Spotlight on Caitlyn McFarland

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Meet debut author Caitlyn McFarland, whose new book Soul of Smoke is going to have you on the edge of your seat! Keep reading for a note from Caitlyn, as well as more information on the Dragonsworn series!

“Growing up is overrated” by Caitlyn McFarland

A Tumblr user named powertothepencil asked Neil Gaiman, “I want to be an author when I grow up. Am I insane?” Neil Gaiman replied, “Yes. Growing up is overrated. Just be an author.”

I recently turned thirty, which technically makes me a grownup (that or my three kids), and I do my fair share of adulting. But one of the best things about being an author—especially a fantasy romance author—is that I get to keep my sense of childlike wonder at the magic of the world. I get to entertain the idea that I can wander through a wardrobe and find myself in Narnia, or that wizards live among us, or that dragons might hide in the Rocky Mountains.

There are those who think people who enjoy fantasy and romance are naïve. That we don’t see or understand the mundane, ugly things of the world. We see them. In fact, I think truth and human nature stand out more sharply against the magic of a make-believe background. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose the wonder that’s been bringing us joy since we were kids.

After all, growing up is overrated.

About Soul of Smoke:

25273071On a hike deep in the Rocky Mountains, Kai Monahan watches as a dozen dragons—actual freaking dragons—battle beneath a fat white moon. When one crashes nearly dead at her feet and transforms into a man, Kai does the only thing a decent person could: she grabs the nearest sword and saves his life.

As the dragon/man, Rhys, recovers from the attack, a chance brush of skin against skin binds him inextricably to Kai. Becoming heartsworn to a human—especially such a compelling one—is the last thing Rhys wants. But with an ancient enemy gathering to pit dragons against humanity and his strength nearly depleted, Kai has just become the one thing Rhys needs. A complete bond will give him the strength to fight; a denied bond means certain death.

Kai is terrified at the thought of allowing any dragon into her mind…or her heart. Accepting the heartswearing and staying with the dragons means sacrificing everything, and Kai must decide if her freedom is worth risking Rhys’s life—a life more crucial to the fate of humanity than she could possibly know.

10 Things I’ve Learned from Writing Historical Fiction

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By Kari Edgren, author of AN IMMORTAL DESCENT

The Goddess Born series is set in the eighteenth century, which has allowed me to spend a great deal of time living in the past. Here are some interesting tidbits I’ve picked up along the way.

Ten Things I’ve learned from Writing Historical Fiction

  1. European men started wearing high heels in the sixteen hundreds. Women followed suit to masculinize their outfits.



  1. The English fancied curse words that started with the letter B, e.g., Ballocks, Blast, Bloody and Bugger were four favorites.



  1. On matters of equality, Quakers were centuries ahead of their time. While slavery plagued much of the known world, they were the first organization to officially ban the practice in the mid seventeen hundreds.



  1. Europeans in general were very fond of witch-hunts. Between 1450 and 1750, tens of thousands of people were executed for witchcraft, two-thirds of these being women. Torture was a must for the best confessions. Preferred methods of execution included drowning, hanging, and fire, though there was the occasional beheading.



  1. Europeans were equally fond of dueling. The French mastered the art, conducting approximately 10,000 duels between 1685 and 1716. The art reached new heights in 1808 when two Frenchmen took their quarrel to the Parisian sky and fought a duel from hot air balloons. The loser was shot down and died on impact along with his second.



  1. Not all women played by the rules. Princess Amelia, second daughter of King George II, is believed to have had an affair with a commoner that resulted in the composer Samuel Arnold.



  1. For several hundred years, Europeans of all ranks practiced medicinal cannibalism by ingesting remedies that contained bones, blood and fat taken from human corpses. This practice peaked in the seventeen hundreds.



  1. Flowery language was all the rage. Form and flourish mattered in conversation, as did word count, and one never said in ten words what could be better said in thirty.



  1. “You sexy beast you…” From the sixteen to eighteen hundreds, high-ranking women used their fans to carry on whole conversations without uttering a single word. A fan held in the left hand indicated a desire for company. A tap to the right cheek signified “yes”, while a tap to the left was a resounding “no”. Drop your fan and it was off to private nook for a clandestine affair.



  1. Historical people were suspicious of raw fruits and vegetables. That’s right, give them a corpse to gnaw on, but keep the fresh produce away.



25527254Selah Kilbrid, descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, has been ordered to remain in London and leave any dangers in Ireland to her goddess-born family. They fear she’s no match for Death’s most powerful daughter and—if the legend holds true—the witch who once nearly destroyed the Irish people. But Selah has never been good at following orders, and nothing will stop her from setting out to find the two people she loves most—her dearest friend, Nora Goodwin, and her betrothed, Lord Henry Fitzalan.

Hiding from kin, traveling uneasily beside companions with secrets of their own, Selah is forced on an unexpected path by those who would steal her gift of healing. With precious time ticking away, she turns to a mortal enemy for help, heedless of the cost.

Selah would pass through hell to rescue Nora and Henry, but what if it means unleashing a greater evil on the human world? Her only chance is to claim the fullest extent of her birthright—at the risk of being forever separated from the man she longs to marry.

Book three of Goddess Born


Available now from Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo

Top Five Things I Love About Steampunk

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By Eleri Stone, author of THE ADVENTURES OF CASSIUS FLYNN AND MOLLY McGUIRE

 

Steampunk is a mash-up of science fiction and alternate history. The stories are often set in Victorian England, but there are plenty of western tales out there too.  It’s a sometimes dark, always twisted, FUN genre full of adventure and romance. Some of the things I love most about it are…

  • The clothes. Who doesn’t love a corset?

 

http://colinridiculous.tumblr.com/post/88554192661

  • The interesting forms of transportation

 

http://contentimus.tumblr.com/post/47969443776/contentimus

  • Mad Science!

 

http://clockworker.tumblr.com/post/275883933/baron-von-fogel-via-lex-machina

  • Romance shines brighter in a dark world

 


  • Sci-Fi + Re-imagined History = Lots of crazy adventure

 

http://very-fancy.tumblr.com/post/95683323667/madddscience-bruce-campbell-rides-a-rocket

 

The Adventures of Cassius Flynn and Molly McGuire is a western-set story about a pair of semi-reformed airship smugglers who are out to pull off one last job.

A Reapers novellaCARINA_0615_9781459290532_Cassius_Molly

Cassius Flynn is a smuggler. An outlaw. A scoundrel. Charming, devilishly handsome in a maverick sort of way and fiendishly clever to boot. He’s also the only man Molly McGuire has ever loved.

Molly’d left him a year ago. Stolen his airship, broken his heart and made him look like a damn fool. Still, he’s rushed to her rescue, storming into Reaper territory to snatch her out from under the repulsive bounty hunter who brought her in.

High above the plains, up among the clouds in the most rarefied Scraper city of them all, a ruthless statesman has stolen everything Cassius considers important. And without Molly, without her quick hands, sharp mind and pretty face, he doesn’t stand a chance of getting it back…

What’s your favorite thing about Steampunk?

Available now from Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo

 

Eleri Stone is a RITA-nominated author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She was born in New Jersey, but now lives in Iowa with her husband and their three children. All of her stories have some element of speculative fiction in them and they all end with a happily-ever-after.

 

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Vlad the Bad…revealed!

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By Elizabeth Harmon, author of TURNING IT ON

 

Not only does music put me in the mood to write, often a song will inspire my story and shape my characters.

That’s been especially true for the Red Hot Russians heroes, who are, or have been, figure skaters.  But their musical personalities extend beyond the classical music they perform to.

In TURNING IT ON, former ice dancer Vlad Shustov now struts his stuff as one of Miami’s hottest male strippers. But Vlad the Bad has another dream—to become a best-selling horror novelist like his idol Stephen King.  An odd mix?  Not really. The best figure skaters weave stories into their programs, and I realized Vlad would take the same approach to stripping.

We see Vlad strip to four songs and not only does each dance show off his gorgeous body, it reveals a bit of the gentle heart behind his sexy, bad boy image.

Applause– Lady Gaga.  Vlad portrays a bad boy movie star when he strips to this song about fame and fortune. He’s just been cast in “Last Fling,” TV’s steamiest reality show, and though he has doubts about whether it was the right thing to do, the show will change his life in ways he can’t yet imagine.

Hard To Handle– Black Crowes.  As a Miami stripper, Vlad’s life is all about wild parties and even wilder women. Though he looks hard to handle, what he really wants is to be worthy of the love of a special woman, someone like shy book editor and fellow contestant Hannah.

Calling Dr. Love– KISS.  This song fits Vlad well, especially the line “even though I’m full of sin, in the end you’ll let me in.” Once she sees the man Vlad truly is, Hannah is eager to do so.

Stronger– Kelly Clarkson. Though Vlad doesn’t choose his final strip song, “Last Fling” has  definitely proven that  what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. “Last Fling” and Hannah’s love have given him the strength to leave his past behind, and become the man he truly wants to be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn676-fLq7I

What song do you love to dance to? Does it evoke a favorite memory, or inspire you? Share your comments below.

 

CARINA_0615_9781426899959_TurningItOnBook editor Hannah Levinson couldn’t be happier. This “Nice Jewish Girl” is ready to marry the man she’s longed after for half her life. When her fiancé suggests they audition for Last Fling, a steamy new reality show for engaged couples, she lets herself be swayed. Maybe she’ll learn a thing or two.

Vlad Shustov’s fall from a once-bright career as a competitive figure skater was swift. Now trapped by a shameful past and an uncertain future, “Vlad the Bad” strips for cash. Joining the cast of Last Fling could earn him a fortune—or at least enough to finally leave stripping. But to win the show’s prize, he must seduce an engaged woman, something he can’t even bear the thought of.

Hannah’s not like any woman Vlad’s met before. Betrayed by the man she thought she loved and relegated to the ugly-duckling role she’d worked so hard to shed, can she trust there’s more to Vlad than meets the eye? With sleazy TV tactics shattering the last shreds of the contestants’ confidence, they’ll have to believe true happiness is not only possible…it may be looking right at them.

For more Red Hot Russians, don’t miss Pairing Off—available now!

96,000 words

Available now from Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo


An adventurous cook, vintage home enthusiast, occasional actress, and entry-level figure skater, Elizabeth Harmon makes her home in the Midwest, where life is good, but the sports teams aren’t. She loves to hang out on her front porch, or at her favorite local establishments, enjoy good food and wine, and talk writing with anyone who will listen.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, she has worked in advertising, community journalism and as a freelance magazine writer. She feels incredibly blessed to have a career that allows her to spend her days imagining “what if?” and a loving family that keeps her grounded in the real world.

Elizabeth is a member of Romance Writers of America.  Enjoy her other Carina Red Hot Russians releases, PAIRING OFF, and GETTING IT BACK, (March 2016).

Spotlight on Shore Secrets

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Contemporary Romance fans, your summer read is here! Back to Us, the final book in Christi Barth’s Shore Secrets series, is out this month. Why not start from the beginning and learn more about a series guaranteed to hook you from the very first page!

Back to Us

25164406Ward Cantrell always went for the long shot. But that recklessness cost him his college scholarship and his chance to play pro ball, and—worst of all—it ended his relationship with the girl next door. Neither the town nor the girl has ever forgiven him. Now he’s taking one last long shot by opening a boutique distillery on the family farm he inherited.
Piper Morrissey spent high school in Ward’s shadow, but she’s come into her own in the years since. Maintaining her spotless image, and that of her family’s winery, is priority number one. Nobody knows that she still yearns for her golden-boy ex. Or at least they didn’t—until Ward agrees to sell Piper the land she needs to start her precious port line. The caveat? She’ll need to date him for one month.

Ward hopes a month is all it’ll take to convince his former sweetheart that while he’s changed, his love for her hasn’t. But when the chance arises to thumb his nose at the town that turned its back on him, he can’t afford not to reject Piper’s offer. Will that make her reject him and his love—for good?

More from the Shore Secrets series…

Up to Me

{229364BC-D4A0-4BEB-92B8-484CA0B0BAA8}Img100Ella Mayhew’s always appreciated the beautiful view of Seneca Lake from the spa window of her family’s hotel.But the view improves dramatically when a hot stranger runs across the grounds–shirtless. He’s the first man to kickstart her hormones in the three years since she lost her parents, and she doesn’t even know his name.

Graydon Locke’s on his umpteenth undercover assignment. The routine’s always the same: assess a business, recommend it for closure, then roll out before anyone discovers his decisions impact hundreds of lives. He’s always believed nothing good comes out of small towns. Why would this one be different? Then he makes two classic rookie mistakes–falling for the sweet, sexy girl who owns the very business he’s on the verge of axing. And letting the town’s residents get involved in both his life, and his relationship with Ella.

Ella’s the best thing to ever happen to Gray, but he’s lied to her from the start. If he pulls the plug on Mayhew Manor, the entire town may crumble. Ella couldn’t save her parents, but it’s up to her to save their hotel. Even if that means turning her back on true love.

 

All for You

{6CD566B3-A56D-4F8A-9A20-F47A509879C3}Img100Small-town park ranger Casey Hobbes has spent her life under the radar, carefully guarding a secret. “The forest flirt,” as her best friend calls her, keeps things casual with men. That way she’ll never care enough to be tempted to share the truth about her past. But when she spots a half-naked stranger on the lake’s edge, Casey can’t resist his muscles or his charm and she’s all-in for enjoying both, while keeping emotion out of it. What could be the danger of one summer fling?

Professor Zane Buchanan has built his entire career on exposing the dark realities of cults, but one–the Sunshine Seekers–remains infuriatingly impossible to crack. Zane’s shocked to discover its sole anonymous survivor is hiding in his new hometown. It’s nearly impossible to concentrate on work, however, when he’s derailed by his attraction to the beautiful blonde in khaki uniform shorts.

As things between Casey and Zane heat up, she struggles with keeping her past from him. And Zane’s on a quest to expose the truth, no matter the consequences. Will their growing emotions finally unseal Casey’s big secret? Or will she turn her back on love to keep the past safely buried?

 

Spotlight on Kari Edgren

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The Goddess Born series by Kari Edgren combines all the best elements of New Adult fiction, Paranormal Romance and Historical Romance into books that you will never want to put down. Keep reading for reviews from series fans and don’t miss the latest book in this amazing series, An Immortal Descent!

Why readers love Kari Edgren

{EE608241-A72A-4E71-966D-990A3488DE07}Img100“Quirky and original, with a very clever plot. This book is humorous, and packed with human insight.” –Goodreads review, Goddess Born

{29F9D8D8-836A-4E86-A825-446FB11764F8}Img100Goddess Born was such a surprisingly awesome read! I loved everything about this book, and found myself sad when it was over.” –Goodreads review, Goddess Born

“There were so many twists and turns that I didn’t know where the book was going to take me.” –Goodreads review, A Grave Inheritance

“It’s an emotional roller coaster at times and Kari Edgren really makes you feel all of her characters’ hardships.” –Amazon review, A Grave Inheritance

New from Kari Edgren:

An Immortal Descent

25527254Selah Kilbrid, descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, has been ordered to remain in London and leave any dangers in Ireland to her goddess-born family. They fear she’s no match for Death’s most powerful daughter and—if the legend holds true—the witch who once nearly destroyed the Irish people. But Selah has never been good at following orders, and nothing will stop her from setting out to find the two people she loves most—her dearest friend, Nora Goodwin, and her betrothed, Lord Henry Fitzalan.

Hiding from kin, traveling uneasily beside companions with secrets of their own, Selah is forced on an unexpected path by those who would steal her gift of healing. With precious time ticking away, she turns to a mortal enemy for help, heedless of the cost.

Selah would pass though hell to rescue Nora and Henry, but what if it means unleashing a greater evil on the human world? Her only chance is to claim the fullest extent of her birthright—at the risk of being forever separated from the man she longs to marry.

Want more Kari Edgren? Visit her website and don’t forget to follow her on Goodreads and Facebook!

Reunited and It Feels So Good

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By Alison Packard, author of STEALING SECOND

A few years ago, when I was writing The Winning Season, the minor characters of Tom Morgan and Katherine Whitton were nothing more than a blip on my radar. At the time, the only thing I knew about them was that they’d shared a bittersweet past. So when it came time to write their story in Stealing Second, I decided that Tom and Katherine had once been deeply in love and committed to each other in high school and then something awful happened to break them up just before they were set to leave for college together. Now, seventeen years later, and both working for the San Francisco Blaze, they have to deal with each other and the break-up that changed them forever. But the question is—can they? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s a sucker for the reunited lovers’ trope. Because who doesn’t love second chances, right? And speaking of second chances, for me, no other couple deserved one more than Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls of the cult TV show Veronica Mars. Seriously, teenage angst doesn’t get much better than this:

When the series was abruptly canceled at the end of the third season, Veronica and Logan had broken up. But thanks to a boatload of fans (affectionately nicknamed ‘Marshmallows’) who donated to the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter campaign, those of us rooting for our favorite ‘epic’ couple were overjoyed to see the former lovers fall into each other’s arms and admit to what all of us Marshmallows already knew…they’d never stopped loving each other. A satisfying ending for LoVe fans everywhere!

 

Please tell me I’m not the only one here who loves Logan and Veronica. Or if not, do you have another favorite fictional couple who were parted by circumstance and later got their happily ever after? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

{B4D3D24C-76AA-41C7-BA67-86141BD4CDFA}Img100Katherine Whitton doesn’t purposely avoid men and relationships, but she doesn’t mind that side effect of immersing herself in her job with the San Francisco Blaze. Years ago she was betrayed by her one true love, and she’s never fully recovered, though she’s tried by building a new life in a city she loves.

It’s taken seventeen years for Tom Morgan to get over Katie—Katherine now. Sober now and faced with the incredible opportunity to manage the Blaze, he thinks he’ll finally be able to handle working with this beautiful woman without falling to pieces…as long as she doesn’t get too close.

A crisis with the team’s star pitcher forces Tom and Katherine to put in long hours together. Years of animosity melt away as the sexual tension between them ignites. But it’ll take more than scorching kisses to avoid the wreckage of the past. And neither Tom nor Katie are sure they’re ready to trust each other or risk their hearts for a second chance at happiness.

Read The Winning Season and Catching Heat for more stories about the San Francisco Blaze.

89,101 words

 

Available from Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo

 

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Alison Packard now lives in Southern Nevada where she’s still getting used to the blistering summers and the slot machines in every grocery store. When not working at the day job that pays the bills, keeps a roof over her head, and supports her book and chocolate habits, Alison spends most of her free time writing. But when she takes a break, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

Cuteness Overload

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By Dana Marie Bell, author of SONG OF MIDNIGHT EMBERS

DMB Blog Post 6-23-2015

 

CARINA_0615_9781426899812_SongOfMidnightEmbersFire elemental Mollie Ferguson is on the wrong side of a group of enraged shifter wolves. She’s been secretly investigating a plot that could destroy the small-town supernatural haven of Maggie’s Grove. But when a beloved pack member is killed, everyone thinks she’s the murderer. In desperation, she turns to the one person who will help her—the true mate she rejected. His presence rekindles an old, irresistible desire, and makes her wish she’d chosen differently.

Without Mollie as his lover, the dryad Greer Berkley is dying, the leaves of his birch turning to autumn shades. But he will not allow himself to fade until he has ensured Mollie’s safety. All know Greer as a healer, but few know the true depth of his power as a defender.

Greer and Mollie must complete her investigation and clear her name before the pack demands vengeance. And if they are to know each other’s touch at last, the only chance is now, before it’s too late for Greer.


Get your copy of SONG OF MIDNIGHT EMBERS from Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo



Dana Marie Bell lives with her husband Dusty, their two maniacal children, two evil ice-cream stealing cats and two dogs who think barking should become the next Olympic event. You can learn more about Dana and her addiction to series at www.danamariebell.com.

Hunger and Homeless Amongst LGBT Youth

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By Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin, co-authors of IN THE DISTANCE

Our In The Kitchen Series revolves around food and foodies. Our most recent book in the series, In The Distance, revolves around Tyler, a former homeless youth who Ethan takes under his wing and gives a job at his restaurant. Food banks and shelters play a prominent role in the story, both because of Tyler’s past and his future. Hunger is a problem that many face, but no population faces it quite as much as the homeless, especially LGBTQ homeless youths. The statistics are harrowing:

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in young people ages 10-24
  • LGBT from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than peers in no- or low-level rejection families
  • Each episode of LGBT victimization (physical and/or verbal) increases the likelihood of self-harm by 2.5 times.
  • 39% of homeless are under age 18
  • 75% of homeless teens use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate
  • The average age of homeless youth is 14.7

(Statistics taken from Jaycee Edward)

The statistics are even more devastating for LGBTQ homeless youth:

  • 20% of homeless youth are LGBT. In comparison, the general youth population is only 10% LGBT.
  • While homeless youth typically experience severe family conflict as the primary reason for their homelessness, LGBT youth are twice as likely to experience sexual abuse before the age of 12.
  • LGBT youth, once homeless, are at higher risk for victimization, mental health problems, and unsafe sexual practices. 58.7% of LGBT homeless youth have been sexually victimized compared to 33.4% of heterosexual homeless youth
  • LGBT youth are roughly 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than heterosexual homeless youth
  • LGBT homeless youth commit suicide at higher rates (62%) than heterosexual homeless youth (29%)

(Statistics taken from National Coalition For The Homeless)

There are several awesome organizations around the country that specialize in helping LGBTQ homeless individuals. One incredible shelter is Lost-n-Found, located in Atlanta, Georgia. A list of other phenomenal charities and shelters can be found on Brandon Shire’s BLOG. Please consider helping one today so that homeless youth, like our beloved character Tyler, have a chance at finally getting off the streets and living a safe, healthy, life.

CARINA_0615_9781426899713_InTheDistanceIn The Distance, Book Three of the In The Kitchen Series

Because sometimes it takes some distance to finally see what’s right in front of you…

Tyler Mitchell has worked hard to rebuild his life after his family kicked him out. A culinary student and sous chef who spends his spare time volunteering with kids, he’s happy enough even though he has no time to consider a relationship.

Trevor Pratt is finally getting over losing his best friend and the one person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, but it’s taken screwing every cute guy in Manhattan to get there. He’s vowed to repair the friendship he endangered, but that’s hard to do when his friend’s new employee catches his eye. Despite being warned to stay away from Tyler, Trevor knows the sous chef is more than just a hookup.

Romance is a terrible idea. Trevor is ten years older and a relentless playboy. Tyler is still unsure of his place in the world. Neither of them is ready for life-changing love, but as things heat up, their chemistry in the bedroom might just take that decision out of their hands.

Length: 105,000 Words

Get your copy of IN THE DISTANCE from Carina Press or your favorite online retailer:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo

Read about Ethan and Jamie’s romance in In the Raw and In The Fire, Books 1 & 2 in the In The Kitchen Series, available now!

Eileen Griffin lives in the southwest, but loves to travel and has spent many summers crossing Europe with nothing but a backpack on her back. She enjoys TexMex, lives for good wine, and has a certain penchant for purple unicorns. She loves reading all genres of books, but her current obsession is writing M/M romance.

Connect with Eileen!
Blog  |  Twitter  |  FB Author Page  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon US

 

Nikka Michaels lives in the Pacific Northwest where she spends her time cooking up 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.

Connect with Nikka!
Website  | Twitter  |  FB Author Page  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon US

How Do You Play Around?

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By Julie Rowe, author of DEADLY STRAIN


Board games, cards, chess—playing games isn’t just for kids, adults play a wide range of games, too. Chess has been played for approximately 1500 years, and checkers is even older, with versions of it played as much as 4000 years ago.

Steampunk chess set w/bullet casing pieces

When I was a teenager Dungeons and Dragons was all the rage and my friends and I would play for hours at a time. My grandfather taught me how to play Cribbage and Gin Rummy, we’d bet with pennies and I somehow always won more than I lost. My family likes to play Rummoli during holiday gatherings, along with Trivia Pursuit and Balderdash (my personal favorite!).

In Deadly Strain, the hero and heroine play both chess and poker together, both among the most popular games adults play, but hardly the only ones. Cards Against Humanity is very popular these days as is a multitude of role playing board and card games.

Check out this list of the top 50 card and board games from Dice Tower News (do you agree with the ranking?).

What is your favorite game to play with your partner?

Julie Rowe’s first career as a med lab tech in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details and a lot of adventure in her romance novels. Julie writes contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Today’s Parent, Reader’s Digest (Canada), and Canadian Living. You can reach her at www.julieroweauthor.com , on Twitter @julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JulieRoweAuthor

{A35A5F21-5B9D-4E2E-B372-EF77C1E67CD8}Img100Book one of Biological Response Team

Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob “Sharp” Foster.

Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.

Sharp is Grace’s most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can’t watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.

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