We have two new reviews for you to check out. The first is on Teresa’s page – a 4 sparkler review of The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman. If you’re a writer, this is something you should look at.
The second review is for Andrew Grey’s newest book “A Heart Back Home” – this gay romance got 5 sparklers. If you like M/M romance, definitely pick this one up. My review is on the LGBTQ+ Adults page.
Blurb: Clay Kartwell loses his job and gets a call from his estranged father asking for his help back on the family farm, all on the same day. Clay knows he has to return home, even though it’s the last thing he wants to do. Some things back home are best left unremembered. Dell Warrington was Clay’s unrequited high school crush and the man he least wants to see. He’s everything Clay remembered and more, including the father of four-year-old Archie. But Dell hasn’t had it easy either, and not everything is as it seems. Clay sets out to save the farm and bring in the crops with Dell’s help. Old assumptions fall to the side as the two men reconnect, and the second chance that Clay never knew he wanted seems within his grasp. But Clay left the farm for a reason, and reconciliation with his stoic father won’t be easy. When his city life offers a new opportunity, he must decide whether to accept what he knows, or follow his heart..
The drive into town took about ten minutes. I pulled into the pharmacy parking lot, lowered the windows so the fall breeze could flow through the car for Rex, then hurried toward the door and immediately bumped into a brick wall. I shook my head and stepped back.
“Clay?” a familiar voice from my past asked.
I cringed for a second before wiping my face clear and smiling as best I could. “Dell?” I asked with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. In truth, I had planned to avoid Dell while I was in town. I should have known it was too much for me to hope for. I wanted to ask something, but instead ended up staring at him like a fool, my lips going like a demented fish and not saying a word. Dell Warrington had always had that effect on me.
“What are you doing here? I thought you were in Chicago. When I saw him a few months ago, your dad told me that you had a good job there and were doing well.” Those eyes had the same sparkle they had in high school, back when I would gladly follow him around like a puppy. I didn’t tell him that the job and the life that my father was so proud of were gone like a fart in the wind.
“Dad called, and I came back to try to help him.” I wanted to get inside and get the prescriptions before the temperature in my clothes rose any higher and I sweated through everything I was wearing. Damn, I thought I would have gotten past all this. Five years away and never hearing his name, and with one look, I was back to the geekish kid who first left. “I just got into town, and he needed something.” Thank God I found my voice.
“Daddy?” a little boy asked as he stepped from behind Dell’s legs.
“Hey, buddy. This is Grampy Harvey’s son, Clay. He’s an old friend of mine. We went to school together.” He lifted the boy into his arms. “Clay, this is my son, Archie.”
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
I recently finished reading this 4 Sparkler cozy mystery “Winner Cake All”. It’s cute, like most cozies, but also different in that there are two main points of view. But as in all cozies, the villain gets caught and life goes on. Check out my full review under “Mysteries”.
Tagline: Italy might be the very thing to heal her.
Devastated by personal loss, Sarah Flynn escapes to Rome where she finds a job teaching English. Only the girls’ school is like a nunnery and she’s expected to speak fluent Italian overnight. What has she gotten herself into? While the beautiful sights rekindle her interest in art, not even her brush finding canvas can heal all the wounds she carries. She’ll need the help of a meddling nun, a nutty mathematician, and a handsome Italian admirer. Can Sarah overcome the insecurities born of a shattered marriage? Will she again take a chance on love?
Eduardo laughed again.
His laugh wasn’t loud or overbearing but a genuine expression of amusement. His eyes, so rich with warmth, smiled, too. For a moment, she lost herself gazing into them, even after his laughter subsided. She cleared her throat and stepped toward the table, where she pretended to busy herself with collecting the folders and handouts. “So, did you have a question?” She kept her gaze on the papers in front of her.
She stole a glance at him and nearly gasped. With his eyebrows pressed together and his glasses dipping to the edge of his nose, she knew where she had seen his face before. Michelangelo’s David. His eyes, his nose, and his mouth were all strikingly similar to the image she’d studied in college. And she’d studied the David closely: the toned biceps, the chiseled abdomen, and the intricately carved genitals…
A deep blush rushed her face, and she shifted her gaze to the desk. Why was she so embarrassed? She wasn’t undressing him with her eyes. Even if she had paid attention to the wide shoulders and narrow hips that now caught her eye, she needn’t be ashamed.
How long had passed since she had felt the warmth of desire for a man? Sarah swallowed hard and fanned her face. Apparently, long enough that even an innocent attraction burned her cheeks bright.
He relaxed his brows. “Are you all right?”
Sarah froze her fanning hand in mid-flap. “Oh…yes. I’m still getting used to the temperature here.”
Author Bio: Wendi Dass is a math professor and author from Charlottesville, Virginia. Her writing interests include literary short stories, flash fiction, and novel-length women’s fiction and romance. Wendi’s short stories have been published in several small journals. When she’s not devising deceptively delicious problems for her students, she can be found drafting her latest story. For more information on her writing please visit www.wendidass.com.
Tagline: When two Scrooges unite to save a bar in trouble, a kiss under the mistletoe sparks the sexiest Christmas miracle ever.
Back Cover Blurb: Bartender River Lundqvist has a damn good reason for hating Christmas. Bangers Tavern is the perfect place to lay low over the holidays—until Charlie walks in. His first encounter with the saucy server nine years ago was utter humiliation. Her reappearance stirs up powerful desires and hopes for a new start. But the timing is all wrong. Back in Tacoma to care for her estranged dad over the holidays, freelance web designer Charlie Khoury braces herself for the suckiest Christmas ever. A temporary job at Bangers Tavern gives her a chance to escape Dad’s criticism and blow off some steam. But why does the hunky bartender seem to hate her? A pretend girlfriend is just what River needs to keep his family off his back—until a kiss under the mistletoe flares hot enough to melt the North Pole. When greedy developers threaten Bangers Tavern, River and Charlie must team up to save it. Their sizzling chemistry feels like the real thing—but everyone knows rebound relationships don’t last. Come to Bangers Tavern for an enemies-to-lovers tale of reconciliation, found family, holiday cocktails, and the sexiest Christmas miracle ever.
Her low, throaty chuckle made him want to kiss her again. Though he pretty much wanted to kiss her anytime she was within range.
She laid her hand palm-up on the center console. “The thing is, I’m not looking for a relationship.”
Remembering a bit of Dawn’s wisdom, he nestled his hand into hers. “You never find a relationship when you’re looking for one.”
Her gaze softened, open and vulnerable. “Are you looking?”
Warning sirens blared inside his head. This was a question to answer very carefully. “If you’d asked me a month ago, I’d say, ‘No way.’ But then, I kissed this girl under the mistletoe, and…”
She closed her eyes, lifted his hand, and pressed it to her sternum. Beneath his palm, her heart thudded fast. His pulse sped to match hers. He held his breath.
“I like you, River.” Her whisper matched the brush of snowflakes against the windows.
“I like you too.”
She inhaled deeply, then met his gaze. “Enough to be my friend?”
He nodded, mesmerized.
“Because my life is a mess right now, and I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing.”
Her coarse language stirred up a heady swirl of laughter, sympathy, and arousal. He scooted as near as the center console allowed and placed his lips close to her ear. “I’ll tell you a secret. Me neither.”
Fire flickered in her eyes’ inky depths. Her lips parted. A golden thread wound around his heart and tugged him toward her. His thumb stroked the delicate line of her jaw as he closed the distance.
When two Scrooges unite to save a bar in trouble, a kiss under the mistletoe sparks the sexiest Christmas miracle ever. Come to Bangers Tavern for an enemies-to-lovers tale of reconciliation, found family, holiday cocktails, and grumpy, snarky love. #Christmas #Romance #Steamy
Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance from her new home in Washington State, U.S.A. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, plays darts (pretty well), plays guitar (badly), and gobbles all the books. Visit Sadira at http://www.sadirastone.com.
Tell us about what you write (short stories, novellas, novels, non-fiction)?
I write steamy contemporary romance set in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. My Book Nirvana series centers around a quirky bookshop in Eugene, Oregon. Gelato Surprise is a steamy older woman/younger man beach romance novella. The Bangers Tavern Romance series is set in a neighborhood tavern in Tacoma, Washington, where I live—the town, not the tavern! Each story features a holiday celebration in Bangers Tavern: Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, Halloween, etc. During this sad time when so many bars, restaurants, and other businesses are shut down, Bangers Tavern gives me the chance to virtually share the fun, camaraderie, and bar food I miss so much. And each volume includes tasty cocktail recipes I’ve personally tested and tweaked—a tough job, but I do it for my readers (wink).
Under my own name, I write cozy mysteries and creepy short stories—think The Twilight Zone—but so far only one creepy short has been published. I’ll get to the rest of them eventually, but right now I’m having too much fun writing romance!
I have a new review up in the Non-Fiction area. “Crafting Category Romance” by Amy Lane – a 5 Sparkler review and a great reference book for writers. Check it out.
And now… WordPress has decided to “make things better” by changing the way we bloggers do things. In doing so, they have fouled up a lot of my pages causing me no small amount of headaches and time wasted trying to fix my pages. I have spoken with their “help desk” (HAH!) multiple times and nothing has been done to correct the problems that they created. If you find something that looks badly formatted, please let me know. And if nothing else, I post to Amazon, Goodreads, and other places and you can read my reviews there. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Thank you to Vicky and Sparkling Book Reviews for inviting me back!
I’m so excited about my new duology. It started a really long time ago, when I read an announcement of a book by another author. I thought it said something like “A couple has to learn how to live together for the first time in their marriage…” and I thought that was a really cool twist. And then I realized it was the opposite (how to not be together) and I was even more excited. Because now I could write that story!
So More Than You Know was born! Because I’m me, I had to come up with a paranormal reason that Avery and Reed haven’t been together, and an action/high-stakes reason they now have to try to live with each other. The stakes can’t get much higher than a deadly allergy, a serial killer, kids in trouble, and oh, hey, how about how annoying someone suddenly is when you can’t get away from them? LOL
If you’re in central Pennsylvania, I’ll have copies of More Than You Know at Cupboard Maker Books on Saturday, October 10 from 1-3.
Avery Kale is a paranormal law enforcement agent in charge of rogue solars—people who use their ability to harness the sun to commit crimes. Her husband Reed is a teacher, helping young solars adapt to becoming part of the solar community. Their marriage has been a delicate equilibrium ever since their deadly allergy to each other nearly killed Reed, a balancing act neither is able to endure much longer. But Reed’s insistence on finding a better solution wars with Avery’s fear that trying could be fatal.Then Avery and Reed are enlisted for a multi-jurisdictional homicide case. Someone has been using heretofore unknown powers to kill using the sun. They need Avery’s unique ability to determine if their main suspect is a solar. Paul Adranian, a DC billionaire, is hiring a husband-wife bodyguard team for his kids, and Avery and Reed are the task force’s best option. The risk seems low: Get hired, get in, identify him, and get out. But the not-so-quick job drags on and gets complicated when Paul enlists them to clear his name, using an enticement they can’t turn down.Now not only are Avery and Reed targets of the most dangerous solar ever known and a danger to each other, being together every day has put a spotlight on problems they didn’t know they had. If they survive the killer and the allergy…is their marriage doomed anyway?
The most boring part of Reed’s day was the three hours the kids were in preschool. The teacher didn’t want their presence distracting her students, so she didn’t allow him and Avery in the classroom during most of the lessons. They stood sentry outside the classroom door, taking turns prowling the hall and the outside of the building. It gave him a new appreciation for the Beefeaters in London. But it also made him want to take a nap.
Today was even worse. They’d followed the kids around all weekend—a soccer game and gymnastics exhibition on Saturday, church and summer clothes shopping on Sunday—and Reed had wanted someone to shoot him in the head by the end of that. Both nights, they’d gone to the club where Alec was tending bar. Avery hadn’t detected any solars in either place, but some of the dancers didn’t come on until after eleven, so they’d had to stay late to make the visits completely worth it. Reed wasn’t used to keeping such hours. His most recent assignment, with Scott, had followed farm hours. Early bed, early rise, and nothing strenuous—for him—in between. He kept rocking in place, his eyes closing, when he wasn’t the one walking the perimeter.
Then there was the sex thing. They’d been too worn out to repeat their Friday night interlude, but it was still strong in Reed’s mind. He didn’t think it was appropriate to be thinking about it in a school, and trying not to was distracting him from his job.
“Stop yawning!” Avery covered her mouth as she copied him. “You’re making me sleepy!”
“I have nothing to do with you being sleepy,” he countered, but yawned again. “God, I need coffee.”
“Good idea. Go see if the lounge has any. The secretary told me last week we could help ourselves. And do a perimeter walk while you’re at it.”
Reed gratefully left his post. Even though Avery was staying behind, he glanced into the classroom window on his way by. The kids were all working on some kind of art project at two round tables, one for the three-year-olds, one for the fours. Josh’s back was to him, but he could see Emma’s tongue poking out as she concentrated. He smiled with affection. She glanced up and saw him, beamed, and gave him a thumbs-up. He returned it and continued down the hall, letting the warm feeling in his chest permeate the rest of his body.
He did the perimeter check first. The preschool used a handful of classrooms in an old elementary school that was no longer being used by the local district since a new, bigger school had been built. They planned to rent out additional space for offices, but currently the preschool was the only occupant. That made Reed and Avery’s job a little easier, without a lot of people coming and going to keep an eye on.
He went outside and checked the locks on the front door first. He varied his routine every time, in case anyone was watching, and tried not to develop any kind of pattern. While he crossed the front lawn to go around the left side of the building, he scoped out the parking lot. The six cars were the same as on his last circuit. Two teachers, two staff members, one parent’s car, left behind while they went shopping or something with another mom, and Avery’s. Usually Heather dropped them and the kids and did errands while they were in class, but today Avery and Reed had offered to give her a little extra time by taking the kids to school themselves.
He’d gotten to the corner and was about the check the door at that end when he heard a vehicle behind him. Staying close to the shrubbery, Reed watched a little Yaris pull up in front of the school. The driver left it running and got out, jogging up to the doors and yanking one. He was an unimposing man, at least half a foot shorter than Reed and a bit on the soft side, slightly receding hair, weak chin. He could be a parent, but Reed had never seen him before.
The man tugged all four entry doors and when none of them opened, cupped his hands around his eyes to peer inside. Nothing happened. Reed figured the secretary was in the bathroom or copy room or something, or she would have buzzed him in by now. Unless there was a reason she didn’t want to. Reed walked toward the steps, preparing to confront him.
The man looked at a folded piece of paper in his hands, flipped it around, looked to his left and behind him, then shrugged and stuck the paper between two doors. Then he started to jog back to his car. Partway there he spotted Reed and picked up his speed. Reed pushed into a run. The paper could wait. He didn’t think he should let this guy get away. He ran toward the car at an angle to cut off the shorter man, who was closer. They were going to reach the car at the same time, but the man had to go around it to get to the driver side. Reed bounced a ray of sunlight off the windshield into the man’s face, trying to slow him down, but the ray twisted away before it hit.
“Crap.” The guy was a solar. Reed pushed faster and reached the man just as he got to the car, but as he reached for him the guy leaped into the air and caught a sudden breeze that carried him over the Yaris and dropped him right next to the driver’s door. Reed cursed again and yanked on the passenger handle, but it was locked. A moment later the car screeched away. He quickly read off the license number while he pulled his phone out of his pocket.
“A-two-nine-C-three-B. A-two-nine-C-three-B. A-two-nine-C-three-B.” He punched it into the memo function and saved it, then speed-dialed his wife. When Avery answered he said, “Get inside with the kids. I’ll be right there.”