Thursday, April 3, 2014

SHOWCASE - Stephanie Berget

Today I'm welcoming author Stephanie Berget to my blog for a showcase of her latest Evernight Publishing release, SUGARWATER RANCH (Salt Creek Cowboys).

 * * * *

Bar-manager Catherine Silvera finds a waterlogged, unconscious cowboy freezing to death in front of the Sugarwater Bar. She saves his life--then runs faster than a jackrabbit with a coyote on its tail.  Any man who makes his living rodeoing is bad news, especially if Sean thinks partying is part of the competition. He’s everything she doesn’t want in a man, so why can’t Catherine shake her attraction to the rugged cowboy?



Just driving to the town made the trip worthwhile. The scenery was incredible, and the residents of Sisters had remade their community into a replica of a western town right out of the 1800s. The storefronts were made of wood with hitching rails running the length of the main street. Located in the shadow of the Three Sisters volcano mountain range, Sisters was a tourist town through and through. When the logging business went bust in the area, they’d encouraged tourism and saved their town when many others hit hard times. Sean had been to Sisters many times for the rodeo, and he’d always been impressed. Not only did the town ooze western hospitality, each trip he’d felt like he’d stepped into the past when cowboys ruled the area. Best of all, they put on one of the best paying and well-run rodeosin the northwest.
Today the town had been transformed. Quilts of every color and size were displayed in the windows and hung from the store railings, many with blue and red ribbons. The judging was done, and they were out for everyone to enjoy.
"Park the truck, and we’ll start at one end of town and go until you get bored,” Catherine said. She jumped out before he had the engine off and started toward the first store. “Isn’t this beautiful?”
The wonder in her voice had him hurrying to catch up and see what she’d found.
An eighteen-inch square quilt was made of half-inch pieces of cloth. Someone hand stitched all those tiny squares together to make a picture of flowers. The workmanship amazed him.
They wandered along the boardwalk, taking in the quilts and other handmade items. At the ice cream parlor they took a break.
Over ice cream cones, they discussed which quilts Cat liked best. Sean still couldn’t get over the amount of work people put into one of the handmade works of art.
“What do you think?” Catherine asked as she licked her cone. “Are you bored yet?”
“What?” Sean’s attention was riveted to the sight of Cat’s tongue licking the ice cream and he hadn’t heard her question.
“Do you like the quilts?” she asked, as the tip of her tongue slipped around the melting cone.
He forced his gaze up to her eyes. “For blankets, they sure are pretty. I’d be afraid to use them.”
Her smile told him she knew where his thoughts were. “I use one my grandmother made on my bed, but I keep the others stored in my closet because I can’t replace them. Except for sentimental value, most quilts are made to be used."
"You mentioned your grandmother and mom. Where are they now?” Sean gathered the napkins and cups then dropped them in the trash can.
When they were alone on the street, Catherine said, “My grandmother was a member of the Northern Paiute tribe. My grandfather was white. When they wanted to marry, her parents weren’t happy. My grandfather agreed to live on the reservation near Burns and learn the old ways. He became a part of the tribe. They passed away years ago. I didn’t know them well. Mom was born and raised there. When she married my father, he was white like my granddad. Everyone assumed they would stay, too.”
“I’m guessing they didn’t,” Sean said. “Where did you go?”
“It didn’t take long for my daddy to get bored on the reservation. He had other ideas. Big ideas. We wandered across much of Oregon and Idaho, chasing a dream he couldn’t quite catch. After each failure, he drank a little more. Let’s just say things went downhill from there.”
"I’m sorry,” Sean said.
 “Maybe you’ll tell me more about them sometime." But not now, Catherine thought. “What about your family?” she asked. “I know Frannie, and I knew of your mother. You come from nice people."
“Nice people, that’s my family,” he muttered, “all but me."
She glanced over to him. “You’re nice people. You just hide it well.” The giggle burst out of her. Sean had never heard her giggle. She didn’t seem like the giggling type of woman.
Then he realized what she’d said. “I hide it well? And I suppose you can see right through me to the warm chocolaty core?”
She giggled again then laughed outright. And laughter looked very good on Catherine Silvera. “Chocolaty core. Good description. I just need to lick through the hard sugar shell.”
Oh hell, the mental image just about blew him out of his boots.
He grabbed her and pulled her between the buildings to a private spot. “So you’re going to lick through the sugar shell?” It was his turn to laugh as he watched the blush spread up her neck and across her cheeks.
“I didn’t mean... You dirty-minded old man.” Even though she was blushing, she smiled.
“You’d better get started if you want to get to the chocolate tonight.”
His mouth closed on hers. She pressed against him and slipped her tongue into his mouth. She’s taking me seriously was his last thought before his brain scrambled.
They were both breathing hard, and if they’d been any closer together, they’d have been on the other side of each other. Sean cradled her head in his hands and bent to give her another soft kiss. He loved the way this woman smelled, like fresh air and oranges. Sliding his fingers through her hair, he heard her sigh. “I wish we were home,” Catherine said.
“You’re kidding me. This was your idea, and we’re going to finish the tour. This will give you time to think about your treat.” Sean turned her around, put his hands on her waist, and steered her back to the street.
Want to read more? Find Sugarwater Ranch at:

About the author:

Stephanie Berget was born loving horses and found her way to rodeo when she married the Bronc Rider. She and her husband traveled throughout the Northwest while she ran barrels and her cowboy rode bucking horses. She started writing to put a realistic view of rodeo and ranching into western romance. Stephanie and her husband live on a farm located along the Oregon/Idaho border, where they raise hay, horses and cattle, with the help of Dizzy Dottie, the Border Collie, and two Munchkin cats, Magic and Martin.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Showcase - Nikka Michaels

It may be the end of March, but since Mother Nature seems to have her seasons mixed up this year, why not celebrate a little bit of Christmas spirit? With all this snow around still for most of us, it would not be out of place! Are you in the mood to snuggle up with a good read as you wait for things to heat up? Then this might be what you need.

Nikka is a fellow author who writes in multiple genres. She's been kind enough to share an excerpt from one of her books CHRISTMAS WITH CADEN here today. I hope you enjoy the teaser! Read on to find out more about Nikka and where you can discover more of her work.

Paige Anthony is annoyed at spending Friday night at the company Christmas party. She’s bored until she spots the son of the boss, Caden Davis dancing and is intrigued.
When Caden saves Paige from the advances of his brother, she looks at him in a new light. A few sexy dances later, she manages to forget the horrible beginning of the night. When she decides to leave, he offers to walk her home and admits he’s wanted her for a while. Will Paige’s attraction be enough to make her forget about holidays past and consider Christmas with Caden?

“Is this how you really dance? Because you can show me the real you, you know. After all, you did just middle school dance me. I want a Caden dance.”
His slow, wicked smile made her stomach flip and heat flood her skin. “You want me? You got me.”
Slowly he spun her in a circle, her back resting against the front of his body. His hands settled on her hips, squeezing gently as he nuzzled her ear. His fingers pulled the fabric of her dress taut against her nipples as the delicious friction intensified with every move. She bit back a low moan at the sensation.
“This is me. This is how I really dance.”
Shivering at the feel of his warm breath against her ear, she closed her eyes and let her body go loose, relaxing as she moved with the beat of the music. His hands smoothed up and down her sides, teasingly light as he moved with her, not guiding but simply moving with her.
Through the thin fabric of her dress and his shirt and suit pants, heat from his body added to the sweat that beaded on her skin. She could feel his hardness pressing against her ass when she rocked back into him, though he let her lead all their movement. The club had gotten more crowded as they’d danced. The look on his face when she glanced up at him was one of hunger, his heavy-lidded eyes gone dark, illuminated by the flash of the strobe light. With the top buttons of his shirt undone, he looked as though he’d just been dragged off the floor and ravished.
Paige wanted to be the reason he looked that way.
Want to read more?

To find out more about Nikka Michaels and her work go here:

Nikka Michaels lives in the often rainy Pacific Northwest where she spends her time cooking, laughing and crafting romantic tales to satisfy her craving for HEAs with heat. A voracious reader, novice knitter and music lover she’s been known to multitask without breaking a sweat. She loves to read and write M/M romance but believes everyone deserves a love story. She currently has three releases out, Chasing Matt, a M/M novella co-authored with Eileen Griffin, Christmas with Caden, a M/F romance novella from Cobblestone Press, and “Waking up Wolf”, a M/M shifter romance in Evernight Publishing’s Alpha’s Claim: Manlove Edition anthology. Her short erotic M/M BDSM story, Room Service was released from Cobblestone Press and the sequel, Lip Service is out April 15, 2014. Nikka is currently at work with her co-author on two M/M foodie romance novels, set to be released summer and fall 2014 from Carina Press.
It's cold out there, so warm up with a good book!







Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wait -- it's the first day of Spring?

So they tell me!
Well, it might not look much like Spring out of my window, but I suppose I'll have to take their word for it.

In my last post I promised you a few more photographs by the talented Theresa Smolen and here they are. Enjoy! I also have some exciting giveaway news if you read on to the end. ;)

Just a reminder: Theresa exhibits locally (her photographs not herself, per se!) at The Short and Stout Tea Company, where they apparently have not only tea but the most wonderful cakes and cookies.

Thanks, Theresa for sharing your work with me!

If you're interested in purchasing a print or notecards with Theresa's work, you can contact her at
And now to more news. Would you like a paperback ARC (Advanced Review Copy) of Once Upon a Kiss? It's the first book in my new series, The Book Club Belles Society, and it will be out in stores in early June 2014, but you can get a signed ARC now if you message me via my Facebook Author Page at
I only have two copies to giveaway, so make like a rabbit and get over there!
(See what I did there - Rabbits=Spring?)
It's in the air!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

O Where Art Thou, Spring?

So as we face the prospect of yet another winter storm in the north east, you might want to put some
color and frisky springiness back in your step by taking a look at these photographs by my super-talented friend Theresa Smolen. Today is part one of a series I will be showing, just to remind us all (and Mother Nature) that there is light at the end of the blizzard.
Theresa has prints of her work for sale and can make some into notecards. She was kind enough to share a sample of her beautiful photos with me for my blog and to cheer us all up as we come (hopefully) to the tail end of this lingering winter. Theresa's contact information is at the end of the post. She also exhibits her pictures locally at the Short and Stout Tea Company.
Theresa and I once worked together on the same floor and that was where we discovered our shared inability to lift heavy objects without laughing. It got to the point that whenever I saw Theresa tripping by my desk to get her coffee I'd start laughing and then so would she. And we STILL laugh about it!

I'm not sure whether she was laughing with me or AT me, actually! But enough of my rambling - enjoy these wonderful photographs....
You can reach Theresa for more information about her photographs at
Ah, I feel better now I know Spring is on its way! Somewhere....

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Well, she is finally out in the world! It always seems like such a long wait from writing the last word in a manuscript until the big release day. And then, after all the build up, that wretched nervous feeling comes over me. What if no one likes it?
The best I can do - and I tell myself this every time - is write something that I love and then I just have to hope others like it too. After all, if I'm not writing something I love, what's the point?
As the first reviews come in for MISS MOLLY ROBBINS DESIGNS A SEDUCTION, I'm relieved to know I brought some entertainment and pleasure to readers. It makes the long hours scrabbling over a laptop, poring over research books and pondering out of the window with a glazed, silly look on my face, all worthwhile. It makes those hours of writing madly, squeezed tightly around working the "real" job, finally make sense to those who know me and have to put up with my anti-social nature.
People like my book! They like the characters that I fell in love with as I wrote about them.
Phew! Because you never know.
As I've said before, it's like sending a child off to school for the first time. I'm excited and yet I'm anxious. Will they make friends? Will they be bullied and come home with gum in their hair and dirty footprints on the back of their coat? You can love someone or something with all your heart, but there is no guarantee that others will feel the same.
So as I celebrate the release of the last book in the Sydney Dovedale series, I want to thank all my readers for their lovely reviews - and for befriending my little Molly "Mouse". Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for picking up my book, taking the time to read it, and leaving a review!


If you'd like to win a copy of MISS MOLLY ROBBINS DESIGNS A SEDUCTION please leave a comment below.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Welcome Grace Burrowes!

I'd like to give a warm welcome to my guest blogger and fellow Sourcebooks author today - the wonderful GRACE BURROWES who also has a new release out today - THE MACGREGOR'S LADY! Read on to find out more about Grace's latest and for a chance to win a fabulous prize

The Enduring Appeal of Historicals

When I started reading romance several decades ago, all romances were historical. Medieval, colonial, Georgian, Regency, western—“romance” implied “historical romance.” If genre fiction is supposed to entertain, early romance authors were quick to figure out that taking the reader to another time was one easy way to free her from her reality—her present reality.

The result is a cadre of readers, among whom I number, whose first definition of the romance novel has roots in the historical. We’re long-term, loyal readers, who’ve read not hundreds of a good books, but thousands, and we hope to read thousands more.

Similarly, many historical authors have been honing their craft for decades, and their prose is scrumptious.

Every genre of romance boasts excellent writers and loyal readers, though, so what keeps a reader nose down in historicals?

Part of it, for me, lies in the perception we have of historical gender roles. Back in the day—even as recently as the Edwardian day, or our mothers’ day—ladies were Ladies, gentlemen were Gentlemen, and stepping outside those roles, growing beyond them, was a greater risk than it is for most of us now. And yet, loving and being loved require that we grow and become the person we’re meant to be, not the person society or family find it convenient for us to be.

This is true in a contemporary setting, a Steampunk setting, and probably on Planet Zircon in the 26th century, but historical characters allow the author to show the costs of choosing love over convention in high relief.

Another advantage of the historical world is that it’s closer to present day reality than many other fictional worlds. London is still on the map, much of it as it was in Regency days. Versailles still stands, Stonehenge remains. The historical world, with its whispers and echoes in the present day, has a credibility and immediacy that help draw the reader in. She may never have seen King George riding out with his cavaliers, but she can still hike the very terrain where he rode, hear the clatter of shod hooves, and watch the mist rising over the same countryside.

That balance of reality and fiction creates a wonderful space for an imaginative tale, and historical authors love to explore its boundaries.

And better still, history provides a wealth of material to inspire, enhance, and embellish any romance. Again, the blend of what was real with what can be imagined makes for powerful narrative chemistry.  Wife sales, dukes marrying tavern maids, royal pardons, and arranged marriages are all foreign to our experience, but history offers them up for consideration as grist for true love and good reading.

Whatever the reasons, I’m glad as a reader that many authors are penning historicals for me to gobble up, and as an author, I’m glad the historical still commands the interest of many devoted readers.

To celebrate the release of The MacGregor’s Lady, Grace Burrowes is giving away EIGHT iPads during the first two weeks of February! To enter to win, leave a question for Grace to answer in the comments. A random commenter will be chosen as the winner and notified via email. US and Canada only.

A second commenter will also be chosen to win a prize pack of The MacGregor Series books: The Bridegroom Wore Plaid, Once Upon a Tartan and The MacGregor’s Lady. US and Canada only.


Be sure to follow along in February for your chance to win an iPad from New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Grace Burrowes. She’s visiting some blogs and chatting with fellow Sourcebooks authors!

2/10 Jade Lee



 What if the steps they take to avoid marriage…

The last thing Asher MacGregor, newly titled Earl of Balfour, wants is a society wife, though he has agreed to squire Boston heiress Hannah Cooper about the London ballrooms. When he's met that obligation, he'll return to the Highlands, and resume the myriad responsibilities awaiting him there.

…Lead instead to impossible love?

At her step-father's insistence, Hannah Cooper must endure a London season, though she has no intention of surrendering her inheritance to a fortune hunter. When she's done her duty, she'll return to Boston and the siblings who depend upon her for their safety... or will she? The taciturn Scottish earl suits her purposes admirably—until genuine liking and unexpected passion bring Asher and Hannah close. For if the Scottish earl and the American heiress fall in love, an ocean of differences threatens to keep them apart.


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes hit the bestseller lists with her debut, The Heir, followed by The Soldier and Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal. She has a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish was awarded Best Historical Romance for 2011 by the RT Reviewers Choice Awards. Burrowes is branching out into Victorian and contemporary romances with Sourcebooks, as well as short stories. Grace is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland. For more information, please visit http:///


To purchase The MacGregor’s Lady:



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cooking the Books - Part Four

And finally we come to MISS MOLLY ROBBINS DESIGNS A SEDUCTION, the fourth and final book in the Sydney Dovedale series. For this, my sister chose Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes, a dish that makes something rich and extra-special out of the humble potato. I think Molly Robbins, plain country girl turned successful Modiste, could certainly appreciate this dish!

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

1 garlic clove
1.2 kg potatoes - peeled
250 ml (1 cup) thickened cream
3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper
2 tbs chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 160 degrees c. Lightly grease an 8-cup baking dish. Thinly slice potatoes.

Arrange potato slices in base of dish, slightly overlapping. Drizzle cream over the layer and sprinkle with some of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and garlic. Make three more layers the same way, finishing with cheese.

Bake for 1 - 11/4 hours, or until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown. Set aside for ten minutes to stand. Sprinkle with parsley.

Excerpt from MISS MOLLY ROBBINS DESIGNS A SEDUCTION (release date  - this Tuesday, February 4th, 2014)

“Thank you for the flowers,” she blurted before he could even speak. It had been burning there on her tongue, her heart wracked with guilt for not acknowledging the unexpected thoughtfulness of his gift.

He seemed to be studying the charcoal she held in her fingers. Slowly his dark gaze lifted to her face. “Do you have my handkerchief? The one I lent you when I stole cake for you, madam?”

“No,” she answered so swiftly it took her breath away. “I lost it.” He wasn’t getting it back she decided in the blink of an eye. Besides, he had many handkerchiefs. Why would he need one back? It was all she had of him.

“I see. How careless of you.”

“If I find it, I’ll return it, your lordship.” Oh, such a filthy liar she had become.

He half turned away and then back again. “By the by, you made a mistake on that contract, Mouse.”

She squinted. “I don’t think I—”

“Tomfoolery. You should have checked the spelling.”


Towering over her in the doorway, he had to bend his head or else hit his brow on the crooked lintel. “Since it is spelled incorrectly, that makes the clause null and void.”

“I’m quite certain a word misspelled is not enough to—”

“You may confer with a man of the law, of course, if you don’t believe me.” He glared down at her, the challenge clear in his fierce expression. “Ask Hobbs.”

Naturally. Ask his faithful minion to confirm. Why not? “You came back just to tell me this?”

“I did.”

“It seems a dreadful waste of your time, when you must have more important matters to tend.” Her heart was overexcited, racing too fast.

“How I waste my time is up to me, Miss Robbins.”

“I suppose so. You must be very good at it by now.”

His eyes widened. “And there was nothing more pressing at this moment than correcting you.” A warm, teasing light simmered in his lightened gaze. “And your addlepated contract.”

“An addlepated contract you signed.”

“Under duress.”

Slightly breathless, she laughed. “Duress?”

“It was early. I was unprepared.” He propped his shoulder against her doorframe. “As you knew I would be.”

She felt easy in his presence suddenly. It should have been odd and uncomfortable to have him there, leaning in her doorway, but she was no longer his servant, was she? She was Miss Margaret Robbins, her own woman. Lady Anne, who had never known the old Molly, called her “bold.” She had her own life now and could do as she pleased. So she pondered the hard set of his jaw and said, “You didn’t shave today. Your lordship.”

“Well observed, Mouse.”

“Lady Mercy would be appalled.”

“Lady Mercy is not here.”

Alas. None of this would be happening if she was. Molly would not be commenting on the state of his chin scruff, and Carver would not be visiting her lodgings in the dark of night if his sister was present to prevent it.

“Well, I just wanted to point out your spelling error, Mouse. While it was in the forefront of my mind.”

“Sakes, yes. We know how briefly thoughts remain there.”

He scratched his cheek, and she knew the little hairs must be itching. She’d bet five pounds it was all shaved smooth again by morning. He made no move to leave.

“Do not burden your mind further with the idea, your lordship. I’m sure you have many other thoughts waiting for their turn.”

“You infer I can have only one at a time?”

Molly fought hard to prevent her lips curving. “You are a man, your lordship.”

He shook his head. “I see your new success has gone to your head, Robbins. Pride comes before a fall.” Now he made a small movement that suggested he was ready to depart again.

“Speaking of falls, did Larkin get the grass stains out of your breeches?” she asked hurriedly.

Carver relaxed against the doorframe once more. “He did.”


“Your concern for my breeches is misplaced.” His eyes lightened even further, distinctly mischievous. “The knees beneath them were more severely wounded.”

She looked down at the items in question. “One should take greater care when one goes out riding, especially in advanced years.”

“And young maids,” he replied swiftly, “should take better care with their spelling.”

Pushing away from the doorframe, he took the charcoal from between her fingers, turned her hand over, and began to write on her palm.


She couldn’t breathe suddenly. His gloved hand holding hers was firm, steady. She prayed to all the saints that he would not feel her tremble, but surely he must. The Earl of Everscham was holding her hand. Holding her hand. The charcoal tickled across her palm, the lines already smudged by unladylike perspiration.


Molly knew she ought to pull her hand away and stop him at once, but if she didn’t let him keep her hand, where else might he write his letters? She feared to imagine.

“R…Y. There. Now you know how to spell it, Mouse.”

She glanced down at the word with which he’d marked her skin in giant letters. Unable to get them all on her small palm in one line, he’d made three-and-a-half lines, some of the letters riding up her wrist. With his free hand, he turned her chin up to face him.

“And now, just so we are clear about the definition too…”

It seemed to take forever for his lips to reach her. His height, of course, necessitated a low stoop. Molly had plenty of time to avoid his mouth, more than enough time to know his intention. But she tipped her head back, and her lips met his.

She closed her eyes. His fingertips stroked along her jaw and down the side of her neck, where he would feel her hectic pulse fluttering. His firm lips took that kiss from her ruthlessly, as if he expected a fight but meant to have what he wanted regardless. Stubble pricked her cheek, chafed slightly. His tongue delved into her mouth, tasting her slowly and yet not tentatively, just exploring at his own pace, relishing what he found. His hand around her fingers tightened until she almost yelped. Would have too, if his kiss had not taken complete possession of her capacities just then.


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