Friday, June 26, 2015

A Lady of Good Family by Jeanne Mackin Excerpt & Giveaway

Raised among wealth and privilege during America's fabled Gilded Age, a niece of famous novelist Edith Wharton and a friend to literary great Henry James, Beatrix Farrand is expected to marry, and to marry well. But as a young woman traveling through Europe, she already knows that gardens are her true passion. How she becomes a woman for whom work and love, the earthly and the mysterious, are held in delicate balance is the story of her unique determination to create beauty while remaining true to herself.
I will never marry, Beatrix thought. Never

She had passed through the first heady years of womanhood, the first balls, first waltzes, first dancing card and house party invitations, quickly discouraging any serious suitor. “My mother,” she had simply explained when any young man tried to call on her a little too frequently. Now that most of those young men had already wed, she felt she could easily avoid the issue permanently.

She jumped up, eager to be away from the table. “I need to walk,” she said to the others.

Still, they might never have met, the Italian and the American.

Beatrix could have walked in the opposite direction, away from the temple. She could have strolled through the rose garden or gone into the casina. But she chose the temple, that eerie replica of pagan passion.

The gardens were full of Americans; the young man who had just been soundly berated by his family lawyer disliked the sounds of their voices, so full of German consonants, not at all soft like his own Italian. The sounds of conquerors, he thought, laden with wealth and greed and taking much of his homeland back with them when they returned to New York and Boston and Chicago. That’s what the visit to his lawyer had been about: selling artworks. 

Empires rise and fall.  He lived in a land of fallen empire. Ahead of him, on the path, was an example of the fall of empire, a group of boys, begging, grimy hands snaking into folds and pockets of passing men and women. They had surrounded a young woman and were practicing their street skills on her.  He saw her face, the terror behind the forced calmness of a tight smile.  He changed direction and headed toward her.

Still, they might never have met. He could have waved from a distance, yelled a threat, driven the boys off with words.  But he kept walking toward her.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jeanne Mackin ‘s latest novel, A Lady of Good Family, explores the secret life of gilded age  Beatrix Jones Farrand, niece of Edith Wharton and the first woman professional landscape design in America. Her previous novel,  The Beautiful American, based on the life of model turned war correspondent and photographer, Lee Miller won the CNY 2015 prize for fiction. She has published in American Letters and Commentary and SNReview and other publications and is the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers.  She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and her journalism has won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.  She lives with her husband, Steve Poleskie,  in Ithaca.
A Lady of Good Family is available at Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, and other bookstores.


Jeanne will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host. 
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Jacks of Her Heart by Virginia McCullough Creating Characters & Giveaway

“A pure delight! I fell in love with Jack instantly—and the storybook town of Capehart Bay.”
—Lily Silver, Author of The Rock Star Next Door

Lorna Lindstrom and Jack Young just got married in the tropics—and their grownup kids don’t like it one bit...

Mere acquaintances in their hometown of Capehart Bay, Wisconsin, Jack and Lorna turn up on the same Caribbean cruise. They soon fall victim to moonlight, champagne, and dancing—and that leads to an impulsive wedding. But now they’re back home, feeling like a couple of fools. Both agree a quick divorce is their best way out of this embarrassing predicament. Lorna’s two kids and Jack’s daughter are all for that, but their meddling prompts the stubborn newlyweds to rethink their plan.

A professional organizer, Lorna is a little too proud of her spotless home. She fell in love with Jack’s generous heart, but must he rescue every abandoned dog in town? The owner of a popular ‘60s nostalgia café, Jack feels right at home in Lorna’s bedroom, but he might as well be a stranger everywhere else in her perfect house. Suspicions that Lorna’s up-and-coming professor son-in-law is a womanizer soon pushes Jack into a different kind of rescue mission. Meanwhile, Lorna steps up and organizes her elderly father-in-law’s move and offers her support to Jack’s daughter in a crisis with baby Joanie. Too bad those classic “irreconcilable differences” appear to doom the pair, even as their kids are beginning to warm to the marriage.

Maybe sharing a couple of romantic dances on the night Jack launches his Blue Sky Nostalgia Music Festival can bring this “opposites attract duo” together again. Will Jack and Lorna decide they can find a way to make peace with their dueling quirks and have some fun with their second-chance romance?

Characters tend to come to me within a situation—a dilemma—and it’s so exciting when the people start filling out their own stories. And I soon begin to picture them, too. The Jacks of Her Heart is a little lighter in its storyline than my other books, and I jokingly refer to it as the “revenge of the middle-aged.” I had overheard some adults in their twenties speaking somewhat critically about their parents—but the remarks struck me as comical, rather than mean. That sparked some thought about what would happen if a couple of casual acquaintances went off with a tour group and fell in love on a tropical cruise—the dancing and music and moonlight got the better of them and they impulsively married! What would their grownup kids think?
It was great fun to create Jack, an intuitive laidback kind of guy, who owns Both Sides Now, a ‘60s and ‘70s nostalgia café, and then pair him with a woman who loved order and organization so much she created a business as a professional organizer/lifestyle coach (whose late husband happens to be named Jack, too). For their own reasons, this couple’s adult children are vocal in their disapproval of their parents’ hasty marriage. Jack and Lorna figure they’re just stubborn enough to prove the meddlesome kids wrong. But, since they’re practically strangers, they encounter a few bumps—big ones, too.
Lorna and Jack also find themselves involved in each other’s families. Their lives become intertwined and the more I wrote about them the more “heart” they revealed. Whether it’s rescuing dogs or caring for an elderly parent or a toddler grandchild, they end up closer, but unfortunately, more conflicted, too.
The Jacks of Her Heart is book 1 of The Capehart Bay series. I became so fond of Lorna’s best friend, June, I had to write her story, too. The series approach gives me a chance to show a group of people in a small Wisconsin town, I named Capehart Bay, which has become its own character, too.   

Lorna inched to the edge of her bed, but before sliding out, she glanced over her shoulder to watch the even rise and fall of Jack’s back under the sheet. If she rolled toward him she could reach out and rest her palm against his bare shoulder and soak up the warmth of his skin. No. The man’s warmth—on all levels—got her into this trouble in the first place. That and moonlight, and okay, since she’d started a list, she might as well add the long nights of delicious slow dancing.

Once out of bed, Lorna tiptoed to her reading chair in the corner, retrieving her bra and panties from the floor along the way. Then she pulled the throw off the back of the chair and wrapped it around herself like a towel. Only dim light seeped through the closed blinds, but she felt around the floor and came up with the silk shirt and slacks she’d worn on the flight home the night before. With her clothes draped over her arm, she stepped around the open suitcase blocking the way to her bedroom door. She reached for the doorknob, ready to escape, but took a last look at the scene she was about to leave behind.   

A trail of jeans, a sport jacket, and a dark blue shirt led straight to the mound in the bed named Jack Young, age fifty-two, noteworthy only because, by coincidence, she and Jack were mere months apart in age.   

Loathing messes as she did, it took all Lorna’s strength not to grab the two half-empty glasses and the champagne bottle that sat as accusers on her nightstand. She slipped into the hallway and shut the door behind her. Home free—more or less. Leaning against the wall, she closed her eyes and exhaled a long breath to quiet her jittery stomach. It worked for a second or two. Next step, get to June’s house as fast as her legs would carry her there.

Lorna brushed her teeth and dressed quickly in her guest bathroom before grabbing her winter jacket off the hook in the kitchen. She escaped through her back door and jogged down the slope of her yard that led to the footpath bordering the lake, the fastest route to June’s house.

She maneuvered around the muddy patches and pools of water left behind from last night’s rain. The dampness left the April morning air fragrant with the promise of spring. Lacking a breeze to disturb it, the lake perfectly mirrored the trees and houses lining the water’s edge. In the stillness, the sounds of a barking dog and children’s voices carried across the water from the opposite shore. A mere day ago, she’d been more than a thousand miles away, tilting her face toward the sun and sighing from happiness as sultry tropical air caressed her skin. She and Jack had made love to the nearly imperceptible rhythm of the cruise ship, dodging any talk of what they’d do when they arrived back home in Wisconsin. 

What a disaster. Maybe she’d try to make light of their escapade. After all, Jack was a decent man, a really great guy, if also thoroughly unsuitable for her. He also had a terrific sense of humor. Maybe they could have a good hoot over their silly mistake. “Isn’t this the funniest thing?” she could say while trilling in a charming sort of way. Ha ha, titter titter. She could hold out her hand in a gesture of friendship. “What do you say? We figure out the easiest way to put this embarrassing little episode behind us?” More light-hearted laughter.

At last June’s white frame cottage came into view. Lorna hurried up the stone path and through the picture window spotted her friend standing at her kitchen table with a tall pile of laundry in front of her. Lorna waved to get her attention and when June looked up her face broke into a welcoming smile.

“Come in, come in,” June said after she’d opened the door and with a sweeping gesture invited Lorna inside. “I hoped you’d come over this morning. Help yourself to coffee and tell me all about your exciting cruise while I make my way through my boring laundry basket.”

Shrugging out of her jacket, Lorna peered around the corner of the kitchen into the hallway looking for any sign of June’s nine-year-old. “Is Bonnie gone?”

“The school bus picked her up a little while ago. Why?”

“I want to be sure we’re alone.” Lorna surveyed the table, with the laptop and a pile of fat file folders and legal pads at one end and the heap of laundry at the other. A full basket of clothes sat on the floor. “You’re really busy. I could come back later.”

“Don’t be silly,” June said, shaking out a crumpled bath towel. “This is laundry, not legal analysis.” 

Lorna filled a mug from the carafe and went back to the table. Then she drew in a breath. “I’ve done something really stupid.”

June’s eyes narrowed. “Sit down and tell me about it.”

Lorna made a fast decision to blurt it out. “I got married. To Jack Young. In the Dominican Republic…”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A lifelong writer, Virginia McCullough has coauthored or ghostwritten over 100 books for doctors, therapists, lawyers, professional speakers, and many others. Her other award-winning novels include Amber Light, Greta’s Grace, The Chapels on the Hill, and Island Healing. The Jacks of her Heart is Book 1 of her Capehart Bay series. Asked to sum up the themes of her fiction, she says her books are all about hope, healing, and plenty of second chances.

Virginia will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Fool for Love by Susan Lute Excerpt & Giveaway

When a gypsy caravan-style truck breaks down at Martha's curbside, the last thing Zach Barret needs is an impulsive pixie rocking his boat. The more determined he is to stay away from the free-spirited, green-eyed nomad, the more he finds one kiss is not enough. Uncovering Alice York's secrets in paintings of empty swings and merry-go-rounds puts a new priority in the top spot on his short list. But can he convince this stunning woman to park her truck permanently in his drive?

Working on classic cars was good work when she could get it, putting enough money in her pocket so she could make it to her next destination, wherever that might be. And if she was lucky, along the stretch of road ahead of her, she could usually get in a painting or two.

But having to shell out a chunk of her scant reserves for new parts, plus take time to fix the Ford?

She banged her head gently on the steering wheel. She'd had one rule from the very first day she'd taken to the road. A litany of poor-me was not allowed in Duke's cab. Melting into a puddle of panic was not an option.

Hood raised, her head, arms, and shoulders buried in the engine compartment, she tested connections. A door banged behind her with the force of furious anger.

A man's raised voice demanded, “Where are you going?”

Surprised, Alice jerked, hit her head on the hood, and saw stars. “Holy mother of–”

“You don't pay me enough to put up with that old man's insults!” A woman shouted, the voice shrill, pampered. Stilettos clattered past Alice.

Sneakers thumping the sidewalk followed, appearing briefly in her peripheral vision as she rubbed her scalp while blinking back waterworks.

Heavier boots stopped beside the truck. “You can't be serious, Penelope. He's not saying you're a horrible cook. He just likes pushing your buttons.”

All Alice could see were denim-clad legs – strong, masculine legs that would make any woman worth her salt salivate.

What now? Make her presence known? Or pretend she wasn't a witness to this very public domestic squabble.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Susan is an award winning, multi-published traditional and Indie author. Her debut novel, Oops…We’re Married? was a Reader’s Choice nominee and Holt Medallion Finalist. She describes herself first and foremost as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer, and novelist. An ardent student of human nature who loves ancient history and myth, she didn't grow up planning to be a writer. That didn’t come until much later, after her first publication – a little known article for Listen Magazine titled, Jessie’s Choice.

Other things you should know: Susan is the oldest child of a military family. She’s traveled to many places over the years, but has never been to Ireland, Paris, or Crete, an omission she hopes to someday correct. Her favorite places in the world are New York City, Sedona (Arizona), Ouray (Colorado), and Bath (England). And she believes the best things in life come in unexpected packages. She writes whenever she can. In between she works as a Registered Nurse, reads, gardens, takes lots of photos, travels whenever the opportunity arises, and remodels her house. She LOVES dragons. Currently she’s working on the next novel in her Dragonkind Chronicles, and dreaming up a new contemporary romance.

Susan will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 22, 2015

Back to Us by Teresa Roman Excerpt & Giveaway

Abandoned by her parents at fourteen, Jessica knows what it means to struggle. Jessica’s vowed that getting her degree is the only thing she has time for, until a summer internship brings Justin into her life. But Justin has scars of his own. A tour of duty in Afghanistan has left him with wounds. A medical discharge from the Navy leaves Justin struggling to make sense of his new reality. Then he meets Jessica; but can the two of them leave their pain in the past and make a future together?

I turned to leave. There were a million things I wanted to say to Justin, but without a guarantee that he’d respond the way I wanted him too, I was too afraid.


“Yes?” I was almost at the door.

Justin hopped up on the table behind him and rested his feet on a chair. I waited for him to talk. “I’m scared,” he finally said.

“Scared of what?”

“That you’ll break me.”

I walked over to Justin slowly and stood in front of him. “You don’t believe I care about you?”

“I do. But feelings change, people change.”

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to be saying right now. I was the one who asked you out. I was the one who told you I was interested, but you turned me down, twice.”

“Because I’m an idiot.”


“Just hear me out, okay?”

“Ok.” I took a step closer to him and he reached for my hand.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Teresa Roman is a lover of books. That's what prompted her to try her hand at writing. She currently resides in Sacramento, CA with her husband, three adorable children and the puppy her son convinced them to adopt. When she isn't at her day job or running around with her kids, you can find her in front of the computer hard at work writing or with her head buried in another book.

BACK TO US has been selected by Amazon for publication as part of its Kindle Scout program.  It will be published shortly.

Teresa Roman is awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fueled by Lust: Makar and Baruch by Celeste Prater Excerpt & Giveaway

A quick mission to retrieve a bag of blood leaves Makar Decanus and Baruch Abella’s head spinning when they stumble upon their potential mate. Unknown to them at the time, this isn’t just any ordinary doctor with sea-green eyes and a tantalizing scent of violets. She might very well be the catalyst leading to the destruction of the Insedi race.

Dr. Keely Anderson thinks she’s on to something wondrous when not one, but three patients reveal they’ve seen men disappearing before their eyes. Undaunted by her prick boss’s demand she stop investigating, Keely finds herself swept into the arms of two overwhelming males that want to see her permanently positioned between their sexy as hell bodies. But will her heartrending past keep them at arm’s length?

Book 7 in the Fueled By Lust Series will pull at your heartstrings, make you gasp at the action, and have you fall head over heels in love once again with the Insedi race.

Reader note: Series best read in sequence

“I want you to be comfortable, sweetness. You have a look on your face as if you’re expecting me to crush you. That’s not an ideal mindset to instigate your desire.” He rolled to a sitting position, leaned against the couch, and patted his thigh.

“Here, sit on my lap. We’ll just hold each other for a bit.”

Muscles melting in relief, Keely threw her leg over his and settled onto his lap.

He caressed her arm and spoke softly. “Ready?”

She nodded and glanced over to Baruch. He was trying to focus his eyes.

Keely jumped when Makar’s hands landed on her hips.

“Relax. You’re in charge. Okay?”

She stared into his golden eyes and tried to figure out why she was so damn jumpy. Releasing her breath, she placed her hands on his shoulders and leaned forward. “I’m going to kiss you. Will you do that electrical charge thing again? I need some warning.”

“No, sweets. That was a one-time deal. Lay it on me.”

Moving closer, she felt his palms slide up her back. The moment their mouths touched, she closed her eyes and fell into the most sublime experience imaginable. His lips were soft, his motions gentle, and his tongue warm and inviting. Gradually, she grew bolder and demanded more from the kiss, withdrawing, nipping his full lower lip, and kissing the sting away before starting the intimate exploration all over again. His palms pressed harder against her back, pulling her closer.

Coming up for air, she sighed when her breasts smashed against his chest and he nibbled along her neck. A slight tug on her earlobe sent tingles shooting across her skin. His sensuously accented words had her wiggling on his lap.

“That’s it, sweetness. I smell a slight aroma of violets. Let go, baby. Give us more. Umm, yes. Keep moving your hips. Yes, just like that. Ride me. Ah, you’re making me so hard, Keely.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Celeste was born and raised in a small town between Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin. Wanting to see more than her small Texas town, she joined the Marines, which satisfied her craving to see more of the U.S. and her drive to see if she could be one of the few and the proud.

A firm believer in educating the mind, Celeste has achieved several advanced degrees, the latest being a master’s of science.

Her true love is writing erotic romance, especially about alien hunks that know how to treat their females.

Drusus, Severus, Cato, Lucien, Caelius, Maxim and many more have swirled in her dreams until she had to bring them to life and allow them to find love within the pages of the Fueled by Lust book series.

Book 1 DRUSUS was nominated as Top 5 Finalist and placed 3rd in the 2014 RWA Passionate Ink’s 9th Annual Passionate Plume Book Contest in Erotic SciFi/Fantasy Category, Book 2 SEVERUS achieved BEST BOOK review rating and won April 2014 BOOK OF THE MONTH Reader Poll at LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, Book 3 CATO won the May/June 2014, and LUCIEN won the September 2014 BOOK OF THE MONTH Reader Poll at LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS. All currently released books in the series have made it into the Top 5 Bestseller Lists at within days of release as well as making it into the Top 10 Hottest New Releases in Erotic Science Fiction on Amazon.

BUY and MEDIA Links:

Releasing 06/17/2015 exclusively at and 6-8 weeks later at major retailers

Celeste Prater is awarding a randomly drawn commenter a $20 Amazon/BN gift card via Rafflecopter. 
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway