French Toast by Glynis Astie [BookBlitz + Giveaway]






Chick Lit


Sydney Bennett is back! And her pursuit of perfection is alive and well. Naïve to the core, Sydney believed that when she finally married the man of her dreams, the hard part was over. Following a civil ceremony as a means to keep Louis from being deported, Sydney continues to plan the fairytale wedding that she had dreamed of since the age of five. Much to her chagrin, she discovers that her mother-in-law is planning what seems to be a rival wedding in France that SHE has been dreaming about for her only child since before he was born. How will poor Sydney be able to ensure two perfect weddings in the midst of Louis’ fruitless job search? Especially when her mother-in-law’s idea of perfection appears to be having Sydney embarrass herself in front of hundreds of French people that she has never met?
As if she didn’t have enough on her mind already, Sydney finds herself faced with the trials and tribulations of being a wife. Sydney had always heard that marriage was hard, but she thought that this was just a ruse that married couples portrayed in a bid to make single girls feel less desperate. But as the bills pile up and emotions run high, she realizes that there may just be some truth to this statement. And as she watches Louis’ perfection fade away before her very eyes, she begins to wonder if she made a rash decision in marrying a man that she had known for a mere six months.
With all of the obstacles that Sydney and Louis will encounter, will they be raising their glasses in celebration or watching their impulsive marriage crash and burn? One thing is for certain, Sydney and Louis Durand are headed for one hell of a toast…




Sydney’s Extraordinary Mother-in-Law

Introduction:  Sydney spends her first morning in France in the clutches of Louis’ mother, Simone.

I closed my eyes, took another deep breath and got out of bed.  I followed Louis’ example and got dressed, assuming that his parents were waiting for us to have breakfast.   I had taken a quick bath last night (his parents were old school and did not have a shower), but I still felt the travel grime on my skin.  Further bathing would just have to wait until later.

As I was putting on my shoes, Louis told me that he was going to check in with his parents.  I nodded and grabbed my watch off of the nightstand.  I put it on quickly, opened the door and was immediately met with his mother’s smiling face.  I nearly jumped out of my skin.

“Simone!”  I smiled like a complete lunatic.

She smiled back at me, handed me a wicker basket with a cloth in it and promptly ushered me outside.  Never mind the fact that I really had to go to the bathroom or that there was already a stubborn rumbling in my stomach.  I exhaled slowly and counted to ten.  Just relax, Sydney.  Once I had a modicum of control, a very important question occurred to me.  Where could we possibly be going at eight-thirty in the morning?  With wicker baskets no less? (No, that is not considered to be a second question.  It is simply an essential extension of the first.)

As the myriad of possible scenarios raced through my mind, I noticed that she was leading me around the back of the house.  I also noticed that she was dressed in sweats, old shoes and had a kerchief on her head.  This was not the way his mother normally dressed.  Something was very, very wrong.

I let out a sigh of relief as I caught sight of an enormous vegetable garden.  There were endless rows of lettuce, tomato plants, pumpkins, grapes and eggplant.  It was amazing!  Well, it was to me.  I couldn’t grow anything.  All of my houseplants died shortly after I brought them home.  To my great disappointment, I had not inherited my mother’s gift for gardening.  I smiled as I realized that Simone and my mom were going to have some serious bonding material.  It was easy to see them spending hours out here together.

Suddenly, Simone pulled me away from the beautiful garden and into a side building.  What were they growing in here?  A flash of feathers accompanied by rapid clucking and flying poop answered that question fairly quickly.   One of the chickens had jumped up in my face and pooped down the front of my shirt.  Apparently they don’t like strangers.  Simone laughed so hard that I worried for her safety.  She kept saying what sounded like “chicken shit” in French.  Sadly, the profane words are the ones I understand the best and we all know that I will NEVER forget the word for chicken.  EVER.

I grinned at her and followed her back to the house.  I knew only too well that this story will be told over and over at every event that we attended this week.  In fact, I would not be surprised in the least if this incident made it into Louis’ father’s wedding toast.

We entered the living room of his parents’ house to find Louis and his father drinking coffee and watching the morning news.  His mother immediately pointed to me and launched into the story.  Louis and his father laughed until they had tears streaming down their faces.  As I stood there watching them, I reminded myself that I was an amazing wife.  Not every woman would put up with this kind of shit.  Pun absolutely intended.

Eventually, Louis came over to me and put his hand on my shoulder.  “Syd, I am so sorry.”  He paused to catch his breath.  “Are you ok?”

I smiled indulgently at him.  “Bluey, I desperately have to pee, I am ravenously hungry, I need coffee and I am covered in chicken shit.  What do you think?”

Unfortunately for me, that made him laugh even harder.  Well, at least I would have a good story for my dad.  This kind of thing is right up his alley.  He is always telling me how funny I am.  And it is usually during moments like these.  Moments of humiliation.  Louis and my dad are alike in the most annoying ways.


Excerpt from French Toast by Glynis Astie, Copyright 2014




Author Bio

Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist.

glynis astie

As this novel is only the beginning the story, Glynis has just released the sequel, French Toast and has begun writing the final chapter in the trilogy, French Fry. When she is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.






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Deadly Assets by Wendy Tyson [BookBlitz]




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An eccentric Italian heiress from the Finger Lakes. An eighteen-year-old pop star from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Allison Campbell’s latest clients seem worlds apart in every respect. 

Rooted in Italian nobility, schooled abroad, the aging Francesca Benini is thrust into the corporate limelight when her brother suffers a stroke and she becomes the new head of Benini Enterprises.  Her family insists she decline the role, but Francesca, determined to leave her crumbling New York Finger Lakes mansion for the first time in decades, turns to Allison for help. 

Tammy “Swallow” Edwards is a newly discovered eighteen-year-old pop singer from Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Music producers see star potential, but the gangly, rough spoken Tammy must first transform from a swallow into a swan.  And that’s where Allison comes in.

When both clients disappear on the same day–and Allison’s business manager, Christopher Vaughn, is the last to have seen each–Allison races to find her clients and clear Vaughn’s name.  Her search uncovers an intricate web of family secrets, corporate transgressions, and an age-old rivalry that crosses continents.  The closer Allison gets to the truth, the deadlier her quest becomes.  All paths lead back to the sinister Benini estate and the suicide of a woman thirty years ago.  Allison soon realizes that the lives of two clients and the safety of those closest to her aren’t the only things at stake.





Clouds pressed in, painting the sky with a heavy coat of gray that matched Allison’s mood.  It was nearly six o’clock on Thursday evening.  Allison was unpacking her small overnight bag and placing her few belongings on padded hangers in the guest walk-in closet.  She had nothing formal for dinner, so her pink suit would have to do.  She hung up black pants and a cream blouse for tomorrow and carefully tucked her platform sling backs under a foot stool.  After a quick call to Jason, her ex-husband and current boyfriend, asking him to take care of her dog Brutus, she sat on the lounge chair in her suite and looked around.

True to Francesca’s word, the guest quarters were generous.  Two rooms–a bedroom and a study–flanked a full bath.  The bedroom was furnished with heavy antiques.  A four poster canopied bed, with down mattress, comforter and richly upholstered shams, stood against one wall.  On the opposite wall sat an ornate, carved dresser topped by a thick slab of champagne-colored marble.  A lounge chaise completed the bedroom.  All of the suite’s linens, bedding and fabrics wore a designer touch, with coordinating patterns of cream, butterscotch and brown.  The overall effect lent a comfortable charm to the decidedly masculine rooms.

But the bathroom was Allison’s favorite.  Nearly as large as the bedroom, it had two sinks, a bidet and a roman-style sunken bath that hinted at the wealth the Beninis must have once had.  Allison eyed the bath longingly.  No time for that now.

Leaning back in the lounge, Allison tapped her colleague Vaughn’s phone number.  Vaughn answered on the third ring.  “Guess where I am?” Allison asked.


“Funny.  At the Benini estate.”


“Still.  I’ll be here until tomorrow.”  She gave Vaughn a quick rundown of her meeting with Francesca.  “She’s in a hurry to get started.”

“You’re staying at her house?  Isn’t that a little…weird?”

Allison laughed.  “Under normal circumstances, yes.  The Beninis have the room, though, and I could use the crash course in Benini culture if I’m going to work magic in such a short time.  I need you to do some things.”

“Name ’em.”

“We need to come back up and get her next Friday.  Do you think you can clear my schedule for next Saturday?  Maybe a portion of Sunday, too?  After that, find a few hours a day for the next two weeks.  And start to line up the gang.  Errol for hair, Natalie for make-up, Kenneth for voice and diction.  Call Neiman Marcus…try Annette for personal shopping.”

“So you want the works?”

“No nutrition, at least not for now.  But include Dr. Keith for a psych consultation.  Francesca may balk, but truthfully, she’ll need all the calm she can get.  Dr. Keith’s good at helping people deal with anxiety.”

“Got it.”

“Thanks.”  Allison thought through her intake checklist.  “What am I missing?”

“It’s not what, it’s who.  You received another urgent call today.  From a woman named Denise Carr.”

“Don’t recognize the name.”

“She manages musicians.  She’d like you to meet with her client, Tammy Edwards, next week.  She asked for today or tomorrow, but I explained that you were in Ithaca.”

“Why the urgency?”

“Tammy Edwards–she’s known as Swallow, how do you like that for a nickname?–will be on the next season of America’s Next Pop Star.  Heard of it?”

“Of course.  It’s one of those reality shows.  People sing in the hopes of becoming famous.”

“Yep.  According to Denise, Tammy was discovered by a music executive while singing a solo in her church’s choir during a wedding he attended.  He signed her on the spot and had her audition for this show.  She made it.”

“So why the image consulting now?  Isn’t it a little after the fact?”

“It’s all a little odd because Tammy already has a music contract.  But the show doesn’t prohibit it, and her manager thinks the show will be good exposure.  Denise–that’s the manager– says the kid has no stage presence.  That she was basically raised by wolves.”

Allison rose.  She walked to the window, parted the heavy drapes and looked outside.  The sky had darkened to a surly charcoal and although dusk was more than an hour away, it looked like night had fallen prematurely.

“Where’s she from?”


“What’s wrong with Scranton?”


Allison let the drapes fall.  “I’ve known you for a long time, Vaughn.  I can hear the hesitation in your voice.  What’s up?”

“Ignore me,” he said.  “Denise Carr just rubbed me the wrong way.  It’s nothing.”

Allison doubted it was nothing, but she knew Vaughn wouldn’t tell her until he was ready.  “So when did you get Tammy in?”


“So soon?”

A weary sigh from Vaughn.  “’Fraid so.  You’ll get back tomorrow, you’re giving a speech at that business luncheon on Saturday and beginning on Monday, you start long sessions with Tammy Edwards.”

“Well, at least I have next Sunday night free.”



“I had to reschedule your Recently Divorced group.  I made it for Sunday night.”

“Were the ladies okay with that?”

“I offered to refund their money, but they requested that timeslot instead.”

Allison laughed.  “Who likes to relax?”

“Relaxation is overrated.  Besides, you’re up there in the beautiful Finger Lakes.  Have some wine.  Enjoy the view.”

Lightening flashed outside.  Seconds later, Allison heard the distant rumble of thunder.  The lights in the suite flashed on and off.

“Sightseeing’s not in the cards.”  Allison glanced at her watch.  “Dinner in fifteen, then a session with Francesca afterwards.”  She closed the drapes as the lights flickered again.  “I’ll call you tomorrow when I’m on my way back?”

“Please.  And don’t let the ghosts get you.  I read something about the old Benini estate being haunted.  Someone died in that house.”

“Lovely,” Allison said.  She slipped her shoes on and looked around the room.  Shadows danced in the falling gloom.  “Ghosts I can handle.  It’s Francesca’s vultures I’m concerned about.”



Author Bio


Wendy Tyson is a corporate lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers.  She’s the author of three crime novels.  Her latest, DEADLY ASSETS, the second Allison Campbell mystery, was released on July 22wendy tyson.  The first Campbell novel, KILLER IMAGE, was named by as one of the ten best mysteries for book clubs in 2014.  She’s also written THE SEDUCTION OF MIRIAM CROSS.  Wendy lives near Philadelphia with her husband, three sons and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs.









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Destination Wedding by Deanna Lynn Sletten [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

Destination Wedding



Chick Lit





Life is full of surprises…

Claire Martin’s life is perfect, or at least she tells herself it is. She owns a successful clothing boutique, has a steady, dependable boyfriend, and a beautiful grown daughter who is about to be married. Sure, Claire’s husband of twenty years left her for a younger woman four years ago, but that is all in the past. Now, Claire is looking forward to her daughter’s Bahama wedding and spending a week in paradise. The only thing Claire dreads is her ex-husband and his wife will also be on the island. Claire is determined to make the best of it, though. What Claire doesn’t realize is ignoring her ex-husband for the week is going to be impossible.

James Martin’s life is a mess. His wife of less than four years has made him the most miserable man on earth and now they are in the middle of a messy divorce. He’s happy that he can forget her for a week as he goes off to the Bahamas to attend his lovely daughter’s wedding. Jim is embarrassed to admit to his daughter and his ex-wife, Claire, that he made the biggest mistake of his life when he left her for another woman, so he makes up a story as to why his new wife didn’t come along. When he and Claire are unexpectedly forced upon each other, Jim soon realizes what he’s lost and he begins to wonder if he can find a way back into Claire’s heart.




Jim’s eyes turned back to Claire standing beside Mandy and Kaylie in the water. The three women had picked up something from the water and were standing close together, examining it. The younger girls were wearing bikinis. Claire had on a bikini too, but she’d pulled on a pair of jean shorts over the bottoms. Jim wondered why. Even at the age of forty-five, Claire’s body could hold its own against the younger girls. Jim smiled as he admired her long legs and narrow waist. If he didn’t know any better, he’d think all three women were the same age.


Steven had proposed to Claire. That unwanted thought popped into his head out of nowhere. What in the world did Claire see in that stiff, egotistical, workaholic? Sure, Steven always said all the right things at the right time, but didn’t Claire realize it was a show put on by a practiced salesman? Steven was a phony, through and through. Claire couldn’t possibly want to marry a jerk like that.


But why do I care? I’m the one who left her. Those words came uninvited into Jim’s head.


Jim lifted his body and propped himself up on his elbows, his lower back suffering the consequences of his actions. His eyes scanned the beach. Craig and his friend Cameron were out in the water, snorkeling. Mark was a short distance away from Jim, lying in the sun while Angela walked down the strip of beach looking for seashells. Glen and Lisa had gone on a beer run. But despite everything else Jim could have focused his eyes on, they still returned to Claire.


Jim thought back five years to when he started looking at Diane instead of Claire. He’d just turned forty-one, he was working all the time, and his daughter was grown and in college. Claire was always busy with her boutique, or so it seemed, and Jim found himself spending more time at the office and less time at home. He and Claire had been together for twenty years. They’d grown comfortable with each other. Too comfortable. They no longer etched out time to spend together as they had earlier in their marriage. There were no date nights, no dinners out, and no going to the movies. They saw each other in the morning before work and on Sundays when both were home and Mandy came home for dinner. As far as either of them knew, their marriage was typical of other couples their age. But then, Jim met Diane, and something changed.


Jim had felt he was growing old, and if he admitted it to himself, he’d been afraid of it. Diane, on the other hand, was only twenty-five, had a zest for life, and for some unknown reason had a crush on him. Instead of ignoring her, he’d enjoyed the attention of this younger, attractive woman who built up his ego and made him feel young again. She told him he was handsome, she laughed at his stupid jokes, and she was available. He fell hard for her, and had left Claire behind.


“Why?” he asked aloud as he sat alone on the beach.


“Why what?” Glen walked over with a cooler full of beer and plopped down beside Jim, offering him a bottle. Lisa waved at them and headed out to where Claire and the girls stood in the water.


“Nothing,” Jim said in answer to Glen’s question. “I was just talking to myself.”


“Hmmm. Could be the first sign of heatstroke. Maybe we should get you in the shade,” Glen said with a grin.


Jim took a sip of beer and let his gaze trail off toward Claire again. She was laughing at something Lisa had said to her. He wished he could make her laugh again. With him, not at him like she had last night about the creaking cot.”


Jim pulled himself up into a sitting position and made an old man grunt from the pain it caused his back.


“What was that coming from you?” Glen asked.


“That’s the noise of an old man who slept on a cot last night,” Jim told him. “And it isn’t pretty.”


Glen laughed. “That’s what you get for divorcing my sister. It’s karma, man.”


Jim looked over at Glen. They hadn’t spent much time together since the divorce, but when they were together for family events like Mandy’s college graduation, Glen had always been nice to Jim. “Why don’t you hate me for leaving Claire? You’re her big brother. You should have punched me out.”


“Well, I did think of it, but I figured your punishment was losing Claire. And if you were happier not married to her, then I guess I thought she’d be happier without you.”


Jim stared at Glen. “Is she? Happier without me, I mean?”


Glen shrugged. “She has Steven now. You have Diane. People move on.”


Jim turned to look in Claire’s direction again. The women were walking back toward shore.


“You have moved on, right?” Glen asked.


Jim looked at Glen. “Huh?”


Glen pointed toward the women. “I have a feeling you’re not watching Mandy, Kaylie, or Lisa. If it’s Claire you have your sights on, watch out. You’re married to Diane now. Claire is off limits.”


Jim sighed. “Even if I had my sights on Claire, she’d be the first one to tell me off. So you don’t have to worry.”


“Good,” Glen said. “Don’t hurt her again, Jim. She deserves better.”


Jim nodded. Glen was right. So why did it bother him so much?


Author Bio

Deanna Lynn Sletten is a bestselling and award-winning author. She writes women’s fiction and romance novels that dig deeply into the lives of the characters, giving the reader an in-depth look into their hearts and souls. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime.

deanna lynn sletten

Deanna’s women’s fiction novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore, made the top 100 bestselling books on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble in 2014. Her romance novel, Memories, was a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012. Her novel, Sara’s Promise, was a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2013 and a finalist in the 2013 National Indie Excellence Book Awards.



Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her northern Minnesota home with her beautiful Australian Shepherd or relaxing in the boat on the lake in the summer.






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Aqua Alaskan Nights by Amanda Jones [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

aqua alaskan nights



After losing her job, Hayley struggles to make ends meet and allows her career status to define her. She finds inspiration in successful photographer Trevor Tott, but their professional aspirations clash when she experiences his questionable ethics along with unwanted advances from her overbearing boss. With the help of the ship’s crew, stunning Alaskan backdrops and a leap of faith, they might find business can be mixed with pleasure.

With cameos from favourite Aqua characters Harry and Casey, Amanda Jones weaves a plot that keeps the pages turning.

Love happens on The Aqua…

Have you jumped in yet? The Aqua series is the ongoing story of the cruise ship Aqua, where crew members such as Chef Amber and Captain Hallmann appear frequently, and other favourites, such as Harry and Casey, make cameo appearances. With each book in the series, the familiar characters and their stories grow and weave cleverly together. You’ll meet Hayley and Trevor again in books for the upcoming Alaskan and Caribbean series as well. Read along the entire series to get to know and understand the cruise ship, its passengers and regular crew members.


HAYLEY CAUGHT her hat as a strong breeze blew onto the deck. She shoved the brim in her pocket, pulled her red curls into a ponytail and kept her eye on the camera screen as an iceberg floated down the glacier-carved fjord. The sun bounced off the blue glass as it bobbed in the sea, the summer light shimmering as if the water was a celestial globe. She pressed the shutter release but by the time the camera processed the picture and took the photo, the image was blurry. Why did she ever think of doing this?

Minutes earlier the glacier had released the clear blue ice with a sound louder than a cannon blast. She had watched in awe as it calved and cascaded into the thin arm of the bay, pushing water onto the glacial plateau, rocking the smaller ice pieces around it. An iceberg had been born before her eyes.

Hayley looked toward the maze of islands and coves that stretched along the Inside Passage. These were the moments she lived for – the raw beauty of the wilderness stirred a longing deep inside of her each time she stood in its midst. To her, nature was a kindred spirit and since she was a teen, she’d lived to protect it, from picketing at zoos to chaining herself to trees to protest against clear-cuts. That passion had led her to investigative reporting and she had covered the environment beat ever since.

She turned back to her camera. She had been in such awe of the moment, that she missed taking a photo and now struggled to capture the iceberg in some fashion. Words were her ability, to describe a moment rather than take a static image, but her prose wasn’t valued anymore. In the last round of cuts at the newspaper, her job landed on the chopping block. They no longer needed an environmental reporter – the stories from the wire were good enough.

To her dismay, the only job she could land was in public relations – she had crossed to the other side. And of all things, she was assigned a cruise ship company. Not only had she left her meaningful beat behind, she was now covering luxury travel, far from the world she had vowed to protect. Hayley spent years journeying to destinations, uncovering a story, or highlighting an area with natural heritage features, but in her new PR position she had an endless laundry list of tasks: photograph daily scenic shots, attend the workshops, interview the crew, plan the media trip with the photo workshop leader.

While her client was dining with the captain, she was running all over the ship to deliver the requested photos on time. And worse was, she didn’t have a creative eye. Some people could write music, others could dance to any beat, and photographers could capture a moment in one single image. She never could and always relied on publicity photos for her articles.

Yet she needed the job. She had a mortgage, car payments and college debt to pay. She had to hold onto the position at least until she found something better.

What made it worse was the client. Blake Harrison. The name already sounded harsh. He made it seem as if the free cruise was a big perk, yet with the workload she wouldn’t get much time to relax. On top of it, he didn’t cover any expenses and only dangled the carrot of a one-year contract if the cruise went well. She had to cobble together the money for the plane ticket to Vancouver and didn’t have much left over for a good camera. She had bought a cheap digitalhoping it would do the job. She spent the first few days learning how to use it and then realized its deficiencies. It was slow in capturing images no matter what speed she set it for – how would she ever get the wildlife pictures she needed? And she never knew she had a shaky hand – all the years she wrote for the paper, if she used a camera, it was their top of the line models that had an image stabilization feature.

She looked over to the man on her right. He had more than one camera body, a large format camera in his hand and then a Nikon with a telephoto slung over his shoulder. After so many years of holding down a steady job, one in which she won awards, it was hard to believe that she was starting over. Her life had been set, and then the entire global economy got turned on its side and her industry took the biggest fall. At times it seemed her life was coming apart and there was no way she could hold it together. It was at moments like this that she felt tears building up, and she pressed her lips together to fight them off. It was so unprofessional, in the middle of strangers on the deck of a ship, on a work assignment, but lately she couldn’t control her emotions. She had dipped into her savings and was at the brink of financial collapse, not knowing where she would live or get health insurance from. The pressure month after month had become too much and she worried how she would cobble her life together.

She looked back to the sea, where the iceberg had turned exposing a large gap in the shape of a heart. Two thin arms of ice reached out to form an arch above the turquoise water. She felt small in the presence of these large cities of ice, these mountains that folded into the distance. It made her life and her problems seem inconsequential in the grander scheme of things.

The glacier was built one snowflake at a time, over thousands of years and it had now come to the end of its lifecycle, gracefully floating to whatever awaited it. Mammoth next to the ship, but the size of an ice cube when it reached the open ocean, it was changing, sliding to the edge, holding on, and then breaking, tumbling into the sea, sloshing about till it found solid footing in a new environment.

How unlike this piece of ice she herself was. It might float for years, enduring elements as it traveled along the coastline. It would eventually melt, bit by bit, erode and be forgotten. Would her life be much different? In time, her work would be cast aside, buried in cyberspace, nullified among more timely articles. Nor did her life matter to anyone but herself and her cat. She would be forgotten.

This is why she found solace in nature. It talked to her without a word. Thoughts slipped into her mind and found a home, made sense. There were times, in fact, that she found she was more interconnected with nature than people.

Hayley dropped her chin into the wide collar on her jacket and turned back to her camera bag. She pulled out an old tripod and started extending the legs. It was the one good thing about this cruise – when she was out in nature, she forgot the rest of her life. Even if she was stuck behind a camera lens for some of the next two weeks, she was still close to the one element that soothed her.

“Don’t bother setting up your tripod.”

The voice pulled Hayley out of her thoughts and she looked toward the man with broad shoulders and a pointy face. “I always use one.”

“You’ve never shot on a ship before.”

“Of course I have,” she lied, fumbling with the tripod legs splayed on the deck. She was in a time crunch to get a shot of the ice slab before the ship turned.

“It’s a moving platform.”

“I’ve got lots of space,” she said curtly. She looked beyond him, toward the fjord that stretched into the distance, then at his long lens and bulky camera bag. Perhaps he did know something.

“True but you’ll be buffeted from the wind.” He pointed his chin toward the fast-moving clouds, his windbreaker billowing from the breeze. “It will be useless.”

“I have an anchor,” she said sharply and hung her bag to the center post. She walked toward the other end of the deck to scout a scenic shot.

“Don’t leave your camera unattended.”

She didn’t have time to be interrupted – she had to get a good image and deliver it to her client in an hour. She threw her arms out toward the water surrounding them. “What? Someone’s going to run off with it?”

“I never leave my camera unattended.” He wrapped his long fingers around the body of his camera. “It’s too expensive.”

“Never say never.”

He paused for a moment. At the top of his head, a small patch of bald skin glistened in the afternoon sun that poured over the mountainous coast. “I never leave my camera.”

She rolled her green eyes. The man irritated her but the scenery was so beautiful that she didn’t want to leave the deck and miss something.

He walked toward her, then dug around in his bag and handed her a camera. “I used to shoot with this.”

“It’s old.”

“But good quality.”

He pushed his sunglasses onto his forehead, and showed her the camera settings. He had soft blue eyes, the color of the ice floating past them, and his long face led to a warm smile. Then he handed the camera to her. “Go get that iceberg.”

HAYLEY’S PONYTAIL bobbed from side to side as she walked toward the bow. Trevor watched her kneel next to her backpack and remove a filter. Even though she was tiny, her fiery curls gave her away from across the boat.

She rested her elbows on the railing and took a photo, then checked it in the viewfinder. A smile spread across her face and she turned to him with a thumbs-up. She walked further down the deck and took more pictures.

He knew the pressure of getting a good photo and could sense it a mile away. Besides, he had watched her for a while that afternoon. She seemed to be a perfectionist, muttering to herself and criticizing each shot she took. In time, she had stressed herself so much that it seemed nothing was working.

And then, the iceberg drifted by and she lowered her camera in awe. He heard her talk to it as if it were a human, and then she murmured over and over, “Stay strong,” and, as she did, her shoulders dropped. Trevor edged closer to her, drawn to the exclamation and the wonder in her expressions. She wasn’t the only one susceptible to the iceberg – the lower deck was crowded the moment the iceberg calved with a loud boom, and when he looked down all he witnessed was a maze of hands pointing, and then the gasps and shouts. But among that chaos there was a sense of peace with this woman, as if she had stepped into a bubble of calm. She said, “Stay strong” one more time and at that moment, he felt a warmth spread through the palm of his hand. The unthinkable had happened to Trevor. The entire time the iceberg had drifted by, he hadn’t taken one photo. Not one.

It seemed she had come to the realization at the same moment and fumbled with her camera. He focused his zoom lens and took a few photos, then turned back to her. It was then that he mentioned the tripod, and in doing so, seemed to pop her out of the magical bubble she was in. It didn’t surprise him when she got defensive – perfectionists always did.

Trevor looked back toward the woman who now leaned her chin on the far railing, watching. He zipped up his bag and jotted down a note, then speared it on the hook of her tripod’s center post. It read: “Play with the camera this afternoon. I’ll see you around. -T”

He hadn’t signed his name – he wanted to leave her with an air of mystery.



Author Bio

Romance author, Amanda S. Jones, loves travel, chocolate and red wine. You’ll find all of these elements in the books she writes! Her first romance series, “Aqua” takes place on the cruise ship, Aqua, a slow-burning pleasure dome of food and attraction that spurs the reader’s imagination. Each book has exotic locations, sumptuous foods, seduction, enticement and true love, so open the pages and step aboard to see what’s in store for characters with the help of the ship’s crew, a romantic destination and a leap of faith. If you’re interested in updates on Amanda and her book series, sign up for the Aqua Club newsletter on her website!




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A Moral Dilemma by Zara Kingsley [BookBlitz + Giveaway]


a moral dilemma


Think you would never date a married man? … Think again!

Rebecca Hardy isn’t a naturally deceptive person, but it seems her boyfriend might be—and when she theatrically catches him cheating, she decides she’s had it with these modern-day men who can’t commit. She has even less regard for these immoral modern day women, who don’t hesitate to prey on men in committed relationships. What is wrong with them?! Don’t they care that they’re breaking hearts and destroying lives?! Rebecca, with her high morals and family values, would never even consider dating a married man. Which is why her friends are so shocked when Rebecca finds herself doing exactly that—albeit at the fervent request of that man’s very own wife, the notorious Isabella Coombs.

At first, Rebecca likes to think of it as helping someone out—female camaraderie, and all that. But she doesn’t expect Isabella’s husband to be quite so charming…or for things to go quite so far.



Wheelers, was an average enough, discreet British pub, on an average enough discreet City street, and was also Jeremy’s choice location for a not so discreet illicit tryst.

“Look, would you be ordering something or not lass?” the barman asked me with a slight Irish accent.

Shoo shoo shoo I had wanted to say, but for fear of him drawing any more attention to me, and in light of the fact that he was actually blocking my view of Jeremy and Miss Thingy, I quickly deduced that I had in fact better order something. “Coke please,” I snapped off, throwing down a fiver.

“Diet or regular?”

Oh for chrissakes, will you just move! Aargh! “Regular!”


“No!” rolling my eyes. He actually seemed to be enjoying this little exchange. Maybe he knew Jeremy and knew what both he and I were up to?! No. Not possible.


“Look, can you get me a coke or not?” I hissed.

“OK, OK, keep yer knickers on,” he said smiling cheekily and finally turned to go get me a drink. I quickly realigned myself to get a better view over the bar and through the window to the courtyard where Jeremy, the bastard, and Thingy were sitting extremely close to each other and laughing easily at this point. Still not incriminating evidence, but the night was young. I saw Jeremy lean into her and started talking into her ear. I would’ve said ‘whispering’ but he didn’t know how to whisper sweet nothings at the best of times let alone after he’d had a few, which by the way his face was flushed and his tie, usually perfectly positioned, was loosened and off centre, he obviously had.

“There you go now. Coke and change,” said the barman. I ignored him and continued fidgeting with my camcorder, hidden behind by handbag, whilst still keeping a sharp eye on the fornicators. “Pity you don’t get to catch the conversation with those things from a distance.”

“Excuse me?!”

“You need to get up real close to them to record conversation.”

“I haven’t the foggiest idea what you’re talking about,” I said turning beetroot, and started to scuffle about with the camcorder, desperately trying to stuff it back into my bag.

“Oh,” he leaned back comfortably against the bar, folded up his arms and nodded toward Jeremy and Thingy. “I thought for a sec you were spying on that pair.”

“I beg your pardon?!” trying my best to sound alarmed but at the same time careful not to draw any attention to myself…

“Oh, it’s no skin off my nose either way,” he said, “but let’s assume you were spying on that pair.”

“Which I am most definitely not!” I said furiously, whilst still trying to shove my camcorder back into my bag, but what, with my current state of panic and the fact that every time my head bent down my wig was starting to slip forward, I couldn’t quite manage it.

“Ah, but, if you were, you’d be doing it all wrong.” I looked up at him from under the fringe of my wig. “You’re too far away to even know what’s going on.”

“As I’ve already told you, I am not spying on anyone. But IF I were, I am able to see quite clearly exactly what’s going on.”

“Ah jaysus, you can’t tell a thing from what you see. They could just be having a great crack, with nothin’ in it at all.”

“Oh he’s having a crack all right.” I slumped on the bar, completely fed up, with the camcorder sticking out recklessly from my bag. I’d given up trying to tuck it away, just as I’d given up trying to film them. He was right of course. The barman. The footage I’d so painstakingly gathered proved nothing at all. Jeremy would be able to talk his way out of this one in a nano-second, and I knew that I’d believe whatever he would tell me, as per usual, because although I had doubts, many, many doubts, I never ever had any real concrete evidence of any disloyalty. We watched them silently for a few seconds, but when Jeremy slipped his hand up Miss Thingy’s skirt and started talking into her ear again, I just squeezed my eyes shut so I wouldn’t have to see, and so the barman couldn’t see the tears of humiliation that were starting to well up.

“Look, just pass it here,” he said reaching out his hand to me.


“The camcorder. I’ll get up close and record what they’re saying for yer.” I gave an incredulous stare and opened my mouth to say something, then as if on autopilot, I handed him the camcorder. “Ah, you can thank me later,” he said with a wink. And was off. Headed in their direction with the camcorder hidden underneath a bar towel on a tray. My heart started hammering against my ribcage and I wanted to dive under the bar and hide as he got to their table and started hovering, collecting glasses, wiping, and re-placing ashtrays. I half expected Jeremy to look up and wave at me but he didn’t even notice the barman floating around. Too engrossed in impressing Miss Thingy, which by the way she was giggling and batting her false eye lashes at each word he uttered, seemed easy enough to do.


  Author Bio

 Luckily I was born and raised in a City I love living in: London, UK. And it’s just as well, as I can barely afford to go on a camping holiday much less move. I have a gorgeous 9yr old daughter, yeah, I’m a single mom, (judge me later), and I like to think of myself as a yummy mummy, when in reality I’m still working on shifting this damn cellulite of my ass. I do actually make it into the gym from time to time, but mainly to appreciate the…ahem …view 🙂

So what kinda stuff do I write?

Well, I write what I love reading, Romantic Comedy and the original kinda British ChickLit. I don’t do vampires, werewolves, or horror, because sheesh, I wanna sleep at night. In my bed. Not underneath it. So if you like Bridget Jones or Shopaholic, then you might dig my stuff.

My heroines are women in their late twenties / early thirties. My heroes are hot, cute and not too hunky. My stories are about life, love and friendship, with a few twists and turns and tons of fun. They’re not particularly deep, nor meaningful, they’re a lighthearted, easy read, that go well with a glass of wine and a few chocs, and just might make you laugh out loud








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The Divorced Not Dead Workshop by CeCe Osgood [BookBlitz + Giveaway]


THE DIVORCED NOT DEAD WORKSHOP, a romantic comedy with a whopping side dish of chick lit, is a hilarious and touching look at re-entering the dating world after divorce. 


Meet Dorsey Bing. She’s been divorced for five years and was recently dumped by her mega-hot Brit boyfriend, Theo. Smart, funny and a wee bit angsty, Dorsey brainstorms about a dating workshop for divorced men. Too bad she’s an idea person with zero follow-through.

That all changes when her best friend Pilar, a feisty go-getter, opts to set up the workshop with herself in charge and Dorsey as her “go-fer.” But do things ever really work out as planned. No. No, they don’t.

A startling mishap, rebellious workshop attendees and the arrival of handsome but wily Finn Woodall soon send things topsy-turvy for Dorsey. Even more trouble arises with the unexpected re-appearance of Theo. Will Dorsey want him back or is she smitten with Finn who could possibly be a back-stabbing rat bastard? And with everything that’s happened in the workshop will Dorsey face her biggest challenge to win the love, and life, she’s always desired?


 Having just lost her job after “The Pee Incident,” Dorsey Bing, the novel’s main character, curls up in her bed, scared of the future.



A fresh wave of anxiety swept over me. What to do? What to do? I crawled out of bed and found my CD player. Good. My favorite relaxation CD was still inside. I loved the narrator’s wonderfully deep, sonorous voice, which was almost as good at inducing sleep as high school algebra. The next thing I knew it was dark outside, and my front door was rattling. I was about to panic when I heard Pilar’s voice. “Hey, girl. Open up. We brought ammo.”

In record time, the ammo (a bottle of Merlot, Thai chicken lettuce wraps from Pei Wei, and chocolate almond bark from Trader Joe’s) was spread out on the coffee table. Goblet in hand, I told them about my miserable day.

Mimi voiced her concern and gave me a comforting look while Pilar, seated next to her on my plum-colored loveseat, checked her watch. “Okay. Our two minutes of commiserating with you is” — she counted under her breath — “up.” She arched a dark eyebrow. “Let’s talk about your brainchild.”

“What brainchild?”

She exhaled loudly. “You know I love you, Dorsey, but you really do have zero follow-through. It drives me crazy.’

“What are you-?”

She cut me off. “You’ve been this way forever, so I guess I should be used to it by now.”

“Used to what?”

“How you never act on your ideas. Remember your ‘Suck-It-In’ body girdle? You had that idea years ago, but did you follow through on it? No. The woman who did is now the Spanx zillionaire.” Pilar held up a finger. “Well it’s not happening this time, my friend, because this time I’m willing to help you give it a go.”

I swirled the wine in my glass. “Give what a go?”

Pilar picked up a lettuce wrap.  “What you said last night.”

“Last night’s a blur, Pilar. You know how I get when I’m snockered.”

She finished the wrap in two bites. “This was before you saw Theo. You weren’t snockered then. You were talking about divorce and dating and how you hated the online scene. You said what people really need is a place to meet each other, and that’s when you brought up this dating workshop idea. You said men suck and this workshop might help ‘desuckify’ them. Ring any bells?”

I gave her one-shoulder shrug. “Little bit.”

“During our first pitcher at Casa Oro, you started brainstorming about the workshop. You wanted it to go deeper than the usual date-doctor spiel, and really get men engaged in learning about their expectations and what’s going on inside their heads. You called it ‘soul-fetching’ which”—Pilar snorted—“isn’t such a hot marketable term so I say we drop it.”

“I like soul-fetching,” Mimi said dreamily.

Pilar ignored her. “Frankly, I’m not sure about it being only for men, but we’ll deal with that later. Anyway, that’s the gist of what you said last night, Dorsey.”

I rolled my eyes. “I must’ve talked your heads off, huh?”

Mimi smiled. “Oh, yeah. You were on a roll. You started asking strangers at the next table what they thought of your workshop idea. You got a couple thumbs up.”

I cringed. “Jeez. Please don’t ever let me drink again.”

Pilar leaned forward eagerly. “Here’s the thing. I’ve been thinking about it, and I like it. I like it a lot. I think it really has potential.”

I made a face.

“Don’t do that, Dorsey. Don’t put it down.”

“You can’t be serious–”

She cut me off. “I am. I’m very serious. I think it’s worth pursuing.” She grabbed the wine bottle. It was empty. She set it down with a thud, snorted “I’ll be back” and bustled off to the kitchen.

Her reaction to the workshop idea had really surprised me. I was under the impression she loved being an event planner and traveling around the country setting up fundraisers for charities and non-profits, although, come to think of it, she had been griping about not feeling fulfilled in her work life lately.

Just last week she said she felt like she was helping other people live their dreams, while she had put her own on hold. I’d chalked it up to her needing a vacation, but now I suspected it might run deeper than that.

“Any takers?” Pilar asked, returning with the bottle of Zinfandel from my fridge.

Like she had to ask. After filling our glasses, Pilar sat across from me. “Last night, you talked a lot about how your mother was divorced for a long time, and how things changed when she met Ralph, and how she knew he was such a great guy.”

I sensed where she was going. “But he didn’t go to a workshop to be a great guy.”

“That’s because he’s a natural. The point is, we’ll help the ‘not-so-great’ guys become more like Ralph. That’s exactly how you put it last night.”

Hellloooo. I was drunk. I say dumb things when I’m hammered.”


Author Bio


CeCe Osgood lives in Texas after many years in LA working in the film industry.  Her writing career includes magazine articles and screenplays as well as being a freelance script analyst (main client HBO). She also has had two screenplays optioned. cece osgood

Being a novelist has been her lifelong dream, and now it’s becoming her reality. Her debut novel, THE DIVORCED NOT DEAD WORKSHOP, a romantic comedy with a whopping side dish of chick lit aka lighthearted women’s fiction, is about dating after divorce.  She loves red wine and hates pretzels.  See more about her at




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Tax Cut by Michele Lynn Seigfreid [BookBlitz]

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Tax Cut

by Michele Lynn Seigfried


“I saw him,” she said. “He handed an envelope filled with money to the tooth fairy.”

The ramblings of eighty-nine-year-old woman with dementia.  The government employees are used to her regular phone calls and dismiss the crazy old lady; but the new municipal clerk, Chelsey Alton, isn’t so sure the woman is off her rocker.  Something’s amiss in the Village of Coral Beach, a small, New Jersey shore town community, and Chelsey’s determined to find out what it is.

The former clerk of Coral Beach, Vinny Buttiglieri was murdered and dead bodies keep popping up all over town.  Between being a single mom to a temper tantrum throwing two-year-old, bosses who humiliate her in public, the dead bodies, and a man named Mike Nero that is stalking her, she has her hands quite full!

Chelsey recruits her good friend, Bonnie, a voluptuous woman with an off-color sense of humor, to assist her on a few recon missions. The deeper they dig, the more they put themselves in danger, becoming entangled with sinister mobsters, criminal activity, and government corruption.

Not everything is as it seems. Chelsey thinks she’s doing the right thing, trying to uncover the truth and protect herself at the same time, but can she save herself when she becomes entrenched too deep in this Jersey shore mystery?


I stopped by Take Ten and ordered a double espresso to go. From there, I drove to work and pulled in the parking lot. I looked in my rear view mirror to see how bad my dark circles looked. They were bad. I added some extra powder makeup to them and headed on inside. Bonnie had arrived before me. I passed by her desk and gave her a little wave as I took a sip of my coffee. In return, she rolled her eyes. I gave her that look, like what? She nodded toward Dingo’s office. I glanced in. He was sitting at his desk, picking toe jam out of his left foot. I looked back at Bonnie with a facial expression like, eww, then continued on my way. I didn’t have many dealings with Dingo, but from what I had seen of him so far, I didn’t like him much. He was a weirdo.

I spent the rest of the morning keeping busy with paperwork, while I intently watched the clock. I couldn’t wait for noon to roll around so I could go somewhere else and get some more coffee with caffeine in it. To my grave disappointment, those in charge of ordering coffee for the municipal building were only stocking decaf this week.

My phone rang. It was an interoffice call, except I didn’t recognize the extension.

“Hello.” I said.

“Nero alert!” Bonnie said.

“What? Where are you calling from?”

“The conference room. I can see Nero coming into the building from the parking lot. Run for your life!”

“Gotcha!” I said as I hung up the phone.

I darted out of my office and into the ladies’ room. I waited a few minutes and wondered how long I’d have to wait until the coast was clear. I might as well use the latrine while I’m in here, I thought. I entered the stall, lined the seat with a disposable seat protector, and sat down to do my thing. My tush no sooner hit the seat when I heard his voice.

“Hello? Chelsey? Hello?”

You have got to be kidding me! I thought as the blood boiled up through my veins.

“Chelsey? Are you in there?” I heard as the door began to crack open.

“Seriously? Seriously?” I screamed. I certainly can’t pee now, knowing that jerk is trying to come in here!

“Chelsey, it’s me. Mike Nero.”

“I know who the heck it is, and if you don’t get the eff out of here, I swear I’m going to march right down to the police department and have them lock you up for being a Peeping Tom!”

“All right, geez, calm down. You must be PMSing.”

That was the last straw. I pulled up my pants, slammed open the stall door and marched out of the bathroom, grabbing Nero by the ear and pulling him straight out of the building. I was fuming mad. The man was psycho. I couldn’t even pee in peace with him around. It was my breaking point, and I had had enough.

“Nero, I’m warning you, I am going to slap you with a restraining order, then I’m going to go to all the newspapers and tell them that you are a stalker. I imagine that won’t be too good for business.”

“Did you wash your hands in there? I didn’t hear the water running.”

“Nero! Concentrate! I…want…you…to…leave…me…alone!”

“Please,” Nero pleaded. “I have something important I wanted to tell you.”

Author Bio

Michele Lynn Seigfried is an award-winning novelist, children’s book author/illustrator and public speaker who was born and raised in Nemichele seigfriedw Jersey. In her mystery novels, she draws from her personal expertise in the area of municipal government, in which she has served for over 16 years in two different municipalities. She holds a B.A. in communication from the College of New Jersey with a minor in art. She obtained the Master Municipal Clerk certification from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in 2010. She also holds the Registered Municipal Clerk certification and Certified Municipal Registrar Certifications from the State of New Jersey.  In combining her love of writing with art, Michele began writing and illustrating children’s picture books in 2013.



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Chez Stinky by Susan C Daffron [BookBlitz + Giveaway]







Kat Stevens is a slightly insecure, mostly bored technical writer who likes her cat a lot more than her boss. She hasn’t laid eyes on her great aunt Abigail since she was eight, so she’s stumped when she inherits Abigail’s house in the small hamlet of Alpine Grove.

Kat’s uncomplicated life gets decidedly less so when she discovers the inheritance comes with some hairy conditions: four dogs and five cats that her aunt wanted her to love as her own. Of course, the house smells like a barn–with a touch of antique skunk–and, naturally, has serious roof issues. And that’s before the three-legged cat gets stuck in the wall and the shower goes kablooey.

When Kat meets Joel, an unemployed techie type with no love lost for his sister, Kat looks past his obvious flaws, given his timely and desirable skill set: a talent for fixing things (and his own tools).

Despite out-of-control dogs, cat fights, dust dinosaurs, massive spiders and an old grizzled hippie passed out in the yard, Kat discovers the tranquility of the forests of Alpine Grove starting to seep into her soul.

And why she can’t she stop thinking about Joel?


This is part of the scene where the main character, Kat, is at work in her office and gets a phone call letting her know she has inherited a house in the small town of Alpine Grove.


“My name is Larry Lowell and I’m a lawyer in the town of Alpine Grove. I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

Kat nodded. How could this day possibly get any worse? “What news?”

“Your great-aunt Abigail has died. I’m very sorry for your loss.”

“Aunt Abigail? Really?” Kat flashed on a memory of a thin white-haired woman wearing a floppy peasant skirt.  “Wow, I haven’t seen her in years and I think my mother lost track of her. What happened?”

Larry cleared his throat and said quietly, “I’m not entirely sure of the precise details, but I know she was ill. She was an ‘unusual’ person, but smart and funny, even right before she passed away. I talked to her just a few weeks ago. She came into my office to talk about her estate.”

Kat raised her eyebrows, “Her estate?”

“Yes, you are named the principal beneficiary of her estate. You have inherited all of her assets up here in Alpine Grove.”

“Assets? What exactly do you mean by assets?”

Larry cleared his throat again. “She has a home up here, but it’s not in the greatest shape at the moment. With a little TLC, you could fix it up. However, there are a few stipulations, as well.”

What was this? Twenty Questions? Getting information out of this guy could take a while. Fortunately, as a technical writer, Kat had years of practice extracting information from recalcitrant people.

“Mr. Lowell, what exactly do you mean by ‘stipulations’?”

“It seems, Ms. Stevens, that there are some animals residing on the property. Abigail loved her babies, as she called them, and she wanted to make sure that they would be well taken care of after she was gone. She remembered that you love animals, and that’s why she wanted you to be their new mom as she would say.”

Their mom? This guy had to be kidding. Maternal she definitely was not. “So Mr. Lowell, what type of animals are we talking about here? I mean, I don’t know anything about cows or chickens or ducks or anything. I have one cat and I live in a 950-square-foot apartment.”

“Please call me Larry. We’ll probably be talking to each other a lot over the next few weeks. It would be best if we could meet in person. Would you like to set up a time to talk about this matter and go over the details?”

“Okay Larry. You can call me Kat. So how many animals are we talking about?”

“Abigail had four dogs and a number of cats. When I went to the property, I don’t think I actually saw them all, so I’m not entirely sure. But we think at least five cats. Abigail left detailed descriptions of the animals, but people had a habit of dumping stray cats out at her place when they no longer could take care of them, so I may have missed some outside barn cats.”

Once he finally spit it out, Larry could share some serious facts. After digesting the lawyer’s information dump for a moment, finally Kat said, “I think you’re right. We should talk about this in person. Could you give me directions?”

Larry related how to get to his office in Alpine Grove and agreed to meet Kat on Saturday afternoon. They would then drive out to the property. He promised to explain the rest of the details when they met.

Kat hung up the phone and stared blankly at her Half Dome poster again. Her quiet and slightly boring life was about to get a lot more complicated.




Author Bio

Susan Daffron is the author of one novel and 14 nonfiction books, including several about pet care and animal rescue. She lives in a small town in northernIdaho and shares her life with her husband, two dogs and a cat–the last three, all “rescues.” Her latest book, Chez Stinky ( is the first of a series of romantic comedy novels that will feature the small town of Alpine susan c daffronGrove.


When she’s not writing novels, Susan works as the president of Logical Expressions, Inc., a book and software publishing based company in Sandpoint,Idaho. You can read more about her at her






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Family, Friends and Lovers Collection by Sophie King [BookBlitz]

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Love is a Secret


Caroline is finding it difficult to trust her husband Roger. Can a marriage really survive an affair? Then a chance meeting makes her wonder if it’s time for a fresh start….

Susan is struggling to bring up her disabled daughter Tabitha on her own, and dreams of a better life for them both. But just when it seems things can’t get any worse, a knock at the door changes everything.

Mark is learning how to be a single dad while his wife Hilary is away. But as he wrestles with the secrets he is keeping from his family, he’s blissfully unaware of the secrets they’re keeping from him.

Lisa is looking forward to the birth of her child. Will a new baby help her get over the past? Whatever that is…

Sometimes you have to keep a secret from the one you love – and sometimes you have to keep the one you love a secret.

Sophie King’s novel The School Run was a recent top ten Kindle bestseller and #1 in Amazon’s Women Writers and Fiction chart. It was also chosen as one of Chick Lit Central’s favorite novels of 2012.



Susan’s ex-husband has turned up with his new wife, and wants to get to know Tabitha, the disabled daughter he abandoned years earlier…


Josh was crouching by Tabitha’s chair, holding her hand. He looked up expectantly like a small boy. ‘Would it be all right if we took her out for a walk? I’d love some time with her. And we’ll be careful, honestly.’

‘No. I’m sorry. There’s more traffic since you were here last. And there aren’t enough ramps. You won’t know the way to the park any more and —’

Susan stopped. The tears were coming as fast as she was running out of excuses.

‘Sue?’ Steff touched her arm gently. ‘Sue, I understand. But do you mind if we have a little word on our own? In the kitchen?’

Too scared to speak in case she blubbed out loud, Susan allowed herself to be steered out of the room. Steff sat down at the table. She nodded at the seat opposite.


Reluctantly, Susan obeyed, hoping the other woman wouldn’t notice the marmalade smears that were still there from breakfast.

Steff leaned across the table and took Susan’s hand briefly. Her hands were soft and her nails immaculate. ‘Sue, this is so important to Josh. He’s told me all about it. Everything. He feels terribly guilty and he knows he shouldn’t have walked out on you.’

‘Too bloody true,’ said Susan.

‘But he’s older now. He’s learned his lesson, just like we all do.’ Steff squeezed her hand but Susan pulled it away. Steff’s eyes watered as though she was the one who was entitled to be hurt. ‘He’s clean too. Honestly. I know about his history and I also know he doesn’t take anything any more. All he wants is a more active role in caring for Tabitha. We’re not going to try to take over, but when we move to Bedford we’ll be that much nearer.’

She was horrified. ‘You’re moving to Bedford?’ It was only ten miles away! They’d be here all the time.

‘But we won’t get in the way. Promise. We’ll only come when you say. Just give Josh a chance. That’s all I ask. And let us start by taking Tabitha for a little walk now so she can have some time with her father. Every daughter ought to have that.’

Susan wanted to refuse, but her body felt as though it belonged to someone else. Everything that Steff had said made sense. If she was honest, she’d made life so unbearable for Josh, after that MMR decision, that she wasn’t surprised he’d walked. Yes, of course he should have seen more of them afterwards, but she couldn’t shut out that picture of the joy in Tabitha’s face at seeing her dad. What right did she have to deprive her poor daughter of that? She’d often seen Tabitha’s jealous looks when other dads arrived at the centre. ‘You’ll be careful with her?’ she said at last.

‘As careful as we would with a newborn baby.’

Susan shuddered, remembering what a perfect baby Tabitha had seemed.

About Love is a Secret

Love is a Secret: Sophie King brings us another heart-warming and witty romance. Four very different people meet online through What Mums Know, a new website for mothers. But none of them is quite who they seem. Little do they realise that when they start to share relationship and parenting secrets, their lives will never be the same again.

Caroline is finding it difficult to trust her husband Roger. Can a marriage really survive an affair? Then a chance meeting makes her wonder if it’s time for a fresh start …

Susan is struggling to bring up her disabled daughter Tabitha on her own, and dreams of a better life for them both. But just when it seems things can’t get any worse, a knock at the door changes everything.

Mark is learning how to be a single dad while his wife Hilary is away. But as he wrestles with the secrets he is keeping from his family, he’s blissfully unaware of the secrets they’re keeping from him.

Lisa is looking forward to the birth of her child. Will a new baby help her get over the past? Whatever that is …

Sometimes you have to keep a secret from the one you love – and sometimes you have to keep the one you love a secret.


Chick Lit

Second Time Lucky

Second Time Lucky: Another engaging tale of love and life from Sophie King, the bestselling author of The School Run. Meet the residents of Bridgewater House, once a grand stately home, but now converted into apartments which house a host of colourful characters, each with their own desires and secrets.

Louise thought she had everything, then suddenly finds herself as a single mum with an uncertain future. Can she build a new life for her and her children? And has real happiness been right under her nose all along?

Roddy was once the heir to Bridgewater House, but now he’s a drunken lord who’s fallen on hard times. Can he prove to his ex-wife that he has cleaned up his act, or is he about to risk everything in a desperate scheme to show how much he loves his kids?

Molly is a famous actress, coming to terms with retirement and the recent death of her actor husband Gideon. But dare she tell anyone that Gideon still comes to visit her? And how will she react to some unexpected messages from beyond the grave?

American Marcie always fantasised about marrying an English gentleman, just like one of her Jane Austen heroines. But will two resentful stepchildren, and failed attempts to have a baby of her own, get in the way of her dream happy ending? And what would her husband David make of her secret shame from the past?

As each of these neighbours faces their own challenges, their lives are about to become entwined in ways they never could have expected.

Second Time Lucky – doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance?


When her husband leaves her for a younger woman, Louise has to say goodbye to her comfortable lifestyle and get practical. Here she is visiting an employment agency for the first time …

 ‘So you read English at university and trained as a journalist.’

The woman sounded surprised.

Louise nodded.

‘But you gave up to have a career break after your second child was born?’

She nodded again.

‘So when exactly was that?’

Louise reddened. ‘About sixteen years ago. It was difficult with three children. And when I was married, I didn’t really need to . . . But I have done the odd bit of freelance work for the magazine I used to be on. Just a few articles, over the years.’

‘And have you tried finding work as a journalist?’

Louise smiled ruefully. ‘It’s not the kind of career that lends itself to taking breaks. Once you’re out, it’s hard to get back in. Most of my contacts have moved on and either become freelance like me or become editors. I did email someone I knew who is now editing a big glossy monthly but she hasn’t even bothered to come back to me.’

‘Are you qualified for anything else?’

‘Not really. But a lot of journalists go into public relations so I wondered about that.’

The woman shook her head. ‘We don’t have anything like that on our books. What about computer skills?’

‘Well, I can type, of course, and I’m familiar with Word.’

‘Spreadsheets? PowerPoint?’

Louise shook her head. ‘Sorry.’

‘Are you willing to go on a refresher course?’

‘Provided it doesn’t take too long. As I explained, I’m a single mother now. I need to earn money.’

‘But you also need more qualifications.’ The woman was flicking through a thin pile of papers on her desk. ‘Would you say you were good with people?’

Louise thought of the blazing row she’d just had with Justine over her DT coursework that morning. She was meant to have handed it in by last week and it still wasn’t finished. ‘Yes. You have to be, as a journalist. And I don’t think you lose that skill unless, of course, you’re related to people. I certainly seem to manage to rub my own children up the wrong way.’

The woman’s lips moved slightly into something that might or might not resemble a smile.

‘I think we all feel like that.’ She picked out a sheet of paper and handed it over. ‘This might suit you. The Crystal Alternative Health Centre needs a receptionist. Unlike most of the PA jobs we handle, it doesn’t actually need a wide knowledge of computer skills. It’s mainly dealing with clients and making appointments. Doesn’t start until next month but they’re interviewing now.’

Louise felt a weight in the pit of her stomach. If someone had told her, in the heady days of Charisma magazine, that in twenty-odd years time she’d be doing the kind of job that was less skilled than that of her own secretary, she would have been appalled.

‘How much does it pay?’

The woman named a rate that would scarcely have paid her weekly supermarket bill in the days when she had considered herself happily married.

‘I’m not sure.’

The woman’s eyes narrowed. ‘Don’t dismiss it. I don’t have anything else that you’re qualified for, but you’ll be lucky to get this, if I’m honest. I’ve already sent five applicants down and none of them were thought suitable.’

Louise swallowed. ‘All right. I’ll apply.’

The woman picked up the phone. ‘Good. I’ll see if I can arrange an interview.’


About Second Time Lucky


Another engaging tale of love and life from Sophie King. Meet the residents of Bridgewater House, once a grand stately home, but now converted into apartments which house a host of colourful characters, each with their own desires and secrets.

Louise thought she had everything, then suddenly finds herself as a single mum with an uncertain future. Can she build a new life for her and her children? And has real happiness been right under her nose all along?

Roddy was once the heir to Bridgewater House, but now he’s a drunken lord who’s fallen on hard times. Can he prove to his ex-wife that he has cleaned up his act, or is he about to risk everything in a desperate scheme to prove how much he loves his kids?

Molly is a famous actress, coming to terms with retirement and the recent death of her actor husband Gideon. But dare she tell anyone that Gideon still comes to visit her? And how will she react to some unexpected messages from beyond the grave?

American Marcie always fantasised about marrying an English gentleman, just like one of her Jane Austen heroines. But will two resentful stepchildren, and failed attempts to have a baby of her own, get in the way of her dream happy ending? And what would her husband David make of her secret shame from the past?

As each of these neighbours faces their own challenges, their lives are about to become entwined in ways they never could have expected.


The School Run

Meet Harriet, Pippa, Evie, Nick, Kitty and Martine as they battle the daily school run. Share their ups and downs during one life-changing week, as they face relationship dilemmas, family dramas, secrets and lies…all leading to surprise events which cause their lives to collide.

‘There is a lot for women to relate to here.’ Katie Fforde

Harriet doesn’t know whether she’ll still have a marriage by the end of the week. But as she waits for her husband’s decision about their relationship, does Harriet have more choices of her own than she realised?

Pippa is waiting too – for the results of medical tests that could bring devastating news about her health and future. But could it be Pippa’s own actions that threaten all she holds dear?

Evie is struggling with her high-pressure job on a magazine and dealing with two step-daughters who hate her. But when her husband disappears can she rise to her biggest challenge yet?

Widower Nick worries about his teenage daughter, Julie, as they approach the anniversary of her mother’s death. Can Nick keep his guilty secret about how she died?

School teacher Kitty needs a man. At least that’s what her friend Mandy tells her. Can she win Mandy’s bet to find one by the end of the week?

Martine is unhappy as the au pair for a famous TV couple. Will she find her escape with a married man?

Meanwhile, Betty watches on, determined to find the hit and run driver who killed her young son…

Seven people living different lives, but their paths are destined to cross in ways they could never have imagined.


Harriet is seeing a therapist about her marriage difficulties …

 ‘Let me ask you another question. What kind of practical things have you learned since Charlie went?’

‘Well, I’ve sorted out the bills. I’ve changed most of them to direct debit, which is much easier.’

‘Anything else?’

‘It’s not been as lonely, somehow, as I thought it would be. When the kids have gone to bed, it’s rather nice to be able to sit down with a book and a snack on my knee instead of having to cook a proper dinner for Charlie and listen to his day, even though he never bothers to ask about mine.’

Monica smiled. ‘You see? You’ve just told yourself something you hadn’t realised. If you did find yourself on your own, you’d manage better than you think.’

‘But I don’t want him to go.’ Harriet’s eyes filled with tears again. ‘We’ve been together too long. I always thought we’d get old together.’

Monica stopped smiling. ‘Longevity, Harriet, is no reason for continuing a marriage. You’re not going to get a long-service award for hanging on to a relationship that’s past its sell-by date. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to leave him or ask him to go. You have to make up your own mind on that. I’m simply pointing out the options.’

She glanced at the clock that stood on the table between them. This always happened, thought Harriet, frantically. They’d reached a crucial point just as their session was ending. ‘I’ve got this horrible feeling that even if he says he wants to go, I’m going to beg him to stay,’ she said softly.

‘I can understand that. But supposing he did and then he agreed to stay, how would you feel?’

‘That he stayed because of the children and not because he loved me.’

‘I can understand that too. Harriet, I’m sorry but our time is up. You know, don’t you, that this is our last session? I hope you feel it’s been helpful.’

No, Harriet wanted to yell. No, I want you to come with me and hold my hand when Charlie gets back. ‘Yes, thank you.’

‘If you want another series of sessions, you’ll have to ask the doctor to refer you again.’ Monica handed over a sheet of paper. ‘In the meantime, I wonder if you’d mind filling in this survey. It’s entirely confidential but it will help us work out whether you found the counselling useful and how we can improve it in any way.’

Harriet took it wordlessly. Somehow it had reduced all Monica’s wise words to a mundane commercial level. How could you ascertain how successful or helpful a counsellor had been until you had put your experience into action?

She thanked Monica again (should she have brought her a present?) and went down the stairs into the street, hoping, as she always did, that no one would see her. If by some bad luck they did, they would perhaps assume that she was a volunteer for the counselling service rather than a client. Women like her were usually on the other side of the table, weren’t they?


About The School Run


‘The School Run’ is when, during morning rush hour, parents drive their children to the school gates. Sophie King’s much loved novel has been a bestseller twice, first in print and then digitally. It was chosen as one of Chick Lit Central’s favourite novels of 2012.

Meet Harriet, Pippa, Evie, Nick, Kitty and Martine as they battle the daily school run. Share their ups and downs during one life-changing week, as they face relationship dilemmas, family dramas, secrets and lies … all leading to surprise events which cause their lives to collide.

Harriet doesn’t know whether she’ll still have a marriage by the end of the week. But as she waits for her husband’s decision about their relationship, does Harriet have more choices of her own than she realised?

Pippa is waiting too ‒ for the results of medical tests that could bring devastating news about her health and future. But could it be Pippa’s own actions that threaten all she holds dear?

Evie is struggling with her high-pressure job on a magazine and dealing with two step-daughters who hate her. But when her husband disappears can she rise to her biggest challenge yet?

Widower Nick worries about his teenage daughter, Julie, as they approach the anniversary of her mother’s death. Can Nick keep his guilty secret about how she died?

School teacher Kitty needs a man. At least that’s what her friend Mandy tells her. Can she win Mandy’s bet to find one by the end of the week?

Martine is unhappy as the au pair for a famous TV couple. Will she find her escape with a married man?

Meanwhile, Betty watches on, determined to find the hit and run driver who killed her young son …

Seven people living different lives, but their paths are destined to cross in ways they could never have imagined.

Author Bio

Sophie King is the author of six novels and a collection of short stories about families, friends and lovers. Her first novel, The School Run, was a bestseller when first published in 2005, and it was a bestseller for the second time when republished by Corazon Books in 2012. Sophie also supports new romance writing through her annual writing competition The Sophie King Prize.sophie king

In between novels, Sophie writes short stories and has had hundreds published in magazines. She also gives regular talks/workshops at bookshops and literary festivals. For three years, she was writer in residence at HMP Grendon, a high-security male prison. Sophie lives by the sea, in Devon, England. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association; Women in Journalism; the Society of Women Writers and Journalists and the National Union of Journalists.

Connect with Sophie!

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Second Time Lucky:
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Long Shadows by Cecilia Dominic [BookBlitz]


Being unique isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

 The Lycanthropy Files, Book 2



By day, Lonna Marconi’s busy career keeps her mind off the fact she was turned werewolf against her will. By night, a dose of wolfsbane lets her inner wolf out to play while her physical body stays safe at home.

When an overheard phone call at work warns her a trap is about to be sprung, she turns from hunter to hunted in the blink of an eye.

She finds refuge with the Ozarks pack she never claimed as her own. Upon discovering a family secret that explains why she’s unique among her own kind, Lonna finds heat in the arms of Max, who’s the one thing she cannot trust—a wizard.

Another kidnapping attempt sends her navigating the treacherous metaphysical borders of a centuries-old war, pursued by rogue sorcerers, a band of ghostly wolves, and repressed memories that prevent her from reclaiming her heritage. All the while, trusting her back to a wizard who demands the price of her heart…and who may not have the luxury of giving his in return.

Warning: Some sexy scenes, adult language, and alcohol consumption. Also descriptions of Italian food that might offend carbophobes.




Spoiler alert:  if you haven’t read The Mountain’s Shadow, the content below contains spoilers.


The sounds of the night chorused in my ears, and I panicked, sure I’d lost it. Then I smelled a fire and heard human breathing. I snuck closer until flickering light cast strange shadows in the trees and on me.


It stopped and made a campfire? This didn’t compute with either the wolf or the human parts of my brain.


“It did,” an unfamiliar voice said in my brain.


I growled, then, careful to keep any thoughts of my two companions out of my mind, but I was too late.


“They’re safe. They’re not after them, only you.”


“Your pronouns confuse me, sir. Who are they? Who are you?”


“And who are you?” The mental tone held amusement. “Come here in the circle of my fire and change so you’re out of their reach.”


“I’ll be naked.”


“I have clothes for you.”


I slunk closer until I could see the speaker. It was a man who sat close to a fire. The flames gleamed in the blond highlights in his reddish brown hair, and I recognized him from the doctor’s office. Now he wore slightly tinted lenses, and I could barely see his eyes behind their smoky panes.


“Doctor Fortuna?”


He stood and bowed in my direction. “Maximilian Fortuna at your service. Call me Max.”


“Son of a bitch… Sorry.”


He laughed, the lines around his sea-blue eyes crinkling. “Not to worry, milady. I’ll forgive your harsh language due to my having surprised you so rudely. Won’t you come have a bite?” He gestured to two rabbits on the ground. “I can roast them if you’d prefer.”


“No!” my inner wolf cried as my human side said, “Yes.”


“You seem to have some conflict,” he observed, speaking out loud but quietly. His lilting accent came into his physical voice more than his mental one. “You seem to not know who or what you are.”


At that point, my nose was twitching from the scent of the blood on the ground. He took one of the rabbits, skinned it with expert motions, and placed it over the fire on a simple spit made of three sticks. The fat sizzled as it hit the coals. He put the other rabbit, skin still on, beside the fire and stepped back. I lunged for it, but I pulled back just before biting it, my jaws snapping at air.


“Food, food, FOOD!” my inner wolf wailed, then piteously, “I’m hungry.”


“Down,” I commanded her. Wary of weapons, I watched him. He fanned the smoke from the cooking rabbit toward me, and I inhaled, my mouth watering. Everything smelled more intensely when I was in wolf form. A whine escaped my throat.


“You are still very much of two minds,” he observed. “Very interesting.” His eyes flashed yellow in the firelight, and I drew back, growling. Then I remembered something important: I was in the form of one of the most powerful predators on the planet, and he was unarmed and human, as far as I could tell. I snarled and stepped closer.


“Why are you playing with me? Why did you follow me?”


He held his hands in front of him. “I am unarmed. Do no harm to me, and none shall come to you.”


“Answer my questions.” I stopped my advance but continued to growl low in my throat.


“Stop making all that noise. Do you want us to be discovered?”


“Says the guy who built a fire in the middle of the freaking woods.” I forced my throat to stay silent, but I kept my teeth bared. “I’m giving you one more chance to answer my questions, or I’m giving my wolf self full permission to rip your head off.”


“There is no danger of discovery from the light in this circle, which was here long before your Crystal Pines subdivision and even before the little village known as Piney Mountain,” he said so quietly I doubt I would have been able to hear him if I’d been human. “I can harness the power of the woods without losing too much of my own, but sound is not my realm, so I am unable to manipulate it.”


Indeed, he seemed to gather the firelight around him, and the trees around the circle were invisible even to my wolf’s sharp eyes. I remembered how the lights had popped and sparked with him—or was it him?—near. The rabbit on the spit sent sizzling drippings into the fire again, and I jumped.


“Look, I have a robe if you would like to change. I promise I won’t peek.”


“Why would I give up my only advantage?”


“Trust me, Ms. Marconi, that’s not your only advantage.” He gave me a look that said he was aware of my human form and its assets.


“That doesn’t make me feel better. Again answers or throat ripping and evisceration. I’m keeping it simple for you.”


“I’ve been assigned to watch you because you’re in danger.” He sat cross-legged so we were eye to eye, a very vulnerable position for him since he wouldn’t be able to get up quickly and run, and I was in easy lunging distance of his assets. “You can trust me because I’m trying to protect you.”


I snorted, but my instincts told me he spoke the truth. However, I wasn’t sure how much I could trust myself. “Why should I believe you? We were shot at!”


“Yes, I’m aware of that. It’s why I decided to show myself to you. My orders were to follow at a distance and observe.”


If I’d been in human form, I would have asked more questions, but as a wolf, I sat back to consider his words. This close to him with the flames flickering over the planes of his face and his glasses, I couldn’t help but notice again he was a good-looking guy. I also smelled the meaty, bloody aroma of the two rabbits, one raw and the other cooking. Part of me wanted to change to human so I could enjoy it and maybe him as well, although my wolf side wouldn’t turn cooked food down.


“Focus, Lonna,” I told myself. There were too many distractions for my wolf’s brain to handle, but I was reluctant to change into my human form.


Another gunshot split the night’s silence, and Max jumped to his feet with startling agility. The fire extinguished itself, and my eyes adjusted to the darkness and the trees…


Max seemed to wrap the darkness around him. I would say it was like a cloak, but it was more like he blended in as a part of the scenery, more camouflage than cover, which was impressive considering his skin—although tanned—was still paler than the background of the rest of the woods. We listened for others, but there was nothing, not even the soft footfalls over wet leaves one would expect of humans.




Author Bio

Cecilia Dominic wrote her first story when she was two years old and has always had a much more interesting life inside her head than outside of it. She became a clinical psychologist because she’s fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn’t stop writing fiction. The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style. She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own cecilia shirtpractice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she’s been told, is a good number of each.









You can find her at:


Buy Links


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Diamonds in the Sky by M.A. Harper [BookBlitz]





When struggling artist/shoe clerk Caddy Keyhoe stumbles across what may be a lost and untraceable diamond, her first reaction is down-to-earth: Maybe I can sell it. But how odd to be finding it in the gutter now, after last night’s dream of a UFO scattering bright gemstones. Research via Google leads her to the website of melancholy Alec Rix, semi-failed writer and newly-minted UFO authority—courtesy of his published interview with octogenarian Hatchell T. Beckham Sr., retired from farming and strangely eager to discredit the new crop circle on the Beckham property. The crop circle perpetrated by a neighborhood hoaxer. Or by those blazing diamond-shaped UFOs that just about everybody in Hopkins, South Carolina—except old Hatch—claims to have seen…?

As Caddy’s art career takes a magical turn for the stratosphere, Alec’s friendship with Hatch deepens through the old farmer’s tale of his long-lost family. Could there be a book in this? the blocked author has to wonder. But when pursuit of the story sends him blundering into radiant Caddy on the biggest night of her life, priorities immediately change. Because what can it really mean, to “follow a star”? And what does Hawaii have to do with it?

A feet-on-the-ground story with its head in the clouds, Diamonds In The Sky reports from the Unknown with quiet wit, endearing characters, and the speculation that love just might be forever—even if not all diamonds are.



That UFO in my dream last night looked a whole lot like a big flying diamond, Caddy remembers now, staring down into the gutter at her radiant discovery. Not like a saucer at all. Circe would’ve laughed. She’d say, “You’re sure enough my true daughter, kiddo! We can’t even manage to dream conventionally!”

Childbirth had been the briefest blip on Circe Keyhoe’s rollicking downward spiral of infantile boyfriends and hard drugs that passed during the Vietnam era for an avant garde lifestyle. Caddy has few memories of her that don’t involve strange clothes, stoned hilarity, and missing underwear.

She was an artist— or artists’ model— or at least a one-time Belhaven College art history major thirsting for Life with a capital L. So as soon as accidental offspring Cadmium Red Light could be born, then named with artistic flair and dumped off onto grandparents in Hattiesburg, Circe immediately resumed quaffing in more bohemian capitals.

What had never been satisfactorily explained to Caddy was what capitalized-Life had to do with an early D-for-Death on the back of a Harley outside Santa Fe, Circe’s final hurtle into indignity, freckled arms wrapped around a drugged biker when they both became airborne. Her corpse had come to rest among cacti.

Various charcoal drawings had been left behind, lumpy nudes of both sexes. It was hard to say whether Circe had had any talent or not. Because did it take skill to make the human body look like a sock stuffed with doorknobs? Caddy, at age nine, could already do much the same thing.

What might have impressed her was if Circe had sketched her humans to look human.

“Do you think that could’ve been my real dad?” Caddy had quizzed Roofie and Pop immediately after Circe’s death. They were actually her grandparents, she’d understood that by now. Circe had been her biological mother but Caddy felt little daughterly love for her. A very infrequent visitor, Circe had always been just… Circe.

“That motorcycle rider? Honey— Caddy— he was a great bigol’ fat red-headed man, you’re just a little brown sparrow,” Pop told her.


“Cissy never stays with anybody for real long, ain’t I always said that? So no, honey, this was just one more pore fool she took up with, is my guess.” And Pop went out into the back yard to grow his okra and wave at the freight trains.

Caddy regarded his backside. “Now I’ll never know who my daddy was.”

Roofie hugged her. “Well, sugar, not right now. But maybe Cissy wrote his name down somewhere and we’ll find it among her things. Someday soon.”

“All right…”

 “And Caddy— sugar— you’re too little to be dwelling on all this. Let me just get washed up, and I’m going to fix us some supper…” she said while twisting that beautiful ring of hers, the one with the big blue stone, encircling Roofie’s finger along with a wedding band like twin embraces.

Caddy felt little sorrow over Circe’s death, mainly frustration. She’d been waiting and waiting for Circe to tell her about her real father, and Circe hadn’t done it.

Too late now.

Author Bio

M. A. Harper drew pictures all during her childhood and was pretty good at it, but none of them seemed complete without a caption. When she went to Tulane University to study art, her professors praised her technical ability but labeled her an “illustrator”. Wrong. She was really a novelist. Her books have been named to the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program as well as the BookSense ’76 list, and she’s the author of the online FAINT GLOW BLOG as well.

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Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley [BookBlitz + Giveaway]




Meet Sophie Stone, a thirty-something serial procrastinator. Tesco knickers, Take That and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets. Sophie’s life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much.

But when her boyfriend dumps her on Valentine’s Day and a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, even Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is a catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen.
Not a fan of surprises, Sophie would rather not; why not let sleeping dads lie? Besides, her mother would kill her.

With interference from an evil boss, bickering flat mates, warring parents and a sexy ex-boyfriend, Sophie has plenty to contend with without an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth.
But it soon becomes clear that she will have to face the past and learn some uncomfortable home truths before she can finally build a future on her own terms.


In the centre of the desk, lay an open file. I shuffled forward to the edge of my seat and managed to read my own name at the top of the page. I inched closer still, squinting to read more.

‘And you are?’

The deep voice made me jump so much that I panicked, slid off the chair and down onto one knee, thus greeting the tall, thin man with dark hair, glasses and a bushy beard in some sort of weird marriage proposal stance.

I scrambled up off the floor, mortified, and sat back down. ‘Nothing! Just waiting for Mr Whelan.’

His lips twitched and he gave his beard a scratch.

‘I’m Thomas Whelan.’ He extended a hand towards me. ‘And you are?’

‘Oh! Sophie Stone.’ I shook his hand and pulled up the collar of my coat to hide my glowing cheeks.

‘Ah yes,’ he said settling himself at his desk. He glanced at the file that I’d had been trying to read. ‘You’ve come about your aunt’s will.’

I processed this new information, hitherto unaware I had an aunt. Alive or dead.

‘My aunt?’

Mr Whelan blinked furiously, referred back to the manila file and adjusted his glasses.

‘My apologies, Miss Stone, your great aunt.’

Well that was that then. She had to be one of my father’s relations. There were definitely no great aunts in Mum’s family. There was no one at all in her family. I sighed. I had been hoping… well, I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d been hoping. Maybe that she was an old lady I’d done a good deed for once when I was in the Brownies or something. Although, I couldn’t think what I’d done to warrant a mention in anybody’s will.

But any tenuous link would be better than being a relative of Terry Stone’s. Still, I’d better be absolutely sure.

‘Would you mind just running me through the family tree?’

‘Of course not,’ said Mr Whelan, pushing his chair back and standing up abruptly. ‘But first, have you brought your passport?’

I jumped to my feet too.  ‘Why? Where are we going?’ I had been told on the phone to bring my passport when I arranged the appointment and the request had been troubling me ever since.

‘Only to the photocopier,’ he chuckled. ‘Need to verify you are who you say you are before we continue with the reading of the will.’

Thank heavens for small mercies! I had had visions of having to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice to take ownership of some mystery item.

Identity checks complete, we resumed our positions either side of the desk. The solicitor took off his wristwatch, set it to one side and then, elbows on the desk, clasped his hands together and made a steeple with his forefingers, resting his long nose on the tip.

‘This office holds the last will and testament of Mrs Jane Kennedy. She was Terence Stone’s maternal aunt. Your great aunt.’

I stared at him, mesmerised by the end of his nose which was protruding over his fingers.

I should stop him from going any further. There was no point in hearing what he had to say. My father had been absent for all of my thirty- two years. Mum and I had managed perfectly well without his or his family’s help, thank you very much and I knew instinctively that she would resent any intervention at this stage in the game. Besides, why would the old dear leave anything to me? It didn’t make sense, we’d never even met.

‘Long and tedious documents, wills.’

My eyes must have glazed over for a moment. I shook myself and Mr Whelan’s eyes twinkled at me.

‘There’s been a misunderstanding,’ I said, scooping up my bag as I stood. ‘My mother is estranged from her ex-husband. I’ve never met Jane Kennedy; in fact, I’ve never met my father.’

‘I’m aware of all that,’ he said, not unkindly. ‘However, it falls to me to ensure that you are fully informed as to your inheritance. Please sit.’ He flapped a hand at the empty chair. ‘Would you like me to read the whole thing or cut to the chase?’

I blinked my green eyes at him. Was he allowed to say things like that? I sat back down obediently.

‘The main bits, please.’

‘Righto.’ Mr Whelan extracted a document and a small sealed envelope from the file. He pushed his glasses up his nose and cleared his throat. I held my breath.

‘Your great aunt Jane has bequeathed the bulk of her estate to you. You, Miss Stone are the main beneficiary of her will.’

An estate! Visions of strolling through manicured gardens like someone out of Pride and Predjudice, against a backdrop of a Chatsworth-style mansion, on Marc’s arm, were somewhat dimmed with Mr Whelan’s next sentence.

‘There’s a bungalow in Woodby and several thousand pounds. We haven’t finalised the amount yet.’

Woodby? That was a village in the sticks somewhere north of Nottingham. A bungalow and some money. I repeated the words in my head. That was a house and some actual money-in-the-bank type dosh.

My chest had been getting tighter and tighter with lack of oxygen and now I was all panicky. Breathe, Sophie, in out, in out. I probably looked like I was in labour: face all red, and puffing like Ivor the engine.

A house. My great aunt had given me a house. Of my own. And that meant a home. How long had I been dreaming of my own home? Only all my life, that was how long.

Mr Whelan’s lips were moving. He was still speaking and I hadn’t been listening. He was holding an envelope out to me and I took it automatically.

‘As I say, there is a condition to the inheritance, but I think it would be better if you read Mrs Kennedy’s letter yourself. I’ll leave you in private for a moment. Can I get you some coffee?’

‘Tea please, two sugars.’

Condition? I wasn’t sure I could take any more surprises. Life was so much gentler without them. My heart rate was already registering at least a seven on the Richter scale.

‘Actually, make it three!’





Author Bio

Cathy Bramley is a British author of women’s feel-good fiction. Conditional Love, a romantic comedyis her debut novel. Her new title, Ivy Lane is being serialized as four ebooks this year and will be released as a paperback in 2015.

Cathy has spent most of her working career in the crazy world of marketing. After graduating from University in Nottingham, she cathy bramleyplunged herself into corporate world, working on high-powered projects such as testing the firing range of SuperSoaker water guns and perfecting the weeing action of Tiny Tears. In 1995  she set up her own marketing agency, Apples & Pears Marketing, but now most of her marketing activities involve promoting her books.

She lives in an idyllic Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two daughters and a dog called Pearl.


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Limoncello Yello by Traci Androghetti [BookBlitz + Guest Post + Giveaway]

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From debut author, Traci Andrighetti, comes a tale of murder, mayhem, and meddling Sicilian grandmas… 

Francesca “Franki” Amato is a tough-talking rookie cop in Austin, Texas—until an unfortunate 911 call involving her boyfriend, Vince, and a German female wrestler convinces her once and for all that she just isn’t cut out for a life on the police force. So Franki makes the snap decision to move to New Orleans to work at her friend Veronica’s detective agency, Private Chicks, Inc. But Franki’s hopes for a more stable life are soon dashed when Private Chicks is hired by the prime suspect in a murder case to find out what really happened to a beautiful young boutique manager who was found strangled to death with a cheap yellow scarf. When she’s not investigating, Franki is hoping to seduce handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, but most of her time is spent dodging date offers from a string of “good Italian boys”—make that not-so-good aging Italian men—that her meddlesome Sicilian grandma has recruited as marriage candidates. As Mardi Gras approaches and the mystery of the murdered shop girl gets more complicated, Franki must decipher the odd ramblings of a Voodoo priestess to solve both the murder and the mystery of her own love life.

Guest Post

Franki Amato’s Top 10 Favorite Things

When I was writing my debut novel, Limoncello Yellow, I realized that there was no way I could include everything I wanted to tell readers about my tough-talking private investigator, Francesca “Franki” Amato. So, I’ve created a Top 10 list (in no particular order) of some of Franki’s favorite things. Many are in my book, but a few are extras just for you. Can you pick them out?

1. Napoleon. Franki adores her brindle Cairn terrier, who suffers from a touch of “short man syndrome,” just like his namesake. He’s spunky and prone to mood swings, just like his master (but she’s tall—5’ 10”).

2. Her purple handgun. As an ex-cop and a Texan, it’s a no-brainer that Franki would own a gun. But if a gal’s got to carry a pistol, why not have it in your favorite color, right?

3. Italian liqueurs and sparkling wines. Of course, Franki likes Limoncello, but she also really loves a wild strawberry liqueur called “Fragolino (little strawberry).” And she never met a Prosecco she didn’t like.

4. Snuggly blankets. It doesn’t matter what they’re made of as long as they’re soft. The one she likes the best? Her fuzzy purple leopard print throw.

5. Leather handbags, particularly of the Italian variety. Gucci bags are her favorite, unless they have those horrible horse bridles or tassels. But there is a Dolce & Gabbana lemon print shopper from last season and a fierce black Versace clutch with a silver Medusa head that she would kill to get her hands on. Well, almost.

6. Nutella, Nutella and more Nutella. ‘Nuff said.

7. Convertibles. She has a 1965 cherry-red Mustang, and she loves to drive around with the top down. What she doesn’t love? The way it tangles her long, brown hair.

8. Old movies. Like, 1960s old. You know, clambakes with Elvis and surf parties with Gidget. Oh, and anything Disney.

9. Gucci watches. Franki covets the sparkly silver ones, particularly if they have a big G-shaped face and a chunky band. But thanks to that near negative balance in her bank account, she’s forced to tell time on her phone. Sigh.

10. Handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann. Franki’s just crazy about this guy. Why? Handsome. Bank. Executive. Any more questions?

Author Bio

Traci Andrighetti is the author of the Franki Amato Mystery series. In her previous life, she was an award-winning literary translator and a Lecturer of Italian at the University of Texas at Traci Andrighetti-11bAustin, where she earned a PhD in Applied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime—writing, that is.

 If she’s not hard at work on her next novel, Traci is probably watching her favorite Italian soap opera, eating Tex Mex or sampling fruity cocktails, and maybe all at the same time. She lives in Austin with her husband, young son (who desperately wants to be in one of her books) and three treat-addicted dogs.


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Twitter: @TAndrighetti


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The Golden Apple by Faerl Marie

the golden apple



MEET POPPY PARKER, a recent widow who knows she must move forward but has no idea which direction to take. To start fresh, Poppy moves from her idyllic home in Georgia to the grimy glamour of New York City to open up her own boutique and find a way to live and love without her husband.

Austin Bandy has been in love with Poppy since the moment he laid eyes on her years ago, right before her wedding. Now she is back, grieving and broken hearted by her nearly-perfect husband’s death—not Austin’s ideal romantic situation. He needs to wait for her to recover but not so long that someone else has the chance to move in and sweep his dream girl off her feet and keep him as a “good friend” forever.

Poignant, hopeful and fresh, Faerl Marie’s enchanting debut novel will have you hooked and ready to pursue your own hopes and dreams the moment you turn the final page. The Golden Apple is a charming and fashionable novel about loss, love and moving on without betraying your self, your past or those you love.


 “Yes. You settled in sounds very good to me.” Decided, he set his menu down. “Are you gonna’ stay over more?”

“I’d like to, yes.” She looked down at her fingernail and picked at a spot where her polish had chipped. “Is that okay?”

“It’s perfect,” he said and looked at her until she looked at her menu. He kept looking. He took in the slight way she bent her head forward and to the side as she read, the way her blush along her cheeks was slightly iridescent, picking up the light when she moved her head, the inconsistency of her curls and the different shades of gold that ran like rivulets through her hair.

“Austin,” she looked up suddenly. “Please don’t tell anyone about Pop-in-Tacos. Vivian knows and I think Lucy has a good idea but that’s pretty much it. I like the anonymity I have here and I don’t need one more thing that makes people weird or unsure about how to be around me. Widow is bad enough. Millionaire widow might push people over the edge.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” He took one of her hands from the table and raised it to his lips. He looked straight into her eyes as he kissed it with a smile. She blushed and rolled her eyes playfully. He wondered what her eye roll meant as the feel of her skin burned on his lips and filled his mind.

After lunch they walked around the neighborhood for several hours, stopping in when they saw window displays they liked or food that was too delicious to pass up. They went into a gelato shop and ordered cappuccinos, spumoni and pistachio gelato. At one point Austin noticed a little smile that had crept onto her face. He asked what had prompted it.

“Josh loved pistachio ice cream.” Poppy thought for a moment before continuing, “Did I tell you that today is the first anniversary of his death?” she asked and answered before he could wrap his head around that fact. “Actually, I know I didn’t. Everything that happened with the store this morning and then spending the day with you completely took my mind off of it until just now.” Tears, like little dewdrops had formed at the corners of her eyes, refracting the blue. Austin had no idea how to respond to that so he didn’t try. Sincere silence, he thought, was worth more than asinine filler. After a few moments she changed the subject and the grief left her face as completely as if she had taken off a mask.

By the time they had turned up the street, back towards his place, they were laden with four shopping bags, had shared three different desserts and made plans to visit half a dozen new restaurants. Austin liked that she loved eating, most of the girls he had been with in the past were obsessed with their weight and hardly ate, much less enjoyed it. Poppy enjoyed food and ate with abandon. She would be back to her old size quickly, he guessed, imagining what she would look like once she filled out again.

Author Bio Faerl Marie

Faerl Marie is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minors in English and Social Welfare. She has worked as a style consultant, personal shopper and wardrobe curator, among other things. Faerl Marie spends her days writing, dreaming about new stories and characters, walking her dog and adoring her husband. She lives in the idyllic mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico. “The Golden Apple” is her first novel.


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Becoming Mrs. Walsh by Jessica Gordon [BookBlitz + Giveaway]




Shoshana Thompson is 26 years old, miles from home, and engaged to Andrew Walsh, the last single Walsh brother of one of Washington, D.C.’s wealthiest families. Throughout her engagement she becomes enamored with the Walsh lifestyle.

Life in the fast lane comes to a screeching halt when Shoshana develops feelings for another man. When she discovers the feelings may not be one-sided, things are about to get a lot more complicated. This man is not only part of her fancy new world, he is also completely off-limits.


“Drew, why didn’t you wake me?” Shoshana asked as she looked at her bedside clock. It was 9:45 a.m. and she had to be ready in 15 minutes.

“I figured you’d want to sleep as long as you could before the alarm,” Drew said.

“My alarm! Did it even go off? I didn’t hear anything.”

“I kept hitting snooze; you like to sleep late on Saturdays.”

She glared at her fiancé. “Yes, normally! But not when I have to be with your family all day!”

“It’s just the girls,” Drew said.

“Please, your sisters-in-law are not like normal ‘girls;’ it’s like a beauty pageant slash couture fashion show,” Shoshana said as she sprung up from bed.

She sped walked into the bathroom and began brushing her teeth with fervor.

“I guess you’d better get your crown ready,” Drew said and winked at her.

“I don’t even think I have enough time to shower!” Shoshana protested between mouthfuls of toothpaste foam.

“Why do you have to shower?”

Shoshana spit into the sink. “Are you serious?” She marched out of the bathroom and looked at him incredulously.

“Yeah, your hair looks fine, you don’t seem dirty,” Drew said with a shrug.

“Drew! Your sisters-in-law have perfect hair.”

“Stop, you’re making yourself crazy.” Drew walked into the bathroom to shave.

“Forget it, there’s no time to shower,” Shoshana yelled after him.

“Sounds good,” Drew said barely listening.

Shoshana rummaged through her closet. She threw on a black cotton dress and black flip-flops. She figured black was a chic-enough color and it would hide any sweat marks. It was August in Washington, D.C., which meant, it was hot.

“I’ll wear black and then I’ll fit in—”

“Why do they bother you so much?” Drew asked as Shoshana emerged from the closet.

Shoshana stopped and looked at him. “It’s not that they bother me.”

“What is it then?”

“I can’t really describe it.”

“They’re nice, they mean well, I really don’t get it,” Drew said as he buttoned his shirt.

“You wouldn’t get it, you’re a guy. They’re gorgeous and they’re well-dressed, always. And by the way—I’ve never seen them without makeup. They’re not human.”

“Sometimes you act like you’re not human,” Drew said, shaking his head and laughing. “Try to relax, everything will be fine.”

“Thanks for those uplifting words,” Shoshana said sarcastically as she started to apply mascara.

Drew grabbed his keys off the entrance hall table. She knew that it was his signal that the conversation was over.

He came back into the room and gave her a quick peck on the lips. “They’re only in town because of the engagement party, you usually get to avoid them.”

“Zoey still lives nearby . . .”

“Well, then you usually get to avoid two of the three.” Drew headed toward the door; Shoshana followed him.

“I like them; I just don’t feel like myself around them. I feel quiet and awkward.”

“Maybe that’s not because of them, maybe that’s a larger issue you have to tackle within yourself.”

She shook her head and smiled, it was such a classic Drew comment. ‘Maybe you’re projecting,’ ‘Maybe the larger issue is . . .’

“Let’s talk about it later.” He gave her a kiss on the forehead and walked out the door.

She knew he wouldn’t bring it up later, but she was okay with that. One of things she loved about Drew was his ability to move on. He didn’t harp on issues or create drama. He was calm and sensible.

Shoshana waited for the door to close behind him.

“Ugh.” She walked back into the bedroom and stared into the full-length mirror that hung on the back of her closet door. “The Walsh girls.”

 Author Bio
Jessica Gordon is a Johns Hopkins University alumna for both her undergraduate and gradjessica-gordonuate degrees. She received her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the Writing Seminars program and her master’s degree in communications.
After working in the corporate world for several years, Jessica decided to return to her first love: creative writing. Jessica takes her readers to the prominent Washington, D.C. area where her characters navigate through the complex world of family, in-laws, and love.

For more information on the book, check Feel free to contact Jessica at any time. She loves hearing from readers!

Connect with Jessica!
Twitter @jessicabgordon




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