Archive for February, 2012

Outside Inspiration

February 28, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 3 Comments →

The weather has been so nice that I’ve been spending time outside in the park. I love to people watch. When I people watch I like to make up stories about those I see. It’s fun working up a story about someone I don’t know.

The other day I was walking and I saw this older couple in front of me holding hands. Then I saw a younger couple across the street doing the same. I imagined them as a before and after. As I went to the park I was thinking of how they meet and their relationship throughout the years. I had a great time coming up with things they did and experienced. By the time I sat on a bench in the park I had my notebook out and was writing what I had come up with from the outside inspiration.

McKenna Jeffries
http://www.mckennajeffries.com/
…. sensual, edgy, unexpected

Blog: http://www.mckennajeffries.com/blog
Updates Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/McKennaJeffriesList
Free Reads Site: http:/ /www.satinnotes.com/

Conquering Jazz – What’s a woman to do when she unwittingly makes a tantalizing proposition to her best friend?

Be brazen, bold and set some ground rules. Her offer. One night of carnal bliss. No emotion allowed.

His counter offer. A continued affair to fulfill all their sexual cravings.

His hidden agenda. Conquer to make sure their affair never ends.

Buy here at Liquid Silver Book.

How Darkness Won the War by Deborah Jackson

February 25, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 15 Comments →

Time Meddlers on the Nile

When I used to think of WWII, a number of concepts and images would always spring to mind, and consequently these led me to write about the time period.

Heroism

Endurance

Suffering

Pain

Perseverance

Sacrifice

And yes, there were images of darkness too.

Death

Ruthless murder

Extermination

Wholesale slaughter

But I never associated darkness with winning the war until I read a review of this book:

All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939-1945. The book concludes that the USSR ultimately defeated Germany because they could match savagery for savagery. Quote:“Only in the end, when the allies matched their foes inhumanity by dropping the bombs at Hiroshima did we emerge as victors.”

In a way, my image of the world was shattered. I thought that our way of life, our values of freedom and democracy, our determination to defeat evil in this world led to victory. Oh, I wasn’t naive enough to think there weren’t horrible atrocities committed on both sides, but I always equated the dark with the Nazis for obvious reasons. Through reading our romantic books based on “The Hero’s Journey” we have this ideal that the light will prevail, no matter the circumstances. That we can fight with heads held high, that we don’t have to stoop to the baser level.

But this book said otherwise, and this book is probably right.

We never would have won without the savagery of the USSR and the nuclear holocaust. We fought for the right reasons, and our way of life is now (for the most part) free of blood baths and human sacrifice, but we ultimately won by embracing the darkness.

When I began writing the Time Meddlers series I had this black and white concept of story, the romanticized ideal. My main characters, a defiant, neglected boy called Matt—struggling with life absent his parents—and his intelligent, cautious sidekick, Sarah—dealing with parental divorce and an abrupt move—were nonetheless always concerned with the light. When they discovered Matt’s father’s invention – a time machine based on the concept of multiple universes – and they had the opportunity to rectify mistakes of the past, they hastened to do so. European-First Nations’ divisions and marginalization, First Nations’ wars, spies in WWII delivered into the Nazis’ hands due to reckless mistakes on the part of the Special Operations Executive (Churchill’s spy organization): these were all dealt with in a heroic manner, even as young teenagers. The villain, Nadine, began as most do in children’s books – the Count Olaf to our Baudelaire children, the Mrs. Coulter to our Lyra – the cardboard villain with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

But soon things became more gray. When entering the world of First Nations’ wars, I came to realize there was no right or wrong side. Within the dark abyss of the Nazi kingdom – Nazi-occupied Holland – my villain developed a conscience. In the most recent book, Time Meddlers on the Nile, my characters had to make decisions that no teenager should be required to make, but perhaps in this very strange world, they should be allowed to think about. Matt, my most moral (and at times hilarious) of creatures had to momentarily embrace the darkness.

I didn’t come to this decision lightly. But I find too often the climactic choices in children’s books are made too cut and dry. Light and darkness has a clear division. Even in the Harry Potter series, which I loved, the choice of Harry’s self-sacrifice, though no doubt agonizing, was nothing new. Would he ever sacrifice one of his friends? I wonder. We always think of self-sacrifice as the hardest choice anyone would need to make, but is it? Would we be able to embrace the darkness to allow light to survive?

We have before, as seen above. Maybe we need to let our children know that circumstances sometimes demand an impossible choice. Sometimes darkness is the only thing that can defeat darkness.

Now that I’ve totally depressed you, I need to let you know that once you enter the world of Time Meddlers, I have no intention of beating you on the head with these “very serious” concepts. Time Meddlers is first of all a madcap adventure series, at times a hilarious romp, and will hopefully leave you breathless as you scoot from one dangerous encounter to the next. There’s also a budding romance ;) But don’t take my word for it. You can read the lighter side of Time Meddlers on my website. I have excerpts available of the first chapters of each of my novels: Time Meddlers, Time Meddlers Undercover, Time Meddlers on the Nile, and a tongue-in-cheek mini-adventure, free on my blog: Mars Maze (part of Matt and Sarah’s Misadventures).

I don’t want children to agonize over the complex issues in our world, (and often they miss the point of the books altogether anyway as they gobble up the adventure) but I think I would be remiss if I pretended they didn’t exist.

Kat Martin talks about researching “the strip” …

February 23, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Contests, Guest Blogger 32 Comments →

Against the Night, by Kat Martin

*** Would love your comments! You may win a copy of AGAINST THE NIGHT! ***

For years I wrote historical romance novels.  The time-frame and settings demanded a lot of research.  Now I’m writing mostly Contemporary Romantic suspense and the odd thing is, in a different way, they required just as much research as the historicals. 

For AGAINST THE NIGHT, my latest release, out the end of February, my husband and I headed for
Los Angeles.  Of course, having been raised in theSan Joaquin Valley about a hundred miles away, I’d spent a lot of time in L.A. and pretty well knew my way around.  But AGAINST THE NIGHT is set on the Sunset Strip, and I wanted to refresh my memory and also learn a little more about the night life on the Strip.

The novel is Johnnie Riggs’ story, the fifth in my AGAINST series, that started with Against the Wind.  Johnnie’s an ex-Army Ranger turn P.I, whose specialty is the underbelly of the city.  He knows the Strip, lives and works in of an apartment that looks out over his domain.  In a place called the Kitty Cat Club where he’s working on assignment, Johnnie first spots Angel Fontaine, a petite blond exotic dancer. 

From the moment he sees her, John Riggs wants her in his bed.  The problem is that Angel Fontaine is really Amy Brewer, a kindergarten teacher from Michigan, a young woman risking her life to find her missing sister, whose job she has taken in the club.

For our research trip, we stayed at the London West Hollywood, a swanky hotel just off the Strip that caters to rock stars, international travelers, and the hip crowd.  A great place for a writer to just sit and do some serious people watching.

My hubby and I went to dinner at a restaurant called Boa our first night in town, kind of an in-spot for the neighborhood.  The next night we walked the Strip.

What a fun experience that turned out to be!  Not only did it help me get a feel for the area, but as we were meandering along, we walked into a large, old-fashioned bookstore, long-established in the area.  I had just hit the New York Times for my second AGAINST book, which my hubby told the booksellers and they were really excited for me.

So excited they insisted we stop by a little offbeat restaurant they said had great Mexican food and they were sure we would love.  We almost didn’t go.  It was getting late and we were leaving for home in the morning.  Then we thought, what the heck?  Let’s go inside and at least say hello.

We were glad we did!  The booksellers had called ahead and the owner was waiting–with a flight of some expensive brand of tequila, which he insisted we drink to celebrate the Times list.  I’m a wine drinker normally, but this just looked like fun and so we tried it and it was amazing.

Then someone came in and brought us a flight of cocoa tequila and peppermint tequila and so we tried those, too.  We were walking not driving, but still… 

I was glad when the food arrived and the booksellers were right–the meal was delicious.  Or maybe everything just tastes wonderful after a few shots of tequila!

I hope you’ll look for AGAINST THE NIGHT and that you enjoy Johnnie and Amy’s story.  After that, AGAINST THE SUN will be out the end of May.  Till then, all best and happy reading, Kat

(more…)

Brita Addams – Demands of the Heart Book Tour

February 22, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 15 Comments →

Why I Write Erotic Regency Romance

Brita Addams

I am writing this strictly as an author who prayed fervently for publisher recognition and finally found it. As a person who doesn’t ‘jump the gun’ as my mother used to say, I did my homework before deciding to write something I hoped one day would find its way into a reader’s hands, hands that didn’t belong to someone I was related to.

Much like the experience our parents were always talking about us getting, in order to write anything, it had to be something I knew about. I love romance and I also love history, particularly American and British. Reading Regency romance was almost a given, a perfect fit. The Regency was a time of social strictures and mores the like of which we, in our times, have never seen. As an author, I enjoy putting my characters into situations that are contrary to social expectations. When I can take an aristocrat and reduce him to mush with one look or touch from a feisty, independent lady or another gentlemen, I am a happy camper.

To write a romance novel, one must know the genre and the subgenres they chose. For me, research is a natural thing, as I love to learn new things. Research helps to bring the time period to life, placing the reader, for instance, in a carriage in Hyde Park at the height of the fashionable hour or in a ballroom, lit by beeswax candles and populated by some in the ton whose habits of hygiene leave much to be desired. I’ve read hundreds of Regencies, still do, and the quality of the story always depends upon the author’s degree of research, her knowledge of human nature, the way she handles the language patterns, and her ability to connect with her characters.

In addition, it is a given that romance and sex sells or so my research tells me. Therefore, I took my writing one step further and created an erotic setting, where my characters can act upon their baser instincts. In the case of Lucien and Serenity Damrill, in my book, Serenity’s Dream, Lucien owns the Sapphire Club, a sex club he has molded into a place where those of noble blood and those who are possessed of a more perverse nature, can retreat.

To date, I’ve written eight Regencies, all but one being erotic romances. That one was written under the name Tina Ordone, while all the others were written under my pen name, Brita Addams, a rather clever combination of my real middle name and my husband’s, with some modification.

I love the elements of erotic romances, as it allows the characters to eventually give in to their desires and while the reader may see it coming, often the characters don’t, at least not at the time it actually happens.

Readers will find that in Demands of the Heart. Richard and Victoria have much suffering to do before the pay-off, and I’ll leave it to the reader to tell me if it’s as satisfying as I think it is.

The books I write combine love and the conflicts inherent in that wonderful emotion. I love a broken hero and a heroine or the other hero, who owns the tool kit to fix them. The books are sexually graphic and depict people at their best and worst. They show life as it is behind closed doors, where the language of desire and lust is spoken in plain terms, which doesn’t necessarily mean there are f-bombs being dropped every five seconds.

Readers aren’t to be underestimated, again a fact found in research. They like sophisticated, savvy novels and won’t be told what type of sexual content they should read. They can certainly choose their own reading and do so every day, by selecting books that allow them to get away and enter another world, while satisfying their craving for either adventure, romance, or some other form of entertaining escape.

I hope readers will enjoy Demands of the Heart. It is actually the first book I wrote, but has undergone a complete rewrite before publication. After I wrote it, under the working title, Her Inconvenient Marriage, I knew there was something missing, something I wanted to embellish on and I’ve done that. Nothing like fresh eyes on a story that sat on the hard drive for a couple of years.

Here’s the blurb from Demands of the Heart:

In 1807, idealistic Richard Fanshaw and Victoria Bramhill are consumed with each other, their young love blooming amidst a series of carefree soirees and stolen moments.

But jealousy and greed turn what they have into something ugly and twisted. They’re wrenched apart amid vile lies and deceit when Victoria’s freedom is bought to pay her father’s debts.

Six years later, Victoria is widowed and a cynical Richard has just returned to England after years in India.  Having been given the impression that Victoria’s marriage was a happy one, a chance meeting renews Richard’s anger over Victoria’s betrayal and sets in motion a plan for revenge.

One must answer the demands of the heart.

To read an excerpt and purchase, click here: Demands of the Heart

I’d love to hear from you. You can find me at any of these places:

Email address: britaaddams@gmail.com

Website

Blog

Twitter: @britaaddams

Facebook

Goodreads Page

undefined To celebrate the release of Demand’s of the Heart, Noble Romance Publishing is offering my entire backlist at 20% off. This is for sales on the Noble Romance Publishing site only and only my titles.

There’s no limit. Buy one book, or all seven, you’ll get 20% off your purchase. The eligible titles are: Serenity’s Dream; Lord Decadent’s Obsession; Chocolate, Tea, and the Duchess; The Rogue’s Salvation; A Minute After Midnight; An Evening at the Starlight, and the book I wrote under the name Tina Ordone, Her Timeless Obsession.

The price you’ll see is the reduced price.

The sale will run from midnight, Pacific time, February 20 to 11:59 pm Pacific time, March 2.

This is a backlist sale, so it doesn’t include Demands of the Heart.

I have several contests running during the book tour, ending at midnight, March 2.

Contest #1:

<!–[if !vml]–>Daily Winner<!–[endif]–>I’ll choose a daily winner from the commenters. I’ll will be giving away an ebook from my backlist at each stop. The only exclusion is Demands of the Heart. One book per commenter, please.

Contest #2:

Demands of the Heart T-Shirt Contest:

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>For this contest, you’ll have to read Demands of the Heart. If you answer the three questions correctly, you could be one of four winners. The prize will be a T-Shirt with the cover of the book on it. The shirt also says that the cover is model, Jimmy Thomas’s 1500th cover. There will be four winners, each winning a T-Shirt and other swag.

All answers are found on Brita’s website.

Please do NOT put the answers in the comments section of this blog or on Brita’s site. Email them to Brita, with T-Shirt Answers in the subject line.

  1. What book did I write under another name?
  2. Who is the character, Lucien Damrill, patterned after?
  3. Describe the signature brandy snifter at the Sapphire Club.

Contest #3: GRAND PRIZE

This contest is about Demands of the Heart. Of course, you’re under no obligation to buy or read the book, but if you choose to, this contest is for you.

I’ve put three questions up on my website, all relating to my book, Demands of the Heart. Answer the questions and EMAIL me, with the answers, at britaaddams@gmail.com  Be sure to put GRAND PRIZE in the subject line.

You must have all three questions answered correctly to be entered into the drawing.

The Grand Prize is the entire Sapphire Club series in print, signed by the author. I’ll also include some other signed swag.

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>

Good luck and I hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you so much for having me. I truly appreciate it.

Protect Your Reputation

February 21, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 4 Comments →

By Whispers Publishing

 

Authors have all heard that they need to build up their reputations in order to find a niche in the marketplace. But there are positive ways to go about it. In Hollywood, bad publicity equals a bad reputation. Think Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen. It’s the same for authors. So how do you avoid getting a bad reputation?

Don’t Spam—if you want reviewers, other authors and your potential readers to be open to you and your work, don’t spam them. No one likes to wake up to find junk mail filling their inbox—and that they received the same email last week! A personal letter is not spam, but sending it to 200 people you don’t really know IS spam unless they’ve voluntarily signed up for your newsletter.

Don’t Burn Bridges—Sure, you might believe wholeheartedly that your book is the best thing to ever grace the bookshelves, but the first time you get a bad review and slam that person for it, you’ve just called down some bad karma. Being coined as difficult to work with is also going to get around the industry. In publishing, you never know how many pen names a person may have. Your editor at one house might be a publisher at another, and they won’t bother to look at your book if you flamed them for their editing skills.

Don’t Forget the Little People—and by this I mean the people who have supported you in your career. That includes readers! Some authors believe they are too good to bother to respond to emails or talk to fans. Don’t forget they’ve put you where you are!

Keeping these tips in mind will keep your reputation unsoiled. While most of us are hiding behind our computers, it’s possible that we’re giving off the wrong vibes. Be kind, use your heads, and have fun!

Whispers Publishing

http://whispershome.com

Author Joey Hill

February 15, 2012 By: Romance Junkies Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 53 Comments →

Something About Witches is Coming! 

Ruby Night Divine is a gun shop owner. She’s also a witch who knows magic can fail. She’s experienced it firsthand, with full-blown tragic consequences. Smith & Wesson is a whole hell of a lot more reliable, and nothing’s as cathartic as the ability to put a few holes in the things that piss you off. Like Derek Stormwind.

A powerful sorcerer, Derek is determined to get to the bottom of why she pushed him away and ran three years before. He also needs her help. A coven needs training to help them fight a demon and his minions. While Ruby is willing to do it, she’s sure it’s just a ruse to get back in her heart—and her bed. The thing is, that’s where she wants him. Unfortunately, her bed’s already made, she’s this close to losing her soul, and she fears nothing can save her. Not Derek. Not even Smith & Wesson.

* * * * *

So begins the first book of my new Arcane Shot series. The joke about this series is that it was spawned by my agent suggesting that I pitch a paranormal mass market series to Berkley. During that discussion, she added, “Oh, and make it something about witches.” Snort. What’s particularly funny about that is the title came from a purely independent suggestion from the editor, several months down the road. One of the many little weird kismet moments in the publishing world.

The idea was for this book/series to be a bit lighter in emotional and erotic intensity than my usual stuff. Hmm. Well, my creative scales tip heavily toward the dark side, but I did make an honest effort. Promise. The good thing is, by starting out with every intention of working on the lighter side of things, I stumbled onto a cast of wonderful characters. A modern-day sorcerer who wears a cowboy hat and dragonskin boots, and a witch who runs a gun shop? The sparks flying between Derek and Ruby pulled me right in. Ruby also has a best friend, Raina, who’s a half-succubus/all witch and runs a bordello staffed by sex demons. She doesn’t care for Derek at all, and since he’s essentially a paranormal cop, she rubs him the wrong way as well. Oh, and Ruby has an elderly mastiff named Theo, not the usual witch’s familiar (lol).

Would you like the chance to take an early peek at all of them? There’s a chapter one excerpt on my website. If you leave a comment or question on this post, you’ll also be eligible for a giveaway (domestic or international) of one of my titles, your choice. Hope you enjoy Derek and Ruby’s story!

Amazon Book Link

Author Website: www.storywitch.com

Author Roni Loren

February 15, 2012 By: Romance Junkies Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 31 Comments →

Mixing Humor with Dark Themes 

One of the first things a writer tries to discover and develop when she first starts writing is her voice. Voice can mean a lot of things–how an author puts words together, their tone, their style–but mostly it’s how the author tells the story. Voice is how you know without looking at the cover that a book is written by one of your favorite authors even if you aren’t familiar with the story.

I discovered pretty early on that my voice leaned toward humor and sarcasm. Of course, that means I should probably try to write romantic comedy or some fun contemporary YA, right? Well, maybe. But my writer brain doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with that. No, instead I get story ideas that involve BDSM and murderers and characters recovering from trauma. My ideas have dark themes and my writer voice is wry. How the heck was that supposed to work?

Well, I discovered as I was writing CRASH INTO YOU that the two didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Many of us, including myself, use humor as a defense mechanism when we’re faced with stressful or uncomfortable situations. So that’s how I wrote my heroine, Brynn. She’s tough, she’s been through hell, and she’s facing a very difficult situation now, but her dry sense of humor is her way of lightening the very heavy circumstances she finds herself in. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Reid, the hero, can go toe to toe with her in the sarcasm department. Makes for some fun exchanges. : ) Hope you’ll check out the book!

CRASH INTO YOU Blurb: 

Sometimes the past can bring you to your knees… Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat—a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one Master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past. Brynn knows what attorney Reid Jamison is like once stripped of his conservative suit and tie. Years ago she left herself vulnerable only to have him crush her heart. Now she needs him again. Back on top. And he’s all too willing to engage. But as their primal desires and old wounds are exposed, the sexual games escalate—and so does the danger.  Their hearts aren’t the only things at risk. Someone else is watching, playing by his own rules. And his game could be murder. Author website: www.roniloren.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/roniloren 

Author Bio: (don’t have to include but just in case you needed it)Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that’s it.

Author Tori St. Clare

February 15, 2012 By: Romance Junkies Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 27 Comments →

 Stripped was a new horizon in so many ways, and I have to say that I loved every moment of the exciting journey it took me on.  The best part was crafting the character(s) I have always wanted to, but never quite had the courage to give it a whirl.

I wanted characters who provoked a bit of discomfort and didn’t walk a clear line of right or wrong.  When that first character ended up being a woman, the rest of the plot was doubly fun, particularly when it led to the creation of her allies, the Black Opals. Natalya executes missions that would make the average person pray for an early grave.  She works with Sergei, Alexei, and other operatives who make appearances in the second Black Opal book, LIE TO ME (July 2012).  Although she’s fighting the good fight, her duties take her places, both internally and externally, that are, at best, questionable.  At worst, they are despicable. 

It was fun to shove open doors I had knocked on in other writing endeavors. To dig in and draw out the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the downright ugly.  When the book became erotic, more doors slammed open.  More boundaries were obliterated.  The tension ratcheted up several degrees, the danger escalated.  It also gave me more freedom to go where I dared. 

Stripped is a dark and edgy erotic romantic suspense that many have said “made them think”.  It deals with the horrifying crime of human trafficking and an indomitable Russian mafia that breeches international boundaries.  At times, it might make you uncomfortable, but I hope you’ll give it a try.  Between the danger, the secrets, and the intense passion, I think, if nothing else, you’ll be surprised 

Body of secrets…

As a member of the CIA’s elite, Black Opals, Natalya Trubachev must live a lie, working undercover as the lover of Dmitri, a Russian mob boss. His business is trafficking vulnerable

Las Vegas strippers overseas for twisted sex games. Natalya’s business is to blow the ring wide open and bring down Dmitri and his American contacts. But the stakes are raised when she learns that the next target is her own sister Kate, a dancer in the famed club Fantasia. Only now does Natalya realize how personal her mission has become, and how far she’s willing to go to complete it.

Body of lies…The manager of Fantasia is Brandon Moretti, an undercover detective who keeps a close eye on his girls, and an even closer one on his sinfully sensual hire. For Natalya, working the club could be the break she’s been waiting for. But for Moretti, Natalya is a possible link to a killer. Only he never counted on her being so lethally seductive or so dangerous to get close to.  As every forbidden pleasure between them is stripped away, his own secrets threaten their security, but it’s Natalya’s that could destroy them both. BUY LINK:  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Stripped+tori+st+claire  www.toristclaire.com

www.claireashgrove.com

Twitter: @Claireashgrove.com 

A new day

February 13, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 4 Comments →

I’ve been thinking about something that has been bothering me or a while now. Very recently I’ve gone through and epiphany of sorts. These things bring realizations that affect you and then change your conceptions. That is what has happened to me a change. A change which might not be noticeable right away to others but I know it and feel it. It’s a new day.

Taige Crenshaw
http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/
…increasing the sizzle factor

Blog: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/blog
Chat Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crenshawcafe
Newsletter: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/newsletterandgroups.shtml
Free Reads Site: http://www.satinnotes.com/

Wilde Rapture – When a woman ducks into an alcove at a wedding she meets the man who is intriguing and will tempt her.

Buy here at Total-E-Bound.

Interview with Buck, the Hero of Restored Dreams

February 08, 2012 By: Romance Junkies Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 8 Comments →

Restored Dreams

restoreddreamscoverart72dpi.jpg                      kens-photos-002-web-size.jpg 

Blurb

Her roof leaks, the plumbing, too, but on a teacher’s salary Treasure Montgomery can barely pay the taxes on her property, so the list of needed repairs to the grand Victorian house she inherited from the aunt who raised her continues to grow.

Treasure surrounds herself with other people’s children, seeking some fulfillment in an otherwise empty life until she meets Buck. A retired rodeo rider turned philanthropist, Buck willingly donates his labor to anyone who needs a helping hand, spending his father’s ill-gotten fortune to make amends for his father’s bad deeds, but Treasure wants no part of his charity.

Buck persists. Treasure resists, and he turns to subterfuge to get around the obstacles she throws in his path. She learns the truth and fears she might lose her house to Buck. How wrong can a woman be about the man with whom she’s fallen in love? 

 

Restored Dreams

Excerpt: 

Teaching at Lakeview Middle School is a breeze. Holding this Victorian house together is what’s sapping my energy, Treasure Montgomery thought as she approached her ranch east of San Diego.

She stepped into her kitchen after a long day in the classroom, turned her back on the paint peeling off the hundred-year-old cabinets, and reached for The Thrifties.

First things first. I may as well get this over with.

The unread mail could wait. Finding another repairman to finish her upstairs bath repairs couldn’t. Not when the man she’d hired to do the work had ripped up her floor, then quit.

She started making calls.

Nine calls later, she was no nearer finding a handyman she’d trust to do the work. Some of the men she talked to had even laughed at her.

“You’ll pay what?”

“Try me again next fall.”

“Get real, lady.”

What am I going to do?

At the sound of a vehicle turning down her drive, Treasure glanced up. Who did she know who drove an antique truck?

Through the kitchen curtains — those needed replacing, too — she watched a tall man unfold and step out of the carefully-maintained blue truck. His jean-clad legs, like parallel train tracks, were slim and straight. A wide-brimmed Stetson hat hid his face, but she had no trouble making out wide shoulders that narrowed to the belt slung low at his waist.

He was billboard handsome, and not anyone she knew, but he’d look great on her horse. Make that any horse.

Experiencing the usual uneasiness the sudden appearance of a stranger brought, Treasure froze, debating her options as she stared at the closed back door.

Lock it and pretend no one is home?No. Aunt Bee did that. Not me.

The sound of footsteps crossing her porch caused Treasure’s heartbeat to stutter, then drum in her ears.

The man’s knock, as cocky as his walk, rattled the door.

Wouldn’t do to let the stranger know she’d cautiously watched his approach, Aunt Bee would have advised. Treasure patted her hair, making certain her hair tie still kept her long black hair neat, then waited a moment longer before answering the knock.

“Yes?” she said, opening the door a crack.

“Miss Montgomery?” the man said and removed his hat.

Hmm. Tall. Bushy brown eyebrows overshadowed his eyes but overall, she liked his looks, although he could use a haircut. Chestnut curls hid his ears and the back collar of his denim work shirt.

She nodded.

“Evening, Ma’am. My name’s Buck. Angela Turner called to say you got yourself in some kind of bind and could use my help.”

“Never trust a man with a Southern drawl,” Aunt Bee always warned, an Aunt Bee-ism Treasure wanted to heed, but this man’s mellow way of speaking touched something deep inside, warming her and almost making her smile.

Treasure sighed. “I’m sorry, there’s been a misunderstanding. You see, I teach with Angela and happened to mention that the man I’d hired quit. She never should have called you. I told her I didn’t like the idea of hiring a stranger to work on my house, no matter how highly you come recommended.”

“Appreciate that,” he said, grinning.

“You’re the carpenter who did the Community Hall roof?”

“The church, too,” he said with a grin guaranteed to make women swoon.

Not Treasure. Her first night out with a devastatingly handsome man, he’d destroyed her trust. Now she was immune to good looking men, but apparently not immune to this man’s softly-spoken drawl.

Watch yourself.

Buck cleared his throat. “Nice rural setting for a Victorian house. Now, if you’ll just show me where–”

Unnerved, she tugged on her long hair. “No, I-I can’t do that, but thank you. I’ve lived in Lakeview almost all my life.”

Her stammered words rocked him back on his heels and he cocked his head. “It’s gonna be kinda hard to estimate the work involved if you won’t let me come in.”

Now she felt foolish. She hesitated a moment longer, then stepped aside. “You’re right. It’s just that I don’t have much money, and Hank, the man I’d hired, came–”

“Cheap?” he finished with another wide grin and ducked entering the house. “I understand he quit.”

As he straightened, Treasure gulped. Beware men who–

No. No more isms. This is my house now.

Aunt Bee hated men.

Even after what happened to me, I don’t.

Right or wrong, a man deserved the chance to prove himself.

Even Buck?

His wide shoulders seemed to dwarf her kitchen, and her.

In need of reassurance, Treasure patted her hair again. “It’s the master bath, upstairs. I guess it won’t hurt to just let you see.”

“No, ma’am.”

The way he said ma’am made her feel like a queen watching her favorite knight paying homage on bended knee, a sensation she’d never experienced before.

“This way.” Shoving the uninvited image to the far recesses of her mind, she led him to the stairs, then started up, suddenly self-conscious, feeling his eyes on…

Not my hair, my butt.

“I’m afraid the hall outside the bathroom is a mess,” she murmured, turning sideways to direct his attention elsewhere as she reached the top step.

No, no. This is worse. Now his eyes are on my–

“That’s understandable,” he said with a knowing grin. “You’d have no use for me if everything was in perfect repair, now would you, ma’am?”

Treasure laughed as she reached the landing and turned right. “True.”

“Hmm. Nice view.”

She clenched her fists. How dare he?

She swung around, prepared to boot Buck down the stairs for his unwelcome remark and discovered him peering out the landing window at the barn and the rolling hills beyond.

Oh. That view.

“Is that all yours?”

“I own everything to the base of those hills.”

“Nice,” he repeated, striding toward her.

“Yes, it is,” she agreed, scurrying ahead of him down the hall. And you’re even taller than I thought.

Author: We’re welcoming Bradley Harrington Coleman III to this blog today, a former rodeo ride best known for his championship bull-riding. Bradley, tell us a little more about you.

 

Buck: First, ma’am, let’s get something straight. Nobody calls me Bradley. 

Author: What should I call you? 

Buck: Buck is the handle I’d prefer. 

Author: Don’t tell me you’re the Buck folks in Lakeview are calling the White Knight? 

Buck: Can’t rightly say, ma’am. I’ve been Buck for over ten years, and that’s how I think of myself, just plain ole Buck. 

Author: Some folks in Lakeview are calling you “Bill Gates on a horse.” What do you have to say about that? 

Buck: (Grining) Speck I’ve been called worse. 

Author: It’s true, then, that you’ve been giving away your family’s fortune? 

Buck: Only to those I deem deserving, but why is it upsetting folks? I have more money than I need, more than I’ll ever be able to spend in this lifetime, so why shouldn’t I share with those less fortunate? Who can find fault with that? 

Author: No one’s faulting the new roof you put on the community hall and the new roof on a Lakeview church, but what’s this I hear about you putting a new roof on that old Victorian house North of town, the house the pretty middle-school teacher owns? 

Buck: She’s pretty all right, and has a heart as big as Montana. Did you know she even devotes her Saturdays to kids? Holds a story hour for leukemia patients at Children’s Hospital and teaches equine therapy classes for abused children. Her new roof was just my way of showing her my appreciation for all she does for local kids. 

Author: What brought you to Lakeview, Buck? How did you hear about our small town? 

Buck: Off the record? My grandfather was the lying investor who cheated Lakeview residents out of their life savings by promising them the railroad he represented was coming right through their town. When the smooth talker absconded with their hard-earned cash I hear he broke one of those lady’s hearts. 

Author: What about folks comparing you to Bill Gates? Any truth to that? 

Buck: I like to think my philanthropy is more personal. I’ve met and talked with everyone I’ve ever helped. Church congregations, too. I even involved church members in the work. I believe it raises a man’s self-respect when he can point to a wall or roof and say, I helped put that up? 

Author: Looks like it’s working. What’s this I hear about starting a home for neglected and abused boys? 

Buck: (Grin widens.) Treasure’s fondest dream and I hope to make it a reality for her. 

Author: Like restoring her house to its original splendor? 

Buck: Can’t blame a man for trying. 

Author: Sounds to me like you’ve fallen in love with Lakeview’s favorite teacher. 

Buck: Hasn’t everyone? 

Author: Maybe so. Thanks for the interview, Buck. Guess I better let you get back to Restoring Treasure’s Dreams. 

Restored Dreams is available for download here:

 

http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/Toni%20Noel/Page.bok

 

or here:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Toni+Noel&x=13&y=20

 

or wherever eBooks are sold.

 

Leave a comment for Buck to be entered in a drawing for a download of Restored Dreams.

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