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Guest Post–Vicki Batman

Today’s guest is award-winning and Amazon best-selling author, Vicki Batman, who has sold many romantic comedy works to the True magazines, several publishers, and most recently, two romantic comedy mysteries to The Wild Rose Press. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and several writing groups. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Chocoaholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby. Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking “What if??”

Hi, everyone! I’m Vicki Batman and I like to write romantic comedy. Releasing June 1 is “Raving Beauty,” a fun short story, from the Just You and Me boxed set:

What if the love of your life was in front of you all along?

It began innocently with a few margaritas… Kelly Stinson is persuaded to represent Yahoo! Ranch Steakhouse in the Chamber of Commerce’s beauty contest. After an unexpected swan dive off stage, her heart goes pitter patter over the orthopedic surgeon who repaired her ripped up ankle.

Daniel Ackerman has always had the hots for his twin sister’s best friend. Much to his dismay, her doctor has taken notice of the dark-haired beauty and invaded his territory. That’s about to change when he moves in to help Kelly recover physically and open her eyes to what’s been in front of her all along.

Excerpt:

“I can’t believe I let your loony brother, who’s tormented me all my life, talk me into this.” With my eye on the teenage competition, I tugged the leg opening of my swimsuit into place to better cover my hip. “Just because I did some modeling in college doesn’t make me a pageant diva. Back then, I was incredibly skinny, and clothes fit easily.”

“Daniel’s a rat. He took advantage of your third or was it your fourth margarita, Kelly?” Maggie Ackerman, my best friend and roommate, adjusted the scarlet satin sash draped across my body. Glittery stick-on letters spelled out Miss Yahoo! Ranch Steakhouse. “Hold still.”

With an old-fashioned teasing comb, she picked my brown hair into place at the crown of my head. The eerie suspicion I resembled a scary dame with Big Texas hair from the television show, Dallas, caused me to avoid looking in the mirror.

“Close your eyes.” She hit me with super freeze-it hairspray. “Now, that ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

My personal stylist needed to work on her aim, preferably with both of her eyes open. I spit-wiped the sticky spot on my right cheek. I hope nobody I know sees me like this.

“There.” The scrunch of her nose reflected how pleased she was with herself. “Feeling better?”

Like a slab of beef.

Preorder Just You and Me boxed set at:

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Towers of Earth — Future Suspense and a Heart-Warming Romance

J. C. Conway’s new release, Towers of Earth, is an exciting science-fiction adventure interwoven with a first-kiss teen romance that is central to the story and the young protagonist’s arc. Perfect for readers from middle-grade to adult, Towers of Earth is a captivating read with warmth, suspense and vision.

At the brink of an impending dark age, 15-year-old Allison Taylor escapes Earth on a colony ship to the stars. But a catastrophic quark drive failure forces a desperate, near-light-speed return a millennium into Earth’s future. Allison is surprised to find humanity in a “New Renaissance” and to see the Great Geostationary Towers her father engineered still stretching majestically from ground to high orbit, now housing Earth’s billions.

When Allison learns the “New Renaissance” is a mere façade, she struggles against crushing odds to reunite with her fellow colonists. Finally gaining the opportunity to flee again, she realizes her special knowledge of the Towers may empower her to break the Tower Administrators’ tyranny—but at the cost of her means of escape. Allison is torn. Will fulfilling her father’s dream be worth abandoning her chance to finally reach the stars?

TOWERS OF EARTH is available as an e-book at:

Kindle | Kobo | Apple

Other venues pending. The print edition will be available soon.

Rock Stars are a Trope

rock-starsRock and roll finds love–four coffees at a time

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Gabby Denis, a struggling fashion designer, is not stupid. There is something off about Nate Cooper. She just doesn’t know what it is. Not many men are willing to take a girl out shopping and pay for her new clothes. She’s also never been out with a man who seems to have women recognize him. Or one with friends that need a formal dress made. Of course, she doesn’t turn down the chance to make it!

Gabby likes Nate for who he is, not because he lends her a car and pays for some of her things. For the first time in ages, she meets someone who supports her, and she genuinely enjoys his company. But he never tells her what he does for a living…until she sees him on the front page of the news.

Although, for Gabby, rock stars are a trope from movies and romance novels, she’s going to have to decide if she’s willing to give a real life one a shot at loving.

Excerpt

“How’s work?” she asked, trying not to give away that she was prying. 

“It’s been slow, but that’s not always a bad thing.” He eyed her carefully. 

The elevator dinged, and the doors opened. Both Gabby and Nate stepped off the elevator and fell into pace together, but she made sure that he was leading the way because she had not fucking clue where she was going. 

It didn’t take long to get to a door that Nate unlocked and opened. He set Gabby’s suitcase down by the window. 

“Wow.” 

Gabby stared out the window, her eyes widening at the scene in front of her. The lights lit up enough for her to see almost everything, but the dark made it prettier. I can’t believe I’m in England. 

“Why did you do this?”

“What?”

“Why did you do this for me?” Gabby turned to look at him, waiting for an answer.

“I didn’t do it for you.” 

Her heart dropped. Gabby stared at him, trying not to show her hurt. 

“The truth is I missed you. I wanted to see you. I wanted to make an impression and give you a reason to want to see me again.”

Gabby was left speechless for a couple of seconds. “You really think I don’t have my own reasons for wanting to see you again? I promise you. Me wanting to see you again has nothing to do with you flying me here, as much as it means to me. I want to see you again because I miss you.” 

He stared at her, slightly taken aback based on the look that crossed his face. He looked away quickly. 

“Thank you.”

He said it so softly she hardly heard it. Gabby crossed over to him and touched his back softly. He stepped toward her, still facing away from her. Gabby didn’t say anything. She just stood there, her hand against his back. She tried to figure out if she should say something or not, but she couldn’t think of anything worth saying, so she just kept her trap shut. A few seconds passed but not long until Nate turned and gave her a smile. 

“I’ve got to admit I don’t have a lot of time to hang out with you, but I figured I could at least bring you out here, and we could spend some time together, and then Paige and Kenda would love to hang out, I’m sure. If you don’t mind hanging out with them.”

“No, not at all.” It wasn’t quite a lie. She wanted to hang out with Paige and Kenda. She was just nervous to do it. From what she could tell, Paige and Kenda were best friends. Although Paige had been really nice to her when it was just the two of them, she wasn’t sure she would be with a friend around. 

Don’t worry so much. Paige doesn’t seem like that kinda girl. 

Trying to shove the thought out of her mind she padded over to the bed and sat. 

“Does that mean I won’t get to spend much time with you?”

“Sorry, but no. I’ve got a lot of work to get done.” 

Gabby bit her lower lip. She nodded, not liking his answer but understanding it. 

“I’d try to get out of it, but I know I can’t.”

“No, I don’t want you to put off work because of me. I don’t want to be that kind of girl.”

A smirk spread over his lips. “See this is one of the reasons I love you.”

His words shocked her. Gabby snapped her head up, and she stared at him with wide eyes. Had she just heard that right? 

Nate’s eyes were wide as he stared at her. “I mean…” He struggled to find words, looking scared.

“I know. I mean you don’t mean you love me.” She cut him off. Of course he didn’t love her. “That’s way too soon.”

“Yes. Yes, right. Still too early for love. I just meant—” 

“I know.”

“Yes. Good.” 

Nate ran his fingers through his hair with a sigh. He refused to meet her gaze. She wasn’t sure what to say next. Just play it cool. Pretend it didn’t even happen. She cleared her throat. 

“So, you’re not going to take me sightseeing.”

“Sorry, no. I can get the girls to, though, if you’d like.”

“I’d love that.” Maybe a little girl time would be good for her.

 

About the Author

Kelly D. Smith is a 21 year old romance writer from Canada. After being homeschooled all her life she got her GED and has been pursuing her passion- writing- with the hopes of turning it into a full time career.

Smith is a personal improvement junky and loves excelling at challenges. She is a country girl at heart and loves spending the day outside with her 3 dogs and the cat!

 

A Heartwarming Guest Post by Author Amy Vastine

As the end of summer nears, kids go back to school and temperatures begin to dip low enough in the Midwest to allow me to wear my favorite sweatshirt. As much as I enjoy the warm-weather months, there’s something about the fall season that makes me feel particularly warm and fuzzy. Maybe it’s the holidays approaching, maybe it’s my love of everything pumpkin. Either way, this is a fabulous time of year.

It’s also the perfect time to cozy up with a good book. Don’t get me wrong, I love my beach reads and the books that we can gobble up poolside. But nothing compares to snuggling up in my Chicago Bears blanket with a cup of something warm (I’m a hot chocolate kind of girl) and a good book in my favorite chair.

a heartwarming holiday cover

This October, myself and 14 of my fabulous fellow Harlequin Heartwarming friends have put together a sweet and emotional holiday anthology for those of you just like me. A Heartwarming Holiday is 15 connected stories all set in the same place – Christmas Town, Maine. Each set of three stories covers the three upcoming holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. All my favorites!

My novella, Peace, Love, and Baby Joy, is the Christmas story in the 24 North Pole Lane section of the anthology. It’s my take on the crazy world world of extreme Christmas light displays. You know what I’m talking about, right? These wild, over-the-top displays with half a million lights and laser shows set to music are on my Facebook timeline every holiday season. There’s even a show where families compete with other families across the nation, and it was this show that became the inspiration for my star-crossed-lovers story. The Warrens and Bakers have battled it out in the annual Christmas Lights Competition for years. They have a long history of sabotage, idea stealing, and one-upping that has led to a family rivalry reminiscent of the Capulets and Montagues. Last Christmas, Valerie Warren and Lucas Baker had thought the news of their elopement would bring their warring families together, but the rivalry ended up tearing them apart. Eight months after signing their divorce papers, Valerie returns to Christmas Town revealing a secret that could change everything this time. Little does she know, she’s not the only one who’s been keeping things from her ex. Lucas has a secret of his own to tell.

Family rivalries, secrets, and one epic brawl between two eighty-year-old grandpas. This story was too much fun to write and I hope that it’s as equally enjoyable to read!

Here’s an excerpt:

Amy VGramps was on a rampage, shooing the Warrens away. “Why don’t you take your pregnant granddaughter back to your side of the street? I bet you sent her over here to on purpose to twist the knife a little bit. Breaking his heart wasn’t enough, huh?”

“You sure do like to rewrite history, Joe. I think you missed the part where your grandson broke our granddaughter’s heart,” Valerie’s grandmother argued. “And we didn’t know she was home.”

“We didn’t even know she was pregnant!” her mother cried.

“She said it was Lucas’s baby,” his dad said.

“Oh, no, it’s not!” Valerie’s dad wouldn’t hear it. “There is no way I will allow my first grandchild to be a Baker.”

“Dad, please stop,” Valerie begged.

“Just you wait, John,” Gramps said with a sinister laugh. “I’m going to have my grandson name that baby Always A. Baker.”

“Over my dead body!” Valerie’s grandfather stepped off the sidewalk with his arm raised.
Gramps put his fists up, ready for a fight. “That can be arranged, you out-of-shape buffoon!”

Complete chaos ensued. Rick Fisher had to step in and stop the two old men from duking it out. There was more shouting, more threats issued. Valerie was in tears when she made her way over to Lucas.

“We’ll talk soon. Away from here. I’m … I’m sorry.”

He wanted to wipe her tears away and make those gorgeous blue eyes smile instead. Lucas should have been the one apologizing. This kind of thing was exactly what had torn them apart. Their families hated one another. They had hoped their love for each other would be a turning point and reason for their grandparents and parents to reconcile. Unfortunately, once they went public with their romance, everyone had done what they could to break them up.

“You sure you don’t want to go to the hospital? It’ll get you away from all this,” Rick said, waving his hand around.

Lucas stood, his eyes still glued to Valerie as she ushered her family back across the street. Her dark hair was longer than it had ever been, reaching the middle of her back. He wanted to chase after her, but knew better than to set foot on Warren property. She would find him when it was safe to talk all this out.

Valerie was pregnant with their baby. Their baby.

“I think you should go get checked by a doctor. Just to make sure everything is okay,” his mom said, wrapping an arm around his waist. “Dad says you got quite a shock.”

Perhaps his mom had misunderstood. Lucas had been shocked, but the biggest one had been delivered by Val not by the electricity. And there was no doctor who could make everything okay.

~*~

So here’s to fall and the holiday season. I’m ready for football games and falling leaves. Christmas shopping and holiday decorating. Most of all, I can’t wait for the release of A Heartwarming Holiday. What are you looking forward to as the holidays approach?

~*~

Amy V Head shotAmy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read. Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

Other works by Amy Vastine:

THE MAGIC STOCKING / A Heartwarming Holiday
WEDDING AT TURKEY RUN / A Heartwarming Thanksgiving
EVERY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE / HQN Heartwarming
THE GINGERBREAD HEART / A Heartwarming Christmas

Independence Day Release: Irresistible Desire by Susan V. Vaughn

 

irresistibledesireHis playful seduction was hard to resist…

Music teacher Ann Green moved to Bay Shore to protect her heavily-guarded heart. But when she meets a handsome fisherman who tests her resolve to stay single, she loses all control. Now she is stuck between the painful memory of her father’s betrayal, and the man who just might be her future.

A boundless hunger has taken over…

Andrew Rybak has taken care of his two younger siblings since his mother’s ongoing drug addiction began. But he secretly aches to escape Bay Shore, and leave all his responsibility behind, until a beautiful stranger moves into town, and opens his eyes to a new future. But will she trust him enough to open her heart? Especially as his inner passions are ignited, and everything he’s been holding back comes pouring out at once.

Buy Links:

About the Author:

Romance Author, Susan V. Vaughn understood the meaning of sarcasm before she could walk.  Her childhood in the suburbs of Detroit was spent mainly trying to outwit her six creative siblings.  When she wasn’t working on the next soul crushing jab, she sharpened her imagination on romantic literature and day dreamed about her knight in shining armor.

It didn’t take long for Susan to take her passion for reading romances into writing her own unique love stories.  Susan lives her life finding laughter in all situations, and delights in marrying sarcasm with romance to create realistic falling-in-love stories in the unlikeliest of scenarios.

Susan lives on the shores of Lake Huron with her real life knight in shining armor and enjoys watching their three children learn the art of sarcasm and wit.

Websitewww.susanvvaughn.com

Twitter-@susanvaughn1124

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Susan-V-Vaughn-123758787958942/

Excerpt:

“Ann, wait,” he called with desperation, jogging to her side. “Can I come in?”

“What?” She turned to him, clearly caught off guard by his question, even though
she shouldn’t be. He was standing in her backyard, for Christ’s sake. His intentions
were obvious. “You want to come in?”

He nodded. If he didn’t talk, maybe she wouldn’t see how anxious he was for her to
say yes. Maybe he would gain her trust.

“Well, I…” She paused, looking conflicted. He could tell by the way Ann was looking
at him now that she saw his desperation, but something inside of her was softening
to it. “I don’t know. I have work later today.”

“Please, Ann,” he begged. If his vulnerability was on display and it didn’t repel her,
then he would let it show. He was too tired to fight it back, anyway. It had been too
damn long since he last slept. And this woman was giving him peace. He couldn’t
let her push him away, not tonight. “I can’t sleep. My head is a mess. I need someone
to talk to.” He grabbed onto her shoulders and looked into her eyes, appealing to
her feminine compassion. “I need you.”

Cover Reveal: Once & Again by M.S. Kaye

Once & Again

book 2

SheOnce&Again.v4 was once his secret desire… Will she be again?

Father Aiden, an ex-marine and new priest, falls in love with Maylynn, but he struggles to stay away from her. He’s successful for many years, though he can’t keep her out of his dreams.

Then one day she shows up for a pre-marital counselling session with her fiancé, Davis. Aiden soon realizes Davis isn’t who he says he is, but what does that mean for Maylynn, and for himself?

Will be released August 4, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.

Add to your to-read on Goodreads.

Author Bio:MSK.v1

M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at www.BooksByMSK.com.

To receive news on upcoming releases, sign up for email updates on her website.

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Once, book one

Will be released July 2, 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.

Her first and also her once.

Jonathan and Rebecca’s paths cross at exactly the right moment, when each most needs to hear what the other has to say.

But Jonathan is three days from entering the priesthood, and Rebecca leaves him to his peace. But he is unable to find peace.

Without each other’s comfort and strength, they must each struggle to forge a new path, with only memories of the one day that changed everything.

But are they able to forget and let go?

Once & Forever, book three

Will be released December 2016 from Inkspell Publishing.

Eden, a nun, is constantly struggling against her dark past of living on the streets, and her attraction to Trace, an ex-convict farm worker. After a twelve-year separation, Eden is finally reunited with her brother, Thomas, but why hadn’t she reached out to him in all those years? As Eden and Trace grow closer, confessing their pasts to each other, will they be able to resist getting too close?

Excerpt:

“You’re studying to be a priest?”

He made himself meet her eyes. “I am a priest.”

She let go of his hand and stepped back.

Her smiled was tight. “I’m glad you found your path.”

Quiet.

He couldn’t quite read her expression. The distance between them felt like a gorge chiseled into the earth.

“Are you all right, Maylynn?” he asked.

“I’m really happy for you.” Then she added, “Father Aiden.”

For some reason, her words stabbed him in the gut. He usually liked when people used his title—it seemed to imply a certain amount of trust.

“I’m sorry, Maylynn.” He wasn’t entirely sure why he was apologizing. He just didn’t like to see her uncomfortable.

“I’m happy for you,” she repeated.

Then he realized what the problem was. He hadn’t anticipated this.

He moved closer. “I’m so sorry.”

Her forced smile finally dropped. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

“It didn’t occur to me…”

“That I might be attracted to you?”

“Yes.”

“Why aren’t you wearing your collar?” Anger prickled the edge of her voice.

“My mother’s last wish was that I find my father. I’ve been following her notes. She was convinced he was somewhere in this area.”

“Wait… Your mother’s name was Adalina?”

He nodded. With the number of times the shelter was mentioned in the notes, he figured his mother and Maylynn had met.

A pause.

Anger flashed in her eyes. “You still should’ve told me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Why’d you play with me like that?”

“I swear that wasn’t my intent.”

“You knew damn well what was going on. Was it a game—see if you still had it? If you could still get the chicks?”

Under the anger in her eyes, he saw the hurt. He swore he could feel it exactly, as if it was his own.

He shifted even closer, just in front of her. “I’m sorry,” he said again. His voice lowered, quieted. “I didn’t see what you were feeling because I was fighting so hard myself. I still am.”

“Fighting what?”

“What I felt the first time I saw you, what I’m still feeling.”

She waited, glaring at him.

“I’m attracted to you,” he said. “Intensely.”