Welcome to The Romance Reviews first post-Apocalyptic post!
I, for one, can’t say I’m complaining.Because I was realizing today as I
heard everyone cracking jokes about The End Times that there were still things
to do!People to meet!And, honestly, I think we can all
agree—more books to read! Especially now.Because a few months back, I had the insane good fortune to be named an
What, precisely, is
an Avon Addict?Well, the official
A special program designed for die-hard romantics, who are
treated to a monthly package of reading-related happiness: book swag, author
goodies and most importantly, copies of some of Avon’s great books and upcoming
releases.There’s also an unspoken
law that states that the packages always seem to appear on rainy, grumpy days,
and immediately make everything right again.
In truth, it also means that I have met some of the
smartest, most supportive and most enthusiastic readers I could have hoped to
encounter.A group of ladies who
refer to characters as if they were family, and whose energy and insight make
this program so much more than about the books.I’m having a blast during my tenure as an Addict, and part
of this blog hop is to share that fun with you!
Thus, with these sensational new books arriving, I have a
whole new list of reasons for the world to go on spinning.I’d love to hear what is one everyone
else’s Reading List for 2013, Post-Apocalypse Vacation, or otherwise.Here’s mine!
One Good Earl Deserves Another, Sarah MacLean
Sarah MacLean has been a favorite author of mine for years
(ever since I found out we are alumni of the same college, which I share at
every occasion), and her first Rule of Scoundrels Book, A Rogue By Any Other Name was one of my very favorite reads of 2012.Now, we have the treat of reading about
Penelope’s younger sister, Philippa, a brilliant young woman who is about to
settle into a quiet, complacent and thoroughly respectable marriage…but before
that she is going to spend the next two weeks to experience all the life she
will be missing, and with none other than the secretive and seductive Cross,
creating a touching romance, and a chemistry that is utterly incendiary.
Wild About You, Kerrelyn Sparks
I have no good excuse for why I haven’t read Kerrelyn Sparks’
works until now.On the one hand,
I am realizing now that I’ve been deprived of a wonderfully funny, charming
voice in the world of romance, but on the other, it’s such a treat to begin
here, with the story of the shapeshifter Howard and his utterly adoration of
Elsa, the star of a home-improvement show whose skill with a sledgehammer is
unparalleled.Sparks has a rare
talent for making swoon-worthy romance and giggle-out-loud sarcasm go hand in
hand, and this book has made me an eager, if somewhat belated, fan of the Love
at Stake books—and with twelve other books in the series before this one, I’m
rather pleased by the amount of catching-up I get to do.
Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman, J.B. Lynn
This is one of the terrific perks of being an Addict.I don’t think I would ever have picked
up J.B. Lynn’s series by myself, but when this book, and the second in the
series, Further Confessions of a Slightly
Neurotic Hitwoman arrived in my package, I realized I was missing out on an
author with genuine talent and imagination.Anyone who thinks their family is a little crazy needs to
meet Maggie Lee and her more than memorable aunts; add to that her ability to
hear her pets speak and her under-the-table job as a hitwoman to help her
orphaned niece, and you have the perfect recipe for combating the winter doldrums.
Hope you find some inspiration in these titles, and be sure
to share yours, as well!
There are books available to two lucky commenters:
I'm a planner at heart. Not only do I like to make a plan, but I also like to announce my plans so I can't back out of doing whatever it was I said I'd do. But we all know life doesn't always unfold as planned. When I was younger, I thought I had my life all laid out. School, work, etc. It all seemed so easy. On paper.
Here are a some examples of my plans and how they worked out, uh, not on paper:
The plan: Marry somewhere around twenty-five, first kid by twenty-eight, done having kids by my early thirties.
The reality: At the age of thirty-two, I married a man with two children from his previous marriage and raised them as my own.
The plan: To become super-business-woman like Tess McGill in Working Girl and live the big city dream with Harrison Ford.
The reality: I stumbled into a career I didn't even know existed when I was in my twenties and married a small-town guy from the south who bears a striking resemblance to Sherriff Woody from Toy Story.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. At. All. Although my life has taken a different path than the one I envisioned when I was a young adult, I have no regrets. So far, it's been pretty darn awesome. That realization got me thinking about how lucky I was to have the nerve to jump out of line.
By letting go of 'The Plan', I lived my life instead of programming it.
The conflict between dreams and reality is a central theme in most of my novels. In Contentment, Tracy Sullivan almost flushes her idyllic life down the toilet because she can't let go of her old dreams. Commitment was the story of Maggie McCann, a woman who discovers unanticipated happiness in a change of plan. Spring Chickens focuses on a couple brave enough to take a chance on a second chance at happiness. Even my paranormal romances, Paramourand its sequel Inamorata, feature characters who must learn to let go of the past in order to move forward.
Was it my plan to weave a common theme through every novel I've written thus far?
*snort* Not at all.
As a matter of fact, I didn't even realize that I had until I was explaining the premise of one of the books to an acquaintance. How cool is that?
Tell me, what plans have you changed when the prospect for something different came along?
My name is Jianne Carlo and I write erotic romance in a variety of genres - contemporary, military, paranormal, suspense, time-travel, and historical. I relish mixing genres and my latest release, Death Blow, Viking Vengeance II, is a Viking, paranormal suspense.
The history and culture of the Vikings have fascinated me forever, or so it seems. I became obsessed with Erikk the Red and Leif the lucky around the age of nine when I watched a BBC documentary on the two men. We had a Britannia encyclopedia set at the time and I immediately began researching the two warrior-adventurers.
What I love most about the culture of the Norse is the amazing almost-equality of their females. A wife could actually divorce her own husband. She could own lands. Compared to other cultures during the period the Vikings ruled the seaways, the rights of Norse women were vast indeed. With the exception of Iceland, the main privilege women didn't have was that of voting in Viking law gatherings.
It seems obvious to me this near equality between males and females seeped into the culture via Norse mythology. Think of one small part of the legends – the jötunn goddess, female giantesses who were incredibly strong physically and powerful in their own rights. One tale particularly intrigued me - that of the Rán, consort of the sea-god Aegir, who used her net to capture mortal men for her own pleasure.
In Death Blow, Viking Vengeance II, the heroine Nyssa is a half-immortal, the daughter of the King of Moray and Rán.
Death Blow Blurb:
Can a mere Viking break the curse of a sea god?
Cursed by the sea-god Ægir to be burned at the stake, Lady Nyssa seeks the one man who can save her--the warrior who bears the mark of the Saracen. When she finds a Viking warrior wounded and senseless on a beach, she knows he is her savior. But Ægir's wrath extends to others in her life as well. He's killed her father and stepmother, turned her stepbrother into a mountain lion, and imprisoned her people. And worse, he's cursed any man who lays with her to have his manparts wither and die.
Konáll has traded coin a-plenty to gain a wife with lands, the daughter of the King of Moray. He expects a refined, comely, trainable damsel, not a doomed warrior princess with the strength of a giantess who cannot bear the touch of a man. But once he learns more about this woman who speaks to talking mountain cats and hides as a peasant among the rabble, he cannot deny his feelings. There's more than one way to breech a maidenhead, and if teaching her the ways of a woman's pleasure with a carved ivory dildo is what it takes to make her his, then he's more than happy to challenge the wrath of a god…
Here's an excerpt from Death Blow:
Once again he picked her up, turned her around, and brought them face to face. His eyes glittered like chips of frozen loch ice, deep blue and fathomless, and his lips thinned to a stubborn, grim line. "Lie to me and you will regret every breath you take for the rest of your life. I ask again, who are you?"
She lifted her chin and met his stare. "I am the lady Nyssa, heiress to Castle Carleah, daughter of Rán and Rurari. Do not test me, Viking, for not only am I of warrior size, I have the strength of my jötunn mother."
His gaze flickered from her shorn hair to the coarse garb 'borrowed' from a sleeping priest, to the tattered leggings, and her shoddy boots. "Though you be tall, you have naught the height for the daughter of a giantess."
Nyssa sneered. "How many jötunn goddesses know you?"
His jaw worked back and forth. He tightened his grip on her arms and she bit back a protest. "You will cease answering a question with a question."
She did not bother to hide her grin. "Pray tell, what question did you ask?"
"By Odin, you are insolent," he murmured so softly she had to strain to hear him. All at once the fierce frown he wore lifted and his lips curved.
Dread slithered across her nape.
"I have heard of a mark stamped on the lady Nyssa."
Her throat and face heated. "I have such a mark."
I will see it." He carried her to the cave's wall and pushed her back against the cold stone.
"Nay." She could barely think for the shame scalding her flesh and the musk-laden male scent of him filling her nose. "′Tis not your right to view."
"If you are who you say you are, then you are my betrothed, and I have such a right. Show me the mark. I tell you this once and once only." He dropped his hold on her and crossed his arms.
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Every writer is facing the "new" world of publishing which includes the e-reader world. I've often had readers ask me for copies of my first novels, but I couldn't provide them when they were out of print. With the books that rights have reverted, I now can. Suddenly writers and readers have been thrust into a digitalized world and there is a huge demand for ebooks.
When I set out to e-publish my re-releases, I thought I'd just have to learn about reformatting, nuclear pption, the style requirements of each digital publisher and finding an artist to develop a new cover. But after I uploaded my first two published novels whose plots revolved largely around a non-tech world (1992-93), I started reading the rest with a different eye. I decided to update them. The basic plots were still universal and, to my surprise, timely! But, of course, the technological advances were missing. When I wrote these books, cell phones weren't common. We were listening to tapes not CD's. We watched videotapes not DVD's. So I went through my reverted backlist titles with an eye to making those changes along with a few others I found along the way. A former English teacher can never stop editing.
ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE
This book has always been special to me for many reasons. The subject matter, a trauma make-up artist helping clients, was important to me. This novel takes place over the Christmas holidays which evokes emotionrich memories. Besides all that, this book that I believed in so completely had several lives.
ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE was originally bought by Meteor/Kismet and scheduled to be published. It was one of those books that turned me inside out when I was writing it. But Meteor never had the chance to publish it, although they bought it. The company folded. When I learned what was happening, I bought my rights back. I believed in this book that much. A few months later, Silhouette bought it to publish as a Special Edition. Years after it was published, readers would comment on or remember this book. So when I had the opportunity to get my rights reverted from Harlequin, I jumped on it. I indie-published all the other books with rights that reverted to me. But ABIGAIL was special so I decided to do something different with it. I sent it to Samhain to see if it would be accepted for their Retro Romance program. They liked the book and contracted for it.
I will be as excited to see it published again as I was the first time. I wanted to share its story with you because many of my readers might remember it. I wanted to share its story with you because this is one of those books that just keeps on giving...to me and to my readers.
(Ok, so this is the National Library of Austria, but I like to pretend my library looks like this...)
I saw an article in the USA Today this morning (say what
you will, but they are great with dealing with the romance market), where
favorite authors discussed the books that are on their Keeper Shelves.And having recently re-organized my book shelves
(they were about to declare mutiny!), I got to wondering, not only what I had
on my Keeper Shelf (Shelves!), but what exactly constituted a Keeper….
I think that the books we really love call to a part of
ourselves, either as readers or as individuals, and become a part of us, as
well. Some Keepers call to the most fundamental parts of you—the liver or
the skin, for example—while some call to the more subjective parts of what
makes you an individual—your eyes, your brain, your fingerprints.
Here were some of the titles I was pondering, but I’d love to hear some of
yours, as well!
Master of Darkness, Susan Sizemore
This was the first book I ever read from the “romance”
section of the library—while I had always been drawn to love stories, this was
the first time where that story was the primary focus of the book. In
this quirky, engrossing book, Eden Faveau, the newest generation of a family of
vampire hunters, mistakes Laurent for her vampire contact in a plot to bring
down Justinian, the nastiest and most powerful of the evil vampires in her
world. Laurent isn’t about to argue, as he has recently stolen
Justinian’s laptop and desperately needs the time and protect Eden unwittingly
offers in order to decrypt the information he needs. The bond between
these two is instantaneous, and their loyalty to each other never waivers, even
when the course of true love isn’t running particularly smoothly. Since
reading it, I’ve realized this book was a big break from the first three books
in this series, giving the villain a chance to redeem himself and doing so with
a lot more snarky humor and sense of the ridiculous than seen in the rest of the series (the memory of sun-struck
vampires building abstract art out of outdoor café furniture still makes me
giggle). Most of all, though, Laurent’s transformation from self-serving
castaway to Eden’s hero was a fantastic transformation. I still have a battered
old copy of this book on my keeper shelf and visit it like the old friend it’s
Kiss of Steel, Bec McMaster
A long standing love of steampunk led me to try this
book, and I ended up spending an entire day savoring every scene. Honoria
Todd is on the run, desperate to protect her siblings from the Duke of Vickers
and the ruling Echelon, and knows the Rookeries is the one place even he
wouldn’t dare pursue them. But safety means living under the constant
gaze of Blade, the shadowy master of Whitechapel, and the only creature to ever
stand up to the Echelon and live to tell the tale. As the two make a wary
alliance, Honoria realizes she may have at last found a person who won’t let
her down, while in this clever human, Blade may have found his own
salvation. While the love story in this book is one of overwhelming want
and passion and hunger, and my obvious love of tortured anti-heroes is
blatantly evident as usual, I think the most impressive thing is the world that
Bec McMasters created. The detail, imagination and history she gave to
her London made it a place I felt I knew as well as its storybook
inhabitants. This is a place of terrifying monsters and dark shadows,
where every choice has very real consequences, and in the midst of it, a hero
and heroine who will take any risk to save the one they love.
The Rhiannon’s Law Series, J.A. Saare
This is a bit more on the Urban Fantasy side of the
spectrum than some others, and, in my humble opinion, one of the most well-executed
series out there today.When I first
read Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between,
I knew within a few pages that J.A. Saare was very well aware of all the conventions
and expectations for Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy, had given them a
respectful nod, and then tossed them out the window.Rhiannon is a heroine who is tough as nails
and deeply scarred, and can also see the dead—and never tries to hide any part
of herself for anyone.Her lover, Disco
(best nickname ever), is as broody and mysterious as any vampire you could hope
to find, but I love the fact that he never tries to “save” Rhiannon—because she
never needs it.
Most of all, however, every book in this series has
floored me with its intensity, and with its authors courage.J.A. Saare has taken her stories to some dark
places, and forced her characters to confront their darkest fears in a way that
very few writers do, and while it doesn’t lead to a comfortable, happy ending,
these are the choices that set a series apart.For me, this isn’t just a fun, exciting or incredibly imaginative
series, which is definitely is; this is an example of beautiful, fearless
writing that pulls no punches and apologizes for nothing, which I love.
Lord of Fire, Gaelen Foley
I think I’ve mentioned this book before, but there’s no
getting around the fact that this book is my true love. After the first
few chapters, during which her sister-in-law does all she can to make Alice
Montague sound like the most 2-dimensional, virginal, naïve, goody-two-shoes
she possibly can, it was a wonderful surprise to see that Alice had strength,
determination and a drive to live a bigger, fuller life than the one she was
given. And it’s these characteristics draw our hero, Lucien, like a moth
to a flame. Having given his life and his honor to guarantee his twin
brother’s safety, Lucien had much of his confidence stolen from him when he was
captured and tortured by the French, and is slowly losing himself. Though
his scheming with Alice begins as a taunt and a challenge to her honor, it’s
obvious that they both desperately need each other, and that their love has a
chance to become the kind that comes rarely, even in novels. There’s
adventure and intrigue aplenty (and several surprising subplots with
wonderfully twisted villains), but when Lucien comes back to London, determined
to win Alice’s heart and ends up giving her his own instead, it simply doesn’t
get much better for me.
...So how about you? What are the books on your Keeper Shelf?
I began writing THE DOCTOR AND THE WAR WIDOW while simultaneously working on a very urban mystery. Initially, I thought THE DOCTOR AND THE WAR WIDOW would be a sweet diversion from the dark world I was creating as I wrote the mystery. The more I wrote, however, I realized that love is complex. So often there is no "sweet" romance.
What began as a light romance evolved into something much more complex. Abisi and Harley are mature lovers who meet through internet dating. They are both lonely people who have suffered multiple losses and have to look past their previous wounds before they can love again. My older lovers are victims of their pasts but also must overcome their fear of experiencing hurt anew. For Harley, the wounds are deep. Since her husband died ten years ago in Iraq, she has studiously avoided romance, and her mother's recent death has left her even more alone. She has friends who love her, but the hole in her heart can't be filled.
Abisi, too, is recovering from the death of his wife and the even more tragic death of his beloved son in war. His future with Harley is also endangered by an indiscreet romance he'd had with an unstable woman who threatens him and Harley. The unstable girlfriend plays a vital but tragic part in the couple's courtship and in the early days of their marriage.
For many of us finding love in later years, we often hang onto the baggage threatening to drag us down. My protagonists' love story reflects the doubts and fears many "mature" lovers face. We have pasts that cannot be erased, memories that still haunt us. Loving again means stepping out of the comfort zone, and leaving that safe sphere can be paralyzing. My characters must make radical changes before they can embrace the future.
As in all of my novels, setting plays an important role in THE DOCTOR AND THE WAR WIDOW. Harley and Abisi travel from New Orleans, where they currently reside, to London and then to Liverpool. Harley journeys to London with Abisi to meet his daughter and her future husband. Like the young lovers, Abisi and Harley are drawn to each other on a physical and emotional level, but unlike the younger couple, they come to each other with reservations and doubt. Romance blossoms as they travel the world, with the UK playing a vital role in the development of their love. It is on a day trip to Liverpool that Abisi proposes to Harley, but their journey doesn't end with marriage. Even after the I do's" have been uttered, they must learn to accept each other, rise above the hurts of the past, banish ghosts as well as madwomen from their lives, and change what kept them from achieving complete happiness.
Confession time: Every now and again, I like to get down and roll in the dirt with the gossip blogs about Hollywood stars and scandals. It's wickedly voyeuristic and just plain fascinating for any number of reasons.
The stars of Hollywood seem to live such totally different lives from mine – so far removed from the mindless nine-to-five, just to begin. Then there's the clothes and shoes and numerous black tie events they always seem to be attending, along with the hot and cold running limousines and champagne.
I'm quite, quite sure the reality is different. I've done enough research to know that being or aspiring to be an A-List actor requires a team of people and an investment of serious money, along with sponsors that include a make-up company, a fashion house that will supply the gowns for all the events, and a jewellery house. A dedicated personal trainer and dietician aren't luxuries, they're essentials, and a chef is an investment, not a perk.
And that's before the casting call.
Then there's the paparazzi.
Hollywood has a love-hate relationship with these professional freelance photographers. So do most professional athletes and any high profile public figure.
The name paparazzi was coined by the Italian director Frederico Fellini, who called the news photographer character in his film La Dolce Vita 'Paparazzo', which is the annoying sound of a buzzing mosquito. The idea of snapping photographs of stars out in public began in Italy in the 1950s, and the name "Papparazzo" for a single photographer stuck. Paparazzi is the plural.
While most laws in most countries do not prevent photographers from taking photographs of public figure in public places, and then selling those photos for profit, which is how the paparazzi earn their living, the getting of those photos is often the source of mild annoyance to extreme vexation for the stars who are the subject of the 'hunt'.
There is certainly no privacy for the subjects at all. There have been images of starlets with their legs spread as they climb out of cars – sans underwear – and pictures of stars shaving their heads; couples arguing in public and far more. The question is always…when is enough enough?
After the death of Diana, the former Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed, after being chased by paparazzi through the streets of Paris, there was an investigation and a series of legislations passed that further limited the activities of the paparazzi, preventing them from chasing public figures by car, etc.
Very popular stars, such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, will arrange decoys and mislead the paparazzi with false intelligence in order to leave their houses unmolested, while upcoming and new stars will court the "pap" and let themselves be photographed deliberately in order to gain more coverage.
But public figures by virtue of the fact that they are "public figures" have less expectations to privacy than the average private citizen. In most countries a public figure is a legal definition, and their rights to privacy are also defined…and considerably less than you and I get to enjoy. While many stars have sued the paparazzi for breaches and won, there are many more who have had to put up with the invasions and stalkings all so we can flip over to the blogs on a daily basis to see their images and marvel over the utterly different lifestyle they get to "enjoy".
It was this sort of hounding that I introduced in Blood Knot, along with the idea that Kate, a Hollywood figure, was trying to keep her life private.
Blood Stone is my 44th title and my ninth indie book.
Nial orders Calum Garrett to get close to Hollywood producer Kate Lindenstream. Garrett reluctantly complies for he has held himself apart from humans for centuries. Kate doesn't fall into Garrett's arms, either. She already has someone for that. Roman Xerus -- whom Kate knows as Adrian -- and Garrett go way back to the sixteenth century Scottish highlands, but they parted bitterly two hundred years ago.
With Roman's support, Kate battles Garrett in wills and business as he methodically forces himself into her life. However, on the closed-in movie set in the Californian desert, Garrett's calm, orderly world crumbles for Garrett is drawn to Kate. He has begins to experience real, human feelings.
Kate doesn't cooperate in the chess game Nial orchestrates, despite being unaware of the strategies swirling around her film set. Demanding and expecting only the best for her movie, Kate's agenda forces Roman and Garrett to work together to protect her and keep the humans around her ignorant of the Pro Libertatus, the anonymous and all-powerful vampire group who nearly killed Nial, Sebastian and Winter, and shield Kate from the excesses of the League for Humanity. But could Roman really be with the Pro Libertatus?
There's hidden intentions everywhere, and centuries of repressed feelings, along with at least two different groups that mean them harm. Then there's the rumours that Kate has found the mythical Blood Stone, the key to unlocking vampire history and lifting their curse. Who is Kate, really? Because once Garrett begins to notice, things about Kate don't quite add up, either...
"What do you get when you mix an accident-prone genie, a heartthrob pro football player and a talking phoenix? Judi Fennell's latest novel MAGIC GONE WILD! This novel is a zany and sexy magic carpet ride! ...A charming contemporary with a magical twist...It's a laugh out loud read with plenty of funky characters to help you enjoy the ride."
Every Time She Uses Magic Something Goes Terribly Wrong...
Vana wishes she hadn't dropped out of genie training. Now she's determined to get a grip on both her genie magic and her life. But the harder she tries to fix things for her intriguing new master, the more she drives him crazy...
Except There's Nothing Ever Wrong About Him...
Pro–football player Zane Harrison finally has control of the family estate and is determined to put to rest his grandfather's eccentric reputation. Until he discovers that behind all the rumors is a real, live genie who stirs feelings in him he's never known before. The more Zane tries to help Vana harness her powers, the more her madcap magic entangles his heart...
Let's hear more about MAGIC GONE WILD from author Judi Fennell:
Q: Hi Judi, thanks for dropping by! What's the inspiration for your series on genies?
A: A few years ago when I was shopping my Mer series to publishers, I'd wanted to have another series in mind in case Rod and Reel and their sisters didn't get picked up. It's always good to have more ideas in the works. So I thought about what I like to read or watch on TV and I always came back to the sitcoms of my childhood: Bewitched, The Addams Family, and I Dream of Jeannie. There were already a fair number of witch books, I couldn't figure out how to make Gomez Addams sexy (that doesn't mean I've stopped trying!), but not many people had done genies. And, seriously, was there any young girl who wasn't half in love with Major Anthony Nelson? That was a no-brainer.
When I started thinking about the first book, all I could hear was the Indiana Jones theme (and, yes, Harrison Ford might have had something to do with that--you do see Zane's last name, right?). So I decided the overall theme to the series would be "I Dream of Jeannie meets Indiana Jones." My publisher, editor and the director of sales loved it and, voila! The series was born.
Q: MAGIC GONE WILD promises to be hilarious with Vana, the genie who couldn't seem to get a grip on her magic. Do tell us more about her. What is it about her that drives Zane Harrison crazy?
A: I took your "drives Zane crazy" to mean what is it about her that makes him want her, and that's because Vana just wants to do a good job. She's a good person. Misunderstood – and misunderstands herself, but an all around good-hearted soul. Who bad things happen to. It frustrates her and confuses her, but she doesn't let it get her down. She believes that if she just works hard enough, things will work out for her. She tries. Really, she does. Zane admires that tenacity in her. He sees the goodness and realizes that her screw-ups that affect him and his family aren't done on purpose or with malice. He admires that in her because he'd spent the early part of his childhood being taunted and teased by mean-spirited people. It made it hard for him to trust people. So when he sees the goodness in her, he's drawn to it.
But if you're asking what makes him nuts about Vana, it's the screwy magic. Definitely the screwy magic that could undo all the good he's done with his family name. Oh, and Merlin. He could do without the gender-curious, cross-dressing phoenix who doesn't keep his beak shut.
Q: How fun! So, what about Zane? What makes Vana perfect for him and vice versa?
A: Zane accepts her for who she is. Sure, he's got to overcome the screwy magic—after coming to grips with the fact that she's a real life genie—but in the end, he loves her for who she is beneath the surface and beneath the magic. That's all Vana's ever wanted. She was always in her superstar twin sister's shadow. The screw-up to the superstar. To have Zane see the good person she is, the real person, well, that's all she's ever wanted. Not magic, not immortality, but someone to love her for who she is.
Q: Isn't that what we all want as well. Now, what's the most romantic thing that Zane did for Vana?
A: One of the first ones is the scene below. I loved writing this scene, first because it was fun, but also because it shows Zane coming to care for her. It would have been so easy for him to lose his temper and say horribly hurtful things to her, but he didn't. He knew what that would do to her, so he figured out another way to deal with the chaos. That thoughtfulness is just so sexy and romantic in a hero.
Q: Please share with us a favorite scene.
A: I think this scene is self-explanatory. :) Enjoy!
Zane was just about to step onto the porch when a paint can went sailing by.
Then the old rocking chair his mother used to sit in during the evenings.
Then a drop cloth. Two spindles that had rotted out and fallen onto the porch. Several old newspapers, an assortment of dead leaves, and a squirrel running in the opposite direction like a hamster on a wheel.
Zane now knew what that felt like.
And there was Vana, standing across from him on the other side of the spinning top, staring in horror.
He tried to keep a mirror image off his own face. The only way to fix this was for her to gain some control, and preventing her from panicking was the first step.
Zane grabbed the lintel above his head and leaned out over the whirling floorboards. "Something wrong?"
Her gaze shot to his. "You don't see it?"
He had to laugh. Either that or cry. "Oh I see it. It's the reason I haven't stepped out the door. Question is, what can you do about it?"
Zoe Adams has always been content with her quiet nights at home, watching TV alone-until her life turns into a real-life episode of Unsolved Mystery Hunters. The story of a kidnapped girl triggers unexplained memories, and Zoe is dead-set on figuring out why. Her search leads her to one of the Lone Star State's richest families-and to sexy PI Tyler Lopez.
Tyler has sworn off women, especially redheads with killer curves who poke their noses into his clients' private lives. Still, he can't deny the attraction any more than he can deny that some of Zoe's crazy story makes sense. But when she becomes a hit man's target, this cold case starts heating up. Suddenly, Tyler will do anything to protect Zoe-even risk his heart.
From author Christie Craig:
Ten Things You Will Learn from Blame it on Texas:
1. Guys don't like to play dress up; but when one willingly dresses as a clown for their six-year-old niece's birthday party—because the real clown canceled—he's one special uncle. And could possibly make a special hero for some lucky lady.
2.Sometimes, fear itself can do much more damage to us than the thing we're actually afraid of.
3.Any man who doesn't cuss up a blue streak when you dump a plate of hot grits on him can't be all bad. (In fact, he might just be The One.)
4.It's important to remember the lessons of the past so we can use them when making decisions for the future. But those lessons should never keep us from having the future we deserve.
5.Before accusing the sexy guy who pounced, knocked you down, and crawled on top of you of being foreplay impaired; check to see if someone is shooting at you.
6.The southern delicacy of a banana and mayonnaise sandwich may be an acquired taste, especially when a hungry hero chomps down on the delicacy and is expecting ham and cheese.
7.If you think getting caught screaming and dancing on top of a mattress—all while attempting to rescue your cat from an overzealous dog—can be slightly embarrassing, try doing it while you're wet from the shower, and as naked as a jay bird. Oh, and just to make it even more fun, make sure you're caught by your possible love interest who hasn't seen you naked yet, and . . . (yes it can get worse) his two best friends.
8.It's downright amazing how playing a few rounds of Strip Scrabble can spice up an evening.
9.A family doesn't always have to be the people who share your bloodline; sometimes, the best families are those we make when we gather together all the people we love.
10.Learning to trust yourself is usually a lot harder than trusting another person. But both are generally required before finding true love.
Hachette Book Group has very kindly offered 3 copies of BLAME IT ON TEXAS to 3 lucky winners! US/Canada only.
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