drag on his cigarette, he said, “With an olive?” A hint of a smirk touched his lips and boy… he wore it well.

I remained transfixed. “Um… no. Hmm… that’s funny.” I chuckled in a goofy way. “I have to admit I’d never mixed a martini in my life. I hadn’t even tried one. Until now, that is. She makes me join her, which means I always leave with a smile.”

“She sounds interesting.”

“Agatha’s a cross between Miss Havisham and Greta Garbo.”

“Let me guess,” he responded, butting out his cigarette. “A lonely woman with revenge in her heart who slinks about demanding to be left alone.”

My eyes brightened. “Justin didn’t know what I was talking about when I described her as that earlier. I’m impressed.”

He shrugged. “Let’s just say I’ve had plenty of time to read.”

“Then you’re a rare being because these days not many people read. And to be honest, when I got this job being asked to do just that, reading from a book that I hold so close to my heart, I nearly broke out in a happy rash…. I…” I suddenly lost my chain of thought, mainly because he ran his tongue over his cushiony lips again.

“You were saying?” His voice had a deep, guttural resonance that suited him perfectly.

“Just that I feel blessed. It hasn’t been easy lately. I had the worst boss ever, and then I landed this job.”

“Do you always break out in a rash when you’re happy?” His lips twitched into a hint of a smile.

I giggled. “No. Sorry. I’ve had a bit of champagne, and I tend to say silly things.”

“Silly’s entertaining.”

His eyes burrowed deep into me again. And the best I could return was a cheesy tight smile. I looked down at my half-eaten cake, and strangely, my appetite had gone. “Do you have a favorite author?”

“Do you?” he asked.

“I think I love Emily Bronte.”

Wuthering Heights,” he returned. I must have shown my surprise because he added, “Why that look? Am I giving off some kind of illiterate vibe?”

“No. Not at all,” I lied, because he was the last person I’d expected to know of Wuthering Heights. “I’m sorry. Most younger guys don’t really go for books like that.”

“I’m not like most younger guys.” His eyes darkened again. He’d gotten that right. There weren’t too many guys I’d met who read books, let alone looked like him.

He came toward me, and as I sat there staring up at him in suspense, for I wasn’t sure what he was about to do, my heart raced.

He leaned in, and placing his finger on my cheek, he wiped it gently.

“You had a brown mark there.” His eyes softened slightly. He put his finger in his mouth in a way that made me want to sigh. It was so suggestive. “Mm… chocolate. Nice,” he rasped as if he’d dipped his finger somewhere forbidden.

I wanted to speak but lost my voice due to that subtle cologne scent wafting up my nostrils, combined with his melty brown eyes boring into me.

“Um… Yeah, I…” As I stammered, seeking a coherent response, Justin and Marcus came out, holding cigars and laughing loudly.

Bronson turned to face them. The brothers’ obvious cold regard for one another made me think of the classic Cain and Abel relationship.

AUTHOR: J.J. Sorel

TITLE: Take My Heart

GENRE: steamy romantic suspense, some erotica

RELEASE DATE: January 8, 2019

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN:  B07MFSZ6Z2

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: The Key of F by Jennifer Haskin

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Filed under Blogging, Book News, Book Release, book reviews, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Romantic Suspense, score, steamy, Writing

Book Review: Beneath This Mask by Meghan March

Hi, readers! Please welcome Kevin Ethan, our new official book reviewer, to ILRB! He’ll be hanging out with us once a week from now on, taking the time to give us his take on ⭐the coolest romance novels⭐! 😎

Let’s give him a hand… 😉

Kevin, take it away and show us what you have for today.

Thanks! ❤ This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Beneath This Mask by Meghan March. I have to tell you that I just kept reading and reading! The story, which juxtaposes the “normal” romance roles, will definitely keep you interested.

Charlotte was a rich girl with many, many silver spoons. But, when her father is locked in a cell without a key, she has to learn to find her own way. Falling off the grid and on the run from the FBI, Charlotte “Charlie” Agoston leaves the world of Chanel and Armani for one of classic rock band t-shirts and her favorite pair of chucks.

When a group of drunk guys wander into her workplace, Charlie is quick to give them the brush-off. Her new, no-nonsense attitude, body art, and piercing eyes catch Simon’s attention, though.

He’s a Navy veteran and congressman’s son who, in my mind’s eye, is hot hot HOT. When Charlie decides to have one night of fun, it’s Simon who turns away. From there, the story takes some great twists and turns that you’ll just have to read for yourself by getting your copy FREE on Amazon.

The author, who was also a lawyer in real life, puts her legal knowledge to use while still keeping you engaged in the romance. I found myself really feeling for (and kind of in love with) Simon, who was ready to be all-in. But, with Charlie’s past, she’s the one always running away.

The author definitely understands building suspense, but in this case, the suspense is sexual tension. Unlike some books that put it all out there (Wham, bam, thank ya’ ma’am), the author keeps you warm without overheating, you know? At least in the beginning.

My only point of real contention with the book has to do with Simon. As an Afghan war veteran, he is revealed to have PTSD. On the plus side, he seeks help, which is amazing! On the flip-side, though, the author has somehow attached his PTSD to Charlie and the relief she provides. It really boils down to, “I’ve had PTSD for 4 years! But my girlfriend healed me!”

As a vet myself, I have to say, “That’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works!” So, in the future, my advice would be to research the affliction before you attempt to heal it.

In the end, though, I love a happily ever after (HEA). So, if you’re looking for your book’s characters to find everything they ever wanted, this one is for you.

The story is interesting, and the romance is hot, but with some of the parts leaving me saying, “Really?!” – I give Beneath This Mask by Meghan March 4 HEARTS!

Recommended Read

Book Info:

Former Navy fighter pilot. Son of a congressman. Successful businessman in my own right. With a résumé like mine, women have never been a challenge.

Until I met her.

This sexy, tatted-up bad girl wasn’t part of my plans, but that punch to my gut every time I see her tells me I have to know more.

She’s a mystery. An enigma. A challenge.

I’m going to figure her out—and then I’m going to make her mine.

We’ll find out what she’s hiding… beneath this mask.

 

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

AUTHOR: Meghan March

TITLE: Beneath This Mask (book one of the Beneath Series)

GENRE: contemporary/military/romantic suspense

RELEASE DATE: September 29, 2014

PUBLISHER: Red Dress Press

ISBN/ASIN: B00NQ1EVG4

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

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Filed under Blogging, book reviews, Books, Contemporary, Event, free books, Military Romance, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Writing

2018 Reflections and New Beginnings

2018 Reflections and New Beginnings

 

Hi, readers! Wow, what a year! 🙂

If you’re a loyal follower, then you know I do a New Year’s Eve post every year. With the coming year brings a time of renewal – an opportunity for second chances, and even new beginnings. After a particularly difficult period in our lives, we often think about what it might be like if we ever had the chance to start over.

So today, I’m listing a bunch of books that encompass the ‘new beginnings’ theme.

How apropos for the new year, right? Let’s get started…

‘New Beginnings’ Romances

 

books2read.com/u/47Z7N7

[Disclaimer: These are simply suggestions compiled from titles I found on Goodreads. I have neither read nor reviewed them.]

These books look great, right? Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments at the end of this post.

Also, I’d like to give a BIG shout out, a mega thank you to all the authors, writers and companies that contributed to this year’s guest posts, features and giveaways! Thanks for all your hard work with writing and giving us a chance to see your books featured here on ILRB. ♥

Listed below are the links to all of our posts from 2018.

Character/Author Interviews

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/exclusive-interview-with-author-nermin-bezmen-plus-historical-romance-kurt-seyt-and-shura/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/a-character-interview-with-trini-from-jasons-awakening-plus-a-chat-with-author-remy-marie/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/03/exclusive-interview-with-author-suzanne-jefferies-plus-erotic-romance-watched-and-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/a-character-interview-with-mason-from-arresting-mason-plus-a-conversation-with-author-amber-daulton/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/a-character-interview-with-darryl-from-blessed-plus-a-conversation-with-author-maggie-blackbird/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/exclusive-interview-with-author-karina-bartow-and-a-look-at-contemporary-romance-forgetting-my-way-back-to-you/

 

New Release/Book Features

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/new-release-feature-saving-him-by-author-bry-ann/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/pre-order-release-feature-captive-by-author-jenny-lynn/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/book-feature-the-maze-effect-finding-mr-right-by-author-majel-jay/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/new-release-feature-never-retreat-by-author-bonnie-mccune/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/27/new-release-feature-undercover-siren-by-author-ellen-mint/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/book-feature-erotic-romance-aurelius-by-author-jessika-klide/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/book-feature-the-milanese-stars-by-author-pamela-q-fernandes/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/new-release-feature-dark-romance-even-at-your-darkest-by-author-aj-love-and-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/pre-order-release-feature-ya-sweet-historical-romance-laras-story-by-author-diane-merrill-wigginton/

 

Film/Music Features

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/special-film-feature-forever-my-girl/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/special-music-feature-christopher-ferguson/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/special-film-feature-twisted-threads-steamy-romantic-thriller-by-kaylin-mcfarren/

 

Blog Tours

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/blog-tour-feature-the-boy-next-door-by-ann-anders/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/blog-tour-feature-hell-yeah-kindle-world-tour-presented-by-sable-hunter-2/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/blog-tour-feature-vegas-gambler-by-adriana-kraft/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/blog-tour-feature-love-at-solace-lake-series-by-jana-richards/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/blog-tour-feature-the-starling-by-ellie-masters/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/pre-release-blog-tour-feature-tempted-by-the-viscount-by-sofie-darling/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/05/blog-tour-feature-tempted-by-the-viscount-by-sofie-darling/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/blog-tour-feature-military-romantic-suspense-threat-of-danger-by-dana-marton/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/blog-tour-feature-contemporary-romance-collection-vengeance-is-mine-by-kat-henry-doran/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/14/blog-tour-feature-contemporary-romance-love-at-rincon-point-by-j-haney-and-s-i-hayes/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/blog-tour-feature-mm-paranormal-romance-boxed-set-weapons-of-redemption-by-saloni-quinby/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/blog-tour-feature-contemporary-romance-true-by-ann-everett-plus-cool-contests/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/blog-tour-feature-mm-shifter-romance-wolf-around-the-corner-by-aidee-ladnier/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/21/blog-tour-feature-erotic-romantic-suspense-besotted-by-madison-michael-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/blog-tour-feature-holiday-paranormal-romance-one-of-a-kind-christmas-by-lexi-post/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/blog-tour-feature-erotic-romance-moonlight-moet-by-madison-michael/

 

Blog Awards

http://blog.feedspot.com/romance_book_blogs/ (#33)

http://blog.feedspot.com/novel_blogs/ (#73)

 

Personal Book News/Reviews

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/new-release-this-week/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/free-book/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/02/its-here/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/guest-author-marie-lavender-creating-the-other-world/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/a-radio-interview-on-thorne-and-cross/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/free-paranormal-romance-trr-year-end-slash-party/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/winter-loves-a-treat-mega-book-giveaway-and-500th-anniversary-post/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/upon-your-return-by-marie-lavender/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/27/vote-at-the-critters-readers-poll/ (You can still vote for this one!!)

 

Giveaways

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/free-book/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/blog-tour-feature-vegas-gambler-by-adriana-kraft/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/03/exclusive-interview-with-author-suzanne-jefferies-plus-erotic-romance-watched-and-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/book-feature-erotic-romance-aurelius-by-author-jessika-klide/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/05/blog-tour-feature-tempted-by-the-viscount-by-sofie-darling/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/blog-tour-feature-military-romantic-suspense-threat-of-danger-by-dana-marton/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/blog-tour-feature-contemporary-romance-collection-vengeance-is-mine-by-kat-henry-doran/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/blog-tour-feature-mm-paranormal-romance-boxed-set-weapons-of-redemption-by-saloni-quinby/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/blog-tour-feature-contemporary-romance-true-by-ann-everett-plus-cool-contests/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/blog-tour-feature-mm-shifter-romance-wolf-around-the-corner-by-aidee-ladnier/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/21/blog-tour-feature-erotic-romantic-suspense-besotted-by-madison-michael-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/free-paranormal-romance-trr-year-end-slash-party/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/blog-tour-feature-holiday-paranormal-romance-one-of-a-kind-christmas-by-lexi-post/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/blog-tour-feature-erotic-romance-moonlight-moet-by-madison-michael/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/winter-loves-a-treat-mega-book-giveaway-and-500th-anniversary-post/

-Authors represented in the big giveaway:

K.C. Sprayberry, Vina Arno, Leslie Hachtel, Maggie Blackbird, Debbie De Louise, David Russell, Bry Ann, Lance and James Morcan, Devika Fernando, Remy Marie, Tanya W. Newman, Tina Donahue, Fiona Tarr, Palvi Sharma, Viviana MacKade, Diane Merrill Wigginton, CJ Warrant, Amber Daulton, Penny Estelle/P.A. Estelle, Carol Ann Kauffman, Kenneth Sumerford, McKenna Dean, Seelie Kay, Beverly Ovalle, Skye McNeill, Raegyn Perry, Alice J Miller, Jenny Lynn, Sofie Darling, Carole McKee, Bonnie McCune, Young (Bernard Foong), Marie Lavender, Cleo Scornavacca, Sable Hunter, Virginia Babcock, Madison Michael, Vicki-Ann Bush, Lisa Doughty, Theresa Sederholt and Lilly Christine.

 

Blog Hops & Personal Romantic Thought Posts

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/a-lovers-vow-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/guest-author-marie-lavender-creating-the-other-world/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/aching-heart-a-poem/

 

Guest Posts

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/you-complete-me-a-guest-post-by-romance-author-bry-ann/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/a-singles-guide-to-surviving-this-valentines-day-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/tips-on-getting-a-romantic-partner-a-gift-for-valentines-day-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/the-fiction-fact-on-writing-about-love-guest-post-by-author-khaled-talib/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/six-surprising-ways-to-communicate-better-with-your-partner-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/unique-yet-perfect-date-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/five-things-everyone-should-know-about-dating-a-single-parent-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/addressing-anxiety-during-tough-times-with-the-help-of-talkspace-a-guest-post-by-talkspace/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/03/how-to-design-a-camping-trip-for-the-summer-that-will-please-your-romantic-partner-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/how-will-facebooks-dating-service-work-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/23/why-giving-flowers-shouldnt-just-be-for-holidays-and-apologies-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/twenty-romantic-fall-date-ideas-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/06/city-of-love-romantic-things-to-do-in-paris-a-guest-post-by-erica-fleming/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/15/top-historical-romance-books-we-cant-stop-reading-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/why-you-should-read-at-least-one-romance-novel-in-your-lifetime-a-guest-post-by-lady-silver/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/04/unique-and-romantic-date-ideas-for-those-crispy-winter-days-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

 

What Does Romance Mean to Me? Series Feature

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/special-feature-what-does-romance-mean-to-me-by-bonnie-mccune/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/special-feature-what-does-romance-mean-to-me-by-c-l-donley/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/20/special-feature-what-does-romance-mean-to-me-by-katherine-mcintyre/

 

Heroes & Heroines Series Feature

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/heroes-heroines-special-feature-character-mason-harding-from-arresting-mason-by-amber-daulton/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/heroes-heroines-special-feature-character-avery-beta-hero-from-finder-keeper-of-my-heart-by-vina-arno/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/heroes-heroines-special-feature-character-kieran-blackmore-from-captivating-melody-by-katherine-mcintyre/

 

Poetry

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/a-lovers-vow-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/aching-heart-a-poem/

 

Well, I hope we’ve given readers some new novels to find, as well as fascinating romantic posts to glance over.

In other news, we may start offering book reviews in the future here on the I Love Romance Blog. Don’t get too excited yet and email me, though! A reviewer has reached out to me and when the details are finalized, I’ll put a page up with our review policy, dedicated solely to that service. So keep checking back! 😉

In the meantime, I’m always willing to help out with book features, new release features, author and character interviews, and other types of posts to promote your work.

I hope you have a wonderful, prosperous new year, and it leaves you healthy and content! 😀

And, as always, happy reading! ♥♥♥

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Filed under annual, Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Holiday, Love, Message, New Beginnings, Readers, reflections, Romance, Second Chances