Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Favorite Fictional Cowboys – Dynamic Duos


Giveaway Alert!

Tougher in Texas is the story of Cole and Shawnee, a pair of rodeo pickup men--except one is a woman. Pickup men work in tandem to help cowboys off bucking horses at the end of a ride, clear the horses and bulls from the arena, and generally do everything they can to ensure the safety of all...occasionally even the audience, as in one scene in this book. Inside the arena Cole and Shawnee have to trust each other implicitly. Outside the arena...well, that's where it gets really tricky for these two damaged souls. In honor of my dynamic duo, I picked out my favorite fictional cowboy partners.


Hands down, no comparison is Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This movie has it all—action, suspense, humor, incredible camera work, and a bromance with chemistry that’s off the charts. And the romance is pretty hot, too. The scene when Sundance is waiting in Katharine Ross’s bedroom and forces her to undress at gunpoint absolutely crackles with sexual tension. It's a buddy movie, a heist, a comedy, a shoot ‘em up...in other words, damn near perfect. And did I mention PRIME Redford and Newman?

Here’s where everyone expects me to talk about Gus McCrae and Captain Call from Lonesome Dove, but they get enough attention. In honor of all the great ranch and rodeo horses who’ve been my partners over the years, I’m going to Australia with Jim and Denny in The Man from Snowy River. Jim is the cowboy. Denny is his tough, gutsy buckskin mare. Together they shot one of the most thrilling equine action scenes in movie history with their breakneck ride down the side of mountain, which you can watch at here. This descent is so iconic that any time we have to go bounding down a steep ridge after a cow we call it ‘doing the Snowy River’, and any rancher worth his salt knows exactly what we mean. Yes, there’s also a romance, but at the end Jim rides away not with Rebecca but his true love—Denny.

And now an excerpt from Tougher in Texas, in which Cole and Shawnee’s newly forged partnership faces the ultimate test: a runaway bull and a carnival midway.  

***

The cowboy nodded and Flight Risk fired out of the chute, a fifteen-hundred-pound missile launching into midair. His head whipped around to the left and his body followed; the sheer power ripped the cowboy’s hand out of the rope. He shot backward, ending up astride the bull’s butt. On the next jump, Flight Risk slung him skyward, but instead of sailing free, the cowboy was jerked down and slammed into the ground, one spur caught in the flank strap.

Hung up in the worst possible way.

Cruz threw his body on top of the cowboy in hopes that the extra weight would rip the spur free while Hank grabbed for the tail of the flank strap to yank the slip knot loose. As his hand closed around the rope, Flight Risk kicked high, picking Hank up and tossing him a dozen yards, right into Hammer’s path, forcing Cole to rein up hard. The flank strap and the cowboy came loose and Flight Risk broke into a gallop, headed straight for the luxury boxes. Her path blocked by the scrambling cowboy, there was nothing Shawnee could do but watch as Flight Risk reached the fence, gathered himself, and leapt.

He landed in a narrow walkway between two of the VIP boxes, greeted by screams and flailing bodies. Flight Risk ignored them, focused on the tunnel that led under the grandstand and out to freedom—and the midway.

“Plan B!” Cole yelled.

He was already riding through a pass gate and into the stands. Shawnee was right on his tail. Hammer and Salty plowed through the chaos, impervious to dropped beers and flying nachos. When they clattered out the end of the tunnel Flight Risk was twenty yards ahead, aimed straight for the line of shooting galleries and ring toss games. A mother grabbed her toddler and flung him over a low counter, face first into the rubber duck pond, then dove in after him. A carnie waved his oversized hammer in self-defense as the bull hooked a giant purple panda with one horn and flung it onto the lap of a bug-eyed girl on the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Flight Risk dodged left between a cotton candy booth and a trailer peddling funnel cakes and deep-fried pickles. Cole followed. Shawnee stayed right so the bull couldn’t circle back. As they thundered past the mini donut truck, people scattered, shrieking and stumbling. Salty did a nifty shuck and jive to dodge a stroller, knocking a candied apple out of a wide-eyed teenager’s hand.

“’Scuse us!” Shawnee called over her shoulder.

As they came even with the next gap between vendors, Shawnee saw Cole’s loop settle over the bull’s horns, then heard Hammer’s hooves scrabbling on the asphalt when Cole dallied up and attempted to bring the bull to a stop. As Flight Risk turned, Shawnee skidded around the shaved ice stand, took two swings, and laid her loop under his belly, snatching up both hind feet and whipping solid dallies around her saddle horn. Salty grunted but held as the bull stretched between the horses, teetered, then flopped onto his side a foot shy of a bouncy castle filled with squealing preschoolers.

Shawnee was blowing as hard as Salty. Ho-lee shit. That…was…so…awesome.

Cole didn’t look nearly as thrilled, eyeing the pandemonium in their wake, and the flock of morons with cell phones already creeping closer. “We’ll have to hold him until security clears these idiots out, then take him back to his pen and go ask that dickhead what he thinks of his fence now.” Then, of all things, he grinned, and her heart gave an odd little blippity-blip. “Nice loop, by the way.”

A warmth that had nothing to do with the heat rushed through her. It was just…okay, yeah, it meant more coming from Cole, not because she treasured his opinion, but because he was so stingy with his praise. That was all. Just a major ego stroke.

And maybe, just a little, that smile. Damn. She considered mentioning that if he broke it out a little more often, his wife hunt might go considerably better. But she’d had to earn it…and she didn’t want to share.

Uh-oh.

She couldn’t turn loose of Flight Risk and run, so she did the next best thing. She batted her eyes and leered at him. “See? I told you we’d be good together.”

But this time, Cole didn’t blush.


TOUGHER IN TEXAS


He’s got five rules

And she’s aiming to break them all

Rodeo producer Cole Jacobs has his hands full running Jacobs Livestock. He can’t afford to lose a single cowboy, so when Cousin Violet offers to send along a more-than-capable replacement, he’s got no choice but to accept. He expects a grizzled Texas good ol’ boy.

He gets Shawnee Pickett.

Wild and outspoken, ruthlessly self-reliant, Shawnee’s not looking for anything but a good time. It doesn’t matter how quickly the tall, dark and intense cowboy gets under her skin—Cole deserves something real, and Shawnee can’t promise him forever. Life’s got a way of kicking her in the teeth, and she’s got her bags packed before tragedy can knock her down. Too bad Cole’s not the type to give up when the going gets tough…

KARI LYNN DELL brings a lifetime of personal experience to writing western romance. She is a third-generation rancher and rodeo competitor who works on the family ranch in northern Montana, inside the Blackfeet Nation. She exists in a perpetual state of horse-induced poverty along with her husband, Max and Spike the (female) Cowdogs, a few hundred cows and a son who resides on the same general segment of the autism spectrum as Cole Jacobs and doesn’t believe names should be gender-limited.

Buy Links:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Picking up Good Vibrations


Giveaway of $10 gift card!


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Washington, D.C. has a particular kind of irresistible energy. A certain vibe that hits you the second you step foot onto its streets. Maybe it’s the architecture, maybe it’s the history, or maybe it’s the mere non-stop pace of our nation’s capital that sends electricity buzzing in the air. Whatever it is, being in the city makes you feel like you’re a part of something special. You don’t have to be a history buff or an admirer of architecture to feel it.
I had been to Washington, D.C. once before I started writing Casual Affair. It was years ago, yet I could still recall those shivers that ran down my spine when I walked up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, or stood in awe in front of the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr.. But it was only after my husband and I took a trip to the city in late 2016 did I truly appreciate how romantic the city can be.
Walking beside the Reflecting Pool at sunset, gazing up at the Washington Monument shining like a beacon in the dusky sky. Inhaling the fragrance of cherry blossoms that surround the Jefferson Memorial. Grabbing a drink at the historic Old Ebbitt Grill, where the nicest bartender you’ll ever meet makes you the most delicious apple cinnamon whiskey drink you’ll ever have (one you still can’t remember the ingredients to). And afterwards, letting the glowing lights from the imposing Archives building and the Capital guide your way back to your hotel.
It is to this day, one of the best trips he and I have ever taken. I knew I had to capture it in a book.
For Bea Paxton and Zane Price, the indelible city serves as a backdrop to their blossoming romance. They fall in love while paddle boating in the Tidal Basin, and playing soccer beside the National Mall, and shooting darts in a swanky bar in the heart of historic downtown, down the street from the White House. Everywhere I walked in that city, I imagined the two of them flirting and getting to know each other in such a dynamic setting, one with such a charged atmosphere.
And just like that, I fell even more in love with their relationship and with their story.
Maybe it is because I love history that I enjoy the city so much. Or because I fell in love with Bea and Zane’s relationship so much. But I’d also like to think that appreciating D.C. is an experience we can all share…even fictional characters.

So, if you ever find yourself eating ice cream while walking along the Potomac River in D.C., stop and see if you don’t feel the same.

Excerpt:
Suddenly, she was flying through the air.
“Hey!”
Somebody had hold of her and they were going down. She braced herself for impact with the hard ground, but landed on a firm chest instead. A chest that smelled suspiciously like…Zane Price.
She was rolled off his body and found herself staring up at his face. He looked kind of angry. Huh. She wasn’t expecting that. She could feel his package grinding against her pelvis, so she certainly wasn’t mad about anything. A package that was quickly hardening, by the way.
“Did you just tackle me?” she asked in bewilderment.
She saw him swallow as his eyes flew over her face. “I believe I did, yes.”
Their position on the ground was far too sexual—not that she was doing anything about it. His upper body was hovering over hers so as not to crush her, but their lower bodies were in close contact.
Very close contact.
She cleared her throat. “Why?”
“Because you were about to become a casualty,” he whispered. “I saved your life.”
“My hero.” She’d meant it to sound sarcastic. But her voice came out a lot huskier than she’d intended.
He noticed.
His eyes darkened in response.
Everything below her belly clenched with need, a reaction that his own body mirrored. She felt him grow thick against her thigh, and though he didn’t say anything, she knew they were both aware of what was happening south of the border.
“And you’re still on top of me, why?”
“Because part of me is quite comfortable here,” he admitted. “And a different part of me is about to be in a world of pain once I move. I’m trying to decide which part I should listen to.”
“Do I get a say in this?”
He gave a small thrust of his hips against her, making her gasp. One quick grind that allowed her to feel the full extent of his manhood in all of its stiff glory.
She was a goner.
His eyelids lowered to half-mast as he took in her reaction. “Do you want a say in this?”


Casual Affair (Slow Seduction #1) 

Bea Paxton is a free spirit. She loves her fledgling interior design business, having fun, and she loves men. But only temporarily. Rule #1 is no relationships, no love, no commitment. She likes being in charge. It’s the only way to protect herself from getting hurt again.

Zane Price is the perfect candidate for a steamy time—beautiful, built, and British. Plus, he’ll soon be moving back to England. Really perfect.

Well...except for the fact that he’s her biggest client. And he doesn’t play by her rules. Hell, no. He wants more. Much more. Which is definitely not on the agenda.

Unfortunately, his kisses are nothing short of toe-curlingly awesome. And he is distracting her—a lot—from doing her job.

She needs to stay away from him. Her livelihood depends on it.

But Zane always gets what he wants. And he wants Bea. But for right now? Or forever...?



About the author:
Melanie grew up in a small town in rural Missouri. After marrying her husband, she decided she wanted to try coastal life. A few months later, they moved to North Carolina where she discovered her passion for writing, and they never looked back.

Melanie’s other passion is traveling and seeing the world. With anthropology degrees under their belts, she and her husband have made it their goal in life to see as many archaeological sites around the world as possible.

She has a horrible food addiction to pasta and candy (not together…ew). And she gets sad when her wine rack is empty.

At the end of the day, she is a true romantic at heart. She loves writing the cheesy and corny of romantic comedies, and the sassy and sexy of suspenses. She aims to make her readers swoon, laugh out loud, maybe sweat a little, and above all, fall in love.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chance Seduction

With: Jess Dee

Giveaway Alert!

Chance Seduction has taught me an important lesson. Romance readers love alpha heroes. And Adam, the hero, is as alpha as they come. Strong, domineering, opinionated, assertive, and well to be honest, a bit of an asshole. The thing is, romance readers don’t love assholes.

Adam’s behaviour often infuriated me as I wrote the book. And yet, he refused to act differently. The man has been so broken and so devastated by tragedy, his sole purpose in life now is to defend himself from further pain. He cuts himself off from emotional ties and close relationships of any kind. So when he meets Lexi, his heroine, a woman who won’t back down—no matter how scathing he is to her—his life and his defences are thrown into turmoil. Adam acts in the only way he knows how. He attacks.

I may not have been able to calm his bad moods, but after some firm words from my editor, Adam cooled off a little. She managed to tone down his behaviour significantly. While still broken, he is now far more palatable. But be warned: there are times he is still an asshole. He can’t help himself. Covering up pain that deep takes some serious effort.

I hope you enjoy the book and discover, like Lexi does, that underneath all the hurt is a man with a world of love to offer.

Happy reading.
Jess

Chance Seduction 

When Lexi Tanner’s unbelievably hot one-night stand turns out to be the same man she needs to approach for a hefty donation, things certainly get complicated. She’ll do anything to raise the money needed for the children’s charity she’s starting—but how can she ask AJ Riley for money now?

Adam knows he’ll never love again. He’s been there and done that. But the sexy woman he had an unbelievable night with causes cracks in his emotional defenses as well as cranks up his libido. One night should have burned her out of his system, but this kind of heat comes with strings…


An Excerpt
Adam pushed himself off the wall and took seven—she counted each one of them—very slow, very calculated steps in her direction. His face was unreadable, hypnotic, and she couldn’t tear her eyes away. He walked past her desk. Unsure of his intentions, she swallowed a tiny gasp as he stopped a mere heartbeat away from her.

The hunger was back in his expression, as it had been in the kitchen. Only this time, she refused to fall for it. Once bitten…

She took a step back, creating space between them. Wrong move. Her butt touched the desktop and she was trapped, caught between a slab of wood and a wall of muscle.

He stepped closer and inhaled slowly. When he exhaled, his breath mingled with hers, sending a wave of longing shimmering through her.

She wanted to punch him in the nose.

His aftershave tickled her senses, and she made a concerted effort to hold herself down and not reach over and bury her face in his chest and gasp in his masculine scent.

Desire overrode her aggravation. Need pulsed through her, so powerful it rendered her muscles useless. She stood paralyzed, aching for his touch.

Her lids grew heavy. She fought every impulse to close them, fought the temptation to tilt her head slightly backward and offer him her mouth as she had in the kitchen.

“Look, Adam—”

He swooped in and kissed her.

His lips enveloped hers, and his tongue took possession of her mouth. It delved inside, hot and wet and demanding. And sweet. Oh, so sweet. Waves of pleasure spiraled through her. Her toes curled and her stomach quivered, and she almost wept at the relief she found in his arms as they wrapped around her, pulling her against him.

Giveaway:
Jess will be giving away a choice of two ebooks from her backlist to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry.

About the author: 
An avid romance reader since her early teens, Jess knew one day, when she grew up, she’d have to write her own love stories. And she did. Although the first one was pretty awful.
But once she discovered it was okay to leave the bedroom door open in her romance novels, she decided to leave everything open. Buttons, zips, pants, number of lovers… Which is why her books are all steamy erotic romances.

Jess’s first published story was originally contracted in 2005. Since then, she’s completed over 30 books, and is finally doing the work she loves most— writing romance.

While Jess lived most of her life in South Africa, the last fourteen years have been spent in Australia. From the fast-paced Sydney lifestyle to the laid-back islands and beaches, there’s always another gorgeous Aussie setting for a contemporary romance.

Connect:
Author Twitter: @jessdeewriter
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jess.dee.921             

Monday, July 24, 2017

Bonding Games


Congratulations to "Bn100", the winner in Cathryn's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!


BONDING GAMES

Former Navy SEAL Josh Steele gets tasked with a babysitting mission—watch over his boss’s daughter—a job he can only describe as hell. But when his assignment takes him to a tropical island, and he begins to see another side of Holly Fairfax, attraction sizzles between them—but he knows better than to risk his job for it.

Holly can’t believe that underneath those baggy clothes tech-guru Josh Steele is all ripped abs and sexy hotness. Ignoring said hotness is tough, especially since she has to work with him on the team-building exercises her boss has assigned if she wants a coveted promotion. It’s even harder when she discovers being around Josh brings out her naughty side – one she didn’t know she had.

But if she cracks the code on his cover, everything they’ve built could come crashing down.



Excerpt: She shifted from one foot to the other, glancing at her watch. Where the hell was the lifeguard? Her foot tapped restlessly. Okay, something was seriously wrong. As her heart raced, she kicked off her shoes, and pulled her sundress over her head. Dressed only in her lacy bra and comfy undies, she dove under and swam to the dark, lifeless figure on the bottom. Blue eyes flew open when she touched the man’s arm. Caught off guard, a bubble of air ripped from her lungs.
Big hands captured her shoulders, fingers biting in a tight grip. He kicked off the bottom, pulling her with him, and punched through the surface. He shook his head, his eyes going wide as his wet hair slicked off his face, showcasing his features.
“Holly?”
She sucked in a huge breath, and for one shocked moment she just stared. “Josh?”
He scrubbed his chin, the little rasping sounds of his day’s growth of beard reverberating through her. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“What do you mean what am I doing? What the hell are you doing?”
His glance moved over her face, his brows pulled together. “I was swimming.”
“Swimming?” she asked, her voice boarding on hysteria. “You call that swimming? You were sitting on the bottom of the pool. Where I come from we call that drowning.”
Big droplets fell from his dark lashes as he lowered his lids, the hard lines on his face softening. He pulled her against his chest, and his strong heart pounded hard against her cheek. “Shit. I really scared you, didn’t I?”
“Yeah.”
He inched back, his gaze moving over her face again. “I’m sorry.”
“What were you doing?” she managed to say as strong hands splayed over her back. A shiver moved through her. Damn. That probably shouldn’t feel so good.
“It’s how I think. Unwind and relax, you know.”
“No, I don’t know.” She shook her head. “That’s not normal, Josh.”
He laughed, a rich, decadent rumble that hit like a bolt of lust. All righty, then. “No? Then what is normal?”
“Get a retriever. Go for a run. Read a book. Drink wine.”
Wine. Yeah, forget the ice cream. Wine was exactly what she needed. Lots of it.

About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Cathryn Fox is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Cathryn can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter but loves to spend time writing page-turning books that her readers will love.



Website where you’ll find a free book. http://www.cathrynfox.com

Street team. If you’re interested in joining we’d LOVE to have you. We have a lot of fun over there, and lots of special prizes and contests for my lovely FOXY ladies!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/FOXYFICTION/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Top 5 swoon worthy, dimple sporting men



Good morning and thank you for having me here at Just Contemporary Romance. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to share with you today and then it hit me. Something super important. Something Emily White, the heroine in Her Cowboy’s Promise knows the power of. Dimples.

Dimples are what can take an ordinary smile to extraordinary. They can take a simple attraction to one that possibly weakens your knees. Just ask Emily what Adam Conley and his dimples ended up doing. So I did the dirty work (I mean it was really hard ya’ll) and came up with my Top 5 Dimple sporting men.

5. Jared Padalecki

Dean Forester popped into my world as I was consuming Gilmore Girls. I don’t blame Rory for going all mush when Dean caught her Rosemary’s Baby reference and then smiled to boot. I have never watched that “other” show he’s in, but I’m told he aged just fine. Dimples and all.



4. Mark Harmon

Those eyes and that smile are a hefty combination. I love me some Leroy Jethro Gibbs and have no doubt a little bit of him filtered into Adam Conley.


3. Adam Levine

Now I didn’t get all the hype about him early on, but let’s just say, I’ve come around. He’s funny and swoony and all things a good hero should be, not to mention the voice.


2. Sam Claflin

I only know Sam from The Hunger Games, but really do I need to know anymore? The never take you serious look combined with the deep dimples produced all sorts of butterflies. The rest of him wasn’t too bad to look at either.



1. Dwayne Johnson

I’m not even sure if Mr. Johnson has dimples or they’re smile lines from his incredible smile, but I’m calling author’s prerogative and saying dimples. I have adored this man since way back in his early wrestling days, and my joy of watching him has only increased with time. Videos of him with his little girl…sigh.



So there you have it. My Top 5 swoon worthy, dimple sporting men. How about you? Do you like a nice set of dimples, and if so, who is your favorite dimple sporter? Let me know in the comments.

Thank you for having me here today. It has been a pleasure. Happy Reading!

Her Cowboy’s Promise

Three years ago, artist Emily White’s grief and survivor’s guilt sent her to the small Wyoming town of Fly Creek. Since then, she’s kept her emotions safely tucked away—until she meets the new rancher at Sky Lake Dude Ranch. Stetson in hand, the gorgeous cowboy’s arrival in her store immediately shakes up her world.

Adam Conley is only in Fly Creek for as long as it takes to fulfill his promise to his late cousin. The small town brings up too many memories of the life he left behind years ago. He knows his task won’t be easy, but the last thing he expects is the instant attraction to the reason he’s in town. Emily is beautiful, vibrant, and completely off-limits. He’s there to keep his promise—not fall in love.

But Adam’s secret will crumble everything Emily’s life has revolved around.


About the author
Jennifer lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. When not writing, she can usually be found elbow deep in flour or inhaling chlorine as she cheers her daughter on at a swim meet. She loves musicals, caramel and roller coasters, and lists Machu Picchu at the top of her bucket list. She is a member of RWA and is the President of her local chapter, Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers. Find out more about Jennifer and sign up for her newsletter at www.jenniferhoopes.com


Sign up for the JCR newsletter!