Friday, June 23, 2017

Secret Billionaires


Giveaway Alert!


I’m so excited to be back at Just Contemporary Romance! One of my very favourite things to do is collaborate with other authors on joint projects, which I’ve done with Harlequin Presents’ new Secret Billionaires series. Writing can be a solitary profession. Sharing your ideas and building a series with other authors is such a collaborative, fun process that gets my creative juices flowing. So when I was offered the chance to write Secret Billionaires with Rachael Thomas and Dani Collins, I couldn’t say yes quickly enough.

 Not only are they fabulous women and we love to work together, but we were given the most juicy premise for the series. Three billionaire bachelors go undercover for two weeks without their wallets. Where will they go? What will they do?

We quickly brainstormed three of the most fun, outrageous ‘jobs’ we could send them on in a mechanic, a pool boy and a stable groom. I knew immediately my Argentinian wine baron, Alejandro Salazar, would go undercover as a groom in the Hargrove’s legendary Kentucky stables to avenge a decades-old injustice between the Salazar and Hargrove families in Salazar’s One Night Heir. The story simply appeared as a dramatic, movie storyline in my head and I couldn’t wait to put fingers to keyboard. How sexy and delicious to put my hero in this glamorous, high stakes world, but instead of ruling it, he’s shoveling horse manure! And I’ve been dying to write an equestrian heroine for ages, because I used to ride and I love the horse world. Thus, the fiery, world class showjumper, Cecily Hargrove, was born.

Alejandro expects to reap revenge—what he doesn’t expect is to feel such lust for Clayton Hargrove’s high-handed, uppity daughter, Cecily, when she tosses her reins at him in a snit. Or that Cecily is hiding deep, painful wounds after an accident with her prize horse Alejandro can help heal. He finds himself helping both Cecily and her horse. But their one, risky, red-hot night together will have huge consequences that bind these two enemy dynasties together forever.

I am so thrilled with how this series turned out and hope you love it too. Stay tuned for an excerpt. Meanwhile, I have a giveaway for one lucky reader to win.

Giveaway
I loved writing an equestrian heroine. But if I were writing a heroine just for you, what would she be? Sky’s the limit. One commenter will win a set of all three Secret Billionaires books signed by the authors.


Secret Billionaires

Challenged to go undercover—but tempted to blow it all!

Tycoons Antonio Di Marcello, Stavros Xenakis and Alejandro Salazar cannot imagine life without their decadent wealth, incredible power and untouchable status—but neither can they resist their competitive natures!

Dared to abandon all they know, these extraordinary men leave behind their billionaire lifestyles and take on “ordinary lives”.

But disguised as a mechanic, a pool boy and a groom, they’re about to meet the real challenge… Conquering the women they’ll meet along the way!

Excerpt:
“Colt?”
            Distracted, he brought his gaze back up to hers. The reminder he wasn’t who he’d said he was, that this couldn’t happen, should have been enough to have him ending this right now, but the hesitant look in her blue eyes commanded him instead.
            “That night in the barn—was I imagining that you wanted to kiss me?”
            Ai por Deus. How was he supposed to answer that? Lie and he would hurt her, something he wasn’t willing to do. But telling her the truth wasn’t an option either.
            “I don’t think I should answer that question.”
            “Why?”
            “Because I work for you. Because it isn’t appropriate.”
            “This is already past appropriate,” she murmured, eyes on his mouth. “And you’ve already answered my question by not answering.”
            “Then we should consider the subject closed.” He reached up to disentangle her arms from around his neck. She kept them where they were. “I think I should test my theory out.”
            “What theory?”
            “That you will be a better kisser than Knox.”
            Oh no. He shook his head. “I think we should leave the answer to the theoretical realm.”
            “I don’t.” She curved her fingers around the back of his neck and drew his mouth down to hers. He should have stopped it right there, should have exercised the sanity he should have had, but he wasn’t going to reject her—not in her ultra-vulnerable state.   And, if the truth be known, he wanted to kiss her. Badly. Had since that night in the barn.
            Lush and full, not quite practiced, the brush of her lips against his sent a sizzle over every inch of his skin. This was such a bad idea.
            He relaxed beneath her touch, allowed her to play. He’d give it a minute, make it good and get out of Dodge.
            “You have an amazing mouth,” Cecily breathed against his lips. “But you aren’t kissing me back.”
            “Self-preservation,” he murmured before he splayed his fingers around her delicate jaw, angled her mouth the way he wanted it and took control.
            Her sweet, heady taste exploded across his senses. As good as he’d imagined it to be—maybe better. Fingers stroking over the silky skin of her cheek, he explored the voluptuous line of her mouth with his own, acquainting himself with every plump, perfect centimeter.
            When skin against skin didn’t seem to be enough, he brought his teeth and his tongue into play, nipping, stroking, lathing. A gasp escaped her lips. He took advantage of the opportunity and closed his mouth over hers, taking the kiss deeper, mating his tongue with hers. Twining her fingers into the hair at his nape, she followed his lead, sliding her tongue against his, turning the kiss into an intimate, seductive exploration that fried his brain.
             Santo Deus, but she was responsive, the taste of them together perfection. He fought the desire to explore the rest of her curvy, hot body with his mouth and tongue. To discover how sweet she really was.
            In his world, kisses like this led to hot, explosive sex. In this world, however, it absolutely, positively could not happen.
            His rational brain kicked in. He broke the kiss, sank his fingers into her waist and lifted her off of him and placed her back on the blanket.
            Cheeks flushed, eyes on his, Cecily pushed a hand through her hair. “That was—”
            “Proof you aren’t a cold fish,” he said, pushing to his feet. “Now we forget it happened.”
            She eyed him. “Colt—”
            He shook his head. “You know my MO. Here today, gone tomorrow. You don’t want to get involved with me, Cecily. Trust me.”

About the Author:
Award-winning author JENNIFER HAYWARD has been a fan of romance since filching her sister's novels to escape her teenaged angst.

Jennifer emerged on the publishing scene when she won Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write global writing competition in 2012. She is the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer's Choice Best Harlequin Presents of 2014 winner for her book, The Magnate's Manifesto.

Jennifer's career in journalism and PR, including years of working alongside powerful, charismatic CEOs and traveling the world, has provided perfect fodder for the fast-paced, sexy stories she likes to write, always with a touch of humour.

A native of Canada's gorgeous East coast, Jennifer lives in Toronto with her Viking husband and young Viking-in-training.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST June 24th. 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, June 21, 2017

LOST AND FOUND SISTERS


From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes her first women's fiction novel—an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood.

They say life can change in an instant…

     After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.'s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she's looking for a missing piece she can't find?


     The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.


     On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn't quite fit in right away, she can't help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.


     As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there's another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn't a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she's searched so long for.


Excerpt:
To Mick’s relief, he caught Quinn in the parking lot, leaning against her car, her thumbs moving furiously over the screen of her phone. When she saw him, she grimaced.
He lifted his hands and stayed out of her personal space. “Thought you could use a ride back to the B and B,” he said.

“I’m not driving.” She lifted her phone. “I’m trying to get an Uber.”

He smiled. “How’s that going?”

She sighed and slipped her phone into her pocket. “So Wildstone doesn’t have drive-throughs, Thai takeout, or Uber? Seriously?”

“We have other things.”

“Yes,” she said. “Ghosts. Big bugs. Cute dogs. And girlfriends, apparently.”

“Lena’s not my girlfriend,” he said. “She’s Boomer’s. Sort of.” He shook his head. “It’s complicated.”

She didn’t take her eyes off him. “But you’ve slept together.”

He arched a brow.

“I’m sorry,” she said, closing her eyes. “That was rude. There’s a chemistry there, and a familiarity, that’s all. You know what? Don’t listen to me. My tongue’s running the show and I think I’m just jealous at how everyone else seems to take life’s shit in stride and keep going. I haven’t learned that trick and I need to. And how to keep going, that is. Like the Energizer Bunny. Or my electric toothbrush. God.” She pressed her hands to her face. “I really need to stop talking. Make me stop talking!”

He took her hand and tugged her to his truck.

“Wait,” she said, putting a hand to his chest and fisting it in his shirt to hold him to her. “You’re not a murderer or a rapist or anything like that, right?”

He lifted a hand. “Scout’s honor.”

“Were you a Boy Scout?”

Laughing a little at that because he’d been just about the furthest thing from a Boy Scout, he gently pushed her into the passenger seat and leaned in to buckle her seat belt, and suddenly their faces were an inch from each other. He heard her suck in a breath and he did the same.

Talk about chemistry.


“Mick?” she whispered.

“Yeah?”

“Are you feeling something?”

“You could say that,” he murmured. “You?”

She licked her lips and he nearly groaned. “I think so,” she whispered.

“That’s good.”

“Are you going to kiss me?”

He cupped her face, let his thumbs trace her jawbone, his fingers sinking into her silky waves. “No,” he said quietly. “And not because I don’t want to, but because when I do, I want to know you’re ready. That you’ll feel it.”

She sighed. “Guys do whatever they want all the time, no emotions necessary. I want that skill.” Another shaky breath escaped her, and since they were literally an inch apart, they shared air for a single heartbeat during which neither of them moved.

Her gaze dropped to his mouth. “Okay, so I’m definitely feeling things.” She hesitated and then her hands came up to his chest. “Maybe we should test it out to be sure.”

God, she was the sweetest temptation he’d ever met, and he wanted nothing more than to cover her mouth with his. Instead, he brushed his mouth to her cheek.

“Please, Mick,” she whispered, her exhale warming his throat. He loved the “please,” and he wanted to do just that more than anything. But when she tried to turn her head into his, to line up their mouths, he gently tightened his grip, dragging his mouth along her smooth skin instead, making his way to her ear.

“Not yet,” he whispered, letting his lips brush over her earlobe and the sensitive skin beneath it.

She moaned and clutched him. “Why not?”

It took every ounce of control he had to lift his head and meet her gaze. “Because I want to make sure you’re really with me, that you’re feeling everything I’m feeling. That there’ll be no doubt, no regrets.”

“You sure have a lot of requirements.”

He laughed. And she was right, it was all big talk for a guy who didn’t do relationships anymore. Still, he forced himself to step back and shut the passenger door.

As he rounded the hood to the driver’s side, he tried to remind himself of all the reasons she was a bad idea. He lived two hundred miles away and he was hoping to move his mom up by him and never come back here. Not to mention that Quinn lived an equal two hundred miles in the opposite direction and she was in a deeply vulnerable place. No way would he even think about taking advantage of that.

But when he slid behind the wheel and their eyes locked, he realized that while his mind could stand firm, the rest of his body wasn’t on board with the in-control program.


ABOUT JILL SHALVIS
New York Times 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 bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Connect with Jill
Facebook: @JillShalvis
Twitter: @JillShalvis

BUY LINKS
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2qstkR0
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2rqfzHw
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/2qs6j0E
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2ql4CXx

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ten things I love about writing contemporary romance


   1.     There is always a happy ending. No matter what dark moments our couple go through we know we are always going to finish a story with a smile on our face.   

   2.     I love writing epilogues, so my readers can see the happy life of our couple after everything is resolved.

   3.     I love writing about my romantic dreams and the things that help romance along...candles, flowers, fun dates

   4.     I love the freedom of taking my romances anywhere in the world and putting my couples in different settings.

   5.     Note re above: I LOVE travelling to exotic locations to research my settings, even the Outback!

   6.     I love getting to know my characters and falling in love with my heroes.

   7.     I live sitting around in my PJs and losing myself in different worlds while I dream up my stories

   8.     I love taking photos of nature to give me inspiration for my setting

   9.     I love putting my characters in a family context and writing about their back grounds

  10.  I LOVE that romance is the top selling genre!

Her Outback Cowboy
By Annie Seaton
Release date: June 19, 2017
Entangled Bliss

The last thing advertising art director Lucy Bellamy wants is to go home to the Outback, but duty to family calls. At least there’s one bonus—her first love, sexy cowboy neighbour, Garth Mackenzie, is there and the attraction between them is still explosive. But Lucy has no intention of getting stuck in this two-bit town and she counts down the days until she can go back to her real life.

After an engineering degree and working in the mines of Western Australia, Garth has returned to the Outback and is home to stay. His goal is to settle down, start a family, and work his beloved land with the girl he’s always loved. But if it comes to Lucy choosing between the glamour of the city or making a home with him in the Outback—he’d lose, hands down.


About the Author

Annie Seaton lives on the edge of the South Pacific Ocean on the east coast of Australia She is fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing and has been delighted to discover that readers love reading her stories as much as she loves writing them. Annie lives with her own hero of many years. Their two children are now grown up and married, and two beautiful grandchildren have arrived. Now they share their home with Toby, the naughtiest dog in the universe, and two white cats. When she is not writing she can be found in her garden or walking on the beach... or most likely on her deck overlooking the ocean, camera in hand as the sun sets. Each winter, Annie and her husband leave the beach to roam the remote areas of Australia for story ideas and research. In 2014 Annie was voted Author of the Year and in 2015 was voted Best Established Author in the AusRomToday.com Readers' Choice Awards. Readers can contact Annie through her website annieseaton.net or find her on Face Book, Twitter and Instagram.


Friday, June 16, 2017

The ten year high school reunion...


Giveaway Alert!


The ten year high school reunion. Just reading that probably brought on some strong reaction, whether it’s good memories or bad. Some people skip theirs. Some go and have fun. Some go and loathe it. We all have memories linked up with those four years where we’re either stuck in the same halls with the same people—or ruling over them.

Personally, I was one of those counting down until I graduated and left that school behind forever. The heroine of my newest story PROM QUEEN, Jessica Jackson, was one of those who ruled her small Texas school. In high school, she was the pageant princess, the mean girl, both prom and homecoming queen. She dated the star quarterback, and they had the rest of their lives planned out…until an accident screwed up his chances at playing pro, and she left him in the dust.

Writing Jessica Jackson—now reformed mean girl—was a treat. I venture to say that we’ve all known that girl—or woman, as the case may be. Her meanness might be learned, and it might be the result of being shoved into a role she never wanted to play, but that doesn’t make her any easier to bear. And the fact that she’s reformed doesn’t take away from the awful things she did when she had a little bit of power.

Jessica is living proof that people can change, at least in part. She’s still a spitfire, though her fire is dwindled, but she’s got enough distance from the girl she used to be to get a bit of perspective.

But the people she’s left behind don’t know that.

And karma isn’t quite done with Jessica Jackson because when she hires a professional boyfriend to accompany her for the weekend, she doesn’t realize that her ex—the same one she left behind—is the owner…or that he’s planning on showing up as her date!

Giveaway:
Did you (or do you plan to) attend your ten year high school reunion?
One lucky reader leaving a comment or email entry will win an ecopy of PROM QUEEN!


Prom Queen by katee robert

A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty and a whole lot more complicated in this new erotic romance from New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Katee Robert.

Welcome to Bad Boy Homecoming! Five bestselling authors got together to see what happens when bad boy heroes (and even a bad girl or two!) roll back into a small town in Texas for their High School reunion. Sexy times, angst-filled memories, and second chances abound with this contemporary romance series.

Title: Prom Queen
Author: Katee Robert
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 27th, 2017
Publisher: Katee Robert
Series: Bad Boy Homecoming
Page Count: 109 pages
Format: Digital and Print
ASIN: B06XWYGYB8
ISBN-13: 9780998840215

Jake Davis had it all in high school—a scholarship to his college of choice, a promising football career, and the gorgeous prom queen for a girlfriend. And then he lost it all when he was injured right after graduation. Ten years later, he’s mostly made his peace with that, and now runs a company that provides women with dates for special events. Imagine his surprise when he discovers that the ex who left him in the dust needs a fake boyfriend for their high school reunion…

Jessica Jackson used to be the mean girl to end all mean girls. But life didn’t turn out like she’d thought it would, and now she’s twenty-eight, single, and works as an insurance agent to A-listers instead of being the A-lister like she’d always dreamed. She can’t go back to her hometown and admit just how thoroughly she’s failed, so she lets her friends set her up with a fake date for the reunion.

The second Jessica realizes that her fake date is Jake, she tries to call the whole thing off. The problem is the chemistry between them is even hotter now than it was when they were teenagers. Against her better judgment she lets herself get drawn into Jake’s arms again—and into his bed. But time doesn’t heal all wounds—sometimes, it actually makes them worse—and if Jessica and Jake can’t learn to forgive each other, their second chance might not last the weekend.

Available at: 
Barnes & Noble → http://bit.ly/2nJk8dh

Praise for PROM QUEEN:

A great second chance story that's sweet, very hot plus tugs at your heart strings.”Readers World Book Haven


What a great read! Fun, sassy and sweet!” – Cali L., Goodreads Reviewer

A quick read filled with tons of passion.” – A Novel Glimpse

Yow-za! Katee Roberts always writes a great story and this one was stellar. The best of second chance romance.” – Ayekah, Goodreads Reviewer

About Katee Robert
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension."  When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 

Connect with Katee at: Website | Facebook | Twitter| GoodReads | Instagram

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST June 17th. 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. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Alternative Swear Words



I have to start by confessing a particularly bad habit of mine… I swear like a sailor. Actually, to be more accurate, I swear like a Quentin Tarantino film. It’s bad, and I promise I’m working on it. In my defense, certain words communicate the emotion better than the watered-down versions. And certain words just feel so good on the tongue.

With that in mind, you’d think writing a character who is deliberate about using alternative swear words would be difficult for me. In The Wrong Kind of Compatible, Cassie swears a lot (like me), but she substitutes alternative swear words. Not because she minds the swear words. Her reasons have more do with a little competition with her brothers (who have kids) to see who can be the most creative with the alternatives.

As a mama who struggles to tame this tendency around her kids, I love the idea of a character who tempers her habit for her nieces and nephews. However, I didn’t want Cassie to sound too prim or too “perfect mommy,” and so I had a goal with the alternatives.

Goal: funny but not too cutsie (which is a tricky balance to strike).

The other tricky part is coming up with word combinations which are obviously being used as swear words. There were a few combos I tried which, in context, I think would throw readers because it'll take a minute to figure out that it's a curse.

I thought you might get a kick out of some of the ones I came up with.

·               Cheese and krakens (couldn't help myself. the geek in me rejoiced at this one.)
·               Goodnight nurse
·               Fish in a barrel
·               Fiddlesticks
·               Shut the truck up
·               Sure as shootin'
·               Honest to gravy
·               Bananas
·               Son of a nutcracker
·               Mother trucker
·               What the fedora
·               Gorgonzola on a stick
·               Cracker jacks
·               Heavens to megatron (this was mergatroid, but the geek in me had to change it)
·               Bull honkey
·               Work her corn nuts off
·               Farfegnugen
·               Dang rabbit
·               Fraggle rock

I mean, can you read those, or picture using them, without giggling? I can’t, which made them a lot of fun to write. I didn’t get to incorporate all of them, but I certainly tried.

How about you? Do you have any entertaining swear word alternatives?


The Wrong Kind of Compatible 

Data analyst Cassie Howard may be brilliant (and, okay, a little awkward), but she’s worked hard to get where she is. She definitely doesn’t need some sexy new analyst coming in and taking credit for her work. Or the inappropriate thoughts that keep popping out of her mouth she’d rather he not hear.

For undercover FBI agent Drew Kerrigan, computers have always made more sense than people, but he’d better develop some slick social skills in a hurry if he’s going to win over the too-tantalizing-for-his-sanity Cassie. Hacking their systems was easy. Now he’s just got to hack the one person in the company most likely to see through his ruse…

Buy Links:

Kobo: not yet live

About Kadie Scott:

Award-winning contemporary romance author, Kadie Scott, grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. She attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

No matter the genre, she loves to write witty, feisty heroines, sexy heroes who deserve them, and a cast of lovable characters to surround them (and maybe get their own stories). She currently resides in Austin, Texas, with her own personal hero, her husband, and their two children, who are growing up way too fast.

Connect:

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