Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Book Spotlight: A Lie for a Lie by Helen Hunting GIVEAWAY


Guest Post: Lainey vs. Puck Bunnies in A Lie for a Lie    

A Lie for a Lie is a heartwarming, sexy, emotional romantic comedy. It’s a second chance romance, filled with secrets and there are definitely some exciting, fun twists. It’s also a story of empowerment, self-discovery, and independence.

Rook Bowman, aka RJ or Rookie as he has been known as previously, has recently taken on the role as captain of Chicago’s NHL team, and with that role comes big responsibility and more fame than he sometimes knows how to handle. As with any professional sport, the NHL lifestyle can often be full of excess and decadence; money, fame and an endless stream of women who will do just about anything to get into bed with them, and it’s not always easy to avoid that kind of temptation.

When we meet Rook in A Lie for a Lie we learn that he has a less than shiny past when it comes to the excess and the puck bunnies (hockey groupies). NHL players are often drafted quite young—just watch a game and you’ll notice that the rookies can often barely grown peach fuzz, let alone a full beard. They’re still teenagers when they start their careers, and Rook was no different. Having grown up on an alpaca farm in rural New York, his focus was mainly hockey and the family farm, but once he hit the pros he found himself surrounded by women who literally threw themselves at him. And being young, attractive and full of testosterone, he fell headfirst down that rabbit hole. At least until the drama found him in the form of a fake pregnancy and a social media firestorm. Because of that, and the impact it had on his relationship with his family, Rook swears off the bunnies and refocuses on his career, rather than extracurricular activities.

He meets Lainey on the way to Alaska, where he’s gone every summer since he was a teenager with his dad and his brother. He lost his father a few years earlier, but kept the tradition with his brother because he craves the escape from the demands of his life as an NHL superstar. Lainey encapsulates everything he misses about being a “normal guy.” She doesn’t recognize him or seem to even know anything about hockey, and that makes her even more alluring. For once, he can just be himself. He doesn’t have to worry about ulterior motives or being used. Lainey is refreshingly innocent, incredibly smart, genuine and overwhelmingly sweet and Rook finds himself enamored with her sense of adventure. As they get to know each other, Rook learns about her traumatic past and realizes that despite the challenges she’s faced, Lainey possesses a quiet strength and resilience. Add some insane chemistry and you’ve got a recipe for love. Unfortunately for Rook, he built their entire fragile relationship on lie he can’t take back. 

***


Title: A Lie for a Lie
Author: Helena Hunting
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Publisher: Montlake

Summary

Sometimes I need an escape from the demands, the puck bunnies, and the notoriety that come with being an NHL team captain. I just want to be a normal guy for a few weeks. So when I leave Chicago for some peace and quiet, the last thing I expect is for a gorgeous woman to literally fall into my lap on a flight to Alaska. Even better, she has absolutely no idea who I am.

Lainey is the perfect escape from my life. My plan for seclusion becomes a month long sex fest punctuated with domestic bliss. But it ends just as abruptly as it began. When I’m called away on a family emergency, I realize too late that I have no way to contact Lainey.

A year later, a chance encounter throws Lainey and me together again. But I still have a lie hanging over my head, and Lainey’s keeping secrets of her own. With more than lust at stake, the truth may be our game changer.

A Lie For A Lie Excerpt

When Lainey excuses herself to the bathroom, I rush upstairs and throw on a T-shirt. I know she said whatever makes me comfortable, but sitting around shirtless is such a douche move.

I make it back to the kitchen and pour her a fresh drink before she returns from the bathroom.

“How can I help with dinner?” Lainey drapes her sweater over the back of a chair.

And my mouth goes dry. Like I ate an entire sleeve of saltines and chased it with a tablespoon of salt. So far I’ve only seen Lainey in a giant parka or an oversize sweater. Under all that bulky fabric is one hell of a body. She’s wearing a simple white waffle shirt that conforms to her curves. A pair of dark-wash skinny jeans encase her toned legs.

I’m used to bunnies throwing themselves at me, often in questionable states of undress. I stopped getting excited about miniskirts and revealing tops a long time ago. There’s something infinitely sexier about a woman who can show off her body without actually showing it off at all.

Lainey tips her head to the side. Her teeth press into her full bottom lip. I want to do that. Suck that pouty, full lip between my teeth and bite it. I want to do a lot of other, far more explicit things than that, but a kiss seems like a good place to start.

“RJ? Is everything okay?” Her eyes dip down to my chest. I’m wearing a shirt from one of my endorsement campaigns. It afforded me the extensive renovations on this cabin a few years ago.

“Huh?” I give my head a shake. “Oh. Yeah. Everything’s good. Sorry, zoned out there for a second.”

She smiles and pushes up on her toes, her eyes twinkling—like, they legit light up, and her excitement makes her entire body vibrate. It also makes her boobs jiggle. I try to keep my eyes glued to her face. It’s not easy, though.

“I do that all the time! Sometimes my brain is busy with so many thoughts I miss entire conversations. Does that happen to you too?”

I grin. I love that she seems to say whatever is on her mind. “All the time.”

“It’s actually a helpful skill when you’re being lectured, because I can sort through stuff in my head, but it’s not so great when your supervising professor is telling you what’s wrong with your thesis.” She pulls her hair over her shoulder and finger combs it.

“I take it that’s happened to you.”

“It did. Thankfully he also emailed all his criticisms, so missing out on it the first time wasn’t that big of a deal.” She divides her hair into three sections and deftly braids it without looking at what she’s doing even once. It’s pretty damn impressive. I almost want to pull it apart so I can watch her do it all over again. “Anyway, enough about that. Let’s get started on dinner!” She nudges me out of the way so she can wash her hands. She dries them on her jeans and moves over to the fridge, opening it to check out the contents.

I kind of like that she makes herself at home. I’m used to women who expect to be catered to. It’s refreshing to meet someone who doesn’t want me to pander to her.

I start pulling things out of the fridge as she starts naming items she’ll need and set them on the counter. I manage to locate most of what she asks for.

“What about garlic? Do you have any of that?” She leans over, peering into the fridge beside me. Her braid slips over her shoulder, skimming my arm.

“Uh, maybe we could forgo the garlic?”

“Are you allergic? My oldest brother gets bloated when he eats it. It took us forever to figure out what was causing it. Sometimes I’ll still put some in when he’s coming for dinner, because it’s funny to see him look like he’s expecting.” She tips her head to the side. “Or you just don’t like garlic?”

“I like it sometimes, but it depends.”

Her brows pinch together. “On what?”

“Who I’m eating with. I mean, if I’m going out with buddies, you bet I’m gonna order the honey garlic wings, or the cheesy garlic bread, or the pasta Alfredo. But if I’m eating dinner with a pretty girl, I’m gonna pass on the garlic.”

“Oh.” She twists the end of her braid around her finger.

I hope I’m not reading things wrong and making her uncomfortable.

“Does that mean you think I’m pretty?”

That she sounds genuinely curious as to my answer is unexpected. “You see yourself in the mirror every day—what do you think?”

She averts her gaze, still playing with the end of her braid. “My eyes are too big, so I always look like I’m surprised. My nose is small, and my lips are too full, so my mouth doesn’t really fit the rest of my face.”

“Wow. I think you need a new mirror, because all I see is a whole lot of gorgeous.”

She snorts a laugh and waves me off. “Once, I took a portrait class, and we learned all about proportion and symmetry of the face. Those are just my flaws based on what I was taught.”

“Well, I’m a big fan of all your flaws, and I think they make you more beautiful, not less.”

“Thanks. I think you’re beautiful too.” She cringes. “I mean handsome. You’re very nice to look at, with or without a shirt on. When I fell in your lap on the airplane, I remember thinking, At least I fell on someone nice looking.”

“Is that so?”

“Mm-hmm.” She opens a drawer, maybe to avoid looking at me. “And as much as I was mortified when you sat beside me on the Cessna, I couldn’t complain about the view, inside or outside of the plane. That you turned out to be really nice, and just so helpful, was a great bonus.” She hands me a roll of foil. “Why don’t you wrap the potatoes? They take the longest, so we should get started on those first.”

I put the potatoes on the barbecue and let Lainey order me around. She definitely knows her way around a kitchen. When I was growing up, my mom did most of the cooking, but my dad could make a mean Saturday-morning brunch. He also made great bread, which I miss a lot.

An hour later we’re seated at the table, plates full of steak, twice-baked potatoes, and crispy brussels sprouts cooked in bacon fat. I open a bottle of red wine and offer Lainey a glass.

“Just a little bit? I’m not sure I like red wine.”

“Maybe you just haven’t had the right red wine.” I pour a little into her glass.

She picks it up and gives it a swirl, then sniffs it. “I’ve seen people do this in the movies, but I don’t really know what the point is,” she admits, then tips the glass back and takes a tentative sip. Her expression turns thoughtful; then she takes another, slightly more robust sip. “This is actually really nice. I like it. Maybe the red wine I had before was bad.”

“Maybe. Some of the cheap stuff tastes pretty awful.” I pour more into her glass before filling mine. I hold up my glass and wait for her to raise hers.

“To chance meetings.”

“To new adventures and great company to share them with.” We toast and take a sip, each smiling behind the rim.

***


GIVEAWAY:



Author Biography

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Book Blast and Giveaway- Miss Felicity's Dilemma


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

ALL SHE WANTS IS HER OWN HOME

Miss Felicity Chambers is the new teacher of piano and deportment at Miss Manville’s Academy for Superior Girls. There is no reason a duke should contact her. There is certainly no reason she should marry his son. But that is evidently what the duke wants. Felicity should be delighted. But the orphaned schoolteacher has long since stopped believing in fairy tales. If only the duke’s son weren’t so compelling…

ALL HE WANTS IS THIS HOME

Lord Flint Bracken knows just what is behind the duke’s command, and it isn’t an attempt to secure a happily-ever-after for his son. The proposal is one of the duke’s schemes. Flint has no choice but to cooperate, though, or he risks more than his home. He risks national security. So court a penniless schoolteacher he must. He should be furious. But Felicity Chambers isn’t at all what he expected. She might very well be what he wants…

Read an Excerpt

It wasn't until she heard the door close that she breathed a sigh of relief. Time to escape from under the bed.

“Aren’t you growing cramped under there?” Lord Flint suddenly asked.

Felicity’s eyes flew open to find an upside-down face where the boots had been. Her heart dropped like a stone.

“Not at all,” she said, proud at how composed she sounded. “I am quite petite. But you really should have someone sweep under here. The dust balls are the size of wolfhounds.”

He reached a hand under the bed. For a moment Felicity just stared at it, unable to move. Even in the shadows it was a beautiful hand, with long, elegant fingers and a strong wrist. And she noticed beautiful hands. She was also, after all, the substitute art teacher for Miss Manners Academy for Superior Girls.

“I'm getting a crick in my neck,” Lord Flint growled, wiggling his fingers.

Felicity gave up and took hold. And gasped. It felt as if she'd been rubbing her stockinged feet on the carpet on a cold winter’s day and gotten a shock. She had heard of such a thing, of course, in every Minerva Press novel she had ever secreted under her pillow. But she had always thought it a literary device. A myth.

That was no myth tingling up her arm.

Before she had a chance to do more than stare at the offending member, Lord Flint grasped her tightly and pulled her out from under the bed. She came out in a tangle of arms and legs, dragging dust after her.

How mortifying, she thought, brushing madly at her sensible gray kerseymere skirts.

“Er....”

She looked up and forgot what she was going to say. She forgot her name.

He was beautiful. Tall and lean and russet-haired, with eyes the color of spring leaves and a humorous cant to his mouth. Chiseled features, square shoulders, slim hips. Hard and sharp as quartz.

Suddenly his name wasn’t so funny.

About the Author:
New York Times Bestselling, award-winning author Eileen Dreyer has published 40 novels and 10 short stories under her name and that of her evil twin, Kathleen Korbel in contemporary romance, paranormal romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, mystery and medical forensic suspense. A proud member of RWA's Hall of FAME, she also has numerous awards from RT BookLovers and an Anthony nomination for mystery. She is now focusing on what she calls historic romantic adventure in her DRAKE'S RAKES series. A native of St. Louis, she still lives there with her family. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.

http://eileendreyer.com/
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/eileen-dreyer
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19012.Eileen_Dreyer
https://www.amazon.com/Eileen-Dreyer/e/B000AQ3F2O/
https://www.facebook.com/EileenDreyer/
https://twitter.com/eileendreyer?lang=en
https://www.instagram.com/eileendreyerauthor/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Miss-Felicitys-Dilemma-Drakes-Rakes-ebook/dp/B07WWJSFJW
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/miss-felicitys-dilemma-eileen-dreyer/1133345594?ean=2940163616749
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/miss-felicity-s-dilemma
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/miss-felicitys-dilemma/id1478890709

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Character Spotlight/Interview with author Harley Wylde


Please give a warm welcome to Wire from Wire (Dixie Reapers MC) by Harley Wylde today as we sit down and see what makes him tick.

Q: So tell us about yourself. What got you in the crosshairs for your author?

I’m admittedly a bit of a geek, disguised as a bad ass. Although, truthfully, I really am a bad ass whether it’s on the computer or defending my club. I snagged my author’s attention from the very beginning of the series, but she kept telling me to be patient and wait, that it wasn’t my turn for a book just yet. It’s taken a year and a half, but I’m finally getting my own book!

Q: What was it that drew you to your mate?

Lavender is like catnip to someone like me. With her adorable 80’s shirts, skinny jeans, and Chucks, most guys might not give her another glance. I like the way her glasses slide down her nose, and the way she puts her hair up without even using a mirror. She doesn’t care if someone finds her sexy, yet everything about her just draws me in more. Doesn’t hurt that she has curves for days and a mouth I want to kiss for the rest of my life.

Q: A little naughty fun, where was the wildest place you seduced your partner(s)?

I’m not sure seduce is the right word, but I did lead her into the women’s bathroom at an upscale restaurant and told her to strip and bend over. Since she was screaming my name a few minutes later, I think she liked the spontaneity. Then again, she always makes a lot of noise when I’m balls deep inside her.

Q: Boxers, briefs or Commando on a man?

I really don’t care what other men wear or don’t wear. Personally, I tend to wear boxer briefs. I like the support, and the ladies seem to find them sexy.

Q: If your partner wants to seduce you, what's one sure fire trick they can do to seduce you?

Get naked? I know, I know… too simple. Truthfully, all Lavender has to do to seduce me is be herself. She can just be reading a book, cooking, or sleeping and I’ll still think she’s the sexiest woman I’ve ever met and I’ll wonder how fast I can get her naked and under me.

Q: What is the one place on your partner's body that you know will drive them wild-in and out of bed?

Lavender likes it when I scrape my beard along her neck. She shivers and makes the sweetest sounds. Then again, she likes it when I rub my beard other places too.

Q: What was one of the most embarrassing things your author did to you in Wire?

For most, it might not be that embarrassing, but I’m supposed to be the best of the best. Then some little government shit put spyware on my system that I didn’t detect until it was too damn late. How the hell that slipped past me I don’t know. I’m supposed to be God when it comes to computers. It’s embarrassing as shit.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

I’ve always fallen in and out of bed with women. Never really thought much of it. They were convenient, but I didn’t let them get close. Not since my ex in high school cheated on me with my best friend. With Lavender, she makes me want to be a better man. She’s everything to me, and I love the way she looks at me… like I could conquer the world for her.

Thank you Wire for joining us on 'Meet the Character' day here at Dawn’s Reading Nook Blog. You can find all of Harley Wylde’s books at changelingpress.com or harleywylde.com.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Guest Author Day with Kelli A. Wilkins


Straddling the Line Between Paranormal Romance & Horror
By Kelli A. Wilkins

Greetings Romance Lovers!
It’s October, and Halloween is right around the corner. At this time of year, horror movies are extremely popular and everyone is focusing on the supernatural. Werewolves, vampires, and other “creatures of the night” seem to be lurking everywhere, just waiting to leap out and terrify an unsuspecting heroine…

But sometimes the heroine isn’t terrified. Sometimes she’s attracted to that vampire and can’t wait for the sun to go down so they can roam the night together, like any couple. That is, any couple in a paranormal romance.

Paranormals are a unique genre in the romance world. (Where else can a woman make love to an undead creature and not face criticism?) They straddle the line between traditional romances and the supernatural/fantasy/horror realm. And to create a convincing paranormal romance, the author has to do a bit of juggling in all of those worlds.

One of the most important elements in writing paranormal romances is to invent a believable universe where shifters, vampires, and other types of “otherworldly” characters are very real. Sometimes these creatures interact and coexist with “normal” humans (everyday people accept that vampires and shapeshifters exist), but most times they stay hidden in the shadows.
Whatever the basic premise, readers need to suspend their disbelief and lose themselves in the world the author has created. The writer has to establish a realistic paranormal character (or several) and take the reader on an exciting journey with the hero and heroine as they fall in love. After all, this is a romance!

The type of paranormal character that stars in the story is key to the plot, and can vary from nearly human to full-fledged monster.

For example, suppose the hero was once human and has been cursed to live as another creature (such as a Bigfoot, or a gargoyle). Can the curse be broken if he finds a human woman to love him? How does he go about that? Does he retain his human memories? Is the woman repulsed by him at first? Do they make love while he’s in his altered state? Variations on this “beauty and the beast” theme have been used in many paranormal romances, and usually there is a happy-ever-after ending for the couple.

But maybe the hero is an undead creature (a vampire) or turns into an animal (a werewolf or a werepanther). How does this change his personality and way of life? Does he resent humans and live with others of his kind? What does he do when he’s not transformed? How (and why) does he transform? What happens when he reveals his true nature to his beloved? How do they live happily-ever-after?

As you can see, falling in love with a non-human can create a lot of conflict and difficulties for the couple. And sometimes it’s a challenge for the author to make the “monster” into a romantic lead.
Even though the hero isn’t human, he must have a special appeal that makes the heroine overlook this fact and fall in love with him. Basically, the hero-creature has to remain true to his paranormal status and still be attractive to humans (and human readers), just like a traditional romance hero. (If not, then he’s the lead in a horror story, and that’s an entirely different realm.)

If the author doesn’t create a believable paranormal hero, readers won’t buy into it, and there certainly won’t be any sparks flying in the romance. Writers must make the “monster” as real as any other human character and flesh him out completely with a backstory, goals, motivation, and conflicts.

Another challenge for the author is to keep a balance between the paranormal elements and the romance. There needs to be realistic supernatural details added to the love story, but the author can’t gross out (or turn off) the heroine… or readers.


If a paranormal romance includes too much violence or gore, it could turn into a horror story. (In fact, with a little bit of rewriting, practically any paranormal romance could be transformed into a dark and disturbing horror tale.) To avoid this, the author has to find a way to deal with the bloodier or unpleasant aspects of being a monster, while still keeping the hero attractive.
For example, if the hero is a vampire, he’ll have to feed at some point during the story. The writer and the other characters must address this. How does the heroine deal with her boyfriend’s need to drink blood? Does she accept it? Ignore it? Does he feed “off page” where she can’t see? Does she ever let him feed off her? What if he loses control and goes wild?

These are all crucial things the author has to consider when developing characters and plotting a paranormal love story. Readers want to fall in love with a “safe” creature and live vicariously through the heroine as she navigates the paranormal world. But the monster/hero shouldn’t be dull or boring, or too predictable, either.

It’s always refreshing when authors break patterns and have paranormal characters go against stereotype. (Why do all vampires have to be suave, live in large houses, and dress well?) When I wrote my paranormal romances, I always tried to give readers something unexpected, turned a cliché on its ear, or used a different point of view to liven up the story.

In Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, my “werewolf” didn’t turn into a four-legged animal; he became a super-aggressive Alpha male. Beauty & the Bigfoot is a paranormal comedy that explores the legend of Bigfoot through quirky characters (and some hot love scenes!).

Rothgar, the hero in The Viking’s Witch doesn’t believe that the heroine has supernatural powers—until she proves it. Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover is told in first person from the hero’s point of view and takes place at the beach—and that’s not where you expect to find a vampire.
As Halloween approaches, take a closer look at the “monsters” and other supernatural creatures you encounter. But don’t be afraid… you might just fall in love with one of them!

Happy Haunting,
Kelli A. Wilkins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
She released Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in August 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.
Her latest historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements. 

In March 2019, Kelli published Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania. She released the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.
Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.
Visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com or blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.


Book Spotlight: Felice Stevens' Running From My Heart



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link - Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited.

Length: 246 Pages

Cover Design: Reese Dante

Photographer: Wander Aguiar

Rock Bottom Series

Book #1 - Broken Silence -Amazon US | Amazon UK (currently only 99c/99p)
Book #2 - Imitation of Life - Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Blurb

"Holding onto the past can hurt more than letting it go." 

People say six years is long enough to mourn the death of his husband but for Ross Miller, the pain is as fresh as if it happened yesterday. He’s left his glittering Hollywood life behind, yet guilt still dogs his steps, no matter how far he runs. Trapped by his past and needing to escape his well-meaning friends, he rents a cabin in the secluded Adirondack mountains. A reclusive man moves in next door and piques Ross’s interest, but his persistent attempts at friendship are rebuffed. That doesn’t stop him because the one rule Ross Miller has always lived by is to never take no for an answer.

Novelist Arden Wainwright has given up. He can’t pretend a happiness he knows he’ll never find again. Solitary days turn into years, and he remains frozen, unable to take a breath. At his wit’s end, he retreats to the mountains, but it does little to stir his creativity. He continues to hide from life and avoids his overly nosy neighbor, who insists on planting himself at Arden’s doorstep at every turn. Making friends is the last thing Arden wants, but annoying or not, he can’t get the damn man out of his mind.

Finding peace in their isolated surroundings, the two lonely men forge an unlikely friendship where they realize they’re more alike than different and better together than apart. With Ross’s help, Arden begins to rebuild the shattered pieces of his life, while Arden gives Ross the strength to face his fears and find his way home. When love comes calling you can choose to hide from hurt, loss, and pain, but if you take a chance and open the door, you might discover that running from your heart is the last thing you'll want to do. 
 
This book can be read as a stand alone but you may remember Ross, Foster's best friend from Broken Silence, Book One of the Rock Bottom series.


I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, My characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love, but getting there is oh so fun and oh so sexy.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass (or two of red wine). I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Book Spotlight & Giveaway- The Gumbeaux Sistahs


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jax Frey will award a randomly drawn winner a $25 Amazon/BN GC and will award a second randomly drawn winner a print copy of the book (US only). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Southern women wage a hilarious war against the ageism problems of one of their deep-in-trouble sisters using their improbable friendships, evil-genius schemes, oh-so-numerous cocktails, and a shared passion for good gumbo.

When southern artist, Judith Lafferty, loses her long-time, prestigious museum job to a much younger man, she finds herself devastated, alone in her sixties, and on the brink of financial disaster. Enter the incomparable Gumbeaux Sistahs, who deliver day-old coffee to her front door as a ploy, then go on to kidnap her, feed her excellent gumbo, and come up with outrageous solutions to her problems. Their motives are just good excuses to drink wine, have a great time, argue over whose mother makes the best gumbo, and, most of all, help a sister out. Ageism, dangerous boyfriends, deep loneliness, and any other challenges that can face the over fifty crowd don't stand a chance against these five resourceful ladies. The Gumbeaux Sistahs is a heart-warming, smart story of friendship and unexpected shenanigans that you do not want to miss.

Read an Excerpt

“While he talked, he kept slamming his fist against the countertops. He threw things like the salt and pepper shakers and the tea kettle across the room, and slammed a couple of open drawers shut. Each slam sounded like a gunshot to me. He went on and on. Luke always did like the sound of his own voice. I sat there waiting for the first punch, the first shove, the first something. I remember thinking that I knew he wouldn’t stop this time. I knew Luke was getting ready to kill me. I waited for the end. And I know this sounds crazy, but I remember that I was thinking that poor Bea was going to come home to a horrible mess in her house. Isn’t that the craziest thing?”

“You’re a kind person. It doesn’t surprise me a bit, honestly. Did he hurt you badly, Helen?”

“No,” she said, simply, “Bea killed him.”

About the Author:
Born in New Orleans, Jax Frey came into this world, whooping and hollering, with a sense of love and celebration of Louisiana culture, food, family and fun. Translating that celebration into her writing and onto canvas is her true calling. Her colorful art depicts everything-Louisiana from her dancing Gumbeaux Sistahs paintings to her popular line of original Mini paintings. Because over 25,000 of the mini paintings have been created and sold into art collections worldwide, Jax holds a world’s record for The Most Original Acrylic Paintings on Canvas by One Artist.

Jax is also the co-founder of the Women of Infinite Possibilities, an empowering women’s organization started in Covington, LA, where Jax lives today with her loveable, tornado-of-a-pug named Lucy. The Gumbeaux Sistahs is her debut novel.

Email: jaxfreyart@gmail.com
For more information please visit – http://www.gumbeauxsistahs.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Gumbeaux-Sistahs-a-novel-435766546973087/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jax.frey.3
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gumbeauxsistahs/
Jax’s art can be seen at: http://www.artbyjax.com

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Guest Author Day with Jane Fenwick and a Giveaway


Romance over Realism by Jane Fenwick @jane_fenwick60 #neverthetwain #historicalcrimenovels #romance #victorianwhitby
We read for different reasons. From time to time we all need a little escapism when reading but when writing historical crime a little realism can set the scene nicely. In Never the Twain April and May are forced into a situation that might seem strange to our modern eyes. Their mother dies leaving them without means of support and this leaves them at the mercy of their ‘Aunt’ Elizabeth, a self serving actress. (the theatrical masks on the cover are a nod to her) Here in the 21st century we have a social care system that although not perfect, does provide people with a safety net if things go wrong. No such cushion was available in the 1890’s and so April and May are set on a path of ruin.

There would have been very few employment options open to young girls in a harbour town such as Whitby. Those that were available would have been poorly paid and without benefits such as maternity cover, sick pay or pensions. Often work was seasonal such as herring fishing. April, the more reticent of the twins, is all for trying alternatives to entering Mrs Jensen’s brothel but May sees the dangers of two young women trying to go it alone. Women in the 19th century had few rights and without the protection of a man, be it father, husband or brother, they would be easy prey to the crooks. If they failed to earn enough as shop workers to keep a roof over their heads they would inevitably enter the poverty trap and that was to be avoided at all costs.

In Victorian times poverty meant fending off diseases and malnutrition, continuous hunger and poor living conditions. It also meant not having a voice, a vote or legal protection. April and May were educated but would have found it hard to secure work, especially work that kept them in comfort. Gutting fish or sewing sails would have been beneath them and would have barely paid them enough to keep body and soul alive. Young women in Victorian Whitby would have worked in some capacity or other since childhood and at around the age of twelve they would be expected to add the family’s coffers as adults.

May sees a slippery slide into poverty with only the workhouse to fall back on. She fears living hand to mouth in a hovel; May was right to worry about what their living conditions might be like. In all possibility they would be sharing their space with mice, lice, fleas and bedbugs. Living conditions in Whitby would have been poor but at least their water supply was better than in most places as Whitby was served by several fresh water springs; hence the growth of tourism with people visiting to take the spa waters. Nevertheless their circumstances would have been lowered. May’s idea to enter the brothel temporarily seemed the better option to her and eventually she convinces her sister.

In the 19th century uneducated women had few employment options to choose from. In Whitby most women would have been involved in the fishing industry in one way or another. Gutting fish was back breaking, cold work and poorly paid. Sewing sails or rope making was marginally better as it was usually done indoors but both occupations were hard on the fingers and as equal pay was light years ahead they would be paid less than the men they laboured alongside.

Women without a male bread winner struggled to survive, especially if they had children to support. The prospect of being widowed early was an expected part of being married to a fisherman yet there were no state benefits to fall back on if the worst happened and a husband was lost at sea. Without a man’s wage for support his wife and family would often find life hard; even respectable women sometimes resorted to prostitution to put food in their children’s mouths. May convinced April that this life of deprivation was what awaited them if they tried to find work for themselves.

Until their mother’s death the twins had lived relatively easy lives at a coaching inn. Elizabeth saw they had been spoiled and were not fit for the workplace. Her solution was a harsh one but perhaps she was a realist and saw that two beautiful young girls would be easy prey to the unscrupulous. At best they would have had to sell what few possessions they had and most likely would have taken to gin to numb the reality of their terrible lives, lives that would have been considerably shortened if they couldn’t earn enough money to live independently. Women living alone at this time were frowned upon. This alone was enough to condemn them. They would be viewed with suspicion so they were damned before they started!

After their escape from the brothel both girls were relieved yet April still fears for their future. She sees Edward as someone who can provide them with the means to secure respectable work as governesses or companions. She sees she is still a slave but of a different sort. May has more romantic ideals. Making a good marriage was important for the middle and upper classes at this time and May rightly sees that they can move into a higher society if one of them marries well. Marriage of course did not give women more rights, in fact it possibly gave them less as they were passed on as ‘chattel’ from their father’s care to that of their husbands. Spinsters didn’t fare any better - they were pitied and viewed as a burden to their families, only fit to look after children or go about giving alms to the poor. For the sake of the story April’s wishes had to be overturned; it would have been a short story had they managed to become governesses’ and lived happily ever after!


Never the Twain: A twin tale of jealousy and betrayal, love and murder.

The year is 1890. The port of Whitby is heaving with sailors and where there are sailors there are brothels doing a roaring trade. Beautiful identical twins April and May are in desperate straits. They have been abandoned by their actress mother and are about to have their virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder by a notorious brothel madam.

Their fate is hanging in the balance when Captain Edward Driscoll a handsome, wealthy shipping tycoon from Glasgow saves them before they can be deflowered.

But have they exchanged one form of slavery for another?

April, reluctantly swept up in her twin’s secrets and lies unwittingly becomes embroiled in a murderous conspiracy. Is May’s jealousy stronger than the twin bond which has always connected them?

Available from:
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2mbA6hp
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2ksAaZI

Never the Twain: A dark blend of Gothic romance and murder.


Jane Fenwick lives in the market town of Settle in Yorkshire, England. She studied education at Sheffield University gaining a B.Ed (Hons) in 1989 and going on to teach primary age range children. Jane decided to try her hand at penning a novel rather than writing school reports as she has always been an avid reader, especially enjoying historical and crime fiction. She decided to combine her love of both genres to write her first historical crime novel Never the Twain. Jane has always been a lover of antiques, particularly art nouveau and art deco ceramics and turned this hobby into a business opening an antiques and collectables shop in Settle. However her time as a dealer was short lived; she spent far too much time in the sale rooms buying items that ended up in her home rather than the shop! Animal welfare is a cause close to Jane’s heart and she has been vegetarian since the age of fourteen. For the last twenty years she has been trustee of an animal charity which rescues and rehomes cats, dogs and all manner of creatures looking for a forever home. Of course several of these have been “adopted” by Jane!

Jane has always loved the sea and although she lives in the Yorkshire Dales she is particularly drawn to the North East coast of Yorkshire and Northumberland. This coastline is where she gets her inspiration for the historical crime and romance novels she writes. She can imagine how the North East ports would have looked long ago with a forest of tall - masted ships crammed together in the harbours, the bustling streets congested with sailors, whalers, chandlers and sail makers. These imaginings provide the backdrop and inspire her to create the central characters and themes of her novels. As she has always loved history she finds the research particularly satisfying.

When she isn’t walking on Sandsend beach with her dog Scout, a Patterdale “Terrorist” she is to be found in her favourite coffee shop gazing out to sea and dreaming up her next plot. Jane is currently writing a historical saga series again set on the North East coast beginning in 1765. The first two books are being edited at the moment; My Constant Lady and The Turning Tides. Look out for My Constant Lady in 2020.

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