Book Excerpt: A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON by Katie Baldwin

51p-JYWN6WLA KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON by Katie Baldwin / Saving Graces Fantasies Book 1 / Spicy Contemporary Romance / Released March 2017 by  the Wild Rose Press

Bethany Michaels leads a fairly isolated existence, but she longs to be an outgoing and sexually confident woman. When her celebrity crush comes to town, and literally falls at her feet, her prayers seem to be answered. But can she protect her heart while still experiencing true passion?

Hollywood celebrity Aidan Shannon, drunk and lost in small-town Virginia, finds himself in the home of a beautiful woman, and he finds her more than just a little alluring. Bethany is voluptuous and nurturing, fragile, yet steely. And that is a problem for a man who never wants to be tied to another woman again. 

Living in the now is good enough for Aidan and Bethany for the short term. When the universe steps in and shows them what’s important, will Aidan take a chance on love a second time around when his girl needs him?

Book Excerpt

Well, either she was a crazy fan about to poison him or she was a shapely woman who was about to save him from a diabolical hangover. In for a penny, in for a pound. He eyed the tea one more time before making a decision.

Aidan carefully sipped the tea, unsure what to expect. Before the liquid touched his lips, his stomach clenched. This was going to be dreadful. Not even someone with his acting skill could pretend this tasted good.

“Drink it all, Mr. Shannon, or it won’t help,” the sweetly militant voice cautioned.

“It tastes worse than it smells,” he said, trying not to whimper. But then he realized she had said “Mr. Shannon.” He sighed. “It appears you know who I am.”

“Are you kidding?” The woman before him giggled softly. “The entire town is in ecstasy because you guys are filming your movie here.” She paused as she narrowed her eyes. “Wait a minute. Don’t try to distract me; drink your tea. How about this…? If you drink it, I will make you some eggs.”

He considered arguing but drank the whole thing down like a shot of whiskey.

Continue reading “Book Excerpt: A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON by Katie Baldwin”

Book Excerpt: WHITE WITH FISH, RED WITH MURDER by Harley Mazuk

51ZieRgHZBLWHITE WITH FISH, RED WITH MURDER by Harley Mazuk

Book Excerpt

When Cici came back down, she was in a silver satin men’s pajama top, long enough to come down to mid-thigh. Only the top button of the three it had was buttoned. “Oh, it’s good to get out of all those clothes after a long day.”

“All those clothes? You barely had on enough to ante up in a game of strip poker.”

“Sure I did, Frank. I had enough on because when I play cards, I win. Runs in the family.” Cici plopped down on the davenport next to me. She lifted her martini with her right hand, crossed one bare leg under her, and draped the other on my lap. She propped her left elbow on the back cushion and rested her head against her hand, smiling at me.

“I don’t know, doll. I saw Fenwick today. He doesn’t think the general lost all that money to Rusty.”

She sipped her drink and eyed me hard over the rim of the glass. “Fenwick don’t know nothing about it, Frank. I’ve got the paper. As a matter of fact, I want you to take those IOUs down to the probate court for me and file a claim. Now that Thursby’s dead, that’s the only way I can collect.”

“Well, that might have to wait a day or two.”

“Why wait, Frank?”

“I have to go up to Sonoma tomorrow. I’m going to go talk to Sally DeBains. I think I’d like to see the Blackbird vineyard too. I’ll have to take care of your claim on Thursby’s estate later in the week.”

She shrugged. “There’s time, I guess.”

“There’ll be plenty of time. I didn’t find any wine. There’s an abundance of good gin around, so I made martinis. How’s your drink?”

“It’s just what I needed. Thanks. There’s some wine in the cellar, but most of it’s at the restaurant. Rusty didn’t drink much wine. He liked his gin though.”

“Did he drink much when he gambled?”

She hesitated, and then nodded. “Sometimes.”

“Fenwick thinks he had plenty to drink when he was over there. You know, maybe his judgment wasn’t so good when he drank. Maybe he didn’t win all that money from Thursby.”

“Yeah? Well, maybe he did. What difference does it make what Fenwick thinks?” She sipped her martini. “Jesus, Frank, who says Fenwick thinks at all? He seems like . . . like such an animal.”

“He was okay when we dipped our bills today—just the two of us—in Thursby’s kitchen. Anyhow, I talked to some of the other suspects today too,” I said.

“Suspects?”

“People from the train. Suspects in the Thursby killing.”

She had another swallow of her martini and then set the glass down on the table. She leaned forward and wrapped her arms around my neck. The cool satin sleeves slid around me, just above the collar. “Frank, are the police hunting for any suspects in the Thursby killing?”

“No, they’ve got Vera.”

“Maybe you should just leave it that way.” She planted a kiss on my yap and gave me some icy cold tongue. Then she crammed a salty surprise, an olive, into my mouth.

“She didn’t do it.” I chewed the olive.

Book Excerpt: HONEYMOONS CAN BE MURDER by Heather Haven

honeymoons1 copyHONEYMOONS CAN BE MURDER by Heather Haven / Mystery /  Released March 1, 2017 by Wives of Bath Press

When PI Lee Alvarez goes on her honeymoon with bridegroom, Gurn Hanson, they find a dead woman practically on their doorstep. Kauai breezes may be soft, but there are gale force winds of accusation against Gurn. Will Lee find the real killer before her new hubby gets sent to a Hawaiian hoosegow?

Chapter One 

“Gurn, darling, wasn’t that woman lying in exactly the same position when we left for breakfast?”

Shading my eyes, I looked in the direction of a chaise lounge about seventy yards away sitting half in the lapping waves of the Pacific and half on the warm sands of Hanalei Bay. Dragged into position by sunbathers looking to have the best of both worlds, it seemed to be a common practice on the island. Ten or fifteen others dotted the Hanalei Bay coastline near their respective beachfront rooms.

I’d noticed the woman around seven o’clock in the morning when I stepped outside with my coffee and the morning’s newspaper. I would have liked to take a run along the beach before breakfast, but was recuperating from a sprained ankle, so instead I read “USA Today” while slurping my latte. A poor substitute.

Our honeymoon bungalow was set off in a corner of the Royal Kauai Hotel’s expansive beachfront property. Other than the mandatory public access, which allowed for occasional wanderings by guests along the beach, it was private, quiet, and heaven.

The slender woman was lying on her back in a rather racy red bikini. Legs outstretched, arms by her side, large floppy black hat covering her face, neck and hair, she hadn’t moved in over three hours. I unwrapped myself from my own lounge chair and stood.

“She was, wasn’t she? In exactly the same position.”

My husband of less than a week remained seated in one of the two turquoise and white beach chairs on our lanai. But he leaned forward, removed his sunglasses, his grey-green eyes focusing on her.

“You could be right, but I wasn’t paying attention to her, not really.” He reached up and grabbed me around the waist, pulling me on his lap. “I only have eyes for you, sweetheart.” He then proceeded to kiss my neck with loud, smacking noises, intentionally more comical than romantic.

“Yes, darling,” I said, wiggling within his embrace. “But seriously, I don’t think she’s moved in hours.”

Gurn glanced in her direction in earnest. “She could be sleeping one off.”

“She could.” My tone was doubtful.

“You think she might be sick or something? Why don’t you walk down there and have a chat with her? But if you wake her up and she gets a mad on, remember I told you so.”

“Why don’t we go together?”

I flashed him what I hoped was a winning smile. It must have been along the winning lines because he let out a sigh of resignation and released me. I removed myself from his lap and got to my feet. Gurn looked at me, the lopsided smile springing to his face.

“You’re lucky you’re so gorgeous I’ll do anything you want. You and your twilight colored eyes,” he added.

“Aw, I’m not so gorgeous,” I said modestly, batting said eyes at him.

“If you say so.” He shrugged.

I feigned shock at his words, gave him a playful smack on the arm, and we both laughed. Gurn stood, and with a groan stretched his now tanned six foot one frame. We’d been married right after he returned from a covert mission a little on the banged up side. It was just a few scrapes, bruises, and a black eye, nothing serious, but he’d made one weird looking groom.

To civilians, he was known as Mr. Hanson, CPA extraordinaire and owner of Hanson Accounting Firm. To the U.S. Navy, he was known as Lt. Commander Hanson, ex-navy SEAL, often called away on highly classified and secretive missions. To me, he was Gurn, the man I loved.

In fairness, I was a little on the banged up side, too, having just completed a case where the villain was unwilling to see my side of things i.e. going to jail for murder. I was for; villain against. After a few rounds, I had my way but not without sustaining a sprained ankle and a black and blue hand. The ankle was currently embraced by a support boot. The hand was on its own. Everything hurt, so I was either icing various parts, taking Advil, or downing the occasional Mai Tai. Rum can be very medicinal.

I studied the lone woman lying on the chaise. So did Gurn. Without saying a word, we walked hand in hand in her direction. Actually, Gurn walked. I hobbled in the cumbersome boot I was relegated to wearing for the next four to six weeks.

Once there, we unlocked hands, Gurn going around to the far side of the lounge. I looked at him and he looked at me. Raising his forefinger, he tapped the air in the woman’s direction, indicating it was time for me to do something.

I cleared my throat.

Nothing.

“Ah, miss?”

Still nothing.

“Excuse me,” I said louder then waited.

“Miss?” This time I jostled the chaise lounge with my knee. The movement caused the sandal to drop off her left foot and land in the water. It bobbed on gentle waves.

New Release Book Excerpt: TROUBLED SPIRITS by Sandy Wolters

419T43CkM6LTROUBLED SPIRITS by Sandy Wolters / Spirit Voices Book One 

Romance / Fantasy – ghosts / Released May 5, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

Blurb  Jody has been a conduit for ghosts her entire life. Not only do they come to her for help, but at times she experiences what they feel when they die. This gift or curse comes at a high personal cost—especially when a child is involved. There’s not a man alive who is willing to compete with troubled spirits.

Jared, a wealthy and determined high-powered P.I., has lived without love his entire life. In business if he wants something, he goes after it with a vengeance and is usually not denied. His life experiences have taught him that believing and trusting in others is a dead end street.

But on one magical night Jared meets Jody, and they soon find themselves on the brink of falling in love. But will the spirits surrounding Jody relinquish their hold on her in order for Jared to stake his claim or will their love disappear in an ethereal puff of smoke?

Book Excerpt

Chapter One

Startled from a deep sleep, Jody opened her eyes to find a young child’s misty form sitting on the bed—tears streaming down her face. As it often happened with kids that cry for any length of time, the poor little girl’s sobs were punctuated with hiccups.

Groggy from sleep, her first instinct had her reaching out to embrace the small girl and offer whatever solace she could. Tendrils of unease spiraled through Jody’s body when her fingers unexpectedly encountered cold air instead of warm flesh. Her mind roused instantly. She knew at once this child was dead. Spirits had none of the warmth of the living—though they possessed all the same passions.

As she rose to a sitting position, her heart couldn’t help but break for the tiny, cherubic girl who somehow had found a way onto her bed. The heavy weight of the child’s despair settled squarely on Jody’s shoulders. As the realization of the spirit visitation hit home, she found herself in the unenviable position of having no clue how to appease the little girl. She’d just have to stay the course and watch as the child exhausted her pain-laden tears enough to calm herself and speak her mind. Maybe that was all the little angel wanted from her.

Waiting through the weeping and hiccups proved to be agonizing. Several tense minutes passed until finally this beautiful little girl with auburn hair raised her cobalt blue eyes to gaze into Jody’s soul. “I’m Fiona. I want to talk to my mommy and daddy.

Stricken by the sad message, Jody’s breath caught in her throat. Her hand instinctively covered her heart, trying unsuccessfully to repel the grief radiating from this tiny apparition. The emotional turmoil Fiona expelled dampened Jody’s soul and weighed heavily on her. Anxiety rolled off the child’s spirit in waves and crashed into her body. Each new surge of emotion left Jody feeling battered as if being caught between an angry ocean and steep rock cliffs with no means of escape.

Warning bells blared in Jody’s head. Her empathic abilities were on high alert. Under these conditions, she’d never be able to distance herself from the onslaught of the little ghost girl’s crippling emotions. Unable to separate herself from the child’s grief made coming up with the appropriate response to soothe Fiona impossible.

“Oh, baby, I’m so sorry you’re hurting.” Her heart broke for this child as well as the mother and father who had lost her. She couldn’t imagine how parents found the strength to cope with the loss of one so young and sweet.

“I sit with my mommy all the time, but she can’t see me. She can’t hear me. When I try to touch her, she doesn’t feel me. I’ve tried to talk to my daddy too, but he’s so worried about mommy that he…he…” The poor little girl couldn’t continue.

Fiona’s bottom lip started to quiver as she fought valiantly to control her tears. Witnessing the sheer determination in that small gesture made Jody’s pulse race. The ghost girl caught her lip between her teeth to quell the tremors. The show of absolute strength in that gesture was duly noted. The young child trying her best to suppress her emotions alerted Jody to the importance of this visitation. It saddened her to see one so young digging that deep to gain the power needed to stabilize such debilitating emotions. The fortitude required for such a feat was impressive.

Book Excerpt: ANGEL LOST, ANGEL FOUND by Annalisa Russo

perf5.000x8.000.inddANGEL LOST, ANGEL FOUND by Annalisa Russo

Historical Romance / Released Nov 2015 by The Wild Rose Press

Charity strode over the weathered oak floor toward the front of the restaurant. A man stood hipshot on the other side of the front door. Tall, rangy, with a head of unruly light brown hair, sun streaked and too long for what current fashion dictated. Mussed now, she saw, from the ride on the Harley motorbike parked in front of her place, or perhaps from shoving his fingers through it impatiently, as he was doing now.

He was in his shirtsleeves— definitely not protocol. The leather jacket he’d worn for the ride was thrown over the bike’s seat, but he didn’t appear too worried about it. His shirt was casual but, to Charity’s trained eye, expensive, like the scuffed boots he wore. He pounded on the door again, and his brows slashed over eyes a cold ice blue. His pretty face and squared off jaw needed a shave.

“I’m not hiring,” Charity said through the door and started to pull down the roller shade mounted above the glass.

He glanced up when she spoke and gave her a quick and rude perusal. “I’m not looking for a job.” His drawl sounded like honey over gravel, and he didn’t appear too pleased by her response. “I’m here to see Charity O’Malley.”

“About what?” The man appeared irritated—with her.

“Look, lady, Big Mike sent me. Go get her, and I’ll explain.”

“Big Mike’s dead. He didn’t send you.”

 

Annalisa 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: AN ANGEL HEALED by Annalisa Russo

perf5.000x8.000.inddAN ANGEL HEALED The Cavelli Angel Saga  by Annalisa Russo

Historical Romance / Released Oct 2014 by The Wild Rose Press

He hadn’t heard her voice in seven years, but it had the same effect on him as if it was yesterday.

   God help him.

Silk over honey, huge green eyes with smoky edges, a half dozen freckles sprinkled over a small, straight nose, riotous blonde curls with the scent of a spring morning—and the girl it all belonged to—the one he’d traveled half way across the world to forget.

“I have business here,” Hope insisted. Trying to yank her arm free from the burley man’s grasp was like trying to take a bone from a snarling dog. The bold blue uniform topped by a bright gold badge stretched over his girth. She glanced down at the wooden night stick tucked in the loop of his wide leather belt. It gave her the willies, but she had to hang onto her composure. He didn’t know anything about her, and she needed to keep it that way.

“I have an appointment with Miss Cavelli, Constable. You’ll make me late.” She tried for a nonchalant demeanor, but she couldn’t seem to make her queasy stomach follow her brain. The man was just doing his job, but if he didn’t let go soon she’d probably hurl on his spit-shined shoes.

“What’s wrong here, Flynn?”

Hope glanced over her shoulder and groaned. Another man. This one had worn, paint-splattered trousers on long legs. Honey-colored hair curled on his collar. His scarred boots matched the jagged scar on his face. Hip-shot now, with thumbs hooked in his belt loops, eyes, a warm shade of blue, a bit glazed over, stared at her. Probably St. Rose’s handyman.

So much for sneaking in and getting out unscathed.

 

ANNALISA 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: 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.