Sloane Taylor - Sweet as Honey, Hotter Than Hell

August 3, 2015

Wiccan House is Open and Waiting for You

Multi published author Dominique Eastwick has a new paranormal romance you will want to read over again. Shifting Hearts is Book 1 in the captivating Wiccan Haus series. Be sure to get your copy and snuggle in with a sexy shape-shifter.

The last of his kind…

Rekkus is the last of the great Black Tiger weres, and he’s happy to stay that way. Working as head of security for the Wiccan Haus, a magical spa for inner healing, he has enough danger to keep him busy. Unfortunately, the Fates are not content with him being comfortable.

Alone and discouraged…

Dana has walked away from everything—her fiancé, family, job, and apartment. A stay at the Wiccan Haus may be the only way she can move on. But what she finds isn’t what she expects, nor is it what she thought she’d been seeking.

If they can open themselves up they might discover that being together can be better than being alone and learn that passion can burn in those who least expect it.

Meet the unusual residents of the Wiccan Haus.

The staff can get a little hairy, and not all of the guests eat what’s served in the dining hall. But the Rowan siblings do what they can to make the resort a place of healing and peace, using all of their years of practice. At the Haus, where humans and paranormals reside side by side, everyone in need of the services are welcome. If some happens to fall in love then all the better.

Welcome to the Wiccan Haus.

EXCERPT
“It’s not safe for you here with me. I left you alone last night, but, if you stay, I’m not sure I can honor a request to stop a second time.”

“I felt it, too,” she blurted, unable to keep it to herself any longer.

Rekkus moved so fast, she never saw him actually take a step. Strong, wet arms wrapped around her, and her breasts pressed against his chest. His eyes searched hers. He must have seen what he searched for because his lips were on hers with feverous desire before she formed another thought, demanding she open for him. And no part of her considered denying him anything. Butterflies churned in her stomach until she shook. In all the years with Frank, and it had been a great many, she’d never felt this, like fire threatened to engulf her.

Dana wound her arms around his neck, running her fingers through his damp hair and deepening the kiss. His moan allowed her to gather the nerve and strength to urge him forward. He forced her past her comfort zone into accepting the sexy seductress screaming to be let out. She knew what he most desired because she wanted it too. Wanted him, all of him, every naked inch, right there, next to the lake, not even a ten-minute walk from the Haus. Anyone might stumble across them, and she didn’t care. It almost added to the allure of having him. What she needed it to be.

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Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pasttimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.

Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.

Stay connected on Twitter, Tublr, Tsu, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 1:16 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

July 29, 2015

Even Time Travelers need to Eat

Sharon Leswith is here to share a delicious meal that you will truly enjoy. And cleanup is a snap. So take it away…

I LOVE this recipe. I used it for my first book launch party. My reason? The characters in my time travel series The Last Timekeepers got to sample a 13th century version of bread bowl rabbit stew, so I thought for my book release—why not imitate art? Since rabbit is a bit harder to find at the local supermarket, I settled on beef for the main ingredient. I believe my party-goers were happy with that decision as my recipe went over fabulously even though it was a tad hot to serve on the sunny, humid day we experienced. But when the weather turns to cool, damp days, this steamy stew will bring a smile to your face, and comfort to your soul.

This recipe takes about fifteen minutes to prepare and eight or five hours to cook. Serves four.

Bull’s-Eye Beef Stew
4 bread bowls (click HERE to see how to make one)or if you prefer, large Kaiser buns
1 cup 25%-less-sodium beef broth
½ cup Bull’s-Eye Guinness Draught Beer Blend Barbecue Sauce you can substitute this sauce with your favorite brand
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 lb. (450g) stewing beef, cut into 1¼ inch cubes
1 lb. (450g) red potatoes (about 4), quartered
4 large carrots (1 lb./450g), cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1 large onion, cut into chucks
3 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. water

Mix broth, barbecue sauce and oregano in slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients except flour and water; toss to coat. Cover with lid. Cook on low 8 to 9 hours or on high 4 to 5 hours.

Transfer meat and vegetables to bread bowl with slotted spoon; cover to keep warm.

Mix flour and water until blended. Stir into juices in slow cooker; cover. Cook on high for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Spoon over meat and vegetables and serve.

While you’re waiting for the stew to cook, there’s plenty of time to relax, get cozy, and delve into that novel you’ve been planning to read. Time travel story, anyone?

Children are the keys to our future.

And now, children are the only hope for our past.

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they’re given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn’t a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers–legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial–Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don’t, then history itself may be turned upside down.

EXCERPT
Amanda Sault silently studied the words she just scrawled: May 1st, 1214—Games and songs and revelry, act as the cloak of devilry. So that an English legend may give to the poor, we must travel to Nottingham to even the score.

She frowned. She was the Scribe. Amanda knew that meant she was supposed to understand what this riddle meant. But she didn’t have a clue. All she knew was that she, her four annoying classmates, and two offbeat adults were standing in what was left of the lost continent of Atlantis and they were supposed to be the Timekeepers, the legendary time travelers handpicked by destiny to keep Earth’s history safe from evil. But no one had told them how they were supposed to do it.

Their problem: no matter what happened—good or bad—they weren’t supposed to mess with the past. Period. Dot. End of story. Amanda felt hot liquid build in her throat. Her thumb traced the words of the arcane riddle. Their first Timekeeper mission. Amanda knew this wasn’t the end of the story.

This was just the beginning.

To read more of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis or purchase a copy, please click a vendor’s name
Mirror World PublishingAmazon USAmazon CA

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books.

Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Sloane said @ 1:18 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

July 27, 2015

Rhea Rhodan at Her Best

I’m happy to introduce you to a gifted author I enjoy reading. Rhea Rhodan writes award-winning sensual romance with a twist of magic, and a touch of paranormal. Here’s a little from her latest novel. This book is a definite keeper.

Two haunted souls seeking peace find each other instead.

Kidnapped by human monsters, Grace Thorne was ripped from her quiet intellectual life and left deeply scarred. She’s hidden herself for five years, but there’s no escape from the nightmares of the past, or visions of the future. When one foretells tragedy, she gambles her fragile defenses on a haunted man to prevent it—only to discover love is the biggest risk of all.

Jack Daggery doesn’t need a mirror to know why people avoid him, not that he cares. After years working deep undercover, immersed in betrayal and death, all he wants is some peace and the quiet security company he co-owns.

Dagger has no idea why the foul-mouthed little server of questionable gender bothers him. But he does know that living with the ghosts of his past was hard enough without being tormented by the mysterious thorn in his side—or finding how much he needs her.

EXCERPT
“Someone’s going to die.”
Dagger was already late. He didn’t have time for this shit. Especially not this pint-sized, purple-haired shit. The voice was surprisingly rough coming from the small frame, and the way the kid moved didn’t quite…well, there were a lot of those in the catering business. Thank God he’d finished getting dressed.

He’d thought the employee coat room would be a safe place to make a quick change, what with the party being well underway and all. Why would a server be in here now? They should all be busy.

Wait, that raw voice had been responsible for some damn creative cussing he’d heard a minute ago through the not-so-thin door. If he’d heard it, everyone else in the place must have, too. It had followed the loud crash that could have only meant the brutal end of a lot of glass. Someone had barked something after that, but the only word that made it through the door to Dagger’s ears was “fired.”

Okay. So, not just short and queer in at least one way, but foul-mouthed and currently unemployed, too. Dagger shook his head.

“What do you mean, ‘someone’s going to die’? Is that supposed to be a threat?” Not that Dagger could blame the kid. He took a step closer anyway. “And why tell me?”

The little purple head cocked to the side. “You might be able to stop it. You’re security, right?”

If Dagger had been expecting an answer, that wasn’t it.

“Actually, I’m a guest,” he said through gritted teeth.

He and his partner had been invited to the charity ball by a prospective client. The CEO was only in town for the night. He’d refused to give Blackridge his business until he’d met both of them. So here was Dagger, squeezed into the biggest tux the rental place had buried in the back, making his best attempt to be presentable so they could land the account. The kid wasn’t buying it and he doubted anyone else would, either. He knew who he was, or who he’d been, anyway. The way he looked on the outside wasn’t the half of it.

The kid thrust up his chin about a foot and half below Dagger’s and glared at him through large, dark-tinted glasses. Brave little shit, anyway.

“Yeah, right. And I’m Paul-fucking-Bunyan. You fit in with these mothball penguins like Babe The Blue Ox in a goddamn china shop. I just don’t want anyone to get hurt, okay? Look for a green van. I gotta go.” He pulled a wool cap over his ears, shrugged on an over-sized ratty jacket and ducked past Dagger’s grab, fast. Damned fast.

Dagger hesitated a moment before following. Yes, he was late. But no, he really didn’t want to be here. And what if the tip was solid and he ignored it? There was that, after all.

When he stepped out the back door, he could see the kid stomping sneakered feet under the streetlight at the bus stop in the falling snow. That thin jacket didn’t look like it was going to make it through the winter and now the kid was out of a job. The pang of empathy he felt caught him off guard. It had been a long time, but he still remembered what it felt like to be cold and broke, if not queer and undersized.

A green van rounded the corner just as he was about to step back inside and face the party. When he looked back at the streetlight, the kid was disappearing into a bus.

“Damn,” he muttered under his breath and stepped into the shadows, watching while it pulled into the parking lot and cruised slowly through.

His eyes roamed the rows of late-model, high-priced German cars and a few even pricier imports, then back to the green panel van. That didn’t mean the piece-of-shit on wheels didn’t stick out here as bad as he did, tux or no.

The van moved back onto the street and Dagger turned to go back to the party again, fighting his disappointment at the loss of a reprieve. Then he stopped. It wouldn’t hurt to wait five more minutes, just to make sure the van didn’t come back. He really kind of had to, didn’t he? Just in case the kid wasn’t some whack job trying to get someone in trouble or something. He moved inside the door, leaving it open a crack, and checked his watch…

BUY LINKS
Amazon eBooksAmazon PrintBarnes & NobleiBooks

Rhea Rhodan lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota and has been telling herself stories since long before she could write. She attended the University of Minnesota with a focus on Journalism, then Brown Institute for Broadcast Journalism. After many adventures, misadventures, and a couple of short marriages, she found the love of her life in Regensburg, Germany, and has been living happily ever after since.

She journaled her adventures, but didn’t combine her writing and story-telling until several years ago. At that time one of the stories grabbed her by the throat and shook her like a rag doll until she gave in and wrote it. Having tasted freedom, her muse refuses to return to the confines of her head, and has successfully turned the tables, keeping her at the keyboard to appease it.

Her stories always had a twist of magic or a touch of the paranormal. Why the romance? Because she believes in happy endings, and helping people imagine them.

Learn more about Rhea Rhodan on her website. Stay connected with Rhea on Facebook, and her Goodreads Author Page. You can also read more about Finding Grace on Goodreads Books.

Sloane said @ 1:02 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

July 22, 2015

Ready for a Perfect Italian Dessert?

from Dominique Eastwick

Italian Raspberry Torte

1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2/3 cup sugar & ¼ cup sugar
¾ cup sour cream
½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 cups fresh raspberries
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease a 9″ springform pan: set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine 2/3 cup sugar, ½ cup sour cream, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and ¼ tsp. almond extract with an electric mixer.

Add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Beat until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 15 minutes. Remove partially baked cake from oven and place on wire rack.

In a new bowl beat cream cheese and ¼ cup sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.

Beat in remaining sour cream and almond extract.

Spoon cream cheese mixture over top of partially baked cake, Spread mixture carefully to edges. Return cake to oven. Bake 20-25 mnutes or until top is set and edges are brown.

Place cake on wire rack. Mound berries on cake, pressing some of the berries gently into cake top.

Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of cake from pan.

Cool 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan.

Serve chilled. Add mint sprigs, if desired.

Makes 12-16 servings

Nothing goes better with a cool dessert than a hot book. Here’s a peek at my latest erotic release. I hope you enjoy it.

The mysterious and intimidating lone wolf, Z, has returned to Los Lobos. Descended from a long line of gifted yet secretive shifters known as Infiltrators, his people are the spies of the shifting world, rarely seen and harder to track.

Ripley Greystone has a big problem—her pack is Alpha-less and a local coyote band knows it. The safety of her pack rides on trusting Drew, the new Alpha of the Black Hills Wolves. But, admitting the reason for needing his help isn’t something she’s quite ready to do.

Drew senses there’s more to Ripley’s request to join his pack than what she leads him to believe. There’s only one way to know for sure—send an Infiltrator to spy on Ripley and her pack.

Forced to infiltrate her pack to discover its hidden secrets and protect it from the coyotes determined to claim the she-wolves for themselves, Z finds more than he expects—all the while fighting the need to claim Ripley as his mate.

EXCERPT
A hairsbreadth divided them, and it took all the willpower he processed to fight the building desire to pull her into his arms. Her breathing quickened, and as he gazed into her blue eyes, her raw sensuality forced him deeper into the cavernous pit he’d fallen in when he’d first seen her.

The words came out on a whisper. “You feel it, too, don’t you?”

“This attraction?” Z raised an eyebrow.

She closed her eyes. “It won’t work. I have secrets you could never understand.”

“We all have secrets,” he said then gave in to his animal nature and claimed her lips, though touching her nowhere else. He burned himself into her, forcing her to recant her words of denial.

It will work. He didn’t know how, but he didn’t think he could walk away from these feelings again. Having ensured the Greystones posed no threat to the Tao Pack, he could make his top priority the safety of his mate. His second would be to figure out the logistics of having a mate not of his pack.

Her deep groan rumbled through him, and every thought but Ripley faded. Passion swirled and something new, something different…something more, accompanied by a fizz running along his spine and through his nervous system, charging his powers. The urge to howl grew.

Get your copy of Black Hill Wolves Infiltrating her Pack from Amazon.

Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pasttimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.

Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.

Stay connected on Twitter, Tublr, Tsu, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 1:59 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments

July 20, 2015

The Power of Alice

by Chris Pavesic

Liddell_&_Boyd_(Alice_in_the_looking_glass_works)_by_Karl_Beutel_2011
Liddell & Boyd (Alice in the looking glass works)_by Karl Beutel 2011

2015 marks the 150th Publication Anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The story itself originates in 1862 when a girl named Alice Liddell and her two sisters rowed from Folly Bridge, Oxford, to Godstow with Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) and his clerical friend, Robinson Duckworth. During this journey the girls were told the first version of the story to keep them entertained. Later the work was expanded and published in the version we now know and love.

Alice by Arthur Rackham 1907 Bridgeman Art Library
Alice by Arthur Rackham 1907 Bridgeman Art Library

For me, the character of Alice has always been a remarkable one in childhood literature. She displays an inner strength in every situation, no matter how bizarre it may be (and in Wonderland the situations are never normal!). In an interview for ScreenCrave, Tim Burton explains his attraction to the character of Alice:

It’s a story about somebody using this kind of imagery and this kind of world to figure out problems and things in their own life, and what’s fantasy and reality and dreams and reality — how they are not separate things, that they’re one thing. It’s how we use those things to deal with our issues in life.

For example, when she falls through the earth, Alice does not react with terror. She thinks, she talks to herself, and she analyzes what is actually happening and what may happen in the future. Even though it is a bizarre situation, Alice deals with it in a logical way:

‘I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think–‘ (she was rather glad there WAS no one listening, this time, as it didn’t sound at all the right word) ‘–but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Australia?’ (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke–fancy curtseying as you’re falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) ‘And what an ignorant little girl she’ll think me for asking! No, it’ll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.’

Alice retains this quality throughout the novel and its sequel. She is curious, logical, and prepared to give as good as she gets in arguments. It doesn’t matter if Alice speaks to a caterpillar, a rabbit, a footman, a grinning cat, or a queen; she works to make sense and to analyze the situation.

Warehouse 13 Character of Alice Lidell

It is this type of boldness that attracted me to the character and the tone I tried to emulate in my story, Wonderland, which is based on parts of both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Wonderland is set in a version of modern-day America, but still maintains the fearlessness, strength, and curiosity of the original character. One reviewer on Amazon.com writes:

Chris Pavesic’s Wonderland is set in the U.S. and references modern events. You will see all of the characters that you know and love from Carroll’s work, but they are in relatable forms for those of us “across the pond.” For example, the Tea Party takes place at a sorority house during pledge week. The dormouse is a pledge from a near-by fraternity who has overindulged in alcohol. One of his “brothers” has used a Sharpie marker to draw a mouse nose and whiskers on his face.

There have been many versions of Alice’s story through the years, including (but not limited to) the Disney animated version, the Resident Evil franchise, and the most recent version by Tim Burton. The character of Alice has appeared in many different television programs, including Warehouse 13. The images of Alice and her Wonderland compatriots appear almost everywhere on household goods, clothing, and technology.

Salvador Dali Alice Adventures in Wonderland
Salvador Dali Alice Adventures in Wonderland

Artists have taken inspiration from the works to produce vivid and beautiful interpretations of the characters and the world. For example, the “Alice in Wonderland” works are considered to be one of the rarest and most sought after Salvador Dali suites.

If you are interested in attending an event celebrating anniversary of this, please check out the following information at the Lewis Carroll website. The site lists 95 events in 11 countries.

For a free copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, check out the Project Gutenberg edition online.

Here is a brief introduction to Wonderland, the latest fantasy book by Chris Pavesic. Enjoy!

You may think you know her story.

You don’t.

Throughout her life Alice has faced fear and isolation, but she has never given up hope. In the City by the Bay she has one last chance to find happiness; one last chance to find friendship; one last chance to find Wonderland.

Click here to watch the YouTube video.

Read excerpts from all of the books written by Chris Pavesic on Amazon.

Chris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. Learn more about Chris on her website.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 1:47 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

July 15, 2015

Two Devilish Delights from Sexy Sara Daniel

I love to eat deviled eggs—as long as someone else makes them! But as I approached my fourth decade of life, I realized maybe I need to cross this item off my bucket list even though the creation seemed way too complicated and fancy. I’m a busy mom with a full-time writing job. When it comes to food, I don’t do complicated or fancy.

This past spring I had a bunch of leftover Easter eggs and a whole lot of company coming over. I needed my guests to eat those eggs, so they weren’t sitting in my fridge until Halloween! So I scoured recipes online (Thanks Google!) and simplified the simplest recipe. I haven’t figured out a way to simplify peeling hard boiled eggs, but once I got past that part, these eggs were easy-peasy to make.

Easy Deviled Eggs

1 dozen hard boiled eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. honey Dijon mustard
Paprika

Peel hard boiled eggs. (Muttering and cursing is optional, but I find the eggs respond better to threats and bad temper!)

Slice eggs lengthwise. Scoop yolks into a bowl. Mash yolks, mayonnaise, and mustard together.

Scoop mixture with a small spoon into egg white halves. (If you want to use some fancy thing to make pretty, complicated designs, knock yourself out!)

Sprinkle with paprika. Cover with cling wrap and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

Here’s a peek at my hot new release to enjoy while you nibble on a few of your delicious eggs.

After a grenade took Marine Luke Cox’s leg and ends his career, he cuts ties with his wife to free her from the burden he’d become. On the day his divorce is to be finalized, he travels to meet a woman for a 1Night Stand date—a woman who doesn’t care about his missing leg or his sudden wealth from a business venture. However, things don’t go as planned, and when he arrives for his date, he’s still legally married.

Rosalind Cox tends to the horses on her cousin’s ranch resort, her love for the animals the only thing keeping her going since her husband turned his back on her. When he appears at her stables, all the longing and rising hope is crushed by the realization he’s only sought her out to gain his freedom.

She’ll give him what he wants, but she can’t resist taking one last kiss for herself. The kiss reopens emotions and attraction that neither can deny. To give in will only complicate the tangle as they try to unwind their lives. But even though Rosalind doesn’t care about Luke’s missing leg or his money, as long as he refuses to accept himself as whole, one night with his wife will be his last.

Buy Links:
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Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 1:09 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

July 13, 2015

Marci Boudreaux Creates a True Winner

I’m excited to introduce you to Friends Without Benefits Book 2 in the Stonehill Romance series by Marci Boudreaux. This heartwarming sweet romance is one you won’t want to miss.

Dianna Friedman never expected her husband to leave her. Who does? But she’s making the most of what she has left–two nearly-grown sons and a mountain of debt she can’t pay. She’s in over her head, but she is determined to survive.

Even if everyone else saw it coming, Paul O’Connell was blindsided by his wife’s affair and attempt to bleed him dry. He reaches out to Dianna–the woman who caught their spouses cheating–in hopes that her testimony at his divorce hearing will prevent him from paying alimony.

Dianna and Paul become fast friends and maybe a bit too dependent on each other, but who are they hurting? No one. At least not until Dianna’s life takes yet another unexpected twist and she and Paul have to reevaluate everything…including what they mean to each other.

EXCERPT

Paul washed his hands as the silence in the room pressed down on Dianna. She still had no idea why he was in her kitchen. He finally quit fussing and sat across from her at the table, adding creamer to his coffee. He stirred the liquids together much longer than needed. Each passing of the spoon added tension to the knot in Dianna’s stomach.

Finally, the quiet overwhelmed her. “Mr. O’Connell?”

He stopped stirring and met her gaze. “Paul. Please.”

“Paul, why are you here?”

He tapped the spoon on the edge of his mug before deliberately setting the utensil on a napkin. “I feel like I should—” He drew a deep breath and let it out loudly. “I’m sorry. For what she did.”

Dianna creased her brow. She didn’t know what she thought he was going to say, but that certainly wasn’t what she expected. “Why?”

“Why?”

“Why are you apologizing for your wife sleeping with my husband? Didn’t she cheat on you as much as he cheated on me?”

“Yes. She did.”

“So, why are you apologizing?”

“Well. Someone should. Don’t you think?”

His question sunk her heart. Her eyes, which were still irritated from her last bout of tears, began to sting anew. Yes. She did deserve an apology. Too bad one of the two people who should be sorry for what she was going through hadn’t offered it, though.

“Yes.” She swallowed in an attempt to tame her emotions. “I think someone should. But I don’t think that someone should be you.”

“Maybe, maybe not. Michelle sure seemed to think her affair was my fault.”

“Oh, yes. I didn’t understand his needs anymore.”

“I smothered her. I needed her too much, put too much pressure on her to make me happy.” Paul looked far more than miserable. He looked guilty, as if he were to blame for being on the receiving end of his wife’s adultery.

Dianna wanted to assure him he wasn’t, but she didn’t have the conviction. She’d failed to buy that line too many times to try to sell it to him.

Instead, she looked into her mug so she couldn’t see the pain in his eyes. “Do you know… Do you know what today is? Is that why you’re here?”

“No. I’ve been meaning to stop by, I just hadn’t worked up the courage.”

“Oh.”

“What is today?”

Her lip quivered. “My divorce hearing was today. I just got home not too long ago, actually.”

“Jesus,” he whispered. “I’m sorry. May I ask how it went?”

The stress of the judge’s decision hit her again. “Um…not well, actually. I don’t know how I’m going to—” She gestured lamely at the room around her. “Our oldest son Jason is away at college, and Sam is a high school senior so the judge didn’t feel that Mitch owed me anything. I’ve been a housewife since we got married. I’m not sure how I’m going to…you know…” She pushed herself up from her seat when a sob started building in her. “When I get stressed, I bake. Would you like some cookies?” She didn’t wait for him to respond. She grabbed a container off the counter. “I made oatmeal and chocolate chip. Sam ate most of the chocolate chip ones as soon as they were out of the oven, but”—she put the container on the table and sat down—“there’s plenty of oatmeal left. Please. I don’t need to eat all those myself.”

He hesitated for a moment but then grabbed a cookie. The silence returned as he took small, measured bites. She watched until she noticed the light glimmering off his wedding band.

“He wasn’t wearing his ring,” she said before she could stop herself.

Paul lifted his brow in question. “I’m sorry?”

“This morning. At the hearing. It’s the first time since we were married that I’ve seen Mitch without his wedding ring.”

Paul nodded, as if he understood exactly how much that had hurt her. He took the last bite from his cookie and carefully brushed the crumbs from his hands onto a napkin which he folded and used to wipe the table clean. He chased the bite with a sip of coffee. “Look, there’s never going to be a good time for me to ask this, but I was wondering…”

“What?”

“I, um, I’m so sorry, but… When Michelle told me she was leaving me, I asked her what she was going to do when this great guy she was seeing decided he didn’t want to leave his wife. She said that wasn’t going to be a problem because you had caught them together. Is that true?”

Her mind again flashed to the night she’d walked in on Mitch and Michelle having sex in his office. He had her bent over his desk as he gripped her hips and thrust into her. Those sounds returned—skin smacking against skin, soft moans. Michelle’s black skirt was hiked up onto her back, her hands clinging to the edge of Mitch’s desk, his face tense as he neared release—a look Dianna knew all too well.

She winced. The painful memory still struck her like a slap across the face. “Yes. It’s true.”

Paul’s cheeks lost a few shades of color as if she’d confirmed something he was trying to deny. “Well, now she’s trying to say that her relationship with your husband wasn’t sexual.”

Dianna laughed bitterly. “Oh, it was sexual, all right.”

The muscles in his jaw tightened, and she had the sudden urge to reach out and stroke his face to help ease his tension. Her hand was several inches off the table before she realized what she was doing and stopped herself.

“I know it can’t be easy for you,” he said quietly, “especially having just gone through your hearing, and I swear to you I wouldn’t ask if there were any other way, but would you be willing to testify on my behalf? About when you caught them together.”

Dianna exhaled slowly. She’d give anything not to have to think about her husband’s affair ever again. She didn’t want to remember how completely unexpected catching Mitch cheating had been. Or how she’d walked into the room, as she’d done a hundred times before, carrying his still-warm dinner. How the Tupperware container fell to the floor. How the sound of plastic crashing onto the tiles pulled the lovers from their passion as shock rolled through her, numbing her mind and freezing her body. She didn’t want to remember how Mitch gasped out her name, or how the woman he was screwing lifted her face off his desk to smirk.

Dianna closed her eyes and hot tears slid down her cheeks. She didn’t try to hide them. Her pain overpowered her dignity, as it had so many times in the last six months. How could she care that this stranger was seeing her cry when her heart hurt so much?

“Please, Mrs. Friedman—”

“Dianna,” she spat. “I really hate the Friedman part right now.”

“Please, Dianna. She doesn’t deserve alimony.”

She scoffed. “God. Wouldn’t that be something? I was informed that I don’t deserve alimony because I am capable of work. Yet, you think she’ll get alimony when she’s got my husband to support her.”

“I think she’s got a hell of a better attorney than you had.”

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t afford to pay the bills, support our children, and pay for a top-notch attorney, could I?”

He didn’t respond.

“Sorry,” she whispered as her angry words lingered between them. “That wasn’t directed at you.”

“I know. I have no right to ask you to go through this again, but she will get alimony if I don’t stop her.”

“Well, that hardly seems fair. To either of us.”

“So, you’ll testify?”

Those damned memories flashed through her mind again, bringing with them the familiar stinging and crushing of her soul. She reached into the container sitting between them and grabbed a cookie. She’d likely eaten a dozen the night before, but that didn’t stop her from biting into another as she debated.

“Yes,” she said, finding a conviction that she hadn’t felt for a long time. “Yes, I will testify.”

AMAZON BUY LINK

Presenting the covers for all the books in the Stonehill Romance series.

Marci Boudreaux lives with her husband, two children, and their numerous pets. Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new, and her husband doesn’t like when she does that in real life.

As well as writing erotica under her pen name Emilia Mancini, Marci is a content editor for Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington Publishing. She earned her MS in Publishing from University of Houston-Victoria in 2014 and worked with Des Moines publishing company Big Green Umbrella Media, Inc. until she recently opted to focus on working in books.

She has been published with Liquid Silver Books, Musa Publishing, and Sweet Secrets Publishing. With the recent closure of Musa Publishing, Marci has ventured into self-publishing.

Learn more about Marci Boudreaux on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 1:51 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

July 8, 2015

Beat the Heat Dessert

from HL Carpenter

We wish we could say Gramma shared the recipe for this scrumptious dessert with us while we were writing The SkyHorse. After all, what better way for her granddaughter, Tovi, to stay cool on a sweltering summer day while tending a horse hatched from an egg? But we must admit the sweet treat was around long before The SkyHorse trotted into our lives.

If you like to have dessert on hand for those daily ice cream cravings guests, this cake keeps well in the freezer. It’s expandable, too. Just use a bigger pan, more ice cream and extra whipped topping. When it comes to ice cream, more is better, right?

No Bake Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

What you’ll need:
One package (12 bars) of ice cream sandwiches
One container (8 ounces or larger) of whipped topping (or make your own with a pint of whipping cream and 3 tablespoons of sugar)
Garnish of your choice: Sprinkles; chopped nuts; caramel, chocolate or other syrup
Glass or plastic pan with a lid

Directions:
Arrange six ice cream bars in a crisscross pattern in the bottom of the pan. (You may have to cut the bars to make them fit. Of course, then you’ll need to eat those little left-over pieces—who said chefs have an easy life?)

Spread a layer of whipped cream over the bars.*

Crisscross the remaining six ice cream bars on top of the whipped cream.

Slather another layer of whipped cream over the top and sides.

Decorate with sprinkles or chopped nuts, or drizzle with caramel or chocolate syrup.

Cover and freeze 2-3 hours or overnight.

Remove from freezer 10-15 minutes before serving to soften.

*For a richer cake, add a layer of syrup and/or chopped nuts over the whipped cream.

While your delicious cake is chilling, how about settling in with a good book?

Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck – until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

When fourteen year old Tovi Taggert moves to Honeysuckle Hollow to take care of her grandmother, she has a hard time fitting in. For one thing, she’s been tagged with the hated nickname Too-Tall Tovi. For another, everyone at Honeysuckle Hollow High believes Tovi played the Choking Game with someone else’s boyfriend – and made out with him besides.

As if she doesn’t have enough problems, after the latest stand-off in the school hallway, Tovi finds a gorgeous speckled egg nestled in a feather lined nest.

She takes the egg home – and mysterious visitors begin appearing almost immediately. Even more worrisome, whatever is inside the egg starts chipping its way out.

When the egg hatches, revealing a winged horse, Tovi’s troubles multiply.

As she struggles to return the horse to the magical land where he belongs, Tovi must make a courageous decision – and accept what that decision will cost her.

To read more of The SkyHorse, please click here.

HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their studio in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Learn more about HL Carpenter and their multi-genre books on their website.

Stay connected on Pinterst and Google+.

Sloane said @ 1:51 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | 2 Comments

July 6, 2015

Teen Friendships Can Last a Lifetime

by Vala Kaye

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Not all the people you meet during your teen years will become your BFFs, but if you’re very fortunate, one or two might always be with you to share the ups and downs that happen to us as we go through life.

I have two “lifetime” friends. One I met in junior high and the other in high school. One is similar to me in temperament, while the other couldn’t be more different. We’ve shared school experiences; engagements, marriages and divorces; the birth of children; and the deaths of grandparents, parents and siblings.

Those are the big things, the huge emotional highs and lows that only time and the love and caring of true friends can help see you through. But we’ve also always been there for one another through the smaller things in life, everything from movie nights and mid-terms to concerts and cooking disasters.

When I was working on my YA paranormal novella, Ghost Writer, I gave my main character, Malden, a friend named Ashley. They go to the same school and I suspect they’re truly BFF’s. When I was writing the scenes where Malden and Ashley, though physically separated by hundreds of miles, are online in their school’s student chat room, I thought about how my friends and I sound when we’re filling each other in on “the latest.” Not only do we talk about what’s happening to us and what we’re feeling, but sometimes we also pick up on what our lifetime friends aren’t saying, what they’re holding inside because they’re afraid of being embarrassed or laughed at.

Because we love them, we have to gently remind them just who they’re talking to. With a lifetime friend, they’re safe. And it’s okay to share anything.

Here is a short intro to my YA Paranormal. I hope you enjoy it.

Tech-savvy teen Malden Montgomery leaves New York City anticipating nothing but boredom when her artist-mother brings her along on a two-week vacation to a family inn in rural Virginia.

What Malden doesn’t expect is the owner’s 17-year-old son, Jackson, who is totally to-die-for cute. But does she dare believe him when he tells her that her room at the inn may be haunted by a young woman named Emily, who died there more than 150 years ago?

Then Emily begins to communicate with Malden and she and Jackson realize they have to find a way to help Emily’s ghost come back home or risk a spirit’s wrath if they choose to leave her lost in the darkness forever.

Read more about Ghost Writer on Amazon.

Vala Kaye grew up in Texas as an avid reader of science fiction, history and romance. Her favorite writers ran the gamut from Robert Heinlein to Margaret Mitchell, and included side journeys with Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” and The Hardy Boys mysteries.

After graduating from college with a double major in Communications and History, Vala now lives and writes in warm and sunny southern California. She is addicted to movies, live theater, word games, salsa dancing and adaptations of the stories of Jane Austen.

In her first published YA novella, Ghost Writer, she explores what happens when a human ‘spirit’ meets computer technology. Vala’s newest title is book #1 of The Superhero Next Door series, Artificial Intelligence.

Sloane said @ 1:58 am | Author Friend Promo | Comments

July 1, 2015

Celebrate July 4th with American Flag Cake

Not only is my author friend Sara Daniel a terrific writer, she’s also one dynamite baker. Sara is sharing her special Fourth of July dessert. I guarantee you’ll love it! Now here’s Sara…

Nothing beats Independence Day for showing our pride in our country. Flags wave proudly, and red, white and blue are suddenly displayed on every piece of merchandise in the local discount store.

While I don’t have flag plates, napkins or—God forbid—a star-spangled bikini, I love bringing out my once-a-year crafty side to make an American Flag Cake for a cool patriotic treat.

So to satisfy your sweet-tooth I offer you my easy and delicious recipe.


American Flag Cake
pound cake
8oz Cool Whip
Blueberries
Strawberries, sliced

Pound cake can be store bought or made from scratch. Here’s a quick recipe:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Beat sugar into butter 2 tablespoons at a time until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time. Mix in remaining ingredients.

Bake in a greased and floured 9 X 5 pan for 1 hour. Cool completely.

To Assemble American Flag Cake
Cut pound cake into slices and lay across the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan.

Cover cake with a smooth layer of Cool Whip.

Turn pan horizontal. In upper left corner, fill an approximately 3-4 inch by 3-4 inch square with blueberries.

Make seven horizontal lines of strawberry slices. The first four lines should begin from the blueberry section to the far right edge. The bottom three lines should span the entire length of the pan. The top and bottom lines should be touching the top and bottom of the pan respectively to create 13 alternating red and white stripes.

The last step is very important – Thank a member of our Armed Forces and/or a Veteran, and share a piece of patriotic cake.

Enjoy.

~Sara

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 1:08 am | Author Friend Promo,Cooking | Comments