Tag Archives: supernatural

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Lily Bastien from LILY’S MIRAGE, a HELL YEAH! book by Sable Hunter

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

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

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

 

Meet Lily

Writers are totally at the mercy of inspiration. Without it, there would be no stories, or if there were, they’d be flat and formulistic, cookie-cutter pieces of cardboard, empty of soul and life. My hope is to never be guilty of such a tragedy.

As a writer, I’m prone to flights of fancy. I fantasize. I dream. My greatest joy is taking a single image from a movie or ten words from a song and transforming that small whisper into an eighty-thousand word confession of the soul. Sometimes that whisper of an idea will haunt me, coloring my dreams and fueling my thoughts.

As a chronic insomniac, I have many hours of solitude. The time between dusk and dawn can seem like an eternity. When I’m lucky, I can use that endless night to give birth to a character, a conflict, a climax – a seed, that if I’m lucky, will grow and bloom into a portrait of love.

This is what happened with Lily. The idea of her story glimmered to life on one of my dark nights. I could see her face. I could hear her voice. At the time we were first introduced, in LOVE FOUND A WAY – another of my vision children – I didn’t know much about her. All I did know was that she fascinated me. In the scene where she was introduced, as Glory Bee Hudson’s childhood friend, we find out that Lily is dying.

Okay, maybe I’m more than a little preoccupied with death. Even though I write romance novels, ALL with an HEA (happily-ever-after), I still manage to work in my own phobias and concerns in a somewhat cathartic fashion. I’ve often congratulated myself that I have the privilege of making a living with the same tool that I use to battle my demons. For example, in HEAD OVER SPURS, I addressed the problem that has reoccurred in my life now, an inability to shut my eyes and surrender to sleep.

I digress.

We learn that Lily is dying, she has a glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. She’s already endured treatment and been granted the godly version of three wishes in the form of three remissions. Lily has been told there will be no more.

I complicated the situation by making Lily the owner of Charlotte’s Art Gallery in New Orleans. Charlotte was a beloved character in one of my historical novels and it excited me for her story to continue into the present day. This plot twist presented a wealth of opportunity, for Charlotte was a marvel, a woman ahead of her time, a brave soul who stood up for what was right and risked her life to protect a talented artist, a freed slave, during a time when doing so broke laws and infuriated those who did not believe in the equality of the races. Even though Lily possesses Charlotte’s diary and many of the paintings that made up her original collection, there is so much about her that Lily doesn’t know. To spice things up even further, the gallery is located next to a mysterious shop, owned by a hoodoo practicing descendant of Charlotte’s, by the name of Bliss. As Lily lives and works where Charlotte once lived, she begins to feel a kinship with the long-dead woman, even seeing her ghost at times.

At least Lily thinks she’s seeing Charlotte’s ghost. Flora, Lily’s sister, is convinced Lily is having hallucinations as a result of her brain tumor.

Lily is extremely frustrated because her sister doesn’t believe her.

At the time I created the character of Lily, I had no plans to save her. Hell, it would take a miracle. I can write miracles, but I insist a grain of truth be present to substantiate the surprising occurrence. Yes, I see you out there – those of you who have read HER MAGIC TOUCH, but I will defend that work by saying that I have met a traiteur (Cajun faith healer) and that my Mama and two decades of attending a Southern Baptist church assures me that I have a guardian angel. I’m sure my personal GA is beyond frustrated, but I hope he keeps up the good work.

ANYWAY, Lily’s predicament, who she was and what would happen to her began to gnaw at me. The pivotal scene was born: a woman, about to undergo risky surgery for a brain tumor, is convinced by her family that the man she’s been telling them about, the man she’s in love with, is a mirage. There’s no use waiting for him to come as he promised to be by her bedside, because he isn’t real. He’s just a product of the cancer destroying her brain cells. Wow.

I tried to imagine her heartbreak when he doesn’t show, although she can remember every kiss – every touch – every word of love.

Now, as an author, this was my dilemma. Here, I have this super interesting character that I’ve created with an obvious expiration date.

I didn’t like it, but who could I blame? I did it to myself.

Still, I couldn’t let Lily’s story go.

In the midnight hours, when I rocked on my porch and watched the stars twinkle in the sky, unable to shut my eyes for fear I’d get sucked down into a well of forgetfulness, I dwelt on Lily. I began to see a story, a glimpse at a possibility, a mirage of what if’s.

What if Lily decided she needed to get away, to come to terms with her dwindling days?

What if she escaped to a remote barrier island, haunted by lost love?

What if she met someone? What if she fell in love?

What if she hid her fate from him, because there was no future for her – only the here and now?

Whoa! I would throw up my hands – because I refused to write a book where the main character dies. I hate those books! And I would not contribute to a trope that celebrates a nasty reality – no one gets out of this effing life alive, dammit. When I read, I want to be entertained, not reminded of my mortality – – that’s what keeps me awake nights anyway!

So…Lily languished in my TBW (to be written) notes…until I saw a 60 Minute episode on television that seemed to be the answer to my problem. To my amazement, a miracle was occurring; Duke University was conducting clinical tests to cure people with incurable glioblastomas by injecting their cancers with polio virus. Can you imagine? Well, it’s true. And it’s working in some cases – – and if I had my way, it would work in Lily’s.

Of all my books, this one is a bit unusual because the dominant role is the woman. Usually, I’m more focused on the male character. I’ve used the heroines more as mirrors to reflect the reader, so they can more easily fantasize themselves into the role as the story unfolds. But not this time. Lily is a force to be reckoned with.

Her strength does not discount the hero of the book, however. Blade Jensen is every woman’s dream – a handsome actor who grew up on a ranch in Texas, named Sexiest Man Alive, a man with the ability to love completely and forever. A true hero. He also has his own cross to bear, having lost a child to an obsessed fan. When he learns of Lily’s fate, he is determined to be there for her – no matter what.

Hey, for a romance writer, I’m ambitious. I tackle the meaning of life, the hope of an afterlife – exploring everything from spirits to reincarnations. Most importantly, I work hard to construct stories that will make people believe in the power of love. I want you to know that I stayed up nights – ha! – working this out.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

So…there I was with all these pieces, these problems, two strong three-dimensional characters who deserved a lifetime of happiness. Throw in a hint of the supernatural, a mysterious painting that seems to link the past with the present. Pepper the pages with secondary characters and settings plucked straight from unique New Orleans and a romantic remote island – and there you have it. A story I wanted to tell. A story that has stuck with me and hopefully one my readers will enjoy.

So far, so good.

 

Wow! Fascinating, Sable! Isn’t great how the muse works?
This sounds like quite a read!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we? 😉
Here is the blurb for Lily’s Mirage.

Lily Bastien comes to mysterious St. Phillips Island for a last fling with life. She knows her future is uncertain and love is not in her stars. Here, in a cottage haunted by lost love, she will discover a secret that will rock her world. A ghost from the past is not the only unexpected visitor to her private sanctuary. Imagine her surprise when she finds Sexiest Man Alive, Blade Jensen, naked in her bedroom. They clash, at first, but soon they can’t fight the attraction they feel for one another. Sparks begin to fly and the passion they share changes everything. Lily can only dream of forever, but Blade is determined to make her dreams come true. To protect the man she loves, she tries to hide the painful truth from him. But fate finds a way and Blade and Lily learn that sometimes a love is so great, one lifetime together could never be enough.

And Sable is giving us a peek at her novel!

“You’ll love it here. The island is self-sufficient with its own water and power supply. There’s a natural maritime forest and a long white sandy beach. All in all, St. Philip’s has about 5000 acres, including the marshland and the creeks.”

“Sounds great.” Lily was excited. “Is there a downside?”

“It’s haunted,” the boy said flatly, looking off into the distance.

“Oh, really?” She wanted to ask more questions, but the dock loomed ahead and her eyes widened at the natural beauty. “Oh, wow,” was her awed exclamation as they tied off and began unloading her things from the boat to the bed of the four-wheeler. “This place looks amazing.”

“If you go swimming, stay on the beach side, there’s alligators in the marsh to the north.”

“Thanks for the information and the help.” Lily tipped Seba and he continued on his way. She hadn’t driven a four-wheeler before, but she figured it couldn’t be much different than a golf cart.

The trail from the dock to the house was bordered by mammoth oaks with branches that spread wide, some hanging low enough to the ground to sit on. Spanish moss hung liberally from the trees, giving the whole place an eerie, Southern Gothic feel. As she topped the slight incline, Lily could see a beautiful two-story house nestled among a grove of large magnolias. A wide verandah wrapped around the house, deep enough to provide cool shade in the summer heat. A portion of the porch was screened and Lily hoped a bed awaited her there. Painted white with blue shutters, the house looked like a jewel, nestled on a bed of velvet jade. While the back faced the narrow bay and marshes, the front boasted a fabulous view of the Atlantic Ocean. Once she parked, Lily couldn’t resist running the last few feet of the way, more than excited to see what else the magnificent home had to offer.

The staircase leading up to the porch was wide and she was surprised to find the door and ceiling painted a light, smoky blue with large mirrors flanking either side of the entrance. There was even a bottle tree in the front yard, each limb decorated with a cobalt blue or sea green glass bottle. Remembering what Seba had told her, she shivered at what she’d discovered. “Oh, someone is superstitious as heck around here.”

Taking the key from her pocket, she let herself in and set out to explore the interior of the beautiful home before unloading her supplies. The layout and décor were straight out of Costal Living and the kitchen was a cook’s dream, with white cabinets, hardwood floors, and stainless-steel appliances. There were three bedrooms and three baths, one of the bedrooms was an impressive master with an en suite bath boasting a huge marble shower and all the amenities one would expect in a luxurious spa. As she continued to explore, Lily located the bedroom she wanted to use. At first, she thought it was just a sunroom, but after she entered, she saw it opened to the screened porch she’d seen from outside, featuring a breathtaking view and a magical canopy bed wrapped in filmy swaths of sheer material. The closest bath was a couple doors away, but Lily didn’t mind; a few extra steps wouldn’t matter to her.

Making herself at home, she unpacked her clothing, then adjourned to the kitchen. As soon as the groceries were put away, Lily prepared a quick salad for supper, choosing to eat on the verandah. Through the trees, she could see the waves pounding the white sand. Unable to resist, she placed her empty plate on a small wrought iron table and went for a stroll on the beach. The sun was just beginning to sink into the ocean, painting the sky with a blaze of red and orange.

With a contented sigh, she held her hands above her head, relishing the feel of the wind in her hair. She felt as if she could capture the breeze in the fingertips, claim glimpses of the faraway places the zephyr had traveled, places she’d never see.

Wanting the full experience, Lily removed her shoes and waded in the surf. Yet try as she might, she found it difficult to rid her mind of problems. She didn’t have to wonder where the future would take her; she knew. The doctor had been straightforward, telling Lily how it would end for her. The deterioration, the loss of faculties, and finally a coma. This revelation was nothing new. She’d lived with the knowledge of the unwelcome invader in her body for most of her life.

Oh, she’d long since gone through the seven stages of grief. Lily had lived far longer than most with a glioblastoma, she’d even gone through remission a couple of times. There would be no third time, however. No charm. Her Wish Book would never come true. She was nearing the end of a hard-fought battle.

What really angered Lily was that she didn’t look sick, she didn’t feel sick. To look at her, one wouldn’t think she had so little time left on this earth. Yet, she had a ticking time bomb in her head.

But she wasn’t planning to go peacefully into that good night. No, she wanted to fight this whole ugly thing tooth and nail.

She just didn’t know how…

What she needed was a distraction, a sexy distraction.

Her mind went to the handsome hunk she’d seen at the gas station. He’d said he was someone famous and Lily couldn’t argue; she didn’t keep up with such things. Yet even if he weren’t, she understood that women like her didn’t attract men who looked like him. Oh, she wasn’t ugly, she just wasn’t anything special.

No, she took that back.

She was special in her own way and if things were different, she’d have plenty to offer the right guy. Their encounter wasn’t a total loss, she could use her memory of him the next time she played with her toys.

After she’d strolled on the beach for a half hour, Lily turned around and began to make her way back to the house. The rhythm of the waves and the beauty of her surroundings went a long way to giving her a sense of peace. Hopefully, she’d be able to sleep.

As Lily prepared for bed, she wondered what the next day held in store. Before lying down, she cracked a window open. Sure enough, she could hear the ocean. With a contented sigh, she crawled beneath the covers and pulled them up under her chin.

Sleep wasn’t long in coming.

Bang! Crash!

Lily sprung straight up in the bed. She froze, scared to breathe. Was someone in the house with her? Did she have an intruder? After hearing more muffled noises, she grabbed her phone, only to find there was no cell service. Dammit! She hadn’t noticed where the landlines were. Rising, she glanced around. What she needed was a weapon. By the light of the moon, she could see the two-foot statue of the sandpiper sitting on the bedside table. Very carefully, Lily picked up the piece, weighing it her hands. Yes, she could wield it like a baseball bat, if the need arose.

Moving slowly, she tiptoed from the sunroom. Noises were still emanating from deeper in the house. After turning a corner, Lily could see that there was a light on in the master suite. There was an intruder in the house! She assumed there was plenty in the home to steal, everything from artwork to electronics. Dang it; she just hated a thief.

Rounding a corner, Lily almost dropped her makeshift club. Her eyes bugged wide and her jaw dropped. Standing in front of the open French doors was a naked man. His back was to her, but she could see wide-wide shoulders, a wedge-shaped torso, and wait…she recognized that curly hair. “You?” she growled her under her breath. Taking the few last steps, Lily used the bill of the bird to poke in his ribs, doing her best to ignore his delectable ass. “Put your hands up. You’re trespassing, cowboy.”

The man did as she asked, but in the next second, he stepped smoothly back, took the weapon from her with one hand and scooped her up with the other, tossing Lily gently to the mattress. After taking a good look at the pretty brunette sprawled on his bed, he grinned. “Well, if it isn’t Miss Pink Panties. This is my lucky day!”

Fighting to catch her breath, she huffed, “When did you see my panties?”

“When you kicked the football to that kid. For my benefit, right?” Blade tried to keep his focus, tried to ignore the way she chewed on her lower lip as she processed the most recent development, tried to ignore the two mounds of sweet tits quivering beneath the thinnest of sleep shirts, and two sweet thighs open just enough…but it was impossible. A fog of arousal enveloped his brain.

It had been way too long since he’d gotten laid.

Lily rolled off the bed on the far side. “No! There’s that monstrous size ego again! For your information, I would never do such a thing for your benefit! What are you doing in my house? And why are you grinning at me?” She pulled on the hem of her too short sleep shirt. Noticing the phone on the bedside table, she made a grab for it. “You need to leave! I’m calling 9-1-1!” As she pressed the numbers, she glanced at him; it was hard not to notice that his front was even nicer than his back. Washboard abs, full pecs, and…God, the man was hung!

“Good, tell them I have a sexy stalker.” Blade was enjoying their banter. Usually by this time, most women would be plastered all over him, not standing up to him like a spitting kitten.

“I’m not a stalker, I was here first!” she yelled, unable to ignore that he’d called her sexy.

“I figured you for an overzealous fan when you ran up to me in the parking lot.”

Lily tossed a pillow at him. “I was returning your phone, you big…dickhead. Hold that pillow over yourself.”

Cowboy snorted, catching the pillow, and holding it waist high. He was still trying to ignore her jiggling breasts. “Nice of you to notice. Why are you frowning?”

“There’s no dang dial tone,” she muttered, throwing down the cordless phone. “Don’t come any closer!” Lily held up her hand when she noticed the big man moving nearer.

“Settle down, kitten. I’m reaching for my jeans.”

He turned his back on Lily to slip on his pants and she hid her eyes, peeking through her fingers. “Look, whoever you are, if you’ll leave quietly, I won’t press charges for breaking and entering.”

“I didn’t have to break in.” He reached in his pocket and pulled out a fob to dangle in front of her, wincing as his cock chafed inside the denim of his jeans. He should’ve brought underwear. “I have a key.”

“Well, so do I!” She pointed toward the sunroom. “In my purse, in my room. I am a guest! Bliss Renaud is my friend. She invited me to stay here.”

“So, you’re not the caretaker? I was about to ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement.” He paused to think. “Perhaps I should get you to sign one anyway. I don’t want anyone to know I’m here.”

“So, don’t be here! Leave! Who invited you anyway?” Lily was trying not to notice his abs…or the happy trail of fur leading from his abdomen all the way to what she’d had her eyes glued on earlier. The man was a sheer wonderland of tactile, erotic delights.

“My agent arranged this whole thing. The owner used to be my stunt double, I’m not going anywhere,” Cowboy said slowly, as if speaking to someone with a learning disability. “Look, if I give you an autographed picture, would you settle down?”

Lily stomped from his room, taking her crane with her. “For the last time, I don’t know who you are! Why would I want an autographed picture?”

Cowboy followed her. “Don’t give me that, everybody knows who I am. Women throw themselves at me all the time.”

“Yea, I’m sure the bodies just pile up around you.” Lily stopped and faced him with one hand on her hip, looking him up and down. “You could be a vacuum cleaner salesman for all I know.”

“Are you serious?” he said, staring at her as if she’d grown two heads. “Where do you live, under a rock?”

“Are you a singer? A football player? A serial killer?” she said, then backtracked. “Oh, don’t be a serial killer, forget I said that.”

God, she was cute. “I’m an actor. I played Jake Dominic in the Draco series.”

“Sorry, I don’t own a television.”

When he saw the blank expression on her face, he began to believe she didn’t know who he was…or she deserved an Oscar for her performance. “Who doesn’t own a television?” He stalked through the house, flipping on lights. “I came here for some privacy and a long overdue rest. I don’t intend to share my space with a desperate fan.”

Lily was fast losing her patience. “For the last time, I’m not a fan! I don’t know you and I don’t want to know you. And for your information, I’m not desperate!” She followed him through the house, ending up in the kitchen. “If I were desperate, you’d be the last man on earth I’d want, you’re too full of yourself!”

He opened the refrigerator and pulled out a bottled water. “There’s plenty of resorts up and down the Carolina coast. You can find somewhere else to stay.”

“Why don’t you? If you’re a famous actor like you say you are, you’ll be welcome anywhere.” She leaned on the counter, hiding most of her body from his eyes, suddenly conscious of her state of undress.

Cowboy chugged the water, walked to the bar, and took a satchel from a chair. Slamming it on top of the counter, he took something out and pitched it on the granite surface in front of her.

Lily didn’t have to look too closely. His handsome face covered the front of the magazine. “Blade Jensen, Sexiest Man Alive,” she mumbled. “Seems like I might’ve heard that name before.” Lily exhaled a long breath, tired of their argument. “Fine.” She threw up her hands. “You’re famous. I’ll go pack and you can take me back to the island. I’ll find someplace else to stay. My life’s too short to spend time arguing with you and I’ll sign whatever document you want me to, although I certainly won’t be doing any bragging about our time together.” With that dry observation, she gathered up the sand piper and headed back to her bedroom.

Blade watched her go, entranced as much by the length of her long, shapely legs as he was by the fact that she didn’t know who he was – and didn’t seem to care. Her long dark hair hung down to a delectable ass and if she swayed a certain way, he could see a little sliver of black satin peeping out from beneath the T-shirt she wore. “Hey, what’s your name, kitten?”

Lily stopped, but she didn’t turn around. She was tired and frustrated. Finding a place to stay at this time of night was going to be a pain. Maybe she’d just sleep in her rental car. “Lily Bastien from New Orleans.”

“All right, Lily Bastien from New Orleans, why don’t we just make the best of a bad situation…for now?” He took a few steps toward her.

Slowly turning to face him, she hated that he made her heart skip a beat. She wasn’t afraid of him, not really. Where Blade Jensen was concerned, she was more afraid of herself. “What do you mean?”

The big man shrugged and his muscles rippled. “Stay the night. Leaving at this hour could be dangerous.”

Lily felt her nipples bead; she couldn’t remember ever reacting this way to a man before. His fame was not a factor, she was just drawn to him. “I don’t know, staying might be even more dangerous.”

“A little danger makes everything more exciting.” Giving her a wicked grin, Blade saluted her with the bottle. “Besides, I don’t have a boat. Looks like we’re marooned. Together.”

“Great.” With a huff, Lily started for her room. “You just make sure you stay on your side of the house.”

Blade chuckled. “In case you get any ideas, kitten, my bedroom door will be locked.”

She never looked back, the only reaction his announcement got from her was a hand in the air with a raised middle finger.

Blade’s chuckle rose into a full laugh. The first good one he’d had in years. This woman wasn’t impressed with his fame. She had no idea how attractive that made her to him. Couple her spunky attitude with her drop-dead gorgeous body and his heart was stuttering in his chest.

Well, he guessed he wasn’t dead inside after all.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B074L4YG4F

Nice! I love the tension between them! ♥♥♥

How exciting to learn about your sexy, contemporary romance with a touch of the paranormal, Sable! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Lily’s Mirage!

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

Guest 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. 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. 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://sablehunter.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/huntersable

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2wVn9N

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4419823.Sable_Hunter

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/qRvyn

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

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

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sable-hunter

 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Lynn Stevens visits us on October 11th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Radio Interview!

For our lovers of paranormal romance, you’ve gotta check this out…

Later today, I’ll be chatting with awesome author team and radio hosts of the Haunted Nights Live! show, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. This radio show is quite popular, and the Thorne & Cross team has seen some very famous authors on there. Check out the list of past guests here.

Check us out at 8PM EST to get some sneak peeks of two books I have coming out later this year, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy, Blood Instincts, book two of the Blood at First Sight Series, and Awakening, a paranormal romantic thriller collection.

Plus, for those who have a fascination with the supernatural, we’ll be talking about that too. 😉

So stop by tonight! You can call in with questions or sit back and listen in. I’m not sure if the interview will be posted right away on the site, but you should be able to hear it as it airs.

Here is the official link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2017/04/07/marie-lavender-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live

Follow the Haunted Nights Live! duo on their Facebook page here, or check out their Twitter handle and blog.

As always, thanks so much for being great readers on the I Love Romance Blog! ♥♥♥

Happy reading, and have a wonderful day! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, coming soon, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Radio, Readers, Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

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For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham

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Genre: Paranormal Romantic Mystery

Blurb: When Sarah McKinley is finally able to buy and restore the historic Florida mansion that she has always loved, she dismisses the horror stories of past residents vanishing and a long-dead housekeeper who practiced black magic. Then, in the midst of renovations, she makes a grim discovery. Hidden within the walls of Sarah’s dream house are the remains of dozens of bodies—some dating back over a century.

The door to the past is blown wide open when Caleb Anderson, a private investigator, shows up at the mansion. He believes several current missing-persons cases are linked to the house and its dark past. Working together to find the connection and stop a contemporary killer, Sarah and Caleb are compelled to research the history of the haunted house, growing closer to each other even as the solution to the murders eludes them.

But there is one who knows the truth…a spirit who follows every move they make. Soon Caleb begins to fear that if he can’t stay a step ahead, he could lose Sarah to a killer with an ability to transcend time in a quest for blood and sacrifice.

A few choice lines from the book:

“I feel like such an idiot for bursting in on you this morning, and at least this explains why I was so…confused.”

She was palpably sincere. Her eyes were silver in the moonlight, and he could smell the faint scent of her perfume. Somewhere in his core, he felt a stirring and a warmth. He’d wanted to touch her from the minute he’d seen her, but he’d never been more tempted than he was at that moment.

He needed to walk her home, see that she was safe.

He needed to keep his hands off her.

“Actually, you barging in that way was rather titillating,” he said, unable to prevent a smile.

She laughed, her cheeks turning a becoming shade of rose, but she didn’t look away. “Look, what I’m trying to explain to you is that I’m not a lunatic and I don’t usually go banging on a men’s doors and yelling at them. I guess I did have a dream, but if you look at this, you can see why I thought what I did. I mean…this could be a picture of you.”

“Point taken,” he assured her, then shook his head sadly.

“What?”

“I’m afraid this means you’re not going to barge in on me again.”

“I upset Bertie. I think I’d better behave from now on,” she said, turning away. “I need to explain things to her, and apologize.”

“Show her the picture. She’ll understand,” he said.

She smiled and started walking. He stayed by her side, shoving his hands in his pockets to keep himself from reaching for her, determined not to act like a jackass and ruin this tenuous connection between them. The night was warm, but with a sea breeze that stirred her hair as they walked and carried a tantalizing whiff of her perfume. He found himself noticing everything about her. The silky sheen of her hair and the way it swayed on her shoulders as she walked.

The way she walked.

The way she was built.

Her skin was smooth, and she was wearing a sleeveless knit dress that revealed a lot of that skin, and molded her curves so tightly that he had to swallow. Hard.

She had a great mouth, generous and well-defined. Beautiful lips. Perfect nose. He remembered how it had felt to have her underneath him that morning, the feel of her flesh against his.

He almost tripped over a cobblestone as they moved down Avila, ready to make the right that would lead them to St. George.

“Are you all right?” she asked.

“Yes, just clumsy,” he assured her.

“It was strange that day, when I saw you just staring at the house,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful old house,” he said.

“But it seemed as if you were drawn to it.”

I’m drawn to its owner.

“I like historic architecture,” he said lamely. They had reached her house, and stood staring up at it. The mansion had been magnificently constructed. That night, however, he felt as if the darkened windows were eyes, staring back at them. It was if something brooding was living inside the house. He gave himself a mental shake; he wasn’t prone to whimsy or flights of fantasy. It was a house.

A house and nothing more. But history happened in houses. Events occurred. The good, the bad and the very ugly.

Adam said there were two kinds of hauntings. Residual, the events of the past happening over and over again. And active, or intelligent, when spirits remained behind, chained by the trauma of their deaths. They could even learn to move objects and travel from place to place, which was why Abe Lincoln could be seen both striding the halls of the White House, or sitting in the seat where he’d been shot at Ford’s Theatre.

He couldn’t communicate with ghosts himself, but he worked with a number of intelligent and completely sane people who did speak with those long gone.

But this house…

It was as if the house itself wanted to tell him something.

He was suddenly anxious to get back inside.

But not tonight.

“Caleb?” Sarah said softly, studying him.

He turned to her. Her eyes were so wide and concerned.

Silver and beautiful.

“Let’s get you safely inside, okay?” he suggested.

And maybe, just maybe, I can stay awhile, he thought.

My Score:

Take two people brought together by the disappearances of several women, some odd historical events related to Sarah’s house and another murder, throw in some ghosts and a passion that can’t denied…and you have the recipe for a pretty riveting novel. Oh, yeah, and throw in some old magic? Yeah, that’s certainly the kind of tale I can get into.

The romance between Caleb, an investigator new to town, and Sarah, the new owner of a historic property where some old remains are found, develops naturally instead of immediately. For the rest, you’ll just have to read it to find out what happens next.

I give this one four hearts!

four hearts

Oh, just a quick note…this is part of the Harrison Investigation Series, comprised of eight novels.

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

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Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb: 

Emaline Hoffbrau is a beautiful, confident vampire. After losing the vampire man she loved, she doubts that her soul mate exists. When the charming Garrett Thompson comes along, he turns her world upside-down. Can Garrett accept what Emaline is? Or will he break her heart in a different way?

Juliana Slater is a gorgeous, manipulative vampire. She’s married to Chad Browning, a “regular man.” Although Chad loves Juliana, he’s not sure he wants to be her husband anymore. Will a tragedy decide their fate? Or can the two of them forgive each other and learn to trust again?

Gretchen Eberhardt is living with Bertram Fulbright, a sexy vampire and “ladies’ man.” To complicate matters, he’s slept with her best fang friends. Can a vampire couple find lasting love together? Or will Bert abandon Gretchen for another woman one day?

A few choice lines from the book:

Best fang friends…

When Emaline returned to their table, Juliana grabbed her arm.  “Guess who I just saw?”

“Garrett,” she said as she sat down.  “I have no idea what he’s doing here, Hilliard.  I told him I never wanted to see him again.”

“He must want to see you, Emaline.”

“He doesn’t have the balls to come over, not with all of us sitting at this table.”

Juliana arched a brow.  “Really?  Well, if I’m not mistaken, that’s him heading our way right now.”

Emaline looked, and sure enough, it was Garrett…long, lean, and just as handsome as ever.  Her heart skipped several beats.  As if right on cue, Hilliard put his arm around her.

“Happy Saint Patrick’s Day,” Garrett said, grinning like a leprechaun.  His gaze drifted from Emaline to the cake.  “Are you getting married, Gretchen?”

Everyone was smiling at him, except Hilliard and Emaline.

Gretchen nodded.  “To this guy right here.”

“Hey, congratulations.”

Bert shook the hand he extended.  He glanced around the table.  “It’s nice to see you again, Juliana.  Sorry, I don’t know the rest of you…”

Emaline’s rudeness forced Juliana to introduce Garrett to everyone else.  His hazel eyes twinkled with alcohol and merriment as he watched her.

“Just wanted to say hi, Em.  Now, you don’t have to be afraid you’ll run into me.”

“Garrett, would you please just leave?” she said.

“Yeah, sure.  Have fun.”  His smile faded as he walked away.

Juliana stared at her.  “God, Emaline.  You didn’t have to be so mean to him.”

“Don’t you understand?  He views us as curiosities.”

Bert shrugged a shoulder.  “We are curiosities.”

“I don’t care.  I still think he had a lot of nerve coming over here when he can see I’m with someone else.”

Amused, Hilliard said, “I guess you shouldn’t have slept with him, then…or bitten him.”

Emaline flushed.  “I told you that in confidence, Doctor.”

All the women laughed, Carly the loudest.  “My, you are a busy girl, Emaline,” she teased.  “Seriously, it took a lot of courage for Garrett to come over here.  Hilliard doesn’t give a damn, do you, Hilly?”

“I only give a damn if he’s harassing her.  If not, then it’s Emaline’s call.”

“What is it you don’t like about him, honey?” Sonya asked.

“Maybe he’s no good in bed.  Most men aren’t,” Anke said, and she and Elsa snickered and nudged each other.  Bert chuckled, shaking his head.

Gretchen observed her.  “You should apologize to Garrett.  You hurt his feelings.”

Juliana nodded.  “Yes, you should.  Not that I recommend taking up with a regular man.  Right now, I could drain Chad dry and leave his lifeless body in a heap somewhere.”

Hilliard filled Juliana’s and his wine goblets.  “You never know, Emaline.  Garrett could be your heart’s true desire.”

“Oh, for God’s sake.  Now you sound like my poor, misguided mother.”

“Gretchen’s mother is misguided.  Yours is sage and sweet-tempered,” Bert said.

Emaline frowned, sure that everyone and everything was against her.  She started to pass around plates.  “Juliana, cut the cake.  Then maybe Bert will cut the crap.”

That brought a round of laughter.  Gretchen gazed at her fiancé, her dark eyes glittering almost as brightly as her three-carat diamond.

A sick knot formed in the pit of Emaline’s stomach.

My Score:

The author, Linda, is a close friend of mine, and I have to say I have been dying to read Sisters of the Night ever since I read the first book in the Blood & Company Series, Old Town Nights! I absolutely loved it and when there were other sequels, I knew I’d love them too!

Now, though I haven’t yet read Sisters, I do have it on my Kindle. I’ve just been so swamped with work. I do plan to read it as soon as I can.

I give this book five hearts, because who can resist three paranormal romance tales in one book? Or a book about vampires? Not me! 🙂

five hearts

And readers, don’t forget to check out the whole series!

Blood & Company Series

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Playing with Fire by Devika Fernando

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Playing with Fire by Devika Fernando

51af6EfZJ3L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb: 

WHAT READERS SAY

5 stars – “Very well written with characters readers will love. A fantasy adventure on elemental powers, with plenty of romance along the way. I highly recommend this book.” (LadyDestinyRose, Book Blogger)

5 stars – “Super-hot mix of Fire & Ice. This is Paranormal Romance at its best! This book has everything you can want and more.” (Azia, Reader)

5 stars – “The true power of this book is the emotional depth of each character, the interactions and especially the dialogue. I can’t wait for the next one!” (Booklover Reviews)

5 stars – “One of those books you just can’t put down; the author has a way with words that draws you into the main character’s world and holds you till the very end!” (Paula, Reader)

5 stars – “It was like a raging inferno of a roller coaster. As I read through the book I kept guessing.” (Jason T., Author)

BOOK DESCRIPTION

If you’re playing with fire, prepare to get burned – or to fall in love.

Sparks fly when Felicia and Joshua meet. Discovering her inner fire and unleashing unimaginable powers makes her realize that all her life, she has been hiding her true self. When buildings burn and people are in danger, the tempting game of playing with fire becomes serious. Will their love and desperate struggle for control save her life, or will the fire magic turn itself against its mistress?

FIRE Trilogy, Book 2: Dancing with Fire
FIRE Trilogy, Book 3: Living with Fire

A few choice lines from the book:

Joshua took a last step closer until there wasn’t more than an inch or two of space between them and she could feel her heat and his coldness warring with each other, testing the boundaries for a chance to leap and attack – or to leap and dance.
When he leaned his face down, Felicia’s breath hitched and her pulse started racing. Inside her belly, the flames shot higher and higher, wanting the kiss that was surely about to happen.
“Don’t,” she whispered despite the almost aching desire to feel that connection again.
Stopping a hair’s breadth before her face, he whispered back, “Why?”

His cool breath that smelled as minty and wintry as the whole man brushed over her trembling lips.
Struggling to put her conflicting feelings into words, she blurted out, “You’ll get burned.”
That purely masculine, dangerous grin tugged at his lips which were so enticingly close that she could almost taste them.
“What if I enjoy playing with fire?” he asked, voice deep and low and full of promise.

My Score:

If that hot teaser doesn’t say it, I don’t know what will.

Devika Fernando is an author pal of mine, and as soon as she released a paranormal romance, I knew I had to have it! No, I haven’t read the book yet, but is on my Amazon Wishlist and my Goodreads TBR shelf!

This one sounds quite intriguing. Who doesn’t like a little magic with their romance? I give it four hearts, because I can’t wait to read it!

four hearts

Oh, and don’t forget to pick up the whole series! 🙂

51E3qdc0IpL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

51QhglpPvSL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb: 

#1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward’s thrilling new novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself-only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can-but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them?

A few choice lines from the book:

“What do you say?” her healer murmured.

“I think you came at the perfect time. That’s what I say.”

She shifted in his arms and stared up at him. As she sat in his lap, she wished she could feel more of him. All of him. But from the waist down there was only a nonspecific warmth, one that was better than the chill that had persisted since the operation, yes…but there was so much more to be had.

“Healer…” she whispered, her eyes going to his mouth.

His lids lowered and he seemed to stop breathing. “Yeah…?”

“May I…” She licked her lips. “May I kiss you?”

He seemed to win, as if in pain, but that scent he carried roared, so she knew that he wanted what she did.

“Jesus…Christ,” he bit out.

“Your body wants this,” she said, bringing her hand up to the soft hair at the nape of his neck.

“And that’s the problem.” At her look of confusion, he leveled a hot stare right at her breasts. “It wants a hell of a lot more than just a kiss.”

Suddenly, there was a shift inside her body, one so subtle it was hard to pin down. But she felt something different throughout her torso and all her limbs. A tingling? She was too wrapped up in the sexual energy between them to worry about defining it.

Snaking another arm around his neck, she said, “What else does it want.”

Her healer groaned deep in his throat, and the sound gave her the same shot of power as when she’d had a weapon in her hand. To feel that again. It was like a drug.

“Tell me, healer,” she demanded. “What else does it want?”

His mahogany eyes were on fire as they locked on her own. “Everything. It wants every square inch of you – outside…and on the inside. To the point where I’m not sure you’re ready for how much I’m after.”

“I decide,” she countered, a strange, pounding need taking root in her gut. “I decide what I can and cannot handle, yes?”

His half smile was all evil. In a good way. “Yes, ma’am.”

As a low, rhythmic sound filled the air, she was surprised to realize it was her. Purring. “Do I have to ask again, healer?”

There was a pause. And then he slowly shook his head back and forth. “Nope. I’ll give you…exactly what you want.”

My Score:

This book is part of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. I love J.R. Ward books! I have read all of this series, except for the latest book, The Beast, which released on April 5th.

After so many novels centered around the ‘Brothers’, the feminist in me finds it a bit refreshing to see a kick-ass heroine pop up in Lover Unleashed. Only one other character in the series so far could have fit that description, and that was Xhex, also a warrior/assassin.

Payne has been tucked away in a prison of her mother’s making for a long time. Through unusual circumstances, she gets the chance to experience the real world. She meets Manny because she is injured and he’s her physician.

As Payne heals, she learns all about this new world, regains her strength and awakens to a desire she’s never known. We also get the human/vampire relationship complications. This is a really great book, the perfect companion to the series, and J.R. Ward lets us delve a little deeper into the mind of Vishous, Payne’s brother, in the process. I give this one five hearts!

five hearts

And don’t forget to check out the rest of the novels in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, or the recent spin-off series, Black Dagger Legacy! 🙂

Black Dagger Brotherhood -J.R. Ward

 

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Blurb:

Book One of the Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy

In Gallagher’s Pub, where the fire is burning low and the pints are waiting, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts has a story to tell…

Determined to reevaluate her life, Jude Murray flees America to take refuge in Faerie Hill Cottage, immersing herself in the study of Irish folklore and discovering hope for the future of the magical past.

Finally back home in Ireland after years of traveling, Aidan Gallagher possesses an uncommon understanding of his country’s haunting myths. Although he’s devoted to managing the family pub, a hint of wildness still glints in his eyes—and in Jude, he sees a woman who can both soothe his heart and stir his blood. And he begins to share the legends of the land with her—while they create a passionate history of their own.

Also in the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy:
Tears of the Moon
and
Heart of the Sea

 

A few choice lines from the book:

For himself, Aidan was content in where he was, and what he did. He’d learned a great deal of himself and of life during his rambles. The itchy feet were said to come from the Fitzgerald side, as his mother had, before she married, traveled a good bit of the world, with her voice paying the fare.

He’d strapped on a knapsack when he was barely eighteen and traveled throughout his country, then over into England and France and Italy and even Spain. he’d spent a year in America, being dazzled by the mountains and plains of the West, sweltering in the heat of the South, and freezing through a northern winter.

He and his siblings were as musical as their mother, so he’d sung for his supper or tended bar, whichever suited his purposes at the time. When he’d seen all he longed to see, he came home again, a well-traveled man of twenty-five.

For the last six years, he’d tended the pub and lived in the rooms above it.

But he was waiting. He didn’t know for what, only that he was.

Even now, as he built a pint of Guinness, drew a glass of Harp, and tuned in with one ear to the conversation in case he was obliged to comment, part of him sat back, patient and watchful.

Those who looked close enough might see that watchfulness in his eyes, eyes blue as a lightning bolt under brows with the same dark richness as the prize bar where he worked.

He had the rawboned face of the Celts, with the wild good looks that the fine genes of his parents had blended, with a long, straight nose, a mouth full and shamelessly sensual, a tough, take-a-punch chin with just a hint of a cleft.

He was built like a brawler – wide of shoulder, long of arm, and narrow of hip. And indeed, he had spent a good portion of his youth planting his fists in faces or taking them in his own. As much, he wasn’t shamed to admit, for the fun of it as for temper.

It was a matter of pride that unlike his brother, Shawn, Aidan had never had his nose broken in battle.

Still, he’d stopped looking for trouble as he’d grown from boy to man. He was just looking, and trusted that he’d know what it was when he found it.

When Jude walked in, he noticed – first as a publican, and second as a man. She looked so tidy, with her trim jacket and bound-back hair, so lost with her big eyes scanning the room as a doe might consider a new path in the forest.

A pretty thing, he thought, as most men do when they see an attractive female face and form. And being one who saw many faces in his career, he noted the nerves as well that kept her rooted to the spot just inside the door as if she might turn and flee at any moment.

The look of her, the manner of her, captured his interest and a low and pleasant hum warmed his blood.

She squared her shoulders, a deliberate move that amused him, and walked to the bar.

“Good evening to you,” he said as he slid his rag down the bar to wipe up spills. “What’s your pleasure?”

She started to speak, to ask politely for a glass of white wine. Then he smiled, a slow, lazy curving of lips that inexplicably set her insides a fluttering and turned her mind into a buzzing mess of static.

Yes, she thought dimly, everyone was gorgeous here.

He seemed in no particular hurry for her answer, only leaned comfortably on the bar, bringing that truly wonderful face closer to hers, cocking his head and his brow at the same time.

“Are you lost, then, darling?”

She imagined herself melting, just sliding onto the floor in a puddle of hormones and liquid lust. The sheer embarrassment of the image snapped her back to herself. “No, I’m not lost. Could I have a glass of white wine? Chardonnay if it’s available.”

“I can help you with that.” But he made no move to, just then. “You’re a Yank, then. Would you be Old Maude’s young American cousin come to stay in her cottage awhile?”

“Yes. I’m Jude, Jude Murray.” Automatically she offered her hand and a careful smile that allowed her dimples a brief appearance in her cheeks.

Aidan had always had a soft spot for dimples in a pretty face.

He took her hand, but didn’t shake it. He only held it as he continued to stare at her until – she swore she felt it – her bones began to sizzle. “Welcome to Ardmore, Miss Murray, and to Gallagher’s. I’m Aidan, and this is my place. Tim, give the lady your seat. Where are your manners?”

“Oh, no, that’s-”

But Tim, a burly man with a mass of hair the color and texture of steel wool, slid off his stool. “Beg your pardon.” He shifted his gaze from the sports event on the television over the end of the bar and gave her a quick, charming wink.

“Unless you’d rather a table,” Aidan added as she continued to stand and look mildly distressed.

“No, no, this is fine. Thank you.” She climbed onto the stool, trying not to tense up as she became the center of attention.

My Score:

I love Nora Roberts’ books, and to make things sweeter, this is part of an Irish trilogy. Ireland is a place that calls to me like no other. I guess it must be my Irish heritage.

This is such a great series! I fully recommend it!

Irish Series

Jude goes to Ireland to get in touch with her roots, and to satisfy her restlessness back at home. She doesn’t expect to find the handsome Aidan Gallagher or a mysterious ghost in her cottage.

This is a lovely romance, rich with Irish culture and a touch of the paranormal. A perfect five hearts, in my opinion!

five hearts

And I’d say the same for the sequels as well! 😀

Irish Series-1

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Reviews, Romance, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

51qh9YlvfsL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Blurb:

In the conclusion to her acclaimed Three Sisters Island trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts masterfully evokes the quaint charm of New England, weaving a spellbinding tale of true love—and sheer magic…

Mia Devlin knows what it’s like to love with your whole heart—and then watch your love walk away. Years ago, she and Sam Logan shared an incredible bond built on passion, legend, and fate. But then one day he fled Three Sisters Island, leaving her lost in memories of the magic they shared—and determined to live on her own…

As the new owner of the island’s only hotel, Sam has returned to Three Sisters with hopes of winning back Mia’s affections. He is puzzled when she greets him with icy indifference—for the chemistry between them is still sizzling and true. Angry, hurt, and deeply confused, Mia refuses to admit that a desire for Sam still burns in her heart. But she’ll need his help—and his powers—to face her greatest, most terrifying challenge. And as the deadline for breaking a centuries-old curse draws near, they must take the first step toward destiny—and come together to turn back the dark…

Don’t miss the other books in the #1 New York Times bestselling Three Sisters Island trilogy…
Dance Upon the Air
Heaven and Earth

A few choice lines from the book:
From across the street, he studied Café Book. He should have known Mia would have taken what had been a neglected building and turned it into something lovely, elegant, and productive. The front window held a display of books and potted spring flowers scattered around a lawn chair. Two of her deepest loves, he mused. Books and flowers. She’d used them both in a way that suggested it was time to take a break from the yard work, sit down and enjoy the fruits of the labor with a ride in a story. He stood where he was, hands in his pockets, until he realized he was procrastinating. There was little more turbulent than Mia Devlin in full temper. He expected her to lash out at him in blistering fury the minute she laid eyes on him again. And who could blame her? Then again, he thought with a grin, there was little more arousing than Mia Devlin in full temper. It would be…entertaining to strike words with her again. Just as it would be satisfying to soothe that temper away.

He crossed the street and opened the door to Café Book. Lulu was behind the counter. He’d have recognized her anywhere. The tiny woman with a gnome’s face almost swallowed up by silver-framed glasses had, essentially, raised Mia.
Because Lulu was ringing up a customer’s purchases, he had a moment to look around the store. The ceiling was pricked with lights for a starry effect and made the prospect of browsing through books a festive one. A cozy seating area was arranged in front of a fireplace with a hearth, scrubbed and polished, used as a haven for more spring flowers.Glossy blue shelves held books—an impressive array, he reflected as he wandered through, and as eclectic as he would have expected of the proprietor. No one would ever accuse Mia of having a one-track mind. His lips quirked as he saw that other shelves held ritual candles, Tarot cards, runes, statues of faeries, wizards, dragons. An attractive arrangement of another of Mia’s interests, he thought. He’d have expected nothing else there, either. He plucked a tumbling stone of rose quartz from a bowl, rubbed it between his fingers for good luck. Though he knew better. Before he could replace it, he felt a blast of frigid air.

Smiling easily, he turned to face Lulu.

“Always knew you’d come back. Bad pennies always turn up.”

This was his first barrier, the dragon at the gate. “Hello, Lu.”

“Don’t you hello-Lu me, Sam Logan.” She sniffed, skimmed her gaze over him. Sniffed a second time. “You buying that or do I call the sheriff and have you hauled in for shoplifting?”

He laid the stone back in the bowl. “How is Zack?”

“Ask him yourself, I don’t have time to waste on you.” Though he had her by a foot in height, she stepped forward, jabbed her finger at him, and made him feel twelve years old again. “What the hell do you want?”

“To see home. To see Mia.”

“Why don’t you do everybody a favor and go back to where you’ve been gallivanting these past years? New York City, Paris, and oo-la-la. We’ve all done fine without you taking up space on the Sisters.”

“Apparently.” He gave the store another casual look. He wasn’t offended. A dragon, in his mind, was meant to be devoted to its princess.

In his memory, Lulu had always been up to the job. “Nice place. I hear the café’s particularly good. And that Zack’s new wife runs it.”

“Your hearing’s just fine. So listen up. Go on and get.”

Not offended, no, but his eyes turned edgy, the green in them deepening. “I came to see Mia.”

“She’s busy. I’ll tell her you stopped by.”

“No, you won’t,” he said quietly. “But she’ll know in any case.”

Even as he spoke, he heard the sound of heels on wood. It could have been a dozen women, descending the curving steps in high heels. But he knew. As his heart stumbled in his chest, he stepped around the bookshelves and saw her just as she made the last turn. And the look, that one look at her, sliced him into a thousand pieces.The princess, he thought, had become the queen.

My Score:

This novel is part of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy. It’s actually the third book in the series, and I have all of them on my shelf at home. I just adore Nora Roberts’ style. She tells it like it is, no holds barred.

Mia and Sam have a troubled romantic history, and when Sam returns to the island, they are both in for some big surprises. There is so much tension between these two, and the sparks literally fly. I love a good second chance romance. Add to that a trio of powerful witches, and you’ve named my weakness! I love witch stories. I would seriously recommend the whole series!

Threesisters island trilogy

I give this one five hearts, for creativity, lots of passion and heart-stopping supernatural danger to keep things really interesting. Grab a copy if you can! I doubt you’ll regret it! 🙂

five hearts

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A to Z Challenge: Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

As aforementioned in my last A to Z post, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging.

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For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give  a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

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Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense

Blurb:

In the town of Hawkins Hollow, it’s called The Seven. Every seven years, on the seventh day of the seventh month, strange things happen. It began when three young boys-Caleb, Fox, and Gage-went on a camping trip to The Pagan Stone. And twenty-one years later, it will end in a showdown between evil and the boys who have become men-and the women who love them.

A few choice lines from the book:

Cal saw her come in while he cut into his short stack at the counter. She had on those high, sharp-heeled boots, faded jeans, and a watch cap, bright as  a cardinal, pulled over her hair.

She’d wound on a scarf that made him think of Joseph’s coat of many colors, which added a jauntiness with her coat opened. Under it was a sweater the color of ripe blueberries.

There was something about her, he mused, that would have been bright and eye-catching even in mud brown.

He watched her eyes track around the diner area, and decided she was weighing where to sit, whom to approach. Already working, he concluded. Maybe she always was. He was damn sure, even on short acquaintance, that her mind was always working.

She spotted him. She aimed that sunbeam smile of hers, started over. He felt a little like the kid in the pickup game of ball, who got plucked from all the others waving their arms and shouting: Me! Me! Pick me!

“Morning, Caleb.”

“Morning, Quinn. Buy you breakfast?”

“Absolutely.” She leaned over his plate, took a long, dramatic sniff of his butter-and-syrup-loaded pancakes. “I bet those are fabulous.”

“Best in town.” He stabbed a thick bite with his fork, held it out. “Want a sample?”

“I can never stop at a taste. It’s a sickness.” She slid onto the stool, swiveled around to beam at the waitress as she unwound her scarf. “Morning. I’d love some coffee, and do you have any granola-type substance that could possible be topped with any sort of fruit?”

“Well, we got Special K, and I could slice you up some bananas with it.”

“Perfect.” She reached over the counter. “I’m Quinn.”

“The writer from up in PA.” The waitress nodded, took Quinn’s hand in a firm grip. “Meg Stanley. You watch this one here, Quinn,” Meg said with a poke at Cal. “Some of those quiet types are sneaky.”

“Some of us mouthy types are fast.”

My Score:

This book is on my personal shelf, along with the other two novels in the Sign of Seven Trilogy.

sequels-Sign of Seven

Nora Roberts is one of my favorite authors, and I have rarely found a book by her that I don’t like.

The sign of Seven Trilogy is a ‘good versus evil’ series, if I’m to sum it up so succinctly. I love the brotherly bond between the three childhood friends, and, of course, the romance. Nora is, I have to say, practically the queen of developing a romance amid a dark, action-filled moment. And this series is full of them. You know how much I love paranormal! 😉

Book one is, for the most part, about Caleb (Cal) and Quinn, two people who somehow make falling in love look flawless. Despite all the craziness going on around them too. This is about a group of people who find out their destinies are entwined in ways they never imagined.

I recommend the whole series, and Gage, the hero of the final book, is my favorite because he is the least likely ‘brother’ to settle down.

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Nora Roberts nails it every time! I give this one five hearts, hands down! 🙂

five hearts

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A to Z Challenge: Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

Shocker! For the month of April, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging.

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And to stay with our romance theme, I thought I’d do a book a day. By that, I don’t mean that I’m doing official book reviews on the blog, by any means. What I will do, however, is offer an overview of either a book currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what inspires us as authors) or one that is on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few choice lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And why not give a score as well, huh?

This will be my scoring system:

Though I put all scores for the sake of common sense, I probably won’t be giving anything below three hearts. I hope these suggestions will help you find a new favorite romance author, or cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into our first book, all right?

Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

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Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb:

Guardian Witch Book One

Arianna Calin has sworn to keep the peace in Riverdale. Most of the Otherworlders prefer to haunt the Olde Town district—partying at vampire strip clubs, dining in elegant supper clubs, and inhabiting the cliffside caverns along the Mississippi. Being a cop is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it, and Ari’s got her gun, a good sharp knife, and a few handy charms against things that go bump in the streets. She’s also a fire witch—a pedigree that comes in handy, since her partner’s only human.

But when a virtual reality drug hits the streets, people (and non-people) start to die, and an elusive pack of werewolves threatens the status quo. Ari and Ryan are drawn into a web of murder and evil that will lead sworn enemies to a confrontation, and while the city simmers around them, only Ari can prevent an all-out supernatural war…

A few choice lines from the book:

The vampire’s coal-black eyes found her and silken threads of magic wrapped her in a soft web. The room faded away. She floated as in a dream, warm and safe. A place to linger forever. Her witch magic began to sing in concert with his, and Ari called it back to her. The effort brought her out of his web with a jolt.

Damn, how strong was he? She wrapped her magical aura around her. As long as she kept it in place, his magic was held at bay. Then, mercifully, the song was over. Andreas bowed to a wildly applauding audience and left the stage.

“Good evening.” Startled, she stared at him.

“Uh, hello.” How did he move so fast? He produced a polite smile.

“If you will come this way.” He waved a hand toward a hallway on the left.

Ari hesitated. A meeting in private? She hadn’t anticipated that.

His brows rose. “We have twenty minutes.”

Swallowing her doubts, Ari preceded him down the hall. It was better this way, she told herself. Fewer interruptions. At least she knew her time parameters. He ushered her past four closed doors, not stopping until they reached an exit door at the end. He touched a security panel, the door opened, and they stepped into a paved lane leading to the rear parking lot. Dense trees lined the opposite side of the lane. Total privacy.

The night was pleasantly cool. The crisp cleanness of fall filled the air. Ari hung back and watched her companion as he stopped in the middle of the lane. Andreas arched his shoulders and threw back his head, breathing deeply. For a moment all Ari could think about was how sexy he looked.

“I hope you don’t mind talking out here. It has been a long evening, and I needed the fresh air.”

“Not at all. It’s nice.” She looked up at the stars, pinpoints in an uncluttered sky, to keep from looking at him. “What was that last song you sang?”

“An Italian love song. Did you enjoy it?”

“Amazing.”

He turned to look at her. “It was, or I was?” His voice invited a broader interpretation.

She smiled. “Both,” she said, not bothering to hedge. “But who’s fishing for compliments now?”

“Touché.” His familiar laugh came then, rich and intimate, strangely companionable.

My Score:

I haven’t read this book yet, though I plan to. I added this one to my Amazon Wishlist long ago and anytime I see a post on Twitter about it, I just keep on yearning to pick it up. SO want to read! 🙂

I want to read the entire seven-book series.

Guardian Witch Series

What’s not to love about witches, vampires and shifters? I love all of them. Oh, yeah, and when magic kicks butt, sign me up. 😉

To be fair, let’s go with four hearts for this one, because I can’t wait to read it!

four hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Writing