Friday, December 9, 2016

Book Spotlight: Captured by Christmas by Lynn Crandall and Lainee Cole


Title: Captured by Christmas: A Christmas Anthology
Authors: Lynn Crandall and Lainee Cole
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Pages: 129 
Genre: Holiday Romance
Format: Ecopy 


It’s Christmas, and the season of holly, Christmas trees, and goodwill is drifting on air in merry holiday wishes. Romantic suspense and paranormal author Lynn Crandall and contemporary author Lainee Cole present in their own way two stories of love in Captured by Christmas. However it finds you—under a Christmas tree or drifted in snow in a backwoods cabin—the spirit of the season will wrap you in love.


In "Snowbound," Lynn Crandall lets readers check in on favorite Fierce Hearts series were-lynx characters Kennedy Mitchell and Asher Monroe as they uncover the identity of the creature scaring the humans in Octavia, a small rural community in northern Michigan. Plans for an intimate getaway and family-style holiday are crumbling as the snow piles higher and Kennedy and Asher find themselves snowbound with a killer outside their door.


In "The Mistletoe Effect," Christmas is second-grade teacher Tess McCall’s least favorite holiday, but she’s doing her best not to let it show. Learning he’s a father to seven-year-old Holly makes Alex Randle anxious about the upcoming holidays. When Tess’s class starts reading to shelter dogs, Holly and the antics of shelter dog Mistletoe lead them all to rediscover the magic of Christmas.

Purchase at Amazon!


I started spinning stories as a child when I tried to entertain my younger sister at night when we were supposed to be going to sleep. In the dark, my stories typically took on a scary or paranormal element -- didn't do much to put us to sleep. Today, I hope my stories still fail to put readers to sleep, but rather take them on a journey. That's what I've been on since I decided to make writing my focus. As a reporter and magazine feature writer, I truly enjoy learning as I work on stories. As a romance writer, I enjoy doing the research and following an evolving story of my characters. I'm still learning as I go.

CONNECT WITH LYNN: WEBSITE|FACEBOOK|TWITTER



Lainee Cole’s love affair with books began when she was young, and her mother encouraged her love of reading. By the time she was in seventh grade, Lainee was making up her own stories and poems, exploring various styles of writing. Ah, the drama of junior high. She wouldn't go back to those days for anything! But reading voraciously and exploring different types of writing led her to romances. She loves the challenge of writing romance, developing characters and figuring out what makes them tick. They often take on a life of their own, surprising and annoying her. But they also give her hope and inspire her to follow her dreams. Lainee strives to write stories that will make readers laugh and cry, give them hope, and encourage them to believe in the power of love.  

CONNECT WITH LAINEE: FACEBOOK


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Digital Seasonal Romance Bargains


Camry MacKeage has absolutely no intention of telling her parents that she left her job as a NASA physicist for the small-town life of a dog-sitter -- which is why she's spending the holidays alone in coastal Maine with her furry friends Tigger and Max. Unfortunately, her irresistibly handsome rival, scientist Luke Pascal, accidentally spilled the beans. Now he's on a mission from her mother to tempt Camry home for the family's annual winter solstice celebration. But Luke is hiding his own secret, and he'll need a little bit of magic to earn Camry's trust...and a whole lot of mistletoe to seduce his way into her heart.

File Size: 3752 KB
Print Length: 354 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1501123777
Publisher: Pocket Books (October 15, 2009)
Publication Date: October 27, 2009
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Language: English
ASIN: B002RYXA3G

Purchase here for only $1.99!


When plain and proper Thea Bainbridge stumbles upon a baby in the manger of her church’s nativity, she is understandably shocked. Discovering a brooch bearing the insignia of Gabriel, Lord Morecombe, hidden among the child’s clothing, she is certain the dissolute rake is to blame. Incensed, Thea sets out to reproach the arrogant lord—only to find herself utterly swept away.

Gabriel is intrigued by the vivacity in Thea’s flashing gray eyes when she accuses him of fathering the orphan, even as he adamantly maintains his innocence. The brooch is one he remembers all too well, however, and Gabriel is determined to find the mother of the missing child. As the mystery around the baby deepens, Gabriel is continually thrown together with Thea—and finds himself growing more entranced every day.

Even with whispers of winter scandal swirling around them, they cannot deny the longing in their hearts. A longing which promises the best gift of all: a shelter from the storm . . . in each other’s arms.

File Size: 3742 KB
Print Length: 452 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books (October 25, 2011)
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Language: English
ASIN: B004T4KXIM

Purchase here for only $1.99!


With one leg in a cast and a heart hardened by bitter holiday memories, all Leslie wants for Christmas is a quiet and restful vacation at her aunt's Vermont home. But that was before she met the new neighbor, handsome Tagg Williams.

As the holidays heat up, Leslie finds herself in an awkward dance of attraction with Tagg, mesmerized by his warm smile and strong embrace -- and charmed by his sweet daughter, Holly. The more time they spend together, the more it feels like home.¿But even as her passion deepens, Leslie knows she will have to choose between the ghosts of her past and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to give herself and her heart to Tagg -- forever.

File Size: 625 KB
Print Length: 305 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books (February 1, 2011)
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Language: English
ASIN: B004DI7TQS

Purchase here for only $1.99!

First Chapter Review: On Top of the World by David Lamb



I am reviewing the first chapter of On Top of the World by award-winning author David Lamb during his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

BLURB:  FROM THE FUNNY AND NATURALLY BRILLIANT DAVID LAMB, award-winning playwright of the New York Times celebrated play, Platanos Y Collard Greens, comes a modern spin on Dickens’ classic tale that perfectly combines humor and romance in a story re-imagined for our digital, consumerist age.  This version of Scrooge and Belle is familiar, yet unlike any you’ve come across before. Scrooge, or rather Scrooje, is music’s biggest superstar, with one hundred million albums sold, fifteen million devoted YouTube subscribers, two and a half million Facebook likes, and twenty-five million fanatical Twitter followers known as Scroojites. Belle, is a legal shark who gulps down her opposition voraciously and whose beauty and stunning figure causes traffic accidents as she zips through the sidewalks of Manhattan stylishly adorned and taking no prisoners.   They never imagined being music’s most powerful couple, but that’s exactly what happened when Belle fell head over heels and gave the Coke-bottle glasses wearing, plaid and stripe attired, scrawny, biggest nerd on her college campus the ultimate makeover, turning him into a fashion impresario whose style sets trends from Milan to NY Fashion Week and who can be seen courtside at the NBA Finals sporting a perfectly-fitted cashmere suit.   Then it happens. Belle realizes too late that she’s created a chart-topping monster as Scrooje’s ego explodes and he starts acting a fool.   Now, it’s been three years since they've spoken. But tonight at Hollywood s biggest red carpet event, with the whole world watching, they’ll be given a second chance.   Will Scrooje listen to the ghostly-advice of Marley, his best friend since the fourth grade, who at the time of his untimely drowning at his Brazilian poolside birthday bash was as big a star as Scrooje? Will Scrooje finally do right by his number one artist, Cratchit, a genius comedian, who Scrooje invariably rip offs every chance he gets?   And with twenty-five million viewers tuned in will Scrooje finally shed his ego, jeopardize his image and declare his love for Belle, the one he betrayed and let slip away?   Second chances don’t often come around. Will Belle even give him a chance?   Mixing heart, soul, bling and romance in a fresh, original satire about race, class and celebrity worship Lamb establishes himself as one of the most talented and amazing writers today. And leaves no doubt that the Pacific Book Awards chose wisely when they selected On Top Of The World as the year’s Best Fiction.

COVER: What a great color scheme for this seasonal humorous tale. It fits in well with the main character and still hails back in time to the inspiration from Dickens.

FIRST CHAPTER: Scrooje narrates this story, bringing the reader from the present into his family's past, and shares his destiny.

KEEP READING: On first blush, I would say it's not my cup of tea. I'm looking to expand outside my comfort zone, though, so I would keep reading for a few more chapters. Scrooje is a fast talker, he's edgy. He's not afraid to say it like it is. Part of the challenge for me in this first chapter is that, though it's under 1300 words, there's a lot of information tossed at you right away before you even get to know Scrooje. It's probably Scrooje's style to toss everything at you like that. He admittedly has a warped ego. The last two paragraphs were strong and gave a glimpse into Scrooje you may not expect. Because I like exploring the psychology of characters--why they act the way they do--that ending is enough to encourage me to keep going.

Purchase Information:

Amazon | iTunes | B&N


File Size: 1498 KB
Print Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Woolly Mammoth Books (October 20, 2016)
Publication Date: October 20, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B01IUFLP8W

I read the first chapter of this novel on the Pump Up Your Book website. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Kiss me at Last by Holly Cortelyou



What's better than wine, chocolate and a little renovation magic? A sweet and sexy matchup between a handsome, hammer-swinging contractor, Sean McMallory, and a flirty and stubborn champagne bar owner, Melinda York, who's in a remodel pickle! Kiss Me at Last brings you back to the charming mountain hamlet of Wescott Springs, Colorado in a heartwarming contemporary, small town romance that's sweet with a little kiss of heat!

One tempting kiss will rock his world…

Melinda York has every last penny tied up in her business remodel so the last thing she needs is a complication—like surly Sean McMallory. But when "McGrumpy" blows through her front door with a hammer and toolbox, she knows she’s doomed…her replacement contractor is none other than the jerk who humiliated her at the town council meeting. With Melinda buried in sawdust and the exasperating, but ever-so-sexy, Sean constantly underfoot, how is she supposed to maintain her professional poise when she can’t stop daydreaming about his broad shoulders and his unexpectedly kind heart?

Sean McMallory likes his life simple and straightforward, and his plate is full with a booming construction business and family responsibilities. When a cousin begs a favor, he’s plunged neck-deep into the whirlwind that is elegant, jet-setter Melinda York and her wine bar renovation. There’s just no trusting the flirty Melinda even if he can’t forget her kissable lips and surprisingly, vulnerable eyes. So he’ll stick with his beer and country roads, and she can keep her bottles of bubbly and fancy truffles!

Can one kiss build a bridge to love and heal their wounded hearts?

Excerpt

With a smile lurking at the corners of his mouth, Sean had been waiting for an eruption for the last ten minutes.

It was day three of construction, and Melinda had looked far from chipper as she'd schlepped into the wine bar at eight in a slouchy gray sweater, faded jeans, and nondescript running shoes. Her eyes were bleary, and she cradled her coffee concoction like it was the crown jewel in the queen's tiara. She'd winced every time his hammer drove home a nail.

Sean grinned. Hangover, he supposed, and he pounded a few extra nails for good measure as she scuttled into her office. That ought to fix her little red wagon, Miss High and Mighty and her sexy British accent. Not that he'd noticed.

He glanced toward her office door, and there was Melinda, staring at him with a stony gaze through half-slitted eyes.

"Good morning, Ms. York," Sean said in his perkiest voice. "Sun's shining, and it's beautiful out." He fiddled with the chuck on the drill and idly revved it a few times for some bonus noise.

"Is there anything quiet you can do for a while?" Melinda said, her tone was pained.

"Not feeling well?"

"I'm fine. I have some phone calls to make to wine distributors and a little peace and quiet would be divine."

"Go back to your coffee shop for those calls. Unless you want me to take a break already? That will slow me down."

Melinda glared. "I'm trying to get some work done, too."

"Well, ma'am. This is a construction zone, so there's going to be noise. We're not slapping on some paint and hanging a few light fixtures. We're adding beams, ripping out floors. What exactly were you expecting? Should I bring a bowl of potpourri or something?"

"That might help." Her tone was drenched in syrup. "Or do you have a silencer for that drill?"


Holly Cortelyou is a romance author who pens sweet and spicy small town, contemporary romances as well as supernatural and paranormal romances. On any given day, you’ll likely find her posting dog and cat pics on Facebook (HollyCortelyouAuthor) or goofing off on Twitter (@HollyCortelyou) and Pinterest! And of course, you can always visit her on the web at www.HollyCortelyou.com. Holly has hazel eyes, a goofy sense of humor and…all the rest is subject to change without notice.

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1125051573
iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1170953022
Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/kiss-me-at-last
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Last-Wescott-Springs-Novella-ebook/dp/B01N3NGALX

Holly will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



a Rafflecopter giveaway





Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Book Spotlight: Love You Dead by Peter James


LOVE YOU DEAD tells the story of Jodie Bentley, an ugly duckling as a child, that has two dreams in life - to be beautiful and rich. She's achieved the first with a little help from a plastic surgeon and now she's working hard on the second. Her philosophy on money is simple: you can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it's getting rid of the husband afterwards that's harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect . . .

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back. But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind . . . and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realization that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this woman is.


Series: Roy Grace (Book 12)
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Pan Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (October 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 144725581X
ISBN-13: 978-1447255819

Purchase at:

Amazon
B&N
IPG



Peter James is an international bestselling thriller writer. He is a New York Times bestseller
as well as having 11 consecutive Sunday Times No 1s and he is published in 37 languages. His DS Roy Grace crime novels have sold 18 million copies worldwide. Prior to becoming a full-time author he was responsible for 25 movies. In 1994 Penguin published his novel ‘Host' on two floppy discs as the world’s first electronic novel. His novels have won numerous awards most recently the coveted 2016 CWA Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence and he was publicly voted by WH Smith - Britain's biggest book selling chain - The Best Crime Author Of All Time. Visit him on YouTube: www.peterjames.com/youtube

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peterjames.roygrace/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/peterjamesuk
Website/blog: http://www.peterjames.com/
YouTube: www.peterjames.com/youtube
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peterjamesuk/

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: The Bridesmaid's Checklist: Marisol's Wedding by K. T. Castle



BOOK INFORMATION
Title: The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Marisol’s Wedding
Series: BCL
Author: K.T. Castle
Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance
Publication date: December 20, 2016
Length: 398 pages / 63,989 words
Publisher: K.T. Castle Books

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Kassandra’s last single friend got married in the summer. But even if she’s the only unmarried girl in the pack she isn’t single anymore. Now that all her friends are married and all the wedding planning is over, she has a chance to concentrate in her relationship with Josh. Or so she thought until Marisol visits her with a major life.changing crisis. Helping her friends plan their wedding was no problem─dealing with an unexpected pregnancy is a whole other thing.

Kassandra is unable to decide the best way to help Marisol, specially when her relationship with Josh starts reaching an amount of commitment that she wasn’t expecting. Both girls will have to remember the past in order to move their relationships forward.

Kassandra is a single, independent woman who prides herself on her own success. Now her life seems complete when Josh─a thoughtful, handsome, and the worst kind of charmer─leaves his womanizing days behind and can’t seem to stay away from her. Kassandra keeps wondering if their single days are really over and they’re ready for a monogamous and committed relationship.

Marisol is a married woman with the perfect life─A wonderful husband and a beautiful son. Life gets even better when her little boy is finally ready for school and Sol can go back to work.
Destiny is full of surprises for both girls, and sometimes the plans that you have aren’t the ones in the path before you.

Join Kassandra and Marisol as they remember how they planned Sol’s wedding while they solve together the difficulties in the present.

EXCERPT

“What is going on, Sol?” I asked the friend who’d rushed into my house to talk to me.
“Oh, Kassie,” she exhaled. “What am I going to do?” She sat on the large white sofa in my living room. Josh, my boyfriend, had told me that she was crying her heart out, but I couldn’t believe him at first. I almost didn’t notice Marisol’s little boy sitting on the carpet near his mother, playing with some sort of pink piggy toy.
Something must be really wrong.
Marisol was one of my best friends. We went to school together, where we met the rest of our circle of friends—Denise, Natalie, and Laura. The five of us have been almost inseparable since then. Surprisingly, Marisol and I became good friends regardless of our different cultural ancestry. Marisol’s parents were both Mexican, while my mother was Russian and my father African-American. Out of our group of friends, we had the most similar cultural traditions, a trait which strengthened our bond. It pained me to see her in such distress.
“Sol, sorry to interrupt,” said my handsome boyfriend. “I thought it might be a good idea to take Micah out for a little bit. There’s a park nearby I’ve been wanting to check out, and I think he’d be the best company for that. What do you say, buddy?”
Josh could be so thoughtful. He wasn’t only a beautiful man on the outside, but little by little in just shy of the last six months we’d been together, I’d discovered that he was even more gorgeous on the inside.
“I dunno,” the toddler responded. “Mommy’s tummy hurt. I don’t want to leave her alone.”
“What if I make mommy some tea for her tummy?” I offered Micah. “That way you can go explore with Josh while I help mommy feel better.”
The three-year-old still looked dubiously at his mother. It was easy to see that he didn’t want to leave her in such distress while he went to have fun at the park.
“It’s okay, papi,” Marisol told him. “I’m sure aunty Kassie will fix the perfect tea for me, and you can enjoy the park with Josh.”
“Peppa can stay with you, Mommy.” I didn’t understand what Micah was talking about until he gave Sol the pink piggy and took Josh’s hand.
“Come on, buddy. Let’s leave the girls have some tea,” Josh told Micah as they walked towards the door. “On our way back, we might hunt some dinner. How do you feel about pizza?”
Micah’s face lit up as they closed the door behind them. Why did he have to mention pizza? I loved how he didn’t want me to work too hard by cooking for everyone, but I actually enjoyed it—especially if he helped me out with the dishes. We needed to talk about his tendency to order takeout.
But first things first. What was going on with Marisol?
“Okay, Sol, what’s going on?” I asked once more. “I really doubt your tummy is hurting.”
‘Sol’ was an apt nickname for my friend, especially because of her shiny personality. However, lately, our beautiful brunette friend had looked somehow dull and exhausted (which I blamed on her becoming a mother immediately after marrying). Now, she arrived at my house in tears in the middle of the evening on a warm August evening. It wasn’t like her.
“I’m pregnant,” Sol spat out.
Oh, God. Again?
I had to remind myself that we were adults; we weren’t in high school. We weren’t teenagers. We were closer to thirty every minute. There was nothing to be afraid of. She was happily married to the love of her life, Michael. They had a beautiful house and Michael’s job provided for everything their family needed. She was a wonderful mother; Micah absolutely adored her. Her little toddler had just started preschool, which allowed her to start working again, and she loved to work! So I didn’t understand what she was so concerned about.
Until I realized that she’d just started working again. Something she’d mentioned to me that she felt was lacking in her life.
“Don’t worry, honey,” I told her. “Everything’s going to be fine.”
“No, Kassandra. It won’t,” she countered. “Micah started going to preschool a few weeks ago, and that allowed me to go back to work. Now I have to quit!”
Marisol might have been disguised as a loving mother for a couple years, and she sincerely was a hundred percent crazy about her baby and family, but she was also the best financial manager in the city.
As soon as Marisol had finished her bachelor’s degree, she’d been offered a position in one of the most prestigious banks in the state of California. It took her some years working as an accountant and later in the loan office to be offered the position. Sol worked very hard for it and she finally felt fulfilled in her role while making financial reports and budgets, managing and auditing the organization’s profits and losses. She also supervised accountants and financial analysts, and as a result she was paid over a hundred and twenty thousand dollars a year.
She’d met her then-future husband Michael at that bank. The gringo—as Sol’s family constantly called him—who stole her heart. He was at the moment a financial manager as well, but recently he’d also been working as an analyst (and I was sure he was making a ridiculous amount of money for it).
In the US, money seemed to be something very personal, it being taboo to discuss incomes with others. In Mexican culture, as with Marisol’s family, the title and position one had were more important than the money one made. In my family’s Russian culture, it wasn’t a big deal to discuss money—the money you earned was a direct reflection of how much your boss valued your skills.
Michael’s current job also required him to give individual advice to clients and businesses on investments—as in stocks and bonds. For that reason, he needed to work long hours on occasion, as I imagined was the case today.
“Oh, honey. No,” I said, “that might not be the case. Being pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to quit your job. You know this.”
“Come on, Kassie. You know my family better than I do,” she commented. “They pressured me during my entire first pregnancy to quit my job and stay at home. How do you think it’s going to go this time? They’ll all be like, ‘You need to quit, mija. My grandchildren need their mami at home to take care of them. The gringo can cover all of your needs, he’s like the money doctor. Why do you need to work, too?’ I can hear them right now.”
“Well, yeah, I can picture your parents harassing you about it.” I had to agree; those particular Mexicans were nothing if not traditional. “But that’s something you have to discuss with Michael and not with them. Sure, they’re your family, but Michael, Micah, the new baby, and you are the ones who really matter. What does Michael say?”
She sat really straight for a moment and looked at the floor while she twisted her hands. That couldn’t be good. What exactly was going on?
“Sol?”
“I don’t know if I want to keep the baby,” she whispered.
Oh, that was something completely different and out of my league.
My friends always came to me because of my great planning skills. I’d planned all kinds of events for them, including each of their weddings. It kind of just seemed a natural thing for all of us, given my Masters of Business in Procedure Management. I dedicated my professional life to looking for new ways in which a person or business could improve their development—in their costs, errors, delays, and a bunch of other details. Creating process solutions on a broader, cross-functional, organizational-wide scale to drive overall performance was exactly my thing. But dealing with people’s feelings and emotions was not something I did well. People skills weren’t exactly easy for me—that was more of a Natalie thing. Of course, Natalie would be completely against an abortion, and that was probably why Sol had come to me instead.
“So, you haven’t discussed anything with Michael. How far along are you?” If she wanted my help, I needed more information.
“I’m pretty sure I got pregnant in Bora Bora,” Marisol answered.
I had to hold my breath after her declaration. I felt completely guilty about her pregnancy now. I was the one who’d suggested they take that trip to Bora Bora as a second honeymoon.
“Oh, Kassie, don’t be silly,” Sol was completely able to read my expression. “It wasn’t like you forced me to have unprotected sex with my husband.”
No, I didn’t.
“So, you’re two months pregnant?” The math helped distract me from my guilt. I’d just been doing them a favor by sending them on the trip. Plus, it was Laura’s request that there were no babies at her wedding.
Less than a year ago, Laura’s ordeal of a marriage started. She proved to be the most challenging bride of all my friends. The wedding was nothing if not interesting; not only did Laura go Bridezilla on all of us, but she picked the most extravagant and expensive place to get married. She decided to have her wedding reception in Bora Bora, the pearl of the Pacific. This little island was often called the most beautiful in the world, with its jagged green peaks cascading down to white sand beaches and shimmering blue lagoons. We all stayed in the hotel Laura had chosen for the wedding, with its Polynesian style bungalows showcasing natural materials and forms inspired in the tropical setting.
Laura had just so happened to marry Edward, an ex-boyfriend of mine who, up until recently, I’d blamed for all my romantic problems. As you can imagine, that caused a bit of a fight between Laura and myself, since it took me way too long to come clean with her. I did it in the worst possible moment and we made a spectacle during her wedding. In retaliation, Laura had given me a taste of my own medicine, angrily disclosing some shocking news about my boyfriend I could have done without hearing. I’d almost ruined everything at their wedding, but thankfully, Josh and I were able to work things out and were now in the bubbly honeymoon stage of our relationship—talking, sharing and having great sex. It couldn’t get any better.
So somehow, during all of that, one of my friends found herself unexpectedly pregnant in the most unfortunate moment for her. I had a lot of experience in odd love triangles and almost ruining weddings, but I knew nothing about pregnancy. How could I possibly be of any help to her?
“Yep, two months,” Marisol replied bringing me back to the present. She wasn’t crying anymore, but the sad emotion was still there, traced with fear and confusion.
We’d been through this together once before—one other time she didn’t think she could keep the baby. Fortunately, back then, the matter was solved in a matter of days and without regret.
“So there’s probably a lot of options for you right now, though I’m not that well-informed,” I said. I couldn’t think of anything else to say, and I didn’t know what else I could do for her but listen. I stood up from the couch and extended my hand. “Come on,” I said, she took my hand and let me help her up. “I promised Micah I would make you tea, and I have to keep that promise. We can continue our conversation over the kitchen counter.”
“Sure,” Sol answered.
“But promise me something, Sol.” I’d made this request before and I was about to make it again. “Promise me you’ll talk to Michael before you make anything definite. Even if your decision is final, please, talk to Michael about it.”
“I will.”
∞♦∞
My apartment had an open plan. It wasn’t big—just big enough. I had it all decorated in light neutral colors, white dominating most of the space. Marisol had taken the pink piglet with her and placed it on the marble counter while we had some tea and cookies.
She was calmer after she revealed her true intentions to me, but we didn’t discuss her options much more; we both knew that this was a decision she had to make on her own.
An hour later, Josh and Micah returned. We knew they’d already had dinner, since anyone could see red thick tomato sauce smudged all over the toddler’s face. The boys had hunted some chicken soup and green salad for us girls, relieving me of my cooking duties.
After having her soup, Marisol said her farewells. Michael texted her that he was on his way home, and she wanted to be there to greet him. She took some leftover pizza and salad for Michael’s dinner. Josh helped her out with Micah, who’d fallen asleep watching cartoons in my room.
It was a surprise to see Josh so helpful with the rowdy toddler. I didn’t know he liked children, and it surprised me even more that he was actually good with them. I finished cleaning the kitchen, and Josh came back to hug me from behind. “How about I rub your shoulders before I go home?”
“That sounds wonderful,” I said as he stepped back so I could continue with my last task.
“You’re really tense, babe,” he informed me. “What had Sol so upset?” He moved away and leaned against the kitchen counter.
“She’s pregnant.”
He crossed his arms before commenting, “I thought that would be something to be happy about. I know I’d love to knock you up.” My boyfriend said naturally, as if we’d had a conversation of the sort recently—or at all.
We’d only dated for six months, so the baby subject had never been discussed before. To be honest, I’d never in my life even thought about babies. I was about to ask Josh what exactly he meant by his comment when he distracted me with another question.
“Michael isn’t happy about her being pregnant, or what?”
“Michael doesn’t know yet,” I explained, doing my best not to show the panic I felt at his mention of us having babies. I wasn’t ready for that at all, but this was really about Sol and Michael, not us. “And, please, don’t tell him. I probably shouldn’t have told you anything.”
“Sure, that’s for them to talk about.” At least we agreed on that, but I was still stock on his revelation.
“Josh,” I asked as calmly as I could manage, trying to control the arrhythmia suddenly overtaking my body, “what exactly did you mean by the knocking-me-up comment?” I stopped wiping the microwave so I could look at him and size up his reaction.
“Nothing much,” he nonchalantly answered, his gray eyes clear with honesty. “Just a silly comment.” Then he crossed his arms over the broad chest I loved so much and gazed back at me as if he was gauging my own reaction in return.
I didn’t know if he’d meant anything by those words or if he was just trying to shake off the whole topic—maybe because of the doubtful vibes I was sending his way. I turned and walked to the sink, rinsing the cloth I used to clean the kitchen and placing it next to the wide metallic bowl. “You’d like to have a baby.” It was meant to be a question, but I expressed it as a statement.
“Sure. Why not?” Josh answered with complete honesty. “I’d like to have a baby in the future.”
I exhaled deeply. That made me feel a little better, even if he hadn’t said he wanted to have a baby with me in that future. I walked to the living room, made myself comfortable on the light couch, and took a few seconds to think clearly.
It was rational for anyone to think about having children in the future, wasn’t it?
“I didn’t even know you liked children,” I said. He joined me on the sofa and turned me around so he could massage my shoulders as he’d promised.
“I didn’t know it myself, so of course you didn’t know.” Josh cleared his throat while his hands did their magic. “I thought my nephew was the only kid I liked, and he’s older now. Playing videogames with him is the highlight of our relationship. But I’ve been spending some time with babies recently. Nat’s girl is so cute, there are no words to describe her. And Micah—he’s super fun. We had a good time together today.
“My sister got pregnant in her early twenties,” he continued, “so I was still a teenager when Elliot was born. I guess that’s why I didn’t have that much time to enjoy him. He’s twelve now—a real teen nightmare. Of course, being the cool uncle and playing Playstation with him always helps.”
“Oh.” I mean, what else could I say? I knew so little about his family. I already knew he had a sister who was a single mother, but I didn’t know his nephew was a teenager. He rarely talked about them, so I thought he wanted to keep our relationship lighter than ‘meeting-the-family’ status, and I was perfectly fine with it.
He’d mentioned to me that I should meet his sister once or twice, but there’d always been something else to do. Maybe he wasn’t that interested in me meeting his family, but I knew why I didn’t want him to meet mine. Knowing them, they’d make the situation much more formal than it should have been, and I didn’t want Josh to get the impression I was out to tie him down. Our intentions with each other were clear, but the formality and future path of our relationship was a whole other topic. I didn’t know if he was ready for something like that; I knew that at the moment, I definitely wasn’t.
“I still don’t get it, though.” Josh completely changed the subject and therefore my train of thought. “Why is her pregnancy a problem?”
“Marisol hasn’t worked since Micah was born,” I explained. “She’s the best financial manager I’ve ever met. Sol’s great at her job, banks were always throwing money at her to work for them, but most of all, she really enjoyed working with numbers. She was really truly happy. Not that she isn’t right now,” I clarified. “She’s completely in love with Michael and Micah. I don’t think she’d have it any other way. But she was happy to go back to work, to feel fulfilled in her professional life. Now that Micah’s in preschool, she accepted a proposal from a bank she used to work for. Marisol’s super happy getting her chance to work with all those numbers. And she feels that a new baby will change it all. Somehow, she thinks that Michael and her family will pressure her into staying at home with the baby. She’s terrified of that.”
“That’s why she was so upset.” Josh seemed to really understand Marisol’s situation—seemed completely sympathetic. “But there must be other options,” he added. “Besides, a new baby should be a source of joy in any family. I love how children light up a place.”
OMG. I had never expected something like this from a man like Josh. A man I saw with so many different women, I once considered him a womanizer. A man who worked in the fashion world at a modeling agency, scouting models at bars and pubs. A man who kept telling me he was so in love with me. And now he mentioned babies and how wonderful they are.
It was too much for me right then.
“Whether they’re planned or not, having a baby is a big deal. People should be happy about it,” Josh continued, voicing his opinions in a parallel universe I never thought existed.
Yep, too much. I needed to stop this conversation.
“I’m sure,” I said, trying to stop any more ‘how wonderful are babies’ comments. “You know what, Josh? I’m really tired.” I stood and ran from his loving ministrations. “This whole thing with Sol completely drained all my energy and I have an early day tomorrow. Do you mind if I go to bed now?”
“Oh, sure, gorgeous,” he said. “I completely understand.” Josh walked to the door and I followed him closely. “I’ll see you tomorrow, then.” The way he said goodbye sometimes made my body physically reluctant to let him go. His kisses completely melted me, and he knew just how to ignite my body so I couldn’t do anything but want him. Tonight, though, I felt like being alone, and I really needed him to go.
“Will you meet me tomorrow at my place?” he asked as his mouth left a trail of kisses down my neck. “Or should I come back here?” His hands had already unbuttoned my shirt, exposing one of my breasts, and his skilled fingers played with my nipples.
“You’re the devil,” I said, pushing him against the door. He dropped his hands and gave one his most deliciously impish smiles. “Stay away from me.”
“Until tomorrow?”
“I’ll call you tomorrow and let you know,” I answered.
“I love you, baby,” he said.
I kissed him lightly and closed the door behind him as he left. It might have been silly, but at that moment, I was really thankful that I was on the pill.


K.T. Castle loves reading, writing, and painting. She's on a quest to find the words, forms, and colors to materialize the worlds and people of her imagination. She loves reading Paranormal, New Adult, and Contemporary Romance. She never saw herself as an incurable romantic, but lately, that's what she finds herself musing about. Love is found everywhere, regardless of whether it comes from a nice person or an ass—mundane or even vampire.
When she's not busy with work, in front of a computer placing many thoughts in order, she makes her best to be creative or relax with a good TV series and snacks. Some of her favorite characters are Jon Snow, Daenerys, Barney Stinson, Saint, Rome Archer, Rush, Gretchen McKay, and Cinderella.

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Get a copy of the first book in the series, The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Laura’s Wedding, on Amazon

GIVEAWAY!



K.T. is giving away a $10 gift card and a digital ARC of Marisol's Wedding. To enter, click the link below:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Musing Mondays - Nov 28




Musing Mondays is a weekly meme now hosted at Jenn's blog Books And A Beat that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

Did you catch it? I swear we just blinked and November is gone. Here we are on the last Monday of the month--Cyber Monday, no less. Any great deals you plan to scoop up?

Right now I am preparing for my virtual book tour for Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving. It starts December 5. You can find my book tour schedule here.

Check out this great book I borrowed from the library last week:


In her fifteen years of teaching, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett has found that the biggest stumbling block for aspiring writers (especially women) is not fear of the blank page but frustration with the lack of time. What woman doesn't have too much to do and too little time? Finding an hour free of work, children, or obligations can seem impossible.

But anyone can find fifteen minutes, whether you're sitting in traffic, waiting at a child's soccer practice, or watching the coffee drip. DeMarco-Barrett has created a practical, inspirational guide for fitting serious writing into those stolen moments. She offers writing exercises and techniques for generating ideas, as well as pragmatic advice from the well-known authors who appear on her radio show. With fifteen minutes a day, she can help you to ignite your pen and become the writer you have always wanted to be.

With all the thrill of the book launch, I realized I miss writing terribly. My goal for 2017 is to write a little something each week. Do you set goals? Are you ready to contemplate goals for 2017 yet?

I'm just starting a new book that I promised to review:


Quense published four books on self-publishing. He has now complied them into one complete self-publishing guide, which allows you to purchase them cheaper than if you bought them all separately. 

The goal of self-publishing a book is to produce a quality book package to hold your content. Despite what you read on the internet, self-publishing isn’t easy. There is a lot involved in understanding the self-publishing process and it is quite easy to self-publish a book the wrong way
This boxed set of ebooks explains the self-publishing process and much more.
There are four ebooks in the set.
* Self-publishing a Book: describes a process to get a book published.
* Marketing Plans for Self-published Books: covers basic book marketing strategy and tactics.
* Manage Your Self-publishing Project: Uses a project management approach to graphically illustrate the dual, simultaneous processes of publishing and marketing your book.
* Business Basics for Authors: provides an understanding of the business issues facing new authors.
The boxed set provides the new author with a solid grounding in the self-publishing process and associated issues.
Yet another potential problem is this. The internet swarms with scam artists searching for new authors who may not have a complete understanding of the ins-and-outs of publishing and marketing. The scammers are after the author’s money and use slick websites to mislead the author. The more the new author knows about publishing and marketing, the less likely he is to fall prey to these scam artists.
The Complete Self-publishing Guides boxed set is much less expensive than buying the four books individually.


THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: If you were a character, which author would you trust with your life (to write your story)?

Oh, this is such a tough question. Can you ever really trust another person to tell your story in a way that would make you 100% happy? Undoubtedly, their bias or world view could influence their portrayal.

My first choice would be a deceased author--Laura Ingalls Wilder. She inspires my writing for children and was successful in chronicling her own  life.

For a second choice, I would like Kathi Macias. I've loved her work for years. I met her through my work with Pump Up Your Book. I coordinated virtual book tours for several of her books. We haven't been in touch as much as I would like since I've been working in real estate, but my bookshelves are home to several of her books and I hope to read her new Christmas story soon.

How about you? Who would you trust to write the story of your life?

Hope you have a great week!