Friday, January 23, 2015

Second Chances

Second chance is one of those common threads that romance novels thrive on. My Ward Brothers trilogy is no exception. Each book has a couple who knew each other when they were younger and come back together as adults. I think one of the reasons this story idea appeals to me is that sometimes you can be head over heels with someone and it just isn’t the right time in your life for that relationship. Or maybe that boy you liked never noticed you before, but now things have changed and he can truly see the real you. 

Take Castle for instance (the TV show). It had that will they or won’t they throughout their first few seasons that kept you on the edge of your seat. I’m going to mention The Notebook, but (ducking) haven’t actually watched it. I don’t get to watch as many movies as I like to and that one has been on my list for a while. With kids, I tend to get stuck with animated movies.

Oh, When Harry Met Sally, there’s a classic one. Friends to lovers, second chances. Getting those two together took quite a bit of effort from the writers, but that’s what makes us want to watch it again and again. Believe me coming up with these movies is harder than I thought it would be.

13 Going on 30. This one is mine and my daughter’s favorite. She gets the chance to see what her life would be like if she takes a certain path and gets the chance to fall in love with her best friend. Hollywood gets to have these little bits of magic in their love stories. Mine tend to be a lot more down to Earth.

In my first Ward Brothers book, Father by Choice, Maggie gets a second chance to fall in love with the father of her child. In One Night with the Best Man, high school sweethearts are reunited and get a second chance at their happily ever after. And in His Small-Town Sweetheart, two best friends from childhood find each other again and discover love.

I guess when it comes down to it, I believe that love doesn’t have a time limit or an expiration date and that maybe when something is meant to be, you have to wait until the timing is just right. How about you? Can you think of your favorite second chance movie or book?

His Small-Town Sweetheart

Best Friends…Forever 

Twenty years ago, Nicole Baxter left the only home she knew—and the boy who shared all her secrets. Now, with nowhere else to go, she's back in Tawnee Valley to figure out her next move—and cry on her old friend Sam Ward's shoulder. Except the gentle dreamer has become a brooding loner who's gearing up to sell the place he loves most. 

When Nikki moved away, Sam lost the best friend he ever had. The beautiful, elegant woman who comes home is a world away from the tomboy with pigtails and skinned knees. And he's no longer the dreamy kid who believes in happy endings. Until Nikki starts to convince him they share the same dream: a future together right here in their own backyard…

Amanda Berry's bio:
Between walking her Jack Russell-beagle mix, petting her two cats and driving her two kids all over creation, Amanda Berry writes contemporary romance novels (thanks to a supportive husband). A Midwest girl stuck in the wetlands of South Carolina, she finds inspiration in her small-town upbringing. A list of her current releases and backlist can be found at


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Trouble With Texas Cowboys

With: Carolyn Brown

Giveaway Alert!

THE TROUBLE WITH TEXAS COWBOYS — they are too irresistible to ignore! 

Can a girl ever have too many cowboys?

No sooner does pint-sized spitfire Jill Cleary set foot on Fiddle Creek Ranch than she finds herself in the middle of a hundred-year-old feud. Quaid Brennan and Tyrell Gallagher are both tall, handsome, and rich...and both are courting Jill to within an inch of her life. She's doing her best to give these feuding ranchers equal time-too bad it's dark-eyed Sawyer O'Donnell who makes her blood boil and her hormones hum...


Jill’s gaze started at Sawyer’s eyelashes, which totally fascinated her. How could a thick bunch of dark hair be so seductive? Finally she let her eyes travel past his nose and to his lips. The music in her head wasn’t haunting, but it wasn’t upbeat either. It was like the background music to an old gospel hymn, peaceful with the promise of something eternal.

When she got to his slightly parted lips, the chemistry between them reached a brand-new height. His knuckles moved to trace her jawline, and then his hand splayed out, palm resting on her cheek, pinky teasing her ear, the rest holding her neck steady as his lips closed over hers.

Jill cupped his cheeks in her hands and took the first step to deepen the kiss. Desire fanned the fires of arousal until they were both panting. He moved from her lips to her neck, nuzzling, tasting, driving her crazy.

With one tug, all the snaps of his shirt popped open, and she buried her face in the soft black hair covering his bare chest. He groaned, and she shifted her weight until she was sitting in his lap.

It should not happen, but it was going to. Plain and simple. She wanted Sawyer. She needed him, and not even an act of God was going to stop what they’d started.

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Author Biography

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times bestselling author with more than sixty books published, and credits her eclectic family for her humor and writing ideas. Carolyn was born in Texas but grew up in southern Oklahoma where she and her husband, Charles, a retired English teacher, make their home. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Caught In The Act

With: Kim Law

Giveaway Alert!


The Davenports, Book Two
Montlake Romance, Contemporary
January 27, 2015
Paperback & Kindle

Catherine Davenport Carlton needs a break. After dedicating her life to her political-minded family, shocking scandals from the past have shaken her to her core. Summer in the quiet town of Dyersport, Maine, is just what she needs, especially with a super-hot neighbor right next door…who’s none other than Brody Hollister, the boy she fell in love with as a teen. Cat wants nothing more than to pick up right where they left off eighteen years ago, but she’s still haunted by a terrible secret that could devastate Brody.

Brody Hollister spent years pining over Cat Davenport. They met young and loved passionately—until she disappeared from his life. Now she’s back, as spirited and beautiful as ever. But while Brody is determined to help Cat free herself from her family’s drama, his own family may be hiding something that could ruin their rekindled romance for good.

In Book Two of the Davenports romance series, sex and politics collide…with passionate results.



“I . . . uh . . .” Louisa’s stumbling words caught his attention. She was looking back and forth between them, confusion marring her face. “I guess you two know each other?” she finally asked.

Brody’s gaze met Cat’s. They nodded simultaneously.

“We know each other,” he said. “Though it’s been a long time.”

Cat nodded again, the anger he’d seen flash across her face softening back into surprise. “Long time,” she muttered. 

And then her gaze skittered away.

Her lack of eye contact intrigued him, and he took the moment to study her appearance. Her makeup was just right: applied with a light hand but enough to come across as professional. Her hair, with its wide band perfectly matching her top and shoes, didn’t have a single flyaway strand.

And her stance screamed that she was important—only not so much as to not fit in with the locals. She wore her Davenport air, and from everything he’d seen over the last two decades, she should be standing there with a high level of confidence.
However, she was still focusing on anything other than him.

And then he got it. She hadn’t been spying on him for the last five days. She’d been ogling.


This brought a broad grin to his face. It had been nineteen years since he’d seen her. And yeah, he knew that people checked him out. He took care of himself. According to gossip at the college, he was a “hottie.” But to have Cat think so. After all this time. The very idea sent a rush of hot pleasure through his body.
And he could see it on her face when she peeked up at him once more. Her chin tilted stubbornly in the air. Catherine Davenport had just figured out that the guy she had the hots for was the very boy who’d once fumbled his way into her panties.

And she lived right next door to him.

The summer suddenly looked a whole lot brighter.

“Mr. Hollister,” a high-pitched voice said at his side. A small hand yanked on his belt loop, and in the next instant, multiple hands yanked on multiple belt loops, with additional “Mr. Hollisters” thrown in.

Brody looked down. He was surrounded by every kid who’d been sitting perfectly quiet only two minutes earlier. Not that he couldn’t handle them when they weren’t sitting quietly, they’d just caught him off guard. It would be only a matter of getting everyone calmed back down, and things would be fine.

He pried Amy’s tiny hand off his jeans while ignoring Cat still standing in the doorway. “What can I do for you, Amy?”

“Can the woman stay?” the girl asked.

“Yeah!” Fourteen other kids shouted the word in unison and began bouncing up and down, almost as one entity. “Let the woman stay,” they chanted. “Let the woman stay.”

A soft chime sounded overhead, and Louisa mumbled something about the front door. She was gone before Brody could ask for help.

Amy tugged on his belt loop again. “Mr. Hollister.”

“Yes, Amy?” Once again, he pried small fingers from the denim.

“I need to pee.”

Oh geez.

Brody looked around, panicked, feeling suddenly out of control. He did not want to ask Cat for help. There was a certainty in him that if he let her in, even a millimeter, she would quickly become more than a pretty neighbor to secretly fixate on.

He shoved the thought from his mind. She may be next door, and he may still want her—no matter how they’d ended—but it didn’t mean he had to act on it. Even if one glance at her in close proximity had him thinking that he wanted to peel that innocent-looking white skirt from her body and see what she looked like in a teeny-tiny pair of bikinis. 

It had nothing to do with her personally. It had simply been a while. 

And men had needs. 

“How about we all make a bathroom run?” he suggested. He stood tall and swept his gaze over the children. “Line up.” He motioned with his arms, each drawing out a line the kids should step to. “Boys on one side, girls on the other.”

Cat entered the room. 

She reached out a hand for Amy’s. “I’ll take the girls.”

“There’s no need,” Brody started. He grabbed Amy’s hand before Cat could. “I can handle it.”

Sculpted blonde eyebrows rose before him. “So can I.”

She stared at him, and it was as if nineteen years slipped away into nothing.

Something had happened that summer that he’d never been able to replicate with another woman. Not even the one he’d been engaged to. 

And it seemed to be happening again whether he liked it or not. 

All of a sudden, he felt like the geeky teenager he’d once been. She’d been so out of his league. A Davenport. A year older. She’d had a license, for Christ’s sake.

Yet she’d been drawn to him, too. She’d become his best friend during those weeks. He would have followed her anywhere.

Fine. He silently relented. He narrowed his eyes at her as he released Amy’s hand. But I didn’t ask for your help.


He’d been proud even then. No father, a single, struggling mother. He’d needed to be on top of his game for the scholarships he sought. 

Cat had needed to be pristine for her family’s reputation.

All of that had disappeared on their last day together.

Cat pasted on her fake, public smile now and proceeded to ignore him. She glowed down at the line of waiting girls. Each of them tittered in front of her as if in the presence of a princess. “Let’s make it a game,” she suggested in a secretive voice. “I’ll be the mama duck, and each of you are my ducklings. That means you have to hold on to your duckling sister in front of you.” She showed them how with one arm outstretched toward Amy’s shoulder. “And stay in a single-file line.”

The girls solemnly nodded and then assembled behind their leader, each with one hand on the girl in front of her. As they filed out of the room, the occasional soft quack could be heard coming from the hallway. Brody couldn’t help but smile.

When the last one disappeared out the door, he realized that he stood in the middle of five silent boys. All of them—including him—had fallen under Cat’s spell and were now staring awestruck in the direction she’d gone, tongues practically lolling out of their mouths.

Terrific. Nothing had changed. She had a way about her.

He looked down at Dylan, the oldest of the boys, who had lifted his head and was studying Brody intently. A quizzical expression was etched on the boy’s face.

“She’s pretty,” Dylan said innocently.

Brody nodded. “Yes, she is.” She had only gotten prettier since he’d last seen her.
“I like her,” the boy stated. 

It didn’t take long to figure that out about Cat. Everyone liked her. Dread settled in Brody’s gut. He may have been only fifteen before, but she’d broken his heart in two. 

I like her, too.

As a child, award-winning author Kim Law cultivated a love for chocolate, anything purple, and creative writing. She penned her debut work, “The Gigantic Talking Raisin,” in the sixth grade and got hooked on the delights of creating stories. Before settling into the writing life, however, she earned a college degree in mathematics and then worked as a computer programmer. Now she’s living out her lifelong dream of writing romance novels. She’s won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award, has been a finalist for the prestigious RWA RITA Award, and has served in varied positions for her local RWA chapter. A native of Kentucky, Kim lives with her husband and an assortment of animals in Middle Tennessee.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

I WAS a 400 ft. BRIDEZILLA…(for a few minutes)

Congratulations to "Sue G.", the winner in Jessica's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Dictatorship of the Dress is a story of second chances, missed flights, and a woman ruled by her mother’s wedding dress. It’s the first in my “Much ‘I Do’ About Nothing” series – wedding adventures with a twist! 

Here’s one of my favorite scenes, where Noah accuses Laney of Bridezilla behavior.

“Well, you’ve got a dress dictating your every move. You won’t let it out of your sight.” …

I frowned as I accidently lost control of my chopsticks, my California roll dropping into the little plastic cup of soy sauce. “Sounds like classic Bridezilla behavior to me.”

She almost choked on her wasabi-laced sushi piece. “Bridezilla? I am the least likely person to turn Bridezilla you will ever meet. In fact, I am like the Mothra of the Bridezilla world.”

“Mothra.” I tsked. “Pedestrian. Destoroyah—no, Bridestoroyah—could totally take on Bridezilla.”

“You have the chopstick skill level of a preschooler, and you dare to go around citing Japanese monster movie characters to me?” Laney seethed. “I have my reasons for choosing Mothra.”

“Yeah?” I stabbed my chopsticks straight through the middle of my errant sushi piece. “Let’s hear them.”

“Don’t, it’s bad luck!” she exclaimed.

“What, to talk to a bride about her wedding dress before the big day?” 

“No, to stab your chopstick through the middle of your food.” She reached across the table and readjusted my sticks for me with one hand. I noticed she kept her other hand on the garment bag riding shotgun in the chair next to her. Its midnight blue sheen and fancy silver embroidery looked out of place in the middle of the airport food court.

“So, what’s with guys wanting to have bachelor parties in Vegas? Are they really buying into the whole ‘what happens here, stays here’ thing?” she demanded.

“Dunno,” I mumbled. “I’m just showing up where I’m told to.” Which was the truth. 

“Vegas just seems so plastic,” Laney went on. “Everything’s a mirage. I mean, you’re in the freakin’ desert. Everyone having the time of their lives, please.” She dismissed the notion with a swat of her hand. “It seems so forced. If the groom really needs one last hurrah, take him to Amsterdam where there are real hookers and good dope, at least.”

Is that where your groom is right now? I felt like asking. I wondered if she really felt that way. Either she was the coolest Bridezilla on the planet or she was trying to pick a fight. “Maybe the groom just wants to chill with his friends and have some time to not have to think about his wedding. A break from the china patterns and seating arrangements?” I could list five or twenty other things, but just the thought was enough to make me break out in a sweat.

“You mean a break from things that make him feel less like a man? So he can go beat his chest and act all macho? And leave the girl stuck with all the crap jobs? Where is it written that all the brides have to buy into the Martha Stewart song and dance?”

Says the diva with the death grip on the fancy dress bag. 

Not everything is what it seems – including Noah and Laney’s first impressions of each other. She’s actually just the dress-bearer for her mother’s wedding, in charge of getting it from New York to Hawaii for the big day. Noah is on the way to a bachelor party…but it’s his own, actually. And his cold feet have nothing to do with the weather that has temporarily stranded both of them in Chicago…

Confession time: I have my own Bridezilla story.

The year was 1999, before the birth of bridal reality TV and being able to plan your entire dream wedding on Pinterest without even being engaged. It was a simpler time, a time when a bride had to rely mostly upon magazines for her resources and inspiration. 

I, for one, refused to get sucked into the wedding machine. My simple, white dress was bought off the rack at Bloomingdale’s…and it actually cost less than my wedding shoes. (Come on, it was the late 1990s. I totally needed those Kenneth Cole, chunky heel Mary Janes!) We’d managed to keep the guest list at thirty people, and our location was a reasonable, equal traveling distance for his both family and mine. We were putting up our guests in a charming B&B and treating them like total royalty. 

Doesn’t sound too Bridezilla-like, does it? 
Let’s examine a less-extreme definition of the word:

A woman who, in the course of planning her wedding, attempts to exercise an high degree of control over all or many minor details of the ceremony and reception.
A portmanteau word from bride and Godzilla, the destructive dinosaur-like monster from the Japanese film series.
First used: 

I wasn’t a raging, nasty “it’s all about me” vulgar Bridezilla. I didn’t scream at anyone or make anyone cry. I was sweet, actually. Maybe too sweet. 

Enter the heart-shaped sugar cube.

Yes, my scaly, claws-out fire-breathing moment was brought on by a photo in a bridal magazine, displaying a beautiful place setting of wedding china…complete with a heart-shaped sugar cube perched adorably on a demitasse spoon. At that moment, staring down at the glossy 2x3 inch photo I had clipped, I was entirely convinced that acquiring such an item would ensure my HEA. Must. Have. Cubes.

(Meanwhile, my fiancé: “What the hell is a demitasse spoon?”)

Luckily, I didn’t have to destroy the entire city to find them. I just stomped down Broadway to Dean & Deluca and bought out their entire stock. CUBES!

Looking back now, it’s a moment, and a detail, that I laugh about. I can’t believe I let myself fixate on something so trivial. The day was beautiful. It went off without a hitch, and sixteen years later, we are still hitched together! I don’t know if our guests even noticed that amazing, perfect heart of pure cane sugar, nestled in the hollow of the tiny spoon. Or whether they even used it to sweeten their coffee or tea. I was too busy enjoying my day to even notice, or care. 

Bridezilla, tamed!

How about you? Do you have your own Bridezilla story? Or have you witnessed any Bridezilla behavior by normally sane family members/friends? Leave your comment for a random chance to win a copy of DICTATORSHIP OF THE DRESS (in print or e-book, your choice.)

Jessica Topper is an ex-librarian turned rock n’ roll number cruncher. 
She can trace her love for the written word back to age three, when she memorized Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup with Rice in its entirety. By day, she does bookkeeping for touring rock bands. By night, she creates books of her own. She is the author of two novels from Berkley: LOUDER THAN LOVE (September 2013), and DICTATORSHIP OF THE DRESS (January 2015). Watch for COURTSHIP OF THE CAKE, the second in her “Much ‘I Do’ About Nothing” series, releasing in Summer 2015.

Visit Jessica at

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Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Jan. 18th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Are You Hooked on Horoscopes?

With: Amanda Usen

Giveaway Alert!

Every evening, my husband snaps open the newspaper and reads our horoscopes aloud. Like adding the words “in bed” to the end of Chinese fortunes, he gives our daily horoscopes a spin. “Love is in the stars for you...oh, wait. That must be a typo. They meant to write 'Love is in my pants.' How 'bout it, baby? You can't argue with destiny.”, you can't!

Ever since I was a teenager and an avid reader of the Cosmo Girl's Bedside Astrologer, I've been hooked on horoscopes. I don't know what it is about them that does it for me. Maybe I like having a little encouragement every day, a little map to success to follow. Or perhaps I'm looking for an excuse. If my horoscope suggests I lay low, maybe I should spend the day reading in bed and skip the gym... It's also possible I'm looking for a scapegoat. After all, I'm an Aries, a fire sign, quick-tempered and impatient, so if I blow a fuse, is it really my fault? Or can I blame my inner ram?

Today's horoscope advises me to “Ask for favors and offer something in return.” My husband is going to love this one! I can only imagine what “favors” he'll suggest, but my prediction is super-appropriate as I'm writing blogs and dreaming up giveaways for my new book IMPULSE CONTROL, the first book in the Men of the Zodiac Series from Entangled Publishings. My hero is an Aries, of course! How could I resist writing my own sign? He embodies all the best traits of Aries: adventurous, energetic, courageous, pioneering, quick-witted, and dynamic. He's the star of a wild Bear Grylls-like reality adventure show, and he and the heroine, his total opposite, a Martha Stewart-type with a TV show of her own, strike immediate sparks. Of course, he also exhibits the worst traits of Aries: selfish, quick-tempered, impulsive, impatient, foolhardy, and daredevil. Since he and the heroine constantly challenge each other, the tension gets fierce fast! An Aries likes to be in charge but also needs a partner who will give as good as she gets. I like to think I created the perfect match for Russ Donovan, the Wild Man. Susannah has a deep nurturing streak, but she has absolutely had it with men who try to walk all over her. I hope you'll check out IMPULSE CONTROL and let me know what you think about the love match.

What about you? Do you read your horoscope and identify with its traits? Do you use it as a scapegoat or an excuse to do something you wouldn't normally do, as I do?

Giveaway: Today's Aries horoscope tells me “Give-and-take will get you closer to the personal or professional goals you have set.” Since collaboration is clearly written in the stars, I invite you to participate in the GIVEaway I'm having to celebrate the imminent release of IMPULSE CONTROL. Just stop by my website the week of January 19th and enter! I'm giving away tons of print copies of my backlist and the ENTIRE Zodiac series of e-books, one every month as they release from Entangled. I hope you'll TAKE my news into your world and tell all your book lover friends about IMPULSE CONTROL!


Survivalist Russ Donovan is the toughest man in America, with a reality TV show to prove it. Now he’s been strong-armed into filming a new show with dainty lifestyle expert Susannah Stone. But while “At Home in the Wild” could mean millions for his family’s charity, Russ plans to put Little Susie Homemaker to the test—in the Adirondack Mountains in the dead of winter. And there's no way she'll be able to hack it...

Susannah is tougher than she looks. She's had to fight her way through life, and there's no way she'll let a bossy mountain man show her up. When she gets him on her turf, he’s in serious trouble. But now she's run into a bit of problem. Because no one—least of all Russ and Susannah—expects sparks to fly both on camera and off. And now everyone will see their risqué rivalry break all of the rules...

To enjoy the flames, buy IMPULSE CONTROL from:

Entangled Publishing
Barnes & Noble

About the author:
Amanda Usen knows two things for certain: chocolate cheesecake is good for breakfast and a hot chef can steal your heart. Her husband stole hers the first day of class at the Culinary Institute of America. They live in Western New York with their three children, one gerbil, four fish, a Russian tortoise, and a beagle. Amanda spends her days teaching pastry arts classes and her nights writing romance. If she isn’t baking or writing, she can usually be found reading a book and trying to get out of cooking dinner.

You can find me here:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Greatest Love of All

With: Robbie Terman

I'm thrilled to be at Just Contemporary Romance talking about my latest release, Some Like It Sizzling. This is the third book in the Perfect Recipe series, and friendship has played an important role in each story. 

Of course, at its core, Some Like It Sizzling is a love story. I would argue, though, that it is not only a love story between the hero and heroine, Luke and Jenna, but also Jenna and her two best friends. 

Jenna and Ashton have been friends since they were children, while Chloe joined the pair as an adult. The three are as close as sisters (which is nice for Jenna, since she grew up with four older brothers). They'll disagree, they'll fight, but they always have each other's backs. And Chloe, a pastry chef, always makes sure that something sweet follows any heartache!  

When Jenna hits rock bottom, it's with support from Ashton and Chloe that she is able to pick up the pieces and repair her life. Although Luke plays an important role in her resurgence, it's her friends she can always count on to love her unconditionally. 

The relationship between Jenna, Ashton, and Chloe was inspired, in part, by my own friendships. I have my group of "Ashtons" - friends who have been by my side since elementary school and my "Chloes" - those I met later in life but who are just as important to me. No matter the ups and downs in our lives, we are always there for each other. 

There is a line in the story that, in my opinion, sums of Jenna, Ashton, and Chloe's friendship perfectly. After a particularly awful day, Jenna is hiding out in her apartment. She had previously texted her friends to tell them she wanted to be alone, but of course they show up at her door. When Jenna asks if they received the message, Chloe replies, "We got the text. It said ‘come over now and bring dessert’." 

Hmm...we should probably all make friends with a pastry chef.


Former model Jenna Rawley has spent her entire life craving the security and stability she never had growing up. Her wedding day was supposed to be the day all of her dreams came true. Instead, the groom disappears and Jenna runs from the church...and right into the arms of her high school sweetheart.

Firefighter Luke Kearney never forgotten Jenna, or that she left him behind with a broken heart all those years ago. Yet in that single, dramatic moment, their chemistry comes roaring back to life, hotter and more fierce than ever. Only now there are complications—including secrets from the past that have been buried, but not forgotten. But a man who plays with fire is bound to get burned...

Author Bio: 
Robbie Terman is a contemporary romance author, amateur foodie, and handbag aficionado. She finds it way more fun to live in a fictional world, where the little black dress always fits perfectly, designer shoes don't come with price tags, and a handsome man is always there to lift you up when you fall.  When you read her books, if you cry a little and laugh a lot, that was just the reaction she was hoping for.  

Author Website:
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Author Twitter: @robbieterman

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Vacation inspiration for One Sinful Night in Sao Paulo

With: Amber Belldene

Giveaway Alert!

If my wonderful friend Ricardo, for whom the charming Catholic priest Padre Ricardo in One Sinful Night in Sao Paulo is named, ever reads this book, I think he will spit caipirinha all over his e-reader.  He’s quite handsome and has always been popular with the ladies, so casting him as a celibate priest was my own private little joke. Fortunately, he’s moved back to Brazil, gotten married to a lovely bride, and just become a father over Christmas, so I don’t expect he'll be doing much pleasure reading anytime soon. I’ll be in the clear for a quite a while, yet! 

One Sinful Night in Sao Paulo is my contemporary debut and it was so much fun to write because I set it in one of my favorite places in the whole world. My husband and I traveled to Sao Paulo with Ricardo and two other friends in 2006, a year after we got married. It was romantic, exotic, and yet also comfortable and welcoming. I couldn’t think of a better place for my characters, Cassie and Adam, to face up to their long-denied attraction, or for Cassie to indulge her need for one sinful night before she started seminary. (Yep, she's a good girl going to seminary, and she's got it bad for her brother's best friend.)

For our little tour group, having a guide native to the city made it an amazing adventure. We ate everything—feijoada, pão de queijo, brigadeiros. But we drank pretty much one thing—caipirinhas.  In the US, they are usually made with lime and cachaça, but in Brazil the cane liquor might be mixed with one of many fruits, some of which I’d never even heard of.  If you want to see pictures of all these delights, check out my Pinterest board for the book.  I used it for inspiration and research, but beware, it may make you hungry or inspire a serious case of wanderlust!

Maybe it's silly, but tasting fruits I’d never eaten, much less ever even heard of before was one my favorite parts of that trip, and perhaps one of the most truly exotic experiences I’ve ever had. We visited an enormous open air market and saw strange orange, red and green fruits, large and small. They just blew my mind—particularly the caju, the yellow or orange "apple" that bears the cashew nut. How could I have eaten cashews in a can of Planter’s mixed nuts my whole life and not known where they came from and what they looked like?

Years later, everything about that trip remains vivid, from listening to bossa nova with Ricardo’s wonderfully gracious parents to strolling down Paulista Avenue and around Ibirapuera Park. 

It was a no-brainer to set a destination wedding story in that land of exotic fruit and incredibly warm, generous people, like Ricardo and his family. Maybe when you read Cassie and Adam’s romance, you’ll also fall in love with Brazil. And if you decide to go visit for yourself, I might just tag along with you!


Because this seminary student can’t always be the good girl.

Cassie Wilson has traveled to Brazil for her brother’s wedding; yet she’s the one with cold feet. She’s all set to begin seminary, but she’s sick and tired of being treated like a saint, especially by the best man. What she really needs is one sexy night with him to ease her jitters and give her a taste of normal life.

Adam Forrester crashed and burned at his dream job, screwing up all his hopes for a better life. Now he’s moved home to start over, but first he must confront the irresistible Cass, apologize for whatever happened on that drunken night he can’t remember, and make damn sure it doesn’t happen again. Only she has other plans.

He has typecast her as the good girl in his heart. Can she force him to see her as a real woman, desires and all?


Author Bio: 
Even as a kid, Amber Belldene could never pull herself away from a book.  She hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin to read during sermons–an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days. Amber is an Episcopal Priest who believes stories are the best way to explore human truths and sexuality is an important part of spirituality. Amber writes scorching, smart paranormal romance and quirky-hot contemporary for Entangled, Lyrical/Kensington, and Omnific Publishing. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.

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