Friday, July 25, 2014

Read Chapter One of BADLAND BRIDE by Lisa Mondello

BADLAND BRIDE ~ Dakota Hearts Book 2

Raised an Army brat, Regis Simpson was used to calling new towns home, learning to quickly make friends but never letting anyone get too close.  When devastating floods tear through the Badlands of South Dakota, she thinks Rudolph is just another town that needs to be rebuilt.  Nothing more.  The sooner she gets her work done, the sooner the people of Rudolph can heal and she can move on to the next town in need.  She never counted on the sexy town doctor, Keith “Hawk” McKinnon or his determination to break down walls she’d spent a lifetime building, making it impossible for her to leave.
Nothing pained Hawk McKinnon more than seeing people he’d known his whole life hurting.  He traded a high-paying salary at a city hospital to come back to Rudolph and make a difference where he’d dug his roots.  When the beautiful Regis Simpson comes to town offering help, he’s immediately drawn to her even though she’s spent a lifetime packing armor around her heart.  But once her work is done, she’ll be leaving again.  He’s determined to do everything possible to make her stay.

Chapter One
Army brats weren’t wusses. She’d been dealing with tough situations from the moment she’d pushed her way into the world. At least that’s what Regis Simpson’s daddy always told her. She should've known better than to traipse through mud and rubble without proper boots, no matter how stylish her flats looked in the store window. Her reward was the nice chunk of medal from the rusty fence that had somehow embedded itself into her ankle when she’d slipped.
     “You’re going to need a tetanus shot for that.”
     Regis looked up at the man standing over her. He’d just taken her on a thirty minute walk around his property to assess flood damage. It wasn’t pretty. Now as she was sprawled out on the muddy ground, smelling earth and Lord knows what else decaying, she tried to focus on the wetness from the ground seeping into the fabric of her pants rather than the pain in her leg.
     “I’m up on my shots,” she said, trying her best not to pass out as she pulled her leg away from the twisted fence. 
     Regis took the man’s proffered hands in hers and welcomed his help. She’d already been out to six properties today and couldn’t remember all the people she’d talked to.
     Tim Bennett. That was this guy’s name, right? Relief flooded her. She hated when her brain became overloaded with details. And Mr. Bennett had bigger worries than the damage she’d done to her leg to help keep her straight. Everyone in Rudolph and the surrounding towns in the Badlands of South Dakota were worried about whether or not insurance would cover enough to repair the damage to their property after the worst ice storms and flooding in a hundred years had swept through the area. That’s what she did and the only reason she was on a marathon tour of destruction. And there were days she wondered why she was still doing it after five straight years of living out of a suitcase and calling the local motel in Anytown, USA her home.
     “No, you really should have Hawk take a look at that. It looks pretty bad. Might need stitches.”
     “Hawk? What is he, a local Native American shaman or something?”
     Mr. Bennett smiled. “More like the local dare devil. Or he used to be anyway. People around here joke he went into medicine just so he could stitch up his own wounds because the thieving insurance companies cancelled his policy.”
     The joke fell flat and Mr. Bennett’s smile immediately faltered as if he suddenly remembered who he was speaking to. “Let me see if I can find something clean to wrap that leg.”
     “I’d appreciate that.”
     Regis couldn’t exactly blame Mr. Bennett for being nervous. It didn’t matter what town she was in across America. When a natural disaster struck an area, it caused upheaval and destruction that she needed to help these fine folks fix. She was their hope of a swift recovery…so long as she approved their claim.
     And that, she was sure, was the reason for Mr. Bennett’s nervous energy.
     While she waited, she carefully tried to put weight on her foot but felt warm moisture seep into her shoe as pain shot up her leg. She quietly let out a colorful stream of expletives that she knew sounded odd coming out of the mouth of someone in her position. But being raised by a single father on Army bases around the world, she heard a thing or two that made even her toes curls.
     Mr. Bennett handed Regis a couple of paper towels. “I found these in the car. They’re clean.”
     “Thank you,” Regis tried not to wince as she placed the paper towel on her leg. It was no use. She stood and carefully tried to put weight on her foot again. Her ankle throbbed but she forced herself to walk on it so she could get to her car. Once there, she leaned up against the car door and hiked up her pant leg to get a better look at her injury.
     “You’re definitely going to need stitches for that,” Mr. Bennett said.
     Feeling queasy, she asked, “You wouldn’t happen to have that Hawk doctor’s address on you, would you?”
     “No need for an address. Just stay on this road until you get to the center of town. Turn left at the diner and it’s right across the street. You can’t miss it. It’s the only clinic in town.”
     “Turn left at the diner. That sounds easy enough. Does this Hawk have a real name?”
     Mr. Bennett smiled. “His sign says Dr. Keith McKinnon. But I don’t know anyone who calls him that.”
     “Hawk? Right, thanks,” Regis muttered to herself as she eased her body into the driver’s seat. Once inside, she closed her eyes to the dizziness she felt. She had to drive to town and find this doctor’s office and hope this Hawk doctor could take care of her wound quickly. With her long lists of properties to assess, she couldn’t afford down time.
     As her engine fired up, Mr. Bennett said, “Ah, what about my claim?”
     “I’ll get back to you on that. I have the information for your paperwork.” Despite the cold March wind outside, beads of sweat bubbled up on her forehead.
     He looked worried. “Phone service is knocked out.”
     “I’ll be setting up an office at the senior center by the end of the week. You can check in with me there.”
     That is, she’d have an office if the senior center allowed her the space. She hadn’t heard back on that yet. Otherwise, she’d be seeing clients in the motel parking lot.
     As she drove towards the center of town, Regis tried not to look at the devastation around her. There were days she felt numb to it, having seen so much in the five years she’d worked at her job. But she couldn’t help but feel for the people who were suffering here. She passed a farm that had all its fields washed out. There were ruts in the mud, most likely caused by a tractor that had picked up debris and animals that hadn’t made it in the flood. A barn that had once seen its glory days of use was now caved in on one side due to erosion of the foundation from water damage.
     She tried not to look as she drove because she knew what everyone else here didn’t know. Not everyone would get what they needed. Not everyone would recover from this. And those who’d get bad news, would get it from her.
     A series of ice storms, and then an unseasonably high amount of rain, had caused massive flooding throughout South Dakota. The area around the Black Hills had been hit particularly hard. Her office had been inundated with insurance claims from thousands of people reporting property damage. She, as well as a dozen of her colleagues, had been on the road for weeks, examining the damage and submitting paperwork to approve each claim so people could rebuild.
     She saw the diner she’d eaten breakfast at that morning and hit her blinker for a left turn. The clinic was easy to miss being nothing more than an old farmhouse that had a fresh coat of paint and a handicap ramp newly installed out front. If not for the felled tree that had been recently cut into pieces and stacked neatly next to the parking lot, if you could call it that, she would have missed the sign.
She parked her car in the empty parking lot. “Maybe this will be quick and I can get back on the road.”
     After easing herself out of the car, she limped up the newly built wooden ramp, unpainted and still sporting the color of wood that hadn’t been exposed to the elements for long. She winced through the pain as she took each step toward the front door. A small sign hung next to the door giving the clinic's hours. She tried the door and it wouldn’t budge. Her shoulders sagged in defeat.
     “What does he do in the middle of the day? Go fishing?”
     “Nope, house calls.”
     Regis swung around to see a tall man walking up behind her on the ramp. He had the Irish blue eyes she’d seen on many models in advertising magazines she’d bought when she was a teenager, and the dark hair that looked a little unruly in the wind, but seemed to fit him perfectly. The light scuff of a beard wasn’t more than a day old, but already dark and covering his square jaw.
     For a moment, Regis was so taken with this handsome stranger that she’d forgotten why she was there.

* * *

“Dr. Hawk, or whatever his name actually is, does house calls? I thought that sort of thing went extinct with the dinosaurs. The guy must be a hundred years old.”
     Hawk fought to keep from smiling.  “There are days it seems that way.”  He then looked at the woman’s leg, and frowned as he saw the blood staining her pants. “We’d better get you inside so that can be cleaned.”
     “The door’s locked,” the woman said, leaning against the rail as he came up beside her.  Her face was pale, most probably due to the pain she was experiencing and the loss of blood.
He smiled, looking down into her eyes. “Luckily, I have a key.”  They were pretty brown eyes, he decided.  No, they were hazel. And the fact that he didn’t want her to turn away so he could know for sure surprised him.
     Standing six feet tall, he towered over her small frame, although he was probably no more than eight inches taller than her.  And she smelled like fresh soap as if she’d just taken a shower. But looking at the dirt and blood on her hands, that probably wasn’t the case.
     “You must rate to have your own key to the doctor’s office. When does this Hawk doctor usually come back?”
     He slipped the key into the door and turned the handle. Then he smiled as he pushed the door open and held it for her to come inside. “Why don’t you have a seat here. It’ll just be a minute.”
Hawk curled his fingers around the woman’s upper arm gently and helped guide her to the chair. As she sat down, a look of relief washed over her face.
     “Does that take some pressure off?”
     “Your leg. Does sitting help?”
     As he waited for her to reply, he walked behind the receptionist desk and sifted through the wall organizer that was filled with insurance forms. Nancy was going to have a fit if he had this woman fill out the wrong one.
     “Ah, a little.”
     He felt a muscle pull between his eyebrows as he glanced at the forms. For all his higher education, insurance forms were a mystery to him. Finally he sighed and dropped the papers on the desk.
     “I’m going to need you to fill out some forms, but I’m not sure which one's right at the moment and my receptionist, Nancy, will have my hide if I have you fill out the wrong form. So why don’t we just have a look at your leg first and fill out paperwork later?”
     “Your receptionist?”
     “Yes. She’ll probably be back from lunch before I’m done.”
     “You? Wait, you’re Dr. Hawk?”
     His lips curled up just slightly. “It’s just Hawk. But if you prefer, you can call me Dr. McKinnon.”
     Her mouth hung open just slightly. “Oh, I’m…oh, okay.”
     “Did someone tell you I was a deranged killer?”
     “What? No, of course not, it’s just…”
     She was adorable, all flustered with her flub. Hawk couldn’t resist teasing her. “They said I was a mean old bastard who was going to cut off your leg?”
     She rolled her eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
     “Then what?”
     “You aren’t…I wasn’t expecting someone so…”  She took a deep breath.
      Color immediately stained her pale cheeks. “Young. You look like you just graduated college.”
     He chuckled. “So they didn’t tell you I was good looking. They told you I was old.”
     She sighed heavily. “No. Mr. Bennett didn’t say anything except your name is Hawk. What kind of person walks around with a name like that anyway?”
     “Me,” he said. “And I can assure you that you are in good hands. I may not be a crusty old doctor, but I not only went to college, I made it all the way through med school, my internship and a stint at the city hospital in Sioux Falls before coming back to Rudolph and starting my practice here.”
     Her shoulders slumped. “I didn’t mean to imply—”
     “Let’s get you cleaned up,” he said. “Let me help you—”
     He bent down to help her to her feet, and he caught a whiff of her soapy scent again. Normally he didn’t notice such things. But he was having a hard time not noticing every little detail about this woman from the slight hook of her nose to the patch of too many freckles on her left cheek.
     “No, I can do it.”
     “Okay, follow me,” he said as they made their way down the hall to the first examining room. He opened the door and let her into the well-stocked room first. Then he carefully helped her to climb onto the examining table before going to the sink to wash his hands. When he was done, he put on a white medical jacket that was hanging from a hook on the door, and then turned to her.
     “Now that you know my name, why don’t you tell me yours?”
     “Regis Simpson. But people call me Reggie.”
     “Why what?”
     “Why would people call you Reggie when Regis is such a pretty name?”
     Her lips lifted to a sideward grin. “You’ve got one hell of a bedside manner, Doctor.”
     “Did it make you forget the throbbing in your leg?”
     She thought a second and then chuckled softly. “That’s not why you said that to me.”
     “Are you sure about that?”  She was easy to tease and Hawk quickly realized he liked this woman’s spunk. But she was here for a reason and once she was settled on the examining table, he immediately fell into professional mode.
     “While I get what I need to clean your leg, why don’t you tell me what happened?”
     “I got into a fight with a rusty old fence on the other side of town and lost. I had to pull a piece out but I don’t think it’s too bad. It just won’t stop bleeding. I hope I didn’t hit an artery.”
Hawk looked up from the stainless steel tray he was putting gauze, saline solution and other supplies on. She was actually worried about it. “If you’d hit an artery you wouldn’t have made it over here alive. You are bleeding a lot though, so let’s have a look.”
     He pulled the table extender out and helped her lift her leg.

* * *

Regis never felt so foolish in her life. Handsome? Yeah, she couldn’t deny that. But to ask her that? Was he full of himself of what? Never mind that she’d already been thinking that from the moment she’d seen him walking up the ramp.
     “You didn’t have a medical bag,” she finally said.
     He glanced at her. “Excuse me?”
     “When you came up to the door you said the doctor does house calls in the middle of the afternoon. But you didn’t have a medical bag so I naturally assumed...”
     His face suddenly showed understanding at her fumbled attempt at an explanation. “I keep the bag locked in the truck. You never know when you have to run out quickly, especially now.”  Turning his focus to her leg, he said, “I’m just going to pull your shoe and sock off so I can see how far down this cut went.”
     Regis looked above him, behind him and at the posters on the wall warning of germs and the importance of washing your hands as the doctor peeled off her blood-soaked sock and shoe. She closed her eyes to the pain as he turned her ankle.
     “Let’s clean out this wound and see how bad it is,” he said. “Just lift your leg so I can put the towel underneath.”
     Gripping the table, she did as she was told and turned her head to the side as the cool liquid flowed over and stung her skin.
     “You’re not going to pass out on me, are you?”
     “Not if I can help it.”
     “Nancy?” he called out, startling her.
     A few seconds later, a middle-aged woman wearing a nurse’s jacket with cats printed all over it was standing in the doorway.
     “I wasn’t sure you heard me come in,” she said, looking over at Regis’s leg and frowning. “Oh, you got yourself a nasty one there. Where’d that happen?”
     Regis took a deep breath as the doctor worked on her leg. “Over at the Bennett property.”
     Sympathy shown on the woman’s face. “I heard the whole first floor was flooded.”
     “It’s about that bad,” Regis said.
     Hawk looked up at the nurse. “I didn’t have time to fill out the paperwork for Miss—”
     “Simpson. Regis Simpson,” she said.
     Hawk nodded. “Would you mind getting all that paperwork together while I take care of this wound?”
     Nancy shook her head and frowned. But by the motherly look she gave Hawk, Regis knew she was teasing. “Didn’t remember which form to fill out, huh? It’s a good thing you’re not at Sioux City General anymore. You think the other nurses would put up with this?”
     “He didn’t want me to bleed all over the new carpet.”
     Nancy chuckled with raised eyebrows. “That was very thoughtful of him. I see you already have this poor girl whipped. I’ll get that paperwork.”
     As Nancy left, Hawk’s hands paused on her leg as he looked up at her, giving her a wide smile that reached the depths of his eyes.
     “You’re getting me in trouble.”
     “I have a feeling you can do that all by yourself.”
     She wasn't sure what she'd been expecting from a country doctor, but the man standing next to her was not it. His eyes were the deepest shade of blue  Regis had ever seen. He was tall, leanly muscled and had one of those ruggedly handsome faces that would've looked perfect in a cowboy movie. And she couldn’t believe she was sitting on an examining table with the hots for her doctor.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

On Conversations: #paranormal #romance #author Skye Genaro

Please join me in welcoming paranormal romance author, Skye Genaro to Conversations today! Skye is here to talk about her teen paranormal romance novel, Echo Across Time, Book 1 in the Echo Saga. So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below. Plus, Skye has a wonderfull Q&A for us, so be sure and check that out too and get to know Skye and her work!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________ ACROSS TIME
Book 1 in the Echo Saga

Fall in love with the achingly beautiful story of Echo and Connor, supernaturally gifted teens, as they fight to live out their destiny together.

Telekinesis. Aura sensing. These abilities wreak havoc on Echo's life, and she will do just about anything to get rid of them. Even if it means sharing her secret with Connor, the gorgeous, frightening stranger who appears out of thin air and possesses shocking supernatural abilities. He promises to teach her things beyond her wildest imagination—if Echo has the courage to trust him.

 Soon, she is pulled into a world of mystical possibility and starts falling hard for the enigmatic Connor. As Echo uncovers the truth about him, she discovers a dark secret brewing within her city: people with paranormal gifts are being kidnapped and murdered. Escaping with Connor would keep Echo alive, but at a high cost to Connor and to the future they both believe in. Echo must choose between her love for Connor and her own safety, but she can't have both.

Excerpt from ECHO ACROSS TIME 

      Connor stepped toward me, closing that cushion of space he always maintained. Slowly, he moved near enough to touch.
      My senses sparked back to life. For a moment, I could only watch his chest rise and fall. My eyes shifted to his forearm when his tendons flexed. Then to his bicep, full and round. His breath moved steadily in and out.
      Any doubts I had about his humanness left in a hurry. This was no ghost. This was a pure flesh-and-blood male, radiant and very much alive.
      Even this close, Connor's aura was little more than gentle tendrils against my skin, sweeping lightly through my hair, down my cheek. Was it my imagination, or was his aura exploring me? A gentle heat brushed across my throat, then my collarbone. My lids closed, and a chill curled up my spine. Then the feeling receded, and I was left with the impression I'd been kissed.
      Connor cleared his throat and I opened my eyes. He smiled self-consciously.
      "We’re going to center your energy now, so when we walk out of here, you're less likely to lose control," he said.
      The warmth of his closeness overrode my focus. My throat parched and I couldn't find my voice, so I nodded.
      "Close your eyes. Feel your heart. The soft, rhythmic beat."
      I closed my eyes. Finding my heartbeat was simple because my pulse had jumped with each step he came nearer. I didn't know why, but for once, I had control over my rising emotion. With a bit of effort, I managed to clear the sensation from my brow.
      "Put your hand over your heart," he said.
      I settled my palm on my breastbone and tried to block out the sound of his breathing.
      "Imagine all of your energy, your emotion, settling into that space beneath your hand. Center it there."
      He paused, and then he whispered, so close, the sultriness of his words left moisture on my ear. "Can you feel it? The heat building in your chest?"
      Oh, could I ever. I opened my eyes. His palm rested in the valley between solid pectoral muscles. I had to know, right then, his warmth, his aliveness.
      I lifted my hand away from my heart and reached for his.
      Connor's eyes snapped open. He stepped out of reach and raised a hand to deflect me.
      "No, Echo."
      His words were as harsh as a slap in the face. Shame flooded my cheeks.
      "Sorry," I stuttered. "I need a break, 'kay?" I hurried out the door.
      I broke into a run as soon as I left the warehouse. The control I struggled to maintain while Connor trained me snapped, and my energy whipped wildly. Cardboard boxes tumbled down the alley. Flotsam twirled out of the dumpster and scattered into the city.



Tell us a little about yourself and what you write.
I write teen paranormal and teen paranormal romance stories. I focus on the supernatural branch of the paranormal: characters with abilities like telekinesis, psychics, mediums, aura reading, abilities like that.

How did you get the idea for the series?

I came up with the idea when I was researching supernatural topics. As I read about people with actual supernatural gifts (empaths, precogs, spoon benders), I wondered what it would be like to wake up one morning and find out you had an ability. Who would you tell? What would you do with it? What if you couldn't control it and were trying to hide it because you felt like a freak?

What draws you to this genre?

I love the idea of having supernatural abilities. I have very strong intuition, but think it would be pretty cool to be able to move objects with my mind, or levitate, or walk through walls. I like creating stories where these things are an everyday reality in someone's life.

Is there an underlying theme running through the series?

Yes! The Echo Series is all about personal power—repressing it, learning to embrace it and then deciding how to use it--hopefully for the betterment of society.

Echo, for example, hates her power. She hates being different and having to hide who she really is. So, like so many young women do, she represses her individual power because she wants to fit in.

What type of audience do you have in mind when you are writing?
Most of my readers are teenage girls and woman, so I tend to write stories where relationships are very central.

Readers have told me they like my stories because they are very visually descriptive and have heart, so I've worked to develop this for my audience as well.

Are the paranormal experiences you write about based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I use a combination of my own experiences, those of my gifted friends and research when developing characters or scenarios for my books and novelettes.

I have a friend who is a very gifted intuitive, and another who is a gifted medium. Another one of my friends is an empath, which means she's highly sensitive to the emotional environment around her. She feels the energy coming off a place or a person very viscerally—it might feel frenetic or staticky for instance. She feels this sensation on her skin or her internal organs.

Skye Genaro's fascination with psychics and other gifted individuals sparked when her own clairvoyant and clairaudient abilities began to grow. As a young girl, she experienced flashes of "knowing", but she didn't recognize her intuitive insight until many years into adulthood.

When she's not writing, Skye is seeking out her next adventure. She and her husband can be found buzzing through the streets of Delhi on a tuk-tuk, rock climbing in Thailand, and canoeing whitewater rapids closer to home. She's been heard more than once saying "whoa, maybe that wasn't such a great idea," but she's usually smiling when she says it.

Skye writes short stories and novels featuring characters with paranormal gifts. She has also written movie scripts, one of which spent time in that mysterious entertainment industry labyrinth called "development."

You can find Skye at:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On Conversations: #Interview with #AAMBookclub #author Blu Daniels

Please welcome AAMBookclub author Blu Daniels to Conversations today. Blu is here to talk about her novel, Misconceptions. So, check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below! And don't forget to check out her interview too, and get to know Blu.

Lisa ~

Having a baby is one thing. But having FOUR of them with the jerk who used you…now that’s another.

After finally ending her year-long fling with a man she only refers to as Bad Habit, the narcissistic, temperamental Alexandria Stone moves back home to New York to start her dream job. That is, until she discovers she’s pregnant, with quadruplets. When a business merger leaves her jobless and penniless, she has no other choice but to move to Atlanta with Bad Habit, a seductive, callous man she despises due to their rocky past. Desperate to have a picture-perfect life, Alex becomes convinced she must make Bad Habit fall in love with her, no matter the cost. Misconceptions is a hilarious and sexy nine-month chronicle of Alexandria’s doomed quest for a perfect life.

Excerpt from Misconceptions

     “If you keep eating like that you won’t have enough food to last the weekend,” Bad Habit said while coming down the stairs, carrying an overnight bag. I looked up from my plate of barbeque chicken wings, sucking the remnants off my fingers.
      “And it’s only nine a.m.” he added while trashing the empty cartons of orange juice I left on the counter.
      “I’m eating for five. Piss off,” I snapped, my mouth full of smothered meat. It had been weeks since I had a real appetite and now all I was craving was chicken. Mountains of chicken. Legs, thighs, wings, breast stacked to the ceiling.
      He shook his head in disgust. “Weren’t you in the kitchen earlier this morning?”
      He must be referring to the six packs of his favorite instant oatmeal I ate at four-thirty.
      I nodded my head in between bites.
     “You were asleep. I guess another looooong night. Humph!”
      Bad Habit left for work every day like clockwork and he went out almost every night. A mixture of various undefined meetings, happy hours, and random fuckery kept him out late while I stayed home alone for thirteen hours a day. He ignored my side eye and zipped up his bag.
      “I’m heading to Vegas for a conference this weekend. I’ll be back Sunday.”
      “Sure, whatever,” I said with zero care while scavenging through the fridge with my sticky fingers.
      I could’ve sworn we had some potato salad in here.
      “You know,” he began. “Maybe you shouldn’t be eating so much.”
      I froze and spun around, catching him checking out my ass.
      “Why not?”
      “Well, maybe you should…exercise a bit.”
      My mouth dropped and the relief of the cold breeze from the freezer vanished.
      No. He. Didn’t.
      “Are you calling me fat?”
      He shrugged while walking toward the pantry.
      “No, but you have been eating a lot more lately. And aren’t you supposed to be taking some vitamins or something?”
      “They’re horse pills. You take them. And quit changing the subject. You think I’m fat!”

      “No, but…well…it may just help with your…anxiety.”
      He took out the last pack of instant oatmeal and waved the empty box at me. Furious, I held my hands on my hips.
      “Oh well gee thanks for the marvelous advice! Let me just unzip out of this fucking fat suit and go for a brisk run. Hmmm…can’t seem to find the zipper. You think you could help me out?”
      Rolling his eyes, he grabbed his bag and headed for the door. I followed.
      “Alexandria, it’s perfectly acceptable to engage in physical activity while you’re pregnant. Plenty of women do. I’ve seen them at the gym.”
      “Yeah, well THOSE women aren’t the size of a damn planet at four months!”
      You never ever call a woman fat, especially when she’s pregnant! Even callous bastards like him should know that much.
      He stopped at the hall console to comb through an unopened pile of mail. I stood behind him.
      “What, no response?”
      Say something. Anything. Please give me an excuse to rip out your tongue with rusty pliers.
      “Given your current condition, I’ve chosen to disregard your shenanigans as mere hormonal outbursts,” he said using his normal cold formalness.
      He finds his car keys and turns around with a smirk.
      Ugh. His audacity disgusts me.
      “I may be pregnant, hormonal, and maybe even fat, but this is temporary. You however are a permanent dick! How about you try not to say or do anything stupid from now on?”
      He grinned, amused by my outburst, and opened the door.
      He thinks this is funny. So I’m a joke now?
      “Alexandria, do you need another spanking?”
      I gasped, mortified by what we did the night before and took a step back. He laughed.
      “That’s what I thought. I wouldn’t mind, but I have a flight to catch. Be back on Sunday. Hopefully the food will hold out until I return.”
      And with a smirk, he shut the door behind him.

Interview with Blu Daniels

What is your book about?

MISCONCEPTIONS is the story of a young woman, Alexandria Stone, who moves back home to New York, finally ending her year-long fling with a man she calls Bad Habit. She starts her dream job then discovers she’s pregnant, with quadruplets. When a business merger leaves her jobless and penniless, she has no other choice but to move to Atlanta with Bad Habit, a seductive.  Desperate to have a picture-perfect life, Alex becomes convinced she must make Bad Habit fall in love with her, no matter the cost.

MISCONCEPTIONS is a hilarious and sexy nine-month chronicle of Alexandria’s doomed quest for a perfect life.

Inspiration behind the Book

The Bad Habit in the book was loosely inspired by a real bad habit I had dated. He was horrible to me and for me, but yet somehow I found myself attracted, almost addicted to him. There are direct conversations had in the book that are verbatim of what was said in real life. One night, I had a dream I was pregnant with twins, and when I told him, it didn’t change the way he treated me or felt about me. When I woke up, I immediately dumped my Bad Habit. Even when he tried to occasionally hit me up, I’d declined seeing him. If that dream was ever a glimmer into my future, I wanted no part of it.

But then I thought, imagine if it was four babies…

Five words to describe the book

Chemistry: Bad Habit and Alex’s chemistry is palatable.  Their love/hate relationship creates the perfect friction to ignite their passion. From the very beginning, you witness it, experiencing the frustrating back and forth. (i.e that sex scene in the beginning…whewwwww!).

Dominance: Bad Habit has a control over Alex both in and out the bedroom. Most of the time, he appears to be uninterested in her, yet still craves authority leaving Alex left wondering why she loves him.

Insanity: Imagine being pregnant with quadruplets with a man who has been an asshole from the very beginning? How do you navigate that?

Hilarious: Alex’s humor and sarcasm helps her deal with the array of situations and hiccups she, at times, puts herself in. You’ll die laughing at her shenanigans.

Determination: Alex will stop at nothing to get Bad Habit, even at the expense of her self-respect, dignity and even her health.

Five Fun Facts about Character

  1. She is a Cancer: highly emotional and dramatic, even without the help of the extra hormones.
  2. Size 7, 32 C: She’s not a skinny model type girl. It was important for her to be a REAL girl. Think some books have characters that are size zero with 34DD.
  3. She mentions in the book she skips period, which could mean she suffers from something called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
  4. She graduated from Georgetown University with her MBA. (The same school Bad Habit went to, except for Law).
  5. Is it possible to have quadruplets? Why Yes! Yes it is! Quadruplets is the most babies women can conceive naturally, without the assistance from invitro. It’s extremely EXTREMLY rare. Which makes for a great story.
Why is this book so relatable?

Every girl has had a Bad Habit. That one guy who’s like the unhealthiest of food you know you shouldn’t have, but can’t leave alone. Similar to the bad boy complex, attracted to the you just can’t stop yourself from seeing or dealing with him.

Since you’ve never been pregnant, what are some of the things you did to help you write this book?

I read a lot of baby blogs, books and watched some detailed movies. The funniest thing I did was attend a birthing class. It gave me a chance to really witness the humor in their struggles, like getting up from their seats and interview some expectant mothers.  I even pretended to be preggos and PUSH!

What’s up next?

Next I’m writing the sequel to Misconceptions called BAD HABIT, as told by our favorite character we love and hate. Then I’ll finish the final chapter in their trilogy.

Blu Daniels is a TV professional by day, novelist by night, awkward black girl 24/7. A Howard University graduate and Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, beaches and randomly nerdy stuff. She currently resides in BK with her adorable chihuahua, Oscar, working on her next two novels.

Find the author:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Read Chapter One of HER DAKOTA MAN by Lisa Mondello

HER DAKOTA MAN ~ Dakota Hearts Book 1

Everyone knows that the Dakotas didn’t get the name Badlands for nothing.  Harsh weather and rough living are a way of life.  But single dad, Logan McKinnon, had seen more than his share of bad times after the death of his wife a year ago.  The last thing he needs is Poppy Erickson, an old flame and his late wife’s best friend, showing up unannounced to help after devastating floods nearly washed away their hometown.  With no place to stay in town, he has no choice but to offer her a bed at his house.  But can he live under the same roof with a woman he’d once loved passionately without feeling he’s betraying his late wife?

Poppy Erickson had spent the year wondering how all their lives might have been different after hearing the death bed confession of her childhood friend.  She’d left South Dakota years ago because she couldn’t bear to watch the man she loved loving another woman.  But now she knows the truth.  She’ll keep the promise she made to a friend, but will Logan understand when he learns the truth?  More important, can they again recapture the passion that had been between them all those years ago?

Chapter One
One look on Logan McKinnon’s face told Poppy that his foul mood had very little to do with the devastating destruction all around the Badlands of South Dakota…and everything to do with her showing up in town after nearly ten years.
     She didn’t have to be standing next to him to feel his anger simmering just below the surface of his composure. Sitting in her rental sedan was close enough. What the hell was she thinking coming back home? Why had she made that ridiculous promise to Kelly?
     She parked the car next to his truck and took a deep breath, mumbling under her breath as she pulled the door handle, “This may just turn out to be the stupidest thing you have ever done, girl.”
     Truth was, even as pissed off as Logan looked, he was still an amazing sight to see. Part of her had hoped that she was wrong. That she’d gotten over him a long time ago. That she’d take one look at him, make sure he and Keith were okay, and be able to get back in her car and drive right to the airport in Rapids City.
     He turned to her, standing tall and proud. His thick dark hair blew in the March wind, fluttering around his face and making him all the more strikingly handsome.
     Yep. Stupid.
     He was taller than she’d remembered, and he’d long since lost that too-lean teenage body that had driven her crazy in her youth. He worked hard on his ranch and it showed in how much his arms and chest had filled with muscles.
     Despite the cold, he’d taken off his jacket while he worked in the yard and Poppy had a clear view of just how much his male body had filled out in places she’d dreamed of touching.
     Lord, help her. She was in trouble. And she hadn’t even stepped out of the car yet. She pushed the door open and stepped outside to get it over with. It was either going to be the shortest visit on record…or the life changing experience she’d been dreaming of ever since she was a teenager.
     “Hi, Logan.”
     Logan starred at her for a long, agonizing moment. She read the emotional tug of war playing on his face as the sudden chill from the South Dakota winds bit into her exposed skin like a whipping.
     Then his expression turned hard. “What are you doing here?”
     He must have heard the car drive up. But Logan’s four-year-old son, Keith, remained so focused on the mud puddle he was poking a stick into to even notice anyone was around. That was good. The next few minutes would go easier for both of them if Keith weren’t aware of the tension.
     Logan stared at her as if he’d been startled. Or maybe too focused on making sure his son was safely playing nearby to notice her car had driven up.
     Or perhaps he’d been too pre-occupied with assessing the damage the recent angry South Dakota weather had done to his property. Poppy had seen just how Mother Nature had shown no mercy to her childhood town as she drove from the airport to the ranch. She couldn’t exactly blame Logan for being in a foul mood because of that.
     Seeing her was just the icing on the cake.
     “What the hell are you doing here, Poppy?” he repeated.
     She took in a deep breath, smelled the muddy earth and decay all around her, and said, “I came to help.”
     He took one long look at her, from her high-heeled boots, up the length of her legs, pausing at her hips. She could almost feel his eyes as if he were staring at the flesh beneath her fresh pair of blue jeans. When his gaze finally reached her face again, she slid her sunglasses to the tip of her nose and stared right back at him in challenge. A slow smile played on her lips. She could never last as long at this as Logan before caving into laughter. But she knew Logan was in no laughing mood.
     “Poppy Ericksen. Rudolph was practically washed off the map from all that rain we had. After all this time, what makes you think I need anything from you?”
     Even though his voice was even, she could tell he was still pissed. But he’d never show it. Keith was still poking at the mud and puddles on the driveway just a little ways away, completely unaware of present company.
     “What’s the matter, Logan? You don’t look happy to see me,” Poppy said, pulling her sunglasses off her face with a wary smile.
     A big splash had them both quickly looking over at Keith, who’d apparently gotten sick of the noise the stick in water was making and had graduated to a rock in favor of something more dramatic. Even though Logan had outfitted his boy in a heavy jacket and rubber boots, Keith still managed to find every puddle in the yard. What was left of it. Yeah, this kid was a McKinnon through and through.
     Turning back to Logan, she caught a fleeting smile aimed at his son before he brought his attention back to her.
     As if just noticing a car had driven into the driveway, Keith paused just before testing another puddle and called over to his father, “Who's that, Daddy?”
     Poppy's face brightened with Keith’s attention. “Hey, little big man! Remember me? Auntie Poppy?”
     Keith gave a quick glance to Logan and then ran over to him, offering up his dirt-covered arms. Logan picked up his son without hesitation.
     Logan's jaw tightened as he glared at Poppy. “What did you expect? He doesn't even know you.”
     Poppy's smile faltered. “Well, of course he doesn’t know me to see me. But we talk on the phone all the time.”
     Logan’s brow knit tight. “You talk… When?”
     “Just about every day when he's at your Mom's house. Don’t we, Keith? I’m mommy’s friend from New York.”
     Keith smiled with sudden recognition. “Auntie Poppy,” he said sweetly.
     “That’s right.”
     Irritation replaced the angry look. Apparently Kate McKinnon never told her son that Keith had a phone friend. Why, she didn’t know. But Kate McKinnon always had a reason for what she did.
     “Mom didn’t say anything about it.”
     Poppy shrugged. “It wasn’t a secret. I’m sure it just slipped her mind.”
     “Every week?”
     Their gazes locked for a brief moment, but the connection was cut short as Keith wiggled in Logan’s arms, a signal he wanted to get down.
     “Hey, little man,” Logan said, gently putting Keith back on the ground. “I need a big job done. Can you help me out?”
     “I can give you big help,” Keith said, jumping up and down.
     “I know you can. You're the best.” Logan pointed to a small pile of twigs a few yards down the driveway. “We're going to do some burning a little later and I'm going to need those little twigs put in that wheelbarrow over there. Can you do that big job for me?”
     “I can pick up the big sticks.” Keith stretched his little arms wide and lifted on his toes for added emphasis.
     Logan laughed. “I know you can. But I don't need the big ones. Just the little twigs. Can you do that big job for me while I talk for a bit?”
     “Okay, Daddy.” Keith ran off and quickly moved into task as Logan turned his attention back to Poppy.
     “He's doing good,” Poppy said quietly. “Getting big.”
     “We're managing. You didn't answer my question.”
     Her lips twitched. “I didn't think I needed an invitation to come home.”
     “This isn't your home. Not anymore.”
     His words hurt her more than he knew. Or maybe he did and that was why he said it. Regardless, Poppy refused to let her emotions show on her face and quickly added, “I, ah, didn’t mean this house. I meant back to Rudolph. I know this house isn't my home anymore.” She glanced quickly at Keith, and shifted her weight to one leg as she crossed her arms. A move she always did when she was nervous. “After all the damage the storm did around here, I thought you could use some help.”
     “We had a bad few weeks, I'll give you that.”
     “It was all over the news.”
     “New York City news?”
     “National news. But you forget I have connections here in South Dakota, Logan. I don't need the news to have me riveted to what's going on back home.”
     “You could have fooled me,” he said under his breath.
     “What's that?”
     He didn’t answer. Instead, he looked around at the devastation that had once been her home as a child. In some ways it was unrecognizable. Trees that had been standing in the pasture for over a hundred years were toppled over, their roots pulled from the ground by the softening soil from the rising water.
     Poppy took a moment to take it all in, holding back emotion.
     “The house was spared,” he said.
      She nodded. “Thankfully.”
     The rest of the place was a disaster. There was debris and run off from all the water that wind and icy rain had dumped on the Badlands over the past two weeks.
      Yet, as upsetting as it was to see, they’d been blessed. Poppy knew from Logan’s mom that Logan and Keith had been at the house during the worst of it. They’d survived. Everything else could be replaced.
     “Lot of folks close to the river lost everything.”
     “I heard.”
     Kelly and Logan had been married for nearly eight years before she’d died last year. It had been over ten years since she’d stepped foot on this ranch. Kelly had convinced Logan to buy the property when it came on the market again the year Kelly had been pregnant with Keith. “The house always had good memories,” Kelly had told her. And yet standing there in front of Logan, the years between then melted away and Poppy felt as if she were still the young girl who’d dreamed of one day loving this man as passionately has she had in her teenage dreams.
     They’d stood across from each other on summer nights hundreds of times. They'd been inseparable back then. Sometimes the three of them. Many times just her and Logan. Yet Kelly had been the one to love Logan the way that Poppy had dreamed. How it happened no longer mattered. Especially since Logan was glaring at Poppy as if she’d let Kelly down in the cruelest and most unforgivable way, not knowing it was actually the other way around.
     She was a stupid woman! What had convinced her he’d care about the truth now?
     For a fleeting second, Poppy wanted to climb back into her rental car and drive as fast as she could until she reached Rapid City. She didn’t belong here. To hell with the promise she’d made to Kelly. But she’d be damned if she spent her entire life wondering if things would have been different if Logan had only learned the truth. If she left, she’d never know.
     “How’s this, Daddy?”
      Logan’s attention turned to Keith, who was quite pleased with the pile of sticks he'd made in the middle of the driveway. Walking over to him, he said. “Little buddy, that's a fine pile you just started. I’m so proud of you. But we can't have the fire in the middle of the driveway. Do you think you can move these sticks over to big pile over there?”
     “Okay!” Unaffected by Logan pointing out his error, Keith quickly went on his way of picking away at the pile a stick at a time and running over to drop it in another pile off the driveway. Poppy was grateful for the slight reprieve of talking with Logan.
     Glancing back at Poppy, Logan sighed. He didn’t want her there. That much was evident. Her determination renewed, she lifted her chin and decided she was digging in if she had to dig a hole to do it. Logan was going to have to deal with her at some point, like it or not, so they might as well get it over with now.
     As if he’d come to the same conclusion, he took a few long strides toward her. “Look, I can appreciate you wanting to come out and check on your family home and all. You lived here your whole life, so that's understandable. But as you can see, the house is still standing.”
     “You can appreciate? Well, that's very dignified of you to say it that way.”
     “In case you hadn’t noticed, I'm not feeling very dignified right now. So you can just get in your car and head back to New York if you don’t like it. I don't need you here.”
     “You say that. But I know different, Logan McKinnon. You need me now more than ever.”
     Logan watched Poppy’s expression collapse, saw the hurt on her face that he didn't want to acknowledge he'd caused with his words. There was a time when his sole purpose in a day was to make Poppy Ericksen smile. To hear her musical laugh. Not today. But despite his anger, hurting her didn’t make him feel any better.
      In the distance, echoes of chainsaws and other equipment resonated from all the surrounding houses and across the fields. Now that the rain had stopped, everybody was outside trying to do their best with whatever resources they had at their disposal to try to get life back to normal.
      The small town he'd grown up in wasn’t a stranger to floods or other natural disasters. Harsh Dakota weather was a way of life for the people in these parts. But they’d never seen anything like the floods that had swept through his town this past week. Ice, rain and the drought from last year had made the ground prime to nearly wipe some parts of South Dakota clean off the map. There had been little warning and scarcely any time to prepare for it.
      Did he need help? Sure. Every single landowner around here was sorely lacking in resources despite the fact people were traveling from out of state to help. He'd be stupid to pass up help from anyone willing to pitch in and get dirty. But Poppy wasn't talking about the flood.
     “Why now? You weren’t here when Kelly got sick. You didn't come back to see her when she'd spent those last months in the hospital dying. What makes you think anything you do now will make a difference?”
     She looked at him directly. And damned he'd always admired the woman for that. Poppy had never been one to sink back from an argument. She'd always met it head on. And if she got caught in a wrong, she quickly owned up to it. Damn her. Logan didn't want to admire Poppy Ericksen for anything.
     “Because Kelly asked me to.”
     It was like he'd just been sucker punched in the gut. Kelly had asked her?
     He chuckled sarcastically. “Those words are pretty easy coming from your mouth with Kelly not here to dispute them.”
     “Say what you want about me, Logan. But when have I ever lied to you?” Poppy asked.
     He was angry. He'd even go as far as saying he was disappointed in Poppy given the history the three of them had together. But a liar? No, she'd never been that.
     He looked at her designer boots standing in the mud. Her blue jeans must have cost a small fortune and the tailored coat she was wearing probably cost as much as his mortgage payment. This wasn't the Poppy he remembered, the young girl who always turned his eye with the unexpected. That girl didn’t need designer threads.
     “What makes you think I'd welcome any help you offered?”
     Before he could even process the cruelty of that statement, she said, “Because right now there isn't a person in this county who doesn't already have too much work to do on their own property who is standing here offering help. So you're hardly in a position to turn me away.”
     Logan couldn't argue that point. The magnitude of the cleanup work that lay ahead of him was overwhelming. When he and Keith had emerged from the house yesterday and he saw just how bad the world outside around him was, it nearly leveled him. And he hadn’t even had the chance to survey the entire property.
     Her chest rose and fell on a heavy sigh, then she walked to the back of the car and opened her trunk, pulling out a large designer suitcase. She kept the trunk open.
     “Unless of course, you'd prefer I stay somewhere else.”
     “There is no place else in this county that has space available,” he said quickly. “Hotels are all full up with people who lost their homes or workers from out of town who are here for the cleanup.”
     “I was talking about your mother's house.”
     “My…my mother?”
     She chuckled, shaking her head. “Don't look so shocked. I always got along with your family just fine. I've known Kate McKinnon since I was able to walk across the floor of her restaurant. When I stopped in town at the diner earlier today, she offered to put me up if you turned me away.”
     “You talked to my mother about staying here?”
     She laughed and looked up at the sky. “Men. Am I speaking a foreign language? I don't know what you're having such a hard time with, Logan. It’s not like we haven’t slept under the same roof before. Your mom thought maybe you could use some help with Keith while you cleaned up since she's going to be too busy feeding people doing cleanup to keep an eye on him.”
     His mom had told Logan as much earlier in the day. Keith loved spending time with his mom at the diner, but too many other people were in need right now for him to monopolize her time or any of his relations. His brothers would be coming to help when they had spare time, but in truth, Hawk was too busy at the clinic, dealing with injuries and Ethan, his twin brother, was working down at the police station coordinating search and rescue efforts. His military training was too much of an asset to those in need for Logan to expect him to rush over here. Word had it Sam was on his way home from Colorado at some point, but he wasn’t sure when. And Wade… After four years missing, the notion of his older brother showing up in Rudolph was just a wish, not a likely reality.
     And Keith was his responsibility alone. Truth be known, Logan didn't want Keith anywhere but with him after hearing stories of flash flooding that swept people right out of the arms of loved ones. It had been scary enough worrying about Keith with all that water coming in around them during that long night of heavy rains and river swells. The fact that the house was still standing the next morning was enough to put his brothers’ minds at ease for the time being.
     And yet, here was Poppy. She’d come all the way here from New York City like she’d appeared out of a dream. Damn her. He didn’t want to think about Poppy as a dream at all. He’d let that go years ago.
     Poppy reached up and slammed the trunk closed.
     “So what's it going to be? Am I moving into your old bed at your mom's house or my old room here?”
     “You can't.”
     Poppy's shoulders sagged as she nodded slowly.
     “Keith has that room now. I moved him in there after Kelly died so he'd be closer to my bedroom. You can take the room down the end of the hall. It's bigger anyway.”
     She picked up her bag and walked slowly toward him, a crooked smile playing on her lips, one that made him feel like smooth velvet rubbing against his skin.
     “You afraid of what your mom would have said if you turned me away?” she said, quietly goading him. “Or are you afraid of people talking.”
     People were talking already if Poppy Ericksen rolled into town and stopped by the diner. Rudolph was a small town and everyone knew everyone.
     He rolled his eyes, then glanced down at her. She was incredibly close. And she smelled damned good. She always had, he remembered. She’d never been one to wear heavy perfume or makeup. And today wasn’t any different. It was just Poppy. He hated that he was reminded of that. He didn't want those memories, so he pushed them back where they belonged. In the past. He was only allowing Poppy to stay for one reason.
     “As you pointed out, I could use help with Keith while I do some cleanup here. If you could do that for'd be good.”
     She smiled then and her eyes lit up. He'd forgotten just how much they twinkled when she smiled. Something deep in his gut tightened.
     “Good.” She started walking away, then turned back. “I'll just bring these upstairs and get changed. Be back in a minute.”
     Logan took a moment to steady himself while checking on Keith's progress. The little guy had managed to transfer all the wood, one stick at a time, to a pile about ten yards away from the one he'd made in the driveway. Logan smiled at his son's tenacity. “Great job, little man!”
     Keith beamed with pride. Logan heard the screen door creak and saw Poppy standing on the porch holding the door open, one foot on the threshold and the other on the porch. Her wide smile was genuine as she gazed over at Keith. The look she gave him was one of pure affection and admiration.
     “Awesome job, Keith,” she called out before walking inside.
     He wanted to stay angry at Poppy. Deep down it was easier that way than dealing with the feelings stirring inside of him from seeing her again.


Monday, July 21, 2014

On Conversations: #westerm #romance #author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

Please join me in giving a very warm welcome to contemporary western romance author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel!

Lisa ~
Hi, Lisa and blog readers,

I’m happy to be spotlighting my cover, blurb, and a short excerpt today, and honored to be here. I hope you’re having a fantastic day.

Love at First Sight? This is the first book in my Double Dutch Ranch Series: Love at First Sight. Why “love at first sight” you might ask? Some people believe in it, some don’t. I’m one who does because I had my own love at first sight. How about you?

When the idea for this series popped into my head, I didn’t know it would be four full novels and a novella. Who knows where it will go after that. Tristan Carlson, our hero here in book one, is the middle brother. BOSS AND HIS DESTINY
A sensual contemporary western romance.

Romantic and Passionate
Warm your heart and give your nerve endings a tingle at the same time

Tristan Carlson does the best he can to raise his four-year-old daughter on his own. His mother remains on the Double Dutch to lend a hand--giving him the ability to maintain the ranch, tend to his horses, and keep up his small-time ranching magazine. His attractive, new assistant is everything he wants in a woman, including her ginger-red hair. He finds it hard to keep her out of his arms—especially since she doesn't mind being in his embrace. But from his experience with women lately, he's learned that some don't want a ready-made family. This one seems different, and he's falling hard. But, there's his little blue-eyed girl, and he'll protect Destiny's heart with everything within him. Until he knows for sure...

Living the good life in a big city for many years, Nora Trinity ends up a statistic after the magazine she works for makes cutbacks. Despite a family betrayal from her past that still needs mending, she moves back home to the small town of Canyon Junction, Arizona, with forgiveness on her mind. When she is hired by a local rancher to help with his ranching magazine, she finds herself profoundly attracted to him, and the feeling is mutual. The thing is, her sexy boss comes as a package deal, and his little girl is immediately drawn to her. It's not just about two hearts taking a chance now—or two people falling in love... Nora has to be sure of what she wants before she takes on the cowboy and his child.

Reader Advisory: Sensual Love Scenes

PG Rating      

       Tristan tied the horses to a low tree branch and spread out a blanket. “Be my guest, girls.”
       When Nora sat, Destiny leaned against her, and laid her head on Nora’s lap.
       “Des, you should sit up and eat that so you don’t choke,” said Tristan.
       “Okey-dokie-pokey Daddy.”
       He laughed, and when he did, Destiny did too and couldn’t stop.
       Nora sat quiet watching the two of them. Each got so much joy from the other. The next thing she knew Tristan tackled her, pushing her down against the blanket and he tickled her. “Not a laugher, huh? Well, we’ll see about that.” He and Destiny both found a spot beneath her ribs to dig in and tickle until she let loose, screaming out like a hyena.
       “Stop you two. You won, you won, and I’m laughing!”
       When they stopped Tristan stretched out alongside her, leaning on one elbow, Destiny between them. He reached over and moved a strand of hair from her forehead, his hand lingering until Destiny took hold of his arm, tickling with little finger wiggles. It didn’t break their eye contact.
       A heated rousing spread over her body like wildfire through dry bushes. She wanted to hold him. Her attraction to this man was almost uncontrollable. She sat up and took a long drink of water, then glanced back at him. She studied his face, finding a look that held the same need as hers. Oh. My. Goodness. She laid back on the blanket and peered at clouds streaming through the blue and beyond. If only her heart beat settled, she’d be able to speak.
       Destiny poked her in the side. Nora turned to the child. “Are you asleep?” she whispered.
       “My eyes are open.” She pointed to the sky. “Look, there’s a horsy cloud.”
       Destiny flopped down on her back and scanned the clouds. “I don’t see it,” she said, her voice low. She moved closer to Nora, her cheek practically touching hers. “Where?”
       Nora took hold of her hand and held it up within her own, using her index finger to point. “Right there.”
       Tristan rose from the blanket and went to his horse, his back to them, but he glanced upward toward the sky once. Nora had a very big knot stuck in her throat. This one might not go down. When Destiny wrapped her fingers around hers and squeezed her hand tight, it grew bigger.
       “It’s about time to go.” He looked over at his daughter. “Dad has a date tonight.”
       Destiny sat up. She turned and looked at Nora. Her bottom lip curled. She glared at her dad. “With who? We’re having fun with Nora.” She glanced back at Nora again.
       “Come on over here and get your helmet.”
       “With who, Dad?” She stood with her hands on her waist like a grown up.
       Tristan laughed. “Baby cakes, I’m taking Nora to dinner tonight. Is that okay with you?”
       Her little rosy lips quirked when she looked back at Nora, and nodded. She went for the helmet and Tristan knelt and hooked it. Destiny whispered something to him Nora couldn’t hear.
       “You’re next, Ms. Trinity,” said Tristan, holding up her helmet.
       She folded the blanket, handed it to him, and fit the helmet over her head while he attached the rolled blanket to his saddle.
       He reached out and shoved a lock of hair into her helmet, his palm lingering against her cheek. He gave a wink. “Ready?”
       “I am.”
       “For anything?” he asked, his voice low.
       Nora paused, lost in him, struggling to get the words out. “I believe so.”

My website has information on books, works in progress, and series information. You’ll find a sign-up form to be notified of new releases. Book two is coming summer 2014.

Thank you!

Cowboy Boss and his Destiny The Romance Reviews Top Pick— “If you're looking for a yummy, feel-good read that has all the elements of a fine romance told at an easy pace, prepare your hammock and a cool drink, pray for a gentle breeze, and lay back and enjoy this gem of a keeper. It's solidly enjoyable.”

Early days of reading romance novels and women's fiction laid the groundwork for Mary to take up the pen and write her own memorable love stories.

She writes sensual contemporary western romance, paranormal, and romantic fiction. She’s the author of Howdy, Ma’am, the first book in the Bull Rider Series, with Hey, Cowboy, Bk #2 out this spring. Mary loves having the ability to put her thoughts into words for readers to enjoy. Two previously published books—time-travel romance, are now out of print, but might be reissued in the future.

Photography is another way she likes to be creative. It gives a warm rush to focus in on an object and capture a moment. Her home is in the Great Lake State of Michigan, U.S.A. Mary loves communicating with readers and friends.

Follow Mary on Twitter

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Conversations: #bestselling #romance #author Debra Salonen

Please join me in welcoming bestselling romance author, Debra Salonen to Conversations today! Debra is here to talk about her new release, Cowgirl Come Home, A Summer Fair Novel. So be sure and check out the cover and blurb below. Plus, Debra has a wonderfully fun guest post, "Top 10 Reasons to read Cowgirl Come Home" and don't forget to leave a comment because Debra's offering an awesome prize package to one lucky commenter!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________ COME HOME
Montana Born Fair Book 2

Some dreams come with a big price tag.

Bailey Jenkins left her hometown of Marietta, Montana, at eighteen, poised to take college and the rodeo world by storm–despite Paul Zabrinski. On the eve of her great escape, at the top of the Ferris Wheel at the Big Marietta Fair, he invoked his great-grandmother Hilda's curse. “If you do this, Bailey Jenkins, I will hate you forever. And I'll call on my great-grandmother to curse you. She was a Gypsy witch, you know.”

Fifteen years later, Bailey's back–shattered, humbled by fate and bruised at the soul level but determined to rebuild–once she helps her parents get back their feet. She didn't expect her Paul Zabrinski to meet her plane, but seeing him strong, handsome and successful is somehow fitting. After all, Bailey didn't need Paul's gypsy great-grandmother to put a curse on her–Bailey already had the worst luck on the planet.

Never say never.

One look at Bailey Jenkins–his first love, the woman he adored…and cursed–and every emotion Paul Zabrinski felt fifteen years earlier comes rushing back. The love of his life broke his heart and made him hate her…or so he thought. The line between love and hate is very narrow, with only so much room for forgiveness. But Paul Zabrinski owns Big Z Hardware and Construction. If anyone is capable of building a bridge for them to cross together, it's him.

Top Ten Reasons to read Cowgirl Come Home
by Debra Salonen

Thank you, Lisa, for inviting to be part of your blog. You know how it is with new releases, you blog yourself into a tizzy. I decided to have some fun with this one. So, here are my Top 10 Reasons to read Cowgirl Come Home:

#10. Even at full price ($2.99), it's cheaper than a caramel ribbon crunch frappuchino and way less calories. But, if you hurry, you can still buy it for the bargain basement release date sale price of 99¢.

#9. You don't have time to drive to Montana to attend The Big Marietta Fair. (Nor could you possibly meet all twelve heroes and heroines without employing superpowers that you may or may not have.) So, take the easy way and visit the Big Marietta Fair from the comfort of your own home. (Note: all MontanaBorn authors start to believe Marietta is a real town.)

#8. Ferris Wheels can induce motion sickness. With your feet firmly on the ground, you can still enjoy the ride and share in a romantic proposal--or two (have you read Beauty and the Cowboy by Nancy Robards Thompson?)--atop a Ferris Wheel with the silhouette of Copper Mountain in the background. Altogether now..."Say, yes, Bailey. Say, yes."

#7. Yogo sapphires. You might not have heard of Montana sapphires, but the beautiful, custom jewelry from B. Dazzled Western Bling will make you consider hocking your firstborn.

#6. Sex in the barn. Think Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis in Witness...only he's not a cop and she's not Amish and nobody is trying to kill them. But who doesn't harbor a secret fantasy about making love in a hayloft (with a thick sleeping bag to keep from getting poked by the straw)?

#5. The Fish Whisperer's Beer Batter Fish Fry is better than sex. (Or so they claim.) You can download the recipe on my blog and see for yourself HERE!

#4. You've always known librarians are superheroes. In Cowgirl Come Home, Marietta Children's Librarian Louise Jenkins single-handedly reunites two star-crossed lovers, helps her husband--the love of her life--return from the brink of despair, and organizes a Read-A-Thon for the Big Marietta Fair (while dealing with health issues of her own). Go, Louise!

#3. Forgive You-Know-Who just moved to the top of your To Do List. Yeah, we all know. Hate is easy to come by. Anger, too. Especially if you have good reason to be mad, right? But lugging around a burdensome grudge takes a toll. Learn from Bailey's and Paul's story...forgiveness is liberating.

#2. The "Big Sky" effect: readers burn more calories while reading books set in Montana.* There's just something about the air, the positive vibes, the great'll see. *Exact calorie count varies by reader and amount of chocolate consumed while reading.

AND THE #1 REASON TO READ "COWGIRL COME HOME" - everybody deserves a Happy Ending.

Can you tell I was getting a little "guest-blog punch happy" when I wrote this? Hope it made you smile. Please leave a comment to be entered to win this prize package:

Two Debra Salonen autographed backlist titles, CLUE - The Movie (DVD), note cards, post-its, mini gel pens, cookies and cool Tule Publishing swag.

Former award-winning newspaper journalist Debra Salonen is a nationally bestselling author with 26 published novels for Harlequin’s Superromance and American lines and one single title release for Harlequin Signature. Several of her titles were nominated for “Best Superromance,” including UNTIL HE MET RACHEL, which took home that honor in 2010. Debra was named Romantic Times Reviewer’s Career Achievement “Series Storyteller of the Year” in 2006. Debra lives in the foothills near Yosemite National Park in California with her husband and two dogs. Luckily, her two children and three grandchildren live close by to keep Debra connected to the real world.

You can find Debra at:

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