Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Guest post by Grace Burrowes + Giveaway

I'm very happy to welcome today to the blog Grace Burrowes, who is here to tell you about the requirements for a gentleman, and being a romance author, she certainly knows what she'ss talking about ;-) The latest novel of Grace Burrowes, Tremaine's True Love, the first book in her True Gentlemen series will be released on August 4, so read on to get a first glimpse and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end! :-)
What makes a man a gentleman?
by Grace Burrowes

For a romance writer, this question has to be answered in every book, because implicit in the term “hero” is something of the gentleman. Heroes need not be charming, handsome or wealthy, and they might not even be obviously heroic, at least at the start of the book, but they have to be worthy of our loyalty for the duration of an entire book.

In the True Gentlemen series, I took three men who’d wandered across my pages in previous stories—Tremaine St. Michael, Daniel Banks, and Willow Dorning—and found them each a happily ever after. Tremaine is a flinty business man, Daniel is poor and pious, Willow finds polite society an enormous trial and would far rather be with his dogs. These fellows were not obvious choices as romance heroes, but they each had something that tempted me to write stories for them.

When we met Tremaine in an earlier book (Gabriel: Lord of Regrets), Tremaine was convinced that he’d found a good candidate for the position of wife. He offered marriage, listing all the practical advantages to both parties, and he congratulated himself on how much sense his proposed union would make.

The lady turned him down flat, and as a gentleman is bound to do, he graciously ceded the field. He didn’t like it, he didn’t entirely understand how or what he’d lost, but he wished the happy couple well.

Daniel’s role in David: Lord of Honor was to charge to London with sermons at the ready in an attempt to restore his sister’s honor. The very man Daniel accused of wronging that sister had already set her back on the path to respectability.

Oops. But again, being a gentleman, Daniel wishes the couple every happiness, even if doing so costs him the future he’d envisioned for himself and his loved ones. Like Tremaine, he’s a gracious and even dignified loser.

Willow’s appearance in Worth: Lord of Reckoning is brief, but he too is determined to see a sister rescued from a possibly compromising position, and again, rescue is simply not on the heroine’s agenda.

In all three cases, the true gentleman acts in the best interests of those he loves and is responsible for, regardless of the inconvenience or cost to himself. Because Tremaine, Daniel, and Willow were honorable, I liked them. I trusted them, I wanted them to have the happiness they clearly already deserved.

In the Nicholas Haddonfield’s sisters—Nita, Kirsten, and Susannah—I found ladies willing to oblige my ambitions for these men. In each case, our hero has lessons yet to learn, and in each case, his inherent honor wins the day. He might not be handsome, wealthy, or charming in the eyes of the world, but because he’s a true gentleman in the eyes of his lady, he wins her true love.

I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Tremaine’s True Love by Grace Burrowes
He's had everything he could ever want...until now

Wealthy wool magnate Tremaine St. Michael is half French, half Scottish, and all business. He prowls the world in search of more profits, rarely settling in one place for long. When he meets practical, reserved Lady Nita Haddonfield, he sees an opportunity to mix business with pleasure by making the lady his own.

Nita Haddonfield has a meaningful life tending to others, though nobody is dedicated to caring for Nita. She insists the limitations of marriage aren't for her, then Tremaine St. Michael arrives-protective, passionate, and very, very determined to win Nita's heart.

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Excerpt

Wealthy businessman Tremaine St. Michael has concluded that marriage to Lady Nita Haddonfield would be a prudent merger of complimentary interests for the mutual benefit and enjoyment of both parties… or some such blather.

Tremaine rapped on Lady Nita’s door, quietly, despite a light shining from beneath it. Somebody murmured something which he took for permission to enter.

“Mr. St. Michael?”

Tremaine stepped into her ladyship’s room, closed the door behind him and locked it, which brought the total of his impossibly forward behaviors to several thousand.

“Your ladyship expected a sister, or a maid with a pail of coal?”

“I wasn’t expecting you.” Lady Nita sat near the hearth in a blue velvet dressing gown. The wool stockings on her feet were thick enough to make a drover covetous. “Are you unwell, Mr. St. Michael?”

“You are not pleased to see me.” Did she think illness the only reason somebody would seek her out?

She set aside some pamphlet, a medical treatise, no doubt. No vapid novels for Lady Nita.

“I was not expecting you, sir.”

“You were not expecting me to discuss marriage with you earlier. I wasn’t expecting the topic to come up in a casual fashion either. May I sit?”

She waved an elegant hand at the other chair flanking the hearth. Tremaine settled in, trying to gather his thoughts while the firelight turned Lady Nita’s braid into a rope of burnished gold.

“You are pretty.” Brilliant place to start. The words had come out, heavily burred, something of an ongoing revelation.

“I am tall and blond,” she retorted, twitching the folds her of her robe. “I have the usual assortment of parts. What did you come here to discuss?”

Lady Nita was right, in a sense. Her beauty was not of the ballroom variety, but rather, an illumination of her features by characteristics unseen. She fretted over new babies, cut up potatoes like any crofter’s wife, and worried for her sisters. These attributes interested Tremaine. Her madonna-with-a-secret smile, keen intellect, and longing for laughter attracted him.

Even her medical pre-occupation, in its place, had some utility as well.

“Will you marry me, my lady?”

More brilliance. Where had his wits gone? George Haddonfield had graciously pointed out that Nita needed repose and laughter, and Tremaine was offering her the hand of the most restless and un-silly man in the realm.

The lady somehow contained her incredulity, staring at her hands. “You want to discuss marriage?”

“I believe I did just open that topic. Allow me to elaborate on my thesis: Lady Bernita Haddonfield, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife? I think we would suit, and I can promise you would know no want in my care.”

A proper swain would have been on his damn bended knee, the lady’s hand in his. Lady Nita would probably laugh herself to tears if Tremaine attempted that nonsense. Lady Nita picked up her pamphlet, which Tremaine could now see was written in German.

“Why, Mr. St. Michael?”

“I beg your pardon?” Tremaine was about to pitch the damned pamphlet in the fire, until he recalled that Nita Haddonfield excelled at obscuring her stronger emotions.

“Why should you marry me, Tremaine St. Michael? Why should I marry you? I’ve had other offers, you’ve made other offers. You haven’t known me long enough to form an opinion of my character beyond the superficial.”

This ability to take a situation apart, into causes, effects, symptoms, and prognosis was part of the reason she was successful as a healer. Tremaine applied the same tendencies to commercial situations, so he didn’t dismiss her questions as coyness or manipulation.

She wasn’t rejecting him either. She most assuredly was not rejecting him.

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

Connect with Grace at her website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads



GIVEAWAY RULES:


Giveaway is open to US/CAN residents and ends on 30 August 2015!

Good luck!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

And the winners are...


Hey Everyone!

A couple of giveaways have ended and that means I've got some winners to announce! So congrats to 

the lucky winner of an ebook copy (in epub or mobi format) of the Demons, Imps and Incubi anthology is

Anna


the lucky winner of an ebook copy of Dark Surrender by Erica Ridley is

Bewitching Brews


the lucky winner of an ebook copy of Keeping Mr. Right Now by Robin Bielman is

Ada


Congratulations winners! I have sent you all a notification e-mail, please get back to me within 48 hours or I will have to draw new winners. Thank you!

Don't forget to enter all the ongoing giveaways you can find a direct link to each one of them at the top of the blog.

Have a fantastic weekend!
 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Q&A with Roni Loren + Giveaway

There's just something about musicians and bad boys that women can't resist. And yet, when I started reading Call on Me by Roni Loren I knew on so many levels that its hero Pike was so not my type: a hard partying, tattooed up womenizer drummer, and yet the more I read, the more I got to see that there is so much more to him, and that there is a caring and thoughtful guy behind the façade. And THAT was incredibly sexy. So sexy that I couldn't resist him. And nor could Oakley, Call on Me's heroine. I dare you to read Call on Me and try to resist him, but until then read on to learn more about their story and enter the giveaway at the end! ;-)

Q: Who was your inspiration for the badboy sexy rockstar Pike?

Jared Leto
A: I used the band 30 Seconds to Mars for a lot of the inspiration. Physically, I picture Pike a lot like Jared Leto when Jared was blonde. Of course, Jared looks good with any color hair, including the pink Mohawk. But for Pike’s drumming style, I definitely used Shannon Leto for inspiration. The way this man drums…it’s damn sexy. He’s just so angry at those drums. Enjoy a little 30 Seconds to Mars and see for yourself. “Technically” I’m in this music video since I was in the crowd of one of those concerts they show in the montage. So you know, that means me and the band are like this ~crosses fingers~ ;-) But beyond looking at how lovely they are, listen to Shannon’s drumming on this song. OMG. (Can you tell I’m a fan?


Q: Can you share with us one scene that didn't make it to the final version of the book and why was it cut?

A: I actually didn’t cut a whole lot in this book. This was the rare, magical book that flowed easily and just seemed to pour out of me. But here’s a small start of a scene I cut. The Ranch is the BDSM resort in my series. But I decided that would be too predicable for them to go and have a scene there. So I changed it to where they never quite make it there because the smexy stuff happens on the way instead. : )

Pike sensed the shift in Oakley as soon as they got out of the car and she linked her hand with his. He’d expected her to be full of nerves at this point. The Ranch could intimidate the hell out of the bravest newbie. But Oakley had her chin tilted up and a determined look in her eye. It was a look he’d seen backstage at concerts many times both in the mirror and on the faces of other performers. It was the expression that came after pre-show jitters were defeated—the game face, the I’m-going-to-rock-this face.

Something about it turned him the f**k on. He pressed his hand to her lower back, guiding her toward the door.

Q: Can you tell us any funny or interesting thing that you discovered or happened while you were writing Call on Me?

A: I think the best thing that happened when I was writing CALL ON ME was discovering more characters I wanted to write about. The heroine’s brother, Devon, is a side character. But when he showed up on the page with his husband, Hunter. I was all—hey, I wonder what their story is? So I planned to write a short story for them. Well, turns out, I had a whole lot more to say than that. My “short story” turned into a novella (YOURS ALL ALONG) and a prequel of sorts for CALL ON ME. (That’s when I emailed my editor—Um, hey, so that 10k word short story I was going to send you? Yeah, well it * might * be 40k words now. So, um…oops?) Luckily, my editor was on board with releasing it as its own novella. And I’m so happy I got to write their story!

Call on Me by Roni Loren

Book #8 in the Loving on the Edge series

Oakley Easton wants two things: to be a good mom to her daughter and to ditch her less than ideal night job. Hooking up with bad boy drummer Pike Ryland? Not on the agenda. She needs a promotion. Not sex, tattoos and rock ’n’ roll.

Pike isn’t about to let Ms. Prim and Proper shut him down so easily, especially when he stumbles upon Oakley’s sexy night job. She’s only playing a role on those late night calls with strangers, but when he gets her on the line, all bets are off. He won’t stop until that sultry voice is calling his name for real.

But as they move from anonymous fantasies in the dark to the flesh-on-hot-flesh reality of the bedroom, the risk of falling in love becomes all too high. And the safe, quiet world that Oakley’s worked so hard to create is about to be exposed to the one person who could ruin it all.

Buy at Amazon - B&N - Kobo - iTunes

Excerpt

“So,” Devon said, obviously searching for a change in topic, “you know a guy in the next band?”

“The drummer. He’s the one helping out with that music project at Bluebonnet. He gave us tickets, thought Reagan might have fun.”

Dev’s eyebrow arched. “Right. Because he thought your kid might have fun.”

“It’s not like that.”

“Uh-huh.”

Guitar chords blasted through the speaker for a moment as the crew on stage did the sound check. Oakley turned her head as the big screens on the side of the stage lit up with a publicity photo for Darkfall—the wind making the screens ripple and the bodies in the picture come to life. The crowd cheered.

“Look, mom!” Reagan shouted back at her. “It’s Mr. Pike!”

“I see, baby.” Boy, did she. The larger than life image had Pike staring down the camera with his bandmates. Badass. Tough. Beautiful.

“Which one is he?” Devon asked, following her gaze.

“The blond.”

“Whoa,” he said low enough for the kids not to hear. “You had that guy over for pizza and managed keep your clothes on? You have more restraint than I do.”

He had no idea. “I have no interest in being a groupie.”

“Can I be one?”

She shoved his shoulder. “You’re such a tramp. I’m so telling Hunter when he gets back in town.”

“Tell him. He’d agree. But seriously, is the guy a jerk? He looks like he has high potential to be an egomaniac. I don’t want that kind of guy around my baby sister and niece.”

She frowned and dragged her eyes away from the picture. “Oh, he’s got an ego, all right. He’s entirely inappropriate most of the time and a shameless flirt. But I wouldn’t say he’s a jerk. He’s kind of, I don’t know, weird and manic and…funny.”

Devon tipped up the bill of his hat, eyeing her with a sly smile. “Oh, so we have a mad crush then?”

“What? No.”

“Oak, you’re here in the Texas heat at a hard rock festival. You don’t even know these bands. And a few weeks ago, when I asked if you wanted to take Reagan to see that 80s cover band, you told me she was too young for concerts.”
Oakley crossed her arms. “Rae has since proven her maturity.”

He smirked. “Bull. Shit. You’ve got the hots for this guy.”

“He’s not my type.”

Dev shook his head and draped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her close so the kids couldn’t hear. “Come on, don’t freak out about it. You work too hard and spend too much time alone. This could be good for you.”

“An ill-advised hookup with a drummer who will drop me as soon as he gets bored could be good for me?”

“Exactly. Look, I know I’m your brother and shouldn’t be saying this, but there’s nothing wrong with a finding yourself a hot, temporary fuck buddy.”

“Dev!”

He laughed. “Oh, don’t be such a prude. I mean, yes, you’re right. The guy’s probably not boyfriend material. But you’re a grown woman and deserve some fun. You know we’re always happy to have Rae over if you need a date night.”

“I think you just flunked big brother school.”

He gave her shoulder a pat. “Okay, fine, want responsible brotherly advice? Use a condom. And don’t let him take video.”

She poked him in the ribs. But before she could respond to his comment, the lights on stage began to flash and the crowd surged forward, excitement like a contagion moving through them.

“Come on, mom! Let’s get closer.” Reagan grabbed her hand and dragged her with the flow of the crowd.

They’d already been pretty close to the stage, thanks to the special passes Pike had sent, but now they were only a ten or twelve rows of people back on the far left side of the stage. Bodies pressed close to them and she couldn’t help but get caught up in the fervor of the crowd.

She pushed onto her toes, knowing the drummer was almost always the first one to come out.

“Is that him?” Dev asked.

“Where?”

Devon pointed to the other end of the stage, and Oakley froze up the moment her eyes landed on Pike. Tight gray jeans, combat boots, and a black sleeveless T-shirt that showed off his ink. All swagger and sex and guyliner. Pike waltzed onto the stage like it’d been built just for him. He lifted his hand in greeting, earning screams from the audience, then hopped behind his drum kit. He put in his earpiece, raised his drumstick, and leaned over to his mic with a cocky smile. “Y’all ready for us, Dallas?”

The crowd erupted. Sound exploded from his drums.

And Oakley forgot to breathe.

Good. God.

The rest of the band ran onto the stage, adding guitars and vocals to Pike’s heavy rhythm, but Oakley barely heard the words.

All she could do was stare. Pike took command of the drums like he had a personal vendetta against them, banging hard and violent but with a sharp-edged grace that made it look like moving art. Every part of his body worked in perfect rhythm—muscles flexing, tattoos dancing, sweat flying—and the expression on his face wasn’t far from what she’d imagined he looked like in the throes of sex. He was taking the songs in his fists and making them his with every swing of his drumsticks.

Oakley swayed on her feet, the pounding beat taking on an erotic edge, vibrating though her and invading her like a drug.

He looked possessed.

He sounded amazing.

And she was toast.

She felt the urge ride up her throat and she couldn’t stop it. Her hands went up with the rest of the crowd and she screamed Pike’s name like a goddamned groupie.

Fucking. Toast.

Buy at Amazon - B&N - Kobo - iTunes

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son.

If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that's it. She is the National Bestselling Author of The Loving on the Edge series from Berkley Heat.

Places to find Roni Loren:


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Win a custom 4-Pack of Brownies from Wicked Cupcakes (US ONLY), or a $25 Gift Card will be sent if winner resides outside of US.

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Friday, 3 July 2015

Excerpt: True North by Kate Austin

Hot summer days are here, so why not take an equally hot romance and spend an afternoon (or the weekend) reading it in the shade/by the pool/on your couch? Here's a contender for your summer beach selection:

True North by Kate Austin

Book#1 in the SEALs in Love series

Navy SEAL Jake Erickson is dead tired after two years without a break, so he's taking his 1967 Mustang convertible and heading north. Shelle, who has only a few months left before she can sell her dead twin's B&B and go back to her real life, has spent the past few years avoiding men, but when Jake's sexy voice asks if she has a room, she can't say no. They've got thirty days together, and it won't be long before they agree that ending up together is way more than luck, it's fate.


Excerpt:

She hesitated for a minute, then braced her shoulders and held out her hand to him. "I'm Shelle," she said. "And you're…"

"Jake Erickson. We spoke on the phone?"

His voice, as he said only those few words, tickled every part of her, from her toes up to the top of her head, and everything in between. She folded her arms over her breasts, partly to hide her nipples that had perked up the minute she'd seen him, and partly, though she hated to admit it, to increase their tingling with her touch.

Her pussy ached.

Even though she wanted, desperately, to prolong the sensation, she forced herself not to wiggle against the fabric of her panties. God, he was fucking gorgeous. And the way he looked at her?

Every part of her body sang hallelujah.

He stood at the bottom of the stairs looking up at her as if he wanted to eat her up, his body built like—

A god, she thought finally, after a few moments of silent contemplation. Thor, or Adonis, or maybe Javier Bardem.

He had to be almost a foot taller than her five foot six inches and every inch of him—from his comfortably worn biker boots, to his faded jeans that were rubbed almost white around his cock, to the black T-shirt hugging his huge shoulders—was exactly what she'd dreamed about having.

On a moonlit beach.

In the shower.

On the tiny porch outside her turret bedroom.

In her king-size bed that was far too big for just her.

Anywhere he wanted.

Shelle attempted to shake the erotic images from her head, and her ploy worked until he came up the stairs and halted a single step below her with his pale blue eyes—so pale they appeared translucent in the moonlight—level with hers, his lips just a tiny lean away.

He smelled like the ocean and laundry just off the line. His nostrils flared, and she couldn't help but wonder what she smelled like to him.

She didn't have to wonder long.

"You smell like summer and good California pinot," he said, "but most of all—" He leaned in a little closer and took a deep breath. "Mostly you smell like sex. Hot, steamy, over-the-top-crazy sex."

"So do you," she muttered, stepping back a little as he smiled at her, obviously enjoying her skittishness. "You might as well come on in," she said as she continued backing away.

He prowled toward her like a Bengal tiger after its prey, each step silent, his heavy boots quiet even as he passed the squeaky floorboard that woke her every morning except Sunday, the only day the paper boy didn't step on it at the ungodly hour of five a.m.


Kate Austin writes women's fiction, romance, magic realism, paranormal, and erotica, sometimes short fiction, sometimes poetry, and sometimes novels. She blames her mother and her two grandmothers for her reading and writing obsession. All of them were avid readers, and they passed their books and their obsession on to her.

Connect with Kate at her website - Facebook - Twitter

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