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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sweet Revenge by Rebecca Zanetti

I have been waiting to read this book.  This is the second book about the Dean brothers.  The first is Forgotten Sins.  Even though this is the second book, it can be read on it's own.  It definitely didn't disappoint me.  My only problem was it was so good that I read it in a few hours.

Matt Dean and his brothers were born to fight and kill.  Dean is on a mission to track down the Doctor that placed a kill chip in his and his brothers back.  Matt's search lead him to Charmed, Idaho and to Laney Jacob's doorstep.  Matt's gut tells him that he is in the right place.  He applies for a job as a bouncer in Laney's bar.

As Matt works as a bouncer he is still trying to find the Doctor.  Meanwhile Laney has been receiving strange notes at the bar and on her windshield.  The next thin everyone knows is that murders begin happening in the small town.  People begin to suspect Matt because he is the new guy in town.  Matt has an alibi and it's in the form of Laney.  To protect Laney, Matt decides that they need to leave town.  Before they can leave Matt's brother Nate shows up pretending to be with the FBI.

To make matters worse Matt runs into the Commander who has been hunting for him and his brothers and Laney.  Now Matt and Nate are trapped in Charmed with the Commander's forces closing in on them.  The only way to protect them all is to do what he does best and that is to kill.

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

Starry Night is another great read from Debbie Macomber.  This book had me hooked from beginning to the end.  It is a must read feel good story. My only problem was it was so good I finished it in one day.  All I can say is I want to go see the Northern Lights so I can find out if I can hear them.  You will have to read the book to find out what I am talking about.

Carrie Slayton is a journalist that feels like her talents are being wasted covering the Society section of the Chicago Sun-Times.  She decides to hand in her notice and take a chance somewhere else.  Her boss tells her that if she can track down Finn Dalton and get an interview he will take her off the society page.  Her boss knows that she will fail.  No reporter has ever been able to track Finn down and he refuses ALL interview requests.

Carrie manages to find Finn living off the grid in Alaska.  A storm hits just as she finds him, leaving her trapped with an anti social man that distrusts all women.  Finn and Carrie find themselves falling in love, feeling like they have known each other forever.  Finn asks Carrie not to write the interview even though it would be great for her career.  He thinks that she will write it.  Finn flies to Chicago to spend time with her.  He realizes that they are to different to ever have a relationship.  Finn tells her to write the article.  When Carrie's friends and family find out that she had found Finn and refused to write the article they are surprised.

Finn realizes how much he has lost in his mistrust of women and flies to Seattle knowing that Carrie is there spending time with her family for Christmas.  Finn finds out that despite the fact that he gave Carrie permission to write the article she refused.  That is when he realizes that they are meant to be together.

Welcome Back to Apple Grove by C.H. Admirand

I was sure that this book was going to be a winner and let me just say that it exceeded my expectations! I love the author’s style and the town she has created. Apple Grove is one of my favorite places to visit and I didn’t think anything could make me love it even more but the addition of a sexy firefighter might have convinced me that small towns definitely have appeal. I am so happy to catch up with old friends and family that I met in the first two books, but I don’t think you absolutely need to read the previous stories to love this one. But if you haven’t read the first two books, trust me pick them up and read them you will not be sorry. C. H. Admirand writes great characters, readers become attached to them because they are people you really love to know.

The Truth about You by Susan Lewis

Lainey Hollingsworth is the anchor in her home. In addition to managing her husband’s writing career, she oversees the daily operations of a chaotic family: a rebellious teenage daughter, a stepson who blames her for ruining his life, and an adoptive father afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

Lainey always had a volatile relationship with her mother, who never revealed the truth about Lainey’s biological father, or the reason she fled Italy for England when Lainey was an infant.

As Lainey plans a trip to her mother’s homeland in search of answers, the familiar rhythm of life implodes when she receives a cryptic text message: Ask your husband about Julia. Suddenly caught between the ghosts of her past and a frighteningly unpredictable future, Lainey must face choices no woman would ever want to make. 

I liked Lainey straight away. She’s warm, loving and kindhearted and her family is all important to her. Lainey has booked a family holiday to a beautiful villa in her late mother’s hometown in Italy, in the hope of finding out more about her birth family, in particular the father she knows nothing about.
I was quickly drawn into Lainey’s life and found her different relationships very believable and particularly found it touching how she coped with the harrowing condition of Alzheimer’s that her beloved, adopted father had to live with. I felt it was written in very compassionately and showed just how tough it is for all family members.

What a terrific novel by an author that I am coming to appreciate more and more with each book I read by her. She is a new writer to me so I have been reading from her back list but was delighted to read this story. It's a moving and tense story of what happens when a serious and life changing event happens and causes ripple effects that engulfs everyone in the family. It truly shows you how fragile life is and the ramifications of infidelity in a relationship,this book is centered on Lainey, the mother of Tierney.  When Lainey receives a text telling her to ask her husband about Julia and more secrets come out her own marriage is in jeopardy. 

Unfortunately,While Lainey’s husband, Tom, is away dealing with the secrets he had been keeping Lainey and the children travel to Italy so she can search for information about the father she never knew and the family her mother always kept from her. I stayed up late several nights reading it.  Lainey’s strength is what stands out in this book.  She is the glue that holds the family together even when it looks like the whole family may unravel. This book will keep you engaged and wanting to know more so be prepared to enjoy.   If you love a strong family drama then this is a must read for you.  

Saving Savannah by Sandra Hill

When Tante Lulu decides to match make, matches are made. But this time, her meddling Cajun charm will be put to the test . . . 

For five years Savannah Jones thought Special Forces Captain Matthew Carrington died in Afghanistan. For five years he thought she’d rejected him—thanks to his mother’s interception of the letter she wrote to him as he left on his tour of duty. Now she’s struggling to re-build a life for herself and their daughter, Katie, despite the devastation Katrina wrought on New Orleans. Thanks to Tante Lulu and her police-officer great-nephew, Tee-John, Savannah and Matthew are about to be reunited. Willl Tante Lulu’s bayou wisdom and sassy attitude be able to turn their broken relationship into a loving gumbo? 

This was my first Sandra Hill book, I loved it. It was entertaining and funny and fresh. I have since gone on to read all I can get my hands on by her ( Red Hot Cajun, The Cajun Cowboy, Pearl Jinx, Pink Jinx, Wild Jinx) and have not yet been disappointed.  It was nice to bring back the other characters from her past books! All of them totally unique and not a boring one in the bunch! It's hard to decide who was my favorite! This is a fantastic mini read inbetween her other stories and I am looking forward to reading more of them. I would love if Sandra Hill would write another full length novel involving these characters. I am looking forward to the next book.


Morgan and Archer: A Novella by Grace Burrowes

I loved how immediate the connection was between the hero and heroine. It’s like Archer and Morgan immediately see past society’s restraints straight to the heart of each other and there is no doubt in the reader’s mind that they belong together. And while the connection happens quickly it does not seem rushed or implausible. I also loved how Morgan’s disability was handled. I enjoyed seeing how Archer gave so much thought to her situations and his insight to her struggles was so touching as he gave it some very intense studying. The supporting cast of characters is fantastic and I particularly enjoyed the head of the household and his knowledgeable wife. I cannot wait to read more about these entertaining people. I've become a big fan of this author’s style in a very short amount of time and I will say she has never disappointed me. I cannot wait to start reading her next story.


The Lone Warrior by Lori Austin

    Rose had her two year old daughter stolen from her over a year ago and has been searching for her. Now she is searching for The White Ghost who seems to be her only chance of finding her daughter. They have to battle not only the Indians but the Military in hopes of finding Lily. The clash of the real and not so real are ever present.

    The plot was interesting and had you wondering what was going to happen next. Was the romance going to get in the way or Luke's background with the Cheyenne? The heartbreak of a mother having a child stolen wants a happy ending. Will her child be found safe and if so will she remember her mother or is she now one of the Indians.

        I liked this book and think the author Lori Austin did a great job in bring all the emotions of grief and hope into this story.  The descriptions of the events that took place also were beautifully written.

The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

Felix Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth, is the ideal gentleman, a man all men want to be and all women want to possess. Even Felix himself almost believes this golden image. But underneath is a damaged soul soothed only by public adulation.

Louisa Cantwell needs to marry well to support her sisters. She does not, however, want Lord Wrenworth—though he seems inexplicably interested in her. She mistrusts his outward perfection, and the praise he garners everywhere he goes. Still, when he is the only man to propose at the end of the London season, she reluctantly accepts.

Louisa does not understand her husband’s mysterious purposes, but she cannot deny the pleasure her body takes in his touch. Nor can she deny the pull this magnetic man exerts upon her. But does she dare to fall in love with a man so full of dark secrets, any one of which could devastate her, if she were to get any closer?

I really enjoyed this book. There were lots of twists and turns and it kept me on my feet and wanting more. This book was very well written and the story was told very well. I loved every page of it.

I really liked the fact that Lord Wrenworth was looking out for his sister in marrying Louisa Cantwell, but shortly after fell madly in love with her. However Louisa took a little bit longer to admit that she was in love with him. I love the fact that after Louisa was mad at Lord Wrenworth that he tried everything to still make her happy. I will read this book again.

Midnight's Temptation by Donna Grant

Ever since that fateful night, he can't stop thinking about her. A timeless beauty in a nightclub, she moved across the dance floor like an angel, surrendering to the music--and casting a spell that could only be magic. When Phelan took her in his arms and kissed her, the Highlander knew this was no ordinary woman. This was a Druidess who could fulfill his every desire--or destroy him completely...

She is a mystery--a woman on the run, hunted by two different men. As much as she longs to be captured by the magnificent warrior Phelan, she knows she must resist the temptation. A vengeful evil is stalking her, watching her every move--a madman who will stop at nothing to possess her power. Once, she sold a piece of her soul for magic. Is she willing to risk Phelan's life, and give up her heart...for love?

Aisley was like an angel surrendering to the music, yet she is a Druidess one of the evil ones. She is on the run with two men hunting her; one a madman and one a magnificent warrior.

Midnight's Temptation weaves good and evil in an exciting, very moving and sexy way. It is packed full of action in the chase against warriors. The warriors not wanting evil to win again.

I like how the story was as old as time yet modern too. All the twists and turns of ancient time bring to life the romance of good and evil in Aisley and Phelan's time. You are kept wondering who will win out and will good overcome evil in this exciting romance.

Accidentally in Love with a God by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

This was one of the first books I hand ever read by this author, let me tell you I was blown away.  I am also irritated because I had never read anything from her before.  This book had everything for me.  It had action and sexy God's and Goddesses, evil villains and demi gods. Not to mention the sexual tension between our main hero's. Mimi has a way with blending the past and present that makes it easy to follow.  I am already looking forward to Mimi's next book and I am hoping I get to review it.

Guy aka Votan the God of Death and War has been trapped in a cenote and the only one that could hear him or free him was Emma Keane.  She had been living with his voice in her head since she was a a six year old girl.  Now she is an adult and the problem is she was hearing other noises now.  The only way to break the bond was for her to travel to Mexico and free him.

After Emma frees "Guy" they both realize that they are in danger from the Maaskab.  Emma and Guy race to discover who has trapped the other God's and Goddesses.  Emma also searches to figure out what happened to her Grandmother in Mexico all those years ago.  Emma and Guy travel with the Uchben all over trying to ignore their feelings for each other while searching for clues.

The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

-Book Review-

There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.
A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

-My review:

Whether you are a bookie who has never read an urban fantasy book before (impossible in my eyes but I understand it happens :) ) to those who are like me and have read just about every genre of fantasy out there, this book will satisfy everyone out there while keeping them on the edge of their seats.

Sandy Williams takes us into a world of not just "faeries" (or Fae for us hard core science/urban fantasy vets), but spins a wonderful story of the Fae and the humans who are "blessed" see them.

First we have our down to earth heroine, otherwise know as Mckenzie, trying desperately to finish an evil english test. Of course this is not her only problem as we soon find out. Enter in the mysterious Kyol, a handsome royal court fae who is trying to rescue her and break her heart at the same time. Moments later we meet a mysterious fellow by the name of Aren, a deadly "rebel" to the court who wants to get hands on Mckenzie too.

And this my dear readers, is just the first few chapters. And why is Mckenzie so special you ask? Not only can she see the fae, (which in this book is not a hardship, hot guys with lightening running over their skin should be a requirement in every book! ) but we find out that our frustrated human gal is a Shadow Reader. Which makes her wanted by fae on all sides of what we find out is the ongoing war.

Add in a desperate and long term romance with Kyol (the hot and honorable court fae), a kidnapping by the just as hot Aren (the rebel with a cause) and really I shouldn't need to tell you to read this book. And if you think this a happy go luck sci-fi book, should I mention the sweetheart character who dies?

Sandy Williams does a wonderful job of pulling you not just into the world of Fae, but of keeping your interest hostage while fissures, fighting and romance fly around you.

So read, enjoy and be prepared to pout when you find out there is a sequel and you can't just know what happens next magically.

For more information on this wonderful series and more, you can find her website at:

The Shattered Dark by Sandy WIlliams

-Book Review-

McKenzie Lewis has a gift. It allows her access to a world few have seen, and even fewer can comprehend. It’s her secret. And it exists in the shadows…
McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends—and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war among the fae.
With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. 

-My review:

Did you read the first book like I told you to readers? If you didn't, then shoo. I don't approve of spoilers and this will definitely have a few.

For those who took my advice, take a seat and kick back. Last time we left the series, we had our still frustrated Mckenzie diving into her feelings for the hot rebel Aren, (who unlike Kyol, is not afraid to tell a girl he cares) and the palace coup just completed. Be aware readers, Edarratae flies around in this sequel to The Shadow reader and there are several twists you just won't expect. As a sequel to the first, I give this +3 stars, despite the fact that Lena is queen and Kelia is dead.

If you were expecting a light and fluffy everybody loves each other now and we should all make peace kind of book...Sorry. From the first page, the action is packed in and just like Mckenzie you won't get a break. You'd think her and Aren would get a few minutes to kiss and relax, but clearly Sandy Williams did not get that memo. Right away, Mckenzie has 15 minutes to pack as remnants could show up any minute.

Right so the last book had rebels, but the rebels kicked ass, took names and now we have remnants, who are all those official court fae upset that their king got killed. Add in the fact that Paige (the upset bestie) is missing, Aren is working his little fae tale off keeping Lena and co safe, and Mckenzie is having to try to save and help everybody at once, this book will not put you to sleep.

The biggest twist lies waiting for you at the end of the book. And by twist, I mean something besides the plotting, blood shedding and other small twists you come across in this book.

Personally this book and the series has become a favorite for me. It's not just a good author taking the Fae and Human stereotypes we've come to know over hundreds of years of myths and giving them a delightful breath of air. It's the honest feel of the fact that Mckenzie can't seem to catch a break.

To me, a truly good fantasy book shouldn't just skim the alternate worlds it presents to us, but should give us an honest view of how the regular human stuck in that world is doing. And not only do we the readers get a feel, we get the adrenaline rushes, the honest confusion and the sense that just when we thought we had a handle, we were no where close to the surface of the problems Mckenzie faces.

So, again delightful readers, just assume I ordered you to go get this book and read it. Because I can't wait until the sequel comes out December 31st. Just for you though, I'll give you a sneak peek ahead of time. Something I missed out on these two reviews.

For more information on this wonderful series and more, you can find her website at:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Just Desserts by Barbara Bretton Interview & giveaway


1. What is one of your favorite Myths/legends to write about?

I was maybe eight or nine when I first read about Baucis and Philemon. I was working my way through my dad’s childhood set of Adventures in Bookland volumes and was in the Greek myths section when an illustration of two beautiful trees, branches intertwined, caught my eye.

Baucis and Philemon were a long-married couple who lived in a tiny hut. They were poor but happy, blessed with bees for honey, vines filled with grapes, a beloved cow who provided milk and cream. They were also kind and generous. No traveler passing their way ever went hungry.

One day they were visited by two starving, bedraggled travelers. Baucis and Philemon had been busy gathering their honey and grapes in preparation of a visit from Zeus to their town but their kind hearts couldn’t refuse the hungry beggars who needed food much more than the great god ever could. They fed the beggars. They gave the beggars their bed to sleep in.

When the beggars were ready to leave, they asked Baucis and Philemon what their dearest wish might be and both replied simultaneously, "That neither should outlive the other."

Of course, you’ve guessed by now that the beggars were actually Zeus and a companion and that Baucis and Philemon’s dearest wish would be granted in time.

When they were very old and their time came, the married couple breathed their last as mortals and awoke as glorious shade trees, branches intertwined, atop the hill on which they had lived their lives. It was said that travelers often heard whispers of "Baucis!" and "Philemon!" on the sweet wind.

The ultimate HEA, if my opinion.

2. If you could live back in time, what time period would you choose and why?

The Revolutionary War era. I love the passion, the fashion, and the historical significance. Besides, who wouldn’t want the chance to cross paths with Washington and Adams, Jefferson and Franklin? I live in central NJ, near Princeton, and am surrounded by the history of that era on a daily basis. I’d love to experience this place I know so well back when it was at the center of the struggle for independence.

3. Have you ever come across a song that might fit the theme of one of your books?

More times than I can count! I don’t think there’s a romance writer of a certain age who didn’t build at least one story around Barry Manilow’s classic WEEKEND IN NEW ENGLAND.

4. What was the most creative pick-up line you've ever used on someone or someone used on you?

"You hair is on fire." It wasn’t. But it gave me a good laugh.

5. When writing do you have a playlist of music you like to listen to? What are a couple songs on it?

The movie FAR AND AWAY didn’t do much at the box office, but its soundtrack became my #1 go-to choice for writing. I also love James Galway’s LARK IN THE CLEAR AIR. Both put me immediately in the zone.

6. What do you do when you think nobody is watching?

I watch other people! Is there anything better than being a nosy people-watcher? I think it’s practically a job requirement for a writer. And as if being a Peeping Tom isn’t bad enough, I’m also a dedicated eavesdropper. You wouldn’t believe the secrets and confessions I’ve overheard (the polite term for it) while sipping a cup of tea at our local diner.

7. What was your favorite childhood book?

Louisa May Alcott’s LITTLE WOMEN. I loved it so much I tried to copy it by hand into a series of notebooks.

8. What is your favorite addition to chocolate?

Sorry, but no additions. Chocolate should be pure and – well, chocolatey.

9. What does your husband/significant other say about your writing erotic stories? What about your family and/or do they read your books?

I have to say my family has been wonderfully supportive (dare I say encouraging?) when it comes to bringing heat to my stories. My husband loves it and has been comfortable with it right from the start. My parents were very proud, even if I did want to go into the witness protection program every time a new book came out. (What is it about knowing your parents are reading your sex scenes anyway??) Both of my grandmothers thought my books weren’t hot enough!

10. Besides your own, what is one of your favorite series to keep up with?

I love series books and am an unabashed fan of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series, Sue Grafton’s Alphabet mysteries, Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder books, and (of course) Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plums.

11. What do you think you would be doing if you weren't writing?

Probably working the register at McDonald’s. Writing is my only skill.

12. Do you have any hobbies or activities you enjoy doing?

How much time do you have? I’m a crazed/obsessed knitter. I collect antique postcards. I love to cook—I mean truly, deeply love it. And reading! My Kindle is never more than a few inches from my side.

13. What is something you do to de-stress?

Lie on the couch and watch good/bad TV. Currently I’m hooked on Pawn Stars, Dancing with the Stars, and Chopped.

14. We all know about muses...what do you think inspires you to allow your creative juices flowing?

I’ve been thinking about this question for over an hour now and I still don’t have a good answer. To be honest, I’ve been looking for the answer since I sold my first book in 1982! My Muse is sneaky, clever, sadistic, surprising, mysterious, demanding, and altogether unpredictable. And she’s been known to disappear at a moment’s notice.

10 Fun Facts (things the fans don't know)

I’m an only child, grandchild, niece, and nephew.

I’m shy. You may not know it if you meet me in a business/social situation, but I am.

I make great pizza from scratch.

My hair is naturally curly (think a cross between Bernadette Peters and Don King) and I have spent much of my life trying to change that fact

I am probably the world’s worst singer. I could clear a room within three notes.

My mother was psychic which made my teenage years even more difficult!

I married my first and only date.

We were teenagers and yes, we’re still married 40+ years later

I am a cancer survivor.

I can spell backward and won a television spelling bee when I was ten.

Book Description:

Hayley had sworn off bad boys until Finn Rafferty set out to win her heart...

Once upon a time, Hayley had believed that a good woman (her) could turn a bad boy (her ex) into a knight in shining armor (pure fantasy). Ten years of marriage had finally drummed the truth into her head. In the real world bad boys didn’t turn into knights in shining armor. Bad boys grew up to be even worse men and the world would be a much happier place if little girls were taught that basic fact along with their ABCs.

Hayley Maitland Goldstein knew all about how these things worked. First a girl giggled, then she sighed, and the next thing you knew she was in Vegas taking her wedding vows in front of a red-haired Elvis with an overbite. You knew you had made a bad choice when Elvis slipped you his divorce lawyer’s business card while you were still shaking the rice from your hair.

But then Finn Rafferty came into her life and everything changed.

Hayley should have seen the kiss coming but it surprised her just the same. He had been looking at her with a crazy kind of unfocused intensity and she had been about to ask him if he was having a stroke when she realized she was about to be kissed by a man she actually wanted to kiss back.

Every now and then life handed you a perfect moment but the secret was figuring out how to make it last.



Praise for Just Desserts
"Very few romance writers create characters as well developed and realistic as Bretton's. Her books pull you in and don't let you leave until the last word is read."—Booklist (starred review)

"Once again Bretton produces a wonderful, heartwarming story full of strong emotion, humor, charming pets, delightful characters and a lovely romance. There's also a poignant secondary romance. The way Bretton brings all this to life and pulls it all together for a satisfactory conclusion are what make her a wonderful storyteller." --Susan Mobley, ROMANTIC TIMES

"Good pacing and dialogue make this warm-hearted story one that readers are sure to relish. The romances have both serious and funny elements. If you like light-hearted, feel good, romantic tales, you are sure to enjoy reading JUST DESSERTS." --Marilyn Heyman, ROMANCE REVIEWS TODAY

"There are surprising, funny twists to this story and a lot of touching episodes to pique the emotional side. I found Barbara Bretton's JUST DESSERTS to be highly entertaining, cleverly written and hard to put down. Being a witty and warm read, I recommend JUST DESSERTS and look forward to reading other novels by this author." --Kay Quintin, FRESH FICTION

"If you've not ever read Ms. Bretton then you are in for a real treat with Just Desserts." --Sandi, A Romance Review

"Just Desserts is a fun, romantic read. I enjoyed it and recommend it for all those who like a great story filled with humor and romance."--Victoria Kennedy, Midwest Book Review

"JUST DESSERTS is a warm family drama filled with tender humor . . . Fans will appreciate Barbara Bretton's invasion of South Jersey as everyone receives their JUST DESSERTS." --Harriet Klausner, Genre Go-Round Reviews

"Ms. Bretton gives her readers an easy, yet not bland, story with wonderful, vibrant characters and wholly believable situations. You'll want her backlist in your library, if it's not there already."--Amanda Killgore, Huntress' Book Reviews


Trish, one of the high school girls Hayley was currently mentoring, burst into the kitchen looking like she had just bumped into Justin Timberlake and then ricocheted off Johnny Depp.

"There’s two guys outside who want to see you and they’re unbelievably hot!" Trish was seventeen, the age when the arrival of any biped with a Y chromosome rated a breathless announcement. "One of them looks like a rock star from, you know, way back in the eighties."

Ouch. She had been Trish’s age in the eighties.

"A rock star?" she asked, lifting a brow. Rock stars were in short supply in Lakeside.

"A rock star," Trish confirmed. "And he’s wearing leather."

There was only one reason an aging leather-clad hottie would show up at Goldy’s Bakery at three o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon and it had nothing to do with brownies, cheesecake, or bagels.

"Tell him Mr. Goldstein doesn’t live here anymore." And that Mrs. Goldstein couldn’t be happier about it. Not even sending him his monthly share of the store’s profits dimmed her joy.

"But he didn’t ask for Mr. Goldstein. He asked for you."

Why did that surprise her? She was the Goldstein with a bank balance, after all. It had been a while since someone had come looking for her ex but the knot in her stomach was painfully familiar. The faint stench of danger still lingered in the air. She wished she had a dollar for every angry enabler who had shown up at Goldy’s in search of the reluctant Mr. Goldstein. She’d be able to buy him out once and for all and still have money to spare.

"Then tell him I’m not here."

"But, Mrs. G., I already told him you were."

"Then tell him the truth," she said. "I’m busy working on a cake that should have been finished an hour ago. I can’t spare a second." And here she’d thought her life would settle down after Michael moved to Florida to mooch off his mother. The man’s problems had the half-life of uranium.

Trish rearranged her pretty features into an even prettier frown. "He really wants to see you, Mrs. G. Maybe—"

Hayley could feel the hot breath of the Cumberland County Association of Female Realtors on the back of her neck. She whipped out The Look, the same look every mother on the planet had down cold, aimed it in Trish’s direction, then hoped for the best.

"I’ll tell him," Trish mumbled, then pushed through the swinging door to deliver the bad news.

The Look had stopped working on Lizzie when she was seven, but it was nice to know she still had enough maternal firepower at her command to keep her young staff in line.

She pressed her ear against the swinging door but she couldn’t make out Trish’s words, just a high apologetic string of female sounds that was followed by a male rumble. Leather Boy had a good voice, baritone, a little smoky. She couldn’t make out his words either but Trish’s answering giggle conjured up some painful memories of herself at that age.

First a girl giggled, then she sighed, and the next thing you knew she was in Vegas taking her wedding vows in front of a red-haired Elvis with an overbite. You knew you had made a bad choice when Elvis slipped you his divorce lawyer’s business card while you were still shaking the rice from your hair.

She listened closer. Trish said something girly. Leather Boy rumbled something manly. This time Rachel, her other counter girl for the week, giggled too, a sound that sent Hayley’s maternal early-warning system into overdrive.

Rachel Gomez was a serious straight-A student bound for Princeton next year on full scholarship. She needed the paycheck more than any mentoring Hayley might have provided her. Rachel had probably never giggled before in her life.

If Rachel giggled, then even Lizzie might not be immune. Fourteen was when it started, that fizzy sensation in your veins, the yearning for things you couldn’t define, the sudden realization that boys were infinitely more interesting than global warming or the fate of the humpback whale.

Fourteen was also when young girls parted company with their self-confidence and traded in their love of math and science for a date for the prom.

Sometimes she wanted to lock Lizzie away in her room with her computer, her books, and a cell phone (maybe), and not let her out again until she was twenty-one. Thirty sounded better but even fantasies had their limits. The advisor at Olympia Prep had suggested that Lizzie might be better served intellectually by skipping the rest of high school and starting college in the fall but Hayley was dead set against it. Lizzie might be brilliant when it came to science but when it came to life, she was still only fourteen.

The world could be a scary place. A mother did her best to protect her kid from fast cars, drunk drivers, broken bones, flu, the common cold, but there was nothing she could do to protect her kid from growing up. No matter what you did or how well you did it, your little girl wasn’t going to stay a little girl. Right before your eyes she was going to grow up on you anyway and all you could do was pray she didn’t follow in your foolish footsteps.

Once upon a time, Hayley had believed that a good woman (her) could turn a bad boy (her ex) into a knight in shining armor (pure fantasy). Ten years of marriage to Michael Goldstein had finally drummed the truth into her head. People didn’t change with time. They just became more of who they were to begin with.

In the real world bad boys didn’t turn into knights in shining armor. Bad boys grew up to be even worse men and the world would be a much happier place if little girls were taught that basic fact along with their ABCs.

Why didn’t women teach their young how to cope with the things that were really important instead of how to walk in their first pair of heels? Why didn’t they make a point of sitting their girl children down and telling them the truth about men instead of letting some guy in a leather jacket seduce them over a tray of black-and-white cookies?

That was one of the many reasons why she had helped institute the mentoring program at the high school. Lizzie claimed her overflow worrying needed an outlet but it went far deeper. She saw herself in those girls, insecure, struggling, hungry for love, and ready to hand over their futures to the first guy who came along.

Those idiot girls out there were like ripe fruit on a very low-hanging branch. The slightest breeze would be enough to shake them from the tree and into the waiting arms of Leather Boy or someone just like him and their entire lives would be changed forever.

Except it wasn’t going to happen on her watch. With apologies to the good real estate agents of Cumberland County, it was time to prepare for battle.


About the Author:

Oh, how I hate bios! All of that deadly dull information about name (Barbara Bretton) and date of birth (June 25) and geographical data (born in New York City; lives near Princeton, NJ), marital status (many years married), and hobbies (who has time??). How do you gather up all of those dull, dry facts and turn them into something interesting?

No wonder I tell lies for a living.

I considered weaving a story for you about life on a houseboat on the French Riviera. Or maybe my years as a concubine, hidden away in a golden pleasure palace in the shimmering desert. Then I decided to do the unthinkable and tell you the truth.

When I sold my first book and my life changed forever. I sent in my manuscript on Thursday February 21, 1982 and four days later the telephone rang and I heard the amazing words, "We want to buy your book." How I wish you could have seen me. I was standing by the kitchen door of our North Babylon house, the picture of cool sophistication, as I listened to Vivian Stephens explain the terms of the deal to me. You would have thought I'd sold a first book every single day of my life. Yes, I said. Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for calling. I look forward to our association. That cool sophistication hung on until I hung up the phone, took a deep breath, then promptly threw up on my shoes.

I was thirty-one years old, unagented, unschooled, unfamiliar with anything to do with the business of publishing. To put it mildly, I was in shock. My husband was working in Manhattan at the time (and finishing up his degree at night) so it would be hours until I could break the news to him. This was too exciting to waste on a phone call. I wanted to see his face when I told him that my dream had finally come true -- and came with a $6000 advance!

He pulled into the driveway at midnight. I was waiting in the doorway, holding a bottle of champagne and two glasses. I didn't have to say a word. He knew right away and the look of joy and pride in his eyes warms me now, years later, long after the advance faded into memory.

A lot has happened to me in the years since that first sale. I've learned that this is a difficult and demanding business (it takes a tough writer to write a tender book) and that I am happiest when I am most ignorant. I've also learned that a good friend, a writer and pal who truly understands, is worth her weight in good reviews and royalty checks.

I fell madly in love with Skye O'Malley in early 1982 and wrote an unabashedly gushy fan letter to our beloved Bertrice Small. By the time Sunny answered, I had joined the ranks of the published and Sunny became friend and mentor, guide and confidant. She has held my hand through broken dreams, disappointments, family illnesses, and accepted my bizarre need to go underground from time to time with great affection and understanding. Over the years I've come to understand the difference between the writer and her work, that loving the book doesn't guarantee that I will love the author. But what a joy it is when you discover that the author of a beloved favorite is even more wonderful and witty and wise than the characters she creates.

So this bio is for you, Sunny, for being the best of friends during the worst of times and -- even more wonderful -- during the good times as well.

And now for the statistics:

Barbara Bretton is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 books. She currently has over ten million copies in print around the world. Her works have been translated into twelve languages in over twenty countries.

Barbara has been featured in articles in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Romantic Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Herald News, Home News, Somerset Gazette,among others, and has been interviewed by Independent Network News Television, appeared on the Susan Stamberg Show on NPR, and been featured in an interview with Charles Osgood of WCBS, among others.

Her awards include both Reviewer's Choice and Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times; Gold and Silver certificates from Affaire de Coeur; the RWA Region 1 Golden Leaf; and several sales awards from Bookrak. Ms. Bretton was included in a recent edition of Contemporary Authors.

Barbara loves to spend as much time as possible in Maine with her husband, walking the rocky beaches and dreaming up plots for upcoming books.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Anne Cleeland Interview

Anne Cleeland holds a degree in English from UCLA as well as a law degree from Pepperdine University and is a member of the California State Bar. She writes historical fiction set in the Regency period and contemporary romantic suspense.  A member of the Historical Novel Society, she lives on Balboa Island, California and has four children. Her first novel was Tainted Angel.
The Cursed Tombs of Egypt Hold Many Secrets...Miss Hattie Blackhouse has never been close to her parents...and no wonder, since the Blackhouses are renowned scholars who spend most of their time excavating ancient tombs in Egypt. But news of their disappearance forces Hattie to leave England and embark on a voyage that will reveal the long-buried secrets of her past. An encrypted senet board and a gold medallion lead Hattie on a perilous quest to track down her missing parents—and discover why people associated with the Blackhouses continue to turn up dead. What she uncovers is a secret that could alter the course of history...Filled with intrigue, romance, and ancient secrets, Anne Cleeland's thrilling novel takes you on an unforgettable Egyptian adventure.

1. What is one of your favorite Myth/legend to write about?
When you think about it, my stories are always a variation on the fairy tale theme. My heroines are orphans, thrown into dire circumstances, and some version of the handsome prince shows up to help out. The stories are a variation, however, because although the heroine may be a damsel in distress, she’s also courageous and clever, and the hero doesn’t rescue her as much as help her save the world.

2. If you could live back in time, what time period would you choose and why?
I love the Regency period (early 1800s) and so that’s what I write. I don’t think I’d be too happy, though; women’s roles were much more constrained and I wouldn’t do well if I were constrained.

3. Have you ever come across a song that might fit the theme of your latest book?

Let’s have a rousing chorus of "Walk like an Egyptian!"

4. Do you remember what you felt when you had your first kiss?

Magical! Mainly you are overjoyed because someone actually likes you enough to give it a tryI think a lot of that feeling is the validation that you are indeed attractive to the opposite sex after fretting about it so much.

5. What was the most creative pick up line you've ever used on someone or someone used on you?
I’m an attorney, so once opposing counsel asked me out during a deposition.

6. When writing do you have a playlist of music you like to listen to? What are a couple songs on it?
I really don’t have a writing ritualI can write anytime, anyplace, so I’m lucky that way. Often I’ll have a classic rock radio station on in the background.

7. What do you do when you think nobody is watching?
I dance in the kitchen. Everyone does, am I right?

8. What was your favorite childhood book?
Brace yourselfmy favorite book growing up was Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I read all his books, which is why I like adventure stories, I think. I also loved Little Women and the Sherlock Holmes stories by Conan Doyle. Aside from this historical series, I also write a contemporary mystery series and my heroine is Doyle, in honor of him.

9. What is your favorite addition to chocolate?

I think the easier question is what does not go well with chocolate. Brussel sprouts, maybe.

10. Besides your own, what is one of your favorite series to keep up with?

If you like western romance, Laura Drake is writing a series called Sweet on a Cowboy. I also like Victoria Thompson’s gaslight series, and Laurie King’s Mary Russell series.

12. What do you think you would be doing if you weren't writing?
I’d be lawyering. Writing is lots more fun, believe me!

13. Do you have any hobbies or activities you enjoy doing?

I’m a big college football fan, and I still go to the UCLA home games with my college roommate. It’s so much fun and a great way to keep in touch.

14. What is something you do to de-stress?
I write fiction. It’s the best de-stresser in the world because you escape into a world of your own where everything turns out the way you want it. I highly recommend itif youre thinking about writing, just get started, one paragraph or one conversation at a time.

15. We all know about muses...what do you think inspires you to get your creative juices flowing?

I like good storiesbooks or movies, and often Ill take a scene and re-write it to suit my story. Also, I really enjoy listening to how people speak, and so that’s why I’m always writing accents in my books. There’s something so appealing about a man with a French accent!
Thanks so much for having meI had three books come out this year, and if youd like to read an excerpt from any of them my website is" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway