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Tall, Dark and Bad – Guest Post by Sara Walter Elwood, Author of Gambling On A Secret

16 Apr

Gambling on a Secret, a contemporary western romance by Sara Walter ElwoodTall, Dark and Bad

My Love Affair with Damaged Heroes…. I hope my husband isn’t reading this!

What is it about the un-approachable, damaged bad-boy that makes us fall in love as fast as the heroine? Does the attraction come from our need to “fix” things? Or is it something even more primal such as our need to take care of someone else? Does the feelings come from rush of danger? Or is it simply that we find them hot? Of course, those of us spinning the stories always makes sure our heroes are swoon worthy in whatever attire we dress them in—leather pants and fangs or jeans and cowboy hats.

I have no answer, but I do know what attracts me to my heroes and it’s a bit of all these things. I enjoy writing heroes who deal with their emotional baggage by building thick walls around themselves, but the events in their stories and the heroine always shatters those walls to smithereens

In Gambling On A Secret, Dylan Quinn is an ex-Special Forces commander whose Delta Team is ambushed and over half of his men are either killed or wounded. Due to the way his wife dumped him (by a Dear John letter two days before the mission), he doesn’t trust or believe in love any more. He has PTSD and is the town drunk. The very last thing he is looking for when he meets Charli Monroe is romance.

However, Charli brings out the part of Dylan that he thought was long dead—his need to protect. And when his step-uncle sets his sights on her and her ranch, he can’t imagine not becoming her protector—whether she wants it or not. And that need to keep Charli safe from something that he perceives as a threat, is what cracks his shell. Dylan is rough. He’s complicated and he’s got more than his share of scars—both emotional and physical—but I will always love him as much as Charli does.  Shhh… Don’t tell my husband!

Gambling on a Heart, a contemporary western romance by Sara Walter ElwoodIn the second book of this series, Gambling On A Heart, Zack Cartwright has been dumped on by the heroine. A confused eighteen-year-old Tracy Quinn (in her misguided belief someone like Zack could never love her) lets herself be lied to and seduced by Zack’s best friend. Zack leaves and eventually joins the Marines. He sees action in the war and is shot. When he comes out of his coma, he has PTSD and realizes he doesn’t or hasn’t ever loved his wife. When she is killed, leaving him a single father, he blames himself for her death.

The last person he ever wants is Tracy, but when they are forced to work together, all of those old loves and hurts come boiling to the surface as fast as a Texas oil gusher. Although Zack isn’t anywhere near as damaged as Dylan, his shell is a tough one. But under it is a cowboy who I wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my life with.  Emmm…. My hubby don’t need to know that either.

Heartstrings stars the first cowboy I’ve ever written. On the surface Seth Kendall’s every dream has come true. He’s a mega star country singer and wealth enough to make the richest entertainers list in Forbes Magazine. He has it all—except the one thing he hasn’t ever believed himself worthy of having—his daughter. Seth grew up believing his mother hated him and that he was the reason she committed suicide when he was only three years old. His father abused him and hated the one comfort Seth found in life: his music. When he wins a national talent show and gets a record deal when he’s eighteen, he wants his seventeen year old pregnant girlfriend to go with him to Nashville. But Abby Crawford is chased by her own demons and tells him that she doesn’t love him and marries his best friend. Seth makes the very human mistake of thinking his baby is better off without him—after all he’s just like his parents, right?

Heartstrings, a contemporary western romance by Sara Walter ElwoodWhen events bring him back to McAllister fourteen years later, he realizes he’s made a horrible mistake, but how can he be a parent when his were so horrible? And how is he going to resist the love he’s never stopped feeling for Abby? Seth was a complicated character to write and he is the one that pulls at my own heartstrings the most.  In Seth, I not only see the big gorgeous man with a voice as smooth as Tennessee whiskey, but also the little boy that stares down at his dead mamma and wonders why she hated him so much (the prologue scene). I just want to bring him home and keep him safe—besides other things.  Uhhh… Not sure that would go over so well with the hubby though.

And those are just my cowboys. I haven’t even mentioned my love for Ian and Austin—The vampires in my paranormals. Can a husband have grounds for divorce if his wife is in love with the men in her head?

Of course, the man I love the most is my very normal, very un-damaged, real hero husband…. >grin<

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Gambling On A Secret
Book 1 of The Colton Gamblers

Blurb:

When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?

Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.

Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.

When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?

Excerpt

“Ferguson, what are you doing here?” Dylan barked.

Leon ambled toward them on the stone path. “I’m saving a young maiden from torment. What are you doing here, playing the part of the devil?”

“I’m Miss Monroe’s new manager.” The deadly edge of his voice matched the flintiness of his eyes. “If there’s anyone to save the young maiden from, it’s you.”

“Mr. Quinn, please.” She turned to Leon. “Leon, is there something I can do for you?”

He smiled, showing off perfect white teeth in a face handsome enough to belong to an actor. “I was just passing by on my way home and decided to stop. How are the boys working out?”

Dylan’s stance widened and his hands flexed at his slides. “What boys?”

“Charli and I have entered into a business arrangement.”

She lost the battle with the urge to wrap her arms around herself. As much as she appreciated Leon’s kindness, respected him, and was even a little attracted to him, something about him didn’t sit right with her. He represented her peers in the community. According to Mrs. Pratt, besides the Cartwrights, she and Leon were undoubtedly the wealthiest residents in the county. No one in Colton could learn about her past. It would ruin her, and Leon, no doubt, had the means to dig up the dirt.

“Really?” Dylan stepped closer to her in a protective manner. Whiskey tainted his breath as the warmth of the exhalations tickled her cheek. “What kind of business arrangement?”

She could protect herself. Dylan Quinn wasn’t any safer than Leon Ferguson. Stepping away from him, she forced her arms to her sides. “Mr. Quinn, I can handle this.”

She faced Leon. “I’m amazed by how much the men got done since starting on Monday. The foreman told me last evening they’d be reseeding another fifty acres for hay this morning. And they have the corrals fixed and started on the fencing in the north pasture.”

“Good, good.” He glanced at Dylan. “I’ll be going, unless you need a more reliable exterminator. I couldn’t help but overhear about your snake infestation. I can give you the name of the company that has gotten rid of the snakes in our lakes over on Oak Springs for years.”

Although he presented the perfect solution, she didn’t the like way Leon had looked at Dylan as he said the word exterminator. “No, Mr. Quinn is quite capable of getting rid of the snake.”

“Oh, I’m sure he is.” Leon tipped his hat. “Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you, Charli.” Dylan’s jaw tightened as his uncle glanced at him. “It’s good to see you up among the living again.”

Leon headed back to his Porsche. With no pretense of lowering his voice, Dylan said, “Now, there’s a snake no one wants in their garden.”

Upon hearing the jibe, Leon’s shoulders jerked in mid-stride.

Rattled by Leon’s attention and the snake fiasco, she turned on Dylan. “You aren’t off the hook. I want those snakes gone.”

“We’ll see.”

“I hate snakes.” She shuddered and put her hands on her hips. “Maybe I should have asked him who the exterminator is.”

Gambling On A Secret:

Lyrical Press | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo

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Gambling On A Heart
Book 2 of The Colton Gamblers

Blurb:

She once lost his heart on a bluff. Will she risk everything to win it back?

Beautician Tracy Quinn spends her days making the women of Colton, Texas beautiful, while living down the nickname of Olive Oyl, given to her by the only man she has ever loved—Zack Cartwright. She spends her nights alone, despite what her ex husband wants their friends and neighbors to think.

Ex-rodeo cowboy. Ex-bad-boy. Ex-Marine. Widower and single dad Sheriff Zack Cartwright can describe his life in exes. One ex in particular reminds him of what’s missing in his workaholic life: Tracy Quinn. For years since she broke his heart, he’s practically made avoiding her a second job. He still wants her, but can never go after her.

When cattle rustlers target her brother’s ranch, Tracy and Zack are stuck working together. Her son could use a positive male role model, and his daughter is wild for a chance at a “substitute” mom. But Tracy’s ex threatens to sue if she lets Zack near her son, and the Colton grapevine is abuzz with rumors about their past relationship. Is it worth the gamble to see if what they have is more than lust?

Excerpt

“I was hoping you could keep me company this afternoon.” He skimmed his fingers over her cheek.

Her insides, heating up like lava under the surface of the earth, pooled in her low belly. Her lips parted.

Against her lips, he whispered, “Tracy, I want you.”

She had thought of little else since he’d left her standing on her porch Friday night. He was asking her to enter into a sexual relationship without any hope of a future–without love.

But she was already in love with Zack.

Both of their kids would benefit from them being together. Hadn’t that been what she’d decided while she tossed and turned in her big, empty bed?

With her gaze locked on his, she murmured, “I want you, too, but I have a stipulation.”

He leaned back. “What is it?”

“I’m no one’s bed-buddy, Zack. I know what my reputation is in this town, but it’s all wrong.” She swallowed her rapidly thumping heart back into place. “I’ll only go through with this, if you promise to treat me as a serious girlfriend. That means we date, we visit with our families and we share our kids.” When his expression hardened, she quickly added, “Mandy likes me. And I adore her. I’d like to bring her here, to the shop, for a few hours and play. And take her shopping. I know your mom tries, but she’s busy with her foundations and charities she does for the Junior League.”

The breath she sucked in was full of Zack’s scent of sage and leather. “Meanwhile, you can teach Bobby how to ride and maybe take him to the sheriff’s department and show him around. Jake won’t like it, but I’ll deal with him.” Having laid her demands out on the proverbial table, she held her breath, waiting for him to tell her what she could do with herself. After all, a man of Zack’s caliber could have any damned woman he wanted. Tracy was just handy, and according to the gossip of her ex-husband and mother-in-law, she was easy.

He studied her for a few moments. “That’s more than one stipulation.”

“Take it or leave it.”

“Tracy, it won’t change what I told you Friday night. I’m never getting married again.”

His words stung as much now as they had the other night, but she didn’t show him how much. She kept her face determined, as if she were haggling over one of his horses, rather than her body and soul.

“Fine. But I’m not a floozy. Yes, I’ve made mistakes. But I have my son to consider. And I’d hope you’d feel the same about Mandy. They’re bound to see us together. What do you plan on telling your six-year-old daughter when she asks about me? That I’m your friend with benefits? I know that isn’t what I want to be teaching my son.” Moreover, she didn’t want to give credence to Jake’s claim that she had no sexual morals.

“Okay,” he said at last. “We’ll play the game your way.” He pressed her against him. “Luck would have it I’m off this afternoon, too. I’ve already put in sixteen hours.”

When his lips captured hers, she knew she’d made a pact with the devil, but she couldn’t stop the elation surging through her. There was something he wanted from her. Sex was a big portion of it, but something else kept Zack from walking away and hooking up with any one of the many available women in town.

Gambling On A Heart:

Lyrical Press | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo

~*~

Heartstrings

Blurb:

He’s determined to set things right, no matter the cost.

The last person Abby Crawford wants to face down is country music superstar Seth Kendall. Last time she did, she flat-out lied so he’d go to Nashville without her. She’s never understood why their mutual best friend proposed, but she went with it so her baby wouldn’t be fatherless. Now she’s a divorced mother of a teenager, and secretly Seth’s biggest fan.

Seth is home in McAllister, Texas for his father’s funeral…and a chance to meet the daughter he’s never known. He’s willing to face the music of his own making and admit he’s known about his little girl all along. For fifteen years he’s kept his distance because Abby told him to follow his dreams without her, insisting she didn’t love him. But now he won’t leave until he knows his daughter and she knows him, even if it means facing the woman who broke his heart for good.

Confessing she’s lied about her daughter’s paternity all these years won’t be easy for Abby, especially with her ex blackmailing her to keep the secret. And Seth doesn’t know the hardest truth of all: Every love song he plays on his guitar still plucks her heartstrings.

Excerpt 

Seth leaned in. His lips were close enough to kiss, and his scent of sandalwood and something exotic enveloped her, taking her back to that night on the beach. His eyes flashed with the dangerous fire of his temper. It was similar to the flame of the passion she’d once seen in the green depths. Abby didn’t expect or want the heat curling in her belly, and shivered with a sudden and fierce desire.

“I’m her father, Abigail. I wanted to be her father after she was born. It was you and Mike who insisted I had no business messing things up.”

“I never said any such thing. You never tried. You just left.”

He pounded a fist on the counter top so hard she jumped. “Yes, I left! I wasn’t welcome at home. Dad ran me off with a shotgun. Mike wouldn’t even let me see my daughter. He made it quite clear you and he were happily married, and I had no place in your life. I was under contract to be in Nashville to start recording my first album.”

What did he mean, Mike wouldn’t let him see Emily?

Before she had a chance to voice her question, his eyes darkened as the pupils dilated, obscuring the stormy green. “But I’m no longer nineteen and scared shitless. I could make things very rough for you and this fantasy you’ve got working.”

A cold lump quickly replaced the tangle of heat in her belly. “What-what do you mean?”

He backed off and tapped the countertop. “I’m talking a custody battle. I could have a judge order a paternity test. I think we both know the media hoopla the results would cause.”

Her heart slammed into her chest wall. “You wouldn’t do that.”

“Try me. Now that I’ve met Emily, I want to get to know her.” He walked over to look out the kitchen window. The hard line of his jaw melted, and he swallowed so hard his throat moved up and down. “I was a fool when I let Mike talk me out of being in her life after she was born.”

“What do you mean?”

He glanced at her. “Don’t pretend you don’t know.”

The strings of guitar music provided a soft counterpoint to the hard tension in the kitchen. Emily was outside on the patio playing around with her guitar, waiting for them to finish with the dishes she and Seth had insisted on doing.

“All I want is to have some time with my daughter. That’s all I’m asking for.” When he looked over his shoulder at her, sadness replaced the anger in his eyes. “I’ll keep your little secret. I’ll just be her favorite singer. The family friend who made it big in Nashville. I don’t want to hurt her. As much as it galls the hell out of me, I see what Mike means to her.”

He moved toward her and shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Besides, I don’t want to hurt Carolann or Frank any more than you do.” He glanced outside again, his voice husky as he spoke. “But I’ll sue you if I have to.”

A part of her wanted to give in to him, but a larger part wanted to punish him. Let him take her to court; she’d make sure the world knew what kind of jerk Seth Kendall really was.

She gritted her teeth and fisted her hands by her sides. “I’ll let you have tonight, Seth. But don’t ask for more.”

She turned away and strode through the French doors.

Heartstrings:

Lyrical Press | Amazon | Barns and Noble | iTunes | Kobo

 ~*~

Sara Walter Ellwood, author of Heartstrings, a contemporary western romanceAbout Sara…

Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. She also has paranormal romantic suspense published under the pen name Cera duBois.

Author links:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter Signup

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Follow the Second Honeymoon Blog Tour HERE

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Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Sara is giving away a beautiful treasure box full of goodies:

1. A thumb drive containing Sara’s novella The Birthday Fantasy and her paranormals A Hunter’s Angel and A Hunter’s Blade

2. A signed paperback copy of Carolyn Brown’s Just a Cowboy and His Baby

3. A retractable black ink pen

4. A decorative diary style notebook

5. A mouse pad

6. Sara’s own custom designed jewelry (necklace and earring set)

7. $10 Starbucks gift card and more.

A total prize package valued at $100.

The giveaway ends April 30 and the winner of the Swag Pack will be announced on May 1, 2014. Must be 18 years old or older and a resident of the USA to qualify. Void where prohibited by law. See http://sarawalterellwood.wordpress.com/giveaway-rules/ for complete list of terms and rules.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a5c2547/

Second Honeymoon Blog Tour, contemporary western romance by Sara Walter Elwood

Interview With Rachel Brimble, Author of What Belongs To Her

14 Apr

What Belongs To Her, a Harlequin contemporary romance by Rachel BrimbleI’m delighted to welcome back Rachel Brimble for an interview and a look at her new contemporary romance, What Belongs to Her.

Hi, Rachel, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about What Belongs To Her:

What Belongs To Her is the third book in my Templeton Cove series, but can also be read as a stand-alone. The first two books (Finding Justice & A Man Like Him) were romantic suspense but What Belongs To Her is mainstream contemporary romance. Sasha Todd and John Jordon are new characters I’ve added to the series and the connection between these two is fabulous. They were a joy to write!

Blurb:

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.

The Temptation of Laura, a historical romance by Rachel BrimbleWhat are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?

Right now I am plotting the fifth book in the Templeton Cove series and hope to get the first three chapters and synopsis to my Harlequin editor by May 1st. I am also polishing the full manuscript of my third Victorian romance with eKensington­­––this is linked to the first two (The Seduction of Emily & The Temptation of Laura), and continues my theme of writing about the lower classes of the Victorian times rather than the gentry. I have to say, Thomas (the hero), might well be my favorite hero of all time. I am truly in love with him…

What are your writing goals for this year?

I’d really like to query a big romantic suspense novel this year – my books currently stand at around 85,000 words but I’d love to write a darker, grittier story of around 100,000 words. Authors like Nora Roberts, Sharon Sala and Tess Gerritsen are a huge inspiration to me and I feel ready for the challenge of a ‘big book’.

As well as that, I am hoping Harlequin will contract more Templeton Cove books once I hand in this latest proposal, if they do, I will try my best to get another book finished for the series this year J

What do you enjoy most about writing?

All of it! I can honestly say, I consider myself a full-fledged workaholic these days and if I’m not creating, editing or promoting, I get fidgety and agitated…much to my family’s distress! I love every aspect of my job and truly believe I have found what I am meant to be doing with my life. The next stage is to be independently and financially stable purely through my writing – that’s the ultimate goal J

Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?

I am my most productive in the morning but I pretty much write all day – I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mum so I write from 8.30-3.30 every day (with a dog walk in between!) and then back and forth to the laptop as much as possible around the kids until about 7pm. Then it’s family time…the weekends are hit and miss depending on what we have planned to do together.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

My favorite place (so far!) in the world isn’t somewhere exotic or overseas, it’s actually North Wales where my family and I have holidayed every year for the last six years. We rent a log cabin on a site deep in the valleys of Coed-y-Brenin, which is surrounded by the most breathtaking scenery. There are lots of fabulous walks, a beach close by and the most exquisite, picture-perfect hamlets to explore. I feel so grounded there…and best of all the internet connection is zero!

What do you like to read?

Almost everything! I read romance, crime and biographies of past English queens for the most part, but will try anything once. I love receiving recommendations from friends and family, but my “go to” authors are Nora Roberts, Philippa Gregory, Jill Shalvis and Elizabeth Chadwick.

Who first introduced you to the love of reading?

My mum – she was always reading and I became fascinated with books at a very young age. I can remember my teacher telling my mum that my reading and comprehension were very advanced at the age of five so I’m not even sure how early I started to read! Books are a vital part of my happiness J

These are few of my favorite things:

1. My laptop

2. My bed

3. My books

And now Rachel has a question for you all: I love talking books! Who is your favorite author? Which of their books is your favorite? Why?

A Giveaway! I’d like to give away a PDF of any book from my Harlequin Templeton Cove series to one random commenter.

Excerpt:

He turned and his dark blue eyes, aflame with anger, pinned Sasha to the spot. She forced herself to stand still as his gaze languidly glided over her face, lingering for a moment at her lips. No smile lifted the corners of his mouth. No softness seeped into his hardened study.

She smiled even as her stomach knotted. “Hi.”

He continued to stare.

Okay, so he’s got that sexy, broody thing going on, but since when does a guy––any guy––leave me speechless? Say something…

“Well, you’re all sorts of angry, aren’t you?” Great, Sasha. Just poetic.

He lifted an eyebrow and turned his focus back to the ride.

She frowned and glared at his profile, feeling like an idiot. The guy needed to take a serious chill pill. Did he think he had a monopoly on being pissed off? Wakey, wakey, Mister, the entire human race holds a grudge of one kind or another.

“I was only trying to make conversation. If you don’t want to talk to me, that’s fine.” She shrugged. “I haven’t seen you before and, as I’m the person running things around here, I thought you might appreciate a friendly word, a kind welcome. My name’s Sasha­­––”

“I know who you are.”

She stiffened. The deep, smooth lilt of his upper English class voice filled her with equal measure of attraction and warning. “Pardon me?”

He faced her and crossed his arms across his broad chest. “You’re Sasha Todd, exceptionally pretty and svelte manageress of this fairground, known so lovingly as Funland. You work for Kyle Jordon. Although, while Kyle’s currently boarding at Her Majesty’s pleasure in prison, you are undoubtedly forced to answer to his bull mastiff of a lapdog, the wonderfully charming and partially toothed Freddy Campton. Am I right?”

Sasha crossed her arms, mimicking his stance as irritation simmered inside her. “Yes, but who––”

“How do you feel about that, Miss Todd?”

“What?”

“Moreover, how are you going to feel knowing from tomorrow, you’ll be answering to me and not him?”

Sasha froze as his words filtered through her mind. Her heart pounded and hot heat seared her cheeks. What the hell did he just say? She uncrossed her arms and splayed her hands on her hips. “Is this some kind of joke?”

A flicker of amusement lit his eyes before he blinked and they turned cold once more. “No joke. From tomorrow you’ll be reporting to me.”

Panic and disbelief hurtled through her. Who the hell does this guy think he is? She huffed out a laugh. “I don’t think so. Who are you?”

“Your new boss.”

She grinned, hoping it would coerce some semblance of a smile to his lips and make him tell her he was kidding. “Very funny. You’re a funny guy, Mr…”

“You don’t believe me?” His face remained unnervingly impassive.

Okay, enough was enough. Sasha glared. “I asked you who you are. If you want to toss a revelation like that at me, the least you can do is tell me your name. Not that I’m likely to believe a word you say after this little, slightly creepy, performance.”

He uncrossed his arms and offered his hand, which she took without thinking. His hand enveloped hers. Warm, smooth and unnervingly large. Why did she have the sudden and unwelcome suspicion nothing about this guy was small or weak?

“John Jordon.” He shook her hand. “Nice to meet you.”

You can buy What Belongs To Her at:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble

Rachel Brimble, Author of What Belongs To Her, a Harlequin contemporary romanceBio: Rachel lives with her husband and two young 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 and she has since signed for three more.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. 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!

You can find Rachel at:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

 

Interview With Collette Cameron, Author of The Earl’s Enticement

11 Apr

The Earl’s Enticement, a Regency romance by Collette Cameron
I’m delighted to welcome back Collette Cameron for an interview and a peek at her new regency romance, The Earl’s Enticement, releasing May 28th.

Hi, Collette, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about The Earl’s Enticement:

The Earl’s Enticement is the third and final book in The Reluctant Brides Series. Adaira and Roark were introduced in Highlander’s Hope right after she releases him from the dungeon she’d kept him locked in for three days. Let’s just say our hero is not a happy camper.

Blurb:

She won’t be tamed.

A fiery, unconventional Scot, Adaira Ferguson wears breeches, swears, and has no more desire to marry than she does to follow society’s dictates of appropriate behavior. She trusts no man with the secret she desperately protects.

He can’t forget.

Haunted by his past, Roark, The Earl of Clarendon, rigidly adheres to propriety, holding himself and those around him to the highest standards, no matter the cost. Betrayed once, he’s guarded and leery of all women.

Mistaking Roark for a known spy, Adaira imprisons him. Infuriated, he vows vengeance. Realizing her error, she’s appalled and releases him, but he’s not satisfied with his freedom. Roark is determined to transform Adaira from an ill-mannered hoyden to a lady of refinement.

He succeeds only to discover, he preferred the free-spirited Scottish lass who first captured his heart.

What inspired this story?

As I said above, Adaira and Roark were introduced in Highlander’s Hope. I knew they had to have their own story, but they had to wait until I wrote The Viscount’s Vow. And let me tell you, they were not patient!

What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?

I’m working on Virtue and Valor, a Regency-Scottish historical. It’s the second book in my Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series. I finished Triumph and Treasure in January.

What are your writing goals for this year?

Chuckling here. My goal was to write three books this year. That was before I was snared for an emergency teaching position at the end of February. We’ll see how close I get to that!

How do you come up with ideas?

Ideas just come to me, and I jot them down in a notebook. I have several secondary characters in my previous books who are getting their own stories too,  and I’ve found their stories almost develop on their own.

Can you share with us “the call” story?

I’d written Highlander’s Hope (that’s the 3rd title by-the-way) and submitted queries to three or four publishers and had requests from four agents. They all said, “No thanks,” but one agent said she wanted to see more of my work and gave me some really good advice.

I rewrote the book—well actually, tweaked is a more accurate description—using the advice she gave me. I submitted a partial to Soul Mate Publishing and had a request for a full in four days. Four days after submitting the full, I was offered a contract.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I think there are two things I truly enjoy about writing aside from entertaining readers. I love it when my stories and characters surprise me while I’m writing. I plan one thing happening and suddenly, they will take me in a different direction. I love the twists and turns and when they say or do something I didn’t see coming.

The other thing that I get tickled about is when I go back and read part of one of my books, and I’m like, “I forgot I wrote that” or “Did I really write that?”

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?

I start with my characters. I complete a lengthy questionnaire for both my hero and heroine. Even though some of the answers will change as I write the story, I’m forced to really get inside their heads and figure out what motivates them. What do they like? Dislike? What are their fears? I also have a general plot idea that helps guide me when I’m filling out their questionnaire and their Goal, Motivation, and Conflict charts.

What did you learn from writing your first book or what do you wish you’d known before becoming published?

Critique partners are a must. I didn’t have any for Highlander’s Hope, and I’m convinced I’d have had much less editing and rewriting if I did.

Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?

I write much better in the morning. My mind is fresher, and I seem to be more creative. These past few weeks I’ve been writing after I get home from teaching, and I can really tell the difference in my writing voice.

What do you like to read?

Historical romance of course! I really adore anything in the Georgian, Regency, and Victorian eras and anything to do with Scotland…or Vikings…or medievals.

Do you listen to music while you write? What are you listening to now?

I have to have complete silence while I write. If I listen to music, I want to sing along.

What don’t most people know about you but you would like to share?

Unlike many authors, I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until later in life. I’d always found the mechanics of writing easy, but thought dialogue would be much too difficult to tackle. But as is often the case with writers, once I started, I couldn’t stop.

These are few of my favorite things:

1. Cadbury Milk Chocolate

2. Dogs, especially dachshunds

3. Walks on the beach.

And now Collette has a question for you all: As you can tell from the excerpt, Adaira is a wee bit unconventional. What characteristics do you most like in a heroine, and what can’t you stand? Personally, I don’t like spoilt, whiney ones. I’ll gift a digital copy of The Viscount’s Vow or Highlander’s Hope to one commenter who leaves their email contact.

Excerpt:

“You do know—” Roark’s gaze roved the tidy cell, noting the fat, black spider weaving a web in the corner above the cell’s door, before returning to Miss Ferguson, “you could go to prison, for a very long time, for abducting and imprisoning a peer of the realm.”

“Ah, but then you’re not a peer are you?” She smiled again, the row of her neat white teeth shining bright in the shadowy corridor. “In fact, I do believe I’ve done the Crown a tremendous favor. I’ve apprehended a known spy.”

His gaze captured hers. Her eyes appeared black in the meager light, except for those unusual jewel-like gold specks reflecting in her irises. He fisted his hands, the only outward manifestation of his fury.

“That’s twice you’ve accused me of being a traitor. If you were a man, I’d call you out for it.”

She raised a perfectly arched chestnut brow and grinned. “Swords or pistols?”

Roark swept his gaze over her figure, shaking his head in disapproval. “Don’t tell me you’re trained in weaponry?”

“Of course.” She struck a fencing pose. “En garde.”

He closed his eyes for a brief moment. “Was there ever a more unladylike woman of refined breeding?”

Miss Ferguson dared to inch a bit closer, then bold as brass, pointed at him and chuckled. “You did it again. Spoke your thoughts aloud. My, but that must be aggravating.”

She leaned in a fraction, seeming to assess him with her keen eyes. Her subtle fragrance wafted past his nostrils. Something with lilies? He resisted the urge to inhale deeply.

“Can you keep any secrets, or does everything gush from your mouth like milk from a teat?”

Roark’s mouth dropped open. He gawked at her.

“Had she truly said teat?”

“To a man?”

“She didn’t know?”

Mischief danced in her eyes. “Yes, I did. Teat.”

Read the first two books in the The Reluctant Brides Series

Highlander’s Hope – Book 1

The Viscount’s Vow – Book 2

Collette Cameron, author of The Earl’s Enticement, a Regency romanceBio: Award winning, Amazon best-selling, and multi-published historical romance author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching.  A Pacific Northwest Native, Collette is married, has three amazing adult children, and five dachshunds. Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.

Connect with Collette:

Website     Blue Rose Romance Blog   Twitter   Facebook

You can also connect with Collette on Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Google+  too. Go to her website for the links, her email address and mailing address.

 

I Can’t Seem To Escape The UK – Guest Post by Alexa Bourne, Author of Broken Road

10 Apr

Broken Road, a contemporary romance novella by Alexa BourneAt the beginning of 2014, I had 7 books out. Of those 7, 4 of them are set in Scotland and 1 is set in England. AND they are all connected, with characters making appearances in each other’s books. (The other 2 are set in the US.) Why do I write stories set in the UK? It’s a part of my heritage I love exploring. I have family in northern England and outside of London. My grandparents’ families came from Scotland. When I get to visit the family, it’s like going to a whole new world. Yes, we speak the same language…but we don’t. They have several phrases and words most Americans have never heard and some of our favorite sayings wouldn’t mean a thing over there. I guess that’s part of why I write books set there, so I can bring a bit of the language differences to people’s attention.

A friend of mine suggested for my next novellas I “move away” from the UK. She thought it might be a good experience for me to venture out into the rest of the world and sink my teeth into a different country. I’d been talking to her about other story ideas I have (with stories set in Mexico, Thailand and Turkey) and she encouraged me to work on one of those next.

So what did I do? I went back to the UK. Broken Road is my latest book, a contemporary novella set in a Scottish Highland village. Writing the story for Cat and Ian was like coming home for me. I returned to the community where I first got my writing chance. I revisited some of my favorite characters and got the opportunity to share more of what I love about the United Kingdom with more readers. So yes, now I’m up to 6 out of 8 books set in the UK.

I do intend to write the novellas set in other parts of the world…someday. I will also keep plugging away at my full-length romantic suspense books set in the USA. But I have a very good feeling I’ll end up with new characters in the UK before long.

What about you? Do you enjoy contemporary stories set in the UK? Or would you rather the setting be the USA?

Blurb:

Catriona MacGregor leads a quiet life, working in the local school of Glenhalish, Scotland and spending time with close friends. She’s content to sit back and be an observer of the life around her. But all that changes when a recently deceased family friend leaves her a flat in Edinburgh and challenges her to spread her wings.

With his work as an international bodyguard, Ian MacKenzie has no time for a serious, committed relationship. Yet when he comes home to Glenhalish for a visit and to clear his mind, he is drawn to down-to-earth Cat. The more time they spend together, the more he wants her.

Though they agreed to a friends-with-benefits arrangement, Cat soon discovers exactly what she wants for herself and it involves all of Ian—body, mind and soul. Their connection ambushes Ian. He’s not ready for the intensity they share.

Can this Highland lassie steer her lad back onto the right path to a love that will last a lifetime?

Excerpt:

Cat sat at one of the foldaway tables and sipped her wine. A pleasant breeze rolled off the loch and made the candlelight shimmer. So much laughter and chatter whooshed round her, and again her heart hung heavy. Could she give up all she had here for a new life in Edinburgh? Did she have the courage to try? What if Fiona had been wrong in her will and given Cat more credit than she truly deserved?

Ian marched toward her, pulled her glass from her hand, and set it on the table. “Come.” With a firm but gentle grip, he tugged her out of the chair.

“Where?”

“I need you to save me.” He whirled her round and pulled her close to his hard-muscled body. She pressed her palms to his chest. The heat under her fingers shot straight into her center. He wrapped his arms round her waist and eased them onto the dance floor in time to the slow rhythm of the music.

Cat laughed. “You, a big, braw lad, need me, a wee lass, to rescue you? I find that hard to believe.” But, she was ever so grateful for whatever sent him to her. They’d always been friendly with each other, sort of like her relationship with Ewan, except…not.

He spun her round so she could see the other side of the dance floor. “See those lasses flirting with the MacDougall brothers?”

Women with tight clothes and high-pitched laughs dangled over the makeshift bar. “What about them?”

“Two of them are trying to lay claim to me.”

“And?”

“I don’t do romantic relationships.”

“What?” Handsome, smart, strong. He had it all.

You can buy Broken Road at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Decadent Publishing | All Romance Ebooks

Alexa Bourne, author of Broken Road, a contemporary romance novellaBio:

Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romance writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance and is thrilled to have the chance to share her stories with readers everywhere.

When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV, and thinking about exercising. Okay, she also spends way too much time interacting with readers and writers on social media sites. But don’t tell her editors! Find out more about her and her books on her website, www.alexabourne.com.

You can also find Alexa at:

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5818611.Alexa_Bourne

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexaBourne

Blog: http://alexabourne.com/cuan-macdougall-pub/

Email: alexa@alexabourne.com

 

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