Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wrong Bed, Right Roommate


Giveaway of a $5 Amazon gift card!

Thanks so much for having me on Just Contemporary Romance! When YA editor Jessie Santana needs a new summer subletter, she’s not expecting her best friend’s older brother to move in. Especially not when he winds up literally in her bed. In his boxers. In the middle of the night. Shawn is dead sexy—and nothing but trouble. Which means good-girl Jessie had better keep her hands to herself. (Good luck with that, girl, when he’s walking around in a towel.)

In this excerpt, Shawn lures Jessie away from the computer for a night out. It’s supposed to be just as roommates, and Jessie starts off dancing with some other, random guy. But with the drinks flowing and the bass thumping, they won’t be “just roommates” for long…

Excerpt:
“Thanks for rescuing me,” she said.

“You looked like you could use it.”

“He was a little grabby.”

Shawn made a mental note not to be grabby. “And he wasn’t a very good dancer,” she said.

“How’s this treating you?” he asked.

She shifted so his thigh was between her legs, his fly against her hip. Their bodies were locked together in step with the music. It seemed as though her hips had always moved with his, so tight he could feel her every breath.

“This is better,” she said.

She draped a hand on the back of his neck, so he let his hands slide closer around her. He knew if he inched them down just a little more, her ass would be a perfect handful. He could feel her breasts pressing against him, and he knew that they would be a perfect handful, too. Could she feel him getting hard against her? Did she know what he was thinking?

Don’t grind against your sister’s friend at a club in Brooklyn. That was what should have been hammering in his brain.

It’s just a little harmless fun. It doesn’t mean anything. Talia wouldn’t be pissed—she doesn’t even have to know. Those were the lies he told himself instead.

The song changed. The beat got slower, the bass deeper. Dirtier.

Jessie’s movement matched the music. She pressed against him. He pressed right back.

Her forehead rested against his chest. He tipped his head down, so close to her. If she tilted her head just so, their lips would be grazing.

If she did that, if she got that close, he didn’t think he’d be able to stop. There was a fire in him, and he’d have to consume her.

“We shouldn’t be doing this,” she said, even as she hooked her fingers through his belt loops and tugged him closer.

It was the closest either of them had come to acknowledging that there was something boiling between them and it hadn’t just started tonight. Although this, now, dancing together, was certainly taking it further than he’d meant to when he invited her out with him.

She looked up, searching his face.

“I know,” he said. “It’s not a good idea.”

Not that he cared one lick whether or not it was a good idea. It was late. The music was filling him, Jessie was filling him, and he was well past the point of making good decisions.

But Jessie, responsible Jessie, pulled away.

He grabbed her hand before the spark extinguished. “You want to get out of here?” he asked.

He didn’t know whether “get out of here” meant go somewhere else or go home. And if home meant their separate beds, with that wall always between them. Or if that meant something else, too.

He knew what he should do, what the answer should be.

But what he wanted was something different altogether.

WRONG BED, RIGHT ROOMMATE


It's not every day you wake up to a stranger getting into your bed.

Only, he isn't a stranger at all, he's my best friend's hot older brother…and apparently my new roommate.


Having him in my space, driving me crazy, isn't a problem at all. Nope.


All I need to do is keep control of the situation…
But that's easier said than done.

Shawn Lassiter is the kind of distraction I don't need.


First he accidentally gets into my bed, half-naked, the night before my first day at my new job.


Hello, muscles and tattoos!


Then he's there, in nothing but a towel, making me coffee in the morning.


It's more than any girl can resist. Right?


But Shawn is off-limits, even if his eyes are saying differently.
Years ago, back when I still had my crush, he destroyed friendships with his reckless playboy antics.

There's no way I'm touching those perfectly formed abs now. I don't care how nice and responsible he's acting.


I don't want a boyfriend anyway. That's what my trusty vibrator is for.


I'm the smart girl—the glasses-wearing, book-reading workaholic. I can totally do this.
After all, it's only for two and a half months.


I'll be on my best behavior...even if Shawn isn't.



Giveaway:
Rebecca is giving away a $5 Amazon gift card to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry!

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Jan. 16th. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

One Night Gamble


Congratulations to "Colleen C.", the winner in Katherine's giveaway. Please contact JUST CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE to claim your prize.



Have you ever taken a gamble on anything? I have to be honest and tell you that I’m usually not a risk taker.  I have done things that have given me that tingly feeling in the pit of my stomach but I always justify it as doing it for someone else. 

Like one time I jumped off these rocks into a bottomless spring because I could tell my kids wanted to do it, and were afraid to go.  I climbed up there and I have to tell you I stood there at the edge, looking down and I wasn’t sure I could do it. Even though I saw other people make the jump and I knew it was safe, there is something about stepping off solid ground and just falling that is so intimidating.

In this book, that’s exactly how Talia feels about Casey.  He’s everything that she fears and really if she’s being honest, hates about Las Vegas.  He’s a casino owner, a gambler and he likes to bet on everything and anything.  If she were to describe her perfect man—Casey is the exact opposite.  Except he’s hot which she should ignore but can’t.  Funny which kind of puts her off her guard.  Her normal experience with gamblers is an intensity and almost desperation.

And he makes her think twice about the truths she’s always known and lived her life by.




Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste of the book:

As he approached, he realized they were talking about poker, as they often did. Gambling was a way of life for these men...and for himself.

Talia got up and walked out onto the balcony that overlooked Las Vegas. He followed her.
“You don’t like poker?” he asked, coming up behind her and standing next to her at the rail. The night breeze was warm and stirred her hair, making it dance around her face.

She reached up and tucked it back behind her ear, then turned to face him. “It’s not just poker. I’m not a huge fan of gamblers.”

“I’m a gambler,” he said, wanting to make sure she knew that.

“I suspected it. You have that charm and way of looking at the world that most gamblers do.”

“What way is that?” he asked.

She nibbled on her lower lip and he remembered their earlier kiss and how good she’d tasted. How right she’d felt in his arms. He was beginning to believe that maybe that kiss would be the only one they shared.

“Just your belief in fate. I’m sure you believe in luck, too.”

“I do,” he said. “But luck isn’t just good, you know. I’ve had a bad streak, where I couldn’t pull together a winning hand to save my life.”

She turned to face the lounge area, putting her elbows on the high railing. “What did you do?”

“Walked around my chair to change my luck,” he said with a wink.

She shook her head. Sure, it seemed cute that he would put any faith in an old wives’ tale, but what if he really believed it? Some people did, she knew.

This was crazy. She should thank him for the drink, the dance, and that kiss that she was going to remember for a long time and walk away.

She didn’t need another charming rascal in her life, making her think light of things like losing streaks and high-stakes gambling. She couldn’t ever be that detached anymore. She knew firsthand just what living that kind of life meant. And she wasn’t going to do it again.

“How did you start gambling?” she asked. She wasn’t sure that she wanted to know, but maybe it would help her decide what to do tonight.

He chuckled a little and looked decidedly uncomfortable. “I was always good at reading games and people.”

“What do you read about me?”

“That you don’t really like Vegas. Why do you stay 
here?”

She shrugged and nibbled on her lower lip. Keep it light.

She could almost hear Sami standing next to her, telling her to be cool.

“Gran is here and so is Sami. Besides, I have a plan to use Vegas for what I can learn from it, and then get a job somewhere else...maybe in L.A.”

He didn’t say anything for a long moment, but then nodded. “You’re complicated,” he said. “But tonight, we are here to have fun. Right?”

Complicated.

The word lingered in her mind the way it had her entire life and she knew that it was time to make a change...well, at least for tonight.

Giveaway:
Tell me something you’ve gambled on to be entered to win a copy of One Night Gamble and a deck of ONE NIGHT GAMBLE playing cards!



Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Jan. 15th. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Playlist for One Night with a Millionaire


As a writer, I tend to be a pantser, which means I don’t really plot out a whole book before I start writing. I do, however, do a lot of pre-writing and thinking about my characters and what will keep them apart. I create collage of pictures with actors to act as placeholders for my characters (I also put this up on Pinterest if you want to see my inspiration). I take quizzes to know my characters’ personalities. But one of the most important things I do is create a playlist. I spend HOURS creating songs that I feel will represent the characters and the plot. Sometimes, I choose songs and by the time I finish the book, the some might no longer fit (goes with the territory of not plotting), but the music is always a trigger for my brain. I can step away from a book for months, write other things, and when I have to do revisions or copy edits, the first thing I do is put that playlist on and I’m back in that book immediately.

Here are the songs on my playlist for One Night with a Millionaire:

Brand New Day – Kari Kimmel I added this song because it’s kind of like the anthem for the entire group of Tess’s friends. They all met in a divorce support group and they formed their friendships based on the idea of moving on to the next phase in their lives. Tess is the first to find love again. 



 One Night Stand – Janis Joplin Although this song is about a woman being on the road, it has the same sentiment Tess has when she goes out the night of the gala. She has one night and that’s it. 



 Stay – Rihanna This song is perfect for showing how confused Tess is. She wanted a one-night stand and found Miles. She doesn’t know what to do with him. 



 Be Wary of a Woman – Darius Rucker Darius Rucker has a friendly warning for Miles- oops! Too late. Tess sucked him in. 



 Smile – Sixx AM This song is like when Miles realizes he’s in deep. 



 These next songs are all about the commitment Miles is willing to make. He has to do some convincing to make Tess believe he really is all in. He wants to take care of her and ease her worries. 

 All In – Lifehouse 


 
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz  

 I Never Want to Let You Down – Lennie Kravitz  

 Love It Gone – Luke Bryan  

 Carry You – Union J  

 Because We Can – Bon Jovi Side note for this song – My youngest daughter loves this song. I’ve written 3 books since finishing One night with a Millionaire and with every new playlist, she asks if I’ll put this one back on.  

 Follow Through – Gavin DeGraw  

 I Can Love You Like That – All 4 One This one is my least favorite song on the soundtrack. I don’t know why, but I found myself skipping it a lot when it came on.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Analiese Rising



In my novel, Analiese Rising, gods and goddesses live among mortals. Their power stripped from them, they are immortal and live long lives. Today, I wanted to share with you the scene where Analiese meets Lugh, a Celtic sun god of many skills. He’s a trickster god and can change his appearance. One of the tales about him reveals that he sometimes appears as an old man to fool people into believing he’s weak. This scene is after Analiese wakes to him in his room. He had changed into an old man so he wouldn’t scare her. This is after he changed back to his normal self and talks about a lost love.

Excerpt:

Watching him grow young is just as fascinating as it was when he aged. His fingers slowly straighten, hair changes to auburn and more of it sprouts on his head, filling in the baldness, wrinkles smooth out. His back straightens. He grows taller and fills out his clothes.

“Much better,” he says and slurps coffee from his cup. “Me name is Lugh, as I said. I knew your mother well. She was a great woman. Beautiful. Just like her daughter.” He removes a photograph from his pocket and passes it to me. “That’s at her wedding to your father. She made me best man. I knew your uncle, too. Most of your family were dear friends to me. Great people, none better. Your grandmother was a firebrand.”

“And my grandfather.”

“Richard? Ah yes. Great man, that one.”

The picture is of my birth parents in a garden. They must’ve had a non-religious ceremony because my parents were raised in different faiths. My mother’s dress is pale yellow and conservative, something you might wear to a tea party. He wears a blue suit, and his matching tie is messy. To their right is a woman with tight curls, then Lugh.

The digital screen of the alarm clock on the nightstand shows it’s almost nine in the morning. I have no idea what time Marek left the room or when he will return. Since my biological parents died when I was a baby, I only know what Dad told me about them. He left out the part that they were friends with gods and goddesses.

“How did you meet my parents?” I ask.

He leans forward in the chair, his knees almost pushing up to his chest. “At university. Just as I did your grandfather. Since I never age, I enjoy attending colleges and making friends. I’ve been sticking to your family ever since I met Angelique in the Italian countryside.” He scratches the back of his neck. “Let me see. That had to be somewheres near 1820.”

I stare blankly at him. I’ve never heard of the woman before.

Noticing my reaction or lack of it, he clarifies, “She be a relative of yours. One of your grandmothers with all the greats in front of it.”

“I see.” Never heard of her, but it looks like he has more to say, so I don’t ask any questions about my quadruple, or something, great grandmother.

“It’s a lonely life being a god without power. Immortal. Never to age. It raises eyebrows if you stay in a place too long.”

“I guess that would suck.” I actually feel bad for him.

“Especially when you fall in love with a mortal.” He glances at nothing, from what I can tell. “It can’t last long. She ages while you stay young. There be about ten good years, before the questions. It starts with comments about how well you age. That’s when I know it’s time to go. To save me loves from searching for answers, I fake me death. It helps them move on, so it does.”

There’s sadness in his voice that weighs on his words. I know that misery well. I’ve never met my birth parents, but I long for all the what-could-have-been moments—school plays, holidays, and family vacations. Instead, I had those times with my uncle’s family. I’m not complaining, though. I was lucky to get a fantastic dad and a brother who only annoys me part of the time. Jane and I tolerate each other at best. Without her, I wouldn’t have a roof over my head, and all that stuff parents provide.

And that is why, while I’m looking at my mother’s smiling face, that feeling of what-if comes rushing back.

ANALIESE RISING


"A fast-paced adventure brimming with romance, mythology, and dangerous secrets. I was hooked!" –Elly Blake, New York Times and international bestselling author of the Frostblood Saga
When a stranger gives Analiese Jordan a list of names before he dies, the last thing she expects to see is her own on it. Not. Cool. Her search for answers leads to the man’s grandson, Marek, who has dangerous secrets of his own. Both are determined to unlock the mystery of the list.
But the truth is deadly. Analiese is a descendant of the God of Death, known as a Riser, with the power to raise the dead and control them. Finding out she has hidden powers? Cool. Finding out she turns corpses into killers? No, thank you.

Now the trail plants her and Marek in the middle of a war between gods who apparently want to raise an army of the Risen, and Analiese must figure out how to save the world—from herself.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The One You Fight For

With: Roni Loren

Giveaway Alert!

How hard would you fight for the one you love?

Taryn Landry was there that awful night fourteen years ago when Long Acre changed from the name of a town to the title of a national tragedy. Everyone knows she lost her younger sister. No one knows it was her fault. Since then, psychology professor Taryn has dedicated her life’s work to preventing something like that from ever happening again. Falling in love was never part of the plan…

 Shaw Miller has spent more than a decade dealing with the fallout of his brother’s horrific actions. After losing everything—his chance at Olympic gold, his family, almost his sanity—he’s changed his name, his look, and he’s finally starting a new life. As long as he keeps a low profile and his identity secret, everything will be okay, right? 

When the world and everyone you know defines you by one catastrophic tragedy…

How do you find your happy ending?

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/2QHrEoH
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/2QFdLas
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2QJPG2k

Excerpt:

“This does not look like an establishment that serves cake,” Kincaid said as Taryn stopped in front of the Tipsy Hound bar. “And if it did, I wouldn’t want to eat their cake.”
“After that workout, I need something stronger than cake,” Taryn said, feeling grumpy after the grueling session that Kaya, the perky female trainer who was definitely not Lucas, had put her through. Taryn had not been feeling in the mood for a workout already, but when she’d found out Lucas was no longer going to be her trainer because he’d decided to take some night classes, her attitude had plummeted further. Kaya’s unending enthusiasm had not helped. If she’d said You can do it! one more damn time, Taryn might’ve pushed her in the pool.
Kincaid glanced at the chipped paint on the sign by the door. “This place looks like a dive.”
“It is,” Taryn agreed. “It’s perfect.”
Kincaid gave her a skeptical look. “And it’s eighties open mic night. Are we really going to subject ourselves to that?”
“You signed me up for something that involved trapeze and falling into swimming pools. I have earned the right to choose the next activity.”
Kincaid relented and waved a hand. “Yep, you’re right. Lead on, and I shall follow.”
“Thank you.” Taryn pushed open the door and was hit with the smell of beer and the sound of a Phil Collins song being murdered mercilessly by the woman onstage. “I’ve been here before. It’s got…some charm.”
Honestly, Taryn had no idea why she’d decided to come back to the Tipsy Hound. There were plenty of other places in Austin where she and Kincaid could’ve grabbed a drink. Better lit places. Places where their shoes wouldn’t stick to the floor. But something about this bar had called to her again when they’d driven past. Maybe after watching her life’s work get flushed down the toilet the night before, she needed to remind herself that at least she hadn’t taken the path she’d originally planned and tried to be a songwriter. This would’ve probably been her future. Sticky-floored dive bars. She was still doing better than that, right?
Kincaid fluffed her hair, somehow managing to look completely put together with just a five-minute gym shower and some quickly applied makeup. Taryn had done her best to look presentable, but all she’d packed in her gym bag were hair products, lipstick, and some mascara. Maybe it was good the place was dark.
“Let’s grab a table and see if this joint can make a decent margarita,” Kincaid said, eyeing the possible places to sit.
Taryn pointed. “The one in the back over there looks good. And it won’t be as loud.”
“Hey, Jamez with a z!” a voice called from somewhere off to Taryn’s left.
Taryn winced. She hadn’t considered that someone might remember her from the other night. This place seemed to do open mics every evening. She was just one of many who’d gotten on that stage, but the owner apparently had a good memory. She gave Kaleb a discreet wave, hoping Kincaid didn’t notice.
But he didn’t take the hint. He stepped closer and flicked his bar towel over his shoulder. “Hey, do you do eighties, too? I hope so because, goddamn, we could use a good song tonight. The offerings have been bleak. This has been worse than karaoke night. And karaoke night makes me want to drink the hard stuff.”
Kincaid turned around at that, doubling back. “Excuse me?”
Kaleb smiled affably. “Oh, you brought a friend. Right on.” He put out his hand to Kincaid. “I’m Kaleb, co-owner of the place. I was just telling Jamez here that we could use her onstage tonight.”
Kincaid cocked her head as she shook his hand, no doubt remembering the name Lucas had first called her at the race. Kincaid didn’t forget anything. “Right. Jamez. Onstage.”
“Have you seen her play?” he asked, jabbing a thumb toward the front. The singer ended her tortuous rendition of “Sussudio,” and a smattering of lackluster applause followed.
Taryn put her hands up as if there was a way to stuff that cat back into the bag, but of course, there wasn’t. Kincaid’s attention flicked to Taryn, her eyebrows arching. “Play. Like an instrument. On a stage?”
“Yeah, man. Good guitar player and has some pipes on her, too.” Kaleb grabbed his phone out of his back pocket. “What song you wanna do, Jamez? You can pick anything that hasn’t already been sung tonight.”
“Oh, no, no,” Taryn said, waving her hand. “I’m just here to listen and have a drink tonight. I’m not up for performing.”
Kaleb’s face fell. “Really? You sure? Could I entice you with free drinks for both of you in exchange for a song?”
Kincaid perked up. “Yes, do you have marg—”
“No,” Taryn said quickly. “Not tonight. Eighties really aren’t in my wheelhouse. But thanks.”
Kaleb shrugged and his affable smile returned. “Ah, nineties to the end… I get it. Well, let me know if y’all need anything. And first drink’s on me anyway.”
Kincaid put her hand to her chest. “Well, thanks, sweet thing.” She waited until he walked off and then looked at Taryn with a wicked light in her eyes. “For the drink and the information. Jamez with a z.”
“Don’t look at me like that,” Taryn warned.
“Like what?” Kincaid asked innocently.
“Like I’m now the cake you were looking for. Can we just ignore that this conversation happened?” Taryn asked, stepping past her friend and heading to the table.
“Um, no, we cannot, missy,” Kincaid replied, following closely behind, her high heels clicking on the floor. She waited until Taryn had taken her seat and then slid into the chair next to her. “That is not a conversation I can just forget. You play guitar and sing? Since when?”
Taryn ignored her for a moment and ordered two margaritas on the rocks from the waitress. When they were alone again, she relented. “Since middle school, but I don’t do it anymore. The other night—the night after that bad date—I had a lapse in judgment, gave Kaleb a fake name, and ended up getting onstage here.”
Kincaid’s lips parted on a gasp. “That’s why Lucas called you Jamez! You met him here? He saw you sing?”
She shrugged. “He saw me freak out onstage and bail. Yeah.”
Kincaid set her chin in her hand, a look of wonder and delight on her face. “It’s like I don’t know you at all. I need to see this singing Taryn. I need that in my life right this minute.”
“Not happening. I’m retired.” Taryn accepted a complimentary bowl of homemade barbecue chips and her drink from the waitress and took a long sip, the sweet and salty liquid cooling her dry throat. “It was a stupid thing to do that night. It brings back…too much crap. That was the person I was in high school, before everything. It just brought back painful memories.”
Kincaid frowned. “Oh, I’m sorry, honey. Is that why you freaked out onstage?”
“Pretty much.”
“Ugh,” Kincaid said, leaning back in her chair and grabbing a few of the chips. “Trauma sucks.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Taryn said wryly. “But at least we can sit here and listen to a sure-to-be-stellar rendition of ‘Billie Jean’ by that guy.”
Kincaid looked to the stage where a very paunchy white dude with a biker vest was gearing up for some Michael Jackson. She groaned. “Oh Lordy, I’m going to need a lot of liquor for this.”
However, to their surprise, when the biker actually started singing, he turned out to be pretty damn good. Good voice and much higher-pitched than anyone could’ve guessed. He was hitting every hee-hee with perfect pitch. Taryn found herself bopping her head to the music and enjoying the performance. But when he turned to the side, beer belly on full display beneath his T-shirt, and busted out his moonwalk, she and Kincaid almost lost it. Taryn put her hand over her mouth to stanch her laugh. “Oh my God, he’s so nailing it.”
“I take everything I said back. I love this place,” Kincaid said, clapping and letting out a whoop. “It’s my new favorite.”


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Monday, December 31, 2018

THE MARINE'S BABY, MAYBE




There is no bugle call more emotive or powerful than “Taps.” It’s played at the end of the day as a call to rest and in 1891 it became standard at military funerals. The idea for The Marine’s Baby, Maybe came to me at a military funeral, but pieces of this story have been with me all my life…
My mother was a young newlywed and pregnant with me when my father died. Many years later my aunt’s husband died unexpectedly and I overheard her asking my mom how she’d managed to get through it all those years ago. 
She credited her dad, my grandfather, and quoted him as saying, “This is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. But you’ll get through this, I promise.” And those lines became the premise for the story.

THE MARINE'S BABY, MAYBE

Falling in love is not what they're expecting...

Wife. Widow. Mother-to-be.

All Caitlin Calhoun wanted was to honor her late husband by having his baby. But thanks to an unfortunate mix-up, her baby’s father is her husband’s half-brother. Caitlin would like to keep that little secret between the two of them.


Marine. Uncle? Biological baby-daddy?

“Lucky” Luke Calhoun Jr. has always been unlucky in love. Family is the last thing the battle-hardened Marine expected to have––not with all the bad blood running through his own. But he’s not the kind of man to turn his back on his child or the child’s mother. 


Can the unluckiest Calhoun of them all convince Caitlin he’s the real deal?

AMAZON LINK... https://amzn.to/2BKBGLw


Rogenna Brewer...
Heroes to hold on to....

Monday, December 10, 2018

BARBARA VEY READER APPRECIATION 2019 WEEKEND




60 authors descend on Milwaukee to shower some lucky readers with gifts and fun!

This will be the last year for Barbara Vey's Reader Appreciation Weekend so you don't want to miss it! Check out the list of authors. There are still tickets available to have lunch or breakfast with them!

Purchase tickets here!




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