Thursday, July 28, 2011

Susan Mallery Q&A Fools Gold, Only Mine- Two Contests

*New York Times* bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions

of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the
relationships that move them.

*Publisher’s Weekly* calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,”

*Booklist* says, “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling.”

While Susan appreciates the critical praise, she is most honored by the enthusiastic readers who write to tell her that her books made them laugh, made them cry, and made the world a happier place to live.

Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. She’s there for the coffee, not the weather.

Visit Susan online at:

Website:  www.susanmallery.com and
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/susanmallery.


With her latest trilogy, Susan returns to the quirky small town of Fool’s Gold, California link: www.foolsgoldca.com, the town with the man shortage, with stories for the Hendrix triplets.  First up is ONLY MINE.



Susan,welcome to Marilyn's Romance Reviews. Tell us about ONLY MINE.



Susan:   Each book in the Fool’s Gold series is a stand alone novel, meaning that you won’t get lost if you read them out of order. Fool’s Gold is a town facing a serious (and seriously funny) problem – the 2010 census revealed that the town is suffering from a man shortage. Fool’s Gold has become the punch line
of countless jokes on TV talk shows, which makes the strong, independent women in town pretty darn crabby... and which attracts the attention of a sleazy TV producer.

In ONLY MINE, it’s Dakota Hendrix’s job to interview potential contestants. After she recommends two handsome young twins for the show, the twins’ gorgeous, stern older brother demands that she declare them unfit. Finn Anderson wants his brothers to return to college. Finn has raised the boys since their parents died, and he won’t consider his duty done until they graduate. While Finn does everything he can to strong-arm or coerce his brothers back to Alaska, Dakota is struggling with a problem of her own, a problem so big that it will change the course of her life.

You can read free excerpts at www.foolsgoldca.com. You’ll find lots of freebies and fun bonus content there, too!

How did you come up with your Fool's Gold series?

Susan:   I knew I wanted to create a series based on a place. In the past, I’d written series based on a family, so once I ran out of siblings, I ran out of stories. Readers kept asking me for more in every series. They loved that sense of connection, and they wanted it to go on. Debbie Macomber was the one who suggested I stop writing about families and start writing about a place. With a place, the story possibilities are infinite. (Debbie Macomber) is like my Mayor Marsha – I never say no to Debbie! She’s a genius.)

The place itself needed to have a strong identity. As I was brainstorming the series, I heard a story about the then-upcoming 2010 census, about everything a town can discover about itself from census results. I wondered, “What if there was a man shortage?”

So Fool’s Gold was born… the town with the man shortage. But instead of making the women eager to get more men to town, I tweaked reader expectations and made the women strong, self-sufficient, and kind of crabby that anyone would think they need more men. They can run the town just fine without men. Which means that any men who do move to Fool’s Gold have to earn the right to live there. . . and they have to earn the hearts of the women they love.

www.FoolsGoldCA.com http://www.foolsgoldca.com/ is my gift to readers who have been so loyal to me. I wanted to create an experience for readers that goes beyond the books. On FoolsGoldCA.com, readers will find amazing bonus content such as between-the-books updates, stories, and pictures from the characters’ weddings, Fool’s Gold magazines, a map of town, funny ads from local businesses… I could keep going, but the truth is, you have to see it to get it. Fool’s Gold is the Land of Happy Endings!

What draws Dakota and Finn to each other?

Susan:    At their core, Finn and Dakota both value their families more than anything. Finn thinks he wants to be done with his familial duty. He wants to get his brothers through college so he can return to his days as a carefree bachelor, but he will learn that he’s not that person anymore. Somewhere along the way, he grew up. At heart, he’s a family man.

You love to write about families, such as the Hendrix triplets. Why?

Susan: I was an only child, so I love writing about the big, boisterous family that I never had. Triplets are an extension of that – three sisters who have been together since birth. Each of the triplets has her own personality, but the experiences these three women have shared throughout their lives make them as close as it’s possible to be.

You’re known for both the depth of your characters and for your humor. Do both come naturally to you?

Susan: I think men and women falling in love with each other is inherently hysterical. Who came up with that bright idea? Men do everything they can to avoid emotion, and yet they’re irresistibly drawn to women, who overflow with emotion. When I get teary-eyed over a commercial, my husband looks at me like I’m completely nuts. There’s this constant push-pull between men and women that never really goes away, and it will always be funny to me.

Most of my storylines are not funny in and of themselves. My characters deal with some very serious issues in their lives, but their ability to find the humor says a lot about their resilience. I like people in real life who can laugh at themselves, and I like that in characters, too.

Do you plot your books before writing?

Susan:   I do a lot of plotting in advance, which means I can write the story quickly, which further means that I don’t lose interest. For me, the creative rush is highest during the plotting process, and the actual
writing of the book is more about getting the story down on paper. I’ve tried writing without a plot, and it just doesn’t work for me. I enjoy the aspect of surprise, but I dread revisions. Even when a book is thoroughly plotted, though, the characters can sometimes surprise me. I was sweetly surprised by a secondary romance in ONLY MINE.

How many more Fool’s Gold books will you write?

Susan:   There will be at least seven more books after this year’s. In 2012, three delicious cowboy brothers and their younger sister will move to Fool’s Gold.

And in 2013, I think I’m going to establish a bodyguard academy on the edge of town. After that, who knows? If readers clamor for more from Fool’s Gold, anything’s possible. (You can let me know you want more by writing to me at www.facebook.com/susanmallery, www.twitter.com/susanmallery, or
www.goodreads.com/susanmallery.)

Are you working on anything new outside of Fool's Gold?

Susan:   BAREFOOT SEASON, my next women’s fiction novel, will be out in April 2012 and will launch a new series set on quaint Blackberry Island. The story is about two former best friends who form a turbulent truce to save the inn they both love.

Again Susan, thanks so much for stopping by today and sharing about Only Mine, your latest Fools Gold release (on sale August 26th).  An now for your fans and anyone stopping by today, I'd like to share this video of you talking about the book.








As one of Susan's Cheerleaders spreading her good news I'l like to share the following with all book bloggers.

BOOK BLOGGER CONTEST:

 If a blogger embeds the Fool’s Gold Summer Kisses magazine to her sidebar, and lets me know it’s there, she’ll have a chance to win a Fool’s Gold tote bag with blanket and stainless steel thermos. They can write to me for instructions. Here’s the magazine link:
http://issuu.com/susanmallery/docs/fools-gold-summer-kisses
Jenel’s email: jenel@susanmallery.com


 

Yes, the above is a contest Susan Mallery is offering is for Book Bloggers. (from my original blog post here)


However I 'm personally offering a separate contest. To win a $10.00 Amazon gift card, purchase Only Mine, tell me where you bought it and the price. I'm trusting you, taking a leap of faith so to speak that you willo purchase this wonderful book. The Amazon card will more than pay for your next purchase, hopefully the next book in Susan's Fools Gold series.



There will also be few other "surprises" for others who comment. . Cheer leaders, you are also in the running.

My contest in International and don't forget to leave your email address.






Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Matchmaker Bride (US) - Mr. and Mischief (UK) - Kate Hewitt


I'm such a a fan of reunion and office romances, especially those with happy endings. Kate Hewitt writes stunning love stories. Mr. and Mischief was no exception.   Emily Wood at one time was the neighbor of the handsome Jason Kingsley. In fact at  her sister's wedding while dancing with him,  she asked him to kiss her.  Embarrassed when it didn't happen she fled. From then on she tried to avoid him. Now years later she's in London working for him at Kingsley Engineering.


Jason Kingsley was the ladies man and was desired by every eligible single woman in London.  He was the CEO of Kingsley Engineering.  He travelled for most of the year so Emily rarely saw him.  In the past five years since she joined the firm she had seen very little of him, which was fine with her because he made her nervous and secretly a little uncomfortable.  Now he was back on "personal" business and that made her wonder.  In her younger days, she, her sister Isobel and his younger brother Jack had always got into scraps and Jason being the sensible one always had to bail him out.  Now Jack and Isobel were happily married.

It had been seven years since Jason and Emily had danced at his brother Jack and her sister Isobel's wedding and now after being out of the country and showing up at the party she had planned for the office he was going to tease and humiliate her about it, making her remember her request to be kissed.  In fact, now he was standing so close to her, had even touch her, and was bringing up all those memories and behaving very un-Jason like.  The light bulb when on for me because I wondered if due to their age difference and their families being friends, had Jason always held off because he had admired Emily and actually was attracted to her?  Well it seemed so to me. As I adore office and reunion romances, I couldn't wait to read their story and knew it would be spectacular due to auth Kate Hewitt.

Emily Wood was beautiful, full of life and just plain sparkled.  She loved to socialize with friends and frequented parties and night clubs.  She usually made the social pages of the local newspapers.  She believed in true love but not for herself.  Em sincerely took interest in other peoples lives from the cleaning lady to the firms executives..  Standing so close to her she stirred things in Jason.  Just reading about their encounter after years of not really seeing each other, I just knew there were going to be sparks.  She was known as quite the little matchmaker and had some success at match making until she interfered with a new hire Jason had wanted her to interview for a receptionist.  Helen Smith was a friend of a friend.  Emily felt a certain protectiveness for Helen.  Her "friend" Richard had worked on a project with Jason, therefore the recommendation.  It all turned out not as Emily had hoped and Jason wasn't pleased.

Out of the blue, he asked Emily out to dinner.  They sparred back and forth, Em calling him "stodgy" and asking him not to give her any lectures.  At times they flirted back and forth.  Jason had to remind himself  he was twelve years older and she was a family friend.  They talked about Helen and Richard and Emily made it quite clear she didn't want to get married because she hadn't met anyone worth marrying.  She'd rather stay single than be with someone who asked her to make a "go of it" like Richard had said to Helen.  And I knew her matching making was going to get her into trouble because she liked Helen and wanted her to find that someone special; not someone "boring" like Richard.  Oh, yes, I could just imagine the fireworks and couldn't wait.  Because over dinner they both shared their ideas on love and marriage; Jason's was boring and sensible and Emily's  was loving and romantic.  Let the games begin!

Unfortunately Jason wanted Emily.  He tried to stay away but he couldn't.  Why shouldn't he have her in his bed.  She didn't want love or marriage she had said she only wanted fun.  They could enjoy themselves, get her out of his system and no one would get hurt?  He knew she wanted him, so what was stopping them?  For starters Jason was out of town for weeks and did not contact Emily.  Emily was busy working on a fundraiser with another of the firms exec's which would take place at his penthouse.  For the most part, she was on edge and confused.  In the end, she spent the night making love and was more confused than before.  Jason realized after the kiss she gave him it meant more to her.  She didn't know now to act the next morning and she felt she gave too much of herself away.   As for Jason, he enjoyed her but for him it could only be a fling.  Only a day later, Emily realized she had fallen for Jason, "hard" and that she wanted it all......to be swept off her feel and to be loved just like her father had loved her mother.

Love means so many things to each and everyone of us.  I think that Kate Hewitt touched on most of them during her last chapters.  Jason's telling his mother he loved her and she not telling him back and then dying.  His father, finally speaking out to his son when his dear friend had a stroke and realizing life was short.  He finally told  Jason he loved him.  Not to mention Emily and her explanation to Jason and her sister on how she felt about Jason and love.  But most of all Jason, yes the man who would never reveal himself, finally realized what love meant to him and his relationship with Emily.  Very moving thoughts and you'll probably cry because they were all so real and extremely touching thanks to this author.

Book Description:

Will love conquer...her boss?

Beautiful, clever, rich - and determinedly single - Emily Wood is the youngest ever head of HR at her company. Whether dousing corporate fires or matchmaking lonely colleagues, Emily's at the top of her game. Only her handsome, sardonic boss Jason Kingsley appears to remain immune to her charm...

Jason is used to women falling at his feet,but relationships, with all their illogical demands, are not for him. So why does he find Emily so attractive? She's a highly unsuitable target for his seduction and merger skills - what with her misguided belief in the power of love...The Powerful and the Pure When Beauty tames the brooding Beast...

Claiming His Royal Heir (Billionaires and Babies) Jennifer Lewis




Stella Greco worked hard restoring books and she adored her baby son who was the result from a sperm bank.  Years ago she had made the decision to kick her boyfriend to the curb because he couldn't commit.  However, having a child was important to her and she knew her privacy would be kept confidential. Wrong!  To her surprise an unannounced handsome man appeared on her door step claiming his sperm had been used resulting in the conception their child.  His name was Vasco de la Cruz Arelano y Montoya, the future King of Montmajor and he wanted her to pack up everything and move with him to his country.  He had the upper hand because he had just learned that due to budget cuts, Stella had recently lost her job so she was free to move and let him get to know his son.  What a mess.

Stella at first was wary but later as she got to know Vasco and watched him around their son, she believed him to be a good man.  He was attentive to both of them and the bonus was he offered her a job at the palace restoring century old "palace history", history of his country and family.  He had lost his brother and parents in a car crash when his brother had been driving.  Plus, back then the laws of his country stated while his father was King, he had to leave the country.  There could be no interference in ruling; the King would make all decisions. Hence he moved to the United States and donated sperm to gain extra money to support himself.  Stella was the only recipient and he had the others destroyed.

I loved the history of Vasco's country, the lovely countryside, castle and his three doting Aunts who doted over their son.  They were together for meals, they played with their son Nicky and their friendship changed from friends to lusting for each other.  Instead of being intimate in his or her room, they went to a spectacular room in the castle which he called "their room".  In the middle of the night he left and returned back to his own personal space.  However, as time went on and a sitter was secured for Nicky, castle employees knew the score and how their relationship had changed.  As the days went on, Stella was concerned where their relationship was going and where she fit into everything.  Plus others were also speculating.

Nicky adored his father and she knew in her heart she couldn't take him away from Vasco.  But she also knew she couldn't go on has they had in "their room" and she also knew he didn't love her nor would he ask her to marry him.  She made a decision, she wouldn't take Nicky back to the States.  However, she found a villa which was vacant with a caretaker and housekeeper.  She would also be responsible for restoring the owners old books.  Some of this decision came about because at a certain ball he was opening flirting with the women attending and it broke her heart.  She felt way to much for Vasco and wanted to know where their future was headed.  When he gave no commitment, she took Nicky and moved to the Villa.  The aunties were devastated but she promised she would daily bring Nicky for visits to the castle.

I wondered when Vasco would wake up and realize what he had in front of him.  An adorable son who worshiped him and a sweet, lovely beautiful woman who realized she loved him.  It was Stella's philosophy if a man wanted to marry a woman, he came out and asked her.  If he didn't, then the woman moved on, no matter how hard it was to make that break.  All I could also remember while reading this book, on a couple of occasions, Vasco shared with his friend, marriage was not on his agenda.  Having Stella as his lover was what he desired.  And so as stated earlier, she did move out.  So it was a wake up call when Vasco returned home to the castle and found them both gone.  Finally he came to terms that he would be lost without her and that he had behaved like a spoiled child.  After thinking long and hard, he realized he loved her and that marriage to her would not be out of duty like his parents, it would be because of the joy she brought to him because he loved her.  You won't want to miss his extremely proposal, it was adorable!

Thanks to Jennifer Lewis, Claiming His Royal Heir had a fairy tale royal ending and after reading the Epilogue, with more to come their way!

Back of the Book

At Montoya's Mercy

Playboy king Vasco Montoya won't be stopped. Learning that a sperm bank deposit he made as an indiscreet youth has been cashed, he vows to claim his royal heir—and the boy's lovely mother. By any means necessary.

Stella Greco is just as determined to protect her little family from this interloper. But when life throws her a curve, she has no choice. She's whisked away to the Montoya kingdom for a fresh start. Even before they arrive, Vasco's fairy-tale seduction begins…but happily-ever-after is never as simple as a kiss, even when it's scorching…



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Bride for Kolovsky - Carol Marinelli


The Kolovsky's were certainly a dysfunctional family, due to their parents.  Russian, selfish and wanting their freedom, they left one son behind (Zakahr Belenki), actually left him in a orphanage and took another son conceived by another woman with them plus hid jewels  and fled to the USA.  Now it was payback and revenge for the son they left behind and caused such misery in his life.  His plan was to destroy the House of Kolovsky!

It was his dream since he had been a child to destroy everything they symbolized his mother and father and he didn't care what happened to his mother and siblings.  He certainly didn't owe them anything.  However, to see his plan through, he needed a personal assistant and the person available was Lavinia who knew all of the family dynamics but had also suffered a horrible weekend because her half sister Rachel had been put in a foster home.  She was exhausted and fell asleep at her desk.  He was beyond annoyed  but with all of the announcements he was going to make, he needed someone.  I knew from a previous book I was going to enjoy her story, she had spunk and her character was dimensional and in the end, she would compliment Zakahr and possibly help him to heal his wounds.

Lavinia's past was also "troubled".  At sixteen she had been hauled out of school by her mother and had become the breadwinner.  She had been bright enough to know her mother didn't need to know the amount of her tips.  For years she had hidden away cash in her bedroom.  At eighteen she had opened a bank account and started studying part time.  At twenty two she had started working at the House of Kolovsky and had used her saved money to purchase a small home.  Like Zakahr, she overcame so much but couldn't understand his hatred for his mother and his need to destroy the business she loved.  When would he reveal his plans and how would it all come down?  On top of that, how could she save her sister, the sister she adored and wanted to take in and mother?

Immediately I could tell this couple's story was going to be so full of emotion and tension.  Would they be a good fit for each other?  Would their passion get the better of them?  Zakahr gave her excellent advise about her sister and she tried to heal him due to his family and business issues.  He wanted Lavinia the woman not her personal problems.  He honestly couldn't understand her need to hold him off.  The tension was mounting between them and his employees because they were now  concerned he was going to destroy the business.  Plus the fact that his mother was insisting on seeing him even though it threatened her mental stability.

He took her away with him for a business trip on a clients yacht and she confessed if they slept together, he would be her first.  It was hard for him to believe, but in the end he believed her.  However, with everything on the line, taking the relationship further, closing up the business, her loosing her job and possibly jeopardizing getting her sister how would each of them survive a personal relationship?  What a mess and I wondered if they would take their relationship to the next level and how it would affect their working relationship?  Because it was obvious he fascinated her.  His smile could make her stomach turn she adored his dark humour.  She saw  his softer side and found him sexy.  Their first time together was beautiful and lovely to read.  He said things to her he had never said to another woman because he was her first.

When would the House of Kolovsky come tumbling down and how would it all end for Lavinia and Zakahr?  Inside of me while reading the ending chapters I could feel the tension of the people who would be affected especially this couple.  He offered her to move in with him, to pay her a ridiculous amount of money for being terminated.  She was furious he could be so cold, so cruel.  Especially to their hosts, the King and his family and the King's daughter who was soon to be married.  She dressed for their parting breakfast and put on a false smile on her face and he felt cold.  Would they both loose a chance at happiness and would he loose his family?

In Carol Marinelli style, the tension, passion, and heartache at times was  too much.  Sometimes I had to set the book down, calm myself and then pick it back up.  The ending was dramatic, demanding and at times devastating but wonderful. .  In the end as she was desperate to save her sister, Lavinia begged him to pay her the money he had offered her but soon she realized her mistake and she stood up to him.  All I could say was bravo to her and "wake up" to Zakahr.  A Bride for Kolovsky was the perfect ending to this mini series and an incredible love story.

Back of the Book

Zakahr Belenki has clawed his way out of Russia's gutters to seek revenge on the family that abandoned him. He'll destroy their pride and joy: their fashion empire, the House of Kolovsky.

All that stands in his way is his new secretary, Lavinia. Her flirtatiousness, refreshing honesty and passion for her job make Zakahr's conscience—and desire—waver…momentarily.

It's not long before the dark knight is crossing the checkered board, ready to take innocent pawn Lavinia….


I highly suggest you read the other books about this family.


Do you like a "tough" heroine?  The author talks about the book at I(Heart) Presents!

Secret Son, Convenient Wife (Billionaires and Babies) - Maxine Sullivan


Maxine Sullivan's contribution to the Billionaire Babies series with Secret Son, Convenient wife was full of passion, secrets and what Tate Chandler had assumed was betrayal by Gemma Watkins, his former lover.  He was a proud man and when he thought she had betrayed him with his best friend, he was furious and through her out!  He had believed his best friend Drake when he told Tate she had been coming on to him and he found them kissing.

Now two years later, they meet by chance.  Tate is attending the grand opening of a children's hospital wing, donated by his family.  Gemma is there because her infant son Nathaniel, has serious ear problems and needed tubes surgically inserted in his ears.   By chance a nurse appeared, mentioning her baby.  Tate being the bold and ruthless business man, pushed past her, determined to see her son and knew immediately he was the little boys father.  Talk about a shock, especially when he learned his son's name was the same name as his grandfather's.

So much had changed for Gemma when she found out she was pregnant.  Her parents cut her out of their lives.  She left the firm where she had worked and moved into a modest apartment and a new job.  Now due to a photographer stationed outside the hospital, she and her baby were being whisked away and taken to Tate's estate.  God he still wanted her but he still remembered how much of a fool he had been and he was determined to be one step ahead of her this time.  Once her charm had duped him but he wouldn't let it happen again!  He had a solution.   He would marry her so his son could have both parents.  Then everything blew up when the press got word of his son, his father was furious to find out by the press calling him which could put his family in jeopardy.  If his family didn't receivean important humanitarian award it would crush his grandmother.

Ten days later they were married and I sincerely felt sorry for Gemma because I knew Tate was playing a dangerous game with both of their emotions.  I also knew he didn't forgive her and would make her life miserable with words and actions.  But I secretly loved it when he was tortured by their wedding kiss, jerk!  Poor Gemma, she felt like an outsider.  So many emotions on her wedding day.  Speaking with the press, a picture of them kissing on their wedding day was taken and a short interview.  However, it had her wondering if her husband would take a lover?  One thing she knew for sure, Tate Chandler would always love his son and so would his family.  She was envious of his family's love because she didn't have her own parents in her life. 

They were sharing a bond with their son, but they began to share more, laughter, looks, doing things together and desire for each other.  All I could think of was this would become a dangerous game.   Gemma was the one who would probably get hurt.  Just little things, comments from Tate and she definitely knew her husband would never trust her.  Nothing was simple between them, they argued, they kissed they mistrusted each other.  It was painful to read this roller coaster romance.  Especially her so called betrayal kiss with Drake, or his accusations about the teenage boy she befriended.  Then the press took pictures of her old place making it look like she was a gold digger, her parents who had kicked her out, suddenly appeared on their door step and I all I could think of could it get anymore emotional?  Yup, the "snake" Drake called her at their residence and she wondered if he was the one responsible for the Internet pictures of her apartment? Then a TV interview with her parents, telling lies about their daughter was aired.  How much emotion could this marriage stand?

The extremely talented Maxine had me sitting on the edge of my seat because I couldn't understand how this couple would get their happy ending.  She tied the story together, beautifully.  Tate needed to understand his childhood feelings concerning his mother in order to understand and believe his wife.  He also needed  learn it was his best friend who had betrayed and get on his knees before his wife! But there was more, his family forgiving each other and their acceptance of Gemma.  Plus the fact of under covering Drake's plot and his part in making Tate believe Gemma had betrayed. him; it was brilliant I must say!  As the author had Gemma say to her husband, the man she loved....."our pasts have made us the people we are.  We've earned our right to happiness.  I don't ever want to forget that".  I say amen, to that!

Book Description:

Tate Chandler had never wanted a woman as much as he'd wanted Gemma Watkins—until the day she'd betrayed him. Yet when he learned they had a son, he demanded Gemma marry him, or he'd fight for custody. Tate was a man of honor—he'd create a family for his heir, even if it meant marrying a woman he couldn't trust.

Their marriage was about duty, nothing more. But Gemma's beauty tempted him to make her his wife in every way. Could he lure her back into his bed without letting her back into his heart?



Tempted by Trouble - Liz Fielding



How can a person fall in love with an object?  A pink van called "Rosie"?  Well I didbecause it brought Elle Amery and her family together and also put the magnificent
Sean McElroy into their lives.  Because of Rosie and an uncle they weren't aware of, the Amery's eventually became the family they were meant to be, thanks to author Liz Fielding's remarkable love story.  Personally I found myself sighing throughout this entire book, I loved it so much.

This was a Cinderella romance if I've ever read one.  However, instead of charging in on a white horse, Elle's Prince Charming rode in, driving a pink ice cream van.  Elle was shocked to find out her Grandfather had a brother they didn't know about, one that her grandmother who lived with her and her sisters had never told them about.  This uncle had now disappeared and had left to Elle and her family a pink van with a ton of  bookings.  Sean told them and they were expected to fill their obligations.  Elle worked at a local restaurant, trying to support her family, since her mother had died.  She took her responsibilities seriously because she loved her sisters and Grams.  So how was she to balance her life?  Sean said he would help her, teach her how to operate the ice cream equipment, drive and manage the van.  He would even attend some of her first bookings, making sure she was ok.  However, she had to balance her family, her first job at a local restaurant and the ice cream event bookings.

Sean McElroy was the result of his mother's office affair with his married father.  He also managed the family estate for his siblings.  He had really never fitted in with his family even though, when his mother died, they took him in.  He kept his feelings to himself but Elle and later her family stirred up something in him.  After getting to know her, she was in his thoughts.  She told him intimate things he didn't want to know, things that settled in his mind, she challenged him.  Elle had given up everything for her family, her dreams.  What kind of man would want to take on that kind of responsibility?  She had adored her mother but couldn't quite grasp how her mother had had three different affairs with "traveling men" who worked the local towns fair,  Would she turn out like her mother because she realized she quite liked Sean McElroy but was frightened concerning her feelings for him.  Her family came first!

They say opposites attract?  Definitely yes.....she did everything for her family and he kept his at a distance.  Elle stoked a fire in Sean and he wanted to keep his feelings locked away, poor man!  However, I had every confidence she in the end would win, would tear his defences down giving them both their happy ending they so deserved.  You'll definitely want to tag along on Rosie's journey, laughing at the ice cream events and meeting Uncle Basil in the end, learning about both the McElroy family and Elle's family.  Did Sean and Elle learn anything?  Yes, they learned love was dangerous because of the risking the heart territory.  However, as the author said, " it was what a heart was for;to give."  That's what Elle did, she gave her heart ti Sean; all he had to do was take it.  In the end he did, plus he came to terms also with his family.

This journey in Tempted by Trouble was heartwarming and a seriously fun romantic read, thanks to the marvelous Liz Fielding.  Personally, Liz, this book couldn't 't have come at a better time for me as I need warmth in my life, so thanks!


Book Description:

Elle Amery has grown up a fighter—her late mother's bad-boy-loving reputation was not the best inheritance….

So when smooth-talking Sean McElroy turns up with a pink-and-white ice cream van called Rosie that's apparently hers, Elle tries to ignore the traitorous flicker of attraction!

Family-oriented Elle is the last girl Sean should want, but as they embark on a journey filled with unexpected twists, these two misfits may discover they are the perfect fit for each other!


Liz talks about Tempted by Trouble

Restless Billionaire (Bad Blood - UK) - The Stolen Bride (USA The Wolfes) - Abby Green


Sebastian Wolfe was a ruthless business man and kept to himself.  He was alert, cool and very controlled.  Soon that control would slip due to a sexy Bollywood actress by the name of Aneesa Adani.

A beautiful young woman who was running out on her wedding day because she had found out her grooms dirty little secret.  He was a famous Indian actor and when Aneesa walked in on him and his male lover, she was not only shocked, she was sick.  The reason she was sick was that he threatened to ruin her career if she didn't go through with the wedding.  As she walked toward her groom, her eyes connected with a handsome stranger, Sebastian Wolfe, the owner of the hotel.  Something definitely passed between them.

It was all too much for Aneesa.  She fled her wedding guests and family.   She ran up the service stairs;  took an elevator to to an unknown destination.  It was Sebastian's penthouse suite.  He was stunned when she walked into his living quarters.  From that moment on a "spell" was cast upon this couple and their amazing journey began.  It was one "hot" and sensual journey, one you definitely won't want to miss.  This tortured hero was sensitive to this lovely woman's needs and gave her the wedding night of her dreams.  However, he gave her something more as well.

In Sarah Morgan's Tortured Rake we met Sebastian's brother Nathaniel.  We also learned of all of the Wolfe's tortured childhood.  It was Sebastian who helped Nathaniel and Katie escape to his private island.  In this particular book it's obvious that this amazing hero holds back his emotions and that he's also the one his mother due to her mental condition doesn't recognize.  Due to his troubled childhood it's made Sebastian the man he was today.  He knew he couldn't give Aneesa what she wanted and so they parted.  As a bonus for Aneesa,  her Indian fans forgave her for not marrying.  When she saw Sebastian's picture in a Mumbai newspaper, she found out exactly who he was.....one of the famous Wolfe's from England.  Finding out she was expecting his baby, she knew she had to travel to the UK and tell him.

He couldn't erase her from his mind.  She was the only woman who had managed to somehow sneak under his guard to a place no one had ever reached.  Ever!  Not even his own family.  She went to London, as it turned out and told him she was expecting his baby.  He didn't believe it was his.  Talk about stressful.  However, after apologizing for his remarks, Sebastian offered for Aneesa to stay with him.  So many emotions for them both to face.  She didn't want to upset her family back in India anymore than necessary.  Due to her running out on her wedding it had cost her parents financially plus embarrassment.  Now she was going to be a single mother, she was living with Sebastian and didn't expect anything from him.  Plus the fact just having her there was driving him crazy.  Could they resist each other?  The answer, a definite NO!

Just when I thought things couldn't get anymore complicated.  Alone she went to her doctor, she also decided to visit an Indian part of town where things became dangerous because the Indian fans realized she was the famous Bollywood actress.  When Sebastian found out, he rescued her.  Also add to the stress his brother's wedding, facing his family, especially when his oldest sibling, Jacob appeared on the scene.  The very same brother who had been responsible for killing their father and had left his family alone and behind.  The very  same brother who invited Aneesa to his brother's wedding.  She, as it turned out, was a thorn in Sebastian's side.  As much as he tried to push her away, she pulled him in again.  Actually she got too close to his family secrets and family fears so when she said she to return to India to be with her family when she had their baby, he was relieved.  So he took her home and stayed with her family.

The ending chapters were an emotional roller coaster so full of emotions for both of them as only Abby Green can pen.  Staying with her family, seeing their interaction, I cried for Sebastian because he had never felt such love during his childhood.  How would he react?  Did Aneesa and Sebastian get their happy ending?  Of course they did because I believed from the first moment they set eyes on each other and kissed, their fate was sealed.  Talk about chemistry and passion, Restless Billionaire /The Stolen Bride certainly delivers a powerful punch to one's heart, thanks to the fabulous Abby Green.



Abby talks about her marvelous book here





Book Description:

Sebastian…
Sharp.
Cool.
Controlled.

Ruthless in business, Sebastian is at the top of his game professionally. Emotionally he keeps himself alone, aloof and almost untouchable.

Escaping her wedding, it takes one look at ice-cool Sebastian for Bollywood star Aneesa Adani to be hooked! Letting Aneesa in could ignite the fire that melts even the hardest of hearts…





Abby Green's Post at I(Heart)Presents


 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July Recipe of the Month - Pasta con le Sarde - The Sicilian's Passion (Sharon Kendrick)


This pasta dish is a traditional dish in Sicily. In Sharon Kendrick’s The Sicilian’s Passion, his lover Kate cooks it for him when he comes to her home in London and she’s faced with telling the man she loves and adores that she’s pregnant.

Giovanni Calverri is hard, ruthless and somewhat a “brute” and in the end I loved him.




Pasta with Sardines: Pasta con le Sarde
Recipe courtesy Mario Batali and the Food Network. I love Mario and he hails from Seattle where I reside.



Ingredients

2 pounds fennel bulbs, greens removed and reserved, bulb cut into sticks
3 pounds whole fresh sardines
Semolina flour, for coating
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
3 tablespoons dried currants or raisins, soaked and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 saffron strands or 1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron
1 pound dried bucatini

Directions

In a hot skillet, add olive oil and saute fennel until caramelized.

Remove the heads of the sardines and pull out the backbones and entrails. Select a few sardines, for garnish. Chop the rest of the sardines for the sauce, set aside. Season the sardines for garnish, to taste with salt and pepper, and coat them with the semolina flour. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil begins to smoke, cook each flour-coated sardine until a light golden brown, about 1 minute on each side. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sardines from the pan and set them aside to drain on a paper towel.

In the skillet with the caramelized fennel, add the onions, currants, tomatoes, pine nuts and saffron. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce briefly to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Add the reserved sardines and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sardines have broken into pieces and are thoroughly mixed into the sauce, about 10 to15 minutes. If the sauce appears too thick at this point, add a little of the pasta cooking water.

Bring 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a rolling boil. Add the bucatini and cook until tender but still al dente. Drain the cooked pasta into a large serving bowl, add 3/4 of the sauce and stir to combine. Top with the remaining sauce and the fried sardines. This pasta tastes best if allowed to sit for several minutes, soaking up the flavors of the sauce, before it is served. Keep the pasta covered during this waiting period, then garnish with reserved fennel fronds.

The History of the dish from Sicilian Cooking

The Pasta con Sarde is a traditional Sicilian dish that is made all over the island, using the same ingredients and differing in the various ways it is prepared. It is mostly often cooked from February to the end of May, because the wild fennels are tender and abundant in this period and the sardines are fished in large quantities.

In Palermo this dish is called Pasta di San Giuseppe and it is a tradition to cook the Pasta con Sarde on March 19, when Saint Joseph is celebrated.

Somehow the ancient custom to prepare special food to offer to the gods has been passed on to present time with a variation that instead of the pagan priest receiving the food, we eat and enjoy them with our family and friends.

The legend relates that due to an exceptional drought, Saint Joseph was begged to cause rain so the crops would grow and avoid that people would die of famine. When the rain came, to thank the Saint, a feast day was dedicated for his celebration and the ceremonious “Tavola di San Giuseppe”, Saint’s Joseph Table, was instituted

The tavola consisted of a collection of food harvested around March 19. If it was set outside, in the court yard it was open to anybody or if it was set inside the house, it was limited to family and friends. If San Joseph was asked a favor and he granted it, the gratitude was shown by promising to repeat the Tavola celebration for a certain number of years.

The food on the table varies from town to town, but the bread of Saint Joseph and the pasta with wild fennels, salted or fresh sardines and breadcrumbs, are unfailingly on hand, along with assorted fried vegetables in pastetta, caponatina, fruits and vegetables in season. Usually no meat dishes are offered but the table is full of desserts according to the local production. Again, unfailingly on hand the sfingi di San Giuseppe along with bucciddati, pastries and cookies.

The Pasta con Sarde is made up with the local, ordinary and available ingredients. The unconventional blend of different flavors and aromas, the color and smell of saffron makes this exceptional pasta a favorite dish among the gourmets and food lovers.




Description:

An Italian affair to remember…

It was just plain old physical attraction. That didn't mean it was any "big love" or anything, did it? Kate was just mistress to a very passionate Sicilian man, Giovanni Calverri.

And sex was all it was ever supposed to be. Until the day when everything changed. When fate forced them to put their steamy arrangement on hold—and think about what they really had together…

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Lori Foster News and (3) Book Giveaway (USA residents only)


NEWS FROM LORI FOSTER, NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR:

We launched my app in the beginning of June, another landmark that seems to have zoomed right by. This is all new to me. How cool do I think this is? Very! Check it out if you can. 
 NOTE TO READERS ABOUT SAVOR THE DANGER—

You already know Dare and Molly and Trace and Priss, but some of you may not remember you first ran into Alani in When You Dare (yes that was her—kidnapped and held by the same people who held Molly prisoner). Then, Jackson stepped quite capably into the picture in Trace of Fever when he was brought in to help protect Priss. That actually contributes to his current problems, as protecting Priss included saving her life by grabbing her naked out of the shower. Trace has never gotten over the naked part of the rescue so when he finds out Jackson is sleeping with his sister it makes him even more nuts. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.

Jackson has plenty to deal with before Trace gets involved. First, he wakes up in bed with Alani next to him. He’s completely sick, has an enormous headache, can barely stand and, worst of all, has absolutely no memory of how they got there. This after making love for the very first time with the woman he’s been patiently and gently pursuing for months. This is not good, and not just because he’s hurt Alani who hasn’t let anyone close to her since the kidnapping, but because it means Jackson was drugged. Now he’s juggling two things. He’s working with Dare and Trace to figure out who drugged him and why, and trying to somehow make it up to Alani for not remembering their first time—even as he’s doing his best to convince her to engage in a reenactment.

Of course, the threat escalates, the tension between them mounts, and you just know something’s gotta give. Luckily Jackson is a man who knows how to multi-task.
I recently posted an interview with Lori at Romance Author Buzz.  If you're interested in reading it, the link is provided here

LORI’S LINKS:

· Lori's website
· Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor video
· Lori’s Facebook page
· Lori’s Twitter
· And Lori’s new app, as noted above

BACK COVER COPY FOR ALL THREE MEN WHO WALK THE EDGE OF HONOR NOVELS:

WHEN YOU DARE by Lori Foster


THE TOUGHER THEY ARE, THE HARDER THEY FALL…

Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he’ll take the mission he’s offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who’d had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare’s tempted to combine work with pleasure.

Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she’s uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful estranged father? The ex-fiancĂ© who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all…

TRACE OF FEVER by Lori Foster


CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE OF VENGEANCE AND DESIRE

Undercover mercenary Trace Rivers loves the adrenaline rush of a well-planned mission. First he’ll earn the trust of corrupt businessman Murray Coburn, then gather the proof he needs to shut down the man’s dirty smuggling operation. It’s a perfect scheme—until Coburn’s long-lost daughter saunters in with her own deadly plan for revenge.

With a smile like an angel and fire in her eyes, Priscilla Patterson isn’t who she seems to be. But neither is the gorgeous bodyguard who ignites all her senses. Joining forces to plot Coburn’s downfall, Priss and Trace must fight the undeniable heat between them. For one wrong move, one lingering embrace, will expose them to the wrath of a merciless opponent…

SAVOR THE DANGER by Lori Foster



The one woman he couldn't have was the only woman he desired…

She may be aloof, and more pretty than gorgeous, but Alani Rivers is the kind of woman a hot-blooded mercenary can't forget, no matter how hard he tries. So when Jackson Savor wakes up next to the naked, sleeping beauty—with no memory of what happened—he knows he's been drugged… even if Alani doesn't.

After she was kidnapped, Alani swore she'd never trust another man again. Still, something about this strong, sexy hero with the tender touch makes her want to believe him. As Jackson hunts downs a mysterious intruder, he swears he'll move heaven and earth to keep Alani safe. But what really happened that night? And will the truth bring them closer than they ever thought possible—or put Alani squarely in harm's way again?

EXCERPT FROM SAVOR THE DANGER:

A little slack-jawed, Alani watched as Jackson meandered down the hall and disappeared into her home office. His long-legged, rangy walk set her heart to tripping; the thought of him going through her personal files slowed it again.

She snapped her mouth shut.

Had that parting shot of his been mockery, or a sincere statement reflecting what they’d shared, the bond they’d forged last night?

A bond that only she could remember.

Groaning, she put her hands over her face and slumped into her bedroom. She quietly closed the door and dropped back against it.

Being honest with herself, she had to admit that deep inside, she’d been expecting – maybe even hoping – that he’d press the issue of intimacy. He wanted her again. He’d been more than open and upfront about that.

But instead, he chose to honor her wishes, the wishes she knew to be more responsible. More reasonable.

It would be a very long night.

Taking her time, Alani freshened up, tidying her hair, brushing her teeth, giving her make-up a boost. With nothing more to do, she girded herself for Jackson’s impact, both emotional and physical, and went in search of him.

She opened her bedroom door and found him right there in the hallway, leaning on the wall, relaxed, waiting for her.

Before she could apologize for making him wait, he straightened.

“Ready?”

“Yes.”

She stepped out, and his warm palm curved to the small of her back.

Alani felt the touch everywhere. But then, even if he hadn’t touched her, she’d have been acutely aware of him beside her. When Jackson was in a room, he occupied everything, the space, the air, the attention.

Knowing they were alone, with the bedrooms at their backs, quickened her breath.

“I parked down around the corner.”

Surprise slowed her steps, but since Jackson kept walking, she did too. It hadn’t occurred to her that his car was missing. If she’d seen it on the street in front of her house or in her driveway, she’d have been forewarned of his visit.

And maybe she would have avoided him.

“You didn’t want me to know you were here?”

“I didn’t want anyone else to know.” His hand slid to her hip, nudged her a little closer to him. “In case I was followed, no way did I want to lead anyone to you.”

Another reminder of the danger they might be in. “Well, you should bring your car up to my driveway now.”

“Maybe later.” He stopped at the entrance to her small living room, where so much drama had already gone down. “For now, how about we take your car?”

“All right.” She didn’t mind that. With all he’d been through, it’d probably be better if he wasn’t driving. Sure, he had to be macho and swear he felt no side-effects from being drugged, but how could that be? If she took cold medicine, it wiped her out, and he’d been given a drug so heavy-duty that it had obliterated his memory.

In the kitchen, she found her purse, keys, and Jackson’s hat. She rejoined him in the foyer.

He took the hat from her, slid it onto his head, and then held out a hand.

One brow raised, Alani looked at him in question.

“Keys?” he prompted.

She slid her purse strap over her shoulder. “That’s okay. I’ll drive.”

A priceless expression fell over his face.

“Oh please.” Alani had to laugh. “It’s not like I asked to carry your gun.”

Heartfelt, he tipped back his hat and scoffed. “I’d say no to that, too.” He scrutinized her. “But you do know how to shoot, don’t you?”

“I know enough.” And after her kidnapping to Tijuana, she’d done plenty of practicing to ensure she could handle a weapon.

He reached for her purse. “You carrying?”

“No!” Alani snatched the bag away. “Of course not.”

Considering that, Jackson declared, “We’ll get you a piece. You shouldn’t be out and about without it.” He gave her small designer purse a look of dislike. “You’ll need to carry something bigger, though.”

She did not want to be armed. “You’re here, so what do I need with a gun? Aren’t you protection enough?”

He went so still, it almost made her laugh again. Until he said, “You suggesting I should stick around 24/7?”

“What?” A rush of heat hit her cheeks. “No, of course I wasn’t.”

Keeping her caught in his gaze for far too long, he studied her, and finally smiled. “Yeah, I’m protection enough. I guess as long as you’re with me, you don’t need anything else.” He snatched the keys out of her lax hand. “Come on. Let’s get out of here….”
Don't all three of these books sound fabulous?  Which one do you think you'd like the best?  Personally, I think all three sound incredible.

This Contest is a (3) book giveaway for US residents only, thanks to the generosity of Lori's Publisher.

Reminder: It’s one winner for all three books in the series (DARE, TRACE and SAVOR).  Don't forget to leave your email address so that you can be contacted. 

To win the books, email me (seattlesnoops at aol dot com) and tell me when Alani was kidnapped, what city was she taken to?  For more chances to win, comment on Lori's Facebook and Twitter page and let me know what you've done for your chance(s) to win.

The winner of all three books will be announced August 1.  Thanks so much for your comments and entries.
 

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