Join me and all of these other authors and models for the funnest meet up in a beautiful setting! By law we will be masked, and we’ll be in the big ballroom so they can really space us out. These ladies are a ton of fun and those models are very charming so mark your calendars and order your tickets today!
Hello everyone! I have a special treat for you. One of my awesome author friends has a Christmas in July Sale for her Rone-Nominated romance Christmas Rekindled. If you’re in the need of a little escape from this summer heat pick this up and think Christmasy thoughts 😘
Thanks so much, Lucy, for hosting me today, and hello to Lucy’s readers!
We’re halfway to Christmas, and some of us (waving hand wildly) are already looking forward to the holidays—especially after last year’s sad pandemic holiday season. If you’d like a sweet and steamy hit of Christmas romance, check out Christmas Rekindled: Bangers Tavern One, ebook on sale for 99¢ throughout July on all the major online booksellers. AND—Christmas Rekindled is a finalist for this year’s RONE Award, given to outstanding indie authors. (Squee!) Get your copy of this sexy, snarky, enemies-to-lovers holiday romcom here.
When two Scrooges unite to save a bar in trouble, a kiss under the mistletoe sparks the sexiest Christmas miracle ever.
Bartender River Lundqvist has a damn good reason for hating Christmas. Bangers Tavern is the perfect place to lay low over the holidays—until Charlie walks in. His first encounter with the saucy server nine years ago was utter humiliation. Her reappearance stirs up powerful desires and hopes for a new start. But the timing is all wrong.
Back in Tacoma to care for her estranged dad over the holidays, freelance web designer Charlie Khoury braces herself for the suckiest Christmas ever. A temporary job at Bangers Tavern gives her a chance to escape Dad’s criticism and blow off some steam. But why does the hunky bartender seem to hate her?
A pretend girlfriend is just what River needs to keep his family off his back—until a kiss under the mistletoe flares hot enough to melt the North Pole. When greedy developers threaten Bangers Tavern, River and Charlie must team up to save it. Their sizzling chemistry feels like the real thing—but everyone knows rebound relationships don’t last.
Come to Bangers Tavern for an enemies-to-lovers tale of reconciliation, found family, holiday cocktails, and the steamiest Christmas miracle ever.
Lucy, I’m including two so you can take your pick.
Short Excerpt, rated PG (262 words)
Her low, throaty chuckle made him want to kiss her again. Though he pretty much wanted to kiss her anytime she was within range.
She laid her hand palm-up on the center console. “The thing is, I’m not looking for a relationship.”
Remembering a bit of Dawn’s wisdom, he nestled his hand into hers. “You never find a relationship when you’re looking for one.”
Her gaze softened, open and vulnerable. “Are you looking?”
Warning sirens blared inside his head. This was a question to answer very carefully. “If you’d asked me a month ago, I’d say, ‘No way.’ But then, I kissed this girl under the mistletoe, and…”
She closed her eyes, lifted his hand, and pressed it to her sternum. Beneath his palm, her heart thudded fast. His pulse sped to match hers. He held his breath.
“I like you, River.” Her whisper matched the brush of snowflakes against the windows.
“I like you too.”
She inhaled deeply, then met his gaze. “Enough to be my friend?”
He nodded, mesmerized.
“Because my life is a mess right now, and I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing.”
Her coarse language stirred up a heady swirl of laughter, sympathy, and arousal. He scooted as near as the center console allowed and placed his lips close to her ear. “I’ll tell you a secret. Me neither.”
Fire flickered in her eyes’ inky depths. Her lips parted. A golden thread wound around his heart and tugged him toward her. His thumb stroked the delicate line of her jaw as he closed the distance.
Short Excerpt (rated R—contains the word dick. 293 words)
Passing with a keg of beer on a hand dolly, Eddie grunted and pointed up, grinning. Above the bar’s corner hung a clump of mistletoe, tied with a red ribbon.
River dropped his gaze to Charlie. Should he move in for that kiss he’d been fantasizing about since yesterday? Or wait for her to initiate?
She shrugged. “Can’t break tradition.” She took a step toward him. His heart double-timed in his chest. His vision went all soft and blurry. Nearer still…
She pivoted, grabbed Eddie’s jaw with both hands, and planted a loud smooch on his mouth. “Mwah. Merry Christmas, Eddie.”
The barback stumbled and nearly fell on his bony ass.
River didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Cursing softly under his breath, he trudged toward the bar. I push her father all the way down Sixth Ave, and she kisses Eddie?
A soft hand grasped his bicep. “C’mon, River. Don’t be mad.”
He turned, and she stepped in close. Really close. Her fingertips rested on his chest. Huge dark eyes twinkled with mischief. “I had to pay Eddie back for being a troublemaker.”
He arched an eyebrow. “Kissing me is trouble?”
Her hand slid to his nape. “Probably. But, you know, tradition…”
Her heaven-soft lips brushed his, and the din around them faded away. He wrapped his arms around her waist. Her tongue might be sharp, but every inch of her was warm, soft, luscious. A low, hungry sound deep in her throat called his dick to full attention. She angled her head and kissed him again, long and lingering. But when he touched the corner of her mouth with the tip of his tongue, she sucked in a breath and pulled away. “See, told ya.” She tapped his sternum. “Trouble.”
About the author:
After a teaching career in Germany, I returned to the U.S. (culture shock!) to start my second chapter in life, writing steamy contemporary romance set in this beautiful region.
Confession: I have a small business fetish. My Book Nirvana series centers around a quirky bookshop in Eugene, Oregon, and the Bangers Tavern Romance series is set in a neighborhood bar in Tacoma, Washington, where I live—the town, not the tavern! Each story features a holiday celebration: Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Halloween…
I love the found family that develops in close-knit workplaces like these, and the chance to fill my imaginary businesses with quirky characters. Each volume of the Bangers Tavern series includes tasty cocktail recipes I’ve personally tested and tweaked—a tough job, but I do it for my readers. 😉
So I think I’m going to be bad and write the Millionaire’s Mechanic (Rainer Torsten) before Burned Deep (Donovan Carter). I’m just feeling this story more and I have to keep the muse happy to make the words flow faster. I will try to write them at the same time, but I think MM will win cause I have things to say there, although I *must* finish To Hell and Back next because that’s a hard deadline with the ‘Zon.
Knight Takes Queen, R&R3 clocked in at 71K for the rough draft which I finished this Sunday. I will ignore it for the rest of the week before picking it back up. Factoring in my editor’s schedule I am guessing that’s going to be a May release now instead of October. Stay tuned—as soon as I get my act together I’m going to have Mercenary Audiobook review codes in my Street Team on Facebook.
I’m participating in a 💋 VIRTUAL SIGNING! 💋
On May 16th, your favorite authors will be participating in a virtual signing in the Love & Devotion Group.
We’ll be setting up our tables, chatting with you, hosting giveaways and signing books for you LIVE on FB!
When it’s all over, we’ll mail you your books along with fun SWAG! We know it’s not the same as an in-person signing, but hopefully this will take some of the sting out of having to miss out on so many events this year.
Here is a link to the order forms for the authors confirmed as of now. Orders will stay open until May 18th (unless specifically stated otherwise) to allow us authors plenty of time to stock up on books/SWAG. (spoiler alert – I don’t have much swag but I do have gift cards!)
My pre-order form:
For those of you who don’t know, the Romance Writers of America is a hot mess right now. I don’t know the main actors at all, I’ve never even been to a chapter meeting yet, and if you want to know what’s happening in detail you have to google because I am not an authority. Suffice to say that I sympathize with the people who are unhappy about the board’s handling of the matter, but honestly I didn’t even know who the president-elect was till yesterday.
After the Silicon Valley debacle, we coasted back to San Diego on fumes, our bank accounts wiped out and with only a few hundred dollars of credit to spare. Nevertheless, after much discussion, my husband and I agreed WE HAD TO ENTER THE RITAs.
I’ve done decently in Reader’s Favorite multiple times and I’ve always wanted to try entering the RITAs. Even being a finalist would be a boon, or so I thought. Plus, I joined RWA earlier this year because of Cocky-Gate so we went for it and entered Peyton’s Price and Codename Romeo. Honestly, the $125 fee didn’t hurt compared to the mountain of debt we accrued since the move. It’s a drop in the tsunami.
And then the RWA implodes. It’s like watching the surface of the sun roil and bubble.
Codename Romeo is doing okay and as long as we aren’t in Silicon Valley I’m confident we will climb out of this hole…eventually. Truthfully, it will take years. But for the short term, I’m kind of hoping at this point the RITAs get canceled in their entirety and refunds will be issued. I haven’t come right out and asked for a refund yet because the situation is evolving quickly but with so many resignations and withdrawals, all outcomes look bad.
Anyways. Not sure any of you wanted to know this, but this is kind of all I’m thinking about when I really should be working on Earth…
All FBI agent Ethan Thomas wants is to come home to his new apartment venture and enjoy the luxury of his new flat screen TV and some frozen pizza. Encountering a tiny toddler alone in the hall changes everything for the rough and rugged agent. Relief sets in when the child’s mother appears. But when she collapses at his feet just before a blizzard hits Boston, Ethan’s in over his head.
Now, Ethan’s changing diapers and playing doctor…and loving every minute of it. The mother and child need a place to stay, and Ethan can’t possibly turn them away. But this investigator knows people–and the woman he’s falling for is keeping secrets. Can he uncover the truth while protecting them from the dangers of his job?
I’d like to announce that Ethan’s book is with the editor! I’ve also renamed his series. Codename Romeo, Rogues and Rescuers Book One, will drop sometime in December if all goes as planned. Stay tuned for a cover reveal next month (i hope)!
You might be asking yourself what future? I thought the SO series is over with Peyton’s story! Well, yes and no. As many of you know Ethan, our handsome FBI has been patiently waiting in the wings for his own story ever since his introduction in Calen’s Captive. We know he’s a hero without a cause, but I’ve started to give him one.
I decided a while ago that Ethan will launch Of Valor and Villains, a new series with new heroes, including his merc friend Jackson Lang who falls for the waif next door and friend from med school Carter Donovan who meets a ghost from his past.
But there were too many loose ends from the SO series to have this be an entirely new cast of characters. Some of you think Killian, the assassin from Trick’s Trap, needs a redemption arc and I happen to agree! I’ve got my eye on a curvy little accountant/librarian who paints miniatures on the side for our shadowy anti-hero. I also had some plans for our Russian friend Viktor, who will finally deal with the forces ordering him to do unspeakable things against his conscience.
And then there’s Caroline, Liam’s ex-fiancee. I did not expect to like that woman at all. I set her up to a mega-B if you know what I mean, because unlike some people I think there are true villains in life and we should have people to root against. But like in life, once you delve into someone’s story you gain a better understanding of them. And damn, is Caroline under a lot of pressure! Enough so that I don’t think her story is done. Our brittle ice queen needs a smoldering man to melt all that ice to get to the damaged but sensuous woman under that hard shell. He also has to be good with a gun because of course our ice queen stumbled into a mess with her hotel high flyers! Right now I’m think Mason, or intrepid Interpol agent from PP, although that’s not set in stone.
Why do these stories have to be a new series? Well, there are a couple of reasons for that. The hallmark of the Singular Obsession books was the billionaires and the people in their circle. And while some wealthy men and women will appear in the OVAV series it’s not strictly their world anymore. The OVAV series will mainly belong to men and women who live a completely different way.
Also there is a marketing issue to consider. Some people don’t like Step-brother romances and at heart that it what Making Her His, SO #1 is. I wrote the book after reading 50+ Lynne Graham novels back-to-back. The SO series starts as an homage to all those red-cover Harlequin books from my youth (shout out to FahLeena Latrese for her long ago gift of two of these for my 3rd grade bday). But I digress, stepbrothers are not everyone’s cup of tea and I want everyone to read my books. So a hot FBI agent as an alternate entry-point to my work seems like a good idea. Only time will tell if it actually is 😀
So yes. Of Valor and Villains is shaping up to be a companion series to the Singular Obsession books and the marketing will reflect that when the time comes. Ethan’s book has been stalled this summer as a lack of child-care put most of my writing on hold but kiddo goes back to her overpriced pre-school on Wednesday so I’m trying to gear up now. But I thought some of you might like to know where I am and thus this update post.
XOXO to you all!
The frigid snowy weather was wreaking havoc with the traffic. Ethan got into the apartment way later than he’d intended—well after the blizzard hit.
He stamped his boots to shake the snow off and pulled his wool coat off.
Thank frigging god I fixed the heaters last week. Over the past couple of weeks he and Jason, his partner at the bureau, ripped out the old dysfunctional radiators in his apartment and replaced them with a modern central heating system. He was looking forward to spending the night watching an old New Zealand rugby game and eating frozen pizza in his toasty new living room.
That sounded a lot less lame earlier when he’d debating going to the Caislean, a five-star hotel here in town, to join Jason and Maggie for dinner. His partner lived there with his wife as she was part owner.
How his geeky partner had managed to land a rich and hot hotel heiress still made his head spin, but there was no accounting for taste. Maggie was cool, though. Not as hot as her best friend Peyton, but still way out of Jason’s league.
If he’d gotten snowed in at the Caislean he could have had his pick of the hotel’s empty rooms to crash in. Gourmet meals served by a courteous staff, his run of the gym—all for free. Most people would give their eyeteeth for a deal like that, but hanging at the hotel seemed too pathetic now that Peyton was off on her honeymoon.
Frozen pizza it is. Good thing he’d finally convinced the local grocery store to deliver here. They had thought the building was condemned—or at least that’s what the snide teenager answering the phone had said.
Ethan sniffed. That shitty delivery kid could shove it. The building was starting to shape up. As Jackson had declared, it had good bones. Most of the remaining work was cosmetic. Once they got rid of the crumbling stucco on the exterior and restored the original brickwork it would look pretty damn good. And his weatherproofed windows would be a great place to watch the storm.
He shoved his lined leather gloves into his pocket to open his mailbox. Damn it. The envelope was back.
Yesterday, he’d found it in his slot, filled with grubby tens and twenties and a whole lot of singles. The envelope was rent from the building’s last hold-out resident, the girl Jackson hadn’t kicked out because he felt sorry for her.
Ethan had given all the rent back yesterday along with an extra two hundred out of his own wallet. He’d stuffed it into a manila envelope and shoved it under the corner studio’s door with a warning to vacate by the first of next month.
In theory that should have given the girl enough time to find a new place. But that was before this blizzard hit. It was supposed to last the better part of the week. The weather would hamper apartment hunting. Which meant he might have to give the woman an extra couple of weeks. However, getting the envelope back was a bad sign. What if she didn’t understand English enough to read his note?
Damn it. He was going to have to talk to her in person.
Ethan wasn’t afraid of crushing someone. He did to criminals in interrogation rooms on a regular basis, but this was different. It was a single mom for fuck’s sake.
Trying not to swear aloud he turned the corner instead of heading for the stairs. Maybe he would finally catch his sneaky little tenant at home this time. She’d been avoiding him for weeks. And he was pretty sure she was tuning out the lights and pretended she wasn’t home whenever she heard him in the hall.
Not this time. This couldn’t go on. Obviously, he needed to look the girl in the eye as she agreed to start looking for a new place. He didn’t want this hanging over his head anymore.
What the hell was the woman’s name again? He squinted down at the on the envelope, but he hadn’t written it down there. The only identifying information was the apartment number drawn in a script so precise it could have been typed. Doesn’t matter. He didn’t need to know her name.
Ethan turned the corner of the short hallway leading to the first-floor units. He stopped short and blinked.
There was a tiny figure standing in the middle of the hall. The toddler was wearing a puffy hot pink snowsuit, the kind that was so thick it forced your arms wide like the Stay Puft marshmallow man. Ethan couldn’t tell if it was male or female despite the color of the suit. It could have been a hand me down. The patches indicated it was used.
“Hey…kid. Where’s your mom?”
The tiny little face blinked up at him. It tottered, turning around to face the other way. Ethan relaxed as a small, but adult-sized, figure came toward him and the child.
It had to be the girl, although he would have found it impossible to guess if he’d seen her on the street. She was wrapped in too many layers. Her body was covered in two coats and a multitude of scarves obscured half her face. Nothing looked thick enough for the current weather, which was probably which she’d layered up.
“Hi. I’m glad I finally caught you,” he said, cocking his head at her as she marched down the hall toward him.
Her mittened hand was running along the wall. Behind her and the kid he could see the studio door, open at last. A brown bag partially filled with groceries was resting on the floor outside.
The girl reached down for the kid so slowly Ethan wondered if she was drunk. That was how the inebriated moved—very carefully.
She didn’t acknowledge his words as she picked up the child and turned around.
Fuck. That was rude. “Did you hear me?”
How did you say that in Spanish? He racked his brain. Spanish was the easiest of the languages he’d learned back in college. Why couldn’t he remember a damn thing now?
“Hey. I’m talking to you.”
Still nothing. The woman was inching down the hall, her progress molasses slow. The toddler in her arms was babbling softly as if it was telling her all about its day.
He took a deep breath, shaking his head as he followed them. “Look lady, we really need to talk about the apartment. I know you talked to my friend Jackson about it. We can’t keep letting you live here when we’re redoing this floor. The old landlord should never have signed a lease so late in the game.”
None of the rentals had been legal by that point. The place was in such bad shape, full of rats and bad wiring. Luckily the other tenants had been quick to find better accommodations when the extent of the problem had been pointed out to them.
The rats were long gone. It was the first they’d taken care of. But this girl…fuck what was she doing now?
She had stopped half-way to the door, her arm out to wall again. Then the arm dropped. She leaned against the wall, using it for support as she dragged herself forward. It was a familiar move. He’d done the same thing in college when he’d been too wasted to walk in a straight line to his dorm room.
And with a kid too. Did that fucking dive bar pay her in drinks?
Really pissed now he stalked to her before she reached the open doorway. “Are you seriously going to pretend I’m not here?”
If she shut the fucking door in his face he was going to break it down. He put a hand on her arm and tugged gently.
Her reaction was instantaneous. The woman reared back and pulled away, holding the puffy pink baby tighter to her chest. He caught a glimpse of a pair huge brown eyes and a flushed face. She leaned against the wall again and looked from him to the door as if weighing the distance. One step was all she could manage. She slid down the wall with the kid in her arms.
Ethan swore and dived after them. He caught them just before the kid slipped out of her arms headfirst onto the ground. The girl slumped, her head falling back, exposing more of her face. Her cheeks were red and she was shivering.
What the hell? His squatter-tenant wasn’t drunk.
She was sick.