How Do I Love Them? Let Me Count the Book Boyfriends… Romantic Rendevous H0p

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So, apparently I need to pick just one favorite book boyfriend? And I have no idea how to do that. How can I choose when there are so many awesome book-men out there?

So, since I can’t decide, I’ll just tell you about one of the awesome book boyfriends I “dated” recently. 🙂 Zack Todd is Sheriff of the Three Sisters Island (a place I would totally love to live…if it existed, which I don’t think it does) and a sweet, charming, understanding, strong hero type of guy. (Yes, I love him. Who wouldn’t?) His job is fairly slow but when needed to, he can protect his neighbors and save damsels in distress. And you should see what he does in his off hours!

Zack is the hero from Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts. 🙂

Which book boyfriends do you love?

~~~

Excerpt from The Billionaire’s Curvy Guide:

He didn’t answer for a long time. When she looked up, she found his gaze trained on her. “The stuff you gave me yesterday said you do guided tours. Personally.”

Damn it. Yes, she had been designated the guided tour girl. She loved the country around here and enjoyed showing it off to guests, no matter the season. Except him. Walking through the forest alone with him seemed like a very bad idea. “It’s a little cold for–”

“The brochure said all four seasons. Talked about how beautiful the mountains could be in the winter. I’m available this afternoon.”

Inwardly, she groaned.

“This is me being persuasive,” he said.

“No, this is you being hard to avoid.”

“Same difference. The more time you spend with me, the harder it will be to resist me. At least that’s my hope.”

His hope? Seeing this first chink in his armor, a little bit of doubt, somehow made him that much more attractive. Damn it.

Zoe pulled her calendar up on her computer. “I could do two to three.”

“I’ll take it. Although that’s a little short. Maybe we can do a second tour tomorrow for two to three hours.”

Heaven help her. “I’m not sure I can manage two whole hours tomorrow.”

“Three. Three hours.” He grabbed the edge of her laptop and pulled it toward him. “Let me take a look at your calendar and I’ll see how to fit it in.”

She yanked her computer toward her. “I can check my own calendar, thanks.”

A smile danced around his lips. “The more you fight this, the more I can see I’m getting under your skin.”

Like a bur. She didn’t say that, though. He was a guest. She had to keep reminding herself that or she’d say something totally out of line and then she’d regret it. “I’m just protective about my laptop. Most people are.”

“Ri-ight.”

He wasn’t going to give up on the tour. She knew it. She looked over her calendar. “The day after tomorrow I could do two hours together at lunchtime. But it’d be pretty hard to hike over lunch…”

“I’ll get them to make us a picnic.”

She’d totally walked into that one. “It’s a little cold for a picnic.”

“Surely you can think of some cabin or shack or something where we can sit down for a few minutes and eat?”

She could, but she didn’t want to. The two of them, alone in an enclosed space? Recipe for disaster. “I’ll think about it.” Yeah, she’d think about how to avoid it at all costs. “Eating while on the move might work better. We’ll get cold quickly if we stop.”

“I imagine we can find ways to keep warm.”

“Mr. Marks!”

“Bastian.”

Damn it. Why couldn’t she keep control of the situation with him?

“Bastian. Say it, Zoe.”

She added the two guided tours to her calendar. “Besides the lift tickets and the tours, was there anything else you needed?”

“Yes.” His voice sounded like a low growl.

She couldn’t help but look up at him and immediately wished she hadn’t. His gaze bored right through her.

“I want you to say my name.”

Zoe sucked in her breath. Was this some kind of game? Or maybe a test? And how could she back out of this without playing?

She’d just have to ignore him. “Do you expect to ski every day? I can arrange a week-long pass for you.”

“Ignoring me isn’t going to work.”

“It’s working so far,” she said under her breath.

“Think again.”

“Week-long pass–yes? No?”

He waited several long seconds and then said, “Yes.”

“Good.” She typed up the order as quickly as she could. “Anything else?”

“I still need to know your favorite restaurant in town.”

“You never give up.”

Cover Side View

Hot alpha males come in all flavors, from fierce shifters and swaggering rockstars to bad boy bikers and seductive billionaires, men of action and passion. In this collection of standalone BBW romance novels and novellas by the writers of the wildly popular Curvy Girl Romance group, the hunky heroes all have one thing in common: these alphas prefer curves.

Dangerous Protector by Milly Taiden
A Prowl On The Wild Side by Erika Masten
Bear Biker Love by Harper Ashe
Bear The Heat by Catherine Vale
Heartbitten by Aubrey Rose
Distracting the Billionaire’s Son by Jordan Bell
The Billionaire’s Curvy Guide by Danielle Duncan
Soldier by Liliana Rhodes
Something True by Malia Mallory
CoverHeart Racer by Marian Tee
Jade by Olivia Rigal
Kings of Asphalt by Alexx Andria
Operation: Burlesque by Michelle Fox
KANE by Eliza Gayle

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~~~

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Fun Books and #Giveaway – Fright Night Blog H0p

FrightNightBlogHop

As October arrived this year, I actually had a little more time than usual (that *never* happens) so I decided to spend it doing one of the things I love most–reading. I also happen to love doing reading challenges, like the ones on GoodReads. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can check out the ones I’m currently doing (hopefully you can see these threads without being members of the groups, if you’re not):

Read the Month
October Monthly Challenge

This explanation is a long way to get to saying that I’m reading some Halloween (and related) themed books right now (for the challenges).

First, I read Halloween Heat VI, an anthology which includes Mina Carter. I’ve read and enjoyed several of her books and the story she had in this anthology was equally good. I also enjoyed the other stories and found some new writers to check out.

Second, I’m currently reading Wickedest Witch by Eve Langlais, a fun romp about a cranky, curvy witch and a werewolf who totally adores her (and won’t take any of her guff). Excellent book. (Although as I was writing this, I realized the book doesn’t take place at Halloween so it’s not Halloween themed, even if the cover does kind of look like it.)

Have you read any Halloween themed books this year or in the past? Any of them you’d like to recommend?
 
 
In December, I’ll have an all-new BBW billionaire romantic suspense novella in an anthology of BBW romances put together by the Curvy Girls Romance Facebook group. If you’d like to find out the details when the anthology is closer to release, just sign up for my newsletter. As a bonus, signing up will also qualify you for five entries into my hop giveaway! (Just make sure to check that spot in the rafflecopter.)
 
 
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ExciteSteam Back to #Romance #99cent Sale & #Giveaway

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It’s back to school, so why not also make it ‘back to romance?’ As the days get shorter and the weather turns cold, snuggle up with some hot tea and read a good book. And to help you out, I’ve joined up with the authors below for a special 99 cent sale! Even better, we’ve got a giveaway going too (at the bottom of this post).

Please check the prices before you click “buy” as prices can change without notice.

Enjoy!

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First-187x300

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Summer-224x300

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Fall Fest–Download Lots of #Books and Enter #Giveaway

In the Fall Freebie Fest, you can get thirteen different books FREE! See below for the books and the links to the stores where they’re available. Plus, we’re giving away great prizes in our Fall Fest giveaway. Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e05c901529/

Evading_Nevah

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Blazing_Nights

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Her_Kilted_Wolf

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Wilding

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First_Moon

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The_Witch_Who_Cried_Wolf

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Following_Trouble

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Surrender

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The_Curvy_Vet_and_the_Billionaire_Cowboy

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The_Rock_Star_Next_Door

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Temptation

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Her_Secret_Pleasure

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Romancing Rosalie

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Amazing Covers – Covergasm Blog H0p!

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A Lady Awakened
Yep. This one is ALL about the covers. The ones that just make you gasp and go..oh my, I NEED this book. Now! Those that are truly…covergasm-worthy. Stop by each blog to check out their favorites! There will be a giveaway at each stop plus a grand prize giveaway of an Amazon Gift Card! Happy Hopping!

Do you have a favorite cover? Or maybe you like one of the ones I posted? Let us know in the comments!

 

At the Mercy of the QueenBy adding a comment, you can not only enter the grand prize drawing, but also enter my giveaway below for a chance to win one of two $5 gift cards to your choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Just login to the rafflecopter app after making your comment and check that off. Then take a look at the other options for additional entries into the giveaway. And good luck!

 

 

DreamspellWhen it comes to art–including covers–I’m drawn to things that are pretty, beautiful, haunting. It’s about the colors, about the gorgeous dresses, about the sweeping vistas in the background. When it comes to the art in my home, I love just about anything with water in it–lighthouses, sailboats, lakes, oceans–and you can see some of that in some of these covers, too.

 

 

Forsaken DreamsBut I think in the end what really gets me is the emotional feel of the cover, and I love the dreamy, yesteryear feel of the covers I’ve got here. I hope you’re enjoying them too! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daughter of Siena

My book The Reluctant Billionaire is currently part of a boxed set of BBW romances called Crazy About Curves. I hope you enjoy this quick excerpt.

The Reluctant Billionaire

Once Rhys’ entree left the kitchen, Sophie raced to get things cleaned up. She wanted to get out of there before Rhys could find her. She figured she had at least twenty minutes while he ate his dinner and then all bets were off.

His visit that morning had knocked her off-kilter and the feeling had lasted the entire day. She needed to get some time to herself to think about what he’d said and what she wanted and what she needed. She couldn’t do that with him around.

But before she could leave, she had to finish cleaning up after the staff, who’d eaten earlier. And she had to put out cookies for Rhys’ dessert. And make sure everything was ready for the next morning’s breakfast.

The clock ticked down. When she passed the twenty minute mark, she moved even faster. Then she passed the thirty minute mark and she still wasn’t finished. There was so much to do! At thirty-five minutes, she swiped the dishrag across the counter one last time and tossed it in the laundry.

Done.

She headed for the stairway that led to the servant’s quarters but before she could get there, the door from the house opened and Rhys walked through.

His eyebrows rose. “Cookies?”

“On the counter,” she said, backing toward the stairs. “Shouldn’t Raymond be getting those for you?”

He didn’t move. “Thought I’d come get them myself. Going somewhere?”

“Just…” She motioned toward the upper floors. “I’m finished for the night.”

Rhys sauntered toward her. “Good! Then you’re free to go on a walk.”

No, no, no. Her palms suddenly felt damp. This wasn’t the plan. “I have stuff to do.” Washing her hair, rearranging her sock drawer.

“Just a little walk. And we can eat cookies along the way. I’m sure there are plenty. I remember you saying you were making a double batch today.” Rhys grabbed her arm and led her toward the counter and the plate of cookies. “Come on, you’ll like it.” Leaning close, he whispered, “I promise not to bite.”

Why did that send a shiver through her? This was such a bad idea. Yet she let him walk her through the kitchen and out to the garden, with only a short pause while he scooped up the cookies from the plate.

He handed her one. “These are really good. You should try one.” Then he popped one into his mouth whole. Hand free, he placed his palm on the small of her back.

Sophie tried to slow them down. They stood in the open area in the back of the house where less than a week earlier a dance floor had been laid out and three hundred teenagers celebrated Rhys’ niece’s sixteenth birthday. “I really have a lot of things to do this evening. Maybe we could just talk here for a few minutes and then call it a night.”

He finished chewing. “Are you kidding? The garden’s beautiful at night. Plus, over in that corner we have a night garden. I want to show you.”

It wasn’t full dark yet, but it was getting there. With Autumn in full swing, the days would get shorter and shorter until the sun rose and set while she was still working. Tonight, the sun set in a blaze of pinks and purples that hung over the garden, nearly brushing the trees.

His thumb moved against her back. “Come on. You’ll like it. Did you know there are plants that only bloom at night? Amazing.” With a slight pressure, he pushed her into motion. They strolled to the right, away from the copse of trees where his childhood tree house stood, and in the opposite direction from the butterfly garden he’d shown her on their last walk.

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It seemed his love of gardening was real, even if he wasn’t the gardener he’d let her believe. “You work in the garden. Did you plan all this?”

“Every inch. With the help of my gardener, of course. He loves that I give him so much money for the grounds, but I think he hates it that I want to be so hands-on.”

The fading light muted all the colors. While not quite gray on gray, the flowers were nevertheless losing their vibrancy. “I can see his point,” she said. “If you were trying to tell me what to cook all the time, I’d have a fit.”

His hand slid from her back to her waist, pulling her closer. “I’d like to see that.”

“See…?”

“See you pitch a fit. I’ll bet it would be really hot.”

Men. Who understood them? “Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m going to pass on the hissy fit.”

He squeezed her hip. “Too bad.”

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Rock your inner big girl!

What do rock stars, a movie star, several billionaires, some alpha wolves, a mercenary and a couple of guys next door have in common? They’re all Crazy about Curves and they are all part of this collection of ten romances, from sweet to scorching, featuring plus-size heroines and the men who crave their lush, curvy bodies. Brought to you by today’s hottest New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors and romance’s future stars!

Captive Heart – Adriana Hunter
Alpha Marked #1: Scarlet – Celia Kyle
Curvy, Crazy, and Confused – Ava Catori
The Reluctant Billionaire – Danielle Duncan
Bought by the Billionaire Brothers – Alexx Andria
Bikini Curves – Charlotte Summers
Ripped – Olivia Rigal
Curve Contract – Christa Wick
Something True – Malia Mallory
Laid Bear: The Kodiak Clan – Marina Maddix

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Loving Summer – A Summer for Love H0p!

A Summer for love blog hopI don’t know about you, but where I live we had a very long, very cold, very hard winter. So maybe more than ever before, I’m very happy to see spring blooming all around me. I hope we have a long, not-too-hot (in other words, perfect) summer ahead of us!

To me, summer is about only have to wear one layer of clothes, about smelling food grilling when I get home from work, about vacations and mosquitos and ice cream and eating outdoors and green, green everywhere. I’m not much of a gardener (unlike my character Rhys!) but I do love seeing all the colorful flowers and the grass that emerges from underneath the snow and the trees that explode in various shades of green.

What do you love about summer? Let us know in the comments!

By adding a comment, you can not only enter the grand prize drawing, but also enter my giveaway below for a chance to win one of two $5 gift cards to your choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Just login to the rafflecopter app after making your comment and check that off. Then take a look at the other options for additional entries into the giveaway. And good luck!

My book The Reluctant Billionaire is currently part of a boxed set of BBW romances. I hope you enjoy this scene where Rhys and Sophie take an evening walk through his gardens.

The Reluctant Billionaire

They walked down a path lined with bushes and flowerbeds–petunias and roses and gardenias of all different colors. The path led to a little bridge over a pond, then into a sleepy area with big trees and benches. A fire pit sat in the middle, though no fire was lit tonight.

“Here we are. It’s a great place for night time parties, which is why the fire pit’s here.” He steered her toward one of the benches. “Let’s sit. The flowers won’t bloom quite yet.”

Oh, no. He wanted them to wait here while the flowers bloomed? That could take a long time, couldn’t it? “I really need to get back.”

He pulled her down onto the bench. “Oh, come on. This’ll be worth it.” He slung an arm around the back of the seat so it brushed her shoulders. His thigh lay against hers and his fingers stroked her arm.

Her stomach fluttered. Torture. That’s what this was. She’d wanted some distance so she could figure out what she wanted, and she’d gotten the opposite. No distance; instead, she felt like she was drowning in him. “How’s work?” she stammered.

“It’s fine.” He paused. A long pause. Nearly long enough for her to want to fill the silence. “I’m going to have to go to New York for a while on business.” His fingers continued to rub her arm. “I’d like to call you while I’m gone, if I could.”

She shifted to face him, dislodging his hand. “Rhys. We’re not dating. We can’t. You know that.”

“What I know is that you’re not even giving us a chance. What’s the worst that could happen? The very, very worst?”

She took a breath but didn’t answer.

“I’m serious. Tell me what the worst that could happen is. I’ll go first. We could fall in love and then something horrible could happen and we could be torn apart, never to be together again, and I could be so distraught that I commit hara-kiri. And with my death, my company will fail and all the people who work for me will lose their jobs and one of them will be so upset he’ll invent a death ray that blows up the earth and everyone will die. Well, except for me, because I’ll already be dead.”

She tried to swallow her laughter. “That’s ridiculous.”

“So’s this idea that we can’t date. So go ahead. Your turn.”

She couldn’t do this. “What–you want me to make something up where everyone dies at the end?”

“Or whatever your version of ‘worst thing ever’ is. And then when you see how ridiculous it is, you’ll be able to see this whole thing in perspective.” His arm dropped down the back of the seat to rest around her hips, its warmth surrounding her and causing a riot of excited tingles all through her.

She’d had enough. “Do you always have to do that? Touch me? Don’t you know how hard this is?”

He leaned into her so fast she didn’t even see him move, cupping her face, their foreheads just an inch or two away from each other. “I know exactly how hard this is. Do you? Do you know how bad I want you? Want to touch you, kiss you–hell, just want to be around you?”

She didn’t know what to say. In the second that she hesitated, he leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers. When he pulled back, he didn’t go far. “Just give us a chance, Soph.” Then he kissed her again, softer this time. Their lips parted and his tongue slipped into her mouth, tangling with hers.

She couldn’t force herself to pull away. She should; she knew she should. But it felt so good to be held in his arms, so right, and she wanted to stay there forever and forget the rest of the world existed.

Rhys’ arm tightened around her back, pulling her closer. Twining her arms around his neck, she let him draw her in. With a groan, he dragged her onto his lap, ending with one arm around her waist and the other hand threaded through her hair to hold her in place as their kiss deepened even further.

She forgot…everything. She forgot her reasons for needing to stay away from him. She forgot that she shouldn’t be doing this. She forgot her name. Instead, she pulled him closer and opened to him, ready to give him the world if he’d just keep kissing her like that.

Rhys broke the kiss, pulling back by a hair. When he spoke, his lips were still so close they brushed against hers with every word. “Let’s go back to the house. To my room.” His eyes, so close to hers, were dilated with desire, his breathing ragged.

She could only imagine what he saw when he looked at her. She still couldn’t think straight, but she knew this was her only chance to stop this. But why did she want to? She couldn’t remember.

Rhys’ hand cupped her cheek again. With a groan, he pulled her back into a kiss. She gripped his shoulders to hold on as he plundered her mouth.

But as she held him, she remembered. The last time she’d felt like this, she’d thought it would last forever. And then she’d lost everything, bit by bit…her pride, her job, her child. A thread of fear wormed its way through her gut. What if this was the same? Rhys may not intentionally hurt her, but he lived in a different world. He couldn’t possibly mean this to last forever. So she’d get hurt. Again.

Pushing him away hurt too, but she did it. “We shouldn’t.”

 

 

CrazyAboutCurvesBox800Crazy About Curves

Rock your inner big girl!

What do rock stars, a movie star, several billionaires, some alpha wolves, a mercenary and a couple of guys next door have in common? They’re all Crazy about Curves and they are all part of this collection of ten romances, from sweet to scorching, featuring plus-size heroines and the men who crave their lush, curvy bodies. Brought to you by today’s hottest New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors and romance’s future stars!

Captive Heart – Adriana Hunter
Alpha Marked #1: Scarlet – Celia Kyle
Curvy, Crazy, and Confused – Ava Catori
The Reluctant Billionaire – Danielle Duncan
Bought by the Billionaire Brothers – Alexx Andria
Bikini Curves – Charlotte Summers
Ripped – Olivia Rigal
Curve Contract – Christa Wick
Something True – Malia Mallory
Laid Bear: The Kodiak Clan – Marina Maddix

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GRAND PRIZES
(6) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Cards

Comment with your name and email to be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. Comments without name and email will not be counted. Commenting on each and every stop will increase your chances of winning.
Winners for the (6) Grand Prizes will be drawn and announced on THE ROMANCE TROUPE blog by June 10th.

Find a list of all stops here!
http://www.theromancetroupe.com/p/a-summer-for-love-blog-hop.html

#BBW #Romance #Bundle Still #99cents, plus New Excerpt!

CrazyAboutCurvesFront360If you haven’t already, check out Crazy About Curves coming to you from such authors as Adriana Hunter, Christa Wick and Danielle Duncan. See below for the exciting blurb and find out about the ten great books you can get for just $0.99! And then check out the excerpt from The Reluctant Billionaire, one of the ten books in Crazy About Curves.

Also, don’t forget about the giveaway! (Scroll to bottom for that.)

Rock your inner big girl!

What do rock stars, a movie star, several billionaires, some alpha wolves, a mercenary and a couple of guys next door have in common? They’re all Crazy about Curves and they are all part of this collection of ten romances, from sweet to scorching, featuring plus-size heroines and the men who crave their lush, curvy bodies. Brought to you by today’s hottest New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors and romance’s future stars!

Captive Heart – Adriana Hunter (NYT/USAT). Lainey Matthews will stop at nothing to rescue her brother, even if it means contacting a dangerous mercenary with a shady past. But when she comes face to face with Gideon Wolfe, it doesn’t take long before she has to wonder whether she might be the one that needs saving…from him.

Alpha Marked #1: Scarlet – Celia Kyle (NYT/USAT). Thirty and single? Well, getcha ass to the Gathering! As if hitting thirty wasn’t enough, unmated Scarlet is summoned to this year’s Gathering. Marked to mate an Alpha pair, she can only find happiness with two werewolves. Which means werewolf speed dating. Great.

Curvy, Crazy, and Confused – Ava Catori (NYT/USAT). Samantha finds her uptight neighbor boring. Christopher thinks she is loud and annoying. Being trapped in an elevator together should be their worst nightmare. So why can’t Sam stop thinking about him, and why is the claustrophobic Chris more than ready for another elevator ride with the plush beauty?

The Reluctant Billionaire – Danielle Duncan. After a failed affair with a billionaire, Sophie swears off workplace romance and takes a job as another rich man’s chef. Then she falls hard for Rhys, mistaking him for a mere gardener. Can love survive his secret, her ex-lover and a lawsuit that threatens everything?
CrazyAboutCurvesBox800Bought by the Billionaire Brothers – Alexx Andria (NYT/USAT). Twins Nolan and Vince hatch an indecent plan to put accountant Penny McDaniels in their bed at any cost. Soon enough, their feelings for Penny go beyond the physical, but they never imagined their older brother Dillon would return home and threaten everything in their world.

Bikini Curves – Charlotte Summers. Rescued from drowning, layout artist Maddy Davis never expected her hero to be womanizing actor Alex Stone or for the event to be aired live on TV. Now she’s part of a PR stunt to save his tarnished reputation. But how much of Alex’s interest is a role and how much is real?

Ripped – Olivia Rigal (USAT). Lyv wants a life far removed from her dysfunctional family and the diner they own, especially now that Ten, her best friend and lifeline to normality, is spending a semester in Europe. What she gets is an absent rock-star baby daddy and one helluva choice to make – unless it’s ripped from her first.

Curve Contract – Christa Wick (NYT/USAT). Cheated by her PR firm’s CPA, Pippa Jones is about to lose everything – until billionaire Blake Cross offers to fix both their problems with a fake marriage. But with Blake worshipping her body 24/7, the cost of saving her firm just might be a broken heart.

Something True – Malia Mallory (NYT/USAT). Irish superstar Liam Smith is in trouble with the law – again – and must perform community service. A music charity that entertains hospitalized kids seems like the perfect fit, especially since its director Shelley Taylor is as curvy as his favorite guitar and he wants to play her.

Laid Bear: The Kodiak Clan – Marina Maddix (NYT/USAT). After six years a widow, bear shifter Veronica Muir falls in love, with a human. Her secret might be the one thing marine biologist Jess Slade can’t accept – if a group of human-hating werebears doesn’t rip the couple apart before he can even decide.

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Excerpt from The Reluctant Billionaire

Rhys knelt on his knees as he planted a row of petunias along the edge of the area where the dance floor would be set up. Across the open area, his gardener Harris planted an identical row of plants. Harris didn’t really need his help, but Rhys loved getting his hands in the dirt.

Footsteps sounded on the stone walkway leading to where he knelt. They didn’t sound rushed—probably not Janet, desperately tracking him down for another last minute question. Maybe someone else out for a stroll.

The footsteps came closer, turned the corner, then stuttered to a halt not far from him. Rhys finished patting the dirt down around the current petunia before looking up.

Sophie.

Even he could feel how wide his smile was. “Hey, you. How are you?”

She shifted from one foot to another, not smiling. “Good. I was just curious about the party preparations.”

Rhys waved behind him. “Take a look around. It’s shaping up nicely.” He stood, brushing his hands off on his jeans. “I could show you around.”

“I’m sure you’re busy—”

”Not at all.” He put his hand out.

She looked at it for a second before placing her hand in his. “You really don’t have to do this.”

“My pleasure.” He tucked her hand in his arm and walked forward. “This area normally has some tables and chairs but they’ve already been moved to the shed. Tomorrow workers will come and lay down a dance floor over this stonework.”

“How will they do that?”

“It’s a modular thing—the different pieces of the floor click into place. At least that’s how it was described to me.” Rhys pointed to the side of the dance floor area farthest from the house. “That’s where the deejay will set up. And over there,” he pointed to the side opposite them, where Harris still planted petunias, “we’ll have a couple of tables of hors d’oeuvres and one of the bartenders.”

“And we’ll have wait staff circulating with food as well, right?” she said.

“Yes. But we’re going to warn them to stay off the dance floor. Can’t you just see it—kids flailing to the music, trays of food hitting the ground left and right?”

Sophie laughed, leaning into him. “That’s a nightmare. All of my food!”

“Exactly. We don’t want to lose a morsel.” He put his hand over hers on his arm.

She straightened, but didn’t pull her hand away. “Are you going to let them go into the gardens?”

“I don’t see how we can stop them.”

“But they’re sixteen—won’t they be tempted to sneak off and…” Her cheeks turned pink.

“Good point. Maybe you and I should patrol the gardens on the night of the party.” He could think of some things he’d like to do with her under the rose bushes on a dark night.

“I’ll be in the kitchen, remember? Churning out hot appetizers for the troops.”

“And dancing with a certain man?”

Sophie bit her lip. “So is this what you do around the house? You’re a gardener? You could have told me that, you know.”

He’d been trying so hard not to lie to her—at least not outright. It was getting very old. He wanted to tell her the truth, but he feared she’d push him away as quick as she could. So he’d deflect yet again. “I enjoy gardening.”

She gazed at him a moment, as though she knew he had just given her another non-answer. “Did you grow up here? Is that why you know the family so well?”

He could answer that one truthfully, but it would come across as a lie. And he just didn’t want to. “Have you met Harris?”

Sophie frowned. “Yes, we met a couple of weeks ago.”

Which was just as well, because Rhys hadn’t been thinking. Harris would give him away faster than anyone, and never realize he’d done anything wrong. “Let me show you the gardens.” He pulled her along by the hand she still had tucked in his arm.

He liked touching her, even if it was something as innocent as this.

Rhys led her onto a path between two huge oak trees. They passed through a wooded area with little flowerbeds and benches strategically arranged throughout. These were the shade beds, with flowers and plants that didn’t like the scorching sun. He loved this part of the garden more than any other, for the feeling he got of being sheltered under the arms of these huge trees, protected from the stark sun.

“It’s beautiful,” Sophie said.

“I used to come out here as a boy and play in the trees. I even built a tree house.” He pointed toward the right. “You can just see it up there. It’s well-hidden. I didn’t want anyone to be able to stumble upon it.”

She squeezed his arm. “Your privacy was important to you even then.”

This woman sure had his number. “You want to see it?”

Gifts for Valentine’s – Valentine’s Day Gift H0p

ValentinesDayGiftHopWhat do you do about gifts on Valentine’s? Do you go with a more traditional flowers and chocolates? Do you get something the two of you can enjoy together (take that however you want!)? Do you go expensive with jewelry? Or maybe you skip the gifts altogether in lieu of spending a nice evening together?

And now that I’m asking these questions, I realize I don’t know my own preference. I guess I fall into the last camp. Presents are great and I’ll take them, but it’s more important to me to spend a nice evening together than to receive or give any particular gifts. (That being said, I had a particularly fun time one year giving chocolates to my then-boyfriend, a guy who loooooves chocolate. I mean LOVES chocolate. Fun. 🙂 )

In The Reluctant Billionaire, Sophie gets flowers (even though it’s not Valentine’s!) and Rhys has to deal with it… Hope you enjoy this excerpt!

 

The Reluctant Billionaire

Rhys felt like crap the next morning. He’d finally left the bathroom the night before and hadn’t been surprised to see that Sophie had left. He couldn’t blame her.

It had taken him a long time to fall asleep, alternately scared about what might happen if Dan and Sophie insisted on the testimony, and sad that Sophie wasn’t beside him. Which was his own fault, so he had no one to blame but himself.

By morning, after tossing and turning and lying awake for a full hour in the middle of the night, his head pounded. He wanted breakfast, but more than that, he wanted to see Sophie. And he might as well kill two birds with one stone.

He passed Raymond on the way. “You can bring my silverware to the kitchen.” He didn’t wait to see Raymond’s response.

A few seconds later, he entered the kitchen and swung around the end of the wall to see Sophie standing in front of a huge bouquet of flowers–pink carnations, white tulips, red roses. He took a few steps closer. She was reading a small card; it must have come with the flowers.

“What’s it say?” Until he heard his voice, he hadn’t recognized the emotion running through him–jealousy, pure and green.

Sophie jumped a little but didn’t try to hide the card nor did she show any other signs of guilt. “Forgive me. Stanford.” She shoved the card back in its little envelope. “Typical Stanford. He didn’t apologize. Just ordered me to forgive him.” She tossed the envelope and card onto the counter.

That was his cue. He tamped down the jealousy so he could do the thing his rival didn’t. “I’m sorry about last night. I was so angry and—and scared for you that I couldn’t have held a civil conversation right then. But I should have said that instead of hiding in the bathroom.”

She pressed her lips together but came closer to him. “It bothers me that you avoided me instead of talking out our problems.”

He cupped her cheeks. “You’re right. I know that’s what we need to do. And we can do that now. Last night, though–I needed to cool down first. But I should have told you that.”

She put her hands over his. “I forgive you. But next time—”

”There won’t be a next time.” He let his hands drift to her shoulders.

“Of course there will. It’s normal to argue about things once in a while. But we need to handle it better. Okay?”

“Yes. Definitely.” He laid a chaste kiss on her lips.

Sophie pulled away from him to walk toward the flowers. “Let me just take care of these and then I’ll get you your breakfast.”

“A little ostentatious,” he said.

She picked them up and carried them to a far corner of the counter, out of the way. “I think they’re beautiful.”

His stomach clenched. Did that mean she was softening toward that bastard? No, she didn’t say that. All she said was that she liked the flowers.

He could do flowers. Hell, he could do flowers that would outshine that display sent by her spurned lover. He could fill the room with flowers.

Sophie finished fluffing the arrangement and headed back toward the stove. “What’s the matter?”

He started. “What?”

“You look…fierce. Something wrong?”

His first instinct was to deny it, but he remembered what she’d said about working out their problems. “There are much better flowers in my garden.”

She stopped short and looked back at the arrangement. “Yes, there are.” He heard a question mark in her voice.

“If you like flowers, I’ll get you some.”

Sophie’s face softened. She stepped closer and slipped her arms around him. “I would love for you to get me some flowers. I’m sure they’ll be much better than his.”

And then he felt stupid for being jealous. But comforted, too. He hugged her tight.

 

Ebook360 When BBW Sophie begins her new job as chef in William Blackwell’s mansion, she wants a new start. Her last job led to a romance with her billionaire boss which ended in heartbreak. This time, she swears she’ll stay away from workplace romance…a vow that’s put to the test when she meets the enigmatic Rhys, one of the mansion’s gardeners.

William “Rhys” Blackwell might be a billionaire, but he still loves digging in his gardens. When he meets Sophie he feels instantly attracted to her. But Sophie says she doesn’t want to date anyone from the mansion, and Rhys knows that goes double for him, so he keeps his identity quiet. Maybe if she gets to know him first, she’ll change her mind.

In the midst of the growing attraction between Sophie and Rhys, they have other problems to deal with, too…a lawsuit, a billionaire ex-lover and more. In the end, there’s just one question: what are they willing to risk for a chance at love?

Discounted for a limited time.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble Nook
All-Romance Ebooks

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Best Romance – 24 Karat Romance Blog Hop!

24Karat

I have a question for you. But first, make sure before you leave that you check out both the giveaways below and when you do leave, you’re headed for one of the other great sites on this hop! Now here’s the question:

What is your favorite sub-genre of romance? Do you like billionaires or bikers or rock stars or shifters or historical romances or something else entirely? I want to know!

It’s fine to give more than one answer. 🙂

For me, I like a lot of different sub-genres but I tend to focus on one at a time and read it voraciously and then move on to another.

And now for an excerpt from my latest romance release, The Reluctant Billionaire:

The Reluctant Billionaire

Stopping in the kitchen doorway, Rhys watched Sophie bustle around the room putting things away. It looked like too much work for one person, but all of his cooks along the line had insisted they didn’t need help.

He liked watching her move. She had a grace to her, a smooth sureness about where she stepped and where she put each object. He never would have thought watching someone clean a kitchen would be sexy, but she made everything sexy.

Finally, he decided he’d moved from casual voyeur to peeping tom. It was time to let her know he was there. “Do I smell chocolate chip cookies?”

Sophia jumped. “You scared me to death.”

“I’ve been here a few minutes.” More than a few. He sauntered into the room, his hands shoved into his slacks. “You were really focused on your work.”

“Well…of course.”

He stopped a couple of feet away from her. “Cookies?”

Her cheeks turned pink. As she pulled a plastic storage container off a shelf, she said, “You were right about the cookies. Thanks for the tip.” She opened the top and the scent of fresh-baked chocolate chips wafted out.

Before she could give him a measly two cookies again, he stuck his hand in the container and grabbed a handful.

“Hey!” Sophie pulled the container out of his reach. “Those are for Mr. Blackwell.”

He shoved one in his mouth. Should he tell her he wasn’t who she thought he was? It might be more fun to see how long it took her to figure it out. “Mmmm.” As he moaned in pleasure, he caught a glimpse of her face–bright pink, rapt, a little glassy-eyed, gazing at his mouth. What was his little cook thinking of?

After swallowing, he held one cookie out. “Want one?”

“I shouldn’t.”

He stepped closer. “Why not?”

“A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”

It took him a second. “You aren’t suggesting you’re fat.”

She turned a darker red. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Rhys grabbed her arm. “You aren’t fat. You’re perfect.” His voice dropped. “Perfect and incredibly sexy.”

Her eyes grew wide.

Leaning closer, he said, “You believe me.”

“But–”

He got closer and closer. Another second and their mouths would touch. “No. You believe me.” He felt her breath against his lips. “You’re perfect.”

Rhys bridged the small gap between them and kissed her, his heart beating loudly in his ears. She kissed him back for a second, then another, then just when he was ready to pull her fully into his arms, she stepped back. He stepped forward, not wanting to let her go, and crowded her against the counter.

Sophie put her hands on his chest. “I can’t.”

 

Ebook360 When BBW Sophie begins her new job as chef in William Blackwell’s mansion, she wants a new start. Her last job led to a romance with her billionaire boss which ended in heartbreak. This time, she swears she’ll stay away from workplace romance…a vow that’s put to the test when she meets the enigmatic Rhys, one of the mansion’s gardeners.

William “Rhys” Blackwell might be a billionaire, but he still loves digging in his gardens. When he meets Sophie he feels instantly attracted to her. But Sophie says she doesn’t want to date anyone from the mansion, and Rhys knows that goes double for him, so he keeps his identity quiet. Maybe if she gets to know him first, she’ll change her mind.

In the midst of the growing attraction between Sophie and Rhys, they have other problems to deal with, too…a lawsuit, a billionaire ex-lover and more. In the end, there’s just one question: what are they willing to risk for a chance at love?

Discounted for a limited time.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble Nook
All-Romance Ebooks

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway