It’s your last chance to pre-order Hot Winter Nights: A Racy Regency Christmas Collection for only 99 cents on Amazon! From September 1st, the price goes up to $2.99. The box set features eight brand-new Christmas novellas by the fabulous Tammy Andresen, Heather Boyd, Dawn Brower, Amanda Mariee, Nina Mason, Christina McKnight, and Lauren Smith. Release day is October 3rd!
The Map to You
Author: Lindy Zart
Publisher: Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington Publishing
Release Date: November 28th, 2017
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2skuIZW
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2rKAAgq
Keeping his inner demons at bay means Blake Malone has more than enough trouble on his plate. He doesn’t need any extra complications. But that’s exactly what he gets when, on his way to North Dakota, he leaves his truck unattended—and returns to find a beautiful woman sleeping in the front seat.
Opal Allen seems to have a knack for attracting trouble. Which is why she isn’t about to tell her new road trip companion the real reason she needs to hightail it out of town. But Blake has a way of seeing right through her, which is both terrifying and exhilarating. Now her biggest problem is figuring out how to resist their undeniable attraction. Because once this road trip is over, she plans on never seeing Blake again.
But the best adventures don’t go according to plan.
Last I checked, I was traveling alone.
I walk to my grandfather’s truck, a 1987 Ford F-series pickup in blue and white, and blink at the small form curled up on the seat.
Under the darkened dome of the sky, it’s hard to discern anything other than the size of the thing inside my truck, and that it has dark hair. It could be a man, a woman—even a kid. I quickly scan the parking lot, searching for any accomplices to a premeditated crime involving yours truly.
It’s the end of August, and the days can be wicked humid and hot, but the same can’t be said for the nights. I have on a light jacket to help keep the chill off my skin. I glance into the cab of the truck. Small as this person is, they have to be feeling the cold.
The night is still and quiet, only two other vehicles taking up parking spaces of the 24-hour convenience store. It’s after midnight on a Wednesday. Most sane people are home and in bed. I focus on the stranger in my truck. Whatever they’re up to, it’s bound to be nefarious. I like my share of nefarious dealings, as long as I’m the one doing them.
Muttering to myself and craving a cigarette, I carefully set down the plastic bag of chips, beef jerky, and orange juice I purchased to curb the hunger gnawing at my gut. I rub the stubble along my jaw, head cocked, as I come to a decision. It’s an easy one—whoever they are, they can’t stay in my truck.
Hands out, palms down, I soundlessly skulk around the front of the truck and toward the passenger side. My eyes shift from side to side in pursuit of any possible friends of theirs hoping to make my night especially spectacular with a blunt object to the back of the head. I feel ridiculous, sure I look like the Pink Panther slinking around in the dark.
My boot kicks a piece of gravel and it pings against the side of the truck my mother secretly kept in a storage unit all these years for me. I didn’t even know the truck was still around until my brother Graham unknowingly drove it from North Dakota to Wisconsin my last week in the Cheesehead state. I just about cried when I saw it. Just about, but not quite—because crying would be bad for my image. My throat burned from keeping it in, though, and when Kennedy, Graham’s girlfriend, commented on the redness of my eyes, I told her it was a reaction to whatever perfume she’d doused herself in.
Smooth, that’s me.
I wince, hoping the rock didn’t do any damage to the truck. This is one of the last pieces I have of the man who never judged me in all the years he was alive. Good thing for my grandfather’s untarnished view of me that my life didn’t completely fall to shit until after he died.
A head snaps up, and large, dark eyes slam into mine. I freeze against the unexpected jolt of them. The woman appears youngish, her face pointy and elfin. Her features are interesting, like it couldn’t be decided whether to make her look exotic or plain. We study one another for one charged moment, and then whatever had her immobile collapses. Her mouth opens in a piercing scream, and she scrambles to the middle of the cab. I jerk back, her reaction startling me.
“What the hell kind of a person creeps up on someone like that?” she accuses. Her voice is breathless, but there is an undertone of huskiness that brings my nerve endings to attention.
I open my mouth with the intention of apologizing, and then realize what I’m about to do. Scowl taking over my features, I grip the door handle and pull. She scoots across the seat with her back to the driver’s side door and, wide-eyed, looks back at me.
“Get out…of my truck,” I say slowly, setting my palms on the worn and torn vinyl upholstery to lean forward menacingly.
Title: The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards
Genre: humorous young adult fantasy / science fiction (and adults)
Bernie fixes broken universes for a living. Unlike other gods, who tend to take a hell-fire-and-brimstone approach to problem-solving, Bernie prefers a more gentle approach. With a hard-to-please boss breathing down his neck and a personal life in desperate need of relationship advice, Bernie’s chances of success are dwindling fast. Yet he’s determined to do everything in his power to save the civilization on this damaged world. Even if the murderous wizard causing all the problems is powerful enough to hurt a god…
Length: 350 pages (99k words)
ISBN-13 (ebook edition): 978-0-9908831-3-5
ISBN-13 (print edition): 978-0-9908831-5-9 and 978-0-9908831-4-2
Publisher: Argon Press
Publication Date: June 15, 2017 (print and ebook)
Goodreads: book listing
*I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards is a continuation of Bernie’s journey of being a young god; however, all of the stories can be read independently without confusion. I found the book engrossing from the start, and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to the characters. The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards is a fun combination of Medieval-type fantasy and more modern fantasy. The world of the Radolins is a place with only ancient technology, while Bernie’s world is a world of gods who create universes but are not all-powerful. Bernie has been trained to view the worlds the gods create as businesses. When something goes wrong on a world, the gods will frequently wipe out the existing races and start over. Bernie, however, is much too compassionate to do that. Instead, he interacts with the worlds and their people in order to fix the problems, which sets him apart as a world builder. I loved Bernie from the beginning because of his compassion for the people the gods create, and because he takes the time to enter their world and become a part of it in order to fix the problem. Bernie’s dad is an incredibly selfish person, and he was a character that I loved to hate. The romance between Bernie and Suzie is sweet and added to my enjoyment of the book. It’s a light-hearted fantasy novel with characters I easily fell in love with. LeBel has created a world that’s fun to get lost in. I highly recommend reading The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards.
Shakespeare believed there was always humor in tragedy and tragedy in humor.
My life proved his theory as fact.
At eighteen I was a single parent moving to this small town to be with the man I loved. The one who was supposed to love and cherish me in return.
Finding out he had a wife was tragic.
Remaining in love with him in spite of her was more tragic.
My mom and best friend setting me up on a long string of blind dates was an ongoing tragedy.
Nine years later, I’ve learned to see the humor in most situations.
My mom and best friend setting me up on disastrous blind dates.
My son’s jokes.
The fire alarm going off each time I cook.
My constant bright spot always adding to the humor was my son, Hayden. But when Hayden had a life-threatening allergic reaction, the man who came to help my little boy became my own savior. His laugh, his smile, and the way his eyes lit up when he spoke to my son made him a beacon of light in both our lives.
But I wasn’t the only one who noticed him.
When I began having feelings for the man my best and only friend had fallen for, I knew following my heart would once again lead to a fresh round of heartbreak.
Love led me to this town.
Lies kept me there.
Would history repeat itself?
Or had life just thrown me another Curveball?
“I don’t watch TV at night…” Her voice drifts off, and I know it’s because she realizes I’m going to ask why.And I do.
“You’re going to laugh.”
“It’s because I can’t hear things.”
“What kinds of things are you trying to hear?”
“I don’t know. Strange noises and things…”
“Do I need to spell it out for you?” She’s trying to sound annoyed, but I can hear the smile in her voice.
“Apparently, because I have no idea what you’re talking about. What kinds of strange noises are you going to hear? I usually turn my TV up to block out all the strange sounds like the neighbor’s kids and the lady behind me that sounds like Fran fucking Drescher.”
“You know who Fran Drescher is?”
“My mother was a big fan of that stupid show she was in. Stop changing the subject. What are you listening for? Hayden won’t sneak out.”
“What if someone breaks in?”
“You’re not serious.”
“Of course I’m serious!”
“What do you do all night?” I ask.
“Work,” she admits. “Well, usually I clean, and then I work.”
“I’m coming over.”
The panic in her voice doesn’t make her sound upset about the idea, but afraid.
Is it because she likes me?
“Why not?” I ask.
“It’s like nine o’clock.”
“Are you about to turn orange and sprout a stem?”
“That and I’m not wearing a bra, if you must know.”
“So put it back on.”
“You don’t understand. That’s like saying put your jeans back on.”
“I am in jeans,” I lie just to get a reaction out of her.
“What is wrong with you?” she cries.
“What’s wrong with jeans?”
“They’re stiff and uncomfortable. Wearing jeans all day is basically equivalent to walking on sandpaper. But at least you guys have pockets that will actually hold something larger than a thimble and don’t ride up your ass.”
with her husband, two sons, and two four-legged children who are the axis of
her crazy and wonderful world. Mariah grew up in a
tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon where she spent most of her time immersed
in the pages of books that she both read and created. She has a love for
all things that include her family, good coffee, books, traveling, and dark
chocolate. She’s also obsessed with Christmas ornaments and all things Disney.
Title: Jane Grey
Author: Nina Mason
Genre: Historical Romance
Time period: 1850
Heat Level: Moderate
Here’s the blurb:
Matthew Brontë, a true romantic at heart, believes the only happiness in life is to love and be loved. And yet, he fears he lacks the capacity to love…until he meets Jane Grey. Jane, a humble English governess, seems perfect for Matthew, apart from one significant snag: Jane can only marry a man of means and Matthew must give up his fortune if and when he marries.
When faced with the choice between love and money, which will each of them choose?
More about Jane Grey:
Set in France’s Loire Valley in 1850, Jane Grey tells the story of a frustrated painter and a beleaguered English governess who comes to France to tutor a flirtatious young heiress in the social graces. Jane Grey meets Matthew Brontë when he takes a spill from his horse near where she is walking—the same way Jane Eyre met Mr. Rochester in the book our Jane is reading at the time. Jane finds it uncannier still that Matthew is a cousin to the author of Jane Eyre.
After Jane helps Gabriel home to his chateau, he offers her drawing lessons to repay her kindness. Regrettably, the only way she can accept his gift is to pretend the drawing lessons are for Lady Cecile Brousseau, her spoiled and selfish pupil.
As the weeks pass, Jane and Matthew discover they have much in common, including shared interests in art, poetry, literature, and gardening. They seem perfect for each other, apart from one significant snag: Matthew cannot marry without forfeiting his fortune, and Jane can only marry a man with the means to support her as well as her dependent relations back in England.
Will the strength of Jane and Matthew’s devotion be enough to overcome this seemingly unsolvable dilemma? Or will Jane be forced to choose her duty to her family over her own desires?
Jane Grey is an original work with subtle shadings borrowed from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.
Here’s an excerpt:
“If you don’t mind my asking, was your relationship with the countess an affectionate one?”
Matthew’s candor pleased Jane on more than one level. “So, you didn’t love her?”
After an extended silence, he said, looking pained, “To be truthful, Miss Grey, I’ve never loved any woman—and often doubt myself capable of experiencing that most-coveted of emotions.”
His words crushed her hopes and brought more tears to her eyes. “Surely, you are wrong. For you strike me as a man of great passion.”
“I used to be.” His countenance grew even more sullen. “But now, my heart is like a tree in winter. Barren, leafless, and encrusted with ice.”
“Perhaps it will thaw when you meet the right woman,” she offered hopefully.
He brought his face very close to hers and, for a breathless moment, she thought he meant to kiss her. Instead, he said in a strained voice, “I probably should keep this to myself, but my cold heart has warmed some since making your acquaintance.”
For several hellish-yet-heavenly moments, they sat together in silence. His mouth was so close to hers she could feel his breath warming her lips. As her heart leapt toward him, her body impulsively followed. Their mouths met ever so sweetly. Then, mortified by her forwardness, she jerked back and turned away.
“Forgive me. I shouldn’t have been so presumptuous.”
“There’s nothing to forgive,” he said. “I rather liked the feel of your mouth on mine.”
She liked the feel of his, too—very much indeed—but carrying on like a common hussy would only lead to her ruin. “Perhaps we should return to the house and see if Cécile’s headache is any better.”
“Yes,” he said with audible strain. “Perhaps we should at that.”
He stood and offered her his arm. She took his coat sleeve between her gloved hands and let him lead her farther along the path. After they’d walked several paces, he said, “I don’t believe I’ve yet asked your favorite flower.”
“No, you haven’t.”
He waited a few moments before letting out a small laugh. “Will you not tell me what it is?”
“Very well.” She released a sigh. “I shall tell you. As queer as it may seem, my favorite flower is bleeding heart.”
He laughed, drew to a stop, and freed his arm from her grasp. Turning toward the bed to their right, he bent over the boxwood border and plucked several stems of the flower she’d named. Then, he offered the bouquet to her with a gallant bow. “Please allow me to offer you this humble token of my admiration.”
She accepted the flowers with joy in her heart. It was foolish, perhaps, to experience so much elation in response to so simple an offering, but no man had ever given her anything before. He’d also demonstrated tremendous compassion when she told him about her family—and had admitted to liking the brief intimacy they’d shared.
Might he have some feelings for her? Or was he just being kind? Oh—and what about his secret? She must take care not to let him turn her head, lest she end up brokenhearted when the truth came out.
*I received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Jane Grey by Nina Mason is a sweet and sexy historical romance. Jane Grey is rich in historical detail and the story is engrossing. The romance is mostly sweet and polite, but Mason captures perfectly the feelings of fear and desire that accompany falling in love. Despite the Victorian Age setting, the story has a couple of steamy love scenes that I thought added just the right touch of heat. Although the setting is wonderful, it’s the characters that make this story one I couldn’t put down. Matthew Bronte (cousin to the Bronte sisters) is a devilishly handsome count who will lose all his wealth if he marries. Jane is a plain governess who is doomed to spinsterhood in order to keep her family afloat. But while Jane’s looks may be plain compared to some of the rich ladies, her emotional depth and intelligence makes her stand out. Matthew, like many of Mason’s other male characters, prefers a woman who has intelligence. One of the things I loved about Matthew was how he went out of his way to make sure that Jane would communicate her needs to him because he could see that she constantly put others’ needs ahead of her own. Jane is a proper woman, but even though she follows the rules of society, she is also open to listening to her own heart. I found Jane easy to like because she struggles with the need to help her family versus doing what will make her happy. I especially enjoyed the excerpts from novels such as Jane Eyre and the bits of poetry that Mason included. Jane Grey is a novel that will take you back in time and make you fall in love.
Here’s the buy-link:
Note: Jane Grey will be 99 cents until May 21 and thereafter will revert to the regular price of $3.99
Here’s more about the author:
Nina Mason, the author of eleven published books to date, is an incurable romantic who strives to write love stories that entertain and edify. A research fanatic, she goes to great lengths to ensure the locations and time periods in her books are accurately portrayed (and thanks the Powers That Be for the internet). Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Mason lived in Oregon briefly before moving to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and college-bound daughter. When she isn’t writing, she makes historic dolls, fairy babies, and putters in her garden.
Contact Nina: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Nina’s website: http://ninamasonauthor.com
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