Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Sweetest Taboo


If you have a brother, then it’s entirely likely you’ve had a crush on one of his friends. I have three brothers, and let me tell you, there have been at least a few crushes on their friends that I could talk about. I could, but I’ll spare you the details, seeing as I never married any of them. Which is why the taboo ‘hero dating his friend’s sister’ is such a great trope in romance novels. There is just so much potential for things to go wrong, even when it’s so exciting and tempting. Grounds for Seduction focuses on that theme, as well as the ‘friends to lovers’ a bit. Maddie, my heroine, has just opened her very own coffee shop in Seattle. Things take a twist for the worst when she’s targeted by the Espresso Bandit. Which brings in my hero, who is a friend of the heroine’s brother—and also a cop. Guess who gets tasked to protect Maddie? I loved writing this story and hope anyone who reads it enjoys it! Here’s a little excerpt.

Madison darted forward in her Valentino heels, trying not to trip as she intercepted him at the door.

“I don’t know if Eric told you,” she began, “but I’m opening up my own espresso shop. The grand opening is Monday morning.”

His eyes held the faintest flicker of surprise, “Really? Hmm. Maddie Phillips, the newest coffee entrepreneur.”

“Madison. I know, isn’t it great?” She laughed, and her attention caught on his hard chest outlined through his Seahawks T-shirt. Swallowing hard as her pulse skipped, she tore her gaze away and fumbled in her purse for a business card and pen.

She scrawled a hurried note on it and handed it to him. “Here’s my card. I wrote you a coupon for a free drink. I’ll be getting things set up all weekend, so if you drop by, I can make you a practice mocha.”

“Ooo La Latté. Nice name.” He glanced up from the card and started to hand it back to her. “But I’m not big on coffee—”

“We also have tea,” she interrupted, a little more forcefully than necessary. “And hot chocolate. In any case, it’s a free beverage. You can’t pass that up.”

He remained quiet for a moment, then nodded. “You’re right, I can’t. I’ll see if I can drop by.”
He tucked the card into the back pocket of his jeans. “I’m going to need a big, faithful customer base, so I hope you come by often.” She touched his arm and felt the bulge of his biceps.

This time, she didn’t miss the flicker of awareness in his eyes, and her pulse sped up. This was pretty forward, even for her.

“After all,” she continued, her voice husky. “You really should support your best friend’s little sister.”

His eyes narrowed, and she knew she’d made a massive mistake. Great, Madison. She ground her teeth together. Remind him that you’re Eric’s little sister.

“You know what? I’m going to grab some of that crab quiche. So yummy. See you this weekend, Gabe.”


GROUNDS FOR SEDUCTION

Madison Phillips is focused on making her new coffee shop a success. She also wouldn’t mind if the sexiest cop in Seattle, Gabriel Martinez, would start seeing her as more than just his best friend’s little sister. When her shop gets robbed and she’s the only one who can identify the increasingly violent Espresso Bandit, Gabe’s there to keep her safe. Having Gabe act as her personal bodyguard is certainly no hardship, and Maddy’s ready to try anything to tempt him into providing some hands-on protection.

Buy links:

About the author:
Shelli is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author who read her first romance novel when she snatched it off her mother’s bookshelf at the age of eleven. One taste and she was forever hooked. It wasn’t until many years later that she decided to pursue writing stories of her own. By then she acknowledged the voices in her head didn’t make her crazy, they made her a writer.

Shelli is a true pluviophile (lover of rain) and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters. She writes various genres of romance, but is most known for her contemporary series such as Holding Out for a Hero, The McLaughlins, and A is for Alpha. She’s a compulsive volunteer, and has been known to spontaneously burst into song.

Connect:

Author Website: www.shellistevens.com

Monday, March 27, 2017

Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay

With: Jill Mansell

Giveaway Alert!

International bestseller Jill Mansell weaves a heartwarming tale of love, family and friendship in her latest novel

1. A brief encounter that could have become so much more…if only everything were different
2. Step-sisters, bitter rivals in every area except one—by unbreakable pact neither will ever steal a man from the other
3. A love triangle that starts out as a mess of secrets and mix-ups, and only gets worse from there

Plus!
Friendship, family ties, crossed wires and self-discovery, second chances and first impressions

Welcome to Jill Mansell’s blustery seaside world. Once you step inside, you’ll never want to leave!

With over 10 million copies sold, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Mansell writes irresistible and funny, poignant and romantic tales for women in the tradition of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Jojo Moyes. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.


EXCERPT
When he’d gone out on the evening of his twenty-fifth birthday, Sam had never intended to meet the love of his life. It was meant to be a casual get-together for a motley group of his friends at one of their favorite restaurants, followed by a visit to a club.

What he hadn’t banked on was catching the eye of a blond girl at one of the other tables in the restaurant and liking the look of her enough to keep glancing over in her direction. And each time he did so, as if sensing his attention, she would look up and meet his gaze.
After an hour, it was getting ridiculous. They were both doing it and trying so hard not to smile. Leaving his table, ostensibly to pay a visit to the bathroom, Sam walked past her and waited in the corridor outside.

Less than twenty seconds later she joined him, and this time there were no attempts to hide the smiles.

“Happy birthday, dear Sam,” she said, because his friends had sung the rousing chorus to him earlier before clattering their glasses together for a toast.
Sam said, “It’s not shaping up too badly so far.”
“You never know; it could get better.” Reaching up, she murmured, “Happy birthday to you,” and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Followed by a proper one on the mouth.

Her name was Lisa, she was a nurse at King’s College Hospital, and she shared a flat with four other nurses in Brixton. Having fulfilled her duty at the work party at the restaurant to celebrate the retirement of one of the doctors in their department, Lisa and two of her friends from King’s joined forces with Sam and his friends and spent the next few hours in a club. At the end of the night, she kissed him once more and said, “I’m not coming home with you. If you want to see me again, call me tomorrow and invite me out properly on Saturday night.”

“Fine.” Simultaneously frustrated and impressed, Sam said, “Give me your number then.”

“If you really want to see me again,” said Lisa, “you’ll track me down without it.”

Was she joking?

“Are you serious?” said Sam.

“Absolutely.” She’d given him a mischievous look. “I’m deadly serious about finding out if you’re serious about wanting to see me again. Because if you aren’t, why bother?”

“And do you think I will bother?” Lisa’s eyes sparkled. “Oh, I hope so.”

***
It hadn’t been difficult. He called the restaurant, persuaded them to give him the number of the husband of the doctor whose retirement party it had been, and worked forward from there. Having been passed on to one of Lisa’s friends, he found out which ward she worked on and what time her shift ended. That evening, he waited outside the ward for her to appear.

When she saw him, Lisa said, “So you tracked me down. But did you get my phone number?”

Sam took out his cell phone and pressed a button. Seconds later, a jaunty tone rang out from inside the yellow raffia bag slung over her shoulder. “You might want to answer that,” he said.

When she did, he stood just a few feet away from her and said into his phone, “Hi, this is Sam. I was wondering if you’d like to come out with me on Saturday evening.”
“Thank you.” Her smile broadened as she stepped aside to make room for a patient on a gurney to be pushed into the ward. Speaking into her own phone, she said, “I’d like that very much.”

It had never been Sam’s intention to get married while still in his twenties. But sometimes fate took a hand, you met the woman you wanted to spend the rest of your life with, and after a while it seemed like the next logical step, so why wait?

A year after they’d first gotten together, he and Lisa had moved into a tiny flat in Peckham. Six months later, they had begun making plans for the wedding, to take place on the date of the night they’d first met.

“If we get married on your birthday,” Lisa said, “you’ll never forget our anniversary.”

“Fine, and you aren’t allowed to forget it either,” Sam said.

Three months before the wedding, Lisa suffered a week of increasingly severe headaches that culminated in an epileptic seizure at work and admission to the hospital. A brain scan confirmed what a physical examination had already given the doctors cause to suspect: there was a large tumor growing in her brain.

And suddenly, the future they’d expected to share was no longer the future they found themselves having to face up to. Surgery swiftly followed, as much as possible of the malignant tumor was excised in order to reduce the pressure inside the skull, and Lisa underwent a course of radiotherapy. The tumor was a glioblastoma multiforme, not the kind anyone would choose to have. But Lisa made a good enough recovery to be able to insist that the wedding went ahead.

And for a few more months, she was still herself, more or less, albeit weak and tired and with a frustrating struggle to find the right words when she spoke. Eventually, the neurosurgeon informed them that the tumor was on the march again, and Lisa begged him to operate once more to reduce the mass. It was during this risky second bout of surgery that a bleed occurred, and significantly more damage was done to her brain. After that, she was confined to her bed on the neurosurgical ward, and the surgeon explained to Sam that all they could do now was make her comfortable.

This was when Sam realized he had to come to terms with the fact that while he still loved Lisa, she was no longer the girl he’d fallen in love with. Furthermore, he was on his own. Before, they’d been a team, fighting the tumor together. Now, Lisa was—quite literally—the sleeping partner. There was nothing more she could do to help him through the nightmare that lay ahead.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Crossing Hearts


I love to travel, and I’ve been to lots of exotic places: Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Uruguay, and for Easter I’m off to Namibia. But when I travelled to Amsterdam earlier this year, I was suddenly struck by how rarely I’ve found myself having to navigate using a foreign language! I speak decent Spanish and basic French, and all of my African travel has been to English-speaking countries.

To be fair, English is in common use in the Netherlands, too. But when I arrived in Amsterdam I decided to go native and try out some of the Afrikaans vocabulary I’ve picked up since moving to Johannesburg in 2013. Afrikaans is a Dutch dialect brought to South Africa by early settlers. I knew Afrikaans speakers can understand Dutch speakers and vice versa, so I was confident my basic skills would stand me in good stead.

Guess what? I was wrong! It all started in the taxi, when I tried to thank the driver with baie dankie – pronounced bye-uh dahn-kee – the Afrikaans phrase for many thanks. He just stared at me, so I tried something else: ons is hier (we are here). Another blank stare! I sheepishly paid the fare and slunk off to the hotel.

Later I asked one of my Dutch colleagues how I’d gone wrong. She explained that Afrikaans is such an old form of the Dutch language that it’s basically “baby Dutch,” an extremely simple version of the way they speak today. Although Dutch people can understand Afrikaans, at first listen she said it sounds like toddler-speak. No wonder the taxi driver looked at me so strangely – I’d basically spoken like a two-year-old!

The hero in Crossing Hearts, Rio Vidal, feels much the same I did. A Chilean national moving to the States for the first time, he doesn’t speak a word of English. His inability to communicate is frustrating and embarrassing, but thankfully he’s got a sexy interpreter – Eva Torres – to help him find his way in his new life… And in love!

Have you ever felt like a fish out of water in a new country? Comment for a chance to win Crossing Hearts, the first book in the new Atlanta Skyline soccer series!

New to the U.S. soccer scene, not to mention the English language, compact yet explosive Chilean soccer legend Rio Vidal is driven to define a role on his new team, Atlanta Skyline. But he must also adapt to a new culture—and accept that he can’t do it alone. His beautiful interpreter, Eva, has been his voice, his refuge. But she is becoming so much more. If only he could convince her he isn’t like the other men she’s worked with, players on—and off—the field.

As a translator for pro athletes, Eva Torres is used to dealing with self-interested super stars. But Rio seems different, and she’s blindsided when he locks eyes with her across a church pew. By now, after weeks of close contact with the endearing athlete with whom she shares a language, her thoughts are far from holy. She must remind herself flirtation is probably just his default style. Plus, she’s the only one he can really talk to. But when his ambition threatens to derail his career—and their deepening connection—they’ll both have to lay their hearts on the center line.

Crossing Hearts is available from Kensington * Amazon * Amazon UK * Barnes & Noble * Kobo

Excerpt:

“Rio! Rio! Rio!”

His name was the only word he could decipher as he entered the arrivals area of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. He was hungry and tired after the overnight trip from Antofagasta and five minutes earlier he’d almost asked a security guard to sneak him out a back door so he could spend the first several hours of his new life in America soundly asleep.

Now, as flashbulbs lit up the already bright airport and a group of reporters thrust a bouquet of microphones toward his face, he thought this might be one of the best moments of his life.

His grin came easily as he surveyed the crowd. Members of the press vied for proximity, a group of fans waved Chilean flags, and a welcoming committee wearing brick-red Skyline jerseys turned in unison to show his name and number printed on their backs: Vidal, 17.

He focused on each photographer in turn, flashing the practiced smile that showcased his expensively straightened teeth. The fans’ cheering grew louder, the reporters shouted over them, and by the time Skyline’s manager, Roland Carlsson, waded over to him, Rio couldn’t make out what the stylish Swede said as he clapped him on the back.

Not that he would’ve understood the words if he’d heard them.

He blinked up at his new boss, who returned his stare expectantly. He took in Roland’s perfect haircut, the touch of grey at his temples, his tailored clothing—he couldn’t be more different from the pudgy, tracksuit-wearing manager he’d played for in Chile. After several uncomfortable seconds Roland raised his eyebrows behind his hipster glasses and repeated himself loudly enough for Rio to hear.

“Bzzz Atlanta, Rio. Bzzzbzzzbzzz.”

Rio widened his smile, hoping it was an appropriate response as anxiety quickened his breathing. It would be so embarrassing if he turned out to be grinning like an idiot at the man who’d just asked him a question—or fired him.

Roland’s friendly expression faltered. Rio’s mouth went dry. He quickly inventoried the few English words he could deploy.

Soccer. Bon Jovi. One, two, three…

Monday, March 20, 2017

Make Me Beg

With: Rebecca Brooks

Giveaway Alert!

I have to admit, I was never one of those girls who grew up planning their weddings and knew what song they going to play for their first dance before they knew who they’d be dancing with. When my husband and I decided to get married, we picked out simple bands together and then talked about how we wanted to celebrate. Those who knew us well were not surprised that the whole thing wound up revolving around good food and even better company.

We got married six years ago on April Fool’s Day with our parents as witnesses. Our families met for the first time for dinner the night before we all went to City Hall. I was so nervous, I barely remember anything about the meal. But the wine was good, everyone got along, and I learned a valuable lesson about high heels: if you’re planning on wearing a new pair for your wedding day, don’t try to break them in the night before. Ow ow ow.

The next morning, we all went for an epic brunch at a place with French toast slices the size of my head. No way was I going to start off married life on an empty stomach! Then we went to the New York City Marriage Bureau, which turns out to have some of the best people watching I’ve ever experienced. There were women in full-on wedding gowns and women in jeans. I know it’s not what everyone dreams of for her wedding day, but I loved it. If anyone wants to make a documentary about the man who does all the vows and watches these couples come through, I would watch that in a heartbeat!

Dinner that night was one I’ll never forget. First we went to celebrate—and finally relax—at a nearby bar with whiskey bottles lining the shelves and a menu as large as a book. Then we had the kind of meal I’ll be dreaming about for the rest of my life. We went back to the same restaurant for our one-year anniversary and loved it even more because it felt like “our place.”

The day after we said “I do,” we hosted a brunch at our apartment for our parents and a few close friends. We had a make-your-own omelet station in the kitchen, waffles in our home office, a mimosa bar, and a tower of cupcakes. It was low key and fun, and it meant the world that even though it was just brunch, our loved ones came from near and far to be with us. A month later, my parents hosted a second brunch in their backyard so that my grandparents and other family could be part of the celebration. I really love that people know the way to my heart is to get together and feed me!

I guess it’s not surprising that I wound up writing a book that’s all about good food and friends. My newest release, Make Me Beg, is about a smart-mouthed bartender and the dirty-talking chef who brings her to her knees. Connor and Mackenzie are full of fireworks in the kitchen. And the bedroom. And just about everywhere else, since they can’t keep their hands off each other! They drive each other crazy trying to open a new place together, until they realize how much they need each other—not only to make their dream bar/restaurant a reality, but to make their lives complete.

Giveaway:
To celebrate the release of Make Me Beg and the success of Mack and Connor’s awesome new bar, I want to hear about your favorite hangout and why you love it. Enter my Name Your Favorite Bar contest and you could win a $100 VISA gift card! Use it to treat your friends, family, or just yourself to a fabulous night out. To enter, all you have to do is post on Facebook or Instagram telling me in 75 words or less about your favorite bar/hangout, past or present. You must include this hashtag in your post:  #MakeMeBegContest. Photos are fun but optional, except in Instagram where, of course, you need something visual to post. I have a team of judges who’ll select their top five entries, and then readers will vote for the winner. The deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2017, so go enter now! I can’t wait to read about your favorite spots. For some inspiration, read on for an excerpt about the creative way Connor finds to make Mack taste his new menu creations!

Excerpt of MAKE ME BEG

All Mack’s senses strained, hoping for something—anything—to tell her what was going on. Panic bubbled within her, the certainty she’d made a terrible mistake. It was so dark under the blindfold, there was no way to cheat and say she couldn’t see anything while secretly saved by a sliver of light.

Then she heard a click, the sound of a container opening. She smelled lemon. Garlic. And something else—vinegar? Herbs?

Suddenly, it all made sense. He’d made a picnic. Before she got here, he’d set up a picnic.

And then hog-tied her to make sure she’d sit and stay for it.

What a prince.

“Okay,” she said. “I get it. Is this supposed to be romantic? Can you untie me now?”

She tried to rein in her annoyance since she didn’t exactly have the upper hand, but
it was hard. If he’d wanted a date, he could have asked for one. She would have spared him the trouble.

Which, on second thought, was undoubtedly why he hadn’t brought it up.

“No and no,” he said in response to her questions. “I know you don’t do romance, Mack. This is strictly business.”

Mack stopped struggling against her bonds. Was he kidding? Of course she did romance! Not with him, obviously, but how could he think a woman wouldn’t want to be swept off her feet? 

“Open your mouth,” he said.

“Aren’t we bossy.”

“Do it.”

His voice was level, calm. A man of infinite patience. Of course he could sit here forever. He had the view of the mountains, the lake, and Mack completely at his mercy. She bet he liked the look of that best of all.

“What are you feeding me?” she asked warily.

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Of course it matters.”

“No,” he said. “It doesn’t. Just taste it. Don’t think about what it is, or how it’ll sound on a menu, or what kind of restaurant it belongs in. Don’t worry about marketing, business, all that BS. Don’t ask what it looks like, where it came from, what it goes with. Close your eyes, open your mouth, and taste.”

Friday, March 17, 2017

I love office romances. Like, REALLY love them.


It might be because I worked in an office for a number of years, and so the environment feels real to me. I’ve experienced how people can fall in love from being side by side every day, how the gossip mill works for and against people, and how people’s career goals and relationships can clash!
There’s something about the forced proximity of people who work together that intrigues me because you can’t run away from that pesky attraction when you have to see each other every day. This situation increases the push and pull, forcing the attraction to be addressed. (Side note: this always makes me think of Jim and Pam from The Office, which might just be my favourite office romance of all time.)
That’s the reason I decided to write an office romance to kick off my Scandalous Wentworth series with Entangled Indulgence. But, an office romance alone wasn’t enough. So I added to the boss/employee dynamic. The CEO and a HR Officer who hates office gossip.
And, since I love putting my characters in the most awkward spots possible, I threw in a little mistaken identity. The hero and heroine sleep together and have no idea they work for the same company. Oops! (This is another favourite trope of mine – so much opportunity for an awkward and hilarious ‘second meeting’ scene.)
Add to all that an evil Chihuahua, a rogue olive, a pair of impossibly sexy blue heels and a healthy dose of family drama, and you’ve got Taken By The CEO in a nutshell. I truly hope you enjoy the start of this new series! I’ve had a blast writing it.
Here’s a scene from before Emmaline and Parker have discovered one another’s true identities:
Excerpt from Taken by the CEO
“What did you order?” Sarah tried to lift the lid of the white cake box in his hands. “They do the best cannoli here.” He’d ordered the dessert to go while Sarah had gone to
“freshen up,” as she’d put it. “You’ll have to wait and see.” “Do you have a sweet tooth?” she asked, her heels
clicking against the pavement.“Depends on my mood.” It also depended on what else
he’d eaten that day. Parker wasn’t the type of guy to indulge without rst knowing how it would affect him on a macro nutrient level—but that sounded a little too Type-A to say aloud.“I’m partial to the occasional piece of chocolate cake.”
“I make this chocolate cake with caramel buttercream frosting between the layers. My sister calls it the Better Than Sex cake.” She snapped her mouth shut for a moment, and
a delicate pink ush fanned out across her cheeks. “Well, it’s pretty good, anyway...if you like that kind of thing.”
“Better than sex?” He chuckled. “That’d have to be some damn good cake.”
“I guess it depends on the kind of sex you compare it to,” she said, the ush deepening to an attractive shade of bright pink. “What I mean is, not all sex is like chocolate cake. Sometimes it’s more like...”
“Pizza?” he offered.
“I was going to say kale.” She wrinkled her nose. “I know it’s good for me on some level, but it’s just kind of unappealing. And weird.”
“Right.” He held back a laugh.
“I’m not saying you’ll be the kale kind of sex. I know you de nitely won’t be. I can tell that already...” She sucked on her lower lip and sighed. “Can we just forget I said anything?”
“Oh no, you don’t get out of it that easily.” He shook his head. “What type of sex do you think I’ll be?”
“Better than cake.” Her lower lip glistened, tempting as ripe fruit. “Better than champagne and macarons and let mignon.”
“That’s some pedestal you’ve put me on.”


TAKEN BY THE CEO

It was only supposed to be a little white lie. When Emmaline Greene pretends to be Sarah, the confident, sexy woman she wishes she could be, she figures no harm, no foul. Her one-night stand will never find out. Wrong. The gorgeous guy she slept with isn’t just amazing in bed…he’s also her new boss.

Parker Wentworth has a lot to prove. He’s just been appointed CEO of his family’s company and is tasked with repairing its scandalous reputation. He can’t afford any distractions or complications. Too bad the attractive blonde he takes to bed turns out to be both. So why can’t he forget the incredible night they spent together and move on?

And why does he have this need to know the real Emmaline?

Buy links:

About the author:
Stefanie London is the USA Today bestselling author of over ten contemporary romances with humour, heat and heart.

Growing up, Stefanie came from a family of women who loved to read. Thus, it was no surprise Stefanie was the sort of student who would read her English books before the semester started. After sneaking several literature subjects into her ‘very practical’ Business degree, she got a job in Communications. When writing emails and newsletters didn’t fulfil her creative urges, she turned to fiction and was finally able to write the stories that kept her mind busy at night.
Originally from Australia, she now lives in Toronto with her very own hero and is currently in the process of doing her best to travel the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, lipstick, romance novels and zombie movies.
Connect:
Author Website: www.stefanie-london.com




Thursday, March 16, 2017

My Secret Love Affair with Shoes


Congratulations to "Celia L.", the winner in Alexia's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

If you read my bio, you’ll see that romance books are basically my way to live vicariously while I’m currently entrenched in the life of a suburban mother and wife. I give my heroines things I’d love to have if money and time were no object. So when I was creating Kat Smith, the leading lady in Masquerading with the Billionaire, I endowed her with a couple of my own secret passions, an obsession with shoes and lingerie.

http://regilla.tumblr.com/
Based on my current footwear, you’d probably never guess that I’m a closet shoe lover (pun intended). As I work from home and have four children to outfit with footwear on a shockingly regular basis, I’m not able to indulge my shoe weakness very often. Plus, necessity has made me a clearance-rack-only shopper. I couldn’t imagine spending even $100 on a pair of shoes, never mind the thousands the really gorgeous shoes command. With my heroine, however, that wasn’t an issue. So here are two of the pairs that she wears in the book.

The first, a pair of black patent leather and animal print Louboutins, she wears as a pick-me-up after hitting another dead-end in her search for her missing younger sister. I don’t know about you, but if I had these shoes in my closet I’d probably wear them even to do the dishes. 

http://www.JimmyChoo.com
Another fabulous pair she wears to the ballet. These Jimmy Choo Cinderella shoes are custom-made by order and decorated with thousands of Swarovski crystals. At a whopping $4600 I’d be too scared to wear them anywhere, but they sure are pretty to look at. If you’d like to see more of the shoes and other outfits I picked out for Kat, please visit my Pinterest board for Masquerading with the Billionaire.  

However, it is possible to find a special pair of shoes for next to nothing, if you’re willing to slog through the dross. These shoes, my current favourites, were found in the most unlikely of places – Walmart. I love these shoes because they are not only purple cheetah print (no purple cheetahs were hurt in the making of my shoes), they are surprisingly comfy and only cost $20. Gorgeous, comfortable, cheap—triple win! 

What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes? Or if you’re a cheap-skate like me, what were your best bargain pair?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I grew up in a small town...


I grew up in a small town. I mean really small. Like just smidge over 500 souls small. There was no Wal-Mart, no McDonalds, no movie theater. Not even a high school (that was in another town 10 miles away).

 It. Was. Awesome!

There are so many things I didn’t realize were unique about growing up in a community that small and I certainly did not appreciate them while I lived there.

For one thing, everyone knew everyone else. And not just that. We knew each other’s complete dating, family and employment history. Heck, if they’d been there a couple generations, people were most likely related to all the other legacy families, either by blood or by marriage. You had to be careful about what you said about someone…you might be talking to her cousin!

In a way, knowing so much about your neighbors (and having them know so much about you) was comforting. It could also be stifling, and embarrassing at times. As a kid, if I was doing something I shouldn’t be doing (like riding my bike too close to the highway), my mom knew about it before I even got home because at least one neighbor had already called the house to tell on me. You didn’t get away with much!

In a town that tiny, your neighbors are your extended family. That’s why I wanted to set A Limited Engagement in a small town. When Derek and Lilly stage a fake an engagement to help Derek land a sponsorship deal for his race team, they plan for the ruse to happen over one weekend, far from home. They never expected their families and friends to learn of it at all.

But they return home to find that not only does the whole town know about it, they are waiting at the airfield to meet the happy couple, and there’s a surprise engagement party already in full swing at Derek’s house!

How are Derek and Lilly going to tell all these people who have known them their whole lives that it was a big, fat lie? Especially when their coupledom makes everyone so happy?

Having people learn something you wanted to keep secret is bad. Having that happen in a small town is a disaster…one that gets stickier the longer the lie goes on. But it sure was fun watching how Derek and Lilly tried to wriggle out of the situation. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!

Excerpt:
She stepped out of the plane and onto the stairway first. There really was a small crowd. As soon as Derek appeared behind her, everyone started clapping, and there were even a few wolf whistles.

“I didn’t know there was a fan thing today.”

Then she realized it wasn’t random strangers, but her parents, her grandmother, a few of Derek’s cousins, a couple of guys dressed in Stewart-Sawyer Racing polo shirts, and a dozen or so family friends. It was a welcoming committee.

Derek’s mother was there. She had tears in her eyes and met Lilly at the bottom of the steps, wrapping her in a tight hug.

“This is the happiest day of my life,” Derek’s mother told her. “I’ve prayed and prayed this day would come. I’m just happy I’m alive to see it.”

“What’s going on, Mama? Everything all right?” Derek asked.

Lilly heard the sliver of panic in his voice.

His mom wrapped him in her embrace, too. Lilly could barely breathe through the heavy gardenia perfume Judy Sawyer always wore, but there was no chance of getting free.

“I oughta ring both your necks,” she said, letting them up for air. Lilly glanced at Derek, but he looked just as confused as her. “I can’t believe I had to find out from the TV of all places that my oldest son is engaged to the girl next door.” She turned to Lilly. “I always knew you two would end up together. From the time you were kids, didn’t I, Maryanne?” She glanced at Lilly’s mother, who was just behind her. “I always said these two would end up together.”

Derek shook his head. “It’s not really like that—” His words were lost in a chorus on congratulations and handshakes and hugs.

Lilly’s father emerged from the crowd and hugged her tight. “I’m proud of you, Peanut. Real proud.”  He clapped Derek on the back and shook his hand vigorously. “I can’t say I approve of you getting a head start on the honeymoon, but I guess it’s all water under the bridge now that she’s wearing your ring. Welcome to the family, son.”

A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT

Derek Sawyer, sexiest bad boy on the racing circuit, is about to land a huge sponsor. The only problem is the oil baron’s daughter wants to make Derek part of the deal. Worried he’ll offend the old billionaire if he rejects his daughter, Derek comes up with the perfect plan—pretend he’s already engaged to his friend Lilly.

Lilly Harmon used to daydream about her childhood crush Derek proposing to her…but not like this. Of course, she just lost her boyfriend and her job, so her five-year plan is already smashed to hell. Pretending to be with Derek might help her get her PR career back on track.

But the oil baron’s daughter won’t give up that easily, and Derek’s parents believe the engagement proves he’s become the son they always wanted.

Money. Family. Love. The truth could destroy everything. And to think this engagement was supposed to be the easy way out. 

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About the author:
Bethany Michaels is the author of over a dozen contemporary novels and novellas as well as a handful of Regency-set historicals and light paranormal romances. The first book in her Nashville country music series, Nashville Heat, was an RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award nominee.

When not working on her next book, Bethany enjoys movies, traveling, camping, hiking, and volunteering with her kids' scout troops. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four teens.

Bethany loves to hear from readers and can be reached at bethany@bethanymichaels.com or through her website at www.bethanymichaels.com.

Connect:
Author Website:  www.bethanymichaels.com
Author Blog:  none
Author Twitter: @bmichaelsauthor https://twitter.com/bmichaelsauthor



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