Fresh Find: Building on Broken Dreams by Lyndell Williams

Lyndell Williams once published a blog post titled, Muslims do that?!

It about summed up my astonishment and delight when I first stumbled upon her work. Her stories depict Muslim couples navigating love and sensuality within their unique cultural and social environment. They’re about sex, love, faith, passion… all the goodies you want in a romantic, erotic piece of art.

It’s with great excitement that I’m getting to participate in the book blitz for her latest release, Building on Broken Dreams. Here’s everything you need to know about this erotic suspense romance.

A white man kisses a Black woman on the cover of Building on Broken Dreams by Lyndell Williams

Building on Broken Dreams by Lyndell Williams

He’s everything she wants, but can she trust another man?

From award-winning writer and bestselling author Lyndell Williams, a steamy romance that tests the boundaries of faith and yearning.

If Maryam Avery stays in New York for one more day, she will die.

Trapped in an abusive relationship with the manipulative and cruel Raad, she can feel her life closing in around her. After he chases her from her home and family, Maryam flees to Philadelphia, searching desperately for a new beginning, something to help rebuild her spiritually and physically.

When she meets the mysterious Adam, things are thrown off-kilter. A successful businessperson with his own past that he is fleeing from, he is everything that Maryam wants. But can she trust another man?

Doubt gives way to desire. They find themselves in a whirlwind romance, and for once, it seems like everything will work out.

Until Raad turns up.

Release Date: 14 October 2020
Genre(s): Erotic romance, romantic suspense, erotic suspense, interracial romance, Muslim romance, BWWM romance

Excerpt

Maryam finished cooking and stood in the hall, holding a thermos of hot coffee in one hand and an egg sandwich half-wrapped in aluminum foil in the other. How angry was he? What is he going to do to her?

Adam strode toward her, grumbling and fumbling with his belt buckle. “Eight months of work shot to hell.” He stopped. His glower transformed into a grin that reached his hazel eyes. “What’s this?”

She plastered on a smile and batted her lashes at a speed almost matching the cadence of her heart. “I thought you could take it with you.”

His shoulders relaxed. He held her face in his hands. “You’re something else, Mary. You know—” he sprayed her lips with kisses “—I owe you a honeymoon. How about I arrange one?”

“I’d like that.”

He pressed her backward, pinning her between his body and the wall. The heat reignited and waved through her, burning away any fear or anxiety. He might have been angry, but not with her, and he would not take it out on her. She balanced the sandwich and mug in her hands. Her breathing got heavier with each nip to her neck. “Adam.”

He stepped back and reached into her robe. “Mary,” he groaned and yanked her panties from her hips while uttering a dua. Already moist white lace and satin fell to her feet. He propped against the wall across from her and ripped open his pants snap and zipper. “When you same my name like that, I got to have you.”

“But your friend.”

“Will wait.” His rough hands spanned up her thighs and clenched her rear, lifting her. His breath rushed into her ear. “I want you now. Do you want this D or not?”

His throbbing stiffness titillated her fiery folds. “Yes.” She locked her legs around his hips at her ankles and squeezed his broad shoulders as he stretched and filled her. “Adam, please.” She slowly blinked at the bobbing picture of Mecca hanging on the opposite as he bounced her on his stiffness. The movement of their bodies fed a mounting desire. Their first time together had been so tender. He had eased her fears and brought her to ecstasy. Now, the raw lust surging between them infused every inch of her in a way she had never felt before. It was all so glorious. She tucked her heels under his tense bottom, stilling his thrusts and unleashing a carnal shriek from deep inside. He soon roared in release and set her down. She panted, leaning against the wall and letting her legs drop.

He trailed pecks up her neck before stealing her air with a lingering kiss on her lips. He pinned her gaze while adjusting and closing his pants. “You don’t know what you do to me, Mary. I’ve never wanted someone so much.” He disappeared into the kitchen. Water ran for a moment before he came back, taking the thermos and crushed sandwich from her hands. “I’ll be back in time for the next prayer.” He offered salams and bit into it, strutting away and disappearing into the morning light, flooding the opened door.

About Lyndell Williams

Lyndell Williams is an award-winning writer and bestselling author. She is a cultural critic with a background in literary criticism specializing in romance. She is an editor, writing coach and mentor. She has been published in peer-reviewed journals and writes for multiple online publications.

Top 10 romantic comedies for a lovely night in

Romantic comedies have become a minor obsession of late, and the last couple of years have given me plenty of top notch favourites I’d recommend to anyone (and everyone) who’ll listen.

I’ve left out synopsis links, as I’m sure everyone has their own sources they prefer to use for looking up movies. But a quick Google search on any of these titles will give you enough of a teaser for these great films.

You folks ready for a good night in? Let’s do this!

10. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

This is a grown-up romantic comedy that explores relationships and the reinvention of self that happens after they come to an end. It’s painfully and relatably cringeworthy in parts, which only adds to its endearing qualities. In 2018, GQ confirmed that it does very much “hold up” after a decade. I’d say it’s well on its way to becoming a classic.

Starring: Jason Segel (and his dick), Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand, Jonah Hill.

9. Isn’t It Romantic

Rebel Wilson shines in the role of an underappreciated architect who gets knocked unconscious during a mugging, only to wake up and find herself in a real-life romantic comedy. This movie is at once an eye-roll at and a tribute to the genre, offering as many romance feels as send-ups of our favourite tropes.

Starring: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra, Adam DeVine

8. Friends With Benefits

A great take on the standard friends-to-lovers/FWB storyline. Don’t expect any deviations from the form or formula, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this film won’t be worth your time. What I got from watching was a serve of great characters, powerful chemistry between them, an under-the-skin satisfying HEA, and a movie hangover that lasted for weeks.

Starring: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone

7. I Love You, Man

When you need a break from boy-girl love and conflict, but still want the same feel-good vibes, turn your eyes to this bromantic comedy. The setup is a groom-to-be in search for the perfect best man for his wedding. The punchline is a touching hetero boy-meets-boy best-friendship story set against a romantic backdrop.

Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Jaime Pressly, Andy Samberg

6. Silver Linings Playbook

Back when I first watched this, I didn’t have the vocabulary to express or even really understand why I liked it. It just struck me as this quirky left-of-centre love story with wholesome feels for people in dark places. Since coming to understand it as a romantic comedy within a mental health context, I’ve liked it even more. This one’s currently on my “to re-watch” list next time I’m down for a lovely night in.

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker

5. The Wedding Singer

Say what you want about Adam Sandler. He was great in this very sweet romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore. I was surprised to learn that there are a lot of younger viewers who don’t know it. I guess it’s a bigger blast from a more distant past than I thought. Wanna know what us silly-headed crush-prone teens found funny in the 90s? Here’s a good example.

Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore

4. The Big Sick

If you like your romance interwoven with family drama, this thoughtful romcom might be the one for you. Based loosely on the real-life love story between Kumail Nanjani and writer Emily V. Gordon, this is a highly praised indie flick with great inter-cultural notes and exquisitely subtle HEA.

Starring: Kumail Nanjani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano

3. The 40-Year Old Virgin

A hilarious, slightly absurd, and all too endearing comedy a middle-aged man’s hangups about sex, and how they affect his newfound relationship. I would consider this as much about male friendship as it is about romance, but neither theme takes away from the other. It’s a lovely piece of feelgood comedy, well worth watching.

Starring: Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Romany Malco, Catherine Keener

2. Always Be My Maybe

When I first put this on, I was expecting something wacky and run-of-the-mill. After all, that’s the flavour of American comedy I’ve come to associate with the person who recommended this to me. What I got instead was an astonishing gem of a romance infused with sarcasm, adorable cringe moments, and a bit of ridiculousness thrown in.

Starring: Ali Wong, Randall Park, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Dae Kim, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang

1. Long Shot

This movie has been described as a “gender-reversed Pretty Woman”, except the guy is a writer instead of a sex professional. If this isn’t enough to tempt you, know also that the lead characters are very believable and relatable, with great chemistry. This movie is full of tender moments as well as raunchy adult comedy, and of course, an oh so satisfying ending.

Starring: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen

Fresh Find: Arresting Jeremiah by Amber Daulton

Today’s fresh find is Amber Daulton’s newest book, Arresting Jeremiah, a 98k super hot romantic suspense published by Wild Rose Press. Here’s everything you need to know about the second instalment of the Arresting Onyx series, where to find the book, and how to get your hands on the first book in the limited time sale.

A blonde woman and a mysterious man on the cover of Amber Daulton's new book, Arresting Jeremiah

Arresting Jeremiah by Amber Daulton

Injured Parole Officer Jeremiah “Jim” Borden never expected Calista Barlow, the sassy blonde waitress he’s craved for months, to ring his doorbell. She slips into his heart—and his bed—but he’s obsessed with a gangland investigation that threatens his career and maybe even his life.

Calista doesn’t trust easily, not with a daughter to protect and the stalker who keeps calling her. After her violent ex-boyfriend returns, she finds solace in Jim’s arms.

Jim may have to forego his need for answers to protect the ready-made family he adores, but how will he and Calista escape an unseen enemy that is always one step ahead of them?

  • Series: Arresting Onyx (Book 2)
  • Release date: 14 October 2020
  • Genre: Romantic suspense
  • Length: 98k words
  • Heat rating: 5 flames

A couple get intimate in bed. Text in image: The heat of his mouth, the spark of his touch, and the love in his eyes set her body and soul aflame.

Blurb

Calista entered her bedroom and her mouth dropped open. Oh, God.

Her date reclined on her bed as though he starred in a photo shoot. Candlelight flickered across him. The sultry gleam in his eyes arrested her, holding her captive. His sexy smile weakened her knees. None of her past lovers rocked a pair of classic black slacks and a crisp white dress shirt like he did. His chest hair, a few shades darker than the locks on his head, poked from the parted fabric and teased her.

How would that thick hair feel against her nipples? Soft? Coarse? Just right?

Jim was spread out for her pleasure like a Christmas present. She wanted to unwrap him, layer by layer. Maybe he should unwrap himself, so she could enjoy the show.

She let her gaze travel the length of his body to the bulge pressed against his zipper. Perfect. He was hard already. She licked her suddenly dry lips.

“Stare all you want, but it’s more fun to touch.” He patted his thigh, the invitation clear.

“I’m tempted.” She cocked her hip. “I guess the blueberry clafoutis can wait, but you’re a little presumptuous to think this is how the night would end.”

Then again, she did mention having breakfast together. What did she expect him to think?

“End? Honey, we’re just getting started.”

She laughed, grasped the hem of her blouse, and pulled it over her head. Her favorite perfume scented the room, and she picked up the bottle. “You like?”

“Hell, yeah. A lot.”

She sprayed a few drops on her fingers, caressed the pulse at the base of her throat, and dragged her touch down between her breasts. His guttural growl teased across her nerve endings, shooting rockets through her belly. She shimmied her skirt down her hips and kicked aside her heels. A red-satin bra-and-panty set sheathed her body. She locked her hands together behind her back before involuntarily covering her breasts and stomach.

“Damn, look at you. Come here, Calista.”

Content: woman in jeopardy, man in jeopardy, single mom, family, violent ex, investigations, police procedural, criminals, gangs, drugs, urban romance, HEA, no cliffhangers, standalone, series

Get this book

Or would you like to read book one first? Arresting Mason, book one in the Arresting Onyx series, is now on sale for .99 cents—limited time only.

Text in image: Sale alert, 99 cents, Arresting Mason by Amber Daulton

About Amber Daulton

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

author Amber Daulton smiles at the camera

Fresh Find: A Merman’s Choice by Alice Renaud

Let me tell you about the latest addition to my TBR, A Merman’s Choice by Alice Renaud. I’m not an experienced fantasy reader, let alone a shifter or merfolk fantasy reader, but after finishing an emotional contemporary fantasy recently, I find myself wanting more—more of a universe I can relate to while pushing the boundaries of mundane reality.

It’s an honour to feature this guest post by Alice Renaud today, as she tells me about the book that started her Sea of Love series. Keep an eye out for book 3 in the series, Mermaids Marry in Green, coming out later this year!


A Merman’s Choice: Book 1 in the Sea of Love series

By Alice Renaud

It started with a dream. An aquatic vampire was chasing a girl underwater. She was terrified. She was close to drowning, and she thought that the creature would kill her. But instead, he saved her life.

At the time I had that dream, I was determined to write contemporary romance stories with alpha male billionaires/sheikhs/princes and virginal heroines. I had no room for an aquatic vampire. After three failed attempts however, I realized that I didn’t really want to write contemporary romance, and that I didn’t like alpha types that much. I really wanted to write a fantasy story. So the vampire resurfaced. He didn’t quite fit the story I wanted to write though, so I took away his fangs and bloodthirsty nature.

He became Yann, a young shape shifting merman. His people have lived incognito alongside humans for centuries. Their existence must remain a secret, and they are forbidden from revealing their true nature to humans. They are forbidden from befriending humans… dating humans… marrying humans. But Yann saw a young woman drown when he was a boy, and has sworn that he will never again let a human perish. So one summer he rescues a blonde swimmer in distress, Alex. This gesture changes his life for ever, and sets his people on a new path.

“A Merman’s Choice” is filled with the landscapes and atmosphere of Brittany, in Western France, where I grew up, and Wales, my mother’s country, where I spent most of my childhood holidays. But it is also a story about family expectations, intergenerational conflict, and the difficulties young people face when they defy the traditions of their community.

They say you should write what you want to write, not what you think you should write. It was true in my case. Unlike my billionaire sheikhs and princes, the merman found a publisher, Black Velvet Seductions (BVS) and my first book, “A Merman’s Choice” was released in January 2019.

After Yann came the story of Rob, another shape shifting merman who works as a cop among humans in “Music for a Merman”. Rob’s father is the most traditional of all the elders, but when Rob has to arrest a sexy eco-warrior, he falls prey to a powerful attraction… so powerful that he will risk everything for the woman he loves.

The third book, “Mermaids Marry in Green”, focuses on a feisty mermaid, Caltha, because why should the boys have all the fun? She’s busy ruling the three mermen Clans, but a handsome warlock turns up and asks her to come with him to London to capture a water monster… of course she can’t say no. And if you saw him, you wouldn’t say no either! The last story is “The Holiday Mermaid”, a seasonal short story included in the “second chance at love” romance anthology “Desire Me Again” by Black Velvet Seductions, which will be out this fall. Do mermaids celebrate Christmas? You’ll have to read to find out!

A handsome merman holds out his hands on the cover of A Merman's Choice by Alice Renaud

A Merman’s Choice by Alice Renaud

For centuries the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands have lived incognito among humans. But one of them, Yann, has developed some bad habits. Like rescuing humans, even when doing so risks revealing his true nature. When he fishes Alex out of the sea, he doesn’t expect her to reappear eight months later, and turn his life upside down by asking him to be her guide.

Alex is determined to fulfil a promise to her dying grandmother, by gathering pictures and stories of the Morvanns. But she soon discovers that, on these remote Welsh islands, legends have a habit of becoming true!

Over the course of a few days, Yann and Alex grow close. But some mermen hate humans. Their hostility, and Yann’s secret, threaten to tear the couple apart just as they are discovering that they are soul mates. Can Yann overcome the obstacles in his path and make the right choice?

Excerpt

The girl wasn’t swimming any more. Yann’s sonar gave him a clear picture of her distress. She was flailing. Sinking.

Fear punched him between the ribs. Just a few minutes earlier, she’d been splashing in the shallows, laughing and humming to herself. That music had rippled around him, brightening his journey. Now the sea was snuffing that light out. No! He wouldn’t let it happen. His webbed hands and feet churned the water, and he shot towards her like a torpedo.

Not this one, sea. Not this time.

She came in sight, slim and lovely, with long bronzed limbs and hair the colour of sunshine. But her eyes were closed, her movements slow, hesitant, as if she were falling asleep. His fear hardened into cold, sharp dread. He poured all his energy into the last powerful strokes. He’d almost reached her, when his eye caught the shadow, beyond the crystal surface, out there in the dry world. He sent a sound wave. It came back with an image, and the icy blade inside him twisted: two-legged shapes on the beach. Humans!

If they saw him, they’d know him for what he was. His people’s secret, kept for thousands of years, would be out.

The girl’s head vanished under the waves. To hell with that. He couldn’t let her drown.

He grabbed her and dragged her back to the surface. She thrashed in his arms and coughed up seawater. Intense relief swept through him as he hugged her to his chest. He’d sworn he’d never again swim by and let a human drown, and he’d kept his promise. If the young woman’s eyes remained closed, he might even get away with it. He wanted her to breathe, not scream in horror at the sight of his dark grey face.

He looked up. The shapes on the beach had gone. Another miracle, or perhaps he’d only imagined them. What if they came back? A fresh stab of anxiety propelled him through the surf. He lay the girl down on the sand, cushioning her head on his arm. Her round breasts, encased in the turquoise bikini top, rose and fell in a regular rhythm, but her skin felt clammy under his hands. He scanned the beach in vain for something to cover her with, and saw the motorbike. A sleek, sporty number, well camouflaged among the grass-covered dunes.

Shit. He retracted the webs between his fingers and toes, but his body would take at least twenty minutes to shift from the aquatic shape to the human form. And even when it did, what would the humans think, if they found him naked next to an unconscious girl?

Alice Renaud, author of A Merman's Choice

About Alice Renaud

Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” is out now and the third, “Mermaids Marry in Green” will be released later this year. Alice has also written a short story, “The Sweetest Magic of All,” included in the BVS “Mystic Desire” anthology, out now. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!

Fresh Find: Search and Rescue by Lucy Felthouse

The last reverse harem romance I read was a great romp. So naturally, when Lucy Felthouse announced a blitz for her latest RH read, I just had to share. Here’s the lowdown on this award-winning author’s brand new book. #whychoose indeed 🔥

The heroine and four heroes stand together on the cover of Search & Rescue, a reverse harem romance by Lucy Felthouse

OUT NOW—Search and Rescue (The Dreadnoughts Book One) by Lucy Felthouse

Kim’s trying to save the world—but is she actually going to make things worse?

Kim Medhurst is an ex-British military intelligence officer turned scientist and climate activist. A thrilling, potentially world-changing discovery leads her to a cave on a remote island off the Scottish coast. But before she can return to the mainland, a natural disaster traps her in the cave with limited food and water. Fortunately, she is an intelligent and resourceful woman who made a backup plan even before she stepped out of her own front door.

Enter Jason Chastain—owner and operator of a private security firm—and his friends Aidan Smith and twins Taylor and Joshua Greig. The foursome are also ex-military, so rescuing Kim should be a walk in the park for them. However, her discovery is so top secret she hasn’t even told Chastain and his buddies precisely what their mission is—instead relying on money and intrigue to get them to do the job. It works, until a series of events turn the rescue mission into an escape mission. Throw in a further revelation that will change all of their lives irrevocably and Kim begins to wonder if she’s bitten off more than she can chew.

Should she have left things well alone, or can this colossal mess be turned into something positive? This is about so much more than just five human beings, after all.

PLEASE NOTE: Search and Rescue has a cliffhanger ending.

Text in image: Whoever the client was, they were extremely important, or insanely rich. Maybe both.

Excerpt: Chapter One

Jason Chastain

Jason gripped tightly onto the controls of the rigid inflatable boat—otherwise known as a RIB—as it bounced on the relentless, white-capped waves of the Atlantic Ocean. According to the GPS, they were closing in on their destination. And thank God for GPS; simply looking for their target was futile—it was pitch black, and the remote Scottish island they were headed for was uninhabited, so there were no lights to help guide them. Not even a bloody lighthouse. To make things worse, they didn’t know exactly what—or who—they were going to find when they landed, so they were in stealth mode, meaning no lights on their boat, either. When they got close enough, they’d have to kill the engine, too, so as not to be heard by anyone who might be waiting for them.

He hunched his shoulders against the biting wind which still managed to worm its way in through his layers of technical gear and muttered to himself. Complaining out loud was pointless—the waves and wind would stop the others from being able to hear a word he said, anyway.

Besides, he was really in no position to complain, since it was his fault the four of them were here in the first place.

The job offer had come in via the contact form on his security firm’s website—all mysterious and anonymous, and on the first read he’d almost dismissed it out of hand, his finger hovering over the ‘delete’ button even before he’d read the final line. It was so vague he’d thought it was spam, or someone pissing about—even organisations who wanted to employ him for highly classified missions usually gave more information than that. Not to mention more notice. But something, the merest grain of intrigue, had made him read the message through again and absorb it fully. Despite all the cloak and dagger, it seemed legit.

And when his phone pinged with an alert, prompting him to check his business bank account and find the promised amount just sitting there, all nonchalant-like, the grain of intrigue had turned into the Sahara Desert’s worth. Particularly since the amount in question was just a deposit to help with expenses and getting the mission off the ground. What would have happened if he’d refused the mission? Did he get to keep the money anyway? By this point, that wasn’t really an issue, anyway, since there were a hell of a lot more zeroes at play if he and the three buddies he had in mind to come with him managed to pull this off—a ridiculous sum, even when split four ways and taking costs into consideration.

Whoever the client was, they were extremely important, or insanely rich. Maybe both.

In other words, a good person to get on side. If he played his cards right, this mysterious client could keep him in work for a long time to come—if not personally, then by way of sharing contacts and word of mouth. Either way was good, as far as he was concerned.

Despite the secretive nature of this mission, it would certainly beat some of the two-bit jobs he’d taken on out of necessity in the past few months. Unfortunately, the need to eat and the requirement to pay bills didn’t go away just because the exciting work had dried up.

But this job could be the turning point. The one that launched him from dull bodyguarding of ‘celebrities’—some of those fuckers have been so Z-list that even Google doesn’t know who they are—and protecting sensitive goods to actually making a difference, like he used to do back in the military. Helping people. Taking bad people off the streets.

It could also be the job that launched him into the Atlantic Ocean—not for the first, but possibly for the final time. The RIB lurched violently, and Jason heard the rest of the crew swearing and exclaiming even over the roar of the elements. And these were guys who weren’t afraid of anything. He risked a quick glance over his shoulder and counted three large figures. They were all still there, and for now, that would have to do. There was no time to check in—according to the GPS, the shore was coming up fast, and he’d need all his concentration, skill, and brass fucking balls to land them on the beach in one piece. More importantly, the boat needed to be in one piece, since that was their way out, once they’d secured their target. Without it, they were royally fucked. Unlike in the military, they had no one to call, no backup, no rescue teams.

They were it.

He shook his head, wondering for the umpteenth time who the hell threw so much cash around in order to hire a four-man team to take on a monumental, potentially very dangerous task, knowing perfectly well that if it went tits up, there was no second chance? No clean up team?

The best he’d been able to come up with was: Someone desperate, with a need for secrecy.

So exactly who was desperate, secretive, and filthy rich?

It’s only a matter of time before we find out. If we ever make it onto this bloody beach, that is. He took a deep breath and squinted into the darkness, willing his eyes to pick up something useful. Normally he’d have donned his night-vision goggles, but the rain and the sea spray would splatter constantly onto the lenses, rendering them useless. All he could do was keep flicking his gaze between the GPS and the landscape in front of the boat and hope for the best. He wasn’t a religious man, but he mumbled some random words of prayer to the heavens anyway, just in case. Couldn’t hurt to try, and it certainly wouldn’t make things worse.

Finally, his vision and the gadget seemed to agree the beach was imminent. With another deep breath, Jason killed the engine and mentally crossed his fingers and toes they were close enough that the waves would wash the boat up onto the shore, rather than dragging it back out to sea. He’d researched tide times and planned accordingly, but he knew better than most that things didn’t always go to plan. Especially when it came to Mother Nature. She could be a sadistic bitch at times. But then, given the way the human race treated her, he could hardly blame her for lashing out from time to time.

Thankfully, after what felt like an interminable amount of time, but was actually only a few minutes, the equally terrifying and relief-inducing sound of the boat scraping on to dry land rang out—audible even over the wind and waves. Jason maintained a fierce, knuckle-whitening grip on the controls as the boat lurched, more to keep himself steady and to take out his nervousness on the rigid material beneath his fingers than anything—after all, the steering had lost most of its effectiveness the minute he’d switched off the engine. He’d never admit it to the guys, not in a million years, but his heart was in his mouth. These boats were built to be sturdy, designed to carry out exactly this kind of mission, but it wasn’t impossible that a particularly sharp rock or even something manmade that had been left or washed up onto the beach could puncture it.

He released a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding when the boat came to a surprisingly gentle stop on the sand. He let go of the controls and gingerly relaxed his fingers and hands, then flexed them, wincing a little as the muscles, joints and tendons protested. Immediately, he dropped into a defensive crouch and began readying himself to disembark—they weren’t out of the woods yet. Far from it. For all they knew, there could be a hostile force lying in wait for them.

Once he was ready, he turned to the rest of the team, barely able to make out who was who in the darkness. He shuffled closer to ensure they could hear him. “All right, lads, this is it. Stay alert. We might be on dry land now, but it doesn’t mean we’re safe. I have literally no idea what we could be walking into here, so be prepared for anything. Comms check.”

They ran through the necessary, removed their lifejackets and stashed them in a heavy-duty container, and ensured they had all their gear. That done, Jason took the lead and carefully leapt off the boat, knowing the others would be right behind him. The four of them had always had each other’s backs, and that wasn’t about to change now. Especially not when the stakes were so high.

He dropped back into a crouch immediately after landing on the sand, and paused momentarily to flip his night-vision goggles—usable now they were off the ocean and in a more sheltered spot—into place before setting off to find a route off the beach. He turned his head from side to side, examining his surroundings. It was clear this was no sunbather’s beach, not even in the height of summer—such as it was in this part of the world. He reckoned he’d be more likely to bump into a smuggler here than a sunbather or a swimmer. The sand ran right up to the base of some inhospitable cliffs, craggy and steep.

Shit. I knew this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, but I didn’t think we’d fall at the first fucking hurdle. Even smugglers wouldn’t be so daft as to end up here.

About Lucy Felthouse

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight, and The Heiress’s Harem and The Dreadnoughts series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Join her Facebook group for exclusive cover reveals, sneak peeks and more! Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

Fresh Find: Dare to Hope by Madison Michael

When I saw the blurb for Madison Michael’s new book, I just had to host a tour stop. I love a good romance between grownups who’ve done the rounds. The stakes feel higher because they’re older, they’ve been hurt before, and well…even if weddings aren’t my jam, who doesn’t love a good independent and sassy protagonist? 💃🏻

Here’s what you gotta know about Madison Michael’s upcoming novel, Dare to Hope.

Dare to Hope

Double Dare Romance Series (Book 1)
by Madison Michael

♥♥GiveAway♥♥

Maddy is offering a few great prizes.

Please use the Rafflecopter at the end of this post to enter!

You may enter each day for a chance to win so be sure to follow along with us on the New Release Tour.

About Dare to Hope

A bride carries a rose bouquet on the cover of Date to Hope by Madison Michael

She’s Betting on Love and the Stakes are High

The “Crazy Eights,” eight women who have been friends for 30 years, have a powerful connection yet rarely see each other. At a pivotal time in their lives, they create a way to remedy this predicament, an audacious dare contrived to bring them together for weddings – each participant must get married within twelve months. The stakes are high. Win the bet and lose your heart; or lose the bet and perform a personally mortifying task.

In the first of their stories, we meet Eliana, beautiful and brilliant, but starting over, focused on her career, not on some foolhardy dare. Longing for a family but recently divorced and on her own, Eliana sets her sights on a new job, a new home and accepting her single, childless status. Independent and determined, she has no idea that in less than six months she will both win and lose her heart’s desire.

Jeremy Klein, genius engineer and inventor, is also making life changes. He’s sold his startup to a major medical device company, becoming President and CEO, and a billionaire before he is forty. Although he’s gun-shy about the dating game, Jeremy knows it’s time to apply his smarts, sex appeal and new-found success to finding true love.

When Eliana meets Jeremy, they bond quickly. The couple has so much in common and a chemistry that sizzles. Winning Eliana feels like a fantasy come true to Jeremy. Their attraction is immediate and electrifying, and a one-night stand morphs into planning a future. But plans change. On track to wedded bliss, baby and all, Jeremy and Eliana are derailed by accusations that threaten their relationship, Eliana’s career and Jeremy’s future as CEO.

Spies, lies, allegations and misunderstandings abound, threatening to destroy their happiness. That is, until those “Crazy Eights” get involved, scheming and manipulating to win Eliana her happily ever after. Can a group of determined friends help Eliana and Jeremy hold onto love?

In the tradition of The Beguiling Bachelor Series, Madison Michael creates a romance series about independent and sassy women, sexy and successful men, true love, and lasting friendships.

Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance

An Excerpt from Dare to Hope:

His grin was devastating up close – wide and welcoming, with a hint of naughtiness and the promise of shared pleasures. But it was his eyes, deep coffee brown and fringed with long dark lashes that were his best feature; piercing, intelligent and inquisitive eyes, trained on her.

Please, God, Eliana prayed quickly, do not let this man be the new sales manager. It would be lamentable if she had to keep him at arm’s length. He was the first man Eliana had felt drawn to since Nico. If she was honest with herself, he was the first man she had ever felt this attracted to so immediately. It was enough to make her believe in love at first sight or fate.

“Hi,” he stepped closer, ignoring the empty stool beside her to halt just inside her personal space. Usually, Eliana would have reflexively backed up, but she savored his closeness, the power emanating from his presence. Even in this stuffy bar, he smelled good – fresh, like soap and good whiskey. And up close, his eyes were more magical – a hint of gold dancing in their depths.

“Hi,” she responded on a breath, letting the single word hang there for a moment before adding “You aren’t in sales, are you?”

“Nope.” If he thought it was a strange conversation starter, he kept it to himself. “Engineering and design, although I have dabbled in sales. I could be in sales for you,” he offered in a voice smooth as brandy, redolent with sexual promise and a hint of curiosity. She laughed at his offer. “Are you in sales?”

“Yes, I am. I was thinking of what a crime it would be if you turned out to be my new boss. I’m meeting him tomorrow.”

“Jeremy,” he responded, extending his hand to shake hers. “Not in sales. Is your boss named Jeremy?”

“Thankfully, not.” Eliana extended her hand, savoring the moment as Jeremy wrapped his long fingers around hers. She noticed there was no wedding band as she admired the strength and length of his fingers, the fine hairs on the back of his hand, and his grip – warm and dry. His skin was soft over fine bone and healthy muscle. Everything about him captivated her. “Eliana.”

Jeremy seemed in no hurry to release her hand, but after several beats too long for politeness, Eliana pulled hers from his. “Is this seat taken?” he asked, already sitting down, not thinking twice about it. “Or perhaps that table against the wall? I am anxious to learn why you don’t know who you work with, Eliana.”

Eliana laughed and watched as Jeremy’s breath stopped. His every emotion was transparent, especially the desire flaming in his eyes right now. A passion she reciprocated. Wholeheartedly. She couldn’t remember such an instantaneous attraction. But with Jeremy, she felt electricity and lust move through her entire body, just from the touch of his hand and the sound of her name spoken in his rich baritone.

“Eliana,” he rolled the word around his mouth as if tasting a fine wine. “What a lovely name.” Eliana panties dampened. He was just saying words, but their underlying promise was undeniable. She wanted to be alone with him. She wanted to be naked with him. And all she knew was his first name.

Eliana nodded toward the table, questioning her sanity. She was sure about what this man wanted, but after only minutes, her body governed her head. Jeremy spoke briefly with the bartender, passed him a fifty like it was a single, and motioned for her to lead the way to the empty table. Before they had settled in their chairs, both had fresh drinks. Earlier, the bartender had responded to her beauty with decent service and half-hearted flirting, but he reacted with alacrity to the big tip.

“So, spill,” Jeremy directed, leaning forward on his elbows and putting his mouth dangerously close to hers. Just a few inches, Eliana imagined, and they could be kissing. “I am dying to hear your story. I want to know absolutely everything about you.” The way he lingered on the word ‘everything’ made Eliana wetter still. Oh man, she was in way over her head.

Get this book:

About Madison Michael

Madison Michael loves to binge news, movies, books, Oreos and romance – reading romance novels, writing romantic stories, watching Rom-Coms over and over. Maddy has spent her self-isolation fretting about the health of her friends and neighbors and catching up on TV programs from ten years ago. Hunkered down with her cat, Gracie, and a Zoom life-line to the world, she is wondering how people date and social distance, how much junk food she can consume in a day and why Gracie only wants to play when Maddy needs to work.

Oh, and Madison is also hard at work on the rest of the Double Dare Romance series. Watch for more of the series in Autumn and Winter, 2020.

All Caught up on Madison’s Books?

The Beguiling Bachelor Series – Four Successful, Sexy Men meet their matches – and how!

The B&B Billionaire Books – Second Chance at Love stories set in small town America

Standalone Stories – from Sweet Time Travel to Sexy May-September Romance

(available only when you sign up to be an Insider)

Enter the giveaway

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Fresh Find: Faker by Sarah Smith — interview & free stories

Sarah Smith is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet online. I reckon I’ve seen her get everyone’s back, unabashedly vocal and supportive whenever some 280-character ridiculousness takes aim at someone she cares about.

We started chatting a couple years ago, first one one social platform, then another, then another. A few chunky emails later, this disembodied source of text shaped like a half-Filipina has become someone I’m proud to call a friend (even though we haven’t met IRL yet and I’m still not sure where society stands on people being “internet friends”).

Anyway, I’m double proud today, because Sarah’s hot new interracial office romance, Faker, is finally out. While I await my paperback copy arriving in the mail, I thought I’d tell you all about it—or better yet, ask Ms. Smith herself, to do the talking.

Interview with Sarah Smith, author of Faker

Headshot: Sarah Smith, author of Faker

JL: Your debut novel, Faker, has just hit the shelves. Tell us a bit about it. 

SARAH SMITH: Thank you so much for having me! Faker is a multi-cultural romcom about a half-Filipino woman fighting to establish herself in the power tool industry all the while trying to fight her attraction to a coworker. It’s a hate-to-love romance with loads of banter, steam, and slowburn. And a happily ever after, of course. 

JL: Before Faker, you released quite a few titles on your blog and on other platforms. Tell us a bit about them too!

SARAH: I started my romance short story and flashfic blog sarahwritessmut.wordpress.com while I was trying to break into publishing. The stories are steamy romances that explore all those fun romance tropes: office romance, forced proximity, age gap, opposites attract, FWB-to-love. Writing these stories was a fun way to build a readership while developing my writing skills. And it’s also important to me to maintain a platform where I can share my writing for free. Buying books can be expensive and I know not everyone can afford it. Writing a short story or series or flashfic and positing it to my blog periodically is a way I can get my writing to as many people as possible without cost being an issue.

The short stories and flashfic I write are always steamy, there is always an endearing and relatable main character, and there is always a sweet and super hot love interest. And of course, there is always a happy ending.

JL: What themes would you say all your stories have in common? What’s the philosophy that drives what you write?

SARAH: One theme I like to put into my writing is the main character finding strength within herself, in addition to finding love. I think a lot of times people put down romance because they think it’s very one dimensional or sexist, but all of the romance that I love to read–and write–is full of depth and compelling character development. It’s important to me that the main character has built the confidence to stand on her own by the end of the book; she chooses to be with love interest because he’s made himself worthy of her, he’s recognized her as an independent person, and he brings something extra to her life–he doesn’t complete her. Consent and prioritizing female pleasure are also themes I try to drive home.

The philosophy that drives me to write is just that it’s my passion. I like writing more than I like doing just about anything else in the world. I’ll write as long as I’m happy doing it.

JL: What qualities do you like in a love interest, and which of your characters do you reckon comes the closest?

SARAH: Oh good question! First of all, loyalty. A guy who is loyal to you, who will stand up for you when everyone else is against you, be supportive of you, and never question his feelings for you is the absolute hottest thing in the world. Yes, muscles and a sexy smile and all that are fun, but if you don’t have that emotional loyalty, it’s not going to work for me. Also, I adore love interests who are kind. It sounds so simple, but it’s SO DAMN HOT. Like, a guy making you tea in the morning or remembering your favorite condiment when ordering takeout, that stuff. It’s the little things, but they matter so much because they show thoughtfulness.

I have to admit that I wrote Tate, the love interest from Faker, with every intention of making him this fiercely loyal, protective, and kind love interest for the main character Emmie. I loaded up the book with instances of him doing sweet and kind gestures. A lot of them are quiet and unassuming (he’s not really a grand gesture kind of guy), but I hope it makes readers swoon. I don’t want to give anything away to people who haven’t read the book, but a lot of his gestures are food-related and that’s just downright swoonworthy to me!

https://www.instagram.com/p/ByuQLJnAgfY/

JL: What inspired the story in Faker? How did you go about researching some of Emmie’s experiences?

SARAH: A bunch of random stuff inspired Faker. I’m a hate-to-love romance super fan and was reading a ton of that genre at the time. I felt inspired to write my own take on that trope. Also, I worked at a power tool distributor for most of my twenties so it was easy to use that as a work setting. It was the least sexy place imaginable (gravel, dust, and cement everywhere…every male employee looked like my grandpa), but I thought it would be unique. I thought it would in a way serve as a fun juxtaposition to the steamy content. Like, “how can such a sexy romance spring from such an unsexy place? Well, read my book and I’ll show you how.” That sort of idea.

As far as Emmie’s experiences go, I took a lot of that from my own life. She’s half-Filipino and half-white, just like I am. She had moments where she struggled with finding her identity growing up, which I modeled after my own. There are a few hurtful memories from childhood that she talks about when she opens to up Tate, and a lot of that is based on what I went through as a kid. And there’s an instance of work place harassment too, and that was also something I took from my past work experiences as a woman in a male-dominated field.

JL: What did you do before choosing a career as an author? Have you ever had to “fake it” for work?

SARAH: Lots of random writing jobs! My longest job was that content writing job at the power tool distributor. Before that I worked in marketing and public relations, which I hated. I was a freelance copywriter for a while too. I also worked at a newspaper for a while. That also wasn’t my cup of tea.

I have absolutely had to “fake it” for work. You know when your boss asks you to take on extra work, and you have to just smile and nod okay? Or you have to work on a project with a coworker you don’t like? Or someone asks how your day is going and it’s a complete dumpster fire, but you can’t say that because professionalism, so you just say, “Oh you know, it’s going!” I have faked it through all of those scenarios and then some, as I’m sure everyone has!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1zarhwA8WH

JL: What’s the best feedback you’ve had about your work, and what effect did it have on you?

SARAH: A few people have reached out to me after reading Faker to tell me how much it means to see the main character Emmie share their same racial background, and that they can relate to her experience growing up. Seeing minority main characters is a big deal when you’re a minority and you’ve spent your life reading books, but none of the characters look like you or grew up like you did. It means so much–like, so much that it’s hard to put into words right now–that people have told me they can see themselves in a character I’ve written. And it makes me want to keep writing characters that will make these readers feel seen and represented.

JL: Given what the world is like these days, has anything you’ve written given you pause? Why did you decide to write it anyway?

SARAH: A bit. I think when you’re writing minority characters, even from a minority POV, people can be really critical of how you represent that experience. Sometimes people don’t agree with the way you depict it or they think you could have done a better job of it. I’m Filipino and white, so I’m constantly second-guessing myself, always wondering if I’m being enough of both or too much of either. It can cause a lot of stress for me honestly.

But I’ve finally realized that my writing comes from my experience, and my experience–no matter what it is–is valid, just like everyone else’s. If people don’t like it or don’t enjoy reading about it, that’s okay. They don’t have to. But I decided a while ago that I’m going to write what’s true to me, and that’s the best I can do.

JL: Do you have any parting words for readers?

SARAH: Yes! If you feel so inclined, please read FakerIf free stories are more your thing, check out my blog sarahwritessmut.wordpress.com. Also, thank you! It means so much that anyone would even want to read my words!

Cover of Faker by Sarah Smith: Next to a yellow construction hat, a Filipina heroine sneaks a peek from under a blue blanket

Faker by Sarah Smith, published by Berkley, is available pretty much everywhere you can get a good book 🐛

You can also find this author at:

Fresh Find: Star Brides Procured by Pia Manning — interview & giveaway

Pia Manning is an author I like very much. She has a seasoned perspective and incisive way with words. Her latest Siren romance came out this year, but I wanted you to experience the Pia Manning universe the same way I did, from her very first book.

Pia has kindly donated to the giveaway prize bundle her debut novel and first in the Star Brides series, Star Brides: Procured. This is still my favourite of hers so far, because the elements of culture woven into her heroine’s experience of leaving Earth gently stroked my first-generation migrant nerves.

But enough about me, here’s what you wanna know about Pia and her lovely book…

A good looking couple kiss on the cover of "Star Brides: Procured" by Pia Manning

JL: Tell us a bit about yourself.

PIA MANNING: I always find this the hardest question to answer. I love making a connection with my readers, but I don’t want to bore anyone. So, I live in the deep, dark woods of NE Wisconsin with my spousal unit, one spoiled dog and three rotten cats. I find I love the solitude and privacy living in the middle of nowhere affords, although it can be damned inconvenient at times. I began writing for real after a number of medical issues forced my withdrawal from the workforce. At the time, I viewed the diagnoses with a jaundiced eye. It wasn’t until later that I realized what a gift I’d truly been handed. Now, I get to do what I love every day.

JL: Tell us a bit about the book in the giveaway, Star Brides: Procured. What inspired it? What kind of world should readers expect?

PIA: Anis Warner is one of my favorite characters. She’s focused, determined, disciplined… Aaand then along comes Commander Dachar of the starship Talat… Procured is, if anything, about moving forward in the face of life’s unexpected transitions. We follow Anis as she struggles to assert herself in an ever-changing alien environment.

A good looking throuple get hands on, on the cover of "Star Brides: The Meat Market", a menage romance by Pia Manning

When I wrote Procured I was recovering from surgery and learning what that meant for my life. Like Anis, I needed to adapt to the boundaries that now framed my new normal. Developing Anis’s story helped me to realize how lucky I am.

JL: I love the way you characterise Anis as she gets to know Darchar’s culture. How important have you found culture to be in the way couples relate to each other?

PIA: Culture establishes expectations and points of reference for us all. When  one half of a couple is thrust into a situation where cultural boundaries have changed and nothing feels familiar, all kinds of chaos can result. Sometimes those misunderstandings are funny, other times limiting and hurtful. There is a lot of negotiating and navigating necessary before they reach their happily every after!

JL: What kinds of things do you feel strongly about that you commit to including in your writing?

PIA: Portraying the unrecognized resilience and intelligence of women from different societies is a stream (Ok, maybe more like the Mississippi or Amazon Rivers) that flows through my books. Women have voices that should never be silenced. My women have no patience with culturally imposed limitations or stereotypes. Anis is a woman who knows what she wants. Is she frustrated at times? Yep. Does she make mistakes along the way? Definitely. But, she always strives to move forward despite every obstacle the Apochian world places before her.

5. So, Star Brides: Procured is the first book in a series. What are the other books like?

PIA: The other two books in the Star Brides universe, ‘The Meat Market’ and ‘Dept. of Corrections,’ explore what happens to society when women are mistreated and marginalized. In other words Karma is a… well, you know.

Both books are also about second chances and redemption. In ‘Meat Market’ our Zuntx warriors return to find their planet in shambles. They and their newly acquired woman, Tamsin, start over on the frontier of a newly colonized planet. The trio are now forced to work together to survive. Before joining her warriors, Tamsin had worked as a very underappreciated and underpaid server. On their new world, Tamsin finds her voice. And the boys find it in their best interest to listen!

A group of good looking people regard their situation on the cover on "Star Brides: Dept. of Corrections", a poly amour erotic romance by Pia Manning

In ‘D of C’ Kadir (you’ll meet him in ‘Procured’) returns to Zuntx with former inmate, Janine. Sentenced to a length prison sentence for a crime she absolutely did commit, Janine is in need of a second chance at redemption. Kadir and his warriors are not ready to give up on their home. Together, they dig in to make their menage relationship work and change some things along the way.

JL: What sort of stuff do you like to read?

PIA: My guilty pleasure shelves include erotic romances, murder mysteries- with or without a touch of paranormal, surviving the apocalypse stories, scifi/fantasy and paranomal/horror stuff.

JL: Any parting words for readers?

PIA: Go forth and read! Or write as the mood takes you. Explore, make your mistakes. Just don’t stop moving forward in some way!

Enter the giveaway!

Two lucky winners will receive an ebook copy of Star Brides: Procured by Pia Manning in the It Starts With A Kiss giveaway, along with more awesome fresh reads by Skye McDonaldCrystal L. KirkhamA.R. Vagnetti and Sophia LeRoux.

Also in the prize bundle are lovely handmade goods by local Aussie crafters Renée BotmanHandmade Gems and More Sundays Please, plus a signed paperback copy of my latest book, It Starts With A Kiss.

Check out the giveaway post for details on how to enter. This is an international giveaway, closing when it’s no longer 29th September 2019 anywhere in the world.

Fresh Find: Handmade Gems

An assistant, a crafter, an essential oils boffin and a mum, Handmade Gems creator Gemma Sismey must surely be a time wizard to fit all of these things into her day.

But no, she tells me. She’s just got a knack for planning and an insatiable love for her passion projects. Her lovely handmade work is included in the giveaway prize bundle. Read on to learn more about this clever lady and her craft.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Btn4XkPF0kE

JL: Tell me a bit about yourself and what led to the creation of Handmade Gems.

GEMMA SISMEY: I have always done arty and crafty things, at school, college and uni, whilst it isn’t (yet) my full time job, that’s the dream. I have a very busy desk job for my 9–5, so I guess I feel the pull to do something creative with my spare time. When I became a mum it gave me something to do that was mine during the few nap times there were. I also loved the idea of my son wearing things I’d made and a hand made gift for others always means so much more.

JL: Where do you get inspiration from?

GEMMA: Whilst I try to cater what I make to appeal to as wide a range of people as I can, I love very natural and classic looks, a bit of old English country style which is a product of my Dorset upbringing no doubt! I love florals, wood, animals and nature prints. I’m an avid pinterester and use my train journeys to check out new ideas.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BznegFuFXfW

JL: What does a typical day in your creative life look like?

GEMMA: I’m a natural over organiser and planner (hence the day job of being an assistant) but it means I spend a lot of time thinking through what I want to make, what the end product would look like, etc.—likely also because I don’t get a lot of time to myself, I have to get right to business when I do!

JL: Tell us a bit about your obsession with essential oils. And what does your home smell like right this second?

GEMMA: I first came across essential oils about three years ago. I wasn’t in the best place emotionally following the birth of our son and a good friend introduced me 😊 I have grown my collection over the years and now myself and my family use them daily to support our general well-being. I literally couldn’t be without them now!

My favourites for diffusing during the day are citrus oils as they are very uplifting, wild orange, tangerine. Otherwise lavender and vetiver at night to help us sleep.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzZK1sUl16X/

JL: What’s your all-time favourite love story?

GEMMA: I absolutely love the classics. Pride and Prejudice and The Importance of Being Ernest are my faves… Does Dirty Dancing also count?

(I reckon it does.)

Enter the giveaway!

Two lucky giveaway winners will receive a Handmade Gems zipper pouch, along with a bumper prize bundle with wares by Renée Botman and More Sundays Please, fresh and awesome Kyanite reads, amazing romances by Skye McDonald and Pia Manning, plus a signed paperback copy of my latest romance, It Starts With A Kiss.

Check out the giveaway post for details on how to enter. This is an international giveaway. Entries close 29th September 2019.

Enter the giveaway for "It Starts With A Kiss"

Fresh Find: Forgotten Storm by A.R. Vagnetti — interview & giveaway

My relationship with paranormal romance is long and strange. I think it’s because I liked it so much in my teens, that it feels like a chain that tethers me to a tumultuous time in my life.

Well, now in my late thirties, I’ve decided to just embrace it. And Forgotten Storm, by fellow Kyanite author A.R. Vagnetti, seems like the right place to start.

JL: Tell us a bit about yourself and your latest book, Forgotten Storm.

A.R. VAGNETTI: I’ve always been an avid reader, especially in the romance genre. As a teenager, I devoured second, sometimes third hand, Harlequin romances from my family, and then when I started buying my own, I graduated to romantic suspense, loving the intensity. Until I found my passion; paranormal romance. I wrote my first novel in my twenties. It was a romantic suspense. It was so horrible. LOL I threw it in the back of the closet and walked away from writing for a very long time.

It wasn’t until about 3 years ago; I picked up the proverbial pen and wrote Forgotten Storm. The first book in the Storm Series, Forgotten Storm, is about Nicole Giordano. A young woman who struggles to overcome an abusive past until the exotic man from her dreams appears on her doorstep and forces her to battle her fears, accept a destiny foretold in an ancient prophesy, and trust him with her heart, but facing her malevolent father isn’t Nicole’s greatest challenge; suppressing her dark desires for Logan could shatter her one chance with the vampire who claimed her soul.

JL: Where did the idea for the story come from? What elements did you draw from real life?

A.R.: I wanted to write a story that had all the elements of a paranormal romance, but I also needed it to convey a deeper meaning. How to let go of whatever crap life has thrown at you and take a risk; to trust.

Trust is something I’ve struggled to deal with since I was 12 years old because it was stolen from me. Forgotten Storm is about a courages woman who never gave up, continued to fight and deal with her issues in whatever way she could; combat, pain, coffee. LOL. But most importantly, Nicole learns to take the leap of faith and trust a vampire with her battered and bruised heart. I relate to Nicole, and I’ve always maintained she is me times 10. She’s everything I’ve been and hope to become.

JL: What were the easiest and the hardest parts about writing Forgotten Storm?

A.R.: I guess I would have to say the easiest parts were the times I was “in the zone” and the words just flowed like a waterfall. A whole day would pass before I would finally come up for air. Those were the times I enjoyed the most. The hardest parts, besides the dreaded marketing, were capturing Nicole’s most vulnerable moments. The way she uses sarcasm to keep people at arms length, the paralyzing fear of emotions, hers and others.

But I think the most difficult scenes were when she remembered her past. Those were powerful and heartbreaking. I remember at one point, tears streaming down my checks as my fingers flew across the keyboard. After, I was so drained, I just sat there in my office staring at nothing for long moments.

JL: They say one of the great things about fiction is that it gives us a safe space to figure out how we might deal with the things we encounter in everyday life. What are your thoughts on the role of romance fiction in this context?

A.R.: The great thing about romance fiction is in every book you get a little education on what not to do in a relationship. *smirk* You learn that communication is key and burying your head in the sand, overreacting, or jumping to conclusions only escalates the problem. I think most romance novels touch on these elements. Relationships would probably run a lot smoother if more men read romance. Hahaha

JL: Is there much similarity between what you like to read and what you like to write? What are some of your favourite books that have influenced your style?

A.R.: Oh absolutely! Paranormal Romance is my go-to genre to read. The very first one I read was “Dark Lover” by J.R. Ward. It was the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series and I fell in love with vampires. After that is was Kresley Cole’s Immortal’s After Dark Series. I must confess, I did read the Twilight books and there were numerous things I loved about them and several things I hated. (No fangs and sparkles to name a couple), and last, but certainly not least, since it’s one of my favorite non-vampire paranormal romances is Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson Series. (Little secret, I’ve read the series twice.)

JL: Finally, what’s your all-time favourite love story, and why?

A.R.: Funnily enough, my favorite love story isn’t even a paranormal romance. LOL Hands down, it’s The Stark Trilogy by J. Kenner. The intense passion between Damian and Nikki captivates you from the very beginning. The personal demons they must overcome reminds me of Nicole and Logan in Forgotten Storm.

Green eyes look through a storm, while a woman faces it, holding a gun and katana, on the cover of "Forgotten Storm" by A.R. Vagnetti

Enter the giveaway!

Two lucky winners will receive an ebook copy of Forgotten Storm by A.R. Vagnetti in the It Starts With A Kiss giveaway, along with Feathers and Fae by Crystal L. Kirkham,  Skye McDonald’s Not Suitable For Work, more fresh romance reads, handcrafted goodies from local Australian artists like Renée Botman and More Sundays Please, plus a signed paperback copy of my latest book, It Starts With A Kiss.

Check out the giveaway post for details on how to enter. This is an international giveaway, closing 29th September 2019.