Friday, March 31, 2023

#Review: WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BALLROOM by Sabrina Jeffries


3 of 5 stars

Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, needs help finding a husband for his ward and war widow as soon as possible. He knows who can help him best and turns to his best friend's widow Eliza Pierce who co-owns Elegant Occasions, but Nathaniel is keeping secrets from her. The first is he cannot tell Eliza that he is attracted to her and that her late husband was a scoundrel. That would serve no purpose and possibly even have Eliza refusing to help him and secondly, he leaves out some pertinent details regarding his ward and her young son. Eliza knew she shouldn't trust Nathaniel. His reputation as a rake confirms for her the kind of man he is, but what if the rumors aren't true? Could she trust her heart to another when she was so hurt by her first husband?

This was a cute story with all the usual misunderstandings that make up most romances. When Nathaniel's lies are exposed, Eliza wants nothing to do with him, and it's only through his groveling that these two get their HEA. The characters aren't really deep though it was lovely to see Eliza's sisters make an appearance in the book as well. While this wasn't my favorite story, it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. I'm really looking forward to Verity's story, but sadly that won't be available until 2024.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy, and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

#Excerpt: I DREAM OF DEMIGODS by Alexa Sullivan

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Alexa Sullivan will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ro Baird can't cast a spell without setting her own pants on fire—until she kisses her hot new boss, Alex. Suddenly, she's able to access her magic…sort of…and she now has a familiar, who may be more trouble than she is helpful.

Alex Kouris happens to be a soul-stealing demigod of the Underworld. He claims he's trying to leave the life, but can she really trust a man whose magical talents are manipulation and charm? When Alex enlists a shady ex to help him, Ro must risk her heart and her life to save him and humanity from Hades’s evil scheme.

Can she harness her true power to set Alex and herself free?


“You’re not for real, right?” I shook my head. “You’re nice. No one’s this nice.”

Alex held my gaze. His eyes were mesmerizing pools of warm brown. “Listening and caring is just being decent. It shouldn’t be shocking.” He lifted a hand and smoothed my hair back from my face.

This wasn’t normal boss behavior, but at some point, I’d forgotten Alex was my supervisor. The air felt warm and damp, and it smelled like the ocean again, the scent wild and comforting at the same time.

Alex’s hand stilled against my temple.

Hardly breathing, I lifted my left hand and brushed my fingers against his.

He squeezed my hand.

I reached for his other hand, and either I stepped close, or he pulled me in. Or maybe it happened at the same time. We were toe-to-toe now, inches away from full-body contact. My brain hazed over as I tilted my head up.

He angled his head down.

Our noses touched. Our mouths were an inch away from each other.

“This is probably about to be a bad idea.”

His voice, low and husky, sent a pleasant tingle down my neck. “Terrible,” I whispered.

I dove into his arms, and he pressed his mouth to mine.

About the Author:

Alexa Sullivan writes humorous, contemporary paranormal romance. She imagines a world where the mundane meets magic -- and where vampires, werewolves and witches have normal jobs. Oh, and there are cats, too. She sets all her books in the beautiful state of Oregon. When not writing, she can be found walking her cat on a leash, hanging out with her husband, and watching far too much Bravo reality TV.


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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

#Review: YOURS TRULY, THE DUKE by Amelia Grey


3 of 5 stars

Wyatt, the Duke of Wyatthaven, has learned about a condition in his grandmother's will, and it threw him for a loop. He had to marry within 7 days, or he'd lose a substantial inheritance. With help from his solicitor to find a suitable bride, he proposes to Miss Fredericka Hale. Fredericka has her own reasons for needing a husband, and with only Wyatt's word that he'd help her retain guardianship of her nieces and nephew against her cousin Jane's suit, she marries him. Wyatt goes back to London to live his carefree life, and Fredericka stays behind to take care of the children. During a contentious visit with Fredericka, Jane informs her that she'll not give her her suit to win control of the children; Fredericka makes the decision to go to London and seek Wyatt's help to defeat her cousin. But what she finds in London shocks her. Can she learn to trust a man in this crucial matter, when he doesn't seem to take anything seriously?

I've read other books by Ms. Grey and have enjoyed them, but this book was not one of my favorites. Fredericka was way too harsh and rigid in her discipline with the children, always wanting them to have perfect behavior. She seemed very much a shrew. It made her unlikeable, not that Wyatt was much better. He didn't seem to take anything seriously, including Fredericka's concerns that Jane would win custody. The story centers mostly on the children, and I would have preferred more with the main couple. Every time we saw them, Wyatt and Fredericka were fighting about their different parenting styles. When did they have time to fall in love? I just wasn't convinced of their passion for each other. If Wyatt took the time to tell Fredericka that he hadn't seen his mistress since they had married, why not just say he broke it off with her? Otherwise, there was no reason even to mention it. By the time I got to the end of the story, I didn't really care about either of them. Sorry to say, this story won't stay with me at all.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy, and all opinions are my own.

Friday, March 24, 2023

#Review: TAMING THE RAKE by Erika Ridley


3 of 5 stars

Gladys Bell has been told by her parents that she was lacking--in beauty, personality, and the ability to attract a husband. When an unfortunate encounter with a known rake, Rueben Medford, leaves Gladys ruined, her parents disown her and give her dowry to her younger sister.  With no other means to support herself, Gladys turns to prostitution to survive. Now five years later, after that fateful night, she's back to exact revenge against Medford. Rueben Medford has never forgotten the young woman he kissed five years ago. When he meets Gladys he doesn't recognize her as the woman he ruined. For her part, Gladys wants to make Rueben fall in love with her so she can leave him and hurt him as he hurt her. 

Ms. Ridley is one of my favorite authors, and I was happy to read the new book, although this one was not my favorite. Gladys's parents are appalling and awful people. I wish there had been some kind of comeuppance for them for the way they treated their daughter. I liked that Gladys was a strong woman who wanted to control her own life, although I found it hard to believe that after only 5 years of courtesan work, she'd had enough money to be set for life. That was a bit of a stretch. After a few more twists and turns, Gladys and Rueben find their HEA. While this book wasn't one of my favorites, I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy, and all opinions are my own.

Interview with Kaylene Winter, TIMELESS AND TIMELESS

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

TIMELESS: Encore is the 8th book (And final book) in my Less Than Zero Rockstar Romance series, which follows the 4 men of LTZ and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees. The first four books are the base stories, and each couple gets an “Encore” which explores the theme, “happily ever after can mean so many things,” and is a full-length follow-up to the HEA. 


TIMELESS: Encore wraps up the storylines from all the Encores and sets the stage for the next series I’m going to write.


Do you have a favorite character?

I love them all like children.


Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?  

No spoilers (I think) but I have a number of minor characters throughout my series who will either be starters for new series or standalone books. I have a list of about 20 books to write, so I better get started.


Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

No, I always wanted to self-publish.


What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?

I’ve been a media professional for years, and I knew that I’d be able to do the best job in pulling together my own team to create the worlds that inspired me to write.


If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?


My creative partner, Regina Wamba, is very well respected in the industry. I work with her closely on the direction of all of the art - from photos to covers to graphics. She’s amazing.


Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?

Yes, I have an editing team and a beta reading team and are essential in helping me improve my writing.


Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

Yes, my editor Grace Bradley has been instrumental in helping me get to where I am today. She’s amazing and makes suggestions without interfering with the creative choices. She also knows how to nudge me into different levels of comfort.


What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?

My favorite is TikTok, but I do everything. Here is a link to my Links to find me everywhere, including at a number of book signing events this year and into 2025!


Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

Marketing takes a lot more time than writing, actually. But, I try to make it just as creative as my process for immersing myself in the writing process.


Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?

My siberian husky, Boudi is my sweet, precious pub. I love chocolate - and vanilla. I drink copious amounts of Iced tea. I prefer to text not talk. I love getting my day going early. Music is also a great passion for me, as I spent many years managing and promoting bands.


What’s next for you?

Next is a standalone book called “The Hate Date” - I’ll be sharing more details about it soon! 

Timeless: Zane & Fiona
Kaylene Winter
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance


A Steamy, Coming-of-Age, Friends-To-Lovers, Rockstar Romance

“I vowed nothing would keep us apart…”
Fiona Reynolds is my other half.
It’s been that way from the day I was born.
I’ve dedicated my life to keep my promise.
Fate just laughs in our face.
She’s always out of reach, this time for good.
I’ll do anything to prove she’s my destiny –
if only she’d trust me one more time.

“After what I’ve done, how can I deserve him?”
Zane Rocks is my everything.
There’s no one I love or trust more than him.
It wasn’t his fault when he left me.
I always knew he’d find his way back.
Fear overwhelmed me, and I broke his heart.
Will the most celebrated musician on the planet,
really give me another chance?

When a rash decision changes their lives forever, hope for their future is all but shattered.
Stakes are high.

But Zane’s determined to prove a love this pure is TIMELESS.


A steamy, childhood-friends-to-lovers romance between a sexy billionaire rockstar and his plus-size soulmate

“Restraint is not my strong suit.”

I’m finally reunited with the woman I’ve loved since birth.
Why do I feel so untethered?
Fiona’s living her dream and I’m doing my best to support her.
But, with so many dark secrets revealed, my very foundation is rocked to the core.
Will we ever outrun our past to have the life we deserve?

“My lifelong dream blew up in spectacular fashion”

Zane and I overcame many obstacles to achieve our destiny.
We’re best friends and soulmates—with a love life other couples only dream of.
Anxiety and self-doubt still threaten my confidence.
When neither of us have reconciled our past,
Can we find the courage to embrace our future?

Happily ever after can mean so many things.
Life happens.
Faith is tested.

Will Zane and Fiona overcome decades of deception?
Is true love really TIMELESS?

TIMELESS ENCORE is Book 8 in the Less Than Zero Rockstar Romance Series, and is the sequel to TIMELESS

It is strongly recommended you read Books 1-4 before reading any of the “ENCORE” sequels, otherwise you’ll be spoiled!

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

When she was only 15, Kaylene Winter wrote her first rocker romance novel starring a fictionalized version of herself, her friends and their gorgeous rocker boyfriends. After living her own rockstar life as a band manager, music promoter and mover and shaker in Seattle during the early 1990’s, Kaylene became a digital media legal strategist helping bring movies, television and music online. Throughout her busy career, Kaylene lost herself in romance novels across all genres inspiring her to realize her life-long dream to be a published author. She lives in Seattle with her amazing husband and dog. She loves to travel, throw lavish dinner parties and support charitable causes supporting arts and animals.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

#Excerpt: THE ROMANOV HEIRESS by Jennifer Laam

The Romanov Heiress
Jennifer Laam
Publication date: March 20th 2023
Genres: Adult, Historical

Four sisters in hiding. A grand duchess in disguise. Dark family secrets revealed…an alternate future for the Romanov sisters from Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar and The Lost Season of Love and Snow.

With her parents and brother missing and presumed dead, Grand Duchess Olga Romanova must keep her younger sisters safe. The Bolsheviks are determined to eliminate any remaining holdovers from the tsarist regime, hunting down the last Romanovs and putting them to death. Now living in England, the Romanov sisters remain hidden to protect their identities, even as isolation strains their relationships.

But they can’t distance themselves from the world forever.

Olga learns that a peer of the realm has accused the late Empress Alexandra of betraying Russia and her allies during the Great War. Under the spell of the scheming Grigori Rasputin, Alexandra disclosed military secrets to the enemy and pursued a separate peace with Germany. If this rumor becomes history, it will destroy her mother’s legacy and her sisters’ futures.

Disguised as “Olivia,” a wartime nurse turned maid, Olga accepts a position in Lord Hammond’s household. There, she works to discover the truth about her mother. When Olga meets his lordship’s heir—an alluring, enigmatic war veteran—her situation grows even more precarious. Could she fall for the son of her new enemy? As she learns more about the tragedies of his past, Olga realizes the connection between their families is more complicated than it appears.

Goodreads / Amazon


August 1918

The fugitive lay on her back, bruised limbs pressed flat, hidden alongside her sisters underneath a mound of coarse blankets. As the ambulance rumbled to a halt, gasoline fumes flooded the rear compartment, masking the heavy odor of their unwashed bodies. Her breathing grew labored. She didn’t know where they were or who had stopped them. She only knew they must not make a sound.

Over the past weeks, they moved slowly through land held by the Bolsheviks. Every evening at dusk, they ate carefully rationed portions of tinned meat and dry wafers while their two saviors—agents from England with forged papers identifying them as officers of the Red Guard—checked the radio transmitter for word of Allied progress toward the northern ports along the White Sea. Then, during the scant hours of darkness afforded by the short summer nights, they traveled a tortuous course to avoid military checkpoints.

Bundled in tattered sweaters, Olga and her three sisters were gaunt. Their neglected hair hung limp about their shoulders. But their faces once adorned postcards, calendars, and boxes of fancy chocolates. If detained, they would be recognized at once.

The missing daughters of the tsar.

Anastasia’s warm body pressed closer, trembling as she tensed her jaw and tried to stifle a cough.

A terrifying scenario unfolded in Olga’s mind. Thick boots pounded on the roadway before soldiers with red stars tacked to their lapels tossed the blankets aside and dragged Olga and her sisters back into the hellish world they’d been so desperate to escape. What if this journey had been for nothing? Worse than nothing because they had left their parents and sick little brother, Alexei, behind.

Olga was twenty-two years old and the eldest. It fell on her to get them through this nightmare, no matter the outcome.

She felt around until she located her youngest sister’s hand. She held it tight, flinching at the hard calluses and pus leaking from an erupted blister on the pad of Anastasia’s thumb.

Deep masculine voices, muddled and indistinct, rumbled outside. The fingers of Olga’s free hand balled into fists, rage displacing fear. The Bolsheviks may have stolen everything she held dear, but Olga would confront them as a true Romanov. Unbroken. When they raised their revolvers, she would hold her head high and ensure her face haunted these traitors for the rest of their lives.

The back door of the old field ambulance creaked open. Tentatively, Olga drew the blanket down. After hours of near-darkness, sunlight momentarily blurred her vision. When Olga released Anastasia’s hand and sat upright, a cool breeze caressed her forehead.

Before her stood a broad-shouldered gentleman of about fifty, with black brows, a full beard flecked with gray, and brown eyes behind wire-framed spectacles. The man wore a khaki tunic, as Papa had during the war. The coat’s golden buttons and belt buckle gleamed in the morning sun.

“Your imperial highness.” The gentleman removed his hat and bowed his head. He had spoken in English. She assumed he was the commanding officer. A half-dozen other men stood behind him, each dressed in the same khaki uniform. Some rose on tip-toe to get a closer look at Olga.

None bore a red star on his lapel.

Her sisters emerged from under the blankets. They pressed her shoulders, exhalations warm on the back of her neck.

“I think he’s in charge.” Tatiana, the second eldest, whispered in Olga’s ear. “And waiting for you to speak first.”

A spark of hope ignited in her heart, yet Olga didn’t trust these strangers. It had been far too long since anyone outside her family had shown her kindness or respect. For months, they had been kept under constant watch: shoved about, subjected to barking orders and humiliating whims, and made to feel they clung to life by the thinnest of threads. Olga remembered the defeated expression on her little brother’s face when she’d said goodbye for the last time. Even her once proud father bent under the weight of captivity.

Their saviors, the two men who had rescued them from that nightmare, rounded the vehicle and walked toward the soldiers, broad smiles brightening their ruddy faces.

And then the words fell from Olga’s tongue easily, as Mama had always preferred to speak English with her family. “We are here then? We’ve made it to British soil?”

“We have delivered you to Arkhangelsk. From here, you will be transported to your new home.”

“We are in your debt, sir.”

Olga waited because she knew he would say more. There had to be more. While they had been rescued, their parents and brother remained imprisoned in Ekaterinburg, along with a handful of loyal servants.

“You will return for the others, won’t you?” she said, heart thumping. “My family. Our doctor. My mother’s maid. You must promise.”

The officer held her gaze. “The Bolsheviks fortified their defenses around the city’s perimeter. We can’t send our agents back to the house.”

Faced with those terrible words, Olga couldn’t bring herself to ask anything else. Couldn’t bear to hear it was too late. Her stomach churned, but she must not break. Not here. Not yet. As the eldest, she needed to stay strong. For her sisters.

When Olga said nothing more, the officer turned back to his men. Three soldiers joined him, lining up before her sisters to help them out of the ambulance.

“I know you are in pain,” the officer told her. “Remember that you and your sisters are safe. You survived. And we have done everything in our power to find a secure place for you. I promise.”

Author Bio:

An avid history nerd, Jennifer currently lives in California with a spoiled tabby cat named Jonesy. When not reading or writing, she enjoys planning cosplay for the next San Diego Comic-Con, experimenting with vegetarian recipes (to mixed results), and obsessing over House Targaryen or Baby Yoda.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Saturday, March 18, 2023

#SALE .99 THE VAMPIRE NIGHTLIFE BOXED SET by Debra L Martin and David W Small


Amazon buy link:

The Silver Cross, Book 1
There are two things Boston detective Lacey Gardner knows about killing vampires. Slicing off a head or a hit directly to the heart are the only surefire ways to kill one. Silver is their Achilles heel. A vampire never wears silver.

When she meets bartender extraordinaire, Damon Harte, her heart does a quickstep for the dark, hunky guy. She's learned the hard way that having a love interest in her line of work can be heart-wrenching. She's kept to herself for years, but something about Damon captivates her and draws her to him. When she learns Damon's devastating secret, she knows what she has to do: kill the man who has stolen her heart.

The Silver Double Cross, Book 2
Fresh off suspension for insubordination, Lt Detective Lacey Gardner is eager to get back to killing vampires. Reeling from the shock that her lover and soul mate, Damon Harte, was the former vampire king in Boston, she did the only thing she could—she shot him—twice.

Now Boston is under siege by a brutal new vampire king, and it's all her fault. The new king has declared the city's citizens fair game. The streets run red with victims' blood, and it's up to Lacey and her team to hunt down the rogue vampires and restore order. When Damon comes back to Boston offering to help, Lacey has a heart-wrenching decision to make. Will she open her heart to the man she loves or will she be forced to send him to his final death?

Excerpt from Silver Double Cross:

Amira came forward when they reached the circle. “Mr. Harte, please join us inside the circle and take off your shirt.”

Damon eyebrows shot up at the request. Amira smiled at his surprise and explained. 

“You’ll be wearing both crosses for the ceremony, and they need to stay in contact with your skin. At the same time, both crosses will need to be visible to the entire circle so we can focus on them.”

Damon walked to the altar and took off his shirt. “Do I lay down on this?”

Amira nodded. “Yes.”

She handed him the sapphire cross, and he put it around his neck and positioned it next to his ruby cross.

“It is imperative that you do not move and stay as quiet as possible,” Amira said. “There can be no distractions for this spell to work.” 

 As he lay down, the crosses suddenly seemed to have an otherworldly glow as the light from the candles hit them. Amira looked around at the circle of witches to ensure everyone was ready. As each nodded their readiness, she walked back to her place beside Anne. With a nod of her head, Anne began to chant softly. One by one, the candles flared in front of each woman as they joined in.  

Damon kept his eyes open, wanting to see everything they did, but his gaze remained glued on Anne. This was no mild-mannered farmhouse wife but a powerful witch. She guided her sisters in the spell. After nearly ten minutes, the chanting became louder, and he began to feel a slight tightness in his chest. Not undue pressure, but certainly like a heavy object had been placed upon him. The chanting continued, and the pressure became more intense, almost to the point of being painful. He had no idea if this was what he was supposed to be feeling, but he knew he had to remain still. 

Anne’s voice rose above the others as the chanting became louder still, and the pain became almost unbearable. He fisted his hands, trying not to move. It took all of his resolve to continue to be still. This was for Lacey, and it kept him pinned to the table. The chanting reached a crescendo, and the women raised their hands toward their crystals. One by one, the crystals lit up, and a beam of light from each of them surrounded him in a circle that undulated and pulsed with extraordinary power. As the most powerful witch of the circle, Amira was the fulcrum of the spell and moved forward with a large crystal pulsating in her hands. With a final incantation, she pushed her crystal into the circle of light, and her crystal stayed suspended within the circle.

Damon was assaulted with the most excruciating pain he’d ever felt. A cry tore from his throat, but the circle of light absorbed the sound. His body fought and struggled against invisible bonds that held him fast to the altar. The women continued chanting, and the circle began to condense along with Anne’s crystal and invaded his body while his cross was lit up in a brilliant flash. The concussive wave knocked the women to the ground as Damon moaned and writhed uncontrollably on the table. Amira was the first to regain her feet and tried to rush to Damon, whose limbs were shaking and jerking erratically. 

Anne grabbed her before she could reach him. “Amira, no” Anne yelled. “The spell must be completed without interference.”

“But it’s killing him,” Amira cried out in panic. “We must help him.”

Anne shook her head. “No, we cannot. Remember, if you interrupt now, he will surely die.”

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

#Excerpt: FAKING IT WITH THE GRUMP by Kai O'Keeffe

Faking It With the Grump
Kate O’Keeffe
(Second Chance Café, #1)
Publication date: March 14th 2023
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

He’s grumpy, boring, and thinks it’s okay to wear a suit and tie to a smalltown bar full of lumberjacks. But when I kiss him? Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting THAT.

Harper Cole

It’s one thing to be dumped by the huge Hollywood star you thought you were going to marry. It’s quite another to move back to the small town you’re both from.

As a booby prize for being shown the door by Dex Ryan, everyone is trying to set me up with their son, their nephew, or their long-lost cousin’s gardener. Either that or they’re throwing me pitying looks that say, “You’re a big loser.”

I’m not going to put up with their patronizing sympathy anymore.

So, when I spot new-guy-in-town Christopher Young, I set out to make him mine. Or you know, pretend to make him mine. I’m still in a horrible funk over Dex, and Christopher is an uptight grump. Not exactly my type.

The fact that despite appearances, he’s gorgeous and doing weird things to my blood pressure doesn’t mean a thing.


Not. A. Thing.

Christopher Young

Hunter’s Creek, population next to nothing, is the reason I work all the time. I’m solely focused on buying the town’s lumber mill so I can go back to NYC and get my big promotion. This small town is a means to an end. Nothing more.

That is until the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen superglues her lips to mine in an unexpected and very public way. She’s not the kind of woman I usually go for with her boho dress and ankle boots, but that kiss…

I’m disappointed when she comes up for air and tells me it’s all for show. But if Harper Cole wants me to be her fake boyfriend while I’m here in town, who am I to turn her down? Being attached to a local might ingratiate me to the townsfolk and make my job that much the easier.

After all, dating Harper can only be make believe. Nothing more. Not when my entire future is at stake.

Faking It With The Grump is a grumpy-sunshine, opposites attract, fake relationship romance set in the small town of Hunter’s Creek, Washington. It’s the first book in the new Second Chance Café series. Each book follows a different sister’s love story and can be read as a standalone novel or as part of a series.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


She looks suddenly nervous. “Okay, here’s the thing. I kind of told some people today that you and I are…well, that we’re…”

When she doesn’t complete her sentence, I lean in and ask, “You and I are what?”

She glances around nervously before she says, “Dating.”

I straighten, shocked.

As my brain tries to comprehend what she just said, I blink at her a few times.

I need clarification. In my experience, beautiful women don’t usually go around telling people they’re dating you without your knowledge.

Well, not sane, beautiful women, anyway.

“Did you say you’ve told people you and I are dating?” I ask.

She nibbles on her lip, reminding me of a rabbit. It only adds to her appeal. Despite my concern, she’s confirmed she’s not exactly sane. “I did warn you it was weird.”

“That’s true, you did. But that doesn’t explain why, exactly.”

She clasps her hands together, clearly uncomfortable.

I’m overcome with the strangest sensation, wanting to reach out and place my hand over hers to reassure her it’s okay.

I don’t.

She takes a breath. “I know this makes me sound crazy. And I’m not crazy. Really, I’m not.”

Said no crazy person ever.

“I don’t know if you recognize me or know what happened, but even if you don’t, I really, really need you to pretend to date me because—”

Wait. Pretend?

Her eyes dart to something behind me, and before I fully realize what’s happening, she’s pushed the bar stool to one side, closed the distance between us, a decidedly wild look in her eyes.

“Everything all right?” I ask her tentatively.

“Okay if I kiss you?” she murmurs out of the corner of her mouth.

I blink at her. “Now you want to…kiss me?”

She nods, her eyes darting behind me and then back to my face. “That okay with you?”

This gorgeous woman who smells like a meadow, the double threat, the woman who only just told me she wants to pretend to date me, now wants to kiss me.

As confusing as this situation may be, I’d be an idiot not to leap at this.

“Sure,” I tell her, the thought of having her soft lips pressed against mine making my belly clench.

It would appear she’s not a woman to be told twice.

Immediately, she pulls herself up onto her toes, places her hands at the back of my head, and before I can utter another word—like “why?”—she leans in toward me and kisses me.

I don’t move for fear this is some kind of mirage. Not that I think mirages are all that common in Washington, what with it not being a desert. But seriously, this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me a whole lot. Or, you know, ever.

And I’ll be honest, as far as kisses go, it’s easily the most surprising of my life, hands down. One second, she’s explaining to me why she wants me to fake date her, and the next she’s kissing me, like it’s no big deal at all.

The problem is, for me to kiss someone like Harper Cole, it should be a big deal.

Author Bio:

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Kate O'Keeffe writes exactly what she loves to read: laugh-out-loud romantic comedies with swoon-worthy heroes and gorgeous feel-good happily ever afters. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke's Bay, New Zealand with her family and two scruffy dogs. When she's not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.

Visit to sign up to her newsletter and you'll receive a FREE romcom.

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Friday, March 10, 2023

#Review: ENTANGLED by Mary Lancaster


 4 of 5 stars

Major Giles Butler is never one to let an insult slide, especially when an obnoxious duke insults the memory of his late commanding officer. What should have been a simple duel with Giles aiming wide somehow turned into a tragedy when the duke fell dead from a bullet to the shoulder. How could this have happened? Now Giles is being hunted for the murder of a peer. On his way out of town, he meets Rosamond, who unbeknownst to Giles, is the late duke's widow. Rosamond is desperate to leave her controlling husband and has no idea that the man who offers to escort her to the next town is the man who killed her husband. Thus starts a wild ride of cat and mouse as they try to evade the authorities; all the while, their feelings for each other blossom. Can these two find a way to overcome their circumstances, or will Rosamond be forced to say goodbye to the man who ignites such passion within her?

This was a thoroughly enjoyable regency romance and pulled the reader in with the first chapter. The plot moves along well, and there are some unexpected twists and surprises throughout the story. Rosamond was a strong lady who finally found her voice to control her own destiny, and I was glad to see her finally exert her influence. Giles is the consummate gentleman whose growing feelings for the ducal beauty make him want to protect her at all costs, even if it means facing the authorities about the duel. The growing feelings of Rosamond and Giles are sweet, and after a few more twists and turns, they finally get their HEA. The one criticism I have is that after casting so much doubt on how the duke died, nothing was ever resolved and the charges against Giles were never explained. The epilogue seemed very rushed. Did he get a pardon from Wellington? Was the case ruled inconclusive? Was he cleared of all charges? I was disappointed that the issue was not resolved, especially since it was talked about so much throughout the book. That brought the book down to 4 stars. I like Ms. Lancaster's books and look forward to reading the next one.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy, and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Interview with Lacey Baker, HER UNEXPECTED MATCH

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series? 

Her Unexpected Match is book#1 in the Crescent Matchmaker series. It’s a slow burn romance about Allie Sparks, a cynical travel blogger who needs to write a positive article about Crescent Island or she’ll lose her job. Ryan Parker is Allie’s best friend’s brother whose dog, Optimus, collides with Allie moments after she arrives on the island. Neither Allie nor Ryan are looking for love, but the Crescent Matchmaker has other plans for them.

Do you have a favorite character? 

When I began writing this book I thought Ms. Annabelle would be my favorite character, but right now I’d have to say that Sofia is my favorite because I love her spunk and tenacity all while she’s really falling apart on the inside.


Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all? 

Yes, Sofia is kind of doing that, but I’d already planned to give her a book, so she didn’t change the direction of Her Unexpected Match too much.


Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers? 

I’m a hybrid author, so I publish traditionally and I self-publish.


What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence? 

I can write almost anywhere regardless of what’s going on. But I prefer to write with the TV or music as background noise. Silence is good especially during my middle of the night writing sessions, but even then, I sometimes put in my headphones and listen to music.


Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you? 

Yep! I always have an outline that my characters really try hard not to follow. LOL But I like having an idea of where I’m going.


What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)? 

I’m on Twitter (@laceybakerbook), Facebook (@laceybakerromance), Tik Tok (@laceybakerbooks) and Instagram (@laceybakerbooks)


Besides writing, do you have any other passions? 

Reading and crafting (making T-shirts, bags and other stuff). These are both good stress relievers for me so I lean on them often.


What’s next for you? 

I’m working on Book#2 in the Crescent Matchmaker series. It’s titled His Reluctant Match and doesn’t feature another dog, but there’s still lots of cinnamon rolls! 

Her Unexpected Match
Lacey Baker
Published by: Entangled: Amara
Publication date: February 21st 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Travel writer Allie Sparks has one goal: to find the story that will save her career. So here she is, visiting her bestie on picturesque Crescent Island—with sun-warmed beaches, the briny smell of the ocean, and rumors of a secret astrologer-matchmaker who guarantees love. Of course, Allie doesn’t believe in any of that stuff. If anything, she’ll prove it’s a total scam.

Ryan Parker believes in love—just not right now. He’s focused on expanding his family’s barbeque business, finding investors, and keeping his too-big Great Dane puppy from jumping on everyone, including his sister’s pretty, whiskey-eyed best friend. Besides, falling for a tourist is definitely not in his astrological forecast.

Allie is doing everything she can to resist the charm of the town and its beauty, not to mention her attraction to Ryan. But there’s a lot more happening on Crescent Island than anyone knows…and when her story goes to print, this tiny, close-knit town might never be the same.

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Author Bio:

Lacey Baker, a Maryland native, lives with her husband, three children, two grandchildren and English Bulldog in what most would call Suburban America–a townhouse development where everybody knows each other and each other’s kids. Family cook-outs, reunion vacations, and growing up in church have all inspired Lacey to work towards her dreams and to write about the endurance of family and the quest to find everlasting love. To date she has written in several genres including small town romance, YA paranormal (as Artist Arthur), a cozy mystery series titled Rumors and adult paranormal (as A.C. Arthur).

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