Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Burn on the Western Slope by Angela Smith - Super Book Blast and giveaway

7_31 VBT_Burn on the Western Slope_Banner
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Angela will be awarding one of three prizes: a car mirror hanger or key chain (a seashell as a tie-in to her book), an mp3 album by Pretty Little Blisters, and a $10 Amazon gift card, to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour.
7_31 Cover_Burn on the Western SlopeOn the ski slopes of Montana, deception turns deadly and seduction becomes more hypnotic than jewels.

Reagan McKinney is on a mission to discover more about a deceased uncle who mysteriously left her a sizable inheritance, a condo in the mountains, and a stash of stolen jewels. With both her graphic design career and her love life in shambles, the opportunity to begin a new life couldn’t have come at a better time. When she becomes involved with the sexy FBI agent next door, she finds her struggle is not only to keep her heart intact, but her life.
Grief stricken after an undercover investigation ends in the tragic death of his partner, FBI Agent Garret Chambers goes home to find solace in the arms of his mountain home. That is, until his boss assigns him to investigate the spirited brunette staying in the condo next door. He is assigned to investigate Reagan’s involvement with a large jewel fencing organization, but his investigation becomes comprised when his attraction to her heats up. Will his discovery destroy everything he has come to love, including Reagan?
“Wait,” he said, settling his hand over hers. He didn’t know what he would say to keep her here, didn’t know if he should kiss her again. Had he insulted her in some way?

 “Do you have a boyfriend back home?” he asked. A stupid question at a time like this, but he had to know. For Buchanan, who would call sometime tonight, and for himself.

Silence stretched among them. He fought to soften his breathing, but his heart only pounded harder as he tried to convince himself she was not his to possess.

 When she looked at him, dead in the eye, she didn’t flicker. The strength she’d shown on the mountain today, pushing herself when most women would have cried and complained, and the snappy comeback with Tanner made Garret realize she was the kind of woman who could stand up to a man like Javier Mass. The type of woman Javier—or Nelson, either one—would prize. Garret’s world capsized.

 Shaking her hand from his, she said, “Shouldn’t you have asked me that before you kissed me?”

7_31 AuthorPic BURN  About the Author:During my senior year in high school, I was dubbed most likely to write a novel because I always had my nose stuck in a book. I would hide my romance novels under my history book until my teacher called me out on it.

Writing has been my dream ever since my mother read Brer Rabbit to my sister and me so often that we were able to recite it back to each other before actually learning to read.

I love reading about the adventure of love, and getting involved in the legal field developed my love of suspense. I believe love is a mystery that most people have trouble resolving. While I don’t expect we’ll ever solve that mystery, I love to read and write about characters who work to solve their love’s mystery.

See more about me at my website or tweet me @angelaswriter.
 Publisher Website:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Midshipman Henry Gallant in Space by H. Peter Alesso -- Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away Winner's choice of $100 Amazon or gift card-- please see the Rafflecopter at the end of the post. To see the other stops on the tour, please click the tour banner.

H. Peter Alesso stopped by to answer a few questions.

IRB: Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

Peter: Science fiction novels provide wonderful adventures in unexpected places with unusual characters and strange circumstance. I’ve enjoyed them all my life including stories such as Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet series which inspired a story that I wanted to share. Midshipman Henry Gallant was the result.

IRB: What research (or world-building – for fantasy/paranormal/Sci-fi) is required?

Peter: Science fiction should be based upon actual scientific principles. I researched the technology included in the story and tried to project their development path into the next century. For example, genetic engineering is current an important topic in our society and humanity faced difficult choices as it develops over the course of the next century. In Midshipman Henry Gallant, genetic engineering plays an influential role in the background but it is cast against another important innovation that also may prove a future threat: Artificial Intelligence.

3. Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Peter: I’ve known young men of courage and honor who served their country and I hope some of their strength appeared the characters of this story.

IRB: Anything new coming up from you?

Peter: Perhaps a sequel.

As the last star fighter in squadron 111, Midshipman Henry Gallant is on his way from Jupiter to Mars. With the United Planets' fleet on the verge of annihilation, he can expect no help as he passes through the asteroid belt and threatening aliens. With so much uncertainty about the aliens’ capabilities and intentions, analyzing the captured computer equipment in Gallant’s possession could prove crucial.

The fate of Earth could rest on the abilities of Midshipman Henry Gallant. Unfortunately, it is his abilities that have been much in doubt during his tour of duty. In an era of genetic engineering, he is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced) officer left in the fleet. His classmates and superior officers have all expressed their concern that he will not be up to the demands of the space service. Only bright and attractive junior officer Kelsey Mitchel has shown any sympathy for him. Now as his navigator on the last fighter in squadron 111, her life as well as a good many others, depends of Henry Gallant.

Enjoy this excerpt:

Gallant stood at attention inside the open hatch. Captain Kenneth Caine was seated with his back to Gallant while he reviewed Gallant’s military record on a computer tablet. Clean-shaven with close-cropped graying hair, Caine was solidly built with square shoulders and a craggy face.

From his short time on board, Gallant had already realized that the Repulse was an orderly ship and that Kenneth Caine was an orderly captain. Precision and disciple were expected. He was suddenly conscious of the fact that his tangled brown hair was somewhat longer than regulations allowed.

The cabin was sparely furnished, revealing a traditional stark military room. A desk rested in one well lit corner and held the single personal item in the room, a photo. It showed an attractive mature woman with a pleasant smile. It hinted of someone who had made a bad bargain – that of the lonely wife of a devoted space officer.

While the captain rapidly slid his finger across the tablet screen, flipping through the personnel folder, Gallant’s gaze wandered to the scene visible from the compartment’s porthole. The solar flare had subsided, leaving gigantic colorful Jupiter filling most of the view.

“Mr. Gallant, come in,” said Caine, finally turning to face the newcomer. “Welcome aboard the Repulse.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Gallant in a strong clear voice.

“What do you know of this ship’s mission, Mr. Gallant?”

“As flagship of the Jupiter Fleet, Repulse is required to prevent further alien encroachment along the Jupiter frontier, sir,” ventured Gallant cautiously.

“Quite right, as far as it goes. But you’ll find Mr. Gallant, that there are often more layers involved than may appear on the surface. As a United Planets' (UP) officer, it is your responsibility to find the additional shades of meaning that can affect the performance of your duties. What would you surmise is behind this frontier watch?” The captain’s reassuring voice beckoned a resolute answer.

Gallant spoke guardedly, at first, but then with growing confidence he said, “Well, sir, UP knows little about the aliens' origins or intentions. They appear to have bases on the satellites of the outer planets. Clashes with their scout ships have proven troublesome and Fleet Command wants to gather more intelligence. With so little known about the alien technology, it’s difficult to assess the best way to repel them. Nevertheless, this fleet is tasked with forestalling any possibility of an invasion of Earth by preventing the aliens from gaining a foothold in this sector of space.”

About the Author:
As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of computer scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of six books.
Buy the book at Amazon
View the trailer:
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Black Swan Series by Victoria Danann -- Character Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by PJ Blog Tours. See the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for giveaway information.

A Conversation with Glendennon Catch

Glen first appeared in the Black Swan saga as a rookie trainee in Book 2 working in the capacity of dog walker for Blackie. He was reassigned to Edinburgh when Ram and Elora went on temporary assignment because he was so good with the dog.
In Book 3, his role was considerably expanded when he was put in charge of Elora's rescue mission.
In Book 4, his presence was again expanded, but can't be discussed because of SPOILAGE.
He will continue to be a major player amongst the cast of characters as the saga moves forward. This interview was given right before release of Moonlight.

Victoria: Hey, Glen

Glen: Ms. Danann.

Victoria: Don't look so uncomfortable. We're just going to talk. Nothing to worry about.

Glen: Okay.

Victoria: I can see that didn't relax you in the least. Have you, by any chance, been talking to Sir Hawking about this interview?

Glen: (glances away) Maybe.

Victoria: What did he tell you?

Glen: He told me to watch myself, that you're tricky.

Victoria: (I smile.) I'm not here to trick you, Glen. I'm here because you have new fans who are interested in you personally. They probably want to know such things as boxers or briefs?

Glen: (blushes) You're not asking that are you?     

Victoria: No. I'm not asking that. What I'd really like to find out is how you feel about some of the things that happen to you in Moonlight, but I can't think of a way to do that without spoilers.

Glen : (shrugs)

Victoria:  Well, maybe we can give a couple of things away. How do you feel about leaving Edinburgh?

Glen: Well, I haven't been there that long. I'd say it was a good experience all in all. I got to know a lot of people and I know my way around the different departments at Headquarters.

Victoria: No particular girl you'll be sorry to leave?

Glen: (Smiles.) Fae girls are wonderful. I'll be sorry to leave all of them.

Victoria: Hmmm.

Glen: (His smile vanished.) What does that mean?

Victoria:  What do you mean?

Glen: You said, "Hmmm." What does, "Hmmm," mean?

Victoria: (I turn my recorder off and sit back.) Glen, it seems that Rammel has made you paranoid about this interview. I'm not out to get you. If anything, I'm the angel that sits on your shoulder.

Glen: (Looks unconvinced.)

Victoria: What do I need to do to prove it?

Glen: (Stares.) You could promise that those people who came after Lady Laiken and her baby don't come back again.

Victoria: I can't make that promise, Glen. Wheels are in motion.

Glen: Who's in charge of the wheels?

Victoria: I don't know.

Glen: Sir Hawking said it was you.

Victoria: Well, that would be a very simplistic way of looking at things.

Glen: You think I'm a kid, but I know a dodge when I see one.

Victoria: You're right. I do think you're a kid, but I also know you're a kid who's exceptional, even brilliant.

Glen: But you still think I'm dumb enough or vain enough to be distracted with compliments.

Victoria: Works with Ram.

Glen: (Narrows his eyes.)  

Victoria:  Okay. Look. We've obviously gotten off on the wrong foot and I'm tired of limping along here. You're clearly very protective of Sir Hawking and Lady Laiken, so we'll avoid further references to either of them.
Let's try another question. You're going to be expected to make a declaration of career intent in about three weeks when you turn twenty. Right? 

Glen: Yes.

Victoria: Have you decided what you want to do?

Glen: Yes.

Victoria: Excellent! Please share.

Glen: No.

Victoria: No?

Glen: No. If you want to know more, read the book like everybody else.

Victoria:  Great Paddy.

About the Author:  If you're looking for something new and different in PNR, you've come to the right place. 

I write unapologetic romances with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. Add a dash of scifi and a flourish of fantasy to enough humor to make you laugh out loud then blend in just enough steam to make you squirm in your chair occasionally. My heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past life therapists. My heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners - usually - whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

TWITTER: @vdanann

Once upon a time a girl traveled so far from home that she found herself in another world where heroes, elves, vampires, werewolves, witches, demons, fae, berserkers, and psychics became her friends and family. As an accidental pilgrim, a stranger in a "strangish: land, she learned that there's a place where adventure intersects fairytales and that true love can find you in the strangest places, when you're least expecting it, even when you're far, far from home.

1. My Familiar Stranger: Romancing the Vampire Hunters (Nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012 by Reviewers Choice Awards. Nominated for Best PNR and Best Fantasy Romance by Readers Choice Awards.)

 DESCRIPTION. Minutes ahead of inevitable assassination, Elora Laiken is forcibly transported to an alternate dimension similar, but not identical, to her own. She is stranded. Alone. Far from home. An alien amid the modern day knights of a secret society of vampire hunters and paranormal investigators.

Of course a girl could suffer worse problems than having gorgeous suitors. Perhaps more importantly, in the midst of an epidemic of vampire related abductions, can she stay alive long enough to choose between an honor debt, true love, or the breathlessness of single-minded passion?

2. The Witch's Dream: A Love Letter to Paranormal Romance
DESCRIPTION: Quintessential Black Swan knight, Engel Storm, was left behind when Elora Laiken chose his best friend. Now his heart is bruised and battered and he’s had it with love. But a transplanted witch who happens to be the world’s best tracker plans to do everything in her considerable power to change his mind.

The Witch’s Dream begins with B Team on temporary assignment to Black Swan headquarters in Edinburgh where they are supposed to fill in for stretched-thin resources and assist with a werewolf issue. They’ve been given permission to stop on the way to celebrate a special handfasting in an Irish castle.

When they reach Edinburgh, the afterglow of an elftale wedding quickly becomes all business. A missing person report turns into a demon abduction. A simple werewolf sanction becomes a diplomatic issue requiring the one thing Elora is no longer willing to give - finesse.

3. A Summoner's Tale: The Vampire's Confessor
DESCRIPTION: A secret society, a witch, a psychic, vampires, modern day knights, heroes, elves, fae, assassins from another dimension, and fairytales come together where emotions intersect. Two souls, joined by a mystical bond, separated by distance, struggle through pain and darkness simultaneously. Each alone must traverse an ultimate confrontation with character and the will to survive. Ex-vampire, Istvan Baka, and his first victim prove that true love can wait patiently through lifetimes for a second chance. Even in the strangest places. Even when you're least expecting it. Even when you're far, far from home.

Moonlight, The Big Bad Wolf, is the fourth installment in the serial saga, The Order of the Black Swan. READING IN ORDER STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.
The story continues to touch on the lives of former B Team members and their families while new characters and situations are introduced.
THE NEWSLETTER: Ram and Elora move into temporary quarters at Jefferson Unit to protect mother and baby. Storm gives a surprising answer when he’s tapped by Sol to replace him as Jefferson Unit Sovereign. Litha solicits her father to help Black Swan.
THE SURPRISE: B Team learns the shocking truth about the origin of the vampire virus. Monq races to develop a defense system to repel invasion by Stagsnare terrorists and assassins.
THE ADVENTURE: Desperation drives Stalkson Grey to embark on an adventure beyond his wildest dreams in a bid to save the Elk Mountain werewolves from extinction.
THE ROMANCE: In the process of migrating the Elk Mountain werewolves to a new home, Grey learns that true love can find you in the strangest places, even when you’re far, far from home.
Appropriate for 17+.

Gathering Storm: The Smallest Turn of Fate, Black Swan 5

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Her Sister by Karen Rose Smith - Blurb Blitz and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Karen will be awarding a Landau charm bracelet and a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US ONLY). To see the other stops on the tour, please click the tour banner.

Clare's little sister, Lynnie, was abducted twenty-seven years ago. Now the retired detective who has never been able to let go of the cold case has a lead. Lynnie could be alive!

Clare's neighbor, Joe, an occasional friend until now, gives her support and...wants more than friendship.

Clare's mom, Amanda, thrown together again with her ex-husband into a crisis discovers forgotten love beneath the regrets.

Clare's sixteen year old daughter, Shara, decides to run from her problems instead of facing them.

A devoted sister, a turmoiled mom and a rebellious daughter find their way back to each other in this contemporary ebook about three generations who discover love can knit their family back together again.

Enjoy this excerpt:

Stepping closer, keeping his eyes on hers, Joe took her by the shoulders. "You can't solve your parents' problems, but you can let them help you. You can be here for Shara. You've got to keep the best possible outlook on this, not the worst, and you'll be able to keep in touch with your parents to know what's happening every step of the way. That's what cell phones and texting are for, right?"

Thinking about it, Clare found herself biting her lower lip, feeling younger than she was, feeling uncertain about everything.

"Your parents probably don't know how much they hurt you. Have you ever told them?"

She'd let a little of that come out today. Still … "How could I tell them when they were hurting so badly because Lynnie was gone. I let some of my feelings slip today. They seemed shocked, actually shocked. Are they really so clueless?"

"They're human, Clare. They've tried to do their best, but that just wasn't enough with you. You have to decide if you're going to forgive them and move out of this, or if you're always going to hold bitterness toward them."

She saw the look in his eyes and the road she should take. "You're going to tell me bitterness is only going to hurt me, not them."

"No, I’m not. It will hurt all of you."

His eyes were so kind and compassionate that she found tears coming to hers. Blinking hard, she tried to turn away. But instead of letting her, he pulled her into a hug and he held her tight.

About the Author:
Award-winning author Karen Rose Smith was born in Pennsylvania. Although she was an only child, she remembers the bonds of an extended family. Since her father came from a family of ten and her mother, a family of seven, there were always aunts, uncles and cousins visiting on weekends. Family is a strong theme in her books and she suspects her childhood memories are the reason.

In college, Karen began writing poetry and also met her husband to be. They both began married life as teachers, but when their son was born, Karen decided to try her hand at a home-decorating business. She returned to teaching for a while but changes in her life led her to writing romance fiction. Now she writes romances and mysteries full time. She has sold 82 novels since 1991.

Presently, she is hard at work on a three-book series for Harlequin Special Edition as well as a three-book mystery series for Kensington.

Married to her college sweetheart since 1971, believing in the power of love and commitment, she envisions herself writing relationship novels, both romance and mystery, for a long time to come!

Websites: and

Buy the book at Amazon.

Friday, July 26, 2013

For Love of Livvy by J.M. Griffin - Review and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.M. will be awarding Tea and Chip Nuts to three randomly drawn commenters (US/CANADA ONLY) during this tour and her Book Blast. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Esposito Series Box Set:

Now you can own the first three books in the sassy and suspenseful Vinnie Esposito Series by J.M. Griffin!

By day, Lavinia (Vinnie) Esposito is a criminal justice instructor at a college in Rhode Island. By night Vinnie is an amateur sleuth, solving murders while trying to avoid getting yelled at by her Italian father, her hunky protective boyfriend Marcus Richmond, and her sexy upstairs tenant, the mysterious Aaron Grant.

For Love of Livvy (Book 1)

Vinnie investigates the death of her beloved aunt, and a mysterious box is left on her doorstep.

Dirty Trouble (Book 2)

Someone is stalking Vinnie and that’s just the beginning of her troubles.

Dead Wrong (Book 3)

Vinnie is out to save her brother from being framed after a valuable painting is stolen.

Having inherited her Aunt Livvy’s house and a gift shop, Vinny was determined to find out exactly what or who caused her aunt’s death. She was trying to get the house cleaned and organized when she found a package that someone had left on her doorstep.

The story gets better each page. Who left the package? What was in it? Why did the police keep the package after she notified them of the strange delivery? She was determined to find out. Although she was told to stay out of it, she couldn’t.

Even the handsome detective who was on the case couldn’t keep her from getting involved. I really enjoyed the back and forth between the two of them. And as the story progressed, I thought I had it all figured out. I was only partly right. There were a lot of twists and turns, and a lot of fun as she tried to keep out of the way of the police and tried to solve all the mysteries by herself.

Although there were not too many things that were difficult to figure out, I really enjoyed following each and every step of the investigation. The romance was fun too, as there was an additional man who happened into the picture. I really like the heroine, her family and her friends. I smiled all through this book, even when I was a little afraid of the situation it was still humorous.

This is a interesting and very enjoyable read. Not too complicated, but fun. If you are looking for a lighthearted mystery/romance, this book is for you.

I give it 4 stars.

Enjoy an excerpt

The front door knocker rapped twice after the door bell rang. I hustled from the rear deck of the gargantuan house to answer the summons. Someone seemed impatient, and I was curious as to who it was. My watch read just after eight o’ clock. I swung the heavy door open to find my prospective visitor absent.

It was so quiet, the town ghostly in its seemingly deserted state. Sundays were always lazy days in Scituate, once church was over. With a glance up and down the street of the small historic Rhode Island village, neat colonial homes stretched along the sides of the road in both directions. No one came into view.

On the doorstep, a package addressed to my recently deceased Aunt Livvy sat wrapped in brown paper. Again, I gawked up and down the street, but only empty sidewalks and barren roadway appeared in the waning light. The idea of a jaunt along the main drag entered my mind. I figured it would be senseless since the street was visible for about two hundred yards in either direction. Whoever had left the package was gone, long gone.

An eternity passed, or so it seemed, while my gaze locked onto the square, little box. Reluctant to touch it, I decided to call the local fire company to come take a gander. Call me paranoid, but as a criminal justice instructor, a recent audit of a class on bomb components remained fresh in my mind.

I quickly stepped to the living room and grabbed the phone. I dialed the private number of the fire station up the street. A grunt came across the phone line that could only be Bill MacNert.

“Hey Nerd, its Vinnie,” I said. “A package was just left on my doorstep, could you come down and check it out for me?”

“Sure, you got a secret admirer or somethin’?” He cackled, as only senior men can.

“Not likely, but you never know. This package is addressed to Lavinia Ciano, not Lavinia Esposito and is wrapped in brown paper. Nobody’s here to accompany this little surprise either.”

“I’ll be right down, Vinnie, don’t touch it.” He warned.


Anxious, I paced back and forth across gleaming hard wood floors in the spacious living room of my newly acquired colonial. My fingernails tapped the enamel on my teeth as I wandered to and fro. As irrational as it seemed, I finally leaned against the door jamb inside the entry to wait for MacNert to arrive.

It wasn’t long before the limber old guy came into view as he hot footed down the street with a stethoscope in his hand. This particular piece of equipment wasn’t quite what I’d expected, but then he wasn’t a bomb expert either.

When he arrived on the doorstep slightly out of breath, he glanced at the parcel, and then turned toward me.

“This was just delivered, you say?” MacNert squinted toward me with wizened brown eyes that twinkled all the time. It was as though there was a private joke going on inside his head.

“Yeah, someone knocked on the door, and when I got here to answer, there was nobody around. It didn’t seem prudent to mess with it, so I called you.”

“You just finished that bomb class, eh?” He chuckled and then sobered quickly. Since 9/11, everyone took stuff like this with a serious attitude. While he chuckled, I knew MacNert was no different.

The stethoscope ends plugged into his ears, Bill laid its diaphragm on top of the package. Removing it, he gingerly set it against the sides and listened again. I didn’t make a sound as he stood and glanced up.

“There’s no tickin’ but that doesn’t mean it’s not an explosive. You should probably call the state police barracks up the road. Have them send their bomb guys down for a lookie see, just to be on the safe side.”

“Geez, I hate to do that. I’ll feel stupid if it’s a joke,” I whined.

“It’s up to you, but if you were nervous enough to call me, then you should call them. It’s just my opinion, Vin.” He stepped over the box and wandered into the entryway. “Got anythin’ to eat? Wifey’s out of town visitin’ her sister and I’m starved.”

Bill didn’t seem over concerned, but then again, he hadn’t recently taken a bomb class either. My eyes never left the box as I answered him. “There’s food in the fridge, help yourself.”

I’d known the homely man and his family for years and respected his opinion. Tapping my fingers against my lips, I called after him, “You’re right. I’ll ring the state police now, but stick around okay?”

Unwilling to be nailed as over-dramatic by the staties, I reluctantly punched in the numbers. It was bad enough that the local cops had bugged the shit out of me for the first month after Aunt Livvy’s death. They still stopped by now and then, annoying me even more with stupid questions. Questions to which I had no answers.

After the trooper covering the desk answered, I explained what I’d found on the doorstep. He seemed unconcerned until I mentioned my name and address, and then he stated someone would be down momentarily. The swift change in his manner piqued my curiosity. I wondered why he’d suddenly capitulated when his initial response had been of disinterest.

In the living room, I paced while awaiting the arrival of the state police. Within minutes a sleek, grey Crown Victoria pulled up to the curb out front and a tall, lean trooper got out. Broad shouldered and well built, he walked with assurance and a certain amount of swagger. I stepped into the open door entry and watched him saunter through the front gate onto the walkway. He stared at the package and then at me.

“Did you call about this box, ma’am?” Keen hazel green eyes traveled over my face and down my body.

Craggy features, sculpted from granite, faced me and I felt my blood run hot as the breath caught in my throat. What was this about? I gazed at him admiring the neat package wrapped in the trim uniform.

“I did. Bill MacNert from the fire station thought it would be a good idea since it was mysteriously left on the doorstep. He checked to see if it was ticking, but it isn’t.”

“Are you Lavinia Ciano?” The trooper’s glance strayed from the name on the wrapper to me as his eyes showed a glint of humor and his mouth twitched.

Could that humor be over the name? I wondered, as I said, “No, my name is Esposito. Livvy was my aunt.” Our eyes held and my heart pounded. I licked my parched lips and then glanced away.

An oversized van idled up behind the patrol car and the trooper glanced back. Two men stepped from the vehicle dressed in heavy gear and acknowledged him. He turned to the lead man, mumbled a few words and then stared at me again. If this was an action film, I would have expected Bruce Willis to jump out of the truck announcing he was about to kick someone’s ass. This wasn’t an action film, but a real life situation instead.

The two guys angled through the front gate and hitched their gear as they hauled a peculiar looking lidded barrel toward the front door. By this time, a few neighbors had taken notice of the activities. Several people straggled along the sidewalk across the street to watch.

You’d think it was a freakin’ sideshow. I smiled and waved. Nobody responded, they just continued to gawk. A little excitement for them on an otherwise dull Sunday, I guessed. The trooper stood aside and watched the crowd, but said nothing.

The overdressed bomb guys corralled the box between them. With delicate finesse they lifted and stowed it into the metal container, loaded it into the truck and drove off. I stared in disbelief. Hell, I wanted to know what was in the package. I had a right to know, didn’t I?

The trooper turned to leave and I stepped forward.

“Uh, I’d like to know what’s in the box, if it’s not too much to ask.” My hand snuck up to my hip as my cocky Italian attitude slid into place.

Tall and Curious stiffened at my tone and turned to stare at me. It seemed he wasn’t used to being spoken to in this manner, which wasn’t any big surprise. Women tend to respond differently to men in uniform, especially a man such as this luscious creature. Well, not this chick. I teach guys like him all year long and the “I’m so wonderful” thing gets old fast.

“I’ll be sure to let you know, Miss Esposito. If we have any questions, you’ll hear from us right away.”

I gawked a moment and my eyes narrowed. His opened wide in contrast and he waited, his body tense. Maybe he thought I’d pitch myself off the steps onto his perfectly toned frame and pummel the daylights out of him or something. It was a thought, but I really wanted to know what was in the package. Besides, his muscles were bigger than mine.

In an effort to change tactics rather than be handcuffed and dragged off to jail, I smiled and spoke in as nice a manner as I could muster.

“I’d appreciate any information you could give me officer, since the package was left in such an alarming way. Should I call headquarters tomorrow?”

His look narrowed. I suspected he was unsure of where this was headed. There was a moment’s hesitation before he answered the question.

“Sure, that would be a good idea.” He gave a nod of the stiff brimmed campaign hat that covered cropped brown hair.

“All right then. I’ll call the colonel first thing.” My voice remained light and sweet, and the smile was charming, at least I hoped it was.

The colonel runs a strict police force and is a tough disciplinarian with an intense dislike for any impropriety, implied or otherwise. I’d gleaned that much from the cops in my criminal justice classes.

A tight lipped smile crossed his face. I figured he couldn’t decide whether I really knew the colonel or if this was a ploy. To be truthful, I lied by omission. I hadn’t said I knew the colonel, I just said I’d give him a call.

“That won’t be necessary ma’am. As soon as there’s any information, I’ll get in touch with you.” With a nod of his head, he turned and left.

Don’t you hate that ma’am thing? It makes me feel old. I know I’m thirty-something, but really.

Bill MacNert stood near the doorway sucking down a sandwich filled with sausage and peppers. My mother had sent the food home with me the day before. The smell of rich tomato sauce and fragrant sausage tantalized my taste buds.

“Guess it wasn’t that serious then?” Slurp noises preceded a sauce blob that dripped down his uniform shirt.

I glanced at Bill’s shirt, snagged a tissue from my pocket and dabbed at the drip.

“I won’t know until tomorrow, but if I’m the town laughing stock you’re in for it and don’t forget it. By the way, did you leave me any food?” I chuckled at his expression.

Bill’s guilt ridden grin assured me that he hadn’t, but he swore that he had. He handed me the empty plate before he headed toward the fire station. I watched the stethoscope bob up and down from the back pocket of his pants. He trotted up the street, and I felt sure the story would make the rounds since Bill was an avid gossip.

The crowd had dispersed, and I was alone again. Livvy would have had a fit over the whole affair had she been alive, but I figured there was no sense in being stupid. I act that way often enough, thank you.

Mystery still surrounded Livvy’s non-violent death. While the police weren’t forthcoming with information, the state troopers’ attitude on the phone caused me to reconsider the promise to my father to not investigate on my own. I wandered through the house deep in thought over the situation.

Darkness had descended as I headed toward the bedroom. Changing into a t-shirt and boxer briefs, I climbed into bed with a notebook. The troopers’ attitude niggled at me. I leaned back against the pillows scribbling notes about the package delivery. Words ran across the page as the scene and the trooper came to mind. The trooper’s name wasn’t on his badge, but I remembered the badge number.

The pad propped against my knees, my mind drifted over the parcel and the officer’s attitude. Warm hazel green eyes along with the trooper’s cool manner had drawn my interest. It wasn’t really just his bearing that caught my attention either and it was a struggle to stay focused.

Intense eyes sat above a strong, chiseled nose and firm jaw. I sketched the features onto the pad of paper. His lips weren’t thin, not too wide, but just right for kissing. Wondering what it would be like to taste those lips, I gave myself a mental head slap. A cop is the last thing you want or need, my inner voice echoed. This voice always echoed dire warnings through my head. It had a bad habit of doing so at the worst possible moment. Just stay focused on Livvy, I lectured myself.

Snuggled under the lightweight blanket, thoughts about Livvy and our life played in my mind. Muscles relaxed, and I realized I needed to talk to her tomorrow. The graveyard was about two blocks away from the house. I often went to her grave for a conversation when I’d become involved in one issue or another. That’s what my life consisted of, one issue or another. Most of the time the issues were huge, never mundane, not ever.

I sighed, sniffed the sweet summer scents that wafted through the open window and wondered how this summer in Rhode Island would be. The pillow slipped lower and so did I as my mind wandered over life, the package and my aunt.

As a humorous, cozy mystery writer, J.M. adds a touch of romance to every story. She believes in fairies, doesn't believe in coincidence, and feels life is what you make it. Believe in yourself and look at the positive, not the negative, to bring about success. AND. . .never stop trying.

J.M. lives in rural New England with her husband and two very mysterious cats.

Website: Twitter: mycozymystery
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mismatch by Nana Malone -- Spotlight

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Sizzing PR. 

Spunky artist manager, Jessica Stanton, isn’t looking for love.  She’s looking for a savior.  When a business rival steals yet another of her rising stars, she’s in danger of losing everything she’s worked so hard for…and the only person who can save her fledgling business is the one man she shouldn’t want. Art authenticator, Eli Marks, doesn’t have time for love. He’s too busy saving his brother from the demons of his drug addicted past.  For the past ten years he’s cultivated a façade to keep his distance from everyone else.  But when a string of high-profile art forgeries threatens the security of the only family he has left, he must turn for help to a woman who breaks through his carefully constructed façade every time she’s near. Will Jessica and Eli save each other? Or will secrets and lies stop them from finding true love?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jessica shifted uncomfortably under the scrutiny of the strange man’s jade green gaze. Tsk Tsk Jessica, you’re just horny from watching sex d'art. Poindexter isn't even my type. At least that’s what she told herself. But she was powerless to tear her gaze away from his. With dark hair to contrast the jade green eyes, and an angled jaw to make male models jealous, he was handsome enough to draw any woman's attention.

But he wasn’t her style at all. From the looks of him, he was way too buttoned up. His suit, though exquisitely tailored, was extremely conservative. Same for his shoes—expensive but bland. He screamed, I’m repressed. Except for his hair. Touching his collar and curling at the ends, it was the only non-conservative part about him. She preferred tattooed, too-skinny guitarist types. She was willing to bet Poindexter didn’t have a tat anywhere.

All her misgivings aside, she couldn't tear her gaze from his as she pushed her way toward the bar. He looked like an accountant. No, strike that, too polished. Like a Wall Street type, except he didn't have the air of smarm. Maybe it was his too-direct gaze. There was nothing hidden in his eyes. Just interest and lust. And it made the hairs on her arms stand up. God, what was he doing staring at her? The uptight type generally preferred too-thin models with no hips. Oh, and normal. They veered away from alternative types.

As Jessica pushed through the crowd, his gaze followed as if he were silently drawing her to him, willing her to come to him. The way he insolently leaned against the bar made him even more appealing. When he said something to the bartender, she glanced at his companion. Also handsome, darker, more olive-toned skin, bulkier, too.

The green-eyed devil had the build of someone who worked out for the pure purpose of staying in shape, not to bulk up.

Jessica dragged in a breath to calm her racing heartbeat. She wasn't here for this. She was here for Samson Marks. Unfortunately, so was every other woman in the room. Some men, too. With everyone who wanted to talk to him, she’d already been waiting forty-five minutes, and she wasn’t interested in waiting any longer. She’d just leave her card with Gabe and try and track him down if he didn't call by Monday. She wasn’t letting this guy get away from her. If he could whip her into a sexual frenzy, he had something special.

When she momentarily lost sight of Poindexter, Jessica felt more like herself and less like a throbbing, heaving-bosomed mess. What the hell was wrong with her?

She finally made it to the end of the bar and made eye contact with the bartender. Over by the other end, she caught sight of her mystery man. She might be here to work, but what would it hurt to play a little? It had been a while. Okay, longer than a while considering the last two guys she'd dated she hadn’t even bothered sleeping with.

“What can I get you?”

“Are you Gabe?”

He grinned. “You want to bid on the piece sight unseen?”

She grinned back. “Nope.”

He frowned. “You here to tell me I got a kid out there or something? 'Cause I’m not particularly interested in hearing that.”

“That happen to you a lot?”

“You’d be surprised.”

She laughed. “Tonight’s your lucky night. I’m not here for that either. I need to get a message to Samson Marks.”

Gabe raised his eyebrows and nodded as if this wasn’t the first request of this type he'd had tonight. “Yeah, what’s the message?”

She handed over her card with a note scrawled on the back. “I'm a manager. Tell him to call me.” She shrugged and glanced at Poindexter again. “You can tell him he's safe from me. I have something else entirely planned for tonight.”

Moving away from the end of the bar, Jessica spotted the guy in the suit again and made her approach. “So are you going to stare all night, or were you ever going to come and talk to me?”

His lips twitched as he met her gaze. “Excuse me?”

Jessica raised a brow. “'Cause I gotta tell you, if you weren't so good looking, it would be borderline creepy.”

Poindexter barked a laugh. “Only borderline creepy?”

She shrugged as her eyes met his. “This is L.A. after all. There’s a whole different definition of creepy.”

A small smile tugged at his lips. “Do you always say what's on your mind?”

“I know it's a little odd for L.A., right? But I find it cuts through the bullshit.”She looked around. “Is that your friend?” She nodded in Mr. Italian Stallion wannabe’s direction. His bulky build and darker skin, combined with the gel he wore in his hair gave him a Jersey Shore effect.

The beefy guy grinned and his face transformed, making him look like a schoolboy with his first crush.

“I’m his only friend.”

“Well hello, friend.”

Friend smiled at her and said, “Hello, gorgeous. You going to cheer my friend up here? He’s in a bit of a mood.”

This was fun. Go figure. Since Ryan’s call, she’d been in freak out mode. This felt easy and natural. “Now why are you in a mood? There are a dozen women that are throwing you hungry eyes right now.”

He blinked as if her candor surprised him. “Too bad for them. I’m otherwise engaged.”

“Lucky bitch.”She grinned. “I’m appointing myself as your cheer up committee for the rest of the evening.”

There it was again. The corners of his lips twitched. If just a partial smile was enough to tantalize her, then what would it look like when this guy really grinned? Jessica pictured panties dropping in neighboring cities.

“What, you mean to tell me you don’t have any friends here ready to rescue you from the creepy, staring guy?” His tone was teasing.

“I prefer to rescue myself.”

This time he did grin. And holy fuck, what a smile. Straight, even teeth. Eyes crinkling at the corners. Her own panties, if she’d been wearing any, would have started migrating south.

“You really will say anything, won’t you?”

So this was what flirting felt like; it had been so long since she’d bothered. Man, she missed it. Nothing like flirting to heighten the anticipation. “You never did answer my question.”

“What question was that?”

“Whether or not you were going to work up the courage to talk to me.”

He chuckled. “I was working my way up to it, but I figured you might be trouble.”

“You were right about that. Lucky for you, I believe in taking matters into my own hands. Now, do I have to lead too, or can you dance?”she asked as she tugged him to his feet. Music thrummed and vibrated through Jessica's entire body. His big, warm hand wrapped around hers, and she shivered in anticipation.

This was something she could hold onto. Something she could use to drum out the annoyance at her mother, the insecurities of her job. The loneliness over losing Izzy. All of it. She could use the anonymity on the dance floor to combat the feelings she wasn’t ready to confront.

Bodies of other dancers jostled her until she found a spot with enough space. Her partner looked unsure. She leaned in to make sure he heard her. “Relax, forget about them. All you need to do is concentrate on me.”

His intense green eyes focused on hers, and in a second of irrationality, she wanted to shrink from the feeling of intimacy. She didn’t even know his name, but felt like he could see deep inside her.

“Am I going to get a name out of you?” As he leaned in, his breath warmed her, and his stubble chin rubbed against her temple.

She shivered. “Giving you my name would only ruin the spell.” And while he didn’t look the type, he was still club crawling in L.A... He wasn’t likely to give his real name anyway, so why pretend?

His lips twitched in that sexy way that made her stomach flip.

God, being that handsome should be a sin. Jessica studied him, confused about her reaction to him. Buttoned-up was so not her thing. She preferred tats and piercings and some good old-fashioned hair dye. But this guy set all her receptors to come and get some. Worse, something about him made her want to spill her darkest secrets.

“And if I want to call you tomorrow?”

She shrugged, even as his large hand landed on her waist, drawing her hips into his. “That’s the thing about cheer up committees. You don’t want to overuse them. It affects their potency.”

His eyes traveled her body and heat flushed her whole body. “Somehow I doubt that.”

Jessica met his eyes again. Once more, electricity crackled between them, and again she shut down the connection by turning in his arms to dance. The DJ changed tracks to the latest bass-pumping song by a female rapper, and Jessica let her partner meld their bodies together, enjoying the feel of him around her. For a moment, she let herself relax and enjoy the music.

When he gently turned her to face him, she tried to resist, but then he smiled.

They were jostled again, and he took her hand to lead her through the throngs into the back lounge area. The bouncer at the door greeted him like an old friend and said something she couldn’t decipher. When they were let into the closed lounge area, the door shut, silencing the din from the club.

“What did you say to the bouncer to get us back here?”

“A magician never reveals his secrets.” He smiled again, and Jessica forgot her own name. “Besides, I wanted to be able to hear you. It was a little crazy out there. If you're going to be my personal cheer up committee, I'd rather it be quiet.”

Jessica chewed on her top lip and averted her gaze. He might look like Poindexter, but his thought process was right up her alley. “I couldn't have said it better myself.”

“I prefer it when I can see your eyes.”

She tried to avoid his gaze and swallowed around the lump in her throat. Intimacy was not on the menu tonight, at least not the emotional kind. If he kept insisting on seeing her and talking to her, he’d ruin her about-to-have-anonymous-sex buzz. And he was replacing it with something else that felt like nerves.

She searched through her cache of awesome one-liners for a flippant quip but couldn’t think of one. The slow caress of his fingers at her lower back robbed her of the ability to think properly. Her instincts told her to bolt. Get out before he saw too much. Before he got a gander at her soul. Before he had the chance to run first.

She cleared her throat and made an effort to disengage. But he held her still. “You can run if you want to, but I have a feeling you want to find out if what you’re feeling is as combustible as you think it'll be.”

“I—” She froze when his head dipped down to hers. Even though her brain gave the command to bolt, her body rooted itself in his arms. His body heat wrapped around her like flames. His scent mingled with hers, and the combination of citrusy musk, spice, and flowers made a potent combination. She swayed into him, and she sensed his smile of triumph. Before his lips met hers, one of his big hands scooted to the top of her ass and tucked her body flush against his. She gasped as she felt the full length of his arousal throbbing and pulsing against her belly.

On the parting of her lips, his mouth covered hers.


Other titles by Nana Malone:
Reluctant Protector, Available now on Kindle Nook Kobo All Romance eBooks iTunes & Audible
Forsaken Protector, Available now on Kindle Nook Kobo All Romance eBooks
Game, Set, Match, Available now from Kindle  Nook Kobo All Romance eBooks & iTunes
Sexy in Stilettos Available now on Kindle Nook Kobo All Romance eBooks & iTunes

About the Author:  USA Today Best Seller and iTunes Breakout Books author, Nana Malone's love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin.

It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She's been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.