Friday Featured Artist: Mya O’Malley


Today’s spotlight is on Mya O’Malley and her contemporary romance, At First Sight.

Rating: G — a sweet, clean romance.

At First SightBlurb:

Modern love can be a headache.  Just ask Annie Morgan, who, recently divorced, finds herself in the middle of the proverbial online dating jungle.  Making a deal with her best friend, Annie agrees to go out on exactly five online dates out of seventy-six potential suitors.

Shane Nicholls was jaded, he had his heart broken and never got over the hurt. Now, convinced that all women are trouble, he avoids drama at any cost.  Funny thing is, drama seems to find Shane around every corner.

Can Annie, a romantic at heart, find love online or will she find love at first sight the old-fashioned way, by awkward, chance meetings with Shane Nicholls? Through a number of obstacles and heartache, Annie and Shane find that love at first sight really does exist if you truly believe.

Excerpt:

Johnny’s was packed. Standing on line to place her order, Annie took in her surroundings. Just as the owner, Johnny, was coming over to take her order, something caught Annie’s eye. The guy near the window, he seemed familiar somehow. Where had she seen him before? He was eating dinner with a pretty brunette. He lifted his head to look at Annie as their eyes locked. On no! It was the guy from the mall, the one she bumped into. She quickly spun around, knocking right into the waitress who was carrying a tray of soft drinks.

Soda soaked her shirt and dripped onto the floor. The waitress was clearly annoyed and appeared like she would have loved to tell Annie off. Instead she rolled her eyes and ran to get a towel. If Annie thought she was embarrassed before, it was nothing compared to how she felt now. Every eye in the place was on her, including the guy from the mall. Helpless to do anything else, she grabbed some napkins and bent down to sop up some of the mess.

“It seems you have a knack for causing a scene everywhere you go.” It was his voice. The voice that filled her head with inappropriate thoughts, with longing. What was she thinking? Did she dare look up? His gaze was a magnet, forcing her to meet his eyes.

His eyes were a warmer brown than she had remembered, drawing her in.

“I…uh…”

“I’m joking. Here, let me help you with that.” He grabbed the napkins from her hand. The heat between them jolted her back. She moved quickly, surprised he could evoke such a reaction from her. Nobody had ever made her feel so exposed before. What was going on here? Annie felt foolish.

“I’m Shane. Shane Nicholls.” He extended his hand to her. They must have appeared to be quite the sight, bending over to clean up the mess while shaking hands.

“Annie.” Annie remembered her new rules of safety in the dating world. One of them was she would not reveal her last name or any other personal information until she was sure the guy wasn’t a stalker or anything.

“Annie. It suits you, I like it.” Annie had almost forgot about the woman waiting for Shane at the table near the window. She glanced over and took in a tight-lipped woman. It hit Annie that this woman was not the same stunning woman from the mall. Hmm, she had met his type before. This guy had “player” written all over him. She quickly brushed herself off and excused herself.

“Hey, Annie. Wait.” He reached for her hand. Annie forgot all about placing her order and made a beeline for the door. She didn’t look back. Well, Annie figured, it looked like it would be Chinese food tonight.

Available through:

Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B00MF3EB8C

BN:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/at-first-sight-mya-omalley/1120057000?ean=2940149622764

KOBO: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/at-first-sight-17

Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Mya+O%27Malley+At+First+Sight

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/at-first-sight/id906502664?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo=4

Meet the author: Mya O'Malley

 Mya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and three step-daughters.  The family also consists of two boxers; Destiny and Dolce and a  ragdoll cat named Colby.  Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy.   She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.

Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child.   Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on.  She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters.   Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica.   Mya is currently working on her fifth novel.

How to reach Mya:

Website:  www.myaomalley.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/myaomalley

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/@MyaOMalley

Blog- myaomalley.blogspot.com

Pinterest- Mya O’Malley-  www.pinterest.com/myaomalley

Tumblr- myamalley.tumblr.com

email- www.myaobooks@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday Featured Artist: Christina McKnight

Today’s spotlight is on Christina McKnight’s historical romance, Shunned No More, book one of the Lady Forsaken series. Book two, Forgotten no more, will be released Nov. 20th.

Rating: PG 13 — clean historical romance

SNM_667x1000Blurb:

A Lady Shunned by All…

Lady Viola Oberbrook only wanted to forget the ill-fated early morning duel that took the lives of two young, wealthy, promising men of the ton and sent her fleeing for her father’s country estate. Eight years later, she has her life in order: a fulfilling business, a few trusted friends, and no plans to return to London society. What she doesn’t expect is to come face to face with her past.

 

A Lord Betrayed by One…

Brock Spencer, Earl of Haversham, only wants vengeance. Recently returned from his military service to the King, his plans include repairing his family estate, finding a bride, and destroying the girl responsible for the untimely death of his twin brothers. What he doesn’t anticipate is falling in love with the only woman who should never be part of his future.

An Impossible Match, Destined to Be…

Excerpt:

Hyde Park

April 1806

8 years ago…

Viola clutched the handle of her pink parasol to her chest tightly in anticipation of the spectacle to come. Her gaze fixed on the two figures shrouded in the early morning fog of Hyde Park. The men, really only boys, began to count as they paced away from each other. Shiny, pearl-handled pistols positioned in their right hands were at the ready.

She clamped her lips tight to suppress the giggle that threatened to escape.

Who would have thought that she, Lady Viola Oberbrook, would have two men seeking her hand in marriage…and in the first week of her very first season, no less? That they were the twin sons of Lord Haversham was an even greater coup de grǎce for her. She’d be the envy of every debutante. The talk of the town. As well she should be! Her father was the Duke of Liperton, after all.

If only she’d found a way to get all of London here to witness the duel. She’d done what she could by leaving word with Mrs. Tenchard. The old gossipmonger was sure to spread the word more quickly than Vi could spend her monthly allowance at the milliner’s shop.

And Vi prided herself on her ability to spend her father’s money.

“Miss Viola, beg’n yer pardon, but it be wise to don ye wool kid gloves,” her lady’s maid, Sarah, whispered beside her.

“Shhhh,” Vi hissed in return, raising her hand for Sarah to hold her tongue. She didn’t want to miss a single moment of what was to come. She would remember this for the rest of her existence. The day two men of the haute ton battled in her honor. She sighed.

The twins—Cody, with his hair cut longer than the current fashion permitted, and sporting a determined glint in his eye, and Winston, with his smartly trimmed blond hair falling respectfully above his collar—reached the required twenty-pace distance and turned.

Their pistols fired in unison. Vi’s heart soared. Her first duel…and certainly not her last, if she had anything to say in the matter.

The swift morning breeze pushed the smoke from the scene as both men dropped to the ground, soggy with morning dew. Shouts of urgency rang out in the air. Men rushed in to assist the twins.

A cold chill inched up her spine; her breath caught in her lungs.

Neither man moved.

A sharp inhale of breath sounded next to her, but Vi was hesitant to remove her attention from the scene as the pungent smell of a spent firearm reached her.

“Call Doc Durpentire. Post haste!” bellowed Mr. Rodney Swiftenberg. As a distant relative of the Havershams’, Swiftenberg stood as Cody’s second during the duel. Others, vaguely familiar, knelt over both fallen men.

The gossip rags would have much to write about this day. Vi could hardly wait to see her name in print. Maybe her father would increase her dowry, seeing as she would be in high demand by the day’s end.

“Miss,” Sarah called. “I think it best we be head’n home. Ye Pa is going to be right mad when he finds you snuck out and now these poor men be lying dead at ye very feet.”

“Surely you jest. They are simply play acting for dramatics…in my honor, I do suppose.” Viola eyed the two groups of men where they stood, their heads shaking in turn. One took his coat off and laid it gently over Cody’s still body. Vi’s glare snapped to Winston, where another man shook out a horse blanket. The thick, coarse material drifted on the morning breeze and settled on the second body.

She studied the scene in front of her. It had the potential to be ever so romantic. A story she would regale her grandchildren with. It was a shame neither twin was the first born and, therefore, unworthy of her hand. But she’d seen no reason to inform them of this minor issue and spoil her fun. They’d find out soon enough.

Slowly, the eyes of every person present settled on her. She took a step back at the harshness of their stares. Her chilled hand rose to cover her mouth. She wanted to tell them to avert their eyes; she was the daughter of a Duke. They need show the respect due her. None of these men held a title higher than Baron. How dare they look at her thus?

A tall, slender man carrying a large cloth bag rushed to Winston. She assumed this was Doc Durpentire. He would have both men patched up in no time. But with both Cody and Winston taking a bullet, their feud would not be resolved. Viola imagined what the pair would think up next to prove one deserved her hand over the other. Perhaps a curricle race through Mayfair District. She knew she would be able to convince Cody to let her ride along on the adventure. She could practically feel the wind against her face as the carriage took the corners at a high speed, shifting across the seat so that her soft body might come to rest against Cody’s hard one.

Imagine what the silly, empty-brained young females would think. They’d envy her further. An unbidden smile played across her lips.

The doctor drew the heavy blanket aside and his hands moved over Winston’s body. Then, they stilled. His head dropped forward. He spoke to the men around him, but Vi was too far to hear their conversation.

Rodney, hands shoved deep in his pockets, moved in her direction.

“Whatever is the matter with them?” she asked when he was close enough to hear.

“I think you should go, Lady Viola. This is not a scene any innocent maiden should witness,” Rodney replied. His blond hair was so much like Cody and Winston’s, but his attitude had always struck her as arrogant for a man with no title or wealth to speak of.

“Who are you to order me about?” Viola closed her parasol with a swift click and handed it to Sarah, her hands coming to rest on her rounded hips.

“It is not the time for this. My cousins…they are both dead.” Rodney paused. “I must alert my uncle to his misfortune.”

“You are mistaken.”

“I assure you, no mistakes have been made this day.” He abruptly turned, stalking back to the crowd gathering between the fallen men.

He must be jesting, Viola thought. She looked between the fallen pair again, their motionless bodies so at odds with the twins she’d come to know in recent days. The heat of exhilaration drained from her as a hand settled at her elbow. Viola felt the calloused fingertips through her thin morning cloak.

“We should be going, Miss.”

Vi shook Sarah’s imploring touch from her arm and tried to focus her gaze on something—anything—other than the lifeless men on the ground.

“Well,” Viola stated. “This was…” Dread clawed at her insides, and her spirit shattered as she stared at the two men lying prone and unmoving before her. “…unexpected.” Her entire life had been leading up to this moment—a life of societal demands and the rigors one had to follow to be accepted. A life that had just stopped, as quickly as those of the two men who now lay dead. Dead. She had murdered these men—the realization came at her all at once, even as her mind rebelled. Cody and Winston, the silly twins who had entertained her so, were no more. Yet, she continued to breathe. With each breath, standing in the chill of early morning in Hyde Park, she felt the obligations of her station, its standards and protocols too powerful for a seventeen-year-old girl to overcome.

She glanced around her for help, for someone to tell her what to do, but all focus was on the boys on the ground. Years of being taught how to behave hadn’t prepared her for anything like this.

“Miss, what should we do?”

“I suppose we should…” She cleared her throat. “I suppose it is time to start over.” She sensed, somehow, that starting over might be impossible.

“Start over, Miss?” Her maid’s dark brow pulled low over her eyes.

Viola straightened her already impeccably postured back and forced her prized smile before continuing. “To find another suitor, you silly girl! This time, I intend to set my sights a bit higher.” She spun on her heels, determined not to stumble, to not falter before so many. She started back towards her carriage, moving through the men without meeting anyone’s eye,  feeling the weight of their stares as she passed. It didn’t matter. She had the evening’s entertainments to prepare for and an image to uphold—no matter the cost to her soul.

Available through:

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/Sfx3QP

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/SQQ1xH

Amazon (paperback) – http://amzn.to/1jtW6Wg

B&N – http://bit.ly/1gB31ST

Createspace – http://bit.ly/1lRrdgd

Smashwords – http://bit.ly/1k1okhb

Meet the author:  Author Pic

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since. Currently, she focuses on Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance.

 

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

How to reach Christina:

Twitter: @CMcKnightWriter

Website: www.christinamcknight.com

Facebook author page: ChristinaMcKnightWriter

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16099744-shunned-no-more-a-lady-forsaken


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Friday Featured Artist: Debra Holt

Today’s spotlight is on  Debra Holt and her contemporary western romance, Under Texas Blue Skies.

Rating: PG for some kissing

AC_UnderTexasBlueSkies_500x750Blurb:

J.D. Sterling, country music’s sexy superstar, has come home again.  He has achieved his wildest dreams and did what he set out to do when he shook the dirt of the small Texas town from his boot heels a dozen years before. Now, he’s returned for the final piece of the puzzle to completing his life….the girl who holds his heart.  Mandy.

Amanda Lawson has grown up.  From sheer heartbreak to struggling to survive to becoming a shrewd businesswoman, she has taught herself to never look back.  She survived once before the wild, green-eyed cowboy with only a guitar to his name and a pocketful of dreams.  He took her heart and so much more when he left her behind with his hollow vows.

Mandy was his muse…J.D. was her dream.  Despite tragedy, can they find their way home to each other again?

Excerpt:

J.D. Sterling’s heartbeats were thumping loud as a bass drum at the sight of the red sedan as it pulled into the circular driveway, stopping just behind the other realtor’s Hummer. He had purposely seated himself in a corner of the wide porch, away from the glare of the noonday sun, where climbing vines and shade would enable him to be concealed from the woman’s line of sight. He didn’t want her to know he was there, at least not right away. J.D. needed to see her first, to get his feet under him. At least, that’s the excuse he’d given himself. For someone who always planted his feet solidly in the middle of any situation, this was one time the spotlight was not what he sought. His pulses were racing as he saw the driver’s door swing open, and two slender ankles encased in gray high heels became visible as they touched the ground.

The woman stood up, one hand pushed her sunglasses further up on the bridge of her nose, and then she closed the car door behind her. She slung the straps of her leather bag over her shoulder and moved around the hood of the car, her heels making soft crunching sounds on the pea gravel along the drive. In the early afternoon stillness of the ranch, those sounds seemed to be amplified.

The eyes in the shadows drank in the features of the woman as she moved toward the house. Nowhere in sight was the country girl he had last seen. The vision that approached was confident in her stride, her head up and shoulders resolute. The girl he used to know was just short of being painfully shy and always hesitant to stand out of any crowd. Sunglasses concealed her eyes from view so he couldn’t see if they were still the amazingly vivid blue he remembered and had even immortalized in song once. They had filled his dreams on many a night and gotten him through some really hard times. It was those eyes he would see when he closed his own as he sang across the bright lights into the dark recesses of some huge arena, packed with screaming fans and loud music. He would sing to the girl in his dreams… the one he had left behind but never left out of his heart.

“Hello, Mandy,” he spoke softly from the shadows.

Amanda’s head swung in its direction. Her eyes sought to focus on the tall figure that stepped from darkness into light. She went to take a quick breath but found she couldn’t. In fact, for some reason, the light was receding, and the darkness was swallowing them all up.

 Available through:

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/UBdP9B

B & N:  http://bit.ly/1pJomHU

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/Xl4MuW

Meet the author: 20131024-DebbieHolt-94-Edit

Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers.  Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most.  She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and owning a wedding planning business (ah, romance!).

Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!)  When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure.  She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances,  is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs… to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

The Seymour Agency represents Debra and she is soon to have two contemporary romances published by Spencer Hill/Tulip Romance and Astraea Press.

How to reach Debra:

Website: www.debraholtbooks.com

Email: debraholtbooks@gmail.com.

 

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Friday Featured Artist: Rachel Jones

Please welcome Rachel Jones as she shares her modern day romance, and debut novel To Dance One More Day.

Rating: PG 13 for some steamy kissing

ToDanceOneMoreDay-RachelJones_(2)Blurb:

At age thirty-two, Jillian Russell has endured a life time of heartache. Alone in the world, she has also suffered the loss of her dance career. Redirecting her life, she opens the North Carolina Ballet Company. Intent on making it the go-to company for serious performers, she shuts down her personal life while she struggles to build her company into the success she envisions.

As far back as he can remember, trauma surgeon, Alan Armstrong has had a penchant for fixing things. Since his father’s death, the ambition to open a community clinic in a rural area on the eastern coast has directed his actions. Hopeful to prevent future deaths due to lack of medical care, he has made the clinic his top priority.

When Alan’s life intersects with Jillian’s, the connection they both feel is undeniable. As a new board member to her ballet company, Alan is eager to help solve the financial damage of lost federal funding. But he doesn’t stop there. He wants to help her build new relationships to chase the loneliness from her life. As they grow closer, secrets from their pasts cause them to be pulled apart. Will they be able to overcome their pasts to have a future together?

Excerpt:

Jillian turned around and as she moved toward him, she tripped over a shoe left behind by someone. She lost her balance and with amazing timing, Alan broke her fall as he caught her by the shoulders. The heat from his hands spread through her body.

Pulling her upright, his hands lingered as he asked, “Are you okay? Your head almost collided with the edge of the bench and it wouldn’t have been pretty.”

Her breath caught in her chest. “Well, I guess my secret is out.” She giggled to hide her embarrassment. “I’m a klutz, except of course, when I’m dancing.”

“So, Ms. Klutz, are you sure you’re all right?” He guided her to sit on the bench. “You didn’t twist your ankle?”

His eyes pierced through her. She was not used to being so closely scrutinized and she felt she was losing control of the situation. One more flash of those dimples and she might cave.

“No, my ankle is fine. I’m good. So you said there was something you wanted to mention.” He must think I’m a klutz, first the water on his pants and now tripping over my feet. Looking up, she saw his eyes remained fixed on her.

“Are you sure you can’t skip rehearsal and go to dinner with me?” He removed his hands from her shoulders and reclaimed his seat.

“Somehow I think it would send the wrong message about professional obligations if I decided to cut rehearsal tonight.”

His head bobbed slowly up and down. He sighed. “Well, we can’t have that. So if you won’t lower your professional standards and go to dinner, I was wondering if you’d allow me to escort you to David and Ann’s wedding on Saturday.”

The question took her by surprise, but what a wonderful surprise! She sat without moving, her stillness rendering a statuesque appearance. The silence continued.

“It’s not a hard question. Just give a yes or no.”

Butterflies circled in her stomach. Her heart rate galloped and a seed of panic threatened to shut down her voice. On the one hand she wanted to go with him. On the other, she knew she shouldn’t.

Alan snapped his fingers in her direction. “Jillian — hello? Where’d you go?”

She focused her eyes on his handsome face. “Um, I’m sorry. My mind ran off on a little tangent about what dress I would wear. I’d love to go to the wedding with you.” She flashed a big smile and wondered how she could do such a horrible thing to him.

Available through:

http://www.amazon.com/Dance-One-More-Day-ebook/dp/B00L2EASUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404154763&sr=1-1&keywords=to+dance+one+more+day

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-dance-one-more-day-rachel-jones/1119742718?ean=2940149747580

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/449309

 

http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=to+dance+one+more+day

Meet the author:    IMG_0625_(1)

In 1977 Rachel earned her BA in Music Education and taught music for ten years. After the birth of her second child, she returned to school and in 1991 earned her AD in Nursing and passed the state boards for registered nurses. She has been a labor & delivery and antepartum nurse since that time.

Anticipating her retirement from healthcare, Rachel decided to write her first novel at age fifty-seven. For years she had experienced scenes of heroes and heroines rambling about in her thoughts and spilling into her dreams. So it was a no-brainer that she should attempt to capture these thoughts on paper.

Rachel resides in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband of thirty-seven years. She has three adult children, who help spoil their Labrador retriever. She is a member of Georgia Romance Writers, Southeastern Writers Association and is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America.

How to reach Rachel:

www.FaceBook.com/RachelJonesAuthor

 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8336834.Rachel_Jones

 

https://twitter.com/rellenj1

 

http://www.pinterest.com/rjoneswriter/

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Friday Featured Artist: Kay Harborne

Today’s spotlight is on Kay Harborne and her modern day romance Never Say Forever.

Rating: PG — some serious kissing.

AC_NeverSayForever_500x750Blurb:

Do you follow your dream or follow your heart?

That’s the decision Kendall McKenzie has to make when she meets hunky businessman Jake Newman. It’s obvious that he’s as attracted to her as she is to him. But Kendall has vowed to never get married – and it seems that Jake, too, is determined to never commit. When the two are together however sparks fly and it’s obvious to everyone except themselves that they’re meant to be together. Can Kendall trust Jake enough to give him her heart? And if she does will she have to say goodbye to her dream?

 

Excerpt:

He turned and saw an open door leading into the kitchen where Kendall, her back towards him, was unplugging the kettle. She was wearing a neat, grey, pinstriped suit, the jacket tapering in at the waist and the skirt finishing just above the knee, with enough of a slit to reveal her very shapely legs.

She turned around and smiled at him, and his heart missed a beat. She was incredibly pretty and fresh, even at this early hour. Her glowing hair was loosely tied back from her face, which was bare of make–‐‑up apart from a touch of lipstick, and her eyes were bright and sparkling, as if she’d had a restful night’s sleep.

“OK, I’m ready now. I’ve just got to get my suitcase out of the bedroom.”

Here was where he was supposed to tell her that she was staying at the Birmingham office, that he didn’t need her in Spain, after all. But the words wouldn’t come. He might not need her in Spain with him, but he definitely wanted her there.

“Ouch!” Kendall’s cry of pain interrupted his thoughts. He dashed down the hall and saw her bending down, rubbing the back of her leg, the suitcase on the floor behind her.

“Are you all right?” he asked, worried. His eyes rested on the hole in her tights and the bruise already forming. “That looks nasty,” he said sympathetically.

She flushed. “The case was heavier than I thought. I stumbled and caught the back of my leg with it. I’ll be fine. I just need to change my tights.”

“I’ll wait in the car for you.” He effortlessly picked up the heavy suitcase. “And we’re all right for a few minutes if you want to put some ice on that bruise.” Without waiting for an answer, he carried the suitcase out the front door.

Maybe he was the one who needed the ice, he thought, as he took the case down to the car. The sight of Kendall’s bare skin peeping through the hole in her tights and hint of cleavage as she’d bent down to rub her leg had certainly made his temperature rise.

Don’t even think about it, he warned himself as he pressed the remote to open the car boot. This was a business trip, and he had to keep it that way. He never mixed business with pleasure and he wasn’t about to start now. Not even with Kendall McKenzie.

Especially not with Kendall McKenzie.

****

It was only as she walked into the car park at the back of the flats that Kendall realised she didn’t know what sort of car Jake drove, but the sleek, midnight–‐‑blue sedan just had to be his. She was a bit taken aback when he got out, walked around,

and opened the passenger door for her. Not many guys did that nowadays.

“Thank you,” she said as she slid onto the leather seat.

“My pleasure.” There was a hint of teasing in his reply, as if he knew he’d surprised her.

“Love the car,” she said as he got in beside her.

He flashed her a smile. “I quite like it too.”

“It might have been better if you’d got someone to drop us off at the airport so they could take the car back,” she suggested. “I wouldn’t risk leaving a car like this parked at the airport.”

ʺI’m not. I’ve left a spare set of keys with my chauffeur. He’ll pick it up later this morning then drive it home for me. It didn’t seem fair to drag him out of bed this early.”

He’s a nice guy, Kendall thought, kind and considerate yet rich and successful. In her experience, the qualities didnʹt always mix.

As they drove along, she was acutely aware of his presence beside her, of his strong hands holding the wheel casually but firmly, of his left hand reaching down to change gears effortlessly and smoothly, just a few centimetres from her knee.

“How long did you teach in Thailand?” he asked her. “I spent a bit of time over there myself a couple of years ago. It’s a beautiful country.”

“I was there for a year.” She was glad of the diversion. “I taught in a school in Chiang Mai.”

For the rest of the journey they spoke about Thailand and some of the other countries they had both visited, and she realised that he was actually very easy to talk to with a good sense of humour. She was almost sorry when they arrived at the airport; she’d enjoyed his company so much.

Careful, she told herself. I bet he’s as charming as this with all the women he meets. She knew he had a reputation for collecting beautiful girlfriends — Tanya had hinted as much at the engagement party. He was the eternal bachelor. Well, she was the eternal bachelor girl, wasn’t she? She could handle Jake Newman, even if he did make her go all goose-bumpy.

Available through:   Amazon US      Amazon UK

Meet the author:

Kay Harborne has written several romance stories for women’s magazines. Her romance Headshotnovel The Millionaire Plan was nominated for the RONE Award earlier this year. Never Say Forever was originally published by as a People’s Friend Pocket Novel, then in large print by Linford Romance. She is delighted that Astraea Press have republished it.  Kay has also written many children’s books under the name of Karen King. She loves reading, writing and eating chocolate.

How to reach the author:

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kay-Harborne/e/B00D5VD6LG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1373543640&sr=8-2

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Adventures in retirement: working harder than ever

When my father retired, he did so at the age of 58. He’d worked since he was 14, and after my mother nearly died from a bleeding aneurism, he figure it was time. That was 28 years ago. Mom passed away nearly two years ago, but Dad is still with us.

Their retirement consisted of a bit of traveling, lots of games of shuffleboard, and delivering food for Meals on Wheels. They enjoyed their time together until Mom developed dementia a few years before her death.

Following in my father’s footsteps, I retired at the age of 58. Needless to say, I didn’t start working when I was 14, but I did have a series of interesting jobs: day care worker—hated it. Security checkpoint at the Houston Intercontinental Airport—wasn’t bad. Ticket counter/gate agent for Continental Airlines—loved it. Mother/home school teacher for 18 years—best job ever! Substitute teacher, which eventually led to a job as performing arts director at a small Christian school—one of the most stressful, yet rewarding jobs after motherhood.

I retired in order to spend time with my mother before she passed, and to help my father  390225_2539119711582_304029215_nhowever I could, but the one thing I never stopped doing was write. I started my first novel in 2001, and was finally published in 2012. It took me a while to realize that writing a book was the easy part–getting people to take notice, quite another story.

A month ago, my second novel “The Rose Ring” was published. Though my husband and I no longer have 9 to 5 jobs, I find myself working harder than ever. I have to balance writing, blogging, publicizing, housework, and family. I love all of the above, but sometimes struggle to make it work. The last few weeks have been spent spreading the word about my book, and spreading rocks in the garden at the front of my house. It’s my attempt to balance my life. I’m eternally grateful for a husband who supports my passion for writing while keeping me grounded.

imagesFor me, retirement doesn’t mean the end, it means what’s next. I don’t want to rock my days away on the front porch (okay, I don’t have a front porch). I want to create. I want to travel. I want to explore. I want to stay busy. I want to work at making whatever years I have left, the best years ever.

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Friday Featured Artist: Christina Lorenzen

Meet writer and jewelry designer, Christina Lorenzen.

I started designing jewelry back in 2012. I was having a terrible time writing–complete writer’s block–and I was looking for something to help me relax and relieve the stress.

I always loved Michals craft stores, and  my daughter wanted me to take her to get some supplies. She loves to just craft whatever she’s in the mood for. While there, I wandered into the bead aisle, and couldn’t believe the displays. There was every color, shape and size. I bought a few strands and some string to get me started, then wire and some tools…one thing led to another.  Before long I was buying books and watching videos.

At one point I had over forty items in my shop, but when I got back into writing, I donated them. A set of jewelry (about fourteen pieces) went to a breast cancer auction, while the rest went to a fundraiser for a two-year old boy who has cancer.

I’m working to build my shop again, and currently have a little over a dozen pieces for sale.

When I’m playing with beads, stringing and arranging them, I get lost. Everything else–the noise, the pets, the interruptions–simply melt away. There are days when I have to remember to stop and eat. Lol!

Check out some samples of Christina’s work.

10508518_766188543402872_303137628_nWirework earrings

 

 

 

 

 

Multi-colored glass bead chain10489162_766188320069561_305836857_n

 

 

 

 

 

10488864_766189000069493_651739013_nGlass pearl amethyst cyrstal bracelet

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see more of Christina’s work, check out her etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/AddieFrankDesigns?ref=l2-shopheader-name

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday Featured Artist: Krysten Lindsay Hager

Please welcome Krysten Lindsay Hagar as she introduces her debut novel: True colors

TrueColors453X680Blurb:

Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round. However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically “unfriend” her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.

Excerpt:

Every day I walked down the sidewalk to school and wished I was one of those interesting girls who ran up with exciting news. They were always yelling, way before they got to their group of friends so everyone could hear, about how they got asked out, or their parents were taking them on some amazing vacation or something. I’d prefer my news to be more like, “Guess what? I’m going to be in a music video!” Or maybe, “Guess who’s going to be in a movie?” But nothing, nada, never any news to share. Well, once a stray cat had kittens in my garage, but it was more annoying than anything since it smelled like cat pee in there for months after my mom found homes for them all. I couldn’t even say, “Ooh, guess who got a kitty?” since my mom said I couldn’t keep one because the poor thing would get lost in my mess of a room and starve.

 

Still, just once I’d like to be the interesting one instead of the girl who didn’t get invited to things because people “forgot” about her. Instead, I was the girl picked last in gym class (like today) and who couldn’t even get noticed there when I tried to get hit during dodge ball so I could sit down.

 

“Okay, hit the showers,” Coach Daly said.

 

I hadn’t done anything to cause me to break a sweat, so I didn’t need a shower. I pulled my ponytail holder out of my hair and hoped for the best. My pale blond hair, which behaved so well last weekend when no one saw it, now looked and felt like a broom. The more I tried to fix it, the more it felt like hay. I tried putting in a dab of styling crème, but it just made it greasy. I didn’t know how my hair managed to have a dry texture while looking oily at the same time, but it did.

 

I gave up on my hair and went to get dressed. I tugged on my khaki pants and navy sweater, which made up my glorious Hillcrest Academy uniform, (it was just my luck my school picked colors which made me look like a dead goldfish), grabbed my bag, and went to join the rest of my class lined up to go to the cafeteria. I was almost fourteen and yet had to walk to the lunchroom in a straight line like Madeline from the storybook. Stupid Hillcrest.

 

Lunch was my favorite part of the day. For one, it meant the school day was half over. I went through the lunch line and grabbed a ham sandwich, some chips, and a bottle of water and went to join my two best friends, Ericka Maines and Tori Robins. The lunchroom was always extra noisy on Fridays because everybody was talking about their plans for the weekend. Sometimes Ericka, Tori, and I went to a movie, but we didn’t do much else. Tori and I liked to go shopping, but Ericka’s parents thought hanging out at the mall would “morally corrupt” Ericka, blah, blah, blah. And they about had a stroke when she wanted to get a social media page. So I was surprised when Ericka said we should all go to the mall tomorrow.

 

“Landry, they’re having modeling tryouts to be on the American Ingénue show,” Ericka said, showing me the ad she had torn out of the Grand Rapids Press. “The Ingénue judges are trying to find local teens to compete on their reality show.”

 

I watched every second of the last show. Talisa Milan won and got a Little Rose cosmetics contract and was on this month’s cover of Bright and Lively magazine. She was also a host on Hot Videos Now, a music video show. Melani Parkington, the runner-up, was the new spokesperson for Bouncy Hair conditioner. You were almost guaranteed to be famous if you made it to the final round of the contest.

 

“First you have to win in your city, and then your state, and then the regional competition,” Tori read. “Then you get to the tough part of the competition where they vote off someone new each week on national TV.”

 

“It’s an amazing opportunity to get discovered,” Ericka said, checking out her reflection in her spoon.

 

“Yeah, except for the fact the judges are known to be brutal when they’re honest. Like when they told Melani her gorgeous face was too pinched, her forehead was too low, and her eyebrows were too high,” I said. “They also told one girl she was pretty, but her lips looked like she had walked into a sliding glass door.”

 

“Well, they did,” Ericka said shrugging. “The newspaper says the first fifty girls who try out got a free American Ingénue tote bag and Little Rose makeup samples.”

 

They were holding auditions at the Perry Mall, which was the smallest mall in Grand Rapids. There weren’t a lot of stores there, so you usually just saw old people mall walking around there. Still, it had a decent bookstore and a cute clothing store, so I said I’d go watch while they tried out.

 

“No, we’re all trying out,” Ericka said, grabbing the ad back from me.

Available through:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/True-Colors-Krysten-Lindsay-Hager-ebook/dp/B00L2G0YJS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403419976&sr=8-1&keywords=krysten+lindsay+hager

Barnesandnoble.com: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/true-colors-krysten-lindsay-hager/1119742726?ean=2940149747658

itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/true-colors/id890673002?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/true-colors-17

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/449308

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/True-Colors-Krysten-Lindsay-Hager-ebook/dp/B00L2G0YJS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403420109&sr=8-1&keywords=krysten+lindsay+hager

Krysten Lindsay Hager

 

Meet the author: I write books for tweens, teens, and adults, too. I’m a book addict who has worked as a journalist and humor writer. I’m originally from Michigan and I’ve lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently reside in southwestern Ohio where you can find me reading and writing when I’m not catching up on my favorite shows: Hart of Dixie, The Goldbergs, Switched at Birth, American Dad, Dallas, and Devious Maids. I’m a die-hard Detroit Lions fan, too. I got my master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.

How to reach Krysten:

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/krystenlindsay/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22444090-true-colors

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96jxcUH54hU

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+KrystenLindsayHager/posts

 

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Friday Featured Artist: E. A. West

Today I’m happy to spotlight award-winning author E.A. West’s latest novel, Different.

Different453x680Blurb:

Jezebel Smith is different. She can’t talk, she doesn’t look like anyone in her family, and no matter what she does it’s always the wrong thing. God accepts her for who she is, but He’s the only one who does. Then she finds an unconscious man in her favorite cave, and her life is turned upside down. New people and new rules collide with the old, leaving Jezebel unsure of which set of rules apply to her life. When the strangers in town attempt to help her out of the nightmare she’s grown up in, it promises to change her life forever.

Excerpt:

The distant drip of water echoed off the rocky walls as Jezebel Smith wandered through her cave. Pungent fumes from her kerosene lantern stung her nose, and she wished for a flashlight. But her family would miss a flashlight. They never noticed when she took the old lantern from the barn.

Turning her face away from the lantern, she caught a whiff of the familiar scent of the rocks around her. She loved the fresh, earthy smell of her cave. Through countless hours of careful practice, her hiking boots barely produced a whisper on the bumpy path leading to her special cavern. If she swung the lantern on its creaky handle, however, she could fill the cave with a creepy echo that reminded her of Halloween.

She passed through an opening in the wall and entered a large cavern with several ledges in one end. As she approached the lowest ledge, the glow from her lantern touched an unfamiliar lump on the floor below the rocky shelf and she froze. She knew every inch of this cavern — every rock, ledge, and bump in the floor. No one ever came here. Nothing ever changed unless she changed it. The cave was the only thing she could count on to always stay the same.

This time, however, there was something new. The cave had broken its own rules, adding a boulder where one didn’t belong. She crept toward it, fighting tears of hurt that the cave would trick her like everyone else, and the golden light of her lantern revealed it wasn’t a boulder after all — it was the still form of a man. Her pulse pounded in her ears, so loud it threatened to drown out her own thoughts. Where had he come from? Why wasn’t he moving? Her heart skipped a beat. Was he dead?

Available through:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Different-E-West-ebook/dp/B00M0E4ZU0

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1119984134?ean=2940149685615

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/460703

 

Meet the author:

E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.  EAWest_300

How to reach E. A. West:

Website:  http://eawest.mcphitty.com

Blog:  http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/EA-West/34280264617

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/eawest

Google+:  http://plus.google.com/107709864908331978411/posts

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/authoreawest

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/eawest

 

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Friday Featured Artist: Elaine Cantrell

Today, I’m happy to sptolight Elaine Cantrell’s The Enchanted.

Genre: Fantasy/romance

Rating: PG — a few cuss words and a shooting.

TheEnchanted_453x680

BLURB: Forced by his father into a marriage he didn’t want, Prince Alan soon finds that his bride isn’t the sweet, submissive creature he expected.  Morgane has the heart of a dragon and beauty beyond compare, but she isn’t thrilled about the marriage either.  When black treachery threatens the kingdom, Morgane and Alan embark on a perilous journey that has an excellent chance of ending in failure and death for them and all of their people.

Excerpt: Morgane rolled over and faced him. He felt surprised to see anger on her face. “Why do you torment me, Prince Alan?”

Alan pushed back from her. “I? I torment you?”

“Yes! You torment me night and day. Your face is never far from my thoughts. In the morning my eyes fall upon you, and my heart sings to have another day in your presence. We were not supposed to have a common life at all! I tried very hard to run away, and you angered your father so much he put you through a year of torment to bend you to his will.” A little smile came to rest on her face. “But you did not bend, did you? Nor did you break. You remained the same man you always were. I know this in my heart.”

With a suddenness that took his breath away, laughter and light fled from her face. Bleak resignation and hopelessness turned her eyes into two wells of horror. “If I were as beautiful now as I once was, then you would find it difficult to turn away from me.” Her lip quivered. “I know that no man wants a scarred woman, but I had hoped…”

“What had you hoped?”

“That you could love me.”

Her voice had dropped so low it was hard to hear. Alan seized her and pulled her against him. “And I do. I do not see your scar. I see you with your lovely face and fine, spirited soul, and unless you love me, I cannot go on.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  elainespicture

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina.  She has a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators.  She is also a member of Romance Writers of America and EPIC authors.  She is married to her college sweetheart and has two sons and three grandchildren.  Besides writing she enjoys, quilting, gardening, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.  You can contact Elaine at her web site at http://www.elainecantrell.com.

You can find The Enchanted here:

http://www.elainecantrell.com

http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/elainepcantrell

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elaine-Cantrell/300167253489086

http://www.twitter.com/elainecantrell

 

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