“The Royal Nanny,” historical fiction from author Karen Harper

THE ROYAL NANNYMediaKit_BookCover_TheRoyalNanny
by Karen Harper

~~ GENRE: historical fiction ~~

BLURB:

In 1897, a young cockney nursemaid takes her first train ride, leaving London for the lush and sprawling Sandringham Estate, private home to Britain’s royal family. Hired by the Duke and Duchess of York to help rear their royal children, Charlotte Bill is about to become privy to all the secrets families hide, and caught between the upstairs and downstairs worlds.

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EXCERPT:

Of course I’d been out on the for-hire steam launch on the Thames my father captained, but in the railway carriage, I felt I was flying. It was noisy too, here in third class with the huge engine just ahead, huffing and blowing smoky steam which dashed past the windows. . Where I sat was quite plain with the leather seats a bit worn and cracked, but I felt I was in a magic cart to the moon anyway. My father had said the tracks would be well-kept since this was the route the royals themselves used to get to their Norfolk estate where I was headed. But when he’d put me on the train, he’d been disappointed that none of the royal carriages were on this run.

As I was sent for to become undernurse to the royals at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate, it was the first time I’d been in a railway carriage and the first time so far from home. I was going one-hundred-and-twenty miles from London, and didn’t have to pay for the passage ticket either! Maybe that would be one of the grand things being in service to the royals, because Mama said they were all rich, rich, rich. Honestly, I didn’t care a whit about that, just that I could better my station and send some money home in these tough times, but how I missed my former and now grown toddlekins from Dr. Lockwood’s family in London. They didn’t need a nurse anymore, all grown up to only need their new stepmother.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheRoyalNanny

NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author Karen Harper is a former university (Ohio State) and high school English teacher. Published since 1982, she writes contemporary suspense and historical novels about real British women. Two of her recent Tudor era books were bestsellers in the UK and Russia. A rabid Anglophile, she likes nothing more than to research her novels on site in the British Isles. Harper won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for DARK ANGEL, and her novel SHATTERED SECRETS was judged one of the Best Books of 2014 by Suspense Magazine. The author and her husband divide their time between Ohio and Florida. For more information please visit: www.karenharperauthor.com

 

“From Fake to Forever,” humorous contemporary romance from author Jennifer Shirk

MediaKit_BookCover_FromFakeToForever

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GENRE: Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

Sandra Moyer’s preschool is struggling, so she reluctantly agrees to let super-famous actor Ben Capshaw research a role there. Ben’s always joking around, never serious, but there’s something about the buttoned-up, beautiful Sandra and her young daughter that makes him want to take life more seriously. But Sandra won’t trust him—what if it’s all an act, research for the role? As the lines between make-believe and reality blur, Ben will have to decide if love is worth casting aside the role of his life for a new role…that could last a lifetime.

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EXCERPT:

Todd picked up the ball and ran it back to him. “You know, I’m so glad you’re coming for dinner, Uncle Bens. Are you and my mom sure I can’t tell anyone you’re here?”

Ben looked up at the sky and sighed. A sigh that clearly said, if we go through this one more time I’m going to find your entire stash of Twinkies and eat them all without remorse. If the kid were a little older, he’d understand that threat and let the question lie. Instead, Todd continued to gaze up at him with big, hopeful brown eyes.

“No,” Ben told him firmly. “Not your BFF, not even your dog. No one. Got it?”

Todd’s young face looked crushed.

“Look, it’s like I told you before, I don’t want the paparazzi buzzing around here. I’m officially on vacation.”

“In Wood Manor, New Jersey?”

“Hey, the beach here is just as good as Los Angeles, and after a few days I’ll drive up to New York City.” He loved New York in September. He’d get a haircut and a shave, a massage, meet a few women.

Speaking of meeting women…

Ben’s gaze lingered again on the tasty-looking blonde sitting on the bench. He’d been checking her out since he and Todd first arrived at the park. Couldn’t help himself. He had a real thing for blondes, and most—thank you, God—had a real thing for him.

“Hey, Todd, why don’t we go to the slide over there?” Closer to that blonde.

“No way.”

He turned to the boy in surprise. “Why not?”

“That slide’s for babies.”

“No, it’s not. Look, there’s an adult over there,” he said, pointing the football toward the bench.

Todd looked over and made a face. “You want to go talk to that woman, don’t you?”

“Wh-what?” Ben spluttered. “No, no. No way. Hey, stop listening to your mom about me.” Besides, he didn’t want to talk to her, anyway. “Flirt” was a better verb choice. He wanted to flirt with that woman. There was a difference. Anyone could spew out words and just talk. Flirting required talent, always used with the sole purpose of letting the other person know you’re interested. And he was very interested in her.

However, as much as he was tempted to go over and introduce himself, he wouldn’t. He didn’t want to risk his anonymity. But he didn’t see the harm in getting a better look at an attractive woman. After all, if he was in a museum, he’d certainly want to get closer to a work of art, wouldn’t he? And from what he could tell, that woman was a bona fide masterpiece.

She had the kind of straight, shiny blond hair his fingers itched to feel and run through, and a body that was slender in an athletic kind of way—built more like a runner than a centerfold—and not at all fake like most of the women in L.A. He was positive there was nothing cosmetically enhanced on her. Not that she wore anything revealing to bring that kind of attention to herself. Yet, dressed in sweatpants and a Red Sox T-shirt, she’d managed to get his attention just the same.

“Um, Todd, are you sure you don’t want to go over there?” he asked again, trying to rein in and saddle his raging testosterone.

Todd took off running. “You have to catch me first,” he called out with a laugh.

That little bugger. Ben dropped the football and ran after him. Todd was fast, weaving his way around the wooden maze of forts and playground equipment and then disappearing from his sight. Ben climbed up the rope to the wooden platform and scanned the area. From the corner of his eye, he caught sight of Todd ducking into a tube slide. Ha! Gotcha now, kid. He ran over and climbed into a slide himself, hoping to catch him by surprise.

The only problem was he didn’t slide down.

He began to twist, realizing his shoulders were wedged in tight. With one arm pinned down and the other arm up, he tried shifting his hips to wiggle back up. That didn’t work, either. Okay, he wasn’t sure how he’d managed this strange, bizarre feat, but he needed some help.

Crap. He could see the headline now: “Career Not Only Thing Going Down Tubes.” Oh, man, his agent and publicist would have his head on a platter if that happened. He’d be lucky to get local theater work after that. Served him right for showing off and acting like a ten-year-old instead of the thirty-four-year-old he was.

Where the hell is Todd?

Ben heard movement above him. Thank goodness. He looked up, ready to ream Todd out for leaving him hanging so long. But he clamped his lips shut when he stared directly into the face of a cherubic little girl instead.

“Excuse me. Now it my turn,” she said in a tiny voice.

“Uh…well, you have to wait. See, I can’t move right now.”

She frowned. “But I said excuse me.”

“Yeah, I know, but—”

Her little face puckered and those big blue eyes filled with tears, which set the alarm bells ringing. No, no, please. I beg you! Oh, man, the kid was going to cry on him.

Where the hell is Todd!

The little girl did begin to cry—not with the loud, obnoxious wailing he half expected, but with a quiet, trembling frown and dime-size tears that fell like an H5 hailstorm. It made him want to break down and cry, too. He didn’t need this right now—stuck as he was—especially since he had no clue how to convey he was telling the truth to such a young child. About to send out a verbal SOS to Todd, he saw the blonde from the bench spring out before him.

Thank you, God. Maybe it wasn’t exactly how he wanted to meet this woman, but at least she would understand the situation, and he could finally get some help. But when he gazed up into the woman’s ready-to-kill eyes, he doubted very much that the cavalry had arrived.

“What did you do to my daughter?” she accused in that stern mother-bear-protecting-her-cub voice.

Oh, great. Her daughter. More bad PR. Now they were going to add child abuse to the headline. “Nothing,” he insisted. “Honest. Look, she just wants to go down the slide.”

The blonde folded her arms. “Well, let her, then.”

The woman’s demand gave him pause. Okay, she obviously didn’t understand his predicament any better than her kid had. “I…uh…can’t,” he said with a sheepish grin. “I’m kind of stuck. Maybe a little help?” He waved his one free arm, but she looked at it as though it were covered with warts.

“Maybe I should call the police for help instead,” she said, drawing her daughter to her side.

“No police!”

The woman flinched from his outburst. He didn’t mean to freak out on her, but the police equaled the press in his book. Then bad headlines. Then unhappy agent. Then less work. The list went on.

He cleared his throat. “No police, please,” he repeated more calmly. “In fact, don’t call anyone.”

An odd expression—somewhere between nausea and hysteria—crossed her pretty features, and she grabbed her daughter’s hand. “Let’s go.”

Go? Go where? He watched in disbelief as the woman began to lead her daughter away. Did she think he was faking it? Didn’t she recognize him? The woman was actually turning her back on him.

“Wait!” he shouted. “I’m not kidding! Come back! What about me?”

His complaints and shouts didn’t even register on her radar. The woman had to have heard him—heck, upstate New York had to have heard him—but she didn’t turn around. Didn’t so much as pause. In fact, she picked up her little girl and ran.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FromFakeToForever

Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.

She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Avalon Books/Montlake Romance and now Entangled Publishing. She won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC’s Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her first book, THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME. Recently, her novel SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM won the 2013 Golden Quill Published Authors Contest for Best Traditional Romance.

Lately, she’s been on a serious exercise kick. But don’t hold that against her.

Author Website: http://www.jennifershirk.com
Author Blog: http://jennifershirk.blogspot.com/
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferShirk
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjennifershirk
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jennifershirk
Newsletter: eepurl.com/Q6TH1

https://www.amazon.com/Fake-Forever-Jennifer-Shirk-ebook/dp/B01F1YMJNK/

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MY REVIEW OF From Fake to Forever:

From Fake to Forever is a fun, sweet summer read, perfect to take along on vacation flights or to the beach. Hunky actor Ben Capshaw is researching his next film role while hiding out from the papparazzi where no one would ever to expect to find him – at a preschool in New Jersey! Sandra, the lovely co-owner of the preschool, had a cheating ex who was an actor, and she isn’t about to let another thespian find his way into her heart. But Fate may have other plans for Ben and the lovely Sandra, helped along by Missy, Sandra’s sister, and Sandra’s precocious little daughter, Hannah.

This is a romance, so we know that Sandra will eventually learn to trust again and Ben will discover that true love is better than his playboy ways, but the fun and chuckles carry us delightfully along for the ride. There are a few little twists and turns along the way that will also surprise.

If you enjoy light celebrity romance with some sweet heartwarming moments, From Fake to Forever will be your cup of tea. Enjoy! ~ Kadee

“The Trouble with Misbehaving,” Victorian romance from Victoria Hanlen

The Trouble with Misbehaving

by Victoria Hanlen

MediaKit_BookCover_TheTroubleWithMisbehaving

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GENRE: Historical Romance

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BLURB:

Love, Betrayal and Redemption

Calista ‘CC’ Collins is used to being the talk of the town. With her scandalous past she’s learnt the hard way that a woman needs to be strong to get what she wants in a man’s world. And what she wants is the infamous Captain Beauford Tollier—roguish son of an earl, notorious blockade-runner and all-round knave of the seas.

However, Captain Beau is not one to be cajoled—he is done with the dangerous sea life and ready to follow the life of the straight and narrow. But with many powerful forces circling around him, Beau doesn’t stand a chance…

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Excerpt:

Clutching her elbow, he led her across the manicured lawn into a copse of trees.

“What are you do—”

He swung them behind a tree and peered out. Whatever she wanted to talk about suddenly lost importance. The villains following him were the more immediate problem.

“Tell me—”

“Shhhh.” He pressed a finger to her lips.

Two men in top hats stepped off the gravel path and picked their way across the lawn.

Beau marched C.C. deeper into the grove around trees and shrubs. Then through an archway of fragrant vines to a fountain struggling to reflect hazy moonlight. They needed to stay quiet and hidden.

“Before you drag me any further into the bushes—”

Didn’t the woman know the meaning of shhhh? She would give away their hiding place if he didn’t do something quick. He pulled her to him and covered her mouth with his. Mint and vanilla filled his senses.

Her sweet, almost maidenly response surprised him. No, she probably wasn’t a tart. Just a hasty stolen kiss, yet he couldn’t help appreciate the tantalizing fit of her supple lips under his and how her body softened against him. His heart stammered and launched into a faster beat. Lifting his head, he gazed about her bewildered, upturned countenance, breathlessly poised for a man’s kisses. Hmm, not entirely a maiden either.

Perhaps another quick kiss would clarify matters?

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheTroubleWithMisbehaving

Award winning, historical romance author, VICTORIA HANLEN, has worked at a wide range of jobs, from fashion, to corporate business, to treading the boards of stage and professional opera. A lifelong writer, she once put her skills to use in PR and advertising. But her favorite form of writing is happily-ever-afters spiced with a dash of wit and a page-turning mystery. Victoria and her husband live in rural New England surrounded by a host of wildlife.

She enjoys hearing from readers at:

http://www.victoriahanlen.com

https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaHanlen

https://www.twitter.com/VictoriaHanlen

Newsletter? Sign up today!  https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/websitesignupform0218201694902am

Mills & Boon: https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/p46539/the-trouble-with-misbehaving.htm

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0175WV0AE

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trouble-Misbehaving-Victoria-Hanlen-ebook/dp/B0175WV0AE

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/victoria+hanlen

Google Play: https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Trouble_With_Misbehaving.html?id=1c_PCgAAQBAJ

Kobo books: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-trouble-with-misbehaving

BAM!: http://www.booksamillion.com/search?id=5529803929861&query=VICTORIA+HANLEN&where=eBooks 

“Simply the Best” – an award-winning romance anthology

Simply the Best: A Collection of International Digital Award Winning Romances

by L.A. Sartor, Laurel O’Donnell, Kathy L Wheeler, Dale Mayer,

Charity Tahmaseb, Cynthia A Clement

Media Kit _BookCover_SimplyTheBest

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GENRE:  Multi-genre

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This collection of multi-genre romances features winning novels from the International Digital Awards, including historical, suspense/thriller, short historical, contemporary, paranormal, and young adult. Simply the Best of all worlds!

Haunted by Death ~ Dale Mayer

Death haunts anthropologist Meg Pearce…

In her last summer before college, an innocent camping trip ended in a friend’s disappearance…and destroyed her life.

Angel’s Assassin ~ Laurel O’Donnell

When Damien enters Aurora’s life, tempting her with promises of dark passion and forbidden lust, he threatens to tear her peaceful world apart with shadowy secrets of his own.

Be Mine This Christmas Night ~ L. A. Sartor

At Christmas, finding love and a family seems even more possible…unless you’re keeping a secret.

A Hunter 4 Rescue ~ Cynthia Clement

Worlds Apart. Joined by Love

A unit of elite alien warriors, known as Hunters, crash lands on earth and their leader is torn between getting his men to safety or protecting the human woman he has bonded with.

The Fine Art of Keeping Quiet ~ Charity Tahmaseb

Sometimes staying silent is the biggest lie of all

No one expects the girl who has mastered the art of keeping quiet to join the speech team. But Jolia does. When a crush-worthy rival offers to coach her in secret, she can’t say no. But secrets have a price, and this one might cost Jolia everything.

The Mapmaker’s Wife ~ Kathy L Wheeler

In the midst of his worn-torn country, love posed the greater danger.

A flippant proposal and an attack on her person finds one young woman married to the mapmaker who only needs someone to take control of his ungovernable child. Feelings quickly shift into something less platonic and when the enemy gains vital secrets, her suspicions land her in jail.

This multi-author boxed set will be sold for $0.99 cents

at Amazon  B&N.com  iBooks.com  Kobo

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AUTHOR Bios and Links:

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author known for her page turning plotlines and heartwarming characters. A prolific writer, she specializes in Romantic Suspense, but also writes thrillers, comedy, and contemporary romances.

Website: http://www.dalemayer.com

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/dalemayer

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/dalemayer.author

Award winning author Kathy L Wheeler loves travel, fantasy football, NBA and musical theatre. As an avid reader of romance and patron of the theatre, her main sources of inspiration come mostly from an over-active imagination. Kathy writes contemporary and historical romance, from sweet to spicy.

Website – http://kathylwheeler.com/

Blog – http://kathylwheeler.com/blog

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kathylwheeler

Twitter – https://twitter.com/kathylwheeler/

L.A. Sartor is a bestselling, award-winning author. She began telling stories around the age of 4 when her mother, at L.A.’s insistence, wrote them down and L.A. illustrated them. As an adult, she writes suspense and action-adventure novels with a dash of romance, and screenplays—she’s had a contracted adaptation!  She lives in Colorado with her husband whom she met on a blind date.  L.A. loves to travel and thinks life is an adventure and we should embrace the journey.

Website – http://bit.ly/Msu6J8

Facebook  – http://on.fb.me/NxXQPL

Facebook Author Page – http://on.fb.me/MUU9HK

Twitter  – https://twitter.com/LesannSartor

Laurel O’Donnell is a best selling author and has won numerous awards for her medieval romances, including the International Digital Award and the Holt Medallion Award.

Website – http://www.laurel-odonnell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LaurelODonnell.author/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/laurelodonnell

Charity Tahmaseb has slung corn on the cob for Green Giant and jumped out of airplanes (but not at the same time). She’s worn both Girl Scout and Army green. These days, she writes fiction (short and long) and works as a technical writer.

Website/blog – https://writingwrongs.wordpress.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/charity.tahmaseb

Twitter – https://twitter.com/geekgirlx2

Cynthia Clement is an award winning author who began writing when she was a teenager. Her novels reflect her love of romance, strong honorable heroes, and suspense intertwined with the intriguing and unexplained.

Website – http://www.cynthiaclement.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Cynthia-A-Clement-Author-124053354459215/?ref=hl

Twitter – https://twitter.com/CynthiaAClement

Review of “High Country Baby,” Harlequin Special Edition contemporary romance from author Joanna Sims

High Country Baby coverHigh Country Baby is the latest book in the “Brands of Montana” series for Harlequin’s Special Edition line, and the first one in the series that I’ve read.

The description appealed to me. Taylor Brand, recently divorced, is almost 40 and sees very little chance to have what she most wants…a baby. She decides to spend some weeks riding the Continental Divide to find herself and plan her next move. Stay near family in Montana or return to a corporate job in Chicago? But when she confronts a cowboy sent by her uncle to follow her on her journey, she has to agree to his help or cancel the trip.

Taylor’s situation is easy to relate to and cowboy Clint has problems of his own. I really wanted to like this story more than I did. The writing was uneven at times and there were some changes in the point of view within scenes that threw me off and made me unsure who was actually thinking what. I was also more than a little surprised by the frequent sex scenes, which seemed a bit out of place in such an emotional story. The descriptions weren’t crude but I felt all the detail in them just wasn’t necessary. I’m also not fond of heroes who smoke, drink a lot and curse or the heroines who think that’s acceptable behavior. That said, as the story progressed into matters of life and death, loss and sorrow, love and hope, I was (sometimes tearfully) rooting for Taylor and Clint to find a way to be together and be happy.

With the issues I had with the story, I can only give it a 3-star rating. I liked a lot about it but disliked almost as much. High Country Baby is far from being a “light” read. Readers of contemporary romance who enjoy complex, emotional stories with a good bit of sex should be well satisfied with this one. ❤

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  B&N  HARLEQUIN

Review of “Want Ad Wedding,” A Love Inspired historical romance from author Cheryl St. John

Want Ad Wedding coverWant Ad Wedding is the first book in the Christian inspirational Cowboy Creek series, with mail order brides bringing new beginnings to a Kansas boomtown just after the Civil War.

Leah Swann is a young widow, and trained midwife, who answers the first want ad, hoping to find a husband who will give her security and also be a good father to her unborn baby. What she finds in Cowboy Creek are her childhood friends, Daniel and Will, who traveled west after the war and founded the town, along with their friend, Noah. When Daniel decides that only he is good enough for Leah and proposes to her, promising to love and raise her late husband’s child as his own, Leah accepts and pledges to give Daniel her devotion and loyalty.

Troubles are plentiful in Cowboy Creek over the next few months…lumber thefts, dying cattle and outlaws plague the small town. The inhabitants pray for peace, while Leah prays that she and Daniel can find their way to love and a true marriage.

There are still lots of questions at the end, which will hopefully be answered in the next book, but this is a lovely story with a plethora of detail on life in this growing town, where the inhabitants count on the railroad to bring business and new settlers, and on God to see them through difficult times. Readers who like sweet romances set in the American West will enjoy Want Ad Wedding. ❤

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  B&N  HARLEQUIN

Review of “A Valentine for the Veterinarian,” Harlequin Special Edition contemporary romance from author Katie Meyer

Valentine for VetA Valentine for the Veterinarian is the second book in Katie Meyer’s “Paradise Animal Clinic” series for Harlequin’s Special Edition line. As an animal person, I really enjoyed the first book, The Puppy Proposal, so I was especially looking forward to getting another love story set in this world, hoping that it would be as good a read as the first one.

Well, I’m happy to report that it is. The hero, Alex Santiago, is a good guy, hunky, and looks great in (or out of) his police uniform. He also has a K-9 partner, Rex, to make any dog-loving readers enjoy his scenes just that much more. He meets and is immediately smitten with Dr. Cassie Marshall, as well as her precocious daughter, Emma. As they work together to help organize a Valentine Day’s dance, Cassie and Alex’s attraction to each other grows. When Emma wanders away from her grandparents’ house one evening and gets lost in a nature preserve, Alex and Rex, who’s training as a rescue dog, are on the case.

I don’t write many 5-star reviews, but I can happily give this one a solid “4.” I felt that Alex got over his long-time fear of turning out just like his own neglectful dad a little too suddenly; and yes, Cassie and Alex fall in bed so fast that it seems out of character for the responsible veterinarian. With those objections aside, the emotions involved are strong enough to make it believable that this couple would change and grow at light speed so they can be together. As with many of the books I’ve read in the Harlequin Special Edition line, the love scene is not graphic.

A Valentine for the Veterinarian is a fast, fun story that I think any reader of contemporary romance not looking for anything too racy will enjoy. ❤

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  B&N  HARLEQUIN

A Short History of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has always been celebrated with candy, flowers and greeting cards, some heartfelt and others sappy, right? ??

Well, no…not exactly.

There really was a St. Valentine…at least a dozen or so of them, in fact, depending on whether one consults the lists of martyrs of the Roman Catholic or the Eastern Orthodox Church. The name “Valentine” (or “Valentinus”) is from the Latin word, valens, meaning “strong.”

The simple feast (or Commemoration) of St. Valentine in the Roman Martyrology, the Catholic Church’s official list of recognized saints, has traditionally been February 14th, reportedly the date in the year 273 when Bishop Valentine of the Diocese of Terni (in what is now Italy), was imprisoned and killed in Rome.

The truth behind the legends of this particular St. Valentine are murky, to say the least. In 3rd century Rome, Emperor Claudius II believed that young men who were single, without the encumbrances of a wife or children, were more dedicated, so he forbade his young soldiers from marrying. Bishop Valentine defied this decree and continued to perform marriages, a stand that cost him his life.

The first recorded connection of St. Valentine to the concept of “romantic love” was in the poem by Geoffrey Chaucer, Parlement of Foules, in 1382, which was written to celebrate the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, who were married when each was but 15 years old. (Without doing any further research, methinks that might have been an arranged marriage.)

Later writers such as John Donne and Shakespeare (in “Hamlet”) also mention Valentine’s Day. By 1797, a British publisher printed The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, with a number of suggested verses for young lovers who felt they were not capable of composing their own. By the early 1800’s, the Regency period in England, factory-produced paper valentines became popular, with fancy ones adorned with real cloth lace and ribbons for those who could afford them. It was also common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange handwritten notes and small tokens of affection.

Real lace became paper lace by the mid-1800’s. In the United States, Esther Howland received an English valentine from one of her father’s business associates. Since her father operated a book and stationery store, Esther decided to create and mass produce valentines in the late 1840’s, using decorations imported from England, and is known as the “Mother of the Valentine.”

Hand-written valentines thus led to greeting cards, which paved the way for Valentine’s Day to become the commercialized, multi-billion-dollar industry it is today. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. Paper cards, e-cards, flowers, chocolates, and even diamonds are now necessary accoutrements each February 14th to go along with those three little words that never seem to go out of style: “I love you.”

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If you enjoy reading traditional Regency romance, please check out my novella, An Arranged Valentine, available from e-book stores everywhere. Here’s a bit about it:

An Arranged Valentine - revised 1-31-2016

In the coldest days of February, can St. Valentine generate enough heat to melt these two strangers’ hearts into one?

“…a perfectly lovely afternoon read.”

“This is a wonderful little gem of a story, heartfelt and touching.”

“Of course, the over riding situation is one where it suits both parties to be arranged.”

“An Arranged Valentine” is a traditional Regency romance novella told in 10 short chapters.

Miss Penelope Braxton has never met either sensible George Harburton or his more dashing younger brother, Henry, but she agrees to grant her dying father peace of mind by considering marriage to one of them.

The advantage of the match for the brothers is evident in the form of Miss Braxton’s substantial dowry. However, her money takes second place when the brothers realize the extent of Penelope’s courage, wit, and devotion.

Henry doesn’t plan to give up his philandering to romance Penelope. George’s days are filled with the running of the family estate and he has never put aside his duties long enough to contemplate marriage. When one of the gentleman changes his ways, will he be able to compose the perfect poetry to win Penelope’s heart?

An Arranged Valentine can be found through your favorite e-book retailer by clicking on this Books2Read link:  Books2Read/AAV

Sweet romance anthology, “Valentine Pets & Kisses” – 14 Bestselling authors!

Love this collection! There’s truly something here for everyone!

Each story features a sweet romance, tender kisses and hugs, and precocious pets—all brought to you by USA Today bestselling, national/international bestselling, and award winning authors who have crafted heartwarming heroes and heroines that will make you laugh, cry, swoon, and sigh.

Candy and canines. Flowers and felines. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your sweethearts of the human and fuzzy varieties!

Nothing is more heart-warming than kisses from the pet who adores you and the man who loves you, so snuggle up with VALENTINE PETS & KISSES and strike the perfect mood for moonlit walks and candlelight dinners with your pet and sweetheart.

MediaKit_BookCover_ValentinesPetsAndKisses

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Valentine Hound Dog – Rachelle Ayala
Fashion icon Jenna Hart, along with her basset hound puppy, tries to convince a burned former fireman that beauty is never skin deep and love’s arrow strikes not only the beautiful, but the bold.

The Crazy Girl’s Handbook – DelSheree Gladden
Spending the weekend babysitting her two nephews and a puppy was supposed to be fun. Sweating to death at a baseball game while getting gum in her hair, soda down her shirt, and an ice cream pedicure wasn’t part of the deal. Neither was finding out the best guy she’d ever missed a blind date with had witnessed it all. Longest. Weekend. Ever.

The Vet’s Valentine Gift – J.L. Campbell
Matthias Laing has snagged the woman of his dreams, but his job as a vet keeps getting him into trouble. The situation is past complicated because of the growing assortment of animals in Toni’s house and to top it all, the conflict between Matthias and her ex-husband. Can Matthias and Toni’s budding romance survive their challenges and if it doesn’t, will Jade, her precocious five-year-old find a way to play Cupid and fix things by Valentine’s Day?

Her Perfect Catch – K.L. Brady
Nerdy, struggling sports writer Melanie Vincent needs a miracle when her dream of running a nationally recognized blog hits a snag due to low readership. After Mel is gifted a pair of Super Bowl tickets for years of faithful dog sitting, she has a chance encounter with her favorite football player that leads to the inside scoop on the biggest story of her career…and maybe the love of a lifetime.

Inflamed – Jade Kerrion
Debra Martinez doesn’t believe in happy endings, until Sean Orr, Havre de Grace’s newest firefighter, shows her and her son, Aidan, a new and beautiful kind of “normal.” But the happiness can’t last—not for Sean who is on the run from his own past.

Remember When – Hope Welsh
Laura and Brent really tried to make their marriage work, but in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be. Or was it? When they meet to discuss joint custody of their Akita, they discover they have much more to talk about other than the dog.

Your Biggest Fan? – Sydney Aaliyah Michelle
Noah Patrick, NFL bad boy, has sworn off women, who only seem to want him for his fame and his money. Callie James is such a big Noah Patrick fan, she named her energetic Chihuahua after the man of her dreams. When they find themselves hiding out in the same Brooklyn Brownstone, a crazy blizzard, a never-ending supply of spaghetti, and a dog with identity issues bring them together even though they both have secrets that would tear them apart.

The Feline Fix – Caroline Bell Foster
Meeting Police Constable Callum Forde on the worse day of her life, makes cat lover and scientist Wendy Wilde question all that she values, her cat’s loyalty and the role science plays in love.

Trembling Hearts – Suzette Riddick
Recluse Jason Carr is living in rural Virginia after an accident leaves him physically scarred. While taking a stroll and minding his business, the spunky Lezlie Sharpe literally crashes into his life, stealing the heart of his beloved pooch, Trooper. Now, forced to share living quarters, will Lezlie capture Jason’s heart too?

Valentino, Be Mine – Tina D.C. Hayes
Kaylee Rose is thrilled when a neighbor moving out of the country asks if she’ll consider taking in her teacup Yorkie, Valentino, but there are a few strings attached. When she finds out a man she can’t stand is the other caretaker, she’s forced to deal with the arrogant jerk until they decide who gets the pampered pooch permanently . . . or risk losing the dog to a heartbreaking fate.

Lost and Found – Jeanne Bannon
Lexie is so distraught after long-time boyfriend, Josh, dumps her, she takes a leave of absence from her teaching job. Josh leaves behind the puppy he bought for her just before things fell apart even though she’s not a dog person. Lexie contemplates giving it away but decides keep the little mischief-maker and get her some training.

While at puppy obedience school, Lexie meets Tommy, the happy-go-lucky type she could give her heart to if only she was ready. But Lexie gives Tommy the brush off and they lose touch. However, a series of events, some unfortunate, bring them together again.

Surviving San Francisco – Susan Oloier
When 23-year-old Leah Newland accepts a job in San Francisco and runs away from her small-town Illinois life, she expects things to change for the better. What she doesn’t expect is to lose her job, adopt a cat she hit with her car, and fall for a sexy and seemingly unavailable veterinarian. Suddenly, going back to the Midwest seems better than surviving San Francisco.

19 Ivy Lane – Aubrey Wynne
Eloise Kolby steps off the bus and greets Hollywood with high expectations and a smile. Two months later, she’s broke, hungry and rethinking her dream. An offer to house sit provides her with too much time alone, an adopted family of kittens and a sexy postman waiting at her gate.

Victor Burnham can’t stop thinking of the beautiful, mysterious woman who just moved into his hometown. She meets him each day at the mailbox, waiting for a letter. When the envelope finally arrives, they both must face decisions that could make their dreams come true or jeopardize their relationship forever.

Three Plus Three – Cindy Flores Martinez
A year after losing her husband, a grieving widow, Violet, and their beloved bichon frise visit their favorite place the day before Valentine’s Day. While they are there, Violet meets a handsome widower who makes her feel alive again.

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Excerpt from Her Perfect Catch by K.L. Brady:

The lobby was no less elegant than the hotel’s exterior, draped in luxurious natural-colored decor with reddish accents, Italian marble, and ornate European-styled furniture placed in cozy, conversational arrangements. The desk attendant, an older gray-haired lady with a Southern twang, shifted her eyes between them.

“Well, don’t you two make the cutest couple?”

“We do, don’t we?” Dylan said, wrapping his arm around Mel’s shoulder, grinning as if he won the lottery.

With one eyebrow up, Mel glanced at his hand and then brushed it off. “Uh, no, no. We’re best friends.”

“Oh, I get it. Friends with benefits.” She winked.

“No, no. Just buddies.”

“Well, if he’s not with you”—she reached between her ample bosom and pulled out a business card—“he can give me a call. I get off in an hour.”

“Uh, ma’am, we’d just like to check in, please. Any additional rooms available?”

She pursed her lips and gave Mel every bit of her attitude. “Afraid not. We’re all booked up until Monday. Super Bowl.”

Mel handed the woman her credit card, waited for her to process it for incidentals and hand her the keycards. “Room 315. Up the elevator to the third floor; your room is on the left at the end of the hall.” As Mel dragged her suitcase and Mack toward the elevator, his carrier handle started to cut into her finger so she swapped bags with Dylan. Then they pressed ahead through the pristine, marble lobby to catch a ride to their room.

“Mel, why do you keep doing that?” Dylan asked as they waited for the elevator to alert its arrival.

“Doing what?”

“Telling everyone we’re not together as if I’m a leper or something.”

“If my memory serves me correctly, denying that we’re a couple used to be your role. How many times have you told your potential prey that I’m your little sister?” Mel responded, giving him the side eye. “Guess you taught me well, Obi-Wan.”

He grimaced as the elevator doors opened, motioned her inside, and pressed “3.”

“Listen, I’ve wanted to talk to you about Gizelle. She didn’t cancel. I did…and there’s a reason, something I didn’t realize until recently.”

“How many times did I tell you Gizelle was all wrong for you?”

“About a thousand, but that’s not what I’m—”

She let out a long exasperated sigh. “Dylan, while I just love hearing about your sexual exploits and break-ups,” she said facetiously, “how about you hold that thought until after I’m out of a hot shower and into some pajamas.”

“But you don’t understand. What I’m trying to say is—”

Just then the doors opened and Mel stepped off the elevator. It was too late when she heard someone yell, “Go deep!”

An object collided against her temple, causing a dull aching pain to stretch across her skull and into her neck. Dylan’s voice screamed, “Watch out!” before all light and sound faded and the hall went black.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bios and Links:

Rachelle Ayala – “From romantic suspense to sweet contemporaries, I write from my heart and love to include children and pets in my stories.”

Website: http://www.rachelleayala.com/
Twitter: @AyalaRachelle
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clare.chu

DelSheree Gladden is a USA Today bestselling young adult and romance author, whose writing includes everything from dystopian and Native American mythology to sweet and funny romances.

Website: http://delshereegladden.com/
Twitter: @DelSheree
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDelShereeGladden

J.L. Campbell is an award-winning author who writes sweet romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, new and young adult novels.

Website: http://www.joylcampbell.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JL_Campbell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jlcampbellwrites

K.L. Brady is a multi-award-winning author of sweet and sexy romantic comedies, young adult romance, and a spy thriller series based on her career in U.S. intelligence.

Website: http://klbradyauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KARLAB27

Jade Kerrion writes frequently award-winning, occasionally best-selling science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance novels.

Website: http://jadekerrion.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jadekerrion
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JadeKerrion

Sydney Aaliyah Michelle is a contemporary romance writer, a voracious reader and movie fanatic who hails from Texas.

Website: http://sydneyaaliyah.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/sydliyah
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SydneyAaliyahMichelle/

Caroline Bell Foster writes contemporary women’s fiction with themes of substance that defy convention.

Website: http://www.carolinebellfoster.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbellfoster
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolinebellfoster

Suzette Riddick is a wife, mother and nurse practitioner who enjoys writing romance novels with a touch of reality.

Website: http://suzetteriddick.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/suzette267
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/suzetteriddickromanceroom/

Tina D.C. Hayes writes romantic suspense and cozy mysteries while her pampered pooches and parrots stand guard against writer’s block.

Website: https://tinadchayes.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@Tina_DC_Hayes/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TinaDCHayesAuthor/

Jeanne Bannon is an international best-selling author of paranormal and romance fiction with twenty-five years of experience in the publishing industry.

Website: http://www.jeannebannon.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@jeannebannon
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeanne-Bannon/182120961844916?fref=ts

Susan Oloier is a mother and educator who writes memoir, as well as adult and young adult contemporary fiction.

Website: http://www.susanoloier.com/
Twitter: @narrawriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSusanOloier/

Aubrey Wynne is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night.

Website: http://aubreywynneauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aubreywynne51
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/magnificentvalor/

Cindy Flores Martinez writes sweet romantic comedy and inspirational romance in both English and Spanish.

Website: http://www.cindyfloresmartinez.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCindy
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cindy.floresmartinez

Book Sale Links
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Kindle UK: http://bit.ly/VPKUK
Kobo: http://bit.ly/VPKKobo
Google Play: http://bit.ly/VPKGp
Apple: http://bit.ly/VPKiBk
Barnes & Noble Nook: http://bit.ly/VPKNok
Website Links: https://www.facebook.com/events/1648008515464074/

 

Review of “A Soldier’s Promise,” Harlequin Special Edition contemporary romance from Karen Templeton

Soldier's Promise“A Soldier’s Promise” is a credible contemporary romance read. The characters live in the real world and the impact of the world shows in their everyday lives.

The hero, Levi, is just out of the military, having seen battle up close and personal. Val is left a widow with two small children because of the war. Levi and Val are both strong characters and doing their best to figure out life without Tomas, Val’s husband and Levi’s best friend, and their struggles to adjust are realistic. This story isn’t a light read, showing how war can affect both the soldiers who come back and the families left to fend for themselves when their loved ones don’t return.

I don’t give many books 5 stars, and I’ll give this one 4. I had two reservations. There were a number of characters introduced, specifically Levi’s brothers, who will likely have stories of their own, but I didn’t feel a real connection to them, or to Val’s in-laws, who are supportive but seem to have gotten over their son’s death very quickly. Also, the characters never simply “breathed” or “sighed.” Instead, they “huffed out a breath” or “pushed out a sigh” or something similar in almost every scene until the author’s attempt for unusual or distinctive phrasing became a bit distracting. How a character says or does something shouldn’t detract from what they’re actually saying or doing.

Still, “A Soldier’s Promise” is a good read with a nice steady pace and enough description of their small town in New Mexico to make the setting into a character, as well. I’d recommend it for readers looking for realistic modern romance with a guaranteed HEA.

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