Friday, January 30, 2015

Release day blitz: Loyalty and Lies by L.A. Cotton

Loyalty and Lies Release Day

Loyalty and Lies (Chastity Falls #1) by L A Cotton
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 30th, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions





Eighteen-year-old Savanah Parry just moved three thousand miles across state to escape. The memories…the whispers…the pain.

Chastity Falls Academy is supposed to be her fresh start; her salvation. And when Ana meets mysterious Jackson, she begins to think it is. She hasn’t smiled in almost sixteen months; not since the night her life changed forever, and despite her guilt…her loyalty, Ana can’t deny that Jackson is breathing life back into her. With Jackson by her side, Ana wants to believe she can heal and move on. But she isn’t the only one living a lie, and the small private Academy has secrets of its own. All is not what it seems, and Ana is about to find herself in a tangled web of lies; fighting for survival, again.

Loyalties will be tested, lies will be told. Welcome to Chastity Falls.








Author of NA Contemporary Romance, L. A. Cotton loves writing about those first looks, first kisses, and happily ever afters.

A wearer-of-many-hats, L.A juggles being a full-time mum to two little people with two part-time jobs and college. In her spare time (and when she’s not camped out in front of the laptop) you’ll most likely find her immersed in a book, escaping the chaos that is life.

Loyalty and Lies, is book one in her NA college series: Chastity Falls.




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Gardner's class was nothing compared to the torture of sitting so close to Jackson in Shakespeare. After his warning to stay away from him, I thought he might pick an alternative seat, but that didn't happen. Instead, he brushed straight passed me, dropped into his usual chair and acted as if nothing had happened. I had to fight back the urge to ask him why he had told me to stay away from me. I mean, it wasn't like we hung out. There had been coffee at the shifty sea front hut…once, and then the embarrassing sprained-ankle-in-the-storm incident.
“Today, class, I want us to look at the character Iago…” Professor Shacks’ voice echoed around the small room. “Iago is the voice whispering in Othello’s ear, playing to Othello’s own paranoia and insecurities around his relationship with Desdemona. Of course, Othello trusts Iago implicitly, why wouldn’t he trust his long serving friend and lieutenant? A fact that Iago uses to his own advantage…”
Jackson shuffled next to me, and then quickly dropped a white note onto my desk. What now? I sighed, feeling frustrated at his mixed signals.
How’s the ankle?
Okay thanks
I balled up the note and tossed it onto his desk, watching him through the corner of my eye. A slight smirk played on his lips, and it was obvious he was aware I was pissed at him. He started scribbling a reply, which landed in front of me seconds later.
I’ve heard coffee (or a banana shake) can work wonders for a sprained ankle… healing properties or something.
I scowled at his slightly scruffy handwriting wondering what game he was trying to play with me.
Thanks. I’ll make sure I have a banana shake before bed
Feeling pleased with myself, I held out the note for him and he plucked it out of my hand, silently laughing when his eyes scanned the words.
How about a shake before bed… with me?
My eyes blinked. And blinked again, feeling the heat of embarrassment wash over my face. Was he flirting with me? I felt thirteen all over again. Mikey Crand used to send me love notes in Biology and me and my friend Lacey would giggle over them. Feeling brave, I handed him my reply.
Are you inviting me for a shake? Or to bed?
Jackson’s eyes widened and he shuffled slightly in his seat. Take that mister confusing, I thought, pleased with myself.
Are you saying yes?
I inwardly groaned. Jackson: one, Ana: zero. I couldn’t keep this up without drifting into territory that terrified me. Jackson was the first guy—the only guy—that made me smile… made my stomach flutter… made me feel anything since Danny. It wasn’t the plan, not what I ran to CFA to find, but somehow I had found it. Found something—someone—that made me feel again. Was that enough to try and get to the bottom of whatever was going on with Jackson? Of why he had warned me to stay away?
To the shake… maybe
Meet me round back five minutes after class
I was heading for a one-way trip into purgatory, because as I discreetly watched Jackson out the corner of my eye I knew. Knew there would be no way I could walk away. Right or wrong, sensible or stupid, he had awoken a part of me that I thought I would never find again…and I couldn’t just give that up. Not for all the warnings in the world.
~
Ninety-minutes later, I was sitting in Black’s suffering some kind of post-Jackson whiplash.
“I’m surprised you asked me for coffee again.” I slurped up the thick banana shake.
Jackson watched me, his eyes were more the color of the bluey-green ocean today, than their usual shade. “Actually, I invited you for a shake.” He quipped back.
I tried broaching the subject during the ride to Black’s, but he just shrugged me off, talking about the weather. The freaking weather. I was done with his evasion techniques. “After you warned me to stay away from you the other night?”
He placed his mug back on its plate and sighed. I watched, captivated, as he ran his hand through his messy dark hair, the longer strands falling back into place, a five ‘o’clock shadow cloaking his jaw. “About that… I may have been a little hasty.”
“Hasty?”
“See the thing is…” His eyes held mine, smoldering at me, pleading with me. “I’m not sure I can stay away from you.”
My lips moved to say something but nothing came out. Jackson watched me intently and I gulped. It felt like he was willing me to agree, to accept that there was a reason we should stay away from each other, but to ignore it. And I got the feeling it was a no questions asked kind of arrangement.
“It’d be better for you… for us, if you stay away from me, Ana. But I don’t want you to. I’m too selfish to walk away.”
“But-”
Jackson cut me off. “No questions. That’s the deal. We spend time together, get to know each other, but you can’t ask any of the questions I know you have swimming round in that pretty little head of yours.”
“Okay, but-”
His hand found mine across the booth, and his fingers grazed my knuckles. “No questions. That’s just the way it has to be for now.”
I nodded. Unsure what I was agreeing to.
“You won’t regret it Ana Parry, I promise.”








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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blog tour: In For The Kill by Shannon McKenna


In For The Kill 
McClouds & Friends # 11 
By: Shannon McKenna
Releasing January 27th, 2015
Kensington



The risks ex-cop Sam Petrie has taken have turned his life into a train wreck. So he has nothing to lose by doubling down as the elusive Svetlana Ardova’s unwanted bodyguard on a potentially deadly trip to Italy.

Ever since the McClouds rescued Sveti from certain death, her crusade against modern slavery has blazoned a bulls-eye on her chest, but when one of the threats against her almost hits the mark, Sam’s protective instincts go into overdrive. Every lethal obstacle and trap they encounter ups the stakes—and the undeniable heat between them.

Now they’re spiraling in on a deadly and explosive secret—one that could either redeem them or destroy them . . . and the closer they get, the shorter the fuse . . .






Shannon McKenna is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous romantic thrillers and several novellas. After a bizarre assortment of jobs, from singing cocktail waitress to medical secretary to strolling madrigal singer, she decided that writing hot romantic suspense suits her best. She lives with her husband and family in a small seaside town in southern Italy. 
Write to Shannon at her website www.shannonmckenna.com 



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Her eyes dilated. He wished he had the super-senses they said Miles had now. His heart pounded too hard to hear hers, certainly at that distance. He started to close that distance, and she skittered back a pace. It took all his willpower to stay motionless, leaving none to hold back the incredibly ill-advised question. “If you don’t want to talk about death threats, then tell me about your love life.”

Her mouth tightened. “I would rather not.”

“Tell me about lover boy. How long have you been seeing him?”

“You mean Josh? I’ve known him ever since Nick rescued me from Zhoglo. He’s a good friend.”

“Define ‘friend,’ ” he said. “Does it mean, free to fondle your ass?”

Her chin tilted up a notch. “You’re being invasive.”

“Yeah? Would you feel invaded to learn that he’s hitting on two girls on the catering staff, in between groping slow dances with you?” 

Her gaze dropped, but she did not look as startled or upset about that revelation as she ought to. “You have no right to judge.”

“Wrong,” he informed her. “That ten minutes in Ranieri’s home office two years ago. No matter how long ago, no matter how you’ve ignored me since then, that ten minutes gives me the right to give a shit. Tell me about Cattrell. Are you f*****g him?”

“No!” The denial popped out, vehement and breathless.

“Planning to?” he persisted. If this was going to be the definitive crotch kick of reality, then bring it on.

Sveti’s gaze dropped. He waited.

“You’re not involved with him at all,” he said.

“I told you,” she said. “We’re good friends.”

“And it doesn’t bug you that he was fondling the waitstaff.”

“No, not anymore,” she said softly. “I’ve known for a long time that he doesn’t have the feelings for me that I’d, um, hoped.”

Hoped? Sveti had hoped, and the guy hadn’t delivered the goods? God, Cattrell must be brain damaged not to hit on that.

“He was touching you as if you were lovers,” he said. “But you’re not an ass-grab kind of girl. You asked him to do that for my benefit. He was a safe date, in case I came to smoke you out. Your human shield.”

Her color rose. “Wow, Petrie. You may be surprised to learn this, but you are not, in fact, the center of all my thoughts.”

“Tell me if I’m right,” he persisted, though he was already sure.

“Get out of my way!” She tried to push past him, toward the door.

He grabbed her. He knew he shouldn’t, but the part of him that knew had no say. The rest of him clamped on to her, nerves jangling at the sweet shock of contact. Laced up into that tight cage of crimson satin, her heat and scent overwhelmed his senses. She strained away from him. Provoking a dangerous, animal urge to drag her close. Pin her down.

“Let me go, Petrie,” she said. “Or I’ll start to scream.”

“You treat me like I’m a criminal lowlife, out to rape and pillage,” he said. “I’m one of the good guys, Sveti.”

“Hah,” she muttered. “There are no good guys.”

“We’re all bad, then? You lump me in with Arbatov? Zhoglo?”

The mention of the two mafiya vors energized her struggle. He clamped her tighter against his body. Her heartbeat was so frantic and birdlike. She felt so fragile. But she wasn’t.

“I can’t believe we’re talking about my love life when that monster is in the ballroom with my friends and their kids, eating tempuradipped zucchini flowers! He’s committed horrible crimes against innocents!”

“You’re not the only one who tries to protect the innocent.”

She sniffed. “Yes, of course. The police are so very noble.”

He waited for a moment. “Not fair,” he said quietly. “We try.”

She looked down, abashed. “That is true, and I apologize,” she said. “This is silly, Sam. I promise, I won’t be rude to the criminals. I won’t get myself or anyone else killed. Let go. Please. I’ll be good.”

Now she was trying sweet reason. Who cared. She might have gotten a handle on her self-control, but he most definitely had not. His grip did not slacken as he put words to the thought forming in his head. “You know what your problem is, Sveti?”

She tilted a winged dark brow. “I imagine you’re going to tell me?”

“Your love life, the thing with Josh. Me. It’s the same issue. You think sex is frivolous. The real deal is the big bad story of your life. Ogres trying to cut your heart out and sell it. The last-minute rescue from a grisly death. The hell you went through gives your life purpose. It defines you. The rest is fluff. It doesn’t deserve your full attention.”

“And you think you deserve my full attention, Sam?”

“Yeah,” he said baldly. “And you deserve mine. My full, undivided attention, all over every inch of your body, for a prolonged period of uninterrupted time.”

She shrank away. “I don’t have time for games.”

“Yeah, getting buried in a concrete bridge piling, that’s Svetlana Ardova’s idea of a good time. You must be a lot of fun at parties, babe.”

“F*** you, Petrie!”

Ooh, hostile. “You have to let the past go,” he told her.

“Do I?” She shook with a bitter jolt of laughter. “Really! Wow, Sam, thanks for the insight! Like it’s that easy! You have no idea.”

“You’ve still got to let go,” he repeated stubbornly. “The evil vor, the dungeon, the whole f*****g horrible mess. You survived. It’s over. The end. Stop dragging that ten-ton weight around.”

“You don’t know shit about it! You can’t say that to me!”

“Of course, nobody can say that to you. That’s why your love life is so hot and happening. All those unsayable things start to choke a guy after about ten minutes.”

“Let go of me, goddamnit!” She flailed furiously.

“But I can say the unsayable. You already think I’m scum. I don’t have to pretend to be anything but a d***head. Ahhh. Freedom.”

“I never said you were a d***head,” she whispered.

Happy news, but he wasn’t getting cocky about it just yet.

“Where do you get courage to say unsayable things?” she asked. “All the men I meet are afraid of me. So what makes you so brave?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. Just dumb that way, I guess.”

There was a floor-length mirror. He tugged her across the floor until they were reflected in it, right down to the pointy toes peeping out beneath the hem of her skirt. She made a distressed sound and fought her arm free to fumble for a tissue, with which she tried to wipe mascara.

“I scare you to death,” he said.

She somehow managed to look haughty while mopping up her nose with a tissue. “No, you do not. But you are very intense.”

“Just with you. Usually, I’m Mr. Mellow.”

“Oh, please. Mellow men do not become homicide detectives, Petrie. They become botanists, bicycle repairmen, mathematicians, mindfulness bloggers. Organic gardeners. Zen monks.”

“Call me Sam.” He bent to smell her hair and she arched away, a tremor rippling through her body. “You don’t have to be afraid of me.”

Laughter vibrated through her. She mouthed the word. Bullshit.

His hand slid over her warm curves, shadowy dips and hollows. He wanted to eat up her delicate scent. Devour it in one breath. Miles could break down those pheromones into their chemical components and list their molecular formulas. But for Sam, it wasn’t chemistry.
It was magic. Crazy, balls-deep enthrallment.

“You just won’t give me a break,” he murmured against her throat. “And I know why. You want to know my theory about you?”

She flinched away as he cupped her jaw, letting her delicate, wispy ringlets tickle his wrist. Insubstantial as a puff of breath.

“No, Petrie,” she said. “To be honest, not really.”

“I’m telling you anyway.” He nuzzled the whorl of hair below her ear and dragged his lips over the edge of that crimson birthmark. “That day in Bruno’s studio. It was too good for you.”

A burst of laughter shook her. “Really?”

“It made you forget,” he insisted. “For a little while, it was just you and me in the room. No evil vor, no organ pirates. No past. No future.”

“Marco was there. In his crib,” she corrected, primly.

“Whatever. You’re so wound up in this scary story of almost getting your heart ripped out. It defines you. It freaks you out, to be cut loose from that. It makes you feel lost. Scared.”

“Petrie, do everyone a favor, and don’t take up psychology.”

“You lost yourself,” he persisted. “I could help you find it again.”

The frown line between her brows deepened. “You’re so arrogant.”




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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blog tour: Beyond Limits by Laura Griffin



Beyond Limits
The Tracers Series #8
By: Laura Griffin
Releasing January 27th, 2015
Pocket Books 



FBI agent Elizabeth LeBlanc is still caught in the aftermath of her last big case when she runs into the one man from her past who is sure to rock her equilibrium even more. Navy SEAL Derek Vaughn is back home from a harrowing rescue mission in which he found evidence of a secret terror cell on US soil. Elizabeth knows he’ll do anything to unravel the plot—including seducing her for information. And despite the risks involved, she’s tempted to let him. . . .

On the surface Derek’s offering a simple deal—Elizabeth provides him with intel, he delivers the terrorist. But he knows nothing about Elizabeth is easy, and now their volatile relationship threatens to distract him from the most important mission of his career. Together with the forensics experts at the Delphi Center, he and Elizabeth are closing in on the truth, but it may not be fast enough to avert a devastating impending attack . . . or stop a ruthless enemy from escaping to kill again.






New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner (for the books Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book. Visit Laura at www.LauraGriffin.com or Facebook.com/LauraGriffinAuthor



Laura, Thank you for stopping by  Roberta’s Dreamworld to chat today about your New Release in the Tracers Series, BEYOND LIMITS.  

For New Readers, what is the Tracers Series about?

The Tracers are an elite group of forensic experts who help investigators solve their very toughest cases. The Tracers include all sorts of talented people: Mia the DNA expert, Ben the cyber detective, Kelsey the forensic anthropologist. The list goes on! I love writing about these people- not just their work but their tumultuous personal lives, too.

BEYOND LIMITS is the eighth in the Tracers Series, when you first started writing, let’s go as far back as THREAD OF FEAR, did you have ANY idea that the Tracers would become what it is today? 

 I had no idea. Originally I had envisioned three books, but the series just kind of took on a life of its own. I would introduce a new character, then readers would ask for that character’s story. With each new book I love bringing in new characters and also catching up with people from past books.

If you could have one of the field careers that pertain to the Tracer’s team, which would you want for a career?

Well, I’m fascinated by so much of what the Tracers do. You could say I’m a forensics junkie! I really love Mia’s job—she’s the DNA expert. I’m also amazed with all the tricks Ben has up his sleeve. He’s the computer expert who uncovers some key clues in BEYOND LIMITS.

I know you do a TON of research on the careers associated with the Tracers Team, do you have a favorite “research trip” that you can share, or the coolest thing you have gotten to experience for book research?

The fictional Delphi Center Crime Lab sits in the middle of a body farm. I’ve had a chance to visit one, and what they do there is so interesting (if you can get past being squeamish). It’s amazing to see all the ways that human bones can tell a story for investigators.

To Date, which is your favorite Tracers novel and why?  

The books are all so different, so I don’t really have a favorite. I love BEYOND LIMITS because the story really pushes these characters to their max—both in their jobs and their personal lives. Derek’s SEAL skills come into play, and Elizabeth’s sharp investigative instincts. But what I love most is their relationship struggle. Derek and Elizabeth have to work hard to find their happy ending.

Is it difficult to come up with fresh ideas?  

I started out as a newspaper reporter, so I like to keep up with current events. I’m always getting inspired by headlines and news tidbits. And every time I interview a new law enforcement person or forensic expert the ideas start rolling in.

What is the best part about writing Romance Suspense?

I like to read tense, exciting stories. With romantic suspense you have the sexual tension plus the action-adventure plot to drive the story forward. My favorite books are thrillers where you also feel an emotional connection to the characters.

I know you are working on the HART & MORENO Series with the fabulous Allison Brennen, and just released your first Hard Cover Suspense, FAR GONE, and then of course we have BEYOND LIMITS now released, so what are you working on currently?

I’m writing the next Tracers book, SHADOW FALL. This one features some of my favorite Tracers characters- Mark Wolfe, Kelsey Quinn, Mia Voss. The book’s hero is Mark’s brother, Liam Wolfe, an ex-Marine who runs a private security firm and finds himself being investigated for a brutal murder.

Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?

People often ask me if you need to read the Tracers books in order, and you don’t . Each story has a stand-alone mystery and a different romantic couple. So you can dive right in to the series!

Thank you so much for stopping by to chat!!  Readers, don’t forget to enter to win a Tracers Book Bundle featuring SCORCHED and TWISTED!






It was full-on rush hour by the time Elizabeth reached the city, so she crossed Starbucks off her list, although she sorely needed caffeine. Even without the call-out, she’d had a bad night. Most of it had been spent curled on her sofa, flipping channels and determinedly avoiding CNN as she downed chamomile tea, which was supposedly a natural sleep aid. After weeks of drinking the stuff, she’d discovered it worked great when accompanied by Ambien.

She pulled into the bunker-like parking garage and found a space. Flipping down the vanity mirror, she checked for any telltale signs of fogginess. Her eyes were bloodshot, her skin sallow. She smoothed her ponytail and fluffed her new bangs. She’d had them cut a few months ago in an effort to hide her scar, but she wasn’t crazy about the look. A little too schoolgirl, which wasn’t helpful. As a five-four blonde, she already had enough trouble getting people to take her seriously.

She flipped up the mirror, disgusted. She had more important things to worry about today than her appearance. Such as her boss’s reaction when he heard about the murder of her newly recruited informant.

Elizabeth’s stomach tightened with nerves as she walked into the office and rode up the elevator. The doors slid open. She made her way toward her cubicle and saw Maxwell talking to a pair of agents outside his office. He’d probably heard by now. Would he dress her down at the staff meeting or call her into his office beforehand?

He spotted her, and the grim look on his face told her he’d received the news. Elizabeth changed course, bracing herself for a blast of criticism as she approached.

“Sir, I need to talk to you about—”

“Save it. You’ve got a visitor.” He tipped his head toward one of the men standing nearby.

“Hello, Elizabeth.”

She blinked at him, taken aback. “Gordon. What—”

“Feel free to use my office,” Maxwell told him, then gave her a sharp nod. “We’ll talk later.”

Gordon watched her, his look unreadable. He was based in Washington, but if he’d spent the morning on an airplane, you’d never know it from his immaculate suit and shiny wingtips. Agents who worked for him sometimes called him “Wall Street,” and she hadn’t figured out whether it was because of his clothes or because his all-business demeanor reminded them of Gordon Gecko.
He gestured toward the empty office. “After you.”

Polite as always. She stepped inside and felt a chill down her spine as the door thudded shut. She glanced through the window into the bullpen and caught the baffled looks of her coworkers, who were obviously wondering why the Bureau’s newly promoted assistant director of counterterrorism wanted to see her.

Gordon tucked his hands into his pockets and stepped past Maxwell’s desk. He had an athletic build, good posture. His salt-and-pepper hair was trimmed short, as she remembered it. Despite the demands of his job, he took care of himself.

He turned to look at her. “How have you been?”

She started to say “Fine” but remembered something else she’d learned about him a year ago. He was a human lie detector.

“Busy,” she said.

He lifted an eyebrow, then turned to study Maxwell’s ego wall, which featured his Princeton diplomas, along with several framed photos of him rubbing elbows with VIPs: the FBI director, a few senators, the Texas governor.

“Have you been following the news out of Afghanistan?”

She cleared her throat. “You mean the hostages?”

“Yes.”

“The newspaper said they were rescued by NATO forces.”

The paper hadn’t specified what type of forces. But since meeting a SEAL team last summer, Elizabeth had been paying close attention and had learned to read between the lines. A team of commandos storming a compound and plucking civilians from the hands of Taliban insurgents? The mission had SEAL written all over it.

“Many of the details weren’t made public.” Gordon turned to face her. “The team that conducted the raid recovered some interesting info during their SSE sweep.”

SSE. She racked her brain.

“Sensitive site exploitation,” he provided.

“You mean computers?”

“A laptop, a thumb drive. The information there was surprisingly minimal, but they also collected a cache of papers, including several detailed maps of Houston.”

Houston. Not D.C., not New York, but Houston, Texas. Elizabeth’s palms felt sweaty and she tucked them into her pockets. “What’s in Houston?”

He smiled slightly. “You mean besides six million people? Three major sports venues, a world-renowned medical center, a Christian megachurch.” He sat on the edge of Maxwell’s desk. “Not to mention the corporate headquarters of some of the world’s largest energy companies.”

She clamped her mouth shut. Maybe she’d look less ignorant if she let him talk.

“It was a take-no-prisoners raid,” he continued. “However, when the commandos saw this cache of intel, they grabbed a young man who’d been subdued, hoping some of our CIA guys could persuade him to talk.”

“Did they?”

His mouth tightened. “He’s no longer cooperating.”

What did that mean, exactly?

“And unfortunately, after poring through all the intel, our analysts believe the terrorists planning the attack were not in the compound when the raid went down. As far as we know, they’re still at large.” He paused and watched her. “Homeland Security’s staffed up a joint task force to investigate this potential plot and interrupt it.”

Elizabeth’s mind was reeling. She’d admired Gordon since the day she’d met him, both as an investigator and as a leader. The thought of working with him again made her giddy and nervous and terrified all at the same time.
He stepped closer and gazed down at her.

“Your SAC says you had a rough spring. He thinks you’re not up for this assignment.”

Anger welled in her chest.

“If you join my team, I need to know that you’re one hundred percent. Are you?”

“One hundred and ten. Sir.”

He held her gaze, the human lie detector. Her heart thudded so loudly she could hear it. Time seemed to stretch out. He glanced at his watch. “Be at San Antonio International Airport in two hours. Pack light.”

Relief flooded her. “We’re going to Houston?”

“California. Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, to be precise.” He crossed the room and reached for the door. “We need to interview some SEALs.”





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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book review: Loving You Is Easy by Wendy S. Marcus

I like reading romance featuring soldiers returning home from war, and trying to get back to a normal life. I like reading how finding love helps them getting over the horrors they witnessed during the war. So when I hosted this book during the blog tour, I put it on my TBR list straight away. I didn’t have time to review it for the blog tour, though, so a little time passed before I bought it and actually had time to start reading it.

The first few pages pulled me right in. The book starts with Brooke writing a letter to a soldier deployed overseas, Shane Develen, and his reply to her letter. I’ve always liked the idea of keeping in touch with soldiers overseas, who must feel terribly alone away from home and witnessing awful things every day. I admire those men and women who put their lives on the line to protect others and maintain peace, and giving back to them with a few nice words and a little human affection is the least we could do.

After these letters, there’s a prologue, describing Shane coming home on a short leave and Brooke showing up at the airport to surprise him. I’m a sucker for soldiers coming home to their loved ones—just like Brooke. I think it’s extremely touching and soooo romantic, and I really liked reading it. However, even though their interactions made me smile, I honestly could’ve done without the bedroom scene (not going to say more, but suffice it to say I don’t particularly like graphic scenes thrown in for no particular reason, and I felt this was one of those—but then again, this is only my personal opinion, so you might find it fits perfectly where it is).

Fast forward a couple of months. Brooke wakes up to find her whole life has been turned upside-down by some sexy pictures she’d given Shane and that have ended up on Facebook. Her career as a school teacher could be ruined, as well as her whole life—and her father’s political career. When a student makes worse claims, the police get involved and Brooke’s life spirals out of control. To make things worse, she hasn’t heard from Shane for two months and she doesn’t know what to think of it all.

These chapters had me hold my breath and feel uneasy. The tension and fear Brooke felt was palpable and made me feel as I was living it with her. I rooted for her but I had no idea if she’d ever manage to come out of it unscathed. Luckily, Shane walks in—or rather limps in, and offers her an escape: She can stay with him and his family until things calm down. Everything seems easy-peasy, right? They can spend time together, make up for lost time, get to actually act like boyfriend and girlfriend. Too bad Shane’s not the man Brooke met a few months before, both physically and psychologically and coexistence will turn out to be harder than Brooke thought.

All in all I liked this book. I liked the chemistry between Shane and Brooke, especially in the beginning when they were only pen pals. I liked their banter and I have to say I admired Brooke for her strength. In spite of Shane’s opinion that she was a delicate girl who belongs in the high society of New York City and not in his blue collar world, Brooke turns out to be anything but delicate. Underneath her expensive clothes and good manners, she’s a tough woman who knows how to stand up for herself—apart from her mother, the one person Brooke just can’t contradict or disappoint.

As far as Shane is concerned, I was a little torn. I liked him, but at times I wanted to slap his face; then my heart went out to him and I wanted to hug him. But then I wanted to slap him again. To say he’s moody would be an understatement, but it’s also quite understandable, after what he’s been through.

One thing that left me a little confused was Neve (Brooke’s best friend) and Rory’s (Shane’s soldier friend) story. I’m not sure if there will be a book about them, to resolve the whole matter, or this was it. In a way, it felt a bit like a cliffhanger, and it left me hanging there with lots of questions about what had really happened between them and why Neve hated Rory so much. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to know the whole story. 

To summarize, even though there were a couple of steamy scenes, which in my opinion could have been a little shorter and less descriptive, all in all the story flowed well, the dialogues felt real and there was the right amount of angst, tension and romanticism to keep me wanting to read more and get to the HEA. I would recommend this book to fans of romance novels featuring wounded war heroes—as well as heroines who’ll fight for their men.











Blog tour: Can't Always Get What You Want by Chelsey Krause


Can’t Always Get What You Want
By: Chelsey Krause
Releasing January 13th, 2015
Loveswept




Fans of Ruthie Knox, Rachel Gibson, and Molly O’Keefe will love this deeply romantic and uplifting debut novel about losing everything you thought you wanted—and getting exactly what you need.

Sophie Richards has been looking forward to a much-needed girls’ night out: a Rolling Stones tribute-band concert, a few drinks, a distraction from her grueling nursing shifts in acute care. But when her best friend bails, Sophie gets stuck with a blind date.

Although Brett Nicholson may be the hottest carpenter alive, and Sophie may technically be single, she isn’t exactly on the market. Six years ago she found The One. He was everything Sophie dreamed a man could be—and then she lost him. In an instant, her whole life changed, and she forgot all about happily ever after.

But as she gets to know Brett, Sophie starts to wonder about the future for the first time. With a broken heart still clouding her mind, jumping into a new relationship feels impossible. When she’s in his arms, walking away feels even harder. Now Sophie faces an impossible choice: living in the past or choosing love in the here and now.





I was born and raised in Canada, and live with my husband and two children. I’ve been a nurse since 2009. An essay I wrote on intercultural nursing has been published in a nursing anthology.
I love thrift shops, repurposing old junk and learning new belly dance moves. I can’t decide if my favorite movie is either “Bridget Jones’ Diary” or “Fight Club.”
I’ve always wanted to be a writer and in the spring of 2013, I finally sat down and wrote my first book. Now that that’s done, I’m working on my second.
I believe that the best way to become a great writer is to read.
A lot.
And then read some more.
I absolutely love books and would live at the library if they’d let me. 




Hello Chelsey! Welcome to Roberta’s Dreamworld and thank you for your time. First of all, tell us something about yourself, both as a writer and as a person.

Thanks for the warm welcome! 
As a writer: I think about character dialogue a lot. I often imagine their conversations when I’m running errands, and email the ideas to myself so I can add them to my manuscript later. 
As a person: I love learning new things. World history, genetics, Thai cooking techniques, archaeology, DIY projects. You name it, I want to learn about it  :-)


How/when did you realize you wanted to become a writer? 

I feel like I’ve always wanted to be a writer. 
Although, my most distinct memories are from about grade 4 or 5. That’s when I started reading a lot. I read stacks and stacks of books. Black Beauty. Call of the Wild. Little Women. You know, the classics.
And soon after, I began trying to write my own stories. 
They were usually about horses. 
(I know. A little girl who loves horses and books. That’s not a cliché at all, right? Lol) 

(me, too. LOL!)

I also wrote poems through my teen years. I kept a journal.
I’m 99.9% sure that I’m the only teenager who actually enjoyed writing essays.  (nope, I'm with you, there, Chelsey!)
I think most writers start out as avid readers. I’m willing to bet that most people who love books have at some point picked up their favorite novel and thought, “I could probably do that.” 

Let’s speak about “Can’t’ Always Get What You Want”. We’ve read the synopsis but can you tell us a little more about what the book is about?

I think of it as “P.S. I Love You” meets “Scrubs” (the tv show) with a Rolling Stones sound track. 
Ultimately, this is a story about forgiveness. Forgiving yourself for mistakes you’ve made. Forgiving others for whatever pain they’ve caused you, and letting go. 

How did you come up with the idea and how did you create the characters?

I’m not really sure! One night, this couple showed up in my thoughts and I couldn’t get them out. I didn’t know their names, or any details about them. But I just knew that they were experiencing a grief so powerful, so palpable, that I literally ached for them. It made me wonder: What would you do if you found the one, and then lost them? 
Over time, it merged with several other ideas (ex. Rolling Stones, nursing career, what happens to the girl, etc.) until I had a solid story. But honestly? That was just the starting point. The story changed and went in new directions as I wrote it. I’d be typing along and be surprised at what came out. My manuscript took on a life of its own (which is so scary and weird, but also exciting!) 
And as for the characters? 
I’ve felt bad for the “nice guys” in romance novels for a long time. The really sweet, fantastic ones that the heroine overlooks because she’s in love with the damaged, commitment-phobe millionaire who drives around town on his Harley, while playing his guitar (usually with a single tear running down his face). 
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed many novels with heroes like this. But I also wanted a story where the nice guy finally gets the girl. 
So, I wrote one.  
Brett is a blue-collar worker. He wants to settle down and get married. He knows all the words to your favorite songs. He brings coffee to you at work. He’s the type of guy who opens doors for you and would shovel snow for his grandma. 
And, it doesn’t hurt that he’s freaking hot. ;) 


(Actually, I did kind of marry him. Brett and Sophie’s meet-cute blind date story is loosely based on how I met my husband).  
Sophie is a lot like me. That wasn’t my original intent, but that’s just how it worked out. Probably because she’s a nurse (like me) and I wrote it from a first person POV. People who know me say they can “’hear” me in Sophie. She’s funny, slightly neurotic, easily distracted by muscled up guys in construction hats ;)  

If you should describe your books in three words, what would you pick?

Funny. Honest. Heartbreaking. 

Do you have any favorite authors and did they influence your choice of the genre?

My favorite authors are Sophie Kinsella, Paige Toon, Clodagh Murphy, Helen Fielding, and Gemma Burgess (to name a few). 
They certainly have influenced me as a writer. I love the easy, conversational style of their books. I love that they’re a balanced mix of laugh out loud humor, and heartache. They are (in my opinion) the best romantic comedy writers out there.  
You may also notice that these are UK authors. I read a LOT of British chick lit. They liberally use the f-word and love putting their characters into awkward situations. It’s fantastic. 
I’ve picked up so much British slang that it tends to really confuse my husband (and fellow Canadians).  
I wrote a fun article about it on my blog: 
http://www.chelseykrause.com/?p=65

So, don’t be surprised if words like “knackered” show up in my future books! 



What else do you enjoy doing, when you’re not writing? 

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest! :-)
I also enjoy wandering around thrift stores, scrapbooking, collecting old typewriters, belly dancing, hanging out with my husband, playing with my kids, and watching comedies or documentaries on Netflix. 



As a writer do you get support from your family and friends?

Absolutely. When I first announced last June that I had written a book, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. So much love and support. I’m so thankful <3 

What are your dreams and plans for your future as a writer?

I have big dreams and plans for my future! I have a long writing career ahead of me. 
I plan to be on the New York Times best seller’s list. 
I dream about people being deeply moved by the stories I tell. 
I dream about my books being made into movies or mini-series. (When I watch the Outlander TV series and see the words, “Based on the book series by Diana Gabaldon,” I get shivers. I KNOW that will be me someday). 
I know I’ll have printed books one day. (And sell a bazllion copies).
I plan on writing more romantic comedies (because they are my all-time favorite). But I also have a dystopian novel, a children’s book, and a WW1 love story/escape from Siberian work camp bubbling away in the back of my brain. 
I’d love to write something weird and completely off the wall, like Fight Club. 
So yeah. Big things ahead! 

Would you like to say something to the readers to encourage them to read your books?

What I love most about this book are the characters. They’re funny. They have good days and bad days. They sometimes make mistakes. But that’s wonderful! Because perfect characters aren’t relatable. Who wants to read a book where nothing interesting ever happens?
If you’re looking for a romantic, funny, and heartfelt story with characters you can relate to, then you’ll love “Can’t Always Get What You Want.” 



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I have mixed feelings about this book. There were some parts I really liked, parts that made me laugh and others that made me sad and emotional, but also some others that didn’t’ work for me.
My main problem was that I couldn’t connect with the heroine. Although there were moments when I liked being inside her mind, at times she drove me crazy. I couldn’t understand why she’d chosen a nursing job in the first place, since she hated it. After the reason for choosing that career path was revealed (maybe a little too far in the story, in my opinion) I understood her behavior a little better, but I still didn’t share her choice.
In lots of parts in the book, Sophie stroke me as immature, at times almost annoying. Even though there are parts where she made me laugh out loud for something klutzy she did or said, for the most part I just couldn’t connect with her.
As far as the hero, or should I say heroes are concerned, things worked better, as both Brett and Aaron are adorable characters, each of them in his own, personal way. They are both the “too-good-to-be-true” kind of guys, and that’s what Sophie keeps telling herself (for most of the book, which is also another thing that didn’t quite work for me, as after a while she sounded a tad too whiny).
I liked Brett and his charming attitude, I like hard-working heroes better than the millionaires who got it easy. After Aaron entered the story, though, I was torn between the two. Even though I don’t like the tattooed, bad-guy kind of heroes, Aaron was adorable. 
I have to admit that the first flashbacks were a little confusing at that point in the story and, even though I liked knowing the back story of Aaron and Sophie, the back and forth didn’t work too well for me. But I did enjoy reading about him. There was a part in the book that brought tears to my eyes, as it was really emotional and heart-breaking. (I won’t tell you which one as I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I can say that it involves Aaron).
I’m not a fan of first person POV in present tense, so I guess that might be another reason why I just didn’t get pulled into the story. I think it would’ve turned out differently if it had been written in third person, therefore including Brett’s (and maybe Aaron’s) POV. Getting their version of the story too would have probably worked out better for me, since I didn’t get on too well with Sophie.
I really wanted to like it more, because I’d been intrigued by the blurb and the plot itself was interesting and had potential. I just felt there was something missing in some parts while in some others there were things that could have been deleted without taking anything away from the story.
In spite of my personal opinion though, if you’re a fan of the New Adult genre you should give the book a chance, because it is a beautiful story.







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