Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I'm Holding Out For a Heroine – She’s Gotta Be Strong, She’s Gotta Be Fast, She’s Gotta Be Fresh From The Fight


Ideas for books come from everywhere. A particularly juicy story in the daily newspaper, a funny anecdote from a dinner party or a real-life tail from your own life.  But a favourite of mine is television. Who doesn’t get inspired by a magnetic episode of Scandal with its brilliant cast of characters or a nail biting week of Homeland with its frantic twists and turns? 

I believe real life can be far more fascinating than fiction and in the case of my new release, The Magnate’s Manifesto, this was definitely true. One night I was watching a reality show about a stripper who was having her breasts enhanced for her job as a dancer in Las Vegas. She had done so well dancing she had accumulated a portfolio of Las Vegas real estate. I had no idea dancing could be so lucrative! As with all such fascinating occupations, I wondered how a person becomes a dancer? Where does she come from? What would lead a woman to a life on the stage where she gets up every night and bares her body and perhaps a bit of her soul to the men who come to see her? 

I was inspired. I had to write about a dancer. But I’ve never personally been on a stage so I had to find a stripper who could transport me into that edgy world. When I found her she was amazing. She not only worked in Vegas, she now runs her own stripping school with a business edge. She was utterly compelling. And my heroine, Bailey, was born. 

Bailey comes from a small town in Florida, where her mother was a hairdresser, her father an unemployed, alcoholic former football hero who never recovered from not being drafted by a college team. Bailey survives in her miserable existence where the family barely makes ends meet until a chance encounter with a dancer on a Tampa street introduces her to her way out. She discovers she has a talent for dancing and it gives her the one thing she wants—out of her miserable existence. 

She moves to Vegas with the promise to herself she will dance only long enough to put herself through school and then she’s out. She shuts herself off emotionally, gets on that stage every night and does what she needs to do to make her dream come true. It’s not pretty, but I believe Bailey is the most courageous heroine I’ve ever written. 

An MBA and a lifetime later, Bailey is working as a top marketing executive in Silicon Valley, her alter ego, dancer Kate Delaney who made quite a name for herself in Vegas, firmly put to rest. Until her boss, Jared Stone, writes an explosive manifesto about women meant only for his closest wingmen that gets leaked on the internet. When Jared is forced to promote her to satisfy the maelstrom his manifesto has created after ignoring her for years, Bailey once again chooses to be a survivor rather than a victim and takes the job. She embarks on her quest to prove herself to her new boss, but her dark past rears its ugly head to threaten everything she’s worked for. And suddenly being in the limelight again seems like a very bad idea. 

I hope if you get a chance to read the story you’ll think Bailey is as courageous as I do and enjoy her journey toward true love and acceptance.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt, one of my favourite scenes from the book, where Jared finds out about Bailey’s past:

She pushed a hand against his chest and stood back, her chin lifting to a defiant angle. “What’s the big deal?”

His eyes rounded. “You’re a twenty-seven year-old, former stripper, virgin?”

Her face went even hotter. “Are you going to tag that description on every time you talk about me now, because I’m afraid that doesn’t work for me.”

He closed his eyes and raked his hair back from his face. “I don’t understand how this could happen.”

Her mouth flattened. “Simple. I haven’t gotten into bed with a man. Not that you’d understand anything about that. Half the women in the Valley are walking around with your cute little diamond charm bracelets on as if they were the Medal of Honor.”

He let out a harsh breath and opened his eyes. “It was the combination of your age and background, Bailey. You haven’t exactly been living in a nunnery.”

She put her hands on her hips and stared at him. “What were you hoping? That I’d have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve, living the life?”

His gaze narrowed. “I wasn’t actually thinking, Bailey. As you can imagine after what just happened.”

Jennifer Hayward’s The Magnate’s Manifesto is available now.

BUY LINKS

Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
Harlequin
Kobo
iTunes

BIO
JENNIFER HAYWARD has been a fan of romance since filching her sister's novels to escape her teenaged angst.

Her 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 East coast, Jennifer lives in Toronto with her Viking husband and young Viking-in-training. Her book club of 10 yrs helps her keep the world right side up.

THE MAGNATE'S MANIFESTO

BILLIONAIRE PLAYBOY IGNITES INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT WITH HIS MANIFESTO ON WOMEN 

Jared Stone: Visionary, rebel, the tech world's golden boy…and now the most hated man on the planet! 

Bailey St. James: Survivor, powerful female executive, the only woman who refuses to bow down to Jared Stone…and the only woman who can save him? 

When Jared's manifesto makes him public enemy #1 the only way out is to make Bailey an offer she can't refuse—a very public promotion to VP! Now, with a major deal on the line and tensions rising, can it be long before Jared and Bailey move from spreadsheets to bed sheets?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Flirting On Ice


Prior to co-writing our first novella, we were critique partners for about a year. You learn a lot about someone when exchanging stories back and forth, and in order for the critique partner relationship to bloom, several factors have to fall into place. And, that’s exactly what happened.

One day, during a very entertaining brainstorming phone call, one of us said, “We should try writing together.” 

The other replied, “Sure, why not? It’ll be fun!” 

And that’s how the co-writing began. 

We both like sports, so writing about athletes was an easy decision. We wrote our first novella, Tackled by the Girl Next Door, about a retired football player. The process worked out well, so we wrote two more novellas, Flirting on Ice and Dangerous Play, this time about hockey players. 

Co-writing takes a lot of plotting and a lot of communicating. We create each story together, adding our individual voices to the mix. Our personalities complement each other and make for a stronger story. Throughout the entire process, from plotting to writing to publishing to promotion, we communicate and make the best possible decision for the books.

All of our stories have strong heroines and tough heroes. And while everyone may not identify with a character’s particular profession or environment, we’ve all experienced loss and heartbreak and pure happiness and love. Emotions are universal.

Tackled by the Girl Next Door was published with The Wild Rose Press. Flirting on Ice, was published with Entangled Publishing, LLC earlier this month. Dangerous Play will be published with them as well. We have learned so much from our editors about how to make a story as strong as possible. We’ve also learned about cover art, blurbs, marketing and promotion. It has been a fascinating process, and doing it together makes the experience all the more special.

We may root for different professional sports teams (Veronica is a Boston Bruins fan, and Susan loves the New York Rangers) but we’re definitely enjoying the tag-team effort of co-writing these novellas.

FLIRTING ON ICE

Professional hockey player Zac Elliott is in top form. He’s having the best season of his career, the local fans can’t get enough of him, and he’s in the middle of the most successful contract negotiations of his career. When the sexy little spark between Zac and the team owner’s daughter blazes to life, no matter how forbidden, he can’t resist.

Philanthropist Heather Ryan can’t keep her hands off of Zac. If her father finds out, it could end Zac’s career and ruin her reputation. What they share is deeply passionate and intensely private…until the press exposes their illicit relationship.


Now the fans have viciously turned against Heather, Zac’s game is faltering, and even his team has deserted him. The only way out of the penalty box is for Zac to play hockey like life—and love—depends on it…


Our Bios:
Veronica's bio: 
Veronica Forand is an attorney and an award-winning writer of romantic suspense. She’s lived in Boston, London, Paris, Geneva, and Washington, DC and currently resides near Philadelphia. An avid traveler, she loves to roam across continents with her husband and kids in pursuit of skiing, scuba diving, and finding the perfect piece of chocolate. Visit her at: http://www.veronicaforand.com 

Susan's bio:
Susan Scott Shelley is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She currently resides outside Philadelphia with her very own Superhero and spends her days writing about tough heroes, smart heroines, and love being the strongest magic there is. In addition to writing romances, she is also a professional voiceover artist. Her favorite things include running, sports, hard rock and old Hollywood movies. Connect with Susan: http://www.susanscottshelley.com 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Do you believe in a second chance at love?


That’s a bit harder of a question than it initially seems. Would you agree? 

I mean, we’ve all at some point in our lives—probably many points—had a second chance. The universe is great about throwing those little do-overs our way. And for that I’m grateful, because Lord knows I’ve needed my share of do-overs.

But there are times you don’t get that second chance. Sometimes there’s no going back, no changing the past, and regretfully, no do-overs. So we learn, right? Or at least we try to learn. We pick ourselves up and we move forward. 

Except sometimes, moving forward seems impossible.

And a broken heart will do that to you.

In my newest release, Lovers Restored, the hero (Cooper) and heroine (Halle) aren’t just broken-hearted, they’re broken. Forced apart by a devastating tragedy, Cooper and Halle try the best they can to move on. But when Halle returns to her little home town of Glenley, Indiana ten years later, they find that time and distance did little to bury the guilt—and the desire—they share. They might not have a second chance at their past, but they have a second chance at love. And in my opinion, those are the second chances worth risking it all for.

The passion and undeniable need between these two is explosive. Longing sizzles between them, potent and insatiable. Though blissful nights spent in Halle's arms heal the bitterness in Cooper's heart, they know they have no future…until they let go of the past that brought them together again. Sexy and raw and emotional, Lovers Restored is so much more than just a second chance romance, yet all they needed was that second chance.

Excerpt:
She stepped into him, and when her breasts grazed his chest, his lips parted, and for a moment, she thought he was going to kiss her. And God, she wanted it—needed it even. But instead, he pressed against her, the solid weight of his body forcing her feet to back step until she was once again strained against the front door.

“What are you doing, Halle?” 

She knew his words were meant to intimidate her, but instead, they warmed flutters in her stomach as the gravelly intonation smoothed across her skin.

Holding her own, she leveled her eyes on his. “I should ask you the same thing.” 

His palm connected with the door, and the steel in his eyes returned. “Are you trying to test my temper? Weaken my control?”

Exasperated, she sighed. Flattening her hands on his chest, she shoved at him, except he didn’t budge, not even a little. “It’s obvious I don’t need to test your temper when it comes to me. You’ve got that pretty much perfected. And if anyone’s control is weakening, it’s mine,” she said, making sure to keep her eyes focused on his. 

“You think your control is weakening?”

“Yes.” She knew it was.

A groan tore from his throat. “You have no idea.” Then his mouth slammed onto hers, devouring her as he cupped the sides of her face. 

He delved past her lips and invaded her mouth, sweeping his tongue over hers. Her legs went weak beneath her as he deepened their kiss, sinking his teeth into her bottom lip while his fingertips slipped into her hair. Desperation swirled through her, and she crawled up his body, trying to get closer, yearning for even a sample of the alleviation she knew he could provide her.

Somewhere in the recesses of her mind, a warning tugged, foretelling the injuries her reckless body would inflict on her heart. But she couldn’t find it in her to stop. This—his arms holding her, his mouth consuming her, his body crushing her—she needed this. She missed this.

Author Bio:
New York Times bestselling author Kelsie Leverich lives in Indiana with her husband, two adorable monsters—who are better known as her kids—and her three little fur babies. Whether she is reading it or writing it, Kelsie is a sucker for romance. Add some toe-curling passion and she’s done for. When not writing, she can usually be found behind the chair at the salon, or out on the lake with friends and family.

Kelsie is a lipstick junkie, nail polish hoarder, and lover of words. She is most definitely not a morning person, has a soft spot for animals, loves musicals, hates seafood, and thinks laundry is the source of all evil.

Follow Kelsie:
www.kelsieleverich.com
www.facebook.com/authorkelsieleverich
www.twitter.com/kelsielev

Purchase Links:


Friday, November 21, 2014

My Favorite Book Tropes

With: Cari Quinn

I’m so excited to be here at Just Contemporary Romance today, especially since I’m here to talk about my favorite book tropes. My latest release, NO PROMISES REQUIRED, is book 4 in the Love Required series, and it features a couple of popular tropes in romance. Tropes are familiar story setups or constructs that readers enjoy. For example, the virgin. Sure, some people don’t like to read about an inexperienced heroine (or hero!) but I think it’s fun to take a standard idea and turn it on its head. My heroine, Jill, may not have a ton of experience yet but she wants as much as she can get as fast as possible. She doesn’t shy away from anything! She’s completely fearless, and I find that really refreshing.

Another trope in NO PROMISES REQUIRED is that of best friend’s older brother. Jill falls for her best friend Vicky’s older brother Bryan, which has a bit of a taboo inherent in it because he’s a player and will always think of her as innocent. And of course, if something is a bit forbidden, that it makes it all the more spicy and desirable, right? With as many misgivings as both Jill and Bryan have, neither one of them can turn away from the other, and boy, are the results combustible!

Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite tropes in books (for example, secret baby, office romance, marriage of convenience)? Which are your least favorite? Why?

Thanks so much for spending some time with me today! :)
Visit Cari Quinn at www.cariquinn.com.

NO PROMISES REQUIRED

A sexy category romance from Entangled's Brazen imprint...

No strings. And no restraints…

Professional football player Bryan Townsend is sidelined for the next two weeks while he recovers from a knee injury. The upside? He'll get to attend his sister's wedding. The downside? He's not sure he'll have a spot on his team when he returns. So when he's confronted by a sexy blast from his past the night of the bachelor party, he sees an opportunity to seduce the very stunning maid of honor.

But Bryan had no clue Jill St. John was still a virgin. Or that she was merely looking to expand her sexual repertoire without having to trust anyone with her heart. But with every encounter, Jill can't help but fall for the man Bryan's become. The clock is running down. If he's to win it all, Bryan must make the biggest play of his career—choosing between his team…or the woman he's always wanted.


Excerpt:
Chapter One
Jill St. John’s entire life had come down to this moment—to strip or not to strip.

“C’mon, you can’t back out now,” Vicky Townsend said as she applied war paint to her face. Vicky was a natural beauty who needed very little help, except apparently when she was preparing to dance her booty off onstage in front of a crowd of hollering men—a group who happened to include her fiancé Cory’s bachelor party. The rest of the audience would be a wildcard. Talent Night at Triple Threat always attracted an interesting crowd. “Haven’t you always wanted to gyrate in front of a bunch of horny men?”

Jill lifted an eyebrow. Dancing in front of Cory and his other guy friends would be embarrassing enough, but half of the other people in the club were complete strangers.
Not that a bunch of strangers would stop Vic. Vic and her friends were providing the entertainment for her husband- to-be’s party, unbeknownst to him. At first, Vic had told Jill
to sit down with the guys and enjoy the show. Apparently, the days of Vic being overprotective weren’t quite over. But Jill had finally convinced Vic to let her join in.

She’d pushed to join in the pseudo-stripping routine for one very good reason. Namely, Vic’s sexy older brother Bryan was scheduled to attend.

Scheduled, yes. A sure bet, no.

It seemed like she’d been angling to get closer to Bryan forever. Vic thought Jill barely knew her big brother, but she was wrong. They had a past Vic had never been privy to, for good reason. They’d talked a lot as teenagers—and one night, they’d even gone past conversation.

Haven’s resident football star was back in town for two weeks, and if she had her way, they’d be two very dirty weeks, thank you very much. Tonight would start them off on the right note.

But with every passing minute, it seemed less likely that Bryan would appear in time for the main event. If he even came at all.

Well, she wasn’t about to make a fool of herself with no payoff. Her stage fright was kicking in, and without the chance to make Bryan drool, she was out.

But how to break the news to Vic?

Hey, I know I asked you to let me join in, but I just remembered that I break out in hives whenever I have to wear anything made out of feathers, latex, or pleather. True fact.

She tried the soft approach. “Are you sure you need me?”

“Seriously? Jill, you begged me to let you do this.”

“I guess I’ve just got a little stage fright.”

Vicky turned toward Jill, her big brown eyes silently imploring. “You can’t back out now. I can’t go out there with just Mel and Nellie and Lex. We modified the routine for five dancers.”

“A routine I butchered during practice.” Jill tugged her lip gloss out of her purse and leaned closer to the mirror for a quick touch-up. “Besides, I’m not dressed to strip,” she added, glancing down at her little black dress and chunky heels. Thank God, she finished in her head.

As much as she wanted to shed her boring image and begin having the wild adventures she’d always dreamed about—ideally with Bryan—before she started Vet-Tech school in the fall, she wasn’t sure this was the way to start. She wasn’t harboring any illusions that Bryan would want to settle down with her, but that was okay.

She’d dealt with enough of her fame-junkie father’s in- and-out appearances in her life than to want a relationship with a man who lived in the spotlight. She wasn’t worried whether she could compete with all of his fans. She knew she couldn’t. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t grab him for a night. Or two. Or three.

Assuming she managed to put the moves on him before his defenses came up.


Jill didn’t have any moves, dancing or otherwise. But she had other assets to lure Bryan with. Even though Vic had so deviously devised the dance routine so that Jill would come on stage last, at the back of the group, she’d planned to head straight for Bryan. With luck, she’d have been on him before he could look at anyone else. Touching him. Tempting him. And hopefully seducing him…

Author Bio:
USA Today bestselling author Cari Quinn wrote her first story—a bible parable—in 2nd grade, much to the delight of the nuns at her Catholic school. Once she saw the warm reception that first tale garnered, she was hooked. Now she gets to pen sexy romances for a living and routinely counts her lucky stars. When she’s not scribbling furiously, she can usually be found watching men’s college basketball, playing her music way too loud or causing trouble. Sometimes simultaneously.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Finding Strength


Congratulations to "Laney4" the winner in Sonya's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Life doesn’t play fair. It just doesn’t. Heartache can strike with or without warning and it crosses races, religion, and economic status. None of us are exempt from it. In the middle of heartache, strength is forged that we often don’t even realize we possess. 

There’s a quote from the show, One Tree Hill, that was said by the character of Keith Scott. That quote was, “Most people are stronger than they know. They just forget to believe in it sometimes.” 

That quote sums up Abby Snyder, the heroine in Resisting Her Rival. Abby has experienced immense heartache and betrayal caused by situations in her life. Though she’s had the strength to make it through these situations, she’s forgotten to believe that she’s also strong enough to love someone again. 

RESISTING HER RIVAL

All’s fair in love and war…

Abby Snyder finally has the opportunity to expand her diner now that the building next door is available. Unfortunately, she must compete with Nick Coleman to get it. Abby—usually ├╝ber-responsible—shared one night of intense passion with the playboy, and she's been trying to forget it ever since. But then Nick bets her the building that he can make her fall in love with him in thirty days.

With his reputation ruining his chances at gaining some big clients, Nick needs a way to prove to everyone that he’s reformed. Dating Abby, the most respected girl in town—and the only one he wants—is the perfect solution. Nick’s confident he’ll get Abby to fall for him, so he’ll win the building and the girl he can't get out of his mind.

But even though Abby can’t lose, resisting Nick is harder than she thought.

Author Bio:
Sonya Weiss loves writing all things romance whether it’s writing contemporary adult or teen fiction and still hasn’t lost the wonder that she gets to do what she loves.

She enjoys reading, movies, chocolate, and laughter and credits her daughters as being the sweetest blessings in her life.


Buy links: 


Giveaway:
I'm giving away one copy of Resisting Her Rival and one $5 Amazon gift card as a combined prize.


Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Nov. 20th. 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, November 19, 2014

CHASING THE RUNAWAY BRIDE


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

CHASING THE RUNAWAY BRIDE was a challenge for me. Not only did I have a bride who couldn’t quite make it the whole way down the aisle, but also the hero, Cade Donovan, had left her best friend at the altar. In the history of a small town like Harmony Hills, to have one person turn and run out of the church was a big deal. But two? That was almost too much gossip for one small town to handle. 

So, when Cade’s grandfather gives half O’Riley’s Market to him, and the other half to Piper, the no-show groom and runaway bride are suddenly in business together. Worse, they are incredibly attracted.

Cade might not care about the wagging tongues of Harmony Hills, but Piper does. She’s embarrassed herself enough already. She does not want to have anything to do with the man who left her best friend at the altar.

Cade sees her refusal to act on their attraction as a challenge, and he pursues her relentlessly. But when she finally gives in, it’s Cade who’s suddenly in trouble.

I don’t want to spoil the book, but Cade’s got a past much bigger than what he and his brothers admit. Will the no-show groom let himself be vulnerable enough to marry the runaway bride…and if he does, will she make it the whole way down the aisle? 
Cade and Piper kept me guessing until the very last page. Their story is fun and flirty, but filled with the truth of what life is really like.



Excerpt

She walked back to the box of canned green beans, her legs like rubber, her arms shimmying. The man could get her blood going with only a look. And his lips touching hers? Holy cow. She almost melted.

Which was why he tempted her. He wasn’t just attractive. He was sexy. And the way he called her “darlin’”? Good grief, she could have thrown herself at him.

But she hadn’t. She’d kept control.

Right. 

That one-word grouse was her inner bad girl. She’d been quiet lately, but today she was pissed. Worse, Piper’s good girl was edging over to the other shoulder, siding with her bad girl.

What would it hurt if we kissed?

She sniffed a laugh. Lots of things.

Like?

Well, her sanity. Just because their past was resolving itself, that didn’t mean pursuing their attraction was a good idea. They worked together. Saw each other every day. Was she going to kiss him every day?

Her inner good girl swooned.

Giveaway:
As a giveaway, I’m offering a copy of the first book of the Donovan Brothers series, HER SUMMER WITH THE MARINE.


Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Nov. 19th. 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, November 18, 2014

DESIGNED FOR LOVE - Excerpt 2



DESIGNED FOR LOVE

Ashton Davenport: Hot blonde. Old Money. Off-limits.

That’s how Mac McLaughlin sees her, anyway. And now that he’s enduring a temporary self-imposed exile in tiny Shelbyville, Texas, he’s seeing her way too often. Mac only wants to succeed as the contractor for the Lily Lake development in order to rebuild his reputation and return to Dallas, pronto. A sexy distraction like Ashton was not in the plans.

Mac McLaughlin: Hot builder. Cash poor. Hands-on.

Ashton kissed her trust fund goodbye and left her life as a society princess to prove she could make it on her own. Developing Lily Lake is her big chance, but it’s hard to stay focused working side-by-side with bossy, rough-around-the-edges Mac. Especially when he pulls off his shirt.


When the discovery of an endangered species derails the project, Mac can’t afford to stick around for a stalled job. His and Ashton’s explosive chemistry aside, he’s outta there…unless she can convince him that they just might be able to build something together.

Excerpt Two – Just Contemporary Romance

There stood Mac McLaughlin studying the canned chili with the intensity of a man making a life-changing decision.

A frown pulled at his mouth, surrounded by a stubble-length goatee, and he rubbed his hand up the back of his neck to ruffle his hair—a blend of raw umber and burnt sienna—into a little ducktail. And that hand was just so…big.

So rough.

So unlike the hands Ashton had ever had on her before. A shiver rippled over her shoulders. The men in her past had visited the manicurist as much as or more than she had. And that was saying something.

Mac wore what she’d come to think of as his uniform—work boots, well-washed jeans, and a plaid snap shirt rolled up to his forearms. Of course, the shirt he wore now was buttoned, but she’d seen him stripped down to a tight T-shirt while renovating her friend’s lingerie store. The man had biceps that should be immortalized in bronze. Or granite.

As a guy in the construction trade, dig-in-and-get-dirty was a way of life for him. And even though she’d left Houston to strike out on her own, she and Mac had about as much in common as a Hepplewhite chair and a Modani table. But anytime she was near him, her body reacted as if he’d rubbed her skin with fine-grade sandpaper. Sensitive and a little tingly.

Napoleon poked his head from his bag, homed in on Mac and woofed. There went her opportunity to back away in stealth. Mac turned toward her, and his hands immediately bracketed his hips. A standard posture when he was around her. Why she annoyed him so much, she wasn’t sure. But the fact that she annoyed him annoyed her.

Mac nodded toward Napoleon. “They let you bring that thing in here?”

“First off, Napoleon is not a thing. He’s a he.” She pushed her basket forward and pretended to consider kidney versus lima beans. “And second, he likes to pick out his own food.”

“He point at it with his paw?”

To hell with the beans. She’d come down this aisle to get to the Kibble Kare, so she rounded Mac without meeting his gaze. Told herself that sideswiping his aisle-blocking elbow with her cart was purely an accident. But her silent treatment didn’t last, and she blurted, “What do you have against dogs?”

One side of Mac’s mouth twitched up, and the compulsion to take a little nip out of it sent Ashton’s earlier shiver cruising down her breasts and into her belly.

“Don’t have a damn thing against dogs. That—” he pointed at Napoleon pistol-style, “—is not a dog. He’s what my mom would call a geegaw.”

Napoleon was so much more than a knickknack. He was her friend. The one friend who’d been with her through all her ups and downs. Lately, they were heavy on the downs. “He may be small, but he’s a real dog.”

“Real dogs do stuff. They don’t lay around on pink pillows eating caviar.”

Napoleon’s pillow was blue, and caviar had been off his menu since her bank account went belly-up. “What kind of stuff?”

“Hunt, retrieve, fetch.”

“Napoleon can fetch.”

“What—his hair bows?”

Ashton clutched the shopping basket handle, her knuckles aching from the pressure. She shouldn’t be remotely attracted to a man who didn’t like her dog. Common wisdom said that dogs were able to sense people with good intentions. Needless to say, Napoleon had never cared for Mac. “Ha-ha. He’s actually quite good with balls and other toys.”

“He ever bring you a duck or a dead rat?”

Her lips drew back. “Ugh. No.”

Mac strolled closer, making the little gleam in his green eyes apparent. The man was enjoying this. Who knew it took so little to entertain him? “Real dogs bring you dead stuff to show their affection.”


And, God, couldn’t she use a little affection these days? Preferably from a tall, broad-shouldered Paul Bunyan of a man. 

About the Author
Kelsey Browning writes sass kickin’ love stories and co-authors Southern cozy mysteries. She’s also a co-founder of Romance University blog, one of Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers. Originally from a Texas town smaller than the ones she writes about, Kelsey has also lived in the Middle East and Los Angeles, proving she’s either adventurous or downright nuts. These days, she hangs out in northeast Georgia with Tech Guy, Smarty Boy, Bad Dog and Pharaoh, a (fingers crossed) future therapy dog.

Connect with Kelsey: Email / Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Pinterest

Facebook Party
Kelsey is hosting a Thankful for Romance Facebook Party from Friday, November 21 – Monday, November 24 and will be featuring the following authors each day.

Friday, November 21 - Celebrating Romance Series
Awesome Authors include: Angi Morgan
Adrienne Giordano Author Page,Tamara MorganShauna AllenAlison PackardTerri Osburn, & Tracey Devlyn

Saturday, November 22 - Celebrating Sexy Romance
Awesome Authors include: 
Avery FlynnRobin CovingtonKimberly KincaidKelsey Browning - Author, and a special Amazon gift card giveaway from Liliana Hart.

Sunday, November 23 - Celebrating Southern Sass Romance
Awesome authors include: 
Christine Glover AuthorJodi LintonSharla LovelaceNancy Naigle & Cynthia D'Alba.

Monday, November 24 - Celebrating Contemporary Romance & the release of 
Kelsey Browning's Designed for Love.
Awesome authors include: 
Jamie FarrellDianna Love, Kat LathamKim LawCaro CarsonWendy S. Marcus, & Sonali Dev

Link to Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/832158273473413

Blog Tour Stops
November 17 – Excerpt One
Brain Candy
http://www.kelseybrowning.com/brain-candy/

November 18 – Excerpt Two
Just Contemporary Romance
http://www.justcontemporaryromance.com

November 18 – Excerpt Three
Ramblings From This Chick
http://www.ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com 

November 19 – Excerpt Four
 Brooke Blogs
http://brookeblogs.com

November 20 – Excerpt Five
Romance Junkies
http://www.romancejunkiesreviews.com

November 21 – Excerpt Six
Herding Cats and Burning Soup
http://herdingcats-burningsoup.blogspot.com

November 22 – Excerpt Seven
TBQ’s Book Palace
http://tbqspersonalbookpalace.blogspot.com

November 23 – Excerpt Eight
Doing Some Reading
http://doingsomereading.wordpress.com

November 24 – Excerpt Nine
Gonna Need More Books
http://gonnaneedmorebooks.wordpress.com