Monday, March 29, 2021

Guest Post: Teach Me by Nancy Fraser

 Please welcome Nancy Fraser talking about her book:

Teach Me

Lusty Liaisons ~ Book 3


Med student Jayne Willis is devastated when she's stood up for a date arranged by hookup service Lusty Liaisons. Really, who stands up someone willing to have sex?

Widowed professor Noah Gallagher's chance encounter at a hotel bar with an alluring young woman is unexpected but might be just what he needs. He's on the last leg of a cross-country trip prior to returning to the university, ready to start a new chapter in his life.

One lonely widower looking to reconnect plus one beautiful, albeit inexperienced, young woman equals one hot night. Will she get an A in lovemaking, and will he get a hall pass back to life?


As clichĂ© as it sounded, it truly was a dark and stormy night. Not nearly as dark as Noah Gallagher’s mood or as stormy as his thoughts, but still not the optimal weather for driving.

The outskirts of Chicago were minutes away. Two exits off the highway at most. With little hope of the storm letting up, pulling over for the night made the most sense. Noah shook his head in self-admonishment. When, if ever, had he been guided by common sense? Certainly not for the past eighteen months. Certainly not since…Ellen.

 The familiar stab of heartbreak shot through him at the speed of light, lessened somewhat by time but still there whenever he needed a jolt of reality. This ill-advised cross-country trip was just the latest in his flights of fancy, his vain attempt to put some excitement back in his otherwise nondescript life. To forget.

The fall semester was less than three weeks away. He had until then to get this feeling of wanderlust out of his system. It wouldn’t do for a tenured Ivy League professor of English Lit to be seen as a flighty mess of self-pity and abject anger.

Which meant, for all intents and purposes, he needed to get his head on straight and his shit sorted out as quick as humanly possible. Beginning with his pent-up energy, his need to get back in the saddle, so to speak. What he needed was a night of hot sex. No commitment, no morning-after regret. Just sex.

He took the first exit toward Inverness, one of Chicago’s upscale suburbs. Within minutes, he pulled into the parking lot of one of the chain hotels and took a spot directly opposite the entrance.

Grabbing his overnight bag from the backseat of the truck, he ran to the carport. Shaking off the worst of the downpour, Noah stepped through the sliding glass doors and stopped to survey the standard-issue hotel lobby. The welcoming sight of the bar beckoned him. Checking in was his first priority, followed by dry clothes, and afterward a drink and some greasy bar food.

What would Ellen think? His conscious prodded him, reminding him of his late wife’s penchant for healthy eating.

Shed think Id fallen down the rabbit hole without her to pull me out.

Author Bio:

NANCY FRASERJumping Across Romance Genres with Gleeful Abandon—is an Amazon Top 100 and Award-Winning author who can’t seem to decide which romance genre suits her best. So, she writes them all.

Like most authors, Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

Nancy has published over thirty-five books in full-length, novella, and short format. When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.



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Monday, March 15, 2021

Guest post: Opposites Ignite by Sadira Stone #newrelease

Today I'm pleased to have Sadira Stone talking about her new book: Opposites Ignite. 

This is a wonderful story that fits right in with the Banger Tavern series. I love Eddie and Rosie, they are the perfect couple. 

Tell us a little about yourself.

After living in Germany for nearly 30 years, first as a legal clerk in the US Army, then as a high school teacher on US military bases, I returned to Washington State in 2014 and dove into writing full time. I’m happy as a pig in mud in this new chapter of my life, and I love the fellowship among romance authors and readers. Romancelandia is a wonderful place to be!

What do like the most and the least about writing?

I always get stuck somewhere in the muddy middle—lots of mud in this interview! I know where the characters need to go but not how to get them there. I usually end up stewing for a week or so before inspiration strikes.

Give us a peek into your latest published work?

A mismatch sparks the hottest flames.

Blue-haired, buxom, and bodacious, server Rosie needs her job at Bangers Tavern, where her work family adores her weirdness and supports her hunt for a tattoo apprenticeship. When too much New Year’s bubbly tumbles her into a sweet, shy coworker’s bed, she craves more. But guys like Eddie never stick with girls like her. 

Strait-laced, soft-spoken, and skinny, barback Eddie has a huge crush on his curvy, tattooed coworker. Their New Year’s surprise is a dream come true—until grandma walks in on them.  Eddie begs Rosie to fake-date him to appease his old-fashioned family. He’s already keeping secrets, so what’s the harm in one more? But the longer he pretends with Rosie, the deeper he falls.

Their boss lays down the law: No relationship drama at work, or you’re fired. Rosie’s everything Eddie ever wanted—but to keep her, he’ll have to drop a terrifying truth bomb on his loving but stifling family. And Rosie must trust her bruised heart with the guy who nearly crushed it.

Come back to Bangers Tavern for a steamy, laugh-out-loud, opposites-attract romance that ignites in all the worst ways—and the best!

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

I was asked to contribute a short romance to an anthology, so I’m writing a second-chance romance story that begins at Bangers Tavern’s Anti-Valentine’s Day party.

Is there anything you want to tell readers?

Please review! Seriously, whenever you enjoy a book, please take a moment to post a review on Goodreads, Bookbub, Amazon, or another ebook retailer. Reviews mean so much to us authors. Pretty please with whipped cream and a cherry on top!


Kiara’s hip-bump sloshed beer across Eddie’s hand. “How’s it going, stud muffin?” She’d had her braids redone since he saw her last—blue and green strands woven among the black ones. She reached across him to fill a tall glass with winter IPA. “You and Rosie had a fun time?”

“Sure.” He schooled his features into a bland expression. No way would he let her tease any details out of him. He just prayed that Rosie would be as discreet. 

He delivered Gus’s beer, then ran a quick inventory. The keg of porter was running low. As he headed for the back room, a flash of electric blue caught his eye. There she stood at the server station, dressed in a silvery top cut low to display the bouquet of pink and red roses tattooed across her lush cleavage. Jeans shorts hugged her plump hips. Black tights and sturdy knee-high boots—sexy, earthy, gorgeous. While she waited for her drink order, she bunched her sapphire curls into a topknot and shoved a pencil through to anchor it, revealing the slender vine tattooed behind her right ear. Less than forty-eight hours ago, he’d traced that vine with his tongue. His stupid dick inched upward at the sight.

She’s not for me. He forced his gaze downward as he approached. He couldn’t ignore her, or people would talk. He couldn’t greet her too warmly, or people would talk. What the fuck was he supposed to do, then?

“Hey, Eddie.” Instead of her usual husky warmth, her voice sounded flat, tired.  

“You feeling all right?” She did seem a little pale. “You want a coffee or something?”

Her smile flickered and died. “Nah, I’m good. You?”

He shrugged. Don’t pout. Be a man about it. “Okay, I guess. Babka says hi.”

There it was again, that sad almost-smile. “Tell her I said hi.” She swiped a palm down her face, leaned onto the bar, and whispered, “This sucks.”

“Yeah, it does.” Knowing he wasn’t suffering alone lightened the load just a tiny bit. He laid his hand over hers. “Hang in there, beautiful. We’ll get past this.” 

“Well, well, well.” Charlie stepped up and set down her tray. Her glossy brown ponytail swung as she looked from Eddie to Rosie, grinning. “How are the lovebirds this evening?”

“Look—” Rosie started.

“Listen—” Eddie said at the same time. 

They exchanged wry grins. Rosie lifted her chin slightly, a silent signal. You’re up.

“We’re just friends. Right, Rosie?”

“Right,” she chirped with a fake, wide-eyed smile. “You and River are the only lovebirds here.” She loaded her drink order onto her tray and sailed into the crowd.

With a shaky exhale, he returned to his duties: trekking from storage room to bar, with side trips to pick up empties and to the kitchen to help Diego and Chelsey when food orders got backed up. He restocked glasses, tapped beer kegs, and kept his eyes on his work and off Rosie. 

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Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance from her new home in Washington State, U.S.A. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, plays darts (pretty well), plays guitar (badly), and gobbles all the books. Visit Sadira at

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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Guest Post: Claimed as Theirs by Kryssie Fortune #hotbook

Today my guest is Kryssie Fortune with her new release Claimed as Theirs

Warning the except is hot, hot, hot.


When she is captured and thrown into a cage filled with ravenous vampires, Gwen assumes she will be devoured. But among the horde is a huge, terrifyingly powerful berserker who has other plans for her. She will belong not only to him, but to all of the vampires of his triad, and her beautiful body will be theirs to use and enjoy as thoroughly and shamefully as they please.

Gwen soon learns that her new masters will demand obedience from their little human, and it isn’t long before her defiance has earned her a painful, humiliating spanking. But even with tears still running down her blushing cheeks, her helpless arousal cannot be denied, and as she is claimed and ravaged again and again her pleas for mercy are soon lost amid her cries of pleasure.

Publisher’s Note: Claimed as Theirs is a stand-alone novel set in the same world as Taken as Theirs. It includes spankings and rough, intense sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.


Gore’s stomach plummeted. This newcomer—this human—completed him. He’d never looked for a mate, never intended to take one, either. Now fate thrust her on him. He didn’t know how to deal with that.

His mating instinct hit him in a bomb blast of possession and need. Resentment too, but he still wove dark sensual fantasies around her. He was menacing and terrible, a vampire to be respected and feared. Touching her eased the ever-present anger churning in his gut. Helped him forget how everyone, his parents included, rejected him for his berserker heritage, too.

His fury that the fates dumped her on him faded when he stroked her arse. The way she wriggled against his shoulder added a swagger to his gait. Need swamped him, and if he didn’t bury his cock balls-deep in her cunt, he’d explode. This tiny woman with her brilliant red curls and generous curves was temptation and sin.

All this eternal love stuff wasn’t for him. His parents had taught him that. Not that he’d stand by while the mob got their hands—or their fangs—on her. She roused unwelcome, carnal instincts within him, but he protected his own.

Her defiance impressed the hell out of him. Few creatures, whatever their species, had the guts to start a fight they couldn’t win. When the conditions killed her—and they would—he’d be hollow inside. That or he’d go into a tailspin of violence and out-of-control rage. Confused and conflicted, his thoughts scrambled. She’s an anchor, to weigh me down, but I’d die to protect her.

His throwback heritage made him stronger and meaner than most. He’d never expected to be part of a triad or to become the left hand of the true vampire king. He took pride in his role, stopping trouble before it started. Without Bronte’s calming gaze and his muscular backup, the blood-hungry vampires in here would have turned on each other in a last-man-standing bloodbath.

Protecting the weak came naturally to him. Bronte and Plato might overrule him, but never in public.

Cock hard, brain reeling, he caressed his human’s curvy arse. She shivered at his touch. Everything about her made him want to throw out his chest and scream Mine. He pictured himself screwing her until she collapsed in an exhausted heap beneath him. It curdled his stomach that he couldn’t safeguard her from starvation or the sub-zero conditions.

Her kissable lips bewitched him, and he wondered how they’d feel wrapped around his cock. His instincts screamed, Screw her into multiple orgasms. Their fledgling mating bond meant she’d become his addiction and his delight. Had she been an immortal, she’d have craved him as desperately as he did her. Yeah, right back to her mortality.

Furious that fate tied him to a human, he stomped through the dungeon’s squalor. His triad brothers would guard her while he got his head straight. Only she’d die without food or warmth. His inability to supply her most basic needs drove the air from his lungs.

Most paranormal species screwed like hound dogs in heat until they found their fated mates. Then that was it for them. He didn’t do love or emotions, ever. And yet… He wanted to lay her on silk sheets and shower her with rose petals before he thrust his cock in her hot little mouth and claim her so hard she could barely breathe. When the hell did I develop a romantic streak?

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Guest Post: Rawhide Ace in the Hole by Desiree Holt

Today's guest is Desiree Holt as she talks about her new release Rawhide Ace in the Hole. 

I've had the pleasure of meeting Desiree several times at conferences. She is a kind and lovely woman. I adore her writing.

At the very exclusive dungeon, where only those with connections gather to indulge their sexual fantasies, a new twist has been added—a deck of cards. For each Master and sub, the choice of cards from their deck determines their play for the night. Who knows what twists a game of chance can bring.

Cut the Cards

Kelly LeBlanc was hot and aroused at being selected to be part of a demonstration for Rawhide’s members and guests. A card game for sex? What fun. But then she met the Dom, Tanner Sloat, and she found all her wildest fantasies about to come true.


He was everything Nia March had ever dreamed about in a Master, and more. And as he took her to levels higher than she’d even been, touching something deep inside her, she wondered if she could protect her heart.

Texas Hold ‘em

Sage Drummond thought she’d never recover from the effects of a relationship filled with cruelty, but she craved the role of sub. When she tentatively dipped her toe in the waters at Rawhide, that last thing she expected to find was a Master who would satisfy her needs as well as heal her heart. Could it last?

Dealer’s Choice

Cade Sullivan was one the most in demand Dom, until a tragedy sent him hiding from the world and out of the D/s life. Working at Rawhide gave Fiona Wilder the urge to try the D/s life. Could she be the key to make Cade forget the past and build a life with a sub that was all his?

Two of a Kind

They each brought their baggage to a night at Rawhide that was supposed to be nothing but fun. A night of intense D/s play. Neither expected the intense connections they made or how it would change their lives.


From Cut the Cards:

If Tanner hadn’t come vetted by Reulas, Kelly might have had second thoughts about this. She was very selective with her Doms, but the club owner wouldn’t put her with a man unless he trusted him. Besides, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt such a strong sexual pull, such a desire to do anything and everything with anyone, no restrictions.

She smiled at him and waited for him to precede her, following him with her head down and hands clasped behind her back, already in her submissive role.

The alcove was barely more than a niche in the wall as it curved back toward the hallway. It contained a café table and two chairs and provided a modicum of privacy for two people to conduct their negotiations away from the crowd. Tanner nodded for her to sit, then opened the deck of cards.

“This is a new game to you,” he told her, “so I would like you to make the first choices.”

She took a deep breath, fanned out the cards, and started turning them over.

All Buy links found here:

Rawhide: Ace in the Hole | Desiree Holt » Books


USA Today best-selling and award-winning author Desiree Holt writes everything from romantic suspense and paranormal to erotic. and has been referred to by USA Today as the Nora Roberts of erotic romance, and is a winner of the EPIC E-Book Award, the Holt Medallion and a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice nominee. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times and numerous other national and international publications.


Where else can you find me:

Twitter @desireeholt

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Guest Post: Mountain Blaze by Debby Grahl

My guest today is Debby Grahl and she is talking about her new release: Mountain Blaze


Tell us a little about yourself:

My husband David and I live on Hilton Head Island, SC. I love the water so we spend time sitting and walking on the beach. I also enjoy horseback riding, traveling, shopping for shoes, going out to lunch with girlfriends, getting together with family and friends, decorating for Christmas, red wine, and chocolate. I like to read old British murder mysteries and romance novels.

What do like the most and the least about writing? 

I love plotting the story, creating my characters, and the incredible feeling I get when a reader tells me how much they enjoyed my book. I don’t like marketing at all! I’m not good at it, and it takes up time when I’d rather be writing. I tell people I’d rather be forced to eat mushrooms than do marketing.

Give us a peek into your latest published work? 

Disillusioned by his wife’s betrayal, rodeo star Dillon McCoy comes home to the mountains of North Carolina to lick his wounds. When he agrees to take over the family ranch, the Lazy M, he’s unaware danger waits.

Diana Thompson is having doubts about her engagement to Trent Sawyer. She agrees to leave Chapel Hill and spend Thanksgiving with her friend Jenn at the Lazy M. When Diana and Dillon meet, neither can deny their attraction, but both must resolve past relationships while fighting their growing desire. 

After Dillon turns down an anonymous offer to purchase the ranch, attempts are made on his life. When a body is found, Dillon sets out to discover who wants the McCoy land enough to commit murder.

What’s next on the writing horizon for you? 

I’m working on Island Heat which is next in my Carolina series and is set on Hilton Head Island. The third will take place in Charleston, SC. I have the plot and the characters, but I’m having trouble with the title.

Is there anything you want to tell readers?

 I’d like to tell them how much I appreciate their taking the time to read my books and give me reviews. 


Dillon smiled and Diana thought it the sexiest smile she’d ever seen. There was a slight cleft in his chin, and fine lines formed at the corners of his eyes. Diana inwardly groaned. The butterflies were back.

“I’d hold onto you. I wouldn’t let you fall,” he softly said.

With his slow southern accent, the words sounded like warm honey rolling off his tongue. The depth of his eyes and the sound of his voice mesmerized her.

The horses stood side by side. Her and Dillon’s legs touched. He leaned toward her, and the light aroma of wood smoke, hay, and his spicy cologne filled her nostrils. Diana knew what he was about to do but had no willpower to stop him. He cupped her cheek and their lips met.

Gentle at first, his lips glided over hers. He increased the pressure until she opened her mouth and his tongue slipped in. Diana moaned and wrapped her arms around his neck. His arms around her waist, he deepened the kiss. Before she realized what he was doing, without breaking their kiss Dillon lifted her from Flora and placed her across his lap.

Cradled in his arms, Diana clung to him, delicious sensations filling her. Her body came alive in a way that surprised her. The only thing that mattered was this man and this moment.

Flame moved, bringing her back to reality. Diana’s eyes fluttered open, and she stared into Dillon’s, deep with passion and need.

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Thursday, October 8, 2020

Guest Post: Christmas Rekindled by Sadira Stone

Today's guest is Sadira Stone with her newest release: Christmas Rekindled.

Tell us about what you write:

I write steamy contemporary romance set in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. My Book Nirvana series centers around a quirky bookshop in Eugene, Oregon. Gelato Surprise is a steamy older woman/younger man beach romance novella. The Banger Tavern Romance series is set in a neighborhood tavern in Tacoma, Washington, where I live - the town, not the Tavern! Each story features a holiday celebration in Bangers Tavern: Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, 4th July, Halloween, etc. During this sad time when so many bars, resturants, and other businesses are shut down. Bangers Tavern gives me a chance to virtually share the fun, camaraderie, and bar food I miss so much. And each volume includes tasty cocktail recipes I've personally tested and tweaked - a tough job, but I do it for my readers (wink).

Under my own name, I write cozy mysteries and creepy short stories - think The Twilight Zone  - but so far only one creepy short story has been published. I'll get to the rest of them eventually, but right now I'm having too much fun writing romance!

When two Scrooges unite to save a bar in trouble, a kiss under the mistletoe sparks the sexiest Christmas miracle ever.

Bartender River Lundqvist has a damn good reason for hating Christmas. Bangers Tavern is the perfect place to lay low over the holidays—until Charlie walks in. His first encounter with the saucy server nine years ago was utter humiliation. Her reappearance stirs up powerful desires and hopes for a new start. But the timing is all wrong.

Back in Tacoma to care for her estranged dad over the holidays, freelance web designer Charlie Khoury braces herself for the suckiest Christmas ever. A temporary job at Bangers Tavern gives her a chance to escape Dad’s criticism and blow off some steam. But why does the hunky bartender seem to hate her?    

A pretend girlfriend is just what River needs to keep his family off his back—until a kiss under the mistletoe flares hot enough to melt the North Pole. When greedy developers threaten Bangers Tavern, River and Charlie must team up to save it. Their sizzling chemistry feels like the real thing—but everyone knows rebound relationships don’t last.

Come to Bangers Tavern for an enemies-to-lovers tale of reconciliation, found family, holiday cocktails, and the sexiest Christmas miracle ever.


Passing with a keg of beer on a hand dolly, Eddie grunted and pointed up, grinning. Above the bar’s corner hung a clump of mistletoe, tied with a red ribbon.

River dropped his gaze to Charlie. Should he move in for that kiss he’d been fantasizing about since yesterday? Or wait for her to initiate?

She shrugged. “Can’t break tradition.” She took a step toward him. His heart double-timed in his chest. His vision went all soft and blurry. Nearer still…

She pivoted, grabbed Eddie’s jaw with both hands, and planted a loud smooch on his mouth. “Mwah. Merry Christmas, Eddie.”

The barback stumbled and nearly fell on his bony ass.

River didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Cursing softly under his breath, he trudged toward the bar. I push her father all the way down Sixth Ave, and she kisses Eddie?

A soft hand grasped his bicep. “C’mon, River. Don’t be mad.”

He turned, and she stepped in close. Really close. Her fingertips rested on his chest. Huge dark eyes twinkled with mischief. “I had to pay Eddie back for being a troublemaker.”

He arched an eyebrow. “Kissing me is trouble?”

Her hand slid to his nape. “Probably. But, you know, tradition…”

Her heaven-soft lips brushed his, and the din around them faded away. He wrapped his arms around her waist. Her tongue might be sharp, but every inch of her was warm, soft, luscious. A low, hungry sound deep in her throat called his dick to full attention. She angled her head and kissed him again, long and lingering. But when he touched the corner of her mouth with the tip of his tongue, she sucked in a breath and pulled away. “See, told ya.” She tapped his sternum. “Trouble.”

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Author Bio:

Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance from her new home in Washington State, U.S.A. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, plays darts (pretty well), plays guitar (badly), and gobbles all the books. Visit Sadira at


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Friday, August 28, 2020

Guest Post: D*mn Near Perfect by Nancy Fraser

Today my guest is Nancy Fraser talking about her new book D*mn Near Perfect

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hmm ... how long have we got?

I’ve been writing for over 30 years. My first book was published in 1996. My next, not until 10 years later. Perseverance pays off, I guess. Since then I’ve published over 30 romance novels, novellas, and short stories.

I’m fortunate to have worked with a number of great editors and count many, many authors among by best friends. Being an author is a great life. I look forward to at least another decade of creating.

What do like the most and the least about writing?

If I had to pick a “most”, I’d definitely say the satisfaction of finishing a book and being able to share it out in the world. Also, the kindness of readers who appreciate the hard work that goes into creating a compelling book.

Least? Falling in love with my character and then having to day “goodbye”.


Beth Andrews has given up on ever finding a happily-ever-after. Still smarting from a bitter divorce, she’s decided the only thing she truly needs is sex.

Unfortunately, wanting sex and actually finding it are two very different things.

Jonathan Tucker is perfectly satisfied with his bachelor lifestyle. He has a wonderful career, a kick-ass new condo, and any woman he wants. As often as he wants. At twenty-seven, he’s convinced he’s living life exactly as it should be.

Will the older, albeit sexy, ad executive and the handsome, talented artist both find there’s more to life than what they have now? Or, will they be satisfied with what the both claim to want—d*mn near perfect sex!

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

D*mn Near Perfect is my first self-published project. I have another book, Return of the Wolfe, coming out in September. I’m truly enjoying the freedom of self-publishing and plan to keep it up for quite some time.

I'll be teaming with 9 other wonderful authors in a box-set of contemporary holiday romances, Christmas Comes to Dickens, which will be up for pre-order on all platforms as of October 1st.

Is there anything you want to tell readers?

If you find an author you truly like, share his/her work with your friends and other romance fans. Word-of-mouth is often how many authors get discovered, and read, by readers who may never have known about their work.

Of course, I’d be remiss without also saying “thank you” for your support. We hard-working authors truly appreciate it.



Beth lit the tapered candles and opened a bottle of expensive red wine so it could breathe. Harry would be there at any minute. Always prompt, the investment banker was finally going to get what he’d been hinting at on their last two dates.

Everything set, they’d have a quick dinner, a bit of serious foreplay, some hot sex and maybe—just maybe—she’d be asleep before her upstairs neighbor came home.

The security buzzer chimed Harry Patterson’s arrival. The hand-carved clock in the foyer cuckooed seven times. Checking her appearance in the hallway mirror, Beth pressed the release switch on the outside entrance and opened her apartment door in anticipation.

Moments later, the elevator door slid open and Harry, decked out as always in a two-thousand-dollar Armani suit, stepped into the hall. Beth could see another man standing just inside the elevator. The stranger raised his head and their gazes met. He smiled, a teasingly devilish grin, and then he winked at her. His gaze swept over her, leaving a trail of heat in its wake.

Harry, damn him, came forward, his approach blocking her line of vision, stealing from her a last glimpse of one of the most handsome men she’d ever seen, interrupting the wave of warmth flooding her body.

“Beth, darling. How have you been?” Harry asked, his voice filled with arrogant indifference.

Okay, enough small talk. Let’s eat and then hit the sack.

Rather than voice her conscience’s desire for immediate action, she said instead, “I’m fine, Harry. How about you?”

“As good as can be expected, given the state of the market lately. Are those investments I recommended holding up for you?”

“They’re fine, I guess. I really don’t keep track.”

She could see shock and disappointment in the darkening of his gaze.

“Really, Beth, you’ve got to pay more attention. You’re not getting any younger you know. And, given what you lost in the divorce settlement, it’s imperative you start rebuilding your portfolio.”

“It’s only been a year or two. And, I’m not that old.”

He took a step closer and laid his palm against her cheek. His hands were soft, she noticed, probably softer than her own. She tried to imagine how they’d feel caressing her body, yet the image wouldn’t come. She closed her eyes and waited. Instead of conjuring up a picture of the two of them engaged in a steamy clinch, she saw the man in the elevator, his grin taunting her, his gaze assessing her.

Most men, she realized, would take the demure closing of her eyes, the subtle show of submission, as encouragement. Not Harry.

Rather than suggest skipping their meal altogether, he asked, “What’s for dinner?”


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