What We Want: Dark, Contemporary Romance

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At Carina Press, we’re always looking to acquire contemporary romance but this month we dare you to step over the line into darker territory…

We want searing stories and risky editorial; books with high emotional tension and lots of dramatic conflict. We want sexy or erotic manuscripts with troubled characters and mysterious backstories. More specifically, if you’re writing any of the following, we’d like to see it:

  • Dark, erotic and/or psychological thrillers
  • Stories of adultery and betrayal
  • Capture fantasies and encounters of questionable consent
  • Gritty, graphic and explicit stories about organized crime and hit men
  • Mercenaries on a mission
  • Conflicts involving non-traditional h/h pairings
  • Anti-heroes and anti-heroines. Real, unredeemable bad boys and bad girls
  • Heavily atmospheric, gothic-inspired sexy contemporary romance
  • Super sexy (but not necessarily erotic) contemporary romance with sexually charged dialogue, off-the-charts sexual tension and/or a dirty-talking hero/heroine

HEAs not required, but please appease us—and your readers—with a HFN (Happily for Now).

Please note that submissions featuring the following will not be considered:

  • Rape for titillation
  • Bestiality
  • Incest
  • Characters under the age of 18 engaging in sex or illegal activity



What We Want—Mystery!

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So many intricate details make up a good mystery book. Our Carina Press authors craft their stories with the right amount of set-up and characterization, told in unique voices, and, sometimes, with a dash of humor! For great examples of some of our most excellent titles, see the newest releases above!

Do you have what it takes to twist a plot into a tale our readers cannot put down? We’re looking for stories that keep us guessing, and series that keep us coming back!

Here is what our editors are currently looking to acquire in the mystery genre:

Kerri Buckley, Editor, would like to see:

  • A dark mystery/thriller in the vein of Tana French’s In the Woods
  • Mysteries full of kooky, fast-talking characters and helmed by an unforgettably quirky gumshoe
  • A series starring a Rosemary & Thyme-esque amateur sleuthing duo

Deborah Nemeth, Freelance Editor, would like to see:

  • Geeks and nerds! A cozy mystery featuring a brainiac amateur sleuth—inventor, archaeologist, scientist or historian
  • Action-packed capers and slick heists with clever twists

Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, would like to see:

  • A sexy gothic novel-length mystery, contemporary or historical, with intense emotions and a strong setting.


What We Want—Erotic Romance

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August brings the heat, and we want you to bring it too!

We’re actively seeking to acquire novel-length erotic romance and what better examples than works by our superstar authors Lynda Aicher and Jeffe Kennedy! Lynda’s new Game Play series will feature h-o-t hockey player romances and Jeffe has just released her new erotic romance/BDSM series, Falling Under. We’re also excited for Emily Ryan-Davis‘s new San Sebastian Sinners series which tangles with ménage…coming in 2015!


Our editors’ complete wish lists for what they want to acquire RIGHT NOW is available here, but below are more specific requests in the erotic romance genre. Give us your passionate/kinky stories where sexy-times happen in the most daring of places! We know BDSM and club erotic romances are still hot, but we want to see where else you can take us!

Angela James, Editorial Director, is looking to acquire a dark erotic thriller that pushes the edges of exploring forced seduction, fantasy and eroticism

Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, is looking for super-sexy erotic contemporary romances, esp. military or first responders. Series potential is a bonus. LGBTQ/PoC welcome—actively seeking diverse submissions! She’s also looking to acquire envelope-pushing erotic romance, any genre.

Deborah Nemeth, Freelance Editor, is looking for erotic romances featuring badass alpha heroes, and she’d love a contemporary erotic series not set in a sex club.

Alissa Davis, Freelance Editor, is looking for erotic romance with strong dialogue and great sexual tension—bonus points for heroes and heroines who rock at talking dirty.

Mallory Braus, Freelance Editor, is looking for erotic thrillers and suspense. She’d love to see a femme fatale character. She’s also intrigued by the potential of a cross genre Erotic Urban Fantasy with a strong female lead against a strong male lead… For example: something like a Catwoman and Batman pairing.

Tina Burns, Freelance Editor, wants erotic romance for both het and LGBT. Give her it all!

Submit your erotic romance to Carina Press now, right here!

Chincoteague, Virginia: My Island Inspiration

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Do you like to travel? I do. I can’t get enough. I want to go everywhere, see everything. I make games of guessing where my fellow travelers are going when they get off the plane or highway. I wonder how long the couple at the next table has been in love or if they’ve admitted to one another yet that they are. Do you do that too? It’s fun. Travelling is fascinating and quite good for the soul.

Every trip is unique. Sometimes, I’m ready to move on. Other times, a place beckons me to stay. Have you ever been somewhere like that? Somewhere that speaks to your heart? I have. In 2007, I visited a place that resonated so intensely it pained me to leave. Seven years later, I still remember the faint scent of brine in the humid summer air and how evenings smelled of ash from charcoal grills and bonfires. I close my eyes and see the weathered clap board of our rental home and the curving steps to the historic lighthouse. That vacation changed me. I’m back in Ohio now, but I’ve never been the same. In many ways I never really left.

Chincoteague, Virginia plays a major role in my daydreams and novels. When I sat down to write a mystery series, I knew the island had everything I needed to tell the tale. Chincoteague is a tiny island community off the East Coast where the locals are delightfully unusual, made up of some transient folks who spend the winters elsewhere and those who stay year round. On any given day, there are handfuls of tourists, craftsmen and artisans. The town slogan is “Relax. You’re on island time now.” I mean, right? Who doesn’t want to live on island time? Whatever that is, it sounds wonderful! The island is a perfect backdrop for romance and the national forest is great for some scary chase scenes. The possibilities are unending.

I’ve loved every moment of writing about this town, and I long to return there more than anywhere else. Maybe someday I will. My fingers are itching to pack even as I type this post.

How about you? Has any place ever gotten under your skin like this? I’d love to hear about it. Maybe I need to visit there next!

And now for a giveaway: Leave a comment below with your favorite place to visit and one winner will receive a copy of Murder Comes Ashore AND a cool dragonfly necklace. Can you just picture the dragonflies hovering over cattails on the marsh? It’s the perfect accessory for reading about the seashore!

Murder Comes Ashore
 photo MurderComesAshorejpg.jpg Patience Price is just settling into her new life as resident counselor on Chincoteague Island when things take a sudden turn for the worse. A collection of body parts have washed up on shore and suddenly nothing feels safe on the quaint island.
Patience instinctively turns to current crush and FBI special agent Sebastian for help, but former flame Adrian is also on the case, hoping that solving the grisly crime will land him a win in the upcoming mayoral election.
When the body count rises and Patience’s parents are brought in as suspects, Patience is spurred to begin her own investigation. It’s not long before she starts receiving terrifying threats from the killer, and though she’s determined to clear her family’s name, it seems the closer Patience gets to finding answers, the closer she comes to being the killer’s next victim.

About Julie:
 photo 1103.jpg Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.

Find Julie online:
Photo-gramming her life on Instagram
Pinning the pretties on Pinterest
Tweeting the crazy on Twitter
Blogging about books & the writer-life at Musings from the Slush Pile

Bittersweet Joy — Not Just A Great Name For A Truffle

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Almost a year ago I released A Fine Romance, featuring a chocolatier hero. I spent quite a few months dreaming up interesting truffle flavor combinations for his book. And since it was only number two in my Aisle Bound series, I couldn’t stop once it came out. More of his delicious truffles had to be dreamed up for the ensuing books (in case you’re wondering, I envision the Bittersweet Joy truffle as a dark chocolate and Chambord combo).

9781426897955_MatchlessRomanceBut this week I am full of the actual emotion of bittersweet joy, for it is the release of A Matchless Romance, the fourth and final book in the Aisle Bound series. Bitter at the thought of no more research about chocolate for me (sigh). Worse yet, it means saying goodbye to a cast of characters whom I love. A world that quite literally changed my career.

I’ll miss Ivy, the romance-a-holic heroine who started the whole thing. I’ll pine for Gib, my unapologetic yet wholly reformed man whore who makes everything a little bit sexier with his British accent. I’ll miss spotlighting the gloriousness of all my favorite spots in Chicago, from the iconic Wrigley Field to the beauty of Buckingham Fountain and the Italian restaurant where my husband and I shared so many terrific, five course wine dinners.

And I’m joy filled, because I’m beyond excited to share this release with the world. As the final book in the series, A Matchless Romance revisits everybody, ties up every loose end. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it is a thoroughly funny and sexy story all on its own. Not to mention accidentally topical, as it features a medal-winning athlete as my hot-yet-nerdy video game designer. When I wrote it, I had no idea it would come out during Sochi—but I’m sure not complaining! Witty banter? Hot sex? Heartfelt connection? It has all those things, just like the other three books in the series—as will the next trilogy, which I’ve already begun to write.

Yup, I have to remind myself that there will be more books—just not a part of this wonderfully wacky wedding-planning crew. There will be more characters and love and laughter. In fact, I’m already crazy about this whole new crew of tight-knit friends that you’ll get to meet in June, when book one in the Shore Secrets series comes out. Which means writing is a lot like life. You connect with some awesome friends, and then life tugs you in a new direction.

But this week I am going to whimper, just a little at having to say goodbye.

Purchase from Carina Press

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That Was Your Favorite Part? Really?

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FIRST TO BURN, Book 1 of The Immortal Vikings

A soldier with secrets. Immortal Viking Wulf Wardsen once battled alongside Beowulf, and now serves in Afghanistan. He trusts the mortal men on his elite special operations team to protect his secret, until an explosion lands him in a place more dangerous to him than a battlefield: a medevac helicopter.

A doctor with questions. Army captain Theresa Chiesa follows the rules and expects the same from others, even special forces hotshots like Sergeant Wardsen. She’s determined to discover the secret behind his supernaturally fast healing, and she won’t allow his sexy smile to distract her.

An enemy with nothing to lose. Even as Theresa’s investigation threatens to expose him, Wulf wants nothing more than to build a future with her. But the Viking relic that might reverse his immortality is being hunted by another–an ancient enemy who won’t hesitate to hurt Theresa to strike back at Wulf.

Reading is one of the last solitary personal spaces. Although more and more of us interact about books on social media, the way a book remains a unique experience for each reader was brought home to me when I asked my friend/beta reader Mary and my editor Jeff to help me choose a memorable scene from First to Burn to submit as an exclusive excerpt at a book review site.

Jeff listed the motorcycle chase in Rome, the sewer escape and the sauna love scene. Mary jumped on the cookies-and-movie scene and “the scene where Wulf finds out about his brother.” My short list contained the designer-boot shopping scene, evading the nosy photographer and the other cookie scene, where Theresa finds out that her mother’s care package can cause unexpected trouble:

“Delicious.” His slow, deep voice returned, cueing her to look down.

Her mother hadn’t put cookies on top. Black lace peeked out of pink packing tissue. Jet beads caught the sun and winked at her from ribbon trim that connected two scalloped bra cups. She shoved the offending object deeper. Her jaw hurt from the pressure of gritting her teeth, but nothing she could say, nothing, would make this go away. She should shut up. Right now.

“If you decide to take her advice…” His smile lifted one side of his mouth.

What was he talking about? She followed his gaze to a sticky note that’d transferred from the tissue paper to her forearm. Not for your roommates! Share these with a nice boy. Written in her mother’s distinctive slanted loops.

She needed to escape before she surpassed her record for embarrassment, set the day she broke her holster in pre-deployment training at Fort Benning, and her Beretta slipped down inside her pant leg. Two more minutes and she’d blurt out that story. That would impress a Special Forces stud.

“Here.” She reached deep, felt plastic and tugged out a bag of chocolate espresso swirls.

Mary is well-acquainted with Mr. Richland’s baking expertise, so I know why we both thought of the scenes with cookies. I was surprised she also flashed on the creepy scene where Wulf arrives at his brother’s deserted house and finds graphic evidence of their enemy’s retribution, because I had no idea it was one of her favorite scenes. Even after being roommates at the end of the grunge era and sharing hundreds of books with each other, talking about specifics taught me something new about my friend. She likes scary more than cute. (Although apparently not more than cookies.)

My editor preferred the sauna love scene over the first love scene, which is my favorite. The sauna fits my hero’s lifestyle, because he’s an immortal Viking, but I don’t personally enjoy tiny over-heated rooms. Even if Wulf gives Theresa a much better appreciation for the benefits of steam and cedar benches, I’m not a sauna type, so that scene never came to my mind.

Try the same game. Find someone–book group, friend, family–who’s read the same book recently and ask what three scenes she remembers best or would recommend as an excerpt. Any overlap with your list? Any complete surprises?

Anna lives with her quietly funny husband and two less-quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle. She is a former army officer who now fills her days with imaginary friends and lots of coffee. Her new paranormal romantic suspense series is inspired by the Beowulf epic, and she also writes military romances, grocery lists and opinionated reviews of children’s books.

Anna would love to connect with readers at Facebook or Goodreads.
Visit AnnaRichland.com for a longer excerpt from First to Burn and a sneak peek at Anna’s next book from Carina Press.

How Hot is Too Hot?

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Some people like their romance sweet, some readers like the characters to steam up the page. I’ve written a lot of romance, much of it erotic. There’s not a lot of sexual content I shy away from. I’ve published over 50 books and novellas, and each one has had at least a few fairly explicit sex scenes. But what does a writer do when sex just doesn’t fit the book?

In Ashes & Alchemy, I decided not to force it. Even though morals are a little different in my steampunk version of 1960, my hero, Seb, is still a gentleman, through and through. He not only falls in love with Minnie, the heroine, but he also respects her deeply. Minnie, mind you, doesn’t necessarily agree with this waiting business. She’s not an innocent young maiden—she’s a mother, after all. But she’s had a rough life and Seb’s out to prove that he considers her just as special as any diamond-studded debutante. So…no sex until after they’re married.

I had a choice. I could tweak Seb’s character and have him give in. It’s a novella, so it’s not like there’s room for much extraneous fooling around. Or, I could wait until the very end to slip in a little heat. Since I fell so deeply in love with Seb on my own, there was no way I was going to weaken his resolve. In this case, the characters won the battle. Seb and Minnie will have the rest of their lives together to heat up the sheets. I hope my readers aren’t too disappointed they’ll only get a taste.

So tell me, what would you prefer, as a reader or writer? Stick with the author or series’ standard heat level, or follow the characters and the story? I did struggle with this question and would genuinely love to know your opinions, since I’m sure it’ll happen again. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy my peek at how the middle class lives in the world of the Gaslight Chronicles.

Ashes & Alchemy
Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance e-Books.

London, 1860
Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes alongside the Order of the Round Table. If his wifeless, childless life feels a little empty sometimes, that’s not too great a price to pay in the name of duty.

Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian’s doorstep. Her daughter Ivy has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness—the same illness, it seems, that’s responsible for taking the lives of many of Ivy’s classmates.

Seb sniffs a case, and taking in Minnie and Ivy seems the only way to protect them while he solves it. But as mother and daughter work their way into his heart and Seb uses every magickal and technological resource he can muster to uncover the source of the deadly plague, it’s he who will need protecting—from emotions he’d thought buried long ago.


Contest: a Rafflecopter giveaway  Win a custom piece of steampunk jewelry or pocket watch from The Spectra Nova. Enter again by following my Bewitching Book Tour over the next two weeks!


Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. An award-winning author of 18 novels and more than 30 shorter works, Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, two sons, a granddaughter and a houseful of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.

Connect with Cindy on Facebook, Twitter, or her website and sign up for her newsletter group!

Magic and Mysticism in Marfa

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Magic, mysticism, and wee ghosties that go bump in the night have always fascinated me. I was recently reminded of a traumatizing high school incident concerning a Ouija board. Whoa! Some things need to stay in the dark. I’m more into movies like Practical Magic, the TV series Charmed, and books from authors like Sarah Addison Allen. The magic is white and the good guys always win. And that’s how I chose the setting for my first Carina Press book, Beyond Texas.

Marfa (aka Mirage) is a small town in far West Texas that’s famous for the mystical lights that have been dancing across the desert as long as people have inhabited the area. Tourists, scientists, ranchers, and skeptics of all ilk have reported seeing the colorful orbs that appear in uninhabited and difficult area to access. The lights span the color spectrum and occur randomly regardless of the weather. They’ve been explained as swamp gas (in a desert), car lights (in 1883), ball lightening (I’ll give them that one), UFO’s, and the spirit of Apache ancestors. They’ve been known to zoom across the desert and whip back almost as if to entice viewers to follow them. Whatever the cause or the description, the miracle lights tantalize our imagination. Personally, I like to think of them as a friendly reminder that not everything is explainable.

Have you ever had an experience that didn’t quite fit what we call reality, that didn’t adhere to the rules of physics, that made you wonder—be it a feeling, a glance, a sound that seemed out of place?

Let’s chat about your otherworldly experiences.

Mysticism isn’t the only reason I chose Marfa (Mirage) as the setting for Beyond Texas. A small town in far West Texas seems an unlikely place to be on the cinematic map, but that’s exactly what happened when a famed producer made the Academy Award-winning movie “Giant” in the 1950’s. From that auspicious beginning Marfa was featured in such mainline films as “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood.” And believe it or not, a town with a population of 1,900 now sponsors an annual film festival. Throw in the mix the fact that Marfa has a military history dating back to the Mexican Revolution, and I had the perfect place for my hero and heroine’s romantic adventure. My heroine, Twinkie Sue Carmichael refers to the desert of West Texas as a part of her soul—a place where the blues, and pinks and yellows of sunrise melt together like an Impressionist painting.

Check out this YouTube video. Even though the cars are vintage, it is an entertaining introduction to Marfa and the lights.


About the Book


There’s no place like Texas, and there’s no one like a Texan!
A budding entrepreneur, Twinkie Sue Carmichael is the co-owner of the Clown Motel in Mirage, Texas, a town known for the mystical lights that dance across the desert. As mayor, Twinkie is concerned about the shenanigans at nearby Fort Huacha, a redundant military facility that’s now the home of the Brotherhood. Why are pregnant teens being held at the fort? And what can she do about it when her witness is reluctant to go to the police?

A former drug agent, Cole Thornton arrives in Mirage looking for his kidnapped sister. He suspects she’s at the fort but he can’t prove it.

As they form a partnership to investigate the Brotherhood, Twinkie’s hormones and internal alarm go on high alert. Is this good-looking guy who he seems? In this fast-paced adventure Cole and Twinkie fall in love (and lust) surrounded by an eccentric cast of characters, from her cohort of girlfriends to her sheriff ex-husband. And from Cole’s high-powered family to his former drug cop partner. Not to mention his missing sister, a group of pregnant teens and a houseful of retired hookers.

As the Brothers and an assortment of other bad guys soon discover, you’d better not mess with a Texan!


Click here to buy Beyond Texas from Carina Press!



A Tidbit to Entice You

“Look what that no-good wind blew in now,” Jessie Roy mumbled. “She-et, old Beelzebub really does have it in for us.”

A lot of folks shared his pessimism. In her dual duties of town mayor and vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce, Twinkie had assumed the job of head cheerleader, but even her optimism had its limits.

First, they’d endured the media circus surrounding the crazy polygamist cult that had spilled over from the adjacent county, and now they were in the middle of a ball-busting, ground cracking drought the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the Great Depression. It was so bad the Baptists had resorted to sprinkling rather than their usual dunking.

Mama scampered over to unlock the door. “We have a customer.” Wave a dollar bill in her face and she morphed into Silly Putty.

Twinkie watched as the rider dismounted and took off his helmet. His Hog wasn’t any run-of-the-mill Harley. This guy rode a low-slung custom Blackline with polished chrome and red flame racing stripes.

The man strolled in the lobby oozing testosterone. With hair the color of midnight and a five o’clock shadow, he had the bad boy persona down pat. Please God, her eyes weren’t bugging out.

“Thank you, ma’am.” He nodded to Mama. “It’s a treat to have such a lovely concierge,” he said as he ran his fingers through his hair. “I’m glad I found a place to stop. That storm’s a real b…bad devil.”

Twinkie had always been a sucker for broad shoulders, and those biceps–well, let’s just say that a Texas Cowboy T-shirt with the sleeves ripped out had never looked so good. Faded jeans encasing very long legs and an impressive ass completed the picture. At least that was her impression until he took off his mirrored aviator sunglasses and she discovered he had eyes the color of          Mama’s sapphire ring. Oh boy, the big bad wolf had just rolled into town!

Jesse Roy pulled out his cell ready to punch in Dan’s number. “I’m definitely calling the sheriff.”

“We don’t sic the law on our customers.” Twinkie took a deep breath to regulate her breathing. Lord in heaven, she hadn’t clapped eyes on anyone like him in a month of Sundays.  “That’s not a good business model.” Actually, the only business she had on her mind was monkey business. She hated to admit it, but she hadn’t enjoyed as much as a kiss in six long months. That had to be the reason her lust-o-meter had just rocketed into the stratosphere.


About Ann

Ann writes romantic adventures served with a big dollop of humor. She likes sassy heroines and tough, but tender, heroes. As a fifth generation Texan she loves to set her books in the Lone Star state. Beyond Texas is her first Carina Press book (look for the sequel in the summer of 2014). An award winning author, Ann is a two-time Rita finalist and has written nine novels and one novella for Harlequin American and Everlasting. You can connect with Ann at her website, her Facebook and her Twitter feed.

She loves to hear from her readers. Connect with Ann on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or her website!

Holiday Date Night

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Once the presents are wrapped and the Christmas tree is aglow in festive lights, the magic of the holidays surrounds us. It’s the perfect opportunity to spend time with those you love. We asked the three talented authors of the newly published anthology For My Own what their ideal holiday date night would include, and here are their responses:

Shari Mikels – Christmas Curveball

My ideal holiday date night would start off with a six o’clock showing of The Nutcracker ballet. We’d have seats close enough to see the exertion of the dancers, but far enough away to take in the entire stage at once. Afterward, we’d have dinner at a restaurant featuring a live jazz band softly playing holiday tunes in the background as to not overwhelm the diners. And finally, we’d go to a little desserts-only shop that bakes specialty cakes by day and opens its doors to theater and concert-goers at night for a sweet treat to end the evening.

When newly single Rachel Tanner finds out that pro pitcher Kevin Ganlin has come home to recover from an injury, her heart skips a beat. She’s loved him from afar since her preteen years, never bold enough to let him know.

Connect with Shari on TwitterFacebookTumblrGoodreads, and her website!


Alison Packard – A Christmas For Carrie

My ideal holiday date would start with an early evening sleigh ride with my sweetie. Snuggled together under a warm blanket, we would sip hot cocoa and gaze at the stars until our driver delivered us to our destination: a cozy bed & breakfast where we are the only guests. After a romantic candlelight dinner for two, we’d sit in front of a roaring fire, listen to holiday music and forget about everything and everyone except each other.

The very thought of Christmas is enough to darken Carrie Jones’s day. “Jingle Bells” and eggnog? Not for this girl; not anymore. But running into a handsome old crush might make this year different…

Connect with Alison on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and her website!


Kinley Cade – Kissing Her Scrooge

The most romantic holiday date to me is for sure in Kissing Her Scrooge. In the book it’s over a series of different dates, but combine them and that’s the ultimate fantasy: Hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows; a tree lighting ceremony; twinkly lights; connecting with family and friends; and spending time with someone you love. Realizing that person you love knows you better than anyone else.

The holidays are a romance waiting to happen. I’m really glad I got to write one.

Every Christmas, Hannah Jones makes it her mission to give her hometown the perfect pageant. Even malfunctioning inflatable Santas and lost students can’t stop the self-proclaimed Miss Holiday. But the teacher may have met her mismatch in sexy but antisocial tree farmer Griff Green. Hannah’s been lusting after her new neighbor for months—and she’s determined to melt his heart by being naughty as well as nice…

Connect with Kinley on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her website!

For My Own: A Contemporary Christmas Anthology


Snowy days and steamy nights

This year, a modern-day Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas with the help of a suddenly sexy old friend. A down-on-his-luck baseball star finds a beautiful new beginning with a hometown girl. And a prim-and-proper teacher is determined to bring out the holiday spirit in a grumpy tree farmer. Settle in for the season with this collection of very merry short fiction.

Edited by Angela James.

Stories also available for purchase separately.


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For a mountain girl, there isn’t anything better: Hard-bodied men who brave the outdoors, work in and with nature, have their character molded by their environment. They rise before the sun, always smell of fresh-cut wood and have arms like steel. My favorite part of their bodies has got to be the rough hands that cradle you gently, yet masterfully handle an axe or saw to fell a massive 100-foot tree.

Yes, I married a lumberjack. Sort of. He’s been in the lumber industry for well over 25 years and filled a number of positions, all of them outdoors and blue-collar. He was raised in the business, really, since his father is still a logger, forester and anything else that the company needs him to be. I’ve heard every dirty joke out there about hard wood.

I decided it was finally time to write what I know. I took my love of my home state of West Virginia and combined it with my knowledge of the timber industry. The series, COUNTRY ROADS, kicks off with TAKE ME HOME and Matthew Shaw, the lumberjack with the heart of gold and a dark secret. Everything about him, from the saw-dusty clothes and muddy boots, screams “man of the mountains”.

But there is a new woman on his mountain, one whose very presence gives him trouble as much as she gives him wood!

Logging manager Matthew Shaw is wary when Kayla Edwards, the owner of Mountain Specialty Spices, hires his firm to harvest timber on her Appalachian property. It’s a place he knows better than the back of his calloused hand—it’s his family’s old homestead, lost years ago in a painful foreclosure. He’s hauled himself up from dirt-floor poor since then, and resolves to stay professional…but Kayla’s vivacious beauty makes it hard to focus on his job.

Home. That’s how army-brat-turned-foodie Kayla feels about her new mountain hideaway. What’s more, the hottest lumberjack ever to swing an axe has agreed to manage her timber crop and get the old maple syrup operations back on tap. Matt’s ruggedly sexy ways and passion for the land have her falling hard.

The heat between them grows wild…until Kayla discovers that Matt hasn’t been up front with her. She feels devastated and, worst of all, used. How can Matt prove it’s her he wants and not her land?

TAKE ME HOME is available at CarinaPress.com and all participating ebook retailers.

INEZ KELLEY was born and bred in the mountains of West Virginia. Although you can never take the hillbilly out of the girl, her knight in shining armor transplanted her to the Midwest along with their teenage drama queen, Spawnetta, and the Demolition Duo – Damien and his twin, the Omen.

Sign up for Inez’s newsletter to get sneak peeks and contest entries. You can visit her at her website http://inezkelley.com/  Follow Inez on twitter at @Inez_Kelley or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/inez.kelley