Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review: "At Love's Bidding," by Regina Jennings


About this book:
She sells priceless antiques. He sells livestock by the pound. Is he really the man to make a bid for her heart?

After helping her grandfather at their Boston auction house, Miranda Wimplegate discovers she's accidentally sold a powerful family's prized portrait to an anonymous bidder. Desperate to appease the people who could ruin them forever, they track it to the Missouri Ozarks and make an outlandish offer to buy the local auction house and all its holdings before the painting can move again.

Upon crossing the country, however, Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn't deal in fine antiques, but in livestock. And its frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt Ballentine, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don't know a thing about the business he's singlehandedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count -- but no mysterious painting -- Miranda and Wyatt form an unlikely but charged partnership to try and prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

My thoughts:
I really enjoyed getting to know Miranda and Wyatt, who went through a lot of personal growth in this book. In Boston, Miranda was easily swayed by others, but through her trip to Missouri with her grandfather, who was showing signs of dementia, she learned to stand up for herself and become more independent. Wyatt grew up feeling inadequate because he was adopted and always believed he was born out-of-wedlock, so he had to summon up the courage to learn more about his background. Miranda and Wyatt seemed to have little in common at first, but through their struggles, they learned that they were more alike than they thought and both had a good heart. The quirky people in Pine Gap, Missouri, were a joy to meet, too. If you're a fan of historical romance, you'll delight in At Love's Bidding, by Regina Jennings.

About the author:
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of A Most Inconvenient Marriage, Sixty Acres and a Bride, and Caught in the Middle, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children.

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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cute Idea from Litfuse Publicity: Make a Book Tree

Happy holidays and thank you to everyone who has visited Susan Heim on Writing this year. I am so grateful for all of you and hope that 2016 brings many good things your way!

Enjoy this great idea from Litfuse Publicity to turn your love of books into a Christmas decoration!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Roman's Holiday Blog Tour: Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Roman's Holiday
Roman's holiday cover
Roman's Holiday by Susan Aylworth

Four years after Roman Kincaid was catapulted into stardom as a country-western singer and A-list movie star, he is burned out: exhausted by a grueling schedule, drained by the ceaseless demands of producers and managers, weary of meeting the needs of others at the expense of his own. Leaving a sold-out show in Phoenix, he rents a car and drives north and east, landing in the Painted Desert town of Rainbow Rock.

Nearly three years after leaving her old life behind, Lottie Beale is feeding people and baking pies, managing the Kachina Café and tending secrets of her own. When circumstances conspire to give two attractive people some time alone together amid the world-class vistas of the Four Corners, they discover more than either had bargained for.

Read an Excerpt:

In the kitchen with the door swinging closed between them, she took a moment to gather herself, planning to be at her sunniest when she went back to the dining room. He’s leaving and I’m not going with him. At least I can send him away with a smile. She cut into her “Roman’s Holiday” pie and plated two slices, each on a swirl of chocolate sauce. Then she added another swirl and a dollop of whipped cream to the top. Picking up two forks, she took a deep breath, pretended a smile, and went to serve the man she loved. “Here it is, the new pie sensation of the century.”

“I can hardly wait.”

She set a slice in front of him. “Before you take a bite, I want you to know I made it to taste like you. No, that’s not what I mean! Not to taste like you taste—” She stopped herself. Then she grinned. “If I knew how to make that, every woman in the country would buy it.”

Roman acknowledged the compliment with a nod.

She tried again. “I wanted it to taste like who you are. Ugh, I’m botching this something awful. Just taste it and tell me what you think.” She waited while he cut a bite of the pie and lifted it to his mouth.

“Oh Lottie.” He closed his eyes, savoring the flavor. “It’s marvelous.”

“Really? You’re not just saying that?”

“It’s mar-ve-lous!”

“I thought it was a winner. Glad you like it.”

“Like it? I love it! Tastes like me, huh?”

“Well, like who you are, like what this time together has meant… to me.”


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Susan A
Author Susan Aylworth

Susan Aylworth started her first book when she was nine. "It was called Buff, The Proud Stallion. I wrote eight whole pages." For her fifth grade career day, she stated her ambition to become "a rich and famous author." Decades later, she is pleased to have achieved the 'author' part of that goal. A former university professor, she enjoys researching backgrounds and careers for her novels. "It's one way to live many lives at once." She lives in northern California with her husband of 45 years and two spoiled cats.

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Blog Tour Giveaway
Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or $25 in PayPal Cash
Ends 1/21/16
Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.


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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal cash. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Friday, December 18, 2015

M9B Friday Reveal: Redesigned Series Cover Reveal – Dragonrider Chronicles by Nicole Conway with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

M9B-Friday-Reveal-Bannernew

Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are revealing the cover for
Traitor (Dragonrider Chronicles #3)
by Nicole Conway,
an upcoming Month9Books title!
Not only are we revealing this gorgeous new cover,
we are also revealing the redesigned covers for the series!
You guys are in for a treat!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Can anyone survive being lost in Luntharda? 
No amount of training has prepared Jaevid Broadfeather for the frontlines of battle. Now facing the true horrors of war, with Luntharda looming on the horizon, Jaevid has begun to question everything he thought about his heritage. The only thing keeping him going is his oath to protect his dragonrider brothers. But in an instant, even that slips through Jaevid’s fingers as he steps from the safety of his dragon’s saddle into the depths of his mother’s wild homeland—the kingdom of the gray elves. 
Stranded in Luntharda with his partner, Lieutenant Jace Rordin, Jaevid must finally confront the demons of his own past as he uncovers the truth about a war that began before he was ever born. Armed with a new appreciation for destiny, and flanked by his trusted friends, Jaevid moves to make the final strike against an enemy that has hidden in plain sight for far too long. 
One kingdom’s traitor will become the world’s last hope.
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Available for Pre-Order:
Chapters | Amazon | B&N | TBD

AND NOW HERE ARE THE REDESIGNED
COVERS FOR BOOKS 1 AND 2!

Fledgling NEW 1800x2700

When Jaevid Broadfeather is given the rare opportunity to become a dragonrider for the king’s army, the 15-year-old boy has no idea that he is part of a conspiracy that will rock the very foundations of the kingdom. 
Jaevid Broadfeather has grown up as a wartime refugee, hiding from the world because of his mixed racial heritage. He feels his future is hopeless, until a chance encounter with a wild dragon lands him in Blybrig Academy—a place usually forbidden to anyone but the rich and royal. But Jaevid’s case is special: no dragon has voluntarily chosen a rider in decades, so the proud riders of Blybrig must begrudgingly let him join their brotherhood despite his bloodline. Lieutenant Sile Derrick, a sternly tempered man with a mysterious past, becomes his instructor and immediately takes a peculiar interest in Jaevid’s future. 
While struggling through the rigorous physical demands of training, things begin to go awry. Jaevid witnesses the king’s private guards kidnapping Sile in the dead of night. When none of the elder riders are willing to help him, Jaevid begins a dangerous adventure to save his instructor. 
Everything Jaevid learned at the academy will now be put to the ultimate test.
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Avian NEW 1800x2700

Jaevid wants to pass his Avian year of training ... but will he even survive it? 
What kind of power is lurking inside him? After a year of training to become a dragonrider, Jaevid Broadfeather has been sent home to rest during a three-month interlude. But when he returns to find the king drake has chosen Beckah Derrick as his new rider, Jaevid realizes something big is about to happen. Every fiber of his being is pushed to the breaking point as Jaevid battles through his avian year, preparing for the final graduation test of the battle scenario. But there is more standing in his way than a few pushups and fancy sword moves. Jaevid must face a new fear as he is tormented by a gruesome nightmare of a mysterious gray elf warrior murdering the royal family of Maldobar. It seems obvious to him that this is some kind of message about how the war started long ago—until Felix assures him the king is very much alive. With his strange powers growing stronger by the day, and that violent dream replaying in his mind every night, Jaevid no longer wonders if he will pass his avian year or not—he wonders if he will even survive it. 
The truth will soon be set loose.
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NicoleConwayPhoto

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book. 
Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school. 
She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation. 
Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win.
Title will be sent upon its release.

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 Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz: "Tracy Tam: Santa Command" by Krystalyn Drown and "Last Siege of Haven" by Ty Drago with Giveaway #T4T

T4T-Banner

Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!
You just might find your next read!
This week, #T4T presents to you:
Tracy Tam: Santa Command by Krystalyn Drown and
Last Siege of Haven by Ty Drago
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Tracy-Tam-Cover

Tracy doesn’t believe that Santa can deliver all of those presents in one night without a little help from science. A flying sleigh can only be powered by jet engines, and Santa’s magical abilities can only be the result of altered DNA. In order to test her theories, she sneaks onto Santa’s sleigh and ends up at Santa Command, the place where a team of humans monitors Santa’s big night. When Tracy attempts to hack into their computers, she accidentally introduces a virus to their system. As a result, three states get knocked out of sync with the rest of the world. Before the night is over, Tracy has to fix time and help Santa finish his deliveries. And she has to do it all with Santa’s magic, which she doesn’t believe exists.
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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

This is an adorable story and took me back to my childhood when i would stay up late and see if I could catch Santa.” – Jan, Jrs Book Reviews

Tracy Tam is an entertaining holiday read with a stubbornly scientific protagonist…”Dianne, Author

“…packed with fun surprises and zany flips that turn expectations into wonder.” – Kim, Kim's Critiquing Corner

about-the-author
Krystalyn Drown

Krystalyn spent thirteen years working at Walt Disney World in a variety of roles: entertainer, talent coordinator, and character captain. Her degree in theatre as well as many, many hours spent in a dance studio helped with her job there. Her various other day jobs have included working in zoology at Sea World, as an elementary teacher, and currently as a support technician for a website. In the evenings, she does mad writing challenges with her sister, who is also an author. Krystalyn lives near Orlando, Florida, with her husband, son, a were-cat, and a Yorkie with a Napoleon complex.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Undertakers-4-cover

While away on an undercover mission, Undertaker Will Ritter has made an unthinkable alliance ... with a Corpse! But though Robert Dillin (aka "The Zombie Prince") is indeed one of those alien invaders who animate and possess the bodies of the dead, Dillin isn't evil -- unlike the rest of his kind. In fact, he wants to help. And Will needs that help because the Queen of the Dead has learned the location of Haven, the Undertakers' secret HQ, and is planning a massive and deadly assault. 
With the last day of the Corpse War finally upon them, Will and his friends find themselves in a desperate race to close the Rift between worlds and forever kill the Corpses. But can they do before Haven is overrun? For that matter, can they do it at all?
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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

Overall, I really liked the book. It was literally nonstop action, and I read most of it in one night because it was so great.” – Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer

“Ty Drago, an extremely talented author, has once again proven the adult mind can be as creative and intuitive as a child's.”Ryan, Amazon Reviewer

“Fantastic conclusion to the series! Has us on the edge of our seats, and by the end, cheering and crying at the same time.” – Felicia, Amazon Reviewer

about-the-author
Ty Drago

Ty Drago does his writing just across the river from Philadelphia, where The Undertakers novels take place. In addition to The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses,The Undertakers: Queen of the Dead, and The Undertakers: Secret of the Corpse Eater, he is the author of The Franklin Affair and Phobos, as well as short stories and articles that have appeared in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest. He currently lives in southern New Jersey with his wife and best friend, the real Helene Drago née Boettcher.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway
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 Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Regina Jennings' "At Love’s Bidding" Cozy Winter Night Giveaway

After a cross-country trip to track down a sold painting that could ruin her family's business forever, Miranda Wimplegate forms an unlikely but charged partnership with livestock auctioneer Wyatt Ballentine in Regina Jennings' At Love's Bidding. Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn’t deal in fine antiques, but in livestock. And its frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don’t know a thing about the business he’s singlehandedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count–but no mysterious painting–Miranda and Wyatt must try and prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

Join Regina in celebrating the release of At Love's Bidding by entering to win her Cozy Winter Night giveaway and RSVPing to her January 5th author chat party!

at love's bidding - 400 
One grand prize winner will receive everything you need for a cozy winter night:
at love's bidding - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 1/5. The winner will be announced at the At Love's Bidding Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Regina and other readers, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!

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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Shadow of Time Blog Tour: Excerpt and Giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card, Signed Paperback and Rearview Mirror Ornament

Louann Tour Teaser

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A Shadow of Time


When young widow Kellyn O’Brien discovers her toddler has inherited the Shadow Ley fortune and estate, she thinks all of her problems are solved.

Unseen, a mysterious guardian dwells deep beneath the house. As the run-down mansion repairs itself, Kellyn is plagued by nightmares – windows into other dimensions that are as confusing as they are frightening.

Not sure what is real or imagined, Kellyn turns to her new friends for help. When they realize that their dreams are connected, they are determined to find the truth behind the unbelievable coincidence.

But the presence at Shadow Ley has something more diabolical in mind. And the friends must unravel the secrets before the insane entity takes more lives, beginning with theirs.

Excerpt from A SHADOW OF TIME:

Michael disappeared into the haze, his face graying out and blending with watery droplets. Suddenly a baby cried. A soft noise so quiet it hardly made an impression.

She stiffened. Again, a mewling echoed in the distance. She leaned over the side of the tub to get a better view. Warm mist coalesced into a lacy fog. On the other side of the bathroom a cradle shimmered. The flowered linoleum floor supported a white wicker cradle with a pinkish veil drawn across the opening. Four wooden legs held up the cradle with white paint flecking off ancient legs.

Stunned, she pulled herself to her feet, got out of the tub, and walked toward the cradle. She touched the wood, finding it soft with mold, then drew the veil from the cradle as the material rotted away in her hands. There, lying on a bed of stained red satin, was the decaying remains of an infant, its mouth contorted in agony. Bits of skull showed in-between wizened skin, its eyes gone, forever sightless. Her stomach contracted and her breath hitched. From a depth she hadn’t known existed within her, she screamed.

Kellyn’s eyes flew open, her heart thumping in fear. One hand held Scott’s fingers in a death grip while the other curled defensively around the child in her womb. She drew in a deep breath while tears sprang from her eyes. Her heart ratcheted up a beat, and the hand that protected her belly flew to her chest.

Jesus. I can’t breathe!

You can buy A Shadow of Time exclusively from Amazon!

FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Regular Kindle Edition

Paperback Edition

 

tourabouttheauthora

Louann Carroll

Carroll Author pic
Louann Carroll is a Native Californian living in the Sierra Nevada foothills with her husband, Dennis. Mother to three children and grandmother to seven, she is an avid rock, fossil, and gem hunter, who enjoys sharing her finds with family and friends. She is a student of alternative religion, archaeology, anthropology, and paleontology. Louann has written numerous radio talk shows, articles on adoption, and is the author of Innocent Blood, Gemini Rising, The Light and the Flame, and The Journey Series, heartfelt children's books about the challenges of life.

You can follow Louann at these links:

Website     |     Twitter     |     Facebook


GIVEAWAY

Open internationally, with one exception: signed book is USA only.
Must be 13+ to win.

Prizes:
1 -Rearview Mirror Ornament (Skulls)
1 - $10 Amazon Gift Card
1 - Signed Paperback Copy of A Shadow of Time

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Please check out our other tour hosts for Excerpts, Guest Posts and more chances to win!
December 15, 2015 Intoxicated by Books https://intoxicatedbybooks.wordpress.com/
   December 15, 2015 Books R Us http://www.booksrusonline.com/
   December 15, 2015 Susan Heim on Writing http://www.susanheimonwriting.com
   December 16, 2015 Raven Bower http://ravenbower.com/blog/
   December 16, 2015 Second Book to the Right http://2ndbooktotheright.blogspot.com
   December 16, 2015 Nerd Girl Official http://nerdgirlofficial.com/
   December 16, 2015 Mythical Books http://www.mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/
   December 17, 2015 Jody A Kessler http://jodyakessler.com/jody-a-kessler/
   December 17,2015 Maer Wilson http://maerwilson.com/
   December 18, 2015 La Fin Absolute du Monde http://ddevor.weebly.com

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The Vampire's Daughter: Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card

Front EBOOK Web Size - Vampire's Daughter 

The Vampire’s Daughter by Leigh Anderson

Cover by Cherith Vaughn
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Gothic Paranormal Historical Romance
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
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When Ethan discovers that the love of his life, Victoria, is actually the child of a monstrous beast and must marry another man to save her family, he retreats to a monastery to live out the rest of his days alone.

But the Church has other ideas.


Ethan’s mentor asks him to lead famous vampire hunter Dom Calmet back to his home village to rid the town of the vampires that plague it. Ethan must then take a journey, emotionally and literally, back to the town of his youth and choose between love and faith when he once again meets The Vampire’s Daughter.


Containing many tropes of a classic Gothic novel combined with the sensuality of a passionate romance, The Vampire’s Daughter will leave you gasping for more.

Full PRINT - Web Size The Vampire's Daughter (1)

EXCERPT


Victoria rode her horse Gregory toward the village at a steady pace. She was looking forward to seeing Ethan, and Gregory was glad to be out of the barn. As she got close to the village, she could sense something was wrong. She could hear the faint sound of a woman crying. Sorrow seemed to hang on the air. As she got closer, she could see a few people moving about quickly and quietly. Some were boarding up their windows; others were reinforcing their animal enclosures. Riding through the town, the usually cold people looked at her with disgust. In one house, she saw a little child pointing at her until the mother came up to close the drapes. A group of older women gathering firewood stopped and mumbled as she got closer. She dismounted at the blacksmith’s and greeted the man with a smile, but he did not repay her in kind.

“Thank you for watching Gregory for me for a few hours, sir,” she said as she tied him in his usual stall.

“No need to thank me,” he replied as he untied the horse and gave her back the reigns.

“Why?” she prodded, confused.

“You should not be here,” was all he said as he headed inside.

She led her horse back out into the street and looked around. There was hardly anyone about. A few prying eyes watched her from the houses.

“I have just as much right to be here as any of you,” she thought to herself as she held her head up high. She felt herself getting mad, but she wasn’t sure why. Why were the people staring and pointing at her? Why would the blacksmith say she didn’t belong there? What had she done to any of them? She decided to go to her future home and see if Ethan was there.

She tied her horse to the hitching post at the end of the walk. She approached the house and ran her fingers through what looked like claw marks on the oak front door. She did not remember seeing them there before.

“Hello?” she called inside as she opened the door. A small fire was going in the fireplace, telling her Ethan had been there and most likely would return. She felt herself calm down and her anger at the people melt away. The room was warm and safe. She closed the door and looked around the cottage. It already looked so homey, fully furnished with curtains on the windows and rugs on the floors.

She ascended the wooden steps to the second floor and opened the first door to a room on the left. It was small with equally small furniture - most likely a child’s room. She imagined that one day, her and Ethan’s children would be playing on that floor looking up at her with wide-eyed wonderment. Then their eyes reflected fear, and she thought of how the townspeople reacted to her today and how, even now, she was an outcast. She sighed, frowned, and shut the door on the frightened children she imagined were there.

She opened a door on her right and found the master bedroom. She entered the room, took off her cape, and hung it on a hook by the door. She walked over and placed her small hand on the large pine spindles of the bed. She walked to the far side of the bed, running her fingers over the covers. A multi-colored crotched blanket overlaid a beautiful pink and ecru quilt. She folded the blanket back so it only covered the foot of the bed and the quilt could be more fully seen. The quilt was so soft to the touch. She bent down and put her cheek to the fabric. She sighed in delight. She looked at the door and listened to see if anyone was there. When she only heard silence, she took off her shoes, climbed up onto the bed and laid long ways across it. It was a large bed. She stretched her hands way above her head and still could barely touch the other end. She laughed at herself and how she found such delight in such a simple thing.

“What are you doing?” a voice asked.

“Ahh!” she screamed and sat up straight and turned toward the voice. “Ethan! You startled me!”

“I startled you?” he asked. “What are you doing in my house?”

“Your house?” she asked. “I thought this was our house.”

Ethan began to laugh as he put the wooden club he was carrying by the door. “You should see yourself,” he said. “Why were you so afraid? I did not mean to scare you.”

“Oh, I do not know,” she replied, settling herself down. “Everyone was just acting so strange when I got here. I guess I am just on edge...” she trailed off, noticing the club. “What is that for?”

“Oh, well, do not worry about that,” he said, taking off his coat and sitting on the other side of the bed. “Everyone is a little nervous. Some wolves came into town on Sunday night and killed a man.”

“Oh, my goodness,” Victoria said, putting her hand to her mouth. “That is awful. Who was it?”

“Mr. Stanek,” he said. “We just had the funeral this morning,”

“I am sorry I missed it,” she lamented.

“It’s all right; you had no way of knowing about it.”

“Still, I feel awful.” She laid back and placed her head on one of the pillows.

Ethan looked at the sorrow on her face. He knew Father James was wrong about her. She cared and felt deeply for every person.

“Wait!” she said, sitting straight up again. “You said ‘wolves’ as in many of them? Is that what clawed the front door?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said. “There were five by my count, but some people saw more.”

“A whole pack attacked the town?” she asked. “That is like something out of an old legend, back when werewolves ruled the woods at night.”

“I know,” Ethan said. “The whole town is worried about the next full moon. Everyone is boarding up their windows and reinforcing their doors. I’m sure they are overreacting, though. Werewolves. How silly. They were just normal wolves. This cold weather probably has them desperate for food.”

“You actually saw them?” she asked. “My God, are you all right? You were not injured, were you?” She crawled over to him and put her hand on his face.

“No, no, I’m fine,” he said, chuckling over the fuss she was making. He liked how much she cared for him. “I’m fine,” he whispered, looking at her beautiful face. His face turned stone serious and he exhaled slowly.

She could tell by the way he was looking at her he wanted something. He turned his body to face her, reached up and pulled her toward him. She closed her eyes and let him kiss her. He stood up to kick off his shoes. She lay on the bed with her head on a pillow. He crawled up next to her and just looked at her for a moment. She pulled her feet up under her gown in a fetal position and put her hands under her cheek on the pillow. Ethan reached over and took the pins out of her hair, letting it frame her face. She looked so innocent, so pure. Her white skin was flawless and her dark eyes were glossy. She was not evil. If anything she was godly, angelic. He leaned over to kiss her, but she pulled back.

“Ethan,” she said. “Do you … would you mind if … maybe we…” She didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but she needed to ask him something.

“What?” he asked. He reached a reassuring hand to her and rubbed her shoulder. “What is it?”

“It’s … maybe we could not do that today. I still have not confessed from last time, and it has been a bad couple of days. Things have not gone well at home. I don’t need any more sin on my conscience right now.”

“Oh, sweetie. That’s all right,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. I don’t want to do anything you’re not comfortable with.”

“Have you talked to Father James yet? I really need to see him.”

“Oh, yes. I did speak to him…” He didn’t want to tell her what Father James had said, but he did not want to lie to her, either. “He was not happy, as expected,” he said. “He still wants me to go to Rome, of course.”

“Of course he would,” she agreed.

“He is still upset; I doubt he would absolve you of anything right now. Or me for that matter. I actually never confessed after last time either. Don’t worry, though, I am sure that in a few days, he will calm down and see that we are doing the right thing.”

“I hope so,” she said.

“Did you tell your father?” he asked.

“No, I have not been feeling well; I have not even seen him since Sunday. I think my nerves are making me tense. It has only been a couple of days; there is still plenty of time.”

“We have all the time in the world,” he said and smiled. His tone and happy demeanor calmed her so much she almost forgot about the wolves, and the priest, and the way the people in town were acting, and the women back home. All she wanted was to be with him forever. She leaned over and gave him an enticing kiss.

“I thought you were feeling guilty!” he said, pushing her gently away.

“If I die without confessing my already many and egregious sins, I suppose it makes no difference if I have one more added to the list, does it?”

“No, I suppose it doesn’t!” he said, climbing onto her, wrapping his arms all the way around her, holding her just as close and tight as he could. He rolled over and let her lay on his chest as they kissed. She straddled him to keep from falling over. She ran her tongue down his neck and kissed his chest. He reached down, pulled up her dress and caressed both of her legs. He ran his hands up to the top of her thigh-high stockings and touched her soft skin. She put the full weight of her body on top of him and he kissed her forehead. He slowly removed one of her stockings, feeling her bare, exposed skin from her thigh to her toes. He then removed the other stocking, a little more quickly this time.

Victoria breathed heavily; the room was hot. Ethan was burning for her. Ethan’s hot breath on her skin was almost more than she could handle. She reached a hand under his shirt and touched the skin of his rigid stomach. The sensation of her cold touch on his skin made Ethan gasp, but he took it as a sign that the shirt needed to be removed. He sat up and removed it while she still straddled his lap. He suckled and bit her neck and chest and caressed her thighs while she ran her fingers through his hair. The way his muscles had a slightly moist sheen in the subdued light filtering in from the window dressings excited her.

She reached around her back to try to find the many buttons that ran from her neckline to her waist. Ethan’s hands followed hers and realized what she was trying to do. He laughed a little, out of surprise and joy. He had an easier time removing the buttons from their loops than she did. He only got about halfway down when he thought the dress would be loose enough to take off. They both got up on their knees and he helped pull the heavy gown over her head. His face sank for a moment when he saw the full-length shift she was wearing underneath a fully laced corset. She laughed when she saw his expression.

“You did not think it was going to be that easy, did you?” she asked.

“Sorry if I seem a bit eager,” he said.

She felt relieved; she could breathe better and she felt lighter with the gown off. Ethan kissed her while she ran her fingers down his naked back. He reached around her and began pulling at the laces on her corset. She did not protest. She did not care if Helena noticed the lacings or not. She did not care if her father found out. What could he do about it after it was already done? If she gave herself to Ethan, let him have her most prized possession, it was hers to give. Ethan removed the corset and laid himself fully on top of her. She undid the top button on his pants. She moved her fingers deeper inside his pants to undo the next one and he groaned in anticipation.

“Victoria,” he said, propping himself up and looking at her. “Victoria. I love you so much.” He reached up and brushed some stray hairs away from her face. “Are you sure this is what you want?”

“I want you, Ethan,” she said, running her hands up his back. “I love you.”

He leaned back down and sucked on her neck. She held him tightly to her. He moved both of his hands to her legs and pulled her chemise up almost to her waist. He kissed her so strongly and his tongue prodded her mouth so deeply he almost gagged her, but she did not dare protest for fear he would stop. Her breath quickened. He did not want to go too quickly. This was the first time for both of them. He wanted to make sure it was perfect.

She was about to tell him to take her when a terrible feeling flooded over her. It was as if someone inside her head told her to run. She froze, trying to listen to the voice.

Ethan felt her tense up. He stopped because he was afraid he had hurt her or that she had changed her mind. “Victoria?” he began.

“Shhhhh!” she said, holding up a hand to silence him. Her harsh tone shocked him. She did not mean to sound cruel, but something was certainly wrong. He saw a disturbed look on her face. All of her senses seemed to come alive - she could see and hear everything around her. Hushed tones, the light clang of weapons, the smell of the cold air wafting in through an open door.

“Ethan!” she said, letting go of him and sitting straight up. “Someone is in the house!” She had a feeling it was more than someone simply looking for them – they were in danger.

“What?” he asked as he got up, closed his pants, and moved toward the door. She stood on the far side of the bed, pulled down her undergarment, and looked around for something she might be able to use to defend herself, but there was no time. As Ethan reached for the door, an unimaginable sense of danger overwhelmed her.

“No!” she screamed.

He stopped, but it was too late. Someone kicked in the door, and several of the village men entered the room followed by Father James.



leigh anderson

Leigh Anderson


Leigh Anderson is an American author and editor living and traveling in Asia. She has a master’s degree in English, and her thesis was on Gothic imagery in vampire literature. You can learn more about her at her website: LeighAndersonRomance.com.
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Monday, December 14, 2015

The Secret Life of Daydreams Book Blast: Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Secret Life of Daydreams
The Secret Life of Daydreams by Lucinda Whitney

Six years after a painful divorce, Josh Conrad is happy traveling the world as a photographer. When he arrives in Portugal, he plans to complete the assignment as quickly as possible. What he doesn’t plan for is Sofia, the girl he baptized eleven years earlier on an LDS mission, and soon he’s making excuses to prolong his trip.Sofia Monteiro leads a structured life in Braga, Portugal, teaching high school by day and caring for her mother by night. After she reconnects with Josh through mutual friends, the memory of a failed relationship and her new graduate program are enough reasons to stay away from him.

As they collaborate on a project, Josh is wary of repeating his old mistakes, and Sofia hesitates to spend time with an American who’s only passing through.

Can two people with wounded hearts bring themselves to trust their dreams to each other?

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Excerpt

Sofia walked back to meet Josh and they strolled together past the deck at the reception center and the start of the trail. She unfolded the map and held it up between them.She pointed at the spots of interest. “This is the suggested route. The main road goes up the hill to the western fortification wall. At the acropolis, there’s another wide road that intersects in the opposite direction.”

She circled several areas. “These areas are the residential nucleus and along the way we can see the remains of the round dwellings and the more common rectangular ones.” There was more but she looked up to Josh. “Are you okay with following this route?”

“I’m here to follow you.” He swept his right arm in front of her. “Just lead the way.”

Sofia straightened and pocketed the map. Josh carried too much and she hesitated. “Wouldn’t it be easier for you to use the equipment if I carry the backpack?”

He paused for a moment and surveyed the area then chuckled. “Sneaky, aren’t you? I know what you’re trying to do here.”

Why did guys always think they had to do everything to prove their virility? Such a macho thing. She splayed her hands on her hips. “It’s the twenty-first century. I can carry my share. Besides, this is more like a business outing, not a date. Which means you don’t have to carry stuff for me.” She extended her hand for the backpack.

“What if I believe in chivalry? You won’t give me a chance to practice it?”

“And what if I’m a feminist? You won’t respect my views?” She was pushing him now and enjoying the banter.

Josh eyed her and held quiet, the corner of his mouth twitching. Sofia wanted to laugh. He was probably trying to figure out how serious she was about feminism. After a few seconds, he set down the tripod and removed the backpack, but his eyes crinkled with a lack of seriousness belied by his actions.

Sofia took the backpack from him and put it on. It wasn’t even as heavy as she’d expected. “See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?” She started up the trail then turned back to Josh. “And you still have your man card intact,” she added with a smile.

Josh laughed. “Sassy, aren’t you?”

“Come on, we don’t have all day,” she pressed in a teasing tone.

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Praise for the Book

"Lucinda Whitney's The Secret Life of Daydreams whisks readers away to Braga, Portugal, a setting so vivid with color, texture, and life, they'll want to book a flight and travel there themselves. Josh is the hero many of us dream of, and Sofia a heroine who holds out for all she deserves. Overall, a delightful romance far from the ordinary in both distance and scope." -- Michele Paige Holmes

"The romance is fantastic and with enough tingle to make my heart flutter. The conflict between the characters is believable, and I longed for them to work it out, even though it wouldn't be easy." -- Laura D. Bastian

"The Secret Life of Daydreams is a story that explores the question, 'What if you got a second chance with the one that got away?' Readers will be rooting for Sofia and Josh to find a way to make their dreams come true despite the obstacles life puts in front of them."-- Sally Johnson

"This book was a delightful journey. I loved getting to know Josh and Sofia, cheering for them, growling at them, and sharing a happy sigh or two with them. The gorgeous setting of Portugal was an added bonus!"-- Alison Woods

Amazon Pre-order

Pre-order The Secret Life of Daydreams for just 99 cents!

Cindy Whitney
Author Lucinda Whitney
Lucinda Whitney was born and raised in Portugal, where she received a master’s degree from the University of Minho in Braga in Portuguese/English teaching. She’s a cancer survivor, and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Salt Lake Temple Square Visitors Center mission in Utah. She lives in northern Utah with her husband and four children. When she’s not reading and writing, she can be found with a pair of knitting needles in winter, or tending her herb garden in the summer. She also works part-time as a substitute teacher.


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Book Blast Giveaway
Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or $50 in PayPal Cash
Ends 1/3/16
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