Tag Archives: Women’s Fiction

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Rachael Tamayo

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Rachael, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Love. Romance. Togetherness. Are they the same thing? I’d say it depends. Depends on the person and the situation. Love is what makes the world go round. Love for family, parents and children, a spouse, unrequited love from afar, broken love that shatters the heart.

I watched my parents as a child. I was one of the few kids I knew that didn’t come from a broken home. There wasn’t any time for them for dates, no money for anything special. No expensive gifts shared between them. But I never really doubted that they loved one another. Somehow, I think they shared private moments that we never saw as kids. What I did see, was my mom get up every morning and make my dad coffee and breakfast before he went to work. I saw her sew us kids clothes, knowing that my dad was working as hard as he could, and this was her way to help out so he didn’t have to work more in order to buy us clothes. We were broke. I remember most summers here in the Houston area without air conditioning, my mom taking us to the library just to have a cool place to be outside our sweltering home.

Now that I’m an adult with kids of my own, I realize there is a difference between romance and love. My parents did all that and showed us that they loved us in their sacrifices to make sure we had what we needed. (Except A/C, ha ha). When I think of romance, I think of one thing.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Falling.

I think it’s that feeling of need when you look at him or her. When we are at a party and my husband whispers to me that he wants to go home because he doesn’t want to share me with anyone.

It’s that feeling of falling. Some say love becomes stale, mundane, a day to day drudgery. That may be true, but you get those random moments when you feel that feeling as if it’s new. It hits you when you least expect it.

Created by Freepik

You’re falling over and over again.

When he looks at you just the right way and winks.

When she holds your baby for the first time in her arms.

When he tells you that he wants to just stay home with you and eat takeout in bed and watch movies.

A random text out of the blue.

An ‘I’m sorry’ after a fight.

Created by Freepik

Whatever it may be, you feel it over and over again during the course of the relationship. That out of control feeling that creates a desire to be alone, the warmth you get in your bones when someone else looks at you “like that” and tells you that they want you.

Unsplash, Alejandra Quiroz, Creative Commons license.

I think that’s why we all love to read romance. The tale of one couple finding each other and falling in love, the mad desire that seems to always lie just beneath the surface.

It reminds us of those feelings, or the hope we have to find them for ourselves one day.

Exactly! How incredibly romantic. I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Rachael! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Rachael Tamayo is a multi-genre best selling author. Her titles include Chase Me, Claim Me, Gretyl and the Witch, Reach for Me, and The Stones. Her newest book, a psychological thriller, Crazy Love, is due to come out later this summer. She’s living happily in the Houston area with her husband of thirteen years, their four year old son and infant daughter. A part-time writer and full-time 911 dispatcher that spends all her spare time with family.

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

Thanks again, Rachael, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Leah Hamrick visits us on August 22nd! Yay! 🙂

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Guest Writer, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

New Release Feature: With One More Look At You by author Mary J. Williams

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Mary J. Williams, an author I met during my journey! Her contemporary romance, With One More Look At You, officially released today! Yay! That’s awesome, Mary! Congrats on your new release!:)

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

Mary is giving us a look at her modern romance, With One More Look At You, today.

Wow! Great cover!

This is the blurb for With One More Look At You:

WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE, SOMETIMES IT TAKES THE HEAD YEARS TO DISCOVER WHAT THE HEART HAS ALWAYS KNOWN

Forbes Branson was a young man ready for something new. A senior in high school, he was the golden boy. Heir to a fortune, he knew what his life was going to be. But he wanted adventure first. A year of freedom before college to do and go where he wanted. However, an unexpected betrayal would change everything.

Sophie Lipton was fifteen the first time she set foot on the Branson ranch. Dragged from one place to another, never having more than one pair of shoes or enough to eat, the moment she saw the wide open spaces, she felt she could breathe for the first time in her life. It was the home she always dreamed of. But her happiness came at a price.

To stay in her new home, Sophie had to keep somebody else’s lies. Lies that would eventually tear apart a family. And tear apart her friendship with Forbes.

Coming home is never easy—especially after twelve years. Forbes isn’t the same young man. He found his adventure—and more. Weary, he’s ready to settle into a slower, calmer life. Working on his family’s ranch and taking the job as Chief of Police sounds like a piece of cake after the things he had seen and done.

Sophie isn’t the quiet girl Forbes remembers. She’s grown into a strong, confident woman. A woman used to being in charge. The Branson ranch is her territory now. If Forbes thinks he’s going to waltz back in and take over, he’s going to find out fast that Sophie is no pushover.

Twelve years ago, they shared one goodbye kiss. More sweet than passionate. Now, as adults it’s a whole new game. The attraction between them is undeniable. Just as they begin to move forward, the past has other ideas.

Secrets rarely stay buried forever. Lies. Betrayal. Maybe even murder. Before Forbes and Sophie can think about the future, they will need to deal with the past. Together.

And here is an excerpt from With One More Look at You to tease you with.

Forbes didn’t know why, but he took Sophie’s hand. It was something he had never done. For a moment, he thought she would pull away. Instead, she curled her fingers around his. Something happened with that brief touch. A connection. An intimacy that he had neither the time nor inclination to analyze. The need to sneak away in the middle of the night had already heightened his emotions. That was his only excuse for what he did next.
Forbes brushed his lips across Sophie’s. Surprise flared in her eyes. But she didn’t punch him. So, he kissed her again. A little longer. There was nothing sexual in the gesture, though he felt a familiar stirring in his blood. Raising his head, he smiled, touching her cheek ever so lightly with the pad of his thumb.
“Well, I’ll be damned,” he breathed, backing away.
Sophie didn’t speak. Or move. She looked confused, a frown furrowing her brow. Her first kiss. Forbes was sure of it. There were a hundred other firsts she would share with other men. But this would always be his.
Forbes turned when he reached the trees. He waved, taking one last look at his home—at Sophie—before disappearing into the dark.

Check out the book trailer:

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B06XKW7PPY

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/with-one-more-look-at-you-mary-j-williams/1125988457

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/One-More-Look/Mary-J-Williams/9780997616170?id=6842447479054

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6878420

♥♥♥ It looks like quite the story!😉

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

 

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book, free with Kindle Unlimited or you can get it at a special introductory price today!

Author Bio

Writing isn’t easy. But I love every second. A blank screen isn’t the enemy. It is the opportunity to create new friends and take them on amazing adventures and life-changing journeys. I feel blessed to spend my days weaving tales that are unique—because I made them.
Billionaires. Songwriters. Artists. Actors. Directors. Stuntmen. Football players. They fill the pages and become dear friends I hope you will want to revisit again and again.
Thank you for jumping into my books and coming along for the journey.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.maryjwilliams.net/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-J-Williams/1561851657385417

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/maryjwilliams05

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Mary-J.-Williams/e/B00V041ET6/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5648619.Mary_J_Williams

Newsletter:  http://www.maryjwilliams.net/ (‘mailing list’ on the home page)

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/maryj0675/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/2015romance/

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-j-williams

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, new release, Readers, Romance, Women's Fiction, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Martha’s Way Series by Mika Jolie

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?

Martha’s Way Series by Mika Jolie

Martha's Way-Mika Jolie

Genre: Multicultural Romance

Blurb for The Scale:

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*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

Twenty-seven year old, African-American, Minka Greene has to endure watching her twin sister marry the man she loves. Her weight is up, and her confidence is down. Not exactly the ideal time to meet the real man of her dreams.
The Scale opens in Martha’s Vineyard with Minka attending Keely and Blake’s engagement party at Martha’s Way, the beautiful inn owned and operated by the tall, blond, tattooed man with the piercing blue eyes. It just so happens Jason Montgomery is also Blake’s childhood friend and the best man. Dealing with a whirl of emotions, Minka faints in Jason’s arms.
When she wakes up naked in Jason’s bed after a night of passion, the Vineyard confirmed bachelor struggling with his own demons and the woman filled with self-doubt and pining for another man are joined in an experience that will change their lives.

The Scale is book 1 of the Martha’s Way series. All the books in the Martha’s Way series can be read as a standalone.

A few choice lines from the book:

“Why aren’t you comfortable with my nudity?”

It’s not just your nudity that I’m not comfortable with. As a distraction to hide the unsettling feeling inside, she sucked in a deep breath and walked across the room to retrieve what appeared to be her bra.

“I like your name. Minka,” he said from the bed. “It’s different.”

“I’ll be sure to pass the compliment on to my parents. Please put some clothes on.”

Jason laughed off her obvious discomfort. “Come back to bed, darling. I can call Blake and let him know you’ll be late.”

She stood there watching him. Her lips drawn, her eyes narrowed.

“And Minka, did you like the sex?” He waved a long finger in the air. “Ah, don’t lie.”

“I was drunk. You took advantage. Please put some clothes on.”

“I never take advantage of a woman. And you weren’t drunk.” He patted the empty space on the bed next to him. “So how did we compare to your college make-out session?”

The man was impossibly conceited. Did he really need to hear that was the best sex she’s ever had? Walking past the bed, she murmured, “I have to go.” But damn it, he was coming to his feet, off the bed, in all his glory. Don’t look!

Once again, she failed. She looked at his wide shoulders, his tattoos, his flat abdomen, and…

Seriously, she needed to stop gawking as if she had never seen a beautiful naked body before. Well, she hadn’t but she didn’t have to make it so obvious. Minka caught her breath as he came to stand very close to her, leaving only inches between them. Out of desperation, she tried to increase the space between them by taking a step back. To her surprise, he turned on his heels and walked toward the dresser, giving Minka a full view of his flawless ass. He pulled out a pair of black boxer briefs and lazily slid long, toned, tanned legs into them as if he was very aware she was examining his every move. She hated to give him that satisfaction, but her eyes were glued to him, even when he turned to face her, in the sexiest pair of boxer briefs she had ever seen on a man.

He took two long strides to close the space between them. Minka automatically took several steps back until her back was pressed against the wall. Toned arms came to rest on the wall, his eyes locked into hers, holding her prisoner. “Don’t go yet, Minka.”

Really, did her name have to sound like silk coming out of his mouth? “I must go,” she heard herself say in a whisper. Minka wondered who she was trying to convince. At this point, she wasn’t so sure.

“I want to see you again.”

Were her ears deceiving her? A gorgeous hunk of a man wanted to see her again after a night of sex. This couldn’t be. She wouldn’t allow herself to entertain the idea. He was too beautiful. He belonged with someone just as beautiful, someone like Keely. At that thought, her heart sank. But it was better she protected herself from any more humiliation.

“I have a boyfriend,” she said out of desperation.

A soft laugh escaped his throat. “You just told me you were single.” As he spoke the words, he drew his face closer to hers, his lips inches away from hers. He was about to kiss her again; only this time she was one hundred percent sober. Minka toyed with the idea of begging him to have a little mercy on her. But she didn’t, instead her long lashes fluttered when he paused for a mere second.

Then he was kissing her, another mind-blowing kiss. His lips felt just as great as they had last night, if not better. Minka heard a soft noise from her throat as he deepened his hold on her. Against her lips, he whispered, “God, you feel good.” His voice was raspy as he spoke the words, the heat of his mouth caressing her lips. “Let’s go back to bed.”

She wanted to, oh how she really wanted to go back to bed with him one last time. “I really have to go. I promised Keely I’d go to her fitting with her.” Where she found the voice to speak, Minka wasn’t sure.

“Otherwise you would have stayed,” he challenged, still standing way too close to her, his lips too close.

“Yes, probably.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“Yes,” she admitted. At least for one last time, she would have stayed.

He nodded and took a few steps back away from her, seeming to understand her dilemma. The space unexpectedly left her feeling empty. He walked over to the bedroom door and opened it.

She quietly followed him as he led her down the spiral mahogany stairs. The house, she realized, was quite large with a certain charm. A Victorian style house that was clearly a work in progress, with what appeared to be freshly stained and finished floors, newly painted walls and sparse furniture. With the exception of his bedroom and the big leather sofa in the living room accompanied by a big screen television, it didn’t look like any other furniture had been purchased. She wondered who was actually behind the man and why he lived in this big old house alone. Was he coming fresh off a relationship, perhaps a divorce? And if so, had he gotten his heart broken or had he been the heartbreaker? Minka decided it was probably the latter.

“So, should we try this again?”

Lost in her thoughts, the question caught her off guard and she bumped into him. Her hands landed on his bare chest and stayed there for a second too long. She really should have insisted he put a shirt on as well. Not that the sexy, thigh-hugging boxers were helping much. “We should try this again,” he repeated, but not as a question this time. “I want to see you again, Minka.”

“I can’t.”

“Because…”

Okay, so he was persistent. Because next time, there won’t be any alcohol. Because next time you will see I’m not built like a model. Because next time, I won’t be good enough.

“Because whatever kinky sex we had was induced by alcohol, and that wasn’t me,” she said instead. Her voice sounded almost remorseful.

Blurb for Need You Now:

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The best relationships usually begin unexpectedly.

Puerto-Rican, American Liliana Serrano has never been one to let others determine her future—certainly not her pack of three overprotective brothers. She always stands on her own, which is exactly how she entered her arrangement with Adam Aquilani. The hot formula one driver is aloof, detached, and not interested in relationships. Fresh off a broken engagement with a cheating fiancé, no-strings-attached sex was just what she needed.
Except one year later, she never expected their hook-ups to have consequences.

Haunted by his past, Adam Aquilani is a man who lives on the edge. The absence of commitment and emotional attachment in his year-long relationship with Lily was just what he needed. Until he discovers the rules have changed, and he must decide to let her go, or give her full access to his well-guarded life.

As the two take a journey of discovery, secrets are revealed which test the strength of their connection.

Can they accept what is? Let go of what was and accept what will be?

*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

A few choice lines from the book:

Lily reached the doorway when Adam caught her hands. The whole thing happened too fast. His fingers laced in hers, chests pressing against one another. With his weight he directed her to the wall, raised her arms up over her head, and caged her in. Not one to cower, she looked straight into his eyes.
“You don’t love me,” she whispered.
His jaw tightened, but he made no attempt to dispute otherwise. Her heart scattered in tiny little pieces. She hadn’t expected a declaration of undying love, but the reality still stung.
“I need love, Adam. That mad, passionate love. It should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.” She examined his stoic expression, and her posture sagged. The fact she was forever bonded to a man who didn’t love her smacked her in the face. It shouldn’t. She already knew that. But…still, reality sucked. “That’s not who we are.”

Blurb for Tattooed Hearts:

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*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

Being someone’s first love is unforgettable. Being their last is immeasurable.

Claire Peters should be on top of the world. She owns the radio waves and has a budding movie career. But her heart longs to be rooted. Ten years ago, she fled Martha’s Vineyard to pursue her dream and to make something of herself. But there’s still a void. After a decade of running, she returns to the island hoping to find her happiness with the man she’s loved all her life.

When a tragic event shatters Dr. Forrest Desvareaux’ well-balanced world, the Vineyard’s hometown good guy discovers everything in his life is based on lies. Angry and betrayed, he turns to Claire – the one woman who has indelibly marked him.

Is it possible to run back to the person who broke you?

Forever linked, Forrest and Claire are an unending continuum. But she’s a wildflower and Forrest’s roots run deep on the Vineyard. Can they accept home is not a place but a feeling?

A few choice lines from the book:

She knocked on the door and waited. Nothing. She knocked again, a little firmer this time. Still nothing. Claire reached in her purse and grabbed her phone. Damn, no freaking signal. Another perk of living on the island. Phone signals were capricious.

She turned on her heels to the back of the house where she knew he kept the emergency key, then headed back to the front. The night wind penetrated the wool coat with absurd ease, making her shiver. She drew her shawl around herself more tightly to keep out the cold as she fumbled with the key. The door slowly creaked open; she stepped inside and was greeted by a muted house, which was not typical of Forrest. She headed down the hall, the click of her heels amplified with each step on the wooden floor. She entered the family room. In here, ESPN always blared in the background. Tonight, there was nothing but an eerie, hollow silence.

A bad feeling slithered up the back of her neck. She dug in her purse for her phone again. One finger dragged along the screen; it lit up. Still no signal. A knot of fear twisted in her gut.

“Claire.”

The sound of Forrest’s voice, infused with a question mark, caused her heart to jump and fill with joy, relief. She whipped around and faced the main reason she came back to Martha’s Vineyard.

Blurb for Wrapped in Red:

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*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

Christmas is a time to be merry and bright. For Minka Montgomery, it’s anything but.

While the small towns of Martha’s Vineyard burst with festive lights and good cheer, a black shadow parades around and within Minka. With her Christmas spirit conspicuously absent, her marriage to Jason Montgomery has snowballed and is spiraling out of control. The weight of motherhood – and her new role as a wife – presses on her shoulders. Self-doubt creeps in and swiftly turns to hopelessness.
As her anxiety level rises, can she share what’s in her heart with her husband? Is there a branch of hope to hold on to? With Christmas only twelve days away, can she find her Christmas spirit and rediscover the true meaning of the season?

A few choice lines from the book:

The door creaked open. She stepped in just as Jason threw his shirt on the bed, naked from the waist up—every muscle well defined, ripped to perfection, and covered with various tattoos.

Heat.

Fire.

And crazy need stirred between her thighs. No surprise there. Jason naked, half-naked, or fully dressed, always managed to produce a reaction. Lately, she just couldn’t follow through.

A thick blanket of guilt smothered her heart.

They held each other’s gaze for a few seconds. “I don’t know where to start,” she said into the silence.

“Try the beginning.”

My Score:

I was fortunate to be a beta reader for The Scale, the first book in this series, and I absolutely loved it! The passion between Minka and Jason was scorching and I found the heroine to be a very relatable character. With her insecurities about her weight and some pretty tangled romantic history, she was a character I really wanted to root for.

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Now, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading the other books in the series, but they are on my Amazon Wishlist. I can’t wait to dive in and learn about the rest of the characters we got to meet in the first book! 🙂

I give this series five hearts.

five hearts

Grab a copy when you get a chance!

Martha's Way-Mika Jolie

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Reviews, Romance