Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Giveaway ~ Romance at the Royal Menagerie by Ruth J Hartman

 Life is wild when you live with lions

Francesca Hartwell adores cats of every kind. Lions, leopards, tigers. And they all love her. Good thing she gets to see them every day, since her father is their caregiver in the Tower of London’s Royal Menagerie. She’d love to find a man with whom she could share her love of animals, but so far, no one has stolen her heart. And there’s the added snag that whoever she marries must not have anything to do with nobility, as her mother had left her and her father for an earl.

John Fairgate has three rules given to him by his uncle. Inherit the title of baron upon his uncle’s death. Give up ornithology. And marry a childhood acquaintance. The first two, John will abide by, but won’t like. But the third, marrying a shrew who makes his skin crawl, he simply cannot do. Meeting Miss Francesca Hartwell at the zoo, however, has given him other ideas for a wife. But she’s not titled or wealthy. How will he be able to convince his uncle that she’s the woman of his heart?

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Giveaway ~ Rescued by a Duke by Ruth J Hartman

Sasha Douglas has hit rock bottom. Literally. Left all alone after her brother's murder, she thought things couldn't possibly get worse. Until she finds herself trapped, injured, and frightened with no hope of escape after falling into an abandoned well.

Garrett Rothchild Cantlebury, the 5th Duke of Ravensworth, is shocked to discover a woman trapped in his abandoned well. The place that holds reminders of horrible loss for him. Determined to save the poor girl, he pushes those thoughts aside, refusing to dwell on them. But the rescued damsel in distress ends up making him face a darker truth. One that threatens both their futures.

Can Sasha and Garrett put family tragedy behind them and find love together?

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Giveaway ~ Time For a Duke by Ruth J Hartman

Izzy Hodgkin just wants an adventure. Who knew it meant being locked in a closet in 2012 and when the door is opened later, it’s 1812?

Charles Hamilton Douglas Wade, Duke of Bramblewood Green, thinks he will never find the right woman. When he opens his closet door, imagine his surprise to find a woman in there. And she’s from the future!

Will Izzy stick with her plan to return to 2012 America to achieve her goal of financial independence? Or will she and Charles find happiness in 1812?

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Giveaway ~ Romancing the Dustman's Daughter by Ruth Hartman

Anne Balfour lives in a poor section of London. Imagine her surprise when her father, a dustman, finds something incriminating in a rich family’s fireplace ash. His idea to blackmail the family into taking in Anne and find her a rich husband has her reeling! She doesn’t want to go through with it, but he’s the only family she has. Guilt would plague her if she caused him disappointment.

Augustus Sinclair has a broken heart. His betrothed has dropped him for his own best friend. Former best friend. When he meets Anne Balfour, though, he realizes that he’d not really been in love before. Some of Anne’s reactions to what he considers everyday activities are puzzling, but that doesn’t stop him from falling head over heels.

Will Anne be successful in pleasing her father and find a rich husband? Or will her distress at their dishonesty keep her from being happy? And what will happen if her father’s scheme backfires?

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

New Releases by Ruth J Hartman

Jessie Selkirk has a mission — to take care of every stray cat she finds. They are her life, her sole reason for being. But when Baldwin Rutledge steps into her barn looking for a cat, she develops a whole new interest. One in which she must continually remind herself there is no future. No. Best to hope for nothing beyond friendship and spare herself a broken heart.

Baldwin Rutledge is desperate to stop his aunt from trying to find him a wife. So he decides to distract her by procuring a second cat for her. His plan is working beautifully, until he meets pretty Jessie Selkirk. Now marriage is the only thing he thinks about. He’d like to be more than acquaintances, but convincing her of that might take some doing.

Amelia Talbot has been issued a death sentence. At least it feels that way. The thought of marrying a man old enough to be her grandfather sends her into a panic. So much so that she sets off on a desperate search to find another man to marry her—quickly.

Conrad Croome, the Fifth Earl of Lofton, knows all too well that blackmail isn’t the way to form a marriage. How ironic that one Amelia Talbot uses a Croome family secret he’d thought long buried to force him to marry her.

Is Conrad doomed to a life of marriage based on an exposed secret, or could Amelia learn to love an unwanted earl?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Life in the Palace - Book Blast

  Life in the PalaceLife in the Palace by Catherine Green “We need to talk,” Tal said. Then I knew it was going to go badly. ‘We need to talk’ is the conversational equivalent of walking into your basement without turning on the light, on a dark and stormy night, when a known psychopath is on the loose. You might as well cut to the chase and slit your own throat. Chloe Diaz assumed three things: that when Tal said that she was one of The People sent from heaven to maintain the cosmic balance, it was code for ‘I’m a pamphlet distributing, incense burning, religious weirdo;’ that the gorgeous Seth Wilks would never be her soul mate and that she’d never have to choose between them. Chloe was wrong. Now the future of the world is in her hands, but what if price is too great to pay?
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  This is a brief description of the plot:   After a lifetime in the shadow of her sister, Chloe is severely phobic of the chronically cool. Seth is everything she avoids; a pre-med philosophy major who works in a bar, plays in a band and is so good looking that grown women stare at him in the street. But it’s hard to say no to your soul mate. Thinking she’s maxed out her supply of destiny, Chloe settles down to enjoy the happily-ever-after.   Tal says that she’s one of The People sent from heaven to maintain the cosmic balance. Chloe assumes this is code for ‘I’m a pamphlet distributing, incense burning, religious weirdo.’ Actually Tal’s main extracurricular activity is fighting the forces of Oblivion. The People never need to hide what they are because no one ever believes them. Until Chloe does.   Chloe sets out to help Tal and The People as much as she can as an outsider. Seth says as long as no one wears their underpants on the outside Chloe can do what she likes. What he doesn’t say is that he’s also one of The People, although non-practicing. But as the Final Battle draws nearer, Chloe realizes it’s time for Seth to go collect his regulation sword. The only thing standing in his way is her. Seth says he’ll give up his place in heaven to stay with her. Chloe must choose between Seth’s soul and her own happiness.   Praise for Life in the Palace An interesting take on the paranormal romance genre. …..While other books in the genre have unrealistic buy in to the acceptance of someone from the outside entering a "new world" Life in the Palace handled it from both the main character looking in and the dwellers of the Palace looking out at this person trying to enter their world. …….I am so happy to hear that there are more books in the series! – Yonit on Goodreads I loved this world that Catherine Green created. I happily lost myself in the life & deep love between Chloe & Seth …..I loved the attention to detail, the fleshing out of the world around them, the obvious growth of all the characters... Even the heartbreaking choices made at the end. Book two I cannot wait to read! – Ebon Darkmyth on Smashwords Loved it, great story line, fun characters and after reading it and thinking deeply about the duality of our lives, it made my prayers come alive! – Rebecca Wittenstein on This book introduces you to a whole host of characters that you want to meet in real life. ….The action keeps you reading, while the budding love between Seth and Chloe makes you breathless. A great read. – Cypora Cohen on
CatherineAuthor Catherine Green Catherine Green writes fantasy books featuring religious characters in a brazen attempt to make the people in faith communities seem less weird. She lives with her husband, children and three marginally neglected goldfish. When she's not writing, or pretending to be one of her characters on Facebook, she has been known to cook dinner.
  book blast button       Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/15/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review - The Petrosian Invitation

Oleg Petrosian, the self-made Russian Billionaire, wonders when his un-beating heart will experience a glimmer of love. On a business trip to London, to seal a gas deal, he meets Sam Latham, the chef at a swanky restaurant in South Kensington. After she caters for a business meeting at his nearby home, his private Learjet (flown by his cosmonaut sister) whisks Oleg, Sam and her younger actress sister to Oleg's cliff top home in Russia's Anapa, a health resort on the Black Sea. But can their fledgling romance survive Oleg's deep, dark secret?

~Author Bio~
TP Keating was previously nominated for The James White Award. Along with numerous short stories published online, TP Keating’s stories appear in the printed anthologies Small Crimes, Daikaiju!2: Revenge Of The Giant Monsters, and Murder In Vegas (edited by Michael Connelly, and which has also been released in audio book format). His web site is, and please feel free to drop him a line at

Jewelz Review~
I really enjoyed reading The Petrosian Invitation. It's a sweet vampire romance about the gorgeous Russian billionaire Oleg Petrosian and the sweet English chef Sam Latham. Oleg fears he will never fall in love since he has become a vampire, yet when dining at Le Jardin de Lili in London he finds himself enthralled with the Chocolat Noir dessert & ultimately falls in love with its creator - Sam Latham.

As Oleg is in lengthy business negotions with another gas company he requests that Sam cater a dinner the next day at his London home. When negotiations don't come to a conclusion he flys her and her sister Zoe (who serves as her assistant) to Anapa in Russia to cater yet another business event at his home there.

Mr Keating does a wonderful job describing the various settings, from the emotive & sensory environment to architectural details. The characters personalities are well developed. Though there isn't any significant growth or change in any of the main characters, we are granted several passages of introspection that allows the reader to understand the characters thoughts & motivations. While the story was a sweet, fun read I would say it is a book with potential. It would benefit greatly from a good conent edit to help correct discrepancies in the timeline and to fill in plot holes. It would also help to flesh out the vampire mythology part of the story, which is severely lacking.

If you enjoy sweet contemporary romances, this is a good choice. If you don't enjoy vampire novels don't let that dissuade you as it is a very minimal part of the story. I hope that Mr Keating will pursue further development of the story as it could be even better with a few good rounds of content edits.

FYI - this is a clean read, nothing more intimate than a few kisses. The language is clean also.
Honest disclosure - I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for my review.

Chellz Review~
I was hesitant to read another vampire story, however, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed this read.  Sam is a sweet young lady who is a wonderful cook but is stuck working for an unappreciative restaurants owner.  She is the head chef the day that Oleg Petrosian dined in the restaurant.  Oleg loves her dessert and asks her to come to cook for a business dinner at his home.  Sam accepts his offer and finds success and attraction to Oleg.

I enjoyed this story but there were a few places where it did not flow.  Also, there was no foundation for the angry mob.  We are not told at all why the people attack the castle that Oleg visits regularly.  This is a sweet story that has a happily every after.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shadow FIre Book Blast

Shadow Fire Tour
Shadow fireShadow Fire
Ashlyn – a free-spirited teenager whose peaceful life is shattered when the village elders honor her with a perilous quest to recover a stolen relic.
Zane – a jaded mercenary, torn by his undeniable desire for Ashlyn and the dark secret that could make her hate him forever.
Delistaire – a malevolent sorcerer driven by an insatiable lust for power.
All three are bound together by an ancient relic supposedly infused with the power of a Goddess.
Shadow Fire – adventure, passion, secrets, and betrayal
As Ashlyn and Zane race to stay one step ahead of the evil lurking in the shadows, their passions are ignited and their bond strengthens. But will they find the relic before Delistaire? Or has their entire quest been orchestrated from the very beginning by a madman in pursuit of ultimate power?
Each installment of The Light Chronicles is a standalone story.
Praise for Shadow Fire "This book contains monsters, magic, majestic creatures, and a evil guy that wants to destroy the world. If you love hot guys.....Zane is all that plus a few tricks up his sleeve. Just read it!" Venture ~Amazon Reviewer "Adventure, magical creatures, fun characters, and romance make this book a perfect read for all ages." James ~Amazon Reviewer "I thought the writing was strong; it had me turning the pages quickly to see what would happen next. The characters were engaging and the dialogue well-written." Lisa Temple ~ Goodreads "Oh, I truly loved this one! Shadow Fire, by Kimber Leigh Wheaton, is a snappy, sassy, sweet, all-that-kind-of-awesome-and-then-some YA read. I couldn't put it down." ~Sasha Hibbs ~ Amazon Reviewer
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Excerpt When we reach the deck, everyone stops to stare at me. Trying to ignore the blatant curiosity, I follow Hanna down the aft stairs to the brig. Zane and Taranis occupy cells across from each other. They're both sitting on the floor glaring daggers at each other. Hanna hands the key to me and slips away. Inching closer, I'm careful to remain out of reach of the two prisoners. As soon as they see me, both men jump up and start talking over each other. "Ashlyn! How are you feeling, Love?" Zane asks. "Ashlyn, my fiery angel, you are a ray of sunshine in this dank prison!" Taranis says. "I'm gonna let you both out, if, and only if, you promise to behave," I threaten. Both men nod their agreement. "That means no fighting. It also means we never, and I mean never, speak of what happened last night." When I get no argument, I free Zane first and then Taranis. "Do you even know what happened last night?" Zane asks, taking me into his arms. I stand rigid in his embrace, not sure if I'm ready to forgive him quite yet. "Only what Hanna told me," I snap at him. "I saved your virtue from this raving lunatic," Taranis says, pointing at Zane. "Then you decided to take it for yourself!" Zane yells back at him. "Did you not hear me?" I shout. Pulling myself from Zane's embrace, I back up and glare at both men. "No speaking of last night. Period. End of discussion." "Yes, Love," Zane replies. "Yes, virtuous virgin," Taranis replies. "Taranis!" I release a menacing growl, and wince when my right eye starts to tic. "Yes?" he asks, eyes full of mock innocence. "Run," Zane says. Taranis listens to Zane's advice and takes off up the stairs to the deck with me hot on his heels.     KimberAuthor Kimber Leigh Wheaton Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a YA/NA author with a soft spot for sweet romance and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs and four cats. No, she doesn’t live on a farm, she just loves animals. Her house is filled with dragons, though she does lament that they are the porcelain, non-flying variety. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) Her debut novel, Shadow Fire, is the first book in The Light Chronicles series. Watch for book two, Stolen Moon, a standalone sequel, coming soon.  
  book blast button       Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/15/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ripple Effect Romance - Righting a Wrong

Righting a wrong
Righting a Wrong by Rachael Anderson Seven years ago, Cambri Blaine fled her small hometown of Bridger, Colorado after her senior year ended in a fiasco. Only Jace Sutton knew the real reason why—that she was a spineless coward. Now, seven years later, her father's been in an accident and needs help, and Cambr has no choice but to return home. So with trepidation, she takes a leave of absence from the landscape architecture firm where she works and boards a plane, hoping against hope that Jace is no longer around and that the past can stay where it belongs—in the past. If only life worked that way. Jace never expected to see Cambri again. After she’d led him on, bruised his heart, and left town without a backward glance, he was forced to pick up the pieces and try not to hate her for it. Eventually, he put it behind him and moved on, creating a life for himself in his beloved hometown. But now that Cambri is back and looking more beautiful and sophisticated than ever, some of those old feelings resurface, and Jake instinctively knows, for the sake of his heart, that he needs to avoid her at all costs. If only it were that easy.
RachaelAuthor Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
Updated Ripple Effect
The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series Enjoy this exciting new series of clean novellas by six critically-acclaimed authors. "Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love." Book 1: Home Matters by Julie N. Ford Book 2: Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin Book 3: Righting A Wrong by Rachael Anderson Book 4: Lost and Found by Karey White Book 5: Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver Book 6: Immersed by Jennifer Griffith
Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/28/14 a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Tifferz Take~

Jace has purchased a house to fix up and is feeling empty without a meaningful relationship. As his last girlfriend Eden ended up marring his good friend Drew.  Cambri comes home to help take care of  her father.  Cambri keeps bumping into to Jace everywhere she goes. I think it wouldn’t be a big deal if they did not have a history. It doesn’t help that Cambri’s dad is try to fix her up with Jace. Singing his praises. Cambri is coming to realize what a great town Bridger is. She has been in Charlotte and was so happy to leave. But coming home has given her a new perspective. A trip down memory lane for Jace and Cambri is just what they needed. Cambri was able to explain why she left six years ago without a word. I think Jace felt better knowing. But is Cambri going to head back to North Carolina or will she stay in Bridger?
Cambri  decides to fix her fathers yard before she leaves and Jace ends up being a huge help! Jace’s sister Lydia is a huge help in this fun loving story. If you want to know how things turn out for Jace and Cambri you must read Righting a Wong. I simply enjoyed the dynamic with Cambri and her father and with the people of Bridger. It is a delightful read not to be missed. I am eager to read Lydia’s story next. The Ripple Effect series is addicting!

Chellz Review~
I am loving this series!!!!   In Righting a Wrong, we continue with the story of Jace from Silver Linings.  We learn that there is so much more to Jace and his past.  Cambri Blaine comes back to take care of her father after he suffered a heart attack.  There is such history between Cambri and Jace, and we get to enjoy both sides of what transpired.  This is a great continuation with an appearance from Drew and Eden as well.  I am looking forward to the next ripple.

Jewelz Review~
Another great installment in the Ripple Effect Romance Series! Righting a Wrong tells the story of Jace, who we met in Silver Linings, finding his happy ending. Cambri returns home to Bridger, CO after her father has suffered a heart attack. She hasn't been home for six years and hasn't been in touch with her father or her best friend, Jace, that whole time. Coming back to Bridger opens up old wounds, but sometimes you have to open up a wound in order to clean it out so that it can heal.

Cambri and her father are so fun to read about - they are both so very stubborn and I love his funny little minced oaths and how she gets so exasperated with him. Her relationship with Jace is a little hit-and-miss to begin with. Because of how things were left when she moved away they are a bit awkward around each other. However, in a small town like Bridger, it's impossible for them to avoid one another and they finally manage to address their past and move forward.

Cambri is such a "typical" woman. I love it! She doesn't want to be told what to do, or that her choice is wrong, but she wants Jace to tell her to stay. Poor Jace - like so many guys he almost doesn't have a chance because of the no-win situation she puts him in. Thank goodness for Jace's sister Lydia who manages to bring them back together. I'm looking forward to reading Lydia's story next!

FYI ~ This is a clean read, clean language and nothing more intimate than some toe-curling kisses
Honest Disclosure ~ we received ebook copies in exchange for our honest reviewz

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review - Fortune Cookie by Josie Kilpack

Fortune Cookie Tour

  Fortune Cookie
Fortune Cookie 
Sadie Hoffmiller has always liked things to be just so. A place for everything and everything in its place. Order over chaos. And of all things Sadie should be able to control, her own wedding is at the top of the list. With the big day just three weeks away, Sadie is busily adding the final touches to her wedding plans but the arrival of a mysterious letter from San Francisco changes everything. The only person Sadie knows in San Francisco is her older sister, Wendy, whom she hasn’t seen since their mother’s funeral nearly fifteen years ago. Sadie has faced off against murderers and criminals in recent years, yet the possibility of reconnecting with her sister is both overwhelming and frightening. Sadie soon discovers, however, that the letter is just the beginning when Wendy’s world turns out to be a place of unanswered questions, twisted truths, and more than one person with a motive for murder. The more Sadie digs into her sister’s past, the more she places her own future at risk.

Culinary Mysteries

Author Josi S. Kilpack
Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.

Jewelz Review~
Fortune Cookie, by Josie Kilpack is the latest addition to the Culinary Mystery series. I absolutely love a good mystery - and this series is super fun because of the great recipes that are sprinkled throughout the books. Yum!

Sadie Hoffmiller is only a few weeks away from her wedding when she is contacted by her nephew Ji - whom she didnt' even know existed - and informed that her estranged sister, Wendy, has died. Sadie & Pete decide to fly to San Francisco in order to help clear out the apartment and make funeral arrangements. The circumstances around Wendy's death are suspicious and while Sadie is hoping to learn a bit about her sister's life, she instead finds herself trying to piece together the mystery of her death.

This was a delightful mystery with a gaggle of memerable characters. All of the tenants in Wendy's building along with Ji's family, and everyone else we meet along the way add spice to the storyline. I loved that while we knew from the beginning that something wasn't quite right about Wendy's death, the mystery was very gradually unwound. The relationship between Sadie & Pete went through some ups and downs that balanced out the stoy so it wasn't solely focused on the mystery of Wendy's death.

If you like mysteries - this is a great series and Fortune Cookie is a wonderful addition.

FYI - clean read: no mature language or content.

Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/30/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Best Girls Giveaway

BEST LAID PLANS (Book 3 of The Best Girls) is Now Available!

Anne Best, a 45-year-old widow, and her two daughters, Emily and Charlie, find adventure, laughter, and love when they move from Weatherford, Texas to New York City.

In HER BEST MATCH, Anne Best, veteran matchmaker, teams up with Gram to find a match for her new boss, and fights a growing attraction to him while she’s courted by a handsome playboy from France.

In BEST DATING RULES, Emily Best, who loves ballet, art and reading, tries to adhere to her strict household dating rules and hold her heart in check, but she’s thrown off-balance by her crazy attraction to Spencer, a handsome, athletic, outdoors enthusiast with the reputation of a player. But Spencer has a secret . . . He’s never kissed a girl!

In BEST LAID PLANS, Charlie Best denies her attraction for Josh for two years, until unforeseen circumstances force him to find a wife immediately. So Charlie sets out to help him find happiness in someone else’s arms. Soon almost everyone is plotting and planning at cross-purposes, trying to convince Josh whom he should marry, while a buxom nurse schemes to snag the handsome doctor for herself.

The Best Girls will make you laugh and cry and laugh again, while you follow your friends on their madcap adventures to the inevitable happy endings.

Author Tamie Dearen's Social Media Links

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Monday, April 14, 2014

An Unlikely Pair by Monya Clatyon


Setting: Coastal resort in Queensland, Australia.

Two people can hardly be more different. Jason Gillet, a ruthless businessman. To him money is the most important thing in the world. Lisa Forrest, a gentle, serious working girl to whom nothing is more important than trust.

She knows she isn’t pretty. Then why does he constantly seek her company? He can’t possibly be attracted to her as he claims. Is it because she is president of the local environment committee?  Does he want her to compromise her principles, get her on his side when his latest real estate development endangers an untouched wetland?

He learns too much about her for her own comfort. She knows nothing about him. And when she does discover the secrets of his past, they may be too much for a tender hearted woman to bear.


BIO – Monya Clayton

I decided to be a writer about a year after I learned to read. I was six. After many years, a little success and a lot of rejection, my first novel was published when I was sixty-one.

I married at eighteen, I’m a mother of four, grandmother of thirteen and great-grandmother of three (to date.) They’re all fascinating. How can so many people of the same bloodlines be so different?

Sometimes I housekeep. I have the excuses of arthritis and approaching age not to be too fussy about it. As one author answered when asked how she found time to write, “I let the dust win.” I prefer gardening anyway. There’s something therapeutic about pulling weeds.

We live in a small country town in Queensland, Australia. Hubby is the most talented man with his hands I’ve ever met. He built our home, fixes our car, and makes clocks. He reads science and motoring magazines, never fiction. Opposites must attract.

I visit art shows with my eldest granddaughter. I don’t have any talent in that direction, but several of my female descendants do. They inherited it from my mother, who discovered at the age of sixty-two she was an artist. Na├»ve style: think Grandma Moses. I like poking about in opportunity (charity) shops, at markets and garage sales. I’ve started giving things away, though. The house won’t hold any more. Books, of course, are a different matter. Hubby has a big shed, and when it overflows, he builds another extension. My books have sneaked out of my “library” into boxes and corners all over the house.

My reading: eclectic. A good story above all. Non-fiction: I finished school before I was fifteen and accidentally educated myself by means of that voracious love of books.

Listening: Mozart, a favourite CD called Classic Chill (very restful to the soul), and sentimental stuff; think Mancini.
Watching: not much T.V. Comedies, love a good laugh. Documentaries. Only crime show I’m keen on is “Elementary”. To each his own. (For someone born into the pragmatic society of working-class Australia, I come across like what Georgette Heyer calls a blue-stocking. I’m not. I have the soul of a housewife after all. A girlfriend and I went to the Bolshoi ballet about 20 years ago when they visited Oz, and I worried the entire night about a big black blob on the stage.)  Some movies. To each her own again. Haven’t been in a theatre since 1991, hubby has hearing aids and can’t handle the noise. Last one we saw on a big screen was Kenneth Branagh’s “Henry The Fifth.”

Favourite activity: attending local writers’ group. In this small town twelve people turned up to our first meeting. Three are published plus two more are self-published. Some of the members are also in the photographers’ group. Not me, I cut people’s heads off when I take their pictures. And in those overlapping small groups are two people born in England who have lived in Africa! And two of the ladies named their daughters Fleur, long before they knew each other. It’s a small world. Oh, and another lady is one I went to school with in my home town. Very small world.

A few years ago the writers group produced a C.D. of our stories and poems entitled, “17 Things You Must Read Before CDs Become Obsolete.” And for the last two years have scripted and produced plays for Country Week in October. It’s all happening way out here, I tell you!

by Monya  Clayton

Jason turned to face her. “So much for trust. What’s your problem with Finch Creek? Any endangered species?”

“No. None that we know of.” Lisa swallowed and met his eyes, light grey in the darkness. “It’s just that the area is one of the few that haven’t been touched by farming or development. It’s a water-bird and amphibian habitat.” She drew a deep breath of sea air. “Jason, what do you intend to do there?”

“Don’t worry before you have to. I only bought it because the land was comparatively cheap. Right now I have no plans for it. But down the track I can see a marina. It joins onto the main river.”

She shook her head. “Before you build, a full environmental impact study must be done.”

“Listen, Lisa. The Coast population is growing all the time. There’s no way that land will stay untouched.” His voice was hard. Perhaps it was unconsciously that he pressed her fingers more tightly to his arm.

“It must. It can.” And then, “I – we – are bound to oppose you on that.”

“Going to tell the committee, are you?”

She shook her head. “It doesn’t seem right to use information I’ve gained by accident.” She gazed at him, not knowing how large her dark eyes looked in the faint light of the moon. “But the problem now is that I do know.”

“And you’d use the information against me?” His voice was harsh, yet he still held her arm.

“Not against you personally. But against development, when we learn officially what form it will take. I’d have no choice.” Her glasses misted; it must be the sea spray. “It’s testing our friendship early, isn’t it? Developer against greenie. Can we survive it?”

“I said we could, if we act like mature people.” He patted her arm this time. “Maybe you’re right about trust. Maybe this is where it starts.”

Behind him, two shadows crept forward, out from the darkness under a she-oak. They were teenagers, boys in old clothes, one tall and thin, the other stocky. Jason looked at her face then turned slowly around. He freed her fingers from his arm as he moved. He didn’t seem surprised.

The lanky one spoke. “Come over here out of the light, mister, or we throw this at your girlfriend.”

This was a long bladed kitchen knife. The other boy pointed a shorter model in their direction. Lisa gasped, almost screamed. She pressed both hands to her mouth to choke it back.

Jason seemed to freeze for a second. Then he ordered her softly, “Do nothing, unless I tell you.”

She whispered, “Don’t…” But he had already taken a step toward them.

He studied them briefly. “I suppose you want my wallet.”

“Yeah,” snarled the thin boy. “Walk this way slow and chuck it under the tree. Her purse, too.” He swished the knife through the air. “And don’t yell or nothing.”

“She doesn’t have any money in her purse.” Jason sauntered toward them as he spoke, reaching for his hip pocket. Then, before the movement was complete, he suddenly charged forward, turned sideways and thrust his shoulder into the boy’s chest.

The impact jarred the knife from the boy’s hand and knocked him backward. Even as he toppled, Jason seized his arm and shoved him at his partner. The shorter boy wobbled on his feet, swore, and swiped his knife in Jason’s direction.

Jason dropped to one knee and the knife passed harmlessly over his head. Then he surged back to his feet and deliberately kicked his attacker in the groin. The boy screeched, doubled up, and the knife fell. Jason kicked it away.

The taller one was back on his feet. He scrabbled in the grass and retrieved his own weapon.

Lisa screamed in earnest, but Jason had seen. He stepped up to the boy, lunged sideways, then brought the edge of his hand down on the other’s in a vicious chop. His victim cried out, grabbed at his arm, and the knife hit the ground again.

Jason planted his shoe on the blade. He breathed hard. His voice cut like a whiplash. “Get back to your squat. I won’t call the police this time. But I’ve seen your faces and I won’t forget them.” He moved forward, pushed both boys onto the footpath. “I said, get going!”

They did, the thin one stumbling, holding his wrist, and the other still crouched and groaning. Jason watched them until they were only shapes that weaved southward along the esplanade. When they’d disappeared he went back to Lisa.

“You all right?” he asked curtly.

The whole episode had lasted only a few minutes. Lisa stood shocked for a second, then clenched her fingers on Jason’s forearm. “You shouldn’t have taken such a risk!”

“If there’d been any risk I’d have given them my wallet. But those two were amateurs.” His eyes narrowed as he felt her hands shake. He wrapped his arms loosely around her shoulders. “Frightened? Nothing like that ever happened to you before?”

“No.” Lisa’s hands moved up to clutch the front of his shirt. “But I was more afraid you’d be stabbed, hurt, than anything else.” She shivered. “And I didn’t help. I was useless.”

“You’d only have been in the way.” Still, he held her closer.

Lisa dropped her arms to hug his waist and pressed her head into his shoulder. After a few moments she no longer trembled, though she stayed where she was. Jason’s body was solid, comfortable, and his heart beat steadily under her ear. It was nice to be held. She felt safe. Jason, for all his hardness, she could trust not to hurt her. She felt his square hand touch her hair, stroke it… then lift away.

“This is very pleasant. But it’s for the wrong reasons.” He took her upper arms and held her away from him. “I’ll take you home.”

She lifted her chin. “I didn’t mean to cling.” She straightened her glasses on her nose.

“It was a natural reaction to fright.” He shrugged. “And you’re a woman and I’m a man, so it felt good. That’s all.” He turned away and backtracked a couple of steps, searched briefly until the found the two knives the boys had dropped. He shoved them into a trouser pocket. Then he cupped her elbow and guided her back along the footpath.

On the esplanade pavement, out from under the palm trees, Lisa blinked at the bright lights and strolling people. She felt disoriented, as if she had been to a foreign place and now returned. Jason pushed the knives into a locked rubbish bin, and she saw his profile. His face was set into its mask.

They walked to his car in silence, and she felt heat rise in her cheeks. Had she disgusted him? First she had acted like a coward and then cuddled him like a child. And holding her lumpy body couldn’t really have been pleasant for him. Desperate to defuse the tension, she said the first thing that came into her head.

“Those boys – you told them to go back to their squat. Do you know them?”

“No,” he answered shortly. “But they were street kids.” He unlocked the car and held the door for her.

Lisa climbed in, looked up at him. “How could you tell?”

He stalked around to the driver’s side and dropped heavily into his seat. He stared ahead through the windscreen. “I know. Their clothes, their smell, the look in their eyes. Everything.” His hands fisted on the rim of the steering wheel. “I was one of them, once.”