Thursday, June 30, 2022

✱✱Audio Book Review✱✱ Double Vision by Elizabeth Hunter

 


Double Vision
Vista de Lirio Mysteries, Book 1
By: Elizabeth Hunter
Narrated by: Ava Lucas
Publisher: Recurve Press LLC

Desert sunshine casts the darkest shadows.

Successful realtor Julia Brooks moves to the quirky neighborhood of Vista de Lirio in the California desert and meets a riotous cast of eccentric characters. But her semi-retirement is spoiled when she finds the body of the neighborhood lothario dead in the kitchen of her brand-new listing. Even more complicated? She also meets his ghost.

Double Vision is all new paranormal women’s fiction and the first book in the Vista de Lirio Mysteries from USA Today best seller Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Glimmer Lake series, the Elemental Mysteries, and the Irin Chronicles.


Momma Says: 5 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book is an absolute hoot from start to finish.  Even with a murder to solve, the whole thing is thoroughly entertaining. Julia is our main character, and to be honest, she's probably the closest thing to normal of any of the characters - that's really something considering she's recently started seeing and communicating with ghosts. This is a whole community packed full of quirky characters. both the living and the dead. Oh, and an alpaca who is pretty much a character in his own right. I love that most of the characters are approaching or around middle-age, which is refreshing. Ava Lucas gives voice to Julia and company, and her performance is everything I expected. She adds another layer to what was already an engaging story. I usually listen as I go about my daily routine, and the energy of this one kept me moving most of the time (I did have a few instances where I caught myself just sitting and listening, particularly when things started to unfold). Between the excellent writing and the completely entertaining narration, I forgot to even try to solve the mystery! Having a murder to solve is like an added bonus. I did figure out the whodunit pretty quickly, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the story, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and more time with this zany bunch of characters. 


Buck Up, Buttercup Blitz

Buck Up, Buttercup
Anna Alkire
Publication date: June 30th 2022
Genres: Comedy, Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

All’s fair in love and war.
With Randi and Buck, it’s hard to tell the two apart…

An uptight, self-contained college girl, Randi Becker just needed one thing: a room. Somewhere she could study, and keep away from the things that most confuse and frighten her: people.

Unfortunately, the “nice quiet place” she reserved turns out to be a room in the campus’ most raucous house. A place seemingly designed to make studying impossible, made even worse by the other girls’ non-stop drama.

But then Buck, a fun-loving cowboy whom all the ladies love, shows up…and everything gets much worse.

Buck seems to have it all: friends, fun, and a never-ending line of admirers. But what he most desires is a break. So when Buck spots Randi, he figures she’s a perfect decoy: he can play up a “crush” on her that will take him off the market; buy him some breathing room. And if he can tease her a bit, and get under the skin of the uptight busybody? Well, that’s just gravy.

But Buck is about to find more than he bargained for. Randi’s strong-willed, opinionated, difficult—and maybe just what he needs. And Buck isn’t alone. Soon Randi wonders as well…if the world she wanted is really the world she needs. If her future is nothing more than a diploma on the wall. And if the most important thing in her world isn’t a grade, but the cowboy who’s planted his boots firmly in her heart.

Fans of Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare and Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game will delight at this mix of romantic comedy, contemporary romance, and cultures colliding in a campus town with a western flair. Grab your copy today, and fall in love with Buck Up, Buttercup!

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

An old pickup, with new shiny green paint, slowed down beside her until it crawled along at her pace. A quick glance sideways revealed black-hat-cowboy-guy grinning down at her.

A jolt of awareness cleared some of the fog from her head. He was more good-looking than she’d remembered, and also incredibly large above her in the truck.

“Good morning, darlin’,” he called down.

“Drive on,” she called out.

“Headed into town? We’ve got room.”

“I’m going to walk.” She wouldn’t get into a car with a single person from that party. She walked forward, not looking at him.

“Hold up, you dropped something,” he said, stopping the truck.

Randi whirled around, scanning the empty ground behind her. Her fingers lost their grip and her bags crashed down, things spilling out onto the gravel road. Her eyes burned.

Buck turned off the truck engine and leaned out the window.

“That’s a lot of gear to haul all the way into town,” he said, cheerfully.

“That was a dirty trick.”

“I just want to talk to you for a minute.”

“Leave me alone please!”

“Listen. Hugh, in the passenger seat, and I are headed in for some breakfast. If you ride with me, this gas guzzler will have a full cab. Darlin’, that’s a load off my conscience.”

Randi’s belly shuddered and her lips quivered. The dam burst. Her hands flew up to cover her eyes and a hiccupped sob exploded out.

“I can’t jump in some stranger’s pickup,” she mumbled through her fingers.

“Hey now,” he said, the amused condescension in his voice aking her glare up at him. “You hold on to that pepper spray if it makes you feel better. Land’s sake, girl, we hauled around passed-out-Sarah last night. You’re practically part of the family. And Hugh here has about twenty sisters, so he’s well-trained.”

The door of the truck opened. She took a step back, pulling up the inside collar of her dress to dab at her face.

Buck’s eyes crinkled at her, a lopsided half-grin on his face. It was probably the way he looked at cows right before he lassoed a rope around their necks, or whatever. But he had helped Sarah. And her.

Her shoulders slumped. Defeated, she was beyond resistance. If they murdered her, at least she might be sitting down.

“All right?” he asked.

She exhaled. “All right, I’ll take a ride to the closest bus stop. Thanks.”

Buck picked up her bags and put them in the back of the truck. She hauled her heavy backpack off her aching shoulders and turned to sling it up, but Buck was already gripping the top and lifting it out of her hands.

“Hi,” said a burly man sitting on the passenger side of the bench seat, a gentle smile on his face. Like she was a crazy person. Which she was. With a deep breath, she hoisted herself up into the cab next to him.

“Sorry about Buck,” the big guy said, glaring at the culprit with one eye squinted. “He’s devious about getting what he wants.”

Buck landed on the seat beside her. “Hugh keeps the standards up. Probably why he’s so grumpy all the time.”

Hugh crossed his arms, leaning into the passenger door. His buzzed blond head and muscular frame brought to mind a late-twenties version of Mr. Clean, minus the jewelry.

“I ain’t grumpy. Just tired of your ugly face.”

Buck chuckled. Randi caught herself staring at him. She wouldn’t call his face ugly, not even anything related to unattractive. More like relentlessly cheerful. And way too confident that he could boss everyone around. She sniffed, annoyed with him enough to stop crying.

The truck rolled forward, bumping on the gravel road. They sat on an old-fashioned bucket-style bench, comfortable for two people, and a squeeze for three. The middle seat offered no belt. A death trap. Because that was the logical conclusion to her week from hell. She braced a hand on the dash to keep from bouncing into the bodies next to her.

Not touching either man, holding her body tense and straight, made her neck ache. And still she knocked knees with Hugh and almost leaned on Buck’s shoulder. Buck’s hand on the manual gear shifter was an inch from her thigh, his fingers brushing the edge of her skirt when he shifted. Short of sitting on Hugh’s lap, there was nowhere for her to go to keep from touching him.

She felt shaky, barely keeping herself together. Every time Buck changed position she noticed it, his muscular arms flexing as he drove. It was like sitting next to a tiger: electrifying, an experience you never forgot, and total madness.

“So,” said Buck, flashing a grin at her. “What’s your rush this morning? You just moved in last night.”

Randi dug a tissue out of her bag. “I can’t live in a party house,” she said, dabbing at her running nose.

“A Waffle House?” said Hugh.

“She said party house, Einstein.” Buck glanced at her. “How’d you end up with a room out there?”

“I was teaching in Argentina and found it online. Paid everything…” She paused, choking up, not sure why she was telling them. “They lied to me.” And she dissolved again, covering her face with the tissue.

What was wrong with her? It was beyond humiliating to be crying like a child in front of these strangers. At least she’d never have to see them again.

“Huh,” said Buck, tapping the steering wheel. “Well, I know Trish isn’t happy about the parties.”

“They got an ugly ticket last June,” said Hugh. “She’s on probation.”

Randi sat up straighter, taking in this information. She managed to stop crying, and dabbed her cheeks clean with the tissue.

Buck rubbed the side of his face. “Is that right?”

“I can’t believe you didn’t know that, Buck. Jesus.”

“I just look like I know everything.”

“Yeah, well, one more ticket and they’re facing jail time. And, of course, there were minors everywhere last night. I turned my back and they slurped down my keg.”

Randi pushed up her glasses. No wonder Trish hadn’t been there during the party. It revealed, even more, how shamelessly Trish had lied to her in the emails they’d exchanged about the house.

The farmland was transforming into residential housing when Buck turned onto a major road.

“That bus stop coming up will be fine,” said Randi, her voice annoyingly shaky.

“No way, darlin’,” said Buck. “You cry in my truck, and I buy you a coffee. Then, I drop you off wherever you want.”

“No, really—”

“Hey,” he said, “I put up with all the tears. So now we’re going to go to this coffee drive-through and get sugary drinks to make ourselves feel better. Otherwise, Hugh over there might start his period.”

“You’re such a jackass,” Hugh said, shaking his head.


Author Bio:

Anna Alkire has been a long-term college student, a business owner, and a world traveler. Now “settled”—with a sigh and a cup of decaf—Anna lives in Washington state, where she splits her time between a husband who thinks the North Pole would be a great place to live, chasing her hurricane of a son, learning new handicrafts, and creating worlds full of the kind of romance and fun she most wants to read. Find more about her (and grab a freebie or two) at her website, annaalkire.com.

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Lochlan Blitz

Lochlan
Pax Sinclair
(The Scotsman’s Kilt, #1)
Publication date: June 6th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

An enemies-to-lovers, Scottish billionaire romance. A standalone story and book one of the Scotsman’s Kilt series.

Lochlan: It’s true. I’m the heir to the MacTavish Whiskey empire. The cold-hearted SOB who’s been on a drinking, drugging, womanizing binge that was splashed all over the Scottish tabloids for months, until the patriarch of our family exiled me to America to run a winery.

There are only a handful of people left in the Lochlan fan club who think I deserve redemption. Other than I’m worth a fortune, why would anyone want to save a soulless bastard like me when all I want is revenge?

Kenzie: It’s complicated. I’ve been given a challenge to seduce Lochlan MacTavish as part of an initiation into a club. The only way to reach him is through his Silicon Valley winery.

All I need is proof that we slept together and I’m in, but it’s not easy. First, I have to get past my aversion to overprivileged, billionaire Scottish men, and this one is an ass on his best days.

When I botch getting the proof I need, we make a bargain. I’ll be his fake girlfriend to convince his grandfather he’s now a responsible member of society, and I get my proof of a seduction. The problem is, neither of us banked on this growing, off-the-charts attraction between us.

This is another hot, sexy, twisty romance from PaxWorld. Did I mention there are men in kilts?

Goodreads / Purchase

EXCERPT:

Hunk alert!” screams a female, accompanied by the clanging of a large, obnoxious cowbell. She’s swaying dangerously on a stool next to the bar, holding the bell high above her head in one hand while egging her companions on with the other. She rings it again, the sound piercing the air like a scream. I can’t figure out where the damn bell came from, but the sound is splitting my skull.

I’m in the doorway watching about thirty fit young women, some huddled in clusters, while others are standing on black leather couches and chairs, giving a cheering response to the bell ringer.

Their raucous behavior is disturbing in this newly designed space of tarnished metal and aged wood. We use this place for private parties because it’s well away from the main MacTavish Cellars tasting room, which is packed to the rafters at the moment. I came back here to check on this group on my way to look over a shipment we received this morning in the barrel room. I realized something was wrong when I heard muffled shouting coming from the room.

The cowbell clangs again and I resist the urge to rush in and yank that thing away from her before I sustain permanent damage. The cowbell-wielding blonde sings out, “What do we want, sisters?” while motioning to the crowd to respond to her maniacal question. The women chant, “Hunk, hunk, hunk,” demanding a mob’s satisfaction.

Shaun, my server, is wild-eyed and backed against the front of the bar, two stools away from the blonde, fearing for the safety of his manhood. I will kill him for letting this hen party get out of hand. I do a quick search of these brash women. Where the hell is Preston? They both should be working this party, and Preston should be showing Shaun the ropes. Why did he leave a newbie alone with a room full of women?

I slip behind the bar, unseen at the moment by the blonde, to restore order to this chaos. The chant is getting louder. Shaun’s pleading gaze swings to me. I grab a bottle and glasses and lean toward him. “Find Preston and tell him to get his arse back in here. Get Geordie and Calum in here as well,” I say, trying to prevent my voice from carrying. He bobs his head before bolting away from the bar and through the crowd of women, their chants following him as he disappears through the doors.

I’m formulating how to deal with these female hooligans when I catch the attention of the bonny blonde with the cowbell. She’s staring down at me with a predatory grin, the tip of her tongue moving over plump red lips. The lass keeps her gaze on me while she stoops to place the bell on the bar, then casually jumps off the stool. She raises a hand toward the women, still staring at me, and the chanting fades to a dull murmur. Her obedient cult followers slowly remove themselves from the furniture. They’re talking among themselves but are keeping an eye on their leader. Blondie tosses her head back, sizing me up.

“You look like the real deal.” Her voice is sexy smoke and honey, unexpected for someone who looks like a sun-kissed beach girl. She drags her gaze down the length of my body. I’m not happy being judged as a piece of meat, but working here, you accept the attention. When she finishes her long scrutiny, her attention settles on my face. That’s right, look me in the eyes, I telegraph back to her, I’m not intimidated by your antics.

Her smirk says she’s enjoying her brash behavior. “A big strapping hottie like you and in a kilt to boot, but then again, all the men here are equally as hot and wearing kilts.”


Author Bio:

Pax is a contemporary romance author who writes the kind of hot, twisty, drama-filled romances that she loves to read. Her novels are about biracial women in interracial relationships that will have you turning pages until the end.

Her current series, Love@work, takes you into the world of Silicon Valley’s billionaire tech moguls. These are powerful men and women who are driven by the changing landscape of business and their seductions in the bedroom.

Come along for a ride in Pax’s world, where it’s always steamy, captivating, and sometimes erotic.

Pax lives and works in Silicon Valley. She’s a California native.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Bookbub / Youtube / Amazon


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New Release Blitz: Turtle Bay by John Patrick

Title: Turtle Bay

Series: Tides of Change, Book Two

Author: John Patrick

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/28/2022

Heat Level: 1 - No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 85400

Genre: Historical, LGBTQIA+, gender-bending, cross-dressing, businessman, humor, law enforcement, political, PTSD, Postwar America, sexual discovery

Add to Goodreads


Description

It’s 1947, and New York City is awaiting the construction of the new United Nations building, the FBI is actively pursuing Communists and Soviet spies as the Cold War begins to build, and homosexual men have even more reasons to hide who they are.

Uptight FBI Agent Arthur Mason is so deep in the closet he doesn’t even realize he’s in one. Clueless about his own sexuality, he’s surprised at his reaction to both Hans Schmidt and his twin sister, Ada. Under pressure from work, Mason investigates Hans and his boarders, including the highly suspicious Hank Mannix, a known member of the Communist Party. Though Mason can’t seem to locate Ada, he can’t stop thinking about Hans and keeps going back to visit.

Hans Schmidt is a cross-dressing German immigrant running a boarding house for “a certain type of man,” and he wants nothing to do with Agent Mason and his ill-fitting suits and bad haircut. Until he begins to see Mason more as a man and less as a government official.

Hans enjoys dressing as a woman from time to time, and once his feelings for Arthur begin to change, he realizes he needs to share his Ada persona if they are to have a future together.

Secrets on both sides must be revealed and cherished beliefs challenged if these two men are to find the love and happiness they deserve.

This story can be read on its own; however, characters from book one, Dublin Bay, play a prominent role as secondary characters, so it’s recommended to read that first.

Excerpt

Turtle Bay
John Patrick © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Hans

Even after five years in America, Hans still startled every time the telephone rang—an abrupt, clanging sound insisting on attention. Why couldn’t a country capable of producing an atomic bomb be able to create a more discreet way of letting a person know about an incoming call? He vaguely remembered the phones in Ireland giving a soft chime first, before beginning to ring in earnest, but his time there had been short and chaotic, always one step ahead of capture, so he couldn’t be sure.

He didn’t remember the sound of telephones in Germany at all, even though he knew one hung on the wall in the university’s administration office. He pictured it there next to the corkboard but couldn’t reconstruct its sound.

He hoped the new dial telephone would have a more melodious tone. Assuming the phone company ever got around to swapping out his candlestick model for something more modern as they had been promising for months.

The telephone sat atop the counter in the small reception hallway. Hans swiveled his stool and picked up the entire device, bringing the mouthpiece forward and lifting the receiver close to his ear. He was surprised a call had even come through; most of the operators had gone out on strike.

“Schmidt’s Boarding House, Hans Schmidt speaking.”

“Hans, old boy! It’s Wally, up in Albany.”

“Oh, Wally, so good to hear from you. Is this business or pleasure?”

“Business, I’m afraid. I have a live one for you. And don’t forget I’m still on a party line here.”

That was code for anyone could be listening. Hans appreciated the reminder. The boarding house had its own private line, and he sometimes forgot most people outside the city still used party lines. As if to prove the point, Hans heard muffled soft breathing in the background.

He sighed and glanced at the wall clock, mentally rearranging his calendar for the afternoon. “Hold on.” He placed the transmitter back on the desk, switched the receiver to his left hand, and pulled a pad and pencil out of the drawer. He leaned closer to the mouthpiece so he could still be heard. “A day or two’s notice would make a nice change. But go on.”

“Sorry, there was no advance notice this time. He came right up to the counter and said, ‘One-way ticket to New York City, please, next available bus.’ You’ve got two more hours. I’m certain of this one, Hans. We served together.”

“Oh, were you…?”

“No. Nothing like that,” Wally responded. “But I knew, of course.”

“I understand. Greyhound?” Hans asked.

“Yes, arrives at three thirty.”

That was good news at least. The Greyhound terminal was next to Penn Station, which was only a half-hour walk if he hurried.

“Would you recommend Ada or Hans?”

“Oh, Ada for sure, dear boy. This one seems quite skittish. A direct approach won’t do. He needs to see what’s possible,” Wally replied. “He’s a good kid, Hans. Don’t let him get swallowed up by the Y.”

“Understood, and thanks for the tip. What will he be wearing?”

Wally laughed, and the connection broke up a bit. “Oh, not to worry. You can’t miss him.” Hans heard a click as someone hung up, or perhaps someone else picked up to check if the line was available.

“Will you be coming down yourself anytime soon?” Hans asked. “You absolutely must see David Brooks in Brigadoon. He’s in a kilt most of the time. We could make a weekend of it.”

“That sounds grand! Maybe next month.”

They exchanged a few additional pleasantries and ended the call.

Hans needed at least an hour to get Ada ready, and he was thankful he hadn’t yet put on cologne. He’d planned a shopping trip this afternoon to resupply a few staples—coffee, tea, and biscuits for the ladies’ reception parlor—but that could be rescheduled. But he couldn’t put it off for too long; the ladies did not like to run out of biscuits during their social hour.

As he descended the stairs to Ada’s room on the garden level—a New York euphemism for below ground—he was reminded how much easier things were for men. He wore a simple gray suit with a narrow navy tie, appropriate for all seasons and conservatively bland. Why, a fellow could disappear into any crowd wearing such an outfit.

Ada, though—she had a much tougher go of it. It was spring, technically, but still quite chilly. She’d need something…delightful. Yes, Hans thought, that was the right word. Not too frivolous, but sufficiently feminine to show the world there was still joy in beauty. But she’d also need to wear an outercoat and sensible enough shoes for a bit of a walk. She wouldn’t want to invite scrutiny, but she’d want people to see her and appreciate the effort she’d made.

Hans stepped into Ada’s room and opened the closet. He considered his options. He’d have to use last spring’s coat; he hadn’t had the time or funds to completely reoutfit this season. But it would do the job. It was robin’s-egg blue with a fitted waist rather than a belt. Five oversized white buttons ran down its length. Sadly, American fashion houses continued to insist on outrageously padded shoulders even now, nearly two years after the war’s end.

A thrill ran through Hans as he stood in front of Ada’s closet. It always did, right before the transformation.

He eyed the spring dress he’d bought two weeks ago and knew it would be perfect. He took it out of the closet and laid it flat on the bed. It was a creamy off-white cotton, with a hint of pink. It dropped to midcalf and had a layer of tulle underneath the skirt—an extravagant use of material that would have been unthinkable only a year ago, when rationing and scarcity were just starting to give way. Large red cherries created a pattern, and a back zipper allowed for a smooth, uninterrupted front.

Hans removed his suit and his baggy, shapeless boxers, making a mental note to remember to take the clothes back to his own room, behind the kitchen. He spent the next half hour on underclothing and shapewear, then makeup, and finally a softly curling blonde wig that matched his natural hair color.

Hans was more comfortable dressed as a woman than he was dressed as a man. He always had been; it’s what got him in trouble back in Germany.

Dressed as a woman, Hans absolutely sparkled. His slight frame and delicate features fit Ada better than they fit Hans, and more than once he wondered what it would have been like to have been born as Ada. He’d met men who claimed to actually be women, deep inside, but he didn’t fully grasp that. At the heart of it, Hans liked being a man and being attracted to other men. He just liked dressing and acting like a woman sometimes.

It was enough for him.

The dress itself—the item everyone saw—was the easiest part but for the back zipper, which he managed eventually.

He slipped on square-heeled navy shoes, tied a gauzy pink scarf around his hair as protection against the breeze, and then headed out the door.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Author John Patrick is a Lambda Literary Award finalist living in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, where he is supported in his writing by his husband and their terrier, who is convinced he could do battle with the bears that come through the woods on occasion (the terrier, that is, not the husband). An introvert, John can often be found doing introverted things like reading or writing, cooking, and thinking deep, contemplative thoughts (his husband might call this napping). He loves to spend time in nature—“forest bathing” is the Japanese term for it—feeling connected with the universe. But he also loathes heat and humidity, bugs of any sort, and unsteady footing in the form of rocks, mud, tree roots, snow, or ice. So his love of nature is tempered—he’s complicated that way. 

John and his husband enjoy traveling and have visited over a dozen countries, meeting new people, exploring new cultures, and—most importantly—discovering new foods.

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Excerpt Tour: Return to Wylder by Maria Imbalzano

 

Return to Wylder

by Maria Imbalzano


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GENRE: Contemporary Romance


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BLURB:



The untimely death of EJ Hampton’s father kills her dream of practicing law with him in her hometown of Wylder. Heartbroken, she now has two weeks to organize the practice for sale. When she meets her father’s millionaire client Dylan Addison, he is demanding and entitled—yet his charisma captivates her.


Dylan is under pressure to renovate the Wylder Hotel before his father pulls the plug on his project. He needs EJ’s expertise, but she is bent on returning to her life in San Francisco despite the fireworks between them.


EJ walks a tightrope trying to balance Dylan’s needs against her own, but doing so is far more complicated when emotions get in the way.


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EXCERPTS (Exclusive Excerpt):


“Would you have come back to work with your dad this year if he had lived?”


She dabbed at her mouth with her napkin. “When he died in March, that vision died with him. I don’t want to speculate about what I would have done, because it doesn’t matter anymore. Now I’ll probably stay in San Francisco indefinitely and do my thing.”


“You don’t want to eventually take over the firm?” A sudden chill breezed through my veins at the possibility I might never see her again after these few weeks.


A frown creased her brow. “Probably not. Why?”


She was right to ask that question. Why would I care whether she returned to her hometown? Unless I was selfish enough to want her legal skills involved in representing me. Or if I was interested in pursuing something with her. But I couldn’t go there. I’d met her only yesterday. Yet something about her pulled me in, forming a connection. She was a warrior and a peacemaker at the same time—taking charge and pushing back at my demands while smoothing my feathers, refusing to get ruffled herself. She used tact and humor to control me. No one had ever accused me of being demanding and unapproachable. At least not to my face. But with her I was able to laugh while being castigated.





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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Maria Imbalzano is an award-winning contemporary author who writes about strong, independent women and the men who fall in love with them. She recently retired from the practice of law, but legal issues have a way of showing up in many of her novels. When not writing, she loves to travel both abroad and in the states.  Maria lives in central New Jersey with her husband--not far from her two daughters and granddaughters. For more information about her books, please visit her website at http://mariaimbalzano.com where you can also sign up for her newsletter.


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Mailing List Sign Up form

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 Amazon Author Page

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE


Maria Imbalzano will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



Book Blast Pride of Lyon's by Jenna Jaxon



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jenna Jaxon will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Enter the world of the most notorious gambling den in London, where matches are made... unusually. Welcome to the world of THE LYON'S DEN: The Black Widow of Whitehall Connected World, where the underground of Regency London thrives... and loves.

What’s a young lady to do when a powerful lord tries to abscond with her and make her his mistress?

When you’re Miss Honoria Quinn, you leap from his carriage and run like the wind to find some place to hide. Trouble is, Honoria mistakenly chooses The Lyon’s Den, a disreputable gambling house as her sanctuary, a move that ends up with her having to make another choice at the hands of the Den’s match-making proprietor Mrs. Dove-Lyons: wed a complete stranger or become the lord’s mistress.

No good deed goes unpunished…

Thomas, Lord Braeton agrees to attend a wager at The Lyon’s Den only to keep his brother-in-law out of trouble. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in one of Mrs. Dove-Lyons’s schemes to marry him off. But when he tries to come to the aid of another peer, Thomas finds the only honorable thing he can do to save Miss Quinn’s reputation is put aside his hopes for a love match for himself and instead offer to marry her.

As Thomas and Honoria set out on a wary journey to matrimony, can they learn to live together and hope love will grow between them? Or are they doomed to a loveless marriage of convenience from which one or both will want to escape?
Read an Excerpt

“Were I an artist I’d insist on painting you just as you are, my dear.”

Honoria jumped and whirled around at the sound of Thomas’s voice, scattering some of her clippings as she turned. “Oh, you startled me, Thomas. I thought I was alone out here.”

“I didn’t find you in the house and somehow knew this was where you would be.” Her husband smiled that charming, lazy smile and her knees went weak. “Let me pick these up as I have been the cause for their fall.” Taking the basket from her, he stooped and carefully placed the stems back in her basket. As he picked up the Maiden’s Blush he chuckled softly, and Honoria’s cheeks flamed again. “These should make excellent displays.” He rose and handed her the basket. “You have quite a talent for arranging them.”

“Thank you.” Resisting the urge to fan herself, Honoria took the basket and sauntered to the nearest rose bush, which happened to be an exquisite deep pink Apothecary’s Rose. “Why were you looking for me? Ouch!” She’d grabbed the rose too hastily and a thorn bit deeply into her thumb. “That hurt.”

“Let me see.” Beside her in a moment, Thomas cupped her hand in his and turned it palm up. A large bead of dark red blood had welled up on the pad of her thumb. He brushed the drop away then raised her thumb to his lips and kissed it.

Honoria gasped as a streak of lightning seemed to race through her hand, up her arm and lodge itself at her innermost core. Dazed, she stared up into his dark brown eyes, filled with a longing she understood all too well.

About the Author:
Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling author of historical romance, writing in a variety of time periods because she believes that passion is timeless. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories.

She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets--including two vocal cats, one almost silent cat, two curious bunnies, and a Shar-pei mix named Frenchie.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

✱✱Audio Book Review✱✱ His for Keeps by Theodora Taylor

 

His for Keeps - 50 Loving States, Tennessee
The Very Bad Fairgoods, Book 1
By: Theodora Taylor
Narrated by: Clementine Dove

Welcome to his extremely sexy dark side....

Everyone thinks Colin Fairgood is exactly what his PR machine tells them - a country superstar with a killer smile and dazzling blue eyes. 

But I met him before his country makeover and fame. Colin has a dark side…one that takes me places I've never been. One that makes me want to do very bad things with him. One that makes me scared of him. And even more scared of myself. 

I don't know what kind of endgame he's running on my heart, but he's definitely playing for keeps. And if I'm not careful, he's going to win. 

But what will happen when he finds out about my past? And discovers all my secrets? 

One thing’s for sure: when country superstar Colin Fairgood collides with me, a songwriter with everything to lose, it’s going to be one hell of a story. 

Listeners beware: The first scorching hot, dark, stand-alone romance in the Very Bad Fairgoods series is not for the faint of heart or sensitive. It’s guaranteed to please those who prefer extra-hot loving with a wickedly kinky hero. But seriously, do not click the heat unless you know how to handle the flame!

Momma Says: 4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐

I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting into with this book. I've read a couple of Theodora Taylor's books, but she's still fairly new to me. I did expect things to get steamy and let me just say that was putting it mildly. There is a warning at the end of the blurb, and I would urge taking it seriously because some things in this book are definitely not for everyone. For me, I reminded myself to keep an open mind and settled in for this couple's journey. Still, there were a few things that bothered me - I'm not going to elaborate because a couple of things would venture into spoiler territory. What I will say is that the biggest irritation for me was that I really, really wanted to shake the daylights out of pretty much every character. Okay, every character except Kyra's grandmother. I loved her to pieces. Now, here's where I'll add that even when a character was driving me crazy, I couldn't stop listening. I couldn't stop wanting things to work out. The longer secrets were kept, the more nervous I got about how things could work out. So, whether I wanted to shake a character or not, I was invested. Then we have the narration by Clementine Dove, and it was superb. I could seriously listen to this narrator over and over and never get tired of hearing her. So, when it's all said and done, His for Keeps was a little bit of a tight rope walk for me. Parts of it were way outside my comfort zone, but I think it's good to push myself beyond my limits occasionally, and in this case, it worked out well. 


Pirate's Protector Tour and Giveaway

 


Pirate's Protector

Sentinels of Savannah Book 7

by Lisa Kessler

Genre: Paranormal Romance 

After two centuries as an immortal pirate, Duke Proctor figures he’s experienced pretty much everything. Which is exactly when he finds himself held at gunpoint…by a mermaid. But the exquisitely lush blonde—whose eyes are deeper than the sea—is here for a reason. Someone has stolen from her and she’s certain Duke is behind it.

Annika Mare knows for a fact that the Sea Dog’s crew has her comb. In the wrong hands, it places Annika under the control of whoever wields it. But the comb has been taken—and working with this unbelievably sexy 
human pirate to recover it poses an entirely different kind of threat.

Now these two immortals must find the thief, and fast. But there are other forces at work, bigger than Duke or Annika could possibly know. And a powerful artifact in the hands of evil isn’t nearly as dangerous as the sizzlingly-hot attraction that could engulf them both…


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Duke Proctor propped his boot up on the post of the pier and rested his forearms on his knee as he looked out over the Savannah River. Wisps of fog billowed up from the water like ghosts rising from the depths, returning to the haunted city. Spooky to some, but he’d lived here since the 1700’s, and he found it comforting to imagine those he’d lost might not be as far away as some thought.

Today, he owned a personal security business. It usually meant late hours, but he enjoyed the work. He’d just finished a job providing security for a concert. His ears were still ringing while he soaked up the solitude of the full moon shining on the water at three a.m.

This was the magical hour when he could pretend cell phones and social media didn’t exist, and he could imagine over two-hundred years hadn’t slipped through his fingers. Usually, the passage of time didn’t bother him. History was his passion, but sometimes…sometimes he wondered why life had unfolded the way it did.

He shoved the memories back refusing to allow them to encroach on this peace. There was a splash in the distance. Could’ve been a gator or a turtle, maybe even a giant catfish jumping, he didn’t mind sharing space with them. They hardly ever spilled their beer on him or flashed their tits hoping to get backstage.

Tonight’s concert had been challenging. His personal security company was hired by Justin Blake’s promotor for his first performance at the new District Live concert venue right near the river. Duke’s staff had been professional, but it was tough to manage the rowdy crowd.

After the show, the push to get backstage to the performer was massive and his crew had been stretched thin. They’d held the line, but barely. He needed to hire a few more people, but the more his business grew, the more his interest in it waned.

It might be time for a big change. Too early to fake his death and reestablish himself, but he could sell his business and start over. Next lifetime, maybe he’d go back to teaching history.

A cold gun barrel kissed the back of his neck next to his ponytail and a hushed woman’s said, “Don’t move.”

He didn’t flinch or even lower his boot from the post. He’d been shot before. Many times. It fucking hurt, so he hoped whoever was holding the gun didn’t fire, but even if she did, unless she separated his head from his shoulders, he’d heal.

“Do I know you, lass?” He mentally ran through his short list of exes and pointing a gun at him didn’t seem likely for any of them.

“You have something that doesn’t belong to you.”

He smirked, staring up at the moon. He’d been a pirate since the 1700’s he owned plenty of things that didn’t belong to him. “Could you be a little more specific?”

“Do you want me to shoot you?”

He chuckled and shook his head. “I hate being shot.”

She made a noise, but it didn’t sound like a laugh. “Then give me the comb.”

What the hell was she talking about? “I use a brush, myself.”

She landed a solid punch to his kidney that had him seeing stars. “Stop fucking around and tell me where you put the comb.”

The sucker punch lit the short fuse on his temper. He slid his boot off the post and turned around, and she countered by pointing the barrel down and pulling the trigger. His foot exploded with agony.

She shot him.

He grabbed the lapels of her coat and jerked her in close to his face. “What the fuck is your problem?”

She was a curvy blond with eyes as blue and the sea and full lips that he might have wanted to kiss if she hadn’t just put a bullet into his foot. She narrowed her eyes and pressed the gun barrel to his abdomen.

His abs clenched as if they could stop a bullet. He was pretty proud of them, but even after all of his workouts, they were no match for a Glock.

Her tightened as she spoke through clenched teeth. “My problem is you and you friends took a comb, and I’m here to retrieve it.”

She must mean his crew. They’d plundered the Holy Grail together in 1795 and after a sip, they’d all been immortal ever since. How did she know about the Sea Dog crew?

He shoved her backward and knelt to inspect his boot. His foot was already healed inside. He couldn’t say the same for his favorite Wolverine steel-toed work boots. He just got them broke in too.

“Damn it.” He looked up her. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yes, you do.” She kept her gun aimed at him. “The Atlantean had no right to give you that comb.”

Now that rang a bell. “The mermaid comb?”

She nodded eyeing his foot. “I need it back.”

He rose to his full height. She was tall for a woman, maybe five-foot ten, but he stood six-foot four in bare feet. “Are you saying you’re a mermaid?”

She looked at his foot again. “Why don’t you bleed?”

He crossed his arms. “I feel like we’re having two different conversations. Maybe we should start over with fewer guns. I’m Duke Proctor.”

She jammed her gun back into a shoulder holster and withdrew a dagger with an inlaid handle that had the same kind of multi-color abalone shell finish that the comb had had. She gripped the hilt in a tight fist. “Annika Mare.”

He raised a brow, studying her face a little closer. “From the sea in Latin. Nice touch.”

She tossed her head, sending her long blond hair down her back. “I don’t have time for…this…whatever this is.”

He opened his hands and held them out. “I’m unarmed, and I don’t have your comb.”

“Fuck.” She slid her dagger back into the sheath hanging from her belt and stared out at the water. “That comb was never meant to be touched by human hands.”

His friend, and the navigator of the Sea Dog, Caleb recently found the lost city, and returned a key that allowed the legendary city to once again vanish from view. He saved Savannah from a massive tidal wave, and the Atlanteans did reward him with a strange crescent shaped comb. Supposedly it belonged to a mermaid, but Caleb turned it over to Agent Bale and Department 13. The top-secret branch of the US government specialized in studying and storing paranormal relics to keep them out of human hands.

Even if Annika really was a mermaid, she wasn’t going to be able to break into Department 13. From what he’d heard, the department was impossible to find.

They found you, not the other way around.

“You still haven’t told me if you’re a mermaid. Though…” He looked down at her feet. “You don’t seem to have a tail.”

She rolled her eyes. “Merfolk can walk on land. The transformation comes when we get back into the water.”

He blinked, digesting the reality that he’d been shot by a mermaid tonight. A familiar buzz of curiosity blossomed through him along with a slew of questions this warrior woman would probably never answer.

Unless he could get her to stick around. “I can probably help you get it back.”

Suddenly he had her full attention. She crossed her arms and looked up at him. “What are your terms?”

She was all-business. And so much more beautiful than Marina, the wooden mermaid figurehead on the front of their Spanish Galleon, the Sea Dog.

He cracked his knuckles and met her eyes. “We work together, and you’ll answer all my questions about the merfolk.”

A crease formed between her eyebrows. “It’s my understanding that pirates deal in gold and precious stones.”

“I have all the gold and jewels I need. Give me knowledge, and I’ll give you my temporary oath of allegiance until your comb is returned.” He held out his hand, shocked to discover he was offering a partnership to a mermaid.

A mermaid who just shot him.

The universe was a fucking hilarious place.



Lisa Kessler is a Best Selling author of dark paranormal fiction. She's a two-time San Diego Book Award winner for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror and Best Published Romance. Her books have also won the PRISM award, the Award of Excellence, the National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Award, the Award of Merit from the Holt Medallion, and an International Digital Award for Best Paranormal.

Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.

When she's not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, and has performed with San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.


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