Tuesday, May 29, 2018

#GiveAway ~ You Never Forget Your First Earl by Ella Quinn ~ @ellaquinnauthor @GoddessFish


 You Never Forget Your First Earl
by Ella Quinn

Ella will be awarding a signed copy of the book (International Giveaway) to 5 randomly drawn winners 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
BLURB:

With her three good friends all recently married, Elizabeth Turley is ready for some husband-hunting of her own. One gentleman in particular sparks her interest. Geoffrey, Earl of Harrington is tall, handsome, and dashing. He’s also just a bit too sure of himself. But Elizabeth has observed enough about the rules of attraction to pique the earl’s attention. Yet once she has it, the discovery of a troubling secret taints her future happiness . . .

Lord Harrington must marry or lose a prestigious position in Brussels, and pretty, well-connected Elizabeth fits his needs admirably. But could it be that he has underestimated his bride? She doesn’t bat an eye in the face of the danger they encounter overseas. She’s strong-willed, intelligent, and more enticing each day—yet also more indifferent to him. Now Geoffrey faces his greatest challenge: to woo and win his own wife, or risk losing her for good . . .

GENRE: Historical (Regency)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Excerpt:

Once Gavin had accompanied Lord Harrington into the house, her aunt looked at Elizabeth. “Well, what did you think?”

“After his initial stiffness, he was quite charming.” Even if he didn’t kiss her fingers.

“He’s a handsome man,” her aunt mused.

She had studied him as he’d strolled off with Gavin. She had been right. It was clear his tall frame and broad shoulders had no need of padding anywhere. “Yes. His eyes in particular are a beautiful color blue. They almost match the sapphire he wore.” His hair was blond but slightly darker than hers. “I like the way his hair curls.”

“But he is not pretty,” Aunt said. “Not like Byron.”

“No. He is very manly looking. His jaw is firm.” Not able to get the vision of his shoulders and shapely legs out of her mind, Elizabeth fought the urge to sigh. She might be a little too interested in his physical attributes.

“And he was attentive to you,” her aunt prodded.

“Yes, he was very attentive.” Especially when he talked about going abroad. In fact, that was almost the only thing he discussed. He had not asked anything about her likes and dislikes.

“Very well.” Her aunt’s tone was a bit impatient. “He is tall, blond, and handsome. He appears, from his conversation, to be intelligent and well read. He comes from a good family. He will be a marquis someday, and he wishes to be wed.” Aunt Bristow arched a brow. “Tell me. What is it about him that you do not like?”

Her aunt was right. Something about Lord Harrington had struck Elizabeth as . . . off. She pushed is physical looks aside and focused on what was bothering her. Lord knows it wasn’t his appearance. It was not his demeanor as such. It was . . . was he really interested in her? “He wants this position so badly that I believe he will marry any suitable lady just to have it.” She scrunched up her face. “Do you know what I mean?” Her aunt stared at her, clearly not understanding. She’d have to find a different way to put it. “It strikes me that in a way he is like a fortune hunter. He does not care who he weds, so long as he can have what he wants. In the case of a fortune hunter it is the money. In Lord Harrington’s case, it is the position with Sir Charles.” She rubbed the space between her eyes, trying to ease the tension she felt. “I do not wish to be the means to an end.”

Aunt rang the bell on the table next to her. “You do not think he cares if his affections are engaged.”

A footman appeared carrying two glasses and a decanter of claret. After setting it down, he returned to the house.

“I am not even sure if he cares about compatibility.”
 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

USA Today bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.
  
She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a Portuguese Water Dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat. After cruising the Caribbean and North America, she completed a transatlantic crossing from St. Martin to Southern Europe. She's currently living in Germany, happily writing while her husband is back at work, recovering from retirement.




           

#GiveAway ~ #Review ~ On Highland Time by Lexi Post ~ @LexiPost

On Highland Time 
by Lexi Post

Lexi is offering a beautiful Sterling Silver Thistle Necklace with Amethyst Stone from Glasgow to one lucky winner. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

My 7 favorites things about ON HIGHLAND TIME: 
by Lexi Post
1. Torr: I so enjoyed writing this alpha hero with a kind heart, who refused to love anyone else after all the people he’s lost. He’s one of those bigger than life heroes that I totally had a crush on.

2. Diana’s swears: I admit these were fun to come up with. Some I had to cut, but I kept “Oh Shakespeare” and “Puck!” Can you tell her mother was an English professor who was adamant that ladies don’t swear?

3. Go-Lucky: The agents of Time Weavers, Inc. are very lucky to have this small man as their handler. He has some baggage, but doesn’t let that interfere with his job…most of the time.

4. Gealach Castle: Having been to Scotland many times, I had no problem picturing this wee medieval castle in the highlands. It’s a simple keep with a walled in courtyard with various small outbuildings like the stables, blacksmith and bakery.

5. Clan MacPherson: The people came alive for me as Diana met each one. Nessa was probably my favorite, but I also liked Braigh who’s dependable and knows how to treat his wife.

6. Control: I’ve always loved time travel, ever since I first read HG Wells the Time Machine, but what frustrates me is when the traveler has no control over the time leaps. That’s why my TWI agents all have a genetic ability to travel through the Timestream. Not only that, but because they are slightly advanced over us humans, they have a special ability, which seems rather innocuous at first, but comes in handy, like Diana’s ability to calm people.
iss
7. TWI staff: I just love that each staff member of the company also has a special ability that helps the secret agency run. They have very different personalities too, which will come to light more and more as the series progresses. The spotlight is, of course, on the female time travelers and how and when they find their true loves.


BLURB:

For fans of sexy Scottish Highlanders who know how to treat a woman like a lady.

When someone changes history, affecting the future, Diana Montgomery, the most experienced agent of Time Weavers, Inc., travels back to 1306 Scotland to change it back. Her mission, to find the culprit and ensure a minor clan chief dies in battle as he originally had.

Diana is well-prepared to infiltrate the small MacPherson clan. What she’s not prepared for is Torr MacPherson, the ruggedly handsome warrior with a kind heart and a steadfast loyalty—the Laird she’s supposed to ensure dies.

Buy Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon AU | Amazon CA  | Amazon DE

**Note from Crystal: 
I am finishing up my review this evening. This is just a brief review. 

This is such a fabulous story and I truly enjoyed it. I was so spellbound by the first few pages I think it would easily have been possible to read this book in one sitting. I easily finished it in two. I could not put it down. I quickly bonded with the characters, the storyline was incredibly fascinating and held my attention. Lexi has created such fascinating idea with the Time Weavers, Inc members. 

If you enjoy a great steamy Highland story then you must read this one! Lexi Post always does a fabulous job no matter what genre she writes. If you are a Lexi Post fan, like me, then you must grab On highland Time now! You are going to love it! 

I can't wait to see what Ms. Post has in store for us with the other members of Time Weavers, Inc. I know I will be anxious to get my hot little hands on the next book just as soon as possible. 
Excerpt:

Torr took her reaction in stride and began a tender assault on her neck.
She pushed against him, and he allowed her a little space. She was grateful because despite her training, she doubted she could do much to take down such a huge man, especially if she didn’t want to hurt him. But he kept his arms about her waist.
“What is it, lass?”
It was everything. She wanted to cry and laugh at the impossible situation she found herself in, even as her body shivered with a growing need. She simply shook her head and tried to step back, but he held her with gentle strength.
Didn’t he understand? She needed to put more space between them, in so many ways. Her breaths came quickly, her body flushed from the desire he’d ignited. A desire she never remembered experiencing before. She closed her eyes and tried to think of the rolling mountains beyond the castle walls, but they faded quickly and instead she envisioned Torr, cupping her breasts.
She snapped open her eyes to find him staring at her, a crooked grin on his face.
“I want ye, Diana. Ye have a fire in ye that calls me like the spring sun to the seedling.”
Oh, Shakespeare, now he was a poet, too? She couldn’t do this. He was due to die… She had to find the Disruptor… She had to—
His deep voice soothed her. “I understand. Life here at Gealach is new and strange, and I have possibly presumed too much, too soon. Ye miss yer clan, do ye not?”
She didn’t say anything, his kindness causing a lump to form in her throat. His warm, big body so close to hers with the scent of leather and the clean smell from his bath was so primitively male, he had her feeling safe, protected.
He pulled her body against his again. Instead of feeling physical attraction, she wanted to simply snuggle in. Hesitantly, she let her head fall against his shoulder.
As they stood there, his chest rising and falling in steady rhythm beneath her cheek, memories of her dad doing the same calmed her. When she’d done poorly on a test, not made the volleyball team, or when she was dumped by her first boyfriend in ninth grade, Dad had held her just like this. Torr would make a good father…except he was destined to die.
She stiffened. Did Torr have any children after the Disruptor saved him? He deserved children.
He reacted to her body language and stroked her back. “I know it is hard. I too have lost many of my family.”
She pulled back to look at his face, anxious to hear what he’d reveal.
“Unlike ye, I didn’t know my mother. She died shortly after Kerr was born. Five sons took too much out of her. But my brothers and my father made a family.”
She put her hand on his chest, feeling the sadness behind his words. This man deserved comfort more than she did. He had endured so much and yet still offered more to others.
He covered her hand with his and sighed. “The war has taken all but Kerr from me. Him and the few left in our wee clan. I’m glad ye joined us. I hope ye will eventually feel this is yer home.” His inner sadness called to her in a different way from his persuasive sexual advances. In that moment, he touched her heart.
“I’m sure I will. It is the only home I have now.” She grimaced inside at such a bald-faced lie.

Lexi Post Bio:

Lexi Post is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of romance inspired by the classics. She spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about the classical literature she loved. From Edgar Allan Poe's short story “The Masque of the Red Death” to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, she's read, studied, and taught wonderful classics.

But Lexi's first love is romance novels so she married her two first loves, romance and the classics. From hot paranormals to sizzling cowboys to hunks from out of this world, Lexi provides a sensuous experience with a “whole lotta story.”

Lexi is living her own happily ever after with her husband and her cat in Florida. She makes her own ice cream every weekend, loves bright colors, and you will never see her without a hat.

D2D | Goodreads | Instagram | Blog | Pinterest | 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, May 25, 2018

#Giveaway ~ Waking to Black by V.H. Luis ~ @VH_Luis_ @GoddessFish


Waking to Black
Uninhibited #1
by V.H. Luis

V.H. Luis will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble 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

Interview with V.H. Luis:

Crystal: Today I have the pleasure of hosting V.H. Luis. Welcome! I'm so excited to have you here today. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?

V.H. Luis: I’m the mothers of a beautiful little boy—he is the light of my life. I love rainy days for a multitude of reasons; I don’t mind getting wet, the feel of drops falling on my skin is oddly enough exhilarating, and I find the drone of rain pleasant to the ear. Few things compare to the pleasure I receive from curling up on my bed with a good book on a stormy afternoon.

Why all the love for rain? It’s currently raining in Miami, as I type up my responses to these questions.

At the end of the day, I’m really a simple woman who loves to read and write. Waking to Black (Uninhibited #1), is my debut book and I’m super-excited to be here today.

Crystal:  What are you currently working on?

V.H. Luis: I’m currently working on edits/rewrites of Fading to Black (Uninhibited #2). I need to get those done relatively soon so that I can send the edits to my editor. It has a tentative release date of August 2018 and thereafter I’ll be working on the final book of my trilogy, Surrendering to Black (Uninhibited #3). I can’t wait to deliver the happily-ever-after I know readers are craving for the hero/heroine of my series, Evelyn and Adam.

Crystal:  Where did you come up with the idea for either your current release or your current WIP?

V.H. Luis: I was of course inspired by other popular billionaire romance series such as Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Series, E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey Series, and R.K. Lilley’s In-Flight Series. However, as I’ve mentioned in past interviews, my relationship with my father is reminiscent of Evelyn’s relationship with her own father. Some of the darker aspects of Evelyn’s personality and her self-destructive tendencies are very real to me and I wanted to do those sensitive subjects justice. More than anything I wanted someone as damaged as Evelyn to find peace.

Crystal:  Do you have a favorite snack that like to munch on while writing? If so would you mind sharing what it is with us?

V.H. Luis: I think this is in part because my son loves them, but usually I’m eating Goldfish crackers, the parmesan variety. He doesn’t mind sharing with mommy by the way, he’s such a sweet little boy!

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

V.H. Luis: I have so many favorite scenes. Many of which are steamy since Adam and Evelyn’s passion is so intense they have a propensity to end arguments in the bedroom. However, one of my absolute favorite scenes is early in the book, (Chapter 3). It deals with a heated artistic debate between Evelyn/Adam and does a great job illustrating the chemistry between them.

He grabs my hand and tugs me along as he treads ahead.

Where are we going? Weren’t we in the middle of an argument?

In moments, we’re standing in front of an oil portrait. The woman in the painting is slightly turned so you can only see her bare back, the faint outline of her petite breasts and her listless gaze. Her body is not the conventional image of female beauty, and yet the painting is alluring.

“How can you find such complexity in photographs of makeshift flowers, and yet not see the multi-dimensional aspects of this painting?”

He’s recycling my phrase!

“She’s standing there naked not because she lacks clothes, but because her emotions are raw for all to see.” He focuses on the painting, an expression I’m not familiar with in his ocean-blue eyes. “I’m fond of Marina Abramovic’s work because she shows us what we often hide. Yes, there’s a perverse motivation behind my preference for this type of art, but it has nothing to do with pedestrian sexual desires. I like the honesty exhibited, the disregard for inhibitions.”

I’m moved by his admission. For the first time, I get the impression I’ve misjudged him. A large lump forms at the back of my throat and I’m finding it hard to speak.

I turn away from the painting, unable to gaze at it any further. Standing inches away from him, I’m breathless, transfixed, only this time it’s not a photograph that has me mesmerized. There’s a spark between us I don’t want to resist. A hot, unspoken desire is coursing through the air, saturating my senses and making it impossible for me to be rational. His chest lifts as he inhales, and the action betrays him. For a second I think he may act on the impulse hanging in the air. I think he might kiss me.

“There you are!” Tina shouts over the crowd.

Crystal: When you are not busy writing wonderful stories to keep us lucky readers entertained, what do you like to do? Do you have a hobby?

V.H. Luis: I love to play video games, specifically roleplaying games because of the rich, vibrant stories they often have. I also enjoy to paint in my spare time. Though honestly being a mom as well as pursuing my writing has monopolized my time as of late. I’m not complaining though, I love what I’m doing.

Crystal: Do you have a favorite background noise you like to having going while you write (TV, Music, kids playing)?

V.H. Luis: I’m constantly listening to music when writing. My dad was a musician and I can’t imagine a time in my life when music wasn’t central to my everyday activities. If I’m writing, I’m listening to music.

Crystal: Thanks for visiting. It has been a pleasure having you visit today. Can you think of anything else you would like to share with us today?

V.H. Luis: Thank you so much for having me! Waking to Black (Uninhibited #1), the entire series really is dear to me. The fact that people I don’t know have read this book and enjoyed it, even gone out of their way to review it on Amazon and Goodreads, is a dream come true. Bloggers such as yourself have been so kind and have helped spread the word in terms of this book and I’m extremely appreciative. Those that have taken a chance on my book—thank you.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
BLURB:

He shattered my defenses, and I was fragile to begin with…

The first time I saw Adam Black, I was between the arms of a criminal, a gun to my throat and even then, I knew I was staring at the most dangerous man in the room.

Maybe it was his confident, cerulean eyes, or the sex appeal radiating from his pores like heat waves on a scorching day, but by proximity alone he made my vision blur and my heart stammer.

The day I was nearly killed in a bank hold-up, I began to live—because of him.

Now, I’m praying for the first time in years, hoping the scars of my past, the secrets I keep, don’t interfere with my future…

GENRE:   Erotic Romance 

Amazon Buy Link

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
EXCERPT:

“It must be difficult; constantly running away from anything remotely intimidating.”

It’s the dare in his voice that makes me turn my head, not the statement.

“Those are the words of someone who hasn’t gotten what they want.” Even as I’m speaking I know I’m the mouse in this cat and mouse game—I should walk away, but I can’t.

“What do you know about what I want?” He climbs the last step of the porch, his broad shoulders flexed.

Refusing to take the bait, I give him my back. Reaching for the door with my right hand, I’m halted by the strong pull of my left.

Before I can focus, his lips press against mine while his body traps me between him and the door. One of his hands runs over the curve of my waist while the other tangles in the curls of my hair, pulling on the strands and angling me so that he can have free reign. I moan, loving the possessive way he grips my body, and he takes the opportunity to dip his tongue inside my mouth. His taste is divine; it’s a heady mix of wine and passion. The remnants of my resistance melt as I meld against him, moving my hands over his stomach, and resting them on his belt buckle.

He pulls back with a quick nip to my bottom lip and my eyes pop open at the sudden jolt of pleasure-filled pain.

“Say you’ll do the mural,” he commands.

“Do you always get what you want?” I counter, gazing up at him from lowered lashes.

He rubs his cheek against mine so his lips hover over my ear.

“Persistence is a virtue.”
“I thought that was patience.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

V.H. Luis is the author of the Black Series, an erotic romance trilogy that follows the love affair of Evelyn Snowe and Adam Black. Her debut book WAKING to Black, will be released in 2018, and the subsequent sequels FADING to Black, and SURRENDERING to Black, will follow shortly thereafter.

Welcome to my internet haven!
I’m a born and bred Miami Girl—and proud of it! I would wear shorts and flip-flops every day of the week if I could. Growing up in Miami, surrounded by my parent’s heritage has made me proud of my Cuban ancestry. Cafecito and a guava pastry for breakfast? Yes, please! Salsa music while I tidy the house? Of course.
If I’m not busy scribbling notes about the story pounding out of my head, I’m painting, listening to music, or spending time with the love of my life—my son. If I decide to travel, I bring the whole family (in-laws included), or at least I try to, because life is too short not to spend it with family; one of the many lessons my father taught me.

My website:  https://vhluis.com/

Thursday, May 24, 2018

#Vote for Heart of Frankenstein by Lexi Post ~ @LexiPost



In D'Tale magazine has nominated Lexi Post for a RONE Award in the Fantasy Romance category for her paranormal romance Heart of Frankenstein.

Have you voted yet? If not I hope you will consider voting for Lexi. I always enjoy her books and know she truly deserves this award. VOTE HERE

You do have to register there for your vote to count. It only takes just a few moments and it very easy. Voting for this category closes on the May 27th. 

Check out my reviews of Lexi Post's work here

Monday, May 21, 2018

#Interview ~ The King's Swordswoman By Toni V. Sweeney ~ @ToniVSweeney

The King's Swordswoman

Lovers of Leonesse Book 2
By Toni V. Sweeney 


Interview with Toni V. Sweeney:

Crystal: Today I have the pleasure of hosting Toni V. Sweeney. Welcome Toni! I'm so excited to have you here today. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?

Toni: How about some lines from my “Professional” biography?

Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains.

Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US). She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the Paranormal Romance Guild. In 2016, she was named a Professional Reader by netgalley.com.
She is an Amazon reviewer, is in the 1% of reviewers for Goodreads, and in 2015 and 2016 was voted one of the Top 10 authors of those years by Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. In 2013, the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer’s Choice voted The kan Ingan Archives (Part Two of the Arcanian Chronicles) a Special Mention, and the following year, named the individual novels The Man from Cymene, and Space Studs, from the same series two of the Top 8 SF/fantasy novels of 2014.

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

Toni: Please see the excerpt below.

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

Toni: I wanted to write something different, where the main male character was helpless and the main female character was the strong one, not only strong-willed but also physically. Having my hero a na├»ve sickly prince and his bodyguard a female warrior fit the bill exactly. Reversing their roles also let me do a great deal of satire of the usual situations between the characters, also. It was also fun to make the prince the “shrinking violet” and his bodyguard the worldly one.

I enjoyed it so much, The King’s Swordswoman became the first in a trilogy about the people of the kingdom of Leonesse, entitled The Lovers of Leonesse.

Crystal: What are you currently working on?

Toni: I’m currently working on a Gothic horror novel asset in the South about a haunted house and the people affected by its secrets.

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

Toni: I simply put myself in front of the computer keyboard, and type, type, type. I keep a cup of coffee handy and always filled, too.

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 you would like to share with us?

Toni: For The King’s Swordswoman, since this was to be a medieval milieu, I started scouring reference books for information on medieval life—marriage customs, clothing, the training and duties of knights, gods, religion, food—you name it. I learned a typical set of armor weight 25+ pounds and that a broadsword could be over five feet long. Those usually had a handgrip for two hands, to wield it better. I also learned that the shorter swords, those we usually see in movies, where the opponents hold it on one hand was called a bastard sword, though no reasons was given for that name. The most interesting I learned was that young men often braided their hair into dozens of tight pigtails before going to bed so that in the morning when unbraided, they would be blessed with curling, waving locks. The procedure was called wearing the hair in press.

Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?

Toni: I like JD Robb, and two new writers I’ve discovered through reviewing their books, Michael McBride and Bill Schweigart. They both write horror novels. Mike writes horror thrillers and Bill’s stories are based on Native American mythology.

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

Toni: I’ve never tried to write a real mystery. I don’t think I’m devious enough. The reader would probably figure it out within the first paragraph!

Crystal: Thanks for visiting. It has been a pleasure having you visit today. Can you think of anything else you would like to share with us today?

Toni: Thanks for having me. I’d like to share my answer to question #2, in this excerpt from The King’s Swordswoman.
~*~*~*~*~*~
EXCERPT:
“So you’ve finally arrived,” Carel greeted his brother brusquely. He flicked a glance at me. “And is this the Lady Comaunder’s choice?” He sounded as if he couldn’t believe it.

“Linus, who is this person?” Lady Mathilde didn’t give her next-to-youngest a chance to answer his brother.

“This is the soldier Comaunder Mariah sent to guard Crispin,” Carel answered for Linus.

“He seems young.” Standing, she bustled over to me, peering into my face. Abruptly, she recoiled. “Carel, this is a girl!”

“Astute of you to notice, Mother.” Carel didn’t attempt to keep his answer respectful.
“Comaunder Mariah’s daughter, as a matter of fact,” he went on.

Lady Mathilde stared at her eldest, plainly upset, more than a little angry. “She can’t guard His Majesty,” she stated, in a don’t argue-with-me tone.

“Why not?” Linus spoke up, doing just that.

“She’s a female—” Lady Mathilde began, giving him a glare saying much about a son daring to question his mother’s opinions.

“So?” Carel interrupted. Not letting his mother finish a sentence earned him a scowl.

“Crispin’s guard has to be with him every minute of the day and night. This girl can’t possibly sleep in the same room with His Majesty. It wouldn’t be proper.”

“Janel’s a devotee of the goddess, Madame.” Carel’s reply was clipped as if attempting to control his anger. A faint rose fragrance hovered in the air. “DeOsse requires chastity of her followers. You needn’t worry about her climbing into bed with him.”

Linus stifled a chuckle.

“Nevertheless…”

“Nevertheless, nothing! I asked the Comaunder for her best soldier and Janel’s her choice. She stays.”

There was a sigh and a creaking of the leather straps supporting the mattress. A sleepy murmur, sudden movement from the bed, a body straightening and rolling over.

“M-Mother?” The voice was so shaky and hollow it sounded like an old man rather than a seventeen-year-old boy.

“Yes, my angel.” Mathilde was distracted from further argument as she rushed back to the bedside.

“W-we have a v-visitor?” It was asked breathlessly.

Crispin sounded as if he’d run a race and couldn’t get his wind. Oh, goddess, and he stutters, too. I felt my heart dip with pity.

He leaned forward slightly. “Who are you, soldier?”

“The guard sent from Sword Squad,” Carel began.

I started to supply my name.

“—A female,” Mathilde didn’t let either of us finish. “I’ve told him she isn’t acceptable.”

Oh no. She’s going to talk him out of it. For some reason, the Queen Mother didn’t want her son to have a guard. I imagined she had enough influence with him to have me
sent away. Well, that’d be no reflection on me or my abilities, but it would be an insult. To myself as well as to the Lady Comaunder, my mother, for her choice.

“Why not?” It was the whining query of a child being told he couldn’t do something.

“See? Even His Majesty sees there’s no problem,” Carel pointed out, not trying to hide how this pleased him.

Mathilde ignored him, turning back to the bed. “Because your guard must be here at all times. Think about that. You don’t want a female here while you’re being bathed, do you?
Seeing you naked? Or watching you relieve yourself into a chamber?”

Crispin cringed. There was no other way to describe the sudden movement the figure behind the
draperies made.

“She wouldn’t look…” His voice went up so quickly it became a squeak. There was a loud gulp as he attempted to return it to a more kingly timbre. The shadowy head turned in his elder brother’s direction. “Carel, s-surely she wouldn’t…”

“Of course not. Whenever you’re being bathed, Janel will turn her back. And she’ll never be in your company when you perform your other functions. Will you, Prive?” He directed this last question at me so suddenly I nearly jumped.

“C-certainly not, Sire.” I grimaced at that brief tremble in my voice. I hoped no one thought I
was mocking my king’s stammer. “I swear His Majesty’ll have privacy.”

“Come closer, Prive.” A hand wavered through the draperies. It was waxen-pale, large but bony, almost as white as the lawn sleeve covering it. “What are your orders concerning us?”

I stepped forward and seized Crispin’s hand. It was as chill as a piece of alabaster, not like a living thing at all. Dropping to one knee, I pressed the cold fingers to my forehead. “I’m to
protect you, Your Majesty, and keep your enemies at bay.”

The hand withdrew, pulling me to my feet as it disappeared back inside the sanctuary of the bed. “Then it’s all right. She can s-stay, Mother.”

~*~*~*~*~*~
Blurb:

The King is dead; How Long will the New King Live?
Invalid Crispin of Leonesse isn’t expected to long survive his coronation…and then Swordswoman Janel Redhu becomes his bodyguard.
Smothered by the Queen Mother and his Physician, Crispin is an odd combination of feeble body, rebellious spirit, and frightened child. In spite of that, king and guard have become close friends. When Janel overhears what she thinks is a conspiracy by Crispin’s brothers to seize the Throne, she does the only thing she can.
She carries her sovereign to safety in the neutral country of Sudelain.
When the two runaways come across an enemy scouting party, Janel believes Crispin is killed, and lets herself be captured as punishment for failing to protect him.
What follows is a tale of suffering and love as a boy transforms into manhood and a young woman helps him meet his planned destiny.

Buy Links:
Paperback from the publisher’s website: http://classactbooks.com/cat-romance/cat-fantasy/the-king-s-swordswoman-57-detail
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2IxnzPQ

Learn more about Toni at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tvsweeney
Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLQBB8
Twitter: @ToniVSweeney

Sunday, May 20, 2018

#NewRelease ~ RUMOR HAS IT By Jessica Lemmon ~ @lemmony


RUMOR HAS IT
By Jessica Lemmon
  
 About Rumor Has It:
This is one bad boy who’s fit to print. A notorious jock tackles life—and love—after football with a type-A journalist in this sexy standalone from the author of Eye Candy.

Barrett: As a former pro football star, I’m used to playing the field. After injuries cut my NFL career short, my second act as a broadcaster ended on live television when a hot mic picked up a little verbal . . . indiscretion. But this latest publicity stunt might just land me back on top—much to the chagrin of Catarina Everhart, the prissy, beautiful journalist who’s been assigned to date a bad boy (i.e., me) and write about it. Catarina swears I’ll never touch her, let alone kiss those full lips of hers. Based on our chemistry, I’m not buying it. . . .

Catarina: Barrett Fox seems to be doing everything in his power to make me hate him. The cocky egomaniac is infamous for his bad behavior, and now, thanks to my boss’s harebrained schemes, he’s apparently my problem. As one fake date leads to another, I start to see a different side of Barrett. He’s close with his family. He does volunteer work. And, okay, he kisses like a dream. Am I really dating Barrett Fox? Or is he playing me? Because suddenly I’m risking my reputation—and my heart.

Ballantine Group; Loveswept
 On Sale: May 15th, 2018 
 ISBN: 9781101969472
Pages 212 
Price: $4.99 
Excerpt:

“Your cohort will be writing from his own POV on what it’s like to be the bad boy who’s committed to dating. It’s a dash of fiction, a dash of romance, and a dash of what you’re best at writing: relationships.”
“Who is it?” Nanci asks, excitement rounding her blue eyes. I’m not there yet. I’m still in shock.
“Me,” a rough voice announces from the doorway behind me.
I turn my head to look over my shoulder, stunned further into silence by the sheer attractiveness of the man standing there. He’s so good-looking it’s criminal. But then, he is—
“Barrett Fox!” Nanci says and then bursts into a series of nervous giggles.
“In the flesh.” He bends at the waist to place a kiss on Mia’s temple. “Sorry I’m late.”
“I’d expect no less,” Mia says with a smile that—yeah, is a little gooey. She bats her un-mascaraed lashes while she’s at it.
Who knew my boss had a sexual bone in her body? I thought she was made of steel beams and asbestos.
Everyone at the conference room table, save me, stands as one and moves to Barrett Fox like he has his own orbit. Mia shushes the chatter around us.
“Okay, all right. Now that you all have your assignments, let’s leave Barrett and Catarina to theirs.” She makes a shooing motion and everyone shuffles reluctantly out the door.
I slide a derisive glance to my new “co-worker” and wonder what I did to Mia to make her stick me with this assignment. Except I know exactly why she did it. Mia’s work ethic can be described in two words: bottom line. She knows a prime opportunity to bring money to this paper when she sees it.
She flips to another sheet in her yellow pad and tears it out, laying it in front of me.
“I’ll let you hash out the details.” Before she shuts the door, she adds, “Barrett. You know where to find me.”
“Sure do, doll.” He winks then takes her chair at the head of the table, leaning back and kicking up his feet.
I recoil from the blatant rudeness of that move, but I shouldn’t be surprised. Barrett Fox is known for his rude antics, and this one is tame by comparison. Unlike the photos of him I’ve seen online: sweaty, streaked in dirt, or even dressed in a suit making lewd gestures at the camera.
There’s no way to escape the popularity of the local OSU football player who went pro, especially in Columbus. This paper was built on a foundation of footballs.
He wears a crisp, white shirt tucked into dark pants, black leather shoes, and because he kicked his feet up and crossed them at the ankles, I also notice a pair of red socks with white polka dots.
“What’s your name, gorgeous?”
I reroute my gaze to his face. Sharp, angular, a deep dent in his chin. His eyelids are narrowed in assessment, but I know under those red-brown eyelashes his irises are so blue they border on turquoise.
Nanci had a calendar of him last year. I’ve seen this guy in every pose from decked out in full gear to shirtless, to the one where he’s lying on a beach, his shorts pulled past his ass crack.
He’s long and lean, and I might have had a passing appreciation for how attractive he is if I didn’t know so much about him.
“What if I called you Ginger? Would that upset you?” I ask tartly, referring to the perfectly coiffed reddish hair on top of his head. He’s good with gel, or has his own stylist. Or maybe he’s sleeping with a stylist.
He grins at my question—straight white teeth he didn’t lose any of playing ball for eight years—and props his hands behind his head.
His shirtsleeves are uncuffed and rolled to the elbows, the scruff on his face two days past clean-shaven.
“Apologies, beautiful, but you know my name. I don’t know yours.”
“You mean Mia didn’t tell you my name when she threw me to the wolves?” I snap. I have a momentary fantasy where I talk Mia into reassigning this puff piece to Nanci, but she won’t. Nanci mostly helps out with articles. She hasn’t honed her journalistic skills well enough to be entrusted with a column.
When ad dollars are involved, Mia’s focus is ensuring a climb in readership. Not to brag, but that’s the reason I’m in charge of the relationships section. I’m good. Not because of some magic fairy dust but because I work my ass off.
Still, it would have been nice to write a commentary about how to date a real man instead of this one. A man who knows how to properly wear a button-down shirt, for example. Like North.
“Ouch. I’m guessing you’re not a fan?”
“Of you? I barely know who you are, Mr. Fox.”
“You seem to know plenty. I can read it in the pleat between those two perfect eyebrows.” He runs those blue eyes over my face, down my blouse and lingers at my breasts.
I lift the paper Mia left behind in front of my chest to avoid further scrutiny.
“Catarina Everhart,” I say as I read over the sheet of paper in my hand. Mia’s shorthand is atrocious but after five years of practice, I can read her hieroglyphics without any problem.
“Do you go by Cat?”
“No. I don’t. Do you go by Bare?”
“Sometimes.” He shrugs, lowers his feet to the floor, and leans over the table. He flicks the back of the paper I’m using as a shield.
“Is this what ‘dating you’ is going to be like?” I sneer.
“Close.” His lips twitch at the corner. “Add in a few slow, long, wet kisses that’ll curl your toes and a little under the shirt/over the bra action, and you’re there.”
About the Author: 
  
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing about super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.