Friday, April 17, 2015

Promo Spotlight Review: THE BILLIONAIRE’S BRIDAL BARGAIN by Lynne Graham



THE BILLIONAIRE’S BRIDAL BARGAIN – Lynne Graham
Bound by Gold, Book 1
Harlequin Presents #3322
ISBN: 978-0-373-13327-4
April 2015
Contemporary Series Romance

Yorkshire, England and Italy – Present Day

Lizzie Whitaker’s life has little joy as she works from sunup to sundown toiling the land of her family’s farm. Her mother abandoned Lizzie and her younger sister, Chrissie, to their father, who has become cynical about life in general as the farm income has dried up and his health has failed. After their mother’s death, the sisters were left an island in the Mediterranean ocean, but due to restrictions against selling it, they can’t dispose of it and get the money needed for the farm. One day, an Italian billionaire, Cesare Sabatino, shows up and offers Lizzie a way to help her family. However, it involves marrying him and providing him with an heir.

The island Lizzie and her sister own was once part of Cesare’s family, but now he wants it back so he can take his beloved ailing grandmother on one last visit there. The stipulation of the restrictions on the land is that a Sabatino cannot set foot on the property or buy it unless there’s a marriage between his family and Lizzie’s. He offers Lizzie a deal: marry him, get pregnant with his heir, and then he will buy the island so she can pay off the farm’s debts and pay her sister’s way through college. She reluctantly accepts, and he whisks her off to Italy where he provides her with a makeover and a fashionable wardrobe. The transformation of Lizzie has Cesare transfixed. Maybe marrying her won’t be so bad after all.

A marriage of convenience is the only way Cesare can keep his promise to his grandmother for her to visit an island she fondly remembers from her childhood. Back then the island belonged to their family, but after a failed engagement, it was given to Lizzie’s mother’s family as retribution. Lizzie and her sister inherited it upon the death of their mother, but it is useless as it cannot be sold due to some tight wording in the property deed. However, marriage to a Sabatino and providing an heir is one way to get around the clause. Lizzie refuses at first, mainly because Cesare is so out of her world and because after one failed engagement in her past she’d rather be on the farm with her favorite canine as her only companion than a man.

In THE BILLIONAIRE’S BRIDAL BARGAIN, Cesare thought he’d never marry but will do anything for his grandmother, even marry someone he doesn’t love. Underneath the grime of farming, Lizzie appears plain, and though she intrigues him, he doesn’t expect a spectacular marriage and has even lined up a mistress to amuse his time after the wedding ceremony. But the transformation of Lizzie has Cesare finding himself very attracted to her. A few hot kisses and he can’t wait for the wedding night. Can they turn a business relationship into a passionate one?

Against the odds, Cesare and Lizzie discover the passion and desire they thought they would never have in THE BILLIONAIRE’S BRIDAL BARGAIN. For a compelling romance of opposites attracting, grab a copy of this sizzling tale today.

Patti Fischer

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Perfect 10:

THE MASTER – Kresley Cole 
The Game Maker, 
Book 2 
A Perfect 10 
Gallery Books 
ISBN: 978-1-4516-5007-5 
February 2015 
Erotic Contemporary Romance 

Miami, Florida – Present Day 

Maksimilian Sevastyan is what's known as a “hobbyist”—he pays for a high class escort for the night, then never looks back. But the second Cat Marin walks into his suite, he's captivated and confused. This short, curvy, and spunky Latina is nothing like the tall blonde bombshell he usually goes for, but she's got enough of an attitude to keep even a gruff businessman on his toes. 

Cat is not an escort. Well, not really. She's on the run, and she needs money fast. When she's offered the chance to make a few thousand dollars in one night, that's enough to keep her going for months! It's too good a chance to pass up. And when she gets a glimpse of Maksimilian—he's not the type of guy you turn down. But she never expected to like him, and she definitely never wanted to fall in love. But when it comes to the Master, he gets what he wants, and Cat just can't say no. 

Maksimilian is the kind of guy a girl could fall hard for, and this reviewer is no different. Both Cat and Maks are amazingly strong, fleshed out characters that are easy to love and empathize with. When Cat's heart breaks, the audience breaks with her. And when Maks witnesses something so horrifying his life is shattered, every single reader will be trying to pick up the pieces of their own broken heart. Author Kresley Cole knows how to write a truly amazing story, and THE MASTER is another epic entry in her booklist! 

If fans of THE PROFESSIONAL (MAY 2014) thought it couldn't get any better, just wait until they meet THE MASTER! Cat and Maksimilian's relationship is so emotionally intense, readers will be shaking in their seats, and eagerly turning the pages. A heart-stopping thrill ride from start to finish, THE MASTER earns its Perfect 10 rating with ease. 

No news as to a third book yet, but readers should be on the lookout for the third brother, Dmitri, to get his own book sometime in the future! 

Amanda Toth

A Perfect 10:

REBEL QUEEN – Michelle Moran 
A Perfect 10 
Touchstone 
ISBN: 978-1-4767-1635-0 
March 2015 
Historical Fiction 

Kingdom of Jhansi – Mid-Nineteenth Century 

The country of India was, before it became a unified land, a multitude of small kingdoms. When the British East India Company began to make inroads there, Britain also began annexing (i.e. conquering) many, trying to turn them into replicas of home. But one small kingdom, Jhansi, was not an easy win for them, mostly because their queen and her male and female warriors were not going to give up without a fight. 

Queen Lakshmi only accepts the right women into her Durga Dal, her elite Royal Guard. One young woman from a tiny village has been trained by her father and neighbor for the explicit purpose of qualifying for this unique opportunity. Sita knows that after the death of her mother and birth of her sister, there is little if any money for a dowry for her. And her father knows this too, which is why he is training her for the Durga Dal. Sita learns how to use many weapons, how to ride a horse, and studies English to make her more marketable as a warrior. When the time comes for the competition, Sita outshines them all. But this new position means Sita must leave her village, with little time off to visit her father and sister. Still, it will mean that she can send money home for a dowry for her sister, and that is her goal. 

Sita's arrival in Jhansi is overwhelming for a poor girl from a remote village. The opulence of the Raja Gangadhar's palace, the women she meets whom she would live, fight, and possibly die with, and the overall importance of her position leave Sita speechless. But she must learn immediately whom to believe, and most important, whom to trust. The women eat, sleep, and practice together, but there is more to the job than just guarding the queen. They are expected to know protocol, and be almost a friend to the young, pregnant wife of the Raja. 

Almost immediately, Sita sorts through those women she can rely on, and whom to avoid. The woman who is closest to the queen and the raja dislikes the idea of a poor girl stepping into her life and out-besting her in weaponry. Kahini is especially upset because Sita knows English and reads to the queen. Sita learns she must watch her back around Kahini. 

REBEL QUEEN is another amazing, informative novel by Michelle Moran. Intricate details about nineteenth century India are meticulously researched. Queen Lakshmi and her entourage are realistically portrayed, and the murky history of her country is clarified in this beautifully written story. Sita tells the story in her own words, which makes this a very personal tale. The caste system, the abject poverty, and the growing need by the queen to learn more about the world and her people, make REBEL QUEEN a Perfect 10 for me. I highly recommend this wonderful novel. 

Jani Brooks

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Q & A with Kirsten S. Blacketer!

1.  Tell us about your newest release.
My latest release is for the print version of A Shadow's Kiss. It's the story of Madeline and Alexander. I introduced these two characters in the first Shadow Guardian book, An Irresistible Shadow. This follows their journey into Scotland and shows the obstacles each of them must overcome to be together. Being an English knight does not endear Alexander to Madeline's Scottish father, who happens to be the laird of Clan Campbell. If the highland clans discover Alexander isn't the Scottish lowlander he claims to be, it could cost him more than just his life...it could tear him away from woman he loves forever.

2.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
Whenever I write a historical romance, I always discover something new and exciting because I'm constantly researching the time period. For Alexander's story, I think my research on the highland games was the most interesting. Before the 19th century, the highland games as we know them today did not exist. However, they did have medieval style tournaments complete with sword fights, jousting, and archery. I included a foot race in the novel as part of the highland tournament because it was a common contest during that time period. I always discover some of the oddest things doing research, but it was surprising to me that the highland games as we know them did not exist back then. Makes me wonder where they came from...hmmm, more research perhaps?

3.  Do you have any interesting or quirks or rituals?
I must have two things to write. Coffee and music. It helps keep me focused on my work. I also can't write when my family is home. My husband, bless his heart, thinks that if I'm in my office I can be interrupted any time. With children, interruptions are a given, but with husbands, sometimes they just don't quite get the fact that when I'm in the zone and the words are coming easily, you shouldn't interrupt. *shrugs* This is what coffee shops and libraries are for, right?

4.  What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
My friends and family have always been supportive of my writing career. I have some great friends who are also authors, and they are more precious to me than chocolate. (That's saying something, right? I'd die without chocolate.) I don't have a specific author who inspired me or influenced me. I think the romance genre in general pushed me to do that. I think I read 200 romance novels in a year once, and after that I knew I had to write my own. It became the push I needed to finish the story that had been hounding me for years.

5.  What does your family think about your career as a published author?
My family supports my career as a writer, even though most of them don't read romance, or in my husband's case, don't read in general. It's never easy to be a writer. The time spent in front of the computer or scribbling away in a notebook. Nope, we always have a story brewing in our brains. So there are many times where family time gets neglected. I always try to make it up to them later when deadlines aren't looming and edits aren't due the next day. I think it's safe to say that my family is proud of me taking the leap into this career as an author although sometimes I wonder if I'm really a masochist.

6.  Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I love horseback riding, hiking, photography, riding roller coasters, and being on stage. I volunteer with the local community theatre and also serve as the Cubmaster for my son's Cub Scout Pack. So when I'm not writing, I'm busy with family projects and the arts. We're also a military family, so we travel a lot. Exploring new places has become a hobby the whole family enjoys together.

7.  Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
I'm currently working on a trilogy of novellas set in the late 1890s in Victorian England. My heroes are quite scandalous being that they moonlight as thieves. Each of the stories will be self-contained in regards to the hero/heroine's romantic relationship, but the overall plot will weave together throughout all three books. Once they're all out in ebook format, I will be publishing them as a single print volume. The inspiration for this series came from a Japanese Otome Game I fell in love with last fall. I adore the bad boys. *wink wink*

8.  How can readers connect with you online?

I am always online somewhere. These are the easiest places to contact me and keep up to date on any new releases or contests.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KirstenSBlacketerAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KirBlacketer

Blog: www.kirstensblacketer.com

Tumblr: www.kblackship.tumblr.com

Email: Kirsten.blacketer@gmail.com

Buy Link for A Shadow's Kiss: http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=22&products_id=756

Thank you so much for having me. I hope you enjoy my Shadow Guardian Series. *hugs*

Blurb:



Madeline Campbell has been whisked away from her uncle's barony to be reunited with her family in the Scottish Highlands. Her happy reunion quickly sours when she realizes her father intends to present as a bride to the winner of the Highland Tournament. With no one to turn to for comfort or guidance, Madeline chooses to do her duty to her clan as well as her father and marry the winner.
An English knight has no place on Scottish soil, but Alexander must complete the mission with which he was tasked.  Find Madeline and ensure her safety. When he finds her, he must decide between his honorable duty and his love for Madeline.
No one can deny their attraction and their desire for one another, but when it sparks jealousy in the other clansmen, they have no alternative but to run. Secrets emerge from the shadows of the past and threaten to tear their happiness apart. How can one choose between their duty and their heart?


Excerpt:


"I am merely a possession to be bartered and traded." She sighed. "Evelyn was right. Tis not fair." She wiggled against him, trying to find a more comfortable seat.
"Madeline," he groaned. "Do not do that."
"What?" she asked innocently, glancing at his face. He had drawn his lower lip between his teeth, his eyes had drifted closed. She released his shirt and touched his unshaven cheek. The rough prickle of new beard scratched her palm.
"Cease your torture, lass," he said, his voice hoarse and breaking.
"Am I hurting you?" she shifted again, bracing her hand on his thigh. His hand tightened, gripping her waist tightly.
"Stop. Moving." He grounded out the words.
"I do not mean to hurt you," she said sympathetic. She truly had no idea what she was doing to cause him pain.
"If you would stop your wiggling," he rasped out.
She pulled away from him in an effort to give him some space. Madeline slipped, nearly tumbling from his arms when he caught her, his palm cradling her breast. She felt the heat of his hand through the fabric of her gown. A knot formed in the pit of her stomach, twisting and pulling, threatening to tear her apart. She gasped, grasping his plaid to steady herself again. As soon as she settled, his hand released her, resuming its grip on her side.
"My apologies, my lady," he said as their mount climbed the hill toward the keep. Madeline could see Angus and Heather ahead of them, but far enough their words were a whisper on the breeze.
"Twas my fault I nearly fell," she said, the heat rising in her cheeks.
"I meant for..." He coughed, unable to finish the sentence.
"Oh, that, well," she stammered, her face enflamed. The darkness hid her embarrassment, but it also emboldened her. "I must admit, I liked it."
Alexander said nothing, but his fingertips digging into her side belied his reaction. She felt daring in the moonlight.
"Did you like it as well?" she whispered, her gaze fixed on his face. He bit his lip again. A familiar tingle shot down her spine, landing in the pit of her stomach.
"My lady, twas naught but an accident," he replied stiffly. "It will not happen again."
She leaned closer to him, curling against his warm body. "Your touch warms me the way strong wine does. Making me feel weak and helpless and happy, all at once. I cannot help but want more." She reached her hand up to caress his face again. "Would you kiss me again, Alexander?"
She felt his breathing quicken. His heart beat louder beneath her cheek, and his jaw twitched beneath her touch. "You want it as much as I do," she said, feeling wicked and wanton. She had wanted him for so long, to have him so close now and not take a chance seemed wrong.
"I do," he whispered so softly she almost missed his confession.
"Then I am yours." Her breath hitched when he glanced at her, his eyes as dark as the skies above them.
"I cannot," he replied, regret evident in his tone.
"You can," she pleaded. Her body ached for his touch, her lips burned for his kiss. For two years she pined for him, forcing herself to be content for the chance of seeing him around the keep. Ever since he kissed her, she knew he wanted her with as much passion as she desired him. Her fingertips journeyed into the soft curls at the nape of his neck, twisting them. "Please, Alexander."


Bio:


Stick her in the middle of a chaotic home with two children, a hyperactive dog, and a camouflage wearing husband, and she can cook and clean with the best of them.  But when the sun goes down and the children are nestled in bed fast asleep, she tucks away her pots and broom and like Cinderella she transforms.
Her characters creep forth from the dark recesses of her mind taking their places in the castles and forests built from her words. No simpering heroines linger there with forlorn gazes turned to the horizon, waiting for their Prince Charming. They straighten their spine, arming themselves with blade and bow, prepared to do their part in defense of their honor and destiny. She breathes life into the women she believes our ancestors to be, showing how they lived and loved with passion and grace.
Never bored by the tales still left to tell, she battles the ever sarcastic muse in her quest for romance.