Book Excerpt: SECOND CHANCE IN LAGUNA by Claire Marti

thumbnail_SecondChanceinLaguna_w10862SECOND CHANCE IN LAGUNA By Claire Marti

Released March 31, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

Nick arrived right on time, looking gorgeous in faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. How did he always manage to start the butterflies fluttering in her stomach? Just by standing there with the setting sun framing him? She was in trouble.

“Hi beautiful, ready to go?” He clasped her face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips.

Returning his kiss, Sophie wound her arms around his neck and deepened it. She couldn’t resist. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, hugging her close to his broad chest.

“Mmmm, feel free to greet me like that every time I come over,” he said, lips curved up into a sweet smile.

Heat washed her cheeks and she returned his smile. “Let’s go. Prepare to be blown away by the movie snack of the century.”

Determined to keep things light and enjoy the movie before “the talk,” Sophie thrust down the lick of panic bubbling in her gut. She’d accomplished next to nothing all afternoon, instead wrestling with whether she needed to tell him about Doug.

The angel on her shoulder whispered to tell him because if they were going to have any kind of relationship, even a friends-with-benefits one, honesty and trust were vital.

The devil urged her to zip it. They’d only known each other a few weeks. What if he lived up to his “Player of Laguna” reputation and expected only a fun fling? Even though he seemed deeper than that. What if she scared him off with a premature talk?

 

Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress. Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. She teaches at studios, online for the international website http://www.yogadownload.com and also has a Yoga for Cancer Recovery DVD.

Claire is a sought-after speaker on the power of yoga and meditation for cancer survivors. She’s been published in numerous magazines with articles on wellness and has written a memoir on her experience as a breast cancer survivor. Her debut novel, Second Chance in Laguna, won best unpublished contemporary romance in the Molly and third place in the Maggie. The Wild Rose Press will publish it in March 2017. Check out a teaser here: Second Chance in Laguna. She’s hard at work on the second and third novels in the Finding Forever in Laguna series. Claire is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the San Diego Romance Writers.

Book Excerpt: AN ANGEL’S REDEMPTION by Annalisa Russo

AnAngel'sRedemption_7611_750AN ANGEL’S REDEMPTION by Annalisa Russo

Historical Romance / Released April 2013 by The Wild Rose Press

A thoroughly annoyed man jerked open the door, and she found herself looking up at a set of smoldering eyes. Powerful-looking, with broad shoulders, a muscled chest pulled at his crisp white tuxedo shirt. Fierce stony features and a heavy mane of near-black hair completed the picture. She saw keen, calculating intelligence but no sign of welcome in the depths of his silver eyes. Lips set in a thin disapproving line, he assessed her from head to toe with narrow-eyed thoroughness.

Faith ran a hand over her red curls and tucked a few loose tendrils back into the neat knot at the base of her neck, annoyed with herself for the flash of self-consciousness that surfaced.

A breath-stopping moment passed before she heard him say, “I beg your pardon. It’s a bit hectic here today. Family wedding and all. What can I do for you?”

A tuxedoed butler? Pretty high in the instep. Perhaps she could secure a donation for her clinic if she played her cards right. She flashed a brilliant smile. “I’m here to see Mrs. Cavelli.”

She saw his glance at her black satchel. “Whatever you’re selling, Mrs. Cavelli isn’t receiving She’s been ill.” His deep voice held the certainty of being obeyed.

The man began to shut the door, but not before she noticed a quick critique of her more feminine assets. Heat rose to her cheeks and she took a step backward. “I beg your pardon?”

Scowling, the man pulled several bills from his pocket, grasped her hand, and folded her fingers over the money. “Pick out something for Mrs. Cavelli and leave it with Amos round back at the kitchen door.”

He shut the door firmly in her face.

cjh_3201cdAnnalisa Russo is a Midwest girl who grew up in an overpopulated first-generation Italian family in the burbs of Chicago, the setting for her historical romance novels based in the 20th century. Her first series was completed with the release of Angel Boy, the fourth book of The Cavelli Angel Saga. The series chronicles the lives of Italian immigrants in the 1920’s and 30’s. Along with a passion for reading and writing, Annalisa enjoys gardening, cooking for company, and frequently invents reasons for traveling. The mother of two grown children, she inherited a narcissistic tabby named Buster who really runs the show.

Book Excerpt: DREAM FOREVER by Kit Alloway

Dream Forever_cover imageDREAM FOREVER
Dream Walker #3 By Kit Alloway

YA Fantasy / Released March 28, 2017 by Griffin Teen

“Sometimes people give me special access because I’m Peregrine’s granddaughter.”

That was only part of the truth. Josh had a reputation among dream walkers as a prodigy, and they were usually more than happy to bend over backward for her.

“Ironic,” Feodor said, but he smiled at her in a way that made her feel like he saw right through her. “Unfortunately, triangulating the bodies will give us, at best, a rough idea of where Peregrine might be.”

Not to discount the lives of the five men Peregrine had killed, but Josh had a larger concern. If he found a way back into the Dream, he was likely to hurt a lot more people.  “What are the chances he’ll figure out how to deactivate the symbol?”

Feodor considered. “I could do it. But then, Peregrine is not me.”

“Well, that’s reassuring,” Josh said.

“However . . . the power of obsession to propel a man to acts of which he might not otherwise be capable should not be underestimated.  I believe Peregrine will continue until he finds a way.”

That was not reassuring.

 

Kit Alloway CREDIT Fusion PhotographyKIT ALLOWAY writes primarily for young adults, having always had an affection for teenagers. In addition to writing, she plays various musical instruments, decorates cakes, mixes essential oils, and studies East European languages. She lives in Louisville, KY with her family and four very tiny dogs.

Book Excerpt: A CROWN OF WISHES by Roshani Chokshi

 

ACROWNOFWISHES_cover imageA CROWN OF WISHES By Roshani Chokshi

YA Fantasy / Released March 28, 2017 by Griffin Teen

Skanda’s knife was pressed to her throat, sharp and close enough that beads of blood welled onto her skin.

“I know what you want,” said Skanda.

I closed my eyes, shuttering the memory. I looked around the room, wondering which corner was the best position for attacking. At one end, a trellis of roses covered the wall. My chest tightened. I used to grow roses. One trellis for every victory. I had loved watching the blood red petals unfurl around thorns. Looking at them reminded me of my people’s love: red as life. A month before Skanda had me thrown over the Ujijain border, he had set them on fire in a drunken stupor. By the time I got there, it was too late. Every petal had curled and blackened.

“You think these flowers are tokens of Bharata’s love for you,” he had slurred. “I want you to see, little sister. I want you to see just how easy it is for everything you plan and love and tend to go up in flames.”

I’ll never forget what burning roses look like. All those scarlet petals turning incandescent and furious. Like the last flare of the sun before an eclipse swallows it from the sky.

“You think they love you now, but it doesn’t last. You’re the rose. Not them. They are the flames. And you’ll never see how quickly you’ll catch fire until you’re engulfed. One step out of the line I draw, and they will set you on fire.”

I turned my back on the roses.

I chose a corner of the room, and then sank my teeth into the insides of my cheek. It was a habit I’d picked up on the eve of my first battle.

Nerves had set my teeth chattering, so I brought out a mirror and glowered at myself. The glowering didn’t help, but I liked the way my face looked. The small movements made my cheekbones look as sharp as scimitars. And when I tightened my lips, I felt dangerous, as if I were hiding knives behind my teeth. Biting my cheeks became a battle tradition. Today I went into battle.

A door in the distance creaked. I ran through what I knew about the Prince of Ujijain. They called him the Fox Prince. And given the way some of the soldiers had jealously said his name, it didn’t seem like a name given because his face had animal features. He spent part of every year at an ashram where all the nobility sent their sons. Reputedly brilliant. Not good. Weak with weapons. Excellent. The guards were fond of retelling the story of his trial with the council. Prince Vikram had to submit to three tasks in order to be named heir of Ujijain—give the dead new life, hold a flame that never burns, and deliver the strongest weapon in the world. For the first task, he whittled a piece of bark into a knife, proving that even discarded things could be given new life in purpose. For the second task, he released a thousand jars of fireflies and held the small insects in his hand, proving that he could hold a flame that never burned. And for the last task, he said that he had poisoned the council. Desperate for the antidote, the council named him heir. The Fox Prince then revealed that he had lied and proved how belief itself was the strongest weapon in the world.

I rolled my eyes every time I heard the tale. It sounded like something that villagers with a restless imagination would spin beside a fire. I’d heard another rumor about him. Something about his parentage.  That he was an orphan who’d moved the Emperor to pity. But I doubted the vicious Emperor would be moved in such a way. The guards told me that the Emperor kept great beasts at his side thatcould tear the throat out of anyone who dared to cross him.

Footsteps shuffled down the hall. I clutched the silk bag of pearl dust. The Prince might be clever and eloquent, but you can’t talk your way out of death and I wasn’t going to give him a chance to speak. All my intelligence told me that he was no match for me. I’d have him on his knees and begging for his life in a matter of moments.

A final door opened.

The Fox Prince was here.

Review: BLACKBIRD FLY by Lise McClendon

51D-GtQpCbL-1BLACKBIRD FLY (Bennett Sisters Book #1) by Lise McClendon

Women’s Fiction/Mystery / Released Dec 2013 by Thalia Press

Harry Bennett has a heart attack at work and dies leaving a wife (Merle), a son, and a number of secrets, some of which he wasn’t even aware of.

Unraveling her husbands life leads Merle to a family home in a small French village complete with a squatter, mysteries, and a beautiful garden.

As Merle deals with a marriage that had faded years ago, and a house that desperately needs repair she stumbles into murder and romance.

BLACKBIRD FLY is listed as a cozy mystery but I found it to be more Women’s Fiction with elements of mystery. The cover is vibrant and relevant to the story. The POV jumps around and at times was unnessary.

The author’s descriptions at times were breathtaking and at other times distracting, slowing the story down to a crawl.

This is not an edge-of-your-seat story but languid like a summer’s day in the garden.

New Release: SNOWED IN WITH MURDER by Auralee Wallace

SNOWED-IN-WITH-MURDER-COVER2SNOWED IN WITH MURDER (An Otter Lake Mystery Vol 3) by Auralee Wallace / Mystery / Released Feb 2017 by St. Martin’s Press.

Erica Bloom is home again in small town Otter Lake, this time to save her struggling relationship with local sheriff, Grady Forrester.  The timing is perfect:  her mother is away, the retreat is closed for the season, and Erica has just beaten the storm of the century into town.

Erica is determined to make this visit both sleuthing and hijinks free, but when she arrives at the retreat she finds the lodge swarming with guests.  Her mother has re-opened Earth, Moons, and Stars in a last ditch effort to reunite the wealthy but feuding Boatright Family.  To make matters worse, the weather is stopping anyone from making it on or off the island.

When a guest is murdered, Erica once again must muster up some investigative skills to unravel all the Boatright’s twisted family secrets to reveal the clan’s killer … or this proverbial dark and stormy night might well become her last.

AURALEE WALLACE is the author of The Otter Lake Mystery series which includes, Skinny Dipping with Murder and Pumpkin Pickling with Murder.  She has played many roles in her life, including college professor, balloon seller, and collection agent.  When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children (and psychiatric nurse to two rescue cats) isn’t writing humorous novels about quirky characters, she can often be found pontificating about the Golden Age of soap operas or warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard.

New Release: THE LAST RESORT by Ember Leigh

thumbnail_thelastresort_w10897_750THE LAST RESORT by Ember Leigh

Steamy Contemporary Romance / Released March 17, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

Rose Delaney is a baby bounty hunter, rescuing children from fugitive ex-spouses. All she wants is to return a recovered child to its mother and get back to her regimented solitary life. But when a snow storm leaves her and baby Emmy stranded, Rose has no choice but to lean on the ruggedly handsome rescuer, who thinks the baby is hers. Holed up in their mountain resort-under-construction and unable to contact Emmy’s mother, Rose’s priority is hitting the road—even if Garrett’s erotic touch entices her to ride out the storm. Five days trapped on a mountain could change everything.

thumbnail_img_4623Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young. A native of northern Ohio, she currently resides near Lake Erie with her Argentinean husband, where they run an Argentinian-American food truck. In addition to romance novels, Ember also writes travel memoirs and occasionally updates a couple of blogs. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga yoga, hops around the world, and eats lots of vegetables.