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Easy Nutella Toffee Pie by J.M. Maurer, Author of Seeking Love (Emerging From Darkness Book 1)

15 Apr

In the Emerging From Darkness trilogy, we meet Jessica Winters, the registered nurse who spends more time eating chocolate than making anything from it, and Matthew Moi, the sexy sex therapist who knows a great deal about the sexual benefits of cocoa, but prefers caramel. Throughout their growing relationship, the two are constantly waging a loving war, using each of their second loves—chocolate and caramel—to rile the other. So, it is only fitting that today we whip up something they both can enjoy:

Toffee Nutella PieEasy Nutella Toffee Pie 


8oz Cream Cheese (softened)

12oz Cool Whip

2/3 Cup of Nutella (Okay, I’ll be honest, I use a tad more)

1 Cup Toffee Bits

1 Graham Cracker or Oreo cookie pie crust (I use Oreo, of course)


In an electric mixer, mix together cream cheese and Nutella. Add cool whip and mix on LOW until combined. Stir in ¾ of the bits. Pour mixture into crust and top with the remaining bits.

***Chill for at least 2 hours***


Warning: This recipe works very well with strawberries—You get the idea. If not, Dr. Moi is accepting new patients. ;-)

Seeking Love (Emerging From Darkness Book 1) a contemporary romance by J.M. MaurerSeeking Love (Emerging From Darkness Book 1)


Every day, Jessica Winters does what she does best—bury herself in patient care within the walls of the neuro intensive care unit, keeping herself busy to escape the dark sadness that controls her life. But the day she sees Matthew Moi, the intriguing man seated at her new patient’s bedside, her shattered heart begins to frantically beat once again.

As Matthew pins his mesmerizing gaze upon her, trying to distract her with his humorous and playful banter, she does her best to ignore him. Somehow he already knows a great deal about her, breaking down Jessica’s barriers and awakening her soul, drawing her out of the darkness and into his arms.

When her painful past resurfaces, revealing truths that threaten her future, Jessica struggles through her issues and fights to stay on a healing path . . . seeking love.


One thing I knew: I wasn’t that woman anymore. I wouldn’t be her anymore.

My heart was racing at the thought of being separated from Matthew by only the door, and I watched as it opened, knowing he stood mere feet away. I drew in a deep breath to calm my frantic nerves and steady my racing heart. It was the moment my eyes would see him again, and the same moment I knew all involuntary muscle movements would cease.

As Matthew stepped in and around the door, his alluring eyes captured me. The feeling was nothing new. I’d been imprisoned by his gaze before. And locked in it again, I watched as he drifted to me, the indisputable chemistry between us palpable and absolute. His mesmerizing eyes had hypnotized my burning soul, completely bewitching me.

“Hello, Jessica,” he murmured, pointing to an open area of the bed. “Mind if I sit?”

I gave a slight shake of my head, having difficulty forming the simple word “no,” and watched as he made himself comfortable facing me. His crisp charcoal-colored trousers bunched as he scooted on the bed. My sight roamed along his classic plum-colored dress shirt and stopped searching once I focused on his face.

Buy Seeking Love (Emerging From Darkness Book 1)

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JM Maurer authorpicAbout the Author: JM Maurer is the author of the Emerging From Darkness trilogy—Seeking Love, Seeking Redemption, and Seeking Hope. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, she enjoys writing about health and wellness, infusing every emotion into her stories from laughter to tears. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, loves being outdoors, and, of course, consuming chocolate from around the world.

Find J.M. Maurer Here:

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The Godwinsons in The Norman Conquest Series by Ashley York, Author of The Gentle Knight

6 Apr

The Gentle Knight, a historical romance by Ashley YorkThanks so much for having me on your blog today, Babette. I’ve just released The Gentle Knight which is the second in The Norman Conquest Series. I’d like to put the series into context and talk a little about some of my characters ,especially the Godwinsons since they carry through all three books.

The Norman Conquest Series takes place in 1074 and 1075, after Duke William of Normandy crossed the English channel with a thousand long boats, seven thousand soldiers, and at least three thousand horses to win the day at the Battle of Hastings in England. He was fighting against the forces of the newly crowned King Harold Godwinson. Both Harold and William claimed the right to be king at Edward the Confessor’s death but since Harold was with him when he died, Harold was the first to the crown. He was also already known to the court. His whole family was known to the court.

The Godwinson family was very powerful in England. They followed in their father’s footsteps working closely and ingratiating themselves with the Kings. This relationship was not without its problems. When they ticked King Edward off, he sent them away, exiling them to Ireland. He would eventually get over it and let them come back. This is the back drop for a lot of excitement and I’ve incorporated it into my writing with very entertaining speculation and political intrigue. Crossing from Ireland to England and back again, the questions of where these Godwinsons may have gone and what kind of plans or connections they may have been making is exciting to think about.

The Saxon Bride, a historical romance by Ashley YorkThe first in the series, The Saxon Bride, is about John, the man who killed the brother of King Harold, Leofwine. He is betrothed by King William to Rowena, who just happens to be the daughter of Leofwine. Talk about awkward. A Norman and a Saxon being forced to marry would be difficult enough but throw in the murder of the bride’s father? How could they ever work that out?

The second book is The Gentle Knight. It tells the story of Peter, John’s close friend, who returns to Normandy after the end of the first book to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had delivering him. Quite a blow. King William sends him north to the disputed area of York for information. Peter comes across a young lady from Drogheda, Ireland, Brighit, in need of some assistance. She is determined to follow through with her father’s dying request and take her vows at the Priory. The developing attraction the two have for each other is not something either one of them needs.

The third book will be about Brighit’s brother, Tadhg. He was the sixth son of the seventh son of the seventh son. If any of you are Irish and know the legend, it’s the seventh son of the seventh son of the seventh son who is supposed to have magical powers. After Tadhg, only Brighit was born. This is where the connections to the Godwinsons really gets played out.

So here’s a good question for you. Should this book be called The Seventh Son? That was my first inclination but technically it’s about the sixth son—Tadhg. So maybe it should be called The Sixth Son? I’d love your opinions.

I’ll give away an ecopy of The Gentle Knight to one visitor!

Thank you, Babette, for having me here today.


A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won’t be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger?

Padraig MacNaughton’s death bed decree rips his daughter, Brighit, from the shelter of her protective clan in Ireland. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, she finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she’s ever wanted?

Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness?


The barrenness of the countryside would take Brighit some time to get used to. Perhaps it was only this area, but it seemed nothing like her home which was so lush and green. She missed her family. A tightness began to build in her throat but Brighit refused to acknowledge it. A splashing sound came to her from just beyond the tree stand.

She glanced back the way she’d come. The need to return immediately or confront Ivan’s wrath had her clenching her teeth. That splash sounded very much like the lake Lachlann had mentioned. A chance to clean her face and hands in a refreshing body of water rather than with a soaked cloth? The heat in that confined carriage was making her wilt. She sniffed and confirmed her stench was overwhelming. Before even thinking it through, she headed in the direction of the sound.

Brighit paused on the barely discernible path. Sure she heard rustling, she glanced behind at the open field she’d come from. It was empty. Nothing behind her that could make such a sound. Was it a deer perhaps? Taking a few steps farther, the small rise gave way to the breathtaking sight of a small lake. The top glistened like glass without a ripple to disturb its surface.

The slight breeze carried the pungent aroma of honeysuckle and lavender. The plants would be a wonderful thing to find and put in with her few belongings. Each night she would be surrounded by the smell of flowers. Without another thought she headed through the bushes to her right, careful to not make a sound in case the deer were still nearby. Movement along the banks drew her attention and she froze.

A man stood there dripping wet and naked. He pushed his hair away from his face. A handsome face with a strong jaw and a thick brow. She followed the movement of his hands, sloshing the water off his chiseled body. Blond hair spanned his broad chest and across his rippled torso, leading down his muscular legs, glistening in the fading light. His tarse was visible even from this distance. She looked long and hard. Her breathing became labored. Magnificent.

He turned in her direction. She ducked. She held her breath and shivered in the bush, willing her heart to stop pounding so loudly. When she ventured another peek, he was gone. Disappointment welled up inside her gut. She’d wanted nothing more than to sit and watch him, imagine how it would feel to run her hands down his expansive chest and firm body as he had done, to appreciate the rippled strength there. She blew out the breath she’d been holding and licked her dry lips. That certainly wasn’t going to happen, not in this lifetime—as a nun. A small bush of purple flowers brushed her hand and she snatched it. Lavender. The sun was dropping below the hills in the west and she needed to get back. Enough of these wasted desires.

Desire made things happen. It was her grandfather’s favorite saying. As the seventh son, he had been a man of some notoriety among Irish nobility. He was given the Celtic Princess, Faighrah, to wed. When he sired his own seventh son, the other leaders turned to him for guidance, for wisdom, in return for unfailing loyalty. The belief always that the seventh son of the seventh son of the seventh son had a special anointing from God. No evil could befall him.

Brighit was no son and evil seemed a little too close. Ivan had told her he would not hesitate to make up a lie about who she was. Even saying she was his wife. Others would believe him because he was a man. Perhaps a little more protection from the same God who made her a female was not asking too much.

Buy The Gentle Knight at:

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Why I Dislike Novel Series – Guest Post by Andrea Downing, Author of Dances of the Heart

25 Feb

Dances of the Heart, a contemporary women's fiction romance by Andrea DowningI have no idea when the concept of writing several books around the same set of characters first came into being, pretty much replacing the family saga or the juicy mega-novel à la James Michener.   I’m fairly sure it must have been some ‘suit’ in the back room of one of the big New York publishers who thought of this as an ingenious way to garner more money from the unsuspecting reader. Or perhaps it was a reader who made the suggestion pointing out his limited attention span? I personally came across this innovation when I wanted to read the work of an award-winning author and discovered that his romantic opus on the west was to cover seven volumes; I bought the first one out of curiosity and stopped.  Maybe series are good in that, if you can’t stand the writing, you don’t have to go on?

At the moment I’m judging a competition and, out of five books I’ve been given, four are in series.  This is a very telling experience because, of those four, only one is the first book in its series.  So here comes problem Number One with the others:  does the book stand alone?  IMHO, it should.  A reader should be able to pick up a book she thinks may be interesting to read and get the full story, not have constant referrals back to characters and/or situations she doesn’t know.  If she wants to go back because she’s enjoyed the book, that’s one thing, but to force her to go back because the book doesn’t make sense is quite another.  The ‘who the hell is this person?’ situation just doesn’t sit well with me; neither does the ‘when did they attend THAT party?’

Then, of course, there’s the start of the second couple’s relationship when the series is built around several different people.  I don’t mind the introduction of these characters–of course not.   But to suddenly be switched into their POV and have them canoodling, before we’re switched back into the current story, takes me right out of the book with a resounding, WHAT?  Not only that, it leaves certain situations unresolved; you get the HEA but as a bonus, you get other factors leaving you wondering.

I have read series that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed; Julie Garwood’s Claybornes’ Brides/Rosehill series comes to mind.  And I was brought up on Little House on the Prairie, and Nancy Drew, the Bobbsy Twins, and so on.  But each of their books could be read independently and still give enjoyment.  Some authors may be fearful of the repetition needed to re-identify characters and situations and, perhaps, the fervent follower of a series will get annoyed with so much duplication.  But my own gut feeling is that the individual reader who likes the sound of, say, book two, should be able to enjoy that book without feeling left out or forced into a possibly unwanted purchase.

Now, before all the series writers start calling for my blood, let me also say I envy series writers.  Authors have a right to earn from their craft, and if writing a series brings you more readers, well done.  And if you can keep up the momentum of writing about the same characters in several books without it feeling like the story is dragging on, go for it.  All I’m saying here is that each book should be enjoyable in its own right and, sadly, that isn’t always the case.  I’d love to be able to tell the full story of all the characters in my first book, Loveland, and even my latest, Dances of the Heart, could have a Book Two.  But if I go that route, you can be certain I’ll make sure it can stand on its own.

Dances of the Heart

Blurb:  Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.

Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.

On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.

Excerpt: Ray pointed to his pickup, smirking slightly with the knowledge of what her reaction would probably be.

“You must be joking.”

He could hardly hear the mumbled comment, but it was exactly what he’d been expecting.

She glowered, a brow definitively arched in query.  “What year is this thing?”

He attempted to wipe the amusement away from his face with a hand that rubbed his stubble in a satisfying scrape. “Sorry, I left the Cadillac at home this time.” A raised brow questioned if she took him seriously. “It’s an ’89, and still runs as smooth as the day I got it.”

“Which was, what? Last year?”

Ray shook his head and proceeded to the passenger door. “You have the key, sweetheart,” he said, patiently standing and waiting.

“Listen!” Carrie put her hands out as if to stop any further conversation. “First off, I am not your sweetheart. And second, if by any chance you think you just may have gotten lucky tonight–”

“Whoa, whoa now.” Ray was truly mystified at the turn events were taking. “Not that I wouldn’t be honored and damn well pleased, but I sure as heck wasn’t thinkin’ along those lines…and truth be told, you know, I’m hardly up to it.” He considered this for a second, a fog clearing for a moment’s view of the road. “And I don’t mean I need Viagra either.” He noted her staring at the key as if it might turn into something else. “No, it doesn’t open automatically,” he informed her at last.

She shoved the key into the handle and got the door open, climbed up into the cab and reached across to unlock the door for him. Her gaze ran over the dashboard, uncertainty scrunching her face like a bitter fruit.

Ray folded himself into the passenger seat and slouched back, tipping his hat over his eyes. “Just let me know when you give up. I’ll be right here, darl…” Yeah, better not. He could almost feel her indignation, listening as she squirmed around and adjusted the seat.

“It’ll be a cold day in hell, mister, before I give up!” The key turned and the truck sputtered to life, then died again.

“You ever drive manual before?” he mumbled from under his Stetson, and sensed Carrie eyeing him. “That’s what I thought,” he answered to her lack of response. “Put your foot on the clutch, move her into first, release the brake, and get goin’, slowly releasing the clutch.”

“Who the hell drives stick shift anymore?” she muttered as she followed his terse instructions. The truck lurched forward as she spun it off the grass toward the road.

“Right,” Ray directed, feeling suddenly nauseous with the pitch of the car. Bile rising, he opened the door and spat before yanking it shut again. “Can you get the damn thing into second? Foot on the clutch, move the shift and let’s go if we’re going.”

“Fine! You don’t have to yell at me.”

Ray sat up, shoved his hat back from his eyes and glared at her, reining in his frustration and anger. “I was not yelling at you, but you know dang well we’d be far safer with me drivin’. As it is, I’m gonna need a new transmission.”

The truck staggered again. “I know no such thing.” She bent forward to swipe at the windscreen to clear it. “We haven’t got seatbelts on,” she murmured.

“We’re not going fast enough to need them.”

Carrie ignored his last remark and appeared to concentrate on keeping the truck moving. It sputtered again, and Ray let out a sigh of resignation just as flashing blue lights appeared in the side mirror. She pulled over, and the motor unceremoniously died.

“Damn!” she cursed, reaching down for her bag at Ray’s feet. “Let me get my license.”

You Can Buy Dances of the Heart at: 

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press | Barnes and Noble

Andrea Downing, author of Dances of the Heart, a contemporary women's fiction romanceBio: Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born, instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK.   She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit.  Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC.  She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming.  Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west.  Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards.  Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest.   Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014, and Dances of the Heart, her first contemporary novel, came out in February, 2015.

You can find Andrea at:

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Book Spotlight: Destiny Calling by Maureen L. Bonatch

22 Dec

Destiny Calling, a paranormal romance  by Maureen L. BonatchDestiny Calling
The Enchantlings Volume 1
by Maureen L. Bonatch

A Paranormal Romance from The Wild Rose Press
Available on December 22, 2014

Hope doesn’t know if the man she can touch is a dream come true, or a nightmare just beginning.

Hope only wants to find out if her ability to infuse euphoria or despair with her touch makes her the devil’s spawn, or his exterminator. But when the woman who raised her is murdered by something not human, she loses the only family she knew and discovers one she might wish she hadn’t.

Drawn back to the hometown she vowed never to return to, her ability is seen as an asset to everyone but Hope, and she doesn’t know who to trust. Her family wants her to help them overcome an enemy oppressing the human population, while the man of her dreams is courting her for the Underworld.

Time is running out, and Hope’s choice may be made for her, as she discovers she’s a pawn in a bigger game played by a merciless ruler who doesn’t lose.


I strained to release my arm from Griffith’s vise-like grip while scanning the surrounding trees, trying to determine which was less of a threat, the beast of a man holding me or those who might be waiting for me in the woods.

“You will come inside, now.” Griffith spoke slowly and deliberately as if I were a small child.

I batted at the hand Griffith placed on my head. “I’m not a puppy, quit petting me.”

“I will protect you.” Griffith’s warm breath caressed my ear. “If for no other reason, to find out what I’m giving up and why she wants you so badly.”

I inhaled his masculine scent, like musky earth. It washed over my face, and the tension in my jaw released. I stopped struggling. “Are you the devil?” My tongue was thick and heavy so the words came out slurred.

“Not even close.” His words soothed and comforted, like having a weighted blanket cocoon me. Each movement was an effort. It wasn’t the same as the thing in the woods. This was more like the feeling after a long massage or bubble bath.

“It’s not safe.” Griffith wrapped his arms around me, and I rested against his broad chest.

“It’s not safe.” I nodded. My muscles relaxed and my eyelids grew heavy.

“It’s cold. We’re going inside.” Griffith kept his arm supporting me as he steered me toward the house.

“We’re going inside.” I parroted and walked up the steps, leaning heavily on him.

Out of the corner of my eye, something was cautiously moving at the edge of the woods. Branches snapped as whatever was observing us crept closer.

Available Today at:

Amazon Kindle   Amazon Paperback  The Wild Rose Press

Maureen L. Bonatch, author of Destiny Calling, a paranormal romanceAbout the Author:

Growing up with four siblings had Maureen familiar with escaping into a good book, or the recesses of her mind. She realized later in life everyone didn’t have characters telling stories in their heads, or weren’t envisioning magic and mayhem within the everyday. This, and long walks in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania spawned a love of writing.
Since her desire to become a Solid Gold Dancer was thwarted when the show was discontinued, Maureen opted to pursue other paths. Attempting to conquer new endeavors proved fruitful with her first novella, while other attempts, such as challenging a fear of heights with parasailing, were unsuccessful.
Therefore she’s chased other interests, though none-the-less-daring, but closer to the ground, such as belly-dancing, becoming a self-proclaimed tequila connoisseur, fulfilling her role as biker babe to her alpha hubby and surviving motherhood to twins (so far).
Penning stories boasting laughter, light suspense and something magical in the hope of sharing her love of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary world.

You can find Maureen at:









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