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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Entangled Indulgence High Striker Booth at Entangled Publishing's Summer Carnival | Blog Tour, Guest Post, Spreading the Word & GC Giveaway

Welcome to the Indulgence High Striker Booth! Indulgence is all about rich and powerful alpha heroes, so who better to conquer the high striker than our amazing Indulgence authors?! Sherilee Gray, Carmen Falcone, Miranda Liasson, Alexia Adams, Robin Covington, and Naima Simone each wrote an original scene featuring new or existing characters and the high striker at a summer carnival. We hope you enjoy them, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway below! [Blog Tour will run from August 2 – 14, 2016 & Giveaway will run until August 15, 2016]

Summer Carnival-Indulgence Scenes Featuring Sherilee Gray, Naima Simone, Carmen Falcone, Alexia Adams, Robin Covington, and Miranda Liasson

~ By: Sherilee Gray ~

“Earth to Sarah?”
Sarah tore her eyes away from the nauseating sight of her ex all but eating his new girlfriend’s face off, and turned back to Kate, who was waving the mallet handle in front of her face.
“It’s your turn.”
“Why are we doing this again?”
“To release some of that psychotic rage boiling inside you.”
“I’m fine.” Sarah looked back at the spectacle on the other side of the fairground. Yep, David was still kissing that evil cow he’d cheated with, the same girl who had bullied and tormented her mercilessly in high school. Okay, so maybe there was a little rage.
She grabbed the mallet out of her friends hand and walked up to the High Striker, imagining David’s face staring up at her. Oh yeah, she was going to smash that smarmy, lying, cheating face. Lifting the mallet over her head, she gritted her teeth, and with a growl, smashed it down with every bit of her strength. The mallet wasn’t that heavy, and when it bounced back, it sort of just… slipped from her fingers, sailing high over her shoulder.
Spinning around, she watched in horror as it headed straight for a group of people gathered by the hotdog stand. She opened her mouth to call a warning…
A hand shot out of nowhere, snatching the mallet out of the air.
Sarah sagged in relief as her gaze travelled to the owner of that hand—to the suit clad, extremely broad, insanely tall body it was attached to—then higher.
Holy Mary mother of God.
He was gorgeous. She swallowed hard, frozen in place when dark-as-night eyes locked on hers. Then he started walking, no, prowling toward her.
Stopping in front of her, he held out the mallet. “Yours I believe?”
She nodded like a bobble head, unable to take her eyes off him, or make her freaking mouth work. The man wasn’t just good looking, he was beautiful, but in an uber manly, Jason Momoa—if Jason Momoa had short hair and shaved—kind of way.
His mouth curled up, eyes traveling over her face, lingering on her lips. He tilted his head to the side, to where her ex-boyfriend had been standing a short time ago. “He didn’t deserve you.”
“I-I know.” Words!

He grinned. “How about you and I give him a taste of his own medicine?”

~ By: Naima Simone ~

“Oh, so close.” Violet Harrison made the appropriate aaw shucks noises as the guy in a black leather jacket, white T-shirt, dark blue, cuffed jeans, and Danny Zuko gelled pompadour handed her a wooden-handled mallet. “For two dollars, you can have three more tries.”
“Danny” glanced up at the High Striker with its blinking bulbs and bell sitting at the top of the sixteen foot tower. The bell he hadn’t managed to ring with six swings of the mallet. Much to the chagrin of the “Sandy” that hung by his side, who eyed the rack of stuffed animals beside Vi with avarice, her teased blonde hair practically quivering in irritation.
“No. I’ll pass.”
“Next time then.” Vi smiled. “If you change your mind, you know where to find us.”
He nodded, wrapped his arm around his girlfriend and strode off. Probably to try his luck—and prove his strength and manhood—at the ducks shooting gallery. Turning, she quickly deposited the four dollars in the chained, metal cash box.
Sue her, but she loved this time of year. Every June, the Andreas Corporation, the company she created marketing campaigns for, hosted its annual summer carnival fundraiser. Each year the theme changed; this time it was Grease. Which, Vi supposed, was an improvement over last summer’s Circus Freaks theme. The fairgrounds had been full of bearded ladies, conjoined twins, and half men-half beasts. The screams of terrified younger children still assaulted her ears. She grinned, twisting the lock on the cash box. Epic fail. Funny as hell, though.
“Hello, Violet.”
Vi froze, one hand stuffed into the black apron around her waist that contained carnival tickets. Silently, she bit off a curse. She didn’t need to turn around to identify who stood behind her. And it wasn’t because he was the only person, besides her mother, who insisted on calling her by her full name. No, even if he’d called her “Vi” like everyone else, his voice would’ve been a dead giveaway.
That dark, honeyed, I-can-corrupt-you-and-make-you-like-it voice. That voice was gluttony, greed, and lust given syllables and sound. Satan assuredly possessed that silken, tempter’s voice.
Which was apropos given Leo Andreas was the devil incarnate.
Slowly, she turned around. And met the golden, hazel eyes that reminded her of the animal that shared his name. That lion’s stare studied her from the top of her curly, auburn beehive, down her throat and double strand of pearls, over her white shirt, grey jacket and straight A-line skirt, and lower to the sturdy black pumps.
“Nice outfit.” He arched a dark blond eyebrow, and she fought the urge to find out if the damn thing was detachable. But ripping off the facial hair of one’s employer was, at best, frowned upon. At worse, cause to be fired. Or have criminal charges filed against her.
But as her best friend’s older brother, Leo—with his hated eyebrow arch—had been tormenting her for years. Surely a jury of her peers would understand and sympathize with her.
“What?” She shrugged. “Everyone can’t be Frenchy or Rizzo or bad girl Sandy. Besides, there wouldn’t have been a Rydell High without Principal McGee.”
Deliberately, she treated him to the same visual inspection. Loose, golden waves that framed his stark cheekbones, almost too lush mouth, and hard, uncompromising jaw. A white, short-sleeved, V-neck shirt and black pants clothed a wide set of shoulders, solid chest, lean waist, and long, muscled legs. A dull, insistent, inconvenient pulse of heat throbbed low in her belly. Just once it would be nice if she could look at him without her heart stuttering or that damn lust playing Twister with her insides.
Just once it would be nice if she could be as immune to him as he obviously was to her.
“So what’re you doing over here? Lost?” With exaggerated movements, she glanced from side to side and around him. “I don’t see one of your usual brainiac supermodels hanging around, so you can’t be here to flex and test your strength.”
He stepped forward. Then closer. And closer still. Until mere inches of air separated their chests and thighs. “How much?” he murmured, leaning over and effortlessly plucking the mallet off the stand.
“Three swings for two dollars.” Move back, damn it, her mind screamed. But shock and the intoxicating, woodsy scent of his aftershave glued her feet to the ground. “One hit gets you a prize.”
“Is that all?”
She snorted, thankful she could still sound unaffected when she was anything but…unaffected. “You have to do it first, sport. Men are always bragging about how they can ring the bell. Any bell for that matter. Yawn.”
That lion’s gaze dropped to her mouth. She sucked in a breath, that pulse of heat between her legs flickering into a dancing flame.
“This mouth is trouble. I’ve told you that often enough over the years,” he said, his low, sin-and-sex voice deepening. His thumb brushed across her bottom lip in a firm caress that had her fighting not to nip his finger. Not to finally have a taste of his skin on her tongue. “I’ve also imagined doing a lot of things to teach it a lesson.”
What the…
She blinked. A backdraft of lust swirled through her with the power of a windstorm, blowing away all conscious thought except for two words: Teach. Me.
“So that’s my prize when I win your game.” When, she noted. Not if. His hand dropped from her face, but his gaze lifted to hers, trapping her. Refusing to release her. “A lesson for every strike I make. Do you agree?”
Do I agree? Do I look crazy?
Hell no.

~ "Wanna Bet?" By: Carmen Falcone ~

“A carnival party. Is this a joke?” Henri Fortier hissed out. Even if he had screamed, he doubted anyone would hear him. Sounds from machinery grinding and spinning blended with guests laughing and yelling. And the smell of popcorn and hot dogs assaulted his senses.
Henri blinked at the flashy colors. Earlier that day, he’d been on his yacht in the French Riviera. Now he marched into the spacious gardens of the Californian mansion he once coveted. Well, still coveted. The one the she-devil Olivia Greystone didn’t want to sell, but would have to if her mountains of debt were anything to go by.
Merde. When he’d told her father on his deathbed he’d watch over Olivia, he had been a sentimental fool—two adjectives none of his close friends would use to describe him.
He passed the cotton candy stand, scanning the area. It must have cost a fortune to bring the jugglers who kept a small crowd hypnotized. People lined up to take a turn on the small Ferris Wheel. He’d seen Vegas Casinos less overwhelming. He kept skimming the area until his gaze found her.
He swallowed. Hard. His entire body halted, even his heart skipped a beat or two.
Smooth waves of blonde hair fell down her strapless red dress. She talked to someone, and he admired her curvy figure and kissable ass for one sinful second. Curling and uncurling his fingers, he sucked in a breath and erased the distance between them.
She laughed. He’d always hated how good her infectious chuckle made him feel. Then she held a glittery hammer and pounded it down the base. The red arrow shot on the sale, but it didn’t get close to the top. Olivia’s life was in shambles and she chose to play higher strike? Was she crazier than he imagined?
“Olivia,” he called her. “I’m glad you find this funny.”
She turned to him with a close-lipped smile. Her eyes still held the azure spark he remembered. “Henri.” She gave the hammer to the attendant, and smoothed her hands over her dress.
“You don’t seem surprised to see me,” he said. When was the last time he’d dealt with her in person? One, two years?
“No, I’m not.”
Henri nodded. Someone else grabbed the hammer and slammed the base, bringing a small group of friends into a frenzied cheer. He didn’t move, his eyes on hers, his spine locked into place. “What’s your angle this time, Olivia? Besides throwing this ridiculous party and having Jessica email me?” Besides wasting away the remaining dollars your father left. Mon Dieu I did a terrible job watching her like he asked. Instead, I avoided her. And let her destroy her fortune.
“I have a proposition for you.”
“What makes you think I’ll agree?”
She licked her lips. “Wanna bet?

~ "The Adriatic Affair" By: Alexia Adams ~

Jessa raised the hammer high above her head. Other carnival goers laughed and screamed their excitement, oblivious to the fact that her life had become collateral damage.
She slammed the mallet on the plate. Thanks for destroying everything, Dad. The ringer on the High Striker game didn’t even go halfway up the scale.
“Sorry, miss,” the carnie said. “For two dollars more I’ll give you another shot.”
“Please aunty, I know I can hit it,” Tyson, her six-year-old nephew, pipped up before she could answer. “I was so close before.”
Jessa shoved her hand into her pocket, not sure she had another two dollars.
“Allow me,” a deep masculine voice said from behind her. Two words, spoken in an accent she couldn’t identify, and her ovaries went into hyper drive. Just what she needed on the day her life fell apart, to be attracted to some nut job at the fair. He reached around her and handed the game’s attendant a bill that sure as hell looked more like a hundred than a two.
She swiveled around but even with her high heels she had to look up, way up, into the face of their benefactor. His turquoise eyes returned her gaze with an intensity that made her want to take a step back. Except Jessa Carmichael never backed down from a challenge.
And what a challenge. In addition to his incredible eyes, his square jaw was covered in light stubble matching his jet-black hair. But his lips were the highlight of his face. They were currently quirked up in a sardonic smile but she was pretty sure there was a better use for them—like trailing kisses from her ear down her neck and into the valley between her breasts.
Sucking in a lungful of air to quell the rising heat, she was about to thank him when his gaze dropped to her chest. The lips she’d admired a second ago parted as if he were about to take up the invitation her eyes had undoubtedly broadcast.
“Thanks, mister,” Tyson said as he pulled the hammer from Jessa’s hands. Kids, right, probably not the best time to be mesmerized by a pair of lips and amazing eyes, not to mention a chest broad enough to hold a place setting for two that included a salad fork and butter knife.
“I…” Jessa began but Mr. Sexy Lips put his hand on her arm. Desire shot from where he touched her to pool between her thighs.
Get a grip, girl, he’s probably a Fed here to interrogate you. But no government worker she’d ever met wore an Ermenegildo Zegna shirt and sported a watch that cost more than a family car.
Tyson swung the hammer and the ringer shot up and struck the bell, setting off a winner’s alarm. Her nephew danced, whopped with joy, and then launched himself at her. Not to be left out of the celebration, his twin sister Emily hugged her as well. God, she’d do anything to protect these two from the shit storm about to ravage her family.
While Tyson chose his prize with Emily’s assistance, Jessa turned to the mystery man who had paid for the extra game to thank him. His gaze caressed her face and she forgot how to use her tongue.
“Aunty Jessa, look what I got for Mummy. Now she won’t be sad.” Tyson showed her a giant panda bear, almost as big as he was. It wasn’t likely that a stuffed toy would make up for Tyson’s father and grandfather being arrested and all the family’s assets frozen pending an investigation by the SEC.
“That’s great, sweetie. Why don’t we take it to her right now?” Jessa’s feet were killing her, she was out of money, and the man standing two feet away made her want to run—or throw herself in his arms—she wasn’t sure which.
Tyson seemed torn between wanting to stay longer at the carnival and going home to cheer up his mother. While he wrestled with the impossible decision, Jessa sneaked a peek at the tower of masculinity who stood with his arms across his chest. Strong arms, his muscles bulging under the shirt he wore, the sleeves of which he’d rolled up to reveal forearms dusted with dark hair. Against her will, her eyes checked for a ring on his left hand. Bare. At least she hadn’t been lusting after a married man.
“Thank you for paying…and whatever else you did…” The game hadn’t suddenly become easier to play by accident.
He uncrossed his arms, lifted her hand and kissed her knuckles. Who did that these days? Was she hallucinating from all the recent stress? No, the touch of his lips on her skin, the way his eyes caressed her fractured soul, were definitely real. And thrilling.
“You can thank me properly later,” he said. His voice vibrated against her skin, sending tingles up her arm, along her side, eventually rippling the pool of desire building with each second he stood close.
“Later? I don’t even know your name.”
“Milan Rakitić. But as of next week, you may call me ‘husband’ or ‘my love’, either works for me.”
Before she could respond, he turned and strode away.

~ "YOU CAN RING MY BELL" By: Robin Covington ~

“Hey big guy. You wanna try to ring my bell for charity?”
Bear Holt paused, looking over his shoulder when the hot girl manning the High Striker game pointed her finger at him and crooked in the universal sign for “get your ass over here”. She couldn’t mean him. All week his MC club had been in this little town just west of nowhere Oklahoma and no one had given them the time of day.
They’d given them a wide berth but that was whole different story.
But right now, this little slip of girl dressed in the latest style from some catalog that catered to the “country club and G&T” crowd was looking right at him with a smile that was…wicked. Damn. He resisted the urge to reach down and adjust his dick, a move that would get the steely-eyed matrons manning the “guess my age” booth over here with shotguns and pitchforks.
“What’s the matter? You don’t think you can do it?” the young woman asked, her eyes traveling up and down his six foot five-inch frame. She knew he could do it, he was built like a tank. She was…flirting with him.
Never a big enough idiot to pass up an invitation when he saw it, Bear eased away from his friends and through the crowd to stand in front of her.
“Do I look like I can’t ring your bell?” He teased, liking the way her skin flushed a bit at his words. What he loved was the little catch in her breathing when he smiled down at her.
Damn. She was so pretty. Short and curvy with dark brown hair, green eyes and a few, delicious freckles scattered across her nose. He wanted to lean down and kiss her and see if she tasted as sweet as she looked.
“I know you can,” she laughed, running her tongue along her bottom lip. “I thought so when I saw you at the diner the other night.”
“Huh?” He took a step back, as if the action would clear up his confusion.
“In the diner. With your friends.” She cocked her head at him, squinting as she tried to think up something to trigger his memory. “I was wearing my scrubs from work.”
Oh yeah. He remembered her. He’d taken one look at her across the small restaurant and been unable to stop staring. His friends had given him all kinds of shit for it but he didn’t care. Not when she’d looked back. An ill-timed phone call and she’d been gone when he returned. He’d been left with nothing but a cup of lukewarm coffee and disappointment.
“You left without saying goodbye,” he said.
“I said hello now,” she answered.
“Yes. You did.” He looked up the tall game, gauging just how far up the bell was and how hard he’d have to hit it. He could do it. No problem. Bear returned his gaze to his little nurse. “You wanna tell me your name before I ring your bell?”
She smiled, really just a teasing twist of her lips as she pretended to think about his request. He liked that about her, she was fun. She probably laughed a lot and he needed more of that in his life. “It’s Leighanne. Leighanne Colson.”
He liked her name too.
“Okay Leighanne, how much?” He pulled out his wallet.
“A dollar per swing…” she paused when he handed over a ten-dollar bill. “You think you’re going to need ten swings?”
“Nope. I’ll get it in one, the rest is for a kiss,” Bear grabbed the handle of the large hammer, testing the weight as he rolled his shoulders in preparation.
“A kiss? The kissing booth is just beyond the cotton candy booth,” Leighanne said as she slid the money into a pocket.
He shrugged. “It’s all for the charity, right? Once I ring your bell, let’s just pretend we’re in the kissing booth.”
“That’s not how it works,” she said, her tone sounding more “yes, please” than “hell, no”.
“It does now.” He didn’t wait for her agreement, he could see it in her eyes. She’d called him over for a reason and he wasn’t going to waste this chance. Bear heaved up the hammer and positioned his body behind the game, rolling his shoulders to loosen up the muscles. Taking a couple of experimental swings, he took a deep breath and brought the hammer down on the pad and watched as the metal piece flew up into the air and made loud, clanging contact with the brass bell at the top.
It was loud. So loud that people in the area jumped a little and then clapped, light laughter filling the air and mingling with the sounds of crowds and piped in country music. He nodded to those who congratulated him, setting down the hammer on the grass next to the game.
“I rang your bell,” Bear stated the obvious, sliding in close that she had to look up to make eye contact. He ventured out one hand, hooking a finger in one of her belt loops and pulling her just shy of full-body contact with him. She sucked in a quick breath and let it out, her breasts pressing against his chest, the contact causing him to shiver.
“You did.”
“I want to claim my prize.”
Her lips curled in a hint of smile as her fingertips brushed against his forearm. “Are you asking?”
“No. I’m not.”
He leaned down and took her mouth, all plans to be gentle forgotten when she opened to him immediately and he sunk into her wet heat. She tasted sweet, of mint gum and lemonade and of something he couldn’t imagine living without. Her tongue played with his own, her teeth taking as many opportunities as he did to add a hint of sharp need to their first kiss.
The first…but he somehow knew it wouldn’t be the last.

~ By: Miranda Liasson ~

“But I want that one, Aunt Alexis.” The tow-headed little girl ran up to the carnival booth next to the High Striker game, where teddy bears in every color of the rainbow lined the wooden shelves.
“Gabby, come back here,” Alex said, readjusting the popcorn and slushies Gabby had already conned her into buying. It wasn’t an easy task with her right arm in a cast.
Gabby had a thing for bunnies, so it wasn’t surprising she was staring, mesmerized, at a massive pink one, plump and plush, nearly as big as she was.
The employee behind the counter manning the game gave her a nod. He wore a red and white vertically striped shirt, black pants, and a straw hat and glasses. A bit nerdy, but he smiled kindly. Alex smiled back. “She loves bunnies,” she said apologetically, nudging Gabby by the shoulders and trying to steer her away.
There was no way she could play the High Striker game, no matter how much she might want to for Gabby, who just got out of the hospital last week after a month-long stay for heart surgery. She was okay, thank God, just underweight and weak. All the more reason for Alex to want to indulge and give her the time of her life at the annual Frugle employee picnic, where they’d set up an entire carnival for the employees and their families.
But right now, she had to get Gabby away from the striker game. Alex was only three weeks out from her wrist break. She’d gone jogging with a blind date. By the third mile, she was pretty winded, but keeping up appearances—until she tripped over a rock and went flying.
Yeah, she’ d broken her arm trying to impress Mr. Muscle, who didn’t even go into the ER with her. He’d dropped her off at the sliding doors.
That had been her dating luck lately.
Alex tugged gently at Gabby’s elbow, but the child suddenly seemed to grow roots. Being from a family of six, Alex was mostly unfazed. She knew the tricks of the trade. “Oh, look, Gabs, cotton candy next door! C’mon, let’s hurry before they sell out.”
“Step right up, gents,” Mr. High Striker Guy called out. “Try your hand at a game of strength for the lovely ladies.”
“Oh, no, please, it’s okay,” she said apologetically to the guy who was trying to attract customers, or trying to attract some guy who would help her out. But she didn’t want charity. “Really.”
“Please, please, please, Aunt Alex. Please.” Blue eyes the size of the local swimming pool pleaded. Alex sighed. It had been a mistake to allow Gabby to run over to the stuffed animals in the first place.
Distraction. Yes, that’s what she’d try. Gabby’s attention span was about the size of a dime anyway. Alex pointed across the way. “C’mon, let’s go play Go Fish. I hear they’re giving out real goldfish.” Yeah, her sister would certainly thank her if they brought one of those home. Or three. But still, if it took Gabby’s mind off the bunny…
The Striker guy was looking at her a little funny. He was looking at Gabby even more oddly. He pulled out his cell and made a call.
Okay, Striker Guy was giving her the creeps. “C’mon, Gabs. I’ll buy you some ice cream,” she bribed. She almost said Please she wanted out of there so badly. After all, she was running out of food bribes.
When Alex turned around, a man was standing in front of the game—her boss. Well, not exactly her boss, but the man she reported to every day, Colin Blakely. The VP of Frugle, a high-techie search-engine company that had hired her in the PR department a month ago. Except the CEO was a mystery—to just about everyone.
“Hey, Alex,” Colin said, glancing at the guy behind the counter and frowning.
“You know each other?” Striker Guy asked.
“Yeah,” Colin said. “Alex is the PR person we hired to give y—er, the CEO a new reputation. “
“Is that right?” Striker Guy said.
“Well, I’ve actually never met “The Boss,” Alex said, making little air quotes with her fingers.
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll meet him soon,” Striker Guy said.
“I’m not so sure,” Alex said. “He’s very reclusive.”
“Maybe he’s just busy,” he said.
“There are a lot of rumors going around about him,” Alex said.
“Like what?” he asked.
“The three most talked about are agoraphobia, Asperger’s, and facial scarring.”
He laughed. “Well, I’ve heard he’s very social and quite handsome.”
She’d heard that too. And she actually knew the truth—Ryan Nichols’ wife and young daughter had died in a tragic car accident two years ago. The news had been magically extracted from all the major search engines, but she’d found it…in an plain old newspaper in the public library. The benefits of being a former librarian. He’d returned to work soon afterward but as a broken man. Someone who ran the company behind the scenes but never showed his face.
Striker Guy had a nice smile, even though his nerdy glasses obscured a lot of his face. “Colin, for God’s sakes, give it a try for the lady.”
He certainly was on familiar terms with the VP of the company.
“I twisted my shoulder playing baseball yesterday,” Colin said. “I think you’re going to have to come out here yourself.”
“Isn’t that against the rules?” Striker Guy asked.
“Funny, I thought you made the rules,” Colin said with a chuckle. More joking around.
What was going on here?
“Allow me to try.”
Striker Guy was suddenly standing next to her. Alex gasped despite herself because he was so…tall. She met his eyes—they were a warm brown behind the glasses, the awful nerdy glasses that he’d already pushed up with his nose twice. Plus he smelled good, like expensive cologne, woodsy and spicy.
She didn’t have time to say no; Gabby was squealing with delight, egging him on, begging for him to smack the puck into oblivion.
He picked up the mallet and brought it down hard on the metal lever. And at that moment, Alex saw that Clark Kent had a bod. A gorgeous bod. Muscles rippled though his athletic shirt. His thighs flexed below his shorts hem. And oh, his legs. Lean, muscular, tanned. Clark had been hiding some impressive assets behind the counter, hadn’t he?
The puck shot up, but didn’t hit the top. He readjusted his shirt and his glasses, which had gone askew. Actually, he tore the glasses completely off and handed them to Alex. “Will you hold these?”
Alex blinked. Because the man had amazing eyes! Brown, stunning eyes, with dark wavy hair and golden skin, like he was Greek or Italian or something. She lost all words. Somehow, she managed to hold out her hand to retrieve the horrible glasses.
For a moment, he stared at her. The corner of his full mouth tipped up in the slightest smile. “I’m going to try again,” he said.
“Here you go, boss,” Colin said, handing him the mallet.
Boss? Colin was calling him boss? Alex glanced at Colin but he was focused on his friend, who was winding up to strike like he meant business.
“Go, Mr. Ryan, go!” Gabby said, clapping her little hands.
He gripped the mallet again, but he turned his attention to her. “What else do they say about—Mr. Nichols?”
“That it’s difficult to get into his inner circle. And the employees fear that it’s just as difficult for their concerns to get heard as well.” She paused for a moment.
“I review employee comments every day.”
“Me too, but no one is sure if Mr. Nichols does. Since no one sees him, no one is certain what exactly he does. And that misconception tends to stick.”
“What else?”
She shrugged. “That he keeps to himself. That he’s a fanatical exerciser. That he’s fussy with his food and he doesn’t date. Oh, and that he really is a recluse.”
“He’s not a recluse,” he said so low she almost didn’t hear. Clearly she’d hit a sore spot.
What a strange man. He focused that intense gaze on the striker surface, winding up and coming down hard on the metal thing with double his effort.
The puck shot up, the bell dinged.
“It rang! It rang!” Gabby shouted, throwing herself around the stranger’s knees.
Alex ran to peel her niece away, fearing that this he would be repelled by the impulsive display of affection. But he smiled. Reached down and patted Gabby’s head. Flashed her another one of those amazing smiles.
Colin went behind the counter and got the bunny, which Gabby immediately lunged for and held on to with all her might. It really was bigger than she was.
“Thank you for your kindness, Mr. Nichols,” Alex said. “I won’t forget it. Neither will Gabby.”
His brow raised at the mention of his name. “How did you know?”
She shrugged. “I used to be a librarian. I’m used to digging below the surface for things. But don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.” She turned to collect Gabby and leave.
“Wait,” he said, touching her elbow. She swore she felt his touch into her shoulder, her chest, her stomach, everywhere.
“I’ve been hanging out here today, seeing if everyone was enjoying themselves. I didn’t mean to be deceptive. Forgive me.”
He was an odd one. But oh, those eyes were so soft and warm, so melted-chocolaty, and they were looking at her like she was ice cream. “Well, you did make one little girl really happy.”
“Let me make it up to you.”
“You don’t owe me anything.”
“No, I insist.”
“Okay, but I have…conditions.”
“Yes. I’d like to have a formal meeting with my employer.”
“Done. What else?”
“I need some help getting the rabbit in the car, considering I only have one arm.”
“No problem.”
“And one last request.”
“What’s that?”
“Will you win me that little blue teddy bear on the top shelf?” She smiled a little, so he’d know she was kidding.
“I’ll make you a deal. If I hit the bell again, you get the stuffed animal and I get a date.”

[Axle Alley Vipers Series, Book 3] by Sherilee Gray

Author's Book Description :
    He's driving her crazy...

    Piper West is finally on her own, and it's time to get crazy. Except that her overprotective big bro has enlisted his ex-cop best friend to keep an eye on his baby sister. With every move monitored and reported back, Piper's life has gone from "going crazy" to "being driven crazy." But a searing-hot kiss with her sexy and scarred watchdog is just the game-changer she needs...

    Cole Black owes Piper's brother big-time, but there's nothing easy about his new assignment. Piper is all feisty sexiness and curves meant to tempt a man beyond reason, and Cole can't stop himself. Now he's caught up in a hunger like nothing he's ever known, and he can't get enough...

    Even if Piper's the one girl he's not allowed to have.

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"The Millionaire Makeover"
[Bachelor Auction Series, Book 2] by Naima Simone

Author's Book Description :
    He promised to stay away…but some promises are made to be broken.

    Plain-Jane computer programmer Khloe Richardson needs a date—one to make the prince of her dreams jealous. Maybe then he’ll finally see her as a desirable swan and not the ugly duckling in the second office from the left.

    But when she bids on a bachelor at a charity auction, the man she wins is millionaire Niall Hunter—who once made intense, passionate love to her and then left without a word. She’s determined not to let her guard down again—among other things—around the infamous Irish lothario.

    Niall never imagined his penance for one hot-as-hell night with his best friend’s little sister would be transforming her from a shy wallflower to a sultry siren. Helping her attract another man is torture…especially when he promised his friend he’d stay away. Plus, she wants forever, and he’s not a forever kind of guy. But Niall can’t stop wanting her. Can’t stop touching her. Can’t stop, period. And damn if he can remember why he has to…

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"A Weekend of Misbehaving"
[Time to Misbehave Series, Book 2] by Carmen Falcone

Author's Book Description :
    When fantasy becomes reality…

    The last thing nanny Alice Sommers needs is to be caught skinny-dipping by her sexy, cranky-pants boss—in his pool. Her sister owes a crap-load of money to a slimy loan shark and Alice really needs this job if she has any hope of saving her family. Fortunately, her boss is richer than sin and needs her just as much.

    Art dealer Lorenzo Baldi will lose his prestigious career if his anarchist father’s paintings are revealed to the art world. He’s determined to persuade the paintings’ eccentric owner to sell them to him, even if to pull it off, he’ll have to blackmail his daughter’s nanny—a woman with the sexy curves of a Botticelli masterpiece—into being his fake fiancé.

    The gorgeous island of Capri inspires some major misbehaving. But even as the loan shark breathes down Alice’s neck and the paintings move closer to the art scene, Lorenzo drops one more bomb that will change everything.

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"The Greek's Stowaway Bride"
by Alexia Adams

Author's Book Description :
    She slipped aboard his yacht, but can he keep her out of his heart?

    Egyptian heiress Rania Ghalli is desperate to free her political prisoner uncle before it’s too late. Hoping to make it to North Africa, she stows away on the yacht of Greek millionaire Demetri Christodoulou. But when Egyptian agents board the boat, she can either jump overboard…or claim she’s Demetri’s new bride.

    Tired of being no more than the bastard disgrace to the Christodoulou name, Demetri intends to build a luxury resort below his grandfather’s house so the old man has no choice but to acknowledge that Demetri has made something of himself. But first, he needs a wife to complete the land purchase.

    With Rania now at his mercy, a plan comes together. He’ll play along, protecting her and helping to free her uncle, but in exchange, he demands a real marriage. But keeping the vivacious heiress out of his heart will be a lot harder than keeping her on his ship…

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"His Southern Temptation"
[Boys are Back in Town Series, Book 2] by Robin Covington

Author's Book Description :
    Finalist in the short contemporary category of the Booksellers Best Awards!

    Some women are bad. Some women are a bad idea. The best ones are both…

    As a Black Ops assassin, “Lucky” Landon has had more than his fair share of close calls. Now he’s turned in his sniper rifle for the simple life of his small hometown. So the last thing he ever expected was to end up at gunpoint. Or that the woman holding the gun would be his best friend’s little sister and Lucky’s on-again/off-again lover.

    Taylor Elliott is Trouble, and she likes it that way. And seeing Lucky again? Well, he’s been her dirty little secret for the past few years and everyone knows that secrets in a small town are almost impossible to keep. But Taylor has bigger problems on her plate. Like the local mob boss who wants her dead.

    And right now the only thing standing between Trouble and disaster is a hottie named Lucky…

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"Heart and Sole"
[Kingston Family Series, Book 1] by Miranda Liasson

Author's Book Description :
    When the other shoe drops, she’ll steal his heart…

    Maddie Kingston just walked away from everything in order to take over her family’s struggling shoe business. And she’s in some serious trouble. The majority of the company’s shares have been bought out by none other than Maddie’s ex-boyfriend, self-made billionaire Nick Holter. Now Maddie needs his help…even if it means buying Nick from a charity bachelor auction.

    After the Kingstons destroyed his grandfather’s career, Nick vowed to take over their company. He’s inches from victory when he finds himself bought and paid for…by his sexy ex-girlfriend who’s hell-bent on saving her family’s company. Between their families’ feud and their own unfinished business, tempers—and emotions—run hot. Too hot.

    Because kissing with the enemy is a guaranteed shoe-in for trouble…

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About the Authors :

Sherilee Gray’s always had a big (some may say warped) imagination, and as a kid scared herself conjuring up horror stories full of ghosts and other terrifying creatures. As she got older the stories changed quite a bit, but they were always there. Still, she never dreamed of actually writing down any of those wonderful imaginary people or places. Not until many years later when her sister introduced her to the wondrous world of romance novels, and her very large book collection.

She’s pleased to say, she still has the big imagination… only now her characters are chasing their happily ever after.

Sherilee Gray is a kiwi girl and lives in beautiful New Zealand with her husband and their two children. When she isn't writing sexy, edgy contemporary romance or fueling her voracious book addiction, she can be found dreaming of far off places with a mug of tea in one hand and a bar of Cadburys Rocky Road chocolate in the other.

Naima Simone's love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey and Linda Howard many years ago. Though her first attempt at writing a romance novel at age 11 never saw the light of day, her love of romance and writing has endured. Now, she spends her time creating stories of unique men and women who experience the dizzying heights of passion and the tender heat of love.

She is wife to Superman--or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent--and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.

Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional characters beats doing math homework any day. Brazilian by birth and traveler by nature, she moved to Central Texas after college and met her broody Swiss husband—living proof that opposites attract. She found in writing her deepest passion and the best excuse to avoid the healthy lifestyle everyone keeps talking about. When she’s not lost in the world of romance, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, being walked by her three crazy pugs, reading, catching up with friends, and chatting with random people in the checkout line.

Alexia Adams used to travel the world, meeting new people, experiencing new sights and tastes. She’s lived in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, and France, as well as spending three months in Panama and two months in Russia. When life demanded that she stay rooted in one place, she took to vicarious voyages through the characters she created in her romance novels. Her stories reflect her love of travel and feature locations as diverse as the wind-swept prairies of Canada to the hot and humid jungles of Guyana.

A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she's not writing she's collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.

A 2016 RITA® Award nominee, Robin's books have won the Golden Leaf Award and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice, the Book Seller's Best and the National Reader's Choice Awards.

She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes - THE Joan Wilder)

My Previous Review(s) for Robin Covington : The Prince's Runaway Lover

My Previous Mention(s) of Robin Covington's Books/Characters : Second Sentence Saturday: The Prince’s Runaway Lover

Miranda Liasson loves to write stories about courageous but flawed characters who find love despite themselves, because there's nothing like a great love story. And if there are a few laughs along the way, even better! She won the 2013 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for Series Romance and also writes contemporary romance for Montlake Publishing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, three kids, and office mates Maggie, a yellow lab, and Posey, a rescue cat with attitude. Miranda loves to hear from readers!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Blog Tour - Feasted On: Romance in the Rain by Charlotte Russell, Marianne Stillings, Dawn Kravagna, Clare Tisdale, Sherri Shaw, & Kristine Cayne | Interview, Review, & Giveaway

Today I'm turning my blog over to Charlotte Russell, Marianne Stillings, Dawn Kravagna, Clare Tisdale, Sherri Shaw, & Kristine Cayne, who I interviewed about their latest anthology "Romance in the Rain!!"

ALSO -- Be sure to check out Rafflecopters at the bottom of this post to be able to sign up for this blog stop's GIVEAWAYs!! [Blog Tour will run from October 22 - November 22, 2012]

My Q&A with Charlotte Russell, Marianne Stillings, Dawn Kravagna, Clare Tisdale, Sherri Shaw, & Kristine Cayne :

Jess : What was the one book you all remember thoroughly enjoying while growing up?

Charlotte : I was a bookaholic when I was a kid and I wasn’t too keen on rereading books, so there wasn’t one book that I went back to again and again. However, I absolutely adored the Trixie Belden series. It had everything I love in a book—mystery, adventure, and romance.

Marianne : Though I had three or four Little Golden Books on my shelf, "Black Beauty" was my very first novel. Santa brought it to me for Christmas when I was 10. I read it and re-read it and then read it again, year after year. I read it so many times, the pages fell out and the cover dropped off. I had to use a rubber band to keep it together. I slept with it under my pillow so I could read after bedtime by the light of a fading sun. I have always loved horses but the book informed me that not all people viewed them as I did. Many considered horses not as beautiful companions to be treated with great love and care, but as a piece of equipment to be used up, discarded, and replaced. Often neglected, occasionally the victims of cruelty (I still can't get through Ginger's death without sobbing), until very recently, horses were the Ram pick-ups of their day. In 1877, Anna Sewell felt compelled to make people aware of how thoughtlessly these wonderful animals were being treated—it worked. "Black Beauty"—for so many reasons, I will always cherish that book.

Dawn : My favorite will be unusual, particularly due to the failure of the recent movie adaptation, but mine was "John Carter of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I enjoyed his writing style and the unusual creativity of the story written in the early part of the 20th century; not so uncommon after the movie "Star Wars," but he was certainly ahead of his time with the novel. I loved reading science fiction growing up, particularly by classic authors, such as Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. What particularly appealed to me was the positive attitude of John Carter: No matter how bad the situation became, he believed he could overcome it. His favorite saying was, "I still live," and as long as he lived, he never gave up. That "never give up" attitude really inspired me and I often recalled his proclamation during times of discouragement I encounted in the future. His attitude also inspired my character, Griselda Portentsky, in my first novel, "Cattle Capers: Search For The MooMoo Pearl": She doesn't believe in luck but in hard work combined with a positive attitude.

Clare : My favorite was "Casilda of the Rising Moon," by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño (it’s now out of print but still widely available second-hand). Set in the days of knights and chivalry, it tells the story of a Toledan princess who gives up her palace, her family, and the man who loves her in order to become a hermit and—posthumously—a saint. It’s a romantic and inspiring book for young girls and I must have read it at least six times.

Sherri : When I was little, my grandmother gave us a book called "The Real Mother Goose Book." My sisters outgrew it, but I kept it for years, flipping through the pages, and memorizing my favorite stories. I can still recite several of them, the most fun being "The Old Lady and the Pig."

Kristine : Like Clare, I was a bookaholic. My father enrolled me in the DoubleDay Book Club and I begged my parents to by me mountains of books each month from Scholastics. The series that most stated my desire for big books and intriguing stories was the Nancy Drew Mystery series. By the sixth grade, I managed to collect the entire set of books published up to that time. Needless to say, I’m still a series addict :)

Jess : Tell us about your anthology "Romance in the Rain."

Charlotte : The idea emerged over time. The only thing we knew from the start was that all the stories would have a connection to Seattle. As plots and characters started evolving it seemed liked a fun idea to make the characters all related, descended from my couple James and Mattie, whose story is set in the mid 19th century.

Marianne : "ROMANCE IN THE RAIN" is comprised of six novellas written by the Rainy Day Writers using a Seattle family as its central theme. My contribution, "FINAL APPROACH," is set in 1942 (during WWII) and tells the story of Captain Joe Caldwell and Lt. Charlie Thompson. Charlie is a young war widow and WAFS pilot (Women's AirForce Ferrying Squadron); Joe is a former Army pilot who's been grounded due to injury. When Charlie's best friend, Edie, dies during a routine night flight, Joe and Charlie join forces to discover the truth behind her death. Sherri Shaw gave me the idea for the story, and I'm so grateful she did! Thanks, Sherri!

Dawn : I'm really excited about our first anthology. Everyone in our group is an excellent writer and I always enjoy hearing the ladies read their newest writing project. I've been in writing groups where I've hoped one member didn't show up, because listening to them read their writing was near agony and an exercise in patience. We've got a great mix of writing styles and I believe every reader will find at least one story that will resonate with them personally.

Clare : Participating in the anthology has been a great experience for me. I’m so proud to be part of the Rainy Day Writers critique group. There’s a great level of trust and cooperation involved in putting an anthology of this nature together—where all the stories link to one another—and I love how supportive we all are of each other.

Sherri : Our group has been together for a long time, and we thought it would be fun if we wrote an anthology. Since we all live in the Pacific Northwest, we decided to use our beautiful region as the backdrop for our stories. Beginning with the first settlers, and progressing to modern day, each story is independent of the other, but with a common thread, the Caldwell family.

Kristine : I think everyone has pretty much answered that question, but what the anthology represents to me is the coming together of six women—six friends and authors—who worked together to create a magical set of stories spanning almost two centuries. We each pitched into create the cover, the website, the ebook file itself, and now we are collaborating on promotion. It’s a fabulous testimony to the power of friendship.

Jess : Ms. Shaw -- What is the most romantic thing one of your characters (and it doesn’t need to be the main characters), from "What’s Wrong with Mr. Perfect?," said or did?

Sherri : When Sam and Ivy are walking through Seattle Center late at night, a man with a gun accosts them. Sam steps in front of her, shielding her from the threat of the gun. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Ivy is touched by the protective gesture.

Jess : Ms. Russell -- Please describe your heroine, from "Splendor in the Moss," in one to two sentences.

Charlotte : If she wasn’t so shy, Mattie Jensen would tell you that she never knows the right thing to say, especially around the hero, James. Nevertheless, he brings out her inner strength and helps her remember how to laugh.

Jess : Ms. Kravagna -- What sparked the idea for your most recent novella, "Love Phantom?"

Dawn : Since this is my first romance I drew upon my personal experiences when I was a Drama major (for a year) at the University of Washington. However, one major error many novice writers make is basing their stories too closely on reality, because that constricts the story too much. For instance, when a writer sticks to reality, then they are not considering the best way to present the scene for maximum dramatic impact. I made this error in the first draft and my writing group was honest enough to advise me to rewrite the story. I am a big fan of the "Save The Cat" screenwriting books and in my rewrite created a "save the cat" moment in the first scene which did not occur in my real life experience but made for a better scene and a more positive introduction to the character.

I don't want to give too much of the plot away by saying more; however, the characters are imaginary.

Since I've been planning to do a "Phantom of the Opera" spoof, my original idea was to utilize the Showboat Theater as the main setting, since it was rumored to be haunted. However, the story grew beyond the ghost story and I abandoned it. I do think the title is still apt.

Jess : Ms. Cayne -- Is there one particular scene in "Aftershocks" that you’re dying for readers to read? Can you tell us anything about it?

Kristine : Like most suspense stories, the climactic scene is one that I think will have readers white-knuckling their e-readers. However, there is an earlier scene where Erica has to don some firefighter equipment and squeeze her way through a collapsed building. Since Erica has no training and doesn’t know what she’s doing, a female firefighter who works for Jamie, coaches her via radio, and uses the opportunity to give Erica an earful that has her reconsidering her relationship with her estranged husband. The scene is a testimony to the extent a woman will go to in order to save her family.

Jess : Ms. Stillings -- If you had to describe Charlie & Joe (from "Final Approach") in one word, what would it be?

Marianne : If you mean as a couple, the word would be: True
If you mean each of them independently, the word for Charlie would be: Genuine
As for Joe: Resolute

Jess : Ms. Tisdale -- If "Shelter from the Storm" was to be made into a film, who do you see playing the main characters and why?

Clare : Maya is independent, bohemian and edgy, but she also has a tender side she only shows to those she trusts. I could see her being played by Jennifer Lawrence ("The Hunger Games"). As for sweet, sexy JD, I’d like to see Ashton Kutcher in that role.

Jess : Ms. Cayne -- How many books have you written? Which is your favorite and why?

Kristine : I’ve written two full-length romantic suspense novels, one contemporary short story, one romantic suspense short story, and this romantic suspense novella. I’m loving the firefighter theme and I can’t wait for you all to read the follow-up to Jamie and Erica’s story, "Under His Command." If I limit myself to my existing books, "Deadly Addiction" would be my favorite. I learned so much writing this book, which is set on an Iroquois reserve in Canada. Remi Whitedeer is a half-native man torn between his loyalty to his tribe and family, and his (forbidden) love to a white female police officer who wants to enforce her own department’s version of law and order.

Jess : Ms. Russell -- Which usually comes first for you, the character(s) story or the idea for the novel?

Charlotte : The characters are usually in my head first and I almost always name them right away. Then, from somewhere, I get a vague plot idea and I start thinking how that character would get into that situation and how he/she would react to the situation and the other main character and pretty soon I’ve started a new story. I usually know the beginning and end but not what happens in the middle. And while I know the essentials of my characters, they always surprise me with new details as we journey through the story.

Jess : Ms. Stillings -- Which of your characters would you most & least like to invite to dinner, from which book and why?

Marianne : Most: J. Soldier McKennitt, the detective hero from my first novel, "The Damsel in This Dress." Why? Because you never forget your first ;)

Least: Loretta Tremaine, the heroine's mother from "The Damsel in This Dress." I based Betsy's mom on my own mother – who was both critical to me and critical of me. And there you have it.

Jess : Ms. Tisdale -- What was one of the most surprising things you learned when creating your books?

Clare : I learned that if I come up with the basic structure of a book, my characters will take it from there. I just need to give them free reign to be themselves.

Jess : Ms. Shaw – Do you have a favorite chapter, part, or type of character to write about? If so, why?

Sherri : I like to write about female characters that project confidence, but are slightly goofy, and don’t take themselves too seriously all the time. I originally conceptualized "What’s Wrong with Mr. Perfect?," as a romantic comedy screenplay. Ivy, of course, would be played by Sandra Bullock, because if you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big.

Jess : Ms. Kravagna -- Do you have any other projects in the works? If so, can you share a little of your current work with us?

Dawn : I love to write comedy and am a cartoonist. Missing the zany comedy of the Bugs Bunny cartoons that I grew up with, I created my own anthropomorphic cartoon world, a series called "Cattle Capers(tm)". The first novel is "Cattle Capers: Search For The MooMoo Pearl." It's a comedy mystery based on cartoon animals, rather than actual critters, which gives me a lot of latitude in plot and characterization. It's been a big hit with Boomers who also loved the old cartoons. I illustrate the stories myself. The challenge is, since there are no humans, to be sure that I avoid humanoid terms such as fireman or gentleman.

I am nearly completed with the first draft of my second novel, "Cattle Capers: The Cheep Brigade Terror" which has an anti-cult theme, but I have a lot of pictures to draw before I can issue the e-book. I like to set the manuscript aside to clear my brain while I work on the illustrations, then return to editing.

Since I have a lot of plot ideas that are not suitable for a full-lenth novel, I've been writing short stories on the side which feature secondary characters from my first novel. I just completed writing my first Cattle Capers(tm) trilogy and, after completing the cartoons that will accompany the third story and the cover, I will be publishing the e-book for the Christmas season. I'm excited that e-book reader technology has advanced to the point where my cartoons can now be viewed in full color.

I also have several novels that I'm plotting most of which are comic mysteries and, being an animal lover, feature animals in some form or another. Come to think of it, "Love Phantom" is a rare story for me: no animal characters.

Jess : What do you normally eat for breakfast, or do you skip it and get straight to work?

Charlotte : Coffee and a breakfast bar of some kind. Occasionally cereal or a bagel.

Marianne : I usually eat something, but it wouldn't be considered a traditional breakfast. Most often, it's a cup of coffee (I usually only have one cup a day, maybe two if the mood strikes, and whatever is in the fridge or freezer that I don't have to cook. My husband and I will occasionally go out on a weekend for breakfast or brunch and I'll have something more "normal." As a morning person, whether I eat something or not, I generally am working within a half hour of getting up.

Dawn : The basic dietary mistake people make is skipping breakfast. I will always eat something, a breakfast bar during the weekday due to having to get up earlier than my natural sleep cycle to drive to my day job, and, with more time on the weekend, eat a bowl of cereal with fresh fruit mixed in. I also drink a natural greens and fruit-based concoction and top it off at work with a cup of coffee.

I used to stress when I felt too tired to write, but when if I made myself sit down and type something, it always felt forced and tepid. I realized it was healthier to be nice to myself and write when I had the energy to do so. My attitude is more positive and the writing more energetic as a result.

Clare : I like to have a big breakfast, and I like to mix it up. Sometimes it’s granola with a banana, other times it’s eggs and toast. I have been known to eat leftover pizza for breakfast!

Sherri : When I am being good, I like to eat a slice of peanut butter toast and some melon at my desk at work. If I have to go out in the field, I grab a McDonald’s Wild Berry Smoothie and a sausage burrito.

Kristine : I work from home, so the first thing I do when I get up is have a glass of water and turn on the computer. While I’m checking my email and what’s going on with my Facebook and Twitter friends, I make coffee. I usually forget to go get a cup until an hour or so has past. By then I’m starving. I have my coffee with a breakfast bar. If I’m really hungry, I’ll have some cereal with fruit.

Jess : Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?

Charlotte : I have had my shirt on backward before (in fact, this morning but I realized it early) in public but I have to say that I can only say “screw it” until I get to a place where I can switch it around. I’m not one to let that go.

Marianne : No backwards shirts or slippers, but I have gone to work with two shoes that were from different pairs. They were of similar color and style, but they were definitely different. Nothing I could do; I was at work by the time I noticed it. A more obvious faux pas was wearing two different earrings one day. You see, in the morning, in the Northwest, it's dark when you get up and get dressed. As a result, one is often still half-asleep and wardrobe malfunctions are common. That's my excuse anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

Dawn : Sure. There's the stain I didn't see when I dressed in the dim light of a dreary Seattle morning and the mismatched socks. The oddest things I've done was to wear two different shoes or two totally different earrings, since I rise and dress for work much earlier than my natural biorhythm. One day I wore a large blue dangling triangle in one ear and a small, red button in the other. No one said anything so I didn't discover the discrepancy till I went into the bathroom. When I returned to my desk and asked my coworkers why they didn't say anything, they replied, "We thought it was just you and was intentional." I'm still not sure what to think about that...

Clare : One time I was inside writing all day, and it was cold and rainy out, and I put on two old frayed wool cardigans, one over the other. Then my daughter came home from school and I had to drive her over to a friend’s house, and I forgot to change. The look of distaste her friend’s mom gave me would have been comical if I hadn’t been so embarrassed!

Sherri : A couple of years ago, when I was waiting tables, I felt off balance all day. It wasn’t until I sat down after my shift that I realized I was wearing two different shoes. Of course the reason I was off kilter was because one had a higher heel than the other.

Kristine : Absolutely. I wear slippers at home because I’m always cold, even in the middle of summer. And because I’m often busy writing my books or blog posts, I tend to forget when it’s time to take one of my kids to their sports practice. So, more often than I care to admit, I run out of the house keys in hand, slippers on feet. It’s okay as long as I don’t have to get out of the car :)

About these Authors -- the RAINY DAY WRITERS :

Writing fiction is difficult and lonely and more often than not, the "normal" people in your life don't understand the writing process and can't fathom why you are possessed and obsessed with finding the perfect word or phrase that says exactly what you want to say right where you want to say it. Only other writers comprehend and accept that kind of torment.

To fill this need to surround herself with like-minded obsessive-compulsive self-doubting lunatics, in 2005, Marianne Stillings, who writes Romantic Suspense, established what came to be known as The Rainy Day Writers.

There were only two requirements for joining the group: You must be serious about writing and getting published, and any criticisms of co-members' work be honest, gentle, and kind.

Over the years, the membership has changed; some people moved on, others joined. The group we have now has been stable and constant since 2009. The Rainy Day Writers are a family.

Charlotte Russell joined the group in 2006 at the suggestion of a former member. Charlotte writes Historical Romance.

Dawn Kravagna became a member in the spring of 2007 because of a writers' list where Marianne had posted looking for new members. Dawn writes Comedy and Mystery.

In the Autumn of 2007, Sherri Shaw found her way to the group because she and Marianne happened to sit at the same table at the Emerald City Writer's Conference that year. Sherri writes Historical Romance and Paranormal Historical Romance.

Clare Tisdale joined in 2008 as the result of an email Marianne posted on the Greater Seattle Chapter Romance Writer's list seeking new members. Clare writes Contemporary Romance.

Kristine Cayne found the group in 2009 because she won Marianne's raffle basket at the Emerald City Writer's Conference that year. The basket included an offer to critique the winner's manuscript—an evaluation that resulted in an invitation to join. Kristine writes Romantic Suspense.

For more information on "Romance in the Rain" and the Rainy Day Writers, visit them at

- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Kindle Edition - File Size: 1217 KB | Expected Release Date: October 11, 2012 | Publisher: Self-Published | Obtained: Romantic Maidens Book Tours

"Romance in the Rain" [A Seattle Anthology] by Charlotte Russell, Marianne Stillings, Dawn Kravagna, Clare Tisdale, Sherri Shaw, & Kristine Cayne

Authors' Book Description : From the pioneer days of Seattle through the smoke-filled clouds of WWII and into the present, "Romance in The Rain" takes readers on a journey with four generations of the strong-willed and passionate Caldwell family. The anthology of six novellas is a collaboration of the Seattle-based Rainy Day Writers group.

"Splendor in the Moss" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 1] by Charlotte Russell

My Story Summary : Set in 1853 -- About four years ago James came to America from England to make a name for himself and out of the shadows of his family. However, since moving here James still hasn't found a place he feels comfortable enough to make his home. His most recent local is a small settlement in the new found Seattle, but it's seeming like a mossy wet hell and he is definitely ready to move on to somewhere new.

That is until he meets Mathilda (Mattie), a widow who has suffered a lot of loss within a short time period and isn't happy about living in Seattle either. Nevertheless, will they be able to find a home and happiness with each other or will old hurts get in the way of a promising future?

My Story Review : 3.5 out of 5 stars. This is a story about two people finding what they've always been looking for within another person. I loved the subtle (and not so subtle at times) romance between Mattie and James. Also, getting to see how they overcome their pasts. It's all really sweet.

Nevertheless, I didn't like how the ending just dropped off in what I think was in the middle of a good scene. If there was just a bit more to the story, I think I could have liked it a lot better.

Story Teaser :
He made as if to stand, but James waved him back.
Tilford remained seated, but his black eyebrows rose. “My word, sir! What has happened to you?”
James perched on the other stool and yanked off his ruined boot. “Nothing much. Went hunting, caught a woman instead of a deer, saved her life, let coyotes chomp on my boots rather than my feet, took the woman home, offered to fulfill her dearest wish, was refused in a most ungracious manner. And for God’s sake, stop calling me sir.” ~ within Chapter 4
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Charlotte, then please check out her website. To find out more about this anthology then click here.

"Final Approach" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 2] & [Flight Risk Series, Novella 1] by Marianne Stillings

My Story Summary : Set in 1942 -- during World War II -- We follow Captain Joseph Caldwell (previously a homicide detective) as he learns how to assist the war efforts from behind a desk (not much to his liking) for the first time. However, not long after arriving at his new station he finds himself trying to solve a possible murder case of one of the station’s female pilots. In doing so, he meets and becomes close to Lt. Charlene Thompson (Charlie)--a female pilot and instructor--who was the best friend of the murdered pilot and is still dealing with previous tragedies of her own. Will their budding friendship grow into something more or will they hold themselves back because of what they've already went through? In the meantime, will they be able to find out what really happened to Charlie's friend before someone else gets hurt?

My Story Review : 4.5 out of 5 stars! This is a prequel to Ms. Stillings newest series coming out called Flight Risk, and I think it's a great start! I enjoyed the mystery, intrigue, setting, and getting to know Joe & Charlie throughout this novella. Also, I hope that they are mentioned within the coming series as it progresses because I want to read more about them. For being such a short story, I think it definitely builds you up for what could come next!

Story Teaser :
He wanted to kiss her. And not just because he lusted after her, but because her take on the situation was exactly right. She got it. She understood the distance that must be kept between an event and the conclusions one reached based solely on evidence. She was a natural detective, and if he wasn’t careful, he was going to fall head over heels for her—and then where would he be? ~ within Chapter 5
For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Marianne, then please check out her website. To find out more about this anthology then click here.

"Love Phantom" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 3] by Dawn Kravagna

My Story Summary : Set in 1983 -- Kara is a shy Drama major hoping to get out of her shell (be more like her feisty Grandma Caldwell who was a World War II pilot) and find a hot guy to date. She has her eye on the hot teacher's assistant, Gerald, but with his mixed signals, she can't be sure if he's interested or not. However, there is also Ellis, a sweet and kind of cute, undergrad Drama major like her who seems interested in her but she can never be sure of her feelings for him. Will she be able to get the courage to get out of her shell and into a relationship with either of the guys or will she find that it's easier be the shy girl?

My Story Review : 3 out of 5 stars, this is a story about a girl learning to come into her own and finding about what she really wants in life and love. It was an okay story. I liked Ellis a lot and I wish Kara gave him more credit at the beginning of the story then she did. However, I wasn't a fan of Kara's wish-washyness at the start of the story or how her anxieties seemed to run her life for the majority of it. Nevetheless, I enjoy come into her own towards the end of the story.

Story Teaser :
During our fifteen minutes of excoriation, Gerald sat behind them on a parlor chair, peering up at the stage lamps and scratching at the stubble on his chin as if in deep thought. Perhaps he was wondering whether Lisa and I had set the lamps at the correct angles? Then, just as we were dismissed and I was about to leave, his gaze zeroed in on me and he smiled.
I shyly smiled back, my face reddening once again. What was I, a tomato? ~ within Scene 3
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Dawn, then please check out her website. To find out more about this anthology then click here.

"Shelter From The Storm" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 4] by Clare Tisdale

My Story Summary : Set in 2011 -- James Douglas (JD) moves back to Seattle after being away for a few years and hopes to stay with a friend who offered him his couch a while back, if he ever made it home. However, when he arrives at his friend's place he finds that his friend no longer lives there but his friend's attractive ex-girlfriend (Maya), who kindly enough lets him stay with her until he can get his feet under him again. During their time together, they become very close. So close that JD believes that they could possible grow into something more but Maya has been keeping a secret that could tear them apart once it comes out. Will they be able to weather the storm brewing from Maya's secret? Or will it actually tear them apart for good?

My Story Review : 3.5 out of 5 stars, this is about a guy who is trying to settle back into a life that'll work for him while thinking he might be falling in love. I could not get enough of JD! He is sweet, charming, creative, and a hard worker. My only issue with the story is Maya because of her aloofness. I mean I understand her reasoning, and if she didn't act the way she did there wouldn't have been much of a story, yet I didn't like it and it made me not like her.

Author's Story Extras : New Anthology Book Release!

Story Teaser :
She pounced on a donut-shaped hole with raised edges and demonstrated the technique with her own shovel, plunging it straight down, rocking it back and forth in the heavy sand, and finally bringing up a large, smooth clam with an oval shell decorated with brown concentric rings. Its neck poked out on one side like a fat white tongue. “Bingo,” she said, shaking it off and dropping it into her bucket.
JD glanced into her bucket and counted nine razor clams, compared to his paltry three. “You’re showing me up. A snip of a girl like you. It’s embarrassing.”
She slapped him on the arm, her green eyes dancing. “You must be off your game today. First one to get to fifteen clams wins.”~ within Chapter 4
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Clare, then please check out her website. To find out more about this anthology then click here.

"What’s Wrong with Mr. Perfect?" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 5] by Sherri Shaw

My Story Summary : Set in 2012 -- While at the Pike Street Market Ivy contemplates finding "Mr. Perfect" while getting produce for her restaurant. A vendor overhears her contemplation and gives her a necklace saying it'll help her find her own "Mr. Perfect." However, when "Mr. Perfect" (aka Sam Rockney a quarterback for the Seattle Pioneers) arrives at her restaurant everything seems a bit too good to be true. Will she find Sam's actually hiding something or is he really just perfect for her?

My Story Review : 4 out of 5 stars, it's about a girl who's trying not to let her past mistakes rule her life while finding her own "Mr. Perfect" in the process. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ivy and Sam's relationship grow throughout the story! It's a sweet romance you can't help but want to read. Plus, for those of you who enjoy reading about supernatural instances this one doesn't have a lot but it has enough to please!

Story Teaser :
“Chef, we need you out in the dining room.”
“Now?” Ivy fought a wave of panic. “My sous chef isn’t—”
“I’m sorry, but we need to keep on schedule if you want to open for lunch on time,” the chipper assistant said.
“Not a problem,” Sam said, moving beside Ivy. “I’ll start this.”
“Don’t you have an appointment this morning?” she asked, torn between guilt and obligation.
“Now what kind of a boyfriend would I be if I abandoned you in a moment of crisis?”
“A pretty crappy one, I suppose.” ~ within Chapter 5
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Sherri, then please check her out on the Goodreads' website. To find out more about this anthology then click here.

"Aftershocks" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 6] & [Six Alarm Sexy Series, Novella 1] by Kristine Cayne

My Story Summary : Set in 2014 -- Now five years after they got married Erica and Jamie are going through a divorce that is if Jamie will ever sign the papers. They both are desperately still in love with each other but they have grown apart and they don't know how to bridge the gap between them anymore. That is until an earthquake throws them together and it'll take them both to pitch in and save their young daughter's life. If they can earn each other's trust again, maybe they can get their marriage work again, and a whole lot more as long as they can make it through the aftershock of it all.

My Story Review : 5 out of 5 stars -- Hot, spicy, and exciting is how this prequel to Ms. Cayne's upcoming series Six Alarm Sexy is!! I loved this story; the sparks between Erica and Jamie are combustible! As well as the endearing quality of reading about a couple, who want to stay together but just don't know how and it takes a drastic tragedy to shake them up. I can't wait to see where these two go in "Under His Command," book 1 of the Six Alarm Sexy Series!

Author's Series Extras : Help Me Name My New Firefighter Series! | New Firefighter Series Title - Vote For Your Favorites! | Kristine Cayne's New Firefighter Series - Title Poll Results | Kristine Cayne's New Firefighter Series - Title Poll Results | Cover Reveal - Under His Command by Kristine Cayne

Story Teaser :
“Careful, Dani,” Jamie warned. “We don’t want this pile of crap coming down on you.”
“I always am, LJ. You know that.” Dani laughed and the sound made Erica grit her teeth. She could just imagine what else the woman was always careful about. She pushed away from Jamie’s side, sick at the thought that the woman her husband was sleeping with was saving her daughter’s life. Unfortunately, when she stepped back she tripped and fell smack against Hollywood. An arm as hard as iron snapped around her waist, pulling her firmly against the man’s granite-like chest. ~ within Chapter 4
For more information on this book and/or any other books by Kristine, then please check out her website. To find out more about this anthology then click here.

My Book Review : For the full book I give it 3.92 out of 5 stars! Each one of these stories were intriguing in their own way and I loved reading about this family! I will say that I'm curious as to how the two authors that are expanding on their stories will take their characters.

I would recommend this anthology to anyone who enjoys contemporary romances, thriller/mystery romances, historical romances, and/or slightly supernatural romances! =0)

Authors' Anthology Extras : We’re going on a blog tour! | Romance in the Rain: A Seattle Anthology - Released Today! | Romance in the Rain - Happy Release Day!! | Novella published! | Opening day of Romance in the Rain blog tour! | Launch Day!

For more information on this Anthology, then please check out the website.

Book Excerpts :

"Splendor in the Moss" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 1] by Charlotte Russell
After telling the dog to stay, he steered her away from the Jensens’ cabin, towards the woods to the south. “Thank you.”
“For what?”
“Giving me the time of day. You were gone for such a long while, I wasn’t certain you’d come back.”
“I had to fight my better judgment.”
James laughed. He couldn’t put on airs around Mattie if he tried. ~ within Chapter 7

"Final Approach" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 2] & [Flight Risk Series, Novella 1] by Marianne Stillings
"You were there." Caldwell's voice was quiet as though he were speaking to a timid child. He took a step toward her. "You saw it, didn't you. Didn't you, Charlie?" Another step. And another. Suddenly, he was standing before her and she was standing, too, and his arms came around her as she pressed her head against his strong shoulder and for the first time in a year, she felt safe. Safe enough to relive the agony—and let it go. Safe enough to let someone be strong—so she could be weak. Safe enough—to cry.
And so she did. ~ within Chapter 3

"Shelter From The Storm" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 4] by Clare Tisdale
A shadow crossed the window, and JD looked up in time to see a seagull fly by. Beyond the downtown high rises, the waters of the Puget Sound lay brooding, glazed by morning mist. Much as JD hated starting over again, he realized that if he had to, he'd rather do it here than anywhere else. Seattle was his home; he belonged here. Maya and her beach house had helped confirm that for him. ~ within Chapter 2

"What’s Wrong with Mr. Perfect?" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 5] by Sherri Shaw
"Somehow I can’t picture you as a nerd.” You’re too perfect, Ivy silently added, fingering the amulet at her throat.
It hummed under her fingertips as the vendor’s words skated across her mind, If you truly want to find the perfect man, and restore your faith in true love, then this necklace will be your good luck talisman.” She dropped her hand, shaking off the crazy notion. It was merely a coincidence that she wished to meet the man of her dreams and Sam showed up. The necklace had nothing to do with it.
Right? ~ within Chapter 2

"Aftershocks" [A Seattle Anthology, Novella 6] & [Six Alarm Sexy Series, Novella 1] by Kristine Cayne
Adrenaline surging through her system, Erica hung onto the doorjamb as the quake rocked the old courthouse. The building swayed and groaned, windows rattled and shattered as the earth continued to tremble. Cracks raced across the ceiling and plaster dust showered down, covering everything in a thin white film. She’d lived in Seattle all her life but had never experienced a quake as powerful as this one.
And her daughter was all alone. ~ within Chapter 2

Giveaways!! :

All giveaway ends November 22, 2012 at midnight. Make sure to only enter the giveaway you are eligible for.

Giveaway for US residents only.

Grand Prize :
  • 1 autographed copy of "Deadly
    " + SWAG
  • 1 autographed copy of "Deadly Addiction" + SWAG
  • An autographed copy of "The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever" by Julia Quinn
  • "Blood Trinity" by Julia Quinn and Dianna Love
  • 1 e-book copy of "Falling Angel" by Clare Tisdale
  • 1 handmade shell necklace by Clare Tisdale
  • A handmade afghan crocheted by Marianne Stillings
  • 1 autographed copy of "AROUSING SUSPICIONS"
  • 1 autographed copy of "SATISFACTION"
  • 1 autographed copy of "KILLER CHARMS"
  • 1 bag of truffles from Seattle Chocolates
  • 3 chocolate bars from Seattle Chocolates
  • $15 Starbucks gift card
  • 1 autographed copy of "Cattle Capers: Search For The MooMoo Pearl" by Dawn Kravagna

Prize #5 :

Prize #6 :

Prize #7 :

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway for both US and International residents.

Prize #1 :

Prize #2 :

Prize #3 :

Prize #4 :

Prize #8 - 10 :
  • 1 e-book copy of "Deadly Addiction" by Kristine Cayne
  • $10 Amazon or B&N gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway for both US and International residents.

Prize #11 :
  • 1 free ebook cover design by Sherri Shaw with up to a $20 royalty free background

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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