Monday, October 28, 2019

Book Blitz & Giveaway - ON HIS BENDED KNEE by Shanae Johnson


On His Bended Knee: a Sweet Marriage of Convenience series
Shanae Johnson
(The Brides of Purple Heart Ranch, #1)
Publication date: October 11th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Western
She needed a place to stay. He needed to save his ranch. Together they just might make a home.
Sgt. Dylan Banks lost more than just his leg in the war. His fiancĂ©e and family turned their backs on him as well. Now, he’s determined to create a safe place where wounded warriors like himself can heal. But a hidden zoning law requires all residents of the Purple Heart Ranch to be married. To save his dream, Dylan and his men will have to tie the knot—but can a man with such deep scars inside and out believe in love again?
Maggie Shaw lost both her job as a veterinary technician and her apartment on the same day. Who knew her unreasonable landlord would kick her out for being four dogs over the one pet limit? Now, she and her gang of special-needs dogs are in trouble. Fate puts her in Dylan’s path with a proposal that seems too good to be true—but can her heart bear a loveless marriage of convenience?
Dylan yearns to reach out for Maggie’s healing touch, but he keeps his distance, convinced his wounds are too deep for her embrace. Maggie sees past Dylan’s injuries, but if she fails to capture his heart they both could lose it all: her beloved animals, his ranch, and each other.
Find out if love can truly heal all wounds in this light-hearted, sweet romance of convenient arrangements that unfold into lasting love. On His Bended Knee is the first in a series of marriage of convenience tales featuring Wounded Warriors who are healed with the power of love.
Only 99¢ for a limited time!
The complete series:
EXCERPT:
“Wives? As in married? To women?”
“Unless there’s something about you that we should know, Ramos.”
Xavier Ramos reached over and tried to smack Reed Cannon in the head, but the other man raised his prosthetic arm to ward off the attack. There was nothing wrong with his reflexes. Ramos’s flesh hit Cannon’s metal and Ramos winced.
“Can’t we get the zoning changed?” asked Sean Jeffries. He had his sunglasses off now that they were all inside one of the ranch’s barns.
The men had converted the old barn into a gaming room complete with large flat screens, an old-fashioned record player and tape deck, and every gaming console including an antique Atari which Rees had brought back to life with his techno-genius.
“It would be a long process,” said Dylan. “And in the meantime, we’d all have to leave the ranch while the powers that be waded through all the red tape.”
The men were lounging in recliners or sitting on bar stools, but an anxious hum went around the room. The ranch was their haven, their home. Even for those who had somewhere that they could go, leaving was not an option.
Unlike with Dylan, Jeffries’s family hadn’t rejected him. They called the ranch on a regular basis. It was Jeffries who didn’t want them to see him. It wasn’t just the scar on his face that shamed him. He suffered from PTSD and was prone to flashbacks. He could be taken back to the war-torn deserts of the Middle East when he slept, or with loud noises he could readily identify. The men surrounding him knew how to manage his episodes. But Jeffries was terrified of hurting someone he cared about. And so he stayed away from his family and wouldn’t receive their calls.
“Aren’t you all missing the obvious?” They all turned to Reed and waited for his revelation. Reed took his time. The man had a bit of the flare for the dramatic at times. “We just need to get married.”
Eyes and heads rolled as everyone turned away from the proclamation. Except Fran.
“It’s not a bad idea,” Fran said. “People do it all the time. For green cards, for financial stability, some fools even do it for something called love.”
Dylan had been such a fool who wanted to get married for love. Or what he thought was love. He had no idea where the plan came from as his own parents hadn’t been in love.
Catherine and Charles Banks had married for social standing. The irony was that they couldn’t stand each other. Though the rest of society would never know it. At parties, they put on a show of devotion and compatibility. They used to put on the show at home for Dylan when he was a kid. But they soon stopped caring about what he saw behind the closed doors of their many homes, which they often occupied separately.
“Who would want to marry a bunch of broken soldiers?” asked Sean.
“Hey, we’re not broken.” Dylan almost believed the words coming out of his own mouth. “We served our country. We are highly skilled. We are loyal, dedicated men.”
Though the speech was impassioned, the faces around him looked doubtful.
“Frances might have a point,” said Xavier, using the feminization of the name to get under Fran’s skin like they all did from time to time. “There are a lot of hard-up women out there. Some probably need a place to stay, money in their pocket, or just a good lay.”
Now it was Dylan who rolled his eyes and neck at the preposterous direction the discussion was taking. He needed his men to focus on viable solutions to this very real problem. But the other men were listening to Xavier’s nonsense.
“Dr. Patel is always saying we need a good woman to heal our hearts.” Reed picked up the gauntlet of the insanity. He was a romantic at heart and still believed love was waiting to come into his arms. “Maybe now’s the time.”
“Patel had an arranged marriage,” said Fran. “And it worked for him.”
“This is the Wild West,” said Reed. “This kind of stuff happened here all the time. Remember the Gold Rush Brides?”
“That was California,” Sean said. The man was a walking encyclopedia. “You mean mail order brides.”
“It would be email now,” said Fran. “No one uses the postal system.”
“We are not finding women on Craig’s List,” said Dylan, pinching the bridge of his nose and squeezing his eyes shut in exasperation.
“Then how are we gonna stay here?”
Dylan wasn’t sure which man said it, but he knew they all were thinking it. He opened his eyes and faced the room full of men. They’d looked to him for leadership when they were in combat, and they looked at him the same way now. How would they win this particular war on the home front?
“We’ll petition the court,” said Dylan. “I have a few contacts in the government.”
“We have more recruits coming in a couple of month. What are we gonna do with them?”
Dylan didn’t have an answer for that. He didn’t know how he would take in another wounded soldier only to potentially turn the man away. As he prepared to turn around, a flash of fur ran through the room.
No, ran wasn’t exactly the right word. Two front paws ran. The two back paws were not there. Instead, two wheels acted as legs that the little dog used to propel himself onward.
Dylan wasn’t the only one who spotted the animal. The other soldiers turned and stared at the creature. The dog stared back. It also slowed down as it looked up at all the big humans eying it.
The dog had had a grin on his face, but under the close scrutiny, his muzzle closed. He pulled his lolling tongue back into his mouth and let out a low whimper.
Dylan bent down to be on the dog’s level. He rested on his good knee, which was a difficult feat for him after a long day. But he had to get a closer look at this dog and his apparatus.
The dog made a slow beeline for Dylan. Dylan put his hand out to the dog. The dog gave the back of his hand a tentative sniff and then a lick.
Who would do such a thing as to take a dog’s hind legs? But more importantly, who would take the time to make a contraption that gave the animal back a semblance of the life he once knew?
“I’m so sorry,” said a feminine voice. “That’s my dog.”
Dylan looked up into the face of the woman. She was dressed in a T-shirt and jeans. Her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail. She wasn’t wearing a lick of makeup. She looked fresh, clean, capable.
She marched into the room, not like she was on a catwalk, but like she was on a mission. She reached for the dog and he saw her hands were un-manicured. When one of her rough fingers brushed the skin of his forearm, Dylan felt a spark. His breath caught and so did hers.


Author Bio:
Shanae Johnson was raised by Saturday Morning cartoons and After School Specials. She still doesn't understand why there isn't a life lesson that ties the issues of the day together just before bedtime. While she's still waiting for the meaning of it all, she writes stories to try and figure it all out. Her books are wholesome and sweet, but her heroes are hot and her heroines are full of sass!
And by the way, the E elongates the A. So it's pronounced Shan-aaaaaaaa. Perfect for a hero to call out across the moors, or up to a balcony, or to blare outside her window on a boombox. If you hear him calling her name, please send him her way!

XBTBanner1

Friday, October 25, 2019

Book Blitz & Giveaway - THE MERKABAH RECRUIT by L.Z. Marie


The Merkabah Recruit
L.Z. Marie
(Merkabah, #1)
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
A mystical shape. Three gruesome murders. One reluctant hero. And the only person able to prevent the next murder is an anxiety-prone recruit. Divorced and depressed, Daphne Sites is stunned to learn that a unique empathic ability allows her to identify otherworldly life. So when a secret organization asks for her help, it’s difficult to refuse.
Serik Jalani is the man who must convince the reluctant recruit to assume a chilling mantle of responsibility. There’s only one way to do this. Reel her in slowly. Except Daphne suspects Serik is not being entirely truthful. About the organization. The mission. And even his true identity.
As Daphne attempts to keep her new job secret from two sassy sisters, one jealous ex-husband, and a bimbo Barbie neighbor, she struggles to embrace the mysteries of a cosmic technology and realize her own self-worth.
If Daphne hopes to stop the next murder and stay alive, she must first confront her biggest problem. Herself.
The first in the Merkabah Series about a forbidden love that destroys an ancient legacy.
The series so far:
EXCERPT:
SJ’s fingers wrapped around my hand.
An energy pulse surged up my arm. I yanked my hand away, but the rolling wave of warmth went right to my heart and blossomed outward. I rubbed my hand, his touch still lingering on my skin like the faintest tickle.
“You felt it. Good.” He nodded, satisfied, as though I had passed a test. “Relax, Daphne. Look at the people. What do you see?” He pushed my Long Island Iced Tea towards me.
There were drunk people and desperate men and women laughing too loud and trying too hard to have fun. “What am I supposed to see?” I sipped the drink.
SJ’s lips twitched and his brow lifted. “You tell me.”
“I see people,” I shrugged.
“You see more than that.” His brown eyes twinkled from over the rim of his extra dirty martini.
“I see drunk people.”
SJ leaned close, his shoulder touching mine. “I know you sense the feelings and thoughts of others.”
My stomach flip-flopped. “Who are you?”
SJ tapped his chest, flashed his thousand-watt grin. “I’m your guide.”
“For what?” I sucked on the straw, tried to cool the embers burning in my belly. “Am I taking a trip?”
His forefinger made a little circle in the air. “You see a person’s true form.” SJ withdrew his accusing finger, speared his martini olive with the tiny plastic fork, and popped the olive in his mouth.
This conversation took a sharp left onto Creepy Town Road.
SJ was right about one thing though. I did need this drink. Maybe two.
“What do you mean?” I lifted the glass, drank down the sweet nectar as though it could help me deal with this. With him. With his knowing.
“You’re an empath with special skills.” SJ’s eyes seared like laser beams.
“An empath?” I pondered the ice cubes floating in my Long Island Iced Tea. Was he referring to my over-sensibilities about people? Referring to the bizarre impressions I get about someone? I never told anybody about that. People would think I was crazy. Once in while I let something slip to my sisters, who laughed and said I was weird. When I was a child, Mom accused me of having a fanciful imagination.
Slurp, swallow, repeat. The alcohol took the edge off my rising panic. I stared at my drink, the condensation on the glass as cold as the back of my neck.
SJ’s voice was low, its warmth encouraging and seducing. “An empath feels others’ emotions, but you do more than that. You detect people in their true form. The time has come to perfect this ability.”
I sensed his stare. Determined. Serious. Like a hot poker to my soul. I pretended fascination with the cocktail napkin. Confusion, curiosity, anxiety, and attraction swirled like a tornado around me. I didn’t dare make eye contact.
“We know you perceive strange creatures in human form.”
My heart jumped in my throat.


Author Bio:
LZ Marie writes paranormal romance with mystical sass. She uses another pen name for her historical fiction.
LZ lives in southern California and wishes she could get to the beach more often. She adores lattes, swimming, vacations, a great book, and hanging out with her very large family. A intriguing mystery-thriller, action-adventure, historical fiction, or urban fantasy will have her reading into the wee hours of the night.

XBTBanner1

Monday, October 21, 2019

Book Blitz & Giveaway - BETWEEN WILD AND RUIN by Jennifer G. Edelson


Between Wild and Ruin
Jennifer G. Edelson
Publication date: September 28th 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Truth, like love, isn’t always obvious.
Seventeen-year-old Ruby Brooks has never had a boyfriend. After moving to small-town La Luna, New Mexico following her mother’s untimely death, boys aren’t even on her radar. Ruby just wants to forget the last horrible year and blend in. But when she discovers an ancient pueblo ruin hidden in the forest behind her house, and meets Ezra, a bitter recluse whose once-perfect face was destroyed in an accident he won’t talk about; Angel, the town’s handsome sheriff’s deputy, and Leo, a stranger who only appears in the forest, Ruby finds herself caught between love, mystery, and other worlds. What happened to Ezra’s face? And why is she so attracted to the one boy in town everyone despises? As Ruby unravels her own powerful connections to both Ezra and the pueblo ruin, she’ll learn surfaces are deceiving. Especially in the heart of New Mexico, where ghosts and legends aren’t always just campfire stories.
BOOK TRAILER:
EXCERPT:
After walking through dense stands of pine trees, I follow the remnants of what may have been a trail toward the top of the mountain. Higher up, the pines and junipers dappling the mountainside grow taller, but there aren’t as many. As they thin, small gusts of wind whistle through the forest, echoing through the trees. Otherwise, the forest is completely silent.
Closer to the top of the mountain, the rocky ground levels off and the land spreads across a plateau below the mountain’s peak. Unlike the forest, the plateau is more like a jungle, marked by thick hanging moss and clusters of tall, unidentifiable conifers. Trees stand like sentries several rows deep. Beyond them, fallen logs lie scattered among overgrown shrubs and boulders in circular bands like rings on a tree. I walk through it all, making my way past thick brush into a clearing.
Fresh sap and damp earth assault my nose. Under bright sunlight, large, rough-cut slabs of glittery rock blanket the otherwise bare field. Some lie stacked on top of each other like the crumbling remains of a building. Awestruck, I circle the structure, running my fingers over what looks like a ruin.
“Incredible, isn’t it?”
A voice behind me sends my heart racing toward my throat. I jump, whipping around to find a young man leaning casually against a pine near the clearing’s perimeter, looking off to his left as though listening for something.
Even in the shade, his face glows. He smiles, showing off teeth that gleam like snowflakes between perfect lips. Hair as dark as Liddy’s French roast coffee falls around his face in unruly waves. His features are angular but refined, and his high, rounded cheeks soften the striking juxtaposition.
I blink, then blink again. Ruby. I rub my eyes. You’re hallucinating. But he’s still there, staring at me.
While I gawk, he pushes himself off the tree. “Not many people make it up here.” He smiles broadly.
A soft, purple-hued halo circles his golden irises, catching fire in the sunlight. They settle on me, and my heart stops, completely paralyzed by his faultless storybook features.
I exhale, trying to swallow inconspicuously. “It’s definitely a hike.”
“Who are you?”
“Who am I?” I sputter. “Who are you?”
“Leo.” He grins.
“I’m Ruby.”
“Ruby.” My name rolls off his tongue with a smooth “R” and a musical lilt. Somehow, he even manages to make it sound appealing. “First time up?”
“Yes. We just moved to La Luna.”
“La Luna,” he repeats. “Welcome.”
“Thanks,” I mumble. Earth to Ruby, I mentally smack myself. Since when has any boy made you senseless?
“You okay?” He smiles like he knows I’m not. Like he knows whyI’m not. “Do you want to sit down? The altitude can be a bitch if you’re not used to it.”
“No. I mean, yes, I’m fine. No, I don’t want to sit down. You just really startled me. You should announce yourself next time.”
“Next time?”
“Next time you sneak up on somebody.”
Leo raises a perfect dark eyebrow. “But then it wouldn’t be sneaking, would it?”
My cheeks flush, and I suddenly want to drop through a hole in the ground. I choke out, “Ummm,” and something incoherent and then stare at my toes like they hold the keys to my future.


Author Bio:
Jennifer G. Edelson is a writer, trained artist, former attorney, pizza lover, and hard-core Bollywood fan. She has a BFA in Sculpture and a J.D. in law, and has taught both creative writing and legal research and writing at several fine institutions, including the University of Minnesota. Originally a California native, she currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, kids, and dog, Hubble after surviving twenty-plus years in the Minnesota tundra (but still considers Los Angeles, the Twin Cities, and Santa Fe all home). Other than writing, Jennifer loves hiking, traveling, Albert Camus, Dr. Seuss, dark chocolate, drinking copious amounts of coffee, exploring mysterious places, and meeting new people--if you're human (or otherwise), odds are she'll probably love you.

XBTBanner1

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Key's Locals Restaurant Review - Ziggie & Mad Dog's Restaurant

Okay.  The name sounds a bit strange, but I'll explain that.  In the meantime, just know that the food and the atmosphere are wonderful!

We are back to trying out local eating establishments, even the ones that have been around for a long time.  So watch my blog and join our journey!

A bit of history about Ziggie & Mad Dog's Restaurant:  
The structure was transformed into a small restaurant in the 1950's after serving as an outbuilding for a pineapple plantation back in the 1930's.  In 1962 it was turned into a restaurant and the legendary Ziggie's Conch was born.  But there is more history here that just that!

The Miami Herald, back in 1948, reported stories of police shoot outs with gamblers and shady characters referred to as "the new Capone gang".  It was said that Al Capone was a part of the high-stakes card games and casino action held in the back building.  Ziggie himself was a notorious gambler and drifter.  Rumer has it that John Huston got the idea for the movie "Key Largo" while gambling at a casino Ziggie was known to have frequented.  Ziggie's Conch became quite popular as a fine food establishment throughout the Florida Keys.

Then in 2005, Jim "Mad Dog" Mandich of Miami Dolphin fame, and his long time business partner purchased the legendary Ziggie's.  After some extensive renovations, Ziggie & Mad Dog's was born.  The original bar, the slate wainscot and terrazzo have all been refurbished with great care.

Today, Ziggie and Mad Dog’s has become a destination steak house… one of the finest in South Florida! Ziggie and Mandich’s culinary influence are on display even today with some of their favorite dishes still on their menu.
My Review:
We stopped in to check out this restaurant a couple of nights ago.  We had been here many, many, many years ago and weren't terribly impressed, but so many people highly recommended it that we thought we would give it another try.  I'm so glad we did!
We arrived without reservations, but were politely seated anyway.  I would highly recommend that you have reservations, especially during the "season".  The tables were covered with white linen and looked quite inviting, but so did the bar area with the happy customers standing around having a few drinks.  The menu looked great and it took us a while to make our decisions.  Our waitress, a delightful young lady named Becky, told us the night's specials and I chose filet mignon, served with a whole tomato stuffed with brie cheese and spinach.  Oh my goodness!  It was sinfully delicious!  
My husband chose Big Ben's Smothered Medallions, filet mignon medallions topped with carmalized onions and stilton blue cheese with an awesome au poivre sauce poured over it.  Again, although I am not a blue cheese fan, my husband absolutely loved it!  The Au Gratin Potatoes he ordered as a side dish was large enough to share... and then some!  Oh!  And the bread!  We were served a whole round loaf of warm bread, right out of the oven. It was served with soft honey butter.
The restaurant is a bit pricey, but definitely worth it for a nice night out. The service was impeccable!  Becky, our server, was wonderful and the young man filling the water glasses and clearing the table was definitely on the ball, never letting that glass get empty.
You can find Ziggie & Mad Dog's at 83000 Overseas Highway in Islamorada, Florida.  Check out their website at www.ziggieandmaddogs.com 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

UPCOMING EVENTS

I love going to Book Signings and Book Conventions!  I meet the most interesting people there!

As 2019 will be winding down soon and I will need time to prepare for the holidays, my last major event for the year will be on November 1 & 2 in Huntington, West Virginia.  Will I see you there at Rebels & Readers?



I already have a pretty busy schedule set up for 2020.  I'll let you know more about those events after the holidays!  Hope to see you there!

Psst.... I may have some exciting news to share with you soon too!



Monday, October 7, 2019

Book Review - LIFE AFTER PERFECT (Book 1 of 3 in Boot Creek) by Nancy Naigle

Title: Life After Perfect
Author: Nancy Naigle
Genre: Womens Fiction
Release Date: May 19, 2015


About the Book:
Katherine Barclift had it all: the perfect job, the perfect car, and what she thought was the perfect marriage. But when her entire world collapses in one stomach-churning instant, she hits the road and keeps driving until that so-called “perfect life” is just a dot in her rearview mirror.
A chance encounter leads her to make a pit stop in Boot Creek, a drowsy little North Carolina town where she can call herself Katy, soak up the peace and quiet…and drink in the bluer-than-blue eyes of Derek Hansen, a local doctor still wrestling with his own painful past. Both Katy and Derek are wary about giving romance another shot, but they can’t deny the intense attraction between them. And if being in Boot Creek has taught them anything, it’s to take life as it comes and never pass up a chance at true love…no matter how wounded your heart may be.

Buy Links: Amazon 
Note:  If you have Kindle Unlimited, this is currently free!  Also available on Audible for a reduced fee.

My Review:

"Life After Perfect" is one of those books you want to dive into.  And by that, I mean you want to pack your bags and move to the small town of Boot Creek.  Such awesome characters!  Who would not want these people for neighbors!!  Loved it!

Nancy Naigle brings these characters to life so vividly that the reader begins to believe they are real.  Their heartfelt stories make you want to go hug someone... now!  Dealing with the heartache of betrayal, Katy begins to realize that her "perfect" life had never been what she thought it was.  Getting away from it all, she begins to build a new life.  Not her original intent, but fate stepped in to bring about a bit of happiness in a town where people truly care about each other.  I just love second chance romances!

Great story that I highly recommend for some sweet romance.


My Rating:

About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. She began her popular contemporary romance series, Adams Grove, while juggling a successful career in finance and life on a seventy-six-acre farm. She went on to produce works in collaboration with other authors, including the hilarious southern fiction G Team series. A Romance Writers of America Honor Roll author, her books have been translated in multiple languages and received favorable reviews from major trade journals.

In 2018, Crown Media brought two of Nancy's novels to life. Christmas Joy premiered on Hallmark Channel 11/3/18. Hope at Christmas premiered on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. She also novelized two Hallmark Original Movies set in the town of Evergreen, bringing the whole story and bonus epilogues to Hallmark fans.

Now happily retired from a career in the financial industry, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and horseback riding with friends. A Virginia girl at heart, Nancy now calls North Carolina home.

Download a complete list of Nancy's books at www.NancyNaigle.com, then stay up to date with future releases by joining Nancy's free newsletter -or-visit her on facebook and twitter (@nancynaigle)

And if you would like to meet Nancy Naigle in person, come find her at the Coastal Magic Convention in Daytona Beach in February 2020!  Find out more at CoastalMagicConvention.com  



 

The Novel Lady Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon