Thursday, December 8, 2016

#GiveAway - Kiss Me at Last by Holly Cortelyou

  
Kiss Me at Last
by Holly Cortelyou

Holly will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here

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 BLURB:

KISS ME AT LAST (A Wescott Springs Novella) by Holly Cortelyou

What's better than wine, chocolate and a little renovation magic? A sweet and sexy matchup between a handsome, hammer-swinging contractor, Sean McMallory, and a flirty and stubborn champagne bar owner, Melinda York, who's in a remodel pickle! Kiss Me at Last brings you back to the charming mountain hamlet of Wescott Springs, Colorado in a heartwarming contemporary, small town romance that's sweet with a little kiss of heat!

One tempting kiss will rock his world…

Melinda York has every last penny tied up in her business remodel so the last thing she needs is a complication—like surly Sean McMallory. But when "McGrumpy" blows through her front door with a hammer and toolbox, she knows she’s doomed…her replacement contractor is none other than the jerk who humiliated her at the town council meeting. With Melinda buried in sawdust and the exasperating, but ever-so-sexy, Sean constantly underfoot, how is she supposed to maintain her professional poise when she can’t stop daydreaming about his broad shoulders and his unexpectedly kind heart?

Sean McMallory likes his life simple and straightforward, and his plate is full with a booming construction business and family responsibilities. When a cousin begs a favor, he’s plunged neck-deep into the whirlwind that is elegant, jet-setter Melinda York and her wine bar renovation. There’s just no trusting the flirty Melinda even if he can’t forget her kissable lips and surprisingly, vulnerable eyes. So he’ll stick with his beer and country roads, and she can keep her bottles of bubbly and fancy truffles!

Can one kiss build a bridge to love and heal their wounded hearts?


GENRE: Contemporary Romance 

Buy Links:
Amazon | Nook |  iBooks  | Kobo  

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 EXCERPT:
  
With a smile lurking at the corners of his mouth, Sean had been waiting for an eruption for the last ten minutes.

It was day three of construction, and Melinda had looked far from chipper as she'd schlepped into the wine bar at eight in a slouchy gray sweater, faded jeans, and nondescript running shoes. Her eyes were bleary, and she cradled her coffee concoction like it was the crown jewel in the queen's tiara. She'd winced every time his hammer drove home a nail.

Sean grinned. Hangover, he supposed, and he pounded a few extra nails for good measure as she scuttled into her office. That ought to fix her little red wagon, Miss High and Mighty and her sexy British accent. Not that he'd noticed.

He glanced toward her office door, and there was Melinda, staring at him with a stony gaze through half-slitted eyes.

"Good morning, Ms. York," Sean said in his perkiest voice. "Sun's shining, and it's beautiful out." He fiddled with the chuck on the drill and idly revved it a few times for some bonus noise.

"Is there anything quiet you can do for a while?" Melinda said, her tone was pained.

"Not feeling well?"

"I'm fine. I have some phone calls to make to wine distributors and a little peace and quiet would be divine."

"Go back to your coffee shop for those calls. Unless you want me to take a break already? That will slow me down."

Melinda glared. "I'm trying to get some work done, too."

"Well, ma'am. This is a construction zone, so there's going to be noise. We're not slapping on some paint and hanging a few light fixtures. We're adding beams, ripping out floors. What exactly were you expecting? Should I bring a bowl of potpourri or something?"

"That might help." Her tone was drenched in syrup. "Or do you have a silencer for that drill?"


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Holly Cortelyou is a romance author who pens sweet and spicy small town, contemporary romances as well as supernatural and paranormal romances. On any given day, you’ll likely find her posting dog and cat pics on Facebook (HollyCortelyouAuthor) or goofing off on Twitter (@HollyCortelyou) and Pinterest! And of course, you can always visit her on the web at www.HollyCortelyou.com. Holly has hazel eyes, a goofy sense of humor and…all the rest is subject to change without notice.



#Recipes - Forever’s Holiday Celebration Blog Tour


‘Tis the season to celebrate! Five of Forever’s authors with brand new Christmas romances are sharing their favorite holiday recipes and memories.

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CAROLYN BROWN’S PUMPKIN BREAD

Kids, grand children, great-grands, all coming home for the holidays—the aroma of pumpkin bread baking in the oven—everyone waiting for it to get done so they can slice it up while it’s still hot, slather butter or whipped cream cheese on it, and tell the age old stories about the holidays we’ve had in the house. That’s the stuff memories are made off and every time I smell pumpkin bread it puts a smile on my face for the whole day.

PUMPKIN BREAD
This makes 2 loaves and 8 muffins; Or it makes one Bundt cake
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 2/3 cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (one 15-16 ounce can)
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons soda
  • 1 cup pecans (optional)
  • 2/3 cup of cold strong black coffee
  • (NOTE: I use all butter if I’m out of shortening or even oil)

  • Cream first four ingredients.
  • Add dry ingredients alternately with coffee
  •  Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour for loaves or bundt cake, 25 minutes for muffins, or until they test done in the center.
  • Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  • Cool completely before frosting with Harvest Moon Frosting (below).


HARVEST MOON FROSTING

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a double boiler. Cook 7 minutes, beating the whole time with an electric mixer, over the boiling water.  The frosting will stand in peaks when done. Add vanilla.  Beat until thick enough to spread.


Find out more about Carolyn Brown at her website.

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PAULA QUINN’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES

My dad used to live across the street from us. Every year, when my kids were little, he would dress up like Santa, climb out his window on the second floor, and hang Christmas lights on his fire escape. My kids would watch from our window with wonder in their eyes, unaware that it was grandpa. He would turn and wave to them, sending them into little fits of breathlessness. Later, we would visit grandma and grandpa’s for homemade cookies (left there for them by Santa). The house was always fully decked out with every Christmas decoration imaginable with Alvin and the Chipmunks on repeat while the kids hunted down little “pre-Christmas” gifts he’d hide for them. I loved witnessing the magic of Christmas and love through their eyes. Now grown, my kids will sometimes still look out the window at his fire escape and smile, remembering a grandpa who loved them beyond measure.


GRANDPA’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES
(A favored Italian recipe)


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • Sift dry ingredients.
  • Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs; add vanilla and dry ingredients.
  • Knead and add flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to hands.
  • Pinch off dough, roll in your hands to form a log and then twirl into shape.
  • Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

ICING

  • 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 teaspoons water

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Stir until creamy. Dip cookies into icing and sprinkle with trim. Place on wire rack with wax paper on counter to collect the dripping icing and sprinkles.

A Highlander's Christmas Kiss (Highland Heirs) by [Quinn, Paula]
Find out more about Paula Quinn at her website.

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DEBBIE MASON TREE TRIMMING PARTY
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One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions is our tree trimming party. We’ve held one every year for the past thirty years. Though I don’t know if it qualifies as a party seeing as it’s just the immediate family. But we do make a thing of it with our favorite carols playing in the background, fire on (mostly for ambience), hot chocolate served in festive mugs, lots of holiday treats, and a special ornament for each of the kids and grandkids to open before the tree decorating gets under way.

But I think the most fun for all of us isn’t decorating the tree, it’s unpacking the ornaments. I’ve always tried to buy an ornament that’s uniquely suited to each of the kids, whether it was a sport they were into that year or a movie, book, or hobby they loved, so unwrapping each one brings back a lot of special memories. Here’s a peek at just some of the collection. I don’t think it will be long before we have to break from tradition and let the kids take some of the ornaments home to decorate their own trees. Either that or we’ll have to put up another tree.
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And this one in my office doesn’t count. Every year, my family gifts me with an ornament too. This year they gave me these three adorable ornaments to celebrate the release of the first book in the new Harmony Harbor series, MISTLETOE COTTAGE, and the short story, CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL.



Find out more about Debbie Mason at her website.


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HOPE RAMSAY’S GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Every year for the last quarter-century, or possibly longer, I have set aside the Saturday closest to Christmas to bake gingerbread cookies with my children, and now, with my grandchildren.   These are the only cookies I make at Christmas time, and the activity is more about family fun than turning out a perfect cookie.  Usually I do most of the rolling, cutting, and baking.  And the rest of the family does the decorating.

The magic is in the royal icing.  The white icing is a snap to make, and it can be divided up into small bowls and colored with food dye, creating pots of colored cookie paint.  I give each child (or adult) a watercolor paint brush and let them paint the icing onto the cookies.  The kids have a blast, and the cookies always come out looking wonderfully homemade. 

To me, cookie baking embodies everything I love about Christmas: kids, family, baking, and yummy desserts.

GINGERBREAD COOKIE DOUGH
Makes about 6 Dozen
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • ½ cup unsulphured molasses

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour cocoa, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, backing soda, and salt.
  • Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat thoroughly.
  • On low speed, add the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  • Cut the dough into thirds, pat into disks, wrap in plastic and chill until firm – 2 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/16 inch thick and cut cookies with cookie cutters. Transfer the cookies to an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the cookie turn brown.
  • Let cool on sheets and then transfer to a wire rack. Decorate with royal icing.
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ROYAL ICING

  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup water

Using a mixer, place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat at high speed until fluffy, thick & shiny (about 10 minutes.)  Divide the icing into smaller bowls and color it using food coloring. 

A Christmas Bride (Chapel of Love) by [Ramsay, Hope]

Find out more about Hope Ramsay at her website.


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OLIVIA MILES SNOWFLAKE COOKIES

In my newest release, CHRISTMAS COMES TO MAIN STREET, my heroine owns a cookie bakery. As this story takes place over the holidays, I thought hard about a signature cookie she might make, and eventually I settled on charming snowflake cookies. Of course these are not just any old cut out cookie, though. No, Kara makes them by the dozen, sure to keep each one in the batch distinct in shape and decoration, because no two snowflakes are ever the same, after all! And it’s these snowflake cookies that she delivers every day to the inn in Briar Creek…where a Christmas visitor falls in love with more than just her cookies.
I hope you all enjoy these snowflake cookies as much as Nate does! :)

KARA’S SNOWFLAKE COOKIES
(sugar cookie cut-out and royal icing recipes courtesy of Martha Stewart)


  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
  • Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.
  • Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

ROYAL ICING
  • 2 large egg whites, or more to thin icing 
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, or more to thicken icing 
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • 3 drops glycerin 



Beat the whites until stiff but not dry. Add sugar, lemon juice and glycerin (if using); beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it is too thin, add more sugar. The icing may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Decorate each as you wish!


Find out more about Olivia Miles at her website.

#CoverReveal - The Crimson Curse By Melissa J. Crispin




The Crimson Curse
By Melissa J. Crispin

BLURB:

Cursed and disfigured, Calliope must find true love before the final leaf falls from the Enchanted Tree. Being bound to her mansion on the outskirts of town leaves her with little hope.

Abandoned by his wife for a wealthy man, Bastian only needs one female in his life, his five-year-old daughter, Yareena. When she goes missing during a raging fire, fate brings him to a strange place where he encounters a woman wearing a golden mask.

An attack by rogues puts Bastian in Calliope’s care. As he struggles against pride and prejudice, Bastian can't ignore his growing attraction to the kind soul behind the mask.

Yareena and the mansion staff do their best at matchmaking, but Calliope can't reveal her darkest secret. Will Bastian discover her true beauty before it’s too late?


Romance / Fantasy
Release Date: Feb 7, 2017
Keywords: Romance, Fantasy, Sweet, Novella, Beauty and the Beast, Fairy Tale


About Melissa J. Crispin

Melissa J. Crispin lives in Connecticut with her husband, two kids, and an adorable Siberian Husky. She spends her days in the corporate world, and pursues her passion for writing in the late nights and early mornings.

From micro-fiction to novels, Melissa loves to write stories in varying lengths. But, no matter the story, it's almost always about the romance.


LINKS:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

#GiveAway - Sunrise Over Brasov by Stephanie Burkhart


Sunrise Over Brasov
by Stephanie Burkhart

Stephanie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. Those locations may be found here

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BLURB:

Rosa Getzi lives a life of intrigue at Poiana Brasov with Clement, a werewolf, and Cassandra, the witch. Her past doesn't matter to her – until she discovers what it holds.

Prince Michael Sigmaringen joins his sister-in-law, Caroline, and the vampire prince, Darius, in a daring rescue, igniting Rosa's desire to find her family. However, all is not as it appears. Rickard, Rosa's friend, escapes with her. Clement will go to any lengths to get Rosa and Rickard back.

At Darius' fortress, Michael soon discovers Rickard is a new breed of werewolf – one who can control the change, and Clement hopes to exploit Rickard's abilities.

Michael's courage, strengths, and convictions will be tested like never before. Can Michael and Rosa find true happiness and the rid the lupine haunting of the Sigmaringens once and for all?

BUY LINKS:


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EXCERPT:
  
"Why would you want to stay? Clement kidnapped you."

Disconcerted, she pointedly glanced away from his hard stare. What did he mean by kidnapped? Clement didn't keep her behind bars and feed her only bread and water. Rosa could even go into Brasov to shop as long as Lucien or one of the bodyguards went with her.

"I'm going to take you back to your mother."

Her head snapped toward his direction. Mother? Of course she had a mother -- a family, even -- only she had no recollection of them. So why did her body fill with warmth at the
mention of her mother by a man she hadn't seen before, but was hauntingly familiar? She pursed her lips, torn by conflicting emotions.

"Caroline and Darius can't keep this up. Now get dressed or I'll dress you myself."

"You'll find me an unwilling subject."

He drew in a deep breath and raked a hand through his thick ebony hair. "You are
exasperating."

"So I've been told."

"By who?" His eyes narrowed.

"Rickard."

His jaw clenched and his gaze darkened. Quick as a panther, he closed the distance
between them and grabbed her wrists, tugging her toward him. She pressed up against the length of his body. His muscles were hard and defined...and again, hauntingly familiar. His hazel eyes grew murky and he claimed her lips with a forceful kiss.

Her heart swelled in happiness and then anger took over. Who was he to kiss her like this? She struggled, but he crushed her to him, ravishing her mouth.

That nagging familiarity buzzed at the base of her skull. She should know this man. Despite her ignorance, her body sensed a knowledge of him she couldn't explain. Her core warmed at his insistence. She struggled less.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD.  She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire.  After serving 11 years in the US Army she currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks.  She's also an assistant den leader for her son's Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.

Author Links: 







#GiveAway - Always Hope By Heidi Renee Mason

 Always Hope
By Heidi Renee Mason


BLURB:


Ten years ago Hope West left her hometown, attempting to outrun dissolved relationships, family secrets, and the broken heart caused by her first love, Samuel Mooney. When unforeseen circumstances force her to return, she realizes that her time away has done little to heal the pain of the past.

Never intending to stay in Woodridge, Hope slowly begins to understand that remaining there may be the only way to secure her future. Blossoming friendships and the discovery of a box of letters revealing the identity of her mysterious father all point Hope in the direction of reconciliation.

As she begins to mend her broken bonds, Sam reenters her life in an unexpected way, forcing her to decide if true love can really stand the test of time.

Genre: Chick-lit Romance
Release Date: November 26, 2016
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Designer: Claire Smith
 Add to Goodreads

 On sale for half price! 


Excerpt: 

Looking out the window of the airplane, I tried to ignore the knots in my stomach. Dark, dismal skies and swirling gray clouds peered back at me, a reflection of my mood. I shifted restlessly in my seat, tapping my fingernails nervously on the tray table in front of me. The walls were closing in on me, and my breathing came fast and short. All I could think about was getting off the plane. The flight attendant, who seemed to sense my agitation, quietly informed me we would begin our descent into Seattle soon.

I nodded slowly at her without making eye contact. It was embarrassing that my inability to cope was so obvious. “You can do this, Hope,” I said to myself, taking several deep breaths and trying in vain to settle my nerves. Every muscle in my body was tight, making me a giant, clenched ball of stress that refused to uncoil. I rotated my neck and tried to relax my shoulders. A dull, throbbing ache radiated across my forehead.

The events of my shattered life paraded relentlessly through my head, invading my peace of mind while I attempted to block it all out. I would not think about any of it right now; I couldn’t. But try as I might, I couldn’t fight off the memories that clawed at my brain like a vulture decimating a carcass. 

I pictured my husband on that last day; I remembered the shocked look on his face as I ordered him out of our apartment. It seemed like eons had passed instead of a mere two weeks. His words pounded in my head. It was like a bad movie that played over and over in my mind.




About the Author: 

Heidi Renee Mason is a passionate romance novelist and crafter of your next Happily Ever After. She loves listening to the voices in her head (from her characters, of course!) and creating worlds in which her readers can lose themselves for a little while. A native of the Midwest, Heidi now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three daughters.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#Interview - Gulf Shore Series - Shore is Magical by Annette Mardis

Shore is Magical 
Gulf Shore Series Book 4
by Annette Mardis

Interview with Annette Mardis: 


Crystal: I am so EXCITED to have Annette Mardis visit today. Welcome Annette!! Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?


Annette: First, thanks so much for hosting me, Crystal. I’m a native Floridian, born in St. Petersburg, and have spent most of my working years as a newspaper journalist, writing and editing. I’m married; have two stepchildren and two grandchildren; enjoy rooting for my Tampa Bay area sports teams and NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson; am an avid reader; and am the “designated sightseer” on the back of my husband’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I also volunteer at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where the “Dolphin Tale” movies were filmed, and made a brief appearance as an extra in “Dolphin Tale 2.” I volunteer for the aquarium’s Guest Experience department, leading tours, doing presentations and teaching guests about our rescue and rehab mission and our animals. I’m also on the Rescue Clearwater team, which rescues sick and injured dolphins, small whales, river otters, sea turtles, shore birds and manatees.  

Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?

Annette:  I’d love to. This is a snippet from my latest release, Shore is Magical, Gulf Shore Book 4, from the chapter in which Kenshin first encounters Marina in very enticing human form. This scene takes place in the marine animal hospital at Gulf Shore Aquarium, where Kenshin works. He thinks he’s helping to rehabilitate a rescued dolphin, but he gets the surprise of his life one night:

Looking up, Kenshin almost dropped his phone. He stared, eyes wide, mouth open, as a lithe form emerged from the pool, water cascading down her body. Where had she come from and, more importantly, why was she naked? Then he glanced behind her and received his second shock.
The rescued dolphin was — gone. Impossible. He gave his cheek a light smack to make sure he hadn’t succumbed to exhaustion and passed out. That was entirely possible, given he hadn’t slept more than two hours at a stretch since leaving Erica’s bed.
If this was a dream, it was incredibly realistic. Off the charts sexy, too.
The woman sauntering toward him was hotter than an egg yolk on Florida asphalt in August. Her shoulder-length brown hair framed a pair of turquoise eyes that shimmered like the sea. Her rosebud nipples all but begged for his touch, and he imagined himself at home between her long, supple legs, which were as toned as the rest of her.
The corners of her lips tipped up as if she’d read his mind. Kenshin’s gaze darted around the rehab unit, looking for backup if he needed it. But Kelsey had gone home early for a change, Flipper probably was loading up on caffeine and carbs, and Sitara was in her office catching up on paperwork.
Kenshin’s carnal fantasies dissolved amid concerns about a massive security breach.
“Who are you, and why are you here?” he demanded.
“You know who I am.” The woman’s voice was as smooth as spiced rum sliding over ice cubes. “You just don’t want to admit it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Your friends brought me here from the beach, jostling me around in that canvas thing. What do you call it?”
“Are you talking about the sling?”
“It felt like they dragged me across a rocky sea bottom. Very bad for the delicate skin.” She pouted and pointed to a chafe mark on her elbow. “Get something softer, for Poseidon’s sake.”
“This is...insane. Why aren’t you wearing clothes?”
She shrugged. “I didn’t bring any.” Cocking her head, she studied him for a moment before her expression turned playful. “Don’t you like me as I am? I thought the males of your species enjoyed seeing females without garments.”
What an odd way to say that guys lust after naked women.
“You’re beautiful, and I think you know that, but it’s beside the point.”
“Is it?”
She’d come close enough for Kenshin to stroke a hand down all that lush, bare flesh, and he almost did so to make sure she was real. Common sense kicked in before he acted on the impulse. Besides being a stranger, she was, well, strange.
“Listen, lady, I don’t know what your game is but —”
“Game? There is no game. Your people rescued me, and now I’m your responsibility. Isn’t that how this works?”
Kenshin glanced around again, convinced that any minute Flipper or someone would leap out and scream, “Gotcha!” This had to be a prank. Stuff like this didn’t happen otherwise, at least not to him. But after that dolphin encounter at the reef, anything seemed possible.
Kenshin felt her warm breath on his face. It smelled...fishy? When he wrinkled his nose, she clapped her hand over her mouth. Now she was self-conscious? He looked into her eyes, an inviting shade matched only by a secluded tropical lagoon.
“What’s your name?”
“Marina.”
“Marina what?”
“Just Marina.”

Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for your latest release? 

Annette: Have you ever jokingly tossed out an idea … and it turned out to be just what you needed? That’s how Shore is Magical, my first paranormal romance, was conceived.
I was doing an online chat with other authors when the subject turned to paranormal novels, particularly shape-shifters. Confession: I haven’t read too many of those books, usually preferring reality (or a reasonable facsimile of it) over fantasy.
The other authors were discussing the merits of the animals usually favored in shifter novels: tigers and other big cats, bears and wolves, primarily.
“How about a dolphin shifter?” I kiddingly suggested in full smart-aleck mode. Dolphins are one of my favorite animals and have been since I was a little girl who listed Flipper at the top of her must-see TV list.
Surprisingly — to me anyway — the other chat participants quickly and enthusiastically chorused their approval of dolphin shifters. So I thought, why not?

Crystal: What are you currently working on?

Annette:  Shore is Scrumptious, Gulf Shore Book 5. The leading lady, Helen Holt, writes about Gulf Shore Aquarium and conservation issues for the local newspaper, the Gulf Shore Messenger. Rico Pellegrini is a chef and restaurant manager who is overseeing the creation and opening of a new eatery on aquarium property. While Helen finds him attractive, she can’t act on it because it’s unethical to date someone she’s writing about. Even if they can overcome that hurdle, shadowy figures from Rico’s past may just try to derail his happiness.
The book will feature not one but two weddings — Jo Tompkins and Kelsey Kramer, and Evan Sanders and Danielle “Dani” Davidson. I hope everyone will drop by www.facebook.com/GulfShoreWeddings/ and help me create a special day for these two couples.

Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing? 

Annette:  I usually work on my laptop while sitting on my living room couch with my feet up, my two dogs somewhere nearby and my pet parrot, Ozzie, in the cage next to me. When you work for a newspaper, you learn to concentrate despite a lot of noise and activity going on around you, so I’m not a writer who has to lock myself in a room somewhere. But when I do need quiet, I’ll take my laptop out to my sunroom and write from my massage chair.

Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so, do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned that you would like to share with us? 

Annette: I’ve learned so much through my volunteer work at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, not just about the animals but about how an aquarium operates. I’ve been there more than four years and have no plans to stop, so in essence I’m doing research every time I walk through the door. I also spend a fair amount of time looking things up online. While my books are fiction, authenticity is very important to me, especially with my journalism background.
I could spout fascinating facts all day — I love learning about marine life — but I’ll give you one: When dolphins sleep, one half of their brain rests while the other half stays awake so they can swim, breathe, and be alert for potential danger. They have to maintain a certain consciousness to rise to the surface and breathe.
By the way, dolphins have bigger brains than we do. That doesn’t necessarily make them more intelligent, based on our definition of intelligence, but they are most definitely one of the smartest animals on Earth.

Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors?

Annette: I have so many and add to the list all the time. Among those are Kristan Higgins, Kristin Hannah, Fannie Flagg, Catherine Anderson, Robyn Carr, Julia London, Kat Martin, Diane Hammond, Mariah Stewart, JoAnn Ross, Marilyn Pappano, Mary Alice Monroe, Debra Salonen, and of course all my “pub sisters” at Liquid Silver Publishing.

Crystal: Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try? 

Annette: I’ve written a satirical children’s book that I hope to find a publisher for someday. It’s about a group of fifth-graders who imagine that the lunch ladies at their school are aliens plotting to take over the planet. I also would love to do something for children or teens related to marine animals and conservation. 





BLURB:


After suffering losses that would’ve wrecked a lesser man, Kenshin Hamasaki has resigned himself to a life without true love. His perpetual grumpiness has damaged the few friendships he’s managed to forge, and his dalliances with women are superficial at best.

And then comes a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger named Marina, whose mere existence defies logic. She’s led what many would consider an idyllic life, but one that’s shrouded in secrecy. Marina longs to experience the limitless possibilities of Kenshin’s world. Yet, sharing the truth about herself could place her entire species in peril.

These two searching souls are drawn to each other by an animal attraction with the potential to change them in ways they never could’ve imagined. Lurking in the background, however, is a dark presence from Marina’s past, who threatens to end this unlikely pairing before she and Kenshin can fully explore whether they’re destined to be together.


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**Note from Crystal: I am reading this book right now and loving it! Stay tuned for my review soon.