Storm Warned by Dani Harper

March 30, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News

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Passionate musicians Caris and Liam grew up centuries apart. When their fates collide, they must learn to trust each other and work together to stop a dark force from seizing both Fae and human worlds. 


When Caris’s unearthly musical talent attracts the attention of the Wild Hunt, the Welsh farm girl is stolen away to serve as a faery grim, a herald of death. Two centuries later, she’s finally escaped back to the human world—and into the present-day life of a reclusive and heartbroken American musician.

Music was Liam’s whole life—until a crushing betrayal left him desperate to flee the public eye. Yet long-dormant passions awaken within him after a powerful storm strands a beautiful, strong-willed woman on his isolated farm. When a fae prince bent on ruling both human and faery realms threatens Caris’s life, Liam must decide if he can finally believe in love again, not just for her sake—but for the sake of two worlds.

From the bestselling author of Changeling Moon, this sweeping and passionate story of paranormal romance follows two souls from different centuries who lost everything…and found that only love can save them.

RELEASE DATE:  March 31, 2015 in paperback, Kindle and audio formats.


Author Interview:

Please tell us a little bit about your current projects?

Thank you VERY much for inviting me to the blog. I’m excited about the release of STORM WaRNED! It’s the third book in my Grim Series, which brings ancient faery legends into modern-day America. This is a series which is very close to my heart, as I had a lot of exposure to traditional UK lore about the fae when I was growing up. I had a Welsh gramma, and my favorite story was about the Grim – a great black dog with glowing eyes, who acts as Death’s messenger.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

I don’t think there was ever a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. Even as a small child, I had a huge fascination with books, and I understood that there was someone who created the stories in them. I wanted to be that person!

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day? 

It wasn’t advice, but something that my dad said. He told me “you have a way with words”. That’s meant more to me than anything anyone could ever have said. That’s why STORM WARNED is dedicated to him.

Describe the “perfect” hero for you?

Sometimes I think it’s easy for me to write about heroes because I’m married to mine. My Alaskan mountain-man husband is generous with hugs or coffee or help – and never complains about the challenges of living with a writer. He’s patient when I’m frazzled from deadline stress, holds my hand and says I look perfect even when my hair looks like a possum died on my head. He empties the dishwasher, rescues the towels from the dryer, and dials for pizza when I’m swamped. My hero cheers me on, calms me and consoles me, and would still be button-popping proud of me if I never sold a single book.

He even reads my stories. Every. Last. Word.

What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?

I’m addicted to reading to the point that I’ll read the cereal box if nothing else is handy! In fact, I have a phobia about being caught somewhere without reading material, and so I’ve always kept a paperback in my purse “just in case”. Now I have a Kindle, which is even more fun!

On the more active side, I love gardening. It’s a big treat for me to spend hours in nurseries, carefully considering this flower, and that tree, and those tomato plants. My hubs literally has to drag me away! Swimming is one of my favorite activities of all – I may have been a mermaid in a past life. I have a number of hobbies I don’t have time for at present due to my writing career, like drawing, painting, and sculpting, but someday I hope to get back to them.

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

My Alaskan hubs has always said that “Real adventures aren’t much fun at the time, they just make good stories later … if you live.” He was a commercial salmon fisherman, and we once had to cross a rough stretch of open ocean during a snowstorm in our old 40-foot wooden boat, while towing a skiff. It was one hairy ride – we couldn’t see, we had waves coming over the bow, and we nearly lost not only the skiff but the roof (called a “hayrack”) off the stern. We lived!

If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?

I’d definitely want to go to the little village of Barra de Navidad on the west coast of Mexico. I’ve had the chance to go there twice, and fell in love with the slow pace of life, the weather, the food, and the friendly people. Both times I was working on a manuscript, and found Barra to be a magical environment for creativity.

When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?

I’m always up for trying a bite or two of something new and wildly different – except when I’m extremely hungry. I’m talking the forgot-to-eat-breakfast-because-I-was-writing-and-it’s-now-3-p.m. kind of hungry. I definitely don’t want any surprises then!

What modern conveniences are most important to your sanity?

Take anything you want, but leave me my laptop and my dishwasher!

Where can we find you this month and next?

Check my website at  under “Events” for the complete schedule of my STORM WARNED BLOG TOUR and LAUNCH PARTY!


Author Bio

Dani Harper is a former newspaper editor whose passion for all things supernatural led her to a second career writing paranormal fiction. There isn’t anything she likes better than exploring myths and legends from many cultures, which serve to inspire her sizzling and suspenseful stories.

A longtime resident of the Canadian north and southeastern Alaska, Dani now lives in rural Washington with her retired mountain-man husband. Together they do battle with runaway gardens, rampant fruit trees, and a roving herd of chickens, with the assistance of three dogs and several grandchildren.

Dani is the author of Changeling Moon (2012 RITA finalist), Changeling Dream, and Changeling Dawn; plus First Bite, a Dark Wolf story. Recent works include the Grim Series (Storm Warrior, Storm Bound, and the newly released Storm Warned).

Social Media Links

Dani’s Website:

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Twitter Account Name: @Dani_Harper

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March 30, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News

Rafflecopter Giveaway link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Quinn_The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor_MM



Known for her beauty and boldness, Abigail MacGregor must preserve her clan’s dangerous secret: that her mother is the true heir to the English Crown. If the wrong people find out, it will mean war for her beloved Scotland. To keep peace, she embarks for London, unprepared for the treachery that awaits-especially from her wickedly handsome escort. He is the enemy, but his slow, sensuous kisses entice her beyond reason . . .


General Daniel Marlow, loyal knight and the kingdom’s most desirable hero, would rather be on the battlefield than transporting a spoiled Highland lass. But Abby MacGregor is unlike any woman he’s ever met, in a ballroom or in his bedroom. Captivated by her daring spirit and seduced by her lovely innocence, Daniel must choose between betraying his queen or giving up the woman who would steal his country-and his traitorous heart.

Buy Links:

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Read An Excerpt:

“Aye, ye did say that,” she murmured. “Well, since we’re both awake, we might as well spend the night together again.”

The innocence in her voice struck him in the guts. She wanted nothing more from him than someone to be with outside in the night.

He, on the other hand, was not innocent at all. Her choice of words sent a little spark of heat to his groin. The way she turned on the pads of her feet and ended up pressed against his side and tucked neatly under his shoulder tilted him on his axis a little.

“I’m cold,” she whispered, her teeth chattering.

He put up no fight when she lifted his arm around her shoulder, then covered them both with her plaid. The desire to protect her overwhelmed him and sent tremors through his muscles. He knew little of her. Was she an innocent daughter of a Jacobite chief, or part of some secret scheme Anne was devising.

Hell. Anne didn’t devise schemes.

“I wasn’t certain if you were ever going to speak to me again,” he said, when what he should have said was, You should go sleep somewhere, lady, and not on me.

“I was verra’ angry with ye. But I’ve forgiven ye.” He heard the smile in her voice and made a mental note of how well it pleased him that she was no longer angry. He would decide what to do about his unwanted concerns for her tomorrow. Right now, he only wanted to sit with her just like this, with her beneath his arm and pressed snuggly into his side. Warmth swept over him like fine wine until he felt drunk on it.

How was it that she fit so neatly into him, now and earlier when she slept in his lap, like she belonged there, close to him?

Close to his heart.

Hell, it scared him, and after fighting for over a decade, not much scared him anymore.

“D’ye have a wife, General Marlow?” Came her sweet voice against his chest.

“No, lady.”

“Are ye betrothed?”

“I am not.”

“Is there a lass somewhere who has yer heart?”


“Well,” she laughed softly, “are all the ladies in England fools?”

“They’re the opposite,” he told her. “They’re wise to set their interests in another direction.”

She shook her head then tilted her face up to his. In the filtered light of the moon, he could make her out enough to fall victim to the alluring curves of her mouth, her soft, sweet breath against his chin. “Nae, they are fools not to try to win yer affections.”

He knew every reason there was to stop what he was thinking, what he was feeling, and what he was about to do. But reason was a puny opponent compared to desire.

Slipping one hand behind her nape and the other to her throat, he tilted her chin another half-inch then covered her mouth with his. The instant after he did it, he regretted it, but then she coiled her arms around his neck and drew him closer, and he couldn’t stop. He never wanted to. She didn’t resist him, in fact, she melted in his arms. She groaned softly when he drew his tongue across the seam of her mouth. She bit his lip and ignited his blood to liquid fire. He swept his tongue in and out of her, holding her close to him while they kissed, wanting nothing more from her than what she gave him now. Making love to her could be dangerous if Charlotte found out. He’d have to make sure she didn’t find out, at least until he had proof of other crimes and could arrest her. If she hurt Abigail before that he’d hang her himself.

He wondered, as he held her in his arms and kissed her long into the night, how he could be so content with one he was supposed to hate.

Paula Quinn

About Paula Quinn:

New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven.  She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.

Paula’s SM:


Confirmed posting dates:

March 30

Art, Books, & Coffee

Romance Junkies

Polished Bookworm

close encounters with the night kind

Romance & Smut

Hollybee Tells

Blogging Along With Mary Gramlich

My Book Addiction and More

March 31



April 1

Smut and Bonbons

Manga Maniac Café

Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind

April 2

Inner Goddess

Flame Resistant Undies Romance Reviews

Buried Under Romance

Romance P.S.

Forever Book Lover


April 3

Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance

Romantic Historical Reviews

Imagine a World

Books Like Breathing



March 29, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


Meet the Texas Highlanders in Scoring His Heart by Suzan Butler!

Coming March 17th is the third novel in the Texas Highlanders Ice Hockey series, SCORING HIS HEART from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Suzan Butler! Read how sheltered college student Zoe Logan must learn how to open herself up so she can experience the passion she desperately craves, but a tragedy in her family could send her back into her old ways.


See what else Suzan Butler has in store for 2015!


Follow the tour and you could win some awesome prizes!

 Grand Prize: $25 Amazon or B&N gift card

Runner-up Prizes: Digital copies of any one (1) book by Suzan Butler

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Zoe Logan has always believed that those she loves will always leave her. It’s why she fights so hard against anyone getting close, but when sexy defense Gavin Ferrara zeroes in on her, she finds herself falling hard and exploring the hidden parts of herself that he brings out in her.

Gavin’s always trusted that playing hockey is the most important thing to him. But when a strange encounter from months ago leads to more between him and the local bar owner’s daughter, he’s torn between what he wants and what’s best.

WARNING: This book contains a threesome hot enough to scorch the sheets, a dirty talking Russian, a bisexual Italian, the college virgin who brings both of them to their knees, and the best anatomy and physiology study session ever.

On Sale in Print and Digital: March 17, 2015

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Add SCORING HIS HEART to your TBR pile on Goodreads!


Scoring His Heart: Excerpt

Zoe sighed. It was time to get this over with, and talk about the giant elephant in the room. “Look, I’m sorry about what I said, in my dad’s office… I was just… surprised and I didn’t know how to deal.”

He smiled, no teeth showing, but somehow it still made his eyes sparkle. “I think we were all surprised that night. Misha and I… we’ve never… I mean… we have… but… shit.” He stopped and dragged his fingers through his hair, half yanking at it. “That was the first time, you know.”

“I screwed up the first kiss?” she finally managed out, trying to keep a light tone, when she felt anything but that.

He laughed. “Not the first kiss. Well, kinda… It was just the first one where… we weren’t with someone else.”

She blinked, and her heart flipped. “What do you mean?”

Gavin’s cheeks darkened into a deep rose. “Misha and I… our tastes run a little… exploratory.”

Exploratory? What did that mean? She watched Gavin as closely as he watched her, trying to glean…

Oh. Oh. Holy shit. He was talking about threesomes. She felt her eyes widen, felt the sharp intake of her breath. “You… uh… with a girl? Or… another guy?”

Gavin chuckled. “That’s your question? I tell you fucking tends to be a team sport in my house and you’re wondering if it needs to be a girl or a guy?”

She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t even form the words. Not because it stunned her, though it did do that. But because the idea of Misha and Gavin with a girl in between them sent scorching wet heat straight between her legs.

Gavin’s eyes took on a knowing gleam. “Does that turn you on?”

“What? No!” she protested. What kind of question was that? A valid one, she told herself. Wasn’t she just thinking about that? What if she was the meat in a Misha-Gavin sandwich?

Jesus. She needed to stop thinking.

His eyes searched hers. He leaned forward at the same time and a thoughtful expression crossed his features. “Huh. It does.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“Okay,” Gavin nodded. “I’ll concede. For now. The idea of me and Misha together doesn’t make you hot, just as imagining me and Misha both touching a beautiful pair of breasts like yours doesn’t get you hot.”

“It doesn’t,” she replied hotly. “Don’t make assumptions about me.” Fuck, she was a lousy liar, because every dirty word he said traveled straight to her core.

“Oh, I’m not making any assumptions,” he replied, smiling. “I think you find it hot. Plain and simple.”

“You’re wrong.” Oh, he so isn’t, you chickenshit. Zoe clenched her jaw shut and jutted her chin out in defiance. She’d carried this stupid torch for Gavin Ferrara for a long time, but she wasn’t about to let him gain the upper hand in this conversation.

A soft smile crossed his face as he leaned away from her. She was grateful for the reprieve, even as she resisted the urge to suck in the deepest breath of relief she could. “That’s not why I came here, anyway.”

“Why did you come here?”

“I…” He shifted in the seat, like he was sitting on pinecones. “I wanted to ask you out.”

“Ask me… What?”

“A date? I wanted to take you out on a date.”

“I thought you liked guys,” she blurted.

He laughed. “I thought we talked about that already. I do like guys. I also like girls. A lot more than I like guys.” He leaned forward again, resting his elbow on the counter. “And I really, really want to like you. A lot.”

Suzan Butler Author Photo

Author Bio: Suzan Butler writes adult contemporary romance and has a penchant for Dr. Pepper, ice hockey, and world domination. She lives in Texas under a not-so-secret identity with two monsters, writing naughty books and planning the next step in her evil plans into the twilight hours of the night because that’s when it’s quiet in the house. She loves to hear from readers.

Suzan also has a monthly newsletter she shares with her alter ego, New York Times and USA Today bestseller, S.M. Butler, who writes new adult romantic suspense and military romance. In the newsletter, you’ll find information about new releases, updates on future books, contests, giveaways, get first peek at new covers, and find out where she’ll be visiting through books signings and conventions throughout the year.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Raising the Stakes by Karen Rock

March 26, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


Hiding from the world… 

Tucking herself away in the Adirondack woods was supposed to keep Vivienne Harris safe. From dark memories of the Bronx, from danger, from entanglements. But when an orphaned bear cub raids her pantry and conservation officer Liam Walsh appears with news of poachers nearby, her private, peaceful world is turned upside down!

Suddenly two forces are drawing her out—Button, the cub who needs her help, and Liam, the man who’s dead set against her rehabilitating the bear. If she can just win Liam’s support, Vivie knows she can give Button a good life. And maybe find the courage to embrace a future with Liam…

“What about the cub?”
His gaze swerved to hers. “I’ll have to put it down if I can’t find the mother.”
Vivie clutched the back of a chair, lightheaded and nauseous. “What? No!” How could he say that so casually?
“I’ve called around and our wildlife rehabilitators are overloaded. Since the cub is too young to fend for itself, the humane thing to do is—”
“Kill it?” she stormed, interrupting. “How is that humane?” The cub’s frightened eyes came to mind and she backed up against the pantry door. Officer or not, he wouldn’t take the bear. Stop her from helping. It’d come to her home. Had sought refuge here.
He pulled off his hat and rubbed his forehead. “Ma’am, I don’t expect you to understand. But you need to trust me and move aside so that I can do my job.”
“Not a chance,” she ground out, wishing her pepper spray wasn’t across the room.
“Please be reasonable.” He raised his eyebrows, looking harmless. His holstered weapon told a different story.
Maybe she could reason with him, though she’d failed before. There had to be a way to save the cub. “How do you become a wildlife rehabilitator?”
He drew in a long breath and crossed his arms over his chest. “Pass a certification test then work under the supervision of a rehabilitator for six months.”
Tests. She hated them. Had only ever done well on presentation-style exams in culinary school. Still, for the baby bear…anything. “And when is the next one?”
“In a week.” He made a vague motion in the air with his hand. “Look. I’d be happy to discuss that with you another time, but the cub might be suffering. Please step aside so that I can take it.”
She raised her voice over her drumming heartbeat. “I’ll pass the test. Get certified.”
He ran a hand through his hair, making the curl-tipped ends stand up. “You’d have to study hundreds of pages of online material. It’s not easy. Trust me. I took it and barely finished my apprenticeship before my academy training started.”
“So you’re a certified wildlife rehabilitator? You could care for it.”
His chin jerked. “I already have a job.”
Her mind shifted into overdrive, churning up possibilities. “Not next week. You said you’re on vacation. You could take her while I study for the test.”
He blew out a long breath. “I don’t have an enclosure—something you’ll need along with someone to supervise you.”
She tried to come across as commanding, though at five-foot-three inches that was always a challenge. “You could help with both.”
He shook his head, his earnest expression replaced with a wash of annoyance. “Out of the question. There are too many ifs in that idea.”
She tried keeping the heat out of her voice. The DEC. Always so difficult. Especially Walsh. “Why? I’m sure you could call in a favor. Ask one of the rehabilitators to find temporary space for the cub. Then I’ll pass the test and, with your help, be approved to care for it. Don’t you want to do the right thing?”
Wasn’t that his job?
“I do. Which is why I’m taking the bear. Now.”
“Not a chance. You’ll have to go through me first.” She hated to sound dramatic, use a cheesy line from bad TV, but there was no other way to say it.
A crease appeared between his brows, his eyes scanning hers. Finally, he released a long breath.
“How about this—I’ll take her to the vet where they’ll check her jaw, give her some food and a safe place to stay, temporarily, while I continue investigating.”
She considered, wishing she could trust him. But after her dealings with him before, her faith was on the short side.
“Let’s try this,” she countered. “I’ll go with you and stay with the bear until you come back. Then we’ll talk about what happens next.”
He settled his hat back on, pinching the indented top. “There’s no reason to get more involved, ma’am.”
She pulled out her cell and tapped in Maggie’s number. Someone could come by and pick up the pies. Another worker would be called in for an extra shift. The Homestead would manage without her today. She wasn’t leaving the cub’s side until she knew it’d be safe—from nature and the DEC.
“It’s much too late for that, Officer Walsh.”
She studied him for a long, heavy moment, then moved aside. If the cub’s mother was dead, then she’d take on the role.
And nothing was more ferocious than a mama bear…
Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary romance author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time writer.  Currently she writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and has published five novels with them. Her first novel for the line, WISH ME TOMORROW, has won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and was a finalist in the Published Maggie Awards. The first novel in her co-authored YA series, CAMP BOYFRIEND, has been a finalist in the Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards.
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What Belongs to Her by Rachel Brimble

March 25, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


She’s ready to take back what’s hers

Since the moment a local crime boss claimed ownership of her family’s fairground, Sasha Todd has dreamed of righting the wrong. Now it’s time to act, and backing down from the man’s estranged son is definitely not an option. After all, giving up her legacy to hot-blooded John Jordon means losing the chance to finally heal the wounds in her past.

Stopping John in his tracks—and resisting the sizzle between them—is Sasha’s best defense. But there’s more to him than she thought, which changes everything. With what matters most at stake, she’ll have to risk a brand-new future with John, or walk away from the man whose heart belongs to her.

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble


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Author Interview:

Please tell us a little bit about your current projects?

I am currently editing the next book in my Harlequin Superromance Templeton Cove series. Her Hometown Redemption will be released in September. I am also nearing the end of the first draft of my fourth Victorian romance with eKensington. Once that’s done, I will be drawing up a proposal for two more books in my Harlequin series.

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

Give yourself permission to write a ‘crappy’ first draft – Julie Cohen. Fabulous advice!

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

My biggest adventure and most romantic time to date is when I mentioned to my husband that Nora Roberts was coming to a castle in Ireland to give an afternoon tea and book signing. Within 24 hours my husband had booked the flights, a night in the castle and seats at the afternoon tea. Time of my life!

Me & Nora 3

How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you?

Me: Caring, hardworking and a thinker

Family: Mad, funny and a workaholic!

What is your favorite comfort food?

Chicken Satay – never fails to cheer me up J

What is your favorite season? What do you love about it?

I am a summer girl, which is kind of ironic seeing as I live in England and our summers are short and very hit and miss! When we do have a lovely, hot day I am happy to read and write outside and then in the evening, watch the sun go down with a chilled glass of white wine. Heaven!

What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?

Washing machine – I cannot imagine living the life my grandmothers did and spend days hand washing clothes. Oh. My. God!!


Author Bio:

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington–her debut was released in April 2013, followed by a second in January 2014 and the third is released Jan 2015.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!






Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers

Author D.K. ffrench

March 25, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News

L’Wren, Hawk_ 200x300

Captain Saker Hawkings and First Mate L’Wren James agree to keep the mission and passion separate, but with two beautiful alien empaths onboard, it’s not only planetary peace negotiations that are in danger of breaking down.

L’Wren James and Saker Hawkings know that there’s no room on a starship for a captain and first mate to indulge their passion during a dangerous peace mission.

The fragility of the cease-fire in the gender war on the divided planet Ourania threatens the stability of subspace shipping lanes, and the starship Sulaco’s mission is to get the negotiating team there and deliver them safely back.

But when they take onboard Anchises and Cytheria, mysterious empath negotiators from the secretive world of Turaceona, they find their commitment to duty and to each other a struggle to maintain in the sexually heightened and emotionally charged atmosphere.

But Anchises’s and Cytheria’s struggle to keep their secret and the loss they cannot speak of hidden leaves one dangerously injured and the other missing in action. Only the truth about the man he is and the woman she is can save them.

Can Hawk and L’Wren face up to the challenges of duty, passion, and sexuality and still save not only their relationship but the peace process itself?

Buy Link


Author Interview:

please tell us a little bit about your current projects?

I’m massively excited about “L’Wren, Hawk and the Doves” hitting the streets – well, the cyber streets, the highways and bye-ways of the world wide web (thank you Tim Berners-Lee for inventing t’internet, by the way) but meanwhile I have two projects on the go – maybe three… hang on I’ve just had another idea, make that four. There’s this extra-terrestrial were-wolf marooned in 1920’s England, an android that’s been sent to earth to study love and romance with a database stuffed full of erotic literature and a story about a guitar. And there’s always the likelihood that the Doves just have to have a spin-off of their own.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

It goes all the way back to earliest memories. Stories swirled in my head, shoving reality to the sidelines so before I knew I had to be, I think I already was. It just took a few years – a few too many; far, far too many – for it to happen. My criteria for being a writer, for what it’s worth, for being able to call oneself anything – writer, artist, musician – is that people have paid to see/hear/read you. So, by that token, I can hand-on-heart say I am a writer and musician. At last…

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

Ages ago someone said to me “unless you start doing it now, actually NOW, you won’t do it”. I didn’t, not actually there and then, but the advice stands.

Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?

Captain Lawrence Edward Grace “Titus” Oates. He’s the man who famously said “I am just going outside and may be some time”. That’s a hero to me.

What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?

Guitars… I play the guitar, and bass and ukulele. I don’t really call it a collection but there are six guitars, four ukuleles, just one lonely bass and far more guitar effects pedals than any one person could reasonably claim a use for. And three Marshall amps…

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

The tortuous path to being a published writer has been an enormous – even excellent – adventure. The commitment to writing, then staying committed until there’s a first draft, then submitting your baby to a big bad scary publisher and the terror of the email inbox that might callously reject your heartfelt outpouring with an evil cackle, then it’s all put into the hands of a frightening editor who might tell you, word by word, comma by comma, where it’s wrong and how bad it is, and only after all that is it paraded in front of the entire world for them to either completely ignore it or dig into their pocket and buy it.

When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?

Oh I will try almost anything really. I’ve eaten a bug straight off a tree in the Amazon jungle, what looked like frogspawn in Cambodia and a horse steak in Iceland but the one thing I always, always say ‘yes’ to is a full English breakfast.

How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you?

Quirky is how I’d like to describe myself. Family and friends might, just might say the same.

What is your favorite season? What do you love about it?

Late summer edging towards autumn. I love the slightly cooler but still light evenings, the chance to sit in a pub garden with a pint and see the evening slip away to a sunset and a night that might just be warm enough to stay sitting out, talking, maybe playing and singing with friends, family and nighttime noises.

What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?

A digital guitar tuner. I know, it’s lazy, but I have one that floats around my guitars, one that’s lying by the amp, one that lives with my ukuleles, one on my phone, one on my kindle and most have my guitar effect pedals have one built in anyway.

Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next?

In person I can be found doing my day job around Whitehall, London and spending lunch hours wandering around Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden, most evenings I’ll be looking for an open mic that I can whip out a ukulele or a guitar at, and net wise I’m never not on Facebook – it’s an obsession.

DK ffrench Author Pic

Author Bio:

Lost in space, yet still boldly going, D.K. ffrench returned from the forbidden planet a long, long time ago to live a quiet life in a small town called London.

The minimal research he’d done lead him to the conclusion that his identity would best be protected if he masqueraded as a business analyst by day and a writer and musician by night and at weekends.

Available for musical soirees at the drop of a hat, he writes steamy SF romances on a MacBook Air and plays a Gibson Les Paul too loudly while he waits for a set of replacement dilythium crystals for the broken warp core on his ship.

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March 24, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News

please tell us a little bit about your current projects?

Right now, I’m working on the Hot in Chicago series. It centers around the firefighters at Engine 6, the oldest firehouse in Chicago, and more specifically on the Firefightin’ Dempseys who rule the roost. There are five of them—four guys and a gal—and they are the foster children of a legendary firefighter named Sean Dempsey, who has already died in the line of duty before FLIRTING WITH FIRE starts. They live by the lessons Sean taught them: fire is stronger than blood and defend the people you love until the dying embers. So far, I have planned a novella and three full-length books, all standalone. Each book will have a primary couple and there will be a hot m/m secondary romance between sexy firefighter Gage and a gruff former-Marine-turned-gourmet-chef that will arc over the three longer books.

 I’m also working on another series about a trio of Texan tycoons who have all been unlucky in love. The first book in that series will release with the Brazen imprint from Entangled this summer.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

I can’t really tie it to a particular moment. It’s been something that’s nagged at me for years but I left it fairly late to answer the call. I suppose when I started to take it seriously and look for an agent – that’s the closest I can get to a moment like that.

Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?

The perfect hero is unrelenting focus on his heroine. As soon as he has her in his sights, she should be all he can think of, and every decision should be filtered through his attraction/obsession/love for her. I’m a big fan of the hero in pursuit.

What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?

Pastimes? What pastimes? All my spare time is devoted to writing and reading that I can’t find the time to have a hobby J Besides my husband is a Dr. Who fan and he’s got the collection thing down – I could never compete with his hobby! We have every action figure, toy, and DVD from all eras of the show. Even a Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor) scarf his friend’s grandmother knit from a BBC pattern!

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

I recently got back from an amazing trip around south east Asia – Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. My husband spent a year planning it and it was wild. Hiking in the mountains of Vietnam, kayaking in UNESCO World Heritage site Halong Bay, sunrise at Angkor Wat temple, snorkeling in the clear waters off the coast of Thailand. Every day was amazing!

 When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?

I’ll try anything except bugs. Though my husband is pretty sure there might have been bugs in some of the “delicacies” we tried in Asia. But what I don’t know—or refuse to acknowledge—can’t hurt me!

What is this romance writer’s idea of the “ideal romantic evening”?

Making pizza from scratch with the hubby, grabbing a glass of red, and settling in for a movie or a binge watch of House of Cards.

What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?

My hair straightener. It’s performed a huge public service in keeping my untamable hair in a manner that doesn’t scare people.

What project are you working on next?

I’m working on two projects: Book 3 of the Hot in Chicago series and a new book series about Texan tycoons who are unlucky in love.

Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next?

I’ll be at the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas in May, so it you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and say hi!



FLIRTING WITH FIRE (Pocket Books; On-sale: March 24, 2015; $7.99) is the first installment in Hot in Chicago sizzling new series from Kate Meader. The series features a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!

Savvy PR guru Kinsey Taylor has always defined herself by her career, not her gender. That is, until she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to be with her fiancé who thought she wasn’t taking her “job” of supporting him in his high-powered career seriously enough—and promptly dumped her for a more supportive and “feminine” nurse. Now, as the new assistant press secretary to Chicago’s dynamic mayor, she’s determined to keep her eye on the prize: no time to feel inferior because she’s a strong, kick-ass woman, and certainly no time for men.
But that all changes when she meets Luke Almeida, a firefighter as searingly sexy as he is quick-tempered. He’s also the second oldest of the Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service—if Luke’s antics don’t get him fired first. When Luke goes one step too far and gets into a bar brawl with the Chicago Police Department, Kinsey marches into Luke’s firehouse and lays down the law on orders from the mayor. But at Engine Co. 6, Luke Almeida is the law. And he’s not about to let Kinsey make the rules.

About the author:

Originally from Ireland, Kate cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boon thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip. Visit her at

Whip Smart: Lola Montez Starts a Revolution by Kit Brennan

March 23, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News

Whip Smart: Lola Montez Starts a Revolution by Kit Brennan, is the much anticipated next installment of the Whip Smart series (if you didn’t get a chance to read the previous novels, don’t worry Revolution is easily a stand-alone story.) Readers are once again thrust into the thrilling adventures of Lola Montez, the gorgeous and audacious dancer making her way through Europe.

With a reputation as the most cosmopolitan woman of her time, (the very first modern woman I believe) Lola travels to Bavaria and seduces King Ludwig I—or, as Lola comes to know him, Luis. Her curious free-spirit and sexual confidence make her irresistible, a true rarity in a time of patriarchy and social repression. But in the midst of her brow-raising love affair, Lola finds herself the target of a witch hunt and a nefarious unfolding plot while the surrounding city descends into social upheaval.

As you may have gathered, Lola Montez was a real person: a modern woman living in Victorian times.  She was an Irish girl, born Betty Gilbert, who left her quiet, average life at a young age in order to become an exotic dancer. History has her traveling throughout Europe (again, unheard of for women back then) and during her travels, actually influenced heads of state and shaped major political policy.

Please enjoy an excerpt from Revolution below!


HOW IT BEGINS: June 1846

Die Reisende (The Traveller)


Galloping astride, its resonant power exploding within you, the headlong rush of a great horse in motion frees the head completely of human sorrows and concerns—like almost nothing else on earth. Responding eagerly to my heel, with each stride Magnifique confirmed with ever greater urgency his penchant for running, for extending his limbs: neck thrust forward, ears turned back, black mane and tail streaming. My whole body thrummed to the pounding rhythm, my brain unclenching and opening to its insistent requirements. There was room only for this: action, engagement, the elation of physical release—harder, faster! On a flying horse, you stay in the moment or court disaster. And I had had too much of that. This was my darling Henri Dujarier’s horse—my horse—and I was thankful to have him back, to be liberated at last from the bitter tragedy of Paris. My craving for speed, for flight, was heightened too by the recent and gruesome confrontation in Montmartre Cemetery. Jumpy as a cat, I trusted no one. Heading north now through France—astonished to still be alive.

A mad determination had come into my head the instant I’d turned Magnifique and cantered away forever from Henri’s grave (my dearest love). I’d clung to the morsel of hope thus roused, though following through on it entailed several hard weeks of travel. No matter how willing he seemed, it was critical that I not overtax my steed.

Spring days warmed with the passing of each, the landscape changing as we moved through it. I put up for the nights at coaching inns, hiding my youth and figure in a bulky riding cape. Occasional necessary encounters with inhabitants of towns and the Picardy countryside revealed a new fact: while I’d mourned and battled in Paris, the world hadn’t stayed still. With my own eyes I could see abject privation was everywhere. George Sand was right: working men and women had taken a beating. My artistic friends in Paris and others of the intelligentsia blamed Louis-Philippe, the Citizen King, and his faulty regime; the bleak, starved people in front of me, in the markets and hostelries, blamed more than that.

As I ate the scanty portions that the kitchens set down, I overheard workers speaking animatedly about the new railway line which was also heading north. It seemed that building track for the modern, fire-breathing mode of transportation was hazardous— level grades to be cut through bedrock, tunnels constructed straight through enormous hills—and the explosive devices used were difficult to control. Before workers got clear, a limb could be lost, or, at best, one’s hearing. Rumours proliferated of “les incendiaires” along with outraged protests: “The bastards spend a fortune on their love of les feu d’artifice? So let’s give them fireworks!”

Who were ‘the bastards’, I wondered uneasily.

Slowing Magnifique to a canter one afternoon, I was surprised to see a huge crowd in a field outside the town of Amiens, gathered around one of the mythological air ships—a Balloon! I’d read about these curiosities years ago as a boarding school girl in Bath, but had never seen one. They’d gone out of favour in England, deemed mere amusement or risky showmanship, not worthy of further scientific backing. But trust the French to keep alive a sense of awe and wonder, even in a time of discontent. Imagine, soaring through the skies, leaving your troubles behind! I reined Magnifique and we paused at the roadside. The inflated silk Balloon, maybe fifty feet high, was covered in symbols of the firmament. Sun, moon, stars and clouds in glorious shades of turquoise, pink and cream, with the basket below it secured to the ground by many restraining ropes. The crowd of raucous peasants jostled to gain proximity to the enormous inflated vessel; the airman aboard was a mere speck, agitatedly gesturing at them to stay away. Magnifique was becoming frightened by the loud sounds being periodically emitted by whatever was heating the thing, and though I longed to have taken a closer look, I didn’t dare. Crowds were unpredictable; everything could change suddenly.

We galloped onwards, and luckily, too: about two or three minutes further down the road, I heard loud bangs and flares going off into the sky along with the Balloon, which rose swiftly. Had some foolhardy promoter added feu d’artifice to the excitement, setting off rockets nearby in the field? Screaming and shouting, the dispersing crowd rushed in all directions. How appallingly dangerous, I thought, wondering anew at humanity’s apparent desire to immolate itself for the mere thrill. Above, the Balloon soared majestically away. Though I turned back to look several times, to watch the spectacular thing disappearing into the clouds, I found the whole event unsettling. In the multitude’s agitation was a ferment that I didn’t understand: like a clenched fist about to be brutally employed for an unknown reason.

My heart remained in my throat for the whole long journey. Magnifique, sensing it, was ready to spook at every turn. In the towns and on the country roads, I was stared at with undisguised wariness and, often, a flintier speculation: a woman, alone, on a mighty fine horse? So I rode with my pistols on display, the flick knife in my waistband always ready to hand.

Genuinely relieved to at last arrive in Caen—Calais—I booked a ticket for the next ship’s crossing of La Manche. Leave the provincial French, their stimulations and their woes, I thought; I need a rest from this sense of rising chaos.

The following morning I rode to the docks, and was leading Magnifique towards the enclosure where the horses were kept prior to boarding the ship. Just as I handed the reins to an attendant, there was a colossal boom off to our left which caused the ground to shake. A squall of objects, large and small, flew into the air, followed by dust and wind. Magnifique startled mightily, knocking the young man off his feet and dragging him back in the direction of the avenue. I managed to run after them and, in a few minutes, to calm my horse. Thank God. But fifty yards away, where the sound had originated, smoke was still clearing and I could hear the whistles of gendarmes, approaching at a run. An explosion, surely! But why? Men and women were snatching goods up from off the ground, where crates and boxes had smashed open, revealing food stuffs. A woman jabbed me with her elbow, crying, “Vite! Take as much as you can!” Even some of the ship hands seemed to be hastily helping themselves. As I turned to lead Magnifique back to the ship, a gnarled, muscular man raced towards us and grabbed the reins, tugging my horse away at great speed and attempting to place his foot in the stirrup, ready to swing up. “Let him go, bastardo,” I shouted, lunging after him and slashing at the hand on the reins with my knife, instantly drawing blood. He darted off, drops of scarlet spattering the cobbles and the shoulders of strangers as he forced his way through them, snarling, “Tassez-vous, cochons!Mon Dieu, I thought, calming Magnifique with a caress to his muzzle, get me out of this volatile country!

Throughout the channel crossing, while the steamship Water Witch battled a rough sea and passengers lurched to the railings to spew, I finally let my jangled mind return to its goal: to the thought of her. Shivering in my cloak, wind and spray streaming through my hair, I questioned what she would think of me. The only gift I’d ever managed to give the object of my impatient journey was a cherished pair of peridot earbobs that had gone with me to Spain. When I’d sent the earrings, I’d made myself a promise: that I would return some day to hug her and hold her and become part of her life. Four years had passed and I’d not managed to do so—until now. She was eleven years old.


Kit Brennan is a nationally produced, award-winning playwright, and teaches writing and storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. The Victorian era and its personalities have always been of major interest to Brennan. Her play Tiger’s Heart explores the life of Dr. James Barry, who was actually a woman living a double life disguised as a man in order to practice medicine, which was not an option open to women at the time. Kit divides her time between the vibrant city of Montreal and the quiet lake wilderness of Ontario alongside her husband, Andrew, and a variety of animal friends.  Whip Smart: Lola Montez Starts a Revolution is her third novel.


Visit her online at





To continue reading Whip Smart: Lola Montez Starts a Revolution by Kit Brennan,

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Lola Montez was born in 1820 (give or take a year or two) and died in 1860, so her adulthood was lived in the 1840s and 50s. During this period, there were unbelievable breakthroughs in medicine (anesthesia) and transportation (railroads), upheavals such as the Irish Potato Famine and the Anglo-Sikh wars, the 1848 Revolutions in Europe, the Crimean War, and the gold rushes in California and Australia. The Communist Manifesto was published, and, just before Lola’s early death, The Origin of Species. Rapid and incredible changes; it was as if the world had suddenly sped up.

Women, however, did not yet have the vote, nor could they own property, once married. Their role was to take care of the home, and to mother children; they were referred to as “angels of the hearth”. If they weren’t lucky enough to marry or at least belong to a wealthy family (the maiden aunt), they could perhaps become a governess (think of Jane Eyre), or—at the drop of a hat through some misfortune or miscalculation—fall from grace into worse (think of Nancy in Oliver Twist). Adventuring was done by men.

“With a modern mind-set, she followed adventure— she sought it out.”

But, from a young age, Lola traveled—and in her adult years, she chose to travel under her own steam and for her own purposes. With a modern mind-set, she followed adventure, she sought it out—journeying to places as far flung as Australia and California (in both cases, to take part in the gold rush), as well as all over Europe and into Russia. Sometimes she was married, sometimes she wasn’t—but she never allowed marriage or a husband to stop her from doing what she chose to do. There are other 19th century women who travelled, but more often under the banner of whichever church they belonged to or with the back-up of their family money and station. Lola did not come from wealth, nor was she ever wealthy; she belonged to no church. She made her own way—another ‘modern’ trait for a woman. And she made her own money, once she was there.

As well, Lola loved to give an opinion, and was very outspoken about what she thought. This, too, was unusual in a woman of her time. She adored the limelight, craved an audience, enjoyed making people laugh while admiring her beauty and wit. I consider that a modern trait, one that we’ve grown accustomed to—but in mid-Victorian society, it was more common to be modest and retiring, and to wait for others to say nice things (especially for a woman). Lola’s motto was “Courage, and shuffle the cards.” She liked who she was, and if others didn’t, that was their lookout; she wasn’t about to change to please someone else.

“Lola’s motto was, ‘Courage, and shuffle the cards.’”

Lola always held an unapologetic attitude about her lovers. She didn’t feel guilt about the long succession of them—nor about how much she enjoyed their company and her own sexuality. She never spoke about feeling shame, that dreadful 19th century curse which we’ve come to expect from female characters in books or in real women from the era.

The motto that Lola Montez has come to be known by was her favorite expression: Courage, and shuffle the cards. She took up gambling on certain occasions, and she loved to win. But more than the literal meaning of it, I think that it summed up Lola’s attitude to life. What would she have to say to us today? What is inside that beautifully succinct expression?

“Don’t start waffling or second-guessing yourself, and don’t apologize.”

Perhaps, to Lola Montez, something like this: When life is going well, you need courage to keep believing that it will always do so. Don’t start waffling or second-guessing yourself, and don’t apologize. Live it now! Life doesn’t stand still, however. Failure or sorrow is never further away than just around the next corner. When it comes, face it bravely. Roll with it, or you’ll be lost. You’ve pulled a bad hand—play it hard, without fear. Just as hard as you play the good hands. And laugh along the way. Even if it gives you wrinkles. Laugh a lot, you deserve it. We all do.

Kit Brennan is the author of the bestselling Whip Smart: The Lola Montez Series, a nationally produced, award-winning playwright, and teacher of writing and storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. Her adventure novels are based on the real-life story of Lola Montez, a top-notch, notorious bad girl of the Victorian world. Kit divides her time between the vibrant city of Montreal and the quiet lake wilderness of Ontario alongside her husband, Andrew, and a variety of animal friends.  Whip Smart: Lola Montez Starts a Revolution is her third novel. Visit her online at

*Special promotion for Whip Smart Series running through March. Buy 3rd book in paperback, receive books 1 & 2 in eBook for FREE! Visit for more information.

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Pumpkin: A Cindermama story by Innes Johnson

March 22, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News

Girl On Her Own Horse

Have you been paying attention to the evolution of the Cinderella story? If you’ve watched the Disney blockbuster, Frozen, then you have. Young girls and women are no longer waiting around for a man to come by on his horse, sweep them off their feet, and give them shoes.

Okay, I doubt any of us would turn down the shoes!

My point is that women are now taking the reins of their own stories and rejecting the Cinderella trope of changing themselves into someone new. In many, dare I say most, of these stories the prince doesn’t pay attention to the Cinderella character in her ordinary world of working 9-5pm with grime under her nails and threadbare clothes. He doesn’t look her way until she gets magicked into expertly applied makeup, a binding, shape-shifting corset, and brand new shoes.

My first notice of this was in the film Working Girl. This 80’s retelling of the Cinderella story featured a bright secretary who had dreams of entering the boardroom with a briefcase instead of coffee. When her wicked boss steals her idea, the secretary seizes an opportunity to steal into a high profile business meeting by pretending that she’s her boss, while also wearing her boss’s dress and shoes. Melanie Griffith, as the secretary, uses Harrison Ford’s charming character to get her into the board room’s door. When the business deal goes south, Griffith doesn’t wait for the knight in a business suite to rescue her. Instead, she shows off her ‘head for business and bod for sin’ in order to win a business deal, thwart her boss, and get her man.

A decade later Drew Barrymore retold the Cinderella story in Ever After. In a pivotal scene when Barrymore’s character, Danielle, has been taken prisoner by the evil Pierre Le Pieu, the audience holds their breath as the prince leaps onto his horse and heads off to rescue her. But Danielle picks up not one, but two swords, and swashbuckles her way to an escape. As she’s walking out of the castle a free woman, the prince arrives moments too late with her shoe in hand.

Nearly another decade later came another retelling with Penelope. Penelope is an heiress born under a curse that can only be broken in the face of true love. The problem? Penelope’s face doesn’t inspire sonnets and poems as much as it does a hankering for breakfast meats. Penelope’s snout nose has caused her to be rejected her whole life, including rejection from her own mother. When she finally finds a man willing to tolerate her looks and break the curse, she comes to the realization that she likes herself just the way she is. And just like that, the curse is broken and Penelope’s outside matches her glowing inside.

In today’s stories, women don’t wait around for men on horses. They take the reins, defend themselves, and declare love to their own reflections. They’re now even qualified to deliver true love’s kiss to their own sisters as we saw in the blockbuster Frozen.

In my fairytale retelling, Pumpkin: a Cindermama story my heroine has given up on fairytale love. Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne has been searching for his soulmate all his life, whom he’ll recognize at first sight by a golden aura, that only he can see, surrounding her person. Manny doesn’t see gold when he meets Pumpkin, but the more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.


Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town.

 Love at first sight isn’t a cliche for town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne. For generations the Charmaynes have spotted their soulmates by seeing a golden aura the first time they laid eyes on The One.

 When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the richter scale. The more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

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Read An excerpt

The Meet Cute

Pumpkin turned and stopped in her tracks. Not because of the near collision, but because of the Adonis who stood before her. Tall and lean with dark, thick curls atop his head. But it was his eyes that arrested Pumpkin. They took her back to her teen years, watching Donnie Simpson on Video Soul; or farther back to Smokey Robinson doo-wopping with The Miracles. They were a pale gray. And he smelled… edible. Like fresh baked, butter croissants sprinkled with earthy spices.


“Excuse me,” he repeated, with a slight Southern drawl that was more refined than lazy. He prolonged his vowels just enough to let you know he was Southern, but the consonants he pronounced perfectly. “Are you Heather?”


And of course, he was looking for someone else. “No, my name is Malika.”


He looked at her and squinted. Then his eyes rolled past her up the steps of the Department of Family And Child Services building. “Oh, sorry. I thought you could have been one of my volunteers.” He stepped away, clearing her path to the entrance.


I thought you could have been one of my volunteers.


Pumpkin looked beyond him to see a voter registration table.


I thought you could have been one of my volunteers.


Part of her knew she should simply walk into the DFACS building to find her cousins and her son, because who knew? LaRon and LaTom could’ve let him go to the bathroom by himself and just forgotten about him —again. But another part of Pumpkin smarted. He’d taken one glance at her, paired it with her Eubonic-consonant-rich name, added it to her current location, and come away with an incorrect assumption.


“You know, I could have been yours,” she said.


He turned back. “Mine?”


“I mean, I have done something like this before.”


“Something… with me?”


“No! I’ve never met you before.”


He opened his mouth to speak, thought better of it, then started again. “What exactly are we talking about?”


This was not going the way she’d planned. But what exactly had she planned when she opened her mouth? Her filter malfunction needed to be repaired soon.


Pumpkin took a deep breath, clearly aware of his smokey eyes watching her with… was that wariness or amusement? Growing up in her family, she had trouble deciphering the two.


“I mean, I have been a volunteer. I’ve done a voter registration drive before.”


Having cleared up that misjudgment, Pumpkin assumed the conversation was over. Only, he looked doubtful at her proclamation.


Pumpkin gave her internal filter a kick. In response it sputtered, “I organized it, actually.” Pumpkin gave it a mental shove to keep quiet. And then, “It was very successful, actually.”






“Where did the drive you organized —successfully— take place?”


“Oh,” she said. “At my school. My college —university, actually. Louisiana State University.”


“I know LSU,” he grinned.


Good. Grinning meant amused. He had a nice grin, Smokey Eyes. Straight white teeth. Plump lips that stretched wide. Maybe a little too wide. Almost big bad wolf wide.


“Well,” she said. “There’s a community college with the name Louisiana so…”


“You have a problem with community colleges?”


“No! I just… I just wanted to make sure you knew… which one I meant.” Pumpkin wouldn’t have thought it possible, but his grin stretched even wider.


“My opinion matters to you that much?”


Definitely a wolf.


Then, in confirmation, his eyes slipped from her face and did a quick assessment of her body: the B-cups she no longer bothered to pad, the stubborn muffin top she’d given up on a year ago, the wide hips that looked voluptuous on her cousins but pear-shaped on her.


“I don’t even know you,” Pumpkin said. And she had no intention of getting to know him. Wolves blocked the paths of good girls whether in the forest or on the road of life. Pumpkin had no intention of getting jammed up by a man, ever again.


“Yet, within sixty seconds of meeting me,” he said, “you offered to be mine.”


“No I… That was a misunderstanding, and you know it.”


A chuckle escaped through that predatory grin. The sound rumbled through Pumpkin’s body like a divining rod sensing danger.


“I’m sorry, Malika.”


But then, with the sound of her name on his lips, the humming of the rod ceased. All previous warning signals muted and Pumpkin’s feet took root in the concrete.


“It’s been a long day,” he smiled and a small sigh escaped his lips at the same time.


She’d read the term Cupid’s Bow in romance novels, but the visual didn’t do the term justice. The top of his upper lip, where you’d handle the bow was in the shape of a perfectly symmetrical M. Stretched in a smile, his full bottom lip made her wonder what it would be like to get caught in the crosshairs of his kiss.


“I couldn’t resist having a little fun with you. I hope I haven’t kept you.”


Pumpkin took her eyes off his lips to gaze into his smokey eyes. A smile started to creep over her face, too. “No, you haven’t kept me.”


“You’d better hurry. I’m sure they’re about to close soon.”


“Yeah… wait. What?” Pumpkin followed his gaze to the DFACS entrance. Everything unmuted and red flashed behind her eyes. “I just told you, I went to college.”


“Oh?” His gray eyes furrowed this time. “So, people with degrees don’t fall on hard times?”


“Well… yes. They do. But I’m fine,” she insisted, tapping her new shoes on the pavement for emphasis. “I have a job.” A job that she hated, but it paid all her bills. No government checks came for her and Seth. No child support checks either.


“So, you’re not here to volunteer to help. And you’re not here seeking help. What? Are you here to gloat?”




He chuckled again, but Pumpkin was no longer amused.


“I’ve taken advantage of some social programs, like federal grants for the university I attended while on academic scholarship.” Pumpkin conveniently neglected to mention that her childhood kitchen had been stocked from food stamp monies. “But I’m not gloating about my successes because I’m resentful that this society assumes that I can’t succeed without its help.”


He cocked his head, eyes intent on her. “So, you’d rather the rules be unfair and harder for you so that you can save face?”


Pumpkin blinked. “No, that’s not what I mean.”


What did she mean? How did she get into this conversation? All her life, Pumpkin typically kept her opinions to herself. It had been the safest way to navigate her adolescent and teenage years in a household where the family motto read: everyone for themselves.


“You know how they say if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day,” she continued. “But if you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat forever?”


Smokey Eyes nodded.


Pumpkin hesitated, realizing he was actually listening to every word she said, and waiting for her to say more.


Why not? Her internal filter had taken the day off. “I think the flaw with social programs is that the poor start to believe they can’t do for themselves without it and the rich believe the poor can’t act without their help. And it winds up being a vicious cycle with each side resenting the other.”


Pumpkin glanced at the DFACS door remembering her son was still inside with two professional “cyclists.” She turned back to Smokey Eyes.


He stared up at the clouds in concentration. She could see him turning her words over in his head. It gave her a thrill. She was used to men leering at her body, because, though her curves weren’t artful like her cousins’, they were round enough to grab attention. Watching Smokey Eyes focus inward and contemplate her words was possibly the most intimate experience of her thirty years.


After a moment, his tongue peeked out, like an arrow, to pull taut his upper lip. Pumpkin’s own lips parted as a quiver went through her long dormant core. Any moment now, he would aim words at her.


Any moment now.


Turning his gray eyes back to her, he said, “I do see your point. But I also feel that with great wealth comes great responsibility. And if you’ve caught a lot of fish, you should share. It’s good manners. It’s how I was raised.”


Pumpkin gave a woeful shake of her head at that. “I was raised by people who wouldn’t fish; would take yours; and then demand you go get more.”


“But not you.”


It wasn’t a question. There was something behind those smokey eyes. Not empathy. He was obviously moneyed, in his expensive shirt and tailored pants, where Pumpkin’s teen closet had been sponsored by Goodwill, and her adult closet now sported Target.


“Me? No,” she said holding his gaze.


“And you wouldn’t ask for any food off my table? Even if I’m willing to share?”


It seemed like a trick question. On the one hand, Pumpkin harbored an image of him feeding her bits of food. On the other hand, “Is there something wrong with a woman who is self-sufficient?”


“No. Those are my favorite kind.” He grinned again, the wolf rising to its haunches once more.

Author Bio

Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.












Zero World, Part 1, by Scot McPhie

March 22, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News

please tell us a little bit about your current projects? Well thanks for having me Dottie. I work in a number of different areas – apart from serialising my novel Zero World – I’m also in pre-production for a feature film about homelessness called Honeysuckle Way – that will be the subject of a crowd funding campaign in July; and I perform sketch comedy in a group called The Smooth End of the Pineapple, we have a few tours and albums coming out this year.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer? There was no one moment – when I was about 7 I realised I enjoyed creative writing and it’s just been a natural progression from there. When I was a teenager I realised writing poetry and comedy sketches really meant something to me. Writing has always just felt like it’s been a major part of my life.

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day? Well my English teacher at school, Peter Fay, said ‘reading is rereading’ and I’ve always figured that ‘writing is rewriting’. I was a big fan of Eric Idle and stream consciousness writing when I was a teenager – so I like to just let it out and work back over it

Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you? Human and vulnerable. Someone who’s seen both sides of life and steers a straight line through them.

What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections? Nerd alert! I collect old 8 bit Spectravideo computer things. Monty Python paraphernalia, and things to do with the Disney Robin Hood movie. Apart from family time my favourite pastimes are cycling and watching movies.

What has been your biggest adventure to date? Getting married. It’s been an incredible journey for both of us – to go from young and naive to having a family and still going strong is the greatest thing in my life.

If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why? When I was little I lived in Darwin, which then was a small, remote tropical town in Australia, it’s always held an appeal and fascination for me and that’s where I’d go. There’s something vibrant, organic and truly Australian about it. I used to have recurring dreams about it.

When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes? Kind of both actually – I will try different things, but not often – I tend to stick to a few regular things. Before I was married I had an extremely basic diet – I don’t actually like food that much!

What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without? What is this romance writer’s idea of the “ideal romantic evening”? Honestly I think I could do with out every modern convenience – all I really like or need is time and company. My ideal romantic evening would be dinner on a beach at sunset – with time to burn and to just be care free- :-)

How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you? Um..probably confused!

What is your favorite comfort food? Chocolate (guilty pleasure!)

What is your favorite season? What do you love about it? Summer – I’m one of those weird people that gets more active the hotter it gets. My next favourite would be spring – because I know summer’s on the way. I just like summer because it seems like everything is at it’s peak.

What project are you working on next? If we raise the money for Honeysuckle Way it will be that, otherwise I have a sequel in mind for Zero World, so I will probably be writing that. Apart from the odd comedy gig.

Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next? The best place to look is my facebook page (even though I detest facebook) or my Amazon Author Page. I’ve got 7 comedy shows lined up in the next few months, but the books and CD’s will all be coming out through Amazon, so best to look there.

Zero World Front_Part 1_medium

Buy link for the book:

Blurb or the book:

Earth in the middle 22nd century, the environment is all but gone and 9 billion people live on in bliss – with their food being created artificially by organoprocessors. 20 year old Michelle Holland arrives from her home on the moon colonies to begin her new life on Earth. Self assured and optimistic she starts her new job and soon meets Matthew Finler, a naive and idealistic technician. They start a relationship but have a tempestuous time – torn between their love of each other and their very different outlooks on the world. When Matthew discovers something about the last remaining wilderness area it has the power to make or break their relationship and the future of the world as well, and they resolve to find out the truth together. Zero World is a novel of approximately 160,000 words. It is being serialised in 16 parts of approximately 10,000 words each. A new segment will be released on the first Friday of each month, and then the whole book will be available for purchase as both an eBook and a paperback after that. You can follow developments on the book via the Zero World facebook page. Release schedule for the serialised sections are: Part 1 – Friday the 6th of March 2015 Part 2 – Friday the 3rd of April 2015 Part 3 – Friday the 1st of May 2015 Part 4 – Friday the 5th of June 2015 Part 5 – Friday the 3rd of July 2015 Part 6 – Friday the 7th of August 2015 Part 7 – Friday the 4th of September 2015 Part 8 – Friday the 2nd of October 2015 Part 9 – Friday the 6th of November 2015 Part 10 – Friday the 4th of December 2015 Part 11 – Friday the 1st of January 2016 Part 12 – Friday the 5th of February 2016 Part 13 – Friday the 4th of March 2016 Part 14 – Friday the 1st of April 2016 Part 15 – Friday the 6th of May 2016 Part 16 – Friday the 3rd of June 2016

Author Bio Born in Georgetown, Malaysia to Australian parents Scot was raised in Australia from the age of one. He has written and directed several independent feature films and plays, and performs live comedy. He is also deeply concerned with environmental causes and alternative economic systems, and yes he does believe in love.

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Twitter @scot_mcphie

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