Thursday, June 30, 2016

Audiobook Review: The Courtesan Duchess by Joanna Shupe, Narrated by Carmen Rose

copy from Tantor Audio for an honest review
I’ve had a copy of “The Courtesan Duchess” to hear for a while now, it was only after reading “Magnate” by Joanna Shupe that I was intrigued with her writing and interested to see how Shupe would unravel this story. It sounded unique and intriguing.

Our heroine, Julia, the Duchess of Colton, is an abandoned wife. Her husband, Nick never wanted to marry and did it only out guilt and family duty. Julia has been on her own since her wedding day. Because of that she has been a prey to the man in Nick’s family that are all to happy that Nick has left England and that he has washed his hands of his estate and his wife. Julia’s situation becomes very pressed and the only thing she can think of is to seduce her husband under the guise of a courtesan. With the help of her friend and Aunt, she travels to Venice to seduce her husband-the Depraved Duke.

Julia pays for the professional services of one of London’s most notorious courtesans in an effort to get pregnant and gain an heir so her problems will all be solved. Nick has left her and has done nothing to reach out to her. Nick is instantly intrigued by Julia and they begin a love affair. He does not suspect that she is really his wife. Nick soon realizes that the women he thought to be a talented courtesan is really his wife and he immediately travels back to London to confront her. He soon realizes that she is with child. Nick, who never had any familial love or warmth from his parents immediately suspects that Julia was already pregnant and trying pass over her child as his. Their reunion is definitely not a happy one. I have to say that all this happens in only in the beginning of the book. Nick and Julia have many obstacles to overcome before they can even begin to understand each other.

Ok, so Shupe is fantastic! I really enjoy her unique storylines and I never knew where her story was going to take me. I liked Julia but Nick I had a harder time with! He was so stubborn and closed-off for the idea of ever finding happiness. Julia and Nick have many more obstacles to overcome aside from their own feelings for each other, there are scheming family members, attempts on their lives, just to name a few. Although Nick was very frustrating I really wanted them to finally find their happy ending. I was intrigued with the plot and I enjoyed them as a couple. I can’t wait to jump into the “The Harlot Countess.” The narrator, Carmen Rose, had her work cut out for her. There were many emotional scenes and complex characters and I thought she did them all justice in bringing them to life. I really enjoyed this story.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Lord of Ireland by EM Powell

02_The Lord of IrelandThe Lord of Ireland (The Fifth Knight, #3)
by E.M. Powell

Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Thomas & Mercer
Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook; 370 Pages

Series: The Fifth Knight
Genre: Historical Thriller

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England, 1185. John is a prince without prospect of a crown. As the youngest son of Henry II, he has long borne the hated nickname ‘Lackland’. When warring tribes and an ambitious Anglo-Norman lord threaten Henry’s reign in Ireland, John believes his time has finally come. Henry is dispatching him there with a mighty force to impose order.

Yet it is a thwarted young man who arrives on the troubled isle. John has not been granted its kingship—he is merely the Lord of Ireland, destined never to escape his father’s shadow. Unknown to John, Henry has also sent his right-hand man, Sir Benedict Palmer, to root out the traitors he fears are working to steal the land from him.

But Palmer is horrified when John disregards Henry’s orders and embarks on a campaign of bloodshed that could destroy the kingdom. Now Palmer has to battle the increasingly powerful Lord of Ireland. Power, in John’s hands, is a murderous force—and he is only just beginning to wield it.

Praise for The Fifth Knight Series

"With her fast-paced mysteries set in the tumultuous reign of Henry II, E.M. Powell takes readers on enthralling, and unforgettable, journeys." -Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown

“Both Fifth Novels are terrific. Benedict and Theodosia are not merely attractive characters: they are intensely real people.” -Historical Novels Review

“From the get-go you know you are in an adventure when you enter the world of E.M. Powell's 12th century. Peril pins you down like a knight's lance to the chest”-Edward Ruadh Butler, author of
Swordland


My Review
Four Stars
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
Since I know so little of Irish history I thought that "The Lord of Ireland" was fascinating. The tension between John, Henry and Palmer added to an already complex history.  This was not my first time reading this author and I was very impressed with how she wove in the characters and their storylines. Although a part of the "Fifth Knight" this story is easily a standalone.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Chapters

About the Author03_E.M. Powell

E.M. Powell’s medieval thrillers The Fifth Knight and The Blood of the Fifth Knight have been number-one Amazon bestsellers and on the Bild bestseller list in Germany.

Born into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State) and raised in the Republic of Ireland, she lives in north-west England with her husband, daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog.

She reviews fiction and non-fiction for the Historical Novel Society, blogs for English Historical Fiction Authors and is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers’ The Big Thrill magazine.
Find more information at E.M. Powell's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, June 9
Review at Impressions In Ink

Friday, June 10
Excerpt & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, June 20
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, June 21
Interview at Layered Pages

Friday, June 24
Review at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Monday, June 27
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, June 28
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, June 29
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, June 30
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Tuesday, July 5
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Thursday, July 7
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Monday, July 11
Review at A Book Geek

Saturday, July 16
Review at Bookramblings

Monday, July 18
Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, July 22
Review at Broken Teepee

04_The Lord of Ireland_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Monday, June 20, 2016

Náápiikoan Winter by Alethea Williams

02_Naapiikoan WinterNáápiikoan Winter
by Alethea Williams

Publication Date: May 9, 2016
Publisher: C.A. Williams
eBook & Paperback; 295 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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At the turn of a new century, changes unimagined are about to unfold.

THE WOMAN: Kidnapped by the Apaches, a Mexican woman learns the healing arts. Stolen by the Utes, she is sold and traded until she ends up with the Piikáni. All she has left are her skills—and her honor. What price will she pay to ensure a lasting place among the People?

THE MAN: Raised in a London charitable school, a young man at the end of the third of a seven year term of indenture to the Hudson’s Bay Company is sent to the Rocky Mountains to live among the Piikáni for the winter to learn their language and to foster trade. He dreams of his advancement in the company, but he doesn’t reckon the price for becoming entangled in the passions of the Piikáni.

THE LAND: After centuries of conflict, Náápiikoan traders approach the Piikáni, powerful members of the Blackfoot Confederation. The Piikáni already have horses and weapons, but they are promised they will become rich if they agree to trap beaver for Náápiikoan. Will the People trade their beliefs for the White Man’s bargains?

Partially based on the works of Canadian trader, explorer, and mapmaker David Thompson, Náápiikoan Winter spans a continent, examining the cultures in flux at the passing of an era and the painful birth of another.
"When we read NAAPIIKOAN WINTER our hearts were swept back in time. Alethea Williams writes with the same authority and beauty that A. B Guthrie, Bernard de Voto, Wallace Stegner, and Conrad Richter imparted to the page. We marveled at the quality of her research, and the precision with which Williams recreated the world of the Blackfeet at the time of white contact. Find the first page, dear reader, and you'll fall effortlessly into a long-gone world filled with both the noblest of humans, and the dross that always follows. This is no Western romance, but the nitty-gritty reality of the Northern Plains. We call NAAPIIKOAN WINTER masterful!" -W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear, authors of PEOPLE OF THE MORNING STAR

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author03_Alethea Williams

Alethea Williams grew up in southwest Wyoming. Willow Vale is her first novel of the immigrant experience, dealing with the Tyroleans after WWI. Willow Vale won a 2012 Wyoming State Historical Society Publications Award. Her second novel details the Irish immigrant experience and the Orphan Train movement in Walls for the Wind. Walls for the Wind is a WILLA Literary Award finalist, a gold Will Rogers Medallion winner, and placed first at the Laramie Awards in the Prairie Fiction category. Her third book, a Western American pre-history spanning the North American continent, entitled Náápiikoan Winter is now available. She also has a collection of newspaper columns in print:Boomer Blues Book: Staying Alive and Sane in the Modern American West. Twice president of Wyoming Writers, Inc. she lives in her native state with long-time friend, Amazon parrot Bob.

For more information please visit Alethea Williams' blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, June 13
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 14
Diana's Book Reviews

Wednesday, June 15
Let Them Read Books

Thursday, June 16
The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, June 17
#redhead.with.book

Monday, June 20
The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, June 21
Book Nerd

Wednesday, June 22
CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, June 24
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Monday, June 27
Broken Teepee
A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, June 28
A Holland Reads

Wednesday, June 29
It's a Mad Mad World

Friday, July 1
The True Book Addict

Giveaway

To win a copy of Náápiikoan Winter please enter using the GLEAM form below. Five copies are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 1st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Naapiikoan Winter Blast


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Saturday, June 18, 2016

CHASING LADY AMELIA Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #2 Maya Rodale/ Plus Q& A


Enter to Win a print copy of LADY BRIDGET'S DIARY
(Keeping up with the Cavendishes Book One)



CHASING LADY AMELIA
Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #2
Maya Rodale
Releasing June 28th, 2016
Avon Books



In the second novel of Maya Rodale’s
enchanting Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series, an American heiress finds
her reputation—and heart—in danger when she travels to London and meets a
wickedly tempting rake

Terribly
Improper



Lady
Amelia is fed up with being a proper lady and wishes to explore London, so one
night she escapes . . . and finds herself in the company of one Alistair
Finlay-Jones. He’s been ordered by his uncle to wed one of the American girls.
How lucky, then, that one of them stumbles right into his arms!

Totally
Scandalous

Alistair
and Amelia have one perfect day to explore London, from Astley’s Amphitheater
to Vauxhall Gardens. Inevitably they end up falling in love and making love. If
anyone finds out, she will be ruined, but he will win everything he’s ever
wanted.

Very
Romantic



When
Amelia finds out Alistair has been ordered to marry her, he must woo her and
win back the angry American girl. But with the threat of scandals, plural,
looming . . . will he ever catch up to the woman he loves?

BUY NOW
Amazon | B
& N
 | Google | iTunes | Kobo





Maya
Rodale
 began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence
and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of
multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her
darling dog and a rogue of her own.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

1.      Tell us about yourself.

I’m a New York City girl who loves to read and write romance novels (12 and counting!). I enjoy Beyoncé dance parties, romantic comedies, and talking about why romance novels matter. The hardest part of my day is staying up past 9pm. I married a great guy who thinks all my books are about him and I have the most fabulous dog who knows everything is all about her (Peek at pictures here!). My website is www.mayarodale.com, check it out!


2.      What three things about you might surprise your readers?

1.     I once lived in London for a summer for graduate school and spent much of it researching in the British Library and trekking around to every museum and historical house (and gift shop). It has proven to be tremendously helpful when writing my Regency romances.
2.    I’m very short—4 feet, eleven and three quarter inches, barefoot. Do not forget my three/quarters of an inch.
3.    I keep a list of all the books I read, organized by year, color-coded by month. As one does.


3.      Is there a genre(s) that you think “I might like to write one of those.”?
I have plenty of stories in my head and even some drafts under the bed that aren’t romance and I would love to write them (read: the muse insists I must write them). One is a Young Adult novel, the others are grown up lady fiction. But all of them will end happily J


4.      Tell us about CHASING LADY AMELIA

Lady Amelia Cavendish is sister to a duke and hates it. Alistair Finlay-Jones is heir to a baron who hates him. A series of events involving scandal, laudanum and lost shoes result in these two running away for a perfect day around London, taking in the sights and falling in love. When Amelia finds out Alistair had been ordered to marry her, he must woo her and win back the angry American girl. But with the threat of scandals, plural, looming…will he ever catch up to the woman he loves?



5.      Where did the idea for the storyline come from?

The idea for Chasing Lady Amelia came from two distinct, but oddly compatible, stories. The first is Pride & Prejudice, which is the inspiration for book one in the Keeping Up With The Cavendishes, Lady Bridget’s Diary. In both those novels, there’s a runaway sister who definitely needs to have her story told (where did she go!? With whom!? What kind of sexy fun trouble did she get into?!) And then I noticed that the plot of my favorite movie of all time, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, would dovetail perfectly. While her story inspired by that film, Amelia quickly takes over and makes the story uniquely her own.

6.      What do you think readers will like/love about Alistair and Amelia?
Things to love about Amelia: her irrepressible spirit and love for her family.
Things to love about Alistair: his kindness, determination to do the right thing and the way he pleases Amelia, if you know what I mean ;-)

7.      What was your favorite scene from the book?

My favorite scene in Chasing Lady Amelia is a spoiler! (But don’t worry,  no spoilers here).  I’d been having trouble with the ending (I wrote it, oh, three different ways) and over dinner and drinks with my husband we schemed and plotted an alternate ending that is both funny, humorous, plays on the Alistair’s worst fears and gives Amelia a say in her own destiny.  It was a riot to write and is hopefully a delight to read!


8.      Who are some of your book boyfriends?  What draws you to them?
Not Lord Darcy! I’m much more partial to Gilbert Blythe (If you don’t know who that is, I’m so sorry). But my book boyfriends tend to be the ones I’m writing currently about, so right now they are a hot, hunky Marquess (Lord Fox, of Lady Claire is All That) and a rebellious, American duke (the final book in the Cavendish series). I’m a lucky girl ;-)


9.      If you had to pick a favorite cocktail of choice, what would it be?  (It can be non-alcoholic too)

Something sparkling! Whether it’s champagne (or Prosecco, I’m not picky) or sparkling water with extra limes please thank you very much. Cheers!


10.  What’s next for you?

I am Keeping Up With The Cavendishes! I’ve just finished up book three in the series, Lady Claire is All That (12/27/16). Readers will see this smart heroine make an unexpectedly perfect match with the hunky “jock” of the haute ton, Lord Fox, in a story that riffs on the rom com She’s All That. Oh, and then I’m writing the duke’s romance...



Friday, June 17, 2016

A Moment Forever (Liberty Victory Series #1) by Cat Gardiner

02_A Moment Forever

A Moment Forever (Liberty Victory Series #1) by Cat Gardiner

Publication Date: May 28, 2016
Vanity & Pride Press
eBook; 600 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance

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In every footlocker, hope chest, and heart full of secrets there is a story waiting to be discovered and told.



In the summer of 1992, a young writer is bequeathed the abandoned home of a great-uncle she never knew. The house has a romantic history and is unlike any home she has ever seen. Juliana Martel felt as though she stepped into a time capsule—a snapshot of 1942. The epic romance—and heartache—of the former occupant unfold through reading his wartime letters found in the attic, compelling her on a quest to construct the man. His life, as well as his sweetheart’s, during the Second World War were as mysterious as his disappearance in 1950.



Carrying her own pain inflicted by the abandonment of her mother and unexpected death of her father, Juliana embarks on a journalist’s dream to find her great-uncle and the woman he once loved. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a man whose family is closely related to the secrets, she uncovers the carefully hidden events of her great-uncle's and others' lives - and will ultimately change her own with their discovery.



This story of undying love, born amidst the darkest era in modern history, unfolded on the breathtaking Gold Coast of Long Island in 1942. A Jewish, Army Air Forces pilot and an enchanting society debutante—young lovers—deception—and a moment in time that lasted forever.



A Moment Forever is an evocative journey that will resonate with you long after you close the book. Romance, heartache, and the power of love, atonement, and forgiveness transform lives long after the horrors and scars of the Second World War have ended.








Excerpt

The closed door to the attic appeared innocuous, but like the pleasant personas and expressions many people conveyed, Juliana felt it was a dead giveaway that something terrible hid behind it. She was, after all, an example of that. Her deepest wounds, she believed, were cleverly masked behind her jovial expressions and happy demeanor, but she didn’t realize that the signs were evident in her near anorexic figure.



However, on this late afternoon, she felt open and liberated after surviving the luncheon with her mother. She had bared her inner feelings and animosity then came home to clean the vintage kitchen. Feeling renewed, she went to the grocer around the corner because her white Frigidaire looked as hollow as she had felt these last eleven years. Strangely, she was in the mood to cook a cheeseburger.



From the top of the staircase, Juliana could still hear the record player from the parlor. Melancholy tunes by the Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald filled the entire house. She hoped it would carry up into the attic, thinking the soulful music would transport her back to the era and mindset of William when he had last locked the garret.



Yes, it was locked and after an hour of searching the house high and low, she finally found the key inside a small box in one of the dresser drawers. Beside the brass skeleton key sat a gold signet ring with engraving upon the face: propellers and wings surrounded a small diamond at its center. The inscription along the inside of the band read, “With Love, Mom and Dad.”



“Here it goes,” Juliana said before holding her breath and nervously turning the key. She felt on the verge of a full-blown panic attack.



The door creaked like all the others in the house and her heart rate sped up as it had time and again in the course of this home’s unveiling.



Once the door was fully open, she pulled the slender cord hanging against the wall, illuminating the narrow passage by the bare light bulb fixture.



Each step up the steep staircase issued a groan from the hardened planks beneath every footfall of her black Converse sneakers until she stood at the top, fiercely gripping onto the simple banister. She looked around the large, dark room before taking the final step into the unknown, mysterious, and yet-to-be-discovered past of her great-uncle. After working herself up to it for the last two days, Juliana had been expecting something ominous and frightening in the attic, yet instead she felt a sense of peace coupled with sadness. Her thoughts traveled to her father, and her emotions became even more pronounced. Her eyes welled with tears at the morose tranquility the attic emanated.



Essentially, but for a couple of trunks and a few boxes neatly placed upon a shelf, the attic was empty, having lain undisturbed and unfilled since its purchase in December of 1942.



If these walls could talk, they would tell her how William had slid his footlocker under the eave after placing the last of its contents within and how he had waited one full year before doing so. They would tell his grand-niece how he waited until the very last minute to place the newspaper over the windows. Once beige strips of masking tape were now an aged, burnished orange. The empty space staring back at the modern-day interloper represented the very reason for William’s departure.



Although expecting the worst in the attic, she wasn’t prepared for the emptiness. She had imagined cobwebs extending from box to box and odd pieces of furniture and tools that had long outgrown their usefulness. She thought the attic would surely be filled with scary dolls and broken strollers, perhaps a rocking chair or an eerie mirror, maybe even some Dorian Gray-type painting and faded photographs. Expecting an antique cemetery of sorts filled with memories, stories, and voices of the past residents who had once lived at 300 Bradford Road, she was surprised by the vacant space before her.



The startling emptiness of the room confirmed to her that no happy memories had ever been created in this house. The house never became a home, had never filled with children’s laughter or generations of family dating back to its initial construction. No household item ever had the luxury of being used enough to justify its disregard, saving and eventual storing on the third floor. It was clear to Juliana that Primrose Cottage was only a place where William laid his head, not his heart. True life had never infused these walls. The attic led her to believe he had been a bachelor—never married, never had children, never sharing his life, let alone this house, with anyone. The starkness of the attic revealed the loneliness of the man at the time of his departure.



03_Cat GardinerAbout the Author

Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.



She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™.



Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.



She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.



For more information please visit Cat Gardiner's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.



Book Blast Schedule

Wednesday, June 15

A Holland Reads

Passages to the Past



Thursday, June 16

Susan Heim on Writing

History From a Woman's Perspective



Friday, June 17

Book Nerd

CelticLady's Reviews



Saturday, June 18

The Never-Ending Book



Monday, June 20

New Horizon Reviews

So Many Books, So Little Time



Tuesday, June 21

Just One More Chapter



Wednesday, June 22

A Literary Vacation

The Book Junkie Reads



Thursday, June 23

Library of Clean Reads

What Is That Book About



Friday, June 24

The Recipe Fairy



Monday, June 27

Cafinated Reads

The Reading Queen



Tuesday, June 28

The Gadoury Dreamer



Wednesday, June 29

Beth's Book Nook Blog

Singing Librarian Books



Thursday, June 30

Oh, for the Hook of a Book!



Giveaway

To win an eBook of A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner please enter using the GLEAM form below. Two eBooks are up for grabs!



Rules



– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.

– Only one entry per household.

– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.



A Moment Forever Book Blast




04_A Moment Forever_Book Blast Banner_FINAL

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh


https://s3.amazonaws.com/netgalley-covers/cover79300-small.pngExcerpt from 

Lucas had had to chase Naya around the aerie at bedtime last night—her walk might still be a little shaky, but she was a rocket when it came to crawling. Dressed only in a diaper, she’d laughed uproariously and said a loud, firm “No” each time Lucas caught her and put her in her crib.
After which she’d clamber out—she’d figured out how to escape a month earlier—and the game would begin again. Of course, since Lucas was a cat, he’d been having just as much fun as their daughter. Sascha, meanwhile, had sat in the living room with a cup of hot chocolate and just indulged in the sight of her mate playing with their cub.
She’d had to pretend to be stern when Naya ran over and pleaded her case with loud sounds and wild gesticulations of her hands. “No, Naya,” she’d said, biting her tongue in an effort not to laugh. “It’s time for bed. Go with Papa.”
At which point, Naya had growled at her, eyes sparkling with mischief.
And Sascha had cracked, laughing so hard she’d had to put down her hot chocolate before she spilled it. Lucas had shaken his head as Naya plopped down on her diaper-covered butt and joined in, clapping her hands at having made her mommy laugh. “No discipline.” Lucas had mock-growled at her before picking up their misbehaving baby. “And you”—a growly nuzzle that made Naya laugh harder and pat his stubbled cheek—“time for bed.”
He’d finally got her to sleep—by walking around with her pressed up against his bare chest.
Today, their cub was playing in the living area just outside the kitchen nook. Sascha had locked the aerie door to ensure Naya wouldn’t undo the latch and go out onto the balcony, and Lucas had childproofed the entire main area of the aerie, so Naya was free to roam as she liked. A lot of the time she practiced her walking skills. And no matter how often she fell down, she started back up again after a little break.
Stubborn, determined baby.
Peeking out from the kitchen, Sascha found her concentrating on stacking the colored alphabet blocks Faith and Vaughn had given her as a gift. Beside her sat a more than slightly ragged wolf plush toy, aka “The Toy That Shall Not Be Named.” Hawke had given that to Naya when she was a newborn, and it remained her favorite snuggle toy, much to her father’s despair.
Though Lucas did enjoy it when Naya went leopard on the toy, growling and “fighting” with the wolf. Then he’d smile and say, “That’s my girl.”

Find Nalini online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
 
Posted by arrangement with Berkley Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2016.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Béla's Letters by Jeff Ingber

02_Béla’s Letters

Béla's Letters by Jeff Ingber

Publication Date: February 18, 2016
Paperback; 596 Pages
ISBN: 978-0985410025

Genre: Historical Fiction

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“Béla’s Letters” is a historical fiction novel spanning eight decades. It revolves around the remarkable life story of Béla Ingber, who was born before the onset of WWI in Munkács, a small city nestled in the Carpathian Mountains. The book tells of the struggles of Béla and his extended family to comprehend and prepare for the Holocaust, the implausible circumstances that the survivors endure before reuniting in the New World, and the crushing impact on them of their wartime experiences together with the feelings of guilt, hatred, fear, and abandonment that haunt them. At the core of the novel are the poignant letters and postcards that family members wrote to Béla, undeterred by the feasibility of delivery, which were his lifeline, even decades after the war ended.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author

03_Jeff IngberJeff is a financial industry consultant, who previously held senior positions at Citibank, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation. His latest book is "Bela's Letters," a family memoir based on his parents, who were survivors of the Hungarian Holocaust. Jeff also has written a screenplay entitled "The Bank Examiners." He lives with his wife in Jersey City, NJ.



For more information visit Jeff Ingber's website. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.



Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, May 25

Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Spotlight at The True Book Addict



Friday, May 27

Spotlight at The Writing Desk

Spotlight at Just One More Chapter



Saturday, May 28

Spotlight at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More



Monday, May 30

Excerpt at Diana's Book Reviews



Friday, June 3

Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book



Monday, June 6

Review at Book Nerd



Tuesday, June 7

Guest Post at Let Them Read Books



Wednesday, June 8

Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Interview at New Horizon Reviews



Thursday, June 9

Guest Post at New Horizon Reviews



Friday, June 10

Review at New Horizon Reviews



Monday, June 13

Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Spotlight at It's a Mad Mad World



Tuesday, June 14

Spotlight at The Mad Reviewer



Thursday, June 16

Review at Nerd in New York



Friday, June 17

Spotlight at So Many Books, So Little Time



Tuesday, June 21

Excerpt & Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads



Wednesday, June 22

Review at Bookish



Thursday, June 23

Spotlight at Beth's Book Nook Blog



Friday, July 1

Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views



Monday, July 4

Blog Tour Wrap Up at Passages to the Past



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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chasing the Heiress The Muses' Salon #2 By: Rachael Miles



Chasing the Heiress
The Muses' Salon #2
By: Rachael Miles
Releasing May 31, 2016
Zebra Shout

Blurb

Heiress On The Run
Lady Arabella Lucia Fairborne has no need of a husband. She has a fine inheritance for the taking, a perfectly capable mind, and a resolve as tough as nails. But what she doesn't have is the freedom to defy her cousin's will--and his will is to see her married immediately to the husband of his choosing. So is it any wonder that she dresses herself as a scullery maid and bolts into the night?

Colin Somerville's current mission for the home office is going poorly. Who would have expected otherwise for a rakish spy tasked with transporting a baby to the care of the royal palace. But when, injured and out of ideas, Colin stumbles upon a beautiful maid who knows her way around a sickroom, it seems salvation has arrived. Until he realizes that though Lucy may be able to help him survive his expedition, he may not escape this ordeal with his heart intact…


Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2016/05/chasing-heiress-muses-salon-2-by.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26236866-chasing-the-heiress

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/152989-the-muses-salon

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/?field-keywords=9781420140880
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chasing-the-heiress-rachael-miles/1122624819?ean=9781420140880
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachael_Miles
_Chasing_the_Heiress?id=6oOCCgAAQBAJ

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781420140897
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/chasing-the-heiress

Author Info
Rachael Miles has always loved a good romance, especially one with a bit of suspense and preferably a ghost. She is also a professor of book history and nineteenth-century literature whose students frequently find themselves reading the novels of Ann Radcliffe and other gothic tales. Rachael lives in her home state of Texas with her indulgent husband, three rescued dogs, and an ancient cat.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
Website: http://rachaelmiles.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachaelmilesauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rachael_Miles1
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13911702.Rachael_Miles

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Three Print Copies of CHASING THE HEIRESS)
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Excerpt (Feel free to shorten)
It had taken Colin two days to travel to Holywell, two days in which he had steeled himself to smile and be charming. But ultimately the princess had charmed him. Heiress to a mining magnate, Marietta had caught the eye of a visiting (and impoverished) member of the Habsburg royal family. Though she had been impeccably trained at the best finishing school in Paris, when Colin arrived, he found her teaching the housekeeper’s parrot to curse in five European languages. “Don’t call me Princess,” she whispered, casting a grim eye to the housekeeper, hovering at the edge of the terrace. “Or she will raise my rate.”
It had taken three more days to separate Marietta’s pos-sessions into two groups: those which the carriage could carry and those which would have to be shipped from Liver-pool around the coast to London. Most difficult had been determining exactly which clothes she could (and could not) do without for her first week at court. Then, just when he had thought that they might set out, she had insisted that his coachman, Fletcher, accompany her trunks across the inlet to ensure they were well stowed for their London journey. All told, he had been gone from London for more than a week before he bundled Marietta, her paints, her embroidery, her knitting, her books, and a handful of magazines into the carriage and set off on their trip. But somehow he had not minded. Marietta was sweet, resilient, and companionable, anticipating the birth of her child with real joy.
He shifted in his seat, but his legs—outstretched on the backward-facing seat to give Marietta more room—felt like leaden weights, long past numb from a lack of circulation. He moved one foot down into the small space remaining between Marietta’s feet and the carriage door. The blood began to move agonizingly into one set of toes.
He unfolded his map and began to recalculate their trip. Holywell to London was two hundred and eight miles. Even a mail coach, traveling at seven miles an hour, could travel the distance in thirty-two hours, and his brother’s third-best carriage was able to clip along at ten. But the princess needed substantive food, frequent stops, a real bed at night, and opportunities to shop at any tempting village store they passed. Their first day, they travelled only to Wrexham. Twenty-six miles in six hours. Their second day would measure little more. He had already promised she could spend the night—and morning—in Shrewsbury. Using his fore-finger as a measure, he counted off the miles from Shrews-bury to London. The return would take a sennight, if he were lucky.
Marietta moaned and tried to shift her weight. Why— he berated himself for the fiftieth time—hadn’t he borrowed a better carriage? One with ample seats, thick comfortable bolsters, and better springs. If he were to play escort to a pregnant princess, why hadn’t the Home Office informed him? Had they intentionally withheld the information? Or had they not known?
He forced his attention back to the map. If Marietta gave birth on the road with only him and Fletcher for midwives, he would kill someone in the Home Office. He wasn’t yet sure who. Perhaps the lot of them, but he would begin by strangling Harrison Walgrave.
The carriage began to slow, the springs creaking into a new rhythm. Colin waited for Fletcher to offer the usual signals: two slow taps for an inn, a fast double-tap for a crossroads, and a heavy heel-kick for danger. But no taps, kicks, yells, or pistol shots alarmed him, except perhaps the nagging absence of any warnings.
Colin tapped on the roof and waited. No response. His senses grew more alert, listening, but he heard nothing beyond the normal sounds of a country road.
Even so, he shifted his second foot—still numb—from the opposite seat to the floor and slid several inches towards the middle of the bench. There, Colin moved a cushion aside to reveal a built-in pistol cabinet that had been added by his brother, the Duke of Forster.
His movement wakened Marietta, and she began to speak, but he held up his finger before his lips, then touched his ear. Be quiet: I’m listening. Her green eyes, always expressive, widened, and she nodded understanding. She pulled the thick feather comforter up over her belly, as if to hide.
The door handle moved slightly as someone tried to open the door. Luckily Colin had bolted it from the inside. Their highwayman grew frustrated, pulling against the door handle several times.
Reacting viscerally, Colin wrenched the pistol cabinet door open. But before he could withdraw the pistols, the window glass shattered inward. Marietta recoiled and tried to push herself up as the curtains were torn away, wrenched outward. Colin moved to protect Marietta, trying to place himself between the princess and the broken window. But his feet found no solid purchase, just a river of down shifting beneath his weight. Losing his balance, he fell back hard onto the seat.
Two hands in long leather gloves, each holding a pistol, reached through the window frame into the carriage.
As in battle, everything slowed. Both pistols pointed at a spot in the middle of his chest. At this range, he had no hope of surviving. And he felt more relief than fear.
Colin held out his hands to show he was unarmed. He could see nothing of the highwayman. Only a dark duster and a mask.
The guns didn’t fire.
One pistol shifted to the opposite seat. But Marietta wasn’t there. Seeing her on the floor, the highwayman repositioned his sights.
Realizing in an instant this was no robbery, Colin flung himself between Marietta and the barrel. He heard the cock of the trigger, saw the flash of fire, and felt the hit of the ball in his side. Black powder burned his flesh.
Dark smoke filled the cabin, and he choked, coughing.
His ears rung from the boom of the gunshot, but he saw the flash of the second pistol firing along with a shower of sparks from the side and barrel of the gun. He felt Marietta’s scream. He pulled himself up, half standing, one hand against the carriage roof to steady himself. His side stabbed with pain at each expansion of his lungs.
Marietta tried to rise behind him, choking as well. She pulled against the clothes on his back, but he brushed her hands away. When the smoke cleared, his body would stand between Marietta and their assailant. He would die. But after Belgium, he felt dead already—what would be the difference?
Marietta beat the backs of his legs. Small burning embers burned on Marietta’s pallet. Some of the lit sparks from the pistols had fallen onto the down-filled bed. He assessed the dangers automatically. Once the embers ate past the woolen cover and fire caught the feathers, the danger would spread quickly.
Still on the floor, Marietta pushed herself backwards toward the opposite door, kicking the smoldering bolsters and pallet away from her. With each kick, she further entangled his feet. He couldn’t reach her, at least not easily. And he couldn’t reach and load a gun without stepping from his defensive position in front of her. Thick smoke burned his eyes.
With neither sound nor sight to help him, he had to choose: the dangers of the fire, growing with each second, or those of the highwaymen who could be waiting outside. Tensing, he unbolted the door, pushed it open, and leapt out. His leg hitting wrong, he fell and rolled into the ditch beside the road. He raised himself cautiously. The highwaymen were gone, having attacked, then left. Not robbers then.
He pulled himself to standing. He should worry about Fletcher and the postboy, Bobby, but there was no time. Smoke from the feather-stuffed pallet billowed from the coach. He could see Marietta’s legs, vigorously kicking the smoldering bed away from her. She was alive, but trapped against the locked door on the opposite side of the carriage.
Ignoring the pain below his ribs, he pulled hard on the pallet, dragging a portion through the coach door. Already, the smoldering feathers were breaking through the wool in patches of open flame. He heaved again, releasing all but a third from the coach. Flames began to dance across the pallet.
If the pallet broke apart before he could remove it, he’d have to sacrifice the carriage, and then he could offer little protection to Marietta. He pulled hard once more, and the pallet fell onto the green verge next to the road. Then, to protect neighboring crops and livestock, he dragged the pallet, flames licking at his hands, into the middle of the road, where it could burn without harm. Once carriage and countryside were out of danger, he hunched over, hands on his knees, and tried to breathe without expanding his lower rib cage.
After a few minutes to recover his breath, Colin looked up at the carriage. Fletcher remained at his post, his body slumped forward.
Colin climbed the side of the coach, gritting his teeth against the pain. Blood oozed through the hair at the back of the coachman’s head. Pressing his fingers to the older man’s neck, Colin felt the beat of the artery. Alive.
Listening and watching for trouble, Colin weighed his options.
They needed to move, to get off the open road. But for that, he needed Fletcher conscious. At least he wouldn’t have to explain to Cook how her man had been killed on a quiet English road after surviving a dozen campaigns against Boney.
Still unable to hear, Colin retrieved a water flask from under the coachman’s seat. Tenderly cradling the older man’s head, Colin washed the blood away. The wound was a long gash, slantways from the back of Fletcher’s ear toward the back of his head. He pressed his fingers against the gash. Long but not deep and worst at the curve of Fletcher’s head where the weapon bit hardest through the skin.
Fletcher moaned.
Colin lifted Fletcher’s chin. “Pistol shot. Can’t hear.” Colin picked up the fallen reins and held them out. “Can you drive?”
Fletcher took the reins in one hand. Then, raising his eyes to Colin’s, Fletcher held out his other hand, palm down, as one does when indicating a person’s height.
“Bobby?” Colin looked around for the postilion. Fletcher’s nephew had grown up on the ducal estate. The loss of Fletcher or Bobby would devastate the household.
Fletcher nodded yes, then scowled. Leaning forward, he braced his elbows on his knees and supported his head with his hands.
“I’ll find him. Stay with Marietta.” Colin took the rifle and the cartridge bag from beneath the coachman’s seat, loaded the gun, then placed both on the bench. Fletcher put his hand on the gun.
Colin leapt from the coach, gritting his teeth against the pain as his feet hit the ground. Then, walking back along the road, Colin began looking for the boy, searching through the overgrown verges and dreading what he might find. A child’s body bleeding and broken after a fall from the carriage. Let him be alive . . . and, if wounded, with wounds that can heal.
Colin turned at the curve.
About a tenth of a mile beyond, he saw the boy’s body at the verge of the road. Colin ran to the boy and knelt beside him, checking his wounds. No gunshots. Colin felt his relief like cool water on a parched tongue. Bobby’s arm was twisted before his chest, as if he had been flung from the coach-top or dragged down from it. But Bobby was alive. Fletcher, Bobby, Marietta, all alive. At least their deaths wouldn’t weigh heavy on his conscience.
The boy struggled to lift himself up and began to speak.
But Colin shook his head, pointing to his ears. “Can’t hear.”
Bobby pointed to his ankle. Colin felt it. No obvious broken bones. “Can you stand?”
The boy shrugged and held out his uninjured arm for help. Ignoring the arm, Colin lifted the boy to his feet. Luckily Bobby was still small and lithe, not the strapping youth he would be in another year. Colin supported Bobby’s weight gently as the boy tested his ankle, gingerly at first, then with more pressure. When Bobby tried to step fully on the ankle, he recoiled in pain.
“Let me help.” Colin wrapped his arm around Bobby’s waist, avoiding his injured arm. The two walked slowly back to the carriage. There, Fletcher and Colin helped the boy to the seat next to Fletcher, and Bobby took up the pistols.
When Bobby was settled, Colin motioned for Fletcher’s attention. “Where’s the other one? The one the stable master insisted would care for the horses?”
Hit me, Fletcher mouthed, demonstrating a blow to the back of his head.
Colin’s strength suddenly faded. “How far to the next inn?”
Fletcher held up two fingers, then three. Two to three miles.
Colin moved slowly to the open carriage door, calling out in case Marietta’s ears had recovered from the pistol shots. “Marietta, there’s an inn within the hour.”
He stepped in front of the open door. Marietta was seated on the floor, leaning against the backward-facing seat riser, her legs bent at odd angles. Her eyes closed, she held one hand to her chest, the other cradled her belly. At her shoulder, blood seeped through her fingers, covering her hand and staining the front of her chemise. Blood pooled on the floor below her.
Colin’s chest clenched. He swung himself into the carriage, yelling “Fletcher! Drive!” as he pulled the door shut behind him.
He pulled off his cravat and tore it into strips to make a bandage, then crawled beside her.
To stage an attack and steal nothing . . . not robbery. Murder. He needed to think. But first he needed to slow Marietta’s bleeding.
The carriage began to move, first slowly, then faster, and faster still.


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Enter to Win a Print copy of CHASING THE HEIRESS



CHASING THE HEIRESS
The Muses' Salon #2
Rachael Miles
Released May 31st, 2016
Zebra Shout


Heiress
On The Run

Lady Arabella Lucia Fairborne has no
need of a husband. She has a fine inheritance for the taking, a perfectly
capable mind, and a resolve as tough as nails. But what she doesn't have is the
freedom to defy her cousin's will--and his will is to see her married
immediately to the husband of his choosing. So is it any wonder that she
dresses herself as a scullery maid and bolts into the night?

Colin Somerville's current mission
for the home office is going poorly. Who would have expected otherwise for a
rakish spy tasked with transporting a baby to the care of the royal palace. But
when, injured and out of ideas, Colin stumbles upon a beautiful maid who knows
her way around a sickroom, it seems salvation has arrived. Until he realizes
that though Lucy may be able to help him survive his expedition, he may not
escape this ordeal with his heart intact…

 BUY NOW
Amazon | B
& N
 | Google | iTunes | Kobo



Rachael
Miles
 has always loved a good romance, especially one with a bit of
suspense and preferably a ghost. She is also a professor of book history and
nineteenth-century literature whose students frequently find themselves reading
the novels of Ann Radcliffe and other gothic tales. Rachael lives in her home
state of Texas with her indulgent husband, three rescued dogs, and an ancient
cat.

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

UNDER THE SURFACE by Anne Calhoun

UNDER THE SURFACE excerpt, v2


One of the most basic components of police work was learning to control a situation. A good undercover cop adjusted his personality and attitude to manage the situation according to his objectives. Matt was as good as they came, and that bluff should have worked.
Except Eve Webber raised the stakes without blinking an eye, and suddenly white-hot, explicit images of exactly how they’d finish what she’d started flashed in his brain . . . the skirt that barely covered her upper thighs, her desk, and that sleek mass of black hair she kept tugging free from the glossy color on her mouth. Heat flashed through him, the sensation shockingly intense.
Your job is to keep her alive, not get her into bed.
Eve emerged from her office around seven, iPhone in hand, and once she started working the room the vibe punched up several notches. Watching her smile and talk to the customers triggered something he couldn’t put his finger on.
During a brief lull, he turned to Tom, the steroid-buffed player working the station next to his. “She looks familiar.”
Tom hit the button on the blender to mix a raspberry daiquiri. “She won the newspaper’s sexiest female bartender contest two years running before she switched over to events management at the Met.” “Fucking moron was implied at the end of that sentence.
A niggling memory surfaced of the newspaper’s Arts and Culture section getting passed around before the shift briefing a couple of years ago, right before he made the leap to detective and started working long-term undercover assignments. The article’s text meandered alongside a full-length picture of Eve, hair tumbled into her face, hands braced on the bar behind her, wearing a white blouse unbuttoned deep in her cleavage, a tight, short black skirt, black stockings, and heels. Her slim legs were crossed at the ankle, and the angle of the shot made them seemed endless. He should have been focused on the briefing, but he’d given the photo a good thorough look before handing it to his partner, who’d looked even longer.
The provocative shot actually masked what won Eve the contest. In person she radiated vitality, a sheer visceral force that drew light, glances, attention. Even more surprising was the way she didn’t hoard the energy but rather turned it back on whomever she was talking to. Like that person was the only person in the room. Like she heard what they were saying, and maybe even what they weren’t saying.
Life flowed into this woman. She amplified it and sent it back out into the world, and he couldn’t stop watching her.
She checked in with her bouncer, the size of the Hulk, with gang ink disappearing into the sleeves of his T-shirt.
“That’s not an off-duty cop,” he said.
“Friend of the family,” Tom replied over the music. “Someone her dad knew.”
“Bars this busy usually hire the pros,” Matt said as he pulled out a fresh rack of glasses.
“You know what those assholes charge? They’re fucking expensive,” Tom said as he handed the drink across the bar. “And they’re nosy. Hot Stuff doesn’t like strangers in her business.”
Matt would bet his Jeep that Eve wouldn’t like being called Hot Stuff, but if Tom hadn’t figured that out, Matt wasn’t about to enlighten him. He watched as she cleared a couple of abandoned glasses off the bar in front of him and handed them to a passing busboy, then came around the corner of the bar, trailing her fingers along the polished wood. He handed the drink to a customer and gave her his full attention.
“How are you doing?” she asked, scanning his station.
“You tell me,” he replied, and if he got a little closer than necessary to hear what she was saying over the thumping dance music, well, he was just doing his job. Given the heat in the bar, he expected perfume, something musky and sexy. Instead the faintest scent of mint and rosemary drifted into the air between them when she tucked her hair behind her ears.
“I’m satisfied,” she said, not backing away. “The job’s yours if you want it.”
She was less than a breath away from him. A shift of his weight and a deep inhale, and they’d be breathing together like they were naked and horizontal. The heat sizzled and popped between them and it didn’t take training in body language to read the signals. Eve Webber wanted him.
Chad Henderson. His undercover identity, the man he was pretending to be. Not him.
No matter who he was today, neither he nor Chad could have her. He was supposed to keep her safe, make sure she didn’t change her mind about working with the department, monitor any appearances Murphy made in Eye Candy.
He wanted her.
“I want the job,” he said, not bothering to hide what he really meant.
She looked at him through the layered, sweeping fall of hair he wanted to brush back so he could see her eyes, her mouth. “Hang around after close. I’ll give you the paperwork to fill out and bring back with you tomorrow.”
He leaned in, as if he needed to speak with her, employee to employer, but didn’t want to shout over the music. “See you later, boss,” he rasped.

 Synopsis
Welcome to Eye Candy, the East Side’s hottest nightclub where the bartenders are hot, the cocktails are fancy, and danger lurks just under the surface…
Eve Webber, the gorgeous and savvy owner of Eye Candy, knows better than anyone that growing up on the wrong side of the tracks comes with certain complications. Determined to run a clean business and fix up the East Side, Eve’s plans get temporarily stalled when a potential new hire walks into her bar. The sexual chemistry crackling between them is a potent distraction…even if she refuses to mix business with the promise of pleasure.

Detective Matt Dorchester lives by strict rules that have kept him alive in impossible situations. When his latest undercover assignment has him playing a bartender, his desire for the passionate owner has him breaking every single one. Eve is in danger and her life depends on his secrecy. But once their attraction reaches a climactic conclusion, Matt must make a desperate choice: Tell her the truth about who he really is—or risk a once-in-a-lifetime love to save her life?

Bio
After doing time at Fortune 500 companies on both coasts, Anne landed in a flyover state, where she traded business casual for yoga pants and decided to write down all the lively story ideas that got her through years of monotonous corporate meetings. Her first book, LIBERATING LACEY won the EPIC Award for Best Contemporary Erotic Romance. Her story WHAT SHE NEEDS was chosen for Smart Bitch Sarah's Sizzling Book Club. Anne holds a BA in History and English, and an MA in American Studies from Columbia University. When she's not writing her hobbies include reading, knitting, and yoga. She lives in the Midwest with her family and singlehandedly supports her local Starbucks.