Their Sexy Talk – Convincing Cami #MySexySaturday

28 Mar

This week’s theme is Their Sexy Talk. I hope you enjoy this little moment from Convincing Cami (His Girl Next Door #2). While Jack and Cami are trying to keep their new relationship together quiet until life settles down, their friends and family are not-so-helpfully trying to set them both up with other dates.

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Jack tucked the pot in her fridge and turned, his face stern. “I’ve been dying to do this all evening.” He tugged her into his arms and seized a fierce, urgent kiss. “Don’t go out with Marty.”

“Jealous?”

She’d never seen so much heat flare in his ice-blue eyes.

“Yes! And yes, damn it, he’s a nice guy. A great guy. But, I don’t want you going out with him. Anyone.”

The urge to tease him tempted her for a moment, but she spoke the truth. “Why would I need to when I have a perfectly nice guy right here in my kitchen?”

“I’m not feeling all that nice.” The growl in his voice as he rasped kisses down her throat filled her with delicious shivers.

“You feel very nice to me.” She slid her hands down his back, his flannel shirt soft and warm over firm muscle, gripped his hips, and rose up to meet him for another kiss.

Convincing Cami, His Girl Next Door #2, a contemporary romance by Babette JamesBlurb: Sometimes love is just around the corner

When Cami Alexander moves next door, it’s time for Jack O’Malley to concede the sweet and sexy fellow teacher is more than a long-time friend—she’s the one he’s been looking for in all the wrong places. He’s ready to put his footloose bachelor days behind him, but between his past, Cami’s doubts, her overprotective family, and well-meaning blind date offers from friends, convincing Cami they’re meant to be together is going to get complicated. Good thing Jack likes a challenge.

Cami’s always had a little crush on the dashing, blue-eyed Jack, but when the heat in a spontaneous kiss surprises them both, she’s afraid to risk their friendship over mere desire. Passion proves irresistible, and one explosive night ups the ante on their dilemmas. Jack vows his love and to stand by her through every trouble, but she’s been burned by promises before, and this time more than her heart’s at stake.

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Cover Reveal for Love Burns! & a Giveaway

25 Mar
Title: Love Burns
Series: The River Series
Author: Babette James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 17, 2015
Cover Art: Kim Mendoza 
 
Smokejumper Dave Knight lives by two simple rules—play hard, work harder. Heartache taught him love and commitment don’t mix with his high-intensity lifestyle. That hot kiss with the classy Olivia Benedetti-Harper was a mistake, but he walked away in time. Too bad he can’t run from the memories. Then a plane crash shatters his future, forcing him to face the ashes of his past, the woman he can’t forget, and the toughest challenge of his life: Stop running.
The right man broke her heart. How could the wrong man heal it? Obedient daughter and dutiful wife, Olivia always followed the rules—only to be abandoned by her unfaithful husband. As she rebuilds her life, bad-boy Dave is a sizzling temptation she can’t afford. However, breaking the rules with the wrong man might be the best mistake this good girl’s ever made for love.

 

“Come here.” Dave held out his hand. “You’ll need your back done.”
Olivia handed him the sunscreen bottle and knelt.
He lightly kissed her nape before drizzling the lotion over her back. He smoothed both hands along her spine to the cleft of her bottom and to her hips, gliding, sliding, over waist, ribs, shoulders, and neck, turning the simple lotion application into a sensual massage. Her sigh escaped as a dreamy groan.
“Turn around.” His low husky voice drew a deep shiver through her core.
She shifted around, and her mouth dried at his simmering gaze.
He squeezed more lotion onto his fingertips. “Shut your eyes.”
Bright sunlight glowed through her closed eyelids. Cool touches of lotion brushed her face and throat, and she shivered under Dave’s delicate touch.
“Keep your eyes shut.”
She heard him shift on the blanket. His fingertips traced her face, trailed down her throat, and his breath whispered over her face, the scent of apple warning how close his lips were to hers. More gentle sweeps followed, ever lower, to the curves of her breasts.
His lips brushed hers and he dusted kisses across her cheek and jaw, and the tip of her nose, which made her giggle. His warm hand cupped her breast and, at the rough graze of his thumb, she shivered, nervous, yet greedy for more. As he drifted more lazy kisses lower, his thumb played a mesmerizing rhythm, setting her pulse to anxious dancing.
Stop, let him play. This is what you’ve craved: to play, to be wanted, to feel.
Carefully following the rules had brought her heartbreak. Breaking the rules couldn’t be any worse. Right?
The world spun for a second as he rolled Olivia under him.
She gasped and blinked, startled, but intrigued. Yes, she trusted he’d honor a no, but all she could think was oh, yes.
Babette James writes sweetly scorching contemporary romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. As a teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, she’s had a life-long love of the desert and going down the shore. Babette lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and extremely spoiled cats.
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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:

Website and Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |
Linkedin | Amazon Author Page

 

Sneak Peek Sunday–This time around his feelings are anything but innocent–From KISSING KATIE

1 Feb

Sneak Peek SundayWelcome to Sneak Peek Sunday.  Today I’m sharing a snippet from my recent release Kissing Katie, book 1 in my His Girl Next Door series.

Blurb:

Sometimes love is just around the corner.

Seeking peace while he decides between prestigious job offers, burned-out lawyer Matt Powell rents his boyhood vacation home at the Jersey shore on a nostalgic whim. However, discovering the lovely widow next door is his childhood best friend, Katie Vanburen, complicates everything. His old love for her hits hard, but this time around his feelings are anything but innocent. It’s decision time: the high-profile career he’s earned–or a life he never dreamed possible loving his girl next door.

Twenty years ago, Matt broke Katie’s teenaged heart when he vanished from her life after his parents’ divorce. She grew up, buried her childish dreams, and moved on. New dreams shattered with her unfaithful husband’s death, but now she’s a successful website designer and owns her beloved shore house. She’s delighted to renew their friendship, but unready to trust her heart again–even if Matt’s kisses tempt her beyond reason. But can her cracking defenses hold when Matt argues his case for love so eloquently, in bed and out?

Set up: Matt has just arrived back in Lavallette for the first time in twenty years, not knowing Katie still lives next door. She recognizes him first and runs to greet him. . .

Excerpt:

Katie, all grown up. Still his Katie, but holy shit, had she grown up nice.

Still reeling from surprise, Matt kicked himself for not instantly knowing Katie by her happy run and shout of his name. He’d been lost in thoughts of the past, and before he could focus on the now, she’d plastered herself around him in that enthusiastic hug. Her soft curves had hit him in all the right places and intellect had been momentarily derailed by an out-of-the-blue punch of pure lust.

Lust. For Katie? For his once upon a time best friend forever? He blinked.

Katie. Same sun-streaked toffee brown hair. Same pretty, bright blue eyes, but no longer hidden behind thick glasses. Same cheerful, dimpled smile, but she’d undergone the same torture of braces as he had. No longer a gawky, reed-slender slip of a girl, she’d filled out real nice—

Heated guilt rushed over him at how part of him was busily considering how nicely her breasts would fill his hands.

He shook his head. Katie, with breasts.
Kissing Katie - His Girl Next Door - Book 1, by Babette James, Contemporary Romance

Come fall in love at the shore

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