Friday, October 31, 2014

Getting Those Ungettable Men


We all love a challenge, right? And at one time or another, we’ve all fallen for the unobtainable, unreachable, ungettable man. Maybe he was a player or perhaps a commitment phobe. On the surface both types have all the trappings of being Mr. Right. They’re usually handsome, successful, witty and every woman wants them. Both players and phobes crave hot steamy sex and enjoy the company of women (note that’s plural) and neither one wants to be tied down. But make no mistake the two are very different creatures. 

As I see it, a player is out to stroke his ego whereas the commitment phobe is out to protect his. The player woos you in and cuts bait because he doesn’t want to limit his options.  He’s out to see what he can get, who he can entice. The more the merrier. But the commitment phobe is motivated by his fear of intimacy. His fear of being suffocated or else abandoned is what makes him run away. And yet sooner or later, a woman comes along who makes them change their ways and settle down.

The hero in my new novel, LOVE THY NEIGHBOR is a classic commitment phobe. Dallas suffers from a deep fear of intimacy stemming back to his childhood. His commitment issues have kept him single and unattached. But there’s something about Nikki Norris that changes all that. Here’s a quick scene from the book that explores his inner struggle: 

The next morning he woke to the sound of thunder roaring outside the bedroom window. Her head was on his chest, his arms looped around her waist. Part of him could have stayed in her bed like that forever, holding her, watching her. It was a sense of contentment that he’d never known before. And it scared the hell out of him that he could get used to it, come to expect it. And worse yet, ultimately admit he needed it. Needed her.
He looked at the clock on her nightstand. Christ, it was almost ten o’clock. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept in so late. Half his day was gone. He felt warm all of a sudden, and acutely aware that his arm had fallen asleep beneath her. A million pins and needles prickled his skin and fingers. The room heated up like a furnace, and he wanted to kick off the covers. In an instant he’d gone from feeling comfortable and content to anxious and irritable. 

He had a long list of things he was supposed to do that day. Get his car washed, take one of his cameras down to the repair shop, cull through the shots from the week before and send his selects to the magazine. He had a ton of Photoshop work to be done on the approved shots from the week before that. He had clothes to pick up from the dry cleaner’s, a suit that needed altered. He should probably get his oil changed, too. He had all this shit to do and he couldn’t afford to lie here in bed with this woman all day. Although irrational, he was angry with Nikki—like this was all her fault. 

Nikki’s journey with Dallas got me to thinking about the other women who got their impossible-to-get men. Annette Bening tamed Warren Beatty and Amal Alamuddin snagged George Clooney. So if your heart is set on the ungettable man, here’s proof that if you’re the right woman for them, true love does indeed conquer all. 

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR

A satisfying category romance from Entangled's Lovestruck imprint…

He's designed for delicious trouble...

Interior designer Nikki Norris is at the end of her rope. She's lost her business, and her fiancé who called off their engagement. Now she's broke and on her own, living in a loft apartment she can barely afford. But something in her feng shui must be working, because her new neighbor across the hall is a sexy Brit fashion photographer...and he has just the thing to turn Nikki's bad luck around.

Dallas is tired of stick-thin fashion models with no personality. So when his curvaceous new neighbor, Nikki, seeks his help in making her ex jealous, Dallas is only too happy to oblige the woman who sets his libido on fire every time she walks into a room. Dallas, not being one to make commitments, thinks all he wants is a little taste of Nikki. But will it be enough?


Just as Nikki and Dallas hatch their plan, the wicked chemistry between them—growing more irresistible by the second—complicates things. Now the lines between make-believe and making love blur. Have Nikki and Dallas found a perfect arrangement... or have they designed the perfect plan for disaster?




Thursday, October 30, 2014

TOP 5 REASONS TO LOVE THE 21ST CENTURY


Congratulations to "Lynne D." the winner in Jenny's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Hi. My name is Jenny, and I’m addicted to romance novels.

It wasn’t always so. I was a late bloomer. I didn’t discover romance novels until I was in my 30s, and then my gateway drug was the regency novel. Like Jane Austen, but with sexytimes! I was hooked, and I proceeded to devour everything I could get my hands on. So when I decided to try my hand at writing a romance novel, I initially wrote a regency. (And I do have a regency trilogy releasing this spring and summer from Entangled Publishing.) But somewhere along the way, I started meeting other authors, and of course I wanted to read their books. Then one day I had a conversation with my agent. It went something like this:

Me: What should I write next?

Agent: You should write a contemporary novel. A novel with more sexytimes than your historicals. (This conversation is being paraphrased and dramatized for your entertainment. My agent does not actually talk like this, on account of the whole “she’s a professional” thing.)

Me: No. Way. I can’t do that. Wait…can I do that?

Agent: You can totally do that.

And lo, my debut novel Saving the CEO was born. And, OMG, the 21st century! It turns out I love it! And not just because we have running water, and, like, women’s suffrage. 

So, allow me to present to you the top five reasons to love contemporary romance.

1. Your characters can curse however the f*#! they want. Once you’re not limited to drat, dash, egad, and my heavens, I’m telling you, it’s a whole new world.

2. Chaperones! You don’t need them! In the 21st century, a lady of good breeding is free to promenade around the park—or the pool hall—without a maid in tow. This makes it SO much easier for her to run into a gentleman of good breeding. Or—bwa ha ha!—a gentleman of bad breeding.

3. Jobs! Your heroine can have one! This makes it easier to make her a complex, well-rounded person. It also lets her have a diversity of friends and acquaintances that a sheltered Regency miss would not.

4. Sexytimes! So much easier when you don’t have to arrange some wild, unlikely scenario that will allow your characters to “get to know each other.” (See #2 above.)

5. Research! You don’t have to do it! I kid here. I loved doing the research for my regencies. But after having written four of them (my first book is under my bed, where is shall remain for all eternity), suddenly writing a book that didn’t require getting really friendly with the folks at interlibrary loan was a joy.

I will say, though, there is one BIG thing that Regency novels have going for them that contemporary ones don’t: Balls. A good ball goes a LONG way in my heart.

SAVING THE CEO

He's making a list...and breaking every rule on it.

Real estate mogul Jack Winter has rules. Lots of rules. After all, a man doesn’t build an empire without a little discipline. And on page one of the rulebook? Don’t sleep with your employees. Especially when there’s a multimillion dollar real estate deal at stake...

Luckily for Jack, Cassie James isn’t really his employee. She’s a hot bartender who just happens to be the math genius he needs, and if they share a wicked chemistry? Well, that's just a sexy little perk. So they strike a deal: Cassie helps Jack with the merger. And until the deal goes through at Christmas, they can indulge every impulse they desire.

But the more rules Jack makes, the more he seems to break...



Giveaway
jenny will be giving away a digital copy of Saving the CEO to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry.

About me
Jenny Holiday started writing in fourth grade, when her awesome hippie teacher, between sessions of Pete Seeger singing and anti-nuclear power plant letter writing, gave the kids notebooks and told them to write stories. Most of Jenny’s featured poltergeist, alien invasions, or serial killers who managed to murder everyone except her and her mom. She showed early promise as a romance writer, though, because nearly every story had a happy ending: fictional Jenny woke up to find that the story had been a dream, and that her best friend, father, and sister had not, in fact, been axe-murdered.

From then on, she was always writing, often in her diary, where she liked to decorate her declarations of existential angst with nail polish teardrops. Eventually she channelled her penchant for scribbling into a more useful format. After picking up a PhD in urban geography, she became a professional writer, spending many years promoting research at a major university, which allowed her to become an armchair astronomer/historian/particle physicist, depending on the day. Eventually, she decided to try her hand again at happy endings—minus the bloodbaths. You can follow her on twitter at @jennyholi and @TropeHeroine or visit her on the web at jennyholiday.com.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 30th. 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 maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Boots On The Ground


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

Yay, it’s release day! Boots on the Ground – the first installment in the Homefront Trilogy – is available today from Samhain Publishing. Of course I love the heroes in all three of these novellas, but the star of Boots on the Ground, Grady Reid, is someone special.

Big as an ox and twice as tough, Grady’s path through life hasn’t been smooth. From the uncertainty of foster care to the chaos of war, at the age of 30 he’s finally decided to leave the army and put down roots. He’s bought a house, gotten a job, and is ready for the rest of his life – until he meets Laurel Hayes, a local doctor seeking exactly the adrenaline-fueled lifestyle he’s trying to leave behind.

So what makes Grady one of my favorite heroes? It has to be the way he embodies hard and soft. He’s a gruff, strong guy with a sweet, sensitive heart, but it takes a special kind of woman break through his tough exterior to the soft core beneath.

Giveaway:
What’s your favorite kind of hero? The dangerous mystery man with a heart of gold? The lovable boy next door who moves from friend to lover? One commenter will have the chance to get to know Grady with a free copy of Boots on the Ground!

--

With a life that started in foster care and nearly ended in the mountains of Afghanistan, Grady Reid is more than ready to hang up his sergeant’s stripes when his Army contract expires.

Small-town Meridian, Kansas, seems as good a place as any to finally put down roots. He’s dumped his savings into a ramshackle farmhouse and is on his way to trading bullets for bull breeding when an exquisitely beautiful, totally unattainable blonde turns his head faster than a pivoting cutting horse.


Dr. Laurel Hayes longs to escape the confines of stuffy, small-town life for an adrenaline-fueled, transient lifestyle delivering medical aid in unstable regions around the world. Then she meets Grady, a man with enticing eyes, a slow smile—and not an ounce of the wanderlust that tugs at her soul.

Their lives are headed in opposite directions. But as something more powerful than attraction, desire, or even lust draws them together, something’s got to give…or their hearts could break under the strain.

Warning: Contains a strong, silent Texan military man with wounds he can’t name, and the gorgeous doctor tough enough to heal them.

Available now from Samhain Publishing * Amazon * Amazon UK * Kobo * ARe

About The Author Rebecca Crowley inherited her love of romance from her mom, who taught her to at least partially judge a book by the steaminess of its cover. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense with smart heroines and swoon-worthy heroes, and never tires of the happily-ever-after. Having pulled up her Kansas roots to live in New York City and London, Rebecca now resides in Johannesburg, South Africa. Find her online or on Twitter.



Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 29th. 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 maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Do you share my awe for those men and women in the medical profession?


Giveaway Alert!

One morning, about three years ago we woke to the sound of my four-year old son screaming that he couldn’t walk. I ran into his room and saw him lying in bed, soaked with tears and sweat, his blue eyes glossy with fever. I tried to reassure him while not giving into my own rising panic. I tried to get him to stand, but his legs just went limp and he screamed in pain. We were out the door minutes later en route to the Emergency room in our town’s hospital. I carried him into the ER that day not knowing what to expect. And in that way all parents do, reassured him that everything would be fine, even though I wasn’t quite sure. Thankfully the waiting room was almost empty that day so I knew the wait wouldn’t be too long. But my son wasn’t feeling great and started crying that he wanted to go home. As I held him on my lap, offering to buy him whatever treat he wanted (at this point I would have let him have any ‘junk’ food that would have normally been not allowed) a maintenance worker made eye contact and came over to us. My son stopped crying after a few minutes and soon it was decided between the two of them that a game of TIC-TAC-TOE (also known as X’s and O’s) was in order. They both looked to me for paper and a pen. So I searched in my ‘mom’ purse, praying I had something besides half-eaten cookies, baby wipes, and empty baby bottles in there. Thankfully I managed to find a mangled old receipt and a crusty pen. This man engaged my son and made him forget we were even at a hospital.

Shortly after we were called in. The doctor that met us immediately put us at ease. She examined my son and said that she was pretty certain the not being able to walk was a complication from the virus and would resolve itself in a few days. But she did order some blood work, just in case. While we waited for the results, she said we could walk around the hospital. She provided DS with a wheelchair (and while I tried not to get teary-eyed) DS thought it was the coolest thing ever, and immediately began directing traffic. We walked around the lobby of the hospital and not long after, a nurse came and found us. She said his blood work had come back. She hadn’t wanted to page me in case I would panic, so came personally to find me (Moi? Panic?). Now, being the paranoid person I am, coupled with writer’s imagination, thought up every single worst case scenario possible in that short walk back to the ER. We were greeted by a visiting pediatrics specialist and a medical resident from a world-renowned children’s hospital in nearby Toronto. Our doctor thought he would be an even better choice to evaluate. But he concluded the same as the previous doctor and we were released. He did tell us to come back if DS’s fever came back or the symptoms became worse.

Two days later things did become worse and we were back at the hospital at ten o’clock at night. This time the emergency room was packed And our eight-month old baby was in tow. But our maintenance ‘friend’ was working again and came over to us. After many games of TIC-TAC-TOE we were finally called in. The inside of the ER was filled with bustling staff and tons of sick people. We were led into a small room, DS’s temperature was taken and then we were left to wait for over an hour for the doctor to arrive. During that time we learned that there was only one ER doctor on duty that night. We heard him go from one room to another and then finally it was our turn. He gave us a brief smile before asking DH and I for a rundown of the symptoms. While we spoke he flipped through DS’s chart and then examined him. He ordered a bunch of tests and said he was concerned that DS still wasn’t really showing signs of recovering. Then he said to sit tight, and that it would be a long night at the hospital. He disappeared back into the throng of patients waiting for him. DH called his parents to come and get DD and bring her home. As the night went on DS had X-RAYS and blood work and we waited while he slept on a bed in the hallway of the ER. In the middle of the night, police came into the ER with some unruly people. And well, since there was nothing else to do but nonchalantly turn our heads down the hall and look, we saw ‘our’ doctor being yelled at by some inebriated patients. He tried to calm them down, and after several attempts was successful. As DH and I sat there, with DS sleeping in a hospital bed, we were struck by the chaos of the scene around us. Patients were grumpy and complaining to nurses for all sorts of reasons-and they were all caringly attended to. 

I know we’ve all had our share of horrible hospital stories, but this one night reminded me of how ‘human’ the staff is at the hospital. Just like us. As that doctor whizzed around and was chastised by someone else for the ‘waiting time’ I felt empathy for the doctor. I mean, the entire place was packed and he was the only one on duty. It wasn’t his fault. They were short-staffed and there was nothing he could do about it. I also knew as I sat there, that this was not a job I could ever do. There he was, young (with a wedding band on), it was the middle of the night and he was dealing with life and death situations while being yelled at. At some point during the night I overheard him asking a nurse to bring the ‘young parents’ a blanket (bless the man for calling us young). As the morning hours approached and DH and I took turns sleeping, the young doctor came and found us. DS’s fever had broken, the blood work came back normal and we were discharged. It was nothing more than just a complication from a nasty virus. The next day he was walking again.

Once things returned to normal, I couldn’t help but think back to that scary week. And the amazing people who helped us. I know sometimes it seems so easy to blame doctors and nurses, but what became so clear to me that long night in the ER was that these doctors, nurses, and staff are just ‘normal’ people. They are out there, working long hours, hard hours, to help people. I don’t recall hearing many ‘thank you’s’ that night. You couldn’t pay me enough money to do what they have to do every day. I wouldn’t be able to deal with the level of stress, grief, sadness, uncertainty, and anger that they have to face from patients. I did find myself thinking about the ER doctor that helped us that night. I wondered about his life outside the hospital, his wife, his family-NO, I’m not a stalker, just a writer. :)  

In my new release, The Doctor’s Fake Fiancée, my hero, Evan Manning is a renowned surgeon. He is an overachiever, at the top of his profession, everything is suddenly and permanently taken away from him when he risks his life to save a woman and her son. After sustaining many injuries, his previous profession isn’t an option for him anymore and he has to decide how he can find fulfilment in life. He decides to move home to his small town, to mend fences with his older brothers and form a relationship with his family again. And in typical sibling fashion, no one really cares that he’s a doctor. No special treatment for him…but once he gets to know Grace and her son, Christopher, he realizes there is more to life than just being the best. And this time, it’s Grace who does the saving…

So what about you? Do you share my awe for those men and women in the medical profession who go out there every day and try to help? Do you think it’s a job you could do? Do you classify them as heroes?

Giveaway: 
1 Digital copy of my first two Red River Series books (A Risk Worth Taking and The Best Man’s Baby).

Excerpt:
“I’ve rescued you,” she whispered, reminding him of why he was in here. “Now I need to, um, get some clothes on.”

Rescued? She’d just thrown him into a volcano of hot lava. She tried to move around him, but that movement only brought her closer, until they were plastered against each

other.

Heavy footsteps only faintly registered as the feel of Grace’s curvy body against his took over.


“I dropped my shirt,” she hissed and then attempted to kneel down…as Mrs. Jacobs whipped open the door and screamed in their faces.


“Evan Manning, these sexy-time shenanigans may be acceptable in the city, but not in Red River. I know all about what people do in change rooms but not in my sister’s shop.

Not with an innocent little boy—”

“There are no”—he almost gagged—“sexy-time shenanigans going on here. It was an honest mistake,” he said as he held his hand out for Grace and helped her stand.

“Mrs. Jacobs, he was just helping—”

“My dear, you are in a changing room with a man, and down on your knees. You can’t be so naive in life. I know all the Manning boys, and Evan was my favorite up until this

sordid escapade—”

Evan forced himself to sound calm as he stepped out of the dressing room to spare Grace more humiliation.


Their marriage bargain is just what the doctor ordered…

Former surgeon and self-professed life-long bachelor Evan Manning has one thing on his mind—to reclaim the career that a car accident stole from him. But when he’s forced to return to his hometown of Red River, Evan comes face-to-face with the gorgeous woman who’s haunted his dreams for the last year—the woman he rescued from the burning car that injured his hand. Now Evan needs her help. In a month, he'll have the job opportunity of a lifetime...he just needs a wife to get it.

Artist Grace Matheson is down on her luck again…until she walks into Evan Manning’s office. When her sexy former hero hears that she needs work, he offers her a job and a home—if she’ll pretend she's his fiancée. Grace knows she shouldn't fall for him. Once the month is up, Evan will be back to his old life. But the more time they spend together, the more real their feelings become—and the more likely heartbreak is.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 27th. 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 maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Last Hero Standing


Giveaway Alert!

1. How has cancer touched you personally? 

Two family members have had breast and ovarian cancer (both survivors at this point), three very close friends have had breast and ovarian cancer (both still battling and hope to add them to my survivors list), an uncle died of it when I was a teen and he died in my arms.  I have a number of authors I’ve become friends with since publishing who have had it (one has recently entered hospice).  All women except for my uncle. 

2. Why did you participate in the LAST HERO STANDING fundraiser for fellow author Pamela Clare?

I was talking to my friend Norah Wilson about Pamela’s situation and the idea of donating all the proceeds from a box set developed from this conversation.  Norah and I agreed to split up the production duties, but it’s the team of authors that came together that has made all the difference in this box set reaching as many people as possible. I’m in awe of our group and thankful to have all this power behind a project that will help one of our own.  




Author Bio:
New York Times bestseller Dianna Love once dangled over a hundred feet in the air to create unusual marketing projects for Fortune 500 companies. She now writes high-octane thrillers and the bestselling Belador urban fantasy series. Her new Slye Temp romantic thriller series released to rave reviews with five books available and more coming in 2015. Her books are in print, e-book and audio.  On the rare occasion that Dianna is out of her writing cave, she tours the country on her BMW motorcycle and loves to fish.  She lives in the Atlanta, GA area with her motorcycle safety instructor husband and a tank full of unruly saltwater critters. Readers are invited to join her Dianna Love Street Team on Facebook and get in on the fun!

Connect:
Author’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Blurb:

Authors donate to anthology to raise money for colleague stricken with breast cancer
Eleven authors have donated their work to a box set of novellas to raise money for the medical expenses of a colleague stricken with breast cancer. The LAST HERO STANDING box set, which is set to release on Oct. 28, features 11 novels and novellas for only 99 cents, including a bonus short story from New York Times bestseller Dianna Love. All the proceeds from sales of the box set will go toward the medical expenses of USA Today bestselling author Pamela Clare, who was diagnosed with breast cancer this past April and has been unable to work since then. 



LAST HERO STANDING BOX SET

Enjoy 11 emotional stories - 2000 pages filled with all types of heroes from small town to international action-adventure who earn and protect those they love. Over 360 reviews with a 4.5 star rating!!! 

PLEASE NOTE: This box set will be available for ONE MONTH ONLY, and all proceeds go directly to the medical fund for box set author Pamela Clare, who is in the midst of her own battle with breast cancer. Everyone who touched this project donated their time and stories. Please help us help her by treating yourself and your friends to a box set full of great stories! 


New York Times Bestseller Dianna Love

KISS THE ENEMY, a Slye Temp novel 
"It seems with each book, this series gets better..." 

New York Times Bestseller Cynthia Eden

FIRST TASTE OF DARKNESS, a novella 
“Plenty of passion to fan yourself but also enough love...to make you swoon.” –So Many Reads 

New York Times Bestseller Elisabeth Naughton

FIRST EXPOSURE, an Aegis Security prequel novella 
“This series is off to an explosive start.” 

New York Times Bestseller Joan Swan

SINFUL DECEPTION, a Renegades novel 
"Another fast-paced, action-packed, sexy Covert Affairs story!" 

New York Times Bestseller Bonnie Vanak

TAKEN BY THE ALPHA WOLF, a novella 
"Highly recommend to anyone who likes steamy, sexy novels." 

USA Today Bestseller Pamela Clare

FIRST STRIKE, an I-Team novella 
“If you’re a fan of romantic suspense, you must read Pamela Clare!” 

USA Today Bestseller Mary Buckham

INVISIBLE FEARS, an Invisible Recruits novel 
“The powerful descriptive ability this author displays raises the bar for Urban Fantasy!” 

USA Today Bestseller Adrienne Giordano

THE EVASION, a Justifiable Cause Novella 
"Adrienne Giordano delivers everything romantic suspense readers want…" 

USA Today Bestseller Norah Wilson 

NIGHTFALL, A Vampire Romance Novel 
"...an edge of your seat series." 

Award-Winning Author Stephanie Rowe

ICE, an Alaska Heat novel 
“ICE delivers pulse-pounding chills and hot romance!” 

Award-winning Author Tracey Devlyn

LATYMER, a Nexus novella 
"Powerful…and gripping."


Available at Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBooks


KISS THE ENEMY

This latest Slye Temp romantic thriller from NYT bestseller Dianna Love sends operative Margaux Duke into the arms of her enemy where she uncovers a secret that is as dangerous to her heart as it is to her life.

Her only hope is in the hands of her enemy.

Slye Temp operative Margaux Duke is chasing an international terrorist who murdered the last of her family. But her plans go up in smoke when her agency is in the crosshairs of the dangerous killer, forcing her to turn rogue to protect the only family she has left - her team.  This is no time to get involved, especially with an enemy who steps between her and the terrorist she has to stop. 

Logan Baklanov has been known by many names in the underbelly of international terrorism and will do whatever it takes to shield those he loves from the treacherous world he lives in.   When his brother’s life is in jeopardy, Logan takes on a role that places him at the top of the most-wanted lists of government security agencies in every country.  He accepts the no-win situation, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice until a long legged beauty draws the attention of his deadly target and screws Logan’s carefully planned mission. 

Margaux and Logan must join forces in a dangerous game to save a major city from a powerful psychopath, but their ruse escalates out of control when the heat smoldering between them threatens to explode. 

VISIT – www.AuthorDiannaLove.com to read an excerpt

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 24, 2014

Holiday at Magnolia Bay


Giveaway of a $15 Hallmark gift card!

The holiday season for me is all about home, friends and family.   I love decorating my house with items my family and I have collected throughout our travels.  The big family dinners and parties with friends make the season.  Growing up, I felt a little cheated out of the Hallmark Christmas because my dad was in the military and, more often than not, our holiday consisted of my family of five and whatever pets might be living with us.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved “growing up military” but I always felt sad those years—which were most of them—when we couldn’t get together and celebrate with extended family.

This is probably why I can relate to Jenna Huntley, my main character in Holiday at Magnolia Bay.  Jenna is a military brat herself, a woman looking for a place to call “home.”  She finds it in the small coastal town just south of Charleston, South Carolina.  Magnolia Bay is the one place that’s been a constant in her life, the summer vacation destination she and her family visited every year while Jenna was growing up.  Now a marine biologist, she works at the town’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center.

Just to make Jenna’s life a little more interesting, I threw in a love interest who’s actually a Navy SEAL.  Jenna has sworn off the military life—which means all military men—but the sexy Lieutenant Commander is very potent.   Of course she’s attracted to the one guy who she’s vowed to stay away from.  Yeah, I’m evil that way.  

Drew’s not interested in family, though.  In fact, he’s pretty much isolated himself from relationships with everyone in his life because he fears that if something happens to him, there will be collateral damage.  He’s set on being alone the rest of his life.  Or so he thinks.

But I couldn’t leave their HEA to fate—or sea turtles, as the case may be—someone had to do a little meddling.  I chose an octogenarian spinster for this.  The character of Evie Song is named after a fan named Evie who also happens to be a very lively senior citizen herself.  I try to name a minor character in each of my books after someone I know but Evie needed to have a bigger role.  I’ve never met Evie, but she treats me like she she’s known me all of my life.  She sends lovely fan letters and hand sells my books to everyone she meets.  If anyone deserves to be immortalized as a character in one of my books, it’s Evie.

You see, Evie, and the friends I’ve collected along my life’s journey, are as much my family as the people I’m actually related to.  All those holidays spent on military bases without family?  We celebrated with a tribe of friends around us instead.  And when we finally did get to celebrate with our relatives we enjoyed those times and savored the memories.  

I hope you enjoy Drew and Jenna’s story.  As a military brat myself, I love sharing with readers the complexity of life in the military, whether it’s serving in the armed forces or loving someone who’s served.  Times are a little crazy right now in our world and I ask that you keep those who serve and their loved ones waiting at home in your hearts.

Giveaway:
Is there a special food you prepare for family or friends during the holiday season?  I’m giving away a $15 Hallmark gift card to one random person who comments on this post.  

Tule is giving away a $500 Visa gift card this week also.  Go to my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TracySolheimBooks and click the giveaway tab to enter.

HOLIDAY AT MAGNOLIA BAY

After a mission goes terribly wrong, ending in the death of a teammate, Navy Seal, Drew Lanham, is forced to take a leave from active-duty. Retreating to his godmother’s beach house in coastal Magnolia Bay, Drew plans to spend the three weeks R&R licking his wounds and catching some rays while the nightmares from his failed op fade. The last thing he wants to do is mingle with the locals. What he doesn’t count on is an early morning encounter with a goddess rising from the sea. His interest is piqued and his body put on alert when he finds out that same woman may or may not be after his godmother’s money. 

Marine biologist, Jenna Huntley, has been searching her whole life for a place to call home and Magnolia Bay is that place. Unfortunately, she’s underutilizing her education giving tours at the town’s turtle rescue center. With the help of an octogenarian patroness, she maps out a proposal to develop a turtle hatchery on-site. Everything is going as planned until the older woman’s godson arrives. Suddenly, nothing is as it seems and Jenna’s future is hanging in the balance, with a sexy warrior pulling all the strings. Her natural tendency is to help the damaged hero, but she’s sworn off letting military men in her life ever again. 

Will Drew and Jenna be able to put their pasts behind them and learn to trust their hearts long enough to enjoy their Holiday at Magnolia Bay? 

Buy it here:  Holiday in Magnolia Bay 
Southern Born Christmas series 
Book 1: Holiday in Magnolia Bay by Tracy Solheim 
Book 2: Just in Time for Christmas by Kim Boykin 
Book 3: A Very Married Christmas by Erika Marks 
Book 4: The Trouble with Christmas by Kaira Rouda

Author Bio
Tracy Solheim is the international bestselling author of the Out of Bound Series for Penguin.  Her books feature members of the fictitious Baltimore Blaze football team and the women who love them.  In a previous life, Tracy wrote best sellers for Congress and was a freelance journalist for regional and national magazines.  She’s a military brat who now makes her home in Johns Creek, Georgia, with her husband, their two children, a pesky Labrador retriever puppy and a horse named after her first novel.  See what she’s up to at www.tracysolheim.com.  Like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TracySolheimBooks

Other books by Tracy Solheim
Game On
Foolish Games
A Numbers Game
Risky Game
Back to Before

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 25th. 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 maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ONE IN A MILLION

One In A Million

By: Jill Shalvis

As the brains behind wedding site TyingTheKnot.com, Callie sees it all: from the ring to the dress, the smiles . . . to the tears. It’s that last part that keeps her single and not looking. Getting left at the altar will do that to a girl. But when Callie returns to her old hometown, she finds that her sweet high school crush is sexier than ever. And he makes it hard to remember why she’s sworn off love . . .

Tanner is a deep-sea diver with a wild, adrenaline-junkie past-and now his teenage son is back in his life. How can Tanner be a role model when he’s still paying for his own mistakes? It’s hard enough that gorgeous Callie has appeared in town like a beautiful dream, challenging his best-laid plans to keep his heart on lockdown. Though there’s something about being around her again that makes him feel like he can be the man she-and his son-deserve. Little Lucky Harbor holds their past; can it hold a beautiful new future?



Excerpt:

“I’m off men, you know.”

“Yeah. I know.” Tanner pulled Callie in, hard against his body.

She took two handfuls of his shirt. For balance, she told herself. But the truth was, she wanted to put her hands on him. He looked down on her face for another second, his brown eyes soft but full of intent as he slowly lowered his head.

“W-wait!”

He paused, eyes on hers.

She had her hands over his heart and could feel the beating beneath her palms. Slow. Steady.

The opposite of hers, of course.

“I…can’t remember what I was going to say.”

His eyes were smiling into hers. “So I can continue?”

She cleared her throat and nodded. “Carry on,” she whispered.

He started with a brush of his lips against one corner of her mouth, a butterfly touch. And then the other corner.
She heard a soft sound, an almost whimper, and realized it was her. He slowly sank his fingers into her hair, and she melted. No other word for it, her bones just melted clean away. And then he proceeded to kiss the living daylights out of her…


About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.