Review: Jill Shalvis "Rumor has it" (Animal Magnetism #4)


Publisher: Berkley

ISBN: 9780425255827

My rating: 4/5


He’ll help unleash the new woman in her…

Special Ops soldier Griffin Reid doesn’t exactly have happy memories of growing up in Sunshine, Idaho. He’s only come back to recover from a war injury, and while he refuses to admit he’s in a weakened state, he finds comfort in the last person he’d expect.

Kate Evans teaches fourth grade science in Sunshine, the place she’s always called home. Dreaming of graduate school and a happily-ever-after, she’s desperate to break out of the monotony of Sunshine. Luckily, a certain sexy man has just come back into her life.

To Griffin, Kate as always been his little sister’s friend, but now he’s finding her to be so much more. As both attempt to forge their paths, they must decide if their passionate connection can turn into something lasting….
(Goodreads.com)


My thoughts

She had me in tears!!!!

This has been a nice "finish" to the Animal Magnetism Series (or may we hope for more?). I loved the series, and I loved this one.

Griffin Reid (Holly's brother) returns to Sunshine, Idaho, after leaving the army behind. Recovering a wound injury, his intention is for his visit to be brief.

Kate's is everyone's best friend in Sunshine, but also Holly's BFF, a second grade school teacher, sister and daughter to a dysfunctional family after the loss of their mother. She's the kind of person you'd like to have in your life, reliable, kind, intelligent, patient ... and full of useless information when she's nervous (that cracked me up). Having a one-night stand with Griffin is all she wants and as she tells herself all she needs - but they end up needing each other in more than one way.

Although a bit slow at the beginning, you quickly get to find Shalvis' wit and humour. Her trademark. And the end ... well, let's say, it's been one of her best!

Kudos!

Animal Magnetism

Animal Attraction

Rescue me



May I introduce: Suzi Love "Embracing Scandal"

Embracing Scandal
by Suzi Love



I've got Suzi Love with me today, talking about her book "Embracing Scandal". Please make her very welcome.



Embracing Scandal

Embracing Scandal is an historical romance and the first in my scandal series with heroines whose scientific knowledge and intellect are an affront to increasingly prudish early Victorian society.

Five siblings battle against the strictures of British society to succeed in their chosen scientific fields. This story is about Lady Rebecca Jamison, Becca, the oldest in the family and how she and Cayle, the Duke of Sherwyn, embrace scandal as they battle to defeat an unscrupulous investment consortium.  

In this book, Lady Rebecca Jamison saves her family from financial ruin by secretly investing in England's railway boom. But when a greedy investment syndicate discovers they are being outwitted by a woman, they threaten Becca and her family. Desperate to stop her peers before they rob more innocent investors of their life savings, Becca has no choice but to visit Cayle and ask for his help. He was her best friend but is now newly returned to London to take up the title of the Duke of Sherwyn after his father's death.

But Cayle worries that once the syndicate is defeated, he won't have an excuse for being in such close contact with Becca and that her independent nature may make her refuse to continue their relationship and refuse to become his duchess.

 

Places to find Embracing Scandal 




 

Buy Links for Embracing Scandal

Amazon USA


 Amazon UK



 
 
Author Bio

I’m Suzi Love, an Australian author of historical romances from the late Regency to early Victorian years, with a little bit of the Australian outback thrown in. I’ve had a lifetime fascination with all things old, weird, and exotic.

I love to travel, visit historic places, and talk to crazy characters. I also adore history, especially the grittier and seamier side, so I write about heroes and heroines who challenge traditional manners, morals, and occupations, either through necessity or desire. 

 

Author Links

 Suzi Love's Web roundup -  https://www.rebelmouse.com/suzilove/

Suzi Love's Daily Gossip Newspaper - http://paper.li/f-1350000229





 

Review: Susan Mallery "Sizzling (Buchanan #3)






Publisher: Harlequin

ISBN:  9780373771769

My rating: n/a



Reid Buchanan was always a fan favorite on the baseball diamond. A spiteful article about the former pitcher and current playboy questions his talent in the bedroom. And the newspaper's just the first bad news. Reid's grandmother Gloria's broken hip means she needs constant care--but Reid hired Nurses 1 and 2 for their bedside manner with him. So for Number 3 he chooses Lori Johnson, the first candidate who seems immune to his brand of charm.
Lori's never wasted her time with amoebas like Reid Buchanan. So why are her well-fortified defenses starting to crumble under the force of his sexy smile--and the kindness he shows her at every turn? There's only one explanation for the feelings flaring between them--chemistry. Chemistry so hot, it's sizzling!



My thoughts

I won't write a review as such, because the story wasn't my cup of tea, but considering that I posted my thoughts on Cal and Walker's story, I wanted to post this one for continuity sake.

After reading Buchanan book #1 & #2 I was disappointed that a "caring" Reid who was good friends with Penny, helped Elissa with the market, who said "Of course we did. You're Walker's girl" was now so terribly worried that his "manhood" was put into question in the paper.
Also, for me Lori's constant self-doubt was so over the top I was about to stop reading a couple of times. It was annoying to me.

May I introduce: Annie Seaton "Tangling with the CEO"

"Tangling with the CEO"
by
Annie Seaton


I'm delighted to have bestselling author Annie Seaton as my guest today. She released "Tangling with the CEO" last Monday and she still found time to come by. Please make Annie very welcome!


Tell us how you came up with the story of Tangling with the CEO?
About a year ago I was watching my grandchildren play with their iPads...yes we are a technology family...and I began to think about how independent young children are these days. The idea of a family of children being cared for somebody with no experience with children developed into the scene where Blake is left with his nephews and nieces.

Your story’s set in California. What makes California special to you?
About the same time, I travelled to California and fell in love with the coastline just south of San Francisco. In the strange way my writer’s mind works, it melded with my thoughts of the children, and Blake and Ana and all the secondary characters were born as I travelled around. I did extensive research on the area as I travelled.
(IB - Big Sur? I loved the coast as well when we went there in April!)

What’s in store for you in 2014?
Woo... a busy year. I have Books 2 and 3 in this Half Moon Bay series coming out in 2014 and I am halfway through writing Book 2 Book 1 in a historical continuity is called the Emerald Quest, and I am three chapters in. I have a time travel romance called Hot Rock being published in February. It is in edits. The prequel to Dangerous Desire called Seductive Secrets is approved, and in the plotting stage. I have another Indulgence due in July... oh and in my spare time, I am writing a single title set in the Outback.
(IB - 2014 certainly sounds very busy for you! Congratulations.)


Blurb:

Mixing business with pleasure never felt so right.

Blake Buchanan and Anastasia Delaney were roommates in college and could never see eye to eye about anything. The only time their walls came down was during one night of passion before Ana left without a word, never expecting to cross paths with Blake again.

Years later, Blake has made his millions. He comes back to Ana’s small California town to manage a corporate takeover that will close down the home restoration business she’s poured her heart and soul into. The fiery Ana is determined to convince money-minded Blake of her business’s worth, but when a family emergency throws them together, their walls come tumbling down once again…

Problem is, Blake’s business-first position hasn’t changed. And Ana can’t fall for the man who could become her boss—it’s not only her job at stake, but her heart.

 

Bio:

Annie Seaton lives on the edge of the South Pacific Ocean on the east coast of Australia and she is fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing, and has been delighted to discover that readers love reading her stories as much as she loves writing them.
 
Annie lives with her own hero of many years. Their two children are now grown up and married, and two beautiful grandchildren have arrived. Now they share their home with "Bob" the dog and two white cats. 

Her debut full length novel, Holiday Affair, a contemporary romance set in the South Pacific was released as part of Entangled Publishing’s Indulgence line in March 2012 and was an Amazon, and Barnes and Noble bestseller. Since then Italian Affair, Outback Affair, Dangerous Desire and Tangling with the CEO have been published by Entangled in 2013. Annie has more books lined up for 2014.
When she is not writing she can be found in her garden or walking on the beach... or most likely on her deck overlooking the ocean, a chilled glass of wine in hand as the sun sets.

 


Excerpt:

With a soft groan, he’d lowered his head and gently slid his lips across her cheek. “You drive me crazy, do you know that?”

With each word his mouth had gotten closer to hers until they’d hovered over her lips. “The way you walk, your voice, your laugh, that hippie perfume you wear. I can’t get you out of my head.”

She’d smiled at him and eased her arms from his loose grasp, taking his face between her hands. “I can’t stop thinking about you either,” she’d whispered. “And I’m sorry I called you a sexist pig.”

That first kiss they’d shared on the front porch had been slow and soft. The fresh smell of his sweatshirt had surrounded her as he’d held her close and to this day, the fragrance of clean washing reminded her of that first kiss. The feel of Blake’s warm mouth on hers was everything she’d dreamed of, and she’d closed her eyes as a delicious languor drifted through her.

 

Links:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tangling-with-the-ceo-annie-seaton/1117445690?ean=9781622660902
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tangling-with-the-ceo/id755271958?mt=11
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/tangling-with-the-ceo

  

Annie Seaton
http://annieseatonromance.com

 

Review: Jill Shalvis "Get a Clue"



Publisher: Kensington Books

ISBN: 9780758211385

My rating:  4/5

All in one day, city girl Breanne Mooreland gets left at the altar, takes the flight from hell to her honeymoon--alone--loses her luggage, and ends up snowed in at a Sierra mountains lodge run by the kookiest staff this side of the Addams Family. Oh, and there just happens to be a gorgeous naked man taking a shower in her suite who says he isn't going anywhere. Burned-out vice cop Cooper Scott is in serious need of this vacation, and he's not about to give up the only available room during a bad snowstorm just because an upset, okay, make that insane, woman is having a conniption fit. They'll just have to make the best of it--her side of the bed versus his. But when Cooper wakes up kissing the long, leggy Breanne, he has other thoughts. Part of him wants to prove that not all men are scum, and another part of him entirely wants to show her exactly what that honeymoon suite is intended for. But that will have to wait, because a screaming Breanne has just stumbled on a very dead body. (Goodreads.com)
 
 
 
My thoughts
 
Yes, I admit it, I do judge a book by its cover. Well, at least sometimes, and this book really only made it onto my kindle, because of the name "Jill Shalvis" :-)
And dang! She's done it again.

In my humble opinion, there's no real story here, but it's the characters that make the book worth reading. Each single one of them. The banter between them, the tension, the attraction - the dialogue is what we're used from Shalvis, witty, full of humour and unique!

Breanne and Cooper are the main character being stuck in a holiday place including the staff. Thing is, with a raging snow storm, electricity is gone and scared to the bone, Breanne ends up in bed with Cooper. And so the story starts between these two.

The mystery in the book keeps the "story" rolling and is interesting, but the "whodunit" is a bit vague and for me it felt, yes, I have to admit it, unbelievable.

Still - worth the read if you're a Shalvis fan.

May I introduce: Amy Mullen "Redefining Rayne"

Redefining Rayne
by
Amy Mullen
I've got Amy Mullen with me this week not only talking about her new book, but also about her passion to take photos of her family.

1 – Tell us how you came up with the idea for Redefining Rayne.

I've suffered from depression on and off throughout my life. At times, when a person is depressed, they feel like giving up. I think the focus of this book (other than the romance) was the heroine's journey past immense loses. Rayne lost more than most of us ever will and yet she still found a way to wake up in the morning. There cannot always be happy endings in life, but I hope Rayne can be a reminder to never give up no matter how drab and dreadful life seems to be. There is always hope and there will always be someone out there who will care. While Rayne's story is exceptional, she found hope in the end. When things looked the worst, her life changed. I guess the idea was to never give up because you never really know what will happen next. I wanted to find a way to tell that story and this book was the result.


2 – The name Rayne has a special meaning to you. Please tell us why.

My little girl, Rayna, has met some challenges in her life that no one should face so young - or ever for that matter. She's as tough as nails and while this can lead to some battles-of-will in our home, this trait will suit her well later in life. When I thought of my heroine, I thought of my Rayna. While her struggles are nothing like the heroine's in the book, and the character is not based on my little girl otherwise, I felt the underlying spirit of the heroine was the same. Redefining Rayne is a medieval romance. I could not name the character "Rayna" because the name was not in use back then. However, I found the name Rayne with a slightly different spelling (Reine) that was used during this particular time period. I tweaked the spelling of the name in honor of my little girl. 
 
(Happy Birthday Rayna !!!! - IB)
 
3 – One of your past times is “to snap pictures”. What do you like to photograph the most and why?

Most of the pictures I take are of my children, my husband, and our extended families. I like to find unique shots that show off their personalities. I do some nature shots, but most of mine are of the people that mean the most to me. I have thousands of shots of my kids tucked away on CDs. My son was a preemie, born three months early. It was touch and go for a while. I think this was a huge reminder to me of how precious every single breath we take is and how we should never take anyone for granted. I took pictures every single day while he was in the hospital. Pictures freeze moments in time, moments that will never happen again. This is why I take far too many pictures.  I lost my grandmother a few years ago. She meant everything to me. I have a picture of her sitting where I can see it from where I sit and write each day. When I look at it, I can feel her arms around me again. I can't think of anything more wonderful than that.

Tag Line:

Will her most painful secret be the key to her greatest joy?


Blurb:
Rayne de Latham, cousin to King William Rufus, should be enjoying a life of privilege. Instead, she has only known misery. Her disastrous first marriage yielded nothing but pain, suffering, and three stillborn children. She believes she is cursed and is certain another pregnancy will end in another tragedy. When the king seeks to get rid of her by sending her to marry one of his knights, she will do just about anything to get out of her betrothal.
Widower Andre de Grelle is father to two small boys who came to him by marriage. When his first wife jumps off the castle walls in a fit of madness, he keeps the boys he has grown to love as his own. When king sends him a new bride, the lovely but troubled Rayne, he vows to have more patience with her than he had with his first wife.
Once Rayne arrives at Cuxton Castle, Andre realizes there is much more to her than meets the eye. She does everything she can to force him to send her away, but nothing works. Frustration grows as Andre discovers his betrothed is hiding something from him about her past, something so devastating she cannot speak the words out loud.
In the midst of a siege on nearby Pevensey Castle, a truth comes to light that changes everything. As the real story of Rayne’s past emerges, lives change forever. Will love be enough, or will it be easier to walk away?

 

 

Author Bio and Links:
Amy Mullen is a freelance writer and romance author living in Corning, NY, with her husband, Patrick, her two children, and an orange cat named Steve. She has written two medieval romances called A Stormy Knight and Redefining Rayne.
Amy has been writing about love both lost and regained since she was old enough to have her first broken heart. Her love of history and her intermittent jaunts into amateur genealogy led her to a love affair with writing historical fiction. When not writing, she snaps pictures, gets nutty over football, enjoys the company of her family, and when time allows, loves to bury her nose in a good book.


 

Buy Link:   Amazon     Barnes and Noble  Astraea Press

 
Teaser/Excerpt:
Andre moved closer to her. His body was mere inches from hers as he lifted his other hand and slowly tilted her face toward his. Cupping her cheek, he wiped away a tear with his thumb. "You have no idea how fascinating you are," he whispered.
Involuntarily, her eyes closed and she tilted her chin up. She felt his soft lips brush hers and she started to tremble. The short, light touch of his mouth stirred something in her. A young maiden's dream of love, of being loved and cherished, welled up from a place where she had hidden her hopes a long time ago. She returned his kiss, but just for a moment.
Her eyes flew open, and she pulled her head back. This was all wrong. This was not how this was supposed to happen. In a rush to break the spell, she stammered out the first thing she thought of, "Someone will see us! Odo may come."
An expression of disbelief washed across his features and was replaced by irritation. "Odo? What has he to do with this? He is my guest but hardly has a say in what I do with you."
"You…" she stumbled over her words, "you… he is your…"
Andre stood and stepped away from her. He stared down at her, but she could no longer read his face. "Do your affections lie with Odo, Lady Rayne?"
 
 

Review: Susan Mallery "Irresistible" (Buchanans #2)





Publisher: HQN Books

ISBN: 9780373771172
 
My Rating: 3.5/5
 

It wasn't just her homemade brownies that made Walker find Elissa irresistible . . .
When ex-marine Walker Buchanan stops to help Elissa Towers change a tire, he tells himself it's just the neighborly thing to do. And when Elissa finds herself baking him a thank-you pie, she's just returning the favor . . . right?
Both of them have sworn off dating -- Elissa's determined to protect her little girl, and that means ditching her taste for dangerous men . . . especially former marines with dark secrets. Walker knows that he's not cut out for hearth and home . . . his own crazy family made sure of that. But the sparks won't stop flying between them.
Now the two are struggling to keep their relationship "just friends," but with every kiss, their rules fly out the window . . .

(www.susanmallery.com)

 
 
My thoughts:
 
In all fairness, the book wasn't quite as good as the first book in the series, Delicious, but these words say it all:

"You didn't have to come to the hospital."
"Sure we did. You're Walker's girl."

Elissa struggles through daily life, but the love for her daughter keeps her going. One day when she needs to change tyres, she meets her neighbour Walker Buchanan.

I really liked Elissa - I liked her strength, her love for her daughter, her fault to act first and then think and I really liked when she talked non-stop when she was nervous, unfortunately, Susan Mallery didn't follow this trait throughout the book.

As for Walker - don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind a "Walker" in my life, but for the story I thought he was a bit boring and flat. The flaws he had didn't fit with his otherwise calm character I thought.

It nice follow up read in the Buchanan Series, but not the standard #1 was.

Now I wonder what Reid is up to :-)

May I introduce: Elizabeth Ellen Carter "Moonstone Obsession"



Moonstone Obsession
by
Elizabeth Ellen Carter


I've got another wonderful Australian Author as a guest today here on my blog. Elizabeth Ellen Carter's release is Moonstone Obsession, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Romance Writers Of Australia’s Emerald Awards for unpublished manuscripts.

Today, she's giving us insight into the genre "Regency".



For many people who think of the Regency period, the images that come to mind is those of Pride and Prejudice and the Industrial Revolution.

For me the interest in the Regency period goes back 100 years earlier.

The Enlightenment movement is a socio-political philosophy born at the beginning the 1700s with scientists such as Isaac Newton and social philosophers such as Kant, Rousseau and Voltaire.

Discussions in the halls of academia and fashionable salons focused on the nature of man and his relationship with the state. From there the notion of full enfranchisement for all and the beginnings of discussion of feminine equality was born - Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft were highly influential.

By the end of the 18th century the theories left the realm of the hypothetical and had the opportunity to be put into practice in the formation of two new nation-states – the United States of America and la Republique de France.

The influence of both nations in culture, art, science and politics has been so profound that it is difficult to imagine today's world without them.

However, as with all high-minded socio-political movements, the theory works better than practice – mostly owing the fundamental misunderstanding of human nature.

And no more apparent was this dichotomy then in the treatises written by Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine – both were supporters of the American Revolution but they fell out over support for the French Revolution.

History and the bloody aftermath of the French Revolution's Reign of Terror would prove Burke right.

So for a writer with an interest in religion, history and politics, the Regency period is like nectar to a bee! Moonstone Obsession takes a look at the type of discussions they might have had during that time and foreshadows what happened next in European history.

Certain thinkers of the Enlightenment school were also adept at myth-making with respect to medieval history, doing much to promote it as the 'dark ages' from which people require deliverance by way of 'science and reason'. Serious scholars today have long agreed that rather than being an intellectual waste ground, the medieval period was rich in the development of science, art and philosophy.

One of the most pervasive myths of that time - so much so that many people believe it today – is that medieval people thought (and that the church taught) that the world was flat.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

And that led me on to my WIP which I'm editing at the moment - Warrior's Surrender which is set the end of the 11th century in the north English region of Northumbria in the years following the Norman Conquest.

I hope with both Moonstone Obsession and with Warrior's Surrender that readers will not only love the romance but also fall in love with the history as well.

 

Blurb:
Selina Rosewall had given up on love, but while helping her brother further his merchant fleet business, she meets Sir James Mitchell, Lord of Penventen. Their attraction is mutual, but what James wants from the relationship goes further—much further—than Selina could have expected. And she learns that in the world of the Ton, scandal and deceit are commonplace.
For Sir James Mitchell, Lord of Penventen, it’s hard to say which is more dangerous: being a spy or being considered husband material by the Ladies of the Ton. With political machinations threatening to draw England into the violent wake of the French Revolution, the last thing James expected was to fall in love with Selina Rosewall, daughter of an untitled seafaring family. But when James’ investigation stirs up a hornet’s nest, can he protect Selena from danger that threatens her very life?








Buy Moonstone Obsession here ~~Amazon ~~ Barnes and Noble ~~ All Romance Ebooks ~~ Kobo ~~

Review: Susan Mallery "Delicious" (Buchanans, #1)



Publisher: HQN Books

ISBN: 978-0373775200
 
My Rating: 4/5
 


Appetizer
Cal Buchanan needs a top-flight chef to take over his failing Seattle restaurant, The Waterfront. He can afford to hire the best in town--the only problem is that the best happens to be his ex-wife, Penny Jackson.


Entree
Penny really needs this opportunity, but she doesn't need the distraction of working with her ex. She's sworn off romance--she's even having a baby on her own. But before she knows it, the heat is on...and the attraction between her and Cal moves from a low simmer to a full boil!


Dessert
The rest should be easy as pie, but a secret from Dessert Cal's past could spoil everything. Maybe it's true that too many cooks spoil the broth--or maybe two is enough to make it irresistible.
(www.susanmallery.com)

 
 
My thoughts:
 
I'm a sucker when it comes to family ... and this one had a strong family bond and for that I loved it.
 
Cal Buchanan is supposed to get the family restaurant back into order. One of his first business deals is hiring his ex-wife Penny.  What she neglects to mention, though, is she's pregnant with an IVF baby. But he's supposed to be running "The Waterfront" for only four months anyway.
 
Over the course of the next few months we follow both their lives as the close working relationship turns in to a friendship and even more. Mallery puts both characters back into a relationship, but this time they seemed to have matured, learnt about trust and "relations". It's wonderful to read how their bond blossoms into more, despite their "secrets". Okay, I have to admit, some of Penny's "reactions" were annoying, but, hey, we're talking about a hormonal pregnant woman. Anything can happen.
 
We also get to know the rest of the Buchanan family; the sexy Reid, ex-army Walker and their little sister Dani. Despite having lost their parents and having to deal with about the worst grandmother ever, I felt a bit envious of their bond.
 
This is the first in the Buchanan series, and I've to say I look forward to reading about the rest family!
 

#RWAus has me in the Spotlight

Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Iris Blobel…



Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Iris, and congratulations on the release of ‘New Beginnings”. Can you tell us a little about your newest release?

I wrote “New Beginnings” while visiting Hobart, the beautiful capital of Tasmania. I love Tasmania and as I did the tourist bus tour in the red double-decker I wondered how it would be to move to this southern city. The book begins with two sisters sitting in an office across the road from the old post office building and that is where I came up with the idea … as I was waiting for the bus.


Continue here: RWAus Blog





 

May I introduce: Jo Grafford "Breaking Ties"

I have the pleasure to introduce you all to Jo Grafford, who is celebrating the recent release of her book "Breaking Ties".
Jo also recently moved to Germany - enough reason for me to ask her over for a little chat.


 
Q: You've only just moved from the US to Germany. Great opportunity and big change. Tell us how you came to move across the Atlantic?
Schloss Neuschwanstein
 
Hi, Iris! Thank you so much for hosting me today. We moved to Germany, compliments of the U.S. Army last summer. My husband commands a clinic here in Bavaria. It has been a completely awesome education experience for us and our kiddos. We’ve been taking classes to learn conversational German, trying out many new foods like wiener schnitzel (breaded pork chops) and spätzle (a popular side dish of pasta served in place of potatoes), and – of course - touring castles. Last week, we took a road trip to the Alps in Garmisch and from there took a bus tour to Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration behind Disney’s Cinderella castle.
(I love Spaetzle! - IB)

Q: What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Communicating with friends, fellow writers, and my publisher Astraea Press back in the States due to the time difference. We are living in the Central European Time zone, which is 6 hours later than Central Time. That means attending my own book release extravaganza online lasted till 3:30 a.m. Also, the “rush hour” for social media in the U.S. – one of the best places to network with fellow readers and writers – starts about 11:00 p.m. here. Naturally when I’m guesting on another writer’s blog, I feel obligated to stay up way past my bedtime to respond to visitor comments. Needless to say, I’ve become quite a night owl since our arrival in Germany.


Q: I miss the German cuisine. Tell us what you like/dislike so far and what it is you miss from "home".

I LOVE the famous German sausage sandwiches, all of their fabulous pork recipes, the Bavarian sweet and sour kraut, the breads and pastry bakeries that dot every corner of town, the miles of aisles of regionally produced wine selections, the best chocolate in the world, and their fresh organic open markets that run all summer long! Every week, I walk through these markets with a basket on my arm and come home with the most delicious raspberries, snow peas, carrots, and handpicked apples.

On the other hand, I greatly MISS ice cubes, free refills, weed and pest control products, and central air. Everything over here is strictly organic, so you have to come up with very creative and natural ways to rid your yard of weeds and moles and to rid your house of fruit flies and enormous spiders. Plus you have to constantly adjust blinds, curtains, and ventilation in your house throughout the day to control the temperature without the aid of an air conditioner.

Q: Last but not least, tell us a bit about your latest release and how you came up with the idea.

The story of the Lost Colonists on Roanoke has fascinated me since I was a child. I never liked the one paragraph entry in our school history textbooks that credited them with “most likely being slaughtered en mass by hostile natives.” I always imagined them as real people who lived and laughed and loved and had a whole “rest of the story” yet to be told. 

As an adult, I finally went on a quest to learn as much about these brave pioneers as I could. I read over a dozen books, pored through original ship manifests and sailing journals, and even took a trip to the Outer Banks a year ago. I got to stand on the same beach they stood on as they watched their ships sail back to England – not to return for three year with their much-needed supplies – much too late to be of any help. 

Then a very exciting event happened last October while I was still writing Breaking Ties. The British Museum released the news of a clue discovered beneath a patch on an original Lost Colony map. After many false leads and rumors throughout the last 426 years, this sketch of a fort located fifty miles inland from Roanoke Island might very well prove to be the first conclusive proof of survivors!  

As a tribute to their courage and heroism, I am dedicating a fundraiser called A Thanksgiving Wish to these First Colonists. Each copy sold in November of my debut novel, Breaking Ties, first book in the Lost Colony Series, will help fund the upcoming archaeological dig of this newly discovered fort site beneath Scotch Hall Preserve in NC.
 

I am also holding a drawing for three gift cards to Amazon and Barnes and Noble – valued at $50, $25, and $15 - to appreciate my readers.
 
Visit www.jografford.com to enter the Rafflecopter.
 Winners will be announced Thanksgiving Day.

 

Blurb:

A cursed island, a chilling conspiracy, and an unforgettable love story. The 115 colonists on Roanoke Island couldn’t GPS, skype or twitter their ultimate destination back to their families and friends in 16th Century England. But modern laser technology has finally uncovered a clue - hidden beneath a patch on an ancient map at the British museum - that leads us to their whereabouts. Considered “lost” for centuries, these brave pioneers finally reveal the rest of their story in Book One of the Lost Colony Series.

 

Rose Payne’s world is left in tatters after a disastrous betrothal, making her an easy target for recruiters to the Colonies. Using every cent she has, Rose sails for the New World and a fresh start, vowing to never again fall for a wealthy man.

Returning from a diplomatic tour in London, Chief Manteo is bewitched by the fiery-haired ship’s clerk and determined to overcome her distrust. He contrives a daring plan to win her heart – one that forces her, honor bound, to serve as a slave to his tribe – a plan he prays will protect her from a chilling conspiracy involving murder, blood money, and a betrayal of their fledgling colony so terrifying it can only be revealed in Breaking Ties. 


Author Bio:
Jo Grafford is from St. Louis, Missouri. An award-winning author at Astraea Press, Jo writes historical fiction to spotlight unsung heroes and unsolved mysteries. She published her first poem in junior high, edited her high school newspaper while typesetting for a local news journal, and has been writing ever since.  She holds an M.B.A. and has served as a banker, a junior college finance instructor, and a high school business teacher. She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter.  The mother of three children and the wife of a soldier, she serves as a literacy volunteer for elementary school students.

 
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Twitter: @jografford


 

Excerpts:

 PREFACE

     Sometimes murder isn’t as messy, up-close, and personal as many people imagine it to be. Sometimes it is distant and impersonal – as simple as crossing a line through a name on a sheet of paper. Or one hundred and fifteen names in our case.

 

CHAPTER ONE

Portsmouth, England, April 26, 1587

     “Yer bum’s hanging out the window!” My brother banged his empty mug on the inn table. He ran both hands through his hair, as red as my own, standing each flaming lock on end.

     My lips turned up despite the heaviness in my chest. It felt good to hear him lapse into the Gaelic brogue of our childhood. “Och, Donnen!” I reached across the table to clasp his large hands and grimaced at the stench of salmon and sweat hanging in the air. “I dinna bring ye here to quarrel. ‘Tis my first job offer in weeks.”

     I dared not share my other reason for leaving.

     “Nay, ye can stay with me till ye find a different job. Crossing the Atlantic unwed is bad enough, but these—” He shook my upraised palms, “are ink stains. Blast it all! Ye’re a clerk, not a sailor.”

     “Indeed?” Saints alive, he acted as if I was still twelve instead of nineteen. “Well, good news. I shall be accompanied by other women – whole families of people, for that matter – and ‘tis a clerk they need.”

     “Only because—“ Donnen glanced around the room and lowered his voice. “The last one left in a frightful hurry along with half the crew all in the same night.” His glare was fierce. “Rumor has it the entire fleet is bound straight for Jonah’s watery vault. I don’t suppose that came up during the bloomin’ interview?”

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

     "You want my help." 'Twas an accusation.

     "Aye."

     His eyes darkened. "I save your life. I give gifts. I offer marriage." He closed the remaining distance between us, his eyes burning into mine.

     I stumbled back.

     "You give nothing in return," he snarled. "You only ask for more."

     "I would had I something to offer," I whispered. "But I have nothing. I am nothing."

     "Then what use are you to me?" He wheeled away.

     I sagged against the door, eyes stinging. I blinked rapidly and pressed a hand to my stomach. Nausea rolled at the thought of informing the others of my failure.

     Manteo circled the cabin like a hawk stalking its prey. 'Twas a fine room with ornately carved shelves lining one wall. Bunks were built into the next wall. A generous desk jutted from the third, overflowing with maps and navigational devices. I recognized the compass and hourglass but could not identify the other instruments. I jerked in surprise when Manteo swooped down upon me.

     "I know our location." His arms shot out and slapped the wall on either side of me, hemming me to the door. "I could swim ashore from here."

     "Then why do ye stay if ye can leave and save yourself?"

     "Governor White gave his word to deliver me home."

     "We are going to starve, Manteo. 'Tis only a matter of days now."

     "Nay. You alone starve. The others eat."

     "I have no appetite."

     "You act as one already dead."

     I straightened my back. "I accept what I cannot change."

     "And I change what I cannot accept." He shifted his weight to the wall, one arm propped over my head. He drew his fingertips down the side of my face in a feather-light caress.

     I closed my eyes against the rush of unbearable sweetness. He made me long for things forbidden. "'Tis within your power to help us. I am begging you."

     "Very well."

     My eyes flew open. "Ye will do this for us."

     "For you." His voice was silken, his features as hard as granite.

     I smiled tremulously. "I thank thee, Manteo. Chief Manteo, that is." The new title felt strange on my lips. I beheld him with a mixture of awe and pride.

     "I have yet to name my price."

     I stared, confused.

     He grunted in disgust. "You refuse me as both husband and lover, so you are left with the hiring of my services."

     I worried my lower lip between my teeth. At least he was willing to negotiate. His eyes flashed with lust as he followed my movements.

     "I will entreat the Dares for payment."

     "Nay. You are the one in my debt."

     I raised and dropped my hands helplessly.

     "You serve this company, no? You can serve my people, too."

     "Ye would hire me as clerk?" Hope leaped in my chest at the possibilities. I would not have to part from him so soon.

     "My people have no clerks." His eyes narrowed. "We have slaves."

     My breath hitched. "Ye wish to punish me, humiliate me?"

     "Nay, I only wish to marry you."

     I briefly closed my eyes against the pain. He already knew the reason for my refusal.

     "Rose."

     "Say no more. I will do it. 'Twill be punishment enough to see you so often and—“ I clamped my lips.

     Exultation flickered briefly across his face. "You would give up your freedom to save your friends?"

     "Without question."

     "Swear it," he said grimly.

     "I swear it."

     His eyes flared with emotion. He bent slowly 'til his breath stirred my lips. My eyelids fluttered closed. Heaven help me, for I had no will left to resist him.

     "Now you will eat," Manteo commanded hoarsely. He stepped back, surveying me from head to feet.

     "Eat?"

     "I have no slaves so thin and weak. Go. Collect your rations." He turned from me and bent to pore over a map on the table.

     I reached for the door handle, disbelieving at the curt dismissal.
 
     "And send for Anthony. I have need of him."
     I glared at his back. Faith, should I press my face to the floor as well? "Aye, master." I bit the words out and fled.