Rhonda Laurel is my guest today with news of her hot-off-the-presses novel, The Blake Legacy. So settle in with your glass of holiday eggnog for an excerpt from the book and don't forget to enter the giveaways!
The Blake Legacy (Book 4 in The Blake Boys series)
See the book trailer and buy the novel at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble and ARe
NFL quarterback Seth Blake is having an unbelievable hot streak—he’s won his third Super Bowl title the same day his wife Morgan gave birth to their son. Life couldn’t be better for the new father and MVP. His contract with the Philadelphia Titans expires in a year, giving him a chance to make a professional dream come true: to play in his home state for the Texas Wildcats and return to his much-missed Twelve Horseshoes Ranch—this time, for good.
Morgan Reed-Blake has never been happier. She’s got the best husband, the cutest baby, and she’s successfully juggling career and family. Her bookstore is expanding, her charitable organization is growing, and she’s been offered her dream job on the literacy council. Everything in her Philadelphia world is coming up roses. Until Seth’s contract with the Titans expires, and his dream of returning home comes close enough to touch…and the powers that be in Texas start romancing Seth in earnest. Morgan and Seth both have dreams. But a choice has to be made…
As soon as Seth stepped into the crowded amphitheater, his team began chanting their battle cry. Cameras started flashing and reporters fired questions at him from around the room. He moved toward the stage and was greeted by his good friend and team mate Patton Hawkes. Patton gave him a hug and took a seat next to Seth at the center table.
“Seth, how’s your wife?” a reporter yelled from the back of the room.
“She’s fine. The baby’s fine. I couldn’t ask for a better day than this.” Seth ran a hand over his face.
“Boy or girl?” someone else shouted.
“A boy. His name is Seth Jacob Blake Jr. And before anyone asks, he will be a quarterback.” Seth grinned and winked.
The room erupted in laughter. Technical questions about the game began to flow, and he was grateful he could answer on autopilot. He congratulated the team and reinforced the group effort involved to win, thanking each of them for playing their best. Everyone agreed that his fifty-five yard pass to Lamont to score the winning touchdown was the greatest play of the game.
“How does it feel to achieve three Super Bowl wins in a row, something no team has ever achieved before?” The million-dollar question came from the back of the room.
Seth tugged on his ear. “It feels great, but it’s also a humbling experience. This achievement shows how dedicated every player was on the team to doing our jobs, and in the process we made a little football history.”
“Being three time MVP ain’t bad either, is it?”
The crowd roared.
“The honor of being named MVP is never to be taken lightly, and I have much respect for it. Somebody thought I was doing something right, and I appreciate that. But if I didn’t work with exceptional people, there would be no title.”
“Seth, what were you thinking when you threw the ball to Lamont?” a sports reporter for Sports Now yelled out.
“I was thinking, Lamont, if you never catch another pass I throw you, this is the one you should catch.” Seth laughed.
“Were you aware your wife was in labor during the game?”
“No. She told my family that under no circumstances was anyone allowed to tell me she was in labor until the game was over.” He shook his head, smiling.
Patton grabbed the microphone off the stand in front of him. “And before anyone asks, I am the godfather to his son.”
There was rumbling among the team about why Patton should have the honor. Seth covered his mic with his hand, leaned over, and whispered to Patton, “Thanks, man.”
“They’ll get over it,” Patton spoke into his microphone.
Damn. The rumblings grew louder. Seth had to defuse the situation before it blew up in his face. “Our wives are good friends. Nina was always there to help Morgan during the pregnancy.”
His teammates kept grumbling but gradually went quiet, and Seth tried not to wipe sweat off his brow. Questions about the game resumed, and Seth fired off responses as quickly as he could, anxious to get back to his family. He didn’t want to miss a minute of the first day of his son’s life. He did his best to be polite, but after forty-five minutes, he informed everyone he was headed back upstairs. After a brief conversation with Daniel and his agent, Luke, Seth slipped out a side door and headed for the elevator.
“Great game today,” a familiar voice said from the direction of the reception area.
Seth turned to see T.K. Holbrook, a friend of his father’s and one of the richest men in Texas. T.K. was also the owner of the football team the Texas Tomcats. T.K. had courted Seth throughout his football career to play for him, but timing was never on their side.
“Thanks, T.K.” Seth shook his hand.
“And congratulations on your baby boy. John Jacob let me get a peek at him; he’s a handsome little devil. I see a Super Bowl in his future.”
Seth laughed. “I’m hopeful.”
“If he does, then maybe a Blake will finally play for the Tomcats.” T.K. winked at him.
The elevator door opened, and Seth held out his hand to keep it ajar.
T.K. hitched up his pants. “I knew you could do it. I knew you would take the Titans to glory when you signed that contract. I regret I couldn’t get to you first.”
“Well, the timing wasn’t right. Things seemed to have fallen into place for a reason.” Seth smiled.
T.K. nodded at Seth’s sentiment. “You’ve given them three Super Bowl wins. I knew you were a champion the first time I saw you play in grade school. Your father and I would talk about that all the time when you were a boy. We both knew you’d be in the Hall of Fame one day.”
“It’s a little early for that. But everything I’ve done in my career was to work toward being an exemplary player and to make my family proud.” Seth held out his hand again when the elevator door began making a jerking movement.
“Well, you’ve definitely done that. Listen, I know you want to get back to your family. Congratulations again.”
“Thank you for stopping by, T.K. I appreciate it.” Seth nodded.
“Your contract with the Titans is up in a year, right?” T.K. rubbed his chin.
Seth had to think about it for a moment. There had been so much going on he’d forgotten about his expiring contract. “Yes,” Seth said as he stepped inside the elevator.
T.K. smiled and tipped his hat.
The elevator doors closed, leaving Seth alone to process T.K’s surprise visit. A few years ago the possibility of playing in Texas would have been his biggest dream come true.
The elevator opened again, and he was surprised to see the corridor leading to Morgan’s room empty. Seth gently opened the door to her room to find her nursing the baby.
Morgan looked up when he walked in. “We were just talking about you.”
“Is that right?” Seth sat on the bed and caressed her cheek.
“I was telling Jake about what a great game his dad played today.”
“Jake? That’s a nice nickname.”
“It was not my idea. The family got together and decided that S.J. sounded pretentious. Your father said he looked like a Jake. After that decision was made, they shifted to where he would go to college. I kicked everyone out.” Morgan flashed a cheesy smile.
Seth shook his head. “You didn’t.”
“I love them all, but they were driving me crazy. I threatened to institute a demerit system on visitation tomorrow. How did the press conference go?”
“I told everyone you were holding the next Blake quarterback in your arms.”
Morgan giggled. “No pressure on your son at all. Your dad brought in this man he said was an old friend of the family. His name was T.K. Holbrook. Did you see him?”
“I ran into him downstairs.” Seth moved her bangs out of her eyes for her. Her hands were a bit full after all.
“Good. He seemed anxious to talk to you. I got the feeling it was about more than a congratulatory chat. What did he say?” Morgan furrowed her eyebrows.
“He wanted to congratulate me on the baby and the win today.”
The sound of Jake’s suckling noises echoed through the room.
Seth couldn’t help but grin. “Boy is he hungry.”
“He’s going to have your big appetite.”
Seth kept watching, entranced. Morgan had to cough to bring his attention back to her face.
“You do know my breasts won’t remain this size?”
He smirked. “They might.”
“Well, if I go back down to my normal cup size, maybe you’ll start looking me in the face again.” Morgan arched her eyebrow.
Seth held his hand to his chest, feigning indignation. “I beg your pardon. I was just admiring the luscious view.”
“Well, I got a spare tire to go with the bigger boobs.” She groaned.
“Morgan Blake, you are beautiful, right now, just the way you are.” Seth kissed her tenderly on the lips.
Check out Rhonda's Giveaways:
The Blake Legacy Trivia Giveaway (11/15 – 12/15, Winner announced 12/16)
The Blake Legacy Unofficial Street Team Swag Giveaway (11/15 – 12/15, Winner announced 12/16)
Thanks for stopping by, Rhonda!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
The holiday season is just around the corner--and next week we'll all be braving the grocery stores to buy ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm making our traditional feast: butternut squash-chestnut risotto, Grand Marnier cranberry sauce, steamed green beans and almond cake for dessert. Talking about food is a great way to get in the holiday mood, but another great way is to start reading some good stories set during the holidays. Today I'm hosting Sharon Kleve and Jennifer Connor on their rounds of For the Love of Our Furry Friends Christmas Blog Tour. Of course, there's raffle with great prizes (scroll to the end for the details).
Book Title: Brenda’s Christmas Desire (Book two in the Dreams Come True Series)
Author: Sharon Kleve
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Genre: Contemporary Christmas Romance
Release Date: 11.20.2013
Length: 50 pages
Heat Rating: Sweet
Like any child Brenda Howser loved Christmas until her parents were killed by a drunk driver during their annual shopping trip. Brenda went to live with her aunt, who blamed their death on everything that represented Christmas; the gifts, the tree, and all the decorations. The festivities' Brenda once cherished became something she dreaded under the shadow of her parents death. She lived in fear of something happening to the people she loved during Christmas. Christmas approaches and Brenda has to decide if she’s going to let the past hold her prisoner for another year or if she can finally enjoy what Christmas used to mean to her—love.
DEA agent, John Smith knows the significance of December fifteenth to Brenda, but when the head of the Nuevo Cartel escapes federal prison he's forced to let her face the day without him, but not quite alone. Can Daisy, a golden Labrador puppy, a huge sale on decorations at the hardware store, and a gift from her aunt restore her love of Christmas?
The weather forecast for the Western Washington area, specifically North Seattle, predicted a good five-to-six inches of snow. Brenda Houser watched the flakes float like cotton balls from the sky as she dipped a tortilla chip into a bowl of thick and chunky salsa and popped the morsel into her mouth.
Her boss, Corny Myers, tapped her pencil on Brenda's reception desk to the beat of The Little Drummer Boy, which streamed from the Green Hornet Investigations Bose speakers.
"Hey, Brenda. I have bad eating habits but I've never started the day with chips and salsa. What's up?" Corny asked.
"You know how I feel about all the holiday hoopla. I'd rather stick my head in the sand and pull it back out in January."
"Do you really think Mexican food is going to make you feel better?"
"Probably not, but a couple margaritas might help."
Sharon Kleve was born and raised in Washington and currently lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her husband. Sharon is a writer of paranormal and contemporary romance. She loves romance. She loves reading romance, living romance, and especially loves writing about romance. She gets no greater feeling than watching her characters come alive in each other's arms. Most of all, she loves giving her characters the happily ever after they deserve—with a few bumps and bruises along the way. One of her favorite things to do is picking up a new book and sinking into the story, immersing herself in the emotions between the characters. She hopes to inspire her readers the same way her favorite authors have inspired her. When not writing, she can usually be found either curled up in her recliner with her cat and a good book, or in the kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels.
Book Title: Central Bark At Christmas (Book one in the Dog Tails Series)
Author: Jennifer Conner
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Christmas Romance
Release Date: 11.09.2013
Length: 50 pages
Heat Rating: Sweet
When Tennyson’s boyfriend left her for her best friend from high-school, all Tennyson received in the break up was her dog. She’s sworn off men and now is rebuilding her life. The only thing Par does is work. He barely has time to do anything he wants for himself other than take his dog to the dog park. When Par and Tennyson find an abandoned dog at the park named Duke. Will they find room in their hearts to take him in? And can this Christmas season weave some special magic for the two of them?
“I’m happy this wasn’t your worst date ever, because I had a great time.” He lifted her chin with the tips of his finger. Slowly he lowered his head until she thought she would die of anticipation. He clamped his hands to her waist and gazed into her eyes. “You’re so beautiful…” There was depth and sincerity in the tone of his voice. She felt special. Desired. He dropped his head and kissed her.
Gentle at first and then deep. She couldn’t breathe. He’d sucked all the air from her lungs, but there was no way she wanted him to stop. As she brushed his firm lips to hers, she relished the feel of her blood simmering in her veins. Par slid his fingers through her long hair to cradle and position her head to kiss her even more thoroughly.
His lips pulled away from hers and he stepped back. She reached for the roof of the car to steady herself. Oh. My. God… could this man kiss.
“Not bad for a first date,” he whispered and then kissed her gently again.
Okay… so it was a date. After that kiss it turned into an ‘official date’ and she had no regrets at all.
--> Book Title: Christmas Gift That Keeps Wagging (Book two in the Dog Tails Series)
Author: Jennifer Conner
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Christmas Romance
Release Date: 11.06.2013
Length: 50 pages
Heat Rating: Sweet
Julian Barrows has his hands full working full time and being a single dad to his kindergarten, special needs son, Gabe. Gabe’s teacher convinces Julian he doesn’t need to do everything on his own and introduces him to a seizure dog trainer, Hanna Acker. Hanna and her sister grew up without any ‘Christmas Cheer’. She’s trying to get her sister through college and doesn’t have time to let anyone too close, especially the handsome single dad with a kid. But, Christmas has a way of changing what we thought we wanted… especially when Santa and an adorable four-legged ‘elf’ are involved.
“What’s this?” Hanna asked, as she ran a hand over the grocery bag wrapping paper.
Julian took her coat and hung it by the door so she could follow Gabe into the living room.
“Daddy saw this in a store window and said that we had to get it for you. Open it!” Gabe said. “I wrapped it myself,” he added proudly.
“But it’s not Christmas.”
“No. This is a before Christmas gift. You have to open it now.”
She pulled off a half-pound of scotch tape and finally the paper fell away. Hanna stared at the gift in disbelief. “A Christmas sock… with my name on it.”
Julian came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. “You told me that you’d never had a Christmas stocking of your own when you were growing up. Gabe knew Santa wouldn’t know where you were if you didn’t have you sock hung somewhere.” He winked. “So you needed it.”
“You can take it to your home or you can hang it here!” Gabe shouted almost tripping over Cody.
Jennifer Conner is a best-selling Northwest author who has over thirty short stories on ebook and three full-length books in print. She writes in Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance, and Erotica. Shot in the Dark hit Amazon at #1 in Romantic Suspense and Christmas Chaos was #2 in the Romance category. Her novel Shot in the Dark was a finalist in the Emerald City Opener, Cleveland, and Toronto RWA contests. Jennifer is an Associate Publisher for the indie e-book company Books to Go Now that resides in the Seattle area. Books to Go Now offers professional editing, cover design, multiple book format file creation, and most important--publicity. Their staff works to help make our author books a success one book at a time. She lives in a hundred year old house that she grew up in. Her semi- small town holds an interesting mix of resident hillbillies, yuppies and Navy Seals. And of course Seattle, only a few miles away, is the birthplace of Starbucks so coffee is always on the check list. She blows glass beads with a blow torch, (which relieves a lot of stress and people don't bother you).
Rafflecopter Giveaway Prizes:
• One (1) Winner will receive a $25 gift card to a book seller of their choice
• One (1) Winner will receive Sharon Kleve’s Book one and two of the Dreams Come True Series.
• One (1) Winner will receive Jennifer Conner’s Book one and two of the Dog Tails Series.
Click here to enter. And a happy furry holidays to you all!
Saturday, November 23, 2013
This month in my column at the Erotic Readers and Writers Association blog, I talk about "The Myth of Immortal Prose." Back when I first started writing, a workshop leader's highest praise was to say that a story was "writing that will last." But how many published books actually do last and why? Let me know what you think!
Thursday, November 07, 2013
I wanted to post the photo from last night's erotica reading at the Vibrator Museum at the Good Vibrations store on Polk Street. This standing-room-only event was a celebration for Rachel Kramer Bussel's latest anthology, The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories, and included nine different writers reading their own short-short stories. All were well-written, fascinating, and most of all HOT. I felt really blessed to be part of such a courageous, talented community. Do check out The Big Book of Orgasms. It's erotica at its best--an array of bonbons for every taste! (With Virgie Tovar, Sinclair Sexsmith, Xan West, Jade A. Waters, Malin James, yours truly in the horizontal stripes, B.D. Swain, Rachel and Lily K. Cho.)