May I introduce: Suzi Love "Scenting Scandal" ( incl a #freebie )

Scenting Scandal

by Suzi Love

What a delight to have Australian author Suzi Love as a guest today. On her blog she describes herself "I live in the northern state of Queensland, known for sunshine and golden beaches. I’ve also lived in outback Australia and in two South Pacific countries. And been lucky enough to travel through lots of other countries, inspired the exotic settings for my books."

So what inspires her to write historical romances?

I've always been fascinated with history. I love museums and love discovering all the weird bits about eras, the clothing, houses, customs, and inventions. And my second love is romance, so when I started writing I instinctively blended the two and started creating historical romances full of characters based on the true life people I'd read so much about.   

No secret, Keanu Reeves is the man inspiring you for your erotica stories. What makes him stand out for you compared to other men? 
I've actually met him twice - far too briefly...sigh... and he is a very kind and polite man, not to mention even more gorgeous in person than on screen.  But I also admire him for  his incredible generosity to friends, family, and the cast and crew he works with on sets, and though he hides his charitable efforts, he freely donates his time, his name, and his earnings.   

You once described the outback as “The outback is a mixture of gulf wetlands and waterholes, red desert and sand dunes, pockets of lush grasslands, and enormous cattle stations”. What was it like to live in such an environment?
You'll probably regret asking me about the outback, because I tend to rave on for hours about the landscapes and the different lifestyles in the Australian bush. Living in the outback can be lonely as your neighbors may be hours drive away, and that's when the roads aren't flooded.  Yet if you have a problem, your neighbors will rush to your side and offer help. They'll stand beside you to fight bushfires, cook cakes for your cotton pickers or shearers, and hand you a box of tissues after you wave goodbye to your kids when they head off to boarding school on the train. 

A lot of the time living in the bush means red dust, heat, flies, and far too much hard work. But after rain, the plains become an expanse of lush green grass, the cattle look fat and healthy, and smiling farmers share a beer at the local pub and celebrate life in the bush. It's a life of highs and lows, but the scenery is always changing and always beautiful and outback people are the best in the world.        


Tell us about your current project. 
My current project is a book full of historic images about Easter and called, strangely enough, Easter in Images. (Grin) There are lots of gorgeous old Easter postcards, Faberge eggs from Russia, and paintings and etchings with religious significance for Easter. And the best news? Easter in Images is about to have free days so I hope everyone downloads a copy.   


Lady Laura Jamison has a gift and she’s not afraid to use it. She’s after a husband, but not just any husband. She wants a man who meets her logical and scientific criteria. Her extraordinary olfactory senses lead her to Richard, the Earl of Winchester. He might not know it-yet-but he’s her perfect match.

Richard has no time for family friend, Laura, the mad scientist. He’s been pursued by many a female, but never on the premise that one sniff can decide your soul mate. Besides, he wants to marry a sweet and docile  woman, a socially acceptable young lady, the exact opposite of Laura.

But when he’s tasked with stopping fraudulent trading in Britain’s railways shares, he finds he needs Laura’s help. As they work to expose the culprit, Richard begins to think Laura may be on to something, because when he’s with her, passion and desire explode with one look, one touch, one kiss…

Scenting Scandal is the second in the Scandalous Siblings Series of historical romances set early in the Victorian Era.

I'm Suzi Love, an Australian author of historical romances set mainly in the late Regency and early Victorian eras, and ranging from sexy to erotic. With a bit of Australia thrown in.

I now live in a sunny part of Australia after spending many years in developing countries in the South Pacific. My greatest loves are traveling, anywhere and everywhere, meeting crazy characters, and visiting the Australian outback. I adore history, especially the many-layered society of the late Regency to early Victorian eras.

My titled heroes and heroines live a privileged life in and around London, but my stories also dig deeper into the grittier and seamier levels of British life. I love heroes and heroines who challenge traditional manners, morals, and occupations, either through necessity or desire.

I hope my romances bring history alive for you and that you have fun alongside my roguish heroes and feisty heroines.

Tag Line- Making history fun, one year at a time


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 “Uh, uh,” he said, wagging a finger. “You misunderstand the reasons for my happier expression. Unlike you, I’m looking forward to the next three months and the chance to study your fiscal strategies. I’d like to compare my investing skills to those of your astute sister’s.”

His mouth widened into a roguish grin. “I’m also flattered by your scrutiny of my anatomy and amused by your blush, especially after your studies into animal reproduction.”

Her free hand flew to her cheek and her heavy reticule knocked her arm. “I never blush.” To have him observe her ogle him was embarrassing and gave her another reason to be irritated by his company, petty though her reasons might be. She tugged, but her hand was imprisoned under his. With her nose raised a fraction, she said, “For the sake of propriety, I was ensuring your garments were intact. You’ve a reputation for disappearing into dark corners and re-emerging with your clothing askew. As though hasty hands ripped your garments from your body.”

“Tut, tut, my pet. Has jealousy driven you to spying?”

“Jealousy? Over the class of females you consort with? I was reassuring myself your clothing was intact for the sake of my elderly aunt. The entire congregation watched that woman, the Countess, beckon you to the back of the church. Heaven knows what you were doing while the bride and groom were signing the register.”

Winchester chuckled, long and low. “I doubt even my sullied reputation could support the story that I dragged the Countess into a shadowy niche for a quick tumble. At least, not with my sisters watching me like hawks.” He dipped his head closer. “I may excel at dispensing pleasure, but I like more than a few minutes to enjoy a rendezvous.”

She forced herself to stand motionless, to not react to his latest coarse taunt. “I’ve no interest,” she said, between calming breaths, “in knowing any details of how you entertain–”

Louder noises erupted from the street.

“Oh, dear. Their carriage is slowing again,” her Aunt Aggie announced from her loftier position. “Becca’s quite likely to have drawn up another list of instructions for you, Laura.”

Laura moaned. “I hope not. She’s already left enough lists to paper my bedroom walls.”

Lottie, the optimist, said, “Perhaps they simply forgot something vital in their packing.”

Sherwyn’s younger brother jogged past. “I’ll see what’s delaying them.”

As they watched Brian lope down the road, Laura took advantage of Winchester’s distraction to tug her arm free. “It’s your fault they’ve stopped.”

He growled and threw up his hands. “How can the coach stopping be my fault?”

“You were supposed to use your notorious powers of persuasion for something besides seduction.” She poked his chest. “To convince Becca you held uttermost confidence in my ability to manage in her absence.”

“As of an hour ago, we became related by marriage. And despite what you think of me or how I live my life, I take familial duties seriously. If we do discover a new stock syndicate is being formed by Lady Hetherington, I’m far better qualified to deal with her than you are.”

“And as I’ve informed my siblings, I’m quite capable of organizing our affairs. Without the meddling of a condescending—”

“Laura,” Aunt Aggie said. “Remember your surroundings.” Her hissed reprimand echoed down the steps. “Refrain from such disrespect. The Earl’s offer is extremely kind. Apologize, and accept his assistance. With grace.”

Winchester smirked and made a great show of bending closer, to better hear her apology.

“I’d rather be boiled in oil than—” Gloved fingers pressed against her lips.

From the steps above, Laura heard Aunt Aggie clucking, her favorite way of expressing her disappointment in the behavior of her great nieces.

“I wouldn’t continue, if I were you.” The Earl leaned in and spoke in a whisper. “Brian is arguing with the honeymoon couple. Most likely convincing them all is well. Urging them to continue their journey. And your sister, who’s as stubborn as you—”

She nipped the closest finger to her teeth.

He yanked back his hand, and with his head bowed muttered, “Bloody hell.” Then the dreadful man met her gaze and gave a slow grin. “Sorry.” He held out his finger. “Russian leather. No blood. Better luck next time.”

Clamping her mouth shut, Laura faced the road, raised her hand and waved. “The coachman is rousing the horses again. Everyone,” she said, forcing another smile into her stiff cheeks, “keep waving.” Even to her own ears, her voice sounded strident and strained. Over her shoulder, she spoke to Winchester in her most commanding tone. “There’ll not be a next time for us. As soon as they’re out of our sight, you’ll remove yourself from my presence.” 

His sigh whispered across the nape of her neck, lifted the fine hairs there, and sent a small shiver across her shoulders. For an idle moment, she savored the warm brush of air and imagined the same heat caressing other areas of bared flesh.

“... in the short term, my promise stands. Until Sherwyn returns, the smooth running of the Jamison household is my responsibility.”

She shook her head and reeled in her wayward thoughts.

“No need,” she said, unclenching her jaw and showing her teeth in a false but placating smile. “I’d be most distressed, kind sir, if you put yourself out on my account. Becca left me a list of instructions as long as my arm on which shares to buy and sell, and how to deliver my orders to our Stock Exchange agents. To excel at my duties, I need only follow each and every step. Rather like climbing a ladder.”

“People have been known to tumble from ladders. Land in the wrong place.”

She narrowed her gaze at him. “Very true. But for all I know, aligning myself with you may land me in deep water. How do I know you’re trustworthy? You could be copying those scoundrels Becca had imprisoned. Snaking into our household to steal our secrets.”

She’d tried to appear apprehensive, but when his jaw went slack with shock, she couldn’t stop help but chuckled.

He waggled a finger. “You, pixie, are provoking me. Deliberately.”

“Do, please, stop calling me such a childish name. If you haven’t noticed, I became a woman several years ago.”

His gaze flicked over her body, scorched where it touched and left her tingling in its wake. “Trust me, Laura, I’d noticed.”




May I introduce: Hellen May "Und wieder Carmel" #German

"Und wieder Carmel"

by Hellen May

For those of you who speak German, I'd like to recommend this book to you all.
Hellen and I have been friend for years,  ... even across the distance of half a world away.

It's a great book, I loved it from the very first draft I read to the finished book. - And I'm sure so will you!

1 - Wie bist du auf die Idee gekommen, einen Roman zu schreiben?

Schon als Kind habe ich mir gern Geschichten ausgedacht und sie dann meiner Schwester erzählt. Später begann ich Tagebuch zu schreiben und dann die Ideen, die ich ständig im Kopf hatte in ein Notizbuch zu schreiben. Als wir 2006 in der kleinen kalifornischen Küstenstadt Carmel Halt machten, war ich so fasziniert von diesem Ort, dass ich sofort ein Bild vor mir sah, wie ein deutsches Mädchen erst im Schüleraustausch in die USA kommt und dann Jahre später wieder zurückkehrt. 2013 habe ich dann meinen 1. Roman „Und wieder Carmel“ veröffentlicht.  

2 - Wo/ Wie findest du deine Inspirationen?

Überall. Es muss nicht immer eine weit entfernte Stadt sein, es kann auch einfach nur eine Situation oder ein Mensch sein. Beim Einkaufen oder beim Autofahren möglicherweise, egal wo, wenn mir etwas gefällt, schreibe ich es auf.

3 - Hast du eine Gewohnheit, die du ausübst, wenn du an einem Punkt in der Geschichte nicht weiterkommst, um den Kopf frei zu bekommen?

Ich sehe unglaublich gern fern, Serien, Filme auch Dokus ... das lenkt mich ab und bringt mich gleichzeitig zum Nachdenken. Bei gutem Wetter, und ich spreche hier von 20°C und Sonnenschein, fahre ich gern Motorrad. Am liebsten auf der Rennstrecke, da gibt es keinen Gegenverkehr

4 - Was machst du, wenn du nicht gerade schreibst?

Ich habe einen Vollzeitjob, der mich sehr fordert. Mein Tag wird begleitet von Zahlen, Analysen, Meetings, E-Mails u.v.m. Danach verbringe ich so viel Zeit, wie möglich mit meiner Familie und unseren Hunden. 



Anna macht sich auf den Weg von Hamburg nach Carmel und ist sich nicht sicher, ob es wirklich eine gute Idee ist, diese Reise in ihre Vergangenheit zu unternehmen. Rita-Sue, die ihr bei ihrem ersten Aufenthalt in der kalifornischen Küstenstadt vor zwölf Jahren das Leben auf der High-School so schwer gemacht hatte, hat sie überraschend zu ihrer Hochzeit eingeladen. Dort wird sie nicht nur mit der aufregenden Zeit ihres einjährigen Aufenthalts in Carmel konfrontiert, sie begegnet auch ihrer ersten großen Liebe Alex wieder. Wird sie endlich mit ihrer Vergangenheit abschließen können oder werden sich vielleicht sogar neue Türen in die Zukunft öffnen?



Hellen May ist mein Pseudonym und "Und wieder Carmel" ist mein Erstlingswerk unter diesem Namen. 1970 geboren, entdeckte ich schon früh meine Leidenschaft für das Schreiben, indem ich meine täglichen Erlebnisse niederschrieb. Heutzutage arbeite ich tagsüber in einem Büro, jongliere mit Zahlen und Formeln und abends und am Wochenende schreibe ich.
Meine Inspirationen hole ich mir im Alltag und auf meinen Reisen, wie im August 2006, als ich nach Kalifornien flog und das erste Mal Carmel by the Sea besuchte. Fasziniert von der traumhaften Küstenstadt kam mir die Idee zu "Und wieder Carmel".
Mit meiner Familie lebe ich am Rand von Hamburg, fahre gern Motorrad um den Kopf frei zu bekommen und sehe gern fern. 


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1.      Kapitel

Ich sitze im Flugzeug nach Monterey, Kalifornien und bin mir immer noch nicht sicher, ob ich das Richtige tue. Warum? Weil ich auf dem Weg zu einer Hochzeit bin. Eigentlich nichts Ungewöhnliches, aber diese Hochzeit findet in Carmel statt, einem ganz wundervollen Städtchen an der kalifornischen Küste. Auch das ist nichts Bedenkliches, denn ich kenne Carmel, da ich dort als Siebzehnjährige ein Jahr im Schüleraustausch verbracht hatte. Ein turbulentes Jahr muss ich dazu sagen. In diesem einen Jahr ist mehr passiert, als in den neunundzwanzig Jahren meines gesamten bisherigen Lebens was zwar prägend war, aber auch nicht der Punkt ist, der mich beunruhigt.
Das, was mich beunruhigt, ist die Tatsache, dass mich Rita-Sue Hudgenson eingeladen hat.
Es ist eine wirklich hübsche Einladung, sehr geschmackvoll, muss ich zugeben.
Im offiziellen Teil steht: Wir laden Dich recht herzlich zu unserer Hochzeit am 8. August um 12.00 Uhr in Carmel ein.
Dazu hatte sie einen persönlichen handgeschriebenen Brief beigelegt. Darin stand: Liebe Anna, ich weiß, es ist schon eine Ewigkeit her und ich hoffe, Du erinnerst Dich an mich. Ein wirklich entscheidender Schritt in meinem Leben steht mir bevor und ich möchte, dass Du an diesem Tag dabei bist. Flugtickets liegen dem Brief bei und es wird jemand am Flughafen stehen, um Dich abzuholen.
Ich bitte Dich aus tiefstem Herzen, komm zu meiner Hochzeit, es ist mir persönlich sehr, sehr wichtig.
Deine Rita-Sue
Merkwürdig dachte ich damals, sie hat vergessen zu erwähnen, wen sie zu ehelichen gedenkt. Das machte mich stutzig. Wenn es irgendjemand ist, den ich nicht kenne, hätte sie es reinschreiben können. Demzufolge nahm ich an, dass es jemand ist, den ich sehr gut kenne. Also rief ich vom Büro aus an, um mich zu vergewissern. Ein komisches Gefühl nach so vielen Jahren wieder in Carmel anzurufen. Ich war plötzlich sehr aufgeregt, als ich es am anderen Ende klingeln hörte.
„Hudgenson?“, vernahm ich eine weibliche Stimme, die im ersten Moment keine Erinnerungen in mir weckte.
„Hallo. Mein Name ist Anna Wallenstein, ich würde gern Rita-Sue Hudgenson sprechen.“
„Oh mein Gott, Anna, … krrri…“ rauschte es und ich verstand nichts mehr. „Ich krrr dran, Rita-Sue. Schön deine krrrr zu hören. Ist die krrr ung angekommen?“, rief sie aufgeregt.
„Ja, ist angekommen, vielen Dank.“
„Ich kann dich ganz schlecht verstehen“, rief ich laut in den Hörer.
„Die Verkrrrung ist sehr krrr“, antwortete Rita-Sue. „Kommst du zur Hochkrrr?“
 „Ich plane noch.“
„Bitte krrr, es würde mich sehr glücklkrrr machen und krr Zukünftigen auch.“
„Wen? Auf der Einladung steht nicht, wen du heiratest.“
„Deshalb rufst krrr an, nicht wahr?“
„Ich wollte es nicht in die Einkrrr schreiben, ich hoffte, du krrrst anrufen.“
„Ok, wer ist es Rita-Sue?“, langsam wurde ich nervös.
„Krrx Walker“, höre ich es durch den Hörer rauschen. „Ich hoffe, krrr kein Problem für dich.“ Ihre Stimme klang aufrichtig. Alex Walker dachte ich, sie will Alex Walker heiraten. Ich schluckte ein paar Mal.
„Anna?“, fragte Rita-Sue.
„Ja, ich bin noch dran.“
„Brauchst du krrrr Bedenkzeit?“
„Ich habe noch eine Frage?“
„Warum soll ich kommen?“
„Weil du ein sehr krrr ger Mensch in meinem krrrrrrrrrrrrr bist und ich diesen Schritt krrrrrrrrr nicht ohne dich machen will. Das hat nichts krrrr Alex krrrr. Du hast krrr Leben gerettet.“
Ich erinnerte mich und sagte: „Ok, ich versuche es.“
„Super krrr freu krrr.“
„Wir sollten auflegen, die Verbindung ist schrecklich.“
„Ja, ja krrr. Bis bald.“
„Bis bald. Liebe Grüße an alle.“
„Werde ich ausrkrrrr.“
Ich legte auf und wählte augenblicklich den Firmenanschluss meiner besten Freundin Claire, die im gleichen Unternehmen nur auf einem anderen Stockwerk arbeitete. Claire und ich haben uns in der ersten Klasse kennengelernt und sind bis heute unzertrennlich. Sie war damals ebenfalls ein Jahr in den USA. Wir waren zusammen dort hingeflogen, nur dass sie ihr Jahr in Monterey verbrachte und ich in Carmel.
„Claire ich bin’s, kannst du in den Besprechungsraum im 2. Stock kommen?“
„Klar. Was ist los?“
„Ich habe gerade mit Rita-Sue gesprochen.“
„Bin sofort da.“
Ich hatte Claire schon an dem Tag von der Einladung erzählt, als sie eingetroffen war und daher wusste sie, worum es ging.
Wenige Sekunden nach meinem Anruf betrat Claire den fensterlosen Besprechungsraum. „Und?“, fragte sie keuchend, weil sie vermutlich den Weg hierher gerannt war.
„Sie heiratet Alex.“
„Echt jetzt? Und sie lädt dich dazu ein. Warum?“
„Weil ich ihr das Leben gerettet habe.“
„Ok, das ist ein Argument. Und wirst du hinfliegen?“
„Ja“, sage ich fest entschlossen. „Ein letztes Mal. Kommst du mit?“
„Du weißt doch, ich fliege in der Zeit mit meiner Mutter nach Schottland. Sie killt mich, wenn ich das jetzt abblase. Aber ich werde via Handy immer bei dir sein, versprochen.“
„Ok. Dann flieg ich allein.“
„Nimm Chris mit, vielleicht schafft er es, da mal einen Schritt weiter zu gehen.“ Claire grinste schelmisch. Christopher Scharp, ein Kollege aus der IT-Abteilung, war ein wirklich hübscher Mann, groß, schlank, sportliche Figur, dunkle Haare und braune Augen. Claire versicherte mir, dass er seit seinem ersten Tag mit mir flirtete. Ich hatte das erst Monate später mitbekommen, als er versuchte die Fehlermeldung auf meinem Rechner zu beheben. Da erzählte er mir auch, dass er frisch von der Uni kam und zarte dreiundzwanzig Jahre alt war.
„Chris?“, fragte ich irritiert.
„Lieber nicht. Der Arme denkt dann, dass du ihn als Begleitung mitnimmst, stattdessen ist er nur ein Alibifreund, damit du neben diese Rita-Sue nicht alleine stehen musst, während sie mit deinem Ex zum Altar schreitet.“
„Claire, das ist nicht sehr hilfreich.“
„Tschuldige, meine Fantasie geht grad wieder mit mir durch. Ok. Anderes Thema, lass uns mal überlegen, was du alles mitnehmen musst?“
„Es sind noch vier Wochen bis dahin.“
„Die sind schneller um, als es dir lieb ist. Also, du brauchst ein traumhaftes Kleid, eins, wo selbst die Braut neidisch wird. Dazu passende Schuhe und besser noch ein Reservekleid oder zwei. Man weiß ja nie.“ Claire grinste wieder schelmisch und ich wusste genau, woran sie dachte.
„Bräutigam ausspannen ist nicht, Claire.“
„Wer weiß, wer weiß.“

Review: Lee Child "Nothing to Lose" (Jack Reacher #12)

Publisher: Bantam Press

ISBN: 9780593057032

My rating: 4/5 

Two lonely towns in Colorado: Hope and Despair. Between them, twelve miles of empty road. Jack Reacher never turns back. It's not in his nature. All he wants is a cup of coffee. What he gets is big trouble. So in Lee Child’s electrifying new novel, Reacher—a man with no fear, no illusions, and nothing to lose—goes to war against a town that not only wants him gone, it wants him dead.

It wasn’t the welcome Reacher expected. He was just passing through, minding his own business. But within minutes of his arrival a deputy is in the hospital and Reacher is back in Hope, setting up a base of operations against Despair, where a huge, seething walled-off industrial site does something nobody is supposed to see . . . where a small plane takes off every night and returns seven hours later . . . where a garrison of well-trained and well-armed military cops—the kind of soldiers Reacher once commanded—waits and watches . . . where above all two young men have disappeared and two frightened young women wait and hope for their return.

Joining forces with a beautiful cop who runs Hope with a cool hand, Reacher goes up against Despair—against the deputies who try to break him and the rich man who tries to scare him—and starts to crack open the secrets, starts to expose the terrifying connection to a distant war that’s killing Americans by the thousand.

Now, between a town and the man who owns it, between Reacher and his conscience, something has to give. And Reacher never gives an inch.

My thoughts

Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary defines "page turner" as a book so exciting or gripping that one is compelled to read it very rapidly.

And I did!

I have to admit, though, I didn't quite get the whole story, but I got the gist of it.

The part I liked was that IMHO the raw emotions displayed by Reacher. Although I'm not a big fan of authors bringing in their personal opinion into their stories, Lee Child did really well creating a thought-provoking balance of displaying the cost of war. Reacher seems to have "matured" and although still stubborn in many ways, I like this new development.

Bottom line - it was a page turner!

May I introduce: Ashley Stambaugh "Collide"


by Ashley Stambaugh



Melina Rowe never thought her quiet, simple life could change to one full of fear and confusion just by accidentally bumping into someone. But after she collides with an elderly man named Walter, she starts to hear people’s thoughts and have unsettling visions.

Walter reveals himself as a guiding angel and explains to Melina that she’s a rare type of human who can absorb angel powers. But her special ability is more of a problem for her than a gift.

The powers are too strong for humans and will eventually kill Melina unless she can successfully use them to help a select individual who’s in need of guidance. Her chances are slim, though, seeing that the handful of other humans this has happened to before didn't survive.

Scared for her life, Melina desperately tries to help a young man named Lee, but his continual resistance and her struggle with the powers make it almost impossible. Her situation only grows worse when a trio of soul-snatching demons is sent by an unknown entity to take her soul and kill her.

As a determined Walter sets out to discover who sent the demons and why, Melina must defend herself from their relentless attacks all while trying to use powers she doesn’t fully understand to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. If she can’t figure out how to break through to Lee, the powers will ultimately destroy her. But if the powers don’t kill her first, the demons will.



Ashley Stambaugh grew up in a small town in Illinois where she and her two siblings created some of the best memories playing on their family’s farm. She stayed in the southern region of the state to attend college where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and also met her husband.

Now, she and her husband live in central Illinois and spend their time creating new memories with their two rambunctious boys and their comical black Pug. She also enjoys reading, taking long walks, and finding great bargains. When her sons are a little bit older, she has a great desire to travel with her family. Oh, and she also has a slight obsession with chocolate.

When she’s not busy chasing after her two young children or losing herself in a good book, you can find her curled up on her couch with her laptop, writing. 


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 Chapter One

Melina Rowe peered out of her bedroom window and wrinkled her nose. It was late October, so she knew it was cold outside, but it also appeared to be windy. These weather conditions weren’t her favorite, but she was determined to continue with her morning runs until snow prevented her from doing otherwise. She pulled her long brown hair up into a ponytail, slid a fleece headband on over her ears, and zipped up her coat before heading out her apartment door and down the stairwell to her bookstore below. The store didn’t open for another hour, so she had plenty of time. She took a quick look around and then turned to exit through the back.

Starting off in a slight jog, she followed her normal path toward the park, taking in the city in its early morning state as she went. Traffic was light, and there was only a handful of people out and about. The sky was a dull gray, and brown, dried up leaves swirled and danced around her, giving the city an even gloomier feeling. She hoped the blustery wind didn’t mean rain was on its way.

After only a few short blocks, the wrought iron gates that surrounded the park appeared alongside her. She picked up her pace and rounded a corner to her right, making her way toward the entrance, when she came upon an elderly man walking from the opposite direction. They met each other so suddenly that neither of them had a chance to move out of the way. Melina collided with the man, and it was in that moment that it happened.

As soon as their bodies made contact, she felt a powerful surge of energy pass through her and then a bright white light exploded between them, knocking them both away from each other. Melina, who had been knocked to the ground, pushed herself up to her feet, wondering what had just happened. The sensation that went through her body was like nothing she had ever felt before. It was very sharp and intense, like an electric shock, but at the same time it was soothing and warm. The feeling still lingered in her body as she finally looked over at the man.

After catching his balance, he looked over at her, and she noticed his expression of confusion and shock. His mouth opened as if to say something, but nothing came out. He stared at her for a moment and then finally he spoke to her.

“You,” he muttered.

“Excuse me?” she asked, returning his confused look.

“You’re one of them.”

Review: Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg "The Chase"


Publisher: Bantam Books

ISBN:  9780345543080

My Rating: 4.5/5

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, New York Times bestselling authors of The Heist, return in this action-packed, exciting adventure featuring master con artist Nicolas Fox and die-hard FBI agent Kate O’Hare. And this time around, things go from hot to nuclear when government secrets are on the line. Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, and the only woman to ever capture his attention, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals. Their newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artefact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar—and against the clock—to devise a plan to steal the piece back. Confronting Grove’s elite assassins, Nick and Kate rely on the skills f their ragtag crew, including a flamboyant actor, a Geek Squad techie, and a band of AARP-card-carrying mercenaries led by none other than Kate’s dad. A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it’ll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty’s priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O’Hare. From the Hardcover edition
My thoughts
Phew - what a ride!
It's been a long since I read a book within such a short time. This is exactly what I call a page turner.
Fox and O'Hare couldn't be more different, Fox a thief on the most wanted list and O'Hare an FBI agent, but together they're a great team!
The book starts with them recovering a bronze rooster which was stolen from the Smithsonian years ago. But it's not only the rooster they find, but so much more.
And so begins story that takes them to China, Scotland and Canada, which ends in a big bang. Literally!
It's another great book, I loved every page!

May I introduce: Sandy Wolters "When One Door Closes"

When One Door Closes

by Sandy Wolters
Sandy Wolters is one of the most generous FB and twitter "sharer" around. But she's also a prolific writer with four other novels to date. Her last novel, Soul Mates, won first place in the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer Choice Awards for Paranormal Romance-Novella.
1 – You write about strong women. Why is it so important to you?
My mother was raised when women were supposed to be compliant and submissive.  While this worked for her in her day, surprisingly enough, she wanted more for me.  She wanted me to have the tools needed to make it through life and stand up for myself and those I love.  I know this must have been very difficult for her, to break away from the past that was so engrained in her all those years ago, but she was always there for me, always telling me that I could do anything, no matter what society told me.
My husband and I had two daughters.  We wanted to make sure they had the strength and the belief in themselves that no matter what obstacles they face, they can make a difference in whatever they pursue and whatever is important to them.  In order to do this, weakness is not part of the equation.  They must have an inner strength and not let others that believe differently push them around.  They need to have the fortitude to stick to their guns and not bow to anyone.  Only they can go after what they want, no one else will do it for them.
My oldest daughter, Shandelle, is such a beautiful woman.  She has been forced to face difficult health challenges, but her strength is finding humor in everything and passing on the warmth of her spirit as she goes along her life's path.  She's fought long and hard to get where she is and there is no way that would have been possible without the inner strength she exudes and shares with others.
My youngest daughter, Pilar, is living and working in a man's world.  She currently works for Arizona Game and Fish.  She hunts, fishes, camps in a tent and is a marksman with any firearm including a bow.  While she is incredibly beautiful and charming, these traits get her nowhere when it comes to her career.  She can stand with any man and best most of them.
In other words, woman are no longer considered doormats in real life.  I, as a reader, do not like to read about weak women, and certainly as an author, I don't give those characteristic to my leading ladies.  I've taught my girls to question everything, no matter how intimidating the person they are facing is and don't give in to anything until it feels right for them.
2 – Some of your books have a ghostly paranormal twist. What is it that draws you to it?
We've all lost people we love and many of us have had experiences with them after their deaths.  Some of those experiences are unobtrusive, possibly a message from the other side to let us know they are still with us and to encourage us to move on.  Some experiences in my books are more in your face to get a point across.  This is the type of ghostly encounters in my books.  There is nothing meant to be scary about these scenes.  They are meant to be sweet, touching scenes that hopefully people can read and walk away feeling they've just been witness to something really special.
I never force these paranormal events in my books.  When they feel right, I add them.  I've also had characters that have been sensitive like having visions of things to come.  I enjoy adding these elements because many people can relate to them in one way or another.
3 - Another Door Opens, the second book in this series, will be released soon. Tell us a bit about it.
Another Door Opens will be Clay and Nancy's story.  I'm really excited about this because you couldn't have two more different characters than these coming together and finding love with each other.    
Clay, known worldwide as Silk, the very sexy rock star, has enjoyed the perks of being the most sought after male singer/musician in the spotlight.  Women flock to him and he doesn't like to disappoint them.  He's used to being given whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, that is of course until he meets Nancy.
There were two stand out characters in Book 1 of the Rock Star series, When One Door Closes, that people are constantly remarking on or asking me about - Barney Fife, the sweet Neapolitan Mastiff and Martha, the motherly figure with an attitude.  Both of these characters will continue on in Another Door Opens, and bring the reader more laughter with their antics.      


Her marriage a disaster, Lilly closes the door to her personal life. Can meeting Bruce open a door to a new life or will her fear shut her off from love?
All Lilly has ever wanted to do is sing, but being an internationally famous superstar has turned her life into a living nightmare. Closing the door on her destructive marriage, she runs to her best friend's rural home in northern Arizona, hoping to stay out of the public's eye and sort out her life.
Bruce Silk, a Flagstaff police officer, doesn't approve of his brother's rakish rock star lifestyle but still keeps an eye on his remote home when he's out on tour. More than once he's had to arrest groupies who invaded the property to steal some small memento from the famous Clay Silk. So why does he feel sucker-punched when he slaps the cuffs on this latest trespasser?

When One Door Closes is the first book in the “Rock Star Series.” Another Door Opens, the second book, will be released in mid-2014. Both books are stand-alone novels.



I’ve been an avid reader for years. To my husband’s dismay, I have bookshelves full of books, rooms full of books, boxes full of books. My cars have books in them. I just can’t seem to get rid of them after I read them. You just never know when you will want to read it again, right? When my husband bought me a Kindle, it cut down on our need for storage, but it opened me up to books that I might never have experienced otherwise.

The biggest transition in my relationship with books occurred, however, when I, much to my surprise, became an author. I had started having dreams about people I didn’t know. I started looking forward to my dreams every night. Then I realized that I was daydreaming about these people as well. I'd just be sitting there, and these people and their antics would pop into my mind. Finally, I gave in and began writing their story down, something I had never dreamed of doing.
After I wrote my first book Maggie Mae, I had do idea what to do with it. After trying the traditional route for a little while, my husband pushed me in the direction of ebooks, and I’ve never looked back.

My books invariably feature strong women. My husband, Michael, and I have raised two strong daughters, Pilar and Shandelle, and they inspire the characters in my stories. As a matter of fact, Pilar was the main character in my book A Brother’s Love, and Shandelle is the main character in my new release Soul Mates. Justice for Emily was the most difficult book I’ve written, and that was because Emily was the victim of a sadistic, cruel, and abusive husband, who just happened to be the Chief of Police. One of my readers described this books as a “good mystery laced with sex, violence, ghosts and spirits.” The only thing her summary left out was the strength of the two women in this story: Emily and Rachael.

I’ve had fun with all the books I’ve written. I think the fact that I insert real events into my books, things that have actually happened in my family’s lives, is like having a private joke. Knowing that Michael Rogers in Maggie Mae is based on my husband tickles my fancy. I am a very lucky woman!

Although I write romance novels, they always contain a paranormal twist. My novel, Soul Mates, has the added element of time travel accomplished through the magical arts. I imagine my future writings will always contain romance with strong women and men of character, influenced by events that reach beyond what we consider normal, and perhaps seasoned with a little touch of whimsy. 

Blog - Sandy's Spotlight:

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 Chapter One

Out of habit, Bruce glanced through the glass next to his brother's front entryway to check the alarm status. Seeing the green light signaling that the alarm had been disconnected, his body drew taut with tension. He pulled his Glock out and quietly checked the door. Locked. Slipping the key into the lock, he gently turned it and opened the door to an unknown danger. He moved silently through the house, clearing each room as he calmly and methodically moved forward, looking for the intruder he knew was there.

He had never cared for the opulence Clayton's home displayed, nor the way his brother lived, but he'd be damned if he'd allow anyone to take anything that belonged to his brother while he was out playing the rock star celebrity role.

Bruce crept into the living room where a fire was crackling in the fireplace. Obviously someone felt at home in his brother’s house. Bruce’s training as a police officer had taught him to slow down, to take everything in, to feel his surroundings. Something was different, he thought to himself. His eyebrows knitted together, he tilted his head to the side, trying to decipher what he was feeling. The air was thick with something he couldn't identify in words. The surroundings were familiar, but everything felt different. Wrong. Turning slowly in a circle, he scrutinized everything in the room, searching for an answer to what was so off about the feel of this home that he had been inside hundreds of times, but nothing tangible had been disturbed in the house.

As his gaze slowed, his gut clenched as he recognized the feeling that flowed over him. It was an overwhelming sense of sadness. It was the imperceptible, the thick veil of anguish, that was gnawing at him.

His breaths came quickly. Trying to wash this paralyzing sensation from himself with his free hand, he clutched his chest. His heart rate had sped up. Waves of sorrow were washing over him. His eyes closed, and he shivered involuntarily. Something was undeniably awry in this house. He just hoped it didn't get him killed.

While trying to steady his nerves, he heard it. Going completely still, he listened. Somewhere in the distance, a cell phone rang. He crept forward, trying to follow the incessant ringing, before finally realizing it was coming from outside on the back deck.

"Gotcha," he whispered as he moved toward the oversized double doors leading to the back deck. The cell phone started ringing again. What an idiot! He smirked at the stupidity of a burglar who couldn't turn his damn cell phone off for the amount of time it took to pull off a B&E. Then again, the idiot must be planning for a prolonged stay since he took the time to light a fire in the fireplace. Bruce was looking forward to educating this bastard.

As the back deck came into view through the large double doors, his suspicions were confirmed when he saw a roaring fire in the pit. To the right of the pit, a young woman sat at the table, staring out into space, her hand clutching a bottle of whiskey and tears rolling down her cheeks as if she'd lost everyone and everything important to her. The cell phone sat in front of her, its ringing falling on deaf ears.

Her beauty was staggering—long, luxurious, blonde hair, the allure of her face so moving that poets had been writing about such a face for centuries. Her eyes were hidden by the shadows of the night, but he could see the tension in her face, which was covered with tears. Even camouflaged from head to toe with the afghan his mother had made and given to Clay all those years ago, he could see an air of elegance surrounding her as if she were some kind of royalty. He watched her for quite some time, trying to decipher exactly what kind of a threat she might be.

Finally, with no answer to his question, he slipped out between the doors and moved stealthily toward her. The air around her was thick with pain, and it washed over him afresh. The man in him, the protector, his heart and body, wanted to run to her and wrap her in a warm, loving embrace all the while the cop in him, his mind, was yelling at him to put her in handcuffs and whisk her away to jail.

Silence. The damned phone finally stopped ringing. He snapped out of his reverie long enough to mentally kick himself. His anger rose, and a frown crossed his face. "A damn groupie," he whispered. That thought dispelled his fantasy and woke him up to the reality, stirring his anger even more.

Pointing his gun at her, he ordered, "Let me see your hands."

Nothing. She didn't even flinch. Her mind was somewhere far off, too great a distance to hear him.

He moved closer. "Hey," he yelled, "let me see your hands, or I'm going to have to take you down and cuff you on the ground."

Her body jerked when he yelled, and the bottle of Southern Comfort she'd been holding fell off the table. Wincing, she stayed perfectly still, except for holding her hands in the air, too afraid to look at the man yelling at her.

"Keep your hands in the air. Stand up and move away from the table," he ordered.

She stood quickly, her hair bouncing around her shoulders, catching the light of the fire. Bruce fought to ignore the impact that such a simple act was having on him. Finding comfort in protocol, he holstered his gun and moved toward her with his cuffs. He pulled her right arm behind her and then her left as he restrained her.

Still feeling a little jittery from what felt like an emotional assault on him by this woman, he did what he did best. He struck out with his caustic words, fully intending to make her feel the fool instead of himself. "Don't you groupies have a network or something? Can't you just spread the word that Silk's house is out of bounds? I just don't understand you women."

He swung her around. "I mean, look at you! You're beautiful. Why are you wasting your time with a man who doesn't give a shit about women? Don't you know his reputation?" He angrily swiped his hand through his hair. "Good Lord! He'd swallow you up and spit you out without so much as a blink. You should have a little more respect for yourself than that."

Watching this man who had just handcuffed her giving her a motivational speech made her smile before sending her into hysterical laughter. Being a cop, Bruce knew that people reacted differently to stressful situations, but her laughter startled him nonetheless. Was she one of those certifiably crazy groupies? Instinctively, his hand moved to his holstered gun. The movement set her to cackling so hard, she couldn't stand up straight and was having a difficult time catching her breath. When she did, it degenerated into snorting.

He took a step back, his anger growing steadily. "What the hell is so funny?" Still bent over, she held her hands up behind her back so he could see them and then held up one finger to indicate she'd need a minute as she convulsed with laughter yet again.

Putting his hands on his waist, he grew more and more agitated as he stood there, placing his weight on his left foot while angrily tapping his right. Who the hell does this woman think she is? His irritation escalated.

She stood up with a broad smile on her face, and it was obvious she genuinely felt better. The sorrow he had seen on her face earlier was still there, but a sparkle of playfulness had emerged.

Lilly watched the cop’s face for the familiar reaction. She couldn't believe it. This cop didn’t recognize her. For the first time in a very long time, she was just another woman. Incredible! Her smile grew brighter, the warmth of her very being radiating out from her, as she immersed in this newfound freedom. Before Bruce knew what he was doing, he smiled back. Dammit, he thought as he transformed his smile into a scowl again.

 "I'm sorry. There's been some sort of a mistake, officer. Ding … I mean Silk invited me to stay here."

Bruce waved his hand at her, clearly dismissing her as a liar. "He would have told me. I watch after the place for him when he's gone."

Her smile never faded, completely unnerving him. "Well, he actually gave me the key two years ago along with an open invitation to visit whenever I wanted." She turned her back to him and awkwardly held her cuffed hand out to him in greeting. She cocked her head and declared, "Hi, I'm Lilly. It's nice to meet you."

Knowing that Clay, or Silk as his hundreds of thousands of fans knew him, had never invited even one of his numerous lovers to what he referred to as "his real home," Bruce returned her gesture with a skeptical stare.

When it was clear this angry police officer was not going to shake her cuffed hand, she turned and nodded to her phone on the table. "There's my phone. Call him. He'll vouch for me."

He reached into his pocket and pulled his own phone out.

"Excuse me, officer, but you should probably use my phone. He's not going to recognize your number and probably won't answer it. He'll answer if you use my phone, no matter what he's doing. We're close friends."

His face lit up with a mischievous smile like he was getting ready to tell her a funny story. I should probably tell her my brother always answers my calls, but I'll just keep that to myself for now. He chuckled.

Lilly couldn't have looked away from him if she had wanted to. There was something so masculine about him. The man exuded an inner strength and--what is it? she thought to herself, and then it hit her—a cockiness about him, that drew her to him like a moth to flame. As much as she wanted to examine what was so attractive about his personality, she was having difficulty looking past the uniform. There is just nothing sexier than a great big man in uniform. She grinned. 

Wishing she would stop smiling at him, he held her gaze as he picked her phone up. Going through the contact list, he looked back at her, smirking from ear to ear. "Hmm. I'm not seeing him listed in your contacts."

She gave him a questioning look and then giggled knowingly. "Oh, I'm sorry. He's listed as Dingo."

His eyebrows shot up in surprise. Dingo? He turned his attention back to the phone, looked at the number listed under the name Dingo and realized that it, in fact, was his brother's private cell phone number. He pressed the send button and stood there, staring at this handcuffed, regal vision in front of him.

He heard Clay answer the phone and say in the background, "Don't worry. I'm going to get to that spot, sweetheart. This is an important call, and I have to take it. I'll be right back."

He closed his eyes and shook his head at the thought of his brother answering a call from this woman while having sex with another. The thought that she must be pretty important to Clay irritated the hell out of him. The next words Bruce heard lifted his anger level to an all new high. "How is my luscious baby girl doing?" Then in a voice so sincere that Bruce couldn't believe it was actually coming from his brother, Clay declared, "Damn, I've missed you so much, Lilly. Please tell me you're calling to say you'll join me for the rest of the band's tour."

It took a moment before Bruce could string a sentence of words together that didn't solely contain swear words unbefitting a cop in charge of the situation. Dammit, she must be really important to him, he thought. Why did that make him feel so bad, he wondered as he finally found his tongue.

"Just hold on a damn minute, Clay." Putting the cell phone down on the table, he pulled his key out of his pocket and walked over to Lilly. She twirled around so he could reach the handcuffs. He quickly uncuffed her.

She turned back to him while rubbing her wrists. "I'll go in and make some hot chocolate for us while you finish your call." Reaching the double doors into the house, she turned back. "Please tell Ding ... Clayton that I'm fine and not to worry about me." With that, she went inside the house.

Bruce stood there and watched her go, his hands clenching into fists, not understanding why the thought of this woman as his brother's girlfriend was so upsetting. He turned his attention back to the phone in time to hear Clay screaming profanities directed at him. He picked the phone up and yelled back. "You should probably tell me when you invite guests to your home so I don't end up taking them to jail."

"My God! Lilly's at my house? Is she all right? Is she hurt?" Clay cried out into the phone.

Once again, Clay surprised him with the depth of concern in his voice. "Clay, she's fine." Hesitating, he added, "Something's happened because when I found her, she was crying and …" Without thinking, he put his hand on his chest and rubbed it, trying to scrub away the pain he had not only seen, but felt emanating from her.

"And?" Clay screamed, impatient for a response.

Bruce shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. She's sad. Really sad," he whispered.

After a slight hesitation, Clay said, "I'm coming. I'm going to cancel a few stops on my tour, and I'll take a flight out as soon as possible."

Shocked by his brother's uncharacteristic solicitude, Bruce interrupted him. "What? You're going to cancel your tour? For a woman? What the hell is going on? Who is she, and what is she to you?"

Bruce could hear the surprise in Clay's voice. "Umm, dude, you're kidding, right?"

Sighing in frustration, Bruce said, "I'm feeling a little out of the loop, Clay. Will you please tell me what is going on?"

"Jeez, Bruce, do you ever pick up a newspaper, a magazine, turn the TV on, listen to the radio? The person you met tonight is Lilly. Lilly Cabrera." Pausing, Clay shrugged as he spoke. "You probably won't know her last name. No one does, but Lilly is famous, dude. She’s an international superstar. Where the hell have you been living the last three or four years?

"She's also very special to me. She's gotten me through some pretty rough times in my life, and I'm going to be there for her when she needs someone." Pausing, he added, "That time is now, Bruce. You can't let anyone know she's there. She'll never get any peace."

Over the phone, Bruce could hear Clay slamming doors and unzipping what sounded like a suitcase. "I'm on my way there. Don't leave her alone. If she's there, it's bad. She's going to need someone with her. I'm worried about her. Take care of her, Bruce, until I get there." Without any further conversation, the phone went dead.

Bruce looked at the now dead phone he held in his hand with absolute astonishment. "Stay with her?" he asked out loud. "You've got to be kidding!"