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Book Feature: The Reluctant Husband by author Eliot Grayson

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

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

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

Great cover!

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

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

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

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

Release Date: June 7, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Purchase Links:

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

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

So, what are readers saying about this novel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Bio

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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A Character Interview with Miranda from THE END OF HATRED plus a conversation with author Rebecca Hefner!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Amber Daulton’s character in March, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca Hefner, the author of The End of Hatred, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Slayer Princess Miranda, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Rebecca in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Miranda!

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

Character Miranda:  Thank you for the invite, Marie.

Marie:  It’s my pleasure!

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

Miranda:  Sure.

Marie:  What is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Miranda:  Well, my current occupation is training to kill the Dark Lord Crimeous. He kidnapped my mother a thousand years ago, tortured and murdered her, and thrust the Slayers into an endless war with the Vampyres. So, yeah, I want him gone from Etherya’s Earth and I won’t stop until every memory of him is vanquished.

Marie:  All right.

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Miranda:  My mother, Rina, was a bright light in our world. She was taken when I was eight-years old and I remember how she would look at me with her olive-green eyes, filled with so much love. My father, King Marsias, was distraught at her abduction and never recovered.  I think he wants to love me, but it’s hard for him. Everyone says I’m the spitting image of Mother, so I think he sees her when he looks at me. Thankfully, my cousin Kenden is my rock and my confidante.  I love him more than anything in the world. He’s the commander of our army and has taught me to fight from a young age. He’s made me into the warrior I am today and has always loved me, even when I’m being a pain in the ass. Which he says is pretty much always.

Marie:  (Chuckles.)

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

Miranda:  I grew up in the Slayer castle, on the main Slayer compound of Uteria. It seems so magical and mystical, and I guess it is, but it’s also always seemed so cold to me. Perhaps because my father longs for Mother so much. His grief seems to permeate every room of the castle. But I do love Uteria and our satellite compound of Restia. I spend a lot of my time working on improving the parks and outdoor spaces. It’s important to me that my people have a beautiful world to live in and I also want to encourage the children of my kingdom to play outside. Human children stay indoors too much, with their video games and social media, and I want Slayer children to enjoy the sunny days we have on Etherya’s Earth. We’re safe in the sun since the Vampyres can only hunt us at night, thank God.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Miranda:  I’m a huge heavy metal fan. If you come between me and my iPod when I’m working out, you’re probably toast. I love jogging and sparring with Kenden. I have to keep my warrior skills sharp if I’m going to beat Crimeous!

Marie:  So, what is your greatest dream?

Miranda: (Sighs wistfully.) For my people to live in peace. We’ve been stuck in an endless war for a thousand years. The Vampyres raid us constantly and now Crimeous’ Deamons are growing stronger. All I want is to wake up one day and have a world where my people can thrive, without the threat of war and death. I’m determined to make it happen.

Marie:  I see…

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

Miranda:  I’ve been groomed to be queen since I was born. I’ll take the throne one day, but for now I’m content to let my father rule. I’m the rightful heir, since I have my grandfather Valktor’s blood, but father does a great job.  Although, once I kill Crimeous, I intend to claim my crown. I’m sure my father will support me in that. Of course, he will…

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

Who was your first love?

Miranda:  I haven’t actually been in love yet. I’ve had a few lovers. The Slayer traditions are extremely outdated. Young Slayer women are taught to save their virginity for marriage. I’ve always thought that incredibly sexist, as Slayer men are expected to sow their oats before getting married. I’ve never given a fig for any rule that some old curmudgeon decreed centuries before the Awakening, so I decided early on that if I felt comfortable with a man and cared for him, I would sleep with him. Sam was the sweet boy I dated in the first century. He was a bit timid and quite innocent in his avowals of love for me. Then there was Madu, and Ergon after him. They were both badasses who liked heavy metal too. I probably only dated them because it infuriated my father. After that, there was a long break with no dating and much training. Around the eighth century I dated  a soldier named Goran. Sadly, he was abducted in one of the Vampyre raids, never to be seen again.

There isn’t much time for love when you’re protecting your people. I wonder if I’ll ever experience it. I’m not sure I will…

Marie:  Well, I think it’s never too late.

(Sighs.) I love romance…

(Clears throat after a few moments). So, ah, 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?

Miranda:  I would say my mother being kidnapped but, honestly, every time there’s a Vampyre raid and we lose more soldiers, I feel it down in my gut. I’m so tired of the constant fighting. We have to do better. Every soldier’s death is a weight on my soul and each one hurts so fiercely.

Marie:  😥 I can only imagine. That’s rough…

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

[Miranda 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?

Miranda:  Mother was taken when I was still so young. I think I’ve always had the same dream; to help create a world where my people live in peace. If I can do that, I’ll be happy.

Marie:  How admirable! 😀

Who is your role model, Miranda?

Miranda:  Wow. That’s a tough one. Being a traditional society, women are taught to be reticent and silent. I’ve fought to break that and to level our society so that women are seen as equals. I don’t remember much about Mother, but I know that she challenged Father at every turn. So, I guess you could say that I aspire to live up to her and I definitely share her passion for helping our people.

Marie:  Cool!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Miranda:  My father is insistent on cementing a marriage between me and Kalil. He’s descended from a very old line of Slayer aristocrats and Father believes he’d make an excellent husband. I keep telling him that he should marry him, then.  (Shrugs.) Anyway, I guess I like Kalil, but he drives me a bit nuts. First of all, he’s boring as hell. Sorry, but I said it. Second, he’s a bit snobbish. There’s an inherent classism that runs through our people and, more often than not, aristocrats think they’re better than laborers and servants. That’s just not true. A person can’t control who their parents are or what bloodline they have. I believe that all people are equal and have tried hard to instill this in our society. I haven’t quite succeeded yet, but I’ll never give up the fight!

Marie:  Go, girl! 😉

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Miranda:  Again, not to be repetitive, but my people need to be free from war. It’s all I’m focused on right now. Once that happens, I can move on and focus on myself.

Marie:  What about your greatest fear?

Miranda:  That the Slayers will be eradicated, either by the Vampyres or the Deamons. It’s terrifying and I’m at the point where I realize we need to change tactics or that won’t happen. So, I’m leading the charge and if my father, or anyone else, doesn’t like it, I don’t give a damn.

Marie: Can’t blame you there…

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, Miranda. 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 Rebecca Hefner on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Rebecca!

Author Rebecca Hefner:  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 female character from your story, Miranda. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us about her?

Rebecca:  Miranda is an absolute badass. She’s determined to right the wrongs committed by her grandfather centuries ago and won’t stop until she brings peace to her people. Her determination is amazing and I’d like to be her when I grow up!

Marie:  Awesome!

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

Rebecca:  Her love for her people. Her ability to see the bigger picture, even through the hatred. Her ability to love, even when others have a hard time loving her back. I see that with her father and it’s very heartbreaking.

Marie:  And your character’s greatest weakness?

Rebecca:  Miranda is stubborn, sometimes to her benefit and sometimes to her detriment. She’s also quite impulsive and is working on taking deep breaths so she doesn’t fly off the handle. I think it’s half-working.

Marie:  (Laughs.)

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Miranda’s favorite foods?

Rebecca:  She loves seafood. The castle’s housekeeper, Jana, is a lovely woman who makes steamed halibut for Miranda at least once a week, knowing it’s her favorite!

Marie:  Yum!

How about another question?

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

Rebecca: Her fearlessness. I’ve never met anyone as strong and sure as Miranda. She was born with a sense of inner-belief and confidence, and I know it will aid her in saving her people.

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

Rebecca:  I think readers will love her! She’s so strong and kick-ass, but down to earth as well. She loves heavy metal and has a great, snarky sense of humor. Her strength is admirable and we all can see a bit of ourselves in her faults.

Marie:  I’m sure they will adore her!

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

What first gave you the idea for The End of Hatred?

Rebecca:  This is the first book in the series and it’s the story of two age-old enemies aligning to combat a common foe. So, ending the hatred seemed on point!

Marie:  Nice!

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?

Rebecca:  I sit down and write out a broad storyline, as well as any scenes that have appeared in my head. Then, I begin to write. The characters always take me to a much better place than I ever could’ve imagined. It’s as if they live in my imagination!

Marie:  (Nods.) I think sometimes our characters know best. 😉

How about one last question?

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

Rebecca:  I decided to self-publish because I felt that was the right path for me. I probably have a much different path than many others. I was a successful medical device sales rep in Corporate America for twelve years. I only left recently to pursue writing full-time. I’ve been writing these stories for decades so, once I decided to publish them, I didn’t want to wait another year or two to wade through submissions, et cetera. I also self-published because I wanted to retain creative control of my stories.

With that being said, I hired an amazing editor at NY Book Editors and, if any author is considering self-publishing, it is imperative they hire a professional editor. It’s respectful to your readers and they will appreciate your books even more.

There are many advantages to self-publishing and to traditional publishing, and every author has to figure out which one will work best for them.

Marie:  So true! 😉

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The End of Hatred appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this paranormal romance by Rebecca Hefner, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for The End of Hatred, book one of Etherya’s Earth Series:

These are dangerous times on Etherya’s Earth…

Slayer Princess Miranda, heir to the throne, has hated the Vampyres for a thousand years. Since the Awakening, she’s fought to protect her people, choosing to be a warrior more than a royal. When a female Vampyre washes up on the shore of her compound’s riverbank, she seizes the moment to take the offensive.

Sathan, King of the Vampyres, distraught at his sister’s disappearance and captivity, agrees to travel with Miranda to resurrect the Blade of Pestilence, also hoping to change his people’s state of endless war. Although the woman hates him due to the constant raids on her compound for the Slayers’ life-giving blood, he can’t help but admire the stubborn and strong princess.

As their journey progresses, both begin to understand that they are aligned in their hatred of Crimeous, leader of the Deamons, as well as their hope for peace between the Slayers and Vampyres. Determined to fight their growing attraction, they forge a tentative truce. But old wounds run deep and trust is scarce. Their faith in each other must remain strong or all will be lost…

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

Latimus pulled up to the barrier that surrounded the compound. As the three brothers exited the black Hummer, he addressed Sathan. “Be careful. We’re here if you need us.”

Sathan nodded and walked to the wall. The stones were cool against his palm under the dark sky and silver moonlight. The force-field that Etherya had implemented around the wall vibrated against his hand. Pushing against the rocks, they swung open and he walked through.

About twenty feet away he saw a black SUV, the headlights bright. He walked slowly toward the car.

“That’s far enough,” a female voice said.

“Where’s my sister?”

“She’s being held in a safe place not far from here.”

The woman walked forward and he studied her in what little light he had. Silky, raven-black hair fell straight to her shoulders. Camouflage pants were tucked over black army boots and she wore a black tank top. Approaching him, he noticed how small she was. Probably about a foot shorter than his six-foot, eight-inch frame.

She stopped about two feet in front of him and lifted her chin, training her gaze on his. He felt a sharp clenching sensation in his solar plexus when he saw her irises. Like wet leaves that glistened on the tree after a rainy day, they were the deepest green he had ever seen.

“You have dragged me here,” he said, regaining his composure. “What do I have to do to get her back?”

“Do you know who I am?” she asked. Her voice was clear and firm without a trace of fear.

“The Slayer Princess Miranda,” he said.

She nodded and looked down at the grass for a moment. He wondered if she was more nervous than she appeared. Looking back up at him, she said, “I have no wish to hurt your sister. I wish to use her to ask you to help me.”

“Force me to help you,” he said, bitterness lacing his tone.

“If you like,” she said with a deferential shrug of her shoulders. “Our people have been at war for a thousand years. We are locked in a stalemate that neither side seems to be able to win. I have come to the conclusion that we need to change our tactics.”

“I’m listening.”

She inhaled a deep breath before continuing. “I’ve grown weary of fighting your people. I wish to form a temporary truce with you so that I can accomplish something of great importance.”

“Right,” he said, his tone suggesting that he trusted her about as far as he could throw her. “And what is it you need from me?”

“As the first-born descendants of Valktor and Markdor, our shared blood stream could release the Blade of Pestilence. Once I have it, I will use it to kill Crimeous and I will return your sister to you.”

Sathan blinked a few times, unsure he’d heard her correctly, and then he laughed incredulously. “Wait, are you serious?”

She stood still and mute, her chin thrust up in the air, waiting for his response.

“You want me to travel to the Cave of the Sacred Prophecy with you, release the Blade of Pestilence and then just let you go on your merry way after you’ve kidnapped my sister?”

“Yes,” she said, as if his statement hadn’t been dripping with sarcasm. “Except that I didn’t kidnap your sister. She washed up on the shore of our riverbank. I actually employed our doctor in nursing her back to health. You’re welcome, by the way.”

What a patronizing, cocky little bitch, Sathan thought. Although he had to admire how she stood her ground against him. His physical dominance over her alone should’ve had her cowering. He tested her will by taking a step forward, closing the distance between them. She stood firm, tilting her chin up even more to hold his gaze, and reluctant admiration for her courage coursed through him.

“You want me to thank you for keeping alive a hostage that you’re now using to negotiate with me?”

“It would be nice,” she said flippantly, “but I won’t hold my breath. So, what’s it going to be?

She stared up at him expectantly, as if she hadn’t just asked him to trek over four-hundred miles with her to rescue a weapon from an ancient prophecy.

“No. Now give me my sister. I don’t know what game you’re trying to play, but you’re obviously physically outmatched here. I’ll give you five seconds to hand her over or—”

A sharp pain stabbed in his chest and he gasped. Lowering his gaze to the left side of his chest, he realized that the woman had stabbed him with some sort of contraption.

“It’s a mini-blade-loaded-eight-shooter, you fucking bastard,” she said, spittle flying from between her clenched teeth as she pushed the contraption further into his chest. “The blade on the top of the barrel will only hurt, since you fuckers seem to heal like some goddamn miracle. But if I pull the trigger it will deploy eight tiny bullets right into your black fucking heart. Don’t make me do it.”

Pain coursed through him, as well as a healthy dose of anger. And yet, as he looked down on this tiny she-devil of a woman, he felt a jolt of respect. She had gotten the upper hand on him. Bracing himself, he pushed his chest further into the blade. An intense pleasure ran through him when her eyes widened in surprise.

“Go ahead,” he said, daring her. “Shoot me, princess. Let’s see if you have the courage.”

Tiny nostrils flared as she struggled to compose herself. Moments stretched by in silence as they stood locked in a dance of wills. “Well?” he jibed. “Haven’t you the bravery to kill me?”

Stepping back, she pulled the blade from his chest but kept the weapon aimed at his heart; her finger on the trigger. “Just like a stupid man,” she said, disgust lacing her voice. “Killing someone does not indicate courage or bravery. It’s the will to find a peaceful solution that shows one’s true strength.”

Huh. He didn’t expect that one. Not from the princess of the people who were his sworn enemy. He lifted his hand to put pressure on his bleeding wound. “Releasing the Blade of Pestilence will not find you peace. It will lead to more war if you wish to use it to kill Crimeous.”

“Perhaps,” she said. “But like I said, our tactics have to change. If you help me release the Blade, I promise I will return your sister to Astaria unharmed.”

He realized he believed her. Although she was a Slayer and had just stabbed him in the chest, she betrayed a firm genuineness. “And what about your father? The raids we hold against your people? Surely you cannot ask me to journey with you to the Cave, knowing my army will attack your people in another fortnight.”

Her face contorted into a withering scowl. “Yes, of course. How terrible of me to deny you the sport of hunting and killing my people.”

Remembering his earlier visit to the dungeon, he shook his head. “And now look who’s stupid.”

“What does that mean?” she asked.

Choosing not to answer her, he continued. “We’re almost out of rations from our last raid. If we don’t obtain more Slayer blood over the next fortnight, my people will begin to starve. Ruler to ruler, what would you have me do?”

“My cousin, our army commander, has agreed to supply your compound with blood from the injured soldiers we currently have in our infirmary. He will bank it for you daily and deliver it to this spot while we travel to the Cave.”

“Well, you’ve just got it all figured out, don’t you?” he asked sarcastically.

“It’s better than continuing this madness that’s been going on for centuries, isn’t it?” she asked, her tone just as biting. “Surely you can agree that it can’t hurt to employ new tactics in this age-old war. I mean, ruler to ruler, right?” She placed her free hand on her hip and her eyebrows jutted up as she waited for him to answer. Snarky little minx, this one was.

“Even if I agreed to your plan, how could I guarantee that my sister would be safe? For all I know, you could have your guards murder her as soon as we leave on our journey.”

“You’ll just have to trust me, I guess.”

“Says the woman holding the eight-shooter to my chest.”

Ever so slowly she lowered the weapon to her side. “I don’t want to hurt her. I’m sure you understand that if you hurt me, she will be immediately killed. I am trusting you not to harm me until I have the Blade in my possession. After that, once you return to your compound and I return to mine, we can assess how cooperative we’ve been toward each other and chart a course forward.”

And just like that, Sathan thought, the world had gone insane. The Slayer princess was standing in front of him, asking for a truce so that they could work together to rescue the centuries-old blade that her grandfather used to kill his parents. Fucking insane.

But what was even more insane was that he was considering it. After all, he had become frustrated with the current state of events as well. This cycle of endless war and destruction had them on a constant loop with no end in sight. What if he could actually work with the princess to change the course of history?

“Your father is on board with this plan?” he asked.

“Yes.”

Studying her, he narrowed his eyes. “I am intrigued by your proposal, but I need to discuss it with my brothers. If we are going to move forward with this, I would ask that you turn my sister over to me and trust that I will keep my word. How am I supposed to trust you if you do not trust me in return?”

“Good try, but no fucking way,” she said, shaking her head. “This trust thing is going to go one way and one way only. You’ll trust me to keep her alive and you’ll earn my trust by helping me.”

“She is an inexperienced female not used to the world outside our walls. I worry for her health—”

“She’s doing just fine. All you men think that we women just sit around waiting for you to let us live our lives. Your sister is strong and has already threatened to kill me about a hundred times. She’s got more spirit than I’ve seen in half our soldiers. I don’t wish to hurt her and I won’t as long as you help me.”

His heart warmed at the thought of Arderin putting up such a brave fight against her captor. “I need twenty-four hours to discuss with my brothers. I will meet you back here then.”

“I want an answer now—”

“No,” he said, lowering his hand from his now-mended chest. Self-healing abilities really were amazing. “The fact that I’m even considering your plan is making me doubt my sanity. I need to discuss with my brothers, who are my closest advisors. If you can’t grant me that, then we are at an impasse.”

“Fine. I’ll give you until sunset tomorrow. I’ll be here. Don’t be late.”

With one last look at the impertinent little princess, he turned and exited through the wall. His brothers were going to think he’d gone mad for even considering this. Of that, he was sure.

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

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/ba2el2

Add it to your Goodreads or BookBub bookshelf:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42895210-the-end-of-hatred

https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-end-of-hatred-etherya-s-earth-book-1-by-rebecca-hefner

Link to the series on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2XxJyN7

What are people saying about The End of Hatred?

Absolutely one of the most interesting, well written, intriguing romance books that i’ve read in a long time. I’ve already ordered book 2. Quirky twists. Unexpected developments with surprisingly believable characters. Can’t believe that this is Rebecca’s first book! I await many more!!!” – Judy H. Eubanks, Amazon

This book has everything you want in an epic novel. Great love stories, battles. The history of all three immortal races, especially between the Vampyres and Slayers is very unique. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series.” – Jolyane Justice, Amazon

New favorite series! I loved this book. The story had me on the edge of my seat the whole read. There was so much action as well as great lead characters. The romance and character development between Sathan and Miranda was fun too! I cannot wait to read the second book!” – Sonya Genesius, Amazon

 

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this paranormal/fantasy romance! ♥

About Rebecca Hefner

Rebecca Hefner grew up in Western NC and now calls the Hudson River of NYC home. From a very young age she used to sneak into her mother’s bedroom and raid the bookshelf, falling in love with the stories of Judith McNaught, Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts. Years later that love of a good romance, with lots of great characters and conflicts, has extended to her other favorite authors such as J.R. Ward and Lisa Kleypas. Also a huge Game of Thrones and Star Wars fan, she loves an epic fantasy and a surprise twist (Luke, he IS your father).

Rebecca published her first book in November of 2018. Before that, she had an extensive twelve-year medical device sales career, where she fought to shatter the glass ceiling in a Corporate America world dominated by men. After saving up for years, she left her established career to follow the long, winding and scary path of becoming a full-time author. Due to her experience, you’ll find her books filled with strong, smart heroines on a personal journey to better themselves and fight sexism and misogyny at every turn. She would be thrilled to hear from fans any time at rebecca@rebeccahefner.com.

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

Website:  https://www.rebeccahefner.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RebHefnerAuthor

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

Amazon Author Page:  http://author.to/RebeccaHefner

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18637390.Rebecca_Hefner

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rebecca-hefner

Newsletter Sign-Up:  https://www.rebeccahefner.com/#news

 

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Miranda, a female character from The End of Hatred, and Rebecca Hefner, the brilliant author of the book, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Books, Character Interview, characters, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Cover Reveal Feature: Dopey Women by author Laura Barnard

I am pleased to announce a cover reveal by author Laura Barnard! Dopey Women is a fun romantic comedy that you just can’t miss. Look for the audio book to release soon! 🙂

Cover redesigns are very exciting for both authors and readers because we get to meet lots of new people, and a former book gets a cool makeover! So, check this one out if you can!

Let’s have a look at Laura’s novel today…

Nice cover!

This is the blurb for Dopey Women

From chemo… to cannabis… to chaos…

When Sadie and her colleagues find themselves out of a job and down on their luck, they know desperate times call for desperate measures.

What starts off as a crazy idea to sell marijuana to the ladies at her friend’s chemo sessions quickly spirals into a booming drug empire.

But they didn’t expect a sexy detective on their trail, suspicious neighbors, and drug dealers angry they’re working on their patch.

Can Sadie pull them out of this dangerous world they’ve found themselves in? And can she do it before they end up in prison?

How about an excerpt?

Ooh! Looks intriguing! 😉

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome tale! Or add it to your Goodreads TBR list…

Laura is also running a cool Facebook giveaway, with the chance to win a signed paperback, just to thank everyone for spreading the word about her cover makeover! ♥♥♥

Purchase Links:

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

Amazon:  mybook.to/DopeyW

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44102222-dopey-women

Thanks for giving us a sneak peek at this book, Laura! It looks like quite a ride! 😀

Author Bio

Amazon Best Seller Laura Barnard lives in Hertfordshire, UK and writes romantic comedy or ‘chick lit’ as it’s so often described. In her spare time she enjoys drinking her body weight in tea, indulging in cupcakes the size of her face and drooling over hunks like Jamie Dornan, Ryan Gosling and Leo Dicaprio.

She enjoys wearing yoga pants and reading fitness magazines while sitting on the sofa eating chocolate. She’s a real fan of the power nap, loves setting her friends up together and, of course, READING!

She writes not to get rich or famous, but because she LOVES writing. Even if one person tells her they enjoyed her book, this makes the midnight typing worth it!

Author Links

Website:  https://www.laurabarnardbooks.co.uk/

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

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Laura-Barnard/e/B00E4WTI26/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3490836.Laura_Barnard

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

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

 

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

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

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Books, Contemporary, contest, cover reveal, Event, Fiction, giveaway, Mystery, Readers, Romance, romantic comedy, Women's Fiction

Book Feature: Loving Justice by author Sable Hunter

I am pleased to announce a great book by Sable Hunter, an author I met during my journey! She’s stopping by to tell us about her steamy contemporary western romance, Loving Justice, which released back in 2015!

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

Sable is allowing us a look at a hot western romance, Loving Justice, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Loving Justice, book two of El Camino Real Series:

Justice King and Charlee Parker are best friends…or they were until the day her feelings changed and she fell madly, hopelessly in love with him.
He didn’t feel the same way. And who could blame him? Justice King was perfect.
He could have any woman he wanted.
And she was just Charlee – a flat-chested tomboy with her heart in her eyes.
But some things are just meant to be.
Some are luckier than most. Soulmates, friends as well as lovers.
When fate begins to weave a thread of hope to bring them together, they go from an ill-fated night of passion to a misunderstanding which separates them for eight long years.
But destiny will not be denied – a calamity at El Camino brings Charlee home and from the moment he sees her, Justice knows he’ll never let her go again.
But Charlee has a secret…a secret she’s afraid to tell Justice. She’s been keeping something from him, something he might not be able to forgive.

**CONTENT WARNING: This book contains adult situations and language and is not intended for an audience under the age of 18**

Release Date: January 21, 2015

Genre: Steamy contemporary romance, western romance

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

“I can’t believe you drank too much. This isn’t like you.” When he grunted and grumbled under his breath, she retorted, “Yea, I’m fussing a little. Sue me.”

“Just help me upstairs, boss.” His voice held that teasing note she’d heard so often years ago.

“Don’t you want me to fix you something to eat first?”

A groan was her answer to that question. “We’re alone,” he announced. The house was deserted. His parents and the twins, Trace and Trevor, were in Austin with Abby. All the rest of the boys were at school. Apparently, Abby had insisted her injury be downplayed to such an extent that most of the family was going about their normal routine.

“Don’t worry, your virtue is safe with me.” She did some teasing of her own. The second and fifth stair creaked like normal. Charlee didn’t need to be told where Justice’s room was located. She’d snuck up these stairs or shimmed up the drain pipe to his window more times than she could count while growing up. “Let’s get you into bed,” she winced, he was getting heavier by the second.

“Sounds good to me,” Justice murmured. “I’m beat.”

“You’ll feel better soon,” she assured him, checking the thermostat, making sure his room was warm enough for him. He obediently stood next to the big four poster bed, looking to her like a cross between a sexy teddy bear and an Old West desperado. Justice always reminded her of Chris Pine in a cowboy hat.

“You smell good, like a woman.”

Charlee had to laugh. “You are drunk.” At his snort, she added, “At least something about me is womanly.” It sure wasn’t her shape. Charlee’s unfortunate chest was as flat as a board.

“There’s not a damn thing wrong with you.” His voice was low and raspy.

Charlee shivered. “Never mind. Let me get the covers turned back and I’ll help you get your boots off.” This wasn’t the first time she’d helped him to bed. Of course, the other times he’d been hurting with one of those damn headaches he was plagued with.

“I think I need help with the rest of my clothes.”

His whisper sounded a little suggestive and Charlee blushed from her nose to her toes. “I think you need a cold shower.” She made light of his comment. Charlee had seen Justice flirt many times, but she’d never been the recipient. She’d always been relegated to the role of best buddy.

“Will you take one with me?”

“A shower?” She choked back a laugh. Was he tormenting her on purpose? “Not a good idea.” Charlee fluffed the pillows and turned on the bedside lamp, anything to keep her eyes off the handsome hunk who was unbuttoning his shirt and eyeing her like she was a tasty treat. How many times had she dreamed of this moment? The only problem was – the Jose Cuervo was talking, not Justice.

“Come here. I need to hold you.”

The teasing tone had left his voice completely. This sexy Justice was almost more than she could handle. “Hush. Let me help you. You’re making a mess.” She stepped close to him, her whole body quivering at the sight of his gorgeous chest, lightly furred, muscles rippling as he struggled with the shirt which was behind him, still fastened at the cuffs.

While she was so near and he was otherwise occupied, Charlee dared to do something she’d only dreamed about. She placed a small quick kiss over his heart and felt hers jump in her chest.

“That’s good. Now kiss me up here.”

Caught. She lifted her eyes and he was staring at her with unmistakable heat. “Sorry.”

“God, don’t be. I need you.” He tossed the shirt across the room and began tugging at his pants. “Damned buttons.”

“Justice, you don’t want me.” The words slipped from her lips unbidden even as her hands joined his, tugging to get his belt out of the loops.

“Yes, I do. I want you. I need you.” He bent his head and she felt his lips on her neck. “Feel.”

He took her hand and moved it below his waist – and he was right. She could feel him big and hard. For her? Not possible. Unable to rest, she shyly cupped him, marveling at the way he throbbed in her hand. “I’m not your type, you said so. Remember?” Each word tore a little bit of her pride away.

“You’re my friend. A guy isn’t supposed to lust after his friend. But I can’t help it.” His words were still a bit slurred, punctuated by kisses as he licked a path from her cheek to her collarbone. “Don’t think I’ve missed those hot little nipples pressing against your shirt, or that wild flush on your cheeks when we sit close. You want me, Parker.”

“We don’t always get what we want, Justice.” Charlee tried to muster up some fight, some strength to push away his hands. But she couldn’t. She had wanted him forever. By age fifteen, she’d been aware of Justice as a man and by the time she was eighteen, she’d burned for him.

“I do, I’m not afraid to reach out and take what I want when I see it.”

God, he was potent. “All I’ve ever wanted was for you to be happy,” she offered as she tilted her head to give him access. Frissons of excitement covered her skin.

“I want your soft touches, like how you used to caress my forehead when I was sick. Now, I want you to whimper for the pleasure I can give you.”

Right on cue, she moaned for him as he skated his hands up under her shirt. “Justice,” she gasped his name in prayer.

“Your skin is like toffee-colored silk and your hair drives me mad.” He ran his fingers through the long, thick chocolate colored waterfall.

“It does?” Charlee was losing her mind. This was surreal. His hands were now working on her clothes, soon she would be naked in his arms.

“Yea, I love the taste of you. Sugar cookies. You’re sweet on my tongue.” Justice kissed her neck again, this time sucking a bit of soft flesh between his teeth. God, he was so excited, he was seeing stars. “Are you gonna let me love you?”

Did she have a choice? Her mind might be wary but her body was melting at his touch.

Justice slipped an arm around Charlee and lifted her to him, his other hand making quick work of the remainder of their clothes. Wrapping Charlee’s hair around his fist, he pulled her head back and claimed her lips with his own.

Their first kiss.

Purchase Links:

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

Woo! ♥♥♥ Love how sexy this is. (Fans herself.) Seems like a sizzling read!

So, what are readers saying about this novel?

Great read! A second chance at love with your best friend. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Charlee Parker comes from a life that taught her to be strong the hard way, but when things got too much she ran. She left it all behind, especially the love of her life, Justice King.
Justice lost a part of himself when Charlee left town, and worst of all, he didn’t know why she left. But when she returns and he finds out the reason she left, he doubles his efforts to win her back for good…
” – Chrys Anthi, Amazon

“Books by Sable are always amazing! loved this story of Justice and Charlie! They were meant to be together.
There hasn’t been a Sable Hunter book I haven’t liked. You fall in love with the characters.
And her knowledge of the histories of the places they live in is so cool. I love that little history lesson in each of her books.
” – TammyS329, Amazon

“So beautifully written. Words cannot begin to express how much I loved this book. Sable has a way with words like no other. I fell in love with the characters in this book right away. I’m hoping I will get all the King brothers stories. This book is for anyone who loves true romance. ” – Amanda Smith, Amazon

Thank you for telling us about your book, Sable! I know I can’t wait to read this contemporary western romance!

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

Author Bio

Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 60 books in 9 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Sable writes what she likes to read and enjoys putting her fantasies on paper. Her books are emotional tales in which the heroine is faced with challenges. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Sable resides in Austin, Texas with her two dogs. Passionate about all animals, she has been known to charm creatures from a one ton bull to a family of raccoons. For fun, Sable haunts cemeteries and battlefields armed with night-vision cameras and digital recorders hunting proof that love survives beyond the grave. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy, to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream.
Author Links:
Website:  http://www.sablehunter.com/  
Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/qRvyn
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorsablehunter/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/huntersable
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Sable-Hunter/e/B007B3KS4M/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4419823.Sable_Hunter
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sable-hunter

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

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Readers, Romance, steamy, western, Writing

Book Feature: Texas Maverick by authors Sable Hunter & Ryan O’Leary

I am pleased to announce a great book by Sable Hunter and Ryan O’Leary, two authors I met during my journey! They’re stopping by to tell us about their steamy western military romance, Texas Maverick, which released back in 2016!

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

Sable and Ryan are allowing us a look at a sexy military romance, Texas Maverick, today.

Nice cover!

This is the blurb for Texas Maverick:

Maverick Cross is a Texas hero, not the flashy kind, he’s a war veteran who served his country overseas and now serves it at home as an Austin firefighter. To look at him – and women love to look – he’s a ripped athlete who takes care of himself and has it all together.
Only his next door neighbor knows the truth; Maverick suffers from PTSD.
Everly Winterfell is almost invisible, blending into the crowd is fine by her. She’s a hero too, not the kind who wears a cape, but the kind who isn’t afraid to dig for the truth and expose it for all to see. Everly’s alter ego is Eve Winters, an award winning journalist who doesn’t seek the limelight, she’s content with writing stories that change people’s lives without drawing any attention to herself.
Nothing much escapes Everly, she has a talent for seeing beneath the surface, reading people for who they really are. From her vantage point in Apartment #701, she has learned that the occupant in #702 is lonely. He has a habit of pushing people away before they can get too close, especially women. Maverick can offer a woman great sex, Everly can vouch for that fact. The walls are thin between #701 and #702 and many nights she has lain there wishing she was on the receiving end of his attention. He’s intrigued by his odd little neighbor, who seems to want to be his wingman and he has no idea that her ulterior motive is to be his friend. After some negotiations, they strike a deal – she’ll find him women who know the score, who won’t expect more than he can give, and in return he’ll see if he can advise her on how to attract a man for herself. To facilitate their odd arrangement, they install a chalkboard on the narrow wall separating their front doors, leaving messages about their shared adventures.
The more time they spend together, the less important finding dates for the other becomes. Everly and Maverick discover they share a chemistry that’s off the charts, they can’t keep their hands off one another. There’s only one problem – Maverick has no idea Everly is his secret obsession, Eve Winters. Sometimes what we need is right in front of our face. Sometimes what we’re looking for is right next door…

**CONTENT WARNING: This book contains adult language and sexual situations. It is intended for ages 18+ ONLY**

Release Date: July 15, 2016

Genre: Steamy contemporary romance, western romance, military romance

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

“Maverick, it’s me. Everly.”

He opened his eyes, expecting to see flashes of gunfire and explosions from IED’s. Instead, he looked into delicate features, eyes warm with concern. “Everly?”

“You were dreaming,” she whispered.

Fuck, he was dreaming now. “What are you doing here?”

She kept her hand on Maverick, seeking to soothe him. “I heard you through the wall.” Rising, she stood next to the bed. “Do you want some water before I go?”

“Did I hurt you?” He grabbed her hand, pulling her back down to sit on the bed.

She twined her fingers with his. “No, of course not.”

“Don’t go.” His hand came up to weave itself in her hair. “Where’s the whale spout, Tink?”

“What are you doing?” she whispered as his other hand skimmed up under her shirt, caressing the soft skin of her back.

“I need you,” he pulled her head down until their lips met.

Now Everly thought she was the one who must be dreaming. Could this be real? His mouth moved on hers, a gentle graze that made it hard to breathe. She wanted to kiss him back so badly she could die.

“Open.”

His demand made every nerve ending in her body spark to life. There was no way on God’s green earth she could resist this man, she wanted him too much. Tentatively, she responded to his strength, his passion. Parting her lips, she touched the tip of her tongue to his and he groaned, pulling her to the bed beside him. Everly’s blood raced through her veins. She craved him – she craved his touch and she craved to touch him. Clutching his shoulders, she began to kiss him back with desperate intensity.

Her surrender seemed to free something within him. Maverick began to devour her lips and she trembled as his big hands roamed all over her body. Never had she been kissed this way. His mouth on hers was the single most wonderful thing that had ever happened to her.

A haze of desire clouded Maverick’s brain. Her body was soft and warm as his mouth blazed a trail across her face and down her throat. When his lips brushed the pulse point that betrayed her excitement, he knew he wanted more.

(this section was edited out for this post because it was too hot for ILRB…LOL!)

Maverick pulled her into his embrace, the act of release seeming to give him peace. Everly held him close, marveling at what had transpired. A small smile played on her lips. Tingles of elation mixed with shivers of remorse. He’d been in the throes of a nightmare when she’d come to his bed, offering him comfort. Oh, he’d taken it all right. The only problem was that Everly wasn’t sure this was something he’d have done in any other circumstance.

Easing out from under him, she made a grab for her shirt, pulling it over her head. When he didn’t move, she felt around in the bed for her panties, but found nothing. “Dang it,” she whispered, then froze when he moved again, his hand running over the covers. Was he looking for her?

No matter, he wouldn’t find her.

Coward that she was, Everly Winterfell backed out of Maverick’s room and retreated to the safety of her own apartment.

The cold light of day would tell the tale. If what they’d done together meant something to him, he’d let her know.

And if it didn’t….

Well, she’d deal with that when the time came.

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bPZ7EA

OMG! ♥♥♥ Love how steamy this is. (Fans herself.) Seems like quite a read!

So, what are readers saying about this novel?

These two have an interesting relationship; funny, confusing, no matter what they have each other’s backs, misunderstandings, and lots of making up. It is a very good story and one I would recommend reading.” – Linda Knott, Amazon

While I’ve never been to Austin, I feel like I know the city from reading this latest release in the Texas Heroes series.
Everly is the kind of person we all should want to be – loving, kind, outgoing, artistic, talented, with a heart of pure gold. She and Maverick are next door neighbors but don’t really know each other until she offers to help him with his lady problems. He can’t seem to keep a girl more than one night and she’s sure she can help him with that. But along the way, they develop a deeply honest friendship. Of course there are bumps and bruises along the way, but in true Sable Hunter/Ryan O’Leary fashion, they eventually reach their HEA.
If you’ve never read Sable Hunter, this is an excellent place to start. In my opinion, she never disappoints the reader and always leaves you wanting more.
” – Shirley, Amazon

“Another home run! Sable Hunter and her co-writer Ryan O’Leary are at the top of my auto buy list. With every book, they continue to set the bar higher and higher. This book is well written with a fully developed plot and intriguing characters. In many of Sable’s books the hero and his love ignite sparks from the get go. This book deviates from that a bit in that Maverick and Everly start out as friends and develop deeper feelings as their relationship progresses. Sometimes what you have always wanted and needed is right in front of your face. The heat factor is high as usual, and as an added bonus the authors include very detailed descriptions of the Austin area. I loved this book!!!” – Mamiecj, Amazon

Thank you for telling us about your book, Sable and Ryan! I know I can’t wait to read this sizzling western military romance!

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

Author Bio

Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 60 books in 9 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Sable writes what she likes to read and enjoys putting her fantasies on paper. Her books are emotional tales in which the heroine is faced with challenges. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Sable resides in Austin, Texas with her two dogs. Passionate about all animals, she has been known to charm creatures from a one ton bull to a family of raccoons. For fun, Sable haunts cemeteries and battlefields armed with night-vision cameras and digital recorders hunting proof that love survives beyond the grave. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy, to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream.
Author Links:
Website:  http://www.sablehunter.com/  
Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/qRvyn
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorsablehunter/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/huntersable
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Sable-Hunter/e/B007B3KS4M/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4419823.Sable_Hunter
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sable-hunter

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

 

Author Bio

Rarely will you find Ryan O’Leary in a state of rest; if he’s not on the ice or kicking around a soccer ball, he’s plotting his next story or out on the town with friends. His fun and flirty nature makes it possible for him to write the kind of romance that makes the reader both smile and tingle.

Author Links

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/team_oleary

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/Ryan-OLeary/e/B00BEJ2NUQ/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6074123.Ryan_O_Leary

 

Thanks again, Sable and Ryan! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Military Romance, Readers, Romance, steamy, western, Writing

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

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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Filed under Action & Adventure, Authors, Blogging, Book News, Book Release, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, MC and biker romance, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Writers, Writing

A Character Interview with Abigail from LADY SAVES THE DUKE plus a conversation with author Annabelle Anders!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed David Russell’s 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 Annabelle Anders, the author of Lady Saves the Duke, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Abigail Wright, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Annabelle in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Abigail!

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

Character Miss Abigail Wright:  Thank you for allowing me to visit, Marie.

Marie:  It’s my pleasure!

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

Abigail:  Of course.

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

Abigail:  I’m taking care of my parents in their home. Am I good at it? I hope so. I’ve disappointed them greatly. Do I like taking care of them? Some aspects, yes. Others, not so much. I wish they appreciated me a little more, but I won’t fall into self-pity over it. I’ve been a trial for them.

Marie:  Okay.

Tell us…what is your family like?

Abigail:  My mother takes to her bed often enough and my father drinks. I’m an only child but I have a wonderful cousin, Penelope! She is also my best friend.

Marie:  😦 That must be tough to handle, but I’m glad you have your cousin.

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

Abigail:  Not a large estate, by any means. It’s been in my father’s family for years. Since he failed to produce a son, however, it will pass to a distant relative eventually.

Marie:  All right.

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

Abigail:  I love to sew. What do I enjoy doing? Singing in the church choir. Visiting neighbors. Assisting those in need.

Marie: Nice!

So, what is your greatest dream?

Abigail:  To see my children again. (Spoiler alert!)

Marie:  I see…

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

Abigail:  A good mother. A good daughter. What is stopping me? My own gracelessness. And bad luck. I seem to have an abundance of that.

Marie: Aww. Surely not…

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

Who was your first love?

Abigail:  Alex, of course.

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?

Abigail:  I cannot say. It is not something one ever speaks of.

Marie:  😥 All right…I’m sure there’s a story here, but I won’t push.

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

[Abigail 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?

Abigail:  To be a mother, a wife. Have a loving family. Did I achieve that dream? Of course! This is a romance, isn’t it? 😉

It was better than I could have hoped for. Unfortunately, it was also worse than I ever imagined.

Marie:  Intriguing…

So, who is your role model, Abigail?

Abigail:  Ah…perhaps Penelope? But, mostly any person who lives an upstanding life and is happy and loved.

Marie:  Sounds good to me!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Abigail:  No. I like everybody.

Marie:  Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Abigail:  To hold my children.

Marie: And your greatest fear?

Abigail:  Being alone and unloved.

Marie: That’s understandable. I think a lot of people 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, Abigail. 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 Annabelle Anders on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Annabelle!

Author Annabelle Anders:  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 female character from your story, Abigail Wright. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us about her?

Annabelle:  Abigail always tries to do what is best. She doesn’t expect much for herself.

Marie:  Okay.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Annabelle:  Unfailing optimism.

Marie:  Nice!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Annabelle:  The same. Her optimism.

Marie:  Oh, I see… 😦

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Abigail’s favorite foods?

Annabelle:  Abigail likes sweets. As a spinster she doesn’t deny herself when they are offered. She doesn’t see the point.

Marie:  Sounds delicious!

How about another question?

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

Annabelle:  Strength of character. The ability to always see the best in people.

Marie:  All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Annabelle:  I think everybody likes Abigail. Because even though she seems like a goodie two shoes, she’s not afraid to grab hold of a chance a happiness when it’s offered her.

Marie:  Awesome! 😀

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

What first gave you the idea for Lady Saves the Duke?

Annabelle:  It picks up from a scene in A Lady’s Prerogative. My mind filled in parts of that scene and the book was born.

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?

Annabelle:  Keeping the story moving. Am I a pantster or a plotter? Pantser.

Marie:  How about another question?

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

Annabelle:  Everything went pretty well. I’m finally getting this figured out. LOL.

Marie:  Well, I’m glad! There are definitely some confusing parts of the publishing journey!

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 Lady Saves the Duke appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this historical romance by Annabelle Anders, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Lady Saves the Duke, book three of the Lord Love A Lady Series:

The duke must decide.  Should he make this mouse a respectable offer?  She’s harmless, really. Marrying her shouldn’t upend his life…  

Miss Abigail Wright, disillusioned spinster, hides her secret pain behind encouraging smiles and optimistic laughter. Self-pity, she believes, is for the truly wretched. So when her mother insists she attend a house party–uninvited–she determines to simply make the best of it…until an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction.

Alex Cross, the “Duke of Ice,” has more than earned the nickname given him by the ton. He’s given up on happiness but will not reject sensual pleasure. After all, a man has needs.

The week ought to have been pleasantly uneventful for both of them, with nature walks, parlor games, and afternoon teas on the terrace…but for some inferior stitchery on poor Abigail’s bodice.

And now the duke is faced with a choice. Should he make this mouse a respectable offer and then abandon her to his country estate? She’s rather pathetic and harmless, really. Oughtn’t to upset his life whatsoever.

His heart, however, is another matter…

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

“I am going to count to three, very slowly. You must take your leave while you have the chance, Your Grace, for if you are still here by the time I have finished counting, I warn you that I shall accept your proposal and you will leave here an engaged man. I only have so much self-discipline, you see, and part of me sees you as quite the answer to all of my problems.

“I am warning you…

“One…

“Two…

“Two and a half…” Oh, lord, he still had not moved.

Abigail dropped her hands. “Three,” she said.

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

Purchase Links:

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

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43557465-lady-saves-the-duke

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

What are people saying about Lady Saves the Duke?

“I want to praise Annabelle for writing a curvy heroine with stretch marks and all. We need more like this.” – from the Sassy Book Lover Review Blog

 

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

About Annabelle Anders

Married to the same man for over 25 years, I am a mother to three children and two Miniature Wiener dogs. After owning a business and experiencing considerable success, my husband and I got caught in the financial crisis and lost everything; our business, our home, even our car.

At this point, I put my B.A. in Poly Sci to use and took work as a waitress and bartender.
Unwilling to give up on a professional life, I simultaneously went back to college and obtained a degree in Energy Management.
And then the energy market dropped off.
And then my dog died.
I can only be grateful for this series of unfortunate events, for, with nothing to lose and completely demoralized, I sat down and began to write the romance novels which had until then, existed only in my imagination.
I am happy to have found my place in life.
Finally.

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

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

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AnnabellReadLuv/
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Annabelle-Anders/e/B073ZLRB3F/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16889537.Annabelle_Anders   

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/annabelle-anders

 

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Abigail, a female character from Lady Saves the Duke, and Annabelle Anders, 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, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Historical, Historical Romance, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

A Character Interview with Selene from SELF’S BLOSSOM plus a conversation with author David Russell!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Kat Schuessler’s 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 David Russell, the author of Self’s Blossom, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Selene, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to David in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Selene!

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

Character Selene:  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?

Selene:  Sure.

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

Selene:  I’m an upmarket journalist, and I feel I have proved myself by my brainpower and tenacity.

Marie:  Okay.

 

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Selene:  Rather stern, authoritarian and self-righteous, but with a strong sense of justice.

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

Selene:  Very spick and span; they always made me tidy up my chaos.

Marie:  I see.

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

Selene:  Lots of sports, writing, music.

Marie:  Nice!

So, what is your greatest dream?

Selene:  To be free from material care, to have the run of a palace, to have a tryst with an intellectual, body beautiful.

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

Selene:  I would like to be warmer, more outgoing, and more spontaneous.

Marie:  I hear ya there! In real life, I have my introverted moments…

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

Who was your first love?

Selene:  Someone I knew at university, with whom I was rapidly disillusioned.

Marie:  Oh, I’ve been through that kind of thing. 😦

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?

Selene:  An abortion.

Marie:  Oh, no! 😥 Sorry to hear you experienced that…

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

[Selene 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?

Selene:  I guess I wanted to be a tycoon or a megastar. I didn’t get that far, but I feel I’ve made a fair success of my life.

Marie:  All right.

So, who is your role model, Selene?

Selene:  I have several – Eva Peron, Hilary Clinton, Kate Winslet, Madonna, Virginia Woolf.

Marie:  Okay.

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Selene:  I have had associates and rivals in my working life whom I have had to admire, but whose vicious side is very apparent.

Marie:  Yikes! :/ That’s unfortunate…

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Selene:  For all humanity to hold me in loving memory.

Marie:  And what is your greatest fear?

Selene:  A crippling injury.

Marie:  Okay.

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, Selene. 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 David Russell on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, David!

Author David Russell:  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, Selene. Quite an intriguing character. Can you tell us about her?

David:  She is the sort of woman who has always fascinated me – aloof, mysterious, reflective, inhibited.

Marie:  Okay.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

David:  A cool, clear, analytical mind, a sense of circumspection.

Marie:  And your character’s greatest weaknesses?

David:  She is sometimes unable to act spontaneously.

Marie:  Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Selene’s favorite foods?

David:  Avocados and pasta dishes.

Marie:  Great!

How about another question?

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

David:  Psychic vision.

Marie:  Wow, love it! 😉

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

David:  Some readers have expressed the deepest admiration for her courage and determination; others have expressed a dislike for her apparent coldness and cynicism. Some have said they were fascinated by her fictional role, but would not like to meet her in real life.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) She sounds complicated!

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

What first gave you the idea for Self’s Blossom?

David:  A female writer friend of mine wrote a sizzling romance which inspired me. The title was evoked by the idea of a beautiful experience, through which a character could blossom forth.

Marie:  Cool.

Let’s try something else.

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

David:  Definitely a pantster.

Marie:  How about another question?

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

David:  This work had several editions. The first was as a limited edition (50 copies) paperback. When that publisher folded, I still had the Word doc file, and had a succession of e-book publishers. The last of these went out of business, so I regained the copyright. All my titles are now online under my name.

Marie:  Glad it’s working out now! ♥

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 Self’s Blossom appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this erotic romance by David Russell, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Self’s Blossom.

A romantic, erotic tale of a vivid portrayal of the quest for the inner truth, empowerment and sexual liberation of Selene, a woman searching for primeval abandon and reckless adventure. Intelligent, a university graduate and a successful careerist, Selene became emotionally scarred by unhappy relationships. Riled and taunted through the years by her former college roommate Janice, Selene gave in to the long-term desire to ‘get one back’ at Janice by having a passionate holiday encounter. Immediately drawn to the sea and enthralled by its brutal yet sensual waves, Selene seduces a young boy on a deserted beach. Once she comes to meet the mature and powerful Hudson, Selene finally begins to claim her sensual destiny. Through a slow process, accentuated by Selene’s shyness, introspection and circumspection, she embarks on a long and elaborate interplay of leading on and rejection. The volcanic passion builds until there is a blazing row. A possible drowning, the final ritual undressing at long last, leads to the ultimate flowering of the woman Selene was meant to be. Included in Self’s Blossom are: Blossom Reburgeoning Selene, a little older but still well-preserved, decides to retrace the steps of her holiday. Up-to-date in spirit, she procures a companion through the internet, and in the key scenes, she opts for alternatives to the choices she made on her first expedition. She feels enriched by her experience, and her sense of satisfaction removed her inhibitions from expressing her bisexuality. Spatial Dimensions Selene becomes so fascinated by the Moon Goddess that bears her name, that she imagines and wills herself into becoming a goddess, to go on an ethereal quest, embracing space and time travel, with concomitant ecstatic fulfillment. Sci-fi embraces ancient mythology!

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

Healthy fatigue, laced with a dash of depression, clouded over her. Maybe that first encounter with the ocean had been premature. Now, in sharp contrast to it, the “synthetic” warmth of the “artificially” fresh shower was really welcome. After changing into a pale-blue diaphanous negligee, she washed out and rinsed her daytime clothes. There were ample towel rails to hang them in the bathroom; they would soon dry in this heat. There was a sun ray lamp near the bed―somewhat gratuitous, she thought. But it certainly showed that they provided all mod cons here. Lying on the bed, she flipped through a few pages of her guidebook before partly dozing off.

Half asleep, she pondered on the aura she projected. She knew how good her body was, toned up by lots of squash and swimming at her health club. Yes, she should have worked in a bit of time at the solarium too. But the gadgetry was right there in her room to speed up the healthy, natural processes. Over the years, she had gone so far towards creating a magnetic but practically unassailable image. It had grown easy for her to deter any undesired approaches from civilized men while sustaining their admiration and their cooperation as safe escorts. And for those not so civilized, her implicit, ever-latent venom and a ready supply of other admirers to play off against the troublesome had always proved satisfactory. On this holiday, she was convinced that she would not be so safely and comfortably outnumbered. Strangely enough, this thought heartened her. It was essential for her to have some comparables, some implicit rivals around―women of beauty, grace and vitality―so that she could get a fair, clear sense of her own measure. That foursome had given her a taste of what she wanted. All fantasies should be put to the test with scrupulous honesty.

As the sky turned a deep purple, seared by the moon’s beaming clarity, Selene’s room expanded. The walls pulled back, the ceiling rose, and the floor lowered to make a gigantic suite, richly carpeted and curtained in the deep, late twilight. There were lots of tables and cupboards but plenty of room to maneuver. With a flourish of the deep-green curtains, her young, slim, tanned lover tiptoed in through the balcony window, wearing khaki shorts and a white singlet. Selene unbuckled the shorts and pulled them down, stripping him down to black bathing trunks so that he, in style, could help her off with her rustling, glistening, shimmering ball gown. With gentle, knowing hands, he undid her back zip and then turned to face her. He unclasped the waist to part the airy dress until gravity drew it down to caress the carpet as a parabola, a floral parachute. Two-way unrobing, active and passive interlocked by two pairs of deft hands, while in the background, in reverie, water lapped, linking dream and wakefulness. Dreams can be worked out and realized, she thought. If things are well prepared and drawn out, the most could be made of them. The way could be paved for every touch. Grateful for her full wardrobe, Selene could hold herself in reserve until the time was ripe. She knew how to take her time with what she did and what she showed, control it all completely. Full-dress, half-dress, undressall the garments she had she could use to draw, to thrust, and to parry. Let nobody approach her who was not adequate, nor let anyone fail to respond to her or cool his response in a way she did not care for.

All these thoughts invigorated Selene, and a full-length mirror called her to practice her postures. The negligee fell aside. On went her dark-blue, lacy underwear, a pale-blue slip, and over it, her evening dress. She moved around gently, making the dress rustle, then swirled on her left foot. The skirts rose high; her shapely limbs feasted her eyes at three angles. After the rise and fall, she undid it with ease, stepped over it to avoid crushing and picked it up and returned it to its hanger. The underwear was laid neat and flat on the bedside chair. Irons and airing cupboards could singe and scald if turned up too high, but within their limits, they formed a prelude and a backdrop to the finest caresses.

As the neon-looking sun ray lamp played with her skin, thoughts of him wafted again into Selene’s mind. Whoever it was, she sensed that she had seen him already without fully registering him. At this very moment, he must be surveying himself in an identical mirror―slender, muscular and lovely, proud and supple in his new trunks, making ready for the hotel pool or for the private beach, to meet for their first tense introduction in undress. A telepathic answer must be given to that gesture. Selene snapped off the lightnot wishing then and there to see herself fully nude in the mirror. She dived into the drawer, reaching for her mauve, one-piece bathing costume. This she pulled on, feeling an exhilarating double sense of revelation and concealment. On went the light again. Now she would be the adjudication panel of her own beauty contest. The costume smoothed the curves and magnetized what it covered. Her exercising had paid off. Her beauty was near completion in her own eyes. Tomorrow, maybe, the real process would begin. She changed back into her negligee, accepting its allure and functional comfort. Tomorrow she would appraise the selection. There were, perhaps, different standards of men fitted for affairs of briefer or longer durationa sliding scale of transitory compatibility.

And some teasers!

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

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/m0MKzy

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7844461-self-s-blossom

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

About David Russell

b. 1940. Resident in the UK. Writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Main poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998); poems published in online International Times. Eco poetry collection, An Ever River, published by The Palewell Press, 2018. Main speculative works High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005). Translation of Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. Romances: Dreamtime Sensuality I & II: Explorations; Further Explorations; Pearlman, Self’s Blossom – all available on Amazon. Self-published collection of erotic poetry and artwork, Sensual Rhapsody, 2015. Singer-songwriter/guitarist. Main CD albums Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many tracks on You Tube, under ‘Dave Russell’. Editor of online magazine Poetry Express Newsletter, produced by Survivors Poetry and Music.

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

Website/Blog:  http://davidrussell-author.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/david.russell.777158

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/David-Russell/e/B0043NEBI2/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7182827.David_Russell

 

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Selene, a female character from Self’s Blossom, and David Russell, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

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