Friday, September 19, 2014

Review of WORTH THE FALL (The McKinney Brothers #1) by Claudia Connor


"Abby, take a breath. I like you. I like the kids. I like ice cream." - Matt McKinney

Worth The Fall
Series: The McKinney Brothers # 1
Author: Claudia Connor
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: September 9th, 2014
Source: publisher for review

Purchase Links: Amazon - B&N - iTunes
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Prepare to be swept away by a talented debut author with a passionate, powerful story to tell.

They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.

They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.

But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.


Worth the Fall is a beautifully emotional story that'll take your breath away. I was hooked from the first chapter and I couldn't put it down. I loved the characters. Matt and Abby are beautifully flawed. Matt has always wanted a family, but in a way, he believes he doesn't deserve one. He's made a promise to his fellow SEAL's, one that he can't break, especially after the death of someone close to him. He meets Abby and is immediately drawn to her. Not only does he want to be with her, but he wants to be there for her children. He has fallen in love with them just as quickly as he has fallen in love with her. Abby, on the other hand, is afraid to love. As she falls for Matt and watches her kids start to think of him as a father, she's afraid that it won't be enough for Matt. Abby is terrified that he'll leave just like everyone else in her life has. Abby and Matt desperately need each other, but each of them have their own fears that could keep them apart.

This book took me on one crazy emotional roller-coaster. The build-up, the crazy loops, and the happy ending... I loved it all. I loved how slowly Matt and Abby take their relationship at the beginning. Matt took the time to get to know each of her kids and it doesn't take long for him to start imaging them as his own children. I love that it didn't take long for them to connect and start acting like a family. With the first half of the book focused on the "getting to know you" stage, that meant the second half of the book was packed with the scary bits of any relationship, such as trying to figure out what happens when they get home. If anything, I felt that there was a little too much happening towards the end of the book. Matt and Abby have been through so much, I kind of just wanted them to settle down and start their future together. I should have known that it wasn't going to be that easy, but once everything was said and done, I was very happy with the ending. Sigh... Yay!

Kudos on a magical debut novel, Claudia. I can't wait to see what you have up your sleeves for the rest of the McKinney brothers. 


Claudia Connor attended Auburn University, where she received her undergraduate and masters degrees in early childhood education, and completed her studies in Sawbridgeworth, England. Always a lover of happy endings, she enjoys movies, reading, and spending her days putting on paper the stories in her head. She lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and three daughters.


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spotlight + Giveaway for TRUTH OR DARE (Dare to Love #1) by Mira Lyn Kelly

Truth or Dare
Dare to Love # 1
By: Mira Lyn Kelly 
Releasing September 16th, 2014
Loveswept

Purchase Links: Amazon - B&N - iTunes
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In a deliciously sexy twist on the classic game, USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly proves that when playing truth or dare—always choose dare.

After her one attempt at commitment ends with the discovery that her fiancĂ© already has a wife and kid, Maggie Lawson vows that the only people she’ll love ’til death do they part will be her friends. Unfortunately that means Maggie letting her bestie rope her into a year-long dating dare: score a new date each month or pay a penalty. Seems doable—until Maggie’s date stands her up, leaving only one option: the sexy stud who just moved in upstairs. The problem? He and Maggie can’t stop fighting—and that’s just the beginning.

His name is Tyler Daniels and the last thing he needs is his neighbor distracting him with her girl-next-door smile and sharp tongue. Tyler’s in Chicago for one reason: to woo back his selfish ex in order to reclaim the child he once thought was his—and that means keeping Maggie out of his bed. A tall order, since Maggie has become a bigger temptation than he ever expected to face. But before they can even consider leaving the past behind, Maggie and Tyler must accept a brand-new dare: real, forever love.


USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly grew up in the Chicago area and earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University. She met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy, only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her back home. Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, she’s now settled with her husband in rural Minnesota, where their four beautiful children provide an excess of action and entertainment. When she isn’t reading, writing, or running to keep up with the kids, she loves watching movies, blabbing with the girls, and cooking with her husband and friends.

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Spotlight & Excerpt from FACING THE MUSIC by Andrea Laurence + Kindle Fire Giveaway

Facing The Music 
Author: Andrea Laurence 
Publisher: Pocket Star 
Release Date: September 15, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Purchase Links: Amazon - B&N - 
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In this sizzling and hilarious contemporary e-book romance, pop sensation Ivy Hudson returns to her small town to face her ex. Only trouble is, she made her Taylor-Swift-like career with the hit song “Size Matters”—and the football hero has had to live it down ever since.

Five years ago, high school sweethearts Ivy and Blake’s relationship imploded and both their lives were changed forever. Ivy became a rock star and Blake lost not only his dreams of a successful NFL career, but his reputation. Ivy’s angry song about their breakup, called “Size Matters,” hit the top of the charts and Blake became a national laughingstock. He’s salvaged his career and returned to Rosewood to be the high school football coach, regaining his status as town hero and leading the boys to the state championships.

When a tornado whips through town and destroys the high school gymnasium and stadium, a committee is formed to help rebuild and plan some charity fundraisers. Blake’s grandmother requests that Ivy return to Rosewood for the events. Forced back together for the good of their hometown and their careers, Ivy and Blake have no choice but to put aside their differences, stop running from their pasts, and finally face the music.

For fans of Kristen Proby and Colette Auclair, Facing the Music hits a perfect balance between small-town romance and big-time success. Follow Ivy and Blake as they fall back in love and figure out what does matter in the end…


Facing the Music
© 2014 Andrea Laurence

Ivy pressed her hands against Blake's shoulders, pushing him gently until he was lying back on the blanket.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Whatever I want to.”

Blake arched his eyebrow at her, but he didn’t complain. He held perfectly still as her nimble fingers moved down the front of his shirt, undoing each button and exposing the expanse of skin beneath it. Her palms ran over his skin, relishing the feel of his chest hair tickling her hands. She leaned forward, letting her tongue glide along his collarbone, and then she crept down his body to the button of his jeans.

“Your hair tickles,” he said.

Ivy gathered up the long, wavy strands of her hair into one hand and swept them over her shoulder. “Do you want me to stop?”

“Not on your life,” he said between tightly gritted teeth as her fingertips brushed the edge of his waistband.

“That’s what I thought,” she said with a smile. “Now, stop complaining.”

Ivy settled between his legs, resting on her knees as she unbuttoned his jeans. She tugged at his back pockets, pulling his jeans down the length of his legs and throwing them out of her way. She moved back over him doing the same with his underwear, which thankfully, this time, were a pair of charcoal-gray boxers. They slid easily out of her way, leaving nothing between her and her goal.

She leisurely traveled back up his legs. Her fingertips gently brushed along the puckered pink scars of his calf and across his kneecap. By the time she reached his upper thigh, he was nearly trembling. Ivy wasn’t sure if it was with anticipation, emotion, or pain.

His hand reached out and snatched her wrist as she moved higher. “This hardly seems fair,” he said. “You’re wearing entirely too much clothing for me to be wearing so little.”

“Who’s doing this? You or me?”

Blake acquiesced and released her hand. He crossed his arms behind his head, giving himself an excellent vantage point for overseeing her activities. “You are, ma’am.”

“That’s right. Now are you going to keep critiquing everything I do, or do I need to put something in your mouth to shut you up?”

A wicked grin crossed Blake’s face as he looked at her. “May I offer a suggestion?”

“I have several ideas of my own,” she said.



Andrea Laurence has been a lover of reading and writing stories since she learned to read at a young age. She always dreamed of seeing her work in print and is thrilled to finally be able to share her special blend of sensuality and dry, sarcastic humor with the world. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she's working on her own "happily ever after" with her boyfriend and their collection of animals including a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody's business.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spotlight and Excerpt from REWIND TO YOU by Laura Johnston

Rewind to You
By: Laura Johnston
Sept 15th, 2014
Kensington

Purchase Links: Amazon - B&N - Kobo
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WISH YOU WERE HERE

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…


Rewind to You
© Laura Johnston

“Can you hear me?” someone asks. I feel a hand on my shoulder and another one cradling my head. I open my eyes, totally confused as the blurry outline of a figure bent over me comes into view. And the baseball cap.

“Hey, there you are,” whoever is holding me says, his voice lowering into a tone of relief. With a twinge in my heart, I realize it isn’t my dad. My balance stabilizes, my body grounded again in reality. Besides a pounding headache, I’m pain-free. My shin is fine.

“Ugh.” An ugly-sounding something stumbles from my lips as the nausea dissipates. I blink, remembering that I need to get home. I try to push myself into a sitting position, but before I can, he scoops me off the ground. Startled, I reach for his shoulders for balance. And oh my. Something about the muscles beneath my fingertips makes me draw back and then wish I hadn’t.

I open my mouth to assure him I can walk, but I glimpse his sharp jaw and strong chin, and the connection between my mind and my mouth floats away. My eyes travel over his lips and then to his eyes, and my heart freaks out. Skips a beat. The most impossibly blue eyes I’ve ever seen stare back into mine, and I lose not only my train of thought but all control of my gaping eyes as well.

One side of his mouth pulls into something of a grin, his face inches from mine. His eyes trace the outline of my forehead down to my chin and linger on my lips. Then his gaze meets mine again. He raises a brow. “Are you all right?”

“Y-y-yes.” My voice comes out like a frog’s croak. “Fine. Thanks.”

“You sure?”

“Mm-hm.” Another attempt to steady my voice. I try to get my flirt on, flashing a smile as I assure him, “The ground can walk just fine.”

That puts a smile on his face.

“I mean, I can walk just fine. On the ground. You can set me down.” I bite my tongue before I do more damage.

“Right,” he says doubtfully. Something in the way he holds me, the brazen expression on his face as he looks into my eyes, tells me I should be careful.

“I’m good. I promise.”

He sets me down at last. Now that I’m out of his arms and can think straight, I finally get a rational look at him. Dark hair, only visible around the edge of his baseball cap. Thick hair. Total girl magnet. He’s at least six inches taller than my five foot seven. All right, even out of his arms, my heart rattles around so fast I fear another blackout, or whatever just happened.

He watches me as I wobble. “You gonna be okay?”

I nod, even though I feel like a ballerina who rolled off a stage.“Where did those, um, those—”

“Those losers?” he asks.

I nod.

He smiles. “They bailed.”

No wonder. Another glance at his—ahem—intimidating physique, and I decide I don’t blame them. He’s hot, okay, hotter than any guy has a right to be. And unfortunately, it’s impossible for him not to know that. He’s one of those kind. He even looks amused, as though he’s reading my fascination from my face. Meanwhile, I can’t do anything but stare into his blue eyes, feeling like a dental patient after a heavy dose of laughing gas.

I run a hand through my hair, suddenly reminded of the bird poop in there. And the gum on my shoe. This keeps getting better.

Then I flinch when I spot a swarm of gnats by my head, and one flies into my eye.

“What the—” I mutter.

“You okay?” he asks. Again.

“Yeah,” I lie, bending over and blinking. And stepping right into the puddle of mud behind me. Sound advice to myself: Leave now!

Reminding myself I have a plan—buy Lucky Charms and head home—I let my one bug-free eye jump between this cute guy and the display of fireworks behind me, gearing up to leave. I always have a

plan, my life a programmed route from A to B. It’s safe, predictable. Maybe that’s why I haven’t budged.

“Thanks,” I say, and turn to leave for real this time, but not without sneaking one last glance at his gorgeous face. My stomach somersaults when I catch his eyes on me. Fixed on me. And not in a you-are-a-ditzy-klutz-who-won’t-make-it-off-of-River-Street-alive kind of way. Like, in a good way. His stare glues my feet to the ground, holding me near. Blood rushes to my cheeks and I smile, despite myself.

He extends a hand with an unbearably charming smile, probably

practiced. “I’m Austin.”


Laura Johnston lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and two children.

Growing up in Orem, Utah with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, dancing (reduced to dancing around the kitchen while cooking dinner these days), traveling, writing, writing and more writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids. REWIND TO YOU, her debut novel, was inspired by the loss of her father as a teenager.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spotlight on The Austin Series by C.J. Fallowfield


Hello there! Today I'll be spotlighting C.J. Fallowfield's The Austin Series. This six book series (plus one sequel) follows Mia, Lexi, and Gabe through their three years at University. 

Each book should be read in order.



New Leaves, No Strings
The Austin Series # 1
Released March 17th, 2014

Purchase Links: Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Smashwords
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She had a heart of ice and he wanted to thaw it. His mission, to use his sexual prowess to make him impossible to resist, until she was his and his alone.

Best friends Mia and Lexi start University and make a pact. Tainted by their pasts, they’re going to try and get over their commitment phobias. Mia’s going to lose her virginity with hot, no strings attached sex. Rebellious Lexi’s going to try ditching her one night stands and attempt to have a relationship. What Mia didn’t count on however, was Gabe Austin, confident and irresistibly gorgeous, who quickly inserts himself into her life. Inextricably drawn to each other, their desire soon leads to a passionate encounter. Gabe’s fears of abandonment and domineering attitude, combined with Mia’s own fears of attachment, threaten to derail his attempts to thaw her frozen heart. Despite her reticence, Gabe Austin’s a guy who is used to getting what he wants and he’s determined to make her his and his alone. Just as he seems to have won Mia around, he goes and does something that could ruin everything.



Baggage & Buttons
The Austin Series # 2 
Released March 20th, 2014

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Their scorching sexual chemistry brought them together, but will their combined emotional baggage tear them apart?

The charismatic and gorgeous Gabe Austin had finally broken down some of Mia Page’s walls. His charms and sexual prowess coaxed her from sex no strings, to a committed relationship, but a misunderstanding threatened everything he had worked for. Gabe’s determined to make Mia forgive him, his ultimate goal, to possess not just her body, but her heart. Despite their incredible sex life, Gabe’s domineering and controlling personality really pushes Mia’s buttons, while she infuriates him with her stubborn and defensive nature. Their two personalities combined create fireworks.

To complicate matters further, Mia has to face up to her deteriorating health, while best friend Lexi also has a tough choice to make. Their decisions will not only affect their lives, but could affect those of the people who care about them.



Forever & an Engine
The Austin Series # 3 
Released April 16th, 2014

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Mia and Gabe’s ingrained personality traits continue to rub each other up the wrong way, while Mia’s formal diagnosis creates even more tension in their relationship.

It forces them to start facing up to whether their love and raw sexual chemistry is enough to overlook their fundamental differences. Meanwhile Lexi starts having doubts about her plans for her pregnancy and she has to give the ever persistent Doug an answer.

Just when it seems that Mia and Lexi have made their decisions, something happens that will turn one of their worlds upside down.



The Honeymoon Period
The Austin Series # 4 
Released May 22nd, 2014

Purchase Links: Amazon
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While Mia took her operation and diagnosis in her stride, it has taken its toll on Gabe. He desperately wants to convince Mia to change her mind, to one day agree to marry him and start a family, but Mia is still weighted down by the baggage of her past.

Gabe also struggles with his slow recovery from the accident, while Mia finds his increasing mood swings and possessiveness more and more difficult to handle. The friction only adds to their scorching sexual compatibility.

Robert Austin, aware that Gabe wants more, presents Mia with a difficult choice. Deal with her commitment issues, or walk away from his son for good.

Lexi however seems to be making remarkable progress in her personal life, handling not only her miscarriage, but a new relationship with Doug. Is she strong enough to sustain it all?



Love & Loss
The Austin Series # 5 
Released June 25th, 2014

Purchase Links: Amazon - B&N
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Physically scarred and emotionally tormented, Gabe struggles to deal with the way his accident is affecting his future and relationship. Mia is resolved to stand by her man, no matter what, and she reaches out to her father to try and deal with some of her fears in order to move forwards with Gabe. The results of their meeting are both shocking and illuminating, helping her take a major step in her healing process. Lexi struggles with the pressures of her past affecting her relationship as well as her University workload, and is forced to re-evaluate what she actually wants from her life.

The Campus Killer continues to evade the authorities and strikes too close to home.



Infinite Love
The Austin Series # 6 
Released July 25th, 2014

Purchase Links: Amazon - B&N
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With the Campus Killer having been revealed and life changing decisions having been made, it should be smooth sailing. As ever, nothing goes to plan. Much personal progress is made, but massive backwards steps are also taken. Will they finally get their happy ever afters?




I am a very young hearted 44 year old female from the United Kingdom. I enjoyed writing fictional stories as a child but, like many, long working hours in my career meant that I had little time for anything else. Finding myself in the fortunate position of now being able to work from home part time, I have been able to rekindle this long lost passion for storytelling. Writing aids include chocolate, Ben & Jerrys and copious amounts of coffee, wine or cider.

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Spotlight for DARKLY DREAMING - A Fantasy Romance Collection

Darkly Dreaming
Authors: Kristen Painter, Elizabeth Hunter, Grace Draven, Cate Rowen and Danielle Monsch
Release Date: September 15, 2014
Genre: Fantasy Romance

Purchase Links: Amazon - B&N - iTunes - Smashwords
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Fall into magic and fall in love with DARKLY DREAMING, an anthology from five award winning and bestselling writers in fantasy romance.

*****

Feared by a priesthood. Coveted by a god. Tempted by a slave. In Grace Draven's MASTER OF CROWS, a renegade mage must battle a god for his soul and decide if his fate—and the fate of nations—is worth the life of the spy he has come to love.

From MASTER OF CROWS:

Silhara’s eyes closed. He told himself the residual effects of her Gift sliding over him—through him—brought on that embrace. But he didn’t believe his own lies. He kissed Martise because he wanted her, because he admired her. Because he wanted more than just the ethereal essence of her lingering on his tongue once her Gift withdrew. He’d kissed her on impulse, lured by the tempting curve of her lips and the slight feel of her in his arms. He’d expected her to retreat from his onslaught. Gentleness was not in his nature, and he was desperate to taste her. But she hadn’t recoiled from his rough embrace, responding instead with a passion to equal his own.  

Learn more about Grace at http://gracedraven.com.

*****

Experience sword, sorcery, and mythical beings as never before in STONE GUARDIAN, the first book of the Entwined Realms by Danielle Monsch. Larissa's sheltered world is destroyed when she is targeted by Necromancers. With nowhere else to turn, Larissa forms an uneasy alliance with Terak, leader of the Gargoyles. Will Terak be Larissa's salvation, or her downfall?

From STONE GUARDIAN:

She was sleeping, his little human, her eyelashes soft shades under closed eyelids. Her lips made a little pout as she slept, as if she was waiting for a kiss. That was one request he would always grant.

He ghosted his lips over hers, bit by bit applying more pressure with each pass, until she woke. Those eyes opened, the room too dark to see their full color, but after the focused on him they relaxed, losing the lines of confusion and settling into happiness. “I’m sorry I fell asleep. It’s been a long day.”

He pushed her hair back from her cheek, the petal-soft skin sensitizing the nerve endings in his fingers. “Yes, it has. I wish I had the willpower to let you sleep as you need, but I could not wait that long to hear your voice again.”

To learn more about Danielle's books, visit her website: http://www.daniellemonsch.com.

*****

Sometimes love is the most dangerous magic of all. In HEART OF FIRE by Kristen Painter, Jessalyne leaves a sheltered life to tame her dangerous magic by becoming apprentice to a powerful sorceress, but she’ll need the deadliest man in the realm to get her there safely. If they don't kill each other first.

From HEART OF FIRE:

“I’ve never been kissed before.”

“Never?” He raised his eyebrows. No other man had touched her? Hot, possessive desire thickened his blood.

She lowered her eyes. “It was agreeable.”

“Agreeable? My kisses have been called many things. I don’t recall agreeable being among them,” he teased. “I promise a better attempt next time.”

She gave him a curious look.

“Aye.” He nodded. “There will be a next time.”

Check out all of Kristen's books at http://kristenpainter.com.

*****

Be swept away in KISMET'S KISS by Cate Rowan. In the desert realm of Kad, a deadly epidemic strikes the palace of Sultan Kuramos. Only a mystical healer from an enemy land may have the skill to save his household. But he never imagined that healer would be a woman.

From KISMET'S KISS:

Groaning beneath his kiss, she grabbed his shoulders and rolled him onto his back, moving with him. Then she raised herself up a fraction and stared into his eyes. Keep kissing, shouted her heart. Walk away, screamed her head.

Cate loves hearing from readers. Contact her at: http://caterowan.com.

*****

Hidden at the crossroads of the world, an ancient race battles to protect humanity, even as it dies from within. Ava comes to modern day Istanbul in THE SCRIBE, the first book in the Irin Chronicles by Elizabeth Hunter. One woman searching for answers finds a reluctant guardian in a warrior whose magic is written on his skin. But does Ava have magic of her own?

From THE SCRIBE:

With one hand, he pulled her into the room, and with the other, Malachi slammed the door shut. He tugged her into his chest and captured her lips with his own. Desire roared through his body, thick with tension after two hundred years of fasting and a lifetime of waiting. For her. For Ava.

“I need you.”

“Then take me,” she whispered. “And don’t let go.”

Elizabeth can be contacted on her website at http://elizabethhunterwrites.com.






Monday, September 15, 2014

A visit with Crystal Jordan, author of ROMAN REUNION

Hello there! Today we have a visit with author Crystal Jordan, who is celebrating the release of Roman Reunion, book three in her Destination Desire series. 

Take it away, Crystal!


 Ten Fun Facts about the Destination: Desire Series

1. This series is based on the travels my boyfriend and I have taken together. We both have visiting every continent on our bucket list, so why not write about it?

2. In my original idea for the series, the first two books were reversed, with Hawaiian Holiday coming first and Vegas Vacation coming second, but they got flipped because I wanted Hawaiian Holiday to release closer to Christmas. It is a holiday story, after all!

3. For Vegas Vacation, I got the idea to include the Pawn Stars shop in the book from doing a marathon of the show with my boyfriend while we were on vacation and the weather turned yucky. Sadly, we haven’t made it to the real shop yet, but maybe soon!

4. There’s a scene in Hawaiian Holiday where Julie and Lukas are taking a tour of the Iolani Palace and they have to wear “foot condoms” in order to protect the wood floors inside. This really happened to my boyfriend and me, and it was definitely a Kodak Moment.

5. While most of my heroes have a little bit of my boyfriend in them, Lukas is the one based most closely on my guy. They’re both German, are snobby about their beer, have a fantastic sense of humor, and are easy to talk to. I actually planned to have Lukas come from Austria just to give a bit more distance between the two, but that offended my guy’s sensibilities, so I had to make Lukas a German instead.

6. In Italian Interlude, the short story prequel to Roman Reunion, I talk about how amazingly, insanely blue the Mediterranean Sea is. I had the chance to get a fantastic view of this blue, blue sea from the top of a cliff last summer. Gorgeous!

7. The Italian friends who get married in Roman Reunion, Valentina and Giovanni, are modeled on a real couple I know. I won’t name names, but they’re every bit as passionate (and crazy) as the characters in the book!

8. The real woman behind Valentina was the one who introduced me to Limoncello, a lemon liqueur from Italy, which my heroine, Karen, tries for the first time in Italian Interlude.

9. In Roman Reunion, Tate and Karen visit a gelateria. Tate orders the Amarena cherry gelato and Karen has the stracciatella flavor (vanilla with chocolate shavings). I have to side with Karen on this one—stracciatella is actually my favorite gelato flavor. Mmmm. (My boyfriend likes pistachio gelato best, which I think is nasty)

10. It looks like the boyfriend and I are headed for Australia next year. Guess where I’m planning to set the story for Tate’s younger sister?


Roman Reunion
© 2014 Crystal Jordan

Karen had forgotten how vibrant the city was, especially the narrow, sloping alleys that made up the Trastevere rione where she’d gone to college and where Valentina and Gio still lived.

Karen had always loved it here. The rush of cars at a breakneck speed they’d never dare in America, the mass of people from all over the world who’d come to visit, the historic architecture, museums, and monuments. She dragged in a breath…and the tantalizing aroma of Italian food hit her nose. There was a restaurant on the bottom floor of Gio and Valentina’s building. Karen’s mouth watered, her stomach growled, and she was forcefully reminded that it would be breakfast time if she were in California. A nine hour time difference could really mess a body up.

Her old friends lived on the top floor, so Karen had stepped outside on the balcony to escape the wedding preparation madness. She was fairly certain every single female relative of Valentina’s had managed to cram themselves into the apartment. And they were loud and boisterous and happy. But mostly loud. Propping her elbows on the railing, Karen looked out over the skyline. A thousand different levels of rooflines, a few cathedral duomos, and she could just see the Vatican peeking between some of the buildings. So different from what she was used to.

A wave of laughter spilled out of the apartment, and she glanced back with a grin. They were a nice family—one who’d welcomed her for every holiday during the year she’d spent in Rome. Glancing at her watch, she saw it was well past time when she could check into her hotel.

It took her another half an hour to say goodbye to everyone because they all insisted on a hug and a kiss from her, told her how beautiful she was, how much they liked her new hairstyle, insisted she come back and join them for dinner. Finally, Valentina laughed, grabbed Karen’s elbow and thrust her out the door or she might never have escaped. She was still grinning when she hit the bottom of the staircase and entered the lobby.

And slammed into someone trying to go up the stairs. She stumbled back, an apology on her lips, but it never formed as her gaze collided with her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s.

“Tate,” she said faintly, falling back another step. “Wh-what are you doing here?”

The flash of utter shock on his face told her he’d had no idea they would both be in Rome either. He cleared his throat and shrugged. “The same thing you are, I’d imagine. Attending an old friend’s wedding.”

There was no way he’d had any more notice on the invitation than she’d had, which meant he’d done something spontaneous for the first time in years. She crossed her arms. “You dropped everything, just like that? You?”

He snorted. “Got one too many calls from Dad the night Gio invited me, so I ran away from home.”

The mere glimmer of a smile crossed her lips. “About time.”

Shaking his head, he huffed out a laugh. His gaze flitted over her. “You changed your hair.”

“Yes.” She flicked the tips with her fingers. “A new look to start my new life. I like it.”

He winced. She tried not to cringe because, really, she hadn’t meant to rub his face in it. It was just the standard response she’d come up with every time someone asked why she’d cut it.

Then there was an awkward moment where she had no idea what to say. She hadn’t expected to see him, didn’t have a list of banal conversational topics ready to save her from uncomfortable silences. “Uh…okay.” She glanced aside. “I need to go check in to my hotel. I, um, guess I’ll see you at dinner tonight.”

“Yes.” He let her get halfway across the lobby before he called out. “Out of curiosity, which hotel are you staying at?”

“The Gianicolo.”

“Me too.” An ironic smile tilted up one corner of his mouth. “Giovanni recommended it to you too, huh?”

She pressed the tips of her fingers against her temple and rubbed at the building pain. “I may have to murder him.”

“Not if I beat you to it.” A muscle ticked in his jaw, and he waved her off. “See you at dinner.”

“Bye.”

Then they went their separate ways. As usual.




Roman Reunion
Destination Desire # 3
By: Crystal Jordan
Releasing September 2, 2014
Samhain

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Karen Patton’s life is falling apart. She signed divorce papers, quit her job, and moved back to her hometown into an apartment that couldn’t feel less like home. With two weeks of free time before she starts work at the Half Moon Bay Public Library, she’s crawling the walls, trying desperately not to miss the man who chose his career over her.


When an old college friend invites her to Italy for an impromptu wedding, she jumps at the chance to focus on something other than her own misery.

Tate Patton is doing his best to ignore the divorce papers that just landed on his desk. A rational, reasonable man would sign and be done with it. Instead, he seizes upon a wedding invitation to do something completely impetuous—ignore the papers and fly to Rome.

When they lay eyes on each other, the sparks fly as hot as the first time they met. Maybe the more mature versions of themselves can fix what’s broken. Their love is too strong not to try…


Crystal Jordan is originally from California, but has lived and worked all over the United States as a university librarian. An award winning author, Crystal has published contemporary, paranormal, futuristic, and erotic romance with Kensington Aphrodisia, Harlequin Spice Briefs, Ellora’s Cave, and Samhain Publishing.

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