Carina Press Team Share Their Favorite Holiday Moments

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The holiday season is upon us, and what better what to spend the festive season than doing the things we love with those we care about. The Carina Press team has come together to share some of their favorite holiday moments.


 

Angela James, Editorial Director, Carina Press

2012-12-25 10.34.42 I like presents as much as the next girl, but my absolute favorite part of the holidays is the traditions we’ve established since my now 10-year-old daughter was 3. For the past seven years, we’ve created traditions that she already loves and enjoys every year. On Christmas Eve, we all go as a family to a nearby town and ride the “train” through the park, where a giant light display is set up. From there, we go out to dinner as a family, then sprinkle reindeer food on the front lawn for Santa’s reindeer (recipe here) and put out milk and cookies and a letter to Santa. Every year, my daughter and I wear matching Christmas pajamas to bed and then wear them when we open our stockings and gifts on Christmas Day! On Christmas morning, we have homemade monkey bread and mimosas (for the adults), open gifts, and then play board games together in the evening, after a special dinner of prime rib.  I love our traditions!

 

Kerri Buckley, Senior Editor, Carina Press

My college friends and I do  a crafty Christmas, meaning we exchange only handmade gifts. Always on “Friends Christmas Morning,” always the day after a massive rager of a holiday party in NYC.

It’s highly secretive and usually one concept per person, produced on a small scale. In other words, everyone makes one craft and makes enough for everyone. The circle has grown to include spouses and kids, as you do, but we’ve been going strong with this since 2004. It’s always a lot of work, sometimes a hysterical misfire, but usually just a really good time with a lot of thought behind it.

Ana Luxton, Marketing Director, Single Titles

ana holidayMy favorite part of the holiday season is the tradition of St. Nicholas. In Many European countries, on the night of December 5th kids shine up their boots and leave them by the front door for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts and treats overnight. At the same time, he checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful over the last year. If they were not, St. Nicholas will have a tree branch in their boots instead. My husband and I have started this tradition with our kids and I love seeing how excited they get and how seriously they take it.

 

Heather Goldberg, Marketing Coordinator, Carina Press

ChanukahThough I don’t celebrate Christmas, few things get me in the holiday spirit as much as the first playing of Josh Groban’s Drummer Boy. I reserve listening to this until that first day when it’s so cold that there’s no denying that winter is on its way.

My favorite Chanukah moments are gathering with loved ones to light the chanukiya, followed by eating crispy latkes and sweet soufganiyot.

 

 

Alissa Davis, Freelance Editor

101My favorite part of the holidays is when my little girl and my husband dance together in our local production of The Nutcracker. Last year, when Virginia turned four and was finally old enough to get cast as a party guest, my husband agreed to play Drosselmeier. Virginia strutted around like a peacock in her party dress, telling all of the big girls that Herr Drosselmeier was really her daddy. When the holidays rolled around this year, Virginia was quick to inform Jeff that this was their holiday tradition and that he had to be Drosselmeier again. I suspect he’s stuck in the role until Virginia graduates from high school, so it’s lucky that he’s both a good sport and a daddy who really does enjoy dancing with his little girl.

 

 

Jenny Bullough, Manager, Digital Assets

There’s a word in Danish, hygge, (pronounced like an old-timey car horn sound), that has no direct English translation but that succinctly sums up everything I love about the holiday season. Put simply, hygge is the warm, cozy feeling of being surrounded by loved ones enjoying good food and drink and conversation. During the parts of the holiday season that are stressful – shopping in crowded malls, driving in bad weather – I look forward to the times that will be hygge: Christmas dinner at my mom’s, cuddling up with my kids on the couch watching classic holiday movies, having hot cocoa after playing in the snow.

 

Malle Vallik, Editorial Director, Author Engagement

My favorite part of the holiday season are gingerbread cookies. My mother did not bake but she made these every year and despite the fact that they were usually burned, I liked them. True story: my mother heard this weird noise in the house in my brother’s room (he was about 7). She investigated but didn’t see him in the bedroom, then she heard the loud sound again coming from the closet. She found him inside, with a glass of milk, hammering her cookies into smaller pieces to eat. Yes, the cookies were that hard.

 

Brendan Flattery, Assistant Manager, Digital Commerce

My favorite part of the holidays is breakfast on Christmas morning. Every year we slowly rouse, open a few gifts then make crepes with fresh fruit, freshly whipped cream, chocolate and other delicious toppings, enjoy Bailey’s in our coffee and/or a mimosa (or two!), and generally relax before opening the rest of the gifts. Spending time with the people I love, truly enjoying our holiday from work and the day-to-day, and eating/drinking our favorite things.

 

Patty Anasco, Assistant Manager, Website Operations

Gingerbread022The Digital team runs a gingerbread house competition each year. These have been the highlight of my time at Harlequin and honestly, it gets more fun every year! The other competitors get really into it so we constantly have to up our game…and this year is no different!

Watch for Patty’s monthly blog posts that will take you behind-the-scenes of day-to-day operations at Carina Press, starting in January.

 

Jennifer Gould, Designer

My favourite part of the holiday season is watching ‘A Christmas Story’. It is a hilarious tradition that we have kept up every single year since its 1983 release in the theatres.


From all of us to all of you, we wish you and yours all the best for a happy and healthy season of celebration and a wonderful year ahead. 

 

Favorite Part of the Holidays

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By Shannon Stacey and Jaci Burton

The backstory… When asked to do a joint blog post about our favorite holiday things, Jaci and I agreed. We diligently added it to our calendars and I set up a reminder on my phone, imagining a work session involving a Word document and possibly bullet points. But, as best friends, Jaci and I have chatted every morning with Messenger and coffee for years, so it simply became a conversation. —Shannon

The following conversation takes place between 10:00am and 11:00am… cue ominous clock sound.(Sorry. Jaci and I are both 24 fans, too, which has nothing to do with the holidays.)

Jaci:  So hey, Shan, it’s the holiday season. Is your tree up yet?

Shannon:  Not yet. We have a fake tree and it’s stored in the basement. I was thinking of just throwing some decorations on it and we can have Christmas morning in the cellar this year.

Jaci:  Sounds good to me. Since our kids are grown and gone, we have a one foot Christmas tree with fiber optic lights. And three ornaments. It’s worse than a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but hey, it works for us. But it plays music! Bonus points for that, right?

Shannon: Of course! I would have to hack into it so it plays Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” over and over and over and over.

Jaci: As long as we can also add Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” to the loop. Sorry, I’m a traditionalist

Shannon:  Okay, so our favorite things about the holiday season…mine’s the food. It’s always the food.

Jaci:  I love holiday food. Turkey and dressing, of course. I can’t seem to get enough of it this time of year. And I love rum balls during the holidays. My favorite, though, has to be pie. Every year I make a chocolate cream pie and a coconut cream pie, recipes from my mother-in-law, who made the best pies ever. What’s your favorite holiday food?

Shannon:  It’s no secret I can’t really cook. And by “can’t really”, I mean not at all. But I do have three fun, very-bad-for-you dishes I only make for the holidays. Cracker Candy, using the recipe from our editor, Angela James, is a huge hit with my family. And we all gather for a Christmas morning breakfast, to which I bring Sausage Balls (also one of Angie’s recipes) and Crack Potatoes. They started as a way to make sure I got a delicious (naughty) Christmas breakfast despite my egg allergy and have become my “signature dishes”. (People who know me well just snickered.)

Jaci:  I also make cracker candy and sausage balls. Yummy stuff. Clearly, we both like food during the holidays.

Shannon:  I also love presents, but I don’t love wrapping them. Gifts from me tend to look like they were wrapped by drunken elves and the recipients have to gnaw their way through the excess tape. What about you?

Jaci:  I love buying gifts during the holiday season. It gives me such joy, though I think the UPS man hates me the entire month of December because boxes come to my house every day. Though really, shouldn’t he be enjoying those overtime paychecks? But wrapping. Oh, I hate the wrapping. Gift bags are your friend, Shan.

Shannon:  My UPS guy actually asked me one year if I could make lists and shop once a week instead of making him stop by every day in December.

Jaci: Hahaha. Poor UPS men. I feel kind of bad for them in December.

9781426898969_p0_v14_s260x420Intermission:  About five minutes of Shannon watching an old repeat of Keeping Up With the Kardashians while Jaci chats with her son on the phone. Then more minutes of talking about our kids while Shannon thinks about the slice of leftover pizza in the fridge.

Shannon:  Okay. One of the best parts of the holidays is, of course, holiday romances! Have you read your first one yet?

Jaci:  The first holiday romance I read was yours, actually. I loved Her Holiday Man. It was sweet and emotional and really tugged at my heartstrings. The story between Christina and Will—the hardships they both faced in life and how they fought through them together, was the perfect touch of tender, heartbreaking emotion and uplifting romance. I loved it.

Shannon:  Aww, thank you. (I inserted the little emoticon guy who’s crying into the conversation here, and then we commented on the fact he looks like he has a runny nose, which is a little gross.) I have your Holiday On Ice ready to read, but my first holiday read of 2014 was The Twelve Nights of Christmas, a Harlequin Presents by Sarah Morgan I somehow missed in 2010. So recommended! And, speaking of holiday reads, we both have a box set of holiday novellas this year. Tell me about yours!

Jaci:  I know, how exciting is that? My Kent Brothers Trilogy is now available as a boxed set. Three brothers, three holiday novellas, all together in one easy-to-buy boxed set. What about yours?

Shannon:  I love connected novellas, and I loved your Kent Brothers, so everybody should grab that boxed set if they haven’t! Mine is The Season For Love: A Shannon Stacey Holiday Box Set and has “Holiday Sparks”, “Mistletoe and Margaritas”, and “Snowbound With The CEO”. My novellas each stand alone, but they’re all fun Christmas romances.

Jaci:  Okay, I have to go let the dogs out–Hey, now that we’re totally in the holiday spirit, we should put antlers on our dogs. Or no?

Shannon:  Yes! I’m going to add Christmas dog antlers to my shopping list right now. (Poor UPS guy.) I’ll skip the cat antlers, though. They have no sense of humor.

9781426899355_p0_v3_s260x420 9781426895685_p0_v1_s260x420

About the authors:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Jaci Burton and Shannon Stacey would probably get more done if they spent less time talking to each other, but good friends are a precious gift, especially during the holiday season.

Jaci’s Website/Twitter/Facebook

Shannon’s Website/Twitter/Facebook

Carina Press Best Sports Moments

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What does romance have in common with raucous fans, heart-thumping action and wickedly skilled athletes? Read on, as six Carina sports authors share with you their favorite sports highlights of 2014 and how moments like these inspire them to write within this popular genre.


Michele Mannon, author of Out For The Count

MMA isn’t just a man’s sport. Case in point is the upcoming UFC 182 fight between Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano for the bantamweight title. Ladies by day and warriors in the Octagon cage, both women have earned reputations for being skilled fighters, particularly Rousey, who is known to defeat her opponents in the first round with her signature armbar submission. I love the way MMA has evolved into an equal rights sport, how female fighters are respected and, as with this fight—in which they are the featured headliner—how their popularity has grown. Fighters who were the inspiration for pretty, all-American kick ass fighter, Huntley Rey Wittaker, the heroine in my new release, Out For The Count.

Don’t miss Knock Out and Tap Out, available now!

Get OUT FOR THE COUNT at Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

 

Connect with Michele!
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Rhonda Shaw, author of the Men of the Show baseball series

With so many best sports moments of 2014, I had a hard time picking, but I kept coming back to one—the emergence of J.D. Martinez.  Yep, I’m sure most of you thought, “Uh…who?” (unless you’re an avid Detroit Tigers fan like myself), but the story of J.D. Martinez is pretty awesome.

At the start of the year, J.D. was with the Houston Astros.  He’d been struggling and worked on changing his swing over the winter.  The results were starting to show, but the Astros had too many prospects in their ranks so they cut him.  Now, I’m not a professional athlete but I would imagine being released would feel the same as when an employer terminates an employee unexpectedly.  It hurts and stings, and after getting past the anger and insult, you’d want to show them exactly what they gave up, and that’s precisely what J.D. did.

The Detroit Tigers picked him up intending to use him as a bat off the bench, but it wasn’t before long they realized there was no keeping J.D. riding the pine.  He quickly became a legitimate (and clutch) run scoring threat right behind the biggest two bats in the Detroit lineup—Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez—making the three of them an intimidating, run producing machine.

J.D. ended the 2014 season, ranked ninth of all left fielders in the major league by Buster Olney of ESPN, with 23 homers and 76 RBIs (runs batted in) in 441 at-bats.  I can’t wait to see what he does in 2015.  Thank you, Houston, for J.D.!

Here’s one of his clutch home runs for your viewing pleasure:


 

Meet the hot, sexy Men of the Show in The Changeup and The Ace!
Connect with Rhonda! 
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Rebecca Crowley, author of Love in Straight Sets

CARINA_0414_-9781426898297_LoveInStraightSetsThe Grand Slam tennis season has been over for a couple of months now, and 2014 proved to be an interesting – and transitional – year for the sport. For ages we’ve seen the domination of the elite four: Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic. While they’re all still on top, cracks are starting to show, and a new generation of players is on the rise.

Although a lot of fans would point to Wimbledon’s Djokovic/Federer final as the match of the year, I would hand that trophy to the last title match of the last Grand Slam: Cilic v. Nishikori at the US Open.

Now, you’ve obviously heard of Marin Cilic, right? What? No? That may be because Cilic is one of only three men outside of the big four to win a Grand Slam since 2005. His highest world ranking is #8 and the most remarkable note in his career was a four-month drug suspension. That changed in September, when he demolished Federer in straight sets in the semifinal, and then swept the final 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Although I love the superstars like Federer and Nadal as much as the next tennis fan, there was something special about watching the world’s #14 and #10 players battling through the final of a Grand Slam. In an individual sport like tennis you’re only as good as your last match, and 2014 proved that the big four shouldn’t get too comfortable, because there are some dynamic, unpredictable players nipping at their heels.

For a glimpse into the wild world of women’s tennis, try Love in Straight Sets!
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

 

Connect with Rebecca!
Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website

 


 

Kat Latham, author of the London Legends rugby series

I’m going to break the rules a little here. Instead of talking about a highlight from 2014, I’m going to tell you what I’m most looking forward to in 2015: the Rugby World Cup.

England is hosting it, though several matches will be played in Wales too. My husband and I have tickets for the two quarter finals in Cardiff, and I can’t wait!

The Rugby World Cup is a relatively recent tournament. The first one was held in 1987, and they happen every four years so this will be the seventh one. Readers of my London Legends series will know that two of my books—Knowing the Score and Playing It Close—end with England playing in the World Cup final in London. Whether they make it there in real life or not, I’m hoping for a tournament full of adrenaline rushes, amazing feats of strength and hot men with great thighs wearing short shorts!

Here’s a video showing some of the highlights from Rugby World Cups past. Enjoy!

Read about Kat’s hot rugby lads in Knowing the Score, Playing It Close, Tempting the Player and Unwrapping Her Perfect Match!

 

Connect with Kat!
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Allison Parr, author of the New York Leopards football series

 

I can’t yet tell you what my favorite sports moment of 2014 is quite yet, because the Patriots are still in the running and I hope the best is yet to come! But I can say that it’s been a very exciting season, both during games and outside of them. I’ve been following all the emerging conversations this year about health, safety, and politics in the world of football, and they’ve been fascinating to listen to and learn from. While my heroine in Imaginary Lines is a writer for a completely fictional publication, I’m continually impressed by all the real sports journalists, just as I’m impressed by the players who’ve committed themselves to such a beloved game.

 

Get IMAGINARY LINES at Carina Press or your favorite online retailer: 
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads 
Connect with Allison!
Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website

 


Kate Willoughby, author of the In the Zone hockey series

On June 13, 2014, my favorite team, the Los Angeles Kings, won the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years, but my favorite moment came not when they won the game, but about fifteen minutes later.

After the NHL commissioner presents the Cup to the team captain, one by one, the players take a very emotional victory lap around the ice with the trophy held high. It’s a big honor to be the second to hoist the cup, and Dustin Brown surprised everyone by handing it to a guy who hadn’t skated for weeks—Robin Regehr.

Regehr was injured early in the Semifinals, but he stuck with the team, providing support however he could. I’m sure it killed him not to be out there competing with his teammates. Weeks later, even though Regehr had recovered, the coach decided not to risk sending in a player who might be rusty after his injury and went with a defenseman who had been performing very well. Instead of being bitter about being passed over, Regehr continued to support the team in the locker room and during warm-ups.

So my favorite sports moment of 2014 was when Dustin Brown chose to honor a veteran of 1022 games who had never touched the Cup before. (Traditionally, only players who have won the Cup can touch the Cup.) In that moment, he also showed Regehr just how important his behind the scenes presence was, demonstrating that the game of hockey is so much more than what we fans see.

Check out how Kate’s San Diego Barracudas manage to play damn good hockey while falling in love in On the Surface, Across the Line, and Out of the Game (available April 2015).
Connect with Kate!
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Living Vicariously Through My Characters

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By Amylynn Bright, author of FINISH WHAT WE STARTED

One of my favorite things about being a writer is getting to live vicariously through my characters. Anything I’ve ever wanted to do, be, or possess is at my fingertips.

Take for instance my heroine in Finish What We Started.

When I was a child, anytime anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up the answer was always “a veterinarian.” By the time I was in high school I had expanded my proposed title to “a veterinarian specializing in the breeding of endangered species.” Quite a mouthful, eh?

I actually found a youth group affiliated with my local zoo and discovered a group of weird kids like myself. Let’s face it, anytime you find a group of kids with such avid narrowed focus, regardless of what it is, they’re a little bit odd.

By the time it came to apply for colleges, I had shifted my laser focus to film. To be honest, when I found out that veterinarians went to school for approximately thirty-seven years and spent nine million dollars on their education, there was less appeal. Nothing much came of my film education either, other than some scripts that should not be read by humans, but that is a different story.

So, circling back around to my original thesis…

I already knew the hero from Finish What We Started as he’d been in the first book of The Bennett Series, Cooking Up Love. The love of his life, however, was someone I’d get to create from scratch. Who should she be? Right before my eyes I built my dream career. Candace Claesson got her veterinary degree at Glasgow University in Scotland. She’s returned to her home town to join the family practice. Even though she did a lot of undergraduate work with breeding programs—specifically the Clouded Leopard Project in Thailand—she enjoys family practice and taking care of the pets people love.

Once our intrepid hero discovers the lady has come home, he invents all kinds of reasons he needs to see her and each one of them involves taking a different animal to her clinic.

That was the second way I got to live through my characters. I’ve always wanted a hedgehog, and a chinchilla, and every single puppy I’ve ever seen. The best part of my story is that, with a few exceptions, Lee is afraid of every animal he takes to see her. Of course, comedy high jinks ensue.

As you suspect, in the long run things work out for our couple and their menagerie. Sadly, I still don’t have a hedgehog, a chinchilla, or access to cuddle clouded leopards like my characters do, but here’s to positive thinking!

9781426899331-COVFive years ago, Lee Bennett’s whirlwind romance with Candace Claesson ended as abruptly as it had begun, and just when he needed her the most. Since then, Lee’s built a successful construction company and a satisfying, if solitary, life. When he’s hired to build Candace’s new veterinary clinic, Lee finds her as irresistible as ever—but he’s never forgiven her and he’s sure as hell not letting her break his heart again.

For years, Candace has wrestled with regret and guilt over leaving Lee. At the time, nothing was going to stop her from achieving her dreams of studying in Scotland and becoming a vet—not even young love. They’d been inseparable for six months, but anything that intense couldn’t last. Or so she thought.

Reunited in their hometown, neither Lee nor Candace can resist picking up where they left off. But with so much from the past standing between them, how they can rebuild what they started so long ago?

Get FINISH WHAT WE STARTED from Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo

Amylynn read her first romance novel in 2008 after being a lifelong literary snob. By the time she was done, she was hooked. She is an Arizona native and lives in the same house her husband owned before they were married. Amylynn fears she will never call another state home unless someone tells her husband there are forty-nine others to chose from. In reality, she’d little for a walk-in closet. Her family consists of the aforementioned husband, two beautiful children, two dogs, two cats, some fish, and a hankering for a panda. She’d like it mentioned she’s never been in prison, but we’ll see how that panda thing works out.

Connect with Amylynn Bright:
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A Rich Cultural History

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By Danube Adele, author of DREAMS OF A WILD HEART

I love that we’re a nation of different colors, textures, celebrations, triumphs and histories richly layered with soulful meaning. We all have an important story to tell. Large parts of our identities are braided within the many unique struggles that are part of our diverse cultural heritage, and it is that which we pass on with great care to our youngest members so they, too, can know how important they are. For this reason, the most fun, light-hearted scene in Dreams of a Wild Heart, Book 3 of the Dreamwalkers series is the one that involves a family party near the beginning of the story. It’s dear to my heart because I wrote from my own family experience.

My father is a mix of English, German and French heritage while my mother is of Mexican descent. Parties were always large when I was growing up with a mixture of languages (English/Spanish) being spoken at any given time. We were upwards of forty a time or two and surrounded by the most delicious foods. Cousins were more like siblings, aunties were special people who gave out a lot of love (there were many women in the family), and the elderly aunties and grandmas could sit back, gossip, and dole out sage advice, whether it was requested or not. This was where the inspiration for my character, Cecilia “Ceci” Bradford’s, family came from.

I wanted to honor the very special relationships the women in my family thrived on. They were close, loving, cranky, kind, snarky, clever, critical, and loyal to a fault. They were in each other’s hearts, minds and personal business, always, even if miles separated them. They were all brilliant and willing to work hard to become professional women. They supported each other through joys and hardships, good health and tragic illness. They taught us through example what it meant to be strong. These are the women I’ve portrayed as Ceci’s grandmother, mother and aunties.

In Dreams of a Wild Heart, the family is worried about Ceci because she continues to remain distanced, out of touch with her own feelings, after her lifelong best friend and lover is murdered needlessly when she is seventeen years old. Busy, busy, busy. She’s kept herself busy ever since. She’s now twenty-six, and her grandmother won’t give up on her future happiness. Of course, she meets Tabron, a hardened soldier, and knows that her life could change if she let it. There’s just something about him that makes her body burn and her heart seek the hidden tenderness she’s glimpsed behind his stony façade.

Thanks so much for taking time with me today. Thinking about my family always gives me a sense of pride in my cultural heritage. What heritage are you proud of?

 

CARINA_1214_9781426899324_DreamsOfAWildHeartDr. Cecilia—Ceci—Bradford at your service.

I dance, rock climb, and have mastered MMA, because just being a twenty-six-year-old doctor isn’t enough. It doesn’t keep me from remembering the terrifying night my life changed, the night my true love died. I was nearly seventeen.

Life goes on, but the secret I keep is that I still talk to him in my dreams. That was getting me by until Tabron showed up–or, more specifically, until the six-foot-two brute of a Viking whisked me off to another planet because his leader is dying. And the joy didn’t end there. I’m being forced to choose a mate. The Brausa are facing extinction.

Tabron has no need for a mate, himself, and he’s told me as much. Multiple times. What he does have are hands and wicked lips that stir feelings I thought lost forever. Choosing him (just to play along until I can find a way home) seems to irk him and I find this surprisingly fun. But surviving a hidden conspiracy and the dangers of this alien place might be more difficult than I could ever imagine…

Book Three of The Dreamwalkers

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

Danube AdeleDanube Adele wrote her first romance at the age of seven when she penned the story of her dogs falling in love and having puppies. She’s been dreaming up romantic tales ever since. A lifetime resident of southern California, she spends time playing at the beach, camping in Joshua Tree National Park, and hiking Mammoth Mountain. Always a lover of adventure, she and her husband took their sons on a cross country road trip to Florida and back in an old VW Westfalia, that had no A/C, in the month of July, and still, it continues to be the best trip they ever took. Extensive travel and trying new things has kept the creative spark alive. Danube lives in Claremont with her biggest fans, her loving husband, amazing and wonderful identical twin sons, and a teddy bear of a Rottweiler.

Connect with Danube Adele:
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Author Spotlight: Debut Authors of 2014

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2014 has seen plenty of new authors create amazing reads across a wide variety of genres, and with the the year drawing to a close, now is the best time to find a 2014 debut author perfect for your winter reading needs!

Are you looking for a book in…

Contemporary Romance

Historical

Mystery

Male/Male

New Adult

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Contemporary Romance

Pitch Imperfect by Elise Alden

pitchOnce-famous singer Anjuli Carver has returned to tiny Heaverlock Village alone and nearly broke. She’s poured every last penny into a rambling Victorian manor, hoping to start over. Trouble is, her money pit is falling to pieces and the only restoration architect for miles is Rob Douglas…her ex-fiancé.

For eight years, Rob has regretted not telling Anjuli why he never answered her letters. Being left at the altar broke his heart, but being used for sex one night in London after the fact nearly drove him to the edge of sanity, and he’ll be damned if he allows Anjuli to wreak havoc on his life again. He’ll restore her manor, all right, and give her a taste of her own medicine while he’s at it.

But how long can revenge last when memories of their shared past keep rushing to the surface?

Soon, Rob wants answers. Why did Anjuli leave the international spotlight to become a recluse in the Scottish Borderlands? And why does she refuse to sing? Anjuli wants nothing more than to be left alone with her grief, even as she struggles to keep her sexy fantasies about Rob in check. With gossipy villagers, interfering friends and more secrets between them than notes on a scale, Anjuli and Rob will need to find forgiveness in order to work together, then decide if they’re willing to risk it all on an encore performance.

 

Cooking Up Love by Amylyn Bright

cookingIs there anything more pathetic than a food critic who can’t cook? That’s Holly Darcy–secret socialite, wannabe author, lousy chef and “The Covert Connoisseur.” Feeling like a fraud for critiquing restaurants when she can’t boil a pot of water, Holly joins a cooking class for beginners…and quickly cooks up serious chemistry with the sexy instructor.

Mark Bennett was born to be a chef, but his foray into restaurant ownership fell far short of his dreams thanks to a scathing review from The Covert Connoisseur. Now teaching is the closest he will venture into a kitchen. Luckily the job comes with an unexpected perk: the attraction simmering between him and a curvy, clever writer with pinup-girl looks.

Flirting over pasta soon leads to passionate kisses and a sizzling relationship. But how can Holly be honest about her job when Mark blames his restaurant’s failure on her review? And when Holly’s secret is exposed, how will Mark be able to forgive her for ruining his life?

 

Blamed: A Blood Money Novel by Edie Harris

blamedBorn into a long line of spies, sanctioned killers and covert weapons developers, Beth Faraday carried out her first hit-for-hire when she was still a teenager.

That part of her life–the American spy royalty part–ended one year ago, with a job gone wrong in Afghanistan. The collateral damage she caused with a single shot was unfathomable and, for Beth, unforgivable. She’s worked hard to build a new life for herself, far away from the family business.

But someone, somewhere, hasn’t forgotten what Beth did in Kabul. And they want revenge.

As the Faraday clan bands together to defend Beth and protect their legacy, Beth is forced to flee her new home with the unlikeliest of allies-MI6 agent Raleigh Vick, the only man she’s ever loved. And the one she thought she’d killed in the desert.

Historical

 

An Inconvenient Kiss by Caroline Kimberly

inconvenient kissIndia, 1820 

Georgiana Phillips always conducted herself according to the rules of polite society. So catching Simon Ashford in a compromising position should have been shocking. Instead it was…arousing. And kissing him herself was absolutely delicious–until it led to her ruination.

That perfect, scandalous kiss has haunted Simon for six years. He doesn’t regret it, though he’s tried desperately to restore Georgie’s reputation. When he’s ordered to look after her in the wilds of India, it’s an opportunity to finish what he started. But he’s no match for Georgie’s adventurous spirit–she seems set on getting herself killed, diving in after hungry crocodiles and braving monsoons to hunt for lost treasure.

Georgie wouldn’t trade her exciting new life for anything in the world, including marriage. And yet Simon seems determined to rein her in, rewarding her brief moments of propriety with kisses far more exotic than any tribal ceremony or archaeological expedition. How can he convince her that she’s so much more than a beautiful obligation?

 

Taste of Treason by April Taylor

tasteoftreasonBook two of The Tudor Enigma

Blood, frogs and a deadly threat to the firstborn…

Luke Ballard, Dominus Elemancer and Privy Inquirer into Divers Mischiefs and Grievances, has grown his magical powers since his last encounter with the Sunderers, dark sorcerers who will stop at nothing–including partnering with England’s mortal enemies–to destroy the throne. But is he skilled enough to protect his own and prevent tragedy from reaching the royal family?

The continuation of Tudor rule and the future of England’s true religion rest with King Henry IX’s new bride, Queen Madeline of Scotland. Pregnant with a possible heir, she’s nearly killed–twice–in incidents that bizarrely mimic the Plagues of Egypt. And she is not alone. All of Hampton Court, it seems, has been surrounded by a dark cloud of otherworldly danger.

Fearful for his wife and unborn child, King Henry can only turn to one man.

 

Mistress of Lies by Holly West

mistressofliesLondon, 1679

Isabel, Lady Wilde, mistress of King Charles II, has made a good living disguised as fortune teller Mistress Ruby, counseling London’s elite. But after the murder of one of her customers, business has taken a downturn, and Isabel is on the verge of accepting the king’s offer to move into the palace.

Isabel’s plans are interrupted when a beggar girl named Susanna shows up at her home, claiming to be her niece. Isabel always believed that her older brother, Adam, died alone during the plague. When Susanna reveals that Adam was actually murdered, Isabel is compelled to take up an impossible task: discover the truth about her brother’s death, twelve years after it happened.

Isabel’s investigation leads her through the gamut of London society, from bear-baiting matches and brothels to the realm of wealthy bankers. But as she uncovers her brother’s dark secrets, Isabel begins to wonder whether the past is better left buried–especially when uncovering the truth could lead to her own funeral.

 

Goddess Born by Kari Edgren

goddessbornPennsylvania, 1730

Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal.

A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it’s Selah’s sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there’s no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed.

When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope–that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch.

But when news of Samuel’s death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice–forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?

Mystery

 

Code Runner by Rosie Claverton

coderunnerBook Two of the Amy Lane Mysteries

Ex-con Jason Carr has faced down the toughest thugs in Cardiff, but being assistant to a brilliant, eccentric hacker who hasn’t been outdoors in ten years has its own challenges. Still, he and Amy Lane can solve cases even the cops can’t crack. And when a corpse washes up on a beach, Jason can’t resist chasing the clues–or defying Amy by infiltrating the very gangs he once escaped.

Amy is distraught when Jason’s pursuit gets him framed for murder. He’s thrown back in prison where he’s vulnerable to people who want him dead. He needs Amy to prove his innocence. Fast.

But Amy hasn’t been honest with him–her panic attacks aren’t getting better. And now, with everything that makes her feel safe ripped away, she must stand alone, using her technological skills to expose a baffling conspiracy and a new kind of online crime. Can she clear Jason’s name before danger closes in?

Elvis Sightings by Ricardo Sanchez

elvisI’m Floyd–no last name needed, thanks–and I’m a P.I. The only other thing you need to know about me is that I’m notan Elvis impersonator. I live my life fast and hard and yes, in sequined jumpsuits, but more importantly I live my life the way Elvis would have wanted me to. Honestly. With integrity.

It was a tip that the King was still alive and living under an assumed name that brought me to Kresge, Wyoming. But there’s something bigger than Elvis happening out here. I’ve been beaten bloody by an acrobatic bartender, roped into the search for a missing councilman, fallen for a bearded lady, and threatened by men in black who reallydon’t want me poking my nose into the town’s business. Half of my leads look like dead celebrities. The other half are either refugees from a broken-down circus or spear-holding Viking wannabes.

I’m in Crazytown, USA, but I can’t leave. Not yet. If I don’t find the missing councilman soon, Kresge will be turned into a Danish-themed amusement park. I’ve never been so close to finding Elvis. And I need to know if my new self-appointed sidekick James Morrison is really who he claims to be…

 

Male/Male

 

Hunting the Spy by Tyler Flynn

huntingthespyEngland, 1792

Revolution rages in France, and war with England is imminent. But Nathan Kennett is fighting his own battle. An undercover spy catcher, he’s after an unknown informant who’s supplying valuable secrets about the English coastal defenses to the French.

When he discovers a dead body in his employer’s house, with Sir Peter Ross hunched over it, he has his suspect. Lean, strong and firm, Peter is Nathan’s ex-lover–and a member of the aristocracy. He represents everything Nathan hates and has the arrogance to match. Peter broke off their affair with no explanation, but is he capable of murder, and treason besides?

Trying to keep one step ahead of his enemies, Nathan has only two days to identify and deliver the informant to his superiors in London. Peter swears his innocence and offers to help find the true culprit, but as riots swell in the streets, Nathan can’t be sure he can trust him. Or himself, when they’re together.

 

One Door Closes by G.B. Lindsay

doorSecrets of Neverwood Book One

Years ago, Calvin Ware found a refuge in Neverwood, a home for wayward boys. Now, following the death of his foster mother Audrey, he’s returned to fulfill her request to restore the decrepit Victorian mansion to its former purpose.

Under the threat of repossession, Cal clashes with his foster brothers over restoration plans while fending off the unscrupulous developer who is breathing down his neck. Audrey’s well-meaning presence in his dreams does more harm than good as he struggles to cope with it all. What’s more, the contractor he hires to get the building up to code turns out to be Will Cabot, his high school flame.

As they begin working together, Cal finds he still has feelings for his first love. But his mistakes of years ago threaten their future, just as they ruined their past, and Cal knows he can’t withstand the heartbreak a second time.

 

In the Fire by Nikka Michaels and Eilewen Griffin

inthefireBecause the way to a man’s heart…

Eight years ago, the world was their oyster. Until, that is, competing chefs Ethan Martin and James Lassiter’s hot and heavy relationship fizzled after Jamie left for an internship in Paris. Even though Jamie’s career has taken off since his return to the States, with his own television show and a lot of fame, his feelings for Ethan have never quite gone away.

Ethan’s culinary career has developed more slowly, but he’s almost saved enough to buy the restaurant where he works and re-open it as his dream spot, Bistro 30. If only he could get the sexy chef who loved him and left him out of his mind.

But when someone starts sabotaging the restaurant and a fire threatens to take away everything Ethan holds dear, his only option is to rely on Jamie for help. Back in close quarters, the two men will have to find a way to work through their past if they hope to save the restaurant–and their future.

See how Ethan and Jamie’s romance began in In the Raw,available now!

 

High and Tight by Vanessa North

highandtightPilot Adam Walker has had one great love in his life: Harris Kingston. But twelve years ago, when he accepted a scholarship and joined the Navy, he chose duty to his country over love. Their on-again off-again relationship was never more than private joy, a frustrating fact of military life.

Harris never wanted to be anyone’s dirty little secret. When Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed two years ago, Adam broke his heart one last time. He’s picked up the pieces and moved on, building a great career and dating guys who aren’t afraid to be seen in public with him. But when Adam strolls into his salon asking for a haircut, his newfound happiness goes to hell in a handbasket.

Adam’s been at war with himself for over a decade. Now on the verge of leaving the military, he’s desperate to court Harris the right way and be forgiven. With two weeks’ leave and a Navy man’s conviction, he’s ready to start over…if he can convince Harris he’s ready to come out and commit.

New Adult

 

No Apologies by Sybil Bartel

noapologiesNever apologize

Hard-edged rocker Graham Allen has it all. He’s flush with cash from playing bass in a band by night and restoring classic cars by day. And there are plenty of women willing to share his bed for a night, complication-free. Perfect, because if there’s anything he learned from his past, it was to never get attached–to anything. So when bartender Carly Sullivan flashes her innocent smile, Graham isn’t prepared for what happens next.

Never fall in love

Two rules, that’s all Graham has–never apologize and never fall in love. He knows Carly is everything he should avoid. Cheerful and sweet, she has “relationship” written all over her. But Graham can’t stay away from her probing questions and concerned blue eyes.

When Graham discovers Carly is hiding a crushing secret, he’s prepared to risk it all. Until in one single moment, everything changes and Graham’s past threatens to collide with his future. His life is crumbling down around him, and soon no apology in the world can save him.

He should’ve known to walk away.

 

The Line Book One: Carrier by Anne Tibbets

thelineTwenty-two -year-old Naya has spent nearly half her life as a sex slave in a government institution called The Line. Excommunicated after getting pregnant with twins, she’s left with no way to earn a living and a horrifying choice to make: find someone to replace her at the institution by the time she gives birth, or have her babies taken in her stead.

Ric Bennett wants to help. A doctor with a history of aiding ex-Line girls, he runs a team of rebels that can delete Naya’s records, prevent her from having to make an impossible choice, and free her forever. But when his plan is sniffed out, things get bloody, fast. The Line wants them back. The organization has discovered information about Naya and her twins that make them more valuable than just sex slaves. It makes them dangerous–and part of the The Line’s larger plan.

As they hide from government search parties, Ric comes to admire Naya’s quiet strength. And Naya realizes Ric might be a man she can trust. If they make it off the grid, they could build a new life. But first they’ll have to survive the long, vicious reach of The Line.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

 

The Epherium Chronicles: Crucible by T.D. Wilson

crucibleBook two of The Epherium Chronicles

January, 2155

Earth Defense Forces Captain James Hood is on the mission of his life. The Cygni solar system is just one space-fold jump away. One more jump and they’ll have reached the fledgling colony that Earth desperately needs if the human race is going to survive. But a plot to derail him has already damaged his ship, threatened the lives of his crew and cost him time. Time the colonists might not have.

So much depends on him now, but Hood’s confidence is shaken. It’s self-doubt he thought he’d buried, a brutal mind-killer for all military commanders. Yet danger surrounds his team; a brutal insectoid alien race is still out there, intent on eradicating humans, and a greater threat from an unknown, elusive enemy has emerged.

The forces at work on Cygni are like nothing Hood has trained for, tactically or emotionally. When put to the test, he must choose to either trust the unlikeliest of allies, or run and seal the fate of the Cygni colony forever.

 

Helmut Goes Abroad by Matt Sheehan

helmutLife is pretty good for me, Helmut Haase, dashing detective and ladies’ man extraordinaire. I’m the industrious and charming half of the Fog City Detective Agency. My partner, Shamus O’Sheagan, is the most gifted and lazy Druid this side of the pond, but even he’s settled down with an Amazonian police officer. Together we managed to save the world once already, but our next case is hitting closer to home.

It all started when an old friend came to our door with a wild story about angel bones and necromancers. The bones belong to Azazel, former hero of the dreaded Cretan Empire, and the necromancers want to bring him back to life. The last thing anyone wants is Azazel to return and start another angelic war.

When Shamus locates our quarry in the Mediterranean, it’s bye-bye Wudong, hello luxury voyage to Capri, with a girl in every port and downtime to work on my fighting skills. Too bad such pleasures won’t last. Not with a coven of necromancers ready to fight us to the death over those angel bones and the fate of the world…

Read about Helmut and Shamus’s previous adventure inHelmut Saves the World, available now.

Embracing Chaos

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By Caroline Kimberly, author of AN INCONVENIENT WIFE

“Mom!  I have a bead stuck in my nose!”

Yep.  That’s my life.  Sadly, not one but both of my daughters have woken me up with that particular statement. They’re actually intelligent kids—despite shoving jewelry up their nostrils—but they’re also both very spirited and inquisitive, which can be a blessing and a curse.

Over the years, there have been many such fiascos. Case in point: my younger daughter once asked me sweetly, “Mommy, do you ever wish we had blue carpet?”  I was vacuuming at the time and gave a distracted, “No.”  I should have been immediately suspicious because she got very quiet (a sure sign something’s brewing) and said simply, “Oh. Okay.”  You’d think I’d learn, yet it took nearly five minutes before I chased after her, realization dawning.  Sure enough, my little interior decorator had taken it upon herself to color a large corner of the living room carpet with a crayon. Sky blue.

I love my kids.  I really do. But sometimes…well, I just need to escape.  At least temporarily.

My latest romance, An Inconvenient Wife, was just such an escape.  It’s actually the first book I started writing, though it’s second in the Ashford Brothers series.  Out of the three books, however, it holds a special place in my heart. Granted, that could be because it took me longer to finish this story.  Much longer.  I spent a lot of time getting to know Kyra and Grif as I worked their adventures around naptimes, play dates, and the general mayhem that comes with children.

I think it’s more than the time spent though. This book was my happy place. It was my sanity, when screaming toddlers and girl drama and exhaustion threatened to overwhelm me.  I’d daydream about characters and storylines—spinning the plot, making up dialogue in my head, jotting down notes in the hopes that I might remember each detail.  Whenever I could carve out a chunk of time, I’d sit down and type frantically before anything slipped my memory.

As hodgepodge as the process was, I loved every minute of it.

In hindsight, it’s probably no coincidence that Kyra spends a good part of the book trying to run away.  The story was my chance to run away too—a temporary respite from the chaos of reality. I didn’t really want to flee, of course, and neither does Kyra.  Thankfully Grif was there as a reminder that home really is where the heart is.

My children are growing up—too fast if you ask me.  They’re no longer sticking beads in their noses, or coloring carpet, or squeezing lotion directly into their mouths like it’s chocolate syrup. (Yes, they did that too.)  I can devote entire days to writing now that the girls are in school.

Still, there are times I miss that hodgepodge process.  It was fun.

Who am I kidding? It was therapy.

Whatever the reason, I love this book.  I hope you enjoy it too.

9781426899317-COVAn Inconvenient Wife

The only thing worse than watching the woman he loves marry someone else would be marrying her himself…

Ethan Ashford, Earl of Griffin, swears on what little honor he has left that fetching Lady Kyra Deverill home from Scotland for her wedding is his familial duty and nothing more. Yet Grif finds the assignment all but impossible, and not just because Kyra escapes him at every turn. In truth, he’s lusted after her for most of his life.

Fleeing England after her father’s death is by far the most reckless thing Kyra has ever dared. It’s either hide in the Highlands or marry the repulsive Earl of Brumley, and she simply refuses to spend her life married to a troll. But from the enthusiastic way Grif chases—and kisses—her, it’s clear he no longer thinks of himself as simply her guardian.

Even if Grif wanted to marry Kyra—which he doesn’t—it’s quite out of the question. He is standing on the brink of financial ruin, after all. And though Kyra has quietly mooned over Grif since they were children, she’s never trusted him with anything. The rest of her life doesn’t seem to be the place to start. 

Get your copy of AN INCONVENIENT WIFE from Carina Press of your these ebook retailers:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

 

About the Author

Caroline Kimberly has spent most of her life reading and making up stories in her head.  It wasn’t until she was in graduate school, however, that she realized she wanted to write for a living.  Since then, she’s worked at a newspaper as a reporter and copy editor and at a children’s book publisher, where she had the chance to write a number of school library books.  While she very much enjoyed those experiences, romance writing has been her favorite genre by far.

She lives in Minnesota with her husband, their two children, and three lazy cats.  She loves to hear from readers!  Check out her website at:  www.carolinekimberly.com

A Behind the Scenes Look at an MMA Fight, Romance Writer Style

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By Michele Mannon, author of OUT FOR THE COUNT

Imagine being in a place wall to wall full of men. Muscular men. Guys with zero fat count, abs that redefine the term eight-pack and pecs so taut, so ripped, they put the gym bunnies’ bodies to shame.

And these are just the spectators.

Okay, MMA fighters attend fights. Men training in the various disciplines of mixed martial arts come to matches. Guy who think they’re tough—and look the part—follow their favorite warrior’s bouts.

And then, there’s me. Sports romance writer. Adventurous soul. Attending her first fight, Bellator 118, for research purposes.

Did I expect to see a few finely chiseled men? Um…you bet. But truthfully, I didn’t expect to be surrounded by them.

A matter of fact, the entire event was an eye-opener. Better than I’d ever imagined it to be. Different in many really cool ways.

MMA Fighters

They’re ten times hotter in person. Seriously, they’d give my heroes, including the ultimate Alpha hero, Bracken Kelly—featured in my new release, Out For The Count—a run for their money. It’s not just that they exude raw maleness. They’re intelligent. Skilled. And…sweet. Yep. Sweet.

Take UFC star and Bellator champion, welterweight Dante Rivera, who graciously took a post-fight pose with me. What struck me most about Dante—besides the fact that he’d draped an arm across my shoulder and pulled me into his side for the picture, gently but with such raw power I still get goosebumps thinking about it—is that he was such a gentleman. Kind and considerate. Yep, sweet.

So unlike my troubled, brooding, fictitious MMA warriors. Not that I don’t love a dark hero archetype.

Michele Mannon1 MicheleMannon2 MicheleMannon3

MMA Bouts

There were twelve bouts on the fight card but the event began with many other preliminary fights. Roughly six hours of fighting, with three five-minute bouts per round. Except for the big event, the last fight, which included five five-minute rounds. So many fights, so little time. And that was what was the most surprising about them. They started and ended quickly, then on to the next.

MMA Fighting

I expected blood. I’d braced myself for the sound of fighters taunting each other, a litany of filthy curse words, bones breaking. None of that happened. What I saw was mad skill. Less attacking of one’s opponent and more dodging, more defensive posturing. Sure, a guy lifted another in the air and slammed him down on his back. Yes, two fighters battled it out against the Octagon cage. But it wasn’t as brutal as I’d imagined. I’d overlooked the fact that MMA fighters are trained professionals. And, they respect each other.

MMA Fans

In KNOCK OUT and TAP OUT, my heroes found themselves fighting in blue-collared Pittsburgh arena or in down and dirty street fights. In OUT FOR THE COUNT, there’s a shady, illegal fight club being run inside an industrial warehouse. The crowd attending Bellator 118 wore polo shirts and chinos. The harshest curse I heard was “Your mama doesn’t love you anymore!” As a matter of fact, when I got a bit carried away, hollering out terminology I’d been researching for so long, like “get him in a Peruvian necktie” and “ground and pound him”, that I riled up the gentlemen sitting next to me to the point where they began shouting. That is when they weren’t laughing at my enthusiasm for actually seeing those skills I’d research put into play.

MMA Fan For Life

Would I go to another fight for fun? Absolutely. It was awesome. Beyond what I’d expected. There were a lot of females in attendance, I never felt uncomfortable, the excitement in the air was palpable, the cameras, music, announcers and general crowd enthusiasm was contagious. The fights were short and interesting. The men…uh hem, well I think I’ve said enough about them!

And, if attending a fight is not your thing, why not read about one in this excerpt from OUT FOR THE COUNT.

9781426899003-COV

As Huntley drew closer, she realized a few things at once.

He was not only big, but muscular, filling both the seat and the black leather jacket he wore, despite the warm May temperature outside. The soft leather sleeves hugged his muscles like a fitted glove. Nothing was more of a turn on than amply defined biceps, and she’d bet tonight’s tips his were the size of her thigh. The few other bikers she’d encountered in Reno had supple, rounded beer bellies—but not this one. His simple black T-shirt stretched over his taut abdomen perfectly, not a single roll of flesh evident, not even one caused by the way he sat, leaning back on the barstool with his legs spread out long before him.

No one maintained that kind of physical shape by being a barfly. She should know, with the hours she’d logged in at the gym.

His nose was crooked. Notched high up on the bone at the thinnest section on the bridge, a few inches below his eyes, interrupting an otherwise aquiline profile. Like a cool glass of water on a steamy day, she drank him in. The nose. Beard. Leather. And, as she drew closer…that scowl.

Anger radiated off him.

She hesitated. He was breathtaking, in a violent, all-male, scary kind of way.

Biting her lip, she put his drink down and pushed it forward. No way was she backing down. Get in for the punch, then back out quickly, her instincts told her. “It’s on the house,” she informed him.

He grunted, tossed a five on the table, and grabbed the glass, taking a long sip. Without saying thank you or acknowledging her at all.

Get OUT FOR THE COUNT at Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

About the author:  Michele Mannon is an avid fan of traveling, skinny cinnamon lattes, and gawking at shirtless men on television—jocks, MMA fighters, vampires, bikers alike.

With a love for different cultures and rich characters, she earned a degree in French, taught English in Japan, and worked in the NYC fashion industry. Now, she puts her experiences to pen, by creating kick ass heroines and oh-so sexy alpha males, and throwing them into the situations they’d never dreamed of being caught in.

Connect with Michele!
Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website

Submissions Call/ Freelance Editor Alissa Davis Wants Your LGBT Romance!

Link

Dear Authors,

I’m Alissa Davis, one of Carina’s freelance editors, and I live in Mississippi, where U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves has overturned the state’s gay marriage ban. Hooray! The state will appeal this decision, but I still want to celebrate. To that end, the first fifteen authors who submit LGBT romance to my attention at Carina Press will receive personal feedback from me. From those fifteen, I will select one author/manuscript to receive personal feedback AND a ten-minute phone convo with yours truly.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. (Yup, even celebrations have rules.)

* Your manuscript must be a romance and it must meet the Carina Press submissions guidelines: http://carinapress.com/blog/submission-guidelines/

* The main characters must be LGBT and the story needs to end with them getting an awesome HEA.

* I’m happy to see any heat level and any Romance sub-genre–New Adult, Historical, Erotic, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, etc.

* Only the first fifteen submissions will receive personal feedback, but I will evaluate all submissions directed to my attention. I’m always looking for more great LGBT romance to add to my list!

* The authors of the first fifteen submissions will receive a response letting them know they will be receiving feedback. All authors will receive an automated response acknowledging receipt.

* Manuscripts must be submitted by 1/10/15 to be considered for this opportunity.

* I will provide the feedback via email by 2/1/15, at which point one author will receive an email to set up our phone call.

* Please upload manuscripts to Submittable HERE

* Submitting and receiving feedback does not guarantee acquisition by Carina Press.

Even if you don’t have a manuscript to submit, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this wonderful first step on the path to bringing marriage equality to all Mississippians. If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is.

Alissa Davis

Freelance Editor, Carina Press

2014 Spotlight: Year In Review

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Still have some space on your reading list? Here are eight 2014 titles from Carina Press that are sure to add an extra spark to any eReader! And if you still need some convincing, we have reviews from fellow Carina Press readers to show you why these books are the perfect way to celebrate the end of 2014.

Hate to Love You by Elise Alden

“It is incredible that a book of this caliber could be someone’s debut novel because the writing style is flawless, competent, truly sophisticated and engaging, and in no time, the story pulls you in like a rip current and your mind does not know which way is up.” –Goodreads review

“Have you ever finished a book and immediately thought to yourself “I wish I could unread what I just read, so I can experience it all over again!”? Well, that is exactly how I felt when I finished Hate to Love You.” –Goodreads review

“Books like these make me so happy, its the unknown of picking up a new author, having no idea what I am going to get myself into and then coming out excited and wanting to share this story with the masses.” –Amazon review

hatetoloveyouDespite my slutty reputation, I was technically a virgin at eighteen. But it turns out all those sex-ed teachers aren’t just trying to scare you. The faint positive on a budget pregnancy test sent me spinning, moments before meeting my sister’s snooty new fiancé.

Shaking hands with upper-crusty James was like downing a triple shot of vodka. Dizzy with desire, confused by my body’s reaction, and shocked by the possessiveness flashing in his eyes, I deceived him that night and told the world at their wedding reception.

The truth?

I slept with my sister’s fiancé. Hot and sweaty, all night long in a room so dark he couldn’t tell I wasn’t her.

The lie?

Said fiancé is the father of my child. The one I signed over my rights to just before he was born.

That was seven years ago.

It’s time to come clean.

 

Stranger on the Shore by Josh Lanyon

“Right from the word go, every word counts, the characters are so well drawn, the reader can see them and hear their voices, the locations are almost characters in their own right, the whole feel is spot on.”–Amazon review

“Josh Lanyon is the reason I got up and started reading at 3 o’clock this morning.”–Goodreads review

“Josh Lanyon’s new mystery is already on my favorites list. “Stranger on the Shore” is for those of us who love mysteries with a dash of romance – a real Who Done It with well written plot (plus twists).” –Amazon review

strangerontheshoreTwenty years ago, little Brian Arlington was kidnapped from his family’s Long Island estate and was never seen again. The trail went cold, but investigative journalist Griff Hadley has always thought there was more to the story–much more. When the Arlingtons’ patriarch invites him to stay at their estate to research his true crime book, Griff can’t say no. It’s the story of a lifetime.

But not everyone is happy about Griff’s presence. Relatives and staff alike regard him coldly, including Pierce Mather, the Arlingtons’ attractive lawyer, who is more than a little wary of Griff’s motives.

When a stranger shows up claiming to be the long-lost Brian, Griff and Pierce are united in their suspicions. Startled to have found an ally in the buttoned-up lawyer, Griff soon realizes it’s hard to keep a professional distance. Even in the midst of a groundbreaking investigation, even in the face of a shocking family secret…

 

No Such Thing by A.M. Arthur

“I was hoping for an gripping love story and that was exactly what I found, as well as a whole lot more.” –Goodreads review

No Such Thing is the first in a new series from A M Arthur, one of my favourite writers in this genre, and it gets off to a promising start with two very likeable characters. ” –Goodreads review

“Fast paced yet slowly and carefully unfolded, the plot had me clenching my kindle at times, truly frightened that the boys I had grown to love in this story would be damaged beyond repair. It was exciting and riveting and held me captive.” –Goodreads review

nosuchthingTwenty-two-year-old Alessandro Silva knows that returning to tiny Perch Creek to help his foster mother was the right thing to do. With no degree and a delinquent’s reputation, he’s lucky to have landed a job waiting tables. But not everyone is happy he’s back, and the only thing keeping his move home from being a total bust is his boss’s hot brother.

Jaime Winters spent most of his life watching the world go by, first from a series of hospitals and then from behind big stacks of textbooks. Studying is easier than facing the fact that years of heart failure means he’s still a virgin at twenty-three. Until the new waiter in his sister’s diner awakens desires he’d long ago given up on.

The last thing Alessandro wants is to fall for someone as fragile as Jaime. And Jaime may have a new heart, but he’s scared of what giving it to another person would mean. Their no-strings-attached, instructional approach to sex keeps emotion safely at bay, until a secret from Alessandro’s past forces them to confront their feelings in the present…

 

Bonds of Denial by Lynda Aicher

“In true Lynda Aicher style, it was sweet, sexy,beautiful, heart wrenching, heartwarming and did I mention sexy?”–Amazon review

“I absolutely loved this story. The moment when the two MC’s actually meet is so awkward, but so sweet at the same time. Seeing Rock’s transformation, and then watching Carter’s is just so touching.” –Barned & Noble review

“What a fantastic, emotionally charged, ultra sexy, yet not gratuitous or repetitive, love story this was. I absolutely loved it!” –Goodreads review

denialIt’s been twenty years since Rockford Fielding’s father punished him for kissing another boy. Now a grown man with a military career behind him, Rock continues to deny his true desires, even while working security at The Den, the most decadent sex club in town. But after a year of watching gorgeous Carter Montgomery come and go on the arms of other men, Rock can no longer resist the cravings he’s denied for so long.

Carter has just four months left on his contract with an escort agency, and he doesn’t know whether to feel relieved or afraid. Being an escort is all he knows. Adding to his confusion is the way his latest client, the sexy but stoic Rock, makes him feel things he hasn’t wanted in years.

One charmingly awkward date turns into two and soon the men are meeting off the clock. But with Rock in the closet and Carter unsure how to pursue a real relationship, how can they build a future both in and out of the bedroom?

 

On the Surface by Kate Willoughby

“I really enjoyed this book. It was simply a fun, entertaining contemporary romance with the added benefit of a sports/hockey setting which I loved.” –Amazon review

“What a great series opener that introduced future main book characters for me to look forward while giving a strong and engaging romance set against a sports backdrop. Lovers of sports romance should really give this book a try.” –Barnes & Noble review

“I love a good hockey romance. Really, what’s not to like about hockey romance? You have incredible athletes, hot guys, women who can tame them, and the most awesome sport in the world!” –Barnes & Noble review

onthesurfaceBook one of In the Zone

NHL player Tim Hollander lost his temper one time and threw a water bottle at an abusive fan. After “Bottlegate,” he’s traded to the San Diego Barracudas, where he’ll need to keep the bad publicity to a minimum while proving he can still compete with the younger guys on the ice.

Erin Collier is a pediatric nurse who’s never seen a hockey game, but gets in line for Tim’s autograph at a PR event in hopes of impressing the doctor she has a crush on. When an obnoxious fan gets pushy toward Erin, Tim rushes to defend the pretty stranger, throwing a punch in the process.

Grateful for the rescue, Erin agrees to stand by Tim during the resulting press conference and host him at a hospital charity event. Their chemistry is palpable, and soon their lives are intertwined. But Erin doubts a hockey player is capable of anything resembling a real relationship. And if Tim can’t get her to see beyond what’s on the surface, they’ll never last longer than a single season…

 

Midnight Vengeance by Lisa Marie Rice

“A welcome return to my absolute favorite series by Lisa Marie Rice!” –Goodreads review

“A little mystery, a little danger, a sexy Alpha male, just perfect!” –Amazon review

“The suspense of Midnight Vengeance is very intriguing and Lisa Marie Rice expertly blends it with the relationship of Jacko and Lauren. It’s a steamy, don’t put me down book.” –Goodreads review

CARINA_0814_9781426898822_MidnightVengeanceMorton “Jacko” Jackman isn’t afraid of anything. He’s a former Navy SEAL sniper, and he’s been in more firefights than most people have had hot meals. Lauren Dare scares the crap out of him.

Gorgeous, talented and refined, she’s the type of woman who could never be interested in a roughneck like him. So he’s loved her fiercely in secret, taken her art classes, and kept a watchful but comfortable distance. Until now.

Lauren had finally found a home in Portland, far from her real identity, far from the memories of her mother’s death, and outside the reaches of the drugged-out psycho who’s already tried to kill her twice. One tiny misstep–a single photograph–has shattered it all. She has no choice but to run again, but this time she’ll give herself a proper farewell: one night with Jacko.

Their highly charged emotional encounter changes everything. In Jacko’s arms there cannot be fear, there can only be pleasure. Anyone wishing her harm will have to pass through him, and Jacko is a hard man to kill.

 

Tap Out by Michele Mannon

“Fantastic fun romp with lots of action, spunk and sizzle!!” –iBooks review

“She does an excellent job of capturing your attention, pulling you into the story, the characters, and the events. The relationship, the interaction between these characters is amazing, I definitely felt like she had me from the start.” –Amazon review

“This book earned these 5 stars. You will not be disappointed in any way. It was a darn good read.” –Amazon review

tap outBook two of Worth the Fight

Late-night shock jock Sophie Morelle has been fired, dumped by her network after an embarrassing incident cost them big bucks. But she knows just how to get back on her feet–by filming a raw, gritty documentary about MMA fighters, starring the hottest welterweight around. The only problem? He’s the one responsible for ruining her life.

MMA-champion-turned-model Caden Kelly is hell-bent on reestablishing himself as the best fighter in the country. He’d been on a roll, too, until that loudmouth reporter hit him in the head with a camera on national TV. The headaches he’s suffered since are nothing compared to the one he gets when she shows up, seeking an exclusive. That Sophie’s gorgeous is undeniable…but she’s also the most infuriating woman he’s ever met.

Stepping into the ring with Caden Kelly is not for the faint of heart, but Sophie’s never been the delicate type. This champion may have finally met his match–both in and out of the bedroom.

Don’t miss Knock Out, available now!

 

Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr

“I honestly can’t think of something in this book that I didn’t like, it was perfect and everyone should read it.” –Goodreads review

Imaginary Lines was an excellent story, even better than I’d hoped for. I’m excited to find a new-to-me author and series I can whole-heartedly recommend. ” –Barnes & Noble review

A very sweet, thoroughly enjoyable read, Imaginary Lines was a wonderful New Adult romance.” –Barnes & Noble review

imaginarylinesTamar Rosenfeld has been in love with New York Leopards linebacker Abraham Krasner since they were twelve years old. She’d always considered it destiny that they’d end up together…until Abe was drafted and she professed her feelings in a moment of blind excitement. The sting of his rejection was like nothing she’d ever felt before, and it’s nothing she’ll ever forget.

Older and wiser, Tamar has landed a dream job as a reporter for one of New York’s premier athletic websites. Determined to stop being the safe, boring girl she’s felt like for most of her life, Tamar makes a list of all the things she wants to do and see in her new city, and Getting Over Abraham is priority number one.

But destiny has finally chosen to interfere. Just as Tamar’s decided to move on, Abe’s realized she’s the only woman for him. When he confides the truth, Tamar has to decide if she can put her crush behind her, or take a chance on the very man who’s been holding her back all these years.