Posts in category Book Tour

Author Interview & Review: My Highland Bride (Highland Hearts, Book 2) by Maeve Greyson (Giveaway)

My Highland Bride
Highland Hearts, Book 2
by Maeve Greyson
Releasing August 25th, 2015
Published by Loveswept 
262 pages
Format:  Net Galley eBook
 
Book Blurb
 
Perfect for fans of the Highlander novels of Karen Marie Moning and Janet Chapman, Southern sass meets Highland heat in Maeve Greyson’s scintillating new Highland Hearts romance.
 
With bedroom eyes and racetrack curves, Kenna Sinclair seems like just another pretty Kentucky girl. But she can also read minds, erase memories, and jump through time—a skill set that comes in handy when her matchmaking granny sends her back to thirteenth-century Scotland on the pretext of visiting her older sister. When she encounters the clan’s womanizing man-at-arms, Kenna instantly knows the gorgeous Highlander has only one thing on his mind. She vows to steer clear of him, but after a single electrifying touch, she finds that playing hard to get won’t be quite so easy. . . .
 
Bewitched by the first lass who could ever resist him, Colum Garrison will do anything to prove his devotion, even ask for Kenna’s hand in marriage—and swear off his chosen form of recreation until their wedding night. It’s a burden for a man of his thunderous appetite, but the sinful temptation is not his alone: Colum’s fetching bride-to-be is practically trembling with anticipation for a moment that can’t come soon enough. When she’s willing, Colum will be ready and waiting—with a love that lasts a lifetime.
Highland Bride
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Highland Hearts Series
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Me:  Could you please tell us a wee bit about yourself? 
MB:  Hmm…I never really know what to say when I’m asked about myself. You see—my characters are so much more interesting. I’m an introverted daydreaming animal lover who can often be found tiptoeing through the woods that make up our five acres, trying to catch a picture of the wild turkeys, the deer or the ground hog (his name is Hamish) that pilfer out of the bird feeders. I’m a mom and a ya-ya (grandma). I highly recommend grandchildren. Now, I get to be the beloved hero who supplies toys and candy and their parents get to be the bad guys!

Me:  What inspired you to write your first book?
MB:  I started writing short little bits of what-not when my mother’s health failed and she sorely needed an escape from reality. I never wrote a full length book until I was trying to pass the time while waiting for one of my favorite authors to release her next book. I love a good series but I have NO patience and I gobbled up the stories entirely too quickly back then—especially since that was well over twenty years ago when consecutive books in a series might release each year or two, if you were lucky. So, I busied myself with creating my own world in which to disappear.

Me:  How do you go about choosing names for your characters?
MB:  Baby name books and websites for unusual names helps. Usually, I’ll start writing the story before I choose a name and just put “xxx” throughout until my character tells me, “Hey! My name is ‘Chieftain MacSexy’…stop typing xxx!”

Me:  What kind of research did you do when writing the Highland Hearts Series?
MB:  I wandered, or actually re-lost myself, in all the photos I’d taken of my trip to Scotland several years ago. *sigh* Then I brushed up on the thirteenth century in the Highlands and made sure my Celtic and Wiccan reference books were still on my shelves. Sometimes I loan out my books and they don’t find their way back to me.

Me:  Do you have a favorite character from this book, or the Highland Hearts Series?  Which one, and why? 
MB:  I think Granny is my favorite. She’s fearless, loves her family fiercely and would battle heaven and earth to protect them and also to make them toe the line and do what she tells them to do. 

Me:  Do you currently have any works in progress, and if so, would you mind sharing a wee bit with us?
MB:  I’m in the process of editing book three of my Highland Hearts series with Loveswept, MY TEMPTING HIGHLANDER. I’m tweaking and finishing up book four of that series and several other stories are tussling in the back of my mind trying to see who wins the battle to be written next. Picture several brawny Highlanders elbowing each other out of the way while shouting, “Pick me, lass! I wanna be next!”

Me:  Where do you write?  
MB:  Most of the time, I write in my office until Jasper, my fourteen year old rat terrier / Chihuahua mix decides he’s tired of sleeping beside me in the chair and then we move the laptop to the couch. 

Me:  Do you have a daily schedule, or do you just write when the mood strikes? 
MB:  I have a full-time day job in addition to writing so I’m up by 2:30am or 3:00am to write and “stuff” before I go into work. Then I write in the evenings and on weekends. 

Me:  Is there a question you have you always wanted to be asked in an interview?  If so, what is the question, and what is the answer? 
MB:  Question: What would you want written on your headstone to describe you to future generations?
Answer: She was kind.

Me:  When you are not writing, what kind of books do you like to read?  
MB:  I love a great story, no matter the genre. I’ll read everything from fantasy, sci-fi and young adult adventure to regency romances. I’ve got three basic rules for books I read: 1. No animals better die or be hurt. 2. It has to have a happy ending. 3. No cliff-hangers. Cliff-hangers make me crazy.

Just for Fun
Me:  If time travel were possible, and you could travel back in time, where would you go, what time period?  Why?
MB:  Scotland, of course.  The Highlands.  And anywhere between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, because those were the centuries when he clans were strong and tradition ruled the Highlands.
 
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4 heart pink bckgrnd
4/ 5 Hearts


My Highland Bride is the second book I have read by Maeve Greyson, and the second book in the Highland Hearts Series.  If you haven’t read the first book, My Highland Lover, I would suggest you read that one first.  You don’t have to, but I like to read series in order, that way I know who’s who.

I enjoyed reading this book.  It was fun, and entertaining.  I have to admit that at first it had me thinking, is that all these people ever think about is sex?  I have to admit though that if Colum was standing in front of me every second of the day, my mind (and body) may wonder there also.  

If you remember in the first book Trulie was sent back in time, because it was her turn (time) to find a husband.  In this second book it is Kenna’s turn, so when Granny calls her through the fire pit she knows she has to go.  Even if she doesn’t want to.  

When Kenna goes back in time to Scotland, the first person she sees if Colum.  He was sent their my Granny Sinclair to meet her grand daughter, and bring her safely back to the castle.  Colum’s first feeling when he sees Kenna, is one of pure lust.  He sets out to charm her, and when that doesn’t work with the headstrong Kenna he sets out to bed her.  After all it shouldn’t be to hard.  He’s a ladies man and has never had trouble getting a woman to come to his bed, and he has had many.

Kenna is not falling for any of it.  She knows what Colum is after, and his type.  She is in lust with him, but that soon changes into stronger feelings as time goes on.  He seems so determined to prove to her that he can change his womanizing ways.  Then a powerful chieftain from another clan sets his sights on Kenna too, and this is where all the fun begins.  This new chieftain is not at all what he appears to be.  Here is where a test of will, and love is set into motion.

This book was my favorite kind of read.  It takes place in Scotland, it’s historical, has time travel, paranormal elements, and is full of Highlanders.  The first 1/4 of the book moves a little slowly, then picks up and doesn’t stop right up to the very end.  

Maeve Greyson has given us some spunky, and no nonsense Sinclair women.  My favorite kind of heroine!  There were a few things in this story that caught me a tiny bit off guard, and that’s what kept it interesting.

My favorite character in this story is Granny Sinclair.  She is smart, cunning, strong, funny, and when she says something everyone does it.  She reminds me a little of granny from the Beverly Hillbillies.   I enjoyed Kenna’s character, she was also strong female lead, but I feel she gave in just a tad bit to easy.  Colum was a big teddy bear, and I just wanted to hug him.  He was also somewhat of a beast too, which made me like him all the more.

I gave this book 4 hearts, because the beginning just seemed to move a tad to slowly, but by the end I was ready to start reading book three.  We get a glimpse of the third book at the end.  It is going to be an exciting one, I would imagine.  

If you enjoy reading about Highlanders, time travel, paranormal activity, with a few laugh out loud scenes, then this book is for you.  

Happy Reading!

 

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*I was given a free copy of this book by NetGalley on behalf of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  All thought and opinions are my true, and my own.  
About Maeve Greyson
 
No one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them. That’s been Maeve Greyson’s mantra since she was a girl. When she’s not at the full time day job at the steel mill, Maeve’s writing romances about sexy Highlanders and the women who tame them. Tucked away in a five acre wood, Maeve listens to the wind singing through the trees and hears her characters telling their stories. Her work is proofed by her sharp-eyed dog, Jasper, and her greatest supporter is her long suffering husband of over thirty-five years who’s learned not to throw away any odd sticky notes filled with strange phrases.
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Ebook copies of:
JUST A LITTLE CRUSH by Renita Pizzitola
CRUSHED by Lauren Layne
AGAINST THE CAGE by Sidney Halston
POSSESS by Laura Marie Altom
AFTER MIDNIGHT by Kathy Clark
MAKE YOU BURN by Megan Crane
MY HIGHLAND LOVER by Maeve Greyson
BREAKING NOAH by Missy Johnson and Ashley Suzanne
A FASHIONABLE INDULGENCE by K.J. Charles
FORBIDDEN by Jacquelyn Frank

How to Marry a Royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly: Author Interview & Spotlight


Title:  How to Marry a Royal Highlander 
Series:  The Renegade Royals Book 4  
Author: Vanessa Kelly  
Release Date/ Publisher:  June 30, 2015/ Zebra 
Pages:  352 


Book Description

Illegitimate yet thoroughly irresistible, the Renegade Royals are leaving behind their careers as daring spies for the greatest adventure of all…

At sixteen, Alasdair Gilbride, heir to a Scottish earldom, fled the Highlands and an arranged betrothal. Ten years later, Alasdair must travel home to face his responsibilities. It’s a task that would be much easier without the distracting presence of the most enticing woman he’s ever met…

After one escapade too many, Eden Whitney has been snubbed by the ton. The solution: rusticating in the Scottish wilderness, miles from all temptation. Except, of course, for brawny, charming Alasdair. The man is so exasperating she’d likely kill him before they reach the border—if someone else weren’t trying to do just that. Now Eden and Alasdair are plunging into a scandalous affair with his life and her reputation at stake—and their hearts already irreparably lost…

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Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve loved historical romance—and romance novels in general—since I was 13 or 14. My sister first turned me on to romance with the novels of Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart. It did, however, take me many years to reach the point where I started writing romance. I worked, went to graduate school, taught English, and was a researcher for a public sector union. It wasn’t until my forties that I actually tackled the challenge of writing novels. And although I started with historical romance I also write contemporary romance with my husband as V.K. Sykes.


What inspired you to write your first book?

Actually, it was that famous editorial by Eloisa James in the New York Times, where she “came out” as a romance writer. I was going through a difficult period in my life and I needed something to take me out of myself and away from my problems. Reading that article inspired me to try something I’d always wanted to do—write a romance novel. I stared working on my first book, MASTERING THE MARQUESS, which was eventually published by Kensington.


Could you tell us a little about the hero, Alasdair Gilbride, and how you chose his name?

Alasdair—Alec, for short—is one of my favorite heroes. He’s big, strong, handsome, smart, funny, confident and even a bit brash, he has a lovely brogue and the ladies just love him. Alasdair also has a total marshmallow heart underneath his uber-masculine exterior. He’s kind to old ladies and shy debutants, and finds it hard to say no to anyone who needs his help. He’s also totally in love with Edie Whitney, my heroine, although he has trouble telling her that. He’s so used to being a tough guy that it’s hard for him to show his vulnerability. As for his name, I researched various Scottish names and clans and came up with Alasdair Gilbride, which just seems to fit him perfectly.


What kind of research did you do for this book?

It’s my first Highland historical romance, so I had to do a fair bit of research. I had to decide which clan Alasdair belonged to, what part of the Highlands he came from, and what his family’s castle looked like. Looking at pictures of castles was a lot of fun, and I also enjoyed researching the history of the Grahams, the clan Alasdair’s family belongs to. 


Do you have a favorite character from ‘The Renegade Royals Series’? Which one, and why?

I love, love, love Edie Whitney, the heroine of HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER. She is a truly funny person with a lot of charm and smarts. She’s a confident woman but also doesn’t take herself too seriously, which I think is a nice combination. I also love Griffin Steele, the hero of CONFESSIONS OF A ROYAL BRIDEGROOM. He’s the classic bad boy with a heart of gold, and I modeled him on Capt. Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. Although Griffin has way better teeth and hygiene than Capt. Jack.


Do you currently have any works in progress, and if so, could you share a little with us?

I’m starting work on a new series, which is actually a spin-off of The Renegade Royals. It’s called The Improper Princesses, and it features the illegitimate daughters of England’s royal dukes. The heroines are the half-sisters and cousins of Alasdair, Griffin, and the other Renegade Royals. The first book is called My Fair Princess, and it’s partly based on the movie musical, My Fair Lady. The heroine is a tomboy who was raised in Italy and hunted bandits and must now learn to become a proper lady. Remember the Jennifer Garner character from Alias? That’s pretty much my heroine, Regency style.


Where do you write, and do you have a daily schedule or do you write when inspiration strikes?

I often write in my bedroom, with all my books and notes spread out on my bed. I usually write every day for at least a few hours. It’s the only way I can really manage it—small chunks every day instead of big pushes when inspiration strikes. The reality is, most days inspiration does NOT strike, so you have to learn to write without it. 


Who designs your book covers?

The incredible art department at Kensington Publishing.


Is there a question you have you always wanted to be asked in an interview?  If so, what is the question, and what is the answer?

Oh, dear. Not really, because I’m a very private person. It’s actually hard for me to share things about my life and how I feel about my work. I have to push a bit to open up.


Just for fun:  If you were stranded on a deserted island, and could pick only 3 necessities to have with you, what would they be?

Antibiotics (I’m kind of paranoid), water (so I can survive until I’m rescued), and a good bottle of wine (to keep me company until I’m rescued). And IF I could have a fourth item, it would be a good historical romance book!

Thank You, Vanessa Kelly!


 
 
 

Alec wasn’t surprised she’d gotten herself into trouble. As far as he was concerned, she was an accident waiting to happen. But it startled him to hear that Lady Reese was unhappy with her. The woman adored her daughter and, according to Wolf, was convinced that Edie could do no wrong.

 
“Would I be correct in assuming this trouble involved a man?”
 
There was that faint wash of pink again. This time, though, Alec wasn’t charmed. The idea of Edie getting into trouble with a man had him clenching a fist against his thigh.
 
“Who was he?” he asked sharply when she remained silent.
 
She seemed perplexed by his tone. “Sir Malcolm Bannister, though it really isn’t any business of yours.”
 
Now both his fists were clenched against his thighs. “Bannister? Are you mad? The man is a notorious rake.”
 
Edie set her teacup down on his desk with a loud click. Then she crossed her arms over her impressive bosom and gave him an ironic stare. That she was silently but clearly commenting on his reputation as a rake did not improve Alec’s mood. Yes, he liked women, but he never tampered with virgins or innocents.
 
“Never mind,” he growled. “Just tell me exactly what happened.”
 
“Nothing. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell everyone.” 
 
“Then why the need for such drastic measures?” 
 
“Well, almost nothing,” she grudgingly admitted. “I’d almost escaped from him when Lady Charlfort and her witch of a mother stumbled upon us.”
 
Alec closed his eyes, trying to ignore the fury turning his vision blood red. When he opened them, she was eyeing him like he was the one who’d lost touch with reality. And perhaps he had. The notion of Edie in another man’s arms made him want to commit several acts of  mayhem.
 
“Did he hurt you?” he growled.
 
She blinked as if surprised by the question, then waved an insouciant hand. “As if I couldn’t handle a cad like Bannister. You can be sure he’ll never come within ten feet of me again.”
 
Her naïveté and reckless self-confidence bordered on criminal. Still, there was little to be gained in pursuing that point. The sooner he got the image of Edie in Bannister’s lecherous embrace out of his head, the better.
 
“As a result of this unfortunate encounter with one of the ton’s most notorious rakes,” he said, “you now find yourself in an awkward situation. Lady Reese is no doubt focused on the gossip.”
 
She was obviously irritated by his characterization. “Yes, Mamma is convinced the damage to my reputation will be quite severe. It’s an assessment I don’t agree with, by the way.”
 
“Imagine my surprise. And yet, your parents want you to rusticate. To Maywood Manor, I assume?” But what did any of this have to do with him?
 
She pressed her full lips into a grim line.
 
“Miss Whitney?” he prompted when she remained silent.
 
“Actually, Wolf suggested another alternative, something you’ll find as displeasing as I do, I’m sure.”
 
The familiar sense of premonition Alec never ignored prickled along his nerves. “Which is?”
 
“They want me to go to Scotland with you,” she blurted out. “For the entire winter. Can you imagine? I’d probably kill myself by leaping off the nearest Highland peak. Or we’d kill each other, which is, I suppose, the likeliest scenario.”
*~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~*
 
 
 
About Vanessa Kelly
Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.
 
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Guest Post & Excerpt For Dream Casters: Light by Adrienne Woods


Guest Post:  Process of Creating Dream Casters


Good day and thank you so much for having me today. For those of you that don’t know me yet, my name is Adrienne Woods. My debut series, The Dragonian Series, are the stories that got my writing career into first gear.

The Dragonian Series are all about dragons inside the world of Paegeia. Dream Casters is about Sandmen that help protect the world from evil that is in the form of Shadow Casters, which are also the ones that love to create those nasty dreams called Nightmares. They dwell on people’s doubts and fears –strive off it– and the Light Casters, well they help with protecting the good and creating beautiful dreams that helps us normal folk into reaching all our dreams, turning them into a reality.

The two series’ are far from one another so if you have read the Dragonian Series; you are not going to get the same feeling, setting, mood, etc. with Dream Casters. Each of my stories are unique, own voice and completely different from one another.

How I came up with this idea: Well it was easy. All my stories get created from my curiosity. I always wondered what the world would’ve been like if Dragons existed and poof, not able to find a story that could help me with this curiosity of mine; I created The Dragonian Series to help others that have the same type of problem as me.

This time, well I wondered about the Sandman. Why is it only him, alone? There are so many people and how on earth can he do everything by himself? Even Santa has helpers, but the Sandman has none, so I created Dream Casters. I gave him helpers and poof, it’s how it all started. As easy as that.

You just need an idea; a character, their friends, family, where the journey leads them to etc.  and you will have a story.
I have plenty more curiosities that are the outline of more series, like I said, you just need something that triggers an idea and you will have a story.

I hope you’re going to love Dream Casters as much as you have The Dragonian series, but just remember, the two stories are miles apart from one another.

*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*


Title:  Dream Casters:  Light

Author:  Adrienne Woods
Publisher/Date:  Fire Quill Publishing/ May 29, 2015
Series:  The Dream Caster Series
Pages:  452
Genre:  Fantasy/Romance



Book Synopsis

Mr. Sandman, send me a dream, ta da da da…..Seventeen year old Chasity Blake knows the Sandman is just a silly children’s story parents tell their children to get them to sleep. At least she thought it was, until the day a mysterious light golden sand appeared in her hands during a high school prank that went horribly wrong. A sand that has the power to send anyone it touches into a deep, sound sleep.

Fearing she had lost her mind, Chastity soon discovers the shocking truth of her heritage- she is a Dream Caster. Chastity was never supposed to be raised on the Domain, or what humans call Earth and she is forced to return to her true birth place, Revera – the world of Dreams.

However, in Revera there is no balance between good, the Light Casters, and darkness, the Shadow Casters, and Chastity is caught square in the middle. She soon learns that there is no place for anyone containing both the light and the darkness within them, and the shocking truth that if anyone in Revera ever discovered her shadow self, Chastity would be thrown into the Oblivion – the world of Nightmares.

Dreams are always more than they seem, and this time Chastity is going to discover just how different they can be.


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Bonus Excerpt
 
A mixture of cologne over powered me as the four guys stood really close to me. Their hands touching my arms and clothes.
 
Then I saw the grit in my hands again. It was soft, not like sand, and it had a light golden color to it.
 
At once the slow motion stopped and I threw a handful of the stuff, hitting Mark full in the face. He crouched and tried to get it out his eyes. I felt more sand in my hand and Jake was next. I didn’t know where it came from or how any of this was even possible, but right now that didn’t matter. As I threw a handful at each and every one of them, a refill was waiting patiently in my palm.
 
Derek was next and before I knew it, all the boys were coughing and crouching down. Then one by one they fell over, in a fetus position with eyes closed and soft snores coming from their lips. 
 
Clare and Ty ran to the guys and crouched down. Ty felt for a heartbeat, but from the sound coming from their lips I knew they were still alive. I waited for men with cameras to jump out from behind the trees, yelling GOT YOU or something but it didn’t happened.
 
The fear on both Ty and Clare’s faces were real.
 
“What did you do?” Ty yelled.
 
“Nothing they didn’t deserve!” I yelled back hoping he would just back the hell off.
 
“You’re a freak!” Clare yelled, and stormed at me. More sand accumulated in my hand, but to me, she was still my best friend, one whose mind had been closed by the idiot that was busy running away.
 
I opened my palm and let the grit fall to the floor. A breeze picked it up and blew it softly into Clare’s face.
 
She stopped in her tracks, give a huge yawn and lay down on the ground.
Was she sleeping? 
 
I looked at my hands. The grit was gone, there weren’t even traces of it inside my palm, nothing made sense.
 
“Just go,” Nichole said as she crouched down next to Clare to investigate.
I stood still as a statue trying to process what was happening to me.
 
“Chastity!” Nichole yelled again. “Go!” 
 
I  looked down at Nichole. My legs finally started to move into the direction of home, and grabbed my backpack that had fallen on the turf.
 
I reached the city of Chicago fast and almost ran into a police office that was chatting to one of the waiters. Guilt over what I’d just done was evident on my face so I ran in another direction.
 
“Hey, you there, stop!” He yelled.
 
I didn’t listen and he chased me for a couple of blocks but he had probably had one too many donuts on a daily base and couldn’t keep up. I took so many turns down back alleys that when I finally stopped I had no idea where I was.
 
I breathed hard, trying to catch my breath and looked back at my hands. There was still no trace of the grit. It had just vanished. My heart beat fast again and cold sweat dripped from my temple as flashes of ogre-like bodies, almost the entire football team, falling down right after I threw the grit at them came to mind. Coach was not going to like this, and how was I going to explain any of it to anybody?
 
What the hell did I just do? I glanced at my hands one more time. What the hell was happening to me?
*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*
About Author Adrienne Woods
 
Adrienne Woods was born and raised in South Africa, where she still lives with her husband and two beautiful little girls. She always knew she was going to be a writer, but it only started to really happen about four years ago. In her free time―if she gets any because moms don’t really have free time―she loves to spend it with friends, whether it’s a girls night out, or just watching a movie. She’s a very chilled person. 
 
Her writing career started with Firebolt, book one in the Dragonian series. There will be four books in total, including a further two to three books, which will be stories that take place within the Dragonian series. Her other series, Dream Casters, will be released mid 2015. She also writes in different genres, and her woman’s fiction, The Pregnancy Diaries, will be published under a pseudonym. And then, she has a paranormal series by the name of the Aswang series, which will consist of about ten novels. And if that wasn’t enough, there is another series, Guardians of Monsters, which will be released in 2016.
 
Happy Reading!
 
 
 

 

 

Lip Service by Adele Downs- Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway

Book Information

Title:  Lip Service
Author:  Adele Downs
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Publisher & Date:  Boroughs Publishing Group/ April 28, 2015
Length:  40,550

Synopsis 
 
Some ghosts won’t take “yes” for an answer.
 
Jack Harris has loved Legs Anderson since they were kids. Now that he has her in his bed, he has no intention of letting her go. Aunt Ada has other ideas, even from the grave.
 
GETTING BETWEEN JACK…
 
Orphaned at a young age, Legs Anderson owes her Aunt Ada everything. The stoic old lady raised her, and Ada’s warnings about men—and the Harris boys in particular—have stuck, even after her death. Of course, that could be because Ada stuck around, too. 
 
 …AND HIS LEGS
 
Patience is not one of Jack Harris’s virtues, and he’s waited too long to start a life with the woman he’s loved since childhood instead of them just knocking boots. Now Ada is interfering from beyond the grave, haunting the old Victorian house she bequeathed to her niece and reinforcing Legs’s fears of commitment. But Jack won’t give up. No matter what trouble may follow, the house will be renovated, Ada will learn to let go, Legs will put her money where her mouth is…and then Jack’ll put his lips everywhere else.
 
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Excerpt 

The roar of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle on Rachel’s block and the rev of a throttle in her driveway announced Jack’s arrival. Legs tried to appear nonchalant when he walked through the poolside gate, but the sight of his sun-streaked hair and tanned, muscular good looks nearly knocked her off her seat. She eased her sunglasses down the bridge of her nose to get a better look.

When he stepped into the pool area dressed in black jeans, black biker boots, and a white muscle shirt that framed his pumped-up shoulders and biceps, she caught her breath. Everyone in the group said “hey” and Rachel offered him a cold drink, but his focus had remained on her. He slid his sunglasses on top of his head and nodded in her direction.

Legs remembered his gaze meeting hers before his attention strayed to her gold and black bikini then savored every inch of her skin. An appreciative smirk curled his lips and desire flashed in his beautiful blue eyes. He took a long pull of the soft drink someone handed him and then set the can down on the patio table. He looked her way and said, “Want to go for a ride?” The invitation came out like a dare. 
 
About Adele Downs
 
Adele Downs writes contemporary romance novels, some with a touch of magic, inside the office of her rural Pennsylvania home. She is a former journalist, published in newspapers and magazines inside the USA, UK, and Caribbean.
 
Adele is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter where she serves as a past-president. She has written several articles for RWR magazine (Romance Writers Report) and has presented workshops for writers.
 
When Adele isn’t working on her current project, she can be found riding in her convertible or reading a book on the nearest beach.
 
 
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Highland Burn by Victoria Zak (Guardians of Scotland #1) Book Tour, Review & Spotlight

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Highland Burn
by Victoria Zak
Guardians of Scotland, Book 1
Genre- Scottish Medieval Paranormal Romance (Shifters)
July 22, 2014
186 pages
Publisher- Victoria Zak
Cover Artist- Z Creations

 

Will loves flame quench the dragons fire?…

The past never stays in the past, it rears its ugly head eventually. James the Black Douglas knows this all too well. With a past that has left him vengeful and his dragon bloodthirsty, his reputation as a ruthless warrior haunts his enemies in their sleep. As his allegiance stands with Robert Bruce, the King of Scotland, he must now repay a debt to the king and agrees to marry his daughter, Abigale Bruce. The problem is he doesn’t want a wife. When flames start to burn out of control between him and the auburn-haired lass, he must decide to either kindle the flames of passion or shelter her from the truth and set her free.

It’s What Shines in the Dark That Brings Forth Your True Light…

Determined to keep his daughter safe and out of the hands of the English, Robert hides Abigale behind the safe walls of a nunnery. After eight long years of living her life in seclusion, Abigale is finally set free. But her new found freedom comes to an abrupt halt when she learns of her betrothal to the infamous Bogeyman – James The Black Douglas. She soon finds herself falling in love with the uncontainable and haunted man. Is her love enough to soften his hardened heart?

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4-hearts-404/ 5 Hearts

Highland Burn by Victoria Zak is the first book in the Guardians of Scotland Series.  It is also the authors first book, and for a first book it is awesome!  I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to like this book, because the hero was a ‘dragon shifter’.  I think I was expecting the dragon to fly around throughout the whole book, catching things on fire and talking.  That is not at all what went on in this book.

The story starts with Abigale Bruce, the daughter of the King of Scotland, Robert Bruce, coming home from the nunnery after 8 long years.  She is to be married to James (the Black) Douglas, also known as the Bogeyman.  Abigale has heard horror stories about the Bogeyman, and his ruthlessness in battle.  She is afraid that her new found freedom will be short lived once the marries the Black Douglas.

James Douglas is Dragonkine, he has sworn to protect Scotland at all cost.  He is human, and can shift into his dragon form at will.  The King of Scotland has helped James in taking back land that rightfully belonged to him, and now he is asking for a favor.  He would like James to marry his daughter, Abigale, and protect her from his enemies.  James doesn’t want a wife, but will marry his daughter any way.

Abigale and James are instantly attracted to each other.  I like how the author did not have them confessing their love after only one day.  She lets their relationship develop.  Abigale is afraid of being abandoned, and James is afraid to let Abigale know what he is.  Together they have to over come a few obstacles.  

Abigale is feisty, caring, a great healer, and she is not afraid to speak her mind.  I like a heroine that takes up for herself.  Where others are afraid to speak up to their Laird, Abigale is not.  James is warm, caring, has a great sense of humor, but he can be ruthless when it comes to protecting what is ‘his’.

There was plenty of action in this book, and it also had just enough mystery to make me keep reading it right up til the very end.  The dragon of course makes an appearance, but he was not at all what I imaged before I started reading the book.  It also helped that he was a Highlander!  (sigh)  The story was believable, and not to far fetched.  Yes, I know dragons are not real… It’s fiction!

I also enjoyed the secondary characters, and I hope to see them in the next book.  They kept the story line moving right along.  I will definitely be reading the next book in this series.  I appreciate that Victoria did not end the book with a big cliffhanger.  There are a few unanswered questions, but nothing that I can’t live with for a while.

I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Scottish, historical romance, with a little paranormal, and of course dragons.  This book does have a few heated love making scenes, but it wasn’t vulgar.

Happy Reading!


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About Victoria Zak

Victoria Zak lives in the sunshine state with her husband, two beautiful children, and three furry friends.  Before having kids, Victoria spent fifteen years in the veterinary business and volunteered in pet rescue.

“One of my most rewarding jobs was finding unwanted animals their forever homes.”

A writing career was the last item listed on her bucket list, until she discovered that she wanted to put her stories on paper and breathe life into her characters. Her love for Scotland, curiosity of history, and passion for romance has inspired her to write her first book, Highland Burn.

“Fourteenth century Scotland was a fascinating time in history. Not only was Scotland fighting for their freedom from the English king, their own people fought each other; clan vs clan. Though being a woman of the twenty-first century, I wouldn’t want to live in those unsettled times. But writing historical fiction paranormal romance allows me to escape into their world and breathe a fresh air of romance and magic into that era, which I love to do.”

Victoria loves to hear from her readers. You can connect with her through FB, Twitter, G+, and her website.


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Chapter 1

“Fergus, the water is verra refreshing. Why don’t ye join me?”The white stallion inhaled deeply then snorted, as he ate from a patch of lush green grass.

“Well, ye dinnae have to be rude about it.”
Long white hair with streaks of gray fell over his muscled neck as the fine steed shook his head and stomped his hoof. He pulled on a blade of grass, indicating that he was perfectly content grazing near the loch’s edge.
A slight giggle escaped her mouth as she splashed at her horse.
Abigale Bruce had ridden hard and fast through the glen most of the morn. Since her father’s recent successful victory over the English at the battle of Bannockburn, Abigale had been freed from the nunnery. Her excitement of finally being able to explore her new-found freedom was too much to hold back as she charged through the forest. Now she rewarded Fergus with a patch of grass while she cooled off in the loch. Oh how she cherished these moments; they were few and far between.

Eight long years at Dunfermline Abbey wasn’t the ideal place to grow up, but she had no choice in the matter. Her father, Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, had placed her there in order to keep her safe from his enemy, the English. Throughout her time at the Abbey, King Edward, the King of England, had gotten close to capturing her a few times, but the small secretive community of nuns had held true to their oath and kept her hidden well.

Unhappy about the newly crowned King of Scotland, the English had captured Abigale’s step-mother, half-sister, and her two aunts, and had also beheaded three of her uncles. Humiliated, held prisoner behind iron bars of a bird cage, and hung from the Tower of London had been the women’s fate. Even though her freedom was taken away, Abigale knew it was nothing compared to what they had endured.

Abigale’s trouble had started as soon as she walked through the gates of the abbey. Robert Bruce had given Dunfermline Abbey a generous contribution to repair part of the church that had been attacked by King Edward. In return he requested that Abbot Benard take his daughter in and protect her. With such a gracious amount of coin given, the Abbot could not refuse. Therefore Abigale, at the wee age of ten, had been left at the abbey and placed in the cruel hands of Abbess Margaret.

Since Abbess Margaret was in charge of twelve nuns, she declared she had not the time to look after the wee brat, so she left Sister Kate in charge of Abigale. Abbess Margaret was a beautiful middle-aged woman with short, raven hair, and possessed the ability to inflict the cruelest of punishments. She watched and waited for Abigale to slip up so she could take pleasure in punishing her. Abigale knew why the woman hated her; she was jealous and thought it unfair that she had special treatment just because she was the king’s daughter.

Abigale was afforded a few exceptions to the rules. Because of her lack of interest in taking the vow to become a nun, she didn’t have to cut her hair like the other sisters. Furthermore, she could marry, and own property. Although there was one rule that had to be followed; she had to be obedient. And Abbess Margaret took great pride in punishing a disobedient Abigale. Sending Abigale on a daily pee pot cleaning always seemed to make the corners of her thin lips twitch. “Ye’re no princess, a bastart child who her own father has abandoned.”

After a few missed visits from her father and daily tongue lashings from Abbess Margaret, Abigale started to feel pushed aside and abandoned, yet her spirit held firm.

Sister Kate had kept a watchful eye on Abigale, keeping her work-load full so she would stay out of trouble, but trouble seemed to follow her wherever she went as if she was born into it. Abbey life wasn’t the life for her. She grew to hate the prayer bells, for they rang eight times during the day starting at the wee hours of night. The blasted bell would ring either when she was sound asleep or assisting a monk in surgery. More times than not she was late to prayer and being tardy was frowned upon. The consequences were harsh, in fact they were harsher than falling asleep during worship. Abigale knew this all too well; she had fallen asleep in a choir stall one night. Sister Kate had been the circator that night, pacing up and down the aisle as she shined her bright cresset lamp into the stalls checking if anyone had fallen asleep. A sharp point with a stick to her ribcage had woken Abigale up quickly. Of course she got a rap on the legs for that one. Thank God it was Sister Kate, for she showed her mercy.

Now that she was home, her father was more than ever adamant about keeping his family safe. He vowed to never allow another Bruce woman to be captured by the filthy Sassenach. Just as Abigale thought she’d regained her freedom, here she was once again with it ripped away from her by an arranged marriage to her father’s first in command. Who better to protect her than the Bogeyman himself?

Trepidation crept over her, sending a shiver through her body as she thought about the man her father had arranged for her betrothal. “The Black Douglas,” she thought. A man with a reputation that would make the Devil himself shudder with fear. A ruthless warrior who had fought in many battles with her father. The English feared him terribly, making up nursery rhymes warning their wee bairns to “hush before the Black Douglas will get ye”. She’d never met the man before, but the deal was done. Her father had arranged the marriage and Abigale was to abide by his orders.

Abigale turned to Fergus who was chewing on a blade of grass. “At least ye don’t have to marry the Bogeyman.” She shuddered. Saying it out loud made it all too real.

For a moment she wondered just what the Black Douglas would look like. Could her father be so cruel as to wed her to an evil, battle-worn old man? Nay, who could possibly be scared of an old man? Then again, a warrior’s reputation lived on even after death. Or mayhap he really was a monster of some sort, a mythical creature of the night that lurked under your bed waiting to nip at your heels. Abigale was letting her imagination get the best of her. Shaking those thoughts from her head she dipped down into the coolness of the loch, washing away every bit of worry. Today was her day and she was going to enjoy the peace that the loch gave her before it was taken away from her.

Coming back up she lay her body out flat to float on top of the water’s surface. Her light linen shift clung to her petite body, long dark auburn hair spread out and floated with the ripples of the water. Closing her eyes, she opened her arms out wide allowing her fears to fall from her body and sink to the bottom of the loch.

A snapping of twigs alerted Abigale that she wasn’t alone. Quickly she dipped her body down into the water to hide from what was lurking in the woods. Panic pricked up her spine as she searched the glen’s wooded edge for some kind of movement. Nothing… no movement at all. It must be a small animal frolicking through the thicket. Another snap. This time it sounded too close and too loud to be a small animal.

Abigale turned and faced Fergus.

Ears pointing in the direction of the snapping sound, Fergus let out a gut deep neigh.

“Ye heard that too?” she whispered, trying not to draw attention to herself. Abigale slowly moved toward the water’s edge, not making a sound. The last thing she needed was to be attacked by a wild animal or worst yet… a rogue Highlander.

Dripping wet and cold, Abigale stepped out of the water and headed straight for the huge boulder covered in green moss where her dress and her dirk lay. If instincts had taught her anything, it was to never let your guard down and never leave home without your dirk.

A third snap sounded like it came from behind her and way too close. Taking a steady breath, she grabbed her dirk and spun around to meet her attacker face to face. Lunging the blade forward she pointed it at his throat, the tip inches away from piercing it.

“Och lass, I will no hurt ye.” A massive six-foot-four man with vibrant amber eyes stood before her with his hands up in surrender.

Abigale arched a dark brow over deep blue eyes. “How do I know I can trust ye?”

 

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