Posts Tagged ‘sale’

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY (99¢ sale) BLACK HILLS BILLIONAIRE by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

 BLACK HILLS BILLIONAIRE, Black Hills Rendezvous Book 2

Just 99¢ for a few more days

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Meet Shane and Jenna. Two lost souls who came soooo close to meeting, falling in love and living a fabulous life until something unthinkable happened, until a dark force ruined everything.

Now, they’ve been given a second chance–if Shane can get past the guilt he carries from a deathbed promise he made.

So, when is a first kiss not a kiss? When you’re in the Mystery Spot.

“As you can see, this was the bedroom. We’ve removed the furniture to avoid injury, but just imagine what a nightmare it must have been to sleep in a room that seems to be constantly shifting from side to side. We call this the dizzy room for a reason, so don’t be surprised if a stranger is suddenly holding on to you for balance.”

She took a deep breath and walked straight to the middle of the room. Almost instantly, her equilibrium went haywire. She stepped on what looked like a level surface and felt her foot drop a quarter of an inch. Just enough to throw her balance off. She staggered, which prompted Shane to dash into the room.

“Watch out,” she warned.

He weaved to the left like a drunk after a long night at a bar. “Holy crap,” he muttered. “What the he–?”

She grabbed his arm and pulled him closer to the wall. He looked slightly dazed. “Wow. What is it?”

“You’d have to ask my dad. Unfortunately, I think the secret went to the grave with him. All I know is it’s very effective. I’ve seen people bob and weave all the way back to their car. I’ve done this tour so often I barely feel it unless I’m in the middle of the room.”

He put a hand to his forehead. “I’ve got the spinners. Like those nights in college when you drank too much then lay down in bed and the ceiling was going around in circles.”

College.

He looked at her so intently she realized she must have said the word aloud.

“Sorry. Wrong thing to say.”

She shook her head. “It was a long time ago. Shall we finish the tour? There’s an exit through the back, but since I have to lock up, I think we should go out the way we came in.”

His usual serious look was back on his face. He nodded and pushed off from the wall to lead the way. He only made it a few steps before listing sideways, like the Titanic after meeting the iceberg. She tried to keep him upright, but his momentum was too great. They both staggered a few steps then crashed into the wall. The wall with the drawing of a four-poster with a patchwork quilt on it, and they landed smack dab in the middle of the one-dimensional mattress.

“This was your plan all along, right?” Shane asked, wrapping his arms around her to keep steady. “To get me in bed?”

She laughed to keep her panic at bay, but to her surprise she didn’t feel the usual fear that came when someone got too close, too fast. In fact, she liked the feeling of being in his arms. Warm. Secure. Protected.

“I’ve seen the same thing happen to other people. Perfect strangers. Dad used to say it was all about a person’s polarity-–positive and negative.”

His eyes were such a deep, yummy brown. Like chocolate syrup. “Does that mean one of us is a magnet and the other iron filings?”

She knew which she’d be. “Maybe we’re both iron filings being drawn to the giant magnet in the wall.”

He arched his neck to look over his shoulder, his skepticism clearly back in place. Laughing, she put her hands flat against his chest and pushed back. She waited for her balance to return, the way it usually did, but if anything, she was even loopier. Her hands wouldn’t leave his shirt. Her breath was shallow and shaky. Because she knew he was going to kiss her.

Kiss. His mouth touching her mouth. No. She didn’t kiss. Or touch. Or… But no words of protest made it out before his lips touched hers.

Amazon      KOBO     iBooks    BN


 

What’s better than a 99¢ book?

Two books for 99¢!

Baby Billionaire sale

Grab them from your favorite retailer:

BABY     BILLIONAIRE

Happy reading,

Deb

FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from BLACK HILLS OUTCAST 99¢ SALE by Debra Salonen

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

99¢ One week ONLY!

 BLACK HILLS OUTCAST, Black Hills Rendezvous, Book 6

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 Excerpt © Loner Llama Press:

“Are you an actor?”

He made a scoffing sound. “Good grief, no. I stay as far away from the Sentinel Passtime people as possible. I’m sure they’re nice enough, but their energy is enervating.”

Books. Art. Silk. Vocabulary words. She searched his face but nothing came to her. His beard was starting to fluff out again as it dried. His hair had filled in around his face covering his ears. He was starting to look more like the Rufus she knew.

“Listen, Rachel, I’m sorry about the peep show. I didn’t expect you for a couple of hours. I needed to think, and I do my best thinking in a bath. The house design didn’t lend itself to an indoor tub and I don’t like the cold well enough to sit in one outside in the winter, so I had the copper tub made. I call it my Saturday night special,” he said, a sort of self-deprecating humor in his tone.

She knew he bathed more often than once a week. “Today’s Tuesday.”

“I know. Like I said, I needed to think.”

Now, the humor was gone and something faintly foreboding seemed to linger in the air. “You’re pulling the plug on your Web site, aren’t you?”

“Not the sales part, but everything else,” he admitted.

She’d sensed his growing disenchantment with the whole online-community concept, but she’d ignored his concerns in favor of what she thought best for him. Shades of Mom, Jack would have said.

“Then, I guess we’re done here,” she said, trying to salvage a scrap of pride. She started toward where he was standing, intending to leave. He didn’t need her. No one did. Not really.

“Rachel,” he said, his voice low and conflicted. He stepped to the left to block her way. His large, warm hand closed around her forearm when she tried to push him aside. “You’re wrong about that.”

Then he pulled her to him, his arms enclosing her in a cocoon of warmth that made her think she might be in the middle of one of his Dreamhouses. Safe and secure.

His kiss was not at all what she was expecting. Soft, gentle and far too proper—at first. When she tilted her head and leaned into him, his reaction matched hers. Their tongues got involved. Their breathing changed. Her hands were touching—or were they gripping?—his massive shoulders.

She’d wanted to do that since day one. As wrong as it was, she’d never experienced anything that felt so right—even the odd, cushiony texture of his beard. She wanted more. Everything. Every inch of that gorgeous body she’d seen in the water.

At what price, Rachel? Her mother’s voice. You mixed business and pleasure once before and look how well that turned out.

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Black Hills Outcast available here:

Amazon      BN      KOBO     iBooks  AmazonUK  AmazonAU   AmazonCA  GooglePlay

Happy reading! And thank you, thank you, thank you, for remembering to leave a review!

Deb

What a deal!

Friday, June 24th, 2016

I just found out KOBO has a 50% off sale going for three days only.

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Personally, I love KOBO. Great reader service and super deals. Download the app for free and see for yourself. (I read my Kobo books on my iPad.)

Here’s the KOBO connection for my books, in case you missed any. Great way to fill in the gaps. Click on the cover.

Deb_Black Hills Billionaire300dpi1500x2400   Deb_Black Hills Bad Boy300dpi2400x3840   Black-Hills-Outcast-Kindle   Deb_Black Hills Bachelor300dpi2400x3600   Deb_Black Hills White Knight300dpi1500x2400

 

And this means my BIG SKY MAVERICKS  are 1/2 price, too.

MontanaRebel-MEDIUM  MontanaMiraclecover  MontanaRogue-LARGE MontanaHero-LARGE MontanaMaverick-MEDIUM  MontanaDarling-LARGE NobodysCowboy-MEDIUM

Happy shopping, my friends! If you’re anything like me, you can’t pass up a deal.

Deb

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Rogenna Brewer’s Crockpot Chicken Chili

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

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Food=love in my books.

Today’s blog reprises a hit recipe from my friend and guest blogger, Rogenna Brewer, who is not only a wonderful writer, but also has mad skills when it comes to making covers, headers for your FB page, bookmarks, etc. And she’s running a month-long SALE at Sweettoheat.com. If you’re in need of a cover at an affordable price, you’ll love working with Ro. A sample of her work follows below: Celebrate Romance!

photoHer recipe is called: Crockpot Chicken Chili. Ro told me, “Every author has a few slow-cooker recipes on hand for deadlines.  This Chicken Chili recipe came to me through my youngest son who recently moved back home after his bachelor pad rental was sold out from under him.  Hearty enough (and cheap enough) to feed three broke bachelors, a family of six or a family of three with plenty of left overs.”

 Super simple and delicious.

I hope you enjoy it.

Crockpot Chicken Chili
Author: 
Recipe type: maindish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A perfect winter dish!
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can white or yellow corn
Instructions
  1. Season with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper...or cheat, like I do, and use a packaged seasoning mix.
  2. Place everything in the crockpot and cook on medium heat for 6-8 hours (until breasts pull part easily with a fork).

 

CelebrateThanksgiving 

Excerpt: ONE STAR SPANGLED NIGHT, from Celebrate Romance – 5 authors/5 heartwarming holiday stories

CHAPTER ONE

            Hat in hand, he stood in her office doorway. From spit-shined shoes, up military creases, to the eagles pinned on khaki collar points, he commanded attention. The rank of captain gave him the authority to demand it.

            Lieutenant Lindsey Alexander marked her already forgotten place and closed the ancient tome. Her desk chair creaked as she straightened her spine. How long had he been standing there, staring?

            How long had she?

            Removing her reading glasses to cover her embarrassment, Lindsey set aside the funky frames and theology lesson before pushing to her feet, the proper show of respect for his rank. “May I help you, Captain?”

            From his superior height he frowned down at her, at the world in general—she couldn’t be certain. Lindsey smiled her brightest, but he didn’t seem to appreciate the effort. His scowl deepened, drawing jet-black brows above nefarious jade green eyes in a potentially lethal combination.

            “You’re a woman.”

            She didn’t need to hear the affront behind his words to know he’d assumed chaplain and man were synonymous. She stretched her smile in spite of, or perhaps because he’d insulted both her gender and profession in just three little words. It wasn’t the first time and wouldn’t be the last.

            “And you would be, Captain…Reese.” She read his nametag above his right breast pocket. On the left, his rack of ribbons read like an impressive resume. The gold wings above the neat rows further identified him as a naval aviator.

            Top Gun plowed a hand through jet-black hair threaded with silver, spoiling the severe effect of the barber’s precision military cut.

            No doubt about it, the gender confusion was all one sided.

            “Doug Reese. I have an appointment.”

            It was Lindsey’s turn to draw her brows. The name Reese didn’t ring any bells. Should it? She unburied her appointment book and flipped it open. Despite his obvious impatience, she took her time going through the day’s schedule.

            No Reese, Captain or otherwise.

            In truth, she wasn’t very well organized, but she never forgot a name or a face or a scheduled appointment for that matter. Knowing her tendency toward disorganization, she always wrote everything down.

            “I’m early.” Holding his hat by the brim, he crossed his arms. “My ship just pulled in for repairs two weeks ago.”

            Something about the way in which he emphasized the words my ship sent those alarm bells clanging like a five-alarm fire.

            Flipping the calendar page, she found Commanding Officer, USS Enterprise CVN-65 penciled in the yeoman’s neat hand under, 1300–tomorrow. “Looks like an hour and a day early–”

            “I’m a busy man, Chaplain, I’d like to get this over with.” The scowl remained a permanent fixture, but he tempered his demand. “I won’t take but a minute of your time.”

            Lindsey met Captain Reese’s continued glare with the unwavering dedication of her profession. She would have taken responsibility for the mistake regardless, but she had a feeling the man knew exactly what he was doing, showing up a day early and on her lunch hour.

            She was just curious enough to want to know why. What was one more counseling session out of her overbooked day? It was her job to help. If the Captain needed her…

            Well, then, she was here to serve.

            “Have a seat.” She gestured toward one of two overflowing chairs.

            The walls seemed to move in as he stepped into her crowded cubby with its floor to ceiling shelves. He cocked a dark brow as he picked up a stack of files from the seat, and then looked around for a place to put them.

            “Sorry, packing. Our office is on the list of base closures.” Lindsey plucked the files from his hands. If military budget cuts didn’t elicit a comment from the good Captain, what would? He continued to hover over her five foot five—in sensible boon dockers—while she maneuvered around him, dumping the stack of papers on the floor by the shelf before closing the door.

            He probably wasn’t an inch or two over six feet, but the too small space became suffocating, filling with the tang of saltwater on skin—not an all-together unpleasant scent—except the hint of JP-5. Lindsey had never been stationed aboard a ship, but she could identify carrier crews by the smell of jet fuel that permeated their pores.

            With surprising consideration, the Captain waited until Lindsey settled beside her corner desk, and then took up the now empty seat across from her. He looked around her office with the same disdain he’d directed toward her.

            Captain Reese had his strong, silent and judgey act down pat.

            Tension radiated from the man. Although the only outward sign was the way he fidgeted with his hat, now balanced on his knee as he tapped a folded piece of paper impatiently against his cover.

            He may have been trying hard not to project his discomfort, but she could sense it, feel it. “Would you be more comfortable with another chaplain?”

            It was a legitimate question, and since he’d expressed some reservation about her gender, one she felt compelled to ask.

            “Would you?”

            Did his scowl switch to a smirk?

            “No,” Lindsey answered honestly.

            Though if they were following strict protocol, she should refer the Captain to her superior, Commander Elliot. However, being short staffed, down to only herself and the Catholic Priest, Father Elliot was just as overworked as she was. Between them, they shared one chaplain’s yeoman, a Religious Program Specialist Third Class.

            Perhaps the Captain had chosen her in accordance with his own beliefs despite his prejudicial comment.

            “You’ll do,” he said.

            “Fine.” Lindsey exhaled the word. Had she actually been holding her breath, waiting for his decision? “I just need you to fill out this counseling form and then we’ll get started.” Stretching across the space, she handed him a clipboard with attached pen and paper.

            A knock sounded on the door. The RP poked her head in, “Chaplain Alexander, I have your lunch,” she announced. “Oops, sorry. I didn’t know you were in session.”

            “It’s okay, Brenda.  We’re just getting started.” Lindsey got up to meet the yeoman at the door. Thanks,” she said, taking the containers of Chinese food.

            “Your change.” Brenda handed over lose coins and a couple wadded bills as Lindsey juggled containers to take the money.

            “Maybe the Captain would like a cup of coffee—”

            “No, the Captain would not.” He cut her off without bothering to look up from the clipboard. On the other side of the door, Brenda mouthed another apology for the interruption.

            “Hold my calls,” Lindsey instructed. “But buzz me when my one o’clock gets here.”

            “Sure thing. I mean, yes, ma’am.” The RP closed the door.

            “I’m sorry,” Lindsey apologized. She suspected she’d gone down another notch in his estimation. Then again, he was the one who’d showed up on her lunch hour uninvited. “LoMein?”

            “No.” He extended the clipboard, all business.

            Lindsey wrestled her lunch down to the desk and stuffed the loose change and bills into the middle drawer. Taking the clipboard from him, she released the counseling form and then groped for her reading glasses. She put them on and sank back to her seat, staring in disbelief at the blank page. Almost blank page.

            Name, rank and serial number had been filled in.

            “Captain Reese—”

            “If I were a prisoner of war that’s all I’d be required to give.”

            “This isn’t an interrogation.”

            “No, it’s not,” he agreed. “Thank you for your time, Chaplain.”

            Her gaze followed his upward movement. He’d certainly been right about only taking a minute of her time. Even though it looked like her curiosity wouldn’t be satisfied, she’d have a hot lunch as a consolation prize. Small comfort compared to the satisfaction she got from doing her job. “How can I help—?”

            “You can’t. I just want it to go on record that I was here.” He slapped his cover against his thigh. “Good day.”

            Lindsey beat him to the door and barred his way with a crossed arm stance.

            “Lieutenant,” he said, calling deliberate attention to her rank. “Step aside. That’s an order.”

            Her short-lived career flashed before her eyes and she swallowed hard. She couldn’t keep him here against his will. Still, she could get her point across. “If it’s important enough to come here in the first place, it’s important enough to stay and talk.”

            “I’m not going to warn you again.”

            “Fine.” She edged away from the door. “But uncooperative is going in my counseling notes.” She tried to infuse a little humor into the situation that had quickly gotten out of hand.

            “You can write whatever you want, Chaplain. As long as you don’t share that information with anyone, I don’t care.”

            “It would be unethical for me to reveal any information about your visit.”

            “I’m counting on that.”

            He paused long enough to look her in the eye. She hoped he saw the disappointment reflected there because if ever a man needed her, Captain Doug Reese did. She couldn’t be expected to save the world. She just wanted to help one person at a time. Unfortunately, her heart took a hit every time she failed.

            Lindsey stared at his departing back. The man’s visit was obviously a desperate cry for help. Yeah, right. Captain Doug Reese looked about as self-sufficient as they came. It was her need to butt into everyone’s business that made her the desperate one. How many times had Brenda told her to get a life? How many times had Chaplain Elliot counseled her against getting overly involved?

            With a heavy sigh, she scooped up another stack of folders occupying the one remaining chair. She’d need both for her one o’clock. Her next appointment was a young couple in premarital counseling.

            No real problems there. In fact, the upcoming wedding on July 4th—her first as an officiate—was something she actually looked forward to. She’d met the bride-to-be. The intended groom was just back from sea.

            Lindsey stopped and let that sink in a moment. Followed by a quick glance toward the door. “Nah.”

            The bride was closer to Lindsey’s age, mid-twenties.

            The Captain had to be at least forty and most likely married.

            Not that a May, December…more like September, romance was out of the question. The Captain was fighter pilot fit and handsome to the extreme—despite the permanent case of indigestion apparent in his facial expression. What she couldn’t remember was whether or not he wore a wedding band.

            Which should matter to her, why?

            Arms full and looking for more nonexistent floor space, Lindsey noticed a folded piece of paper by the chair leg. Setting the stack back down, she picked up the missive and unfolded it. The letter was addressed to Captain Reese from COMCARSTRIKEGRU THIRTEEN, Commander Carrier Strike Group Thirteen (CCSG-13). She quickly folded it back up, but not before the word counseling jumped off the page.

            The Good Captain had been ordered into counseling.

            The shrill ringing of the outer office telephone gave her a guilty start. Brenda answered in quiet tones while Lindsey tucked the paper into her skirt pocket and grabbed her cover from beside the door.

            “Chaplain, it’s for you,” the RP called through the open door.

            “Take a message, Brenda. There’s something I need to do.” Like catch up with the Captain. She checked her watch. She had plenty of time before her next appointment.

            Brenda covered the mouthpiece. “It’s Rear Admiral Dunning.”

            “Commander Carrier Strike Group Thirteen?” Lindsey had never had the occasion to meet a flag officer before, let alone speak with one. “What could he possibly want…?” Her hand went to her skirt pocket. “I’ll take it in my office.”

 

CELEBRATE ROMANCE – now just 99¢

KOBO

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Bon appetit! Happy reading!

Deb

 

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Deb Salonen’s Watermelon Salad (from NOBODY’S COWBOY)

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

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Food=love in my books.

Since my new book, NOBODY’S COWBOY, releases on Friday, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a recipe from the book. This strange and wonderful melange of flavors isn’t the only surprise my hero, Austen Zabrinski, has coming when he meets my heroine, Serena James. He also learns the difference between an alpaca and a llama…and he picks up a few tips on how to be warm and wonderful human being. (Important for those of you who read Cowgirl Come Home and thought Austen was a royal pain in the arse.)

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 From Nobody’s Cowboy:

Austen took his sister by the shoulders. “You can fix my life after your’s is back on track, Meeps. Not before.”

She smiled sadly. “Good point. Sorry if I was out of line, Serena.”

Serena grabbed a paper plate and served up two zucchini wedges, adding a dollop of her special sour cream dill sauce, and a serving of watermelon salad on the side. “No worries. Here. Your kids loved these.”

Mia started to shake her head, but after a stern frown from Austen, she dropped her giant purse in a deck chair and took the plate. “Even Em?”

“Even Em. And that salad is crazy good.”

Mia picked out a hunk of fruit, pausing to examine it. “Is this feta cheese? Weird.”

She popped it in her mouth and chewed. Her eyes went wide and she grinned. “Yummy.”

She tried the zucchini next.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Watermelon Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This strange and wonderful melange of flavors isn't the only surprise my poor hero, Austen Zabrinski has coming when he meets my heroine, Serena James.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • One 8-pound seedless watermelon, scooped into balls with a melon baller or cut into 1½-inch chunks (10 cups), chilled
  • ½ pound feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups)
  • 1¼ cups pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 small sweet onion, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper. Add the watermelon, feta, olives and onion and toss gently. Garnish with the mint and serve.

NobodysCowboy-MEDIUM

NOBODY’S COWBOY

A snippet from Chapter 2:

“Your neighbor? A grizzled cowboy with leathery skin and a permanent squint?”

She pictured Austen Zabrinski. “Not even close.” The distinctive banging sound of her back door made her drop the wheelbarrow handles and start toward the house. “Speaking of the devil… I have to go. Thanks for calling and thinking of me. Love you.”

She pocketed her phone and jogged across the open turn-around, her boots making a shish-shish sound on the hard ground. Her truck was parked under the sprawling cottonwood.

Three things struck her straight off. Ugly green wasn’t ugly on him. Borrowed jeans couldn’t hide his great butt. And he’d left his filthy jeans and shirt on the table as she’d asked. The small concession made her happy–even if it meant washing stinky, ‘paca poop pants.

She might have claimed environmental responsibility but the best part of washing Austen Zabrinski’s pants was being able to return them in person at some later date.

“Ready to go?”

He nodded. The cloudless sunshine made what she’d assumed were artful highlights in his hair look like the real deal. Damn, the man got more gorgeous every time she looked.

“My foreman should be getting back from Livingston any minute. When he sees my horse, he’ll call my cell. When I don’t answer, he’ll probably send out a search party.”

She motioned for him to follow. “Not memorizing phone numbers has to be the worst part of becoming dependent on cell phones.”

“Agreed. That and spending way too much time staring at a tiny screen. Believe me, it’s tempting not to replace the damn thing.”

She thought she detected an odd hint of defeat in his statement. What’s his story?

Since they’d practically had sex–in her mind–she decided to ask.

Once he was seated with his safety belt snug across his flat belly, she turned the key in the ignition and put the truck in gear.

“So, fill me in. You own a ranch your brother called a tax write-off. You’ve as much as admitted you’re nobody’s cowboy. You wear three-hundred-dollar jeans. I don’t see a wedding ring. Your nose is sunburned. So I take that to mean you don’t have a wife or live-in girlfriend to remind you to put on sunscreen.”

He let out a gruff cough. “Very observant. The jeans are two years old.”

“But look brand new.”

“I don’t–didn’t–come to the ranch very often in the past.”

She waited.

“No wife. Never married. My last… friend-with-benefits wanted more than I’m in a position to give at the moment. I’m not sure we’re still friends. But I’m positive the benefits have been canceled.”

She’d always been a sucker for smart men with a sense of humor. The leftover dewy feeling in her crotch–and the fact she was a stranger in a stranger land–made her bold. “So, if someone new to the area was interested in that sort of position–friends-with-benefits-no-strings-attached–how would one apply? Online? Or in person?”

He tossed back his head and gave a deep, masculine laugh that sent a stream of shivers down her spine, pooling conveniently in her already primed lady parts. Her hands tightened on the steering wheel.

Since they’d reached the end of her driveway and had no traffic behind her, she threw the shifter into park and turned to face him.

Before she could offer any slightly embarrassed disclaimer for such an obvious come on, he released the latch on his safety belt and moved closer.

“In person. I go with my gut. Usually one kiss will do. Either there’s chemistry or there’s not.”

“Chemistry. Crap. My least favorite subject in school. But I do like kissing.”

She leaned in, too.

#

Austen could have come up with a dozen–make that a trillion–reasons not to kiss this beautiful stranger. But, for all his reputed logic and claims he was a rule maker, not a rule breaker, he was lonely. And… as much as it killed him to admit the fact, he’d had reached a point where he was unsure of what to do next. Him. Rudderless. Now, living in the moment seemed like the only rational choice he had.

Besides… she offered. It wouldn’t be neighborly to turn her down. Right?

~~~~

I can’t wait to share this book with you! Please mark your calendar.  This book will go on sale Friday, 8/29/14, for the special “release date” price of 99¢ (72 hours only).

Bon appetit and happy reading!

DEB

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Rogenna Brewer’s Beer Batter Wahoo

Monday, June 30th, 2014

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Food=love in my books.

photo My guest blogger today is my On Fire Fiction pal, Rogenna Brewer,  whose Celebrate Romance story takes place on the 4th of July. You’re  going to love this great story, AND check out the amazing cover Ro designed for our bundle.

If you’re an author looking for that perfect cover at an affordable price, check out Ro’s website: SweetToHeat. Wait till you see what she’s come up with for my “naughty novella” bundle, coming later this fall. Did she find the perfect Judy? You be the judge. 😉

 

CelebrateFourth

She made a new cover for each of our  stories. See the little fold back up in the corner? That’s where you’ll see the title that goes with that cover. How cool is that?

If you haven’t read this series, please check it out. Only 99¢ for 5 authors, 5 holidays, 5 great reads: BN  AMAZON

And I will feature a special recipe from each author for that holiday’s cover reveal. Today’s recipe is called: Beer Batter Wahoo.

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Ro is a Navy veteran who writes from experience–I’m guessing the part about the T-shirts is authentic, too. 😉 According to Ro: “A T-shirt makes a handy pot holder as long as it doesn’t catch on fire. Although the guys may try to convince you it needs to be your T-shirt, DO NOT let them fool you. Point to the nearest sailor and tell him to take off his shirt. The rest will follow. Sit back and enjoy the show.

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Wahoo…!

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Rogenna Brewer's Beer Batter Wahoo
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American as you get
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-10
 
Beer Batter Wahoo: there's a good chance you have to join the Navy to do this recipe right, but...what the heck, improvise! And have a great 4th of July!!!
Ingredients
  • Flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 can of beer. Your preferred brand will suffice.
Instructions
  1. Spend the day deep sea fishing with your fellow sailors from a converted military landing craft. Bring a couple coolers full of beer so you have leftovers.
  2. Catch the biggest Wahoo while the guys are heaving over the side. Talk one of them into filleting the fish. This is best done out to sea or off the dock to attract sharks. Sharks are not repelled by heaving sailors (though you may be).
  3. When drunken sailors start playing with sharks it is time to return to base.
  4. Build a fire on the beach. Mix the first four ingredients to a batter-like consistency. Coat fish. Wrap loosely in aluminum foil and toss onto fire. Poke with a stick until done. Please note poking does not decrease cooking time.
  5. Do not let drunken sailors grab the aluminum foil from the flames. A T-shirt makes a handy pot holder as long as it doesn't catch on fire. Although the guys may try to convince you it needs to be your T-shirt DO NOT let them fool you. Point to the nearest sailor and tell him to take off his shirt. The rest will follow. Sit back and enjoy the show.

 

Excerpt:

ONE STAR-SPANGLED NIGHT

            BY ROGENNA BREWER

 

    Chapter 1

            Hat in hand, he stood in her office doorway. From spit-shined shoes, up military creases, to the eagles pinned on khaki collar points, he commanded attention. The rank of captain gave him the authority to demand it.

            Lieutenant Lindsey Alexander marked her already forgotten place and closed the ancient tome. Her desk chair creaked as she straightened her spine. How long had he been standing there, staring?

            How long had she?

            Removing her reading glasses to cover her embarrassment, Lindsey set aside the funky frames and theology lesson before pushing to her feet, the proper show of respect for his rank. “May I help you, Captain?”

            From his superior height he frowned down at her, at the world in general—she couldn’t be certain. Lindsey smiled her brightest, but he didn’t seem to appreciate the effort. His scowl deepened, drawing jet-black brows above nefarious jade green eyes in a potentially lethal combination.

            “You’re a woman.”

            She didn’t need to hear the affront behind his words to know he’d assumed chaplain and man were synonymous. She stretched her smile in spite of, or perhaps because he’d insulted both her gender and profession in just three little words. It wasn’t the first time and wouldn’t be the last.

            “And you would be, Captain…Reese.” She read his nametag above his right breast pocket. On the left, his rack of ribbons read like an impressive resume. The gold wings above the neat rows further identified him as a naval aviator.

            Top Gun plowed a hand through jet-black hair threaded with silver, spoiling the severe effect of the barber’s precision military cut.

            No doubt about it, the gender confusion was all one sided.

            “Doug Reese. I have an appointment.”

            It was Lindsey’s turn to draw her brows. The name Reese didn’t ring any bells. Should it? She unburied her appointment book and flipped it open. Despite his obvious impatience, she took her time going through the day’s schedule.

            No Reese, Captain or otherwise.

            In truth, she wasn’t very well organized, but she never forgot a name or a face or a scheduled appointment for that matter. Knowing her tendency toward disorganization, she always wrote everything down.

            “I’m early.” Holding his hat by the brim, he crossed his arms. “My ship just pulled in for repairs two weeks ago.”

            Something about the way in which he emphasized the words my ship sent those alarm bells clanging like a five-alarm fire.

            Flipping the calendar page, she found Commanding Officer, USS Enterprise CVN-65 penciled in the yeoman’s neat hand under, 1300–tomorrow. “Looks like an hour and a day early–”

            “I’m a busy man, Chaplain, I’d like to get this over with.” The scowl remained a permanent fixture, but he tempered his demand. “I won’t take but a minute of your time.”

            Lindsey met Captain Reese’s continued glare with the unwavering dedication of her profession. She would have taken responsibility for the mistake regardless, but she had a feeling the man knew exactly what he was doing, showing up a day early and on her lunch hour.

            She was just curious enough to want to know why. What was one more counseling session out of her overbooked day? It was her job to help. If the Captain needed her…

            Well, then, she was here to serve.

            “Have a seat.” She gestured toward one of two overflowing chairs.

            The walls seemed to move in as he stepped into her crowded cubby with its floor to ceiling shelves. He cocked a dark brow as he picked up a stack of files from the seat, and then looked around for a place to put them.

            “Sorry, packing. Our office is on the list of base closures.” Lindsey plucked the files from his hands. If military budget cuts didn’t elicit a comment from the good Captain, what would? He continued to hover over her five foot five—in sensible boon dockers—while she maneuvered around him, dumping the stack of papers on the floor by the shelf before closing the door.

            He probably wasn’t an inch or two over six feet, but the too small space became suffocating, filling with the tang of saltwater on skin—not an all-together unpleasant scent—except the hint of JP-5. Lindsey had never been stationed aboard a ship, but she could identify carrier crews by the smell of jet fuel that permeated their pores.

            With surprising consideration, the Captain waited until Lindsey settled beside her corner desk, and then took up the now empty seat across from her. He looked around her office with the same disdain he’d directed toward her.

            Captain Reese had his strong, silent and judgy act down pat.

            Tension radiated from the man. Although the only outward sign was the way he fidgeted with his hat, now balanced on his knee as he tapped a folded piece of paper impatiently against his cover.

            He may have been trying hard not to project his discomfort, but she could sense it, feel it. “Would you be more comfortable with another chaplain?”

            It was a legitimate question, and since he’d expressed some reservation about her gender, one she felt compelled to ask.

            “Would you?”

            Did his scowl switch to a smirk?

            “No,” Lindsey answered honestly.

            Though if they were following strict protocol, she should refer the Captain to her superior, Commander Elliot. However, being short staffed, down to only herself and the Catholic Priest, Father Elliot was just as overworked as she was. Between them, they shared one chaplain’s yeoman, a Religious Program Specialist Third Class.

            Perhaps the Captain had chosen her in accordance with his own beliefs despite his prejudicial comment.

            “You’ll do,” he said.

            “Fine.” Lindsey exhaled the word. Had she actually been holding her breath, waiting for his decision? “I just need you to fill out this counseling form and then we’ll get started.” Stretching across the space, she handed him a clipboard with attached pen and paper.

            A knock sounded on the door. The RP poked her head in, “Chaplain Alexander, I have your lunch,” she announced. “Oops, sorry. I didn’t know you were in session.”

            “It’s okay, Brenda.  We’re just getting started.” Lindsey got up to meet the yeoman at the door. Thanks,” she said, taking the containers of Chinese food.

            “Your change.” Brenda handed over lose coins and a couple wadded bills as Lindsey juggled containers to take the money.

            “Maybe the Captain would like a cup of coffee—”

            “No, the Captain would not.” He cut her off without bothering to look up from the clipboard. On the other side of the door, Brenda mouthed another apology for the interruption.

            “Hold my calls,” Lindsey instructed. “But buzz me when my one o’clock gets here.”

            “Sure thing. I mean, yes, ma’am.” The RP closed the door.

            “I’m sorry,” Lindsey apologized. She suspected she’d gone down another notch in his estimation. Then again, he was the one who’d showed up on her lunch hour uninvited. “LoMein?”

            “No.” He extended the clipboard, all business.

            Lindsey wrestled her lunch down to the desk and stuffed the loose change and bills into the middle drawer. Taking the clipboard from him, she released the counseling form and then groped for her reading glasses. She put them on and sank back to her seat, staring in disbelief at the blank page. Almost blank page.

            Name, rank and serial number had been filled in.

            “Captain Reese—”

            “If I were a prisoner of war that’s all I’d be required to give.”

            “This isn’t an interrogation.”

            “No, it’s not,” he agreed. “Thank you for your time, Chaplain.”

            Her gaze followed his upward movement. He’d certainly been right about only taking a minute of her time. Even though it looked like her curiosity wouldn’t be satisfied, she’d have a hot lunch as a consolation prize. Small comfort compared to the satisfaction she got from doing her job. “How can I help—?”

            “You can’t. I just want it to go on record that I was here.” He slapped his cover against his thigh. “Good day.”

            Lindsey beat him to the door and barred his way with a crossed arm stance.

            “Lieutenant,” he said, calling deliberate attention to her rank. “Step aside. That’s an order.”

            Her short-lived career flashed before her eyes and she swallowed hard. She couldn’t keep him here against his will. Still, she could get her point across. “If it’s important enough to come here in the first place, it’s important enough to stay and talk.”

            “I’m not going to warn you again.”

            “Fine.” She edged away from the door. “But uncooperative is going in my counseling notes.” She tried to infuse a little humor into the situation that had quickly gotten out of hand.

            “You can write whatever you want, Chaplain. As long as you don’t share that information with anyone, I don’t care.”

            “It would be unethical for me to reveal any information about your visit.”

            “I’m counting on that.”

            He paused long enough to look her in the eye. She hoped he saw the disappointment reflected there because if ever a man needed her, Captain Doug Reese did. She couldn’t be expected to save the world. She just wanted to help one person at a time. Unfortunately, her heart took a hit every time she failed.

            Lindsey stared at his departing back. The man’s visit was obviously a desperate cry for help. Yeah, right. Captain Doug Reese looked about as self-sufficient as they came. It was her need to butt into everyone’s business that made her the desperate one. How many times had Brenda told her to get a life? How many times had Chaplain Elliot counseled her against getting overly involved?

            With a heavy sigh, she scooped up another stack of folders occupying the one remaining chair. She’d need both for her one o’clock. Her next appointment was a young couple in premarital counseling.

            No real problems there. In fact, the upcoming wedding on July 4th—her first as an officiate—was something she actually looked forward to. She’d met the bride-to-be. The intended groom was just back from sea.

            Lindsey stopped and let that sink in a moment. Followed by a quick glance toward the door. “Nah.”

            The bride was closer to Lindsey’s age, mid-twenties.

            The Captain had to be at least forty and most likely married.

            Not that a May, December…more like September, romance was out of the question. The Captain was fighter pilot fit and handsome to the extreme—despite the permanent case of indigestion apparent in his facial expression. What she couldn’t remember was whether or not he wore a wedding band.

            Which should matter to her, why?

            Arms full and looking for more nonexistent floor space, Lindsey noticed a folded piece of paper by the chair leg. Setting the stack back down, she picked up the missive and unfolded it. The letter was addressed to Captain Reese from COMCARSTRIKEGRU THIRTEEN, Commander Carrier Strike Group Thirteen (CCSG-13). She quickly folded it back up, but not before the word counseling jumped off the page.

            The Good Captain had been ordered into counseling.

            The shrill ringing of the outer office telephone gave her a guilty start. Brenda answered in quiet tones while Lindsey tucked the paper into her skirt pocket and grabbed her cover from beside the door.

            “Chaplain, it’s for you,” the RP called through the open door.

            “Take a message, Brenda. There’s something I need to do.” Like catch up with the Captain. She checked her watch. She had plenty of time before her next appointment.

            Brenda covered the mouthpiece. “It’s Rear Admiral Dunning.”

            “Commander Carrier Strike Group Thirteen?” Lindsey had never had the occasion to meet a flag officer before, let alone speak with one. “What could he possibly want…?” Her hand went to her skirt pocket. “I’ll take it in my office.”

Bon appetit! Happy reading! And…Happy 4th of July!!

Deb

 

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Lemonade (AKA 7-Up) Scones + a FREE book

Monday, May 19th, 2014

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Food=love in my books.

trishYou may remember my guest blogger, Trish Morey.

Her latest release–Second Chance Bride–is part of The Great Wedding Giveaway series from Montana Born Books/Tule Publishing.

I enjoyed this book so much that when I found out it was going to be FREE  (May 20-24) I decided to reprise this blog in case you missed it! Here’s the LINK.

And check out Trish’s Lemonade (aka 7-Up) Scones recipe below. Doesn’t this sound like the PERFECT food for a wedding breakfast or bridal luncheon? And it looks so darn easy, even I could make it. 

imgres-5

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemonade Scones
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: scones
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Please note, the instructions show two versions--one for those of us in the USA and one for those of you who understand metric. AND, it appears that "Lemonade" in Australia is actually "7-UP" in the US. Who knew?!!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pure cream
  • 1 cup lemonade/ or we in the US would be using 7-Up
  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F) or 180C (350F) fan forced.
  2. Grease and flour baking tray, or line tray with baking paper.
  3. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix lightly until combined. Scrape onto a floured surface, knead lightly and shape into rectangle about 3cm high. Cut scones with 5cm/2 inch scone cutter.
  4. Lightly dust with flour and bake for 15-20mins or until tops are brown.
  5. Serve with raspberry or strawberry jam and clotted cream.

71fSY1nOQzL._SL1173_

 

Excerpt:

“I heard there was a new girl.”

Scarlett jumped. She’d thought she was alone, but now her eyes were beginning to adjust to the low light, she could see the woman sitting on a sofa across the room, a magazine in her lap, her skin fair, her lips red and her long black hair gleaming under the lights like a silken curtain.

“It is that obvious?” Scarlett said, trying to sound light but painfully aware of the nerves in her voice. Any minute someone was going to figure her for the impostor she was and throw her out.

But then the woman smiled. “First day in a new place is always the hardest. I’m Jasmine,” she said, her name as exotic as her looks.

“Scarlett.”

“You’re American?”

“Yeah. From Montana. You?”

“Thailand,” she said, shifting the magazine to smooth down the fluffy hem of the red baby doll that floated just above her slim thighs. “Bella’s is a good place to work. You’ll like it.”

Scarlett very much doubted it but she smiled and nodded her thanks anyway. There was no point explaining she’d only be here until she made enough money for her fare home.

And then Bella walked in with her grey bob and pearls and looking so much more like a school librarian than any madam she could possibly have imagined.

She clapped her hands, “Look lively girls, Rule number one, let’s not keep the customer waiting.”

Uh-oh.

Scarlett was so not ready for this.  Oh, she might be Scarlett Buck, the flaky twin, the girl with the anti-Midas touch who could turn golden opportunities into dust and managed to do so with infuriating regularity. She might have driven her sister to despair and her mother to drink on too many occasions to count, but to be forced to this?

Jasmine rose from the sofa and flicked back her hair, no trace of hesitation. Whereas she–

Barely-contained nerves got the better of her.

Time.

She needed more time – just a few more minutes to get used to the idea.  ‘I’ll sit this one out,’ she offered. Jasmine was here first, after all.”

“Nonsense!” boomed Bella as she took her hand and hauled her off the sofa in a very un-school librarian kind of way. Before Scarlett knew it she was lined up alongside the other girl and Bella was reminding them to smile. “Nothing like being thrown in at the deep end, I always say.”

Great. So much for getting used to the idea. Any moment now a middle aged man with grey hair and a paunch would come sauntering through that door and size her up to be his sexual plaything for the next however long and still she would have to smile and make him feel like she wanted nothing more than to hop into the sack with him.

Just sex?

Oh, Scarlett Buck, you have really have done it this time.

She raised her eyes to the ceiling and sent one last silent prayer to the heavens and her family and anyone else who might possibly be listening up there and could help: I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. But it won’t be for long, I promise, and after this I’ll never, ever, disappoint you, ever again.

And then she heard Jasmine’s, “Welcome to Bella’s, I’m Jasmine,” and a cold shiver of apprehension snaked down her spine as she summoned up a smile. She opened her eyes, her hundred watt smile fully charged and ready to dazzle the client despite the nerves clawing at her insides. “Welcome to B—“

She stopped and blinked, and tried again. “Welcome to…”

But there was no finishing. Because it didn’t make sense. Because he didn’t make sense. She’d been expecting middle aged and desperate whereas the man in front of her was anything but. He was nowhere near middle aged for a start, his short cropped hair dark blonde and thick, and – she flicked her eyes down his denim clad legs and up again – there wasn’t so much as a hint of a paunch in sight.

Far from it.

Instead, he was built. Six foot two of hard-packed built, if she wasn’t mistaken, with a face that looked in the glow from the red light like it had been chiseled from outback rock itself, full of rugged angles and red planes and secret, shadowed depths.

Since when did someone who looked like him have to visit a place like this?

“You must forgive Scarlett,” Bella said from what sounded like a long way away. “She’s new.”

“Excuse me,” she said, snapping to, her smile getting tangled in the confusion on her lips.  “Welcome to Bella’s.”

And with that he was gone, disappeared with Bella back into the office to make his choice.

Like he needed time for that.

She dropped back into the sofa, her face in her hands. Oh god, was there nothing she could do right? Nothing she couldn’t screw up?

Apparently not.

She might as well pack her things right now.

“Scarlett!”

She looked up, resigned for the dressing down if not the sacking from Bella she knew was coming, that she knew she deserved. “Yes?”

“Congratulations.” Bella looked as surprised as Scarlett felt. “You just got your first client.”

OOOhhh…you have to be asking yourself…will she or won’t she? I can’t tell you. That wouldn’t be fair. Grab your FREE copy to find out.

Bon appetit! Happy reading! 

Deb

 

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Trish Morey’s Lemonade Scones

Monday, April 7th, 2014

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Food=love in my books.

trishMy guest blogger today is a brand new friend, Trish Morey.

Trish is a USA Today Bestselling author of thirty Harlequin Presents romances, all featuring strong alpha heroes and the women who can tame them, (with some pretty hot sex along the way:-)) .

Her latest release–Second Chance Bride–is part of The Great Wedding Giveaway series from Montana Born Books/Tule Publishing.

I just started reading this book and I can’t stop grinning. 🙂 What’s not to love about a heroine named Scarlett Buck?  Grab this fun little story TODAY while it’s on SALE for just 99¢! Here’s the LINK.

And check out Trish’s Lemonade* Scones recipe below. Doesn’t this sound like the PERFECT food for a wedding breakfast or bridal luncheon? And it looks so darn easy, even I could make it. 

*To my profound surprise, “lemonade” in Australia is the equivalent of 7-Up in the US. Sorry for the confusion. I don’t get out much.

Lemonade Scones
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: scones
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Please note, the instructions show two versions--one for those of us in the USA and one for those of you who understand metric. AND, it appears that "Lemonade" in Australia is actually "7-UP" in the US. Who knew?!!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pure cream
  • 1 cup lemonade/ or we in the US would be using 7-Up
  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F) or 180C (350F) fan forced.
  2. Grease and flour baking tray, or line tray with baking paper.
  3. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix lightly until combined. Scrape onto a floured surface, knead lightly and shape into rectangle about 3cm high. Cut scones with 5cm/2 inch scone cutter.
  4. Lightly dust with flour and bake for 15-20mins or until tops are brown.
  5. Serve with raspberry or strawberry jam and clotted cream.

71fSY1nOQzL._SL1173_

 

Excerpt:

“I heard there was a new girl.”

Scarlett jumped. She’d thought she was alone, but now her eyes were beginning to adjust to the low light, she could see the woman sitting on a sofa across the room, a magazine in her lap, her skin fair, her lips red and her long black hair gleaming under the lights like a silken curtain.

“It is that obvious?” Scarlett said, trying to sound light but painfully aware of the nerves in her voice. Any minute someone was going to figure her for the impostor she was and throw her out.

But then the woman smiled. “First day in a new place is always the hardest. I’m Jasmine,” she said, her name as exotic as her looks.

“Scarlett.”

“You’re American?”

“Yeah. From Montana. You?”

“Thailand,” she said, shifting the magazine to smooth down the fluffy hem of the red baby doll that floated just above her slim thighs. “Bella’s is a good place to work. You’ll like it.”

Scarlett very much doubted it but she smiled and nodded her thanks anyway. There was no point explaining she’d only be here until she made enough money for her fare home.

And then Bella walked in with her grey bob and pearls and looking so much more like a school librarian than any madam she could possibly have imagined.

She clapped her hands, “Look lively girls, Rule number one, let’s not keep the customer waiting.”

Uh-oh.

Scarlett was so not ready for this.  Oh, she might be Scarlett Buck, the flaky twin, the girl with the anti-Midas touch who could turn golden opportunities into dust and managed to do so with infuriating regularity. She might have driven her sister to despair and her mother to drink on too many occasions to count, but to be forced to this?

Jasmine rose from the sofa and flicked back her hair, no trace of hesitation. Whereas she–

Barely-contained nerves got the better of her.

Time.

She needed more time – just a few more minutes to get used to the idea.  ‘I’ll sit this one out,’ she offered. Jasmine was here first, after all.”

“Nonsense!” boomed Bella as she took her hand and hauled her off the sofa in a very un-school librarian kind of way. Before Scarlett knew it she was lined up alongside the other girl and Bella was reminding them to smile. “Nothing like being thrown in at the deep end, I always say.”

Great. So much for getting used to the idea. Any moment now a middle aged man with grey hair and a paunch would come sauntering through that door and size her up to be his sexual plaything for the next however long and still she would have to smile and make him feel like she wanted nothing more than to hop into the sack with him.

Just sex?

Oh, Scarlett Buck, you have really have done it this time.

She raised her eyes to the ceiling and sent one last silent prayer to the heavens and her family and anyone else who might possibly be listening up there and could help: I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. But it won’t be for long, I promise, and after this I’ll never, ever, disappoint you, ever again.

And then she heard Jasmine’s, “Welcome to Bella’s, I’m Jasmine,” and a cold shiver of apprehension snaked down her spine as she summoned up a smile. She opened her eyes, her hundred watt smile fully charged and ready to dazzle the client despite the nerves clawing at her insides. “Welcome to B—“

She stopped and blinked, and tried again. “Welcome to…”

But there was no finishing. Because it didn’t make sense. Because he didn’t make sense. She’d been expecting middle aged and desperate whereas the man in front of her was anything but. He was nowhere near middle aged for a start, his short cropped hair dark blonde and thick, and – she flicked her eyes down his denim clad legs and up again – there wasn’t so much as a hint of a paunch in sight.

Far from it.

Instead, he was built. Six foot two of hard-packed built, if she wasn’t mistaken, with a face that looked in the glow from the red light like it had been chiseled from outback rock itself, full of rugged angles and red planes and secret, shadowed depths.

Since when did someone who looked like him have to visit a place like this?

“You must forgive Scarlett,” Bella said from what sounded like a long way away. “She’s new.”

“Excuse me,” she said, snapping to, her smile getting tangled in the confusion on her lips.  “Welcome to Bella’s.”

And with that he was gone, disappeared with Bella back into the office to make his choice.

Like he needed time for that.

She dropped back into the sofa, her face in her hands. Oh god, was there nothing she could do right? Nothing she couldn’t screw up?

Apparently not.

She might as well pack her things right now.

“Scarlett!”

She looked up, resigned for the dressing down if not the sacking from Bella she knew was coming, that she knew she deserved. “Yes?”

“Congratulations.” Bella looked as surprised as Scarlett felt. “You just got your first client.”

OOOhhh…you have to be asking yourself…will she or won’t she? I can’t tell you. That wouldn’t be fair. Grab a copy to find out.

Bon appetit! Happy reading! 

Deb

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Rogenna Brewer’s Crockpot Chicken Chili

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

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Food=love in my books.

My guest blogger today is my old friend, Rogenna Brewer, whose Harlequin Superromance, The SEAL’s Special Mission, will be on bookshelves (including all e-outlets) in May.

photoHer recipe is called: Crockpot Chicken Chili. Ro told me, “Every author has a few slow-cooker recipes on hand for deadlines.  This Chicken Chili recipe came to me through my youngest son who recently moved back home after his bachelor pad rental was sold out from under him.  Hearty enough (and cheap enough) to feed three broke bachelors, a family of six or a family of three with plenty of left overs.”

 Super simple and delicious.

I hope you enjoy it.

ChickenChili-1

 

Excerpt:

THE SEAL’S SPECIAL MISSION

            BY ROGENNA BREWER

 

     PROLOGUE

 

Coronado, California

“Freeze!” Her voice shook almost as badly as the SIG Sauer in her hand. After twenty weeks of G man U in Quantico, Virginia, twenty-three-year-old rookie FBI Agent Mallory Ward never imagined facing down her first perp in her sister’s kitchen. “Freeze, Nash. I mean it, damn it!”

Her false bravado lost all conviction as she tried to comprehend the bizarre scene playing out in front of her. Her brother-in-law, covered in her sister’s blood, cradled a blue bundle in the palms of his hands.

“Dear Lord, Nash, what have you done?”

Mallory shook her head to clear it. She’d stepped outside for just a moment.

One minute Nash was giving her sister mouth to mouth. The next he was ordering Mallory to grab his cell phone from the pack he said he’d left outside the back door. When she couldn’t find his phone, she’d taken those precious extra seconds to grab hers from her rental car parked out front at the curb.

Mallory kicked past an overturned chair and stepped over the cordless phone unit that had been ripped from the wall. Her sister’s still-warm body lay lifeless on the cold tile floor where her brother-in-law had been performing CPR.

Mallory couldn’t remember if she’d punched 911 before dropping her cell phone to reach for her gun. Though only seconds, it seemed like a lifetime ago. She’d initially been willing to give Nash the benefit of the doubt when she stumbled upon him at the center of an obvious crime scene….

Until she watched the Navy SEAL slice the swell of her sister’s belly.

“She’s gone, Mal.” His voice never wavered.

“You have the right to remain silent…”

“There was nothing more I could do for her, except save our son.” Nash dropped his KA-BAR in the puddle of blood.

Sidestepping the slick pool, Mallory still managed to leave the imprint of her sole behind. Biting back the copper tang of panic, she continued to read him his Miranda rights—Article 31 in the military. “Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law….”

Nash ignored her, concentrated on the little bundle in his arms. He covered the teeny nose and mouth with his own mouth. The tiny concave chest expanded and then contracted with each puff.

“Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you…?”

She couldn’t afford to make another rookie mistake.

Sirens blared in the distance—emergency responders, too late to save her sister. Mallory’s world spun out of control.

The tile floor rushed up to meet her.

CHAPTER ONE

Denver, Colorado
Seven months later

“Muh, muh…muh,” Benjamin babbled from his crib.

“Up already?” Mallory carried her coffee into the baby’s room. Strong. Black. A reason to get out of bed at zero dark thirty and make it through another day.

Of course, Benji was the real reason she bothered to set the timer on Mr. Coffee. He pulled himself up to gnaw on the guardrail while bouncing on his tiny toes. He couldn’t walk yet, but he sure gave those chubby baby legs a workout.

“Stop before you knock out a tooth.”

Her words startled him into stopping. He reached for her and fell back on his diaper-padded bottom. “Mama!” he cried with his arms outstretched.

“Say, what—”

“Mama, mama,” he continued to blubber.

“Oh, Benji.” Mallory set her happy face mug on the dresser and lifted her nephew out of his crib. He rewarded her with big tears and baby drool all over her new black suit jacket. “I wish your mama was here, too.”

“Mama,” he insisted, latching onto her nose. How much plainer could it get? Benji wasn’t asking for his mother—Mallory was the only mother he’d ever known.

He didn’t understand that the woman who’d carried him for thirty-six weeks was dead. Benji’s only world was the one Mallory created for him. That’s why she needed to push past her grief and do more than just go through the motions…for both their sakes.

Hugging her nephew tight, Mallory repeated, “Mama, mama.”

Until she almost believed it.

She kept a firm hold on her little wiggly worm while she changed his diaper and then carried him out of her old room. It wasn’t much of a nursery. It wasn’t much of a room, either. She’d pushed her twin bed against one wall and then hauled the old crib down from the attic.

The baby crib was a beautiful piece of heirloom furniture in a rich cherry wood. It was so well crafted that it still met safety standards decades later—she’d checked. Someday she’d bring down the rest of the ensemble and turn the room into a real nursery. Hopefully before Benji grew out of the nursery altogether.

At first, she’d slept in her old room with him.

Now more often than not she fell asleep in front of the TV on the leather sofa in what had once been her dad’s study. She kept her clothes in one huge pile on her parents’ bed, with the  intention of eventually moving into their bedroom located across the hall with its en suite bathroom. Though she already showered in the en suite and dressed in the bedroom, she still couldn’t bring herself to clear out the closets.

To her it was still her parents’ room, her parents’ house—the home where she and Cara had grown up. Just passing Cara’s old room next door to hers made Mallory want to cry.

She’d opened the door once.

Everything remained as Cara had left it before going off to college—with the addition of her wedding dress, which had been hanging in a storage bag on the back of the closet door since Cara and Nash’s wedding. It’s where their dad had stashed Cara’s personal affects brought back from San Diego. And where a short while later Mallory had found her mom crumpled in a heap on the bed—an empty pill bottle in her hands—among boxes of Cara’s childhood, college and wedding mementos.

There were more memories in that room than Mallory could handle.

The whole house was haunted by a not-too-distant past. At some point, though, she’d have to find the strength to deal with it and make it her own or put her childhood home up for sale. She simply wasn’t ready to do either.

Mallory carried Benji downstairs to the kitchen, where she settled him into his high chair for breakfast. While making him a bowl of rice cereal with applesauce, she grabbed a carton of yogurt for herself. Shoving aside the stacks of bills and legal papers, she made room at the table so she could sit down to feed him.

One of her father’s colleagues was helping her sort out her family’s financial and legal mess pro bono. Her parents had considerable assets and the foresight to have both wills and living wills. But even they were not prepared for the tragic turn of events that would require shifting power of attorney and property to their younger daughter so soon after their older daughter’s death.

Cara hadn’t owned anything of real value that didn’t also belong to Nash, except for a small burial policy the insurance company refused to pay out because Nash was the sole beneficiary.

And even though Mallory was Benji’s court-appointed guardian, she had a big battle ahead of her in order to gain full custody. Kenneth Nash was still the baby’s father and Benjamin Nash was legally a ward of the state of California until a judge said otherwise.

She couldn’t discount Nash’s family.

His mother, his aunt and uncle, numerous cousins, including a married cousin in New York, had all expressed interest in adopting Benji. And that was just on his mother’s side. But it seemed wrong somehow—disloyal to Cara’s memory—to allow her murderer’s family to raise her son.

Mallory might not yet have her act together at twenty-three, yet she was determined to pull it together fast—she had to, for her nephew’s sake.

Life had been anything but easy these last few months, between the trial, and the responsibilities of a preemie nephew and aging parents—make that aging parent, since her mother had died after collapsing in Cara’s room. And without her mother’s help, she’d had no choice but to put her father in an assisted-living facility. And, to add to everything else, Dad wasn’t adjusting very well to the loss of Mom or his new home.

The telephone rang as Mallory shoveled another spoonful of rice cereal into Benji’s eager mouth. She glanced over her shoulder at the shrill disruption. The call appeared to be coming from a blocked number.

With an eye on the clock, she got up from her seat and picked up the wireless receiver. Mallory had only been back to work a couple of months and couldn’t afford to be late again. Please do not let it be the assisted-living facility. “‘lo?”

 “Ms. Ward, it’s Tess Galena.” The NCIS special agent worked out of the San Diego field office and had been assigned as the special agent in charge of Cara’s case. The woman was somewhat of a legend in her field. Mallory had once dreamt of that kind of professional recognition and respect, until circumstances beyond her control landed her behind a desk.

Galena’s investigation into Cara’s murder had led to Nash’s conviction.

“Ms. Ward, are you there?” Galena asked.

“What?” Mallory wiped Benji’s face with a clean cloth. Offering a reassuring smile as she exchanged his bowl of mush for a few Cheerios he could manage on his own. “Sorry. Yes, I’m here.”

“I need you in San Diego today. My assistant has booked you a flight.”

“I’d have to check with work—”

“Your superiors are aware of the situation. Plan to be here for a few days.”

The woman must have some serious pull.

“What’s this about?” The yogurt in Mallory’s stomach soured as the possibilities, none of them good, ran through her mind. “I don’t have anyone to watch Benji.”

—NCIS Special Agent Tess Galena never hesitated. “Actually, Ms. Ward, we need both of you. We’ll brief you when you get here.”

“Is it Nash?”

“I can’t say anything more over the phone. Someone will meet you at the airport, Ms. Ward.”

Naval Brig Miramar
San Diego, California

As soon as they landed at San Diego International Airport, Mallory and Benji were taken to the brig at Miramar. Once a naval air station, made famous by the movie Top Gun, the base now belonged to the Marine Corps. The brig itself, run by the Department of the Navy, consolidated Level I and Level II military prisoners.

Nash, as a convicted murder, was housed at Fort Leavenworth, a Level III disciplinary barracks in Leavenworth, Kansas, and the sole maximum-security penal facility for the U.S. military. Mallory couldn’t have been more confused, but neither of her special agent escorts had deemed it necessary to fill her in on the details during the drive over.

Shifting Benji on her hip, she adjusted the diaper bag and purse on her opposite shoulder as they breezed through security with a show of agency badges. They were buzzed through several more gates and then led to an interrogation room by a uniformed guard.

The otherwise nondescript room consisted of military-issued furniture, a gunmetal gray table and four chairs. Her escorts took up positions outside the steel security door, which locked with a quiet click behind her.

She recognized Commander Mike McCaffrey—Mac—Nash’s former commanding officer, leaning against the wall next to a large mirror, which was likely a two-way. Nash had served under McCaffrey as executive officer of SEAL Team Eleven. The commander straightened to his full height as she entered the room.

Tess Galena sat at the table. The NCIS special agent wore a pin-striped suit, obviously tailor-made for her curvy figure—there was no mistaking that the woman in designer duds was the woman in charge. Mallory’s own slobber-stained, off-the-rack ensemble made her feel dowdy in comparison.

“Ms. Ward,” the woman said, uncrossing her long legs and rising to her feet. “Please have a seat.” She indicated the chair across the table from hers. “I apologize for such short notice.” Galena’s sharp glance toward the commander had Mallory wondering who exactly had called this meeting.

Mallory sat and then adjusted Benji in her lap. Tugging at the sleeves of his little jacket, she dropped it into the diaper bag at her feet.

He was a quiet baby, prematurely taken from his mother’s womb in a grizzly scene Mallory wouldn’t soon—if ever—forget. She hoped they wouldn’t be here long enough for Benji to get tired or hungry during this major disruption to his routine.

“Are you going to tell me what this is all about?” Mallory forced herself to make eye contact, first with Galena and then the commander. “Nash,” she whispered, reading it on their faces with a sinking sensation in the pit of her gut. “He’s escaped.”

She didn’t know why escape was the first thought that popped into her head. But as a Navy SEAL trained in escape and evasion, Nash certainly had the skills. If anyone could break out of a military prison, he could.

“Not yet.” The commander sauntered over to the table. “But he will. With your help.”

The absurdity of his statement took a moment to sink in.

“Like hell I will.” Only a cold-blooded killer could do what Nash had done to his pregnant wife. “Not in this or any other lifetime will I be helping that man escape—”

Galena leaned across the table. “Mallory…May I call you Mallory?” She continued without waiting for the consent, which Mallory would have given gladly. “Kenneth Nash can serve a higher purpose than any death sentence handed down to him.”

Mallory wasn’t so sure about that. She didn’t necessarily believe in capital punishment. But if anyone deserved to pay the ultimate price, Nash did.

“To put it bluntly,” the commander interrupted, “we’re proposing a mission few men are even qualified to undertake. You’re aware, of course, that Nash is half Syrian—on his mother’s side. He has the looks and the know-how for a deep-coverop to infiltrate al-Ayman.” She knew al-Ayman to be a terrorist organization with ties to al-Qaeda.

“What are you suggesting?” She looked from one to the other.

Galena cleared her throat. “The President has reviewed the case and is prepared to offer Kenneth Nash a full pardon for the murder of his wife, your sister, in exchange for certain, shall we say—services. What you need to understand, Mallory, is that he’d be a free man. And we need you to be comfortable with that.”

Mallory smoothed a hand over her nephew’s dark head. “You’ve got to be kidding.” A presidential pardon? So much for the president getting her vote of confidence. “There must be other men, loyal Americans of Middle Eastern descent—”

“None with Lieutenant Commander Nash’s background and training who are already serving a prison sentence.” The commander had a grim certainty about him Mallory found disconcerting. “We’re proposing a move to Gitmo under an assumed name. He’d be so deep undercover not even the marines guarding him would know his true identity.”

“His main objective would be to gather intel from the detainees held at the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” Galena clarified. “Specifically the youngest son of Mullah Kahn. Mullah, also known as the Cobra, is the head of the al-Ayman terrorist network. His son, Bari Kahn, was captured last year, right here in California. Additionally, Nash would be tasked with finding security leaks within our own system.”

Mallory shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “And if he’s caught—”

“If he’s caught by either side,” the commander said with emphasis, “he’d be a marked man.”

That shouldn’t bother her as much as it did.

She shouldn’t care.

She didn’t care.

Galena directed a sharp glance at the commander. “Or he may come out of all this unscathed.” The NCIS agent drummed a pen on a pad, a sign of restlessness Mallory wouldn’t have associated with the woman. Perhaps she had her own reservations and was just as uncomfortable with the situation as Mallory. “Detainees in Cuba won’t be held forever. There’s plenty of public outcry as U.S. involvement in the war comes to a close, and when the last prisoners are released or transferred to other countries, as many have been already, Nash will be among them.”

“You’d let him go? Just like that?”

“Gitmo is no cakewalk.” The commander crossed his arms. “Even if he were to go free, you’re not in any danger, Ms. Ward,” he said with the unwavering confidence of his rank. “I strongly believe in Lieutenant Commander Nash’s innocence.”

He might believe it. She might even want to believe it. But she’d seen what she’d seen. And Mallory’s testimony had convicted the man, for crying out loud–what was to stop him from coming after her?

Or Benji?

There was no doubt in her mind Nash would come after his son.

She felt it with bone-chilling certainty.

Mallory stared out of focus at the two-way mirror. As if looking at it through a haze of raw emotions would allow her to see more clearly. That’s when she felt it, the eerie sensation of being watched.

Of course, there was someone behind the glass, watching them. She took a deep, shuddering breath and held Benji tighter. “Are you saying this assignment somehow hinges on my approval?”

She fixed her gaze on the commander this time. He shifted his to Galena as if this condition was a point of contention between them. “No,” he said, returning his attention to her.

“Then why am I here, sir?” Benji shoved a pudgy fist into his mouth. “Why are we here?”

Galena stepped in and answered for him. “We can’t just waltz a high-profile prisoner like Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Nash out the front gate of a federal prison.”

Mallory sensed the commander’s growing impatience with this conversation.

He hunkered down eye level to her nephew and allowed Benji to grab his thumb as he cupped the baby’s chubby cheek. Benji immediately became intent on bringing that masculine digit to his mouth like a new teething toy. She knew the commander was a new father himself and wondered what he really thought of this whole mess.

“We’re taking Nash out of here in a body bag,” he said. “Stone-cold dead. Kenneth Nash will no longer exist.”

 BlogBlitz

Wow! I can’t wait to read the rest. And be sure to check out Rogenna’s upcoming blog blitz HERE.

Bon appetit! Happy reading!

Deb

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Karen Sandler’s 5-Cup Salad

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

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Food=love in my books.

Karen SandlerMy guest blogger today is my OnFireFiction buddy, Karen Sandler, whose “ghost story” romance, Hearts Redemption, is on SALE for 99¢ until March 31.

Her recipe is called: 5-Cup Salad. Karen told me this is an Easter favorite at her house. Super simple and delicious.

I hope you enjoy it.

 

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5-Cup Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
If you don't like any of the ingredients, leave one out and you've got a 4-Cup Salad. ;-)
Ingredients
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Mandarins oranges
  • Marshmallows
  • Sour cream
  • Coconut
Instructions
  1. Mix the above ingredients. Chill and serve.

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Excerpt:

Prologue

She’d never tire of his crooked smile.

Laura leaned against the door of the ‘55 Ford Fairlane and let her gaze trace Johnny’s face. His warm brown eyes met hers, the soft glow in them a companion to his rakish smile.

Come and kiss me, Laura,” he growled in that half-man, half-boy voice. A shiver skittered down Laura’s spine at the sound.

She hesitated, just to let him know she wasn’t about to let him order her around. Then she inched away from the door, sliding slowly across the Ford’s vinyl bench seat. The skirt of her frothy homecoming dress slithered across her knees, reminding her of Johnny’s fingers skimming her calf, dipping just beneath the hem of her dress.

Her breath caught at the memory of his touch, in anticipation of feeling it again. As he slid out from behind the steering wheel, his gaze fixed on hers, intense, filled with a power reflected in her own eyes, her own heart. He tipped his head down, a thick lock of brown hair dropping across his brow.

She paused just as she reached the center of the big bench seat, waiting for him to close the distance.

Oh please, let it happen this time, oh please.

She trembled, waiting, head tipped up in invitation. He bent lower, eyes shutting.

A sizzle and a flash sputtered between them, driving Johnny back. As he stared at her, anger and frustration playing across his face, phantom tears pooled in Laura’s eyes. She, who’d cried at nothing while alive, felt new grief all these years after hers and Johnny’s death.

Johnny’s fist smashed against the unseen barrier between them, sending up a fountain of sparks. Laura jumped back, although she knew from long experience the fireworks were all show and couldn’t hurt her.

I thought it’d be different this time,” Johnny said angrily.

Me, too,” Laura said, her words a sigh.

Johnny looked around, out the black windows of the Ford. “It feels different.”

Laura peered through the expansive front windshield, straining to see something, anything in the endless darkness. But she saw only shadows, black on black nearly as dark as the nothing that filled her eyes during the in-between times, when she didn’t even have this car, when she didn’t have Johnny.

Johnny fixed his gaze back on her. “Can you feel it?” he asked fiercely.

She wanted to say yes, tried to push the lie past her throat. But Johnny knew what a lousy liar she was. The silvery tears that never wet her face gathered again in her eyes, spilled over as she shook her head.

Well, I can,” Johnny insisted. He thrust his chin up the way he always did when he was certain he was right. She saw the little boy in him then, the sixteen-year-old young man giving way to a child.

Laura smiled and leaned closer to the unseen barrier. “Can you feel me?

Johnny’s face changed and the young man returned. “I can.” He spread his hand on his chest. “Right here.”

He tipped his head, bringing it inches from her, and held himself there, waiting. With a sigh, Laura closed the distance as best she could, feeling the energy of the barrier scudding across her brow. She shut her eyes, not wanting to see the space that still separated them.

A steady thrum sounded in her ears, the ghost of her heart, the phantom of her love for Johnny. The sound soothed her, sustained her through the long in-between times, when even her memories were black and empty.

The barrier between them seemed to thicken, to stiffen. Something pulled at Laura, pulled her away from Johnny. “What’s happening?

We can’t be going back yet,” Johnny said. “It’s too soon.”

Terrified of the black limbo that awaited, desperate to say the words, Laura shouted, “I love you, Johnny!

His hands came up, reaching for her. “I love you, Laura.”

Next time, Johnny.” Her eyes never leaving his face, she waited for the gray that would segue into the interminable black of in-between.

But although the endless night outside the car window changed, lightened, the color of the ether seemed more rose than gray. And now Laura could discern shapes beyond the broad sweep of the Fairlane’s windshield, irregular edges and broken curves.

What is it, Johnny?” she murmured as tantalizing glimpses materialized beyond the Ford.

Another chance,” he said, a familiar, long-forgotten glow lighting his face.

In the next moment, Laura was alone, and standing in the brilliance of an ordinary summer morning.

         Sounds intriguing, no? Here are your buy links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

And here’s a little something extra for your reading pleasure that includes novellas by BOTH Karen and me.

99¢

5 holidays/5 authors/5 delightful romances

Celebrate Romance

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Amazon

BN

 

Bon appetit! Happy reading!

Deb