Pages

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Bliss by Lynsay Sands


Author: Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Avon
Date of publication:  July 25, 2017

No one blends humor and sensuality like New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands in this captivating story of feuding nobles forced to marry…and destined to fall in love

Love thy neighbor, ’tis said. A fine idea, except when the neighbor in question is Lord Holden. Lady Helen Tiernay has complained frequently about his treatment of his people. Too frequently perhaps, for the king intends to curb their constant bickering by ordering them to wed. Helen can’t refuse a royal decree, but she’ll do everything possible to drive away her devilishly attractive husband-to-be.
Holden has faced all manner of horrors on the battlefield. But marriage to “the tyrant of Tiernay” is still a worrying prospect—until he glimpses Helen in the flesh. What flesh it is…soft, lush, made for his touch. If she weren’t so intent on thinking up devious ways to prevent consummating their bond, Helen would see how perfect they are together, and that a marriage begun as enemies can turn to absolute pleasure.

Bliss was recently re-issued by Avon. I have always been a fan of Ms. Sands's historical romances.  Somehow I missed this one the first time around. Lord Hethe Holden and Lady Helen Tierney have been feuding neighbors for years.  King Henry is tired of getting letters of complaint from both of them and orders them to marry.

I enjoyed this one.  There were a lot of funny moments that made me laugh.  That is one of the things that I have always loved about this author.  She has the ability to inject a lot of humor into her stories. Hethe and Helen were fun to watch as they slowly began to like and respect each other.  There is also mystery to solve.  Someone keeps trying to kill Hethe. (How that poor man wasn't in a coma by the end is anyone's guess) While, it wasn't too difficult to figure out who the bad guy was, the reason was a surprise.

If missed this one the first time around, I definitely recommend it.  It was a lot of fun to read.

Excerpt:
“Lady Tiernay,” Templetun greeted, jogging up the last few steps to come abreast of Hethe as he passed before their two hostesses. “May I introduce Lord Hethe of Holden. Lord Holden, this is Lady Helen of Tiernay and her aunt Lady Nell Shambleau.”
Hethe moved up another step so that his face and Helen’s were on a level, and managed a smile as he gazed into his fiance’s sky blue eyes that matched her gown. Actually, his mouth was responding to his nether regions, and it fashioned itself into a beaming grin of pleasure for the woman—until she smile back and said, “How do you do?”
His smile died an abrupt death, becoming a dismayed grimace. It wasn’t the woman’s words that affected him so but her foul breath that blew at him as she spoke. The shock of it made Hethe take a hasty step backward. He would have tumbled down the stairs had William not steadied him with a fist at his back.
“God’s teeth!” he gasped in horror, bringing a perplexed and even slightly offended look to their hostess’s face. It also brought him a rather sharp and confused look from Templetun, reminding him of his manners. Forcing a false smile of apology to his lips, Hethe turned his face slightly to avoid the noxious fumes and excused himself by muttering, “Nearly lost my footing.”
“Oh, well, you must be careful, my lord,” his betrothed breathed at him sweetly. Leaning closer, she snatched his arm through her own, presumably to save him from losing his balance again. She then smiled brightly and sighed gustily into his face. “Such a handsome man. We would not wish you to tumble down the stairs and break your neck! At least, not before the wedding, hmmm?” she teased, her eyes sparkling.
Hethe nearly whimpered. His head was swimming under the onslaught of her poisonous exhalations. Sweet Saint Simon! He had never smelled anything quite so raw or putrid. He hadn’t thought it possible for such a scent to come out of a human’s mouth. And the fact that it was coming from the sweet bow-shaped lips of the lovely woman before him just seemed to make the horror of it that much worse.
“Shall we go inside?” the woman’s aunt suggested cheerfully.
“Aye,” Lady Tiernay agreed. “I am sure you gentlemen are ready for a nice mug of ale after your journey.” She spoke the words to Hethe, her breath wafting over his face like an ill wind carrying the stench of death. Feeling his stomach roil, Hethe nodded faintly, more than eager for any excuse to move and avoid the situation he was in.


Lord love me, I have to marry this wench, he thought as he hurried rudely up the last step and into the keep, dragging her a step behind. She would be breathing this putrescence at him for the next fifty years or so, he thought faintly, too dismayed to even realize how rude he was being by pulling Lady Tiernay about and leaving her aunt and the others to follow.



Buy Links:     AMAZON | B & N | GOOGLE | ITUNES | KOBO
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39399.Bliss 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Author Info 
Lynsay Sands is the nationally bestselling author of the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series, as well as numerous historicals and anthologies. She's been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there's occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that's just a big bonus.

Author Links:   WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Blog Tour: Well Built by Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde

Authors: Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde
Publisher: CP Publishing
Date of publication: July 2017

When it comes to women, sexy, well-built Kyle Coleman has always been a lover, not a fighter.  His one exception?  The sassy, tempting, smart-mouthed Ella Fisher.  Her family and his are sworn enemies, which make the two of them off-limits—despite the fact that she's inspired some of his dirtiest, most erotic fantasies for years. But when the lines between animosity and lust become irrevocably blurred one fateful evening, their one night stand leads to a very unexpected consequence—that changes everything between them forever.

Add to Goodreads


Well Built is the third book in the Book Boyfriend series.  This is Kyle's story.  Kyle and Ella were high school sweethearts until one night when it all ended.  Now 10 years later, Kyle is back home to make a dream come true for his mother.  Unfortunately, it means that Ella can't fulfill her dream.  

While not my favorite of the series, I still enjoyed it. Ella and Kyle still had a lot of chemistry even after 10 years.  Their feelings for each other had not dwindled  My biggest complaint about the story was its length.  I felt like it was too short.  Ella and Kyle get together and then it's three months later.  I would have liked to see more of them together.  Instead, we are just kind of told what they were up to over that time. I would have bought into the romance a bit more had I seen their interactions as adults.  Don't get me wrong, I still liked the two of them together.  I just wanted more.

This can definitely be read as a stand alone.  The other characters from the first two books make an appearance, but it's not necessary to have read those to enjoy this one.  I definitely recommend this one as well  as the others in the series. I look forward to Connor's book next.



Buy links:
About the Authors:

***About Carly Phillips***

Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels featuring hot men, strong women and the emotionally compelling stories her readers have come to expect and love. Carly is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs (two wheaten terriers and one mutant Havanese) who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find out more about Carly at www.carlyphillips.com.

Website  Goodreads  Amazon  Facebook  Twitter

***About Erika Wilde***

Erika Wilde is the author of the sexy Marriage Diaries series and The Players Club series. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two daughters, and when she's not writing you can find her exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest. For more information on her upcoming releases, please visit website at www.erikawilde.com.

Website Goodreads  Amazon  Facebook  Twitter 


Monday, July 24, 2017

Blog Tour: Spotlight of Dark Saturday by Nicci French

Author: Nicci French
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks 
Date of publication: July 11, 2017

Enter the world of NICCI FRENCH with Dark Saturday, an electrifying, sophisticated psychological thriller about past crimes and present dangers, featuring an unforgettable protagonist…

A decade ago, 18-year-old Hannah Docherty was arrested for the shocking murder of her family. It was an open-and-shut case, and Hannah has been incarcerated in a secure psychiatric hospital ever since.
When psychotherapist Frieda Klein is asked to meet Hannah and give her assessment, she reluctantly agrees. But what she finds horrifies her. Hannah has become a tragic figure, old before her time. And Frieda is haunted by the idea that Hannah might be as much of a victim as her family — that she might, in fact, be innocent.

As Hannah’s case takes hold of her, Frieda begins to realize that she’s up against someone who will go to any lengths to keep the truth from surfacing — even kill again.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Nicci French

Nicci French is the pseudonym of English wife-and-husband team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Their acclaimed novels of psychological suspense have sold more than 8 million copies around the world.
Connect wtih the authors on their Facebook page.

Tour Stops
Wednesday, July 12th: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, July 12th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Thursday, July 13th: Comfy Reading
Thursday, July 13th: The Ludic Reader
Friday, July 14th: Booked on a Feeling
Friday, July 14th: Reading Reality
Monday, July 17th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 18th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, July 19th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Thursday, July 20th: A Bookish Way of Life
Friday, July 21st: Dreams, Etc.
Monday, July 24th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, July 25th: StephTheBookworm
Wednesday, July 26th: Readaholic Zone
Thursday, July 27th: Art Books Coffee

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Blog Tour: Q&A with Zach Boddicker author of The Essential Carl Mahogany


Author: Zach Boddicker
Published: Last Chance Press
Date of publication:  July 2017

What can an award-winning Nashville singer-songwriter learn about himself by agreeing to a best-of tour in a beat up old van? If it means getting out from under the thumb of a label that considers him washed up, he’s willing to find out.  At least until an ex-lover wants to come along for the ride.

Carl Mahogany’s not your average protagonist. In the practiced drawl of the aging country singer, and echoing Edward Abbey’s Henry Lightcap, Boddicker takes us across the country in an Americana-steeped journey through Mahogany’s roots. Encounters with old friends and lovers, including the Eisenhower Interstate System, a firecracker tenured professor, former bandmates, and a down-to-earth small town mechanic, shake the dust out of Mahogany’s creases to revision his life.


If a lifetime of travel, songwriting and performing equates to learning to work with the monsters inside us, The Essential Carl Mahogany is that journey. Grab a six pack, settle into the cushions, and come along for the ride. 

Q&A with Zach Boddicker

What inspired The Essential Carl Mahogany?
The answer to this may be lost to history. I do remember having gotten to the point where I refused to watch any more musician/artist biopics and documentaries. So many of them follow the rise-fall-redemption paradigm, focused on industry pressure and substance abuse.  There are so many other ways to depict the complex trials of a successful, working artist. Having written several short stories in college, and unaware of any novel written about a professional songwriter, I decided it was time to go for it.

Where did the moniker and personality of Carl Mahogany come from?
The name “Carl Mahogany” came from a quip made at a backyard 4th of July horseshoe tournament I attended in 2005, and it just stuck. When I started the book, I wanted an artist-protagonist who could feasibly reach the top of their game with no college degree, trust fund or traces of nepotism; someone who could still move about the general population without being noticed. If I were to run into a real version of a songwriter like Carl, I’m not sure I would recognize them - even with being familiar with their work.

The Essential Carl Mahogany  is the first novel published by M12 / Last Chance Press. How did you two connect - and what made them decide to publish your book?
Richard Saxton (Creative Director of M12) happened to be at a 4H Royalty show at the Lion's Lair several years ago. I didn't meet or speak with him that particular night, but we eventually connected, and with their company focus on rural art and artists,  I insisted that we collaborate. I contributed a short story to their first publication A Decade of Country Hits: Art on the Rural Frontier. After Carl won an unpublished novel contest a few years ago and made the finals in another, Saxton said “why don't we put out your book?”

Do you see yourself in any of your characters in the book?                 
Definitely - there’s some aspect of all of the main characters, except Lloyd. Bill, Carl and Rhonda are all pretty good improvisors when it comes to handling the disruptions and chaos of life. Their sense of humor enables this more than anything. Carl takes several more beatings than anyone else in this story, but he keeps grinding forward with his new project. Bill and Rhonda have gone through their own messes previously and have earned their ability to see the humor and absurdity of all of the knuckleballs that have come their way. I suppose this is why I identify with these characters the most. It’s an ongoing aspiration, at least.

Are any of those six a favorite of yours?
It depends on my mood. I’d probably choose Rhonda as my go-to character. She’s naturally non-judgemental, an improvisor, focused, highly-skilled and unapologetically passionate about what she does.

You’re a musician, as well as a writer. How long have you been a musician and what type of music do you play?
I've been playing guitar since I was 10, and then picked up pedal steel at 19. I started playing bars at 18 with a “modern country” cover band, which led to me starting a “classic country” band with Ben O'Connor (Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams, Matt Skinner Band). No one was doing that up in Fort Collins at the time, so people started coming to check it out.

One of these individuals was Karl Alvarez of Descendents / ALL fame. He brought me on board with Drag the River, which to that point was just an acoustic duo. We got the full-band version of DTR going, and I spent about five years recording and touring with them.

My main project since 2008 or so is a four-piece band called 4H Royalty. It’s been more of a long-term art project than a working band. People have described our sound as a combination of the Replacements, Billie Joe Shaver, Thin Lizzy, Meat Puppets and late-seventies Springsteen. 
           
So, given your history in music, were any parts of your story inspired by real-life events?
From the start, I anticipated receiving accusations that this story is just a thinly-veiled autobiography, so I over-compensated by making sure nearly everything that happens in this book is made from scratch (to the best of my ability). None of the major plot points have happened to me, or to anyone I know personally, but several minor plot points, characters, details, and locations are based on, or influenced by, real-life experiences, hearsay, and unreliable memories. Several!

What do you think will surprise readers most about your book?                                
The depiction of small-town/rural humans as creative, dynamic individuals with complex lives and diverse opinions.

What fascinates you about writing?                                
I like the act of smashing conflicting or disparate ideas/philosophies/conventions together and seeing what happens.

What about music?
Same as above, though a three or four-minute song isn't the ideal vehicle for a complex story. It's more of a flash-fiction exercise, with some elements of poetry involved.

What authors do you like to read? Any that have been a particularly strong influence on your own writing?                                
Kent Haruf, Kurt Vonnegut and Larry McMurtry have been consistent favorites over the years. I’m currently working my way through the Goodreads Literary Westerns list, and researching the lesser-known pulp western writers of old.

Do you have any plans for more books in 2017 and beyond?     
I have a handful of somewhat-developed ideas for future novels and short stories. One seems to be wanting more attention than the others, so I’m in the outline stage with that. It will involve a younger protagonist and his escape from a quasi-religious commune, and his adventures thereafter. I’m anticipating there’ll be truck drivers, journalists, motorcycle club folks and all sorts of local color scattered about.


Praise for The Essential Carl Mahogany

“With internal dialogue to match Nick Hornby at his best (see High Fidelity), and external dialogue that’s reminiscent of early Don DeLillo (See Great Jones Street, possibly the only musician-novel that I dare to compare to this one), author Zach Boddicker has crafted an elegant, oddball, and unapologetically funny tale of ex-Nashville, ex-famous, and ex-boyfriend Carl Mahogany and his existential mission to recover his soul in a tumbleweed junction on the Great Plains of Eastern Colorado. Rarely have I seen so much wit mingle so comfortably with such an honest portrayal of rural America's anarchic spirit."
Gregory Hill - author East of Denver, The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles, Colorado Book Award recipient


"The story of a successful country songwriter trying his best to live a hassle-free existence, of which he is only marginally successful. Full of great dialogue, humorous observations and dry wit, The Essential Carl Mahogany is a strong debut."
— Chris Auman,  Reglar Wiglar Magazine

About the author:

Zach Boddicker grew up living the country life north of Laporte, Colorado.  Ever more interested in rock bands and art than hunting, sports and other traditional red-blooded American activities, it was when he finally got his hands on a guitar that his journey into a life of music was catapulted into action.

In his formative years, Boddicker listened to and learned from everything he could get his hands on, but found direction one Monday night at a poignant performance at The Continental Club in Austin, Tex. by country guitar legend Junior Brown. This steered the author and musician toward honky-tonk, country and western swing.

Boddicker holds a B.A. in English and a MFA in Fiction from Colorado State University, which have proven useful for his endeavors into publishing. In 2014, his short story “Equipment” was published in “A Decade of Country Hits: Art on the Rural Frontier(Jap Sam Books / M12 Studio). His first book “The Essential Carl Mahogany” (2017), which has been deemed evocative of Nick Hornby, Hunter S. Thompson and Don DeLillo, is the first novel to be published by M12 Studio / Last Chance Press.

In addition to his work as an author, Boddicker has been a staple of the Roots Music scene along the Front Range for 20 years as a member of 4H Royalty, Cowboy Dave Band, Drag the River, and many others. He currently resides in Denver with his wife and two daughters.
  

 Stay current on all of the author’s updates and appearances at CarlMahogany.com

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Blog Tour:Review & Giveaway Kiss My Boots by Harper Sloan

Author: Harper Sloan
Publisher: Pocket Books
Date of pubication: July 18, 2017

Hang on to your Stetsons this summer, because you’re in for one wild ride! Get lost in the second installment of New York Times bestselling author Harper Sloan’s Coming Home series, KISS MY BOOTS. In the second installment, the wildest Davis of them all is looking for love…maybe.

Quinn Davis prefers to live her life quietly. She’s the stereotypical tomboy with two overprotective big brothers who have always looked out for her. Of course, it doesn’t help that her heart has already been hardened when it comes to devilishly handsome cowboys with silver tongues. That is, until Tate Montgomery comes riding back into town. Their first meeting, however, is far from something out of a fairy tale and only further convinces Quinn that men aren’t worth her time.

Growing up, the one time Tate ever truly felt at home was during the long, sweltering summer months he spent at his gram and paw’s farm in Pine Oak, Texas. Now, Tate has returned to his childhood sanctuary seeking a fresh start—but if he’s being entirely honest, he’s not just back for the Wranglers and Stetsons. During those summers, Quinn was a friend turned young love who Tate lost when life threw him a curveball and he cut all ties to his past, but all it takes is one glance at the raven-haired beauty, who he did his best to forget, for him to realize just how much he’s been missing…

Can two people who have stopped believing in love take a chance to find it in each other again? Or will the pain of the past prove too great a hurdle to conquer?
  
Kiss My Boots is the second in the Coming Home series.  This is Quinn's story.  So far, this one is my favorite of the series. Quinn and Tate were childhood sweethearts until he left for college and never came back.  Now he is back in town to take over his grandfather's practice and is on a mission to win back Quinn's heart.

I definitely was rooting for this couple.  While some may say Quinn forgave him too fast, I thought it was just right given the reason for Tate's disappearance.  I mean,  really, how could she hold that over his head when he thought he was doing the right thing?  I loved the flashbacks that allowed us to see how they fell in love.  They were really sweet.  As with the first book, there is a lot of humor mixed in with the romance. This one would hold up well as a stand alone. However, the first book, Lost Rider is worth checking out as well.   I can't wait to read Clay's story later this year.  

Check out what others are saying the the tour below.  Also make sure to enter to win a copy of the first book, Lost Rider!

We are giving away 1 copy of Lost Rider, the first in the Coming Home series.  Enter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:



Harper Sloan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Corps Security and Hope Town series. She started writing as a way to unwind when the house went to sleep at night. Harper lives in Georgia with her family. Visit her at AuthorHarperSloan.com or Facebook.com/HarperSloanBooks.


Kiss My Boots blog tour:

July 18

July 19

July 20

July 21

July 22

July 24

July 25

July 26

July 28

July 29

July 31

August 1


Friday, July 21, 2017

Spotlight: Excerpt of The Jade Emperor by Suzanne Jenkins





Author: Suzanne Jenkins
Publisher: self
Date of publication: July 2017

A marriage of nearly half a century faces its greatest challenge when a stranger arrives, bearing life changing news. Although Steve and Kelly Boyd live together, they barely tolerate each other. Marrying in their teens and quickly becoming parents, the separation due to the war in Vietnam forms the foundation for the next forty-five precarious years.

Filling the empty marriage with the companionship of her twin sister, Karen, and the family she made with Steve, Kelly’s life revolves around her six adult children.

The stranger’s sudden appearance clarifies so much about Steve’s lifetime behavior to Kelly.

Heartfelt conversations at the local coffee shop where son Reggie works as a barista, help the family resolve differences, build new relationships, and grow in acceptance of one another.

At the end, love outweighs everything.


Before night fall, Kelly Boyd’s life revolved around her marriage and children. After sundown that same day, many of the things she’d based her life on would no longer exist.

In Michigan, autumn meant apple cider and donuts; pumpkins piled high at every market, the pungent smells of campfires in backyard fire pits, and hay bales stacked decoratively on suburban porches instead of in horse and sheep troughs. Loving fall the best out of all the seasons, Kelly hoped to spend part of the upcoming weekend visiting a local cider mill with her children and grandchildren, initiating the onset of autumn. No one questioned what the weekends would bring; Kelly had something planned for each one far in advance. Looking forward to it all week, the excitement and anticipation made the stress of her job recede. Kelly didn’t need vacations; cruises and trips to exotic places held no interest for her because her family provided all she needed in life.  
Simmering away in the back of her subconscious was a seed of non-specific unease that grew and festered if she gave it too much of her attention. A common occurrence for her, she thought it was simply women’s intuition instigating worry with no foundation. Sticking rigorously to her schedule no matter what; her husband, Steve once joked that he could be having a heart attack on the floor, and Kelly would finish whatever task she was doing before she’d stop to call 911.

“That’s not even funny,” she replied the first time he said it, frowning, but he wouldn’t relent.

The routine had become essential for her wellbeing. After a week of grueling hospital work as a nurse, Kelly spent each Friday night cleaning house so the weekend would be free. Dinner long over, she’d talk on the phone to her sister with reruns of Hoarders on the television as background noise while she cleaned. Steve, her husband of over forty years, sequestered in his basement man-cave watching sporting events on a ninety-inch flat screen, was oblivious to whatever Kelly was up to until he heard the vacuum running.

On this particular Friday, the weather was warm; the last days of Indian summer in progress, and in honor of it she’d left the front door open, locking the storm door. While mopping the wood floors that covered the dining room and front hallway, she heard a car pull up in front of the house.

“Hold on for a minute,” she told her sister, holding on to the phone.

Going to the door, she looked out at a Yellow Cab that had stopped directly in front of their house. A tall, thin, man got out of the back, and leaned through the window to chat with the driver. Kelly saw him reach into his pocket to retrieve paper money, watching as he counted out bills, handing them through the window. The driver drove off, and it wasn’t until then that Kelly realized the man was headed to her house.

“Beaver, come,” she called to the dog in a low voice.

Their shepherd - boxer mix obediently came to her side and gave a low growl as he watched the man walk up the steps. Wishing the TV wasn’t on so loud; if she needed to yell for Steve, he’d never hear her. Standing with the mop handle in her hand, the young man came up the steps, smiling. Attractive, clean cut, and possibly Asian, she thought if he’s going to attack me, he’d bust through the door right away, but the dog would get him.

“Hi, I’m sorry to show up at this hour. Is Augustus Boyd here?” he said loud enough to be heard through the glass.

It was uncommon for someone to come to their house late, and never for her husband. Kelly hesitated, wondering if she should at least ask his name, or why he wanted to speak to Steve, but decided against it; she’d let Steve handle it.

“I’ll get him. Wait here just a moment.”

The young man nodded his head, and Kelly, on a whim, shut the big door and locked it, putting her mop handle against the wall, moving quickly to the basement landing. She opened the door and ran down the steps. Steve looked up when she entered his den.

“What’s up?”

“There’s a man at the door asking for Augustus.”

“Did he give a name?” he asked.

She shook her head. “I was standing there like an ass with the door wide open cleaning when the cab let him out, and all I thought of was how quickly I could get the door shut without offending him.”

Steve got out of his recliner and followed her up the stairs.

“Who’d come here in a cab?” he said, his lips set in a line.

“I have no idea.” Kelly stepped aside so Steve could get to the door.

Opening it, the young man looked at Steve, smiling. They watched each other, looking into each other’s eyes.

“Can I help you?” Steve asked, his heart pounding, the unfamiliar intrusion upsetting.

Not a deep thinker, something told Steve this man would alter the course of his life.

“Can I talk to you in private?” the young man asked, looking around Steve’s shoulder at Kelly.

Steve looked at her, too and shrugged his shoulders. He unlocked the storm door.

“Sure,” he said, stepping out onto the porch, closing the door behind him.

Kelly wondered what could be so important, or so private that the man couldn’t talk about it in front of her. Picking up the phone, she spoke, but her sister had hung up. Calling her back, for the next ten minutes, they speculated about who it might be.

“I’ll call you as soon as I know what’s going on,” she said before hanging up.

Walking to their bedroom, she grabbed the linen hamper, circling through the rooms on that floor to grab what needed washing, taking it to the basement. Nothing, not even a mysterious stranger could disrupt her routine. Moving clothes from the washer to the dryer, she then fed more dirty clothes into the washer. If she timed it right, she‘d have all their laundry done by midnight.

Life had become regimented for Kelly and therefore tolerable; grocery store after work at the beginning of the week, housework on Friday, visiting on Saturday, outings on Sunday. Monday she’d start all over again, cooking for the week, visiting her children when she could in the afternoon, often lingering over their kitchen tables long after she should’ve been home. Getting things done, being organized; that was what mattered to her. Having every area of her life under control was what brought her anxiety-ridden thoughts into submission.

Their six children lived locally. Augie, Jr., twins Ben and Lisa, Ken, Reggie, and Alice. Two were married with children of their own; they lived in houses and apartments spread around town. Proud of her children, she and Steve had worked hard to educate them, and they were all employed in some form.

Running up the stairs with a basket full of folded laundry, she yelped when she opened the door, Steve standing in the kitchen surprising her.

“You scared me. Who was it?” she asked, taking the laundry back to their bedroom.

Not answering, he followed her.

“I’m going to drive him to his hotel so he doesn’t have to wait for a cab,” he said, picking up his wallet and money clip off the dresser.

“Who is he?” she asked again, making his and hers piles on their bed.

He didn’t answer again, and Kelly turned to look at him.

“Steve, who is it?”

“The son of a friend,” he said. “I’ll be gone about an hour. Do you want anything while I’m out?”
It was so odd, him leaving like that on a Friday night; she was concerned only from the standpoint that he’d be safe and nothing else. She didn’t distrust him, certainly. There was no reason not to trust him.

“No, I can’t think of anything. Are you okay?”

Taking a moment to really look at him, he was as white as a sheet. “What’s going on?”

He went to her, took her by the shoulders, kissing her forehead, so out of character; she knew something was terribly wrong. Steve hadn’t kissed her in months.

“I’ll get the full story from him on our way into town. I’ll have my cell phone if you decide you need anything.”

She thought, what would I need?

“Hurry back,” she said, concerned.

Trying to think what friend had a son who’d show up on a doorstep at ten at night, no one came to mind. Steve was a pipefitter, and the shop where he worked had almost a zero turnover. When he retired in one more year, it would be the first opening they’d have in almost fifteen years. She knew everyone he worked with, and his friend-pool, although she could hardly say they were friends, was made up of other pipe-fitters. They’d all worked together since they were kids. Could it be a son of someone from work? She picked up the phone, wanting to speculate with her sister. It was almost eleven, but she knew Karen would still be up, running the vacuum.

“What did the man look like?” Karen asked.

“He might have been Hispanic or Asian,” Kelly said. “Foreign. Tall. Black hair, high cheek bones, almond eyes. I couldn’t really tell because the light is dim on the porch and it was late. Anyway, like no one I know. Maybe late thirties.”

“Well, you’d better text me the minute he comes back because now I won’t sleep. I’m getting ready to take my shot so you know I’ll be up for a while.”

Kelly laughed heartily. Karen had a shot of vodka nightly, and Kelly’s concern for her sister’s liver was a running dialogue.

“Your husband will drink a six pack tonight. How good can that be for his liver?” Karen said. “Pour another glass of wine. You deserve it.”

“That’s not a bad idea,” she said, going to the fridge. “I’m going to do it right now.” She took the bottle out and poured a healthy glass of wine. “Okay, I’m all set. Thank you for listening.”

“Don’t forget to text me,” Karen said.

“I won’t. It might be late. He said an hour but who knows,” Kelly said.

She’d polish the furniture while drinking the wine.

“I’ll talk to you later,” she said.






Suzanne writes page-turning contemporary romance, mystery, and women's fiction with passionately gripping characters that stay with readers long after they turn the last page. The Detroit Detective Stories, beginning with The Greeks of Beaubien Street are a reflection of American fantasy with historical reality. Pam of Babylon books consistently rank in the Top 100 Best Sellers in American Drama with over 500,000 downloads. A retired operating room nurse, Jenkins lives in Southern California.

Goodreads ✯ Twitter ✯ Facebook ✯ Amazon ✯ Website

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Blog Tour: Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery

Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: HQN Books 
Date of publication: July 11, 2017

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Daughters of the Bride comes the charming tale about the problem with secrets, the power of love and the unbreakable bond between sisters 

Kelly Murphy’s life as a tulip farmer is pretty routine—up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sun-washed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett—Tulpen Crossing’s prodigal son, who’s set his sights on Kelly—and Olivia, her beautiful, wayward and, as far as Kelly is concerned, unwelcome sister. Tempted by Griffith, annoyed by Olivia, Kelly is overwhelmed by the secrets that were so easy to keep when she was alone.
But Olivia’s return isn’t as triumphant as she pretends. Her job has no future, and ever since her dad sent her away from the bad boy she loved, she has felt cut off from her past. She’s determined to reclaim her man and her place in the family…whether her sister likes it or not. For ten years, she and Kelly have been strangers. Olivia will get by without her approval now.
While Kelly and Olivia butt heads, their secrets tumble out in a big hot mess, revealing some truths that will change everything they thought they knew. Can they forgive each other—and themselves—and redefine what it means to be sisters?
Told with Mallery’s trademark heart and humor, the Tulip Sisters are in for the most colorful summer of their lives…
.
If there is one thing that the Susan Mallery does well, and I mean really well. is writing about family and friendships.  If you are in the mood for a great story with both of those things, then The Secrets of the Tulip Sisters is the book for you.  I adored this story.  It's messy, gut-wrenching, funny and awkward.  It's also a story about how we perceive ourselves and others.  It's about personal growth and feeling comfortable in your own skin. And, finally, finding forgiveness.

As I said, I loved this book.  While there is romance in the book, it was the relationship between Kelly and here sister Olivia that really made the book for me.  Their family dynamic has been pretty dysfunctional.  I was really rooting for them to find their way back to becoming the sisters they should have been all along.  It was wonderful to watch. I also thought that Olivia had the most growth out of the sisters.   I loved watching her find her confidence again.  As for romance, my favorite out of the three was Helen and Jeff's.  I wasn't in the least bit bothered by the age gap.  Their relationship was so adorable and I loved every minute of it.

I highly recommend this one.  It is a wonderful story to get lost in and would make a great vacation read this summer.  Go out and get it, you won't be sorry!




About Susan Mallery


Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books about the relationships that define women’s lives—romance, friendship, family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan’s books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever growing legions of fans.
Critics, too, have heaped praise on “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!”
Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month, January of 1992. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.
Susan lives in Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a tattletale toy poodle. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Animals play a big role in her books, as well, as she believes they’re an integral component to a happy life.

Connect with Susan

Susan Mallery’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Wednesday, June 28th: BookBub Blog – “14 New Beach Reads Coming in July”
Tuesday, July 11th: Reading Reality
Wednesday, July 12th: Snowdrop Dreams
Thursday, July 13th: Suzy Approved
Friday, July 14th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Tuesday, July 18th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, July 19th: A Splendid Messy Life
Thursday, July 20th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, July 21st: Not in Jersey
Monday, July 24th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, July 25th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, July 26th: Just Commonly 
Thursday, July 27th: A. Holland Reads
Friday, July 28th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, July 31st: The Romance Dish
Wednesday, August 2nd: Mrs. Mommy Booknerd
Friday, August 4th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, August 7th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, August 8th: Becky on Books
Wednesday, August 9th: Written Love Reviews