Sunday, December 17, 2017

2 in 1 Novellas: Tease Me, Baby & It's Me Again, Baby by Katie Reus

Tease Me, Baby (KR Press, LLC; March 2017):  She never wanted perfection, but that’s what she finds.

Pastry chef, Fallon O’Connor is torn between her dreams and her obligations. Right before she reluctantly sets off for a degree she doesn’t want, she’s reeling from a mind-blowing encounter with Mr. Perfect. But one sexy, toe-curling kiss isn’t nearly enough when a Boy Scout like Sheriff Fulton lights her fire.

After one delectable taste, he’s never letting her go.

Brad Fulton would do anything for more time with Fallon. After all, he’s wanted a chance with her ever since she moved back to town. And just when things start to heat up, Fallon starts packing her bags—for a future without him. Now, it’s up to Brad to show Fallon that everything she’s ever wanted is right in Holly, North Carolina. But can Fallon trust her heart enough to stay?

Tease Me Baby is the second book in the O'Connor series.  This is Fallon's story.  She wants to leave her hometown to go to culinary school, but the sheriff in town is proving to be too tempting.  I really liked this one.  It's probably my favorite out of the series so far.   Brad and Fallon had great chemistry.  I loved how he was willing to go wherever she went if it meant they could be together and she could fulfill her dream.    This is definitely one to check out!

It's Me Again, Baby (KR Press, LLC; May2017):
She lost him once… 

Years ago Samantha made a mistake and lost a chance at something real with Maguire O’Connor. Now that she’s living in Holly again, she knows seeing him is inevitable. But the last thing she ever expected was to take him on as a client. 

Now they have a second chance… 

Maguire never got over Sam. Thanks to a meddling family member, he mistakenly hires Sam as his real estate agent. With her in his sights again, he’s not letting her go. But someone from her past followed her back to Holly with a sinister intent. Now Maguire will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he intends to claim as his forever. 

This one is probably my least favorite of the series.  Even though it's a second chance story, it felt too rushed.  The whole misunderstanding "clear up" scene was so quick  that if you blinked you would miss it.  They were only together for like two weeks before the misunderstanding so it's not like they really got to know each other enough for forever when they finally get back together.  I would have liked this one to be longer to get to know Maguire and Samantha more both apart and as a couple.  Still, it was an enjoyable, just not my favorite.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

2 in 1 Novellas: Hard Line by Erin McCarthy & Hook by Lilly Atlas

Hard Line by Erin McCarthy (reissue, 2017)

Office meetings were never so hot and sexy... 

To Jared Kinkaid, the only way to keep his mind — and his hands — off his luscious co-worker Candy Appleton is to insult or ignore her at every turn. But his efforts at lust control have his boss convinced that the partners need a little help via online couples counseling. 

But when they’re mistakenly signed up for sensual couples counseling instead, Jared and Candy’s shock turns to pleasure as they each deliver some hands on therapy of their own… 

Hard Line is a re-issue of a story called "Press Any Key".  Jared and Candy want each other, but Jared is determined not to get involved with anyone at work.  So he avoids her.  His boss decides to try something unconventional to get them to be able to get along and work together on an important account. 

For me, this was an OK read. The love scenes are pretty intense, however, I didn't feel any chemistry other than lust between the couple.  I guess I had a hard time suspending disbelief that ANY boss would sign up two of his employees for couples counseling.  I know he mistakenly signs them up for a sensual couples counseling, but still.  No boss would do that.  Especially in light of today's harassment climate in the work place.  

Hook by Lilly Atlas (April 2017)

After ten years away, Marcie finally ventures back to where she grew up. She isn’t in town for twenty-four hours when she crosses paths with Hook and Striker, the two boys who kept her safe and happy as a young girl. Only they aren’t boys anymore. They are fully grown, muscular, alpha men. Members of the No Prisoners Motorcycle Club. All through her teenage years, Marcie’s heart belonged to Hook. Not that he ever seemed to notice. And it appears that as an adult, not much has changed with regard to her feelings toward the sexy biker. But a bossy, alpha man is not what independent Marcie is looking for. 

Hook takes place before any of the other books in the No Prisoners series. This is Marcie and Hook's story.  They are married later in the series, so this is the story of how they got together.  I liked that they had a history, however, the story was too short for me. I needed more of their interaction from their teen years to fully buy into the speed at which the "I Love Yous" come.  The story line with the ex-boyfriend drove me crazy.  Marcie as a bit TSTL regarding him.  Anyway, it's not a bad addition to the series.  It's a quick read and worth checking out.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Blog Tour: Excerpt of Only for You by Melissa Foster

Author: Melissa Foster
Publisher: Montlake Publishing
Date of publication: December 2017

Love only works when your heart is in the right place. Hers could be right next door…
Single mom Bridgette Dalton doesn’t have time to stop and smell the roses—not even in her own flower shop. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t noticed Bodhi Booker. Her ruggedly handsome next-door neighbor would be the perfect candidate for a no-strings fling. Having loved and lost, Bridgette’s not ready to hand over her heart…but she could use a distraction.
Bodhi has one rule: never leave anyone behind. As a special operative, he knows that each new mission is more dangerous than the last. He’s never made a promise of forever to a woman, not even to the beautiful widow who has him tied in knots. And if there were anyone who could tempt him into putting down roots, it would be Bridgette and her adorable son.
But as his next deployment nears, they make a startling discovery. Their passion, meant only for the here and now, might already be blossoming into something more…

**ONLY FOR YOU is published by Montlake (an Amazon imprint) and won’t be available on other ebook retailers, but you can download a FREE ereader app to read it HERE, or order the paperback.

Enjoy this excerpt!

He jogged down the sidewalk toward the lake. Having grown up in the city, waking to glorious views of the mountains and Sugar Lake was a welcome change. He turned onto Main Street, running parallel to the lake and fairgrounds. A banner announcing the upcoming Peach Festival was strung over the road. The bakery came into view, and he wondered if Bridgette was working. Shirtless and sweaty was probably not their preferred state of dress, so he peered through the window.
“Checking out my sister?”
Bodhi snapped to attention at the sound of Bridgette’s voice, and holy hell was she beautiful in an off-the-shoulder white blouse and jeans that fit like a second skin. She was holding a potted plant and looking at him like he was a Peeping Tom, which bugged the hell out of him.
“I wasn’t checking out your . . . Wait. Your sister? You both work at the bakery?”
Her lips curved up in a smirky smile. “Let’s circle back to you peering through the window at Willow. I’m pretty sure your overnight guest wouldn’t like knowing her man was checking out the hot blonde in the bakery.”
“Christ,” he uttered and wiped the sweat from his brow. Maybe it was safer if she thought he was a pig who had slept with Shira and then checked out her sister. But she was pushing all his buttons, and he couldn’t resist pushing hers right back. He closed the distance between them, taking immense pleasure in the morphing of her smirk into a much hungrier expression.
She tightened her grip on the planter, her eyes drifting down his bare torso.
Oh yeah, this was torture all right.
She squared her shoulders, and her gaze darted up to his, as if she’d caught herself staring.
“Let’s start over.” The dead-calm tone he used when commanding his team came out of habit. “Hello, Bridgette. Do you and . . . Willow . . . both work at the bakery?”
“Hello, Bodhi,” she said with an impressive amount of snark. She lifted her chin, glowering at him. “Willow owns the bakery, and I own the flower shop. But you’re out of luck. She’s engaged.”
He clenched his jaw, lifted the planter from her hands, and set it on the ground, allowing him to step closer and invade her personal space. This pretty little filly was going to learn not to doubt his word. “I said I wasn’t checking her out, and I only say what I mean.”
“Then that makes two of us,” she said sharply.
He felt a smile tugging at his lips. “Is that so?”
She crossed her arms, tipping her chin higher. She was a sexy little thing, a solid nine or ten inches shorter than he was, with confidence he admired. Confidence that turned him on. He had the urge to lift her up until they were eye to eye and take the kiss he’d been dreaming about. And then some . . .
“Always,” she said without as much as a single blink.
“I’ll remember that next time I’m in my towel and you ask if I want to eat—”
“Oh God! No!” She whipped her head from side to side, as if she were afraid someone might have heard him.
He chuckled and leaned in closer, inhaling the enticing scent of sinfully sexy Bridgette caught off guard, and said, “Now I know where to find you.”

Goodreads Link:

Goodreads Series Link:

Buy Links:      AMAZON | PAPERBACK

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Author Info
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Shadow House: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki

Author: Dan Poblocki
Publisher: Scholastic
Date of publication: August 2016

Some houses are more than just haunted... they're hungry. 

Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don't know this at first. They each think they've been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons. But there's nothing innocent about Shadow House. 

Something within its walls is wickedly wrong. Nothing -- and nobody -- can be trusted. Hallways move. Doors vanish. Ghosts appear. Children disappear.

And the way out?

That's disappeared, too...

Enter Shadow House... if you dare.

I had noticed Shadow House: The Gathering on the shelves while volunteering at my son's book fair and the cover had always intrigued me. When I saw the audio-book available, I decided to give it a chance.  The story follows five tweens who each get a mysterious letter inviting them to this house.  Each child thinks he or she is there for a different reason.  They quickly begin to realize that something evil has brought them there and has trapped them in the house.

The book ended up being a pretty creepy read. However, it ends with a lot of the story unresolved.  I'm still not totally clear on what is going on with the kids trapped in the house.  I did call one of the twists early on and if you pay attention, you will be able to as well. The characters were a bit forgettable.  I would have like to see more development on that front before all of the action started. This is the first in a trilogy (I believe). Hopefully the next one will answer some of my questions.  For the middle grade set who love spooky stories, I think this will be a hit.  

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winter Holiday Traditions (+reads!) from Harlequin featuring a guest post from Brenda Jackson

We are excited to be a part of the Winter Holiday Traditions (+ reads!) from Harlequin and TLCBook Tours.  They have gathered up some wonderful winter holiday traditions, recipes, and books to warm your heart over the holidays!

Each tour stop will feature a guest post from one of the fabulous authors listed below, plus a fun Rafflecopter giveaway.

Be sure to follow along! (See the list below)

Our Blog is happy to feature a guest post from author Brenda Jackson!

His Secret Son by Brenda Jackson
Print Length: 224 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Desire (December 1, 2017)
Publication Date: December 5, 2017

Three nights with a Texan…and one pregnancy surprise! Only from New York Times bestselling author Brenda Jackson!
The Texas rancher and navy SEAL who fathered Bristol Lockett’s son died a hero’s death…or so she was told. Yet when Laramie “Coop” Cooper strolls into her exhibit at an art gallery three years later, he’s very much alive—and still making her pulse zing. The all-consuming chemistry between them is as undeniable now as it was then, but Bristol won’t risk her heart—or their son’s. Little does Bristol know he’s determined to win over his unexpected family at any cost!

Purchase Links

New Year New Me!
Guest post by bestselling author Brenda Jackson

As 2017 comes to an end, I look forward to the New Year.  I have so many plans for 2018 that I smile whenever I think of them all.  I will remain positive that I will accomplish all my goals.  I will turn 65 in February so for me, my health is more important than ever.  I know everyone starts the New Year off with the number 1 resolution of losing weight.  Well, this is at the top of my list as well.  Doctor's orders.   I plan to not only lose weight, but to get more physically fit by walking and being more active.  I will push myself away from the computer and be more active.   I will also learn to say no to butter pecan ice cream and carrot cake.

I love to swim and plan to do more of that as well.  Enjoying my time more in 2018 will be essential for me.  Over the past four years I’ve discovered tomorrow is not promised so enjoy today.  I want to start enjoying more “todays”.  I wrote a number of books in 2017, so for me it was deadline after deadline.  In 2018 I want to relax with a glass of wine and read more books by other authors.  There are a number of great authors out there, and I'm hearing how wonderful their books are.  I need to unwind with one of them.  My goal for 2018 is to read a book a month by another author.  I already have a few in my TBR stack to start.  For me it has to be a love story with a happy ending.  It’s the same for me with romance movies.  I hope to enjoy more of them as well.

In the coming year I don't plan to travel as much as I did in 2017, because I need more "me" time.  My body is telling me this - slow down and enjoy the little things.  I want to sleep more and take less power naps.  I want to try new things like going fishing.  I also want to cook more; try out recipes for healthy dishes. I would love to take dance classes.  I’ve signed up for membership at the Y and they offer line dancing classes twice a week.  That would be a start.

I intend to make 2018 my year to enjoy life more and can’t wait to do so.

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About Brenda Jackson:

Brenda Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author of more than one hundred romance titles. Brenda lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and divides her time between family, writing and traveling.

 Email Brenda at or visit her on her website at

TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for Winter Holiday Traditions (+ reads!) from Harlequin:
Monday, December 4th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Linda Lael Miller guest post
Wednesday, December 6th: The Romance Dish – – excerpt from Can’t Let Go by Gena Showalter
Friday, December 8th: Books and Spoons – Delores Fossen guest post, “Candy Cane Memories”
Monday, December 11th: Moonlight Rendezvous – Maisey Yates guest post
Wednesday, December 13th: From the TBR Pile – Brenda Jackson guest post, “New Year, New Me!”
Thursday, December 14th: Romancing the Book –Can’t Let Go by Gena Showalter – review
Friday, December 15th: Crystal Blogs Books – Lynda Aicher guest post, “Cookies! Cookies! Cookies!”
Monday, December 18th: Reading Reality – Lori Foster guest post, “Lori Foster’s Own Family Holiday Traditions”
Wednesday, December 20th: Novel Gossip – B. J. Daniels guest post
Friday, December 22nd: The Sassy Bookster – RaeAnne Thayne guest post
Monday, December 25th: The Sketchy Reader – Sheila Roberts guest post, “Decking the Halls”
Wednesday, December 27th: Romantic Reads and Such – Julie Moffett guest post, “Make 2018 the Year of You”

Friday, December 29th: Books a la Mode – Sarah Morgan excerpt

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Fourth Monkey By J.D. Barker

Author: J.D. Barker
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date of publication:  June 2017

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive. 

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

The Fourth Monkey was another recent random pick from my library's audio bookshelf. Sometimes those turn out to be the most enjoyable. I had never heard of it but was intrigued.  The story involves a serial killer who has been terrorizing Chicago for five years.  He is known as the Four Monkey Killer because he send ears, eyes and the tongue to the family members before he kills his victim.  He follows the "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" rhyme.  Sam Porter has been hunting him down. So when a man is killed by a car and it looks like he is the serial killer, Porter finds himself in a race to find his latest kidnapped victim before it is too late.

I really enjoyed the mystery.  The author did a fantastic job of doling out clues at the right moment.  I did not call the twists and enjoyed solving the puzzle right along with the detectives. The story alternates between the investigation and the supposed diary of the killer.  The diary installations are truly disturbing...but are they true?  The ending leaves an opening for a sequel.  Sam Porter was a great character.  In fact, the entire team of detectives in the story were great.  They are characters I look forward to reading more about. I definitely will be picking up the next one to read more about Porter and his team.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Back Home at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy

Author: Jen Gilroy
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Forever – Grand Central Publishing
Series: Firefly Lake
Print ISBN: 9781455569618
Digital ISBN: 9781455566938

She has a million reasons to leave. Can he give her the one she needs to stay?

Cat McGuire’s return to Firefly Lake is turning into much more than she bargained for. Sure, she missed the crisp pine-scented air and the comfort of having her family around her. But being home makes her feel less like the successful single mom she is–and more like the awkward teen who never fit in. It doesn’t help that hockey-pro Luc Simard is back in town, too. Luc was her childhood crush, the hometown hero who never noticed her, and yet somehow he still makes her heart skip a beat.

Luc’s homecoming has been bittersweet. He’s lost his wife and his career, but there’s no better place to start over than Firefly Lake. Coaching the local kids’ hockey team makes him feel alive again, and he thinks his life is complete–until Cat arrives. The shy girl he always wanted to protect is now the gorgeous woman who’s stealing his heart and making him believe in second chances. But how can he convince Cat that Firefly Lake is where she truly belongs?

Back Home at Firefly Lake is the third book in this series.  I was excited to see that it was Cat and Luc's story.  Cat has come back home to give her daughter a chance at a fresh start.  She is also at a crossroads in her career.  Luc has moved back home to take over the family business after retiring from the NHL. This is a sweet friends to lovers story,

I enjoyed Luc and Cat's story.  Both of them have major baggage from their past.  Luc lost the love of his life suddenly and doesn't think he has room in his heart for love again.  Cat has always been let down by men and is reluctant to lose her heart.  They balanced out each other well.  I also loved the relationship between Cat and her daughter Amy.  As a parent, we want our children to succeed and be happy in whatever makes them shine.  Even if it makes us worry.  Watching Cat learn to let her daughter do what she loves the most (playing hockey) really  resonated with me.

Characters from the previous books make an appearance in the story.  It was nice to see Gabrielle and Wade's story wrapped up.  They were on of my favorite couples from the previous book. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
Enjoy this excerpt:

Luc’s heart squeezed. [Cat] was embarrassed to ask her family for help, like he’d have been embarrassed asking his. Except, that would never be an issue because he had more money than he could spend in one lifetime. Money to finance the creamery expansion his dad had talked about for years, and to send his folks on that cruise they’d hankered after but could never afford because of the cost of raising four kids and putting most of them through college. Money for everything except what mattered most—taking care of his wife and their child like he’d planned.
“Pay for the hockey registration when your grant comes through.” He tried to smile. “I know you’re good for it.”
“Thanks.” Cat’s voice cracked and she took one hand away from her bag to rub it across her face. “Hockey means everything to Amy. I want her to be able to play, but she’s growing so fast right now.”
“Hockey’s an expensive sport.” He slid an arm around her shoulders and gave her a little squeeze. The same kind of friendly squeeze he’d given her all those times back in high school when she’d saved his butt in chemistry. Before today, however, his fingers had never tingled when he’d touched Cat. His body had never heated, either.
Cat started and pulled away at the same instant he did. “Hockey can be a dangerous sport too, and now Amy will be playing with boys. She hasn’t played with boys since she was seven. She could get hurt.
Like he had, hurt so bad it had ended his career. “Amy’s playing minor hockey. At her age, there is a rule about no body checking.” He tried to make his tone reassuring. “I promise I’ll keep a close eye on her.” It was his job as her coach, and he’d do the same for any kid. It had nothing to do with the strange and unexpected attraction he all of a sudden had for this woman he’d known his whole life, who he’d never really looked at until today.
A woman who wasn’t Maggie. Luc’s stomach clenched in a tangled lump of guilt and grief, tied tight with a slippery ribbon of disloyalty. Maggie was never coming back, but that didn’t mean Luc could forget her. Or that he wanted to.

Copyright © Back Home at Firefly Lake 2017 by Jen Gilroy

Add to your “Want to Read” shelf:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

Jen is offering one (1) lucky Grand Prize winner a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback copy of Back Home at Firefly Lake. Five (5) runner-up winners will receive a paperback copy of their choice from the Firefly Lake series! This giveaway is open internationally. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

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About the author:

Jen Gilroy lives in a small town in eastern Ontario, Canada where her Irish ancestors settled in the nineteenth century. She's worked in higher education and international marketing but, after spending too much time in airports and away from her family, traded the 9-5 to write romantic women’s fiction to bring readers' hearts home.

Jen likes ice cream, diners, vintage style and all things country. Her husband is her real-life romance hero, and her teen daughter teaches her to cherish the blessings in the everyday.

The Cottage at Firefly Lake, the first book in her Firefly Lake series, was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® award in 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award 2017.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Spotlight: Excerpt of Wild Whispers by Ryan Jo Summers

Author: Ryan Jo Summers
Publisher: Satin Romance
Date of publication: December 12, 2017

Set against the exciting backdrop in the chase for the Triple Crown and filled with mystical surprises. Season is not a witch, but she can make a horse run and Ty’s heart race.

Season Moriarty is part fey and part druid. She can see the future and alter it. She welds control over the natural elements of earth, wind, fire, and water as well as manipulating life and death. She is an accomplished racehorse trainer, able to get any horse to run like the wind. Now Season has landed the dream job that will test all of her skills and abilities.

Ty Masters runs his horse racing business with an iron fist. No one dares to question him. He hires Season based on her reputation. Then they meet. Immediately, she questions him, challenges him, infuriates him, intrigues him, captivates him, and even intimidates him. Then she spellbinds him. But can she make a Triple Crown winner out of his willful colt?

Mysterious threats to Ty’s racehorses bring him and Season together in a race against the clock. As the stakes for the Triple Crown rise, and the mystery of who wants to destroy Ty deepens, so does the undeniable interest and fiery sparks between them.

The house was empty, a few lamps lit along the hallways. Ty dropped his coat in the foyer, ignoring the hook on the wall, wordlessly heading for the kitchen, his back straight and tension radiating from him like steam from a radiator.

Season quietly pulled out two coffee mugs and reheated leftover coffee. Pouring it, she tried to think how best to explain. Clearly, he was still thinking the worse and after what he had just witnessed, she couldn’t blame him. Would he even go so far as to fire her for what he witnessed? She kind of doubted it. But if he did not particularly trust her before, this wasn’t going to help. Okay, here goes nothing.

Setting the mugs on the table, she sat down opposite him, hair behind her, arms folded in front of her. Ty cradled the warm mug in his palms, steam rising from the top, the fragrant scent filling the air between them. He eyed her warily. Waiting. She searched for the best answer.

“Are you a witch?” he finally asked, breaking the ice.

“No, again.” she said. “I’m more of a druid.”

He blinked. “A who?”

“Druid. An ancient Celtic religion. I'm kind of like a fae or faerie.”

He shook his head. “What?”

She sighed. She really was terrible at these explanations. Another good reason not to tell anyone about her skills. “Okay, I inherited it from my folks, who inherited it from their folks and so on down their respective lines. Mom was a seer, she could see into the future, she'd have images or visions. Like a fae. And Dad communicated with animals and other things. It was almost magical how he could know what they were thinking or feeling. It sure helped his and Granddaddy's successes as trainers. They were druids in that they could give life. Just like you saw now.” She gave him with a shrug. “So I inherited the Sight from my mom and the Gift from my Dad. Lucky me,” she finished with a lop-sided smile.

He never moved or blinked. He just stared at her, hands curled around the mug, not drinking, as if it offered some protection between him and her. “So you aren’t a witch?” he finally asked.

Shaking her head, she stilled a laugh at the comparison. It was so typical she supposed. “No. Witches are more into black arts and stuff, learning their craft from anywhere. Faes and druids inherit it from their family, learning how to hone it from their parents. Plus I can't use my Gifts for personal gain. Only for good services.” She gave him another tentative smile. “Otherwise, if I were a witch, I would have turned you into a toad last night.”

That made him blink. “Pardon me?”

“When you broke into the bathroom and tried that little stunt of yours, I really wanted to turn you into a toad. But I decided not to. A witch probably would have anyway.”

He shook his head, baffled. “Guess I’m glad for that,” he said slowly. “Why didn’t you ... er ... do that?”

She shrugged, amused at his faltering question. “Misuse of the Gift. Unpardonable sin.” She grinned.

“Why? Would thunderbolts from heaven strike you dead if you had?”

“No.” She laughed outright at his suggestion. “No, it's just I learned it's not acceptable to do that kind of stuff. No real harm would come to me, but I know it's not right.”

“Again, glad to know that. I think,” he said, uncurling his hands from the mug and pushing it away. “So I thank you that I’m not a toad now. Could you warn me if you ever decided to do that? Turn me into something?” He grimaced at the request.

“Sure, what do you prefer? A toad or maybe a mammal?” she asked lightly.

“I prefer to be a man.” He jabbed a finger to his chest. “This man. Me.”

“Oh, okay. I'll keep that in mind.”

He stared at her, questions burning in his eyes. “So what else can you do?

Other than turn men into toads and bring dead foals to life?” He paused, inhaling a sharp breath. “You made that foal come out, didn’t you?” He paled at her silent nod, swallowing hard. “What else can you do?”

“Oh, lots of stuff.” Thinking, she pushed her mug away and started listing items on her fingers. “I am attuned to nature so I’m one with the animals. How do you really think I won the mastiffs over so easily? And Sky Hunter? With the Sight of the fae, I can sometimes get visions of things about to happen or images of things that are happening now. Even from a distance. It's kind of cool, actually.

“And with the Gift of the druids, I can cure, heal, and weld powers over the elements and nature. I can make the sun shine for a little while or maybe work up a small thunderstorm. Light a campfire with two snaps of the fingers,” she added, winking, snapping two fingers. A flame sparked to life from her fingertips.

Ty blinked, astonished. “So you can see Sky Hunter winning the Triple Crown? Is that how you are so sure he can? Or will you just snap your fingers and make him win? Or burst into flames?”

“No, I can't just make him win. I can only train him to run and win like any other trainer and horse. But I sense he has the potential to go that far. The day he jumped the fence he told me he was ready for an all-out run. I sensed there was no danger and saw no danger ahead so I let him go.”

“Uh huh.” He frowned at her words. Casting his eyes around the room he searched for answers, as if they were written on the walls. Finding none, he returned his gaze to Season. “So now what?”

“What do you mean?” she asked, finally taking a sip of the tepid coffee, then pushing it away with a grimace.

“Where do we go from here?”

“Where do you want to go?”

Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina writer who pens romances with a twist. They may contain any number of elements: Christian, humor, mystery, paranormal, sweet, shape-shifting, or time travel. Her dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so writing must be in the family genes.

She makes her home in a century-old mountain cottage, with a menagerie of adopted pets. In her spare time, she likes to gather with family and friends, paint ceramics or canvas, potter in the yard, bird-watching, or read, play chess, Mahjongg or work word-find puzzles. She might take her dog and head deep into the forests and rivers near her home to plot the next big scene or story. Like her dad's aunt, she writes poetry as a means to cope with life's pains.

She collects lighthouses, shells, driftwood, and anything to remind her of the shore.

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Blog Tour: Excerpt of Bob and the Polka-Dot Highway by R. Murphy

Author: R. Murphy
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Date of publication: December 2017

Poor Roz…once again stuck on the horns of a dilemma. Does she accept the great offer for a job that’s hundreds of miles from Crooked Lake? Or does she pick David, the great guy who grows grapes half a mile from her house? And either way—assuming our crabby woman-of-a-certain-age manages to make a decision—what about her ghost, Bob?

Granted, Bob and Roz have never had a … ummmm… ‘traditional’ relationship but still, martini-loving ghosts don’t toddle along every day of the week. What happens to the wit, the sparkle, the laughter?

So many questions…(sigh).

Join Roz, David—and Bob—as they spend a beautiful, but confusing, summer on Crooked Lake. And oh, by the way, watch out for drips…

My ghostly guest, Bob, swirled his drink while the late afternoon sun streamed across the kitchen, lighting the martinis on the table with an otherworldly glow.
Outside the kitchen’s picture window, Crooked Lake nestled into dusk. Even though it was only early May, a determined fly fisherman drifted in the center of the lake, casting for dusk-feeding trout. Gentle waves splashed against the rock wall I’d struggled to build only a couple of months before. Enough water had drained off after the spring floods that I once again had an actual beach and I planned to spend the summer shoveling shale to enhance and deepen it.
I glanced at Bob, my ghostly companion of many months, as he sipped his drink. I’d gotten to the point where Bob didn’t intimidate or scare me at all. In fact, if it came to being crabby, unpleasant, and maybe even a little scary, I had him beaten by a mile. (I’m not proud of this, mind you. But I do try to call a spade a spade. It’s one way to simplify what seems to have become an awfully complicated life.)
Despite the small spare tire Bob sported around his middle and hair that, in the right light, might be characterized by some as thinning, Bob prided himself on being a suave and debonair ghostly figure. He had nothing but disdain for those immature spectral bullies who throw furniture around and make their hauntee’s lives miserable. I don’t think, now that I focus on it, that I’ve ever even heard Bob raise his voice. (He would not be able to say the same about me, I’m afraid. Not that I have anger management issues. I mostly have crabby management issues.)
Lately Bob has spent his time wandering around the house in a gentle alcoholic fog, babbling about whatever topic he’s fixated on that day. Sometimes it’s the value of 5000 hedgehogs; other days, he’ll get obsessed with his bird phobia or government conspiracies to wear out shoes, or he’ll fret about wearing a white suit. I’ve become used to it. In our early days, we’d only get together at dinnertime. Now that David’s not spending any time at my house, Bob stops by much (MUCH!!!) more often. 
Although the soul of ghostly gentility himself, Bob tends to hang out with what I might diplomatically call a challenging sort of crowd, the Algonquin Round Table in Manhattan. I’d visited his friends at The Algonquin hotel a couple of times and the word ‘surreal’ pops into my mind every time I try to describe the experience. Fortunately, though, his ghostly buddies hadn’t found their way from midtown Manhattan out to my isolated lake house in western New York. I planned to keep it that way.
Bob at the Lake
What would happen if Roz, a crabby woman of a certain age, moved to the wintry shores of a New York lake—and got a ghost? And not just any ghost, mind you. Bob’s a ghost from 1920’s Manhattan, full of quips and over fond of his martinis, who swans around in a silk smoking jacket and makes Roz’s life very . . . well, let’s just say ‘complicated.’
Especially after Roz meets David, the good-looking grape grower who lives up the hill. Join Roz, David—and Bob—as they navigate blizzards, cookie mazes, holiday shopping sprees, and the occasional power outage. (You know, all of those delightful challenges of a good, old-fashioned Northern winter . . .)
Bob at the Plaza
Bob, our favorite martini-loving ghost, has vanished. Now Roz faces a miserable snowbound Crooked Lake winter alone. Well, almost alone. Thank goodness for David, the practical, kind grape grower who lives up the hill.
What a winter it is! Record-breaking snows followed months later by record-setting rains. Ah, the joys of living on a lake shore when the spring floods arrive.
High water, anyone?
Undeterred by mice, sociopathic relatives, Carnegie Hall disasters, and spring floods, Roz searches for her MIA ghost. In the process she goes toe-to-toe with the hyper-verbal crowd at the Algonquin Round Table. Can Roz best smarty-pants Dorothy Parker in a game of wits? Will Harpo Marx finally speak out and help Bob return to Crooked Lake?
For the answers to these and many other spirited questions, read BOB AT THE PLAZA!
Roz Murphy is the pseudonym of a long-time Finger Lakes resident who lives with ghosts and doesn’t want to confirm in her neighbors’ minds how nutty she really is. (They already have their suspicions.) After decades of writing in Manhattan and throughout the country, Roz settled on the shores of New York’s Keuka Lake, some of the most beautiful country ever created. She’s an ardent fan of the Finger Lakes wine industry, especially the local dry Rieslings.
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