Monday, March 01, 2021

SYLVIE DENIED

 


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Sylvie Denied
by 
Deborah Clark Vance
Genre: Women's Fiction


As she enters adulthood in the turbulent 1970s, Sylvie thinks the way to change a violent world is to become a peaceful person. Yet she slowly sees how a childhood trauma thwarts her peaceful intentions and leads her to men with a dark side – including Enzo, the man she marries. Even as his behavior becomes increasingly volatile, she believes she can make things better with love and understanding. But finally living in terror. Sylvie must find a way to escape with her daughter and a way to claim her place in the world. 




The next morning, Sylvie went to return Olga's milk pail. She breathed in the scent of tilled earth arising from the hot fields as she walked along the cobblestones that lay like rows of solid bubbles even after centuries of hooves and feet had worked to flatten them. Coming through a dark passageway, she entered the bright piazza and tripped on a cobblestone's humped back and the pail flew from her outstretched hands as she stumbled. Olga and Griselda were perched on a ledge, the tiny vines of their calico aprons extending up from the stones. Relieved she didn't land on her belly, they heaved a loud sigh as from a single breast, then laughed. 

“We always fell down, too,” said Griselda. “When I was pregnant, I fell down a whole flight of stairs,” said Olga. 

“Maybe by the time I’m used to all this weight, the baby will be born,” Sylvie said, leaning sideways to pick up the pail. 

“Yes, and you’ll be carrying the little one in your arms instead,” said Olga. 

Sylvie was about to sit when Griselda gasped so loudly that Sylvie jumped up, expecting to find a snake slithering behind her. “No! You might lose the baby if you sit on that cold stone!” 

Sylvie’s heart pounded. “I could’ve lost it from fright just now!” 

Olga folded up her sweater to make a cushion for her. 

“Just beware of the extremes,” said Griselda. “Hot and cold.” 

Sylvie wanted to rebel against all these restrictions but, without facts to counter them, didn’t dare. Besides, she admired Griselda and Olga. They’d never sit in Café Miraggio and discuss whether the economy balanced on women’s backs. But who in Café Miraggio could do what they did, bring forth life out of soil, prune grapevines and tie their branches to trellises, gather wood into bundles and sling them over their shoulders, scramble up the hill and out of sight on spring days when porcini were growing in their secret places, move quick and sure, like rabbits darting home? 

When Sylvie was eight, Mom handed her a seed packet bearing pictures of bright blue morning glories, suggesting she plant them by the arbor. Smiling, Mom said, “Read the instructions.” Sylvie took the seeds outside, poked holes in the soil with her finger and dropped them in, not knowing she’d planted them too deep, and quietly despaired when they never surfaced. She never mentioned it and Mom forgot about it. And when she planted seeds in the garden Olga gave her, she regarded the seedlings with awe, as if she’d performed a miracle. But no, it’s the spirit of life pushing through the earth as the spirit of life was in her belly. Where Mom struggled underneath male definitions, these women, growing out of their village stone, knew how their femaleness fit not just on the planet but in society. It was as if they included her in their water line.








Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Deborah Clark Vance has lived throughout the US and in Italy. While raising her children, she earned a living by teaching piano lessons, selling her original artwork, editing a health journal, translating Italian, writing freelance articles and textbook chapters, working on a children's educational TV series, teaching in a day treatment program for adults with mental and emotional illnesses, creating garden designs and teaching as a college adjunct. After completing a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture at Howard University, she taught and served as Chair of the Department of Communication & Cinema at McDaniel College in Maryland. Although she also contributed articles and chapters to academic publications, those only earned her a modicum of prestige rather than income. She's keenly interested in the natural world as well as in social justice, spirituality and women's issues. "Sylvie Denied" is her debut novel.





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Friday, February 26, 2021

AMANDA'S RANCHER

 By Caroline Clemmons

I love reading and writing mail-order bride books. Why so many mail-order brides? Here’s an example: In my husband’s family, one spinster lived with her sister and brother-in-law and functioned as little more than a servant in their home. There’s a similar story in my father’s family. This situation was not uncommon in the nineteenth century. Yet, most women wanted their own home and children even if they didn’t love their husband.

According to estimates I’ve read, over 750,000 died in the Civil War. There weren’t enough single men left to supply grooms for marriageable women in the East. Many single men went West to seek land and start a new life but there weren’t enough single women in the West. The solution? Mail-order matches. They were the EHarmony and Match.com of the 1800s. Some ended well and some didn’t. For my romance books, though, they all end happily!  

My Loving A Rancher Series of mail-order bride books were formerly part of Debra Holland’s Montana Sky Series of Kindle World. When Amazon closed the KindleWorlds, I didn’t want to leave that world. Debra graciously reverted the rights to me. So, locales are now Cottonwood Springs and Randall Crossing, both still in Montana. My characters remain the same but the names of Debra’s characters have been changed. The books are available in e-book and print (not so gentle hint!). Each is also be available in Kindle Unlimited. Each of the books is sweet, clean, and family oriented.

The first of this series is AMANDA’S RANCHER, http://a.co/jddh1g7. Please pardon the lack of modesty but this is one of my favorite of the books I’ve written in the past few years. This was an Amazon experiment and is slightly longer than the usual Kindle World book. It involves stolen identity, mystery, murder, adventure, and romance.


One desperate young woman.

A chance meeting.

A life-changing outcome.

Growing up in a brothel, Mara O'Sullivan battled public disdain and contempt, but always remained kind-hearted, virtuous, and gracious. After testifying against vicious bank robbers, her life is threatened and Mara must find sanctuary far from everything she knows.  

One train ride changes her life as she fatefully meets a half-sister and a niece she never knew existed. But when circumstances end her sister's life, Mara makes a promise that she'll raise her niece as her own and take her sister Amanda's place as Preston Kincaid's mail-order-bride. As Mara (now calling herself Amanda) and Preston grow closer, their marriage no longer seems like a ruse, but a relationship of love, passion, and desire.

Mara's past comes back to haunt her and she finds herself in danger—will her new husband forgive Mara's deceit and protect her as his own? 

 


 


They reached the church and Preston jumped down from the wagon and came around to help her alight. With a smile, he lifted Iris high over his head before he set her on the ground. Her giggle brought tears to Amanda’s eyes.

That was the first time she’d ever heard her daughter make the girlish sound. Iris had smiled, spoken, but never laughed until she met Preston Kincaid. For that alone, Amanda would be the best wife she knew how to be.

Inside the church, Mrs. Moore handed Amanda a bouquet of daisies secured with a white ribbon. The interior was plain with wooden benches and an altar raised one step above the rest of the floor. Although there were several windows, none had stained-glass as did the churches she’d seen in Georgia.

The minister was waiting at the front of the church and wore a black frock coat and matching string tie. His brown hair and beard were thickly streaked with gray. He stood at a simple lectern with what looked like a Bible in one hand while he conversed with another man.

Amanda was surprised only one other person besides Reverend and Mrs. Norton were in the sanctuary. She’d supposed Preston had many friends in the area and thought at least his ranch hands would attend. The second man turned and proved to be an older version of her groom who came forward to greet her.

Preston cupped her elbow. “Amanda and Iris, this is my father. Most folks call him Tom, but I call him Papa.”

Amanda smiled at the handsome man who must be around fifty. He was tall, but maybe an inch shorter than his son. Silver sprinkled the same dark hair. “May I call you Papa, too?”

He beamed his pleasure and his blue eyes crinkled at the corners. “I’d be honored. And in the absence of your father, may I walk you down the aisle?”

“Would you? I’d be ever so grateful.” She laid her hand on his arm. Nerves had set in and she needed his support or her knees might give way.

Preston said, “Iris, why don’t you stand with me while my papa walks Mama to meet us?”

Iris shook her head. “Mommy, not my old mama?”

Preston frowned. “Old mama?”

Panic sent bile into her throat that threatened to choke her. Don’t throw up on your wedding dress. “Perhaps you remember my mother recently died.”

Sympathy shone from his blue eyes. “Of course.” He took Iris’ hand in his and strode to the front.

Mrs. Moore began playing the piano. She nodded toward Amanda. Papa Kincaid gently led her up the aisle.

Walking toward her husband, Amanda was conscious of Preston’s stare, as if he could see into her mind and knew her for an impostor. Although he held Iris’ hand, the intensity of his blue gaze unnerved her. She wondered if he was disappointed or if he were as numb as she.

Thankful for the presence of her future father-in-law beside her, she tightened her hold on Mr. Kincaid’s arm.

In response, he patted her hand her where it laid on his sleeve. Without looking at her, he whispered. “Steady as you go. We’re almost there.”

Iris gave a tiny wave and Amanda couldn’t resist smiling at the child. The little girl truly was a blessing. Focusing on Iris gave Amanda a target she could face.

When they reached the front, Mrs. Moore ceased playing. Preston took the bouquet from Amanda’s hands. “Iris, would you hold this for Mommy so she and I can be married?”

Iris looked at him adoringly and reached to receive the flowers. Reverend Moore opened his Bible and began the ceremony. Preston took Amanda’s hands in his. She was conscious of his calluses, but also of the size and strength of his palms dwarfing hers.

When the minister indicated, Preston slipped a ring onto her finger. This new one belongs to me, even if my groom doesn’t know my true name.

After the ceremony, Preston brushed his lips gently against hers.

Iris clapped a hand across her mouth in surprise then said, “Mommy? That man kissed you.”

Preston knelt eye-to-eye with her. “I’m your new Daddy, remember? Mommy and I were just married and now I can kiss her whenever she says it’s okay. Do you think you can call me Daddy?”

Iris nodded. “Are you gonna kiss me, too?”

He smiled broadly. “I certainly am.” He leaned forward and gave her a loud smack on the cheek.

The child giggled. Twice in one day this kind man had made Iris happy. Amanda owed Preston all her wifely devotion.

 

If you haven’t read this book, I hope you’ll give AMANDA'S RANCHER a read.   


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

TAMING WILD HORSES



Don't overlook the Rafflecopter at the end of the post!

TAMING WILD HORSES

Book 2 of Wild Horse Ranch Series

By

Mila Nicks

Contemporary Romance

Date Published: January 29th, 2021


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He’s ready to be a better man…

Chase Collins started the summer a brooding, broken man. He was content keeping to Wild Horse Ranch, where he could tend to horses and stew in peace. When Samara Grant reentered his life, she changed everything, and now he wants to prove to her—and himself—he can be the good guy he always hoped to be. What he doesn’t know is that it’s darkest before the dawn…

She’s done running from the past…

Only a summer in Lutton, Texas. That’s what Samara Grant told herself when she arrived. Now months into living in the small town, she’s carved out a life for herself managing her grandma’s B&B, riding horses and falling in love for the first real time in her life. After so many years spent running, she wants happiness, but unfortunately her tragic past is back to haunt her…

He’s not letting things go that easily…

Reed Ward is supposed to be the guy who has it all. He comes from the most prestigious family in Lutton. He’s handsome. He’s charming. He always gets the girl—so why is it that he’s on the sidelines watching his life go up in smoke? His family’s torn apart, his ranch is no longer his, and the woman that’s supposed to be his wants his best friend. One things for sure: he’s not going down without a fight…


Excerpt

If possible, she looked even more beautiful than the last time he’d seen her, which was only a week ago. She entered the Horseshoe alongside Lea Wilkes, strolling back into his life like she’d never left it. Her curly black hair was free, grazing the tops of her bare shoulders—shoulders he’d kissed intimately many times, among other places. She’d worn one of those spaghetti-strap dresses he liked, the breezy fabric doing little to hide the curves he remembered so well. It was a tangerine-orange color that looked amazing against her dark brown skin. 

Shit. Shit. Shit. 

How he wanted to stride forward, pull her in for a kiss, and rip that dress right off her—make up for lost time and show her how much he’d missed her. How much he wanted her. 

The feral need arose out of nowhere and he had to inhale a rocky breath and remind himself to stay put. He couldn’t rush over and bombard her with attention and affection like he wanted to. They were broken up; he’d driven her away enough already. 

Reed clapped a hand to his back. “Look who just walked in.” 

Chase shrugged off Reed’s hand and took an overindulgent swig of his beer. It was his first real mouthful of the night; before that point he’d been casually sipping. Samara showing up changed everything. His stomach flipped and flopped over and over again and his palms became sweaty. How did one woman affect him so much? 

He didn’t need to question it. He knew why. Samara wasn’t any other woman; she was the woman and he’d fallen hard for her. 

At first it seemed she didn’t see him. Lea and she squeezed through the crowd and came out on the other side at the bar counter. Chase watched them in his periphery. They sat on stools and enjoyed a drink over animated chatter. What were they doing here tonight? 

Samara had said she wasn’t sure when she was coming back. He hadn’t expected her to waltz back into his life so soon, so suddenly. His desire to rekindle things was still a large part of him, but a seed of resentment had been planted, had begun to grow… 

How could she break things off and then casually walk into the Horseshoe like nothing had happened?

 


About the Author

Mila Nicks is on a mission to pen heartfelt and entertaining love stories featuring women of color.

When she isn’t writing diverse love stories, you can find her globetrotting, sampling new cuisines, and spending quality time with her spunky pet Chihuahua, Zayden.

For more on Mila, including news on upcoming releases and story freebies, check out her website and subscribe to her newsletter: https://www.milanickswrites.com/

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Instagram

 

 

Purchase Link

Amazon

 

 

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Monday, February 22, 2021

MURDER WITH STRINGS ATTACHED



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mark Reutlinger will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via R           afflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


 

Sometimes even the most carefully conceived burglary can take an unexpected turn. Florence Palmer has her eye on concert violinist Aaron Levy's priceless violin. Unfortunately, she finds it's already been stolen. Her surprise doubles when the virtuoso she'd planned to burgle offers to hire her to help him steal it back. But they're not the only ones looking for the missing violin. When Flo inadvertently becomes the prime suspect in a case of murder, she and Aaron need to clear her name. Will they find the real killer and get the violin back to its rightful owner without anyone else, especially themselves, being killed?







Read an Excerpt

Passing the front desk on my way to the elevator, I wanted to avoid eye contact with any of the clerks on duty. But, like Lot’s wife, I couldn’t resist just a peek. Unfortunately, one of the check-in clerks, an older woman with gray hair pulled back into a tight bun, happened to be looking in my direction and our eyes met.

The woman immediately called to me, “Miss, would you please step over here?”

I returned a mimed “Who, me?” gesture. The bun lady nodded in the affirmative.

Damn, that’s all I need, I berated myself. I just had to look, didn’t I? But I knew I now had no choice but to comply. I walked over slowly as I tried frantically to think of answers, having no idea what the questions might be. Would I be asked who I was and what I was doing here? If so, would my answers be credible? When I reached the desk I tried to act nonchalant.

“Yes, ma’am?”

The bun lady said, “Just a moment, please,” and reached under the desk.

Totally irrationally it flashed through my mind that the woman was going to pull out a pistol and place me under arrest. Good thing I’d just peed, or I’d probably have done it now. It’s amazing what tricks a guilty conscience can play on you. What she actually pulled out, however, was a stack of letters. She handed them to me and, motioning toward a mail box mounted on the far wall, said, “Would you be a dear and drop these in the box over there?”

I accepted the letters and the assignment with relief. “Certainly, ma’am. No problem.”

I marched directly over to the mail box and deposited the letters. I then continued on my way to the service elevator, this time resisting any urge to look anywhere but straight ahead.

About the Author:

MARK REUTLINGER is an attorney and former law professor. He now writes novels in which the law is frequently broken, including his “Mrs. Kaplan” cozy mystery series (MRS. KAPLAN AND THE MATZOH BALL OF DEATH and A PAIN IN THE TUCHIS) and the political thrillers MADE IN CHINA and SISTER-IN-LAW: VIOLATION, SEDUCTION, and THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (under the pen name M. R. Morgan). MURDER WITH STRINGS ATTACHED is his latest novel. He is also a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.

Mark and his wife Analee live in University Place, Washington, where in addition to reading and writing he plays clarinet with the Tacoma Concert Band and enjoys tennis, biking, exotic cars, model railroading, and various arts and crafts. He has no idea where he finds the time for it all.

Websites: http://MarkReutlinger.com
http://MRMorganAuthor.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/markreutlinger
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1192934.Mark_Reutlinger

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Strings-Attached-Mark-Reutlinger/dp/1509233210/ref=sr_1_1
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-with-strings-attached-mark-reutlinger/1138134761

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Friday, February 19, 2021

MY VOYAGER

By Lyn Horner

Don't miss the giveaway at the end of the post!

INSPIRATION and RESEARCH

I was inspired to write MY VOYAGER by a writing class project and my desire to set a romance in Galveston at the height of the island’s glory, before the devastating hurricane of 1900. I thought what fun I’d have pairing a proper Victorian woman with a bedraggled man who falls out of thin air dressed like a pirate. Including a precocious child would make it even more fun.

While researching the 1890s era, I grew fascinated by the historic Tremont House, a grand hotel now in its third incarnation. In its heyday, the second hotel of that name hosted presidents and celebrities. It’s the main setting for MY VOYAGER and inspired me to turn this into a series of Old West hotel romances titled Legendary Rendezvous. I’m working on book two, which features the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, said to be the most haunted hotel in Texas.

 





Imagine a 17th Century buccaneer's thunderstruck reaction to "modern" marvels such as streetcars and horseless carriages. Experience his shock when he sees a steamship with no sails that runs as if by magic.

Swept forward in time by divine power to 1895 Galveston, Raphael Marquez is on a quest to retrieve the sacred relic he stole and return it to its rightful place. If he fails, his soul will be doomed to the firest of hell. The death of his wife and daughter at the hands of ruthless pirtes has left him bereft and vengeful. 

Victorian widow Julia Reynolds and her young daughter, Livvy, accompany Julia's wealthy father on a trip to Galveston. They stay in the opulent Tremont House, a legendary landmark. Since being lied to and cheated on by her deceased husband, Julia distrusts men and is not looking for love. Yet, when a strange looking, injured fellow falls practically at her feet in the hotel lobby, she takes pity on him.

Raphael is enchanted by Livvy, who reminds him of his lost little girl. Her beautiful, kind-hearted mother also wends her way into his tattered heart. Attraction grows on both sides, but Raphael's deception as he pursues his mission, and Julia's unexpected connection to it stand in their way. A rare, historic Valentine's Day blizzard brings high drama.

Julia may hold the key to Raphael's redemption, but can she forgive his lies?


 


Galveston, Texas; February 1895

Julia Reynolds stepped out of the Tremont House’s steam-powered elevator, clutching her six-year-old daughter Olivia’s small hand and her own fragile composure. Heels clicking on the hotel lobby’s marble floor, she pasted a smile on her face and tried not to think about the letter she’d received a short while ago.

“Mama, you’re hurting my hand,” Livvy complained.

“Oh, I’m sorry, sweetie.” Julia immediately loosened her grip. “I didn’t mean to squeeze so tight. Is this better?”

“Uh-huh. Can we go to the ice cream parlor after the doctor? Please.”

“Yes, if you’re a good girl for Doctor Harmon.”

“I’ll try, but I hate when he puts that stick in my mouth. It almost makes me throw up.”

“I know, honey, but he needs to hold your tongue down so he can look at your throat. Remember how sore it was the last time we saw him? We want him to make sure it’s all better now.”

“But it doesn’t hurt anymore. He doesn’t have to –” Livvy shrieked just as a thud and a cry of pain sounded nearby, off to their right. “Mama, that man fell out of the air!”

Julia pivoted and gasped at the sight of a man lying curled on the marble floor several feet away. He wore strange clothes and his face was hidden by long, tangled black hair. And he was sopping wet.

“Stop pointing at him, Livvy. That’s not nice,” she said absently. After a pause she asked, “Mister, are you hurt? Do you need help?”

 Through a pain-filled haze, Raphael realized the female voice was speaking to him. Groaning, he struggled to sit up, holding his sagging left arm against his chest. He raked hair from his eyes and lifted his aching head. Brilliant light stung his eyes, making him blink fast as he struggled to see. When he was able to focus on the strange woman and girl staring at him, he returned their stares, struck by the woman’s odd attire.

She wore a narrow, bell-shaped gray skirt and short black velvet coat belted in at her slender waist and flaring over her nicely rounded hips. The coat sleeves were hugely puffed from shoulder to elbow and tight from elbow to wrist. A high-necked white bodice showed at her throat. These garments were nothing like the women’s gowns he was familiar with.

She was quite lovely, he also noticed, with upswept blonde hair and a tiny hat perched above her heart-shaped face and wide blue eyes.

Then his gaze swung to the little girl. Dressed in a sky-blue coat over a frilly frock, white stockings and shiny black shoes, she was blonde like the woman – her mother, Raphael assumed. She was also very pretty like her madre, with long, bouncing curls, pink cheeks, and a rosebud mouth, open in an “O” of astonishment.

She made him think of his own small daughter, lost to him along with her mother, his dear Louisa, murdered by MacKenzie and his bloodthirsty pirates. His throat tightened at the memory.

“Do you need help?” the woman repeated. When he didn’t answer, because he did not trust himself to speak, she crossed her arms beneath high breasts and frowned impatiently. “Do you not understand English, sir?”

“I speak your language,” Raphael said, voice raspy from emotion and sea water. In truth, he found her accent as odd as her appearance. It sounded nothing like the English he had learned as a child while living in his mother’s homeland. “I do not need your assistance,” he added, levering himself onto his knees and pushing to his feet. He swayed but managed to remain upright, again cradling his arm.

She eyed him critically. “Then I suggest you go to your room, or wherever you came from and change into dry – less bizarre garb. Come along, Livvy, let’s go or we will be late for our appointment.”

While Raphael glanced down at his wet shirt and breeches, the child – Livvy – resisted her mother’s effort to draw her away. “But how did he do that, Mama?”

“Do what?” the woman asked, forcefully dragging her inquisitive offspring away from Raphael.

“How did he fall out of the air?”

“Don’t talk nonsense. The man tripped over his own feet and landed hard, that’s all. Alcohol does that to a person.”

She believed him drunk, Raphael realized, offended. He wanted to storm after her and deny her false assumption, but his head and shoulder throbbed unmercifully, and he was still somewhat unstable on his feet. He watched her and the child walk toward a set of heavy doors that evidently led outside. Only then did he pay attention to his surroundings.

The large space was brightly lighted by peculiar devices hanging on the walls and from the ceiling. They held no candles that he could see. Turning in a slow circle, he gaped at the opulent room. Obviously the antechamber of a prestigious residence, it was lavishly appointed with marble, dark polished wood and potted palms. A sweeping staircase climbed to a curved balcony that must lead to inner rooms.

He also noticed several people standing around, staring at him. A middle-aged couple eyed him in disapproval and crossed the room to a tall mahogany desk. Behind it stood a soberly clad man, el portero – the concierge – Raphael deduced.

Like Livvy’s mother, everyone Raphael saw wore outlandish attire, increasing his suspicion that he had landed in some strange, unknown land. Dios! He could not believe the whirlwind had carried him aloft and set him down in one piece, much less in such a place. How could this be?

“It is so because the Madonna wishes it this way, you dolt,” he muttered. She had sent him here, causing him to “fall out of the air” as young Livvy said. Thinking of her, he heard her high-pitched voice and wheeled toward the outer doors, growing dizzy with the sudden movement. He stumbled, nearly falling, and gasped as fresh pain shot down his arm. Clasping it to his body, he managed to regain his balance.

“See, Mama? He hurt his arm. We have to help him,” Livvy declared, tugging her mother’s skirt, attempting to lead her toward Raphael.

Lips set in a thin line, the woman walked back to him. “Sir, my daughter is correct, you are clearly injured. I will call for a doctor. Meanwhile, you need to get out of those wet clothes and lie down. Are you staying here at the hotel?”

Raphael opened his mouth to say no but realized she would insist on knowing where he was staying. Before he could concoct a reply, el portero marched up. “I am so sorry if this man has offended you, Mrs. Reynolds.”

The scowling fellow looked Raphael up and down. “Mister, I don’t know what happened to you, but you cannot stand here dripping in the lobby. Are you a guest of the Tremont House?”

In a quandary, Raphael stammered the only thing that came to mind. “I-I do not know. That is, I do not remember.”

“You don’t remember!” Mrs. Reynolds exclaimed. “I suppose you don’t remember how you got here or why you’re all wet either, hmm?”

“I am sorry, I do not.”

“I know how you got here,” Livvy blurted. “You fell out of the air.”

“Livvy, stop saying that,” her mother reprimanded. To him she said in a caustic tone, “Are you asking me, I mean us – she gestured at the hotel man – to believe you have amnesia?”

He frowned. “I do not know this word. What does it mean?”

“It means to lose your memory.”

“Ah, I see. Perhaps I do suffer from this amnesia.”

She studied him closely, one hand on her hip, the other wrapped around Livvy’s small hand. “Did you hit your head when you fell?”

Raphael knew it was possible to lose one’s memory after a blow to the head, and so did she, it appeared. He touched a tender spot on the back of his head. “I must have. It aches,” he said, wincing involuntarily. His fingers came away coated with blood.

She sighed. “Well, I supposed Doctor Harmon can determine if you are being truthful. For now, let’s get you a room.”

“Wait a moment. He can’t stay here looking like that,” el portero protested, shaking his hand at Raphael. “Our guests would be scandalized.”

“Of course, Mister Bagly, exactly why you must see him to a room right now and find some decent clothes for him to wear. While you do so, I shall call Doctor Harmon and ask him to come and tend the man’s injuries.”

“B-but, Mrs. Reynolds, I really cannot –”

“Need I remind you who my father is, sir?” the lovely Mrs. Reynolds asked with an imperious lift of her chin.

Bagly’s narrow jaw tightened. His thin brown mustache twitched. “No, Madam, I know who he is.” He stiffly bowed his head to her. “I will show the gentleman to a room immediately.”

“Excellent.” Raphael’s benefactress smiled and turned to him. “Bagly will take care of you, Mister . . .” She laughed. “Goodness, I don’t even know your name.”

“Uh, I don’t –”

She waved him to silence. “I know, I know, you don’t remember it, correct?” She cocked a slim dark blonde eyebrow.

He shook his pounding head and stared uncomfortably at the floor. He had trapped himself in a lie, a position he might live to regret.

 


 

Lyn Horner, Author

Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” – with her husband and a pair of very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor before she took up writing. She loves crafting passionate love stories, both historical and contemporary. Lyn also enjoys reading, gardening, genealogy, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.

The author’s Texas Devlins series blends authentic Old West settings, steamy romance and a glimmer of the supernatural. This series has earned multiple awards and nominations, including Crowned Heart reviews and a Rone Award nomination from InD’Tale Magazine.

Lyn’s paranormal-romantic suspense series, Romancing the Guardians, combines her trademark flashes of psychic phenomena with Irish folklore, chilling apocalyptic prophesies and captivating, far-flung settings. Along the way, readers are treated to thunderous action, terrifying suspense and sizzling romance.

Lyn Horner is giving away an e-book of HER VOYAGER to one person who leaves a comment on this post. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

LOUISIANA LATTE

 

Don't overlook the Rafflecopter at the end of the post!



Louisiana Latte
by 
Rebecca Henry
Genre: Romantic Comedy



In 1989, at the age of twenty-two, Deb was in a life or death situation. As the engines started, accompanied by the fasten seat belt sign, Deb felt her skin crawl with immobilizing fear. She had two choices, either get off the plane or die in her brand-new Gucci stilettos. Deb couldn’t get on a plane for love that day, but she could do it twenty years later for money. Money was worth dying for. 




 I dragged a down pillow from the penthouse’s luxe, fluffy king-size bed over my face to muffle the sound of my sister’s cries for help, but she was relentless. 

“Yoohoo, Becky Boo! Are you out there? I need you!” My sister’s desperate pleas carried across the hardwood floors from the steaming bathroom. 

I moaned and threw the pillow covering my face to the floor. I must have dozed off. What time was it? 

“Yoohoo, Becky Boo!” I heard Deb call. 

Nope. No luck that she’d give up. I rolled off the bed and padded across the plush rugs to the bathroom. The shower was still running, and I figured Deb needed me for something desperately pressing, like getting a bottle of shampoo out of her overnight bag. I walked into the open bathroom. Why doesn’t Deb shut the door, I wondered for the thousandth time. 

“Deb, you need something?” I asked, leaning against the granite counter. 

With a level of relief usually reserved for firefighters who just rescued lost or stranded children, Deb cried, “Oh, Becky, there you are! Yes! I need help.” 

I rubbed my tired eyes, drowsy and confused. “Okay, do you need shampoo?” 

“No, Becky, I need you to come here.” 

I blinked. “Like to the shower?” 

I could see Deb’s outline on the other side of the white shower curtain, her tan body in perfect silhouette. What does my sister want now? I wondered. I checked the rings of the shower curtain to see if they were loose. Nope. Not the shower rings. 

Deb stuck her head out from around the shower curtain, her wet hair plastered to her shoulders. “Yes, come here! But don’t look at me. I’m naked.” She disappeared again into the shower. 

I shook my head in bewilderment. “Okay, Deb! Here I am, right outside the shower,” I said, skittish. What now? The curtain moved again, and this time a long, tan leg emerged. A stiletto was strapped to her foot. I stared at the dangling foot in front of me, trying to make sense of what I was seeing. “I don’t understand, Deb.” I inched a little closer, eyeing the stiletto like a snake about to strike. “Did you forget you were wearing shoes when you got in the shower?” 

“Oh God, no!” Deb exclaimed as if I were the one being ridiculous. “You can’t go barefoot in public showers, Becky. You’ll get warts. I never shower in hotels without wearing my shoes. I don’t want to catch athlete’s foot!” 

Rather than point out that this was not a public shower, but actually the most expensive hotel room I’d ever been in, I sighed. “Why didn’t you just borrow my flip-flops?” I asked. I weighed leaving and going downstairs, but curiosity got the best of me. I had to see how this one played out. 

“Gross,” she scoffed. “You know I don’t do flip-flops. Flip-flops are for prisoners and college freshmen. Becky, listen. I need you to hold out your arm.” 

I took a step back, breaking my stare on her soaking wet stiletto. “For what?” I asked cautiously. 

“I can’t shave my legs while standing on one foot in these heels,” she huffed. “I’ll fall over and break my neck! Please, just stick out your arm so I can grab onto it. Pretty please? I’ll be super-fast.” 

I stayed perfectly still, like an animal hoping to escape detection. My eyes were once again locked on the wet stiletto. Maybe if I don’t move she will forget I’m here. 

“Becky! Please! This is an emergency!” She jiggled her soaking high heel in emphasis. “I’m going to injure myself if you don’t help me. It will only take a minute, I promise.” 

Resigned and reluctant, I slowly reached my arm inside the shower curtain. “Becky, make sure you don’t look, okay?” 

I sighed and rolled my eyes so hard I saw the back of my brain. 

“Remember, I’m naked,” Deb reminded me through the curtain. 

“Okay,” I mumbled instead of pointing out that she was not naked, she was in fact wearing shoes that cost more than a month of groceries. In the shower. So there I stood, a silent human handrail while Deb shaved her legs in six-inch designer shoes. I briefly wondered who served as Mariah Carey’s hotel shower handrail, and if she was less trouble to travel with than Deb. Who knew a business trip to Louisiana would require so much diva maintenance?



Rebecca Henry is an American author living in the UK. Her books range from vegan cookbooks to fantasy to sci-fi to Rebecca's latest release with Urban Edge Publishing, Louisiana Latte: A Chick Lit Comedy About Sisters, Stilletos, Coffee, and One Fabulous Diva! You can find all Rebecca's books on Amazon.





Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$15 Amazon


 

Monday, February 15, 2021

LONE WARRIOR



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Bobbi Smith will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.




 

Taken captive in a Comanche raid, terrified Marissa Williams awaits her fate alone in a tipi. Wind Ryder enters his tipi to find the chief’s gift of the blond beauty. Once a captive himself, Wind Ryder understands her fear. How can he protect his terrified prisoner from the other men in the village who see her as nothing more than an object for their pleasure?

Excerpt


As the villagers gathered to watch Wind Ryder break the wild stallion, Marissa knew this was her only chance to escape. It would be dangerous, but she had to try. She moved to the back of the crowd without drawing attention to herself. Her heart beat wildly as she imagined herself free from the Comanche at last.

Wind Ryder smiled confidently. He reached down and patted the proud horse’s lathered neck as cheers arose from those watching. Dismounting, he handed the reins to another warrior and went to speak with his father and Black Eagle. He looked around as they spoke and realized Shining Spirit was gone. Knowing how badly she wanted to escape, he went to look for her without a word to the other men.

Marissa tried not to get too excited as she stayed along the bank of the stream where the foliage was the heaviest. The terrain grew rockier, and she was glad. It made her trail harder to follow. She rushed on, thinking only of being reunited with her family.

And then the fierce warrior Bear Claw appeared before her. She tried to get away, but he grabbed her and brutally threw her to the ground.

“My father should never have given you to Wind Ryder,” he snarled, groping her.

Marissa fought as violently as she could to escape. This was her greatest terror. Thoughts of Wind Ryder came to her. Her warrior hadn’t abused her. She desperately searched the ground beside her and grabbed a rock, swinging it at him. Her blow caught him alongside his head and he viciously hit her.

“You will pay for that!”

Wind Ryder found her tracks near the stream and realized there was another set of tracks covering hers—tracks that belonged to a man. The realization that he was worried about her startled him. Just the thought that someone might harm her infuriated him. A vision of his golden captive played in his mind.

The sound of a distant cry came to him and he charged forward. The scene he came upon put him in a mindless rage. Wind Ryder threw himself at Bear Claw and knocked him away from Shining Spirit.

“She is mine! You do not take what is mine!”






After working as a department manager for Famous-Barr, and briefly as a clerk at a bookstore, Bobbi Smith gave up on career security and began writing. She sold her first book to Zebra in 1982.

Since then, Bobbi has written over 40 books and 6 novellas. To date, there are more than five million copies of her novels in print. She has been awarded the prestigious Romantic Times Storyteller Award and two Career Achievement Awards. Her books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List, the USA Today Best Seller List and the Wal-Mart Best Seller List.

The rights to Ms. Smith’s books have been sold to China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Russia and Sweden. Bobbi has also written two faith-based contemporary novels – Haven and Miracles – using the pseudonym Julie Marshall.

Website: http://www.Bobbismithauthor.com
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Lone-Warrior-Bobbi-Smith/dp/1477835091