Monthly Archives: October 2018

Author Showcase – Barbara White Daille (Court Me, Cowboy) (The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal)

The End…or Just the Beginning?

Gabe Miller’s marriage ended so fast it had hardly begun. Which is why he couldn’t quite believe his luck—or his “ex”—when she returned a few months later with the news that legally they were still husband and wife. And that the child she was carrying was his son.

Gabe feared Marissa would bolt again, making a custody battle his only option—unless he could turn back the clock and woo her the way he should have during their whirlwind romance. But even with his boy’s future at stake, mending fences with a woman—especially the one he loved—wasn’t something the strong, silent type found easy to do….

 

CHAPTER ONE

One day soon, he’d get rid of this wedding ring.

Gabe Miller tossed the gold circle into the air and snatched it back again, trying not to think of the woman who’d slipped it onto his left hand, third finger. Trying not to think of what she’d had inscribed inside.

Forever, M

Ha. What a crock. Forever hadn’t lasted but three short weeks.

Scowling, he shoved the band into the velvet-lined jeweler’s box and slid it back beneath the stack of flannel shirts in the dresser drawer. Call him a dumb cowboy, but it’d taken his own wife’s desertion to finally get the message rammed into his thick skull:

Never trust a woman.

“Yo, boss.”

He turned. Warren stood in the bedroom doorway, his whiskered face scrunched into a frown.

“Shake a leg. The boys’ll be raring to eat any minute now.”

“Right.” He hustled along the hall in his elderly ranch hand’s wake. Their two pairs of boots sounded loud on the bare wooden stairs. He glared at the older man’s back, then felt immediate guilt. Warren hadn’t caused his ugly mood.

He followed him into the kitchen.

“We gotta get us a cook, boss. It’s been months since Joe and Mary went back east.” Warren flipped a switch, powering up the coffeemaker Gabe had gotten ready the night before. “Lord knows, a rancher’s got enough to keep him moving, sunup to sundown. And you’re kept busier than most, considerin’ the size of your spread, and managing it yourself ‘n all.”

“We’re doing just fine, Warren.” He kept his tone neutral, knowing how much the older man hated that he couldn’t pull his weight with the younger hands any more.

“Yeah, ‘long as you don’t try gettin’ too fancy.”

“Okay, so the pancakes didn’t work out too well.”

That earned him a chuckle.

Gabe grabbed the egg carton and a pack of pork links from the refrigerator. Sure, this’d been the last thing he’d needed–undertaking kitchen duties once his ranch cook and her husband had moved on. And Gabe did have more to handle than most of the local ranchers. Something Marissa hadn’t understood.

He rubbed the back of his neck and tried to swallow a growl. Tried to stop thinking of Marissa.

Lost cause, that idea. He brooded on it, anyway. Why in heck did he wake up this morning–alone in his big bed–with the feeling today would turn out worse than the usual? He couldn’t manage to push the feeling of gloom from his mind, the way he’d shoved the wedding ring back under his flannel shirts. The ring he should have tossed out, just the way she’d tossed him aside and walked out, months ago.

That, right there, was the problem.

She’d taken off three months ago today.

Jared and Hank and the rest of the cowhands trooped into the kitchen. Their usual whooping and hollering drowned out the sizzle of eggs and sausages.

“Hey, boys, hold it down a bit,” Warren grumbled. “Don’t know where you get your energy this early in the morning.”

Gabe grimaced, knowing his own bad mood had caused the complaints. He was used to rowdy cowboys before the sun was even up–he’d breakfasted with ranch hands all his life. But he remembered those days–those way too few days–when he’d skipped the chow-downs out at the bunkhouse and spent every last early-morning moment he could bedded down with his wife.

Hank, best known as the ranch’s clown, looked over Gabe’s shoulder. “No pancakes today, boss?”

The rest of the men guffawed.

“All right, so I’m not much of a cook.” Marissa was. He shook the thought away. “Better knock it off, or y’all will be taking turns at the stove yourselves.”

Silence fell heavier than a bale dropped from the hayloft. His back still turned to his men, he reached for the egg carton again and grinned. Shut them up, all right.

In the calm, he heard the noise of a car’s engine outside. Awfully early for visitors.

Warren pushed up the blind over the kitchen sink and squinted through the window. “Seems like you got company, boss.” The old cowboy’s voice had gone rusty.

Gabe stepped to his side. “Must be Doc, right? Nobody else’d–”

What he saw through the window shut him up, too. The light over the back porch stabbing through pre-dawn darkness. The white Mustang purring in the drive. And the woman sitting behind the wheel.

Marissa.

He must not have woken up yet after all, must have dreamed Warren’s call and his trip to the kitchen. Because, Lord only knew, he was dreaming now. Blinking didn’t help. The picture didn’t go away. He closed his eyes for a long moment and opened them again. Nope, she was still there.

Looking right at the lighted kitchen window.

He stumbled back a pace.

“Easy, now.” Warren might’ve been talking to a skittish colt. He pulled the forgotten carton of eggs from Gabe’s hands. “Got it under control here, boss. I guess you got some business needs taking care of.”

“Yeah, right.” He looked through the window again, gritted his teeth and set his jaw.

He had something to take care of, all right.

Throwing his ex-wife off his land.

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A husband for Christmas?  

Mitch Weston’s back in Cowboy Creek, and self-proclaimed matchmaker Jed Garland has his single granddaughter Andi on his mind. Mitch is a lawman, good with the little ones and easy on the eyes. He and Andi were high school sweethearts, for heaven’s sake! Why can’t they see they’re perfect for each other?  

Because Andi already lost one husband to a dangerous job, and now she’s all about playing it safe, for her sake and her children’s. Being a cop is everything to Mitch. After discovering Jed’s plan, Mitch and Andi come up with their own: they’ll pretend to get engaged and then break up due to irreconcilable differences. Jed’s got his work cut out for him—because this match needs a Christmas miracle!

 

 

As Mitch strode through the doorway, Andi crossed her arms, rested her hips against the table, and gave in to the pleasure of seeing him. In tight black T-shirt, jeans and black biker boots, he looked taller and tougher and sexier than ever before. That T-shirt and his black hair made his eyes startling blue.

“Jed and Paz told me I would find you here.”

She frowned. “Is everything okay? Do they need me to take Missy off their hands?”

“No, they’re feeding her Paz’s Christmas cookies, and they said that’s keeping her out of trouble. They also said your kids won’t ever want to go home.”

Just what Jed was hoping for, she knew.

“What can I do for you?” she asked. When he grinned, she crossed her arms more tightly. “I’m very busy.”

“That’s why I’m here. Jed figured he’d keep me out of trouble by giving me a job.”

She stood straighter. “I don’t need a helper, thank you.”

“Too late. I’m on board. What do you want me to do?”

She turned away and rummaged through a carton of ornaments. “Nothing. I’ve got everything under control.” The words made her think again of her reaction to his kiss. Of her loss of control.

“Andi, walking away yesterday didn’t make me go away. Pretending to be busy here doesn’t mean I’ll disappear. Why don’t you tell me what’s bothering you?”

“At the moment, you are.”

“Well, that’s a start.”

She shot a look over her shoulder and found him smiling down at her. He was so close, she could have taken a step back and found herself in his arms.

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I’m Barbara, and I write small-town romance that usually includes quirky characters and a touch of humor.

Have fun looking around the site and my blog, The Daille-y News.” And consider signing up for my newsletter, where you’ll get insider info on my writing life, sneak previews, and access to subscriber-only book giveaways.

 

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Review of “Wedding Tango (Rhythm & Romance Book 3)” – Mariposa Cruz

Print Length: 64 pages

Moira Williams is dismayed when her daughter, Tami, announces her engagement. Sure Jon’s a great guy, but why do they have to get married in Buenos Aires? Though she dreads seeing her ex-husband, Alan, the gorgeous father of the groom has her pulse racing.

Widower Alan Rochester buries his grief with non-stop home improvement projects, but a sexy redhead has captured his attention. He’s eager to show Moira the sights of Buenos Aires from his college days, but is he ready to face the world again?

South of the equator, nothing is as it seems. Can Moira and Alan navigate through their feelings for each other and save their kids’ dream wedding from becoming a nightmare?

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Moira was frustrated by the time Alan reached her in the rotation. Rattled by the distracted dancing husbands and Roarke’s stare, Moira wanted to scream. Finally paired with a smooth dancer and the best-looking lead, she feared being an anxious, clumsy fool. Standing so close to him, she noticed that his eyes had flecks of brown and were framed by long lashes. Those gorgeous hazel eyes gazed at her with concern.

“You okay?” Alan asked.

“I don’t get Tango,” Moira confessed.

He nodded. “Let’s try something else then. For now, concentrate on the rhythm of the music,” he said as he took her into his arms. He waited for the opening strain of the music to pass before he led her around the dance floor.

“Better?” he asked.

“Much better,” Moira replied. Focusing on the music helped. Despite a few missteps, she finally felt as though she was dancing, not stumbling. Alan’s firm, but light, touch made it easy to follow him. The music drew to a close much too soon, and Becca announced the end of the lesson.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

No matter the location, there’s usually always a hiccup or two when it comes to weddings. Mariposa showed us what could go wrong during the wedding planning process AND how all those unforeseen bumps don’t mean a thing once you exchange I do’s.

There was plenty of drama unfolding in Wedding Tango, but readers also experienced love (old and new) between several characters. 

Sometimes a person just needs a sweet romance story to get through their day or, in this case due to book length, lunch break. 

As much as I enjoyed the wedding hoopla, I must say the La Bibliotecha stayed on my mind long after I finished Wedding Tango… more so than anything else.

The La Bibliotecha is a bookworm’s dream destination. The La Bibliotecha is a hotel where each room is inspired by a different book genre. Now, I don’t know if a hotel like this exists or not. If not, it really needs to be built. I want to go there. I want to keep visiting it until I have vacationed/lived through every genre… twice. Hmm, maybe three times.

Do I recommend this short story? Yes.

Do I highly recommend Mariposa saving up all her royalties and putting it towards building this bookworm’s dream vacation hotspot?

ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY!

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.

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Review of “In a Flash (Cover Model Book 1)” – Laura M. Baird

Audri’s a photographer’s assistant, and she secretly fantasizes about Carson, the sexy cover model they’re working with. She never expects him to feel the same way. When an impromptu photo shoot puts them in each other’s arms, they’ll learn that life can change in a flash. But with obstacles thrown in their way, like a vengeful ex and pain from the past, can they find a way to break through their barriers in order to win one another’s hearts?

 

 

~~ Excerpt ~~

 

“Audri, same as before,” Jesse called out while fussing with the lighting. “Carson, against the desk, Audri, step up to him.”

Audri turned away from Carson, growing more uncomfortable by the second. “Jesse, is this really necessary? Get Tasha in here to do the job. That’s why she’s here.” She was ready to be done. Truth be told, she was afraid of sweating bullets and embarrassing herself.

Just as she was about to walk away, Carson spoke, causing her to whip her head back around and stare at him.

“C’mon, cupcake, I know you’re ready for this.”

Calling out that nickname would normally piss her off, but his wicked grin and the low rumble of his voice only caused her belly to tumble with delight. As he rested casually against the desk, ankles crossed and hands folded together in front of him, his grin changed into a seductive invitation. He seemed to be daring her, challenging her to indeed step up and finish this session with him. Never one to back down from a challenge, she summoned her courage and gave him a saucy smile.

Fine! I can do this. I’ll show him.

She raked her gaze over his torso where his white dress shirt protested across his impressive chest and wide shoulders, pushing the limits of how far the material could be stretched. Her fingers itched to smooth out the creases, or better yet, undo every last button and free him from the garment. Oh, to have her hands on his glorious skin. She had to clench her fists at her sides as she took a fortifying breath to center herself.

Audri’s gaze ventured back to his eyes as she slowly sauntered toward him, over-emphasizing the sway in her hips. She never broke eye contact and was pleased to see a flash of shock register on his face. What she witnessed next nearly had her tripping in her heals.

Was that desire on his face? Desire? Impossible!

Audri’s pulse raced as she watched his eyes question, almost begging, pleading for her to come to him. He sat up straighter as he uncrossed his legs, planting his feet on the ground while his hands gripped the edge of the desk. Her careful steps led her closer and closer as she tried to push aside the uncertainty of her actions. She wanted him to see she wasn’t intimidated by him—no matter how much she really was intimidated by him.

All else around her faded away as Audri focused on Carson, feeling like David facing off with Goliath. Even with him in his seated position, his imposing form still seemed to tower over her. She tried not to let that bother her in the least as she stepped right up between his legs, bringing her body within inches of his. Still keeping his gaze, she was rewarded with another hint of surprise before his stare smoldered. Audri swore she could feel the heat radiating off his body, and suddenly she didn’t miss her sweater so much.

She boldly reached out to place her hands behind Carson’s head, her nails lightly scraping his neck, wishing she could release the strands of his lush hair from its confines. She could’ve sworn she felt a shudder roll through him as he closed his eyes and released a shaky breath. When he opened his eyes and smiled, sweet and warm, the heat she now felt threatened to melt her into a puddle of goo.

Ever so slowly, as if not to spook her, Carson brought an arm around her waist while his other hand slowly trailed across her outer arm and down her side. His fingers danced tenderly across her exposed flesh, his touch eliciting tiny shivers as it simultaneously fired her up. The arm snuggling her waist felt like a branding iron, leaving its mark of unrelenting fiery heat. Her entire body began to burn as he pulled her impossibly closer, his powerful thighs encasing her hips and the smooth silk of his shirt grazing her exposed cleavage.

As their breaths increased, mingled, Audri was certain she could hear the frantic beat of their hearts pounding in sync. She splayed her fingers around Carson’s neck, kneading his flesh, feeling the tense muscles slowly relaxing beneath her touch. Focusing on the steady caress of his hands on her back, she couldn’t look away from the softness in his eyes.

She licked her lips, suddenly parched, wishing she could steal the moisture from his mouth with a kiss. And when his gaze shifted to her lips then back to her eyes, maybe he thought the same as he mimicked her move, swiping his tongue across his plump lower lip.

Audri disguised her groan with a remark she knew sounded much too needy.

“Are you ready for this?”

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
 
Laura created a great cast of characters, beautiful on the inside and outside. 
 
Audri was a photographer’s assistant by day but, in her free time, she was also a painter. She donated time and money to Seattle Children’s Hospital. She gifted the children there paintings of themselves as their favorite character. It’s a brilliant and sweet gesture that surely raised the spirits of the sick children and their families. Carson, book cover model, volunteered at the Treehouse. It was an organization that helped foster children achieve academic success.
 
Anyone who helps children, any one who pays it forward period, already has a special place in my heart. This book will be memorable for me and for others as well because it was more than just two sexy people finding comfort in each other’s arms.
 
Both In a Flash characters and storyline had substance. Yes, there were some passionate love scenes but there was also suspense and a variety of emotions felt by both genders alike.
 
So many characters to love… I can’t wait to read book 2 because I just know Laura will write another story that will be just as good or even better — especially if more characters pop up covered in tattoos. I just love tattoos. 😉
 
I highly recommend this book!

 

 

Wife, mother, former U. S. Army, and dental hygienist, I can now add published author to the list. I’m slowly transitioning out of hygiene, hoping to make writing a full-time endeavor. After writing for many years, my publishing dreams came true in August of 2017 with the release of my debut contemporary romance, “Keyed Up”. Since then, I’ve had the fortune to work with several publishers, and as of June 4th, my eighth title was released. Hopefully many more are on the way!

I write in a variety of romance subgenres: contemporary, comedy, and erotic, with stories containing suspense and small-town romance in the works. I’m constantly learning, loving the journey, and all the amazing people I’m meeting. A voracious reader myself, I enjoy all romance from contemporary to erotic to paranormal to suspenseful.

I strive to write stories I can be proud of and enjoyed by many; ones that are not only sexy and fun, but thoughtful as well.

I grew up on the East Coast and now reside on the West Coast, having lived in FL, GA, SC, MA, ID, and WA. Hubby and I hope to fill our passports with stamps from Scotland and Fiji, to name a few destinations. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the beauty of the PNW.

 

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Review of “Ladies Man (Rhythm & Romance Book 2)” – Mariposa Cruz

Print Length: 54 pages

Clark Stevens has always had a way with women, but his teenage daughter despises him. When his daughter comes to live with him fulltime, he enlists co-worker, Julie Wahl, to coach him on parenting skills.
As a single mom and paralegal, Julie, has successfully balanced family, work and swing dancing. After heartbreak on the dance floor, the last thing Julie needs is an office romance. But she can hardly say no to a colleague in need, especially one with dark brown eyes and a killer grin.

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“That’s why I need your help. Right now if Kiley left a note on my desk there’d be a dagger run through it. You have kids Kiley’s age; you understand all this stuff.” Clark waved toward snow-covered Mt. Rose as if it held the key to teens and all their secrets.

Julie shook her head. She sympathized with Clark’s plight, but what could she do? She and the kids had weathered tough times, but she was hardly an expert. “I don’t know, Clark. What works with one kid doesn’t work with another. You might want to consider counseling.” There, let the professionals handle it.

“I’m not asking you to play shrink; just coach me on parenting to help me get Kiley settled.”

Julie hesitated. Clark had been amiable and professional regarding the few deals they’d worked on together. But those situations had been straightforward negotiations headed straight to boilerplate contracts. Unfortunately, there was nothing simple or boilerplate about teenagers or working relationships that became personal.

“Please.” How had his dark brown eyes suddenly become so irresistible?

“I’ll do what I can,” Julie agreed. She told herself she did it for the sake of Clark’s daughter and not his dark-brown eyes and smooth voice.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Ladies Man is more than a love story. It touched upon real life scenarios parents face daily: teenagers blooming interest in boys and/or girls, underage drinking, and the aftereffects of divorce. We, parents/caregivers, know raising kids is a hard job. At times, our kids will get mad at us. They will yell, shed tears, and keep secrets. However, they also bring us much joy and laughter. 

Julie and Patrick might’ve argued over their different parenting styles but, in the end, these three teenagers banded together and did what we ask teenagers to do all the time…. TALK IT OUT. 

Anytime a story has real life scenarios in it, readers feel more connected to the storyline and characters. I think many readers will see their own life unfolding along the pages of Ladies Man.

Happy reading. 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

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Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.    Website Link / Facebook Link

 

 

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Review of “Package Deal (Rhythm & Romance Book 1)” – Mariposa Cruz

Print Length: 78 pages

Widowed attorney, Liz Grant, buries her grief in a deluge of paperwork. On whim she takes a free dance lesson at the club Eclipse where the mojitos are cold and the Salsa is hot. She falls for Salsa’s spicy rhythms and Patrick Cavanaugh’s sexy grin. But can Liz handle the dramatic change of tempo in her well-ordered life? 
Patrick has all the right moves, but struggles to keep his balance as his adult daughter spins out of control. Will their love survive off the dance floor?

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Patrick tucked the white bag at Liz’s feet, then drove up into the hills and parked overlooking an unfinished development. The whole city sparkled beneath them.

“How did you find this place?” Liz leaned against his arm outstretched against the seat.“Just driving around,” he replied. Actually he discovered the overlook during a drive to lull a cranky Bobby to sleep.

“It’s beautiful.” Her green eyes sparkled as if he had personally wrapped the city in lights for her enjoyment. Patrick leaned over and kissed her. For a few brief moments, the night became still. He was aware only of her soft mouth against his, her body crushed against his, until the sharp tapping on the window.

They blinked against the sudden glare of a flashlight and the stern gaze of a Reno police officer.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Life doesn’t end with divorce or a spouse’s death. You must find a way to carry on or you’ll lose out on so much more that life has to offer. In Package Deal, readers will be reminded that you must get out there in the world and experience new things. Liz did so when she grudgingly accepted an offer to attend a dance class at the Eclipse. 

Through diaper changes, upset stomachs, outings, and family drama, she realized there’s more to life than eat, sleep, and work. She became more than a businesswoman. She found love (again).

As you read the final moments of Package Deal, I think you’ll agree with me that Mariposa Cruz did not write a solitary love story. Mariposa wrote a charming story about a closed off woman who opened up her heart again and fell in love with a wonderful man and his two adorable grandkids. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

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Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.

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